Fast Brushing

Original Editor - Jonathan Wong

Top Contributors - Jonathan Wong and Carina Therese Magtibay  

Background[edit | edit source]

Fast brushing was conceived as a technique for muscle facilitation by Rood in the 1950s, who reported that sensory stimuli could influence motor responses. It was considered facilitatory for motor responses due to its supposed stimulation of sensory C-fibers' free nerve endings.[1]. However, no evidence supports that C fibers are involved, and Rood's model of arousal appears oversimplified[2]. Rood thought fast brushing biased muscle spindles to increase their response to stretch. Her technique detailed where to brush (over the skin overlying the muscle), but did not provide guidelines for brushing speed, duration, or size of brushing area[1].

Evidence[edit | edit source]

Rapid brushing was studied for the quadriceps, bicep femoris, and the tibialis anterior, and was found to significantly facilitate maximal voluntary contraction and tonic vibration reflex in the quadriceps and biceps femoris but not in the tibialis anterior[3]. This discrepancy for tibialis anterior may have resulted from problems with applying the stimulus to the relevant dermatome[3]. However, this facilitation effect only lasted for 30-45s after fast brushing[4].

In a comparison between icing and fast brushing for muscle facilitation, the latter was found to be more effective, and both were most effective during stimulus application[4].

Clinical application[edit | edit source]

Fast brushing can be performed with a battery-operated brush, with long strokes parallel to the muscle fibers. Brushing should be done to the skin overlying the muscle to facilitate movements in a neurological rehabilitation context, such as for part-task or whole-task practice. This will help to increase the amount of reps performed and practised, where muscle strength is the limiting factor.

Video[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Rood, M. S. Neurophysiological reactions as a basis for physical therapy. Physical Therapy Review. 1954;34:444-449.
  2. Metcalfe AB, Lawes N. A modern interpretation of the Rood Approach. Physical therapy reviews. 1998;3(4):195–212.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Matyas TA, Galea MP, Spicer SD. Facilitation of the maximum voluntary contraction in hemiplegia by concomitant cutaneous stimulation. American journal of physical medicine. 1986;65(3):125–34.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Spicer SD, Matyas TA. Facilitation of the tonic vibration reflex (TVR) by cutaneous stimulation. American journal of physical medicine. 1980;59(5):223–31.