Why does a vibrating back massager make me tingle afterwards?

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Robert asked the Naked Scientists:

I have back pain and often use a vibrating massage device on my back. After I do this it feels and though there are armies of ants marching across my back. Can the vibration cause itchiness, and if so why?

Love the show by the way. I listen to the podcasts religiously.

What do you think?


Offline chris

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Why does a vibrating back massager make me tingle afterwards?
« Reply #1 on: 11/08/2008 23:52:34 »
I think this is similar to the phenomenon that your legs still feel like they're vibrating after you step off a lawn mower, or you remain convinced that you are still airborne or afloat after returning to dry land following a long journey.

This is because the nervous system selectively "cancels out" the repetitive vibrating signals from the massager in the same way that it ignores the sensation of clothes against your skin or shoes on your feet.

Put simply, once you remove the stimulus just the cancelling sensation remains - which you now feel.

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