Tendons connect muscles to bone. There are groups of cells within a tendon, where the fibers of the muscle meet the tendon, called Golgi tendon bodies. Made up of strands of collagen, the Golgi organ also contains nerve tissue. The major function of this organ is to sense muscle tension when a muscle is contracted, sending signals to the brain about how much force is being exerted.
Golgi tendon organs and muscle spindle cells work together to prevent injury to muscles. The more the muscle tries to stretch and the faster it tries to stretch, the more the Golgi tendon organs cause it to contract.
These nerve cells and fibers can be influenced by massage. Golgi tendon organs react to sustained pressure such as trigger point therapy and stress point therapy, by telling the muscle to relax.
When I first started learning about golgi, I remember my eyes rolling up in my head. Enough was enough! I had been studying six hours a day and I figured if I had never heard of them before, why did I need to know about them? But bear with me, please. There is important information for horse riders and owners.
The Golgi are nerve receptors located on the ends of tendons. These sensors indicate how hard a muscle is working. If there is an overload, they will actually stop the muscle from working (Mother Nature’s protection from injury).
The Golgi can be activated manually through massage (Stress Point Therapy). This technique can help both relax and tone the muscle. If a muscle is weak, applying a certain pressure on the end of the tendon helps the golgi to stimulate the muscle. The opposite motion on the ends of the tendons signals the golgi to relax the muscle.