Your massage is customized to the needs of your condition at the time of the appointment. An initial consultation will determine which areas will require the most focus. These areas may include small postural muscles, connective tissues and joint attachments. Intermittent feedback helps direct the session for optimal healing.
In treating the underlying causes of soft tissue dysfunction, these modalities have shown to be helpful:
Deep Tissue Muscle work: “Deep tissue” is a general term describing massage applied to the deeper layers of muscle. This could be experienced as a relaxation massage with a more intense type of pressure. Deep tissue muscle work describes the process by which specific restrictions are located in the muscular system. These restrictions are alleviated with pressure, kneading and stretching motions until the muscle fibers return to a more normal function.
Trigger Point Therapy: The areas in the body where nerves intersect within muscle tissue are known as trigger points. These nerves serve the functioning of the muscle and continue on a pathway to other parts of the body. This is different from acupuncture points which encompass nerves that serve a different purpose and are treated in another way. There are two types of trigger points, active and latent.
Active trigger points cause muscular pain locally and will also refer a dull pain to another area of the body. We are often unaware of the original source of the referred pain. Latent trigger points only experience pain when compressed. They do not refer pain to another area but will commonly cause issues with inflammation and limited range of motion.
Trigger points are caused by accidents, traumatic injuries, overuse and postural factors. They are are most successfully relieved by a combination of direct pressure, myofascial release and positional release. Trigger point therapy almost instantly relieves pain and over time can retrain a muscle into a more flexible state.
Myofascial Release Therapy: Fascia is a single sheet of continuous webbing that extends without interruption throughout the body. It surrounds every tissue and organ in the system, including nerves, blood vessels, muscles and bones. A fascial restriction in one area can also effect another seemingly unrelated area of the body. Myofascial release is an applied stretch to the muscular and joint areas of the body. It is commonly felt as very slow and has a dragging quality that does not usually cause discomfort. The release of myofascial adhesions can help with structural issues related to the bones and posture.
Positional Release Therapy: This is very gentle treatment for acute trauma or very tender muscle spasms. This technique helps to alleviate nerve impingement from constricted muscle fibers. In positional release therapy, the muscle fibers are shortened with continuous pressure or stretching. The pressure or stretch is applied near the tender points forcing the muscle to communicate with itself through rapid nerve impulses. These nerve impulses have a releasing effect on the tender points. The muscle fibers become relaxed and may eventually lengthen. It may then be possible to use more direct techniques like myofascial therapy because the area is no longer so sensitive.
Swedish Massage: This is the most common terminology for relaxation massage techniques. The movements are applied to the arms, legs, back, neck, hands and feet to bring the circulation back to the heart. Swedish massage is known to have many benefits such as lowering blood pressure, increasing red and white blood cell counts, improving sleep quality, and reducing symptoms of anxiety, depression and chronic stress.
Research: Massage Northern Ohio Practiced Based Research Network (MNO-PBRN) is an organization dedicated to educating the public and healthcare providers on the necessity of integrating massage therapy within the current healthcare model. Clinical research studies are developed to help prove the efficacy of massage therapy in healthcare. Case Western Reserve University, The Center for Reducing Health Disparities, and MNO-PBRN completed two studies last year. MNO-PBRN is planning more studies for the future.
To read the full reports of both massage therapy studies click here .