Therapeutic massage is a combination of massage styles, such as Deep Tissue, Trigger Point, Positional Release, and Myofascial Release Therapies. It is designed to work out chronic pain by applying any, a combination of, or all the following techniques to release muscle spasm, calm the nervous system and eventually relax the body. It’s not always comfortable, but in the end, it’s very effective and you should feel much better after the session! I usually suggest 90 minutes for the best results.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is often confused with deep pressure massage. Deep pressure massage means a constant, strong pressure throughout the session. Deep tissue massage can indeed have a significant amount of pressure behind certain techniques but deep tissue always has a goal. It is used on ailments like chronic pain, recovery from injuries, limited mobility, postural problems and muscle tension or spasm, among others. The therapist uses their forearms and elbows to increase the pressure into tissues.
Trigger Point Therapy
If you have ever massaged a person or been massaged yourself then you have probably come across trigger points. They are commonly known as muscle knots; the often painful spots where muscles seem to be clumped together in a tight little ball. Trigger Point Therapy holds specific pressure on these knots to release and relax the muscles. The therapist uses finger or T-Bar pressure on these knots, which can sometimes be very painful but should release in moments (and a few deep breaths).
For an expert trigger point therapist there is much more to consider than these painful little points in the muscles. The body is a connected system and it is often the case that a trigger point is just one end of the problem. Most trigger points refer to pain somewhere else along the nerve pathways so it takes skilled hands to get to the root of the problem. And if one muscle is being problematic then it is almost certain to have an effect on the surrounding muscles.
The benefits here are amazing though, once those few deep breaths have occurred, the knot melts away and in some instances, the root cause softens and releases at the same time.
Positional release therapy is, in some ways, like trigger point therapy as it focuses on painful muscle areas. The similarities end there however. Positional release therapy passively shortens the muscle group, kind of like an assisted yoga pose, in order to release the muscle tightness. The therapist uses hands to move limbs into certain positions that should feel very good almost immediately.
To understand this brand of therapy it is important to know what the myofascia is. It is the outer layer of connective tissue, which covers the muscles but is under the skin. Myofascia is similar to tendons and ligaments in that they are all connective tissue and they keep the body held together. Myofascial Release techniques work to release this connective tissue around muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints through movements such as stretches, holds, traction and rocking. It is generally a feel good technique with great results!