Clinical Massage combines a variety of techniques to alleviate/manage pain symptoms that arise in the muscles and soft tissues. These techniques include Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, Deep Tissue Massage, Soft Tissue Release, Hot and Cold Stones and Active and Passive Stretching. In addition to alleviating pain, clinical massage can be very relaxing and can help reduce stress.
After the session clients will be given strategies on how to manage their symptoms at home. This may include some stretches or strengthening exercises. Some people may benefit from monthly maintenance sessions once the initial problem has been resolved. This is not always necessary and can be discussed with you during your course of treatment. Most people will need between 3 – 6 sessions.
Techniques Used in Clinical Massage
Techniques used in clinical massage should not be painful to receive and I work completely within your comfort level. By working in this way you will find the massage more comfortable and relaxing to receive and it will be far more effective.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage involves the massage of the connective tissue and muscles using the palm of the hand, a soft fist or the paddy part of the arm. Using the body weight I am able to slowly sink through the outer superficial muscles into the deeper muscles. Using a small amount of massage wax slow movements are used across the area to be treated. This technique helps to warm up the tissue prior to more specific work being carried out. It also stretches the muscle fibres.
Hot and Cold Therapy
Hot and cold therapy can be very effective in the treatment of chronic pain. Hot stones are effective in treating chronic pain which may feel dull and achy as heat helps to relax the muscle tissue. This enables me to work more deeply into the muscle. In addition, the heat from the stones has an analgesic affect (acts like a pain killer) and is also very soothing and comforting. Cold stones are effective in treating acute pain which may feel sharp and stabbing and usually arises as a result of a recent injury (within 72 hours). This helps to reduce inflammation and also has an analgesic affect.
Fascia is a thin layer of connective tissue that surrounds every muscle, muscle fibre, organ, bone etc within the body. Myofascial refers to the fascia surrounding the muscle (myo – muscle, fascia – connective tissue). This fascia can get stuck and cause restrictions. Due to this at the start of the treatment it is necessary to release this fascia using a myofascial release (MFR) techniques. This is a slow and gentle technique and can generally take up to about 15 minutes at the beginning of the treatment. MFR makes the other techniques that follow more effective
Soft Tissue Release
Muscles are made up of hundreds of muscle fibres that should lie neatly next to each other. Sometimes these fibres get tangled, e.g following an injury, and this can cause restrictions and loss of movement. Soft tissue release involves applying pressure along part of the affected muscle fibres and then taking the muscle into a pain free stretch which is held for 2 seconds. This process is repeated along the restricted muscle fibres. This technique will help to untangle and realign these muscle fibres to improve the range of movement of that muscle.
During a session it may be necessary to stretch the muscles. This involves taking a muscle into a pain free stretch and holding this stretch for up to 30 seconds. In addition I would encourage you to actively stretch problem areas between treatments. This can prolong the effectiveness of the treatment and improve overall flexibility and range of movement.
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger points are found in the muscle fibres and are a large cause of our pain and discomfort. They are hypersensitive spots that vary in size and feel tender to touch. In many situations the pain that has brought you here is caused by a primary trigger point. However, trigger points refer pain which means that the location of the pain you are feeling is not necessarily the source. During a session we aim to find these trigger points and deactivate them. We do this by applying some gentle pressure on the trigger point for 8 – 12 seconds. This will be repeated a few times in the session. By doing this we will deaciivate the trigger point although it may take a few sessions to achieve this. Trigger point therapy should not be unpleasant and we aim to work within your comfort zone at all times.