Different Types of Massage Offer Different Massage Benefits

Massage benefits involves the manipulation of both superficial and deep muscles, and body tissues. Designed to aid healing, enhance function and promote relaxation, the word is 300px-Massage_Frankfurtderived from various languages including the Greek verb “masso” meaning to handle, work or touch with the hands. Targeted areas include the muscles, skin and joints and massage can be applied using the hand, knees and elbows as well as mechanical aids.

Deep tissue Massage Benefits

Deep tissue massage is a therapy focusing on the muscles located below the top muscle layer, performed to relieve severe muscle tension. It concentrates on realigning the deeper muscle layer and the connective tissue by breaking down adhesions, bands of rigid tissue, which cause pain, inflammation and limited movement. Using pressure and often creating some discomfort, this is not a relaxing massage yet effective for the job it was created for.  It is often used for those in constant pain, athletes and others with a heavy physical workload, and those who have sustained physical injury. Deep tissue massage is used in cases of injury recovery, fibromyalgia, limited mobility and pain from osteoarthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome are some of the health benefits of therapeutic massage.

Benefits of Swedish Massage

In contrast, Swedish massage is mainly performed to create relaxation and a feeling of well-being. Using five styles of massage strokes to glide, knead, tap, create friction and vibrate it can be useful in reducing some pain and joint stiffness, especially that which has evolved from osteoarthritis. Some strokes will release tension and break up muscle adhesions. It is especially useful for increasing circulation thus improving blood flow and oxygen carrying capacity. It can be gentle and performed slowly or a more rigorous massage involving firmer strokes and tapping, depending on the therapists style and patient requirements. It is not as intense as deep tissue massage and should not cause discomfort. The massage benefits of Swedish have been well established over many years and is the preferred choice for first timers.

Trigger-point Massage Benefits

Trigger-point massage is designed to alleviate the pain and discomfort created by knots or nodules in the muscle, or ‘trigger points’, which cause both localized pain and ‘refer’ pain, the latter being pain found in an area separate from the trigger point area. Refer pain can include headaches and migraines, neck stiffness and back pain. The therapy involves finding, compressing and applying pressure to these points to deactivate them. It may also involve massaging the points or using stretching techniques. Once the points have been deactivated both the affected area and the surrounding tissues may be treated with myofascial release to prevent the muscles returning to the original position and trigger points reforming.

Benefits of Cranial-sacral therapy

Cranial-sacral therapy evolved from cranial osteopathy, a gentle and subtle treatment encouraging stress and tension release. It is a non-invasive alternative medicine therapy used by osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists and is performed by placing the hands on the patient and ‘tuning in’ to the rhythmic activity found between the bones in the skull. Therapists believe that movements between these bones come from the brain and spinal cord membrane. and concentrate on the area from the skull to the sacrum, identifying disturbance in the flow of energy running through this region and dissolving points of resistance.


How Do Pain Clinics Treat Myofascial Pain

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Pain clinics, are they the first place you should go to when experiencing myofascial pain. Myofascial pain is found in the fibrous tissue surrounding and separating muscles. It is a chronic condition with a variety of causes. It is often associated with the condition Fibromyalgia.  Excess muscle strain and trauma can lead to muscle damage and resulting myofascial pain.

Stress and disease are other contributory factors and can worsen the condition. Symptoms include deep pain, muscle aches, muscle and joint stiffness and painful knots in the muscle. Pain is localized within tender areas or trigger points, which are painful when palpated.

Pain Clinics for a Multi-disciplinary Approach

Visiting pain clinics will give the patient a multi-disciplinary approach towards treating the pain. The medical practitioner will, after ruling out other causes by carrying out tests, confirm diagnosis by palpating trigger points, which react painfully to pressure.

Once confirmed, a pain management program can be created along with other team members to treat and relieve the condition. A follow up program of rehabilitation and prevention of further myofascial pain episodes may also be offered.

Pain Clinics for relieving medication

Pain relieving medication will be prescribed to give relief and anti-depressants may also be offered as part of the treatment. These can relieve pain as well as depression, the latter often being a side effect of chronic pain issues.

Anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants are options for prescribed pain relief. Injections of local anesthetic into the trigger points will give short -term relief.

Pain Clinics that do Dry Needling and Intramuscular Stimulation

‘Dry needling’, or intramuscular stimulation, where needles are inserted into trigger points to disrupt the existing flow of pain can also release natural opoids which have an analgesic effect.

“Stretch and spray” technique involves using a spray vapocoolant on the trigger point and muscle. A pain free method, the spray numbs muscle allowing it to be stretched to allow a full range of movement before re-warming the tissues with a heating pad.

A chiropractor will be able to perform trigger point release techniques, hugely beneficial towards relaxing painful muscles and releasing tight tissue.  Direct myofascial release involves applying controlled force to the myofascial barrier separating the muscle layers until tissue release occurs.

A gentler method is the indirect myofascial release that involves moderate pressure and stretching. Massage therapy involving soft tissue manipulation can also reduce pain in the trigger points, relaxing muscle tension and improving blood circulation to painful areas.

A physical therapist can create relevant stretching exercises to ease myofascial pain. They can offer passive therapy such as heat and ice packs and therapy units like TENS to reduce pain. Once the pain has been resolved, working on correct posture and performing muscle strengthening exercises to improve long term health may form part of the rehabilitation program at pain clinics.

Working together as a team, pain management professionals at pain clinics provide pain relief and control, pain management and, most importantly, future pain prevention. By using a pain clinic the individual is offered a range of relevant treatments, increasing the chances of resolving pain completely.

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Using Myofascial Release as a Pre-Workout Stretching Exercise

6937977092_67b5803ac7_mMyofascial release is worth considering as a pre-workout stretching exercise to enhance your work-out and perhaps prevent muscle injury. Myofascial release is a technique used to stretch muscle to relieve tension and pain, thus realigning the body and improving posture. Injury, moving and standing incorrectly and poor health can cause the body to move out of alignment and with poor posture comes muscle tightness and eventual injury to the muscle fibers. This result causes the surrounding fascia to become short, tight and unevenly pressured creating trigger points, which are painful to the touch. These can lead to sports injuries, pain and damage, premature fatigue and an inferior performance.

Using myofascial release as a pre-workout stretching exercise will alleviate these trigger points, restoring correct posture, spinal alignment, warming up connective tissue and reducing the risk of injury whilst at the same time enhancing the performance. Tension within the muscles is eliminated allowing a greater range of motion when working out.

Learning Self Myofascial Release

Self myofascial release requires the use of an inexpensive foam roll. There are several exercises to release different areas and each involves rolling on the foam roll in various positions. Should a tender point be found during these exercises, rolling should stop and the area be rested on until the pain decreases by 75%.

The areas concentrated on are the upper back, quadriceps, iliotibial, hamstring, neck and adductors. It is important to perform the exercises correctly so it is advisable to seek professional help when initially attempting them. Each area should be worked on for 1-2 minutes, holding the position on any painful trigger points for 30-45 seconds. Keeping the abdominal muscles tight when performing the rolls will add stability to the lower back and pelvis. Breathing should be slow and performed correctly.

Myofascial upper back rolls involve extending one arm over the roller while lying on the side. The upper body should lean backwards while the feet walk forwards and backwards to roll out the latissimus dorsi. Lifting the gluteal muscles whilst doing this involves pressing through the soles of the feet. For hamstring rolls, the roller should be placed under the buttocks where they join the back of the leg. Both legs extend forwards and the hands walk back to roll out the hamstrings and calves.

Lying sideways on the roller, supporting the upper body with the forearm and walking out so the roller moves from hip to knee along the outer thigh will release the iliotibial area. Adductor release involves lying face down with one leg lifted up and out to the side with the inner thigh on the roller. With the knee slightly bent roll from knee to groin.

To release the neck, the roller should be positioned under the neck and above the shoulders, then the upper body rotated from side to side. If there is a tight muscle, by lifting the hips off the floor and increasing pressure through the soles of the feet, the bodyweight will increase and put pressure on the tender area.

Myofascial Release for Hypertonic Muscles

Hypertonic Muscle release of the fascia is a very little known technique. It involves a gentle breathing technique in conjunction with stretching the muscles associated with the myofascial pain. The aim is to spread the spindle cells in the belly of the muscle and to give them space so as to give a greater range of muscular motion. It is a bio-feed back therapy and you brain is directly involved using a Kinesiology model of muscle testing or muscle monitoring as it is sometimes called. Once the fascia release has happened, the new and extended range of muscular motion is anchored in the brain as a new awareness. At the same time of muscle release there is myofascial release also as they are inter-related.

Myofascial Release as an Effective Post-Workout Recovery

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Workout recovery plan can involve Myofascial release by applying of pressure to a trigger point on the body to remove pain and restore correct muscle and fascia function.Trigger points are painful areas where trauma and muscle strain have created damage to the soft tissue component of the connective tissue, which provides support and protection for the muscle and most other body structures. This damage can result in knotted areas of muscle.

It is possible to use myofascial release methods to lessen pain and improve performance and flexibility when working out. By incorporating a foam roller into a warm up or cool down routine and performing specific exercises designed to find trigger points, the individual can then use pressure on these points and release them. By doing this before a workout, posture is improved and performance is enhanced, by improving muscle flexibility and joint function.

Myofascial Release is an Effective Post-Workout Recovery Plan

Using myofascial release as a post-workout recovery is ideal for relieving post-exercise stiffness, easing off any muscle tenderness that could become a trigger point if left untreated and generally loosening off the body. It can help speed up recovery after exercise. Using a foam roller and focusing on all major muscles, pressure is applied to any point of pain found when rolling, then maintained until the pain has diminished by about 75%.

Other Areas for Your Workout Recovery Plan

The main areas concerned include the neck, lower and upper back, iliotibial area, hips, rhomboids and middle back. These are all areas that can be affected by poor posture and strain. But any painful area, as long as it isn’t too bony, can be rolled to create myofascial release. The head of the hip and the side of the knee are two areas to avoid.  If a roller isn’t available then tennis balls, insulated PVC pipe or anything that can be padded for comfort, but still create pressure when rolled, will be ideal.

For effective and safe rolling it is advisable to consult a professional to ensure the recovery routine is being carried out correctly. Correct posture has to be maintained throughout the rolling exercises to prevent inadvertent injury.

If possible, a post workout recovery of myofascial release massage with a physical therapist can be useful in pinpointing pressure areas, resolving them and also discussing adaptations to the main workout to avoid future injury.

Recovery benefits from myofascial release are the ability to work on soft tissue areas that cannot be managed easily by stretching. By releasing tension within muscles and soft tissues, an athlete can regain a full range of motion allowing them to train or compete without compromising natural movement and disrupting a training program.  This will ultimately allow them to train without muscle tension or any further muscle imbalances and massively reduce the risk of being susceptible to injury.

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The Diamond Method of Active Myofascial Therapy

myofascial release techniqueMyofascial release therapyReal Time Pain ReliefThe Diamond Method™ of Active Myofascial Therapy is an adaptation of an existing therapy, myofascial release therapy, and has been developed over the past 30 years by Irene Diamond, owner and creator of the Diamond and Massage & Wellness Center. After an accident as a teenager left her paralyzed resulting in months in cervical traction, she consulted various massage therapists to restore muscle strength and deal with chronic neck pain. Having them hold specific points, which she now knows to be trigger points, she learned to move her head and shoulders in certain patterns, which would alleviate pain. This gave her instant relief and she went on to study physical therapy and rehabilitation before opening the Center in 1998 and developing her findings into The Diamond Method™ of Active Myofascial Therapy (AMT).

Benefits of Myofascial Release Therapy

Myofascial release therapy is a form of soft tissue therapy, aimed towards releasing muscle knots or ‘trigger points’, found in the soft tissue component of connective tissue. Using pressure to release these points, the soft tissue or fascia is then stretched by subtle movements used by the therapist. The Diamond method has incorporated myofascial therapy into a combination of methods and requires the patient to be active throughout the process, moving in prescribed ways, pushing muscles into the pressure and performing the ‘Actions’. These involve gentle stretches and corrective actions as directed by the therapist and complement the release therapy.  It also involves a 7step formula devised to develop joint flexibility, improved posture and ‘re-education’ of the neuromuscular system.

Neuromuscular Disorders And Myofascial Release Therapy

The first step of the Diamond formula is ‘Discovery’ – evaluating the patient and sourcing the area causing the pain. ‘Inspect/Investigate’, literally inspecting the site of pain and investigating the reasons for the pain, whether it is muscle strain, a trigger point or another cause, follows this. Step 3, ‘Assessment’ determines what therapy approach will suit the patient needs and then ‘Manual therapy/Manipulation’ follows. Steps 5 to 7 ‘Optimize’, ‘Neuromuscular Reeducation’ and ‘Design Future Plan’, involve relaxation techniques, movement patterns and manual therapy to increase efficiency of the neuromuscular system, plus an individualized program of Actions is created for use at home.

Throughout the steps and the follow-up therapy plan, the patient is supported by a team of therapists offering massage therapy, rehabilitation and pain management, weight loss programs and ergonomics. The Diamond Method™ aims to provide long term results so not only is the original problem (pain, injury) resolved, but an assessment is made of life style, work/desk set-up, sleeping position and everyday actions which may be creating poor posture habits, muscle tension and strain. The aim is to maximize body efficiency, develop joint flexibility and function, create body awareness and ‘remind’ the nervous system how to function correctly.

The Diamond Method™ of Active Myofascial Therapy is not just a soft tissue massage method but also a holistic approach to eradication of pain and prevention of a future occurrence. It aims to produce long term results for a pain free life.

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