MYOFASCIAL RELEASE THERAPY AND OTHER TOUCH MODALITIES
Myofascial Release Therapy
Myofascial release is a very effective hands-on technique that provides sustained pressure into myofascial restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. The theory of Myofascial Release requires some understanding of the fascial system (or connective tissue). The fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider's web or sweater. Fascia is very densely woven, covering and inter-penetrating every muscle, bone, nerve, artery, and vein as well as all of our internal organs including the heart, lungs, brain, and spinal cord. The most interesting aspect of the fascial system is that it is not just a system of separate coverings. It is actually one structure that exists from head to foot without interruption. In this way you can begin to see that each part of the entire body is connected to every other part by the fascia, like the yarn in a sweater. Fascia also plays an important role in the support of our bodies, since it surrounds and attaches to all structures. These structures would not be able to provide the stability without the constant pull of the fascial system. In fact, our bones can be considered as tent poles, which cannot support the structure without the constant support of the guide wires (or fascia) to keep the adequate amount of tension to allow the tent (or body) to remain upright with proper equilibrium. In the normal healthy state, the fascia is relaxed and wavy in configuration. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When we experience physical trauma, scarring, or inflammation, however, the fascia loses its pliability. It becomes tight, restricted and a source of tension to the rest of the body. Trauma, such as a fall,whiplash, surgery or just habitual poor posture over time and repetitive stress injuries has cumulative effects. The changes they cause in the fascial system influence comfort and the functioning of our body. The fascia can exert excessive pressure producing pain or restriction of motion. They affect our flexibility and stability, and are a determining factor in our ability to withstand stress and strain.
Strain Counterstrain (developed by Brian Tuckey, PT, OCS, JSCCI and based on Lawrence Jones, D.O.)
Strain Counterstrain is a manual therapy technique, meaning therapists use only their hands for treatment of muscle and joint pain. It uses passive body positioning of hypertonic (spasmed) muscles and dysfunctional joints toward positions of comfort or tissue ease that compress or shorten the offending muscle. The purpose of movement toward shortening is to relax reflexes that produce the muscle spasm forcing immediate reduction of muscle tone to normal levels. This allows the joint influenced by the now relaxed muscle to function optimally increasing its range of motion and easing muscle and joint pain. Strain Counterstrain is an effective, but extremely gentle, technique because its action for treatment moves the patient’s body away from the painful, restricted directions of motion.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) was pioneered and developed by osteopathic physician John E. Upledger following extensive scientific studies from 1975 to 1983 at Michigan State University, where he served as a clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the functioning of a physiological body system called the craniosacral system - comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Using a soft touch generally no greater than 5 grams, or about the weight of a nickel, practitioners release restrictions in the craniosacral system, which has been shown to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, as well as many other systems of the body, such as digestive, musculoskeletal, respiratory, circulatory, and more. CST has also been shown to help with the physical components related to such somatic conditions as Post Traumatic Stress, depression and anxiety.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
MLD is a specialized massage type that gently assists the lymphatic system in maintaining the body’s fluid balance, blood circulation, and immune mechanisms. The system’s network of vessels and nodes contains lymph, a mixture of water, proteins, immune system components, waste products, and other remnants of cell metabolism. Lymph nodes, which filter out the debris, are found throughout the body, with especially large groups of them in the neck, armpits, and groin. These major collections of lymph nodes ensure that the lymph passes through as many nodes as possible before it returns to the circulatory system.
During a lymph drainage massage, a specially-trained massage therapist uses a series of gliding, compressing, stretching, and cupping motions over the client’s body. The light rhythmic movements, applied without massage oil, stimulate the lymphatic system without compressing the vessels – allowing lymph to move easily through the tissues and lymph nodes. MLD follows a specific sequence over the body so lymph isn’t trapped anywhere, making sure every area is treated with care.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitated (PNF) Stretching
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is a more advanced form of flexibility training, which involves both the stretching and contracting of the muscle group being targeted. PNF stretching is one of the most effective forms of stretching for improving flexibility and increasing range of motion. PNF stretching was originally developed as a form of rehabilitation, and to that effect it is very effective. It is also excellent for targeting specific muscle groups, and as well as increasing flexibility, it also improves muscular strength.
Trigger Point Therapy
“Trigger point” is the name given to a tight spot in muscle tissue that causes pain or discomfort in other areas of the body. For instance, if you’ve got a trigger point in your back, you may feel pain in your neck. The neck then acts as a satellite trigger point and can often lead to headaches. During a trigger point massage, you participate in the session by breathing deeply when asked and by helping the therapist to identify the location causing your pain. Using isolated cycles of pressure and release, the therapist is able to find the trigger point and ease the tension it’s causing. Trigger point massage is designed to release the tight areas in your muscles, which reduces or eliminates any pain and discomfort you’re feeling. Regularly receiving massages during which trigger points are addressed helps you naturally manage the pain and stress that often accompany chronic injuries.