Soft Tissue Techniques
Deep tissue massage
A deep tissue massage is the most common technique used by our expert massage therapists. It’s called ‘deep’ because the pressure is stronger to get deeper into the muscles and fascia. We know that deeper is not always better for every person, and so our therapists will talk to you during your session to understand what depth of massage you are comfortable with or prefer. They will also use their clinical experience, knowledge and expertise to get this right for you and look at how your tissues respond and release too. Yes, a deep massage might lead to a little bit of discomfort during the session, but… it is worth it! Trust us!
Deep tissue massage is used to treat chronic tension in the body. Whilst some of the strokes are the same as in classic (Swedish) massage, the pace tends to be slower and pressure is applied more strongly, concentrating on problem or specific tension areas.
Our therapists may use their forearms, elbows, fingertips and knuckles as well as their hands in order to break-up adhesions. These bands of rigid tissue can cause pain and inflammation, and restrict movement and circulation in muscle the tissue.
There is usually some stiffness or tenderness after a deep tissue massage, but this shouldn’t last more than a day or two. Stretching can help to reduce this and your therapist may also advise you how best to do this too. You can also put ice on any painful areas. Drinking water also helps with muscle rehydration and to flush out the toxins that are released during the massage.
Myofascial Release is a specialised type of massage used for the effective treatment and recovery of soft tissue and fascial tension and restrictions. The word Myofascia is derived from the Greek word ‘myo’ meaning muscle and ‘fascia’ meaning band.
Fascia surrounds, fills and protects every tissue, tendon, muscle, bone, ligament and organ of your body. It is the connective tissue that holds the body together.
In an ideal condition, the fascial system is relaxed and wavy in shape. In a system that is causing aches, pain and restriction the fascia has lost its pliability and is dehydrated, hard and restricted.
Myofascial Release is a specialised treatment that releases restrictions in the fascial network, enabling hard and restricted areas to become soft and mobile. Your therapist will work with the fascia, with an often softer, sustained pressure. This allows the fascia to elongate and restore to a healthier position.
Often, with this technique, the therapist will not use massage oil because there needs to be grip to sink into the deeper layers. The main factors that separate Myofascial Release from other massages is the pace and the lightness of touch. The massage often works slower, hands are placed onto the skin, and then after around a minute, the fascia will begin to move while the therapist performs a gentle stretch. The time of the stretch on each area is dictated by the fascia, not the therapist. The therapist will feel a release of collagen fibres as they gently grip and stretch the fascia that can be felt between the skin and the muscle.
Myofascial Release is often gentler than other massages, at first it may be difficult to believe that anything is happening. However, some clients can feel the fascia moving during the treatment.
Often, our therapists will use a combination if different techniques as they see fit within your session. However, we love an open communication stream so if there is a technique you prefer or are keen to try, be sure to discuss it with your therapist.
Myofascial Trigger Points Release
Trigger points are defined as hypersensitive spots found in taut bands of skeletal muscle fibres or in the muscle fascia that are painful on compression. They are also known as muscle ‘knots’ and are nodules that can produce sensations of tenderness, twitching or jumping when touched or compressed. Trigger points can often cause referred pain too. A good example of this is a trigger point in the shoulder can cause headaches or arm pain.
Trigger points can usually occur in two forms, active and latent. Active trigger points are those that cause a strong sense of discomfort right away and can be diagnosed as soon as they are formed. Meanwhile, latent trigger points do not present themselves in the beginning but can continue to get worse or become active with time.
Causes of a myofascial trigger point include:
• Poor posture
• Poor biomechanics
• Poor Nutrition
• Acute physical trauma
• Inadequate rest
Treating Myofascial Trigger points:
• Ischemic Pressure involves sustaining varying amounts of pressure on a trigger point in an attempt to block the oxygen and thus the energy source to the area of increased contraction
• Dry Needling has also been demonstrated to produce immediate increases in range of movement and decreased pain in individuals complaining of myofascial related pain
• Heat Therapy can help to relax muscle tension and can work effectively before or/and after physiotherapy treatment to complement the treatment
• Self Release techniques are often taught by our therapists with the use of foam rollers, spikey release balls, helping patients to maintain healthy fascia and reducing pain
• Postural awareness is also vital in both the management and prevention of developing myofascial pain
• Mechanical Vibration/Shockwave Therapy… We have started to use this technique more and more at the Clinic. We have had superb results with trigger point release and highly recommend it if you have stubborn trigger points that are not releasing with other manual or dry needling techniques
Deep Transverse Friction Massage
Deep transverse frictions are a form of deep tissue massage used by our therapists. It involves massaging back and forth over the fibres of a muscle, tendon or ligament. This ensures that as the tissue heals, scar tissue is not laid down. As a result, the muscle or ligament regains its pre-injury strength and maintains its mobility.
What are they used for?
1. Muscle or tendon strains
3. Scar tissue
4. Ligament sprains
What are the effects of Deep Transverse Frictions?
• Promotes healing
• Breaks down adhesions and prevents formation of scar tissue
• Improves circulation
• Releases endorphins
Muscle energy technique (MET)
MET’s are a type of manual therapy technique used to lengthen, strengthen and improve the range of movement of muscles. Our therapists will resist against the muscle while you contract it. This contraction is held for about 5-10 seconds before you relax and your therapist stretches the muscle further than it was able to stretch prior to the contraction. The process is repeated several times until you reach your maximum stretch position.
MET’s are based on a principal called reciprocal inhibition which is the theory that when a muscle is contracting, the opposite muscle of the joint is relaxing. MET’s can be used to maintain or improve muscle flexibility and to prevent injury.