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Sound Body Myotherapy and Massage

Injury Treatment * Pain Relief * Sports Massage * Relaxation

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Each massage session usually includes a variety of techniques, depending on what the client requests and what the client needs during a session. However, here are some definitions of the massage modalities I find most effective.

Injury Treatment is a broad term encompassing various techniques used to treat many specific conditions and injuries. I use Trigger Point Therapy, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Fascilitation, Muscle Energy Technique, Myofacial Release, Myokinesthetics, Visceral Manipulation, and Gentle Multi-Directional Friction, as well as Deep Tissue work to treat low back injury, headaches, whiplash, carpal tunnel syndrome, upper back and neck injury, frozen shoulder, sciatic pain, fibromyalgia, thoracic outlet syndrome, tennis and golfer’s elbow, TMJD, and plantar fascitiis among other injuries and conditions.

Developed by Dr. Janet Travell, trigger point therapy targets the release of intensely tight, irritated points in a taut band of muscle. While quite tender to the touch, these trigger points also have patterns of referred pain associated with them. This pain may manifest as radiating numbness, weakness, tingling, or simply as an area of broad muscle ache. However, the point where the trigger point is located is often not where the pain is felt. For example, trigger points in muscles of the neck often cause headaches, and points in the shoulder area can cause pain to radiate down the arm. Specific pressure, stretching, and often ice are used to release and relieve trigger points.

Probably the most well known type of massage, Swedish massage offers deep relaxation through long gliding strokes, scooping and lifting muscle tissue, and other circulatory strokes. Most types of massage usually incorporate some Swedish strokes to get the client relaxed and to ready the muscle tissue for deeper work. Swedish massage increases circulation and flushes toxins, promoting tissue health. Additionally, Swedish massage invokes the body’s parasympathetic nervous system causing rest and deep relaxation. During the massage, blood pressure and body temperature usually decrease. The pressure applied during a Swedish style massage can vary. Be sure to let your therapist know what makes you most comfortable.
Deep Tissue Massage is often used to treat chronic pain and injuries and incorporates many massage techniques, including Swedish massage strokes, friction, myofascial release, and often trigger point therapy. The pressure is often more intense than Swedish massage and can be uncomfortable at times. However, your therapist can adjust the pressure to work within your tolerance. Deep tissue massage can be used to treat chronic pain and new and old injuries by breaking up adhesions (scar tissue) that form, thereby improving circulation, mobility, and flexibility and reducing or removing pain. Deep tissue massage may cause some initial tenderness in the areas worked; however, this should be minimal (a day or two) and replaced by more lasting relief.

Sports massage is designed to prevent injury and to maintain muscles health in preparation for activity, to help active people recover from exertion, and to keep athletes’ muscles in top shape for competition. Stimulating pre-event massage warms up muscles and flushes them with blood and oxygen. Pre-event massage is fast-paced and serves to energize the athlete. Post-event massage stretches tight, fatigued muscles and revitalizes them by increasing circulation and flushing potentially irritating substances from the system. Recovery is faster and athletes generally report being less sore with massage.

Sport specific massage can also be tailored toward keeping a client in condition for a specific sport in an effort to prevent injury. A pitcher, for example, could have specific work done on her shoulder and arm to keep muscles and tendons supple and healthy even under the tremendous strain and repetitive use that pitching requires. A runner might require specialized treatment for tight IT (iliotibial) bands to reduce knee pain or increase stride.
Myofascial Release focuses on the densely woven connective tissue (fascia) that wraps every muscle fiber and every individual muscle in our bodies. It also connects our skin to our muscles and provides structural support. Like muscles, fascia can become tight and can develop scar tissue and adhesions. However, whereas muscle is like a rubber band and can bounce back into shape after being stretched or shortened, fascia responds more slowly. It takes steady pressure to release tightened fascia. And stretched fascia is more like the plastic in a shopping bag than a rubber band; it stretches with slow, constant pressure, and it doesn’t bounce right back.  Repeated stresses, habitual poor posture, an injury such as whiplash, or surgery can cause scarring and tightening in areas of fascia. Think of someone who has severely rounded shoulders. Not only are tight muscles involved, pulling those shoulders forward, but the fascia enveloping those muscles has slowly shortened and become adhesive in some spots and has been stretched out of shape in others. Myofascial Release applies slow, steady pressure (usually without or with very little oil) to stretch the tight, adhesed fascia, restoring the body to balance. Because the process of fascial distortion is slow, it may take more sessions to make a permanent change in fascia than in muscles, but in my experience, noticeable changes are felt after a single session.
Neuromuscular massage uses specific techniques to manipulate the soft tissue of the body (muscles, fascia, and tendons) in an effort to change the information received by the body’s nervous system and thereby change its response to real or perceived injury and pain. Neuromuscular massage is used to treat many factors known to cause pain: ischemia (lack of blood flow to an area), trigger points, nerve compression or entrapment, postural distortion (muscular imbalance that causes the body to move out of alignment in the horizontal or longitudinal planes), and biomechanical dysfunction (imbalance caused by repeated actions using poor bodymechanics). The effects of these conditions can cause numbness, tingling, or chronic pain. To facilitate neuromuscular changes, I use Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, Myokinesthetics, Muscle Energy Technique, Post Isometric Relaxation, and Visceral Manipulation.