Many of us think of massage as a simple 60-minute session to relax and unwind. While that is still true for many, therapeutic massage also has many other avenues of addressing ongoing pain. That’s where myofascial massage comes into play. But what is myofascial massage and how can it help?
Simply put, it’s a fantastic way to relieve pain. Myofascial massage is a manual therapy technique that requires the expertise of a trained massage therapist and considered by many experts to be the best treatment for myofascial pain.
By relieving pressure, this specialized massage therapy enables clients to enjoy pain reduction, better mobility and overall increases in physical wellness.
What Is Myofascial Pain?
Don’t be scared by the term myofascial pain — it’s simply another way of describing muscle pain. The definition actually extends to both pain and accompanying inflammation within soft tissue. For many clients with musculoskeletal issues, the pain felt usually comes from a connective tissue called “fascia” that covers the muscles.
Myofascial pain often occurs when muscles are exposed to prolonged, repetitive movements. For many clients, this occurs as a result of sports, workouts, movements performed at work or improper posture. Even stress and anxiety can trigger myofascial pain due to strain and tension held within the body.
While myofascial pain can impact the entire system, it is most commonly experienced in the neck and shoulders. However, it can also be seen in the hips, lower back, jaw, calves, quads and feet. Here’s a glance at some common symptoms of myofascial pain:
- Deep muscle aches and pain.
- Muscle pain that worsens over time.
- Knots in the muscles.
- Tension and headaches.
- Extreme pain that makes it difficult to work, exercise or sleep.
How Does Myofascial Massage Work?
Myofascial tissue can be thought of as the framework of our bodies because it provides the mechanisms that we use to move our muscles. The web of connective tissues extends from the superficial layers of muscular tissue all the way to the deepest layers of tissue that touch the bone.
With compromised fascia, we see a reduction in range of motion. In addition, restrictions within the fascia can reduce the flow of nutrition to our joints — leading to pain, extreme mobility reductions and inflammation. If left untreated, it’s common for compromised fascia to cause heightened pain sensitivity and premature tissue degeneration.
The specialized technique of myofascial massage involves stretching and massage with light manual pressure to help restore function to the fascia. For those suffering from extreme muscle pain and looking for ways to resolve muscle pain from the source without surgery or medications, myofascial massage can be a great solution.
How Do We Perform Myofascial Massage?
When fascia is healthy and functioning normally, it feels very pliable and elastic. Massage therapists begin by gently massaging the area to look for signs of stiffness and tightness.
Next, the therapist massages and stretches the area using some light manual pressure, followed by special manual techniques for releasing pressure and tightness using a series of repetitive motions on a client’s trigger points. A trigger point is a spot within the skeletal muscle that is the “source” of pain. The massage therapist works on a single trigger point until a release can be felt. This is where the pressure “melts” to relieve the tension and stress.
Practitioners will often focus on locating multiple trigger points to create comprehensive pain relief. This usually means working on the broader network of muscles associated with the type of pain that a client is experiencing.
Massage therapists use a number of different movements and techniques when administering myofascial massage, but the most commonly used at Camino Massage Therapy include the feet, hands, and elbows. However, a number of massage tools that range from foam rollers to soft balls can also be employed.
What Are the Benefits of Myofascial Massage?
With myofascial massage, many of our clients experience immediate pain relief following a release. However, several visits are typically needed to provide muscles with the prolonged, focused healing they need to eliminate strain and inflammation.
Additionally, there are many secondary benefits to myofascial massage that contribute to a healthier body:
- Alleviation of tightness throughout the body — even to areas that were not experiencing acute pain.
- Better range of motion and flexibility.
- Improved blood circulation.
- Increased oxygen within muscles.
Even people who are not seeking myofascial massages for acute pain can benefit from an overall reduction in muscle soreness as it is a great stress-reduction tool for both muscle groups and the full body.
Here at Camino Massage, we offer myofascial massage, as well as a self-myofascial massage class devoted to teaching you about common trigger points and showing you how to breath and use massage balls to find release.
To schedule your class or appointment, give us a call at 719-299- 0820 or book an appointment online today!