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Deep Tissue Massage is an advanced form of massage that can really benefit chronic pain sufferers. Deep Tissue Massage is used to release chronic muscular tension using slow strokes, direct compression, trigger point techniques or friction on a focused problem area. Often the movements are directed across the grain of the muscles (cross-fiber) using the fingers, thumbs, or elbows. This is applied with greater pressure and at deeper layers of the muscle than Swedish massage, hence the name Deep Tissue Massage. If you sit at the computer or exercise a lot you will greatly benefit from this type of treatment.
Fascia is connective tissue that runs throughout your body. It covers muscles, bones, tendons, nerves, etc. Essential for a healthy operating body, myofascial release ensures adhesions and chronic tight muscles are released.
First developed for athletes, sports massage therapy is now used by people training for marathons, the Vancouver Sun Run, skiing or even a round of golf. If you want to help keep or improve your range of motion, flexibility and overall muscle health, or if you’re planning on training for a specific event, please consider adding sports massage to your training program.
Pregnancy massage is specifically tailored for the expectant mother’s needs. This type of treatment helps with common conditions associated to pregnancy like sciatica, low back pain and headaches. It is also called pre-natal massage.
The mother’s body must be properly positioned and supported during the massage. Proper positioning ensures comfort and safety for the mother and baby. Some massage techniques, such as deep tissue work, cannot be used. Certain areas of the body should be avoided during pregnancy.
It’s a popular complementary therapy during pregnancy for back pain, when choices for pain relief, such as medication, are often limited.
Not only can massage be physically beneficial, but the human touch can be comforting and provide emotional support during pregnancy. Massage therapy has been found to reduce anxiety and depression.
Muscle energy techniques are applied to a patient in order to lengthen shortened or spastic muscles, to improve weakened ligament and muscle strength, and to improve range of motion.
This procedure is performed when a patient is asked to contract a muscle for approximately 5-seconds against an anti-force applied by the therapist. The muscle contraction is performed by the client 2 or 3 times in a row in the hopes to stretch the muscle further each time. Muscle energy techniques can be applied safely to almost any joint in the body. Many athletes use MET as a preventative measure to guard against future muscle and joint injury.
Sciatica symptoms include, but are not limited to, pain in the low back, buttocks and down the back of the leg. Numbness and tingling are also common symptoms and they follow the same pathway. Weakness can develop anywhere along this pathway because there is an interruption in the sciatic nerve transmission.
This condition arises when constant strain, stress, and malocclusion of the jaw lead to pain and loss of function of the jaw joints. This can make chewing (mastication) very difficult and be a contributor to persistent headaches. A malocclusion can be caused from a previous trauma to the face or head, a bite dysfunction, or bruxism (grinding or clenching teeth). Bruxism occurs most frequently during periods of stress and can occur during the day, or at night while sleeping. Injuries elsewhere in the body can also lead to TMJ problems. For example, a childhood fall can cause imbalances within the spine, which could lead to neck and jaw problems later on in life. Other factors involve excessive movement of the ligaments surrounding the jaw joints, or problems involving the disc within the joint that can create audible noises, such as “clicking” or “popping”.
Symptoms of TMJ Dysfunction include: head, neck, ear, mouth and/or shoulder pain; clicking or locking in the jaw with a loss of mobility (ROM); pain and tenderness of the masticator (chewing) muscles.
A typical TMJ massage treatment session will include an assessment of muscle and facial asymmetries, as well as palpation of the masticator (chewing) muscles. Due to the complex connection of certain muscles and bones, intra-oral massage should be integrated to relieve several cranial dysfunctions that are inaccessible externally.
Alexandra does A.R.T. for Upper and Lower Extremity. ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.
Every ART session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The ART provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.
Dr. Ian MacIntyre Sports Specialist Chiropractor of Square One Crossfit summarized injuries and scar formation very well:
“Individuals involved in regular exercise commonly suffer from aches and pains that reduce their performance and restrict their ability to stick to their work out programs. Majority of sports related injuries can be attributed to the over use of a tissue. If the stress imposed on the tissues of the body is greater than the healing capabilities of that structure, tissue break down will ensue and the result will be injury, pain and dysfunction.
Repetitive motion, constant contraction, and pressure on the soft tissues of the body often result in microscopic tearing in the collagen of a tendon or muscle. The body responds to this by laying down new collagen in an attempt to stabilize the affected area. However, due to the repetitive nature of the athlete’s given activity, the body does not have enough time to organize the proper architecture of the tissue and ultimately lays down type III collagen (scar tissue). This scar tissue results in:
– reduction in motion - reduced circulation - inhibited contraction - ongoing friction and pressure resulting in more scar tissue formation
One of the functions of the circulatory system is to act as a delivery system for oxygen (O2), which is carried by the blood. Tissues such as muscle, ligaments, bone, and nerves utilize this oxygen in order to produce energy with which they carry out their daily functions. The circulation of blood is also used in order to remove waste products created by the tissues as they perform their tasks.
When a tissue is kept in a tightened or stressed position for a prolonged period of time, the blood supply to that tissue becomes compromised. Some examples in which this may occur is during prolonged endurance sports where the muscles are constantly being used; during repetitive tasks at work; or with poor posture where muscles are constantly being stressed. When an oxygen dependant tissue (such as muscle) does not receive enough oxygen (and thus energy) to function, this is referred to as “tissue hypoxia”. If presented with this situation, your body will begin to replace oxygen dependant tissue with tissue that doesn’t require as much oxygen to function…this tissue is called “Fibrotic tissue” or “Scar tissue”. As scar tissue is deposited into the tissue, the function of the tissue is severely hindered. Using the example of muscle tissue, a scarred or fibrotic muscle will be unable to contract properly, and thus will be unable to carry out its desired function. Therefore your body will begin to recruit other muscles to compensate for the injured muscle. As these muscles begin to do the job of two muscles, they remain tight, become hypoxic, develop scar tissue…etc.
In addition to causing tissue dysfunction, scar tissue (also known as adhesions):
– Limits the available range of motion in the tissue - Is a high friction substance thus irritates nerves causing pain - Has the ability to cause tissues to “stick” (or adhere) to each other thus resulting in increased friction between tissues
Effective treatment of soft tissue injuries (ligaments, muscle, fascia, tendon) requires an alteration in tissue structure to “break up” the restrictive cross-fiber adhesions and to restore the normal function to the affected soft tissue. When executed properly, this process will:
– Substantially decrease-healing time - Treat the root cause of the injury - Improves tissue function
There are, in fact, various effects on the tissues structure and function with this type of soft tissue release. The effects of active release techniques soft tissue therapy can be explained as such:
Certified A. R. T. practitioners are able to locate areas of fibrotic tissue development in the body’s tissue. Using a combination of digital pressure and tissue motion, the practitioner is able to selectively “stretch” specific soft tissue structures which “breaks-up” adhesions both within, and between, tissues. By reducing the adhesions in the tissue, using specific exercises, and doing daily stretches that are prescribed, the body is better prepared to repair and replace the formerly fibrotic tissue with healthy tissue.
When used in combination with a specifically tailored rehabilitation program, A. R. T. can help the body regenerate new tissues and correct biomechanical faults cause by overuse injury and adhesion development.”
You do not need a doctor’s referral to see a massage therapist unless it is an ICBC claim-related matter.