City Haven Massage Therapy’s Techniques
Soft Tissue Therapy
Soft tissue therapy involves hands on treatment for the soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissue such as fascia). "The best known example of soft tissue therapy is massage." ¹ Soft tissue techniques include a range of massage depths, pressures and durations and can include a range of techniques. ² Remedial Massage and Myotherapists are principally Soft Tissue Therapists. Techniques include trigger point therapy, myofascial release and transverse friction massage, kneading, longitudinal/transverse gliding, Digital Ischaemic pressure and sustained myofascial tension. The aim of the application of soft tissue therapy is to release tension in soft tissue, deactivate myofascial trigger points to reduce pain, improve circulation, improve range of movement and assist healing of damaged fibres.
Trigger point therapy
Trigger Points are located within bands of tight and tense muscle and are thought to become activated after injury, overuse or lack of exercise. The application of pressure to these points can reduce pain and improve your range of movement.
Sometimes pain experienced between your shoulder blades can be relieved by deactivating trigger points in the upper back which may be contributing to your discomfort. Likewise, pain that shoots down the back of the leg may stem from an active trigger point in the buttocks. Your therapist is trained to recognise these pain referral patterns and work to deactivate the trigger points involved. Clients are often both surprised and thrilled with the results after receiving trigger point therapy.
It is important to note that this therapy is more beneficial when combined with other techniques such as postural education and exercise prescription.
PNF & static stretching
Assisted stretching is a great way to prolong the positive results of your massage. Massage works to lengthen the muscle fibres, retrain the brain to remember what the correct resting length of the muscles are, and reduce your pain.
Massage followed by assisted stretching ensures that the lengthened muscle fibres remain stretched out and that the muscle stays at an optimum resting length, rather than return to the restricted range that was causing the initial discomfort. Whereas PNF Stretches use resistance to lengthen muscles, Static Stretching is a 30 second static stretch that achieves similar results. Your therapist will select stretches that are right for your body and presenting symptoms.
Myofascial release or Sustained Myofascial tension
Connective tissue surrounds and binds all the structures in our body, including our muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints and it is thought that it can become restricted and dehydrated which can reduce your range of movement. Myofascial Release works to rehydrate connective.
Once the fascia is rehydrated the underlying muscles can be worked on more efficiently. Your therapist will integrate this technique into your massage as required. Myofascial release is an effective treatment that is often quite soothing and relaxing to receive
Myofascial Dry Needling
MDN is a technique that is available at our Mont Albert and Parkville clinics. Myofascial Dry Needling (MDN) is a treatment used to deactivate Myofascial Trigger Points using an acupuncture needle instead of the digital pressure used in Trigger Point Therapy. The needle is inserted into the skin (10-30mm) over a known trigger point zone or deeper (30-100mm) where it is safe to do so. This is thought to stimulate the Central Nervous System to relax the target muscle.
The aim of this treatment is to deactivate Myofascial Trigger Points. Acupuncture needles are inserted into soft tissues (muscles and tendons). It is not acupuncture. It is necessary for some needles to be inserted on oblique angles to be mindful of underlying vital organs. Myotherapists can use this technique on myofascial trigger points that are not responding to digital pressure, often with great success. The principle of Myofascial Dry Needling is also related to the pain gateway theory. The stimulation of the needle sends a faster message to the brain than the pain that the trigger point is causing and a pain inhibiting response is initiated by the body.
Clients usually experience very little discomfort with this procedure; at most a sharp pin prick may temporarily be felt on needle insertion.
Pain relief may be experienced immediately or may take 12-14 hours to reduce. It is very important that clients who do experience a reduction in pain don’t overload their muscles straight after treatment. To optimise the effects of MDN, the treated area must be rested following treatment and activity increased slowly. Assisted therapist stretching and self-stretches will also enhance the restorative process.
Please note: MDN is not acupuncture. The only similarity is that acupuncture needles are used in the treatment. City Haven Massage Therapy has registered the Mont Albert clinic with the Whitehorse City Council and the Parkville clinic with the City of Melbourne and have satisfied health and safety obligations to provide this service to the general public. We have been issued with a permit and are audited regularly to ensure our standards are maintained.
Muscle energy technique
This technique is similar to PNF stretching, with the aim being to increase movement and unlock stiff joints. The troublesome joint is placed into its position of restriction and then the client is contracted away from the restricted side (usually in the opposite direction). The joint is then returned to its restricted position, with the overall process repeated five times. This ‘re-setting’ of the resting length of the muscle produces great results.
Mobilisation is the application of rhythmic movement to relax and loosen the soft tissues attached to the bones. Mobilisation is a good alternative to manipulation techniques performed by an Osteopath or Chiropractor, particularly if manipulation doesn’t suit you. Please note: our therapy does not incorporate manipulation 'cracking joints' in any treatments.
Therapeutic and Rehabilitative Exercise
Myotherapists use prescription rehabilitation exercise to maximise the long term effects of the massage treatment performed and help to get a person returning to full function after injury or illness. The aim of the treatment is to restore the equilibrium of soft tissue and joints so the body can move functionally and is as pain free as possible. Stretching, isometric, resistance, proprioception and functional exercises are prescribed through Phase 1 - 3 of recovery. The Myotherapists prescribes, demonstrates and reviews the exercise programme throughout treatments. Myotherapy patients are often given written material outlining the exercises they are to do in-between myotherapy treatment sessions.
Corrective Action and Lifestyle advice
Myotherapists aim with this modality is to improve a person's awareness of their body and to urge them to take responsibility for their health with postural advice and helpful information about good nutrition. Myotherapists can refer clients to a dietician for expert nutrition assistance but they do have the skills to guide their clients about healthy eating habits with the emphasis on the importance of a varied diet coupled with rest and exercise. Postural advice may include teaching someone how to achieve a neutral spine to be used as a base for all of their activities.
¹ Soft Tissue Massage. 2013. Soft Tissue Massage. [ONLINE] Available at:http://physioworks.com.au/Injuries-Conditions/Treatments/soft-tissue-massage. [Accessed 19 November 2013].
² Soft Tissue Massage. 2013. Soft Tissue Massage. [ONLINE] Available at:http://physioworks.com.au/Injuries-Conditions/Treatments/soft-tissue-massage. [Accessed 19 November 2013].