A therapeutic technique using pressure to isolate and release tension in tight muscle tissues to relieve specific referral pains.
A form of soft tissue (fascia) is prevalent inside the body; it covers and protects major organs, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. The myofascia – soft tissue covering the muscles – can become stressed from overuse or torn through trauma. If the trauma or overuse is extensive, painful adhesions can form and prevent muscles from functioning properly. These types of adhesions are called trigger points, because when work is being done to release them, they will “trigger” a sensation some where else on the body. A common example is when receiving body work on the base of the neck at the shoulder junction, it is common to experience a sensation “shooting” up above your ear or down your back behind your shoulder blade.
Muscle stiffness, tenderness, and lack of mobility can occur with the formation of trigger points. In addition, these adhesions can cause extreme discomfort and trigger pain to radiate throughout the body.
To combat adhesions, massage therapists employ trigger point massage therapy. Also known as Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) or Myotherapy, trigger point therapy relieves pain by applying pressure on particular myofascial points. Trained therapists use isolated pressure to manipulate the fascia. By pressurizing trigger points, practitioners can better the central nervous system and focus on skeletal striated muscles.
Clients seeking trigger point massage therapy are asked to practice deep breathing while identifying exact pain points. Once located, practitioners then apply various degrees of pressure with their fingers, knuckles, or elbows. After release, the practitioner may perform stretches to realign the muscle’s fibers.
There are numerous benefits to trigger point therapy including: an increased range of motion, decreased muscle stiffness, fewer headaches, improved flexibility and circulation, and fewer muscle spasms. If clients seek trigger point therapy on a regular basis, they also benefit from better chronic pain and stress management long-term.
Trigger point therapy is recommended for clients with chronic pain, arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic migraines, athletic injuries, or bursitis. Individuals recovering from a recent injury may also benefit from a trigger point massage.