Showing posts from 2017

Scraping For Myofascial Restrictions

Scraping tools are relatively new to the massage therapy field. The technique is very similar and may be referred to as "Grastoning" sometimes, however the Graston Technique is trademarked and requires a therapist to attend their specific courses to be able to use the Graston term in their marketing.

Using tools at home can be great for many reasons. They help you get to hard to reach places. Tools can be stronger that your hands, allowing you to work on an area for a longer period of time. Whenever using tools at home, however, it is best to educate yourself as much as possible on proper technique and application prior to using them. Preferably, you should work one on one with a massage therapist or other health care provider the first few times you use the tools so they can make any necessary adjustments to your technique.

How Does It Work?

So how do scraping tools work as a form of fascial release? First, if you haven't checked out the information on myofascial release

Foam Rolling and How To Choose One

Foam Rollers: hot topic, great for runners, awesome for tight IT Bands, but how much does the average person know about how to use them, let alone which one is best for their needs? When you go to the sports store, you find at least 6 different types of these self-inflicted torture devices, all with various labels, from different companies that you have never heard about. So how do you know which one to choose?

All foam rollers can be broken down into three categories: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced.

Find The Right Foam Roller For You

Beginner foam rollers can be easy to spot. They are smooth all around and decently soft. This allows the person using them to ease into the foam rolling world. The amount of pressure applied to the body while rolling will be spread out over the entire area, which means less tenderness when rolling. This is a great starting spot to help you learn proper rolling techniques.

Intermediate foam rollers will be labeled as "firm&q…

Myofascial Restrictions: Just What Are They?

Fascia. We all have it. But what is it exactly?

Fascia refers to connective tissue that interweaves our bones, muscles, nerves, and cardiovascular system. It supports structures and helps them connect to one another. Due to use of our bodies, however, it is not uncommon for the fascia in our systems to become adhered and cause our muscles to "stick," leading to a decrease in our range of motion and the possibility
of pain. These adhesions are commonly referred to as myofascial restrictions.

Over time if the myofascial restrictions are allowed to stay in place our bodies will compensate for those restrictions by adjusting our posture, calling on some of our muscle groups to do more than their traditional job. This can cause secondary issues if not addressed.

Removing myofascial restrictions can be done through manual manipulations: massage, foam rolling, scraping, and cupping are some common techniques for this. Keep in mind that myofascial release does not feel the greatest. …

Self Trigger Point Therapy: How to Release Trigger Points

There are many different methods that have been done over the years to release trigger points in the body. These methods include injections, spraying the skin with refrigerant and then stretching the frozen tissue, and massage therapy. Of all the options, massage tends to be the safest, most effective form of treatment. In the event of injections, there can be additional scarring caused by the injection itself.

When releasing a trigger point on yourself, safety must be kept in mind. Many trigger points can be released with the use of a tool, such as a theracane, or even a baseball or golf ball.

How Does Trigger Point Release Work?

As discussed in a previous post, trigger points are caused by a contracture within muscular tissues. To release a trigger point, we must overload the sensory nerve endings in the area, forcing the muscle to release and relax. Once the muscle is relaxed, it must be stretched to reset the muscle fiber length.

Warming up the Area

When releasing a trigger point, w…

Self Trigger Point Therapy: What Are Trigger Points?

"Trigger Point" is a buzz word phrase that can be tossed around quite frequently in the massage realm and one that I find to be misused on a regular basis.

So just what is a trigger point? The term "trigger point" was developed by Janet G. Travell, M.D., and was first put in print in 1942. Travell worked as an MD at the White House through both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. She had even treated Kennedy for what could have been career-ending myofascial pain. She spent decades developing her knowledge of trigger points and treatment protocols, finally publishing her knowledge first in her eighties, and then again she published another book in her nineties. She worked together with David G. Simons, M.D., to

A trigger point refers to a contracture within the muscle belly. More commonly people refer to these contractures as "knots." When irritated, these portions of the muscle, through nervous system connections, can send referral pain to other part…

Preventative At Home Care for Improved Health

Whenever I first started my position as a Clinical Massage Therapist in 2004 I had always wanted to help make the world a healthier place. With the population the way it is, I quickly realized I wouldn't be able to give everyone a massage at least once in their life, let alone see everyone on a biweekly basis for acute or preventative care. However, with the ability of online content being available for everyone these days, I can teach people how to take care of themselves at home so they can have a better quality of life! Enter in the premise of this blog series.

In this series we will look at a variety of at home modalities you can use to provide relief from musculoskeletal related pain to improve your quality of life. The modalities we will be discussing that you can do at home include:

Self Trigger Point TherapySelf Myofascial ReleaseUsing various tools for myofascial release (scraping- which is similar to Grastoning, and cupping sets)Foam rollingKinesio TapingStretches (variat…

ITBand Syndrome Part 1: What is ITBS?

With running becoming an increasingly popular sport, and marathon finishers on the rise, it isn’t a surprise that running related injuries are also being seen with an increase in frequency. This week, we will be taking a look at Iliotibial Band (ITBand) Syndrome (also sometimes referred to as an ITBand Contracture), what causes it, the types of manual massage therapies that can be done to alleviate it, and what you can do at home to help decrease the associated pain and get back to running!
Runners are definitely an interesting breed, and, like most athletes, are not apt to want to stay our of their sport for too long when they’ve incurred an injury. So, what can they do when they hear from their doctor that they have a repetitive strain injury? First step: educate yourself.

What is ITBS?
“Iliotibial band contracture is a contracture or thickening of the iliotibial band.” (Thomson et al., 1991).
A side view of the right leg shows the underlying ITBand and connected muscles.
The ITBand c…