Massage Therapy Techniques
My first memories of massage were in high school. I played lacrosse every spring and one season I developed pain in my lower legs. The trainer at school would do light massage or stretches and apply cooling salve. Every game I put stick-on hand warmers on my legs and covered them with athletic wrap so the referees wouldn’t see them. I made sure to warm up thoroughly before each game and tried to not overtax myself with unnecessary running. But nothing helped the pain until my mom did some deep tissue massage on my legs.
She wasn’t a massage therapist but had taken a community college course in massage for the family. My mom learned quickly and I loved when she did massage work on me. She focused on deeper work - slowly massaging surface muscles to loosen before getting into deeper tissues. Along the way, she picked up on trigger point massage - giving static pressure to particular points of tension. She found the source of my pain deep in my calves and, over the course of a month, my legs were back to normal. More importantly, her massage work prevented the pain in my legs from becoming a chronic issue.
I have since experienced many styles of massage and bodywork and have come to appreciate the merits of many different modalities. I love the occasional relaxation massage and have been fascinated by modalities such as cupping. However, the styles that my muscles respond to best focus on specifically releasing deep tension and chronic pain.
On my journey to becoming a massage therapist, I discovered myofascial release (MFR). This modality works with the fascia - the connective muscle tissue that covers and connects everything in the body. Like the casing around a sausage (one of my teacher’s favorite metaphors), fascia wraps around muscles. The goal of MFR is to stretch out this casing so that the muscles within have more space for movement. The effects of MFR are more subtle at first but, after a few days, larger changes in alignment and mobility in chronic problem spots become noticeable.
I specialize in deep tissue work because it is the style of bodywork that my muscles are accustomed to and respond to most. Because deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, and myofascial release have helped me the most, they are the massage techniques in which I am most interested in and I am always excited to see my clients benefit from them as well.