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Massage Therapy Styles & Benefits

| October 29, 2012

Rick Johnson, LMT is one of our massage therapists; here he shares his personal story of how massage therapy helped him overcome lower back and hip pain.

As a lifelong avid golfer (my wife would say obsessive) I have experienced many low back pain episodes. This eventually became a chronic, day to day, condition that left me with a fragile back that was always being “tweaked” and a dull ache in my hip that made long walks a no-no. I couldn’t sleep on my side with the affected hip, as the pain would always interrupt my sleep. Long trips driving in the car would result in a painful limp for the first dozen steps or so. Exercise and the normal stretches were of little help and often made the pain worse. X-Rays did not reveal any structural damage to the spine. What to do?

My answer, I became a massage therapist and discovered the reason and the remedy for my back/ hip pain and the remedy for many of my clients with the above described symptoms.

One muscle in particular was the main culprit, Quadratus Lumborum, or QL for short. The QL is a common source of lower back pain. The QL connects the pelvis to the spine. When this muscle becomes chronically shortened and tight it does the following on the affected side;

  • Pulls the hip up and the last rib down at the same time causing a pelvic tilt.
  • Adds a shearing force to the lumbar vertebrae
  • May mimic S.I. joint pain or contribute to that joint’s dysfunction.
  • Forces other muscles in the area to compensate and become painful and/or tender.

Of course there are many sources of low back pain and no one muscle works in isolation. But very often when we release and restore the QL to normal resting length, great things, like pain free golf, can happen! The QL is just one example of an area of the body that can benefit from massage. There are a multitude of different methods to help restore movement and muscle functionality.

Did you know that VTFC offers a variety of different styles of massage? Here are some of the services that we offer:

Myofascial Release: this technique is often used to treat injuries and discomfort, reducing pain and increasing range of motion. Myofascial massage differs from other types of massage in that is targets the fascia (the membrane surrounding muscles). This technique is done by applying pressure to the fascia, to loosen tight tissues. This results in reduced inflammation and pain in various parts of the body.

Active Isolated Stretching: this method was developed by Aaron Mattes. Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) is a dynamic system for improving flexibility and overall well being. AIS involves the method of holding each stretch for only two seconds. This method of stretching is also known to work with the body’s natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase the elasticity of muscle joints and fascia.

Deep Tissue Massage: is a form of bodywork that aims to relieve tension in the deeper layers of tissue in the body. Deep tissue massage is a highly effective method for releasing chronic stress areas due to misalignment, repetitive motions and past lingering injuries. Keep in mind that soreness is common after treatment; drink plenty of water to aid with flushing and removing toxins that have been released during the massage.

Sports Massage: is a type of massage designed for those that lead a highly active lifestyle. Engaging in sports is harsh on the body and can often lead to injuries in both the short and long-term. Sports massage enhances performance and prolongs a sports career by helping to prevent injury, reduce pain and swelling in the body, relax the mine, increase flexibility and dramatically improve recovery rates.

Swedish Massage: is a very relaxing and therapeutic style of bodywork. It combines lotion or oils with an array of strokes such as rolling, kneading, and percussion to help the body improve circulation. The benefits of this type of massage are wide-ranging and include relief from aches and pains, decreased stress levels in the body, enhanced mental clarity, and greater flexibility.

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