This is deep tissue massage focusing on specific areas of tension in the soft tissues. Techniques such as cross-friction massage and acupressure points are used to break down adhesions and scar tissue, and to release trigger points. This increases blood flow, realigns soft tissue fibres, and improves mobility.
Myofascia is a thin, stretchy tissue that wraps around muscles. It creates muscle compartments and connections, and enables smooth gliding of fibres. Sometimes, due to excessive strain, adhesions can form in the myofascia, restricting movement and causing pain. Myofascial release is a technique which focuses on releasing adhesions and lengthening myofascia.
Joint mobilisations can be applied to any joint in the body, including the small spinal joints, in order to create more mobility. This involves applying a graded pressure directly to the joint, grade 1 being very gentle, and grade 5 being the most pressure. A grade 5 manipulation has the aim of releasing a gaseous pressure from inside the joint which may result in an audible ‘click’. Clients will always be consulted before a grade 5 manipulation is applied.
Peripheral nerves start from their route at the spinal cord, to the receptors in the muscles and skin. Sometimes somewhere along this track the nerve can become impinged or ‘trapped’ which can cause various symptoms such as pins and needles, numbness, and pain. Neurodynamics are specific movement combinations called ‘sliders’ or ‘tensioners’ that mobilise the nerve with the aim of decreasing neural sensitivity during everyday movement.
There are two types of acupuncture: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and dry needling. TCM works by using specific acupuncture points along a meridian or channel. When the needles are applied the balance of Qi (roughly translated as ‘energy’) is corrected by either increasing, decreasing, or ‘unblocking’ the flow. This restores the body’s homeostasis and relieves symptoms. The Westernised theory is that the stimulus of applying a needle causes the release of the body’s natural pain relieving chemicals, and encourages stimulation of the natural healing process. This type of acupuncture can be applied manually or with the aid of an electro-acupuncture machine.
Dry needling is a technique whereby the needle is placed into a trigger point (an over-sensitive nodule in a taut muscle). The needle is then manipulated which causes an involuntary contraction of the muscle fibres called a twitch response. This is thought to reduce the body’s pain chemicals around the point, and encourage the natural healing process.
Ultrasound therapy transmits high frequency sound waves into the cells of the soft tissues. This increases cell permeability, thus allowing the body’s healing agents to diffuse into the cells to speed up, and enhance the natural healing process.
Depending on the injury or symptoms, tape can be applied to the body in specific ways in order to decrease pain and/or provide support to the soft tissues or joints.
Rehabilitation includes strengthening, mobility, neuromuscular connection, and proprioception (balance techniques). Rehabilitation is a vital part of the treatment so that the damaged tissues can heal, movement patterns can be restored, and functional loss can be reversed. If this step is bypassed, the area remains a weak spot and is prone to re-injury. It could also cause imbalances resulting in compensatory stresses and strains on other areas of the body.
Our brains store multiple movement patterns like templates that we call on throughout the day, eg. sit down, walk, standing still, etc. Sometimes these templates may turn into patterns that no longer allow our bodies to function efficiently. This could be due to injury (eg. limping), habit (eg. sitting with legs crossed over), learnt (how you learnt the pattern originally), or psychological issues (eg. stress).
Inefficient movement patterns can cause symptoms such as postural disturbances, stresses and strains, muscles that don’t activate properly, and balance issues. Movement repatterning provides your brain with alternative, and more effective ways to move. By practising the movements, the brain learns that this is the new template for that specific movement pattern. Over time, using the new template should help to alleviate the symptoms experienced due to the previous, less effective way of moving.
Our posture is one of the many movement patterns stored in our brains (please see ‘Movement Repatterning’). It is the alignment we hold ourselves in throughout the day whether we are static, moving, sitting, or standing. If our posture (including our foot posture) is the best achievable alignment our bodies are able to perform, our movements are more likely to be efficient, and without compensations. Therefore I believe it is important to address the posture of every client no matter what part of the body their symptoms are in.