Structural Massage Therapy

How’s your pain? Low back pain, neck pain, shoulder and knee pain are problems that occur for many of us for reasons we can explain. The pain may be due to participating in an unusual activity or sleeping in a different bed.

When pain lasts too long, however, it is outside the realm of normal sprains and strains and is considered chronic pain. Chronic pain usually results from postural imbalances and overuse. Postural imbalances cause pain by pulling on muscles and ligaments creating abnormal tension in various places throughout the body. Therapeutic massage provides temporary relief but realigning the posture offers a more permanent solution. Postural re-alignment through structural balancing allows joints and muscles to work more efficiently with less strain, creating pain free movement, symmetry, and grace.

Structural BalancingStructural Balancing Massage Therapy is a combination of three powerful therapeutic massage techniques, St. John Neuromuscular Therapy, Myoskeletal Alignment, and Myofascial Release. Each of these massage modalities address important components of the body’s structure and work together to treat the root causes of chronic musculoskeletal pain – your posture.

Neuromuscular Massage Therapy treats trigger points in shortened muscles, Myofascial Release loosens adhered connective tissue, and Myoskeletal Alignment realigns the joints through muscle energy techniques. This powerful combination restructures the posture to restore full range of movement and freedom from pain.

Consider structural balancing massage therapy if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Chronic pain
  • Poor posture
  • Scoliosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Injury
  • Accidents
  • Scar tissue
  • Tingling/Numbness

Chronic Pain is the Problem, Structural Balancing is the Solution!

Your chronic low back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, or knee pain may be due to structural misalignment. By lengthening shortened muscles and strengthening elongated muscles, postural alignment is achieved restoring pain-free living.

Accidents/Injuries

Structural Balancing Massage Therapy is the therapy of choice when your pain is due to accidents or injuries because any type of traumatic impact has a negative effect on the posture. Posture that is out of balance creates trigger points and pain. St. John Neuromuscular Therapy effectively resolves pain due to trigger points that develop in injured muscles.

Scar Tissue

When you experience a traumatic injury or have repetitive strain, scar tissue forms. This tough, fibrous tissue pulls on distant structures such as joints and ligaments and entraps soft tissue in nearby areas causing pain that is often difficult to resolve. Myofascial Release effectively relieves pain coming from tough to treat scar tissue.

Scoliosis/Fibromyalgia

People with varying degrees of scoliosis ranging from mild to severe have greatly benefited from structural balancing massage therapy. Pain from scoliosis responds particularly well to postural balancing massage techniques. Those with Fibromyalgia experience relief from painful trigger points through knowledgeable application of structural balancing therapeutic massage.

Realigning your posture allows joints and muscles to work more efficiently with less strain, creating pain free movement, and normal functioning.

Structural Balancing – 3 Unique Therapies in 1

In a Structural Balancing session, the following techniques are combined based on your unique requirements.

Myoskeletal Alignment Technique (MAT)- Postural Resisted Movement Therapy

M.A.T. provides bodywork solutions for chronic pain, motion restricted tissues and joints, and postural distortion. Myoskeletal Alignment realigns posture through resisted stretching techniques that lengthen shortened muscles, free joint capsules, and restore natural, balanced movement to joints and vertebrae

Myofascial Release

Myofascial Release restores fascial connective tissue to health. Fascia wraps and infuses every structure of your body including skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. Fascia becomes adhered due to postural disturbances, aging, injuries, and surgeries. Myofascial Release is the perfect therapy to address the connective tissue aspects of postural distortion as well as to release scar tissue due to surgery or injury.

St John Neuromuscular Therapy

St. John Neuromuscular Therapy corrects the postural causes of your pain. Trigger point massage techniques are utilized to bring postural balance and alleviate pain.

What is a Structural Balancing Massage Therapy session like?

In a Structural Balancing Massage Therapy session you will receive a thorough postural analysis, noting the relationship between various structures of your body and areas of pain. You will be asked about scars, surgeries, accidents, and injuries that may have contributed to your current posture and pain condition. Then the appropriate combination of the structural balancing massage modalities will be blended for you based on your history and postural findings.

During the application of one or more structural balancing massage therapy techniques, key muscle groups that have become chronically short will be lengthened while overstretched, weak muscles are strengthened.

After your treatment, self care techniques will be discussed and we will create a stretching and strengthening plan that fits your lifestyle to help you keep the therapeutic results achieved in your structural balancing massage therapy sessions. By creating balance and symmetry to your structure through appropriate therapeutic massage, proper functioning and ease of movement are restored. This means freedom from pain and freedom of movement for you!

How will I feel afterwards?

After a structural balancing session, people are amazed when they step off the table and notice they stand and walk differently. There is more fluidity and grace in their movement. Pain is diminished and usually subsides completely as body structures are used in a more efficient way.

How Does Structural Balancing Work?

In all postural imbalances, key skeletal muscles shorten while others become overstretched. Every muscle has another muscle that opposes it called an ‘antagonist’. Short muscles on one side cause elongation in their opposing muscles or antagonists. The elongated muscles contract and ‘lock’ against the force of being overstretched. This is called a ‘locked-long’ contraction.

Any type of contraction causes a decrease in circulation which can result in pain. But a ‘locked-long’ muscle usually causes more pain than a short muscle. If you receive therapeutic massage therapy on a long, overstretched muscle, you may experience temporary pain relief because the muscle received some circulation. The problem will soon return, however, because the muscle imbalance has not been corrected and the short muscle on the opposing side is still pulling the structure in such a way as to overstretch its counterpart. By receiving too much massage therapy on an overstretched muscle group, you could actually be making your pain worse!

Structural Balancing massage therapy is the intelligent solution to postural imbalance. Stop treating symptoms and correct the structural cause or your pain, your posture!

What is St. John Neuromuscular Massage Therapy?

St. John Neuromuscular Therapy utilizes trigger point therapy and neuromuscular massage to lengthen chronically short muscle groups. Trigger points are known to shorten muscles and to send noxious impulses to distant areas. Many common pain conditions are caused by trigger points including headaches, ‘sciatic’ pain, low back pain, and neck pain.

Postural distortion causes pain by creating abnormal pulling and tension on adjacent and distant structures. St. John Neuromuscular massage therapy releases these muscle-shortening trigger points, restoring postural balance and pain free movement.

Developed by Paul St. John, St. John Neuromuscular Therapy relies on the work of Dr. Janet Travell and Dr. David Simons who wrote Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual. Dr. Travell was the first female white house physician and served during the Kennedy and Johnson era. She was appointed due to the assistance she provided John F. Kennedy in 1955 with chronic back pain. She devoted her life to research and the treatment of trigger points publishing the manual well into her eighties after 40 years of experience and research.

What is a Trigger Point?

A trigger point is a contracted area within a band of muscle that is painful when touched or refers pain to a distant area when stimulated. Muscles that are chronically contracted due to overuse or poor posture become starved of oxygen and blood flow resulting in the development of trigger points. Waste products that are not flushed out of the tissue accumulate. These irritate trigger points which then send out pain signals to areas near the trigger point.

Trigger points are the primary cause of pain in 75% of patients presenting with pain according to Travell and Simons, authors of Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual. Therefore it is a mistake to only massage ‘where it hurts’ without examining the potential trigger points that may be contributing to the pain.

Many headaches are caused by trigger points in the neck and upper back. Sciatic symptoms are often due to referred pain from shortened gluteal and hip musculature. These often occur when people have a ‘short leg’. (True leg length discrepancy is uncommon and is usually due to an imbalanced pelvis.) Even functional disturbances can have trigger points at their root.

An example of a functional disturbance would be vertigo or dizziness. It can be caused by trigger points in the neck when they refer into the ear. (see picture above). This is because the balance center is located deep within the ear. Areas of referred pain receive less blood flow. If the area of referral is responsible for a bodily function, in this case balance, it can become disturbed and cause a decrease or loss of function. Dysfunction in your balance center creates dizziness or vertigo.

Trigger points can be released through specific massage therapy techniques using correct pressure and timing. Shortened muscles from chronic trigger points can then be lengthened through resisted stretching techniques. Overstretched and weak muscles are prone to develop trigger points and must be treated with different massage therapy techniques. As a trained St. John Neuromuscular Therapist I am able to assess the muscle imbalances and apply the appropriate massage therapy treatment for maximum pain relief in less time.

By realigning the posture and eliminating the conditions that are causing your pain, St. John Neuromuscular massage therapy provides permanent pain relief solutions.

PLEASE NOTE: Inner Light Wellness no longer offers Massage Therapy.

It is Margaret’s experience that acupuncture works more quickly and effectively for pain relief, allergy relief, and symptoms of illness. Click here to find how acupuncture relieves your symptoms on our ‘We Treat’ page.

 

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