At Complete Balance the range of massage therapy treatments I offer incorporates different techniques used in combination to effect the best result for every individual. During each treatment comfort levels are monitored and discussed, with each session adapted to meet specific needs.
Here is some more detailed information about each treatment and its range of benefits. A list of conditions illustrating some of the ailments and lifestyle issues that can be helped by massage therapy, remedial massage and sports injury massage may be found at the end of the Treatment page.
After your sports or remedial massage session I can provide extensive self-care resources via my Complete Balance YouTube Channel. These are free to use and you can continue your treatment plan at home when it's convenient for you.
Trigger Point Therapy
A trigger point is a firm or taut ‘knot’ of tissue that can be sensitive to touch, generate pain and limit normal range of movement. These knots can be as small as a pea or as large as a golf ball.
Trigger points have been defined by the renowned American physician and medical researcher Dr Janet Travell as "a hyperirritable locus within a taut band of skeletal tissue, located in the muscular tissue and/or its associated fascia".
Trigger points can generate referred pain; for example, trigger points in the scalenes — the muscles in the neck — can create pain down the back of the arm and into the forearm and wrist, as far as the thumb and index finger.
Not all trigger points will cause pain or limit movement and not all trigger points are found in the musculature, they can exist in ligaments, periosteum, and non-muscular fascial tissue.
I treat trigger points using ischemic compression (direct pressure) to the point of tension. I work with every patient to ensure that we remain within a comfortable pain threshold as experiencing acute pain can be counter-productive. Pressure is held for 15-20 seconds and I use Sports Injury and Remedial Massage techniques to massage the surrounding area. This releases the bound tissue, reducing tension and pain. The muscles can then move more freely resulting in greater comfort, improved mobility and a reduction in pain.
Fascia is connective tissue that surrounds and connects all of the structures in the body and its role is a crucial one. Its importance and structure can be best illustrated by thinking of an orange. The spongy and stringy white pith lies just below the skin of the orange, and between the segments of the fruit. There are also fine spidery lines within each segment of the fruit. Imagine removing all of the orange juice in the fruit; what’s left is the shape of the orange, the supporting walls of the separate sections, plus all of the minute 'walls' within each segment. The fascia in our body plays a very similar role.
Fascia allows the muscles to glide, provides support, acts as a shock absorber and provides a pathway for cells to communicate with each other. It's the body's first line of defence against pathogenic agents and infections.
Often the reason for pain is not a skeletal issue but a fascial one. For example, the thickening and lack of mobility of the thoracolumbar fascia has been shown to cause chronic back pain (Langevin et al, 2011); however myofascial tension can occur anywhere in the body causing varying degrees of pain and immobility.
Myofascial release refers to the 'palpation' or massage of the fascial structure in the body. This creates a mechanical and neurological response which can release tension and improve mobility to muscles and joints.
Restricted fascia will not allow the muscle it encases to relax into proper function. When an area of fascial tension has been identified, pressure is applied in the direction of the restriction. The therapist will pin at one point and stretch away from the pin, at other times the stretch will occur in both directions away from the central restriction. This can be a gentle stretch, but is often deep and may sometimes be quite painful, depending on which layer of musculature is being targeted.
This is a soft tissue technique that is both gentle and generally pain free. It involves using a light touch that can be used to relieve tension and chronic pain in the body. Similar to myofascial release it can generate a neurological response that relaxes the body thus releasing stored tension. Using the EMMETT Psoas Release can ease tension and pain in the shoulder and lower back. As an Advanced EMMETT Practitioner (EP4), I find patients enjoy receiving this treatment and are often at a loss to understand the enormity of the change they experience afterwards.
I frequently combine EMMETT and soft tissue work in massage therapy to release pain and tension in the body, resulting in greater mobility and a reduction in pain and stress levels. Patients report feeling rejuvenated and rebalanced.
Working together at Complete Balance, noticeable results can be achieved quickly.
Deep Tissue Massage
This form of massage therapy is a massage technique similar to Swedish massage, but it is a deeper and firmer type. It engages with the deep layers of muscle and fascia and involves applying firm and slow strokes to the musculature. Sinking through the various layers of muscles is quite subtle and requires a slow and steady pace. Easing the symptoms of sciatica is a good example as it involves at least two muscles: the glute maximus and piriformis, as well as several layers of fascia that maybe compressing the sciatic nerve.
Digging into the muscles may feel relieving but the muscle can react poorly and create more tightness than before. I sometimes use this technique as a preparation for trigger point therapy and/or myofascial release. It’s very effective if the patient is preparing to take part in, or has been involved in a sporting event.
Soft Tissue Release (STR)
Soft Tissue Release is a technique that a stretches muscle fibres, tendons and fascia. This is very effective tool that breaks up fascial and muscle adhesions repeatedly and quickly, stretching small areas of soft tissue either through active or passive movement. Applying targeted pressure to shorten the muscle, using my hands, forearm or elbow, I can instigate a passive or active stretch which will release tension and improve mobility.
STR is highly effective for releasing tight hamstrings, quadriceps and calves; by applying pressure, the patient is instructed to move the knee in a certain direction. Depending on the muscle in question, this creates an active stretch, which in turn stretches and releases the muscle. A passive stretch is conducted in a similar manner but in this instance I will invoke the stretch rather than the patient.
Muscle Energy Techniques (met)
MET uses muscles’ own energy by enabling a gentle isometric contraction which relaxes the muscles via reciprocal inhibition, and lengthens the muscle. MET is an active technique, meaning that the patient is an active participant. These stretches can be used to improve neck mobility or release a tight piriformis, easing symptoms of sciatica and back pain.
I use the most popular Muscle Energy Techniques which are PIR and PNF:
Post-Isometric Release (PIR)
During treatment I will assess if the patient can take the affected muscle to end range. If is this isn’t possible, I use PIR Technique to improve the end of range by taking the affected muscle into a gentle end of range stretch; the patient pushes slightly against me for a short period and the muscle will contract. Once I ask the patient to release the pressure, I will reassess the end range as the muscle relaxes. This exercise may be repeated until the end of range of improves.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is very similar to PIR: as before, the muscle group is taken to its end of range and again, the patient participates by actively engaging the muscle. At the end of the hold/push period the muscle is taken into a controlled stretch for approximately 30 seconds. At the end of this process I will reassess the end of range and may repeat this exercise 2-4 times.
Acupressure, AMMA Fusion and Table Shiatsu
Eastern medicine believes that ill health occurs from an imbalance of qi (similar to energy). Qi can be manipulated via manual techniques that work with the energy channels or meridians. There are distinct points on the meridians that can be accessed relatively easily; these points are called acupressure points.
Using my thumb or fingers I can ‘stimulate’ these points enabling the flow of blocked energy. I incorporate these principles as part of my massage therapy bodywork techniques.
Indian Head Massage
This technique originating from India, simply focuses on the head, neck and shoulders. Indian Head Massage is a treatment that can easily be incorporated into my other massage therapy bodywork techniques. It works on massaging acupressure points along the head, neck and shoulders only.
It can be delivered in a supine or seated position and undertaken through light clothing using very little massage wax. It’s deeply relaxing and restorative.
All of the therapies described here are proven, time-honoured techniques to treat a wide range of medical conditions and ailments. Why not begin your journey to wellness with Complete Balance today.