Therapeutic massage is a subcategory of massage therapy that focuses on decreasing pain and stress and/or addressing a specific condition in the body (ex: poor posture, frozen shoulder, low back pain, etc). The therapeutic massage techniques offered at New Day Chiropractic are primarily acupressure, deep tissue, myofascial, and reflexology. Styles are modified based on the patient’s needs and preferences.
Acupressure massage is a therapeutic technique where “firm fingertip pressure is applied to acupoints along the energy meridians to regulate the flow of Qi” (Braun 466). Acupoints are little “wells” or “pockets” found along meridians that, when pressed, stimulate the meridian by either increasing or decreasing the flow of energy within the point as well as along the meridian. Each acupoint is unique because each one may stimulate another meridian, body system, emotional system, and/or spiritual system in the body. Each acupoint has a name and number. The most common acupoints worked with in acupressure massage are part of the 12 meridians and the direction of acupressure massage focuses on going with the flow of the meridian.
New research is revealing that there is some kind of connection between meridians and the fascial systems. “The anatomy of the fascial network in the human body, as demonstrated through VCH and living body imaging studies, is consistent with the traditional view of the meridian network pattern, and the efficacy of acupuncture has been shown to rely on interactions with the fascia. Additionally, it appears that the fasciae mediate an active mechanical transference role as they provide dynamic connections between and among the muscles and bones. Moreover, the phenomenon of neurogenic inflammation triggered by stimulation of nociceptive receptors in fascial tissues is consistent with the notion that disruption of fascial physiology can have notable consequences on human health. Indeed, it is our view that neurogenic inflammation in fasciae may constitute a form of disruption of meridian energy flow in TCM.” (Bai Yu et al).
Deep Tissue Massage:
Deep tissue massage is a therapeutic massage technique that focuses on “us[ing] long, sustained gliding strokes, prolonged direct pressure, and strokes that travel across the muscles, perpendicular to the muscle fibers” (Braun 17). The tissues that are the main focus for deep tissue massage are the ones that are found deeper in the body (Braun 17; Santos). The practitioner focuses on breaking up scar tissue and adhesions in order to reduce muscle tension, stiffness, inflammation, and pain (Braun 17; Santos). Reducing adhesions can also improve muscle tone, circulation, range of motion, and overall well-being (Braun 17; Santos). Those who have “chronic pain, limited mobility, recovery from injuries [. . .], repetitive strain injury [. . .], osteoarthritis pain, fibromyalgia, and muscle spasms” would benefit from deep tissue massage (NUHS).
Myofascial massage is a subcategory of deep tissue massage that focuses on resolving restrictions, adhesions, and/or buildups of the fascia. Fascia is “connective tissue of the body [. . .] [that] provides the body’s shape and determines the form of each cell, tissue, and organ. Fascia is three-dimensional and extends throughout the body. The functions of the fascia include surrounding, supporting, separating, and protecting the cells, as well as allowing communication between cells, which allows for proper cell metabolism” (Mitchell-Golladay 39).
Fascia can be injured by overexertion and/or fatigue (Mitchell-Golladay 41). When fascia is injured, it can cause distortions in its structure, which can distort the surrounding tissues. This can lead to a disruption in the function of the fascia and surrounding tissues. Because fascia extends throughout the body, it is possible disruption of fascia in the foot could lead to distortions as far away from that body part as the head. Symptoms of fascial distortions can include pain, decreased range of motion, paresthesia, numbness, weakness, spasm, and/or pain that seemingly jumps from one part of the body to another (AFDMA).
Braun, Mary Beth, and Stephanie J. Simonson. Introduction to Massage Therapy. 3rd ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2014.
Bai, Yu, et al. “Review of Evidence Suggesting That the Fascia Network Could Be the Anatomical Basis for Acupoints and Meridians in the Human Body.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: ECAM, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, 2011, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3092510/.
Santos-Longhurst, Adrienne. “Deep Tissue Massage.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 29 Sept. 2021, https://www.healthline.com/health/deep-tissue-massage.
NUHS. “Deep Tissue Massage.” National University Of Health Sciences, 22 Jan. 2021, https://www.nuhs.edu/patients/health-information/articles/deep-tissue-massage/.
Mitchell-Golladay, Ruth. Facilitated Healing through Myofascial Release: Putting the Pieces Together for Horse and Rider. 2nd ed., Equine Therapeutic Center, 2005.
AFDMA. “Fundamentals.” American Fascial Distortion Model Association, 6 Mar. 2017, https://afdma.com/fundamentals.