Myofascial Release is a very effective hands-on technique that provides sustained pressure into myofascial restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. The theory of Myofascial Release requires an understanding of the fascial system (or connective tissue). The fascia is a specialized system of the body that has an appearance similar to a spider's web or a sweater. Myofascial Release is a technique that requires special training above and beyond basic massage and physical therapy curriculums. Our therapist has been extensively trained by the founder of Myofascial Release, John Barnes.
Fascia (also called connective tissue) is a tissue system of the body to which relatively little attention has been given in the past. Fascia is composed of two types of fibers: A) Collagenous fibers which are very tough and have little stretchability; B) Elastic fibers which are stretchable. From the functional point of view, the body fascia may be regarded as a continuous laminated sheet of connective tissue that extends without interruption from the top of the head to the tip of the toes. It surrounds and invades every other tissue and organ of the body, including nerves, vessels, muscle and bone. Fascia is denser in some areas than others. Dense fascia is easily recognizable (for example, the tough white membrane that we often find surrounding butchered meat).
Because fascia permeates all regions of the body and is all interconnected, when it scars and hardens in one area (following injury, inflammation, disease, surgery, etc.), it can put tension on adjacent pain-sensitive structures as well as on structures in far-away areas. Some patients have bizarre pain symptoms that appear to be unrelated to the original or primary complaint. These bizarre symptoms can now often be understood in relationship to our understanding of the fascial system.
The majority of the fascia of the body is oriented vertically. There are, however, four major planes of fascia in the body that are oriented in more of a crosswise (or transverse) plane. These four transverse planes are extremely dense. They are called the pelvic diaphragm, respiratory diaphragm, thoracic inlet and cranial base. Frequently, all four of these transverse planes will become restricted when fascial adhesions occur in just about any part of the body. This is because this fascia of the body is all interconnected, and a restriction in one region can theoretically put a "drag" on the fascia in any other direction.
Treating Fascial Restrictions
The point of all the above information is to help you understand that during myofascial release treatments, you may be treated in areas that you may not think are related to your condition. The trained therapist has a thorough understanding of the fascial system and will "release" the fascia in areas that he/she knows have a strong "drag" on your area of injury. This is, therefore, a whole body approach to treatment. A good example is the chronic low back pain patient; although the low back is primarily involved, the patient may also have significant discomfort in the neck. This is due to the gradual tightening of the muscles and especially of the fascia, as this tightness has crept its way up the back, eventually creating neck and head pain. Experience shows that optimal resolution of the low back pain requires release of the fascia of both the head and neck; if the neck tightness is not also released it will continue to apply a "drag" in the downward direction until fascial restriction and pain has again returned to the low back.
Muscle provides the greatest bulk of our body's soft tissue. Because all muscle is enveloped by and ingrained with fascia, myofascial release is the term that has been given to the techniques that are used to relieve soft tissue from the abnormal grip of tight fascia ("myo" means "Muscle").
The type of myofascial release technique chosen by the therapist will depend upon where in your body the therapist finds the fascia restricted. If it is restricted through the neck to the arm, he/she may apply a very gentle traction to the arm, very slowly moving the arm through range as restrictions are released. If it is restricted in the back (more superficial than deep) he may apply a very gentle stretch on the skin across the back, with the use of two hands. If the thoracic inlet, deep transverse fascia is suspected of being restricted, the therapist may place one hand on the upper back and one over the collarbone area in front and apply extremely gentle pressure.
A key to the success of myofascial release treatments is to keep the pressure and stretch extremely mild. Muscle tissue responds to a relatively firm stretch, but this is not the case with fascia. Remember the collagenous fibers of fascia are extremely tough and resistant to stretch. In fact, it is estimated that fascia has a tensile strength of as much as 2000 pounds per square inch. (No wonder when it tightens, it can cause pain.)
However, it has been shown that under a small amount of pressure (applied by a therapist's hands) fascia will soften and begin to release when the pressure is sustained over time. This can be likened to pulling on a piece of taffy with only a small, sustained pressure.
Another important aspect of myofascial release techniques is holding the technique long enough. The therapeutic affect will begin to take place after holding a gentle stretch and following the tissue three dimensionally with skilled, sensitive hands.
Myofascial Release is gentle, but it has profound effects upon the body tissues. Do not let the gentleness deceive you. You may leave after the first treatment feeling like nothing happened. Later (even a day later) you may begin to feel the effects of the treatment.
In general, acute cases will resolve with a few treatments. The longer the problem has been present, generally the longer it will take to resolve the problem. Many chronic conditions (that have developed over a period of years) may require three to four months of treatments three times per week to obtain optimal results. Experience indicates that fewer than two treatments per week will often result in fascial tightness creeping back to the level prior to the last treatment. Range of motion and stretching exercise given to you will, however, keep this regression between treatments minimal.
Frequently there is increased pain for several hours to a day after treatment, followed by remarkable improvement. Often remarkable improvement is noted immediately during or after a treatment. Sometimes new pains in new areas will be experienced. There is sometimes a feeling of light headedness or nausea. Sometimes a patient experiences a temporary emotion change. All of these are normal reactions of the body to the profound, but positive, changes that have occurred by releasing fascial restrictions.
It is felt that release of tight tissue is accompanied by release of trapped metabolic waste products in the surrounding tissue and blood stream. We highly recommend that you "flush your system" by drinking a lot of fluid during the course of your treatments, so that reactions like nausea and light headedness will remain minimal or nil.
Back to Top
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle form of bodywork utilizing and incorporating the craniosacral and fascial system and directing healing as such. By complementing the body’s own healing process, CST is progressively used for preventative health care in its facility to boost resistance to disease, expel toxins, and improve medical issues associated with pain and dysfunction.
Craniosacral Therapy seeks to restore the balance of the body’s natural rhythm and health by addressing the cycle between the brain and sacrum. The brain has an inherent cyclical motion; expanding and contracting like that of breath. This movement is a critical factor for normal brain function and well-being. Physical and emotional trauma can inhibit the craniosacral motion, creating restrictions in the body. The resulting pressure can be the determining factor in directly causing headaches, asthma, earaches, learning disorders, and many other chronic diseases.
The body is made up of 75% water. This fluid within the body needs to be moving and flowing at all times in order to maintain homeostasis. The cerebrospinal fluid not only moves between the brain and sacrum via the dural tube (sheath that surrounds the spinal cord) but also out into the fascia and surrounding tissues, cells, organs, blood supply, and nerves. The lymphatic system returns this fluid through the fascia (connective tissues) to the venous system. Arteries bring the blood to the body, and veins return it to the heart. Hence, the craniosacral system is a function of the cardiovascular system and the Central Nervous System, influencing the inner workings of the whole body!
CST involves the gentle release of the soft tissue structures that surround the brain and attach to the sacrum. Typically, the treatment is done fully clothed in a supine position. The therapist places their hands gently on the body of the client and "listens" to the body and the restrictions that lie within. Clients often have a sense of deep relaxation during and after CST. There are no known side effects or adverse reactions to Craniosacral Therapy, making CST helpful for both children and adults.
CST may help the following conditions:
* Headaches, including migraines
* Scar tissue
* Central Nervous System Disorders
* Sinus conditions
* Learning disorders
* TMJ syndrome
* Chronic fatigue
* Fibromyalgia and other connective tissue disorders
* Emotional difficulties and/or trauma
* Post traumatic stress disorder
* Post-surgical dysfunction
* A wide variety of acute and chronic ailments
* Lymphatic issues
Shiatsu (shee – ah’- tzoo) literally means “finger pressure”. It is a form of Oriental bodywork in which the practitioner applies thumb (or elbow, palm, knee) pressure to various places on the clients body. The pressure is used to gather or dispel energy, (chi), along the 12 energy channels (meridians) of the body, bringing about balance and harmony in body, mind, and spirit. Incorporated into each treatment are a series of stretches which help to open the energy channels and increase the receiver’s range of motion and flexibility.
Our Shiatsu sessions are given on a futon on the floor to nurture the security and stability of the client. This promotes a deep and sustained peace and relaxation, activating the parasympathetic nervous.
Shiatsu is done through the clothing, so clients are asked to wear loose and comfortable clothing. The whole body is treated, integrating appropriate meridian points based on the client’s needs and the practitioner’s diagnosis. Typical sessions last between 60 and 90 minutes
Most commonly treated conditions treated by shiatsu:
Reflexology is based on the theory that there are reflex points on the hands and feet that correspond to the rest of the body. For example:
A more esoteric explanation is that the human body is holographic in design. Every piece of the human body contains information about the entire body. Every cell contains DNA that describes the entire body and every body part will have points or patterns of points that correspond to every other part. The feet and hands are just two of the most accessible body parts for ease of treatment. Other fields of practice have claimed to find similar points on the ears, eyes, teeth and skull.
Like the use of acupuncture points, it is believed that stimulating or manipulating those reflex points can cause therapeutic changes in the corresponding organs and body systems. Additionally, reflexology is believed to be useful as a diagnostic tool. The presence of tender points or “nodules” at a reflex point is said to indicate potential disease or distress in the corresponding body part.
The reflexology practitioner follows a relatively structured pattern, applying pressure sequentially to a series of points on the soles of the feet, the toes, the top of the feet and the ankles.
The most common response after a treatment is a sense of relaxation and calm.
A typical treatment is 30 minutes to 60 minutes and begins with a consultation about your health and lifestyle.
Reflexology has been used to treat the following:
A Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. In yoga this is called ‘Prana’. If one's "life force energy" or Prana is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy. A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including the astral and physical body, mind, and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. Reiki works well in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques.
Back to Top
Gua Sha is a traditional East Asian healing technique where the body surface is press-stroked with a smooth-edged instrument to intentionally raise therapeutic petechiae.
Gua means to scrape or rub. Sha is petechiae (a reddish, elevated, millet-like skin rash). Sha is the term used to describe blood stasis in the subcutaneous tissue before and after it is raised as petechiae.
This ancient method, dating back to over 2000 years ago, works by promoting "qi" or bioelectric vital life energy and blood circulation, while removing toxins, stagnant blood and lymph fluid from, and decreasing pain.
Gua Sha treatments are not painful. As the body is scraped it pushes a build-up of fluid ahead of it, and after it passes, it leaves an indention or vacuum behind which draws toxic fluid out to the surface of the skin from deep within the tissue. The toxic fluid (Sha), floods to the surface and can be seen in small red, deep purple or green pools of blood, it is also often hot on the area that the toxic heat is extracted. Red spots are an indication that toxins are being released. Where the area is deep purple the blood is old and extremely stagnant. A dark green discoloration is a sign that stagnant blood and toxic "qi" are being released from the system.
Sometimes a clear fluid will draw to the surface in a form that resembles cellulite or goose bumps. Where the skin starts out with a green glow, which then turns red during the treatment, is a sign that pain or stagnant "qi" is being removed. The exposing of the Sha is literally removing disease from deep within the system.
Gua Sha creates suction on the skin that pulls stagnant intercellular fluid to the surface, removing toxic debris, and replacing it with fresh oxygenated, nutrient rich fluid, which in turn accelerates regeneration and revitalizes the region where cancer cells may or already have manifested.
Gua Sha is used whenever a patient has pain associated with an acute or chronic disorder, or when there is an aching, tenderness and/or a knotty feeling in the muscles. Palpation reveals Sha when normal finger pressure on a patient's skin causes blanching that is slow to fade. In addition to resolving muscular skeletal pain, Gua Sha is used to treat and prevent the common cold, flu, bronchitis, asthma, as well as any chronic disorder involving pain, congestion of qi and blood.
In most cases the patient feels an immediate shift in their condition particularly pain relief or increase movement. Gua Sha moves blocked Qi and blood, releases external sweating, and moves fluids. In modern medical terms, these fluids contain metabolic waste that has become congested in the surface tissues and muscles. Gua Sha promotes circulation and normalizes the metabolic processes. It is a valuable treatment for both external and internal pain, and facilitates the resolution of both acute and chronic disorders. The Sha petechiae should fade in 2-4 days. Give us a call to talk about adding this modality to your appointment before scheduling.
Back to Top
Practiced either on a floor mat or on a table, while fully clothed. These sessions are both relaxing and therapeutic, incorporating the use of assisted hatha yoga postures into a flowing sequence of massage techniques. This bodywork incorporates assisted stretches, positional release therapy, muscle energy technique, soft tissue manipulation and joint mobilization. Thai Yoga Bodywork begins to stretch and open the body while deeply relaxing the client.
This work has been called "lazy person's yoga," as one gets all the benefits of a yoga class without applying any effort. Afterwards, clients tend to feel as if they have been given a new body, one that is more limber, open and more alive. It is a true full body tune-up. This work is also effective for treating specific neruo muscular injuries, especially muscle pain or spasm.
Cupping is an ancient practice of releasing adhesions and restrictions within the muscular and fascial component of the body. The sensation of cupping is often characterized as deep warmth and tingling, long after the treatment has ended. Cupping is not an irritant to the skin or body. It draws the inflammation out yet does not add to it, and is excellent when used as a contrast therapy with cold compresses or liniments. Massage cupping is often used on the broad areas of the back, which is a wonderful addition to any massage. The treatment is sedating, and people will often descend into a profound state of relaxation. (A deep snore is common!)
A massage cup is applied to a patient’s bare back. Massage cupping can be stationary or performed using circular or gliding movements. The skin will redden with strong massage cupping, indicating that circulation has been brought to the surface. A red circle will appear after stationary cupping, basically a "hickie" that will disappear after a few days. The increased local blood supply will nourish the muscles and skin and allow toxins to be carried away.
Massage cupping is also effective in treating cellulite. It is proven to break free the dimpling and improve cellulite deposits. Application can be used to stimulate circulation and loosen adhesions or "dimpling."
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this technique is the subtle nuance of the movements. Creativity provides a variety of methods, and alteration of pressure and speed produces different sensations. For example, the edge of the cup can be used to "scoop" in a cross-fiber movement, while vigorous circles feel marvelous on the hips, thighs and shoulders. Long strokes down the sides of the spine and along the ribs provide ease to rib cage expansion and breathing.
Back to Top
Ear candling is a therapeutic ancient practice that has been used for centuries in many cultures, (also called ear coning). Ear Candling involves placing a hollow cylinder tube made with strips of cloth coated with wax that has a tapered end (like a candle) placed at the opening of the ear and the opposite end is lit. This produces spiraling smoke and warmth to be funneled into the ear, creating a vacuum like seal that drains the entire system by osmosis through the membrane of the ear. It is believed that the gentle osmotic pressure caused by Ear Candling is enough to effect a correction within the structures which lay in close proximity of the ear drum, thus the reason clients feel so great following a treatment.
Ear Candling is a safe, simple, non-invasive natural relaxing cleansing method, to extract earwax and other debris from the ear canal, improving mental clarity and balance fluids that may cause headaches or sinus pressure.
Most Common benefits of Ear Candling: