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Harmonic Clinics

Osteopathy - Acupuncture - Massage
Specialist Treatment for Muscle and Joint pain

Mon-Fri

07725 844 000

Sat

07837 330 886

Massage

"…for the first time in ages, my right shoulder was lying back, an inch lower than my left…"

I think massage should be used as an ongoing way to help you stay supple and healthy.  I usually recommend massage after the more specific treatment for pain or injury.  The benefits of massage have been known about for centuries and are well documented in the medical literature.  However, most massage therapists will perform almost the same routine on everyone.  This is fine to a point but will limit the effectiveness.  Also, if you think about it, the aim of most massage sessions (outwith a spa) is to reduce tension and free up movement in your body to allow you to move more easily without pain or restriction.  However, most massage sessions are performed without you moving or moving very little.

When I perform a massage session, which is generally after I have resolved any pain issues (see below on why a general massage may not be enough for your pain) I include 2 aspects that you won’t find elsewhere.  I incorporate movement into all my techniques and I adapt my techniques to your specific requirements.

The importance of incorporating movement into massage:

Movement helps with assessment.  All medical orthopaedic assessments involve some form of movement.  The movements are deliberate and very specific because they are assessing for a specific injury or problem.   By incorporating movement into a massage session I am continuously assessing where your stiffnesses are coming from and which structures are in need of more attention.  I am also more aware of how effective I am being.  If the overall goal is to remove stiffness and increase suppleness then by incorporating movement I can assess in real time how beneficial the techniques are being and adapt them accordingly.

Movement helps with the release of tension and stiffness.  Most of the time stiffness and tension is a holding behaviour.  Static massage may relax the muscles while they are still but it won’t change the behaviour, which is the real why you are stiff.  By incorporating movement into the massage session I am encouraging you to get used to not being in that holding behaviour.  You will become more aware of your own movement behaviour.

The structures I am working on are designed to move.   The body responds to the demands you put on it.  By encouraging movement the tissues will respond by allowing movement.  They will naturally become more pliable, less sticky, less knotted and less tense.

The importance of adapting techniques as we go along:

There are loads of types of massage available.  The most common being Swedish Massage, which uses gentle, full body strokes with lots of oils.   More advanced being Trigger Point Massage or Myofascial Release, which target specific structures in your body.  You will generally ask for and receive one or another.  This is fine but, again, limited.  Different parts of your body will require different techniques.  We need to decide what is the end goal of the massage and I will continuously adapt my techniques to achieve this end goal.  Different techniques have different effects and as your body responds to the massage I need to adapt to this accordingly.

This is true during a single session but also during more than one session of a treatment plan.  Between sessions your body will adapt to the last session and to all the behaviours you perform in that time.  Some of the benefits of the previous massage may have reversed.  In order to achieve the end goal I need to be mindful of these factors and adapt accordingly.  If I followed a rigid treatment plan through several sessions, as is the case in some forms of massage therapy, I will not be able to respond accordingly.

Massage as an art and a science

Most massage therapy is taught as an art and the therapist perfects it by practising the art.  The science is rarely taught and therefore neither is how to apply different techniques to different situations and why some techniques are more effective at some times and less so at other times.  This is why most massage is performed the same each time and variation will only depend on the type of massage requested.   A Swedish massage is the same wherever you go.  A myofascial massage is more or less the same whoever performs it.  The therapist is performing the art of the massage, much like an actor is performing the art of acting.  The only difference will be how skilful each therapist is in that art form.  By understanding the science as well as perfecting the art I can better adapt my techniques according to your demand.

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