Do you have chronic pain? Do you feel it in one particular spot or has it started in one place and now it feels like its affecting other parts of your body? Do you ever wonder about what sitting all day at your desk, which seems to be rather insignificant, does to your body? Take a moment to grab a piece of your clothes and gently pull up. What happens? For that moment you are holding your shirt or pants, take a look at what is happening around the pull. Now imagine you continue to hold that for a day, a month a year that same exact way. More than likely you won’t be able to wear that shirt or pants anymore because you have stretched it and it is not going to fit right anymore. What would happen inside our bodies is that tissue will grow and change to correct the imbalance of that “pull”. Our body wants to correct itself and adapt.
This is exactly what can happen inside your body when you tense up and something called the fascia acts inside your body just like your clothes would on the outside. What is the fascia you might ask? It’s the connective tissue that literally touches everything inside of of our anatomy, and therefore affects EVERYTHING in our bodies. There are multiple layers of fascia and when performing massage (up until this point) we have been mostly working with the superficial layer. When you hear of myofascial work, that simply means that you are receiving work that is focusing on the connective tissue associated with muscle. The work should be slow, concise to anatomy and there is no oil used because oil will cause the therapist to slip off and not engage in the tissue.
When you get a massage or body treatment and it is really good, it can last about 72 hours. It’s what you are doing on your own to support your structure. If you are truly invested in changing patterns, you need to work too. I would LOVE to say that I can make all of your pain go away in one treatment, and sometimes the work that we do can last for more time, but you really do need to be invested in yourself.
This past weekend I took an introductory course in structural integration, which explores this concept of working with the fascial system. My certification Orthopedic Massage did touch on some of this work, but it was great to get a deeper understanding of where James Waslaski (my guru for orthomassage) got his background to develop the work that I learned. It makes me realize that I can’t get caught up in the symptoms that clients are reporting when they come to see me. The whole body needs to be assessed and addressed. More often than not the client will be telling me where it hurts and want me to just get right to rubbing that specific spot.
Have you ever had an experience when you have gone for a massage and the massage therapist has worked on your “hot spot” and had lasting relief? Any relief? Did you have an adverse reaction? What about if you went in and told your “hot spot” and didn’t even really touch it much? What was the outcome?