Welcome to the world of massage, bodywork and manual manipulation. Anyway you put it, this is the world of healing touch. Touch for humans, as we all know, is vital.
Within the realm of massage there is Swedish Massage and therapeutic massage (which may include deep tissue.) You may yearn for a Swedish Massage because you're stressed out and in dire need of relaxation. The pressure is gentler, lighter and the strokes are longer and feel more soothing. This is the type of massage you see typically portrayed in the movies or on TV.
On the other hand, the physical pain you're experiencing may push you to seek out therapeutic massage. The pressure is firmer and the desired sensation is the "feel good pain." The deeper pressure releases tension in your fascia and muscles; this is the place where your pesky knots reside.
Where does bodywork fit in? Bodywork is a broad term referring to other types of hands-on therapies. For example, trigger point massage, passive range of motion (assisted stretching), acupressure/Shiatsu, cupping, cranio-sacral, myofascial release, manual lymphatic drainage, energy work(Reiki) etc.
As for manual manipulation, it refers to hands-on treatment of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. An orthopedic massage may be what you're looking for to nurse your injury back to health.
Our bodies are amazing and no one therapy is comprehensive enough to provide holistic healing. Whether you view your body as a garden to be watered, cultivated and nurtured, or as a machine to be maintained, repaired and tuned-up, your body is always communicating its needs.
Let's talk fascia. Your fascia is your marvelous connective tissue that binds and provides structure for every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle. Without your fascia, you might exist more as a lump than in your upright human form. If you were to shed the layers of skin and and your bones mysteriously dissolve, the density of the fascia would still hold your shape!
This is where it gets sticky. For every 49 minutes of sitting or holding a particular position, you would need to spend 20-30 minutes unbinding/unwinding that fascia. Meaning you need to spend almost a half an hour stretching, striking yoga poses or using your foam roller. If you exceed the 49-minute mark and surpass 50 minutes and more, into hours and hours, you need to devote 3-4 hours reversing that fascial binding. Without this unwinding, over time, restrictions and pain start to creep in. The bottom line? Invest in that foam roller or yoga class!
For most of us, when we say our shoulders hurt from long hours of sitting and working on our computers or that we carry our stress in our shoulders, anatomically, we are referring to our trapezius muscle aka the traps. The following video gives a super cool visual into what your traps looks like. Allison Denney, owner of Rebel Massage, does a fantastic job painting this muscle to enlighten and educate us. Take a look!
Ready for another eye-opener?
Peer into the inner workings of your low back. Muscles work together in a lever system; one muscle never works alone. For our eye-opener though, we are looking into the quadratus lumborum aka QL. Tell your therapist your QL hurts and the therapist knows exactly what you mean.
The following videos introduces you to three neck muscles you must meet. They are major players in causing neck pain. The sternocleidomastoid-SCM, the levator scapula and the scalenes are three guys you want to appease and keep happy!