Remedial Massage Therapy
What is Active Release Technique (ART)?
ART is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement-based massage technique. It addresses problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves and is used for problems like headaches, back pain, shoulder pain, and sciatica.
These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.
How do overuse conditions occur?
Over-used muscles (and other soft tissues) change in three important ways:
- acute conditions (pulls, tears, collisions, etc),
- accumulation of small tears (micro‐trauma)
- not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia)
Each of these factors can cause the body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped.
This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.
What is an ART treatment like?
Every ART session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The ART provider uses his hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.
These treatment protocols are unique to ART. They allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient.
ART is not a cookie‐cutter approach.
Remedial massage holistically treats the whole body and traces the discomfort as far as possible back to the original cause, healing both the cause of the disorder as well as the symptoms.
It is composed of specialised techniques aimed to:
- Locate and repair tissue damage,
- To support and speed up the body’s own repair mechanisms. It is applied directly on the skin and can be gentle or strong, deep or shallow. Passive stretching moves can also be used for mobilisation of a particular joint.
Key benefits of Remedial Massage include:
- Stimulation of the blood supply allowing toxins in the muscles to be removed;
- Calming of the peripheral nervous system to ease pain and discomfort;
- Toning and relaxing of muscles to improve joint mobility.
- An improvement to the health of the cells, the repairing of tissues, and the easing of stiffness and tension can also be experienced through therapeutic relaxation.
Sessions can go from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the body area being addressed and the initial condition. Patients are assessed in the beginning of each session and the treatment is adapted accordingly.
The session is directed by the initial assessment and modified to suit the needs of the individual, and then adapted in the light of each individual’s response.
Sports massage is specifically tailored to sporting injuries or ailments. It is not meant to be a relaxing massage and, indeed, can become quite vigorous at times.
Contrary to its name, sports massage is not only directed to professional sportspeople or people who exercise heavily.
Anyone who exercises can benefit from a Sports Massage – even if it is only mild exercise such as regular walking.
It can often be quite strenuous and is meant to relieve and reduce the stress and tension that can build up within the body’s soft tissues while exercising and can be carried out before, during, or after playing sport or exercising.
It can treat a variety of conditions and injuries that may occur as a result of exercise. It also has other benefits that allow you to train or exercise more efficiently.
Sport Massage reduces the risk of injury, alleviates soreness after training, decreases recovery time, helps prepare athletes for events, and helps to identify restriction or dysfunction before it becomes a serious issue and interrupts your training routine or performance.
After activity, massage helps to flush lactic acid and uric acid out of the muscles and reset the muscle fibre lengths.
Deep tissue massage focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronic aches and pains and areas such as stiff neck and upper back, low back pain, leg muscle tightness, and sore shoulders.
Some of the same strokes are used as classic massage therapy, but the movement is slower and the pressure is deeper and concentrated on areas of tension and pain in order to reach the sub-layer of muscles and the fascia (the connective tissue surrounding muscles).
Direct deep pressure is applied. Muscles must be relaxed in order for the therapist to reach the deeper musculature. At certain points during the massage, most people find there is usually some discomfort and pain.
It is important to tell the massage therapist if any soreness or pain you experience is outside your comfort range. There is usually some stiffness or pain after a deep tissue massage, but it should subside within a day or so.
Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands‐on technique which involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the Myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion.
This essential “time element” has to do with the viscous flow characteristics of fascia: a low load (gentle pressure) applied slowly will allow a viscoelastic medium (fascia) to elongate.
rauma, inflammatory responses, and/or surgical procedures create Myofascial restrictions.
The use of Myofascial Release allows us to look at each patient as a unique individual. The sessions are hands‐on treatments during which the therapist uses a multitude of Myofascial Release techniques and movement therapy.
During pregnancy massage the massage therapist uses their skills and knowledge to better support and nurture pregnant clients. Therapists have an awareness of the developing life and how to support the mother through her own body changes which may present as muscular aches and pains.
Specialised massage techniques alleviate pain and discomfort, whilst highlighting a sense of relaxation.
Pregnancy massage shares many of the goals of regular massage – to relax tense muscles, ease sore spots, improve circulation and mobility, and just make you feel good.
But it’s also tailored specifically to the needs of pregnant women and their changing bodies, and therapists who are trained in pregnancy massage adjust their techniques accordingly.
How do you lie on the table?
Most women find it uncomfortable to lie facedown right from the start of pregnancy because of their tender, swollen breasts. And you can’t lie facedown on a traditional massage table once your belly has started to grow. On the other hand, it’s not a good idea to lie flat on your back either, particularly once you’re past mid‐pregnancy, because the weight of your uterus puts too much pressure on the vein that returns blood from your legs to your heart.
For these reasons, at Sydney Physiotherapy Solutions we use special pillows to accommodate your belly, and others to give you support and comfort, so you can lie on your side.
How can prenatal massage help me?
Massage may decrease stress and promote relaxation, helping you cope with discomfort. Because Alex is a qualified practitioner he knows where a pregnant woman’s sore spots are likely to be and may be able to provide some relief. (He’ll also know which areas and techniques to avoid). Still, it’s important to communicate with him during the massage and tell him where you need attention. Let him know right away if anything during the massage – including your positioning – is causing you any discomfort.
Carrying a baby inside you changes your centre of gravity and puts a lot of stress on your back, neck, abdominal muscles, and shoulders. Pregnancy also relaxes your ligaments, so that your pelvic joints are less stable, and changes your posture, pulling your pelvis forward. Add to that the extra weight you’re carrying and you may find you’ve got an aching lower back.