Fascia is the tough connective tissue that holds us together. Think of it as a 3-dimensional body stocking that surrounds all structures within our body from every muscle, joint and organ down to cellular level. In a healthy condition it stretches and moves without restriction, but it can become inflexible and restricted which can have an impact on our body. Because fascia is entirely continuous throughout the body, a restriction in one part will affect every other part.
There are many reasons why fascia can become restricted, such as postural imbalance, accidents, emotional trauma, scarring, inflammation or repetitive strain. Due to the strength of the tissue, this can affect the body causing tightness, inhibited circulation, restricted movement and postural problems, very often resulting in pain.
The myofascial techniques that I use release this fascial tightness, and restore the fascia’s integrity and proper alignment.
This is an image from Dr Jean-Claude Guimberteau's Strolling Under the Skin, which takes a look at living human fascia
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point therapy has become an invaluable tool in the treatment of chronic pain, since it was pioneered by Janet Travell in 1942. She identified that some chronic pain could be helped by treating points elsewhere in the body, which she referred to as trigger points.
The trigger points may have local pain, but they also cause referred pain in a predictable zone or pattern of reference elsewhere. This means that the client's pain can be coming from a region distant from the affected area, but the predictability of these regions enables effective treatment of the pain. Trigger points can be caused by acute overload strain in a muscle, direct trauma, or longer-term cause such as poor posture or repetitive activities.
Examples of trigger points, and their referred pain pattern
Hot Stone Therapy
Hot stone therapy is the use of warm stones to bring about balance within the body and mind. The use of stones derives from the Native Americans who used them in ancient times as a ‘healing’ therapy for many different ailments. Volcanic Basalt stones are used, as they have qualities to retain heat due to their internal honeycomb structure.
Hot stone therapy affects the body both emotionally and physically, the smooth warm stones glide over the body concentrating on tension and blocked energy flow, instilling a calming, sedating feeling of inner peace bringing balance to your entire mind and body. Physically the stones reduce muscular tension and tight connective tissues which contribute to so many of our modern day stress conditions. By applying the heat of the stones to a tight problematic area, or an area that feels tension, we are warming and relaxing the tissue allowing for a quicker and more effective treatment. It is believed that one massage stroke with a hot stone is ten times more effective than with hands alone.
Stones may be used to help treat chronic conditions where an on-going injury or condition may cause pain and discomfort. Hot stone hydrotherapy massage techniques help ‘flush’ the area of lymphatic fluid and/or a build-up of toxins, and bring blood into the area which is rich in oxygen and nutrients, which enables the healing process.
One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Eberst papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians were using cupping in 1550 B.C. Cupping is a form of alternative medicine in which cups are used on the skin to create suction; it is believed that the suction of the cups will bring fresh oxygenated blood to the surface, and help promote healing. Cupping is beneficial to use in areas where repetitive movement causes pain or reduced range of motion; a good example is the 2016 Olympic swimmers who had cupping around their shoulder in between races (you may have seen the temporary marks left by the cups).
One way to think about cupping is that it is the inverse of massage. Rather than applying pressure to muscles, the suction uses pressure to pull skin, tissue and muscles upward, helping to release fascial and muscle tightness, and increase blood and lymphatic flow.
Whilst sports massage is particularly suitable for people who engage in regular physical activity such as cycling, running or team sports such as football or rugby, the techniques can be used in all types of treatment where appropriate.
Sports massage can assist in correcting problems and imbalances by working all soft connective tissue such as muscles, tendons and ligaments as well as fascia; its application prior to and after exercise may also enhance performance, aid recovery and prevent injury.
Pregnancy and post-natal massage
From your first symptoms of pregnancy to the early weeks following the delivery of your baby, regular massage can help you physically and emotionally through your pregnancy journey.
Studies indicate that massage during pregnancy addresses many common discomforts associated with the skeletal and circulatory changes brought on by hormone shifts during pregnancy. There are many potential benefits to pre-natal and post-natal massage:
Reduces back pain
Reduces joint pain
Reduces muscle tension
Eases calf cramps
Reduces stress and anxiety and releases endorphins
Improves oxygenation of soft tissue and muscles
Aids restful sleep
Indian Head Massage
Indian head massage is based on the ancient ayurvedic system of health and healing. It has been practised in India for thousands of years and is a popular treatment in the western world’s luxury spas. The aim of the treatment is to release the stress that accumulates in the fascia and muscles in the upper body, shoulders, neck face and scalp.
The treatment involves a range of massage techniques including deep tissue kneading, trigger point techniques and compression movements that are performed over the upper back, neck and shoulders, whilst lymphatic drainage strokes are used on the face, and a deeply relaxing massage is performed on the scalp.
Due to its stimulating properties, Indian head massage aids in the elimination of accumulated toxins and waste products within your body, leaving you feeling refreshed and energised. The stimulating and invigorating scalp massage may also promote hair growth and condition.
Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years, for psychological and physical wellbeing. The Chinese may have been one of the first cultures to use aromatic plants for this purpose, and the Egyptians were known to use infused oils and herbal preparations for spiritual, medicinal, fragrant and cosmetic use.
As a holistic treatment aromatherapy uses essential oils extracted from herbs, flowers, fruits and trees, these oils gives the plant is ‘aroma’. They also contain complex chemical compounds, many of which have been found to have psychological well-being or physiological effects. The basis of aromatherapy is that when oils are massaged into the skin or inhaled the essential oils interact with our bodies and can therefore be used to enhance our sense of well-being, alleviate stress and help with a variety of health problems.
You will be guided through a choice of high quality aromatherapy oils to achieve your desired treatment outcome whether it is uplifting, stimulating or deeply relaxing. Incorporating different massage techniques will help ease away tension installing a feeling of calm and balance to your entire body and mind, a truly holistic experience tailored to your individual needs.