Incorporated Therapies and Techniques
The below Incorporated Therapies and Techniques are not offered as stand alone Therapies, but are instead often incorporated as a regular part of certain Therapies (Primary), or may occasionally be utilised where their application is merited (Secondary), therapeutic skills during one or more Appointments you choose to receive from Focused Therapy London.
Primary Incorporated Therapies and Techniques
Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR)
This process enhances healthy freedom in both muscle length and joint range of movement as well as freedom from pain and discomfort. Relevant guidance may also be given on lessening undue strain on the muscles, including correct posture and amending unhealthy postural habits that originally lead to your myofascial dysfunction.
Myofascial Release Therapy can be undertaken in the form of a hands on massage therapy as well as by Medical Acupuncture (Dry Needling) which is very effective in resolving myofascial dysfunction and trigger points.
What are the main objectives of Myofascial Release Therapy?
Myofascial Release Therapy is undertaken to resolve myofascial dysfunction that has occurred in the soft tissues such as trigger points, adhesions and restrictions in muscle length and joint range of movement. Its techniques promote relief from pain, return to more flexible range of movement in the muscle and joints, resolution of muscular spasms, calms neurological dysfunction and can be an effective treatment for those experiencing either Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) or Fibromyalgia.
What is Myofascia?
Myofascia (muscle facia) is a connective tissue that wraps around each muscle fibre, each batch of muscle fibres and each individual muscle in a continuous way around the body allowing them to glide across and around each other smoothly and without restriction. Ultimately the myofascia connects all of the muscles in the body to each other. It also has a strong relationship to superficial fascia that exists in the skin and visceral fascia which wraps around the internal organs.
What is Myofascial Dysfunction?
When dysfunction occurs in the myofascia it thickens and can form a consistency much like treacle or can harden like ‘brittle concrete’. When this occurs, adhesions form which restrict of the smooth glide of the tissues and fibres leading to postural restriction, range of movement limitation, muscle length imbalance and associated discomfort and pain.
The most well known examples of myofascial dysfunction are Frozen Shoulder Injury and Whiplash Injury where resulting myofascial dysfunction can cause havoc in the surrounding area long after any initial injury has seemingly healed. The lesser considered examples of myofascial dysfunction occur from simple repeat postural habits, such as:
- Regularly leaning to one side in your chair
- Favouring leaning on to one leg when standing for any period of time
- Looking down at your laptop screen or mobile phone for long periods
Is there more than one School of Myofascial Release Therapy?
Yes, there are two distinctly different schools of Myofascial Release Therapy which were founded originally by different authorities in the field. The one that I am trained in was founded by John Barnes and is referred to simply as Myofascial Release Therapy. It is different to the other style, which was founded by Robert Ward and is most frequently referred to as Rolfing, rather than Myofascial Release.
As with all different schools within any subject of learning, there are arguments for and against which of the treatment styles is best, and often this would depend on what the clients issue is as much as which therapist or authority in the field you spoke to. Many of the techniques used in either treatment modality are the same or similar.
Put in the most simple one versus the other context:
- Myofascial Release Therapy does not require any client to commit to receiving a minimum number of treatment sessions in order to work towards resolving or relieving any client's condition and is often considered more to be focusing on areas of specific myofascial concern which relate to each individual's specific issue
- Rolfing has a minimum structured series of ten treatments sessions, known as a Ten Series, which focuses on resolving problems within the myofascial system of the whole body, all of which are considered responsible in whole or in part towards causing the client's condition
Tui Na Chinese Medical Massage
What is Tui Na?
Tui Na, or as it is sometimes referred to Tuina, is the name for Chinese Medical Massage which uses Acupressure and other techniques to treat numerous musculoskeletal and other medical conditions in hospitals across China. Tui Na is one of the fundamental three Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques used by doctors to treat patients in one-fifth of the world’s population along with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. Tui Na which translates to ‘pushing’ and ‘grasping’ is a very stimulating therapy and often utilises a far more vigorous set of techniques than you would experience during massages in the West.
Several of its uses and techniques can be equated to those used by Osteopaths, Chiropractors, Physiotherapists and Manual Therapists. Authentic Tui Na is always undertaken through loose clothing. When incorporating it’s techniques during other Therapies treatments, I normally utilise this technique through either a towel or soft cotton sheet if my Client is already undressed and on the treatment couch.
What is Acupressure?
Acupressure is an over 4000 year old system of manual therapy based on East Asian theory, specifically relating to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The therapy itself focuses on the stimulation of Acupoints, mainly found on Meridian Channels, in the body through the precise placement of manual pressure such as a thumb or finger. Acupressure works in a similar way and on the same acupoints as are used in Acupuncture, but does not incorporate the use of acupuncture needles.
What are the main objectives of Tui Na Chinese Medical Massage?
Tui Na is undertaken to treat pain, especially chronic pain conditions, as it excels in treating musculoskeletal conditions such as back, shoulder and neck pain, Frozen Shoulder, Golfers Elbow, Tennis Elbow and Sciatica. It is also a very effective form of Myofascial Release Therapy. Its techniques additionally promote relief from Headaches, Migraines, Constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Insomnia and many other chronic conditions.
What are Acupoints?
Acupoints are carefully measured and mapped points on the body which are usually stimulated through either direct pressure or the insertion of an acupuncture needle to treat numerous musculoskeletal or other medical conditions in accordance with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory. Each Acupoint is attributed with specific responses within the body its stimulation can result in.
What are Meridian Channels?
TCM theory attributes 14 main meridian channels in the body which relate to the internal organs as Westerners perceive them, Pericardium (heart protector), Sanjiao (Triple Warmer or Triple Heater) and what is easiest described as two meridian channels which fall on the anterior/posterior centre lines of the body knows as Ren Mai (Conception Vessel) and Du Mai (Governing Vessel). Meridian channels are considered, in essence, as ‘energy highways’ through which our Qi (life force) flows and both the meridian channels and acupoints can be stimulated to maintain healthy functioning and balance within the body. Most, but not all, acupoints are located on meridian channels and in the West we tend to refer to acupoints based on their placement on their relevant meridian channel, such as SP-6 (Spleen Acupoint number 6).
Secondary Incorporated Therapies and Techniques
Muscle Energy Technique (MET)
What are the main objectives of Muscle Energy Technique?
Allows for pain relief and muscle lengthening and relaxation, it can also lead to better joint motion and range of movement.
Neuromuscular Technique (NMT)
What are the main objectives of Neuromuscular Technique?
These techniques can enhance the function of the muscles as well as the joints and the associated endorphin release can aid quicker healing. The application of alternating levels of pressure to areas of muscle spasm can greatly help to alleviate pain and restriction. This group of techniques are very beneficial as they can work in highly focused manners in order to relieve even very painful spasms in specific muscle fibres, allowing the return of oxygenated blood back in to the area as the tissues ease.
Positional Release Technique (PRT)
Also known as Positional Release Therapy or Strain Counterstrain (SCS)
Originating as an Osteopathic technique, Positional Release Therapy is a very gentle and pain free treatment that is used to treat acute injury, pain or protective muscle spasm. The muscle or muscles in question where pain or dysfunction has occurred are put in to careful supported shortened positions allowing the tissues to unwind and relax due to lack of duress arising from neurological feedback reset.
What are the main objectives and benefits of Positional Release Technique?
The benefits of PRT can include a reduction in pain and inflammation, reduced myofascial (muscle covering) stiffness, reduced recovery time and increased muscular strength. It can also be used to treat acute injury. It can be utilised on any individual even if they are very frail or weak and is the gentlest of therapies, putting minimal to no pressure at all on the body whilst still achieving great results.
Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR)
In layman’s terms, PIR is when a muscle is gently stretched before the point of pain or duress and then contracted. For a short period directly after this contraction there is a decrease in muscle tone which will allow more capacity for the focus muscle or muscle group to lengthen than is usually the case. A set of stretches are undertaken by the client, with both the guidance and assistance of the therapist, to a specific muscle or muscle group to enable for their significant lengthening in a safe and pain free manner.
What are the main objectives of Post Isometric Relaxation Technique?
The benefits of PIR include the gentle lengthening of a postural muscle or muscle group. Its techniques can reduce muscle spasm and increase muscle flexibility as well as the range of motion in an affected joint. PIR is a very safe and effective way to lengthen tight muscles without putting the body under duress or potentially causing pain or possible injury in a contracted or spasming muscle or muscle group.
Soft Tissue Release (STR)
What are the main objectives of Soft Tissue Release?
Some of the primary benefits of Soft Tissue Release are the ability to stretch specific parts of a muscle which can aid in enabling more consistent lengthening of a shortened muscle, breaking down adhesions in the myofascia (muscle covering), its use can also facilitating faster healing after an injury.
Swedish Massage (Relaxation)
What are the main objectives of a Swedish Massage?
This massage treatment is designed to provide a lighter, less intense touch that promotes a sense of well being, relaxation, stress relief and boost of blood circulation rather than to work deeper in to the tissues and treat specific aches, pains or soft tissue restrictions or injury. It additionally has a proven track record in providing the following benefits:
- reduces levels of stress, anxiety and worry
- improves mood, eases depression and promotes a feeling of emotional well-being due to endorphin release
- improves sleep patterns including the recipient falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer
- increases relaxation and a calming of the nervous system
- helps to maintaining a healthy immune system
- increases energy levels
- improves blood circulation and increases nutrient supply to the muscles
- increases flexibility and range of motion
- improves posture
Trigger Point Therapy (TPT)
What are the main objectives of Trigger Point Therapy?
Trigger Point Therapy, in whatever form, is undertaken to reduce pain in the body and to return the treated muscles or associated joint to better health, improved muscle length and associated joint range of movement capacity. Trigger Point Therapy is an effective treatment for muscular pain, especially when it has become chronic, as well as for Myofascial Pain Syndromes and Fibromyalgia (long term pain all over the body).
What is a Trigger Point?
A trigger point is a hyper irritable and palpable nodule in the myofascia (muscle covering) in a taut band of muscle that, when pressure is applied to it, can create localised tenderness or pain in the direct area of the of that point; or can refer pain elsewhere in the body in which case it is considered an Active Trigger Point.
Does pressure on a Trigger Point always hurt?
Yes, whether the pain is mild or intense, one of the signs of a trigger point is pain on pressure, even if the pain is not in the direct area that any pressure is applied to.
Can Trigger Points only be relieved with pressure?
No, the therapy I find most effective for releasing trigger points is Medical Acupuncture (Dry Needling). My Clients often report the use of acupuncture needles for releasing trigger points as causing the least tenderness, both during and after treatment, along with quicker and longer lasting results.
For those not keen on having Medical Acupuncture (Dry Needling), or where this therapy is not suitable, Myofascial Release Therapy, Muscle Energy Technique and Positional Release Technique can also provide good relief from painful trigger points, as well as Trigger Point Therapy itself, so there are numerous techniques available to treat problematic trigger points.
What are the causes of Trigger Points?
Every muscle in the body has the capacity to form one or more active trigger points and the causes of them activating can be many and varied. Some of the most well known or suspected trigger point causes are listed below:
- Nerve pain, dysfunction and/or disease
- Scar tissue from previous injury
- Muscle overuse
- Poor postural habits
- Electrolyte imbalance