Forward head posture is a common cause of pain that often results from “chronic dysfunctional postural patterns” (Lowe, 186). Instead of forward, the head should ease back so the ears are in line with the shoulders. The farther the head moves forward from it’s gravitational center the more stress is placed on the posterior cervical extensor muscles. “For every inch the head moves forward from it’s gravitational center, it feels if it weighs an additional 10 pounds” (Dalton, 2017). The head does not actually become heavier. Instead, the brain perceives the head as heavier due to the added effort required to hold the head from falling forward (Lowe, 186). The habit of pushing the head forward to stare into the computer (as one example) “allows the brain to map the forward head posture as normal” (Dalton, 2017). Tension and myofascial trigger points can cause neck and head pain. Massage is an excellent way to treat tension and myofascial trigger point referrals that can develop from forward head posture.
[Broome, Melissa]. (2015, August 15). How To Use Your Computer [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwobgUP9ijU
Dalton, Erik. (2017, February 21). Text Neck and Desktop Neck – Assessing Forward Head Posture [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://erikdalton.com/blog/text-neck-desktop-neck/
Lowe, Whitney (2006). Orthopedic Assessment in Massage Therapy. Sisters, OR: Daviau Scott Publishers.
I recently read an article published in Massage & Bodywork’s November/December 2017 publication; Lessons of Compassion by Karrie Osborn. The article discusses Therapeutic Touch and its co-founder, Dolores Krieger.
Dolores Krieger. PhD, RN co-founded Therapeutic Touch with Dora Kunz, natural healer and clairvoyant. Therapeutic Touch is a technique that according to Maryland Medical Center, is “based on the theory that the body, mind, emotions form a complex energy field” (Therapeutic Touch International Association). TT has it’s beginnings in the late 1960’s; a time when the human potential movement was in full swing. The therapy facilitates universal energy and centers around two key components, Intention and Compassion. With hands held 2 – 6 inches the client’s body, the therapist will assess and balance a client’s energy (Osborn, 2017). Therapeutic Touch International Association describes it as “a consciously directed process of energy exchange during which the practitioner uses the hands as a focus to facilitate the process”.
Learn More about Therapeutic Touch
Osborn, Karrie. (2017, November/December). Lessons of Compassion. Massage & Bodywork, (74 – 79).
“What style of massage do you do?”, is a question a number of my new clients tend to ask. My massage sessions are eclectic in that they integrate various modalities depending on a client’s needs. My education at IPSB college introduced me to a wide variety of Western and Eastern modalities. I eventually chose to focus my practice around the Western modalities Circulatory, Deep Tissue, and Trigger Point.
Circulatory (or Swedish) is a style of massage that has a number of therapeutic benefits. Circulatory helps to release tension and stress in the body. The release of tight, constricted muscles eases pain while bringing nutrient rich blood into the muscle tissue. In his text Orthopedic Massage Whitney Lowe writes, “One of the most significant effects of massage is the encouragement of blood flow in smaller capillaries that are restricted due to muscle tightness” (Lowe, 2009). A release of tension in the body is often accompanied with a feeling of release emotionally or/and mentally (stress reduction) as well as increased clarity and energy. It has been suggested that this modality aids the lymphatic system by helping to clear out metabolic waste. While more research is needed to determine the physiological effects, it is thought that one of the primary benefits of massage is movement of tissue fluid: blood and lymph (Lowe, 2009). A variety of strokes are used. A few of these strokes are: Effleurage (long gliding strokes that move in the direction toward the heart are incorporated throughout the session), Compression, Petrissage (grasping and kneading), and Tapotement (percussion strokes). These strokes can be done with light, medium, or firm pressure.
Deep Tissue uses techniques to address the deeper layered muscles. Using no or little oil, the therapist’s tool (thumb, palm, soft fist, elbow) sinks into the muscle tissue and glides slowly along the direction of the muscle fiber. Starting with a compression, the pressure increases as the tension in the tissue melts and dissolves. The follow stroke’s depth and speed is determined by the release of the client’s fascia and muscle tissue (Osborne – Sheets, 1997). Effleurage is a massage stroke most commonly associated with Circulatory (or Swedish) massage, but in Deep Tissue work, deep effleurage strokes can be most effective in easing out tension and helping to move tissue fluid.
Neuromuscular Therapy focuses on relief of pain that can be brought on by postural distortion, biomechanical dystunction, Ischemia, and Trigger Points. Trigger Points develop in Ischemic muscle tissue and refer pain to other areas of the body. My sessions incorporate bone cleaning (cross fiber) and Trigger Point with Circulatory massage.
Lowe, Whitney (2009). Orthopedic Massage: Theory and Technique. Mosby Elsevier.
Osborne – Sheets, Carole (1997). Deep Tissue Sculpting: A technical and Artistic Manual for Therapeutic Bodywork Practitioners. Poway, California: Body Therapy Associates.