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Myotherapy - Massage with Tools?????

When people ask What is Myotherapy I simply say "Myotherapy is Remedial Massage with tools, exercise prescription and nutrition". In this blog I talk about the tools many "Myos" use. Speaking for myself only, I use cups and dry needling more than the others, but even then I opt for my hands 9/10 times. Tools can help to enhance the effects of massage, particularly good when a area is taking a while to release and the client wants to achieve a lot in a session. Tool are also often a gentler option when more sensitive areas need treatment. Give my a acupuncture needle in my Glute over an elbow anyday. Give me cupping over my ribs over pointy fingers please!!!!

What are the "tools" in Myotherapy

Typical Myotherapy tools are Cups, these can be rubber, plastic and glass. Mostly they use heat or air removal to create a suction effect on what ever they are attached to. The suction creates and increase of circulation to the area and fascia (web like tissue over and throughout the body) is pulled on.

Cupping popped up as a therapy all over the world from metal cups to wooden cups it can be found as a traditional healing tool in just about any ancient or civilized cultures.

When would you use "Cups" or "Cupping" in a treatment

Cupping tension in the shoulders
Cupping tight back muscles

Cupping is a great tool for clients who are just starting out or returning to massage or body work. Not only does it release the superficial fascia it has a desensitizing effect on the areas you place it. What the hell is superficial fascia? Think of it like the net bag around a dozen oranges, the oranges being your muscles and the net being your fascia. The bag is tight and the oranges can not be moved within the bag but if we stretched the net we could. I should say fascia can't actually be stretched but when pressures are applied to it in specific areas of tension the body shifts it as whole. There are some great you tube clips of people wearing full body anatomy suits.

What does cupping do?

Besides pulling on fascia the desensitizing effects are really cool. First time clients or clients going through great stress can be a little too sensitive to have meaningful body work done to create the changes they want, so cupping is a great tool for paving the way forward. It only takes 5-10 mins at the start of a session and then the client is comfortable enough to have medium to deep muscle work done.

Fluid retention

This is cool, in my work in Lymphatic drainage I noticed that the lymph didn't move as well when there were road blocks like scar tissue, fascial tension of adhesion's in the way. When cups are applied to break these down, the fluid that was stuck behind it can move.

Individual muscle tightness

Cups can be applied to any spot of pain or tension and left for 2-10 minutes to increase blood flow, break down knots (adhesion's) and desensitize the trigger points causing muscle tension.

Stress Relief and Pain Management

When cups are applied to the body and no other massage treatment is applied the pain killing effects and euphoric effects are enhanced. Whist I typically put a cup on my client and find somewhere else to work occasionally (and with their permission) I will leave them to enjoy these benefits.

When will cups be used? Will I get a choice?

The use of cupping is typically something that will be come up in the course of a treatment, when I have felt and observed how the body is or isn't responding to treatment.

Of course! I always ask if someone is happy to have cupping, explain why I want to use it as well as explain they generally leave a mark, it can look a bit pink or look like pepperoni. In fair skinned people who don't move their bodies much it can take up to 10 days for the marks to fully disappear. I also explain that I wont cup the neck and shoulder area unless there is an absolute need for it. It tends to make your neck look like you've got a hicky.

I myself have forgotten my cupping marks and headed out in a mesh top to a nightclub only to have random strangers question what the heck are those round things on your body.

Dry Needling

You guys tend to call it acupuncture but Myotherapy uses the same acupuncture needles but call it Dry Needling. Instead of placing them into accupoints or Ashi points we place them into "muscles knots", trigger points, fascial tension or any area that needs extra attention and healing.

I myself have a needle phobia so I completely get it. The word needle for some people is enough to never come and see a Myotherapist. All tools are only used when the client has been consulted and permission given.

Dry needling for tight back muscles
Dry needling for muscle tension

Many clients love dry needling, its great for reducing inflammation, releasing muscle tension caused by trigger points or adhesion's and is a great tool for getting a lot done in a session. I have lots of clients who hate having deep tissue work done on their calves. In this case I will find about 2 spots in each calf and apply painless dry needling, then I will work on the back or some other area letting my little buddies act like an assistant.

Tens Machine

These little machines are great for personal use for pain management but better results can be achieved with a little bit of knowledge of the nerves that feed the area you want to work on. Many women hire them for labor but they are also fantastic for period pain when applied to the same points used for labor.

What does a tens machine look like?

Typically a little hand held box with 4 chords with two sticky pads that we stick onto the skin.

In a session I might use a tens machine to switch off guarding muscle spasm so I can get in deeper and fix the cause.

Tens machines are also great for fluid retention or the movement of lactic acid after something like a marathon. I also use a tens machine for needle stimulation occasionally, if needed and the client is right.

Scrapping Tools

Gua sha, Gresden, rock blades, cold spooning are all names for the tools used to scrap over the skin (often near joints) where there may be adhesion's, stagnation of blood flow or the body has just not got around to healing it yet. The scrapping causes a micro injury and elicit a healing response. In Chinese medicine they see it as moving wind energy out of the body as wind in the tissues causes cold locked up tissues. If you subscribe to this theory you may get a locked up neck when you sleep with a fan on or your neck is uncovered on a cold windy day.

Essential oils, liniments and topical magnesium

Many of these enhance circulation, numb the area or provide pain relieving medicine into the skin. Essential oils are very "in" at the moment and can enhance treatment in many ways.

How can essential oils make massage better?

A Massage therapist treats the whole person and take into account how their client is feeling. Sometimes the overlying emotions can get in the way of achieving the physical goals the client comes in with. Essential oils can give emotion support whilst the Massage or Myotherapist takes care of the physical side of the client.

What else can essential oils do?

SO MUCH!!! they can move fluid retention, reduce pain, break down scar tissue, help sinus congestion, improve wound healing, warm the muscles and calm the nervous system. All are highly supportive to the body worker, Massage therapist or Myotherapist.

Are there any other tools?

Heat packs , hot stones, water bottles all relax muscles and allow them to let go of held tension. These may be used if the Myotherapist or Massage therapist feels their client needs a little hand to relax or prepare an area to be worked on.

Tools are great and all the tools are wisely selected for you on you specific to you needs and in consultation with you. I must also stress with your permission! sure you agree to have a massage but never should your Myotherapist chuck a cup on or insert an acupuncture needle into you without your consent. Even the use of essential oils should be consented to. Sometimes you have squeezed in a Massage for yourself and have to get back to work afterward. You need to be on you mental game and having a relaxing oil placed on your body may not be in your best interest. You may need to relax but hey you are at least taking yourself off to have your body fixed! Tell your Massage therapist if you have a busy day ahead and you can plan together the best treatment for you.

If you would like to come and explore Massage or Myotherapy with me by being a client please visit my website I love meeting new clients and seeing how I can help.

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