Massage Therapy from Pharoah to Plano Texas

March 7, 2010

john_james_massage_plano

John James, LMT

Massage in many forms has existed since the beginning of human history. The power of physical touch to soothe, comfort and even to heal physical and emotional pain has been noted in all civilizations.  Many cultures have evolved massage therapy techniques into distinctly different and recognizable methods.

Early Records of Therapeutic Manipulation

Ancient Egyptian, Indian and Chinese civilizations produced the first written records of manual techniques for medicinal and therapeutic uses. Drawings on pyramid walls and papyrii from nearly four thousand years ago advise manipulation and specific types of gentle touching for pain relief. The Ayurveda, a pre-Christian medical script, codifies specific manual methods which are still used today. Traditional Chinese medicine is based upon Huangdi Neijing, written in the first or second century BC, which includes the recommendation for stroking, stretching and repeated gentle blows to the muscles among its methods.

Hippocrates, the Greek physician often called the “father of Western medicine” strongly promoted massage. So did Julius Caesar who demanded massage therapy daily to treat his frequent headaches.

Massage became widespread in France during the sixteenth century due to surgeon Andre Pare’, the Royal Court physician to four French kings. Inventor of hemostats and the first to use ligatures in surgery, Pare’ commonly used massage therapy practices on his patients. Many of the terms used in teaching classic massage techniques today are of French origin - i.e. effleurage, petrissage, tapotement.

That’s Swedish Isn’t It?

Widely used and known to most people in the West, “Swedish massage” is a collection of methods initially developed in the 1800s by the Swedish doctor Per Henrik Ling. Borrowing techniques he learned from the traditional Chinese manipulative therapy tui na and from Asian martial arts, Ling founded the Royal Central Institute for Gymnastics in Stockholm to educate physiotherapists in his medical gymnastics protocols.

The development of “classic” Swedish massage as a separate discipline, and, the use of French terms for its techniques, is credited to Dutchman  Johan Georg Mezger (1838-1909). Mezger, a massage practitioner, compiled a reduced set of techniques and maneuvers from Ling’s gymnastics into what he called the “Swedish massage system”, the collection of strokes used in classic massage that are still employed today. So what is commonly known today as “Swedish massage” was actually developed by the ancient Chinese, systematized and given French technique names by a Dutchman, and yes, finally employed and widely popularized by a Swede – Per Henrik Ling.

Recent Developments in Massage

The twentieth century has seen America evolve its own physical therapies based on more subtle understanding of human anatomy, and, on selected ancient techniques. Two advanced methods in particular have emerged as popular and effective – myofascial release technique and cranosacral therapy.

Myofascial Release Therapy

Devised by the internationally recognized physical therapist John F. Barnes, myofascial release therapy considers the patient’s whole body rather than just isolated symptoms of aches and pains.Rather than focus entirely on musculature, this whole body approach considers the tissue that joins, supports and surrounds the muscles, the fascia, as equally important. The myo-fascial unit composed of muscle fibers and fascia should move smoothly within the body, gliding over adjoining muscles, structures and even its own muscle fibers.

Injuries, overuse or poor posture may cause the smooth and flexible myofascial tissue to shorten and become rigid and inelastic. Pain is caused thereby, range of motion is restricted and muscle spasms might occur. Stress to the myo-fascial unit and imbalance can radiate up and down the body causing pain in unexpected locations.

Myofascial release techniques restore the smooth functioning of the fascia caused by injured muscles, and, stretch the fascia/muscle unit back to its normal length. This form of massage therapy releases tight, bound-up areas of muscle in a gradual way, slowly evening-out tight, injured fascia and relieving pain.

Craniosacral Therapy

An Osteopathic Physician and Professor of Biomechanics at Michigan State University, Dr. John E. Upledger developed CranioSacral Therapy after years of research and clinical testing. Focused on improvement of central nervous system performance, CranioSacral Therapy frees circulation of the brain’s cerebrospinal fluid by relaxing the fascial tissue surrounding the spine. By relaxing restrictions to the free flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the spine and in the cranium, migraines, insomnia, and TMJ pain and tension from stress can all be reduced.

Call me to learn how massage therapy techniques descended from ancient sources can help you now:

John James, LMT
John James Massage Therapy Plano Texas
469 855-2049

Myofascial Release Massages Away The Pain

February 7, 2010

john_james_massage_plano

John James, LMT

Myofascial Release massage is a specialized massage therapy which lengthens your body’s muscles and connective tissue to relieve pain common in soft tissue disorders. You will leave your first myofascial release session more comfortable than you thought possible, more relaxed, and breathing more deeply than before.

Muscles and Fascia
To understand why myofascial release massage works so well you first need to know a bit about fascia, the thin white layer of tissue which covers every organ in your body. Each muscle group and every fiber of muscle tissue within it is covered with fascial tissue. As much as 40% of each muscle group, or myofascial unit, is composed of this tough, elastic tissue which which protects, organizes and lubricates the associated muscle.

For a massage therapist the myofascia’s function as a muscle lubricant  is most important. Normal myofascia enables muscle fibers to move easily within the muscle group, and enables the muscle group itself to move smoothly against other muscles and structures within the body.

Due to injury, repetitive overuse, habitual postures or even emotional states the normally smooth, slick and flexible myofascial tissue can shorten and become rigid, sticky and inelastic. It may lose its lubricant properties and act more like an adhesive – binding muscle fibers to each other. This causes pain, restricts range of muscle motion, may cause muscle spasms, and creates much of what we experience as generalized tension. The stress and imbalance in the muscle and fascia can radiate throughout the body causing pain and symptoms in locations you would not ordinarily expect.

Myofascial Release Aims
Myofascial release aims to restore the normal smooth functioning of the fascia associated with injured muscles, and, to stretch the fascia/muscle unit back to its proper length. Myofascial massage releases the tight, bound-up areas in your muscles gradually thus evening out the tightness of injured fascia.

Practitioners of myofascial release begin stretching your fascia guided by feedback from your body. Tight, short fascia feels very different to the touch than normally functioning tissue. Experienced myofascial release therapists locate the areas of tightness by lightly touching, they stretch a small area with minimal force – often using only two fingers – and then wait for the fascia to relax. Immediately upon its relaxing somewhat more effort is applied to increase the stretch. The process proceeds over the entire affected muscle until it is fully relaxed.

Note that the stretch, or myofascial release, is created by the therapist’s hands and not typically by the patient moving his muscles or limbs. The effect is not painful and most people find it very relaxing, increasingly so as the massage proceeds and more sore areas are treated.

Results of Myofascial Release
Often patients have become so desensitized by continued pain that they are unable to accurately say where they hurt. Not to worry! Guided by tactile feedback, a complete myofascial massage by an experienced myofascial massage therapist may range from the patient’s calves to their cranium – wherever the trail of abnormally tensed myofascia leads.

With treatment these sore myofascial trigger points will disappear leaving you pain-free, with an increased range of motion, and able to breathe more deeply. You can judge your own progress by relief from pain, and by your improved posture.

John James, L.M.T.

Myofascial Massage Releases You From Pain

Myofascial Release is a specialized massage therapy which lengthens your body’s muscles and connective tissue to relieve pain common in soft tissue disorders. You will leave your first myofascial release session more comfortable than you thought possible, more relaxed, and breathing more deeply than before.


Muscles and Fascia

To understand why myofascial release therapy works so well you first need to know a bit about fascia, the thin white layer of tissue which covers every organ in your body. Each muscle group and every fiber of muscle tissue within it is covered with fascial tissue. As much as 40% of each muscle group, or myofascial unit... Read more > > >


Massage Therapy for C-Section Pain Relief

Massage Therapy for C-Section Pain Relief


The C-Section Recovery Center specializes in relief of chronic pain and dysfunction for women who have had C-Section surgery. Surgeons and western medicine practitioners underestimate the effects of C-Section surgery; it affects a woman's entire body.


Having performed tens of thousands of therapeutic massage sessions, therapists at C-Section Recovery Center created a unique program focusing only on pain relief and well-being of mothers who have had caesarian deliveries... Read more >>>


CranioSacral Therapy for Energy and Balance

CranioSacral Therapy or CST focuses on improving performance of the central nervous system by freeing the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid. Produced by the brain's ventricles, this fluid cushions both your brain and spinal cord and pulses throughout your body. Using a light touch the CranioSacral Therapist relaxes restrictions to ...

Read more > > >

Massage Therapy for C-Section Pain Relief

Fibromyalgia Massage: Pain Relief Without Pills

If you suffer from fibromyalgia as I do, no doubt you are constantly looking for new ways to treat your symptoms. The pain and aches you experience on a daily basis are as discouraging as they are debilitating. Proven to help fibromyalgia patients... Read more > > >


Recommended Links