Structual Therapy Modalities
Structural Techniques and Modalities
Below are brief descriptions of techniques and modalities used most often within Michael's Technique. Depending on our assessment and your goals and needs, any and all combinations of modalities might be used during a session.
The term "myofascia" refers to the connective tissue that supports the musculoskeletal system. It gives your muscles their shape, surrounding them 3 - dimensionally, diving into them and connecting them to one another. Just like when you pull on the bottom of your sweater and you can see it affect the fabric at the top of the sweater, a pull on the myofascia of your foot can affect the tissue up into your leg, your hip, your torso, and neck. The myofascial network provides connection, communication and force transmission throughout the body. Myofascial therapy engages and effects the myofasicae with slow, engaged, hands on work, and differs from other types of bodywork in that it works on the spaces in between muscles, tendons and ligaments as well as on them directly.
Muscular Therapy is a form of bodywork that combines different types of massage while using different speeds, rhythms, and depths of work. It is useful for relaxation and overall health as well as specific, deep work focusing on individual muscles, tendons and ligaments.
The term "neuromuscular" refers to the interaction between the nervous system and the muscles. It describes what the nervous system is telling the muscles to do, and what the muscles are doing in response to that stimulus. There may be hyperactivity (or hypoactivity) in muscle tissue that is causing dysfunction and discomfort. Neuromuscular therapy employs non-invasive techniques to encourage the tissue to normalize (to excite under-active muscle tissue, and relax over-active muscle tissue). It is particularly effective with working with trigger points (those knots and contractures that refer pain to surrounding areas of the body).
Visceral Manipulation Therapy
Visceral manipulation is the practice of an experienced therapist using his or her hands to move and release fascial restrictions in your abdomen and pelvis to encourage the normal movement and function of your internal organs. Most people are familiar with the idea of joint and muscle restrictions causing tightness, pain and limited movement in their bodies, but don’t consider the role of their organs. It is common place for people to go to their physio, chiro, or massage therapist to treat pain and alignment issues; unfortunately, many times these practitioners may just be treating the outer shell of the problem if they aren’t considering the mobility of your organs in your alignment and movement patterns.
Scar tissue forms in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia. It is a normal process for the body to produce scar tissue when soft tissues are injured, and in the right spots it can be a good thing. But when there is poor healing and/or repeated tearing of scar tissue it can restrict movement and be the underlying cause of chronic pain and dysfunction. Deep friction or transverse friction massage works by breaking down scar tissue that prevents proper healing within muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It allows normal healing to occur and increases circulation to areas that normally have very little blood supply.
Passive Engagement Techniques
Passive Engagement techniques are similar to Active Engagement Techniques with the difference that it integrates passive client movement instead of active. The practitioner moves a joint through it's range of motion while simultaneously using static compression,lengthening or broadening techniques on the soft tissue around it, depending on what the desired effect is. "Pin and stretch" techniques where a muscle is shortened passively followed by being lengthened passively while a lengthening technique is applied is a classic example.
Active Engagement Techniques
Active Engagement techniques refer to techniques that integrate active client movement. Working on a muscle while it is actively shortened (concentric movement) or actively lengthened (eccentric movement), has several benefits. Most notably, active engagement techniques engage more muscle fibers, resulting in the work penetrating deeper without using more force. So, it is easier for both the client and therapist. Additionally, it's an effective way to differentiate muscle fibers and muscle groups, freeing them up to encourage more ease of movement and range of motion. Excellent for chronic, long standing tension and "waking up" the system.