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What Does a Massage “Work Out”?

Elements Massage Peoria May 11, 2015

You know that “pull” or ache you feel in your neck? If it’s not your neck, then it might be your back or shoulders where you feel that dull pain and stiffness is usually attributed to something called a “knot.”  These knots are referred to as “trigger points” by massage therapists and other researchers of the body, and while there are many causes of trigger points, massage therapy is one of the best ways to help release the the "knot".  But first, it’s important for a therapist to identify what kind of trigger point it is – which factors are involved – in order to properly treat the issue.

Trigger points usually involve one of two factors: activating or perpetuating. Perpetuating factors are linked to an environment, such as work or the home, where there is repetition and prolonged activity that causes the muscles to shorten; activating factors are linked to specific instances, such as a sports injury or a particularly emotionally charged incident that pushes the muscle beyond what it can stand.   The trigger points can also be active, painful, or latent and restrict range of motion.  The resulting “knot” of muscle is comprised of contracted fibers that stretch the muscle thin at other points. These places in the muscle are functionally unavailable for use because they are already contracted, which makes it impossible to condition the muscle and can lead to tension and pain.  

Massage therapy releases these trigger points by using techniques specifically designed to alleviate the pain or restriction at its source with cycles of pressure and release.  This type of massage is more intense than other techniques like Swedish massage, and requires the client to breath deeply and tell the therapist the location and intensity of the discomfort.  The reduction in pain and improved range of motion are incredibly beneficial.  With regular massage therapy at Elements Massage Peoria, managing chronic stress or pain caused by either activating or perpetuating factors is entirely possible! 

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