Monthly Archives: March 2016

Massage Tutorial Video: How to massage a “crick in the neck”

New massage tutorial video! This one’s on working with stiff necks, or “neck cricks.” As always, I come at this from a myofascial perspective, rather than trying to stretch the kink out or “break up knots.” I do a quick anatomy review of levator scapulae, and then I demonstrate my protocol on a client:

This is one of the few areas where I feel like massage can “fix” acute pain in one or two sessions. If I work slowly and give this area the time it needs, I can typically help them stand up from the experience with much of their range of motion restored.

I think that the “neck crick” phenomenon exemplifies one of reasons why massage is so useful. A little muscle in our neck gets irritated, and suddenly we have a huge amount of impairment. Rather than feeling like a spasm, it can often feel like a bone is out of place, which is a scary sensation. Suddenly, many of our tasks of daily living become more difficult, and even sleep can be out of reach. ... continue reading.

Is Your Massage Practice Sending the Wrong Message?

Here’s an important article about a negative experience that a client had while on the table:

In a previous rant, I said that massage therapists causing pain—and making their clients think it was necessary—was one of the only massage-related phenomena that truly made me angry. Well, this counts as causing pain. If someone comes to me with a unique human body, anything that I say or do to stigmatize that person for their shape, or size, or sounds, or smell, is causing harm. They’ll leave that experience thinking, “I was wrong for putting myself in that vulnerable position.” In other words, they trusted us with their body, and we breached that trust.

Maybe you would never think of commenting directly on someone’s weight, which is great! With that as a given, I’d like to direct your attention to something that we’ve learned from psychological and medical studies: The power of words, and the power of symbols in general. How we speak, and even the signs and pictures in our offices, can communicate a powerful message of brokenness or wholeness to our clients. ... continue reading.

Massage Tutorial Video: Myofascial release for TMJ/jaw pain

This one’s on easy myofascial release techniques for TMJ pain:

As you may have noticed, I don’t do any intraoral work here. In fact, I don’t spend much time focused on any one muscle, let alone seeking out trigger points. Instead, I approach this broadly, using slow fascial traction to “iron out” the entire region. With just two passes (one with client engagement), I find that my clients tend to experience a big drop in jaw tension.

In fact, this is one of the few areas that I feel like I can “fix.” If you’ve followed this page for a while, you know that I’m not a big fan of that concept. Most pain resolution happens over the course of many sessions, along with new habits on the part of the client. Jaw pain, however, is something that can resolve after just a couple of massages, often with a big reduction in symptoms after just one. Let me know if you have a similar experience! ... continue reading.