Tag Archives: myofascial release

Video: Myofascial release for “tech neck”

We’re talking posterior neck pain and tension, and the protracted posture that might develop from years of working with computers (or cleaning teeth, fixing cars, painting tiny models, etc.). This isn’t so much about “fixing” as it is about helping clients feel a sense of freedom. As they stand up from the table, I’d like them to say, “ahh, it feels like I can stand up straight.” Between our work on the table and small changes they make through their day, I find that even previously persistent neck pain can resolve fairly quickly!

And that brings me to the topic of our sermon today: Emphasizing resilience and adaptability. During our sessions, we can send a variety of messages, often without meaning to. For instance, let’s say we spend an hour digging into the back of the neck. The message that might get received is, “this part is broken, it’s gummed up like a poorly maintained transmission, and it needs to be repaired.” Not only can this reinforce some self-stigma that the client might already have about a painful part, it’s also false! That part isn’t broken, and it doesn’t need to be fixed by a someone with special tools. ... continue reading.

Video: Myofascial Release for “That Damn Spot”

My goal with this session is for the client to stand up from the table feeling ease and freedom in their posture. If they say something like “I feel an inch taller,” I know I did it right.

Why not just “dig out the knot”? Because I don’t think that spot is to blame. This seems to be an area that becomes sensitized when the upper back muscles are in an untenable position: Being required to stay long and strong for hours a day, and generally being overpowered by the pecs. If we can get all the nearby muscles to give up some of their baseline tone (which I think myofascial release is a great choice for), then that gives the client’s nervous system a chance to reevaluate that tug-of-war.

And that brings me to something I’d like to address: Client buy-in. Are you giving the client an idea of your clinical reasoning before you proceed? Are the two of you determining the best course of action together? This has implications for a lot of things that we value as massage therapists: Pain outcomes, rapport building, informed consent, and client return rate. ... continue reading.

Video: Self-massage for Singers

I’ve spent the last year going slightly mad, and also watching lots of vocal coaching on YouTube. Over that time I’ve been using self-massage to keep my throat happy and healthy, which I talk about here:

Mostly this is an excuse to get back into gear with an easy video, but I’d love feedback from singers! For massage therapists: If you’ve got singers, public speakers, Twitch streamers, or other professionals who give their vocal cords frequent high-intensity workouts, just realize that you don’t need to target any muscles specifically, and that work in the area doesn’t need to be a direct confrontation. By engaging the superficial fascia on and around the anterior neck and putting it into traction, you’re sending powerful stretch signals to the spinal cord, both from the fascia, and from the embedded muscles. Just by dragging skin up along the track of the SCMs, you’re putting the extrinsic laryngeal muscles under traction. By going slowly here, you can send a signal that these muscles can reduce their tone — and in doing so, you can give your clients a better internal feel for these muscles. They might even use that awareness to prevent strain in the future! ... continue reading.

Massage Technique Video: Alternating Shoulder Press

This is a great way to start out your neck work, or to start your session. It’s a gentle way of introducing movement to the neck without saying a word, and it creates some myofascial stretching that feels really profound!

A couple of quick tips: Keep the palmar surfaces of your hands close to the client’s skin as you press and scoop. If you can keep your skin travelling along their skin, it will help this feel like a natural rock instead of a “press, press, press” sensation. Let this movement come from your hips, allowing your torso to rock from side to side.

This can also feel great without any oil at all, allowing yourself to move much more slowly and play with moving the fascia rather than doing much travelling across the skin.

Let me know what you think! Some cool things are in store, so stay tuned 🙂 ... continue reading.

Massage Technique Video: The Lumbar Steamroller

Massage therapists, I present to you one of my favorite techniques. Why do I like it so much? Well, it’s easy to apply once you get the hang of it, and it gets me more “oh wow” comments than just about any other move. Give it a try, share with your colleagues, and let me know what you think in the comments!

I’ve got another technique video coming up next week, and then… I don’t know! What would you like to see me cover next?