Tag Archives: myofascial release

Massage Technique Video: Myofascial neck spreading/stretching

This one’s a simple myofascial spreading technique for the neck and chest:

I use two hand tools for this—a loose fist to glide up the neck, and a palm to spread the upper chest tissue laterally. Make sure to use broad, slow pressure with both, and to conform your tools to the changing landscape underneath them.

I prefer this over traditional neck stretches taught in massage classes. It still gives the client a deep feeling of stretch, but it keeps them within their comfortable range of motion. As long as you work broadly and slowly, you can use firm pressure without compromising the sensitive tissues in the cervical region. Let me know what your clients think! Like I say in the video, I’ve found it to be a real crowd-pleaser 🙂

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.

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.

Massage Tutorial Video: Myofascial Release Basics (sloth-style)

What is myofascial release, anyway? In this new massage tutorial video, I talk about the philosophy of MFR (as I see it), show you a self-demonstration so that you can feel the effects, and then demo some techniques on a client.

As I say in the title, this is “sloth-style” myofascial release. While I get much of my inspiration from the teachings of Pete Whitridge, I’ve melded it pretty firmly with my version of Swedish massage. I’m not overly concerned with finding the optimal speed or pressure, or with using my sense of the fascia for diagnosis. I’ve found that by stealing from the myofascial philosophy, my existing routine became easier and more effective.

This video has been a long time coming! I finally delve into what I mean by “approaching things from a myofascial perspective”: A new angle, a new speed, and a new set of intentions. There’s even some frequently asked questions in there toward the end. Make sure to use the time codes if you’d like to jump around, and I won’t be offended if you increase the video speed by clicking on the gear icon (I do tend to go on). ... continue reading.

Massage Tutorial Video: “I threw my back out!” (Low back spasm)

What do you do when a massage client comes in with an “out” lower back? In this new video, I demonstrate a gentle myofascial release protocol to reduce spasm and guarding over the course of about 20 minutes.

While I do eventually incorporate direct work, the name of the game is slow and broad. By engaging the sheets of fascia that encompass the area of spasm, we can do some great indirect work on areas that would otherwise try to keep us out. As I say in the video, I don’t like the word “fixing” when it comes to massage, but I can typically get a substantial reduction in symptoms for these clients in a single session.

I’d love to hear your strategies! Do you incorporate heat? Movement? Do you tend to work more directly? There are many ways of approaching this problem, so let’s help each other out! ... continue reading.