What is connective tissue massage?
Connective Tissue Massage (CTM) is an intense but non-invasive form of massage which aims to release Myofascial (connective tissue) restrictions in the body. This massage, which may not use oil or lotion, is known to provide relief for chronic tension, improve body posture, increase the range of motion of the body, and improve the overall well being of a person’s body and mind.
The fascia is a series of connective tissue that provides structural support for the skeletal system and soft tissues. When the fascia of one part of the body is in tension, it spreads to other parts of the body. Due to this, the fascia may be the root of several health problems. CTM aims to release this tension and and therefore generate significant improvements to the person’s whole body.
History of connective tissue massage
CTM is first developed by physical therapist Elizabeth Dicke in Germany in 1929. She had a medical condition where she suffers from lumbosacral pain, her legs prone to the cold, and the development of gangrene. Dicke noticed when she stretches her lower back, a sensation of tingling and a feeling of warmth is then spread to her legs. The condition of her legs significantly improved following a progressive use of these stretches. The onset of gangrene was avoided following a regular therapy and the gradual improvement in blood flow. Later on, Dicke developed further an understanding on how the connective tissue influences the overall health of the person.
Physician and medical researcher Janet G. Travell investigated and expounded the phenomenon of myofascial pain syndrome, secondary to myofascial trigger points. Similar to this, biochemist Ida Rolf introduced a popular technique called Rolfing which makes use of the Myofascial system to modify and improve the person’s body posture.
Connective tissue massage techniques
An accurate and precise assessment is highly important for the massage therapy to be successful. The practitioner performs preliminary techniques in preparation for CTM and tests the body for reaction to various postures, to determine where the treatment is most needed. The strokes in CTM are different from those being used in ordinary massage.
Relying on deep and intense strokes, the therapist will focus on releasing the tension stored in the deep tissue structures of the muscle and fascia. Sometimes, the therapist may discover an adhesion or a chronic knot. The knot indicates that the patient should make lifestyle changes for the knot to be eliminated permanently. Although the massage therapy in lessening the tension stored in the knot, the patient should make significant changes to actively ensure the resistance of tension being stored to that area of the body.
Benefits of connective tissue massage
CTM manipulates the fascia which promotes relaxation, vitality and increased self-awareness. This benefits almost everyone, but is popular amongst dancers and athletes as a natural means to enhance performance. It may also aid in preventing and rehabilitating from several types of injuries.
CTM can be adjusted to the needs and comfort of the patient. The following are among some health benefits received from CTM:
- An easier and faster rehabilitation for injury patients
- Adds more balance to the body
- Pain relief from chronic pain patients
- Helps improve tendonitis, scoliosis, sciatica, temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJ), and carpal tunnel syndrome
- An adjunct therapy for patients of arthritis, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome
- Reduces acute or chronic structural compensations
CTM also helps in a faster and more complete recovery, which in turn aids minimize the body’s susceptibility to future injuries.