March 23, 2021
Myotherapy treats musculoskeletal and fascial pain, which is any pain stemming from muscles and the surrounding soft tissue through the body. Originating from the Latin words ‘myo’ meaning muscle, and ‘fascia’, meaning band or bundle, myotherapy is all about your muscles and their connective tissues.
Language aside, there is often an additional layer of confusion between myotherapy and remedial massage as therapeutic disciplines. While both therapies set out to assess and ease pain, in myofascial release therapy, myotherapists draw on a combination of highly specialised soft tissue techniques based on a deeper understanding of the human body.
While myotherapy and remedial massage both aim to ease pain and help the body recover from muscle and soft tissue discomfort and ailments, these therapies are not the same. Myotherapy
uses a much broader range of soft tissue techniques.
Even though myotherapy originates from remedial massage, it extends further by treating more complex musculoskeletal conditions than remedial massage addresses in isolation. Myotherapists are highly specialised and rely on their deep knowledge of anatomy and physiology in their technique and approach.
Expertly trained, myotherapists use a range of skills to manipulate the soft tissues of the body to alleviate pain and dysfunction. These include trigger point therapy, dry needling, cupping, postural assessment, taping for sports and posture, Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, orthopaedic and special tests, manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), joint mobilisation, and a range of corrective and rehabilitative exercises.
Because localising pain is often difficult, myotherapists use another soft tissue technique called myofascial release. Myofascial release therapy focuses on releasing the superficial and deep layers of fascia or connective tissues, such as tendons and ligaments, within the body.
Myofascial dry needling (MDN) is not to be confused with acupuncture. Although both techniques us the same fine needles, dry needling follows a different principle and application of the needles.
Acupuncture focuses on releasing blocked chi (energy flow) by placing acupuncture needles along the energy lines or meridians of the body.
Dry needling helps to release taut bands, a groups of muscle fibres that have stuck together over time due to stress, strain, or injury within the muscle itself. Dry needling targets muscular trigger points, encouraging a twitch response, to reduce pain and improve muscle tone and function.
Cupping has become increasingly popular as a soft tissue therapy, and not just for Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps. Cupping has mainstream benefits because it aids healing and enhances performance.
Cupping uses an opposite approach to massage: instead of compressing muscles by applying pressure and pushing like in massage, cupping causes a negative pressure – suction within the cup – and gently lifts the superficial tissues. The result is improved blood flow and increased oxygen to those areas which aids healing and reduces pain.
Because cupping lifts tissues, blood and other fluids, and separates and stretches underlying soft tissues, this specialised technique may leave marks that look like round bruises. These bruises are not damaging on the body; it is the body removing toxins, or other debris caused by previous injury, stress or strains which may have occurred. These marks should disappear within a few days. However, it is important to note that if you have conditions that cause you to bruise easily the marks may take longer to fade. Cupping is mostly done on the back, shoulders, and neck, but also on forearms, thigh, calves, and upper arms.
Manual lymphatic drainage is an advanced gentle technique and is not considered a massage technique. MLD focuses on assisting the flow of lymphatic fluid through the lymph nodes within the body.
MLD technique is a very light brushing action rather than pressure. It is applied in a single direction towards the circulation pattern of the heart to help reduce or encourage re-circulation of excessive lymphatic fluid retention (oedema) that commonly can pool in the limbs, resulting in swelling.
Pooling of lymphatic fluids in the limbs can be due to a range of causes. Primary lymphoedema occurs on its own. Secondary lymphoedema occurs from injuries, surgeries or chemotherapy.
Manual lymphatic drainage is one of a wide range of customised techniques that myotherapists use in working with the body’s soft tissues to reduce pain and discomfort.
Myotherapists are highly specialised primary care allied health professionals. Health fund rebates are available for myotherapy at our centre. To learn more, make contact today.
Bondi Junction Massage & Float Centre is a restorative and remedial oasis of calm and wellbeing in the heart of Sydney’s eastern suburbs, treating thousands of clients since 1985. To find out more about myotherapy or our other treatments make contact today, or book now.
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