Know your bodywork techniques

Red Clover Clinic uses a variety of techniques to treat pain conditions such as pain in the low and upper back, neck, shoulders, and joints; chronic headaches; TMJ dysfunction; and carpal tunnel syndrome. 

I typically achieve the best results by applying a combination of acupuncture and one or more healing techniques. These “Mix and Match” sessions are effective for complex musculoskeletal conditions and complicated cases.

Below is a glossary of bodywork techniques that will be useful now, and in preparation for the next newsletter’s focus on myofascial pain–pain that occurs in the muscle and its surrounding connective tissue. 

Neuromuscular therapy takes the interplay and pathology of nerve and muscle tissues into consideration. A variety of techniques are used, including gliding pressure through the tissues, highly specific applied pressure to trigger points*, and stretching, to address bio-mechanical issues: trigger points*, nerve entrapments and compression, postural issues, and hypertonic (chronically tightened) muscles.

Trigger point therapy addresses active trigger points* by applying sustained pressure, often combined with some stretching of the tissue, until it releases. Self-treatment can be done between sessions using thumb pressure, lying and pressing against tennis balls, or using a Theracane.

*Trigger points are specific, tender points that, when stimulated, elicit “referred” pain, i.e. pain that occurs at a distance from the specific point. Interestingly, these points have been mapped according to what muscle they occur in and are consistent from person to person.]

Myofascial release focuses primarily on the fascial (connective tissue) system. Sustained pressure is used to engage and stretch the elastic tissues until the the contracted area softens and releases.

Positional release therapy is a more passive and indirect method than the previously mentioned therapies. The client’s body is moved into a position that gives slack to tightened tissues, inducing a release of fascial tension. This release decreases muscle tension and restores joint mobility, thus decreasing pain and increasing functional mobility and flexibility. In essence, the muscle resets itself, and is no longer stuck in its contracted state.

Craniosacral therapy is a subtle, but deep-acting, technique that uses the cranial bones, as well as the sacrum (triangular bone at the base of the spine), as handles to unwind and release adhesions in the meningeal (protective) membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This method restores proper movement of the cranial bones and can be helpful to treat, among other things, back and neck pain, chronic headaches, TMJ syndrome, and stress.