What is Manual Therapy? / How Does It Work?
Manual therapy is an umbrella term for a system of soft tissue approaches that includes direct hands-on treatments including: massage, mobilisation, stretching and joint manipulations.
Massage is the manipulation of your body’s surface and deep layers of soft tissues. Effective massage treats firstly areas that are causing you discomfort and secondly supports your whole body. In this way massage can have different goals, for example enhancing circulation, reducing pain, relaxation or sports preparation. Massage has powerful effects upon on all of your body’s tissues, but most important is the way massage enhances circulation and the movement of fluid in and around your bodily tissues. Deoxygenated blood and interstitial fluid held within tight muscles provide no fresh oxygen or raw materials for your cells to use. These same cells produce by-products from making new cells and hormones which can build-up and become toxic and painful. Massage presses held fluid back along veins and into the bodies lymphatic system to return the fluid back to your heart. Secondly massage can aid the seperation of individual muscle fibres if they are adhered to eachother. Where your muscle fibres are not able to glide along each other then you need to work the muscle harder to achieve the correct movement. Massage can break up these chemical knots and remove the debris.
Fascial Release Technique (FRT ) aims to anchor connective tissues and slowly elongate the tissues to return them to an appropriate pliability. When your body adapts or changes shape, the final tissues to change shape are the connective tissues.
Lower Toxic Build-up.
The smallest unit of life is the cell. Each of your cells does a vital job, be it building hormones or gobbling-up waste materials. Your well-being then, depends on each cell being supplied with the energy and raw materials itl requires to carry out its role. Without suitable circulation the cells in your body will suffer starvation of energy and raw materials, but also your cells are like tiny factories which will produce waste products like lactic acid or free radicals, even when the supply of raw materials slows or stops. This means that waste products accumulate in your tissues, which can then lead to toxicity and discomfort. Massage then, limits this toxic build-up, while treating your body’s tight muscles that allowed toxicity to occur in the first place.
Free Your Joints.
Mobilisation is a movement ideally in a harmonic rocking motion where your body’s tissues and joints receive a very gentle rhythmic passive movement that can help elongate shortened tissues, encourage the imbibition of synovial fluid into joint and create a passive fluid pump. Mobilisations also have a moderating affect upon your body’s sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nerves gear your body up for fight or flight and prepare certain glands, organs and smooth muscles for this action. Mobilisations can reduce the firing of these nerves allowing the parasympathetic nerves to predominate. Parasympathetic nerves moderate the body’s rest and digest functions. Thus if your fight and flight nerves are over-firing, the rest and digest function of the body will be reduced. This can lead to malabsorption of nutrients, constipation, anxiety and restlessness.
Lengthen Tight Muscles.
The stretching method we use is called Contract Relax, where we activate the target muscle fibres by asking you to contract the muscle, and then we ask you to relax and exhale. As you change from contracting to relaxing neurologically an opportunity occurs where passively the contracted muscle fibres can be drawn a part. Gymnasts and martial artists use this mechanism which they term PNF. In this way tight muscles can be relaxed without the need to sit in a painful positions waiting for the muscle to give.
Lower The Tone of Tight Muscles.
Joint manipulations are particularly useful at neurologically relaxing joints that feel achy or in-bind. Your joint is placed in a position where it is nearly locked up, and a short thrust of energy placed through it. Often a popping or cracking can be heard. This technique activates a receptor in the muscle’s tendon which then creates a reflex arc to the spinal cord, and back down the motor nerve to re-set the muscle’s tone.
These approaches aim to improve the inherent motion of the body, that jobs, driving, diet, hobbies, age and stress limit.
How to Activate Glute Medius
NHS Guidelines for Back Pain – Extract from: “Manual Therapy – your back is massaged or manipulated.”
Staffordshire University / College of Osteopaths – Find out how to train as an osteopath.
Dr Edvard Ernst on Osteopathy – Chair in Complementary Medicine at the University of Exeter.
Proactive Training – Alex teaches on the ProActive Training ITEC accredited Sports Massage Diploma course. ProActive deliver Sports Massage training to undergraduate Physiotherapy, Sports Science and Osteopathy students.
Frozen shoulder pain? – Check out the UK’s leading provider of specific treatment for frozen shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) Frozenshoulder.com.
Therapy-Directory Therapy Directory only lists therapists who are registered with a recognised professional body or those who have sent us copies of their qualifications and insurance cover.
Adaptive Karate with Shihan John Johnston 7th Dan Self development oriented traditional karate. Train with John Johnston in Derby, Coventry and Birmingham. John was one of the original Coventry Shotokan Karate fighters who trained for the love of karate and the confidence and focus that traditional karate develops. On a personal note, I have commenced training with John and Elaine after a long break from the martial arts. Each training session develops good karate but also the psychology, biomechanics and practical application of karate. Wednesdays 8-9pm at Sunny Hill Community Centre and Saturday 10-12 noon at St Augustin Community Centre, Almond Street DE23 6LX.
NICE Back Pain Recommendations – Extract from: “Consider offering a course of manual therapy, including spinal manipulation, spinal mobilisation and massage.” Here the National Institute of Clinical Excellence recommends a series of options for non-specific low back pain including remaining physically active, seeking treatment by means of manual therapy, accupuncture or a combination of therapies, for example, a structured exercise programme and manual therapy. Interestingly NICE do not recommend injections into your low back or use of x-ray imaging.
General Osteopathic Council – The UK government regulator of Osteopathy.
Link to Massage-derby