To explain Trigger Point Massage Therapy, it’s almost better to start with defining what a Trigger Point actually is. From there, what exactly Trigger Point Massage Therapy entails and the benefits should become a tad easier to understand.
What is a Trigger Point?
The technical Webster’s definition of a Trigger Point is: “a localized usually tender or painful area of the body and especially of a muscle that when stimulated gives rise to pain elsewhere in the body.”
A Trigger Point is essentially a muscle “knot” that is locked in a contracted position. These areas are sensitive spots in the soft tissue and stimulation of them can also cause pain or sensitivity in other areas, in addition to the spot itself. The pain can range anywhere for sharp and intense to relatively dull aches or soreness.
What Causes a Trigger Point?
Trigger points can develop in tissue from a variety of causes such as, but not limited to:
- Inadequate circulation
- Chronic overuse
- Incorrect or poor posture
- Vitamin B1 deficiency
Trigger Point Massage Therapy
Trigger Point Massage Therapy is one of the fastest-growing bodywork styles. In addition to massage therapists, even medical doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists are using this technique to relieve muscle and joint pain in their patients.
Similar to Deep Tissue Massage, Trigger Point Massage focuses on specific areas of the body, rather than massaging the entire body as in Swedish/Relaxation Massages. Trigger Point Therapy is specifically designed to target trigger points, ease the tension in that muscle and alleviate the pain by applying focused pressure using fingertips and simple tools on the affected area. Basically, Trigger Point Therapy works to unlock that contracted muscle.
Trigger Point Massage Therapy does require some feedback during the session. For example, the therapist will need to know if the pressure is too much or too little. They may ask you to rate your rate the pressure intensity on a scale of 1 to 10 (or similar). A 1, 2 or 3 may indicate that additional pressure is needed for full benefits, whereas, an 8, 9 or 10 suggests lessening the pressure. Unlike Swedish Massages, Trigger Point Massages are not designed to relax the body, and may at times be somewhat uncomfortable. However, they should not be overly painful by either. Be sure to communicate openly with your therapist – don’t be afraid to let them know the pressure is too much or more is needed to receive the best results.
Benefits of Trigger Point Massage Therapy:
- Decreased Pain from contracted muscles, aka “knots”
- Pain reduction for myofascial pain, such as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD)
- Reduces frequency and/or severity of headaches
- Improved range of motion
- Improved flexibility
- Quicker post workout recover time
- Better circulation
- Increased tissue hydration
- Lessen stress and anxiety
What to Expect After a Trigger Point Massage?
There may be some pain or soreness after your Trigger Point Massage session in the areas that have been treated, especially after your first visit. This is not uncommon and will typically subside in a day or two. Warm baths with epsom salt or moist heat applied to the area can help alleviate and sooth the areas that were affected by the Trigger Point Therapy session.
Although not common, you may notice some bruising after your session, particularly if you tend to bruise easily. Most common areas for bruising (should this happen) are the buttocks and thigh area.
The most common after-effect, is feeling somewhat tired after the appointment. In fact, some folks say they sleep better than normal after their treatment. A good night’s sleep is always welcome in my book, anyway!
Just remember to drink plenty of water after your appointment. This helps to flush out the waste material that has been released during the treatment.
Schedule a Trigger Point Massage Therapy Session
Massage Retreat and Spa offers several convenient locations in the Minneapolis – St. Paul Area:
- Eden Prairie, MN
- Maple Grove, MN
- Savage, MN
- Woodbury, MN
- Edina, MN
- Plymouth, MN
- Shoreview, MN