What Is Myofascial Energetic Massage?
When and Where Was Myofascial Energetic Massage Developed?
Like Myofascial Release Massage, Myofascial Energetic Massage grew out of the field of Osteopathic Medicine and is founded on many of the teachings of Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917), the father of Osteopathic Medicine; Dr. Janet Travell, founder of Trigger Point Massage; and Ida Rolf, developer of Structural Integration/Rolfing.
In short, Myofascial Energetic Massage maintains that by restoring imbalances in the body by freeing restrictions health can be maintained or restored. In that respect, it is no different than the practice of Myofascial Release Massage.
What differs in Myofascial Energetic Massage is that it incorporates aspects of Craniosacral Therapy Massage, Ayurvedic Medicine, and Traditional Chinese Medicine into the practice. Each of these other disciplines teach that the body has a flowing life force, which may be referred to as “energy,” “prana,” or “chi.” Myofascial Energetic Massage recognizes that in addition to having stuck fascia, the channels (usually referred to as “meridians”) through which energy flows can be blocked. As such, techniques for clearing meridians, stimulation of acupressure and Marmas points are used to help clear blockages, release fascia, and loosen tight muscles.
Pressure and Technique in Myofascial Energetic Massage
Just as with Myofascial Release Massage, Myofascial Energetic Massage works in layers from superficial to deep in order to release adhesions in fascia and promote the movement of fluid in the tissue.
The techniques used in Myofascial Energetic Massage are identical in many ways to Myofascial Release Massage, but they take into account the subtle pulses of the human body when they are used. For example, in standard Myofascial Release Massage, the skin and underlying fascia may be dragged in one or more directions to release it. In Myofascial Energetic Massage, the direction and timing of how the skin and fascia are dragged are in coordination with the pulsing of the cerebrospinal fluid.
Additionally, the massage therapist works to free the flow of energy, prana, or chi by using certain strokes in specific directions along meridians to clear blockages. Likewise, acupressure and Marmas points are stimulated to enhance relaxation and increase or decrease the flow of energy in an area.
Clients receiving Myofascial Energetic Massage do not have to believe in the existence of any of these concepts to get relief. They only need to come in with the expectation of getting an effective massage.
Why Myofascial Energetic Massage Massage Works
As with Myofascial Release Massage, Myofascial Energetic Massage promotes a better range of motion and reduced pain through the freeing up of stuck tissues in the body (primarily fascia) by gently reducing adhesions and encouraging fluid to move to dehydrated tissues.
Practitioners of Myofascial Energetic Massage incorporate a number of disciplines into this technique. Craniosacral Massage techniques are incorporated, allowing the therapist to adjust the massage strokes used in Myofascial Release Massage to move with the subtle rhythms of the body. By doing so, the massage therapist works with the way the body wants to go when it wants to go there rather than trying to force it in a particular direction for a set amount of time.
Similarly, Myofascial Energetic Massage therapists monitor meridian lines and work to free them of blockage. This is taken from Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupressure, and Meridian Therapy. Ayurvedic techniques are also used as the therapist utilizes Marmas Points on the body to release or tighten muscles as needed. Therapists with Reiki training may choose to use this modality as well. Reiki seeks to balance the energy in the Chakras, or energy centers of the body. Again, a belief in these modalities is not required to experience results from the energetic techniques.
People often ask if they will feel anything different when getting Myofascial Energetic Massage. The answer is sometimes. Some people are highly sensitive to energetic work and can experience sudden changes in temperature, sense feelings of tingling in an area or throughout the body, feel a sense of heaviness, repulsion, or attraction, and so on. Other people may notice nothing at all beyond receiving a myofascial massage. Most people, however, will feel profoundly relaxed following an energetic massage – beyond simple muscle relaxation. A deeper sense of stress relief and quietness of the mind seems to happen with most everyone.
What Conditions Can be Treated with Myofascial Energetic Massage?
Myofascial Energetic Massage can be effective in treating the same conditions as Myofascial Release Massage. However, Myofascial Energetic Massage appears to have stronger effect on people suffering from stress or psychological issues.
- Neck Pain
- Back Pain
- Hip Pain
- Pain Caused by Chronic Stress
- Emotional Issues
- Carpal Tunnel
- Chronic Pain
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
- Spinal Curvatures (Kyphosis / Scoliosis)
- Frozen Shoulder
- Constipation / Diarrhea
- Sports Injuries
- Trauma (Accidents, Abuse, Surgery,
- Traumatic Spinal Injuries
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/TMJD)
- Optical Problems
- Tinnitus (Ringing in the ears)
- Asperger Syndrome (Aspberger)
- Cerebral Palsy
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Strokes (with consent of physician)
- Ear Infections
Who Should Not Get Myofascial Energetic Massage?
Myofascial Energetic Massage is not recommended for people who have a malignancy, cellulitis (meaning an infection, cellulite is fine), aneurysm, open wounds, obstructive edema, healing bone fractures, or contagious diseases including colds.
How Myofascial Energetic Massage is Performed
Myofascial Energetic Massage is performed the same way as Myofascial Release Massage – on a massage table with sheets. It also can be done on a chair or the floor if it is comfortable for client and therapist. The client may choose to undress fully or remain in underwear. Clients who are undressed or partially clothed will be covered with sheets just like in a Swedish massage.
Unlike many other forms of massage which use oils or creams, myofascial massage typically uses little to no lubricant except when the tissues are flushed following work on an area. Flushing is done by pushing tissues (and fluids underneath) in the direction of the heart. The strokes are long and fluid, so lubricant such as oil or cream may be used for this. During the rest of the massage, however, it is desirable for the skin to drag under the therapists hands so that the fascia can be engaged. If oil or cream are used, the therapist’s hands will simply glide over the tissues and this does not produce the desired result.
In Myofascial Energetic Massage, the therapist may remain still over an area with a hand placed on it. Generally this is because a change in energy is detected in the client’s body. When the therapist no longer senses that energy disturbance, he or she will move on. Additionally, certain acupressure points may be pressed throughout the massage. These may or may not be apparent to the client. Meridians may be cleared by swiping the hand in a particular direction over a specific area. This also may not be noticeable to the client as it feels similar to strokes used in Swedish massage for flushing tissues. These effleurage strokes are used in most forms of massage. Craniosacral techniques are also employed during Myofascial Energetic Massage. Cranial and pelvic holds may be used to monitor and shift craniosacral rhythms.