CaliSpine Deep Tissue Therapy
Have you ever had a massage? You probably have, but I’m willing to bet that you haven’t experienced the kind of massages that we give at CaliSpine. Thousands of our patients have endured our intense deep-tissue therapy over the years, and a majority of them feel incredible afterwards. In this blog, I am going to take a break from exercises and talk about the various types of deep tissue therapy that we use in our office, and why they are so beneficial.
What is Deep Tissue Therapy and Scar Tissue?
At CaliSpine, deep tissue therapy involves the use of various methods to manually lengthen, mobilize, and breakdown scar tissue found in muscle and fascia.
Scar tissue or muscle adhesions can build up in muscle and surrounding fascia after months or years of repetitive motion. Without proper stretching, myofascial release, or massage, scar tissue will slowly build up. It will eventually reduce blood flow to the muscle and restrict the movement of muscle fibers, causing pain. Deep tissue massages help to introduce blood flow to the muscle, realign the fibers and fascia, and increase mobility of a joint.
Each of the methods used at Calispine is meant for different types of patients and at different phases of their care, but they all result in loosened muscle tissue. The techniques we use depend on the severity of the scar tissue. In some cases, we may only need to use our thumbs for Trigger Point Release to break up the scar tissue. If you are a tough, muscular person with years of repetitive motion, you may need our intensive percussive device that our patients have dubbed, “The Drill.”
This type of deep tissue massage is meant for patients that either have small muscle adhesions or a very low pain tolerance. Using only our thumbs, we apply sustained pressure to a section of the muscle and pulse slowly, allowing the muscle fibers to release. This is our go to deep tissue method for a majority of first time patients and the results are less profound than the next 3 methods of massage.
Active Release Technique
This technique produces incredible results by quickly and effectively lengthening muscle tissue and eliminating scar tissue. The idea behind ART is simple: pin down the muscle in an affected region, and then move the body part in a way that the muscle fibers are pulled through your fingers.
In the image to the right, Dr. Mike applies pressure to the Piriformis muscle, and then rotates the patient’s leg, pulling the piriformis muscle through his thumb.
Scraping or Graston Technique
This is another excellent technique that helps to realign tissue fibers, bring blood flow to fascia, and break up any restrictions between the muscle and other connective tissues. We like to compare the technique of scraping to brushing the knots out of your hair. Scraping is a lot more uncomfortable than brushing your hair, but the results are miraculous in areas like the forearm, feet, and IT band where the fascia is very thick.
Our Acupulse Device, or “The Drill”, is the most effective scar tissue breakdown tool that we use in our office. Dr. Mike Wasilisin has developed several iterations of these over the years to help breakdown adhesions in the Quadratus Lumborum Muscle (HyperLink to first QL muscle blog) of the lower back. As a deep muscle, it is difficult to massage using only the hands.
The Drill can also be used lightly and at high speeds over areas like the neck, wrist, and foot, and it immediately breaks down any tight muscle and fascial fibers.
In our office, the Acupulse is most often used for the large low back, shoulder, and thigh muscles.