Places within our muscle fibers become unhealthy due to acute or chronic stress. Disturbances in muscle functions and muscle stiffness develop from this.
These in turn cause pain, which can even drift into remote regions of the body. Responsible for this are so called myofascial trigger points.
Through trigger point therapy the pathological changes in our muscular system can be removed.
Fields of application
- Reduction/removal of myofascial pain
- Restoration of the physiological functions of muscles and conjunctive tissue
- Improvement of blood- and lymph drainage
- Improvement of posture and movement patterns
- Positive effect on the psyche of the patient, especially subconscious emotional processes, which have led to a better muscle relaxation
- Reflective influence on internal organs
Also called “the art of touch” this is one of the forms of treatment that gives people strength and vitality.
The classic massage influences the muscles and the surface tissue layer through different techniques ( stroking, kneading, vibrating, etc.).
- Improved circulation
- Stimulation of the metabolism
- Loosening, stretching and relaxing the musculature
Resulting in a better oxygen feed of the musculature and removal of metabolic products (which harden the muscle), which in turn leads to a reduction of pain within the tissue.
For athletes it’s a sensible preparation and/or follow up to sports activities.
In case of occupational and/or posture-related strains the classic massage is a good prophylactic method.
Fields of application
- Disease of the locomotor system, which needs a relaxation of the musculature
- Painful tension
- One-sided strain at work
- After treatment of muscle injuries
A pregnancy massage can help to improve well-being, release tension and alleviate discomfort. The treatment is offered starting in the 12th week of pregnancy and can be performed until the end of pregnancy.
- Relief of sciatica, lumbar or rib pain
- Improvement of circulation
- Support of the immune and lymphatic systems
- Relief of muscle cramps
- Reduction of edema and tissue congestion
- Reduction of stress and anxiety
- Improvement of sleep quality
What is a pregnancy massage exactly?
Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful things a woman can experience. The body is about 40 weeks in the process of providing for a new human life – this goes hand in hand with certain physical changes that can sometimes lead to discomfort. These can include:
- Back pain
- Muscle tension
- Water retention
The pregnancy massage provides expectant mothers with the opportunity to support the body during this special time and relax both the mother and the unborn child. The pregnancy massage is a special form of massage that combines various techniques. This includes partial areas of lymphatic drainage, classical massage, trigger point treatment, or even elements of traditional Chinese medicine. The pregnancy massage always takes the individual needs of the pregnant woman into account.
Why is pregnancy massage applied?
Massage therapy has a positive effect on expectant mothers, regardless of whether they suffer from pregnancy complaints or not. The holistic relaxation caused by pregnancy massage promotes recovery. Thus, the fatigue and stress that a pregnant woman can feel is significantly reduced, especially in the second and third trimester.
In addition, the treatment for expectant mothers is a good opportunity to get in touch with their body and feel comfortable in their skin. This way, the expectant mother can not only cope with the physical changes that come with pregnancy, but also look forward to childbirth with greater calmness.
When and how is pregnancy massage performed?
The treatment is offered from the 12th week of pregnancy and can be performed during a normal pregnancy course until the end of pregnancy. Because the hormones released during pregnancy loosen the tissue of the body, the ligament apparatus and joints lose stability.
For this reason, a stable, safe, and comfortable position for the pregnant woman is very important, which is why pregnancy massage is usually performed in the lateral position. During the treatment, the entire body can be massaged: Different massage techniques are used depending on the symptoms.
What benefits does pregnancy massage offer?
Many discomforts that occur during this special time can be relieved by various manual therapies. For example, a pregnancy massage can reduce back and neck pain that occurs in the second and third trimesters. Among other things, the circulation of muscles and connective tissue is stimulated, which releases tension. Foot reflexology massages provide relief for water retention or digestive problems. But expectant mothers who are spared all these discomforts also benefit from pregnancy massage: the treatment relaxes the pregnant woman and thus promotes well-being for the mother and the unborn child. The following are the benefits of pregnancy massage in more detail:
The body tissue loosens due to hormonal changes. This reduces the stability of the spine and pelvic structure, which can often lead to pain in the symphysis or iliosacral joint. This is because the body tries to compensate for this instability with increased muscle effort. The result: painful tensions. The increasing chest circumference can also cause tensions in the shoulder-neck area or tension headaches.
The targeted treatment of the affected regions makes incorrect postures noticeable and reduces muscle pain. In addition, massage helps to prevent the chronicity of symptoms.
Expectant mothers are often affected by constipation, heartburn, and bloating. This is due to the relaxed smooth muscle throughout the body. Pregnancy massage not only improves circulation, but also promotes metabolism. Foot reflexology is especially suitable for constipation as it stimulates digestion. The reflex zones for the uterus, as well as the acupuncture points LE3 and BL67, are left out as a precaution. However, even with a targeted massage of these points, they would only have a childbirth-initiating effect in the event of latent labor readiness.
During pregnancy, the blood volume and the pressure of the uterus on the blood vessels of the pelvis increase. The peripheral blood vessels are also relaxed during this time. This results in slowed circulation, which the expectant mother feels particularly in her legs. This is problematic because it can lead to varicose veins, spider veins, and leg edema. Pregnancy massage also offers a solution here: During the treatment, the expectant mother is positioned in a special position: the additional lymphatic drainage can prevent edema or reduce existing edema. In addition, massage improves blood and lymph circulation. This has the following benefits:
- Reduction of water retention
- Prevention of varicose veins
- Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome (related to pregnancy)
During this special time, a woman's estrogen level reaches its highest values. Because the hormone relaxes connective tissue, the risk of tissue tears increases. Pregnancy massage cares for the skin and may prevent skin tears.
Towards the end of pregnancy, the lung has less space due to the growing uterus. The chest expands to the side and can cause tension in the intercostal muscles. In addition, as the baby gets older, it will take up more and more space in the expectant mother's belly. This can compress the diaphragm and slightly hinder breathing. Massage therapy stimulates blood and lymph circulation. This promotes the oxygen supply to cells and tissue. Targeted massage techniques between the ribs provide additional relief.
When should a pregnant woman avoid pregnancy massage?
Pregnancy massage offers both physical and psychological benefits for expectant mothers. However, in some cases, pregnancy massage is contraindicated. These include:
- Preterm labor
- Fungal infections and other germs
- Thrombosis with embolism risk
- And all other generally contraindicated health conditions in which normal massage should be strictly avoided, such as severe heart failure, tumors, lymphangitis, heart attack, etc.
It is recommended to discuss the therapy with your gynecologist before treatment begins.
The foot reflexology is a naturopathic procedure. It is based on the theory that certain regions or points on the foot are connected to other parts of the body especially internal organs via fixed connections (“reflex pathways”).
The emphasis here is not only on the symptoms.
The holistic point of view also takes the background of the symptoms into account, i.e. why they are there in the first place.
The foot reflexology works with the self healing properties of the human and thus accomplishes a natural change in all disturbed vital functions.
- Pain in the spine, joints and musculature
- Illness of the digestive organs, urinary tract, respiratory organs and the skin
- Headaches, migraine
- Accompanying dental restoration, in cases of toothache
- Lack of vitality, states of anxiety, sleeping problems
- During pregnancy, and afterwards for mother and child
- As preparation and/or follow-up for surgeries
- Accompanying all painful or difficult situations of life
- As feel-good treatment and preparedness or care of your health
This is a decongesting technique, which uses gentle strokes on the skin to encourage the drain of lymph fluid.
First the central lymph nodes are stimulated through soft circling motions and then the therapist moves through the natural direction of the lymph nodes towards the affected area.
Through the therapy you achieve a faster, steady detumesce of the region in question, a reduction of pain and a better flexibility.
After the treatment it is best to put on bandages or compress stockings to maintain the treatment’s results.
- Edemata after chest-surgery or severe accidents
- Sudeck’s syndrome
- After treatment of surgical interventions
- Chronic venous insufficiency
CMD is a common disorder of the chewing system.
For example, a jaw that is tense due to stress may be characterized by pain and grinding of the teeth.
Targeted massage of the chewing muscles promises relief.
- Limitations in movement and pain in the head and neck region
- A tense jaw accompanied by pain while chewing
- Friction and cracking in the jaw joint when speaking and chewing
- Hypermobility of the jaw joints (lockjaw)
- Inability to open the mouth wide
- Bruxism (teeth grinding) during the day or at night
- Stiff jaw muscles, especially in the morning
- Painful jaw joints due to overuse
Craniomandibular Dysfunction (CMD): From Cause Clarification to Therapy
As the name suggests, CMD describes a dysfunction that affects the skull (cranium) and lower jaw (mandible). In practice, it can lead to impairment of the teeth, chewing muscles, jaw joints, and the neurophysiological control of the chewing system. The disease also has a negative impact on the overall health of those affected. According to estimates, around 15% of adults in Germany suffer from a therapy-requiring disorder of the chewing function.
Possible causes and effects of CMD on the body
In short, tension in the chewing, head, and/or facial muscles is responsible for the development of chewing function disorders. Possible triggers include psychological stress or general psycho-emotional stress, occlusal disorders (misalignment of the teeth), poorly fitted dentures, including implants and dentures, and tooth abrasion, or severe wear of the teeth. However, it is often a combination of several factors.
The complex symptomatology, which often has a negative impact on the overall health of those affected, is due to the large influence of the chewing muscles on the rest of the body. If there is tension in these muscles, pain in the jaw joints, teeth, head, neck, face, and the entire support and movement apparatus will not be long in coming. A noteworthy point on the side: grinding of the teeth is both a symptom and a risk factor for CMD. Therefore, people who suffer from frequent grinding of the teeth are at particular risk for this disease, as it leads to tension in the jaw muscles.
Impaired chewing function and its consequences
If the chewing function is impaired, the involved muscles try to compensate by tensing up or becoming hyperactive. Specifically, this manifests itself on the side of the dysfunction by spreading apart and on the opposite side by "squeezing" the jaw joint. The latter in turn triggers a range of complaints such as ear noises. The fact that these usually appear on the joint opposite side of the disturbance contact makes rapid and clear diagnosis even more difficult.
Some of the most notable signs of craniomandibular dysfunction (CMD) include limitations in movement and pain in the head and neck region. A tense jaw accompanied by pain while chewing, increased sensitivity of the jaw joints, and tooth pain are just a few examples.
Other potential accompanying symptoms of CMD include:
- Friction and cracking in the jaw joint when speaking and chewing,
- Hypermobility of the jaw joints (lockjaw),
- Inability to open the mouth wide,
- Bruxism (teeth grinding) during the day or at night,
- Stiff jaw muscles, especially in the morning,
- Painful jaw joints due to overuse.
In addition, the following symptoms may also be associated with craniomandibular dysfunction:
- Difficulty swallowing,
- Voice disorders,
- Pressure sensation behind the eyes,
- Subjective ear noises (tinnitus) and ear pain,
- Emotional stress,
- Tension and pain in the neck, shoulders, and back, leading to muscle hardening and inflammation.
Craniomandibular Dysfunction: Diagnosis Information
Individuals experiencing one or more of the above symptoms should immediately consult their doctor to prevent worsening of the symptoms. Depending on the specialist chosen, the diagnostic process may vary slightly.
For example, a dentist will rely on a clinical, instrumental, and manual analysis of the individual's functions to determine the present medical condition. This will involve a thorough examination of the mouth opening, jaw movements, and bite closure, among others. If these are accompanied by pain or limitations, it is very likely that CMD is present.
If a blockage of the jaw joint is suspected, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide further insight. In addition to the patient's medical history, the treating dentist will also be interested in the patient's current psychological well-being. The findings resulting from this comprehensive analysis provide a first orientation.
If it clearly points to a chewing disorder, treatment can begin. If this is not the case, it serves as a basis for further examinations that go beyond the dental diagnosis and involve other diagnostic methods.
Treatment options for CMD
Various therapeutic measures are possible depending on the identified cause. After the so-called functional diagnosis, the treating dentist will usually take steps to ensure a uniform bite. Customizable occlusal splints lead the list of treatment concepts. The main goal here is to relieve neuromuscular tension and eliminate irregularities or disturbances in the bite.
Accompanying measures such as medical massages, physiotherapy, psychotherapeutic treatments, and progressive muscle relaxation serve general physical and mental relaxation. They not only counter a tense jaw but also alleviate the overall physical limitations and pain that it often brings.
If these fundamental therapeutic efforts are successful, further therapeutic procedures can be initiated. The main goal is to eliminate existing disorders. This is done specifically through dental treatment of tooth gaps, tooth damage, and/or poorly fitting crowns or fillings.
It is very important in this context to intervene as quickly as possible, as a dysfunction of the chewing apparatus can lead to permanent damage to the jaw joints and other important body regions and functions.
Effective cooperation between various medical specialists in both the diagnosis and treatment of CMD is also essential for a sustainable treatment success. This includes psychologists, neurologists, medical masseurs, physiotherapists, orthopedists, and ENT doctors in addition to dentists. While the latter are responsible for symptoms such as tinnitus, dizziness, and ear pain, tensions, muscle pains, and complaints of the pelvis and spine fall within the scope of specialists in orthopedics and massage.
Self-help measures for CMD
We have already extensively explained that many factors play a role in CMD. As such, your assistance as a sufferer is required both in finding the cause and in the treatment. It begins with a thorough self-observation. In what situations does your jaw tense up particularly strongly? When does the phenomenon of teeth grinding occur exactly? When are the pains particularly strong?
Consciously focus on relaxation in these situations and regularly use appropriate exercises, including progressive muscle relaxation, meditative exercises, etc. at home, in the office, and in your leisure time. In addition, identify the factors in your life that cause excessive stress and, if necessary, work with a specialized therapist to reduce them. Choose relaxing hobbies as a counterbalance to the stressful working day and consciously take time for family and friends.
Many good reasons to consider massage for CMD: a final word
In the spirit of interdisciplinary treatment, the benefits of massage for CMD cannot be emphasized enough. As already explained, the main goal is to eliminate the tensions responsible for the functional disorder of the chewing system. Massage is particularly gentle in this regard, as it exerts its effect without the risk of strong side effects or contraindications.
For maximum effect of massage in CMD, it is best to have the massage performed by a professional massage practice. However, as a self-help measure, it is advisable to also apply the massage at home. Your massage therapist will be happy to show you how it works.
Jaw joint pain, for example, can be reduced by targeted kneading massage using circular movements on the affected muscles and joints.
In the so-called friction massage, gentle pressure is applied to the mandibular muscle lying under the masseter muscle using the index finger. The stretching jaw joint massage performed with two thumbs can further promote the beneficial relieving effect.
You can obtain further information on the benefits of massage for CMD and tips for its use as part of rapid first aid for pain from experienced experts at your massage practice.