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What is Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 14 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Myofascial trigger point therapy is a type of bodywork which aims to release muscular tension by applying concentrated pressure to trigger points, areas of the muscle which hold pain and tension. This type of bodywork is also sometimes referred to as myofascial release or trigger point therapy, with most therapists using the terms adopted by the people who trained them. Several professional trade organizations for therapists who offer myofascial trigger point therapy can be found around the world, and many such organizations offer referrals for people who are interested in this type of bodywork.

The idea behind myofascial trigger point therapy is that trigger points in the body harbor tension which contributes to muscle pain, bad posture, soreness, and general aches and pains, along with irritability, stress, and emotional tension. If a massage therapist can find these pressure points and release the pressure by working the fascia, the trigger points will “release,” allowing greater freedom of movement and reducing the pain associated with the trigger points.

In a typical session of myofascial trigger point therapy, the client is asked to wear loose-fitting comfortable clothing. He or she starts out with an interview, discussing general health with the therapist. The therapist often asks the client to walk, bend, and stretch so that potential trigger points can be identified, and then the client lies down on a table.

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Massage therapists look for latent and active trigger points. An active trigger point is a point which is actively causing pain and soreness, and such spots are often very easy to identify. Latent trigger points only release pain when pressured, but they can contribute to muscle pain. Massage therapists use their experience and knowledge of the link between various activities and latent trigger points to identify these areas.

During the session of myofascial trigger point therapy, it is common to feel some tension and pain when the trigger points are identified and released. Some clients describe the sensation as a feeling of intense pressure, followed by a sudden release of tension which sometimes causes a twinge of pain. It is important to communicate with the therapist about pain, as too much pain can cause tension and soreness, allowing the trigger point to reform.

Several sessions of myofascial trigger point therapy may be required to address the client's issue, and many therapists recommend routine follow up to keep the body fit and healthy. Clients may want to be aware that every therapist works slightly differently, and sometimes it takes several tries to identify a massage therapist who is appropriate for your needs.

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