The most important rule with massage and with self massage is to not irritate the nerves.
The type of therapy that I do the most is deep tissue therapy. I say deep tissue because I apply pressure to muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments; so I cannot call it deep muscle massage. For the reason of simplicity I’ll be referring to muscle trigger points, though this knotty tension (sometimes forming into adhesions) can also be in the fascia, tendons and ligaments.
I am not a pure/exclusive advocate of any type of therapy. In working for over thirty years I’ve hybridized (mixed) different methods of therapy into the work that I do. Though the best description (if I were to choose one description) of the primary therapy that I do is trigger point therapy.
Anatomy Lesson In Trigger Points
The type of self massage that I’m suggesting that you do is best described as trigger point massage. Wikipedia has a good page about trigger point massage. Click here to go to the wikipedia page.
Traditionally when trigger point massage is described it refers to trigger points or knots in the muscles and in the fascia. Click here to go to the Wikipedia page about fascia.
Traditionally when talking about trigger points, the knots or fibrous adhesions wouldn’t be called trigger points if they are in the tendons or in the ligaments. When I write of trigger points I’m including that these knots or fibrous adhesions can be also in ligaments and tendons; not strictly in the muscles and fascia. When I write of trigger points I’ll be referring to muscles for simplicity reasons, though these knotty-shaped formations of tension (trigger points) can also be in fascia, tendons and ligaments.
When A Muscle Stays Tight For A Long Time Not All Of The Fibers Stay Tight. The Muscle Forms Trigger Points In Response To Long Held Tension.
When a muscle stays tighter than its normal state not all of the muscle fibers maintain that tension. Certain fibers in the muscle are assigned the job to stay tight. Other fibers in the muscle can stay normal; allowing them to be used normally when you put the muscle to work.
The certain or specific fibers that are assigned to stay tight all of the time start forming into a knot-like shape. These knotty-shaped formations of tight fibers are called trigger points or muscle knots. You can feel these very specific and very tender points when someone massages you.
The trigger points are the fibers of the muscles that hold the most tension. They are also the fibers of the muscle that are holding tension for the longest period of time. These trigger points are the places in the muscle that are causing most of the problem with the muscle. Bringing these trigger points areas (the tightest areas in the muscle) back to normal is how to help the muscle release the most tight fibers of the muscle.