As the stigmas historically associated with mental illness slowly break down, more focus is placed on understanding how exactly these conditions affect so many of us. There is lots of good information available about what exactly happens to brain chemistry, what lifestyle and even dietary changes might help someone in their struggle with mental illness. One strategy that has been shown to help many people dealing with various mental illnesses is CranioSacral Therapy, and I’d like to explain how exactly this works. CranioSacral Therapy is gentle, mechanical manipulation of the individual bones that make up the skull, as well as the sacrum (i.e. your tailbone). This is an important piece: What if there is something STRUCTURALLY contributing to a mental illness?
One of the biggest challenges facing the massage therapy profession is finding acceptance from the larger medical community as an effective, even necessary, therapeutic intervention. As a Registered Massage Therapist, and as anyone who receives regular massage therapy can confirm, we know that massage therapy can manage symptoms associated with all kinds of conditions. However, we have a hard time explaining exactly how it works and why it consistently provides relief,
Clients commonly ask me if I offer “deep tissue” massage. The simple answer is yes, it is a part of every massage therapist’s training. However, it is not always the most effective approach. In my experience, ‘forcing’ a muscle to release by digging a knuckle or elbow into it often provides only temporary relief. I’m most interested in understanding why the muscle is so tight in the first place, so that the root cause can be addressed for longer-lasting relief.
Can Massage Therapy help with my headaches? Yes! Although Massage Therapy may not spring to mind as a typical intervention for ongoing headaches, I have had a lot of success over the years treating clients for head pain. There are a few ways Massage Therapy can address headaches, but the most common way is by addressing trigger points in the neck and upper back. A trigger point is a specific point in a muscle that, when stimulated, can cause referred pain. These pain patterns are remarkably consistent from one person to another and there are A LOT of trigger points that refer to the head, mimicking a headache. Some trigger points can even mimic migraines or cause some autonomic phenomena to occur, such as watery eyes, runny nose, and light sensitivity. So, by addressing the tension in the neck and associated trigger points, headaches will often disappear!
There are so many different types of headaches, how can you know if Massage Therapy will help you with your specific headache? There are some good clues to watch for that may indicate that your headache pain is associated with a pesky trigger point: