What is Trigger Point Massage Therapy?

152 - What is Trigger Point Massage TherapyNot to be confused with pressure point massage, trigger point is a special type of massage therapy that involves the manual manipulation of specific areas throughout the body (known as trigger points) to relieve myofascial pain. By stimulating these trigger points, it forces contracted muscle fibers to relax; thus, treating the problems associated with chronic muscle tension. To learn more about trigger point massage therapy and the unique benefits it offers, keep reading.

The Origins of Trigger Point Massage

While massage therapy has been used for thousands of years to treat and prevent various conditions, trigger point massage is a relatively new practice.  Dr. Janet Travell, former physician for President Kennedy, is credited with identifying and mapping the body’s trigger points back in the early 1940s. Dr. Travell went on to publish a report in which he described trigger points as having the following four characteristics:

  1. Pain related to an irritable point in the muscle.
  2. The pain can be felt as nodule or knot within the muscle.
  3. Palpation of the trigger point causes further pain.
  4. Neurological examinations are unable to identify the pain.

How Trigger Point Massage Therapy Works

There are literally hundreds of different trigger points throughout the body. When a client seeks trigger point massage therapy, the therapist will first talk with the client to determine where his or her pain is originating and whether the client is experiencing any other symptoms. Using this information, the therapist will choose the most effective trigger points for treating the client’s pain.

Trigger point massage therapy works by releasing muscle tension in constricted muscles or groups of muscles. Normally, when we constrict our muscles they go back into their relaxed state. There are times, however, when muscles will remain constricted; thus, causing a wide range of health problems. If muscles in your neck remain constricted, it can cause back pain, headaches or even migraines. The tension restricts the flow of blood while adversely affecting the body’s musculoskeletal system. Trigger point massage targets these tense muscles, releasing the tension and forcing them to relax.

Benefits of Trigger Point Massage Therapy:

  • Proven method for relieving muscle aches and pains.
  • Protects muscles from overuse injuries.
  • Can be performed with or without the assistance of a professional massage therapist (self trigger point massage therapy).
  • Can be performed in short sessions lasting just 30 minutes.


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