Deep Tissue Bodywork
Unlike conventional massage, which works with the movement of circulation and nervous tension, deep tissue bodywork (which includes myofascial release and fascial stretching) focuses on the long-term patterns of resistance and compensation in the muscles and connective tissues of the body.
Even when deeply relaxed, our body still holds and maintains a set of imprinted limitations, which are the basis for numerous pains and restrictions in expression both physical and non-physical.
Deep tissue bodywork relies on the understanding of the different connective tissue layers of the body and in the ability to work with these layers to relax, lengthen and release holding patterns in the most effective and energy efficient way possible.
In deep tissue bodywork the emphasis is on altering structures and muscle restrictions. Most people feel an increased degree of relaxation, the alleviation of pain and longer lasting benefits.
Myofascial release is used to evaluate and treat restrictions in the body’s contractile connective tissues (muscles) and non-contractile supportive connective tissues (fascia) by the application of gentle traction, pressures and positioning.
Fascia is a complex supportive web throughout the body affecting all components of the musculoskeletal, nervous and visceral (organ) systems.
It surrounds groups of muscle fibres, and entire muscle groups and organs. While it is not contractile, it can be passively elastically deformed. That is how it retains tensions from physical and emotional traumas. It is also involved when a person suffers chronic pain or physical dysfunction.
Chronically tense muscles restrict blood flow and fatigue the body. Both fascia and muscle tissues can become shortened if they are improperly used. As well, layers of fascia can stick together.
Myofascial release techniques are used to coax muscles in spasm to relax, and break adhesions in the fascia. Bodies respond to these therapies by releasing tension that has been stored in the fascia, thus allowing more functional flexibility and mobility of the muscles, fascia and associated structures.
There are few therapists who are able to create a release of the iliopsoas muscle with their hands in a safe and pleasurable way. Many years ago I developed a special method that would enable me to implement exactly what was needed. During the years I have used that manipulation technique a couple of thousand times with great success.
Here you can read more about the iliopsoas muscle and I have also added some links to give you more relevant and helpful information.
The psoas muscle is involved in many of the acute and chronic problems of the body. It’s hard to believe the amount of pain and suffering caused by a muscle so deep in the abdomen. Some of the conditions involving the psoas include: low back pain, sacroiliac pain, sciatica, disc problems, spondylolysis, scoliosis, hip degeneration, knee pain, menstruation pain, infertility, and digestive problems.
The list can also include biomechanical problems such as pelvic tilt, leg length discrepancies, kyphosis, and lumbar lordosis.
So what keeps the psoas in contraction? The psoas will stay contracted because of postural habits and trauma. The way we stand, walk and sit can distort the psoas. If we walk or stand with our chin in an overly forward position the muscle will tighten.
Ida Rolf wrote, “a deteriorated psoas” chronically flexes the body at the level of the groin, so that it prevents truly erect posture. Sitting through much of the day the psoas shortens to keep us bio mechanically balanced in our chairs. Over time we develop a “normal” way of holding the psoas that is dysfunctional.
Unresolved trauma can keep the psoas short and reactive. After a traumatic occurrence animals will release their protective responses by shaking. Humans often bypass this release response and hold the trauma in their bodies. Until the psoas is released the muscle may stay contracted and fearful and go into further shortening and spasm very easily.
Very useful links about thoracic outlet, iliopsoas and pelvic release
Psoas, Instinctive Responses & The Healthy Pelvis, Liz Koch
Cell Biology Meets Rolfing, Thomas Findley – PDF
Anatomy Trains Fascia
Anatomy Trains Tensegrity
Connective Tissue, Kent Simmons
Giving Massage a New Name and Reputation, Paula Moerland
What is Fascia?, John F. Barnes
Spiral Release Bodywork
Key Elements of Connective Tissue Massage, John Latz
Tight Psoas Muscles: 9 Central Questions and Answers, Lawrence Gold