What is Myotherapy?
“Myo” means muscle. So a Myotherapist is a muscle specialist. When a muscle is in pain or injured, a Myotherapist is a great person to seek out to resolve your pain.
Although we specialise in muscles, we also treat conditions like sprained ankles, wrists (tendons, ligaments), disc injuries (padding between the vertebrae), numbness and tingling (impinged nerve) and bursitis (inflamed fluid filled sack within a joint) .
Why? Because muscles are either connected to or have the ability to influence all the above.
Reason being, when we’re treating a muscle we can’t help but effect the tendons, ligaments, vertebrae positioning and their discs and joints of the body since they are all connected to the muscle via the fascial web.
But we don’t just use our hands, we might use dry needling, cups, stretching, corrective exercise and joint mobilisation.
Is simply the act of inserting a tiny, acupuncture needle into the centre of a “Trigger Point” (a painful site in the muscle).
When performed with accuracy this technique deactivates the Trigger Point which significantly reduces - or nullifies completely - the pain response in the muscle.
Are like the holy grail for us Myotherapists. If we can deactivate a Trigger Point we can swiftly break the back of a pain pattern.
Below is an excellent example of a Trigger Point in action taken from Travell and Simons “Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction” book (aka the Myotherapy bible).
This image shows how you may be suffering from a deep ache in your hamstring or glute or even ankle pain when in fact, the culprit of your pain is sitting much higher in the muscle of the hip (where the X’s are).
A Myotherapist who commands their craft will have a well developed memory for each Trigger Point location in each muscle. Plus, an experienced ear that will be able to hear the description of your symptoms and trace it back to the Trigger Point at play.
Every muscle in the body has Trigger Points, it’s just whether they’re active or not. When they’re active they can be completely debilitating. Causing you sharp searing pains during movement or a deep low and constant ache that keeps you up at night. They can also cause numbess, tingling and inflexibility of the muscle.
Perhaps most importantly, active Trigger Points will reduce the strength of a muscle, an implication that has huge ramifications for setting up poor biomechanical habits within your body.
HOW DO YOU “DEACTIVATE” A TRIGGER POINT?
You simply press on it for 30 seconds - 2 minutes to deactivate it. It looks something like this.
By pressing on it - or by inserting a needle into the centre of it - you change its state and cause a chain reaction in the body where by the sacomeres (tiny sliding filaments within the fibres of the muscle that are responsible for muscle contraction) initiate a “twitch” response.
Or, an involuntary contraction-relaxation phase. This relaxation phase is the one we’re looking for, it resets the muscle back to its original, pain-free resting length.
It may sound complex but this process is quite innate. It’s why you might start to rub the muscles in your neck when you’ve been sitting too long at the computer. Whether you know it or not, you’re unconsciously trying to deactivate a Trigger Point.
why is myotherapy different at urban leopard?
It’s true, we treat a little differently from a traditional Myotherapist and there are a few reasons why.
Our strokes are slower in pace than the norm. It allows us to treat quite deeply and helps the client can relax into the stroke rather than tense up against the pressure. Pace and flow are important ingredients that enable a muscle to release.
We use a completely natural and specially formulated wax that we make on site. It’s a combination of beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil. The beeswax allows us to grip the muscle rather than slip over it, forcing a slow stroke with a lot of friction.
The grippy consistency of the beeswax causes friction within the stroke generating heat which makes the connective tissue (fascia) underneath the skin more malleable, allowing us to be able to shape it into more pain-free positions.
Once you walk out the door your connective tissue will cool and set in this new position. We will have quite literally changed the posture of your muscle by affecting your connective tissue. This why our treatments stick.
Our hands on work is like using a fine tooth comb through thick, knotted hair. The strokes we use to release your muscle and connective tissue are very deep, deliberate and sustained. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to searching for painful, dysfunctional muscle or tight connective tissue.