What is the difference between Lymphatic, deep tissue and sports massage?
Lymphatic massage or manual lymph drainage, concentrates on the key areas of lymph glands that might be swollen. The key areas are behind your ankles, the back of your knees, your inner thigh muscles and groin, under your ribs and armpits and down the sides of your neck. Manual lymph drainage is designed to gently push fluid through the glands ultimately to drain back into your bloodstream under the left collar bone. Swelling around the left shoulder is an indication of overactive glands. Deep tissue massage is firmer and more thorough in kneading your muscles. The therapist might find knots or trigger points and apply pressure for a time. Sports massage is firmer still; including stretching, harder pressure on knotted muscles or trigger points. By pressing into a muscle and stretching the sports therapist will give muscles a micro stretch.
“Myo” means muscle, fascia refers to the white elastic stocking that contains the muscles and joints. When your brain sends a signal to one muscle a whole group linked by fascia, starts to respond in sequence. Muscle strain or injury can upset the sequence and lead to tension or spasm in a few muscles. It is as if the brain decides to splint a joint to prevent further injury. Myofascial release engages barriers where the fascia tightens or finds areas of ease where the fascia feels more relaxed. A skilled therapist can hold and release the barriers enabling all the muscles in a chain to respond again. They can also work on the abdomen with digestive problems. As you breathe, the therapist slowly increases the pressure, perhaps rotating or stretching deeper organs. Congestion around the gall bladder, small intestine, colon, womb and its supporting ligaments, and hernias or mesh repairs can all be improved by myofascial release. A lady called Emma had in the past a mesh inserted in the abdomen. It secured an abdominal hernia. Women who are very fit or after pregnancy, might suffer a bulge between the rectus abdominal muscles (6 pack). It feels very uncomfortable to arch the back or stretch upwards up-dog, in yoga or pilates. One session of myofascial unwinding and the problem never returned. The same happened with a friend who had a bout of food poisoning. Once it settled down it left her unable to move her bowels. I placed one hand over the abdomen where it felt blocked and one below the back. Using a stethoscope to listen helps to identify the blocked area. An early osteopath called William Garner Sutherland used a similar technique called balanced ligamentous tension. He would support the head or a limb and move it slowly through different directions until all the tissues reach a point of equilibrium.
Technique 1: Place the palm of one hand over the area of tension and one hand below the back. Wait, then slowly rotate and slide the fascia between your hands. If you find a direction that makes it feel easier, hold it there and wait until it softens. If you find a barrier move the other way back to a point of ease and hold it. Wait until you sense which way it would move easily and which way there was resistance. Think three-dimensionally. What is between your hands? Muscle, tendon, small intestine, colon, the edge of the stomach or liver, the area over the gall bladder, ileo-caecal valve, pyloric sphincter, umbilicus, or further down the pelvis to the bladder or upper surface of the uterus. You might want to deepen the pressure but move slowly to avoid a reaction. With babies the umbilical chord is a good starting point. It gives you valuable information for listening.
Technique 2: This takes a different approach to fascia and tendons in their attachment points to bones or other muscles. It is related to a technique called Rolfing and to the physiotherapist called Cyriax. It is a friction technique that works underneath the skin to the underlying tissues. They might do it for anything up to 2 minutes depending on the size and depth of the area. The idea is to help the fascial planes to slide over each other again and to improve the blood supply. If you can cope, it is quite effective.