is Connective Tissue Massage?
Tissue Massage (CTM) is a dynamic approach to bodywork that releases
myofascial restrictions. CTM relieves chronic tension, increase ease
of movement, improves posture, and enhances self-awareness. These
results are often achieved with remarkable efficiency, providing immediate
relief from symptoms without requiring excessive force. Because of
this, CTM can benefit almost anyone, and is useful in a wide variety
of circumstances ranging from accidents to illnesses to managing the
stresses of daily life.
is Connective Tissue?
"connective tissue" refers to tissues that surround, protect, and
support all of the other structure in the body. Connective tissue
is the matrix that binds together the body's organs and systems, while
at the same time providing compartmentalization between them. Fascia,
a specific type of connective tissue, is a continuous sheath that
provides structural support for the skeleton and soft tissues (muscles,
Gravity, injury, illness,
emotional trauma, or other stresses can affect fascia, causing an
imbalance in the connective tissue network. Specifically, this imbalance
usually manifests as tightening and shortening of the fascia. This
can be experienced as pain, stiffness, discomfort, or decreased flexibility
anywhere in the body. Once myofascial tissue (i.e., muscle and its
fascial envelope) becomes chronically shortened, it loses flexibility
and resilience, and is unable to relax completely even when the body
is at rest.
In this situation, CTM
is the most direct way to restore length and flexibility to the fascia,
normalizing the tissue and bringing greater health through the fascial
does CTM feel?
Connective Tissue Massage is a unique sensory experience, and does
not involve the use of oil or lotion. The practitioner's contact is
generally broad, slow, and intentional. This approach is intense but
noninvasive, allowing clients to remain open to the work during the
Fascial shortening and
restriction can be released almost instantly with the conscious touch
of CTM, bringing an immediate and deep feeling of relief from tension.
The sense of well-being which ensues can include more energy, increased
breathing capacity, an enhanced self-awareness, and an appreciation
of the body as an integrative whole, organized through its fascial
Receiving CTM in an area
of chronic pain might at first cause some discomfort, as areas of
tissue that have become shortened begin to be stretch and release.
Any initial sensitivity usually lessens within a few minutes, as the
fascial release is accomplished. Your CTM therapist knows ways to
minimize any discomfort, and is careful to ensure the work feels right
to you. In Connective Tissue Massage, your practitioner works with
you, not on you, and he or she encourages you to give feedback so
that the work can be adjusted to best meet your needs.
While CTM is primarily
concerned with physical changes in the body, it can - sometimes subtly
and sometimes dramatically - affect the whole person. When fascia
is lengthened and more space is created physically, more space is
also created for emotional change and release. As the body is released
from restrictions, the emotional self is also "released," and is freed
to respond more spontaneously. Physical "letting go" may coincide
with a sense of emotional "letting go."
Clients describe this as
a positive change, reporting diminished stress, heightened self-awareness,
and greater potential for self-actualization.
can benefit from CTM?
Connective Tissue Massage is adjusted to the individual needs and
comfort of each client, almost anyone can experience this work and
receive its many benefits. CTM can reduce stress, relieve chronic
tension, and improve flexibility and posture. Many athletes and dancers
use this work to enhance their performance.
CTM can also be helpful
in preventing, and rehabilitating from, many types of injuries. Connective
tissue work may be useful on, or around, a specific site of injury.
Because it relieves fascial strain and tension around joints, it is
ideal to reduce structural compensations that could otherwise develop
following trauma (whether acute or chronic). This can mean a faster
and more complete recovery, as well as help to minimize the body's
vulnerability to future injury.
CTM is an ideal way to
help relieve the painful symptoms of any number of chronic conditions,
including tendonitis, scoliosis, sciatica, TMJ, and carpal tunnel
syndrome. It is a valuable adjunctive therapy for many people with
chronic illnesses such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue
syndrome, multiple sclerosis, ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), or other
disorders affecting the neuromusculoskeletal system.
By releasing restrictions
within the myofascial network, CTM can provide relief from some of
the symptoms of these and other conditions, offering clients improved
range and freedom of motion, increased energy, and an enhanced sense
of well being.
is the difference between CTM and myofascial release?
unique in its distinctive system of body mechanics. The practitioner
is guaranteed appropriate contact with clients' fascia by leaning
his or her controlled body weight in a particular alignment. Using
oblique angles of contact and slow, deliberate speed allows the receiver's
tissue to be easily stretched and lengthened, while the practitioner
remains comfortable in his/her own body.
contrast to some systems of fascial work, CTM never uses oil. This
ensures maximum capability of affecting fascia. Likewise, the practitioner's
oblique angle of contact optimizes the effectiveness of each stroke,
while allowing clients to remain open and receptive to the work. This
differs from myofascial approaches which stay only on superficial
tissue, or which dig in a straight downward (often uncomfortable and
distinguishing feature of CTM is its treatment of the body as a whole
and integrated structure. Students learn to "feel the fascia," and
are guided to recognize and address relationships among areas of the
CTM practitioners are thus able to provide significant, lasting changes
without overriding clients' boundaries of comfort and tolerance.
This, again, is in contrast
to approaches which emphasize "spot work," going too fast or too deep,
creating only temporary results, or leaving clients feeling disjointed.
for Structural Integration
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North Bay Village, FL 33141