2015 July

Don’t you just wish there were stress free zones in real life?

I could see huge implications for this just along Route 4 in Central Orlando!!

During June I took some time off to go with a  group of strangers turned family to the Navajo Reservation in Chinle, Arizona.  The last time I went with a group anywhere was to work on a Habitat for Humanity home in inner-city Philly.  Our mission was to build a traditional Navajo dwelling called a hogan.  As I was to learn during the course of our trip, the Navajo have undergone much hardship at the hand of governmental mandate and their history is quite traumatic.  Still today many have no running water to their homes.  Despite these present-day and historic occurrences, the people are so gentle and welcoming and I felt so blessed to get to know them and share in their lives for those few days.

Massage Basics – Trigger Points

A trigger point is a point in a taut muscle that is extremely tender AND THAT HAS A PREDICTABLE, RADIATING PAIN PATTERN (ie. pressing on the SCM in a particular spot consistently refers pain in an arch over the eye, as shown below.  This pain pattern is commonly thought to be a headache and can feel unmistakably similar to a headache when it is referred from the SCM).

The word “trigger point” is not a synonym for what people typically call a ‘knot’ and what I would typically call muscle restriction or adhesion.  Nor is is a synonym for the fibromyalgia symptom of ‘tender point.’  Trigger points are completely different.  They are specifically mapped out in the two content dense books shown above, written by Travell MD.  I have both volumes in my office if you would like see them.

Trigger points are produced by overwork, repetitive motion, or sudden excessive stretch.  The term ‘release’ refers to the softening and lengthening of soft tissue in response to therapy. The point at which a muscle releases is unmistakable to a therapist and to a client with good sense of their body; muscular release is a joyous occasion for all involved!

Anatomy 101 – Sternocleidomastoid

The Sternocleidomastoid (abbreviated SCM for obvious reasons!) is a neck muscle that stabilizes, turns, and flexes the head and neck as well as maintains posture.  It is a predicable culprit for “headaches.”

The SCM has two attaching points – one on the sternum (breastbone) and the other on the clavicle (collarbone).
If there is a trigger point in the sternal ‘head’ of the muscle you will get a sharp pain over the eye, the top of head, and around chin.  If there is trigger point in the clavicular ‘head’ of the muscle you will get radiating pain into or behind the ear and into forehead.  Shooting into the shoulder blade and arm pain are other areas seemingly unrelated but considerations.

Swallowing and breathing can be impeded when the SCM is tight.  Rotating the head left is done by your right SCM and vise versa.  Looking upward and tipping your head side to side are also movements done by SCM.  As a result, you may feel this while driving or when putting your head on the pillow.  A stiff neck, caused by spasming SCM, many times will require massage therapy to release lengthening it.

When clients come in with this particular issue often find much relief even after one session.  I generally recommend four session within a week of each other to thoroughly address this issue.  Clients are also given simple neck stretches to do throughout the day to facilitate continued release outside the treatment room.


Customization is what it is all about!

Treatment styles create treatments specifically tailored to your needs that day to help you live pain-free and with maximum mobility.


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