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What is the Muscle Release Technique?

Muscle release technique can help with repetitive stress injuries, like those caused by typing.
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  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2014
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The Muscle Release Technique™ is a style of bodywork developed by Michael Young, a massage therapist who focuses on injuries, especially those caused by repetitive strain. This technique is designed to supplement a physical therapy program and can be used for people with a wide range of problems, including sports injuries, chronic pain, and repetitive stress injuries. Therapists who offer this form of bodywork are typically certified in specialized workshops, and clients are strongly encouraged to ask for proof of certification before booking an appointment, because when improperly performed, it can be harmful rather than beneficial.

Several different principles are used in Muscle Release Technique™. The primary idea is that the muscles contribute directly to general health, as the supportive network of the body, and that any physical therapy program needs to address the body as a whole, with a focus on muscular health. Injuries to the muscle can cause loss of flexibility, chronic pain, aches, stiffness, and other problems, and if those issues can be addressed, clients can experience considerable relief.

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In a treatment session, the therapist identifies specific areas that need work, usually in a conversation with the client, who may bring up specific issues he or she is experiencing. Clients may walk so that the therapist can study their movement, looking for areas of the body that appear to hold tension. The therapist considers the client's activity level and profession, and asks the client to step up onto a padded massage table. Typically, the treatment can be performed on people in loose, comfortable clothing.

The therapist works to stretch the muscles gently, working the problem areas to break up scar tissue and release tension. While stretching the muscle and rebuilding muscle memory, the therapist also uses compression, extension, and gentle movement to flex the muscle, with the goal of elongating it to eliminate pain and tension. The client's breathing is also a very important part of Muscle Release Technique™, allowing the therapist to work more deeply and effectively on problem areas.

In the long term, pain relief, stronger muscles, and increased flexibility are two benefits of this therapy. Immediate pain relief is not uncommon, depending on the type of injuries involved. Several sessions may be required to fully resolve an issue, and regular sessions for upkeep are often recommended. If a client opts for regular sessions, the massage therapist can head problems off at the pass, as it were, preventing the recurrence of pain and injury.

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Discuss this Article

BoniJ
Post 8

I can understand using the muscle release technique to help with problems of pain and tension in a particular area of the body.

But I would think that the other goals of strengthening and adding flexibility to muscles should be done the natural way - by the patient doing exercises themselves to improve muscles.

The exception to this would be those who are disabled and can't do exercises on their own.

BabaB
Post 7

Some years ago, my dentist pushed too hard to put a crown in (it wasn't made properly), and I suffered some nerve pain in the tooth and jaw.

The pain caused tension to build up in my neck, shoulders and back. I went to a therapist who did myofacsial muscle release.

The massage and stretching was done gently on my jaw and neck, but she did a deeper massage on my shoulders and upper back. It felt better for about a week and then the muscles tensed up again.

After about three months of massage, the muscles felt more relaxed.

geekish
Post 6

@amysamp - I would also not rule out a chiropractor for your friend's mom as well as getting a couple other doctor's opinions. What I have found is that many doctors will refer you to more of a specialist if they do not have a lengthy history with certain diagnoses, some don't or maybe even their history with the diagnoses has not lent them to your mom's specific herniated disc.

Either way, a couple more opinions plus a different type of treatment such as going to the chiropractor will give your friend's mom some options!

amysamp
Post 5

I am glad to have read this article as I wonder if it might help my friend's mom out. Her mom retired and started to put the energy she had been using running around for her job into working out and eventually hurt herself in some form or fashion.

While this it is not uncommon to hurt yourself with working out especially if starting new vigorous exercising programs without supervision; my friend's mom's pain is uncommon - it has lasted 3 months and she has been to the doctor and she has been in such pain that she has difficulty doing much else other than lying in bed.

The doctor's think she has a herniated disc, so I will have to look and see if this technique has any history with herniated discs.

everetra
Post 4

@allenJo - I worked at a place that, as one of their fringe benefits, offered a massage therapist to come in and give us a five minute treatment.

This guy worked on my back and immediately noticed that there was a lot of tension there, and in the neck area.

Yeah, I told him, I work as a programmer all day and when I get in the zone, so to speak, my hold body tenses up. People tense up in various areas; for me it’s in the back and neck area. After the treatment I felt much more relaxed however.

Ideally, I want to get to the place where I can work hard and be totally relaxed while doing it.

allenJo
Post 3

@SkyWhisperer - There’s a lot of talk these days about this thing called myofascial release therapy that can do wonders for back pain. I don’t know that the science is solid on that point, but I’ve heard stories from a couple of my friends who said that it helped them a lot.

Of course in their case they had mild lower back pain. I don’t know that it would help for acute or severe back pain.

Myofascial release uses pressure to relieve the tension in the fascia – that’s the term for the connective tissue muscles. It seems that it would make sense. Frankly, I think any sort of massage therapy would do wonders for your muscles regardless of where in your body the tension exists.

SkyWhisperer
Post 2

@miriam98 - I am glad that worked out for you. I’ve been to a physical therapist a few times myself after a sports injury.

He didn’t do any massages but he did try some muscle energy techniques to get my shoulders and arms strengthened back to normal again. With these techniques, you work with the doctor to do the exercises.

He pushes on the muscles and you push back, so to speak. In other words, it’s a form of resistance training. It’s not all push; sometimes it’s pull, too. But the idea is to do the resistance exercises in bouts of several seconds each, and then rest. They helped me out a lot.

miriam98
Post 1

I went to the chiropractor for neck pain treatment. I have a job which requires me to sit in front of the computer all day long and it puts considerable strain on my neck.

He told me that when you’re in that position all day long, the muscles in the neck get tense and somewhat clumped together, creating a lot of pain. He massaged my neck area with this electric massage type device and it helped a lot.

The doctor also recommended that I buy an inversion table. This is basically a device that you attach yourself to and it flips you upside down. It will help release compression between the discs in your back so that you don’t wind up with bulging discs or stuff like that.

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