Orthopedic massage is a comprehensive system used for treating pain and injury conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system. This technique is a powerful tool that allows you to help a greater number of clients. Incorporating this technique into your practice will give you a whole new dimension to the techniques you are already using, providing more therapeutic options.
One of the most beneficial and useful approaches when performing orthopedic massage is active engagement.
Active engagement techniques integrate active motion with other commonly used therapeutic techniques. In this protocol, massage is performed on specific muscles while those muscles are actively shortened or lengthened.
Active engagement techniques are most helpful when working with clients with specific pain or injury complaints, because they are highly specific. Using movement with massage intensifies the treatment in different ways and in varying degrees.
With active engagement techniques, there is greater penetration of massage strokes. When pressure is applied to passive (non-moving) muscle tissue, the pressure is dissipated through the soft tissue. When a muscle is engaged in a contraction—concentric or eccentric—the muscle’s density increases, thus applied pressure becomes more direct and penetrates deeper.
Using active techniques in orthopedic massage enhances pain reduction and increase effectiveness in particular situations. There is an increase in motor and sensory neurological activity that helps reduce pain and encourage greater muscle relaxation.
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