Trigger Point Massage


Trigger Point Massage is the creation of Janet Travell M.D. (1901-1997). A former White House physician, she explored and, with David Simons, is responsible for the Bible on this variation of massage therapy. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual came out in 1983. It contains the basic techniques, purpose and philosophy behind Trigger Point Massage. In essence, Trigger Point Massage believes the primary causal factor of pain and dysfunction is small, tender congested knots in the muscles. These are the “Trigger Points.” Highly localized spots, they are responsible for pain some 75% of the time.

Trigger points are responsible for a variety of pain, usually throbbing and dull aches. These include headaches, neck and jaw pain, lower back pain and joint pain. Trigger points may indicate carpal tunnel syndrome. Earaches, dizziness, nausea, heartburn, colic in babies and sinus pain or congestion can all be the result of trigger points. The defining symptom of a trigger point is something called referred pain. The trigger point is an indication of the problem which may not, itself, originate at the trigger point. Relieving tension and stress from the trigger point will, however, start the healing process and break the cycle of pain-spasm-pain.

Trigger Point Massage Therapy recognizes three different types or regions of trigger points. There are central trigger points, satellite trigger points and attachment trigger points. You may have an active or a latent trigger point. All effect the healthy functioning of the body. Pressure on the correct trigger point will relieve the pain and hasten the healing of the body. The method utilized by the practitioner is similar to Asian Acupressure. Deep sustained finger pressure is applied to the trigger points to release them. As with Swedish Massage, Trigger Point has also spawned variations and adaptations. Two specific versions are neuromuscular therapy and Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy.

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