I am a big fan of long, luxurious massages. I love to give them, and I certainly love to receive them. But sometimes with massage, less is more effective. Often a client has booked a 90 or even 120 minute massage and said, “I only want you to work on my upper back and shoulders. I have this giant knot that needs to be worked out.” While this might seem like a good way to annihilate the offending knot, you will likely wake up the next morning feeling bruised, in more pain than before and still have remnants of that knot.
Less Time, Increased Frequency
The “giant knot” didn’t form overnight. Therefore, it is not realistic to think that it can be broken down in one session. In this situation, I would recommend three or four shorter sessions over the course of 10 days to two weeks. Between sessions, I would encourage you to practice simple range of motion and postural awareness exercises specific to the area of concern. Because the sessions would be spot specific, 30 minutes is enough time to properly treat the area without overworking it or causing hyper-irritability. The days in between sessions would give your body time to adjust to gradual changes in mobility, and allow for neuromuscular re-education. The desired outcome is to reduce tension and rebuild a solid foundation for functional movement.
Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
Neither were the patterns of muscular tension and restriction. We could destroy the “city” with an intense airstrike, but that would leave us with nothing but a pile of rubble. For the “city” to flourish, we need to gradually get rid of the broken down infrastructure. Then we can rebuild in a manner that is functional and efficient.