Structural Relief Therapy: A Better Way to Relieve Pain
It can get exhausting searching for the most effective manual massage treatment to help alleviate chronic pain and discomfort. People will see many different therapists in hopes of finding some kind of relief following a session. Some believe it can take several sessions over a period of time to gain freedom from such pain. Of course, there is no magic solution due to the complexities of each individual. Every Body is unique and carries within it a map to healing. The therapist must locate the directions with the help of their client to find the easiest route to take. Structural Relief Therapy is one such modality that has been described by clients as “magic” during the first session because their pain is suddenly gone.
Structural Relief Therapy provides a fast, efficient way of relieving pain associated with complex medical conditions including fibromyalgia, whiplash, thoracic outlet syndrome, orthopedic injuries, and sciatica. Structural Relief Therapy (SRT) is a melding of Positional Release Therapy, Strain-Counterstrain, fascia release and Muscle Energy Techniques. These are all combinations of Osteopathic techniques broken down to provide a simpler approach to those used by skilled Osteopaths.
What is Structural Relief Therapy?
Developed by massage therapist Taya Countryman, SRT is a non-invasive and advanced massage technique that stops involuntary muscle contraction, instantly increases range of motion, and dramatically decreases pain in the first session. Releasing the muscle contraction reprograms the jammed neurological signals of the muscles to and from the brain. SRT is an indirect approach to treating a person compared to deep tissue therapy which would instead, use a direct approach. The main principles followed using SRT are: moving tissue and joints into ease, going away from tissue and joint restrictions, taking over the work of the muscles in the contracted state, supporting unique structural patterns of the client, and stimulating a new neurological response to and from the brain.
Suppose a person is in a car accident and suffers whiplash. The sheer force of the head jolting forward and backwards freezes and locks the neck muscles and fibers in that particular position. The neck muscles are now in a contracted state following the same pattern of the accident. A therapist using SRT would locate one of the most tender points in the client’s neck area then proceed to move the neck into a position of ease; most likely a position that mimics the movement of the head during the accident. Typically, this position will be held by the therapist for ninety seconds or more. Since these involuntary contractions are thought to result from a dysfunction in the transmission of neurological signals between the muscle and the brain, holding the head in this position invites a new message to be sent to the brain by shortening the muscle. Once the therapist feels a change in the muscle tissue, the head is returned to a neutral position.
SRT isn’t just used to treat people with injuries. Many people suffer from aches and pains simply from daily life. How about a person who drives in a car for a living, lifts heavy items all day, or simply spends large amounts of time reading books? The muscles used for each of these tasks quickly adapt to the way the person is moving. Over time, the muscle fibers become worn out, creating pain. As the pain increases, surrounding muscle groups join in to help compensate for the wear and tear seeking to find new ways to move the body around the pain. Then they too experience the same wear and tear resulting in a snow ball effect. A therapist using SRT may ask questions about what the client was doing when the initial pain started as well as observe their posture. This can give an idea of where to start looking for tender points and how to place the body into a pain free position. An experienced SRT therapist will usually know immediately based on the client’s response. The client will likely feel relaxed and comfortable. This is a position that they have become very secure and familiar with for a long time. Once the muscles have been released, a new muscle pattern is formed in the body with a new neurological message sent to the brain on how to move going forward.
There are many options for healing the body with manual therapy. Structural Relief Therapy is one of many modalities that can provide fast, effective relief to the client. Using a gentle approach, SRT can reduce muscle spasms, increase range of motion, improve posture, increase blood flow to the affected area, relieve inflammation, stiffness, and joint swelling. SRT is designed to produce results quickly with reports of reduced pain following one session. However, individuals with complex symptoms may require several sessions. The ultimate goal is to restore the body to its natural function so an individual can live optimally.
Owner and operator of Embodiment Therapeutic Massage & Energy Healing, Tierney McCarver is a licensed massage therapist practicing in Portland, Maine. Tierney offers many unique ways of combining treatments to heal individuals including Structural Relief Therapy, Medical Massage Therapy, Pranic Healing and PSYCH-K®. Her office is located inside Visibility 1041 Washington Ave Portland, Maine 04103. To schedule an appointment please call, text or email 928.848.7471