Many people come into see a massage therapist because they are having some neck pain or some back pain. They are hoping that the massage therapist can help them with this. Now many times during a spa massage there will indeed be some relief from this pain because the muscles that are tight are massaged and worked and this is generally something that feels good and that is pleasant for the client. The problem is that very often the massage is only a temporary solution. It does not have permanent or long lasting effects. So I’d like to talk a little bit about what ways the massage can be more permanent. 

There are two things that I would like to talk about. The first is in regards to the muscle structure and the second is in regard to the organs that are connected to those muscles. Now anybody who has been trained in orthopedic massage will know that most of the time when there is tension in the back, it is actually coming from the muscles that are tight in the front.

The muscles in the back are hanging on and are trying to counteract the muscles that are being pulled forward in the front. So let’s take a head forward posture. For example, when the muscles in the front, namely a muscle called the sternocleidomastoid is pulling tight, its job is to pull the head forward and when the head gets pulled forward then there’s extra weight that is being placed on the back muscles. Now these muscles in the back of the neck not only have to counteract the SCM but the also have to hold up the weight of the head so the muscles in the front are going to be pulling the head forward and the muscles in the back are paying the price for it thou that is true of both the neck and it’s also true of the back when other muscles in the front, particularly the Pec major muscle and the Pec minor muscle.

When those two are tight and they are pulling, they are going to pull the shoulders forward. So if somebody has a forward shoulder forward posture, they may have tension in there in their back because the the front muscles are pulling the shoulders forward and the back muscles are trying to hang on. The problem is that the back muscles aren’t strong enough to do that. Those front muscles are overpowering them. So anybody who is trained in orthopedic massage is going to know these things and when they know it, they will be able to work more effectively with the client. Now there is another component to all of these things that even orthopedic massage sometimes overlooked and that is the visceral component. Now what do I mean by visceral component? What I mean is that visceral pertains to the organs. Now you might wonder how can the organs be effecting my back? 

How can the organs be affecting my neck? Well, listen carefully and I will tell you how each of the Oregon’s has ligaments or attachments and this is how it secures itself inside the body.

So why do your kidneys stay up by your diaphragm while it’s because they are ligamentous in place. The same thing with the liver and this is also true of the heart and of the lungs. Now if there is tension in some of these organs, it is going to be placing strain on the attachment points. So let’s talk about the lungs for example, around the lungs we have a couple layers of Fatia called the pleura and the role of the Pleura is a couple things. One is to allow the lungs to move freely inside the chest cavity and the other is to hold the lungs in place. So with the Pleura, if we have the Polaroid getting hard and if we have the pleura getting tight, then the lungs are not going to be able to move freely inside and it is going to put a t attention on the places where it attaches. 

Though the lungs are very, very often responsible for a kyphotic body posture. Kyphosis is an is a back that is rounded too much. So if there’s Kyphosis, what I’m going to be thinking is are those Pec muscles tight as the PEC major tight? Is the PEC minor tight? And the answer is usually yes.

And then we’re also going to be asking are the back muscles weak? And the answer to that is usually less yes as well. Then the next question is what causes those muscles to be tight? And very often the answer is the lungs have tension in them and they are causing these muscles to get tight and to pull. And so is it true that the lungs can be causing back trouble? Yes. It so what causes the lungs to get tight? Well, this is where a good history comes in. Things like um, pneumonia or bronchitis or asthma or smoking, these sorts of things are going to have a impact on the lungs and the lungs in turn are going to tighten up and they are going to actually change the person’s body posture. 

So it is important when the massage therapist is looking at a person and trying to solve the problem that they are taking the whole person into account. Does this person have a history of smoking? Is there a history of bronchitis or pneumonia? Is there something else that has been going on with the lungs? And then what sort of trouble are these lungs causing?

So a massage therapist who has been trained in visceral manipulation, we’ll be able to impact the lungs as well. And very often a massage therapists will be able to help the person to breathe better. That massage therapist will help the person to stand straighter, to feel more relaxed. So the result of this work is that a person will feel more at home and relaxed in her own body because the massage therapist has been able to effectively release the lungs and take the tension off of the back from the inside out. If you’re just rubbing on the back muscles, it’ll feel good for a little while, but a proper way to address the problem is for the massage therapist to address the lungs and the front muscles as well. This is going to give him a much more comprehensive solution to the problem.