By Cathy Cohen

Trigger Point Therapy works wonders in relieving myofascial pain from acute or chronic injury. It is one of the best-researched “medical massage” protocols. In fact, a 3rd edition of Drs. Travell & Simons’ classic textbook was released last year. 

For many therapists, Trigger Point Therapy can seem hard to fit into a standard massage session. I faced this dilemma 30 years ago after 1,000 hours of Trigger Point training.  

I realized that Trigger Point treatments shouldn’t exist in an isolated bubble, and can be “supercharged” by complementary massage therapies.  

After several years of experimentation, five key massage protocols emerged: Myofascial Spreading followed by Cross-Fiber Friction, Trigger Point Release, Longitudinal Stripping, finishing with Ice and Stretch.    

For me, this sequence has proven to be an effective way to integrate trigger point therapy with fascial re-education. Individual protocols can also stand alone. 

For example, years ago, I saw Dr. Travell relieve a stiff neck from the time it took an elevator to drop from the top floor to the lobby using only an Ice and Stretch technique. 

Dr Travell was also a genius as a “Pain Detective.”  She championed the importance of investigating perpetuating factors.  

For example, if gluteus minimus/medius pain patterns presented, she’d correct a long second toe configuration. Or if a quadratus lumborum was involved, she’d include a thorough assessment for a hip height disparity. Or if low back pain was chronic, she’d investigate and treat a psoas/piriformis imbalance. 

Then she’d give the client just one home corrective to do on their own.

Dr. Travell said, “If we listen long enough, the client will tell us what’s wrong: the mystery is in the history.”   

When your massage session includes strategically integrated protocols -– and addresses perpetuating factors — you’ll find your treatment is faster, easier and much more effective. 

Cathy Cohen, LMT is an approved Florida & NCBTMB CEU provider and Board-Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist who will teach her 16 CEU Beyond Trigger Points Connect the Dots seminar “Freeing the Pelvis to Balance the Spine” Low Back & Hip Core Unit at FSM  Jan 18 & 19, 2020. 

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