Everyone’s heard about nasty “knots” in your back, and most people are likely to have had a few themselves. But how are they caused, and how can Thai yoga massage help relieve them?
Knots are one of the most common physical ailments and can be caused by poor posture, stress, a lack of conscious relaxation, and a host of other factors that are common to modern day life.
They can also be brought about by accidents and strenuous exercise, both of which can cause muscle damage that can range between minor and dangerous.
What Are Knots, Really?
Although there may be a few vague similarities in their appearance, muscle knots aren’t quite the same as a knots in rope — contrary to what you might think, muscle fibers can’t actually intertwine with one another.
In reality, one type of muscle knot is caused by adjacent muscles that have become stuck together due to a lack of movement between fibers, leading to adhesion between the neighboring muscles.
In order to explain muscle knots in greater depth, we need to first identify a tissue called fascia. Fascia is a type of connective tissue that encases muscle fibers and serves to lubricate them so that they can easily pass over one another.
Knots form when the fascia binds them instead, although in many cases, binding is perfectly natural. While binding in some cases relieves over-stressed muscle fibers by giving them extra stability, it can also limit movement in regions that are meant to be more flexible, causing immobility and discomfort.
We all know that stiff feeling you get when you first roll out of bed, and this feeling is a direct result of our fascia binding rather than lubricating. Luckily, this binding is temporary, and our muscles will quickly loosen up once we’ve moved around a bit.
Knots from Immobility or Tension
Sometimes muscles or specific muscle fibers remain inactive for long periods of time, and as a result become bound more tightly to one another. This lack of activity causes knots and other similar instances of tension, and can be painful even when your body is at rest.
These types of knots are commonly found in the upper-back region and are usually a result of prolonged periods of poor posture — long hours sitting at a desk in a poorly-designed chair, or working on a computer with an badly positioned screen, for example.
Knots from Exercise
Another type of knot is one brought about by physical exercise or certain movements — the beginnings of this can be felt as that annoying muscle stiffness that you feel a day or two after exerting yourself more than usual.
Exercise actually causes small amounts of damage to the muscle fibers, but luckily, it’s repaired quickly and naturally by the body. Ultimately, your muscle fibers become stronger than they were before you exercised — it just takes a little bit of time to heal.
After repetitive and intense strain, the small amounts of damage are eventually rebuilt with scar tissue in order to mitigate the need for the healing process (when it’s happening too often) — scar tissue is stronger, less malleable, and less contractile than normal muscle fiber.
Reducing the scar tissue can be painful, but qualified massage practitioners can adapt their technique appropriately to keep pain at bay.
Easing Knots with Thai Yoga Massage
Thai massage is one of the best ways to combat these nasty knots. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that massage techniques that seek to eliminate severe muscle knots must be adjusted depending on a patient and his or her pain tolerance. Often, massage therapy can and should span the course of several treatments for the most effective elimination of knots.
Not only do the poses encouraged by Thai massage release the tension between fibers, but they also facilitates better blood flow to the tissue, which further helps in the healing process. It’s also important for your movement patterns to be altered to prevent adhesions and scar tissue from returning.
Many of the benefits of massage come from the careful, conscious touch that occurs between the masseuse and the person being massaged — Thai Yoga Massage from Navina enhances the massage experience with extensive stretching as well as mindful relaxation through Yoga, helping you develop a healthier mind, body, and spirit.