Sports Massage by Doug Brown, Portland ORegon

Resources - Massage Techniques


PNF or Facilitated Stretching

Facilitated PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) stretching techniques are based on neuro-physiological mechanisms in the body. PNF is an approach to stretching where the client is actively involved.

Active contraction of the muscles in question help reset their tone and flexibility by directly stimulating the muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs. The muscle spindle is what sets the tone of the muscle and the golgi tendon is the “safety catch” of the muscle. When the contraction gets too intense, the golgi tendon shuts the muscle down causing relaxation which leads to increased flexibility. This allows the therapist to stretch the targeted muscle to a much greater range of motion than can be obtained by self induced passive stretching. The PNF technique is repeated several times on each targeted muscle for maximum benefits.

Side Lying Massage

Side lying massage is performed with the patient or client lying on his/her side while the massage is performed. Proper sheet draping techniques along with the use of an extra towel ensure that the client’s body is not exposed during the massage. Side lying massage offers exceptional benefits for working many muscles that are difficult to access properly in the customary prone (face down) and supine (face up) positions. These muscles include the gluteal muscles (side lying is particularly effective for dealing with IT (iliotibial band) issues and many neck and upper shoulder muscles. Many others including the rotator cuff muscles and muscles on the inside and outside of legs are more easily accessible and therefore the massage work is more effective.

Trigger Point Massge

A trigger point is a very irritable spot in a muscle associated with a knot in a tight band of the same muscle. The vast majority of muscle tirgger points are located in areas common to everyone, and are therefore, with proper training and palpation skills, easily identifiable by the skilled massage practioner. The trigger points often refer pain into areas away from the actual trigger point. In other words, you could have a trigger point in a calf muscle and you may be feeling the pain in your heel. Appropriate massage techniques, often involving prolonged deep pressure applied directly to the trigger point, is extremely effective in alleviating associated muscle pain and dysfunction.