The core service we offer at Niggles & Knots is Remedial Massage. Remedial massage has long been misunderstood by the general public, with many people still believing it to simply be a deep rub. However in actual fact remedial massage is an umbrella term for a range of treatment styles with the particular goal of remediating a medical, pathological or musculoskeletal condition. According to our massage association, the definition of a remedial massage treatment is:
“Remedial massage is the assessment and treatment of dysfunction, supported by a treatment plan and documented treatment notes.”
At Niggles & Knots, we offer a remedial massage service true to the definition. Our therapists will take the extra time and care to listen to you. We will identify the dysfunction that you have come to have addressed and use verbal & physical functional assessment to formulate a treatment plan tailored to your individual requirements. Your therapist will explain why specific treatment techniques are recommended and how they will assist, and will recommend a course of treatments with a measured outcome. We will always refer on where we feel necessary or where the desired outcome in the recommended course of treatments has not been achieved. A Remedial massage session tends to be more “active” than a general Swedish or deep tissue massage, as your therapist combines specific techniques, exercises & stretches that may require your participation in order to assist your recovery from your dysfunction as efficiently as possible. Your therapist may also provide some lifestyle advice and exercises to take home and perform regularly between sessions. All of our therapists are qualified to a minimum of Diploma of Remedial Massage level, and are trained and experienced in a wide range of soft tissue techniques. Your therapist may use a combination of techniques including the following:
Remedial Assessment
Your remedial massage treatment will always begin an assessment and finish with a re-assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment and discuss modifying the treatment plan for next session if necessary. Assessment time is included in your treatment time. However rest assured that it is time very well spent as it will ensure we can plan the hands-on portion of the treatment to be much more effective. Generally your assessment will at minimum include a verbal assessment and postural assessment. It may also include range of motion testing, muscle strength and function testing, special orthopedic tests and gait and biomechanical analysis. Once the assessment is complete your therapist will happily discuss their findings with you, make a recommendation for treatment plan and number of sessions required for expected outcomes, and gain your consent to proceed with an agreed treatment plan. Read More about Remedial Assessment and Postural Assessment here.
Swedish Massage Techniques
Swedish massage techniques are used primarily to induce a relaxation response in the body.  This is why “Swedish massage” is often interchanged with “Relaxation massage” when referring to this technique. Don’t be fooled by the “basic” nature of the Swedish relaxation technique though – its benefits are many, including increasing oxygen in the blood, and removal of waste products from the body as a result of increased circulation, and gently reducing some tension in the muscle tissue.  The technique itself incorporates gliding and flowing strokes, circular movements, kneading, rhythmic tapping, friction, or vibration/shaking of the muscle tissue. It tends to be performed with a mild to medium pressure. Your therapist will often begin the oiled massage work part of your remedial massage session with some Swedish massage techniques, as they are perfect for warming up tissue before applying more specific musculoskeletal work. There are times where a remedial session may incorporate a lot of Swedish massage work, however its important to note that there is a significant difference between a Remedial massage that incorporates Swedish relaxation massage techniques versus a Relaxation massage. Read more about this here.
Deep Tissue Techniques
Deep tissue massage is similar to Swedish massage but the deeper pressure is more beneficial for chronically tight muscles of the body.  The focus of this technique is to penetrate through the superficial (surface) layers of the skin and muscle fibres to the deeper layers of muscle, connective tissue (known as fascia) and tendons.  The technique incorporates long, slow deep strokes following the direction of the muscle fibres. As the name suggests, deep tissue massage is applied with a firm to very firm pressure. Read more about Deep Tissue Massage here.
Myofascial Release Work (MFR)

Myofascial release refers to a technique which manually stretches the connective tissue (fascia) surrounding muscle tissue.  Its aim is to attempt to bring about changes in the tone of this fascia and thus relieving pain.  The technique is deep and slow to enable penetration of the layers of the fascia until the deeper tissues are reached. This technique may require your active participation, as your therapist may ask you to perform certain slow movements with the muscles that are being worked on. 

Trigger Point Therapy

A trigger point is the term used for a tight area within muscle tissue that causes pain in other parts of the body.  The pain experienced can be sharp and intense or dull and aching.  Trigger point therapy is designed to reduce the pain through cycles of isolated pressure and release on the point of tension. Often vibration can also be used to perform this release. Clients actively participate in this form of treatment by deep breathing as well as identifying the location and the referral pattern of the discomfort. 

Muscle Energy Technique (MET)
Muscle Energy Technique (MET) is a technique where the therapist will stretch a specific muscle and ask the client to contract against this stretch but at a very low effort.   Your therapist will most likely use this technique once they have used other massage techniques to reduce tension in the body first.  The most important part of the technique for the client is not to contract the muscle with too much force.  Ideally, approximately 20% effort is all that is needed, and this is then held for anywhere between 5-20 seconds. The goal of this technique is to relax the tight muscle, increase range of motion in a joint that may be restricted due to this tension, and sometimes to reduce the fibrosis within tissues that may have been caused by injury. Read more about Muscle Energy Technique here.
Positional Release Technique (PRT)

Positional Release Technique is used to treat a muscle that is in spasm or that is experiencing a high level of discomfort when massage techniques requiring firm pressure is applied.  Your therapist will move the muscle affected into a ‘position of ease’ which is where the muscle is at it’s shortest (bringing the origin and insertion for the muscle as close together as possible).  This position is then held for 90 seconds. The therapist uses this movement and gentle compression to reset the nerve reflexes within the musculature which reduces muscle spasm and pain.  It is a gentle but very effective technique. 

Cupping Therapy

Cupping techniques used in remedial massage have been developed from cupping used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. Two primary techniques can be applied – gliding cupping or parked (stationary point) cupping. Cupping works by using suction and negative pressure in preference to the positive pressure of manual massage.  The suction releases rigid soft tissue, can assist your body to remove excess fluids and toxins, loosens adhesions and lifts connective tissue. It can also improve circulation to the skin, connective tissue and muscles.