Massage Therapy: What are Muscle Knots and What Causes Them?

Massage Therapy Muscle KnotsIn nearly every massage therapy session I give, nearly every client has muscle knots and asks me what they are and what causes them. To understand them is to appreciate their complexity, here we go!

In the science world many call them Myofascial Trigger Points. In massage school we called them “LSD,” Little Squirty Dudes. And that they are, just when you think you’ve got one pinned, they squirt out from beneath your touch. The physiology of muscle knots is complex and is still being researched and studied by the scientific world. In my world muscle knots indicate a place that is stuck in constant spasm caused by a build up of toxins.

Muscle Knots are toxic, irritated molecules that cause most aches and pains. They cause pain that can move in random, confusing patterns and partner with other problems and injuries. Think of the knot as a bed of tissue fluid pollution consisting of waste products from muscle cells. As they intensify in contraction the byproducts accumulate causing pain and discomfort. New research continues to support this theory which originated from the pioneer of trigger point research, Dr. Janet Travell.

One of the goals of massage therapy is to “flush” trigger points out of the muscles by pushing stagnant tissue fluids out. When new oxygenated blood arrives to the area it is much less toxic and assists in the recovery of the muscle. Deep breathing also assists as it sends oxygen rich blood through your system.

Next time you receive a massage and you feel your massage therapist riding the lumps and bumps in your neck, shoulders and back you can help in your own healing by taking a deep breath, relaxing and releasing as you assist in the flushing out of your muscle knots.

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