Tightness and pain are common in abdominal and chest muscles, however, treatment of these muscles is often neglected in massage therapy. Female clients
often refuse to get a massage on their chest or breasts. Massaging the stomach area seems strange or threatening to most patients. Despite that, once they receive the massage, they describe their experience as feeling lighter, more integrated, calmer, or more energized. Trigger points of these muscles result in lower back, neck, and shoulder pain. Deep tissue massage involves a range of technique which help to decrease stiffness and release tension and giving a calming effect to the body.
- Pectoralis major (Covers the chest): Pectoralis major is a fan-shaped muscle that covers the chest. this muscle is a thick muscle that it’s origin is the Clavicular head and its insertion is the Lateral lip of the bicipital groove. Deep tissue massage on the pectoralis major should be from muscle insertion to the Lateral lip of the bicipital groove to the origin of the muscle sternum.
- Pectoralis minor (Smaller and deep to pectoralis major) Pectoralis minor is a small triangle shape muscle under the Pectoralis major. the origin of this muscle is costal cartilages or anterior surface of ribs and its insertion of this chest muscle is the medial border and coracoid process of the scapula.
Trigger points in Pectoralis major and minor
The pain starts from the front side of shoulder and can extend down to the inside of the arm, forearm, elbow, palm and into the ring and middle fingers. If pectoralis minor muscle get tense, it can entrap nerves in the armpit region, which may cause pain, numbness, and tingling down the arm and into the hand.
Massage Therapy for chest muscles in couple of minutes
Tightness and pain are common in abdominal and chest muscles, however treatment of these muscles is often neglected in massage therapy. Female clients often refuse to get massage on their chest or breasts and abdominal reigns, massage seems strange to most people on these parts. Once they receive abdominal and chest massage they describe it as feeling lighter, more integrated, calmer or more energized. Stand on the client’s left side, lay the right arm out to the side. Glide your fingertips over the Pectoralis from Sternum to shoulder, change to a flat hand while working on the shoulder joint. Maintain the contact with the shoulder, walk around to the right side, slide the hands down the arm to place it back on the table. Repeat the process on the other side of the chest muscles (pectoralis).
- Rectus abdominis (Column of muscle, one on each side of midline)
- Internal oblique (Flat sheet of muscle passing obliquely upwards and in from pelvis to midline and ribs)
- External oblique (Flat sheet of muscle passing obliquely down and in from ribs to pelvis and midline)
- Transversus abdominis (Flat sheet of muscle passing transversely across the abdomen)
Trigger points in abdominal muscles
A tight trigger point in these muscles is not bigger than 1 or 2 cm. However, most of the times pain spreads over a wide area, making the cause difficult to be referred. For instance, pressing on a trigger point in the left upper quadrant, the client might refer pain to the scapula. Clients are often so occupied with spreading pain to the larger area that they do not realize the area of tenderness is extremely superficial and localize.
Distinguish between abdominal pain and abdominal disease
- Pain is often constant or fluctuating; episodic pain is rare
- Pain intensity is most of the times related to bad posture (e.g., lying, sitting, standing)
- Pain is not result of disease (Nausea, vomiting, weight loss, Diarrhea, constipation or change in appetite, does not get better or worse by eating, Jaundice or other liver function test abnormalities, bleeding or anemia)
- Abdominal tenderness increases or does not change when abdominal wall is tense (positive Carnett’s sign)
- Discrete, tender trigger point and pain is no more than a few centimeters (1 or 2 cm)
- Trigger points are often along with the lateral margins of the rectus muscles, fascia or at attachments of muscle. This is often with stimulation of trigger point, referral of pain or spreading of pain over a Large area
To apply deep tissue massage on the client’s request that the client lies in a position that enables you to reach their side from the hipbone down to the underarm area. As mentioned before, oblique muscles are classified into internal and external oblique which are located on each side of the middle torso, from above the waist to below the chest and wrapped from the central midline around the sides. The massage therapy on the lateral oblique can be applied either with the patient facing down or lying on their side. Massaging the anterior oblique is only possible with the client can lying on supine, or face-up. Begin the therapy with firm strokes to spread the lotion and to assess the oblique tissue. Avoid intense pressure on these thin and flat muscles. If you discovered knots or contracted muscles, directly apply some friction strokes to those areas with your thumbs or fingertips. If the goal is relaxation use petrissage, with your hand applying downward and upward scooping motion. If general relaxation is the goal of the massage sessions, finish with long slow strokes, or with short and vigorous strokes if the goal is energizing or warming up the muscles.
Points to consider
- Avoid pressure over the clavicle area when you apply deep tissue massage to clients. The clavicular glands that lie in the décolleté area, above and below the clavicle, may become very tender in the pre-menstrual female. Therefore, the pressure should be kept very light. Always ask the client if she feels tenderness or soreness, then adapts the massage accordingly.
- The abdomen has no bone, so the underlying abdominal muscles will be affected by the massage. If muscle tone of the abdominal muscles is poor, loose, or over-stretched, then manipulations and pressure must be light. If the muscles are well-toned or covered by layers of adipose tissue (fat), then deeper pressure may be used. Heavy percussion movements should be avoided over the abdomen and chest.
- Massage will stimulate peristalsis (the movement of alternate contraction and relaxation of the intestines) and is frequently used to aid movement through the colon. Therefore, pressure must be applied in the direction of movement through the colon. This pressure must be upwards on the right side of the abdomen and over the ascending colon; from right to left, along with the transverse muscle. Pressure must be downwards on the left side, along the descending colon. Make sure that the pressure is correct while kneading or stroking the colon.
Step Above Massage helped many clients to improve range of motion, and reduce muscle tightness for Raleigh massage clients.