How trigger point therapy works and how you can make it work for you

We’ve already had a look at what trigger points are and the problems they can cause; now we’re going to explore how trigger point therapy can help you.

Trigger point therapy can be used very narrowly, to treat something quite specific, or much more widely as part of a whole-body approach.

We deactivate the trigger point by using what’s known as a therapeutic treatment stroke which flushes out the point and stretches the shortened tissue. The stroke can be deep and must be repeated to allow full release of the muscle and we therefore always work within the 0-10 pain scale, with 10 being excruciating. At the Wells Clinic, I never go above a 7 as at this level the pain is easily bearable and the patient can be readily encouraged to relax into it.

When we’re addressing ‘hot spots’, the treatment is relatively brief and involves light, focused pressure. The goal is to flush the tissues and accomplish a very specific micro-stretch to set up the right conditions for the body to start healing itself. There’s often a ‘feel-good’ element to this type of massage when done correctly!

spikey ballsAnd this is one type of massage that works very well at home: I always work in partnership with our Wells Clinic clients and show you how to self-treat trigger points using a range of techniques. Typically these will involve standing against a wall, or sitting or lying on the floor and applying pressure with a tennis ball, special massage ball, or sports massage rollers.

When we work as a team, you get the guidance you need to help you stay healthy and together we can really speed up the healing process.


Dr Janet Travell and Dr David Simmons, the pioneers of trigger point and myofascial diagnosis and therapy.

Megan S Mari and Rachel Fairweather and the Jing team for sharing their knowledge and teachings. I recommend for massage therapists their latest book, Massage Fusion (Handspring Publishing Limited, 2015).

Clair Davies for his book Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief (New Harbinger, 2013).