Frequently asked questions

Q.  What is clinical massage?

It’s an umbrella term that covers a range of therapeutic approaches used by highly skilled massage therapists to treat pain. Among the clinical massage therapies used by the Wells Clinic are trigger point therapy, myofascial release, soft tissue release hydrotherapy, and hot stone therapy.

Q.  How many treatments will I need?

This depends on your condition and how long you’ve had it. In general, we use the ‘Fix in Six’ approach — two or three one-hour sessions, taken either weekly or fortnightly, over a six-week period. Some conditions make take fewer sessions; others — such as long-term chronic conditions like cancer or HIV where clinical massage helps ease symptoms — may take many more. We review your progress at each session.

Q.  How will I feel after a clinical massage?

Sessions vary in their intensity and are always dictated by how you’re feeling at the time of the treatment. Some people feel immediate relief and are even completely pain-free as soon as they leave the treatment table; others may feel some increase in discomfort later that day or the following day. However, any soreness will subside within a day or two after which you should experience much less pain than you did before your session and you should be able to move more easily.

Q.  Is there anything I should do after a clinical massage?

Drink lots of water to help release the toxins freed up during your session. Take it easy and relax to get the full benefit of your treatment.

Q.  What happens if I don’t feel well before a massage?

You’ll not be able to have your session if you’re running a temperature or are suffering from sickness or diarrhoea. Please call us if you’re feeling at all unwell and we can discuss what’s appropriate.

Q.  What is hot stone therapy?

Hot stone and handsBasalt stones heated in water are the most efficient and successful means of applying heat to the body for both pain relief and healing across a broad range of musculoskeletal injuries, particularly long-term chronic conditions. We use special thermal basalt stones, which provide an exceptional fluidity of heat which when combined with other clinical massage therapies not only induce relaxation but also have the anaesthetic effect of raising the pain threshold and so decreasing discomfort during treatment and allowing deeper muscle work.

Applying heat also increases pliability and circulation, with the local rush of blood, nutrients and oxygen optimising tissue repair. Hot stone therapy is of course also deeply relaxing, helping balance and restore the body at its deepest level.

We use hot stone therapy in conjunction with trigger point therapy, myofascial release, and soft tissue release to treat both acute and chronic conditions.

Q.  Do you use cold stones?

Yes — they are ideal for acute injuries characterised by localised inflammation, swelling, lack of mobility and pain. Cold therapy helps reduce rehabilitation time and has a deeply soothing effect.

Q.  What is hydrotherapy?

Also known as contrast bathing, hydrotherapy involves the use of hot and cold stones applied in succession. This process is believed to flush out fluids from the tissues and improve neurological responses, so boosting the healing process. The cold stones are stimulating and cause superficial blood vessels to restrict, so preventing and reducing swelling and inflammation. Hot stones are in contrast relaxing, cause the blood vessels to dilate and remove wastes from the body’s tissues while also decreasing pain, increasing the range of movement and encouraging relaxation.

Q.  What is trigger point therapy?

FAQ trigger point therapy QUESTIONA trigger point feels like a knot in the muscular tissue or its fascia. There may be pain when it’s pressed, or it may be tender and radiate pain without pressure. It may also produce what’s known as ‘referred pain’ — pain distant from the trigger point location. The element of referred, distant pain in a predictable pattern is what defines a trigger point. For example, lower back pain may originate in trigger points in the buttocks, stomach muscles or calves. They can also cause unexpected and apparently unconnected ‘autonomic’ symptoms like dizziness, ringing in the ears, or even a dry cough. Tingling, burning or hypersensitivity in the arms, hands, and legs can often be traced to a compressed nerve trigger point elsewhere on the body.

Trigger point therapy works by deactivating the point through applying pressure to it. There will be initial pain but this gradually lessens as the pressure continues to be applied. We often use this in combination with myofascial release.

Q.  What is myofascial release?

The tough connective tissue that holds our bodies together is known as the fascia. It can be described as a 3D body stocking, running from head to toe and surrounding, infusing and protecting every tendon, muscle, ligament and organ.

A properly-functioning fascial system is essential for good health, but whenever we suffer physical or emotional trauma, the fascial network is compromised, and this creates restrictions. Where the fascia tightens, it can create bands of 3D tension throughout the body, squeezing the structures it surrounds, inhibiting movement and circulation and often generating symptoms at some distance from the actual injury.

Myofascial release is a hands-on technique in which sustained pressure is applied into fascial restrictions to soften connective tissue that has become rigid, so eliminating pain and restoring mobility. We use two specific techniques: indirect release describes the process of working around the affected tissue, following the direction that eases the pain rather than applying direct pressure, while the direct method does what it says on the tin — treats the affected area directly.

Q.  What is soft tissue release?

soft tissue massageClients who say they have ‘tight’ muscles are encouraged to stretch — both to ease the discomfort and to realign the body. But sometimes stretching isn’t enough to do more than bring some temporary relief and this is because muscles are rarely uniformly tight: there may be localised areas of tension, or adhesions, that restrict just a few fibres. As a result, what can happen when we perform active stretches is that the part of the muscle that’s most pliable lengthens rather than the ‘tight’ part that we’re actually trying to ease.

This is where soft tissue release can be of enormous benefit and is used to increase joint movement range, relieve pain, and prevent and manage injuries.

It’s an advanced massage process for stretching soft tissues, fascia, and tendons by using active, passive and weight-bearing techniques. Manual pressure is applied to a muscle to create a temporary false attachment point allowing the muscle to go into a pain-free stretch to even out the fibres.  The process can deliver a very targeted stretch direct to the fibres that most need lengthening, easing chronic tension by improving muscle fibre elasticity and so increasing joint range of movement.

Soft tissue release can also be used for muscles that are difficult to reach through active stretching alone — for example, the peroneals — as well as for isolating a muscle within a group that would normally be stretched together, such as separating the vastus lateralis from the quadriceps.

Specific conditions where soft tissue release has proved particularly useful include golfer’s and tennis elbow (medial and lateral epicondylitis), and plantar fasciitis. This is possibly because the approach also stimulates tissue repair.