Trigger Point Massage Therapy in a Nutshell

Trigger Point Massage Therapy on the Neck

Neck stretch for a headache treatment

In order to explain what Trigger Point massage therapy is, I will first need to explain what a trigger point is.

A Trigger Point is a raised and sensitive area of muscle or fascia (connective tissue) that refers pain when compressed in the immediate area of the trigger point and surrounding areas. The referral pain associated with the compressed trigger point can be used to identify the pain emanating from another point in the body, by reproducing the pain being treated.

Myofascial Pain Syndrome is another term that is needed in order to fully understand what Trigger Point Therapy is. Myofascial Pain Syndrome is a chronic pain syndrome caused by one or more trigger points and fascial constrictions. Myofascial Pain Syndrome is also one of the most complained about conditions in our massage studio.

Having defined what a trigger point and Myofascial Pain Syndrome are, I can now simply state that Trigger Point Therapy is the process of identifying and deactivating trigger points in the body.

The actual experience is very subjective because the style can vary from practitioner to practitioner. A persons reaction to Trigger point therapy ranges from pleasant to painful and is usually described as more intense than painful. Verbal feedback to your massage therapist is necessary most usually in situations where the client is new to the massage therapist.

Some of the things that play a role in how painful the session is:

  • The depth and amount of pressure applied
  • how familiar the muscles and fascia are to manipulation
  • How much regular exercise the muscles receive.
  • How flexible the tendons, muscles, fascia and ligaments are
  • Conditions like fibromyalgia and some auto-immune disorders
  • How aggressive your massage therapists approach is
  • I have no factual information but in my experience hydration plays a role

Trigger Point Massage Therapy is an extremely effective way of treating some very painful conditions of which I’ll list only a few:

Massage picture courtesy of

One thought on “Trigger Point Massage Therapy in a Nutshell

  1. Massage is obviously good for your muscles and tension. But as an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has been proven to work on many chronic conditions.

    For myself, it has helped my chronic migraines. I have significantly fewer migraines now that I have regular massage therapy.