Understanding Massage Therapy Treatment

Massage therapy is based on the focusing, exploration and the treatment of the density of tissues. Because tissue is embedded throughout our bodies, knowing how tissue can work, react to, and respond to different pressures, techniques and treatments gives massage therapists more insight into healing.

Typically, areas of subjective pain are closely associated with an objective increase in tissue density or TD and, when that elevated TD is reduced or restored, the pain is resolved. Knowing where these areas are, and how to better resolve the TD is all part of the therapy that massage therapists provide.

In the course of treating musculoskeletal pain, a therapist will often document the care that has been given for the purpose of assessing the efficacy of the treatment provided, and also for sharing that information with the client so that they better understand their treatment and healing process. While it is not definitive, the Tissue Density Grading Scale is widely used as a communication tool. Regardless of the treatment modality utilized, TD grading is a useful way to compare treatments and assess their effectiveness on different ailments and clients.

The Tissue Density Grading Scale is as follows :

Grade 0 (Yellow) = Tissue is flaccid, hangs from attachments and has little to no resistance to gravity.
Grade 1 (Green) = Tissue is toned yet easily malleable.
Grade 2 (Blue ) = Tissue is firm, tender if pressed into; muscles may appear and feel as if they are bound together as one.
Grade 3 (Red) = Grade 3 TD is tight, rubbery and is strongly resistant to mobilization.
Grade 4 (Brown) = Grade 4 TD is hardened, rigid and immobile.

Even with the scale, all forms of treatment are subject to change as all patients differ in their tissue issues. An area of tissue may be palpably denser than that of its surroundings, it may not be tender or painful but still rank high on the scale due to other issues surrounding the pain or ailment. By softening hardened tissues and restoring those to a more malleable, mobile, smooth condition, nerves and nerve endings are no longer being painfully trapped and tugged, and this is what massage therapy aims to eradicate.

Consult your primary care physician for any medical related advice.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Michael Pollak


This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Expert Massage Therapy. You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

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