2016 MTI Conference

On Saturday I attended the annual MTI conference. This year it was held at Cardiff University!

The day was opened by Darien Pritchard giving a key note speech about self care; we need to look after ourselves before we can look after others!

I then attended two myofascial release workshops. The first was regarding techniques to work with people who suffer with headaches (including migraines) and the second was for foot and ankle issues (including plantar fasciitis).

It was a very interesting and useful day and now I have even more techniques that I can integrate into a massage session.

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Myofascial Release

If you view the YouTube video and skip past the grapefruit part to 1:27 you can see what our fascia looks like.
Fascia is a large web of connective tissue fibres that joins our whole body together, including skin, nerves, organs, muscles, bones, veins and arteries. Fascia can become stuck if it isn’t regularly moved and stretched, or restrictions can occur from a trauma or operation.
This can present itself as pain in your body. Fascia doesn’t show up on standard tests (X-rays, CAT scans, etc.) and so a lot of people who are in pain because of restricted fascia will go undiagnosed.
Myofascial release techniques can be used as part of your massage treatment to re-introduce movement to your fascia, to help it become un-stuck and to hopefully give some relief from any pain you may be experiencing.

MTI Annual Conference

Yesterday was the Annual MTI Conference, this year it was held in Solihull and I was up bright and early to get there on time.

The opening speech was from Ruth Duncan of Myofascial Release UK. The story of her massage journey gave us some laughs, but also a timely and relevant message at the end about believing in yourself.

My first workshop was about fibromyalgia. Ruth showed us a couple of myofascial release techniques, one called rebounding, which may help to release restricted or tightened fascia in clients, and also a standing technique which could be used to ‘reset’ the body from bad posture habits. I found the workshop so interesting and will certainly be buying Ruth’s book to read up on some more of the techniques. They can be worked into a normal massage session fairly easily and although clients with fibromyalgia seem to respond particularly well to these techniques they are not just reserved for those with the condition, they can benefit everyone!

Ruth pointed out that fascia doesn’t show up on MRI scans or x-rays and that this could be where clients with fibromyalgia are feeling the pain. So if that is the case then it makes sense that someone with fibromyalgia would respond well to myofascial release techniques.

Currently the treatment for fibromyalgia is to control the symptoms, rather than treat the cause, this usually involves taking pain killers and in some cases a mild anti-depressant to improve the quality of sleep. However rest, heat, relaxation, gentle exercise, a balanced, healthy diet, a positive frame of mind and reducing stress also seem to be quite successful. And of course we all know a brilliant method of relaxation don’t we? (Hint: book yourself a massage!)

Lunch was a delicious buffet sponsored by Balens Insurance (who I have my insurance with with!), my favourites were the divine sweet potato fries and gorgeous cupcakes amongst other things. I shall have to do some research into those fries, mine never turn out like that!

The afternoon workshop was about soft tissue release, which involved going over a ‘pin and stretch’ technique which can be used to release any tightness in muscles that normal stretching just doesn’t seem to reach. By applying pressure to different areas of the muscle the stretch can be deepened and move along the entire length of the muscle, rather than just one area. This seemed more like revision for me as I had learnt this technique in the professional diploma course last year and have also been a recipient of it during several massages from other therapists.

The day also gave me a chance to catch up with a few of my class mates from last year and to meet some new faces as well. Next year’s conference will be held in Cardiff and I’m looking forward to it already!