Ischemic compression is a gentle and non-invasive way to turn off active trigger points. You use the principles of ischemic pressure to ‘reset’ the message that is keeping your muscle in spasm.
The important thing to realise here is that trigger points are part of a protective mechanism of your body. Active triggers are actually an important defense reflex that keeps your body safe. However problems occur when the reflex misfires or doesn’t switch off – causing ongoing pain and stiffness.
The key point here is that this trigger point release technique is pain free. If it hurts – you’re not doing it correctly. This is one area where the ‘no pain, no gain’ philosophy really doesn’t apply. In fact, muscles in pain tend to tense up, so causing pain will hinder the technique working correctly.
Watch the video below to find out how to apply an ischemic trigger point release.
Painless trigger point release is an incredibly useful skill. It benefits athletes, massage therapists and bodyworkers, and people who work with chronic pain.
Once you’ve reduced the sensitivity of the trigger points and applied ischemic pressure, the treatment isn’t quite finished. Next you need to stretch out the muscle. Do this slowly, breathing out with each increase in the stretch. At no stage should you try to force the stretch – this could turn the trigger point back on.
Stretching is an important part of preventing the trigger point from returning. After you’ve finished the stretch, the last stage is to apply a gentle heat. You can use a heat pack, wheat bag or simply a hot water bottle. Apply the heat to the area for 5-10 minutes.