Services and Techniques

Manual Therapy in Oakland CA

What is Manual Therapy?

Oakland chiropractor Dr. Sandy Baird specializes in manual therapy that effectively treats a wide variety of soft tissue conditions. Manual therapy is a broad term that may include the following types of myofascial release, massage therapy, and other joint mobilization and muscle work techniques:

Deep Tissue massage/Trigger Point massage

The perfect way to work out those stubborn knots and sore spots in your muscles.  In this type of massage, I incorporate myofascial release therapies, trigger point work, and muscle-release techniques.  Contrary to popular belief, this type of massage isn’t supposed to be painful.  You are completely in control over the amount of pressure you want to receive. Deep Tissue Massage is a massage technique that focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It aims to release the deeply-held chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep finger pressure on the contracted areas, either following or going across the fiber’s of the muscles, tendons and fascia. 

Deep tissue massage usually focuses on more specific areas and may cause some soreness during or right after the massage. However, if the massage is done correctly you should feel better than ever within a day or two. A deep-tissue massage helps loosen muscle tissues, release toxins from muscles and get blood and oxygen circulating properly. Because many toxins are released, it’s important to drink plenty of water after a deep-tissue session to help eliminate these toxins from the body.

Myofascial Release

If you struggle with chronic pain and tightness throughout your body, you may have myofascial pain syndrome. This condition can send pain and other symptoms of tightness and stiffness to various parts of your body while also limiting your range of motion. 

Through chronic postural stress, overuse, or repetitive motions, your fascia (the connective tissue web that wraps around and through your muscles) may tighten up, limiting muscle motion painfully. Your tissues may also develop painful knots called trigger points. These knots of taut and tender tissue can pinch nerves, sending referred pain to other areas of your body. Targeted manipulation of these areas can force the tissue to relax, freeing your body to work optimally and easing referred pain symptoms.

Sports massage

Whether you just ran your second marathon this month, or overdid it working in the garden over the weekend, sports massage is a great way to relieve those sore and strained muscles.  This can focus on a particular injury (a pulled hamstring from running or sore shoulders from overdoing it swimming laps) or it can be a full-body massage that helps your body speed along it’s recovery process so that you can get back out there doing what you love.

The main purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Where minor injuries and lesions occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse, massage can break them down quickly and effectively. Sports massage can help prevent those niggling injuries that so often get in the way of performance and achievement, whether you are a professional athlete or a once a week recreational runner. The purpose of the massage is to increase blood circulation and lymph flow, reduce muscle tension, improve flexibility, and relieve pain. 

How Manual Therapy is Performed at Riverstone Chiropractic:

Massage is billed per session, which is one region of the body. We don’t charge massage by the minute. A single session includes full-body chiropractic adjustments (if desired) and injury resolution treatment of one region of the body (or two regions if they are related, eg neck and shoulder or foot and ankle). If you want to be seen on the same day for injury resolution treatments of two unrelated issues, eg foot pain and neck pain, you will need to schedule the “extended physiotherapy” session type. Please email Dr. Baird before scheduling if you are unsure what treatments you need.

This is why we don’t charge massage by the minute:

A typical “one-hour” massage in the industry runs 50 minutes, and additional time is taken up for undressing/dressing, draping, smoothing the covers, warming up the whole body, positioning, re-positioning, and filler strokes (which are soothing, but don’t pack a lot of punch.) Our job is to resolve your injury and get you moving better. There are fantastic benefits to receiving a more traditional spa-type massage (relaxation and increased circulation to name a few), but that’s not what we focus on. We cut the “fluff” and give you as much treatment value as possible. Dr. Baird has sought out hundreds of hours of manual therapy continuing education and has consolidated their knowledge and skillset to give you the best and most effective treatments. You are paying for expertise here, not 1000 thread-count sheets and chilled coconut water. There won’t be candles and soft lighting, we don’t know a thing about feng-shui, but we will resolve your injury faster that any traditional/swedish massage therapist could. We would also be happy to switch the Spotify radio station over to “Enya” if that’s your thing : )

Dress suggestions for an Oakland manual therapy treatment session:

Manual therapy is performed on a treatment table with the client wearing clothes that are easy to move in and that expose the area(s) needing treatment. Please arrive appropriately dressed (or you may arrive early and change clothes in the bathroom). A tank top or sports bra that exposes the shoulder-blades is best for upper body issues, and shorts that can roll up to top of thigh are best for lower body issues.

These dress suggestions are offered to facilitate the most effective treatments, some of which require applying contact directly to skin. With that said, your comfort is a high priority to us! Dr. Baird is respectful of modesty issues, please let them know if you have modesty concerns for treatment of certain areas, and they will work with you to come up with the best solution to maximize both your comfort and effectiveness of treatment.

A few notes about your comfort and safety:

When a massage lotion or cream is used, it is always both unscented and organic. Please inform us of any allergies. Sandy will ask your direct permission to apply any muscle pain-relieving lotion or cream that may contain menthol or peppermint essential oil.

Dr. Baird strives to always use body-positive and gender-neutral language.

While it can sometimes be “less than comfortable” to physically (and emotionally) work through tight, restricted muscles in order to allow them to unwind their tension and restore their function, Dr. Baird is always mindful of their client’s tolerance for discomfort, and provides a gentle and comfortable treatment experience that is very effective!

If you would like to speak to a doctor at Riverstone Chiropractic in Oakland CA to find out if and how we can help you overcome your injury and get you back to the activities you love, please call (510) 465-2342 or click the button below to schedule your free consultation.

manual therapy oakland massage
Manual therapy to mobilize a tight and painful shoulder blade.

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