Body.Work: Tissue States (geekiness ensues)
A special newsletter exclusively for paid subscribers: behind the scenes of medical/clinical massage training.
This is my ninth week of clinical massage school, out of thirty-seven. We're working on learning the muscles of the shoulder and the back right now, and how to treat them. In class yesterday, Dan, our teacher, gave us a handout on assessing and treating the shoulder. It listed seven different qualities to look for while feeling the muscles:
1. tissue density, comparing one side to the other
2. temperature--does it feel hot or cold?
3. does the tissue move, or is it rigid?
4. localized soreness or tenderness?
5. feel for nodules, knots, ropes, which could be signs of muscle spasm or fibrosis
6. check for crepitus (grating sound or vibration when the tissue is moved)
7. stiffness or a loss or range of motion
The list ends with a statement that we're generally feeling for the environment of the tissue.
As I was reading it, it seemed a little familiar. By the time I got to that last statement about the environment of the tissue, I realized what it was.