Not all of those pesky knots in your clients’ muscles can sometimes be worked out through massage alone.

But by combining your clients’ massage sessions with trigger point therapy, you can help eliminate muscular pain and tenderness with a simple touch. Fortunately, learning the techniques of trigger point therapy can be done through a variety of home study courses.

Trigger point therapy can be used to treat a variety of injuries your clients may or may not realize they have. It can be used to treat headaches, stiffness in the neck, bursitis, tennis elbow, back pain, sciatica, shin splints and other injuries that occur from accidents, sports, occupations and disease.

After several treatments, trigger point therapy has been shown to reduce swelling and stiffness of neuromuscular pain, improve sleep, improve your clients’ range of motion, relieve tension, increase endurance and improve blood flow and flexibility within the muscle groups.

Trigger points are often categorized into two groups: active and latent.

Active trigger points typically cause muscular pain when pressure is applied, while latent trigger points, which your client may not know about, only exhibit pain when compressed and do not refer pain to other areas of the body.

There are numerous home study courses about trigger point therapy available to massage therapists. Some of trigger point therapy courses include: pain patterns of muscles, general palpation rules for finding trigger points, trigger point locations, stretching and strengthening exercises, and the anatomy of the muscular system.

A recent study, “Compression on trigger points in the leg muscle increases parasympathetic nervous activity based on heart rate variability,” showed trigger point therapy increased parasympathetic nervous activity when trigger points in the leg muscles of women were compressed.

After observing six women, with an average age of 21 years old, the study proved trigger-point compression decreased heart rate, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure; increased parasympathetic activity; increased the gain from instantaneous lung volume to heart rate; and improved fatigue scores, according to the results.

Another study, “Myofascial Trigger Points in Children with Tension-Type Headache: A New Diagnostic and Therapeutic Option,” studied the duration and severity of tension-type headaches among children ages 5 to 15 years old.

The study observed nine girls, averaging about 13 years old, that had been diagnosed with tension-type headaches and were attending a special headache outpatient clinic.

The study showed a reduction in both headache intensity and frequency following trigger point therapy. The most significant improvements were observed after about six sessions, although other improvements were noted after two to three sessions of trigger point therapy, the study reported.

Make sure to check with your national and state licensing bodies to make sure the courses you select are acceptable for continuing education credits.

—Jeremy Maready