Trigger Point Therapy
Muscle imbalances or energy imbalances are the early warning signs of impending injury. Manual therapies are used to maintain mobile, soft muscle tissue.
Trigger points are "A highly irritable localized spot of exquisite tenderness in a module in a palpable taut band of (skeletal) muscle" Drs. Janet Traveli and David Simons (1998). Using the thumb, fingers or elbow pressure directly on an active trigger point initially causes ischemia (an inadequate supply of blood to the muscle area); followed by reactive hyperemia (an excess of blood supply to the muscle region) when the point is released. The goal is locate the source of pain and deactivate it.
The difference between massage therapy and Trigger Point Therapy is the accuracy. Not a lot of pressure is needed when exactly on an active trigger point. This type of muscle therapy moves fascia, synonymous with myofascial release, and the muscles that overlay an active trigger point, which is often swollen or in spasm.
Currently there is not a clear description for the onset of a myofascial trigger point. It is believed trigger points occur as a ramification of overuse of a muscle or muscle trauma. However, the evidence linking psychological stress to the formation of painful trigger points is convincing.