Personally written by Dr. Milan Lassiter, Chiropractor, 1303 W. Main St., Richmond, VA, Tel #: (804) 254-5765
I am not a massage therapist, although I greatly respect and appreciate the work that massage therapists do. I am a chiropractor in Richmond, VA, who has been in practice for about 15 years. In chiropractic college, we learned a lot about the spine and adjusting the spine in order to correct spinal mis-aligment, improve spinal movement dysfunction, and increase nervous system function.
As soon as I was licensed and started working on patients, I couldn’t help but notice an inordinate amount of soft tissue problems. I was always doing pressure point therapy and cross friction massage on the soft tissue disorders that I’d notice. In 2008, I started to study Active Release Technique (ART), a patented myofascial technique that is widely used with athletes (it’s really appropriate for anyone with tight, tense, or dysfunctional soft-tissue movement). Most of the professionals who do Active Release Technique are chiropractors or physical therapists, and I noticed that many of them also did another myofascial technique called Graston Technique. I preceded to study that technique too, and, between the two myofascial techniques, it totally changed the way that I practice. By the way, the word myofascial stands for muslces (myo) and fascia (a connective tissue that is replete throughout the body and is very important in producing movement).
Most of the dysfunctional movement problems in the body fall under one of 2 categories: (1) Joint mobility dysfunction or (2) Tissue extensibility dysfunction. The chiropractic adjustments that we perform in our office corrects joint mobility problems. The myofascial work that we do, and that massage therapists perform, corrects the tissue extensibility problems. Tissue extensibility dysfunction basically means soft tissues (muscle, fascia, ligaments, tendons, etc.) that can’t or aren’t able to move properly. They’re stuck, restricted, contracted, and just plain lacking the proper ability to move the way that they should.
I love the way that massage therapists work the soft tissue system from head to toe, but I’ll leave that to them…they’re the professionals that you should go to for that because they do that better than anyone. The soft tissue work that I do, ART and Graston Technique, is much more regional. I identify specific soft tissues that are dysfunctional and I work to correct that. Examples would be an ITB syndrome, patello-femoral syndrome, achilles tendonosis (tendonitis), or rotator cuff syndrome that is hindering someone from running or from moving their shoulder properly.
In our Richmond office, I address joint mobility dysfunction by chiropractic adjustments, spinal decompression therapy, and Laser therapy. I address tissue extensibility dysfunction by various myofascial techniques, including ART, Graston Technique, Dry needling, and Laser therapy. When patients come to our office, they get one or both…they get adjusted and/or they get myofascial therapy (ART and/or Graston), depending on what’s indicated. Most people get both…they get adjusted and then they get some soft tissue myofascial therapy. To me, the two systems work symbiotically and one doesn’t work without the other, so it’s natural to make sure both the spine/joints are working properly while at the same time making sure the soft tissue system is doing the same.