Read on for the essential info on Trigger Point Performance Therapy (TP Therapy) and how it helps provide chronic pain relief.
WHAT IS TRIGGER POINT PERFORMANCE THERAPY (TP THERAPY)
TP Therapy was developed by Janet Travell, M.D., and Dr. David Simons and further developed and taught by Cassidy Phillips to help cure his fibromyalgia.
Phillips was a serious athlete from an early age: he did Ironman competitions, ice skating and even ended up in Hollywood as a stunt man for a while. However, Phillips also suffered from bulmina and anorexia at the age of 16 through a desire to put his body through extremes to increase his athletic performance. Over the course of a few years, Phillips' body started breaking down which caused him to start suffering from depression. He went to back specialists and was told by one back doctor that he had the back of a 60 year old which several compression fractures. He undertook regular acupuncture therapy, massage and chiropathy. But Phillips soon realised he was relying on others to fix himself. There's nothing wrong with professional health experts, but you have to take your own responsibility and help your body heal itself. He also feared he had MS ~ multiple scleroris ~ because the left side of his body was deteriorating. And he started to suffer from fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition in which you feel pain in various points of your body. As Phillips put it, he had pushed his body so hard that it had turned into 'beef jerky'. He spent years trying out different techniques and ended up creating specific products designed for specific areas of the body to mirror the feeling and effectiveness his various therapists were giving him. Some critics say it's simply 'do it yourself' massage with gadgets, but for Phillips it's about self-healing and as he puts it "talking to the therapist within".
Phillips looked into traditional trigger point therapy in which key areas of the body of areas to release tension and create blood flow into particular areas. Every joint is supported by a tendon and a muscle. So you massage one particular muscle and that releases a trigger point which soothes pain in another area since they are connected through nerve tissue. Phillips did not want to rely on a therapist but wanted to do it for himself. Massage therapists have used rollers, golf balls, tennis balls and other tools to help but for Phillips they were not perfect. He developed a material which can be manipulated and wasn't too hard so as to cause pain but it changed shape after 5-7 seconds so it could penetrate areas of the muscle safely, with the right amount of pressure. Trigger Point tools that Phillips has developed include a massage ball, a 'footballer' and 'a grid'.
Since developing Trigger Point, Phillips has been able to do Ironman Triathlatons and keep his fibromyalgia at a manageable level, even though it's not completely cured.
HOW DOES TP THERAPY WORK?
Phillips studied the body and it's bio-mechanics. Whether you are an 80 year old lady or a 21 year old Ironman, the bio-mechanics of the body are the same. It's actually simple physics at play. He identified the ULTIMATE 6 AREAS - the parts of the body which give the greatest return in the quickest time. You apply pressure to that area - using the appriopriate TP tool and take a deep inhale of breath. This forces the trigger point of the targeted muscle to relax so oxygen flows into the muscle. As you move the TP tool over the muscle, the blood starts to slow and the tightness is relieved and elasticity returns. Usually, you need around 3-5 minutes per area which makes this type of massage therapy time efficient.
WHO WILL IT BENEFIT?
Pretty much anyone unless you have very serious muscle or bone problems. Trigger Point is good if you suffer from muscle aches, pains, bad posture, headaches and bad flexibility. But it also works if you are a top class athlete or just someone who spends too long at a desk. You will find yourself breathing, standing and holding yourself better all through the day. If you stand properly, you hold up and expand your torso which expands your lung capacity. If you can't breathe, you can't perform properly and just as importantly, you can't recover after exersion either. You will find yourself changing the patterns of how you sit, stand, run and walk.
WHEN SHOULD YOU PRACTICE TP?
Normally, TP is recommended before and after races, competitions and workouts and before stretching. It works before stretching as it realigns the joints by freeing up any tightness and gives the body a more stable platform.
As with all therapy, the key is consistency, persistence and moderation. Learn Trigger Point Therapy and use it to give your body what it needs that suits your own body pain, tightness and problems.
TRIGGER POINT PERFORMANCE THERAPY AND DIET
Cassidy Phillips does not think there is one type of diet that works for everyone. You have to work out what your body is allergic to. Cassidy, for example, does not eat wheat. As he says ~ if you eat wheat, yeast and sugar and you are intolerant to wheat, you are basically brewing beer in your stomach. Yeuchh! He makes the point that if your immune system is concentrating on fighting food intolerances, then it's difficult for your immune system to concentrate on other areas like curing your pain.
TP THERAPY AND FIBROMYALGIA
As mentioned, Phillips is able to manage but not completely cure his fibromyalgia. He did partner up with a research company to look further into fibromyalgia though and the results are startling. Bear in mind that most of the participants of TP Therapy are women. In 2006, of his students who suffered from fibromyalgia, 85% of them had had a C-section or hysterectomony. Phillips himself had an abdominal obstruction as a kid which was operated on. So he thinks scar tissue in the abdominal region might be part of the cause.
THE BACK OF A 60 YEAR OLD..NO MORE
By the way, Phillips went back to the doctor who said he had a 60 year old back and the compression fractures were gone. The doctor said 'we must have gotten a bad [Xray] print [first time around]'.