Meet RMT Amy Morey, who is a full-time Registered Massage Therapist at our Vancouver location.
In this article, she shares some of the manual therapy techniques that she finds helpful for her clients with scoliosis.
She’s also works as a Teaching Assistant at Vancouver College of Massage Therapy, and is the Inclusion & Diversity Advisor at The ScoliClinic.
In this article, Amy shares two favourite massage techniques to use in treatments for people with scoliosis and Scheuermann’s Kyphosis.
At The ScoliClinic, we approach treatment using a curve classification system developed by Dr. Manuel Rigo of the Barcelona Scoliosis Physical Therapy School.
Over the past two years working at TSC, RMT Amy has gained experience working with all of these curve types. As a result, she’s noticed some muscle groups that tend to be more affected than others.
She shares a trend that she’s picked up on across the curve types:
“The Latissimus Dorsi muscle is a large ‘sail’ shape muscle on our back that is spans across the shoulder and the majority of the back. For most people with scoliosis, this muscle is affected in some way or another. On the side of the person’s main concavity, this muscle is often functionally shortened and feels very tender. I like using the muscle bowing technique to engage the muscle a gentler way – easing into the bowing way helps the muscle release some of it’s extra tension.”
Also, because of the location and orientation of the latissimus are on the body, treating these muscles will help the shoulder settle into a more neutral position. By working on the latissimus muscles to decrease the tightness of the shoulders, hanging exercises become more comfortable and effective.
Many of our clients with scoliosis experience a change in their ribcage, resulting in the ribs in one area to be positioned closer together compared to the opposite side.
Sometimes, when a person has had scoliosis for many years, the muscles and fascia in between the ribs becomes restricted and tight, and may influence that person’s ability to breathe to their fullest capacity.
In the image to the right, you can see an example of the ribcage changes associated with larger scoliosis curves.
RMT Amy often uses a technique called ‘rib raking’ – hands are positioned with fingers in between the ribs and an upward pulling motion is applied to massage the tissues between the ribs.
“Due to the intercostal muscles being tight in the concavities, I find this technique is helpful to enable a person to take a deeper breath and decrease the sensation of compression in those concavities. It also helps them create that brain-body connection with that area, to help bring awareness to the concavity.”
Amy uses this technique on most of her clients, sharing that in general, “the intercostals often don’t receive the attention they deserve for having such an important job of expanding of the ribs.”
Following a Massage Therapy treatment involving rib raking, Amy often encourages her clients to practice some deep diaphragmatic and lateral costal breathing exercises, sometimes combined with hanging work, to help create space and length in their trunk.
Thanks to RMT Amy for sharing these two great techniques!
All of our Registered Massage Therapists have a unique style – learn more about Amy’s treatment approach by reading her bio. If you want to book with RMT Amy, contact us to reserve your times with her at our Vancouver clinic.
Let our Client Coordinators know if you want to pair your RMT session with a Physio session, so we can find the optimal times for your schedule.