March 8, 2012

K-not k-not

K-not, K-not!
Who’s there?
Ok, it is a set-up for a silly joke, but the k-nots I see every day in my massage practice have always fascinated me.

Some seem to have layers, sizzling through separate muscles, fascias and actions, seeming to head into the center of the person. Some have hot points like the top of a stove. I swear some have emotions, usually sad or angry. (I have not seen happy emotions stuck in a knot, ever.) Cold knots give me the chills. Some knots prompt giggles or outright laughter. Some knots are “transporters” sending people back in time.

I often see repeat clients, giving me some opportunities to compare my impressions of the knots with the stories that emerge with therapeutic time.

These observations are very empirical, of course, coming from a thumbs-length investigation of knots over the years. I wonder if other massage therapists have experienced this and have a different take on these themes.

Thus I propose my k-notastic cannon.

Hot knots: I associate these with recent injury, such as inflammation in the wake of an accident or whiplash. The heat seems to emanate from the tissues which have been overstretched or locked-down.

Cold knots: These seem to represent really old injuries that have been sitting in the tissues for a long time, such as whiplashes or other traumas. Sometimes the cold knots in the hips and lumbar areas are from old back spasms or injuries that have caused the muscles to have less function or blood flow. Basically these are “frozen” muscles.

Emotion knots pop up now and then and give me an impression that comes up through my thumb or olecranon of the feeling that went with them when they were made. I’m always curious what the client is feeling, but I have always had a sense that they need to tell me what they feel without prompting. Usually I feel a negative emotion, such as frustration or anger. Here and there a giggle or laugh pops up, but these don’t seem to be actually funny, but nervous.

The “transporter” knot was one I had heard about occasionally from other therapists but never experienced personally. I have had clients pop up with spontaneous stories while I am doing trigger point therapy, but I was never sure about the “transporter” effect.

Then I took a class in which the instructor showed us a fun way to get to the posterior scalenes. I was one of the test bodies. At the moment my table partner touched that spot, I went back in time, not to the events, but to the feelings when I had been struck by a drunk driver in my brand-new car. My table partner hung in there while I turned three different shades and went through the time capsule. I felt all the anger, disgust and disappointment I felt then.

Yes, all this is pretty k-notty stuff. These are impressions, of course, not easily explainable to folks outside the field. On the occasions when I talk with other therapists about these experiences, it is something we nod about because we know of what we have felt.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Interesting. I had a similar experience of being transported back in time to a traumatic event from my past when I was on the table during a massage workshop. The experience really brought home the idea of muscle memory to me.