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Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy seeks to locate and eliminate trigger points, which are tiny painful knots in the body.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: May 18, 2020

Trigger points are isolated areas of pain which, when triggered, cause your body to react. They tend to form when your muscle fibers contract and tighten, which can affect the surrounding muscles and nerves, pain.

The goal of trigger point therapy is to massage away these irritable muscle nodules by aggressively placing pressure on the muscle or by physically lift up the muscle fibers.

Trigger point therapists believe that trigger points are responsible for many unexplained aches and pains in the body, from headaches to PMS to fibromyalgia.

The origins of Trigger Point Therapy: Trigger point therapy is based on the theory that the body contains numerous trigger points. Trigger points are irritated contracted knots in muscles and the surrounding nerves. These trigger points can produce "referred" pain, which means they deliver pains to distant parts of the body.

These trigger points are caused by injury, repetitive strain or even anxiety. The theory of trigger points was first expounded by Dr. Janet Travell, the personal physicial to President John Kennedy, in 1942.

Benefits Of Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy is not the type of massage to get if you’re looking for relaxation. It is a focused type of massage that can be uncomfortable at times, though several trigger point therapy sessions can help to relieve muscle pain and relax stiff joints.

What To Expect

The goal of trigger point massage is essentially to seek out and destroy trigger points. The massage therapist will locate trigger points and eliminate them using deep pressure, which can be uncomfortable at times.

Some trigger point therapists spray a cool substance onto the skin in order to allow a deeper stretch of muscles. This can also be unpleasant.

Specialized equipment: No special equipment is needed for trigger point treatment. You will be asked to sit and walk at times during treatment, so do not expect to lounge on a padded table for the entirety of your session.

Recommended sessions: Many clients see benefits after their first session, however, two to three sessions are normally recommended.

Preparation: Your therapists will ask you questions about your lifestyle—everything from your job, to how you sit, to whether you carry packages or children on a regular basis. Once therapy begins, make sure to let your therapist know if the pressure becomes too painful.


People with a history of blood clots should see a doctor prior to trigger point massage therapy.

Who wouldn't benefit: In the unlikely event that you have no chronic pains or injuries, or if you seek a relaxing, stress-reducing massage, you should pass up trigger point massage.

Find licensed and certified experts who offer Trigger Point Therapy near you