Back pain and massage - does that make sense?

Physiotherapy treatments and massages can obtain an unusually high, positive efficiencial result by applying energy principles. Read about the APM by Radloff  



Back pain and massage - from the perspective of acupuncture massage by Radloff (APM by Radloff).


One of the most common reasons to seek professional help is back pain. 70% of adults experience it at least once in their life! In physiotherapy and massage clinics, these symptoms are found endless. This text is aimed on the one hand to therapists, but on the other it is also revealing information for people affected by back pain. Many therapists who are confronted daily with these problems, ask themselves if it really makes sense to massage every aching back, because they observe, that the symptoms improve only slightly or they even worsen, for quite a lot of clients. About these observations, I would like to introduce a different way of thinking, and treatments will get predictable and largely successful.

Acupuncture Massage by Radloff (ESB / APM / ORK) is based on the experience of ancient Chinese medicine, according to which the life energy controls all the functions. Therefore the energetic way of thinking takes an essential role. Each treatment builds up on a previous diagnostic assessment of the energy status of the client. This principle may be applied easily and effectively even in classical massages. It leads to result-based therapy concepts also for massage treatments.
The life energy Ch'i is continually renewed and the amount of energy is predetermined. Ch'i flows through the body in conductive tracks, called meridians, which supply all body parts. According to the Chinese consideration the person is healthy when its energy is balanced (homeostasis). As a metaphor we may imagine a scale. If the balance is disturbed, it can result in malfunctions, aches or even disease.

This means that if one place has too much energy, automatically at another location the energy level results in a deficiency. In this case the acupuncture massage therapy by Radloff speaks of energetic emptiness or fullness.

Energetic filling can be produced by stimulation a part of the body. This can be done through massage, by rubbing, application of thermal mud or electrotherapy. The body reacts and brings more energy to the irritated place. This in the form of increased blood circulation, improved metabolism and so on. In the massage a desired response. Usually this fullness breaks down again in a short time and the induced effect has a positive impact. But if for some reason a host on the body cannot degrade itself, it leads to the potential longer-lasting symptoms.

Energetic treatment for patients with back pain?

In the morning when getting up, the client feels pain and immobility in the back. Usually affected people tend to apply heat in any form. This procedure may be correct, but does not have to be correct. There are many home remedies that are used. Hot-water bottles, potato and hay-sacks are known and a red light is likely also being present in many households.  Additionally, in pharmacies and drugstores you can find more warming medicine. They are sold in the form of lotions, creams and so-called "rheumatic plasters". The person affected by pain attacks, usually starts with the hot-water bottle, and if it does not work, goes to the next remedy. At home they get massaged by the partner and so on. The action escalates, without one considers that all of these tools have one thing in common: they increased the irritation, because they all produce heat = fullness!

 In this situation, the patient comes to a massage practice. He hopes for professional help. How useful it can be to place more, now professionally conducted massage stimulations to the same location?

At the location of the pain there is mostly an energetic fullness, which cannot be reduced. In this situation, energetic fullness would be actually maintained by further massage. By massage additional energy is brought into the affected area, and pain becomes worse and aggravates further mobility. But in the case, that the affected area is due to an energetic emptiness, a massage would "suddenly" make improvements.

Normally massage therapists should ask themselves why the same treatment for the same kind of pain sometimes help and sometimes worsen it. It is neither the massage technique nor “healing hands” that lead to success. But the real art is to understand how the energy state of the pain processes is. Massages always stimulate and concentrate energy, the trick is to use it at the right place.

Fullness or emptiness?

In the focus is the question whether the pain is in the area of energy repletion, or in condition of emptiness: Stimulations or heat applications produce fullness, consequently, ice displaces energy, and in other words, emptiness is generated.

However, it should be understood that prolonged applications of ice have the opposite effect. The extraction of the normal body temperature causes as a reaction an increase in blood flow through the cold body and the location is fed again with more energy. (If you have ever held the hands in the snow, for 5 minutes, then you could observe, that your hands became red and hot) This means that ice should not be used longer than 20 to 30 seconds.

If symptoms after this short application decrease or the mobility improve, it can be assumed that the pain is from an energetic fullness. At this place it would be counterproductive to treat with massage stimulation. Instead, it comes to find out where are the empty locations, and it only makes sense to stimulate these areas. Therefore the following considerations:

Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang is about "the distribution of energy", "the balance of energy" or “the polar energy”. Every aspect has a counter aspect. So the fullness has as a counterpart, the emptiness. The top has the bottom, etc. In relation to the body, this gives the following poles:

-        top             →        bottom

-        back          →        front

-        left             →        right

-        outside      →        inside

For back pain due to fullness, it can be assumed that in the opposing area, the front, low energy will be found. By a massage of the abdominal muscles, it is possible to relieve the aching back significantly. Anatomically, this relationship can be likewise explained: The abdominal muscles are the functional antagonist of the back muscles.

If symptoms in the upper body are found because of an energetic fullness, there is the possibility to bring the energy down with a leg massage. The Reflexology uses this opportunity unconsciously.

Conversely, the same procedure can be used in unilateral conditions of pain. Here it is possible, to make an energy shift between the left and right side. It can also be explained by western medicine and physiologically with the consensual reaction.

The problem, of course, is the habit, that the patient wants to be massaged where he has his/her pain. But we can hopefully explain them the oppositional relationship between abdominal and back muscles and the consensual response or muscular imbalances. The success of the treatment will confirm it!

I wish you much success with result-based massaging!

 Peter Jeker

 translated by Gabriela Christ

Training institute for acupuncture massage by Radloff
Training institute for acupuncture massage by Radloff

German site of Klaus Radloff
German site of Klaus Radloff

Gabriela Christ, Olten, Schweiz

APM RADLOFF - The gentle alternative to chiropractic

Do not think that pain and its cause can be found at the same place. Unless you have beaten yourself with the hammer on this part.