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For the majority of muscular or connective tissue problems, active sources of pain can be identified as trigger points or sore attachment points. These painful areas are not just randomly scattered throughout a muscle. Usually, they are all located within a definite set of tense muscle fibers, originally identified as taut bands by Janet Travell. To the patient, this entire “streak” of tension may feel extra sensitive or painful. To the therapist, taut bands feel denser and more resistant to pressure than adjacent sets of parallel fibers. The therapist must identify the entire band, from its distal attachment to the proximal one, and also locate the trigger points and sore attachment points within the band.
Taut Band Therapy was developed by Stewart Walker as an effective use of therapeutic bodywork for the reduction of muscular – skeletal pain. Travell demonstrated that pain reduction is facilitated by elongating the tight muscle fibers within these bands. Most of the techniques in this therapy are designed to serve the purpose of lengthening. Normalizing the responses in the taut bands is essential for the restoration of function to the muscle as a whole. This methodology is distinguished by the stationary or slow moving, deliberate use of pressure. Taut Band Therapy is very different from methods designed primarily for relaxation and circulatory stimulation. The goals of this therapy are:
to reduce pain,
to reduce neural inhibition generated by the trigger point; and,
to restore the muscle’s full functional strength