RAPID™ for Pain
by Tammy Wyatt
One of the things I love about my profession as a registered massage therapist (RMT) is the diversity of interest and learning. There are so many benefits from receiving massage, and since the very beginning of my career, my focus has been on building my skill set in the direction of therapeutic massage therapy. I find working with people to regain movement, restoring activities, and reducing pain the most rewarding part of my career. The latest approach I have decided to incorporate into my practise is RAPID™ Neurofascial Reset or RAPID™.
RAPID is a newer massage technique that was developed by Rob Routledge, an RMT in Alberta. After years of building their practise, refining techniques, and backing it all up with neuroscience, Rob and his wife Sherry have been teaching RAPID across Canada, USA, and abroad since 2016.
RAPID can improve and often resolve headaches, migraines, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, planter fasciitis, knee problems, golfers/tennis elbow, whiplash, TMJ dysfunction, frozen shoulder, bursitis, bunions, and arthritic joints.
Treatment outcomes include decreased pain and discomfort, an increase in range of motion, and freedom from pain, allowing you to return to activities that bring you joy!
All massage therapy is trying to communicate with your nervous system. Traditional therapeutic or relaxation massage is primarily trying to calm and sedate the nervous system by working with muscle tissue. The goal, as with any massage therapy, is to positively affect muscle tone, increase range of motion, and decrease symptoms.
The goal of RAPID is the same and your therapist will be working to help alleviate the symptoms that are making you seek treatment. The difference is the intention. It is not trying to sedate the tissue. In this case, the intention is to use pain to treat pain. Your RAPID therapist is looking to access the connective tissue, or fascia, in the body where specific receptors of the nervous system are found. This access, along with specific movements, can positively affect the tissues that are creating and/or perpetuating pain, discomfort, and lack of range of motion.
Rob and Sherry describe their treatment on their website: “RAPID is a neurologically based, active, therapeutic technique that addresses the central nervous system’s role in alleviating tension and restrictions within the body.”
Pain is very subjective and, while we often hear pain described with similar words, it really is a very individual experience. Pain is sensory information that your brain receives from the tissue involved. It can be the result of a recent/acute injury, or chronic pain from an injury that occurred some time ago. In either case, the nerves can become overexcited by the natural inflammatory response to the injury. Inflammation is necessary for healing and involves a cascade of cellular activity that can sometimes result in the nerves becoming hypersensitive. For some, this hypersensitivity can be rather profound and remain unresolved for an extended period. The tissue can lock down causing other tissues to get involved and the result is a variety of symptoms such as tightness, weakness, a decreased range of motion, and compensatory movements, leading to bad habits and even more pain. (1,2)
Your RAPID Session
Unlike most traditional massage sessions, RAPID is performed with the patient fully clothed and therefore no oil is applied. There is active participation by the patient which involves specific movements of the areas being treated, while the therapist is palpating the involved tissue in a way that is intended to activate the nervous system. Because there is active participation, it is strongly suggested that you wear loose-fitting clothing. The movements are simple but being able to move freely is preferred for your comfort as well as giving the therapist good access to the areas that need to be palpated and treated.
The tissue being treated is often quite responsive, making palpation and treatment a bit “spicy,” and can be uncomfortable. This might make some people worry that it might not be something that they can handle, especially if they are already dealing with pain. This is understandable but honestly, the sensation, while attention getting, is typically only felt for a few seconds at a time. The treatment is called RAPID partly for the speed at which the treatment is performed, but more importantly, how fast the results are. Patients are often astonished at the immediate reduction in pain and their ability to move!
You could think of pain as a problem in a power box. For whatever reason, when a breaker throws a switch, that switch will not allow electricity to flow through. The only way to get it working again, is to flip the switch OFF before flipping it back into the ON position. RAPID is a way of “resetting the breaker.”
With RAPID, movement and heat following your treatment is a very important part of after care. Challenging the area of the body and the nervous system that has been used less, helps with re-education of the tissue and helps restore greater range of motion, all while building patient confidence. We all know that pain is not fun. What we often forget is that getting out of pain is only one part of the process. Staying out of pain requires movement and the confidence to do so. Lack of motion is often a big reason for the perpetuation of pain.
I hope this article brings attention to this interesting and effective treatment and helps more patients get relief from stubborn, frustrating, and sometimes life-altering pain. RAPID NFR performed by an RMT is considered massage therapy and therefore claimable on your benefits plan as massage therapy.
1. Nociception via the website physio-pedia.com
2. Rob & Sherry Routledge, RAPID course material Keiko Marumo, Joanne Robertson
Tammy Wyatt, RMT uses her 22 years of massage experience and techniques, including RAPID NFR and Bioflex Laser therapy, to help resolve specific issues and get you moving pain free. For more information or to book an appointment, email email@example.com, or go to bit.ly/TammyWyattMassage. Tammy works at Broadway Health Collective (see the BHC ad on page 13 of the 29.2 July/August issue of the WHOLifE Journal) and please visit their website, broadway.health.