Cross Fiber / Deep Transverse Friction Massage, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca.

Great PDF – cyriax-s-friction-massage-a-review 1982

Great Book: Fix Pain: Bodywork Protocols for Myofascial Pain Syndromes Hardcover – January 1, 2002 – by John Harris my teacher and friend

-see chap 6 for Cross FiberFriction Massage

Cross Fiber / Deep Transverse Friction Massage Santa Barbara, Goleta
Cross Fiber / Deep Transverse Friction Massage Santa Barbara, Goleta
Cross Fiber / Deep Transverse Friction Massage Santa Barbara, Goleta

CrossFiber Massage uses friction techniques to create a stretching and broadening effect in large muscle groups. …Cross-fiber massage can be used to reduce adhesions and to help create strong, flexible repair during the healing process. This technique is usually done without oil or lotion. Cross friction massage is great for tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Any adhesions, tendonitis, tendinosis, scar tissue, or trigger points will respond to this therapy.

What is a cross-fiber friction massage?

This is why we use cross-fiber massage

The purpose of deep friction massage is to maintain the mobility within the soft tissue structures of ligament, tendon, and muscle and prevent adherent scars from forming. … Before friction massage can be performed successfully, the correct structure must be found through proper evaluation procedures.

What is the friction massage technique?

Friction is a massage technique used to increase circulation and release areas that are tight; particularly around joints and where there are adhesions within the muscles or tendons. Friction is defined as “an accurately delivered penetrating pressure applied through fingertips.” 

What is deep transverse friction massage?

Transverse friction massage (also known as cross-friction and cross-fiber massage) is a technique that promotes optimal collagen healing by increasing circulation and decreasing collagen cross-linking, thus decreasing the formation of adhesions and scar tissue.

How do you massage scar tissue after surgery?

You should start massaging your scars two weeks after surgery. Wait until the sutures have been removed and all scabs have fallen off by themselves. Do not pull your scabs off. Use the pads or soft tips of your fingers to massage the scar and tissue around the scar.

What is the Cyriax technique?
Description. Deep friction massage is a specific connective tissue massage that was developed by Cyriax. The purpose of deep friction massage is to maintain mobility within the soft tissue structures of ligament, tendon, and muscle and prevent adherent scars from forming.
Should you massage tendons?
For people suffering from tendonitis, it can help with pain relief and speed up the recovery process. Since tendonitis can take weeks to heal, using a massage therapy program to both relax and strengthen the inflamed tendon can give the sufferer a better chance of a full and speedy recovery.
Should you massage the torn ligament?
A strain can happen to the muscles, tendons, or ligaments. Massage is one of the most effective forms of injury rehabilitation therapy. Not only does it speed up the healing process, but it also increases range of motion, and flexibility and helps prevent re-injury. Without it, our bodies rarely make a full recovery.
Can you massage away adhesions?
YES. A deep tissue massage breaks down adhesions and collagen fibers that can be caused as a result of scar tissue. Adhesions restrict movement and increase pain resulting in an increase in stress. Breaking down scar tissue through deep tissue massage relieves restriction to decrease pain and reduce stress. I have a client who has been with me for 15 years. He first came to me with a knot in his calf the size of a walnut. Over a period of months, I used deep cross-fiber massage. This process is very uncomfortable and most people can’t handle the uncomfortably. He is a 6-degree Kung Fu master/teacher and can handle pain well.  The body needs time to recover and be re-educated but over time that knot is now GONE.
Cross Fiber / Deep Transverse Friction Massage Santa Barbara, Goleta

How do you do cross-friction massage?

Just rub gently back and forth over the inflamed tendon at the point of greatest tenderness. Your strokes should be perpendicular to the fibers of the tendon-like strumming a guitar string. Use gently to moderate pressure with the pads of your fingers or a thumb.

Should you massage inflamed tendons?

Beyond that, regular massage therapy can significantly reduce or even eliminate pain, as well as increase the strength and range of motion in the affected joint. Sports massage, which combines more gentle Swedish techniques with deep-tissue work, can also be effective for tendonitis inflammation and pain.

What are the benefits of friction massage?

Cross-fiber friction is friction that goes against the direction of the muscle fibers, it is used often in Sports Massage. The benefits of friction are to address a joint, to reduce swelling, to bring blood to the areas of dry, stringy muscles, and to rub soreness away.

More on Deep Friction Massage

Deep friction massage is a specific connective tissue massage that was developed by Cyriax. The purpose of deep friction massage is to maintain mobility within the soft tissue structures of ligament, tendon, and muscle and prevent adherent scars from forming. The massage is deep and must be applied transversely to the specific tissue involved unlike the superficial massage given in the longitudinal direction parallel to the vessels which enhances circulation and return of fluids. Before friction massage can be performed successfully, the correct structure must be found through proper evaluation procedures. The distinction must be made between contractile structures such as the muscle belly, musculotendinous junction, tendon, and tendon-periosteal junction, and non-contractile structures such as the joint capsule, bursae, fascia, dura mater, and ligament. 

In addition to finding the right spot, the massage must also be given the most effective way by following these basic principles:

  1. The proper location must be found through proper evaluation procedures and palpation of the specific tendon, ligament, or muscle.
  2. Friction massage must be given across the affected fibers. The thicker and stronger a normal structure, the more important friction is given strictly across the grain.
  3. The therapist’s fingers and the patient’s skin must move as one, otherwise moving subcutaneous fascia against muscle or ligament could lead to blister formation or subcutaneous bruising.
  4. The friction massage must have sufficient sweep and be deep enough.
  5. The patient must be in a comfortable position.

The frequency and duration of treatment vary with the severity and type of the injury. In a recent injury, i.e. ligament sprain, start daily with gentle massage to keep mobility. It is important for the therapist to distinguish between tenderness and pain. Tenderness can be due to deep friction and can persist long after the pain disappears. Pain is elicited by clinical assessment and reassessment. Deep friction massage may be given every other day or when the excess tenderness has worn off. The duration of the treatment varies; for example, with an acute ligamentous injury, the gentle massage performed may last only 1-2 minutes. However, it may well take several minutes to be able to get your fingers on the structure depending on the severity of the pain. With deep friction massage, the treatment will last 10-15 minutes.

  • Pain relief
    • The analgesic effect of the massage can last up to 24 hours.
  • Stimulation of fiber orientation in regenerating connective tissue
    • Transverse friction when applied in the early repair cycle enhances remodeling and hence reorientation of the collagen fibers in a longitudinal manner.
  • Prevention of adhesion formation
    • As friction massage causes a transverse movement of the collagen fibers it helps in preventing adhesion formation. In situations where adhesion is already formed more intense friction can help to break them as well. In such cases, friction is used to mobilize the scar tissue and break the cross-linkages between the connective tissues and the surrounding structures.
  • Traumatic hyperemia
    • As it is a forceful and deep movement it effectively causes increased blood flow to the local area of application through vasodilatation. This assists in the removal of chemical irritants and allows the transportation of endogenous opiates, thus causing pain relief.


Common Massage Therapy Techniques

Longitudinal Gliding

Longitudinal gliding is a basic but effective massage technique administered in the direction of the blood flow. It aids the fluid dispersion from the injury site and thus helps reduce inflammation and swelling. It is also very useful in relaxing tight muscles.


Kneading can be performed in different ways and is described by the part of a hand used to accomplish the massage, eg thumb kneading, and palm kneading. The pressure used must vary according to the purpose of the massage and the bulk of the tissues under treatment. The rhythm and rate of the movement are equally important as the pressure is applied intermittently.

Myofascial Releases

Myofascial release is a manual technique for stretching the fascia with the aim of balancing the body. Fascia is located between the skin and the underlying structure of muscle and bone, it is a seamless web of connective tissue that covers and connects the muscles, organs, and skeletal structures in our body. Injuries, stress, trauma, and poor posture can cause restriction to the fascia, and the goal of myofascial release is to release fascia restriction and restore its tissue.

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point therapy is a bodywork technique that involves the applying of pressure to tender muscle tissue in order to relieve pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body. Trigger points are active centers of muscular hyperactivity, which often cross over with acupuncture points. You will also find that your muscular “knots” commonly trigger points.

Deep Transverse Frictions

Transverse friction is a transverse connective tissue therapy applied directly by the fingers. Transverse frictions use an oscillating pressure applied across the direction of the tissue fibers. This technique is used mainly on tendon or ligament injuries to help break down thickened, pain-producing scar tissue. If these lesions are not reduced then they are likely to cause further irritation and degenerate more quickly than they should.

Compression Massage

Rhythmic compression into muscles is used to create deep hyperemia and a softening effect in the tissues. It is generally used as a warm-up for deeper, more specific massage work. Sports massage utilizes compression massage.

Cross-Fibre Massage

Cross-fiber friction techniques are applied in a general manner to create a stretching and broadening effect in large muscle groups; or on site-specific muscle and connective tissue, deep transverse friction is applied to reduce adhesions and to help create strong, flexible repair during the healing process.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage techniques include long strokes, kneading, friction, tapping, percussion, vibration, effleurage, and shaking motions.

The usual sequence of techniques is: 

Effleurage: Gliding strokes with the palms, thumbs, and/or fingertips 
Petrissage: Kneading movements with the hands, thumbs, and/or fingers   
Friction: Circular pressures with the palms of hands, thumbs, and/or fingers 
Vibration: Oscillatory movements that shake or vibrate the body 
Percussion: Brisk hacking or tapping 
Passive and active movements: Bending and stretching

PNF Stretches (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation)

PNF techniques combine passive stretching and isometrics with your muscle alternatingly stretched passively and contracted. The technique targets nerve receptors in the muscles to extend the muscle length.

First, the relaxed muscle is stretched by a partner, one’s own body weight against the floor, a wall, or similar resistance.

At the point, where no further stretching seems possible, the stretch is held for up to 30 seconds. However, during this period, the muscle should be contracted as much as possible.

Finally, when the muscle gets relaxed again, it should be immediately stretched farther, which is then easily possible again.

This technique of alternating stretching and contracting can be repeated several times, in order to stretch a bit further each time.

Other Resources:


Therapeutic Swedish Massage, Sports Massage Therapy in Santa Barbara, Goleta

*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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