How to relax the cremaster/dartos muscles?

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How to relax the cremaster/dartos muscles?

Postby Yonah on Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:01 am

This is a serious question. I never talk about this type of thing, but I would really like to know, so:

My scrotum is almost always tight. About 20+ years ago, I was getting regular MT from a female therapist, and I noticed in the mirror later that everything was hanging looser and lower than I had ever seen it. I don't mean to be graphic. Nothing inappropriate happened during the session.

I never mentioned it to her, but I recently started wondering what she did to cause that -- it seemed much more normal. Does anybody know any techniques to use on the lower abdomen area that cause the cremaster/dartos muscles to relax?

I don't know how else to ask it, and I assume that you would be the people who know.

Yonah
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Postby Shannon on Tue Jul 25, 2006 6:13 pm

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Thanks, Shannon; but not exactly.

Postby Yonah on Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:29 pm

Shannon,

Thanks for the link. I saw that during my own online search. While the article contains some interesting information, it does not actually address my question. In fact, the questioner in that article had the opposite "problem" of mine.

I am aware that temperature changes affect the position/relative length or looseness/tightness of the sac. However, my question really takes it to the next level.

Again, I hate to be so personal and graphic. Even in warmth, my scrotal sac never hangs as loosely as it did after the bodywork that I had back then. I think there must be a way to relax those muscles through soft tissue work in the lower abdominal region.

For sure the cremaster bellies are located there, and I believe that part of the dartos also travels through that region. Just to be clear, I'm referring to the area located ABOVE the pubic symphesis.

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Postby berkana on Wed Jul 26, 2006 2:54 pm

I have a couple of clients who experience refered pain in their scrotum. I find that doing deep work thru the adductors helps reduce tension/pain in the area. These clients definately carry their tension in their low back & legs. Funny - one of them claims that he knows he's 'due' for work when things aren't hanging so freely (so to speak)... always wondered about this & it's intersting that you experience similar tension.

(edit) - Oh yeah... I also work the abdominal muscles & psoas/illiacus.
Last edited by berkana on Wed Jul 26, 2006 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby akb on Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:25 pm

Here's something interesting that may help you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genitofemoral_nerve

If your therapist did abdominal massage regularly then maybe the psoas relaxed and the cremaster/dartos was better supplied by the genitofemoral nerve which runs through the psoas major. Even without working the psoas itself, just through abdominal work, it may have released enough.

This one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cremaster_muscle

indicates that part of the cremaster muscle originates from the internal oblique, and another part from the pubic crest....I would imagine that any abdominal massage with the intention of relaxing the muscles would have a domino effect on the genital muscles.

Good luck!
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Reply to berkana & akb

Postby Yonah on Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:36 pm

Thanks for your insightful replies.

Berkana, the experiences you've had with that client are interesting: sometimes my scrotal sac is so tight that it actually is painful. During my web searches recently, I did see a reference to the adductors and the scrotum, but I discounted it for some reason. Your comments on it have gotten me thinking about that now. Hmm . . .

akb, I also think that you are really onto something here. I read the links re: the psoas and the internal obliques, and the information seems to ring very true. I do seem to remember my therapist working for a good bit in the abdominal area, and I think perhaps, the psoas also. As I was extremely athletic at that time, I think that she probably also worked the adductors.

Now I need to get with a good massage therapist and test these ideas. In the meantime, do you have any suggestions for good self-massage techniques to these locations? I imagine that even warm compresses/hot packs on the areas of these muscles would help, but I would like to be more pro-active and work them manually, if I can. I would appreciate any suggestions. Again, I will also be getting "outside help"! :D

Thanks so much for all of your input -- it was so helpful! I will monitor this thread for any other advice, and I will let you know how my testing/experiments on the psoas, internal obliques, and the adductors go.

Thanks again!

Yonah
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Postby fudja / aka Greatlakes on Thu Jul 27, 2006 1:59 pm

Just a thought....

You are a PT... dont you have the background to figure this out for yourself instead of asking for the info on a massage board??

The same goes for asking how to work the muscles yourself.... you are a PT!! :roll:

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Reply to Greatlakes

Postby Yonah on Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:24 pm

Christine,

I learned many of my best massage techniques from actual massage therapists. I started this thread asking about techniques.

I am ONE of the best PTs I know (many patients will see only me!), but I hope that I can continue to learn from everyone -- especially those with defined specialties.

It seems a bit awkward to me, trying to get at the internal obliques myself effectively. I'm sure that I might eventually figure that one out, but why spend all the time, brain-energy, and trial-and-error, when some of you might already have experience with this? Any recommendations?

Yonah
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p.s. Talk about putting a face with a body part! :D At least give me points for bravery!
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Postby maestra on Thu Jul 27, 2006 3:31 pm

Christine, I've talked with a massage therapist in our area once while he was in my massage chair... and he indicated that his training in massage was six weeks.
I've also heard an MD say (he specializes in Pain Management) that he felt (his personal opinion) that MTs were more effective than PTs when it comes to massage... probably because it's all we do. Our forte, if you will.
Personally Yonah, I'm wondering if you've ever considered taking some courses with John Barnes (who is also a PT).
A friend of mine who is a MT has taken some MFR courses with him. Her work has taken on whole new dimensions since she took the MFR training @ Sedona. I have seen it make a huge difference in how my abdomen, lower back, hips and legs feel when I receive treatments from her... and can't help wondering if some Myofascial Unwinding might benefit you too.
*shrug* It's something for you to think about.
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Postby akb on Thu Jul 27, 2006 4:20 pm

As far as self massage, I love to work my own abs! I recommend laying on your back and working with a small bit of oil or creme. I don't have a set routine or anything, I just work aroung the attachments, pressing in and holding, palpating the tissues around my ASIS, ribcage, and belly button. There are a ton of tender spots on the inner basin of my hips and it feels great to hold these areas while I just breathe and pay attention to the tissues and what is happening.

I work with my thumbs, usually I start around my ASIS and press in with the pad of my thumb. Be careful not to poke into your abdomen with your finger tips, use the finger pads and the palmar surface of your hands when you press in. I hook my fingers just under my ribcage and hold there while I breathe. Doing light finger tip tapping along your rectus abdominis can help break up stuck energy there.

I just play, do what feels good. With the abdominal muscles you really don't need to work deep. These are thin muscles and pressing in with too much pressure and you are now working your organs. The psoas can be found by pressing in fairly deep depending on how much adipose tissue there is (finger pads not tips!) between the belly button and the ASIS when you are laying on your back. Flex your hip and slowly lower it, you will feel the psoas moving. However, I don't know specific psoas work besides compression. I have not done psoas work with clients although I can find it on myself and manipulate it a bit. It can be tricky and you must be careful not to injure the contents of the gut. Make sure your MT has experience with psoas work.

Good luck!
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Reply to Colin & akb, with a note to Christine

Postby Yonah on Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:25 am

Colin, thanks for your post. I have wanted to take a Barnes course for a long time, but they always run over Saturday. I am an orthodox Jew (you'd never know it the way I've been talking on this thread! :roll: ), and that is my Sabbath, so I can never go. The one time it came to my area during the week, I was out of town teaching my own continuing education course for PTs & Ots, mostly, Improving Balance and Decreasing Fall Risk Using T'ai Chi. So, I was out of luck.

I'm not sure I buy all the premises, for example, that the skull sutures have movement, but I am interested. I have only had a demonstration of MFR performed on me, at a trade show. It wasn't enough to really notice a difference, but they did say that they felt they did not want to do too much on me, after doing some initial palpations, because they said it would be "opening a pandora's box" without being able to follow up with more work. One of these days, when I have some time (when I finally force myself to make time), I would like to undergo it.

akb, thanks for the encouragement and the reassurance about the techniques. I was worried that trying those areas on myself might compromise my wrists, but I can see now that it can be done without doing that. I do know how to palpate all the muscles -- that IS PT 101! :wink: I'm looking forward to it.

You know, Christine, this subject is not something I've even thought about in almost 20 years. It was only after I started posting to this site that I remembered it. Truthfully, although PTs must know origin, insertion, nerve supply and blood supply of all the muscles, the cremaster and dartos muscles have never come up (so to speak) in all the years I've been doing this. Remembering that bodywork I had before, although it has never happened with any other practitioner, I just thought that perhaps you MTs were taught some special "scrotal release" technique, the way we do suboccipital release, for example (oops! A little unofficially trained MFR sneaking in there! I do know some of those techniques, and I use them a lot).

I think that I have the answers I was looking for. I appreciate it a lot. I understand now that there is no secret "scrotal release society". :D I really did think there might be an actual protocol or something. I'm happy I brought it up: this has been both fun and instructional, and I'm always into that.

Thanks again,

Yonah
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Postby maestra on Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:55 pm

Well Yonah, if you can't make it to Paoli, PA or Sedona, AZ to take some training with your fellow PT, John Barnes, my only other thought is that you might find some insight from talking to a MT renowned for his MFR work, Bob King. *shrug*
You can find info about him here:
http://www.cortiva.com/GraduateSeries/BackPain.html
His e-mail is available from the link provided. Maybe he can address this more throughly with you, or in the Cortiva newsletter, Deep.
In addition, it's my guess that John Barnes may very well be able to refer you to someone he's trained in your area.
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Postby Yonah on Mon Jul 31, 2006 8:42 am

Maestra (sorry I called you Colin in my last post -- my brain was on four other things!),

Thanks for the info. There certainly are trained MFR practitioners in my area. Again, I do have to make the time to do it -- and I think it would be very appropriate for me. I appreciate the link -- I'm pretty much a newsletter sucker on topics that interest me, which is why my mailbox is always too full :D

Thank you for your warmth, your kind support, and your willingness to help.

Yonah
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