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I recently watched a Youtube video of a massage therapist using a qtip to massage muscles on the superior aspect of the eye (between the orbital fissure and upper eyelid) on a patient. I am a massage therapist in training and was horrified and it was a little uncomfortable to watch. My question is, is that within the scope of practice of a massage therapist? It looked like it hurt.

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I took a quick look on YouTube and could not find that video
Why don’t you link it to this post, then we can look at it.
Well he is a physical therapist, so obviously they can do it. And what he is saying about the eye muscles tightening up like any other muscle is true. But I’ve released eye tension without ever having to be that invasive. So, I don’t feel that technique is even necessary.
As to your question. Hum, not sure.? But like I said , there are other much less invasive ways to release those very same eye muscles. The body has many connections. Those eye muscles have a strong connection to the occipital muscles. So, whatever influences those occipital muscles effects the eye muscles he is talking about. Most practitioners, when finding a tight contracted or trigger pointed muscle , work directly on that muscle. Even the eye muscles apparently. I rarely do.
If you close your eyes, put your hands on your occipital muscles, and move your eyes around. You will feel those occipital muscles move in unison.

I believe this is part of St. John Technique (http://stjohnseminars.com/), but I can't be certain.  

When I searched the "St. John-Clark" website, I found:

"The Pain Treatment Center

The St. John-Clark Pain Treatment Center was founded in 2004. We stand on the cutting edge of alternative healthcare. The therapists utilize a combined fifty years of clinical experience to quickly get to the root of the problem and begin a treatment protocol that will lead to maximum recovery. Our mission is to provide effective, result-oriented care while educating and empowering patients to improve their quality of life.

The resident staff, including Paul St. John, the founder of The St. John Method of Neuromuscular Therapy, are dedicated to providing the most up-to-date treatments available as well as continuing to develop new innovative techniques to treat pain.

All of the techniques used at The St. John-Clark Pain Treatment Center are non-surgical, non-invasive and non-chiropractic.  The techniques are centered around balancing the body structurally by addressing the largest of the body’s systems, the muscular system."



I also located the link for the Center for Neurosomatic Studies (CNS), which was the computer screen saver in the first youTube video related to this subject:

"The Center for Neurosomatic  Studies (CNS) is founded by a joining force of Paul St. John, Randy Clark, and Kevin Wade, thought-leaders in integrative therapy. The mission of CNS is to positively affect the therapy industry by training highly qualified therapists who bring true relief to their patients."


To answer your question, I am not sure if it falls in the scope of practice for massage therapy, that may depend on your individual state.  But, you could call them (since they are in your same state of Florida) and ask. 

It does look more aggressive than I am comfortable with, but it may be that this particular work is beneficial to a certain patient/client population.  I do think they should discuss the contraindications and patient/client parameters in the video, since  so many people have had eye surgeries (such as: PRP, LASIK, Lens Implants {IOL's} with cataract removal, etc.).

Here is something to think about. Kinda off subject a bit, but not really. Those eye muscles have a connection to the occipital muscles. The shin bone is connected to the knee bone kind of thing. The occipital muscles have a major connection throughout the body and vice versa. Here is an interesting article that’s related.

http://optimumsportsperformance.com/blog/suboccipitals-small-but-im...
Just to add to this. After reading the above article about the sub occipitals and their wide influence throughout the body, and basically the possibility of wide ranging effects from any tight contracted and injured muscle to the rest of the body. It makes sense not to just treat or look at the symptomatic area. Tight occipitals and perhaps even eye strain can be exasperated by tight hamstrings, as that article indicated.
As a side note. When I talk in here like I know everything, I don’t. The audience I’m mostly talking to are the new people in the field.
However, the fact that one muscle can effect another muscle far distal, is the basis of my newly developed pain deactivation therapy, The Pain Control Matrix.
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