Choosing Beneficial Bodywork
May 27, 2011 07:42PM
● By Julie Peterson
Everyone experiences occasional pain, spells of low energy, and myriad health issues from time to time, and more people than ever are turning to various forms of bodywork for preventative care and treatment. But there are so many choices for wellness, prevention, and relief—how does a person know where to start? Receiving massage and practicing yoga are perhaps the best known types of bodywork, and both are known to provide relief from tension and stress, promote blood flow, loosen stiff muscles, and stimulate the organs. Not only are there many types of massage and yoga, there are many other types of bodywork to explore. Finding the bodywork that improves mental and physical health is an individual process. Following are some general categories of things that people are often looking to prevent or relieve and some of the modalities that may help.
Massage is commonly used for general pain relief and relaxation and there are many types to choose from based on the type of pain being experienced. Deep tissue, Swedish, and hot stone are just a few, and various forms of massage are often combined with other therapies such as aromatherapy and Reiki. Craniosacral therapy is a specific form of massage that targets the bones of the skull, which can be manipulated to balance the pulse of the cerebrospinal fluid. This modality is used for chronic pain, headaches, TMJ, and other issues. Another massage technique is one that can be learned and used at home as a self-treatment—MELT uses hand and foot treatment balls and rollers that are used to treat the connective tissue and create a more mobile, pain-free, limber body. In addition, it provides nervous system and wholebody results by improving digestion, reducing stress, and aiding with sleep.
Stress and Tension
The mental stress of daily life in combination of physical stressors such as sitting at a computer, repetitive motion, or not exercising can build up in the body and result in tension headaches, body aches, local or general pain, and a depressed immune system. Massage can work wonders in coaxing stress out of the body. Gentle exercise routines, including qi gong, tai chi, or yoga can also provide stress and tension relief in addition to many other benefits such as better circulation, increased range of motion, lower heart rate, decreased anxiety, increased focus, and better sleep. These types of exercises also help stave off future accumulation of stress by training the mind to be in a nonjudgmental, peaceful, state of acceptance, where the body, mind, and breathe work together to enhance the flow of energy in the body. Another way to relieve tension and relax is through The Fix Therapy, developed by John Adams here in Melbourne. The Fix Therapy focuses on finding areas in the body that can no longer be consciously relaxed by the client. Through soft-tissue manipulation, breathing techniques, and an awareness of the neuromuscular association the muscles relearn how to relax.
Emotional and Spiritual Balance
Many things can cause people to feel out of sorts, scattered, or very low on energy. Some people describe this as a need to get centered or grounded. Energy work is often used to correct these imbalances. Brennan Healing Science is one of these, which holds the idea that distortions in the flow of energy around and through the body can cause disease in the physical body. Healings involve gentle touch. Reiki is another energy modality that can be hands on or off. Reiki is a Japanese form of stress reduction and relaxation that is also known to facilitate healing by channeling energy through the client’s body more.efficiently. Healing touch is another modality that works with the energy fields. These modalities typically leave the client feeling more relaxed, yet with increased positive energy.
Flexibility & Strength
Yoga is probably the best known bodywork exercise for improving flexibility. For building core strength, Pilates goes beyond the surface muscles to utilize deep internal muscles. Pilates is a body conditioning routine that strengthens muscles through controlled movements done as mat exercises or with equipment to tone and strengthen the body
Range of Motion
Losing range of motion in a joint can affect an entire limb, or in the case of the spine, can impact the whole body. Any difficulties with range of motion can make common activities, like getting dressed or doing chores, difficult or impossible to perform. Myofascial release is a technique that can help as the practitioner gently manipulates the myofascial connective tissue, ultimately allowing the fascia to elongate. Hoshino Therapy is another modality that works on musculoskeletal disorders that can affect range of motion. It uses deep manual pressure on points along the tendons, muscles, ligaments, and fascia to restore joint function and relieve pain.
Feeling bloated, constipated, or suffering from ailments such as acne or psoriasis lead many to work with a detox program. Colon hydrotherapy irrigates the intestinal tract, which is where many toxins hide out in the body. It is like getting an internal bath. Another modality that can remove toxins from the body is lymph drainage massage, which stimulates lymph flow thereby flushing the lymph system.
Facials and body scrubs or wraps not only cleanse your skin but leave you relaxed. These techniques are often combined with massage and can be quite a treat while giving an overall glow.
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