May 27, 2011 07:24PM
Today there are over 100 different types of bodywork techniques, many thousands of years old, others recent arrivals. The term bodywork refers to a wide range of therapies, such as massage,deep tissue manipulation, chiropractic, movement awareness, bioenergetic and colon therapies, which are used to improve the structure and functioning of the body. The benefits of bodywork in all its forms include pain reduction, relief of tension, improved blood and lymphatic circulation and promoting deep relaxation. Within these pages you’ll find some of the best known bodywork systems, but by no means a comprehensive list. We encourage you to experiment with these many therapies for healing the mind, body and spirit.
Aromatherapy is an ancient healing art, utilizing the essential oils of herbs and flowers to treat emotional disorders such as stress and anxiety as well as a wide range of other ailments. Oils are massaged into the skin, inhaled, or placed in baths. Aromatherapy is often used in conjunction with massage therapy, acupuncture, reflexology, herbology, chiropractic, and other holistic treatments.
BRENNAN HEALING SCIENCE®
Brennan Healing Science (BHS) is a therapeutic type of energy work, developed by Barbara Brennan, an ex-NASA physicist and best-selling author of Hands of Light. BHS uses the human energy consciousness system as the foundation for healing and wholeness. Practitioners complete at least four years of rigorous training developing expertise in how the underlying energetics affect the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being of their clients. BHS is a good choice when other treatments haven’t helped. Sessions vary according to clients’ unique needs, but generally mix body-centered personal process work with hands-on energy healing.
Chiropractic is based on the premise that proper structural alignment will permit free flow of nerve activity in the body. Since the spine is literally the backbone of human health, when spinal vertebrae are out of alignment, they put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves leaving the spinal cord. Diminished function and illness are the result. Misalignment can occur in a variety of ways including physical trauma, poor posture and stress. The chiropractor seeks to analyze and correct these misalignments through spinal manipulation or adjustment.
Colon Therapy is an internal bath that washes away old toxic waste accumulated along the walls of the colon. It is given with pressurized water by a professional using special equipment. One colonic irrigation is equivalent of approximately four to six enemas. Colonic irrigations reach every part of the intestinal tract cleaning out matter that collects and remains for years in the pockets and kinks of the colon. The treatment is used as a corrective process, and for prevention of disease. Colonics are recommended for ailments such as constipation, psoriasis, acne, allergies, headaches and the common cold, to name a few.
CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY (CST)
Craniosacral Therapy is a manual therapeutic procedure to remedy distortions in the structure and function of the craniosacral mechanism—the brain and spinal cord, the bones of the skull, the sacrum and interconnected membranes. Craniosacral work is based upon two major premises: that the bones of the skull can be manipulated, because they never completely fuse; and that the pulse of the cerebrospinal fluid can be balanced by a practitioner trained to detect variations in that pulse. CST is used to treat chronic pain, migraine headaches, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), ear and eye problems, balance problems, learning difficulties, dyslexia and hyperactivity.
DEEP TISSUE WORK
Deep tissue work is a technique of stretching and moving the connective tissue that envelops the muscles (fascia) in order to lengthen and balance the body along its natural, vertical axis. Distortions of the connective tissue may be caused by internal reactions and compensations due to accidents, emotional tension or past unreleased traumas. Deep tissue massage works to detoxify tissue by helping to remove accumulated lactic acid and other waste products from the muscles. The therapy is used to ease or eliminate chronic muscular pain, help with injury rehabilitation and reduce inflammatory pain caused by ailments such as arthritis and tendonitis.
During a facial, the esthetician begins by thoroughly cleansing the skin. Various masks, steam baths, and facial massage may be incorporated into the treatment. The esthetician may use products to reduce surface oil, remove dead skin cells, soothe, or hydrate. Your esthetician can also recommend products for at-home use, like cleansers and moisturizers. Estheticians are trained in the cosmetic treatment of the skin and strive to stay abreast of the latest developments in skin care.
Hoshino Therapy® is named after Tomezo Hoshino (1910-2001) a Japanese acupuncturist and massage therapist who taught his unique manual technique to post-graduate physical therapists at Catholic University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and in South Florida at the Hoshino Clinics of Boca Raton and Miami. Hoshino Therapy® is a modality for the treatment of many types of musculoskeletal disorders, including neck, shoulder, carpal tunnel and back pain. It integrates the art of manual therapy with the principles of acupuncture and human biomechanical function. The technique involves full hand contact with deep, yet agreeable pressure to revitalize specific points primarily along the tendons, but also on the muscles, ligaments and fascia, in order to restore normal joint function and resolve pain.
HOT STONE MASSAGE
Hot stone massage is a variation on classic massage therapy. Heated smooth, flat stones are placed on key points on the body. The massage therapist may also hold the stones and use them to massage certain areas of the body. The heat warms and relaxes the muscles, which allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure, if desired. The warmth of the hot stones improves circulation and calms the nervous system. Some massage therapists place stones on points that are thought to be energy centers of the body to rebalance the body and mind.
LOMI LOMI MASSAGE
Lomi Lomi is a healing massage derived from the ancient Polynesians and more specifically the master healers of Hawaii. The massage is given in fluid, rocking motion using the forearms as well as the hands. Some people have described this as feeling like gentle waves moving over the body.
The name MELT comes from Myofascial Energetic Length Technique, meaning the method uses muscular action to lengthen and rehydrate connective tissue. Because the connective tissue is one seamless interconnected system, wrapping around every muscle, bone, joint, and organ, MELT creates a change throughout the body even when you're only working on one part of it. MELT is the first neurofascial technique. This patent-pending method brings the body back to a more ideal state by directly enhancing body awareness, rehydrating connective tissue, and quieting the nervous system.
Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the Myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. This essential “time element” has to do with the viscous flow and the piezoelectric phenomenon: a low load (gentle pressure) applied slowly will allow a viscoelastic medium (fascia) to elongate.
NeuroMuscular therapy (NMT) emphasizes the interwoven roles of the brain, spine and nerves in causing muscular pain. NMT employs specific massage therapy and flexibility stretching to help balance the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. One goal is to relieve tender, congested spots in muscle tissue and compressed nerves that may radiate pain to other areas of the body. (Also see Trigger Point/Myotherapy.)
PERSONAL FITNESS TRAINER
A Personal Fitness Trainer is a certified fitness professional who designs fitness programs for individuals desiring one-on-one training. Providing optimal fitness results in the privacy of ones home or choice of location (club, office, etc.).
A structured system of small isolated movements that demands powerful focus on feeling every nuance of muscle action while working out on floor mats or machines. Softer than traditional exercises, Pilates, like yoga, yields long, lean, flexible muscles. Lithe, limber and gracefully balanced movement readily translates to everyday activities like walking, sitting and bending and can help overcome injuries. Instructors focus on developing the torso’s abdominal power center through mental mastery. The more focus, the fewer repetitions are needed.
Polarity therapy asserts that energy fields exist everywhere in nature and that the free flow and balance of this universal energy in the human body is the underlying foundation of good health. Practitioners use gentle touch and guidance to help clients balance their energy flow, thus supporting a return to health. The practitioner’s hands do not impart energy, but redirect the flow of the receiver’s own energy. The receiver then recharges himself with his own freed energy.
QIGONG AND TAI CHI
Qigong and Tai Chi combine movement, meditation, and breath regulation to enhance the flow of vital energy in the body, improve blood circulation, and enhance immune function.
Reflexology is a natural healing art, based on the idea that there are specific reflex points on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands that correspond with every major organ, gland and area of the body. Using fingers and thumbs, the practitioner applies pressure to these points to treat a wide range of health problems.
Reiki, meaning “universal life-force energy” is a scientific method of activating and balancing the life-force present in all living things. Reiki practitioners use light hand placements to channel healing energies to organs and glands or to align the chakras (energy centers). There are techniques for emotional and mental distress, chronic and acute physical problems, and for achieving spiritual focus and clarity. Reiki is a valuable addition to the work of chiropractors, massage therapists, nurses, and others for whom the use of touch is essential or appropriate.
Sports massage is a specialized field of massage, employed to minimize the risk of injury, tend to sports injuries that do occur, and assist in achieving optimum performance.
Swedish Massage is the most commonly practiced form of massage in Western countries. Swedish massage integrates ancient Oriental techniques with principles of anatomy and physiology. Practitioners rub, knead, pummel, brush and tap the client’s muscles. Swedish massage is widely practiced; thus, practitioners vary widely in training, techniques and session lengths.
The Fix Therapy Is a proprietary system of healing combined with the use of soft-tissue manipulation, proper breathing techniques, and awareness of Neuromuscular association. The Fix Therapy uses a series of specific techniques and body movements to locate areas of disassociation in the body. Neuromuscular Disassociation is the inability to consciously relax specific muscle groups. When a subject is moved by an outside force and assists unknowingly this is a sign that the person has lost the ability to disengage the muscles intentionally. The Fix Therapy re-educates the muscles and re-establishes a neurological and conscious connection with the soft-tissue. Results are based on soft-tissue consistency, hydration level, attitude, and nutrition.
Yoga is the practical application of the ancient Indian Vedic teachings. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj which means “union” or “to join,” and refers to the joining of man’s physical, mental, and spiritual elements. In Yoga, the goal of good health is accomplished through a combination of techniques including exercises called “asanas” or postures, controlled breathing, relaxation, meditation, and diet and nutrition. Although Yoga is not meant to cure specific diseases or ailments directly, it has been found effective in treating many physical problems.
Please note: The contents of this Bodywork Guide are for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to be used in place of a visit or consultation with a healthcare professional. Always seek out a practitioner who is licensed, certified or otherwise professionally qualified to conduct a selected treatment, as appropriate.