Massage and bodywork therapies are often complex mixtures of holistic healing practices involving physical, emotional and
spiritual components. The definitions that follow provide only brief explanations of many of the techniques currently in practice.
These definitions have been compiled from a wide variety of sources.
Acupressure is an ancient healing art that uses the fingers to press key points
on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they
release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body’s life force (sometimes known as qi or chi)
to aid healing. Acupuncture and acupressure use the same points, but acupuncture employs needles, while acupressure uses the
gentle, but firm pressure of hands and feet. Acupressure, continues to be the most effective method for self-treatment of
tension-related ailments by using the power and sensitivity of the human hand. Acupressure can be effective in helping relieve
headaches, eye strain, sinus problems, neck pain, backaches, arthritis, muscle aches, tension due to stress, ulcer pain, menstrual
cramps, lower backaches, constipation, and indigestion. Self-acupressure can also be used to relieve anxiety and improve sleep.
There are also great advantages to using acupressure as a way to balance the body and maintain good health. The healing touch
of acupressure reduces tension, increases circulation, and enables the body to relax deeply. By relieving stress, acupressure
strengthens resistance to disease and promotes wellness. In acupressure, local symptoms are considered an expression of the
condition of the body as a whole. A tension headache, for instance, may be rooted in the shoulder and neck area. Thus, acupressure
focuses on relieving pain and discomfort, as well as responding to tension, before it develops into a disease—before
the constrictions and imbalances can do further damage. The origins of acupressure are as ancient as the instinctive impulse
to hold your forehead or temples when you have a headache. Everyone at one time or another has used their hands spontaneously
to hold tense or painful places on the body. More than five thousand years ago, the Chinese discovered that pressing certain
points on the body relieved pain where it occurred and also benefited other parts of the body more remote from the pain and
the pressure point. Gradually, they found other locations that not only alleviated pain, but also influenced the functioning
of certain internal organs. (Definition, in part, from the book Acupressure’s Potent Points, by Michael Reed Gach, director
of the Acupressure Institute, Bantam, 1990.).
The Alexander Technique is movement education in which the student is taught
to sit, stand, and move in ways that reduce physical stress on the body. Alexander Technique teachers use gentle manual guidance
and verbal cues to improve students’ posture and movement patterns. A lesson or group class typically involves basic
movements such as sitting, standing, walking, bending, reaching, carrying, and lying down. It may also involve more specialized
activities such as playing a musical instrument, working at a computer, etc. The teacher’s manual guidance stresses
the adjustment of the head, neck, and torso relationship. In beginning lessons, the teacher closely monitors the student.
Later, the student learns to monitor herself, ultimately learning a unique self-management process, an understanding of balance
and dynamic postural control. F. M. Alexander, an Australian actor, developed the technique in the late 1800s as a result
of attempting to solve his own physical problem of losing his voice on stage. He discovered that misuse of the neuromuscular
activity of the head, neck, and spine caused maladaptive functioning and that this movement could be corrected. As he began
to teach his technique, he found that his students’ overall health improved and that the technique could be used to
address a wide array of problems.
Amma (sometimes spelled anma) is the traditional word for massage in the
Japanese language. It comes from the Chinese tradition of massage, anmo. This form of bodywork is based on the principles
of Chinese medicine and is more than five thousand years old. When anmo was brought to Japan, the technique was further refined
into its own therapeutic art form, amma. The amma techniques encompass a myriad of pressing, stroking, stretching, and percussive
manipulations with the thumbs, fingers, arms, elbows, knees, and feet on acupressure points along the body’s fourteen
major meridians. Amma brings to Western culture the ancient art and wisdom of traditional Japanese massage. Through the structure
of kata (choreographed movement), amma teaches the importance of rhythm, pacing, precision, and form in massage. Shiatsu—a
style of bodywork popularized after World War II—was developed from the amma tradition. Unlike Western massage, amma
utilizes no oils and can be done through clothing with the client either sitting or lying. This makes amma an extremely flexible
style of massage suitable to a wide variety of client needs and environments.
The use of essential oils (extracted from herbs, flowers, resin,
woods, and roots) in body and skin care treatments is known as aromatherapy. Used as a healing technique for thousands of
years by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, essential oils aid in relaxation, improve circulation, and help the healing of
wounds. Aromatherapy diffusers are utilized to fill the massage room with the scent of the oils. Specific essential oils are
blended by the aromatherapist and added to a carrier oil, such as almond oil, to be used during the massage. Each oil has
its own unique characteristics and benefits. Use of this technique declined as the modern pharmaceutical industry developed.
However, the French chemist Gattefossé revived the art by coining the term aromatherapy and by publishing a book on the subject
BACH FLOWER REMEDIES
Developed by Edward Bach in the early 1900s, Bach Flower Remedies is a
system of thirty-eight flower essences used in conjunction with herbs, homeopathy, and medications that seeks to correct emotional
imbalances by working on the subtle body instead of the physical body. The pattern in the subtle energy fields of the living
plant influences the subtle energy fields of the human being. In prescribing flower essences, the practitioner assesses the
whole individual, focusing on the disposition or negative emotions of the person, such as fear, impatience, or overconcern.
An essence or combination of essences is then chosen to facilitate change and administered orally.
Developed by chiropractor/acupuncturist Dr. John Veltheim, BodyTalk
is based on bio-energetic psychology, dynamic systems theory, Chinese medicine, and applied kinesiology. It has been extensively
tested and used in clinics and hospitals in the United States, Europe, and Australia. By integrating a series of tapping,
breathing, and focusing techniques, BodyTalk does not require diagnosis and therefore is within the scope of practice of LMTs
and bodyworkers. Its intent is to help the body synchronize and balance its parts (organs, endocrine, lymph, brain, meridians,
etc.) so they communicate effortlessly and heal themselves. It strengthens the body’s innate knowledge of how to repair
itself. BodyTalk is used to address a range of health problems including fibromyalgia, infections, parasites, chronic fatigue,
allergies, addictions, and cellular damage.
Various forms of touch therapies that may use manipulation, movement,
and/or repatterning to affect structural changes to the body.
BONNIE PRUDDEN MYOTHERAPY
A hands-on, drugless, noninvasive method of relieving
muscle-related pain, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy emphasizes a speedy, cost-effective recovery and active client participation
for long-term relief. Myotherapy relaxes muscles, improves circulation, and alleviates pain in all parts of the body while
increasing strength, flexibility, coordination, stamina, and energy. It improves posture, gait, sleep patterns, and work and
play performance. The first ninety minute session includes an extensive and vital history. Subsequent treatments are one hour
and include self-help techniques. Clients are cleared for treatment by a physician, which ensures the pain is not due to anatomical
pathology requiring medical attention.
Developed by Thomas Ambrose Bowen of Australia in the 1960s and 1970s, this
hands-on, light-touch body therapy consists of gentle rolling movements over muscle bellies and tendons to stimulate the body’s
own healing mechanisms. Originally intended to help people suffering from muscular-skeletal problems, Bowen Technique has
also been successful with many other conditions, including asthma and respiratory ailments in children and pre-teens.
This technique entails specific kneading, rubbing, and/or squeezing
strokes applied to the soft tissue of the breast to increase lymph and blood flow. As poor circulation to this area can produce
uncomfortable symptoms, and breast scarring caused by surgery and/or trauma can cause painful syndromes and obstruct blood
and lymph flow, breast wellness becomes increasingly important. The practice of breast massage should be in conjunction with
(and not a substitute for) regular self-breast exams. If a lump is found in the breast, the area should not be massaged until
a physician is consulted.
See oncology massage.
Known as seated massage, chair massage, or on-site massage, this
technique involves the use of a specially designed massage chair in which the client sits comfortably. The modern chair massage
was originally developed David Palmer, but the technique is centuries-old, with some Japanese block prints illustrating people
having just emerged from a nearby bath, receiving massage while seated on a low stool. Seated massage includes bodywork and
somatic techniques, such as shiatsu, amma, and Swedish massage, provided to the fully clothed client in a variety of settings,
including businesses, airports, and street fairs. #
See Tui Na.
A gentle infusion of warm water through the colon is used to cleanse trapped impurities, preventing
the recycling of toxins into the blood stream.
An ancient system using specific color rays to treat the body
and mind, color therapy is based on the notion that organs and systems vibrate at certain frequencies. By applying a particular
color ray on an area, the correct vibration--bringing with it health--will be restored.
CONNECTIVE TISSUE MASSAGE
Also known as bindegewebsmassage, Connective Tissue
Massage (CTM) techniques are designed to specifically affect the connective tissue of the body. CTM was developed in Germany
by Elizabeth Dicke. After diagnosis of a serious medical problem, she experimented with different types of massage on herself.
She found when she applied light pressure through the skin and connective tissue in one area of the body, there was a related
effect at a distant site. From Alternative Healing, by Hugh Burroughs and Mark Kastner, Halcyon, 1993, “The technique
consists of the massage therapist subtly hooking her fingers into the skin and superficial connective tissue while performing
a dragging or pulling stroke that somewhat stretches the skin. CTM leaves a visible mark that looks somewhat like an abrasion
or burn, but which goes away without leaving a scar.” In Germany, it is considered a physical therapy technique; in
many parts of Europe, it is considered a medical technique. In the United States, connective tissue massage is taught in many
This form of neuromuscular reprogramming and therapy combines
massage techniques with muscle testing in order to help people learn how to use their muscles with greater strength and less
effort. Conscious bodywork is used to treat persistent joint and muscle pain and to treat restriction of movement caused by
injury. (Adapted from Holistic Health Directory.)
CORE STRUCTURAL INTEGRATIVE THERAPY
Originated by George P. Kousaleos, CORE
is a myofascial, postural, and structural somatic therapy combining massage techniques with client-assisted movement. Normally
lasting ten sessions, there are four phases of CORE body therapy organized according to the level or layer of fascia, muscle,
and supporting soft tissues that are manipulated: core massage, core extrinsic, core intrinsic, and core integration.
Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, noninvasive method of
evaluating and enhancing the function of a physiological body arrangement called the craniosacral system. Developed by John
E. Upledger, DO, OMM, this manual therapy enhances the body’s natural healing processes and has proven effective in
treating a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction. The roots of this therapy are in cranial osteopathy,
developed by Dr. William G. Sutherland. The craniosacral system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround
and protect the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull, face, and mouth--which make up the cranium--down
to the sacrum or tailbone. Since this system influences the development and function of the brain and spinal cord, any imbalance
or dysfunction in the craniosacral system could cause sensory, motor, or neurological disabilities. These problems may include
chronic pain, eye difficulties, scoliosis, motor-coordination impairments, learning disabilities, and other dysfunctions of
the central nervous system. Craniosacral therapy encourages the body’s natural healing mechanisms to improve the functioning
of the central nervous system, dissipate the negative effects of stress, and enhance health and resistance to disease. The
craniosacral therapy practitioner uses a light touch to assist the natural movement of fluid within the craniosacral system.
Therapists generally use only five grams of pressure, roughly the weight of a nickel, to test for restrictions in various
parts of the craniosacral system. It’s often possible for the evaluation alone to remove the restriction and allow the
system to correct itself.
Also known as ice therapy, this modality uses the application of cold hydrotherapy
in the form of ice packs and cold water immersions to alleviate blood flow, swelling, and inflammation with the contraction
of blood vessels. Used in conjunction with heat, cryotherapy can increase circulation, and, hence, remove wastes and toxins
from an injured area.
DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE
Techniques that utilize deep-tissue/deep-muscle massage are administered
to affect the sub-layer of musculature and fascia. These techniques require advanced training and a thorough understanding
of anatomy and physiology. The muscles must be relaxed in order to effectively perform deep-tissue massage, otherwise tight
surface muscles prevent the practitioner from reaching deeper musculature. It helps with chronic muscular pain and injury
rehabilitation and reduces inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis and tendinitis. It is generally integrated with other
Endermologie utilizes a computerized machine that massages tissues
under suction to improve blood flow and lymphatic drainage, thus speeding the healing process. Use of the machine allows the
therapist to cover a larger area more quickly and with less effort. Endermologie is also used as an effective method to treat
cellulite, stretching tight tissue bands and stimulating circulation to flush out Toxins.
The practice of soft-tissue manipulation applied to horses. See
Developed in the 1960s at Esalen Institute on the California Coast, this approach melded classic
Swedish massage with sensory awareness practice and slow, flowing t'ai chi. The practitioner works with the receiver, rather
than on the client. Today the Esalen massage signature flow is punctuated with deep tissue detail, joint mobilizing, stretches,
and energy work. Tension melts away and yields to a state of harmony.
The fascial system is one continuous, laminated, connective-tissue sheath
that spreads without interruption throughout the entire body in a three-dimensional web. Fascial mobilization allows therapists
to locate and address restrictions in the fascial system that are causing asymmetries, postural malalignment, abnormal tensions,
and pressures that can lead to pain and dysfunction. The goal of fascial mobilization is to produce a well-balanced, symmetrical,
and mobile body within the skeletal, soft-tissue, and craniosacral systems.
Developed by Russian-born Israeli educator Moshe Feldenkrais,
this method establishes new connections between the brain and body through movement reeducation. One of two formats of instruction
is used: awareness through movement and functional integration. In the one-on-one functional integration session, a teacher
uses hands-on manipulation to guide the student toward new movement patterns. Awareness through movement classes are group
sessions in which the teacher verbally guides students through repatterning. Feldenkrais proposed that nearly our entire spectrum
of movement is learned during our first few years of life, but that these movements represent a mere 5 percent of all possibilities
available to us. Habituated responses to problem areas in our lives are ingrained in our movement patterns. By retraining
the central nervous system through the skeletal system, old patterns are eliminated and replaced with new skills that improve
the physical, mental, and emotional functioning of the body. In this way, unconscious movement is brought into conscious awareness
where it may be used as a tool for opening the human potential.
This technique is based on classical Chinese medicine’s law of the five elements. The
five-element system views the human body as a microcosm of the universe with the tides of energy and emotions waxing and waning.
These energies and emotions are stored in the visceral organs and move through specific pathways or meridians in the body
in a regular and cyclical fashion. When these energies or emotions become blocked, or deficient or excessive through stress,
trauma, or disease, the five-element practitioner may use carefully controlled pressure on certain meridian points to help
move the energy or emotions. This restores the natural cycle of energy and emotional movement, thus helping the person’s
natural ability to heal.
FOOT ZONE THERAPY
Foot zone therapy is based on the premise that energy flows
through the body in meridians from the brain to the feet. Every organ and cell has a representative point. On the foot, and
when pressure is applied, the brain sends a signal to the corresponding part of the body to facilitate healing and restore
balance. Temporary pain, defined also as a blockage of energy flow, is felt on areas of the foot that correspond to the affected
organ or body part. When the pain is relieved or reduced, the healing process has begun. Positive and apparent results are
felt almost immediately. Foot zone therapy dates back five thousand years and was used in ancient China and India. Egyptian
hieroglyphs and paintings also show the use of this method. But not until the twentieth century, when Dr. Erdal of Norway
used a form of this therapy to cure himself of paralysis, did foot zone therapy get rediscovered. After more than twenty years
of intensive clinical research, Erdal has codified his findings into a medical science widely respected throughout Europe.
Geriatric massage, with its focus on the elderly, addresses the psychological
and physiological aspects of aging and its associated diseases. Bodywork, often limited to a shorter time span, is often performed
in residential care facilities.
A body-centered psychotherapy, hakomi was started in the mid-1970s by American
Ron Kurtz. Hakomi uses body tensions and sensations to access information about the limiting beliefs, patterns, and habits
of the individual. Hakomi bodywork includes hands-on manipulation to access and change these beliefs. Treatments vary to meet
The source of health, vitality, and power, the hara is the physical center
of the body. Bounded by the lower rib cage and the pelvic bowl, the hara includes all the vital organs of the body, with the
exception of the heart and lungs--but even these have a reflexive, energetic presence here. The hara is the center of “me”-ness.
The first three chakras, which deal with basic survival needs and ego/personality development, coalesce and interact here,
culminating in a sense of individuality. It is an emotional center. (Adapted from “Hara,” by Kondañña, Massage
& Bodywork, June/July 2001.) See dantien.
This practice uses sound to create balance and alignment in the
physical body, the energy centers (chakras), and/or the etheric fields. It is a vibration applied by an instrument or the
human voice and can be understood as a field of energy medicine. The primary question in this field is: What are the correct
resonant frequencies of the body?
Developed by Janet Mentgen, RN, Healing Touch is an energy-based therapeutic approach
to healing. Healing Touch uses touch to influence the energy system, thus affecting physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual
health, as well as healing. The goal of Healing Touch is to restore harmony and balance in the energy system to help the person
to self-heal. The quality and impact of the healing is influenced by the relationship between the giver and receiver.
HEALING TOUCH FOR ANIMALS
Developed by Carol Komitor and adapted from the Healing
Touch program, Healing Touch for Animals (HTA) is an energy-medicine modality combining philosophies, techniques, and applications
to promote energy balance and healing of animals. Also called the Komitor Healing Method, HTA works on physical, mental, emotional,
and spiritual levels and is used to help treat injuries, illnesses, surgeries, wounds, behavioral problems, and stress-related
Movement education and deep-tissue bodywork are the major components
of Hellerwork, named for founder Joseph Heller. Emphasizing vertical realignment of the body and release of chronic stress
and tension, Hellerwork involves eleven sessions: in each session, one hour is devoted to bodywork and thirty minutes to movement
therapy. Additionally, the therapist uses verbal dialogue to explore emotional factors that may be contributing to tension
in the client’s physical make-up. As a preventative technique, the goal of Hellerwork is to produce permanent, corrective
change in alignment and movement.
Holistic medicine recognizes that the mind, spirit, lifestyle, environment, and other aspects
of a person’s existence, significantly affect the functioning of the physical body. Thus, in evaluating and treating
illness and prescribing preventative intervention, this approach treats the whole person, addressing more than just the symptoms
or disease. Holistic practitioners may utilize a combination of conventional treatments along with alternative therapies.
Alternative healing method developed into a system by Samuel Hahnemann
in the late 1700s, and based on a “like cures like” principle--that is, if a substance can cause symptoms in a
healthy person, then it can stimulate self-healing of similar symptoms in a sick person. Clients are given minute amounts
of natural substances to stimulate the body to cure itself. When these nontoxic substances are properly administered for an
individual’s unique symptoms, they can be safely used by infants, children, and adults. There are no known or suspected
contraindications or drug interactions between homeopathic and conventional medicines.
Although ancient Greece and Rome both adopted the beliefs that
water had healing properties, it was the Romans to first integrate hydrotherapy into their social life, building temples and
baths near natural springs. Father Sebastian Kneipp from Worshofen, Bavaria, however, was the true father of modern-day hydrotherapy
in Germany. Various hydrotherapy massage techniques exist and are generally utilized by massage/bodywork practitioners, physical
therapists, physicians, and spa technicians. These include underwater massage, herbal baths, thalassotherapy, Kneipp therapy,
Vichy treatments, Scotch hoses, and Swiss showers.
INFANT MASSAGE INSTRUCTION
Qualified instructors teach parents how to properly massage their
infants. Infant massage is also utilized in hospital neonatal care units. This specialized form of touch is successful, not
only in the critical weight gain of premature infants, but also in creating a strong bond between parent and infant and exposing
a young child to the benefits and pleasures of touch. Ingham Method The Ingham Method is a form of zone therapy or reflexology.
In the 1930s, Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist working for a physician, used zone therapy on patients. She mapped the entire
body as represented on the feet. At first used to reduce pain, Ingham developed the work into the Ingham Reflex Method of
Compression Massage, later known as reflexology. Only the hands are used to apply the pressure to the reflex points on the
feet. It is used primarily to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Many practitioners integrate the practice of reflexology
with other forms of bodywork. It’s now known as the Original Ingham Method of Reflexology.
The Ingham Method is a form of zone therapy or reflexology. In
the 1930s, Eunice Ingham, a physiotherapist working for a physician, used zone therapy on patients. She mapped the entire
body as represented on the feet. At first used to reduce pain, Ingham developed the work into the Ingham Reflex Method of
Compression Massage, later known as reflexology. Only the hands are used to apply the pressure to the reflex points on the
feet. It is used primarily to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Many practitioners integrate the practice of reflexology
with other forms of bodywork. It’s now known as the Original Ingham Method of Reflexology.
INTEGRATIVE MANUAL THERAPY
This therapy recognizes that each person is more
than the total components of anatomy, physics, and chemistry and is instead affected by emotions, thoughts, social interactions,
mind, spirit, consciousness, soul, and more. Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) combines multiple therapies to locate and alleviate
health challenges through individual body systems. Utilizing a combination of structural rehabilitation (a manual therapy
process of normalization) and functional rehabilitation (a therapy to restore functional outcome according to the optimal
potential of the client), IMT utilizes the expertise of professionals in many fields--physical therapy, osteopathic medicine,
homeopathy, audiology, massage therapy, etc.
Intuitive work is a way of incorporating the perceived and received
information that extends beyond the five senses, transcending what is considered ordinary thinking patterns and reasoning
processes. The four main media by which intuitives receive and perceive information are clairsentience; clairvoyance; clairaudience;
and knowingness--impression or inspirational thought. The challenge for bodyworkers is how to respectfully incorporate intuition
into their work while demonstrating responsibility/respect to the client. While the science aspect of bodywork focuses on
the technique of touch (information accessed through the left hemisphere of the brain), the art aspect of bodywork focuses
on how to touch with care and sensitivity (information accessed through the right hemisphere of the brain). As obvious tools
for listening, hands touch with the intent to hear and see--information accessed through the temporal lobe. These three parts
of the neurological system are considered the intuitive network.
ISOMETRIC MUSCLE BALANCING
Developed by Charlotte Vandergrift, Isometric Muscle Balancing is
based on the muscle testing positions used in kinesiology. Balancing and strengthening the forty-two major muscles are accomplished
by isometric action, producing a feeling of lightness and an increase in energy. A forty-five minute to one hour session also
includes instruction in creating and maintaining balance and proper postural habits, as well as attention to diet and attitude.
JIN SHIN DO
Developed by psychotherapist Iona Marsaa Teeguarden, Jin Shin Do
combines gentle, yet deep, finger pressure on acu-points with simple body focusing techniques to release physical and emotional
tension. The client determines the depth of the pressure. Jin Shin Do promotes a pleasurable, trancelike state during which
the recipient can get in touch with the body and access feelings or emotions related to the physical condition. This body/mind
approach, performed on the fully-clothed client, is a synthesis of a traditional Japanese acupressure technique, classic Chinese
acupuncture theory, Taoist yogic philosophy and breathing methods, and Reichian segmental theory. The client lies on her back
on a massage table while the practitioner holds “local points” in tension areas together with related “distal
points,” which help the armored places to release more easily and deeply. A typical session is about ninety minutes.
Jin Shin Do acupressure is effective in helping relieve tension and fatigue, stress-related headaches and gastro-intestinal
problems, back and shoulder pain, eye strain, menstrual and menopausal imbalances, sinus pain, and allergies. (With medical
problems, the client is asked to consult a doctor.) Over a period of ten or more sessions, armoring is progressively released
in the head, neck, shoulders, chest, diaphragm, abdomen, pelvis, and legs. After sessions, clients typically feel deeply relaxed
and may even feel euphoric. If the client is responsive, there will be significantly less tension and pain together with an
increased sense of well-being for hours or days. This response will tend to extend after further sessions. In the case of
chronic fatigue, initially the client may feel more tired after a session, because the body is demanding rest. It is advisable
to schedule sessions with time to rest and relax afterward. On the other hand, Jin Shin Do can be used before athletic events
to improve performance, for horses as well as for people.
JIN SHIN JYUTSU
Jin Shin Jyutsu physio-philosophy is an ancient art of harmonizing
the life energy in the body. Born of innate wisdom and passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth, the art
had fallen into relative obscurity when it was revived in the early 1900s by Master Jiro Murai in Japan. After clearing himself
of life-threatening illness, Master Murai devoted the rest of his life to the research and development of Jin Shin Jyutsu,
gathering insight from a range of experiences and resources including the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Things). The resulting
knowledge of Jin Shin Jyutsu was then given to Mary Burmeister who brought it to the United States in the 1950s. Burmeister
began teaching the art of Jin Shin Jyutsu to others in the early 1960s and today there are thousands of students and practitioners
around the world. Jin Shin Jyutsu brings balance to the body’s energies, which promotes optimal health and well-being
and facilitates a profound healing capacity. It is a valuable complement to conventional healing methods, inducing relaxation
and reducing the effects of stress. Jin Shin Jyutsu employs twenty-six “safety energy locks” along energy pathways
that feed life into our bodies. When one or more of the paths becomes blocked, the resulting stagnation can disrupt the local
area and eventually disharmonize the complete path of energy flow. Holding these energy locks in combination can bring balance
to mind, body, and spirit. Jin Shin Jyutsu can be applied as self-help and also by a trained practitioner. A Jin Shin Jyutsu
session generally lasts about one hour. It does not involve massage, manipulation of muscles, or use of drugs or substances.
It is a gentle art, practiced by placing the fingertips (over clothing) on designated safety energy locks, to harmonize and
restore the energy flow. This facilitates the reduction of tension and stress that accumulate through normal daily living.
Kinesiology is the study of the principles of mechanics and
anatomy related to human body movement, specifically the action of individual muscles or groups of muscles that perform specific
movements. Applied kinesiology involves muscle testing to assess a client’s condition.
Developed by dancer/choreographer Elaine Summers, kinetic awareness is a system
of bodywork that aims to increase knowledge of the human body by understanding tension as a positive and necessary part of
movement affecting health, attitude, and emotional well-being. Designed to improve mental image, clients can gain a heightened
sensitivity to posture and movement. All parts of the body are encouraged to be free to move in all directions in which it’s
possible. A goal of kinetic awareness is to free the body so it is always moving away from pain and toward pleasure. There
are five phases of awareness, including attention to breathing, simultaneous movement of body parts, level of tension, speed
of movement, and relation to others.
This system of massage utilizes very large, broad movements. Two-handed,
forearm, and elbow application of strokes, which cover a broad area, is characteristic of lomilomi. Similar to Swedish massage
in many aspects, this system uses prayer and the acknowledgment of the existence of a higher power as an integral part of
the technique. Lomilomi--Hawaiian for rub rub--is described by teacher Aunty Margaret Machado as “the loving touch--a
connection between heart, hand, and soul with the source of all life.” Aunty Margaret was the first to teach lomilomi
in a formal, classroom situation; previously the training was passed on within the family by Kahunas or shamans. Oils are
used in the application of cross-fiber friction techniques. The practitioner often uses the forearm and elbow in the application
LYMPH DRAINAGE THERAPY
Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) is unique in that healthcare
professionals learn how to palpate the lymphatic flow. As they develop their skills, they can then identify the rhythm, direction,
and quality of the lymphatic flow. Advanced practitioners will be able to precisely map the lymphatic flow to find alternate
pathways for drainage. Developed by Bruno Chikly, MD, Lymph Drainage Therapy evolved from years of training in traditional
medicine, Asian medical practices, and manual therapies. (Definition provided by The Upledger Institute.)
Developed by Charles W. Wiltsie III, lypossage is a combination of manual deep-tissue
massage, lymphatic drainage, and the principles of structural integration, used to combat cellulite. An alternative to liposuction
and body contouring machines, lypossage enhances firmness and tone and increases skin resilience and smoothness. The treatment
requires a series of sessions because the reduction of cellulite is only temporary unless treatment is continued. When combined
with diet and exercise, lypossage produces a lifting effect in areas prone to sagging.
MANUAL LYMPH DRAINAGE
The strokes applied in manual lymph drainage are intended to stimulate
the movement of the lymphatic fluids in order to assist the body in cleansing. This is a gentle, rhythmical technique that
cleanses the connective tissue of inflammatory materials and toxins, enhances the activity of the immune system, reduces pain,
and lowers the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. The most widely taught and generally accepted form of this technique
was created by Dr. Vodder of Austria and requires advanced training and precise movements.
MASSAGE & MASSAGE THERAPY
Massage or massage therapy are systems of structured
palpation or movement of the soft tissue of the body. The massage system may include, but is not limited to, such techniques
as, stroking, kneading, gliding, percussion, friction, vibration, compression, passive or active stretching within the normal
anatomical range of movement; effleurage (either firm or light soothing, stroking movement, without dragging the skin, using
either padded parts of fingertips or palms); petrissage (lifting or picking up muscles and rolling the folds of skin); or
tapotement (striking with the side of the hand, usually with partly flexed fingers, rhythmic movements with fingers or short
rapid movements of sides of the hand). These techniques may be applied with or without the aid of lubricants, salt or herbal
preparations, hydromassage, thermal massage or a massage device that mimics or enhances the actions possible by human hands.
The purpose of the practice of massage is to enhance the general health and well-being of the recipient. Massage does not
include the diagnosis of a specific pathology, the prescription of drugs or controlled substances, spinal manipulation or
those acts of physical therapy that are outside the scope of massage therapy.
Another term meaning therapeutic muscle massage.
Performing medical massage requires a firm background in pathology
and utilizes specific treatments appropriate to working with disease, pain, and recovery from injury. The therapist may work
from a physician’s prescription or as an adjunct healer within a hospital or physical therapy setting..
A variety of techniques that utilize movement reeducation and
proper body mechanics in combination with massage or soft-tissue manipulation. After observing the client, the therapist will
determine which corrective measures are necessary to accomplish specific goals. Active client participation is important while
the practitioner uses verbal instruction, hypnosis and imagery, deep muscle and connective tissue manipulation, and mobilization
in the movement reeducation process. Registered practitioners may include graduates of the Feldenkrais Method, the Alexander
Technique, and other movement-based disciplines.
MUSCLE ENERGY TECHNIQUE
Muscle energy is a direct, noninvasive manual therapy
used to normalize joint dysfunction and increase range of motion. The practitioner evaluates the primary areas of dysfunction
in order to place the affected joints in precise positions that enable the client to perform gentle isometric contractions.
These directed movements help correct neuromuscular and joint difficulties.
MUSCLE RELEASE TECHNIQUE
This technique combines compression, extension, movement,
and breath to give therapists a tool to provide relief from pain, treating such conditions as carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic
low back pain, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, tennis elbow, knee pain, shin splints, frozen shoulder, hammer toes, piriformis
syndrome, tendinitis, trigger finger, and much more.
Muscle testing involves finding a muscle that is unbalanced and then attempting
to determine why that muscle is not functioning properly. Treatments may involve specific joint manipulation or mobilization,
various myofascial therapies, cranial techniques, meridian and acupuncture skills, clinical nutrition, dietary management,
counselling skills, evaluating environmental irritants, and various reflex procedures. The object is to test the function
of a single muscle in the best possible manner. (Adapted from www.icak.com.)
Myofascial release is the three-dimensional application of
sustained pressure and movement into the fascial system in order to eliminate fascial restrictions and facilitate the emergence
of emotional patterns and belief systems that are no longer relevant or are impeding progress. First, an assessment is made
by visually analyzing the human frame, followed by the palpation of the tissue texture of various fascial layers. Upon locating
an area of fascial tension, gentle pressure is applied in the direction of the restriction. Myofascial release is an effective
therapeutic approach in the relief of cervical pain, back pain, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, neurological dysfunction, restriction
of motion, chronic pain, and headaches.
MYOFASCIAL TRIGGER POINT THERAPY
Based on the discoveries of Drs. Janet Travell
and David Simons in which they found the causal relationship between chronic pain and its source, myofascial trigger point
therapy is used to relieve muscular pain and dysfunction through applied pressure to trigger points of referred pain and through
stretching exercises. These points are defined as localized areas in which the muscle and connective tissue are highly sensitive
to pain when compressed. Pressure on these points can send referred pain to other specific parts of the body.
MYOPATHIC MUSCULAR THERAPY
Myopathy is a system of muscular manipulation designed
to accomplish relaxation in muscles in which there is progressive and residual tension from physical strain, nervous strain,
sports injuries, accidents, infections, and/or years of declining health. Created by Dr. Claude Heckman, myopathy reduces
inflammation and pain, restores circulation and motion, and aids in the restoration of normal body functions without the use
of oil, cream, powder, or lotion.
MYOPRACTIC MUSCLE THERAPY
Robert Petteway developed the Myopractic system after
thirty years in the healing arts. His experience in structural integration, biomechanics, acupuncture, Oriental medicine,
and a wide variety of muscle therapies contribute to the system. He worked with physicians, surgeons, and chiropractors for
more than twenty years to develop this therapeutic model. Myopractic muscle therapy combines three basic techniques: compression
stretching, which achieves deep relaxation and relieves tension, spasms, and holding patterns; clearing methods, which use
the myopractic covered thumb and framing techniques to clean obstructions from soft tissue (e.g., trigger points, scar tissue,
muscle bundles, and old bruises); and separating techniques to release myofascial adhesions, separate fascial planes, and
rebalance muscles. Myopractic muscle therapy integrates its own unique style of energetic work, Swedish, sports, trigger point,
myofascial, and even structural integration techniques into one system. Myopractic teaches user-friendly, pain-free therapy
for both client and practitioner. This is accomplished using the therapist’s body weight and leverage, rather than relying
on size and strength. Myopractic posture balancing evaluation identifies the source of chronic pain misalignments in the body’s
structure and realigns them. Myopractic treatments focus especially on misalignments in the lower body, particularly in the
feet, ankles, and the hips. Addressing lower-body misalignments often relieves tension injuries in the upper body. Myopractic
espouses a therapist can clear their clients only to the degree they themselves are clear. Therefore the seminars focus on
clearing the therapist, as well as learning new techniques.
MYOSKELETAL ALIGNMENT TECHNIQUE
A holistic approach to relief of back and neck
pain based on concepts and principles from Rolfing, osteopathy, and related physical medicine. Focused on detecting and correcting
strain patterns to prevent back/neck pain, this technique combines deep-tissue work with assisted stretching and non-force
See Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy.
NAMBUDRIPAD'S ALLERGY ELIMINATION TECHNIQUE
This therapy involves light acupressure applied along both sides of
the spinal column in an area where the energy flow of a meridian intersects with the nerve roots at acupressure points. It
is considered a safe, effective, natural approach to detecting and eliminating all types of allergies.
Neuro-Structural Bodywork (NSB) is a somatic therapy
that combines a variety of techniques, including fascial release, neuromuscular reeducation, craniosacral adjustment, and
breathwork in balancing the musculoskeletal, nervous, and chakra systems. NSB techniques restore sensory perception and motor
control and allow for new neurological impulses that support postural balance and free range of motion, ultimately enhancing
one’s poise, balance, and sense of well-being. NSB is effective in treating both acute injuries and chronic conditions,
including strained muscles, upper/lower back and disc problems, frozen shoulder, joint injuries, fibromyalgia, migraines,
TMJ, and chronic fatigue syndrome. NSB helps create a more receptive environment for a variety of other modalities (especially
chiropractic and physical therapy), improving results from exercise and supporting the body in sustaining skeletal adjustments.
It also provides a possible alternative to more invasive treatments (including surgery) in cases where the underlying cause
of the problem is fascial restriction and/or loss of sensory perception and motor control. Developed by Nancy DeLucrezia,
NSB can also be used to stimulate and support emotional release and as an adjunct to psychological integration therapies.
NEUROMUSCULAR INTEGRATIVE ACTION
Neuromuscular integrative action (NIA) is an
expressive fitness and awareness movement program and a holistic approach to health. It combines movements from t’ai
chi, yoga, martial arts, and modern ethnic dances. NIA uses a variety of movements blended with the conscious use of mind
and energy, combined in a total fitness program.
NeuroMuscular Reprogramming (NMR) uses muscle testing
to assess dysfunctions of the coordination system resulting from traumatic injury and overuse. It cues the brain for new learning
resulting in the immediate correction of neuromuscular imbalances. NMR works with the body’s organizational intelligence
addressing neuromuscular pain at its source: the motor control center of the brain. NMR is easy on the practitioner, using
strategy, not force.
This comprehensive program of soft-tissue manipulation
balances the body’s central nervous system with the musculoskeletal system. Based on neurological laws that explain
how the central nervous system initiates and maintains pain, the goal is to help relieve the pain and dysfunction by understanding
and alleviating the underlying cause. Neuromuscular therapy can help individuals who experience distortion and biomechanical
dysfunction, which is often a symptom of a deeper problem. It is also used to locate and release spasms and hypercontraction
in the tissue, eliminate trigger points that cause referred pain, rebuild the strength of injured tissues, assist venous and
lymphatic flow, and restore postural alignment, proper biomechanics, and flexibility to the tissues.
Oncology massage refers to massage tailored to the needs of individuals with cancer. This specialized
practice requires therapists to be fully educated in and pay close attention to the physical, emotional, and psychological
needs of clients in all stages of cancer: diagnosis, treatment, recovery, survivor, or terminal. Training in oncology massage
covers appropriate bodywork modalities for cancer clients, includes precautions for radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery,
and covers physiology and pathology.
Ortho-Bionomy was developed by the British osteopath Dr. Arthur
Lincoln Pauls in the 1970s and has since been refined into a comprehensive system of bodywork that includes a person’s
energetic and emotional well-being, in addition to addressing the physical body. Pauls combined his understanding and techniques
of osteopathy with the principles of martial arts and the philosophy of homeopathy to stimulate the organism’s self-healing
reflexes without needing to use force or painful manipulation. The term Ortho-Bionomy loosely translates from the Greek into
the correct application of the laws of life to indicate Pauls did not invent something entirely new, but returned to a way
of understanding the body and energetic field that had been known for centuries, but had fallen into disuse by modern medicine.
On a physical level, a practitioner of Ortho-Bionomy uses comfortable positions and gentle movements to ease the body into
releasing tension and pain and to reestablish structural realignment. Proprioceptive nerve activity and stretch reflex action
are stimulated to educate the body about its own patterns and to support the organism’s ability to find balance, rather
than forcing change from the outside. Since the changes that take place come from within, the results of the work tend to
be long-lasting and affect not only the body, but the overall well-being of the client. The energetic and emotional aspects
of the client are included to facilitate balance and release of mental and emotional holding patterns closely associated with
physical imbalance or trauma. Participation of the client is always welcome in Ortho-Bionomy, and sessions are often educational
in character. Often, awareness alone will change a pattern, but specific exercises are also a part of what Ortho-Bionomy can
offer a client.
ORTHOPEDIC MASSAGECombining some elements of sports and medical massage, orthopedic massage
integrates ten modalities to treat soft-tissue pain and injury. Emphasis is placed on understanding both the injury and its
rehabilitation criteria. Three basic elements adhered to, despite the technical diversity in treatment, are assessment, matching
the treatment to the injury, and adaptability of treatment.
This technique utilizes massage, mud packs, wraps, baths, water, and steam therapies, and/or inhalation
treatments using natural herbs and floral extracts, plant oils, and seaweeds.
Polarity therapy is based on universal principles of energy--attraction,
repulsion, and neutrality. The interrelation of these principles forms the basis for every aspect of life, including our experience
of health, wellness, and disease. With this understanding, polarity therapy addresses the interdependence of body, mind, and
spirit, the importance of relationships, and the value of creating a way of life in harmony with nature. Founded by Austrian-born
naturopath Dr. Randolph Stone in the mid-1950s, polarity therapy is a clothes-on, noninvasive system complementing existing
modalities with an integrated, holistic model. Polarity is based on the belief that positive and negative poles exist in every
cell. The body is gently manipulated to balance the positive and negative energies. In addition to physical manipulation,
blockages and toxins are eliminated through a cleansing diet and simple exercises. Treatments are suggested in a series of
POSTURAL INTEGRATION & ENERGETIC INTEGRATION
Postural integration and energetic
integration were developed by Jack Painter in the late 1960s and have spread to Western Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Australia.
These approaches focus on the unity of tissue, feeling, and awareness. Breathwork, deep fascia manipulation, emotional expression,
and meditation are used in a unique synchronicity. Both are similar methods, but postural integration focuses on systematic
work with layers of fascia, while energetic integration focuses on melting bands of body character armor. The client will
experience not only extraordinary energy releases and tangible changes in body shape and flexibility, but also major shifts
in awareness and feeling.
Performed by a trained perinatal specialist, many
methods of massage and somatic therapies are both effective and safe prenatally and during labor and postpartum periods of
women’s pregnancies. Prenatally, specific techniques can reduce pregnancy discomforts and concerns and enhance the physiological
and emotional well-being of both mother and fetus. Skilled, appropriate touch facilitates labor, shortening labor times and
easing pain and anxiety. In the postpartum period, specialized techniques rebalance structure, physiology, and emotions of
the new mother and may help her to bond with and care for her infant. Specialized, advanced training in the anatomy, physiology,
complications, precautions, and contraindications is highly recommended, and many practitioners require referrals from physicians
prior to therapy.
This traditional Chinese treatment combines hands-on and hands-off techniques that balance the flow of qi
(energy) through the body, move and relieve qi blockages, and improve circulation. Qigong is also a combination of timed breathing
and gentle flowing movement, meditation, visualization, and conscious intent all working together to achieve an integrated
adjustment of mind and body in order to better cultivate, circulate, and balance qi, or life force. Qigong theory is the basis
of traditional Chinese medicine and is used to treat many serious illnesses, as well as for relaxation. See Qigong Meridian
QIGONG MERIDIAN THERAPY
Qigong Meridian Therapy (QMT) is a natural healing system. It is derived
from traditional Chinese medicine, which originated several thousand years ago. QMT is based and focused on the concept of
qi. Qi is vital energy, the unseen life force that courses though the body, enabling it to perform its functions, and which
permeates all of nature. The purpose of QMT is to release the innate healing ability of clients so their body can maintain
health and resist disease. In QMT treatments, specific hand techniques are used to guide healing energy, which stimulates
the meridians and certain points along or near the meridians. The QMT treatments serve to remove energy blockages, balance
the overall qi of clients, and increase their energy.
Quantum energetics is a subtle, gentle healing method that
works with the energy body to allow disrupted energy patterns to regain their force. It is a holistic, noninvasive technique
that follows a systematic approach. Numerical codes that correspond vibrationally with conditions of the energy body are utilized,
along with applied kinesiology.
QUANTUM-TOUCHThis hands-on healing method offers spontaneous adjusting of proper alignment
of the body. Principles behind Quantum-Touch involve resonance, intention, attention, breath, and innate body intelligence.
Using various breathing techniques and meditations, a light touch is applied to activate the body’s own healing process.
Originated by D. Gary Young, raindrop technique is a noninvasive tool for helping to correct
defects in the curvature of the spine caused by viruses and bacteria that lie dormant there. Antimicrobial essential oils
are used to reduce inflammation by killing the viral agents, thus bringing the body into structural and electrical alignment.
The oils (primarily thyme, oregano, birch, cypress, peppermint, and basil) are dispensed like little drops of rain from a
height of about six inches above the back and massaged along the vertebrae. The oils used in this forty-five-minute treatment
continue to work for the next five to seven days.
Based on an ancient Chinese therapy, reflexology involves manipulation
of specific reflex areas in the foot, hands, and ears that correspond to other parts of the body. Sometimes referred to as
zone therapy, this bodywork involves application of pressure to these reflex zones to stimulate body organs and relieve areas
of congestion. Similar to acupressure principles, reflexology works with the body’s energy flow to stimulate self-healing
and maintain balance in physical function. This technique is used to reduce pain, increase relaxation, and stimulate circulation
of blood and lymphatic fluids. It is especially useful in stress-related illness and emotional disorders. Reflexology is also
convenient in cases where an area of the body is traumatized or diseased to the extent that direct manipulation is not appropriate..
REIKI HEALING--USUI SYSTEMReiki healing is a hands-on energy healing art. It was originated
in Japan in the early 20th century by Mikao Usui, who had a life-changing experience of light and energy that he recognized
as reiki--sacred life force--and that awakened his innate healing abilities. He developed a system of practices that enabled
others to become effective healers. In a reiki healing session, the practitioner, trained to access and serve as a channel
for the life force (ki or chi), places her hands on or just above the client’s body in order to activate healing energy
within receptive points on the body. The practitioner’s hands move progressively with a passive touch through twelve
positions on the body, remaining in each position for three to five minutes. As a harmonic flow of energy is strengthened,
within the client and practitioner, healing occurs through the return of physical, mental, and spiritual balance.
ROLFING STRUCTURAL INTEGRATION
A method to reorder the major body segments,
Rolfing was founded by American biochemist Dr. Ida Rolf in the 1940s. Rolfing utilizes physical manipulation and movement
awareness to bring head, shoulders, thorax, pelvis, and legs into vertical alignment. It allows more efficient use of the
muscles with less expended energy by lifting the head and chest and lengthening the body’s trunk. A sense of lightness
and greater mobility often result from Rolfing. Treatments are offered in a ten-session series, as well as advanced sessions.
See structural integration.
ROSEN METHOD BODYWORK
Using gentle, nonintrusive touch, Rosen Method works with
held muscles to bring about physical and emotional awareness through relaxation. Developed by Marion Rosen, this technique
utilizes both sensitive manipulation of the soft tissue, observation of the client’s breathing patterns, and communication
to promote physical ease, pain relief, and a deeper contact with the inner self. Because the work can bring up buried feelings
and memories, it is also used as a tool to promote personal growth.
RUSSIAN MASSAGE (RUSSIAN SPORTS MASSAGE)This technique alters the basic strokes of classical
massage so each stroke provides the client with the least invasive and most comfortable treatment. Each stroke in Russian
massage has a known physiological effect on a healthy or dysfunctional body. Therapists don’t use their wrists or single
digit pressure, instead opting for shoulders or elbows as the primary sources of strength for deep work.
See chair massage.
Developed in Japan, shiatsu is a finger-pressure technique utilizing
traditional acupuncture points. Similar to acupressure, shiatsu concentrates on unblocking the flow of life energy and restoring
balance in the meridians and organs in order to promote self-healing. With the client reclining, the practitioner applies
pressure with the finger, thumb, palm, elbow, or knee to specific zones on the skin located along the energy meridians. The
treatment brings about a sense of relaxation while stimulating blood and lymphatic flow. The benefits of this treatment may
include pain relief and a strengthening of the body’s resistance to disease and disorder.
SOFT TISSUE RELEASE
Soft-tissue release (STR) is a powerful injury treatment
technique developed in Europe with the world’s fastest sprinters. Recovery rates once considered impossible by traditional
therapists and sports medicine doctors were achieved, through methods based on European osteopathy techniques, along with
insights from quantum physics. In recent years, STR has been given clinical application for chronic low back pain and whiplash
injuries. STR deals directly with the reasons for soft tissue dysfunctions and subsequent referred pain and nerve entrapment.
In acute conditions, STR affects the insidious way scar tissue is formed, and in chronic conditions, STR breaks up the fibrotic
and adhered mass of scar tissue to quickly allow the muscle to return to its natural resting length. Once the muscle or muscle
group has returned to the original resting length, there is an immediate release from the pain induced by the inflammation
response. The client is placed in a particular position so that the muscle begins to stretch in a very specific direction
or plane. When the exact location of the injury has been defined, a determined pressure is applied directly into the affected
tissue or along a specific line of injury. At the same time, the client is given a set of instructions that now engage the
antagonist of the muscles involved. The muscle is extended from a fixed position in a determined direction under a pinpoint
of pressure. Decrease in pain and increase in range of motion are often immediate, offsetting any minor discomfort experienced.
SOMATIC THERAPYMeaning of the body and often used to denote a body/mind or whole-body approach,
as distinguished from a physiology-only perspective.
SOMATO EMOTIONAL RELEASE
SomatoEmotional Release is a therapeutic process that
helps rid the mind and body of residual effects of past trauma and associated negative responses. Dr. John Upledger and biophysicist
Dr. Zvi Karni discovered the body often retains physical forces as the result of accident, injury, or emotional trauma. Following
trauma, the body isolates the “energy cyst.” Students in SomatoEmotional Release learn how to help the client
physically identify and expel the energy cyst through reexperiencing and resolving unpleasant incidents.
Using the media of sound (music, tones, vibrations, etc.) as tools
for healing, sound therapy enables the realignment of natural body rhythms. Therapy may include, but is not limited to, the
use of Tibetan singing bowls, chimes, acutonic tuning forks, rattles, and drums.
A variety of body treatments administered in spas. Herbal wraps, loofah
body scrubs, parafango, salt scrubs, seaweed body wraps, hydrotherapy treatments, etc.
Spinal release allows therapists to correct distortions of the
central nervous system and restore the body’s center of gravity. The therapist works with techniques that address the
eight muscle groups of the lower back. Practitioners also focus on the soft-tissue release procedures for the neck and back
as they help identify curvatures of the spine and other dysfunctions.
SPIRITUAL MASSAGE HEALING
Spinal release allows therapists to correct distortions
of the central nervous system and restore the body’s center of gravity. The therapist works with techniques that address
the eight muscle groups of the lower back. Practitioners also focus on the soft-tissue release procedures for the neck and
back as they help identify curvatures of the spine and other dysfunctions.
Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and
recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury
treatment. Pre-event massage is delivered at the performance site, usually with the athlete fully clothed. Fast-paced and
stimulating, it helps to establish blood flow and to warm up muscles. During the massage, the athlete generally focuses on
visualizing the upcoming event. Post-event massage is also delivered on site, through the clothes. The intent here is to calm
the nervous system and begin the process of flushing toxins and waste products out of the body. Post-event massage can reduce
recovery time, enabling an athlete to resume training much sooner than rest alone would allow. When an athlete sustains an
injury, skillful massage therapy can often speed and improve the quality of healing.
ST. JOHN'S NEUROMUSCULAR THERAPY
St. John’s neuromuscular therapy seeks out the cause of pain,
focusing on creating a balance between the muscular and nervous systems. This bodywork focuses on five basic principles--biomechanics,
ischemis, trigger points, postural distortion, and nerve entrapment and compression--that are important factors in the body’s
physical homeostasis. Also, attention is given to hormonal balance, nutrition, and elimination of toxins. This therapy is
used to treat soft-tissue pain throughout most of the body.
Developed by osteopath Lawrence Jones, this noninvasive
treatment helps decrease protective muscle spasms and alleviate somatic dysfunction in the musculoskeletal system. By using
palpation and passive positional procedures, the therapist practicing strain/counterstrain therapy can help restore pain-free
movement. The position that relieves the referred pain is held for ninety seconds. After resuming the original position and
pressing the trigger point, the referred pain is gone. The client is often asked to bend or twist like a contortionist to
secure a comfortable position.
STRUCTURAL ENERGETIC THERAPY
Developed in 1983, Structural Energetic Therapy
(SET) is a deep-tissue, body-restructuring therapy that addresses chronic and acute pain and dysfunction. SET integrates cranial/
structural techniques, myofascial unwinding, myofascial restructuring, emotional energy release, kinesiology, and postural
analysis to address client symptoms and problems as they relate to body structure. SET is a client-centered therapy that treats
the specific needs unique to each client by addressing particular injuries and conditions as they relate to the structural
distortions. The release of the core distortion pattern, both cranially and structurally, allows a balanced weight-bearing
pelvis to support the entire spine and facilitates the unwinding of all other structural distortions. The goal of SET therapy
is to have clients return to life activities pain free.
Based on the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf, structural integration
is based on the idea that the entire structural order of the body needs to be realigned and balanced with the gravitational
forces around a central vertical line representing gravity’s influence. Therapeutic intervention is directed toward
the myofascial system--the ligaments, muscles, tendons, and surrounding connective tissues. A practitioner of structural integration
has a ten-session cycle of work, in which different angles and degrees of physical pressure are used to stretch and guide
fascia to a place of easier movement. The process is not intended to cure symptoms; its goal is to create a more resilient,
higher-energy system, free of inhibitions due to past trauma. See Rolfing.
SWEDISH MASSAGEOne of the most commonly taught and well-known massage techniques, Swedish massage
is a vigorous system of treatment designed to energize the body by stimulating circulation. Five basic strokes, all flowing
toward the heart, are used to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. The disrobed client is covered by a sheet, with only
the area being worked on exposed. Therapists use a combination of kneading, rolling, vibrational, percussive, and tapping
movements, with the application of oil, to reduce friction on the skin. The many benefits of Swedish massage may include generalized
relaxation, dissolution of scar tissue adhesions, and improved circulation, which may speed healing and reduce swelling from
Developed by Dr. Stephanie Mines, the TARA Approach is a holistic system for the critical
transformation of psychological, physical, and emotional shock and trauma. Combining the ancient oriental healing art of Jin
Shin with therapeutic dialogues, this approach activates healing from sexual abuse, battering relationships, abusive family
environments, neglect, and illness.
This is an ancient art of healing using the universal elemental
energy rays of earth (reiki), air/ether (angelic light), fire (sakara) and water (sophi-el). Tera-Mai Seichem translates from
Sanskrit as action of compassion.
Also called nuad bo rarn, Thai massage has been taught and practiced
in Thailand for approximately twenty-five hundred years. Although the origins are somewhat vague, credit for Thai massage
is given to a famous Indian doctor, Shivago Komarpaj, who was the personal physician of the Buddha and Magadha king. Historically,
manipulation was one of four major branches composing traditional Thai ceremonies or magical practices. This is based on the
theory the body is made up of seventy-two thousand sen, or energy lines, of which ten hold top priority. Thai massage also
involves peripheral stimulating, meaning it acts as an external stimulant to produce specific internal effects. This point
serves as the main division between Thai and Western massage. Thai massage is practiced on a firm mat on the floor instead
of on a table, instrumental in the effective use of the practitioner’s body weight. Except for the feet, the client
remains fully clothed, so draping is not necessary.
This treatment uses the therapeutic benefits of the sea and
seawater products--vitamins and minerals--to restore health and vitality to the skin and hair. The treatment may include a
seaweed and algae paste spread on the body and being insulated with sheets or blankets. Seawater baths may include massage
with strong, underwater jets or manual hose massage by the therapist.
Developed through the collaboration of a nursing professor
and a spiritual healer, Therapeutic Touch is based on ancient energy healing methods. Practitioners, primarily nurses, are
trained to feel or sense energy imbalances in the client and to use laying on of hands to disperse blocks and channel healing
forces to the client’s body. The therapist uses a light touch or holds the hand above the body, with the client generally
seated. Meditation is used by the therapist to center herself and strengthen her connection to the client’s energy system.
Therapeutic Touch has been applied in an assortment of medical situations, including the care of premature infants and emergency
room patients. It is known to induce a state of relaxation within minutes. Therapeutic Touch is considered safe because of
its gentle, noninvasive approach. Developers of this technique affirm that everyone has the potential to heal with Therapeutic
Touch and may be taught the methodology in one day.
Trager is an approach to bodywork developed in the 1920s by
American medical practitioner Dr. Milton Trager. It makes extensive use of touch-contact and encourages the client to experience
the freeing-up of different parts of the body. The approach consists of simple exercises called Mentastics and deep, nonintrusive
hands-on work, including fluid, gentle, rocking movements. The idea is to use motion in the muscles and joints to produce
positive sensory feelings that are then fed back into the central nervous system. The result is a feeling of lightness, freedom,
and flexibility. A Trager session takes from sixty to ninety minutes. No oils or lotions are used. The client wears a swimsuit
or underwear and lies on a well-padded table in a warm, comfortable environment. Extreme pressure and rapid thrusts are not
used and pain is not necessary to make this approach effective. During the session, the practitioner makes touch-contact with
the client in such a gentle and rhythmic way that the person lying passively on the table actually experiences the possibility
of being able to move each part of the body freely, effortlessly, and gracefully on her own. The practitioner works in a relaxed,
meditative state of consciousness. After getting up from the table, the client is given instruction in the use of Mentastics,
or “mental gymnastics,” a system of simple, effortless movement sequences, to maintain and enhance the sense of
lightness, freedom, and flexibility instilled by the table work. It is a powerful means of teaching the client to recall the
pleasurable sensory state that produced positive tissue change. Because it is this feeling state that triggered positive tissue
response in the first place, every time the feeling is clearly recalled the changes deepen, become more permanent, and are
more receptive to further positive change. Changes described have included the disappearance of specific symptoms, discomforts,
or pains; heightened levels of energy and vitality; more effortless posture and carriage; greater joint mobility; deeper states
of relaxation than were previously possible; and a new ease in daily activities.
TRIGGER POINT MYOTHERAPYTrigger point myotherapy is a noninvasive therapeutic modality for
the relief and control of myofascial pain and dysfunction. The goal of treatment is the client’s recovery from or a
significant reduction in myofascial pain. The treatment goal is achieved through a systematized approach. Treatment consists
of trigger point compression, myomassage, passive stretching, and a regime of corrective exercises. Success may be measured
subjectively by the level of pain reduction experienced by the client and objectively through increased range of motion, strength,
endurance, and other measures of improved function. Trigger point myotherapy relies heavily on client-therapist interaction,
including verbal and nonverbal elements. The myotherapist encourages the client to be personally responsible for their improvement,
with attention to such factors as nutritional intake, stress, proper exercises, mechanical abnormalities, and other physical
components. These elements protect the client from delayed diagnosis, delayed treatment, or contraindicated treatment, which
are the concerns of first order. Trigger point myotherapy is an integrating approach to myofascial pain and dysfunction.
Tui na is an ancient Chinese system of manual therapeutics with a wide
range of techniques and indications. While traditional Chinese medical precepts form its theoretical basis, clinical experience
governs its application. Tui na techniques range from those that are light and soothing to those that are strong and invigorating.
Refined over the centuries, tui na facilitates healing by regulating the circulation of blood and qi (vital energy), which
controls body function and enhances resistance to disease. The term tui na (pronounced t-weigh na) combines the names of two
of the hand techniques, tui meaning to push and na meaning to lift and squeeze, which are used to represent the system. Practitioners
of tui na claim there are more than 365 hand techniques, although they can be generally placed in the category of pressing,
rubbing, waving, shaking, percussion, or manipulating. The term “tui na” first appeared in the Ming Dynasty text
Pediatric Tui Na Classic in 1601.
VIBRATIONAL HEALING MASSAGE THERAPY
Vibrational Healing Massage Therapy (VHMT)
is a bodywork therapy designed to restore one to fluidity. It is like massage therapy, providing touch techniques and distinctions
that help people live in their bodies as a liquid process, freeing pain as we have known it. VHMT works with the physical
structure to free up past tensions and stresses that have been held in the body. This reawakening of the nervous system restores
circulation to injured areas, moves energy and emotions, and helps in the release of chronic pain or stiffness. There are
approximately sixteen basic techniques that serve to align, loosen, and connect the body so tensions can reverberate freely.
Special sensitive stretching, rebounding, and torquing are some of the techniques that help clients become aware of where
they have been holding. Practitioners and recipients alike begin to feel not only their vibrations move within them, but also
new circulation of their basic metabolic fluids flowing to once-rigid areas. As they listen to people’s body rhythms
and frequencies, practitioners of VHMT facilitate a clothes-on massage therapy that is rhythmic and fun. VHMT includes new
distinctions of awareness in thinking, speaking, walking, standing, and sitting, which allow for fully-connected and communicative
bodies. These concepts are. The Fluid Body Model--a body of knowledge where we experience being in our bodies in a whole new
way, acknowledging and honoring the fluid, evolving processes that we are; Disease as a Strategy--a self-responsible way of
thinking that allows us to access self-healing and growth; and The Language of Healing--a way of speaking responsibly about
our bodies and lives, so that when we speak, we are causing and accessing healing and transformation to happen.
Visceral manipulation enhances the normal mobility and
tissue motion of the organs of the visceral system. Hypertonicity, displacement, and adhesions can all cause organs to work
against each other, creating chronic irritation and fixed, abnormal points of tension. The visceral organs are dependent on
their ability to move freely in the visceral cavity to then work correctly and efficiently. When they are pulled out of their
effective positions, they cease to function properly. By freeing each organ to work compatibly with the others, a therapist
can potentially alter and improve the structure and functioning of the entire body.
Based on the piezoelectric properties of the human skin, vitaflex is a specialized
form of manual stimulation at specific reflex points throughout the body, using the pads and nails of the fingers in a rolling
motion to produce therapeutic electrical voltages and currents. Vitaflex massage, an ancient modality originating in India
and Tibet, massage can be used as a modality in and of itself but also works well as an adjunct to aromatherapy with the application
of essential oils. Vitaflex is also a part of the raindrop massage protocol.
WATSUWatsu, or aquatic shiatsu, began at Harbin Hot Springs where Harold Dull
brought his knowledge of Zen shiatsu into a warm pool. Zen shiatsu incorporates stretches that release blockages along the
meridians--the channels through which chi or life force flows. Dull found the effects of Zen shiatsu could be amplified and
made more profound by stretching someone while having them float in warm water. By supporting, rocking, and moving the whole
body while stretching a leg or arm, Watsu lessens the resistance there is when a limb is worked in isolation. When the whole
body is in continual movement, each move flowing gracefully into the next, there is no way to resistantly anticipate what’s
coming next. Warm water and the continuous support it provides are ideal for freeing the spine.
YOGASSAGEThis is a massage modality that enhances the free and natural movements of the body
through gentle, sustained stretching and applied pressure. Gentle vibration and energy work with the chakras is integrated
into a gracefully flowing sequence. Unique positioning with props is incorporated to facilitate myofascial stretching without
strain. Yogassage has been compared to Thai massage on a table, as it blends elements from both the Eastern and Western cultures
ZEN BODY THERAPYThis technique integrates Zen training with Eastern teachings of the circulation
of vital energy or essence of life.
Zero Balancing was developed by Fritz Smith, MD, and has its
roots in osteopathy, acupuncture, Rolfing, and meditation. Relaxing, yet energizing, Zero Balancing integrates fundamental
principles of Western medicine with Eastern concepts of energy. This technique provides clients the possibility of healing
by addressing the energy flow of the skeletal system. By working with bone energy, zero balancing seeks to correct imbalances
between energy and structure, providing relief from pain, anxiety, and stress. A Zero Balancing session, which consists of
gentle acupressure focusing on joints and bones, generally takes thirty to forty minutes and is done through the client’s
clothing while they lie on a massage table. For the massage therapist or bodyworker, Zero Balancing may enhance other modalities
and open new avenues of energetic and structural balancing through touch.