Welcome. I have been a licensed massage therapist and bodyworker for many years, and this is certainly an exciting time to be involved in this work. It is a time when the roles of health care are being redefined, and massage therapists are being recognized as educated and trained professionals who can play a part in helping injuries to heal, managing stress, and helping people live happier and fuller lives.
I would like to share with you some brief information about some of the different types of bodywork that are available.
Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique is a time-tested method of teaching ways to restore our natural balance, flexibility and ease of movement. It teaches the use of the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity, releasing more energy for all our activities. It is not a series of treatments or exercises, but rather a reeducation of the mind and body that helps you discover a new balance in your body by releasing unnecessary tension. It can be applied to all of your daily activities. More on Alexander Technique
Craniosacral Therapy. Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle, non-invasive manipulative technique. This therapy encourages your own natural mechanisms to improve the functioning of your brain and spinal cord to dissipate the negative effects of stress, promote good health, and enhance resistance to disease. More on Craniosacral Therapy.
Deep Tissue Massage is used to release chronic muscle tension through slower strokes and more direct pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles. This invigorating experience is a process of detection of stiff or painful areas by determining the quality and texture of the deeper layers of musculature, and slowly working into the deep layers of muscle tissue. Specific hand positions and strokes are then used to respond to various tissue qualities. Techniques employing breath and movement are also used for releasing muscular congestion.
Esalen Massage is Swedish massage combined with the influence of early Esalen leaders, Charlotte Selver and Bernie Gunther who taught sensory reawakening. What sets Esalen Massage apart from other types of massage is the philosophical approach. For the massage therapist, the work is a meditation, a time to quiet the mind, and attend to his or her intuition, and to be fully present in the moment with the client.
Hakomi method is a body-based psychotherapy using special states of consciousness to help clients probe non-verbal levels where core beliefs direct and influence their experiences. Body-mind awareness and touch are used to explore the body as a deep source of information, empowering the client to change their attitudes.
Jin Shin Do (transl. the way of the compassionate spirit) is derived from acupressure. The technique involves applying gentle fingertip pressure to thirty specific points along the body to release, smooth and balance vital `chi' energy. Practitioners meditate and try to transfer chi to clients by using knowledge of where energy flows and patterns meet. According to its practitioners, Jin Shin Do pervades all aspects of our being by affecting general muscle tension, improving circulation, balancing emotions and raising the spiritual state of being.
LaStone Therapy or Stone Therapy involves the use of heated and cooled stones (Thermotherapy) applied to the body in various ways to bring about relief to stiff and sore muscles. Resulting in alleviation of chronic and acute problems that many of us deal with on a daily basis.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage technique has become a popular massage choice. It blends soothing, gentle, rhythmical, precise massage-like movements to accelerate the flow of lymphatic fluid in the body.
Myofascial release is used to evaluate and treat restrictions in the body's contractile connective tissues (muscles) and non-contractile supportive connective tissues (fascia) by the application of gentle traction, pressures and positioning. Fascia is a complex supportive web throughout the body affecting all components of the musculoskeletal, nervous and visceral (organ) systems. It surrounds groups of muscle fibres, and entire muscle groups and organs. Myofascial release techniques are used to coax muscles in spasm to relax, and break adhesions in the fascia. Bodies respond to these therapies by releasing tension that has been stored in the fascia, thus allowing more functional flexibility and mobility of the muscles, fascia and associated structures.
Neuromuscular Therapy uses advanced concepts in pressure therapy to break the stress-tension-pain cycle. It aims to relax muscle so that circulation can increase and the body will return to normal neuromuscular integrity and balance.
On-site or Chair Massage is one name for a short (15-20 minute) massage of a client sitting in a special, portable massage chair. The client remains fully clothed and no oils are used while their shoulders, neck, upper back, head and arms are massaged. On-Site is popular at some offices as an employee benefit and for some conferences, workshops and certain social events.
Reflexology is a skilled treatment of massage and pressure points on the feet. This therapy deals with the principle that there are reflexes in the feet which correspond to each and every organ and all parts of the body. It has become one of the most popular complementary therapies and is one of the most effective. It is gentle, painless, very relaxing and has no harmful side effects, yet is powerfully effective.
Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapy was developed by Therese Pfrimmer. Once partially paralysed, she overcame her disability through deep muscle manipulation and spent the next 30 years developing this technique. Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapy works across the muscles manipulating deep tissues, stimulating circulation and regenerating lymphatic flow, thus promoting detoxification and oxygenation of stagnant tissues.
Polarity Therapy is a holistic approach to natural health care. It asserts that energy fields exist everywhere in nature, and that the flow and balance of this energy in the human body is the underlying foundation of health. Stress, tension, pain, inflexible thinking, and environmental stimuli are among many factors that can contribute to the restriction of this energy flow in the human body. According to Polarity therapists, such energy blocks can be released by the use of four therapeutic methods: bodywork, diet, exercise and self-awareness.
Reiki - During Reiki, which means "universal life-force energy," the "healer" becomes a channeler of universal energy. The treatment follows a traditional pattern of hand positions resting on the body without pressure. Reiki is pure energy, and brings about deep relaxation and healing. More about Reiki.
Rolfing by Dr. Ida Rolf, aligns the major body segments through deep manipulation of the fascia or connective tissue.
Shiatsu is a system based on the body's energy meridians. Shiatsu massages are normally done fully clothed and involve pressing points on the body and stretching and opening of the energy meridians. Shiatsu is somewhat related to acupuncture, which is a form of anaesthesia and therapy used in Chinese hospitals for surgery. Its proponents view it as a form of treatment alternative to medicine or surgery.
Sports Massage is used primarily for the serious athlete who trains continuously. It focuses on the muscles relevant to the particular athletic activity. It also an include pre-event, post-event and maintenance techniques that promote greater athletic endurance and performance, lessen chances of injury and reduce recovery time.
Swedish massage (which is a proper name, not a reference to Sweden) refers to a collection of techniques designed primarily to relax muscles by applying pressure to them against deeper muscles and bones, and rubbing in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart. The lymph system and veins (which carry blood back to the heart) both rely on muscle action, rather than heart pump pressure, to operate. The strokes and manipulations of Swedish Massage are each conceived as having a specific therapeutic benefit. One of the primary goals of Swedish Massage is to speed venous return from the extremities. Swedish Massage shortens recovery time from muscular strain by flushing the tissue of lactic acid, uric acid and other metabolic wastes. It improves circulation without increasing heart load. It stretches the ligaments and tendons, keeping them supple. Swedish Massage also stimulates the skin and nervous system while at the same time relaxing the nerves themselves. As it can help reduce emotional and physical stress it is often recommended as part of a regular programme for stress management. It also has specific clinical uses in a medical or remedial therapy.
Trager Psychophysical Integration (usually just called Trager) uses light, gentle, non-intrusive movements to facilitate the release of deep-seated physical and mental patterns. Each part of the client's body is moved rhythmically so that the recipient experiences the possibility of moving lightly, effortlessly, and freely on their own. A Trager session should help reduce stress from chronic tension, teach more effective ways to recover from stressful situations, enhance conscious awareness and flexibility, improve self-image, expand energy, restore free flowing movement and full self-expression by reducing constriction and rigidity. A Trager session can bring about the experience of peace and serenity -- a high-energy state of well-being beyond relaxation.
Trigger point and Myotherapy are pain-relief techniques to alleviate muscle spasms and cramping. The therapist locates and deactivates `trigger points', which are often tender areas where muscles have been damaged or acquired a re-occuring spasm or `kink' that worsens painfully when aggravated. The major goals are to reduce spasm inducing new blood flow into the affected area. People with acute or chronic muscle tension and the associated pain are likely to benefit greatly from this type of treatment.
Watsu - Water Shiatsu is where a therapist floats you in a warm pool, the crook of an elbow under your neck, a hand under your sacrum, a gentle rock, a gradual swaying stretching you from side to side, a rolling of your spine looser and looser...And while one leg is lifted and rotated your other stretches out as you are swirled through the water...moments of activity flow into moments of quiet. The therapist applies the stretches and movements of Zen Shiatsu while your body is floating in water. The water allows for movement that is not possible on a conventional massage table.
Check back soon for new information!
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