Massage, bodywork and energywork are wonderful ways to assist your body in relieving stress and maintaining a relaxed and healthy body. Some bodywork treatments also help correct alignment of the skeleton, reduce or eliminate abnormal or imbalanced muscle tension, and correct various physical abnormalities. Receiving these hands-on treatments is also a great way to boost awareness of your body, which is key to good health. When a skilled practitioner works on your body, you will notice as they touch you where you feel tension or discomfort. This will assist you in knowing your body better and what it needs to be healthy.
Common Types Available
Chiropractic Adjustment – Chiropractic work grew out of the bone manipulations developed by osteopathic medicine. Chiropractic doctors use gross manipulations instead of the subtle lighter manipulations of the osteopath. Chiropractors mainly focus on the spinal alignment but also may work on hips, shoulders, legs and feet.
Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.), Osteopathic Manipulation – Osteopathic doctors are trained in everything Medical Doctors (M.D.s) are trained in but with additional training in a holistic medicine approach that recognizes the skeletal structure as an essential foundation to good health in the body. D.O.s are trained in subtle bone manipulation techniques that help realign the skeleton.
Swedish Massage – Probably the most common type of massage, a Swedish Massage uses five basic strokes to increase circulation, decrease muscle tension and increase relaxation. An oil, lotion, or cream is applied to the skin to reduce friction.
Deep Tissue Massage – This form of massage uses techniques to reach deeper layers of muscle and fascia. Sometimes called deep pressure massage, deep muscle massage, or even deep tissue sculpting, these techniques require that the therapist have a good understanding of anatomy, physiology, and myology. Superficial muscles need to be relaxed to reach the deeper layers, so other bodywork techniques are often mixed in throughout the session. Deep tissue massage can help relieve chronic muscular pain and help achieve better postural alignment.
Acupressure – A traditional Chinese medicine technique that uses the same points throughout the body as acupuncture. However, acupressure accesses these points by applying pressure with fingers, hands, elbows, or sometimes feet. When points are pressed, the body’s natural healing abilities are enhanced, releasing muscle tension and increasing circulation.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) – With its roots in Cranial Osteopathy, CranioSacral Therapy focuses on the evaluation and enhancement of the craniosacral system. Developed by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, this gentle form of manual therapy works with the body’s natural healing ability and has proven effective in treating a wide range of pain and illness.
Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) – The most common form of manual lymph drainage is the Dr. Vodder method. Through the pumping and stretching effect on the lymph vessels, the Dr. Vodder method of Manual Lymph Drainage stimulates the contraction of lymph vessels, helping to move the lymph forward and drain the connective tissue.
Myofascial Release (MFR) – This technique involves the application of sustained pressure and movement of the connective tissues in the body known as fascia. After an assessment of fascial movement a sustained pressure/traction is applied to the tissue to release areas of restriction and immobility. It is these areas of restriction and immobility of fascia that can cause pain and decreased range of motion in the body.
Reflexology – In reflexology, specific points on the feet, hands, and/or ears are massaged, squeezed, or pressed with the intention of stimulating healing in other parts of the body. These points correspond to organs, glands and other tissues in the body. It is believed that working these points stimulates the body’s energy flow and natural healing ability.
Reiki – Probably the most known and practiced energy healing art. Reiki means ‘universal life energy’ or ‘universal life force’. The practitioner places his/her hands on the recipient in various positions. The practitioner then offers healing universal energy to flow through him/her and be received by the recipient. The recipient’s body may accept this energy and use it to enhance its natural healing abilities.
Rolfing Structural Integration – Usually just called ‘Rolfing’ this system is designed to address the body’s entire myofascial system to improve body awareness, release motion restrictions, improve posture, and re-educate the client on how to properly use his/her body on a daily basis in relation to gravity. Rolfing is usually received in a 10-session series designed to systematically balance the structure and function of the entire body.
Shiatsu – A Japanese form of body work that literally translates to ‘finger pressure’. Shiatsu practitioners use their fingers, hands, and thumbs to apply pressure to specific points and sections of the body to correct imbalances and promote health. It can help adjust the body’s physical structure as well as its natural inner energies.
Thai Massage (or Thai Yoga Massage) – This modality is practiced on a mat on the floor and not a massage table. The client wears comfortable clothing and lies relaxed on the mat. The practitioner gently moves the client’s body into yoga-like positions to deeply stretch the body and open up energy lines through the body. The practitioner may also use his/her hands, forearms, or feet to apply firm, rhythmic pressure to parts of the receiver’s body. Sessions can last up to two hours or more.
Visceral Manipulation – 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.
Zero Balancing – By working with bone energy, zero balancing seeks to correct imbalances between energy and structure, providing relief from pain, anxiety, and stress. Zero Balancing was developed by Fritz Smith, MD, and has its roots in osteopathy, acupuncture, Rolfing, and meditation. 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.