Blog: ~Wholistic Well-Being~
by Dazzle

Body Work A to Z (Part I)

There is absolutely no reason under the sun why anyone should suffer physical, emotional, or spiritual pain...

Date:   4/11/2006 10:18:13 AM   ( 14 y ) ... viewed 6186 times

    There are thousands of diverse healing modalities available for just about every type of ailment, discomfort and dis-ease known to mankind.  Below is an alphabetical list of some of the more popular, well known (and not so well known) therapies and healing modalities from accupuncture to zen body therapy.

Pick one.
~ Dazzle 


This combination of massage, yoga, and acrobatics was developed by Benjamin Marantz. The client is placed in an inverted pose atop the acrosager’s feet, their head hanging freely. With no pressure on the neck or spine, the client’s more difficult points can be easily massaged.
This combination of massage, yoga, and acrobatics was developed by Benjamin Marantz. The client is placed in an inverted pose atop the acrosager’s feet, their head hanging freely. With no pressure on the neck or spine, the client’s more difficult points can be easily massaged.

Acu-Yoga is a system of exercises integrating the knowledge of two holistic methods of health maintenance — acupressure and yoga. Both relax muscular tension and balance the vital life forces of the body. Yoga does this through controlling the breath while holding the body in certain postures. Acupressure does this by directly manipulating body energy through a system of points and meridians. Each Acu-Yoga posture naturally presses and stretches certain nerves, muscles, and acupressure points, awakening the meridians and releasing the tension in the points so that energy (chi) can circulate freely. This energy is the source of all life, and its flow is the key to radiant health. The process balances the body and stimulates it to heal itself.

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 even feet). There is a large amount of scientific data demonstrating why and how acupuncture is effective. But acupressure, the older of the two traditions, was neglected after the Chinese developed more technical methods for stimulating points with needles and electricity.

Acupressure, however, continues to be the most effective method for self-treatment of tension-related ailments by using the power and sensitivity of the human hand. Foremost among the advantages of acupressure’s healing touch is that it is safe to do on yourself and others — even if you’ve never done it before — so long as you follow the instructions and pay attention to the cautions. The only pieces of equipment needed are your own two hands. You can practice acupressure therapy anytime, anywhere.

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 get better sleep at night. 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 5,000 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.)

Acupuncture is an ancient oriental healing technique based on the Taoist philosophy of balancing energy meridians within the body, thus allowing the body to heal itself. Fine needles are painlessly inserted at key points corresponding to body organs to relieve pain and cure disease and dysfunction. Related techniques include the use of low voltage, electric current (electro acupuncture) or massage at key points (acupressure).

Ai chi is a water exercise and relaxation program, created by Jun Konno, to help aquatic practitioners and students enjoy the water in a flowing, yet powerful progression. Ai chi, created by combining t’ai chi concepts with shiatsu and Watsu techniques, is performed standing in shoulder-depth water using a combination of deep breathing and slow, broad movements of the arms, legs, and torso. The ai chi progression moves from simple breathing to upper extremity movement to movement of the trunk, and finally to lower extremity movement. Ai chi promotes relaxation, stability, and coordinated breathing. It improves flexibility, mobility, and strength, and it will animate the mind as well as the body.

This noncompetitive Japanese martial art aims to harmonize energy with that of a partner or opponent in order to achieve both physical and emotional mastery through peaceful resolution. Aikido literally means the path to the coordination of body, mind, and spirit. Aikido is a defensive system of continuous, circular motions, combining many of the fluid, dance-like movements of t’ai chi along with more subtle, stylized techniques. When practiced properly, successful defense is achieved through minimal action. Originally seen as a combination of religion and martial arts, aikido was created by Morehei Ueshiba in the early 20th century.

Developed by Kamala Renner, Alchemical Synergy is a process of evolving universal energy patterns and is used as a holistic counseling system that focuses on achieving transformation by utilizing the universal four forces of centripetal, centrifugal, gravity, and electromagnetics — the consciousness portion of the Big Bang theory relative to the beginning of the universe. Centripetal controls all inward movement, allowing us to go inside to observe and reconnect with our inner world which contains knowledge of all that is natural for us as an individual. Centrifugal controls all outward movement, allowing interaction of the consciousness with the surroundings and other people.

Centripetal and centrifugal are duality and control all activity that depends on yin/yang, negative/positive balance for its existence. Gravity regulates the action of centripetal and centrifugal to ensure universal balance and stimulates the ability to step out of duality to observe the effect of its interaction from a neutral space. Electromagnetics is the life force that is a catalyst for reproduction to occur, allowing the evolution of consciousness to continue. Synergy training defines every experience in categories relative to the force from which it originates. When we are aware of the influence of the four forces, we can begin to alter structures and patterns that cause stagnation in personal growth.(Adapted from Holistic Health Directory.)

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.

Allard Professional Training combines structure, function, and awareness into a system where each are seen as intertwined and not separate entities. Developed by Norman Allard, the relationship between the energetics of human potential movement and structural/therapeutic effects are explored through perceptual anatomy, neurokinetics, and arthrosomatics.

Known as conventional medicine, allopathy is a medical approach which seeks to cure by producing a condition in the body different than, or opposite to, the condition that exists within the diseased state.

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 5,000 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 14 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.

Both pets and performance animals experience soft tissue damage in their daily lives just as humans do. Therapeutic massage provides significant relief, stimulates healing, and promotes stress reduction and relaxation. Other benefits include enhancing performance by increasing range of motion, maintaining muscle tone and joint flexibility, increasing blood and lymph circulation, increasing oxygen to reduce muscle spasms, flushing toxins from muscles and joints, improving disposition, preventing injuries, stimulating areas affected postoperatively, recovering from skeletal and muscular surgery or injury, relieving muscle pain by releasing endorphins, and relieving discomfort from arthritis, lameness, and hip hysplasia. Animals also can receive pre- and post-event massage for competition. See equine massage.

Applied Kinesiology is a healing system that evaluates and treats an individual’s structural, chemical, and mental aspects. It employs muscle testing and other standard methods of diagnosis. Applied Kinesiology therapeutically utilizes nutrition, manipulation, diet, acupressure, exercise, and education to help restore balance and harmony in the body and maintain well-being throughout life. (From Alternative Healing, by Hugh Burroughs and Mark Kastner)

Dr. George Goodheart, a chiropractor in Detroit, Mich., discovered the technique in 1964 during a patient treatment. After applying a few seconds of deep pressure on the man’s severe muscular dysfunction, he found the problem was eliminated. His wide background in a variety of therapies assisted him in his development of the technique. Dr. John Thie developed a simplified version of Applied Kinesiology called Touch for Health in 1970.

A muscle monitoring technique, applied physiology allows the body to express what is out of balance and provides information to restore that balance. Muscles are put through a normal range of motion, monitored to determine where the stresses lie. The centerpiece of the technique is using acupoints to ask “questions” about specific physiological and anatomical stresses. The goal of treatment is to let go of the stress within the body by integrating the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components of an individual.

The use of essential oils (which are 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 of the oils 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 in 1928. 

Using the media of the arts (sculpture, painting, collage, etc.) to provide release of symbolic expression, art therapy allows the individual an opportunity to confront inner perceptions of the self.

Developed by Ruthie Hardee in 1995, Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy combines elements of traditional Thai massage, Barefoot shiatsu and Keralite foot massage (Chavutti Thirummal). Incorporating overhead wooden bar supports, the therapist uses body weight and gliding foot compression on strategic points along the muscles. When performed near the spine, this form of effleurage creates a “push, pull, pumping” effect on the intervertebral disc space and relieves irritations on the spinal nerve caused by inflammation and swelling. Note: The application of this technique is not to be done on a floor mat or through clothing. This technique was designed for smaller, petite therapists who wish to specialize in deep work.

Aston-Patterning is an educational process, developed by Judith Aston in 1977, combining movement coaching, bodywork, ergonomics, and fitness training. It can be helpful to individuals seeking relief from acute or chronic pain or for those wishing to improve their posture and increase the efficiency of their movement patterns either in activities of daily living or complex activities, such as athletics or the performing arts. The movement work neurokinetics has two divisions.

The first part involves instruction in the most efficient way to perform the simple activities of daily living, and then progresses to complex activities. The second part teaches the client how to use movement to decrease accumulated tension in the body. The bodywork includes Aston massage, myokinetics, and arthrokinetics. The massage is a specialized form based on Swedish massage (not compressive) utilizing a three-dimensional touch which helps to release functional holding patterns (muscle tension being maintained by the nervous system and not yet creating a physiological change in the connective tissue) from surface to bone.

Myokinetics is a form of myofascial release that unleashes deeply embedded structural holding patterns from the fascial network. Arthrokinetics addresses structural holding patterns at the joint surfaces and along the bone. The bodywork is used to make new movement options available, and the sessions are followed with a movement lesson to assist the client in understanding how the tension had been created and how to maintain the changes achieved.

The ergonomic training demonstrates to the client how environment affects their body’s alignment, dimensional integrity, and degree of effort required to perform activities, as well as identifying the role their environment has played in their current complaint. The client is trained to modify or negotiate with less-than-optimal situations, such as sitting in their office, home, or car, or shoes offering a less-than-optimal alignment while standing, walking, or running.

The Aston Fitness training includes vertical and horizontal loosening, toning, stretching, and cardiovascular fitness. The loosening moves are done lying and standing to address specific areas of tension which, when released, assist the client in achieving their best alignment and dimensional integrity before working out.

Toning teaches the client how to address specific areas that are less toned in comparison to the rest of the body — in a way that won’t compromise any other area of the body. This results in an even distribution of muscle tone throughout the body so the workload is shared more evenly. Stretching is taught in a way that doesn’t borrow dimension from an adjacent body segment while working a specific area.

This is a combination of Paul St. John’s neuromuscular therapy and more traditional Hatha yoga that helps clients diminish and/or alleviate pain or discomfort and find homeostasis and equilibrium in their daily lives.

Attunement is a non-touch (or light touch) approach to healing, employing spiritual techniques (prayer and meditation) to restore one’s naturally vibrant energetic and physical well-being. Attunement balances the flow of energy through the endocrine glands, organs, bones, and other tissues of the body — establishing alignment between the body, mind, and emotions and harmonizing these elements with the “spirit” — described as the radiant source of life and healing. Sharing attunement with clients invites them to share a sacred energetic or vibrational space characterized by stillness and peace, where healing at all levels can occur. This life-giving process is the doorway through which an individual may enhance or recover health of body, mind, and spirit.

An ayurvedic massage is one part of the traditional detoxification and rejuvenation program of India called panchakarma, in which the entire body is vigorously massaged with large amounts of warm oil and herbs to remove toxins from the system. With the client’s permission, oil is also poured into the ears, between the eyebrows and at specific chakras, or energy points, during techniques known respectively as karna purana, shirodhara, and marma chikitsa. These treatments have been modified to meet the needs of the West and have been powerful in their effects upon the mind and nervous system — calming, balancing, and bringing both a heightened sense of awareness and deep inner peace.

The techniques can be done either as stand-alone treatments or in conjunction with the ayurvedic body massage. The basis for effectively performing all of the various ayurvedic massage techniques is a thorough understanding of the primordial energies of the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, and earth) and of vata, pitta, and kapha — the three basic constitutional types (similar to the ancient Greek method of mind/body classification). This knowledge allows the therapist to determine not only which ayurvedic massage techniques to use, but also how to customize treatments by selecting the proper oils and herbs and the rate and pressure of massage strokes to maximize the benefits for each client.



Developed by Edward Bach in the early 1900s, Bach Flower Remedies is a system of 38 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.

Positioned above the client, the Balinese massage therapist performs a combination of kneading strokes, skin rolling, and foot massage. Treatment is followed by an application of coconut oil infused with spices.

Ancient use of waters to restore and revitalize the body is known as balneotherapy. It has been used to improve circulation, fortify the immune system, relieve pain, and treat stress.

The Barbara Brennan Healing Science program focuses on clearing blocked energy and balancing the body’s energy field through hands-on work and deep healing techniques. Emphasis is placed on enabling the therapist to discover her own healing process and thus personalize her healing approach. Channeling, use of spiritual guidance, healing with color and sound, and work with auras are among the techniques used. Through the unblocking and balancing of energy fields, the client has access to healing on all levels of functioning — emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental.

BART (Bonding and Relaxation Techniques)
Based on the parent education program of infant massage by Virnala McClure, BART is a program of stroking for individuals with, or at risk for, developmental delays. Designed to empower parents and instill parental confidence, as well as nourish the bond between parent and child, BART aids in relaxation, normalization of muscle tone, respiratory and gastrointestinal functioning, sensory integration, and behavioral organization.

A series of massage techniques using acupressure points, lymphatic drainage strokes, and facial massage strokes, Belavi’ Facial Massage is designed to firm sagging skin, stimulate blood and oxygen, release toxins, and soften lines. The treatment also consists of cleansing, exfoliating, hot towel wraps, and a honeylift massage treatment.

A combination of corrective stretches involving the fascia, cartilage, and joints, Berrywork was created by and named for Lauren Berry, a physical therapist.

This technique is based on the theory that any disruption or imbalance in any portion of the body affects the entire system, specifically the autonomic, central nervous, and hormonal systems. Any disruption in any of the body systems will affect the entire organism, both physiologically and psychologically. Bindegewebsmassage is a specific, advanced technique intended to assist in the rehabilitation of pathologic conditions. The theory of this technique extends to the belief that certain areas on the body’s surface correlate to specific internal organs manifesting the disruptions with an increased sensitivity of certain skin areas called points. See also Connective Tissue Massage.

This bodywork combines marine algae exfoliation, herbal treatment, and light massage.

Developed and taught by Polish healer Mietek Wirkus, bioenergy is a form of energy healing. The therapist uses a combination of noninvasive, light physical touch with manipulation and repatterning of the higher energy bodies and chakras using only the hands. The objectives are release of physical symptoms associated with disease and stimulation of the relaxation response to relieve stress and tension.

Biofeedback utilizes a system of sensitive instruments that relay information about the physical condition of the body. Used as a primary therapy, or in conjunction with other methods, biofeedback provides deep relaxation and stress management skills to prevent stress-related disorders and illness. These skills, including deep breathing and guided imagery, offer self-regulation and control over mental, emotional, and physical processes. The principles of biofeedback can be traced back to the 18th century.

BioGeometry is a design language of shape that balances energy fields. Energy is the ability to produce an effect. Vitality, emotional, and mental activities are energy and can be balanced geometrically. Since everything has shape and energy, then it can be applied in any field. This is the language of the shapes of nature. BioGeometry is the way of reading the energy workings in all fields of life. (Adapted from

Bio-magnetic touch healing is a light touch complementary healing method that employs the index and middle fingers of each hand to lightly touch specific points on the body. The combination of correct points, light and butterfly-like touch activates the body’s own inherent healing ability and is subtly motivated.

Developed by John Beaulieu, N.D., Ph.D., BioSonic Repatterning is a natural method of healing and consciousness development using tuning forks and other sound modalities based on the sonic ratios inherent in nature. BioSonics' tuning forks help the client achieve deep relaxation and mind/body balance; reduce stress and muscular tension, spasms, and pain; increase blood flow and circulation by releasing constriction around targeted organs; transcend to higher levels of consciousness and access spiritual insights. Each tuning fork is calibrated at a specific frequency to address different areas of healing and development. (Adapted from

Nerve impingement in cross-linked connective tissue is a major cause of chronic and sports-associated pain. Through trauma (injury), compression, tension, free-radical damage, pollution, and more, cross-linking of connective tissue is formed. These threads of connective tissue adhere to adjacent strands, thereby decreasing range of motion, reducing joint space, impinging nerves, and generally shortening the body. The BioSync method releases collagen cross-linking by unwinding these locked and hardened strands, thereby restoring the body’s length, flexibility, and function, and allowing regeneration and revitalization of the whole system. The BioSync method, developed by Mark Lamm, NMT, is a sophisticated system of neuromuscular rehabilitation and re-education and has been successful with a wide range of muscular and trauma-related challenges. It is complementary with existing medical and rehabilitative procedures.

Developed by Jeff Levin, this technique is a means of accessing the body to identify where an imbalance or blockage exists, find its underlying cause, and energetically release it. Energy blockages are released through balancing vibrational energy points associated with the organs, glands, and systems of the body.

Based on a balance between body, mind, and feeling, body imaging enhancement proposes that anatomical structural relationships of the body need to be realigned and stabilized from a central line of the body. This line posturally positions the body relationally to the force of gravity. As a result of the correction, the client will experience energy release and perceptible changes in body shape, flexibility, and movement. Working with the neuromuscular and myofascial systems, the therapist uses manual manipulations to stretch and release muscle tissue and fascia to create freedom and flexibility of movement. It was developed by Dr. Mark Hendler and Denise Hendler.

Developed by Yamuna Zake, this is a highly organized system of structural therapy/bodywork. This yoga-based therapy works the joints in every possible position to create length and space.

Practiced on a 6 to 10 inch ball, and following specific routines that imitate the logic of the neuromuscular system, body rolling is a self-care practice that helps maintain the health of the neuromuscular and skeletal systems, as well as assists controlling and understanding the internal sensory experience.

Body-mind centering is a movement re-education approach that explores how the body’s systems contribute to movement and self-awareness. The approach also emphasizes movement patterns that develop during infancy and childhood. Body-mind centering incorporates guided movement, exercise, imagery, and hands-on work. The approach can be used with infants, children, and adults to resolve movement problems and facilitate the “body-mind dialogue.” (Adapted from Holistic Health Directory.)

Body-oriented psychotherapy seeks to enhance the psychotherapeutic process by incorporating a range of massage, bodywork, and movement techniques. Acknowledging the mind-body link, practitioners may use light touch, soft- or deep-tissue manipulation, breathing techniques, movement, exercise, or body-awareness techniques to help address emotional issues. Proper training is critical in this work. (Adapted from Holistic Health Directory.)

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.

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 90-minute session includes an extensive and vital history. Subsequent treatments are 60 minutes 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.

Created by Paul and Gail Dennison, Brain Gym (or Educational Kinesiology and Edu-K) is a sensorimotor program based on research by educational therapists, developmental optometrists, and other specialists in the fields of movement, education, and child development. Brain Gym consists of 26 targeted activities similar to those performed naturally by young children as part of the process of brain development. Brain Gym prepares learners with the physical skills they need to read, write, concentrate, organize, and otherwise function effectively in the classroom or the adult workplace.

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.

The use of respiratory exercises to open lung passages, oxygenate the blood, and cleanse the body by eliminating gaseous toxins. The client is encouraged to breath deeply while the therapist works the appropriate muscles. Breath therapy can ease anxieties and reduce stress.

The Breema system places particular emphasis on the experience and comfort of the practitioner, teaching that we can best support others by being truly present with them. Its Nine Principles of Harmony are key in this practical approach to self-understanding that nurtures and harmonizes the mind, body, and feelings of the practitioner as well as the recipient. Done with the recipient fully clothed on a padded floor, Breema bodywork uses a wide variety of rhythmic movements, gentle stretches, and fully-supported postures. The system includes Self-Breema exercises that also release physical, mental, and emotional stress.

Developed by Jeffrey Budzeky, RN, Budzek Medical Massage Therapy is designed to relieve acute and chronic pain resulting from muscle, nerve, and joint disorders. This multi-modality therapy is based on the specific sequence of 12 different bodywork techniques and addresses eight different aspects that affect the body simultaneously.



Rejuvenating treatment for the skin that provides deep cleansing and oxygenation of outer tissue layers, removing impurities and stimulating regeneration. The treatment involves the use of galvanic and high-frequency currents from an electric machine to provide electric stimulation in a low-voltage dose.

Also called on-site and seated massage, chair massage includes techniques that provide fully-clothed seated massage, bodywork and somatic therapies to clients, generally in a corporate or business setting. Practitioners utilize shiatsu, amma and/or Swedish techniques.

Champissage is the modern Indian name for the ayurvedic method of head massage, stimulating the circulation to the scalp and nourishing the hair roots. Originally, the technique only included the head. Today, however, this modality usually includes massage of the shoulders, upper arms and neck, and face and ears. Along with increased blood circulation, it also stimulates the movement of lymph, thus having a cleansing effect, as well as proving to be an invaluable technique for relief of eye strain, headaches, insomnia, lack of concentration, and lethargy. Typically ayurvedic oils are massaged into the scalp, however, this procedure can also be done without any oils or creams.

This technique was created by a Taoist monk several thousand years ago in the mountain monasteries of China. In order for the monks to be able to learn to perform the highest levels of spiritual practices, they needed to generate a very high level of energy. Today, chi nei tsang is still practiced for this same reason, but people in all walks of life who seek greater health and well-being can also use it. Chi means energy and information and nei tsang means viscera or internal organs.

Chi nei tsang addresses the origin of health problems, including psychosomatic responses, and increases the resilience of the body’s defense system. A chi nei tsang treatment may be self-administered or given by a practitioner. chi nei tsang practitioners work mainly on the abdomen with deep, soft, and gentle touch to train internal organs to work more efficiently. All the body systems are addressed — digestion, respiration, lymphatic, nervous, endocrine, urinary, reproductive, etc. Chi nei tsang integrates applied qigong with the art of abdominal massage.

See Qigong.

See Tui Na.

The Christopher Method Sound-Wave Energy Therapy was introduced in 1995 and is a non-touch therapy that works on the multiple energy fields of the body to reinforce and release energy, thereby contributing to balance and well-being on the emotional, psychological, and physiological levels. It gradually realigns all levels of energy, which run through the body. Tiny sound-wave vibrations are passed through the practitioner’s aura to the recipient’s energy field where they resonate through each of the multiple fields of the body to clear blocked energy, restore and reinforce natural polarity, and align and reinforce proper energy flow.

A gentle infusion of warm water through the colon is intended 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.

A system of holistic acu-light therapy developed by Peter Mandel, colorpuncture applies different frequencies of visible light onto the meridians where needles are typically placed during acupuncture. By using differing colors, energy can be manipulated, either to stimulate or sedate. Gentle, relaxing, and non-invasive, colorpuncture is sometimes used as an alternative to acupuncture for children and adults uncomfortable with the use of needles.

Also known as bindegewebsmassage, these 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:

“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 massage schools.

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.)

Founded by Emilie Conrad, continuum is a visionary inquiry into our capacity to innovate and participate with the essential, generative and biological movement processes of life. Much of continuum explores embryogenesis, allowing each one of us to enter into the great mystery of creation as an existential and spiritual unfolding.

Continuum explores the idea that what we call a body or a brain is actually a creative, nonlinear, unfolding event. Movement is something we are, as well as something we do. All aspects of our functioning — thinking, feeling, languaging, and the very shaping of society — are explored as movement. Continuum provides a nonlinear biological basis for movement education, rather than the mechanistic models prevalent in society, and uses the primary perceptions of sensation, breath, sound, and movement to guide us in both subtle and dynamic explorations. (Description reprinted with permission, Continuum Movement 2001 Brochure.)

Developed by John Pierrakos, core energetics is the unblocking and releasing of emotion in order to self-heal both physical and mental disorders. According to core energetic theory, combining bodywork, psychotherapy, and the spiritual can activate a greater consciousness and assist clients in getting through the varying layers of energy to be able to reconnect with our core and our innate capacity for love.

Originated by George P. Kousaleos, CORE is a myofascial, postural and structural somatic therapy combining massage techniques with client-assisted movement. Normally lasting 10 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, D.O., O.M.M., 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 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 5 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.

Utilizing self-activated crystal stimulator, which creates an electrical stimulus when two crystals inside are forced together, this therapy stimulates acupuncture, acupressure, and reflexology points on the body, releasing endorphins from the brain to help block pain receptors in afflicted areas and open circuits of the body.



Dance/movement therapies focus on personal expression to enhance emotional and psychological healing. Using expressive movement as a tool, this modality lends itself to treatment of the physically disabled, as well as clients with histories of abuse and addiction.

Techniques which utilize deep tissue/deep muscle massage are administered to affect the sub-layer of musculature and fascia. These techniques require more advanced training and a more 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 massage techniques. 

Degriefing is the process of recognizing the mental and physical pain that accompanies grief and treating it with a combination of somatic therapies and psychotherapeutic tools. Degriefing can be used to unlock and remove grief from an individual’s body, and thereby heal not only physical symptoms, but mental and emotional wounds as well. It combines effective verbal counseling therapies with individualized physical care. The techniques used in the degriefing process are intended to ease a person’s emotional distress, mental anguish, and physical discomforts. The goal of degriefing is to unlock blockages that have developed in the body and shift them to a more harmonious state.

This is a system of self-massage promoted most recently by Michio Kushi. More than 5,000 years ago, Chinese Taoist monks observed it was instinctive for a person to touch or hold an injured or painful body part, a form of self-healing. They developed a system called Tao-Yinn: Tao meaning the way and Yinn meaning a gentle approach. The name has evolved to Do-In, and the technique is used to sustain overall health, as well as treat specific physical problems.

Dynamic spinal therapy was developed by Rolf Ott in Rapperswil, Switzerland, in the 1980s. The technique works with the body’s posture and energetic (acupuncture) system and consists of three parts: Ear reflexology test — This test comes from France and Germany and is part of the ear acupuncture. The ear is used to get information about the body’s energetic state.

A therapy stylus is simply pressed along specific lines. Some areas are more sensitive than others and give the therapist information. Acupuncture meridian harmonization balances the energetic system. The focus is on chi flow to stimulate the personal healing process. With the therapy stylus, certain meridians are traced on the skin surface.

The Swiss therapeutic cushion — The pelvis is checked while being rotated and specific stretches are applied. Afterward, the client lies face down upon the Swiss therapeutic cushion like an unconscious person floating in water. This position offers complete relaxation.

The body is gently rocked in several different ways. The gentle rhythmic motion causes relaxation to occur quickly and deeply and induces trust. The just-stretched muscles get reprogrammed and the rocking moves the joint helping to build them.

Application — Joint problems (hip, knee, shoulder, etc.), migraines, arthritis, foot conditions (halux valgus), lumbago, herniated disks, spinal nerve irritations (problems in inner organs), scoliosis, sciatica, psychological problems, stress, and many more. A treatment usually takes between 30 to 40 minutes.



Similar to reiki, as it is the channeling of energy and entails “laying of the hands.”

In an hour-long session, clients experience their own electromagnetic field and the patterns within it. The practitioner carries out a series of graceful, t’ai chi-like movements, while the client lies on a massage table. During some parts of the session, the practitioner will gently place their hands on the body to facilitate the flow of energy.

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.

This gentle treatment assists the client in balancing their energy flow. The therapist holds a space for the client to make whatever shifts or changes toward balance they deem necessary. Emphasis is given to the chakras and the joints, leaving the client feeling at peace and at home with themselves, with less pain, increased mobility, and greater range of motion.

The practice of soft tissue manipulation applied to horses. See animal massage. 

Developed in the 1960s, this style originated at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Calif., and is based on a combination of Oriental and Swedish massage techniques. Esalen is light and gentle in nature, emphasizing nurturing and empathy. The strokes are soft, easy, and slow, prompting deep relaxation. It is used to reduce stress, relieve pain, improve sleep, aid digestion, and promote healing. 

This is a healing through the energy field, which flows through and around us and chakras, or centers of energy. Each of the seven major centers vitalizes its related endocrine gland(s). It is possible to map and measure this field and also to assist in the restoration of good health through working to rebalance the energy field.

Therapists have learned to sensitize their hands and inner perception to examine the energy field in detail to find alterations in the flow of energy. The therapist does not touch the client, but works variable distances from the body. The client remains fully clothed.

A technique of guided breathing exercises and training used by somatic therapists in combination with musculoskeletal therapy to release and normalize the function of the thorax, diaphragm, and other muscles of breathing, and to enhance health.

Derived from eu, meaning good, and tonus meaning tone or tension, eutony was developed by Gerda Alexander of Germany (1908–1984) during her work in Denmark. It is based on the theory that there is a constant interaction between muscular tone and psychic activity. Acting upon muscle tone can affect the whole being and regulate the breathing, circulation, etc.

The client learns how to adjust his own tonus through the observation of his sensations in various situations. He will explore the body’s perceptions — from the skin to the bones — in movement, in relaxation, during activity, and at rest. Professional training is an individual process lasting four years, the last year being devoted to practicum and exams.

StarFace Exerssage is a facial yoga, slow motion movement, and self massage technique integrated with breathing to release jaw tension and other tensions from neuromuscular parts of the face, head, and neck. It is comprised of 24 cranial facial yoga postures and a series of rhythmic contouring and acupressure pulsing massage movements. Connections are made to the vital organs with sound and intention. It facilitates the release of jaw tension, which is thought to be the source of counteracting aging.


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 which 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 re-education. 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.

Feng shui (translated as “wind and water”) is the Chinese system of balancing the energy patterns of the physical environment. A composite of mystical beliefs, astrology, folklore, and common sense, the Chinese believe feng shui blends ancient wisdom with cultural tradition.

The laws of feng shui provide for positioning homes/businesses and designing room and office layouts in ways that promise to enhance the quality of their owners’ lives and businesses by channeling energy in positive ways. These principles strive for creating balanced, peaceful dwellings by bringing together the external and internal and living in harmony with natural and man-made environments.

Good feng shui promises occupants health, happiness, prosperity, and long life — a conscious connection between the outside environment and the world within. These same principles can also be applied to the human body (called min xiang shue) to promote inner character and restore harmony to areas of imbalance. Through meditation and daily exercises, min xiang shue can allow a deeper self-awareness and regeneration.

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.

This aquatic treatment is performed in water heated to body temperature. The therapist and the client work as a team, following the client’s innate intelligence as her body guides the work. With the water allowing uninhibited movement, the body moves freely to release old holding patterns, blockages and restrictions, then repatterns into wholeness.

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