Blog: ~Wholistic Well-Being~
by Dazzle

Body Work A to Z (Part II)

Continued from Part One...

Date:   4/11/2006 10:21:27 AM   ( 14 y ) ... viewed 4714 times


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 performed in residential care facilities. 

The Grinberg Method is a systematic educational method that teaches people to mobilize their own strength and vitality in pursuit of their well-being. It shows people how they can achieve much more in their lives simply by paying more attention to their bodies.

Used in China for more than 2,000 years, gua sha means to scrape toxins. A method of promoting blood circulation and removing toxic heat, blood, and lymph from the body, gua sha involves scraping the skin with a flat tool to facilitate pain relief. Olive oil and herbs are usually applied to the skin to open pores, increase deep cleansing, and improve circulation.

Also known as visualization, guided imagery is a relaxation system utilizing imagination and thoughts to improve one’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Often involving a process of listening to music or a person’s voice, the participant can take hold of imagery, symbols, and deep feelings to stimulate the body’s immune system, fight disease, and improve their overall health. Many seriously ill patients have used this technique to imagine the destruction of their disease and/or disorder.

A system designed to exercise the musculature while mobilizing and articulating the joints. Gyrotonic was conceived regarding key principles of gymnastics, swimming, ballet, and yoga through which major muscle groups are worked interdependently and in an integrated manner. This system is served by a series of specially designed exercise equipment, which is built around the human body with all regards to total freedom in movement, no restriction to speed and versatility, and enhancement rather than distraction from coordination, strength, and flexibility. The motion patterns are natural, turbulence-free, and pure with no interruption, creating a bridge between contraction and extension through the rotating movement of the joints, resulting in a balanced support system for the skeleton. Each exercise is synchronized with a corresponding breathing pattern and is performed with either a rhythm or melodic rhythmical expression, creating a gentle or vigorous cardiovascular-aerobic stimulation, depending on the intensity and speed of the execution. (Adapted from


Using hands-on bodywork, body awareness and movement, Hakomi integrative somatics enables people to discover the habitual, automatic attitudes (both physical and psychological), by which they generate patterns of experience. Particularly helpful in working with the effects of trauma and abuse, emotional pain and limiting belief systems, this gentle therapy teaches clients to follow the inherently intelligent processes of the body and mind. Clients are educated in the nuances of inner body sensations and learning to track the ever-changing flow of wordless information that is the language of the body. It is precisely this awareness that becomes a powerful healing tool, as it naturally expands the "somatic sense of self," and heals the various forms of dissociation from the body. Hands-on bodywork is used experimentally to help clients gain awareness of inner experience, specifically inner body sensation and patterns, emotions, images, memories or thoughts. Unconscious attitudes are brought to consciousness where they can be examined, understood and changed. By working physically and psychologically, the transformative shift can take root on both levels simultaneously.

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 individual needs.

A system of neuromuscular education which requires the client to recognize, release, and reverse chronic pain patterns resulting from injury, stress, repetitive motion, or habituated postures. A hands-on method teaches how to relieve tension quickly, lengthen and relax muscles, reduce pain, and regain comfort. Combining Hanna Somatic Education with somatic exercises will expand the benefits. 

The use of 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?

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, and 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.

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 11 sessions: in each session, one hour is devoted to bodywork and 30 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. 

Developed by Dave Leflet, HEMME is a soft-tissue therapy designed for practitioners in a clinical setting. It relieves pain by restoring alignment and improving myofascial dysfunction. The acronym HEMME stands for history, evaluation, modalities, manipulation, and exercise. It utilizes physical medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic work, and physical therapy — HEMME is a conglomeration of the most proven techniques found in these approaches and works successfully in treating chronic low back pain and soft tissue injury.

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.

This is a powerful and subtle technique, developed by Charles Daily, D.C., which allows the HMR practitioner to quickly locate specific holographic touch points which are referenced to the individual’s on-going process. As in reflexology, where the entire body is represented on the foot, these touch points correlate to whole-body microsystems. Through very light and specific digital contacts, a piezoelectric effect is created within the crystalline connective tissue memory system for instantaneous memory reframing. This self-assembly process enhances subtle self-observation within the individual. It increases individual somatic awareness and releases self-limiting beliefs and tension patterns which have been stored within the body/mind continuum. A 15-minute HMR session spontaneously generates coherent waves of cellular resonance in the connective tissue matrix and releases information log-jams that can rob the individual of necessary vital capacity.

The holographic nature of healing is a year-long training program that combines hands-on energy work with verbal process work. The purpose of the training is to add skill to those who are already working energetically and to assist in providing supervised sessions with feedback in a group setting. There are three focus areas: the chakra system, hands-on healing technique, and quantum psychology for process work. There are three focus areas: The chakra system, hands-on healing technique and quantum psychology for process work.

Developed by Dr. Stanislov Grof, a psychiatrist working with people in non-ordinary states of consciousness, and by Christina Grof, a transpersonal teacher, this is a simple, yet powerful technique for self-exploration and healing based on combined insights from modern consciousness research, depth psychology, and perennial spiritual practices. The method activates non-ordinary states of consciousness which mobilize the spontaneous healing potential of the psyche. Sustained effective breathing, evocative music, focused energy work, and mandala drawing are components of this subjective journey. Holotropic literally means moving toward wholeness. Virtually all ancient and native traditions recognize the psychological and spiritual healing potential of states of consciousness that differ from what we call ordinary. Holotropic Breathwork is a powerful method of self-exploration and healing. This work can be useful for artists wishing to facilitate their creativity, persons seeking a deep level of healing, those seeking to explore their inner self and/or the transpersonal dimensions, and it can lead to a spiritual opening and transformation.

Developed by Japanese-born, Argentine immigrant Tomezo Hoshino, Hoshino Therapy was declared an official medical therapy in Argentina in 1952. Hoshino is a non-intrusive massage and movement system to relieve and prevent musculoskeletal pain and restore vitality. Hoshino therapy recognizes 250 vital acupuncture pressure points directly over the muscles, tendons and ligaments which relate to the bio-mechanical functioning of the body. Pressure and body warmth are applied by the first joint of the thumb and with full-hand contact to reverse the hardening of the soft tissues. Therapy is combined with daily exercises called Hoshino Action.

A method of bodywork that integrates subtle, articulate touch and verbal communication by combining the focus of physical and psychological health found in Western body-based tradition (Rosen Method is part of the foundation) with the deeper self, or inner guide, found in Eastern traditions.

This therapy, though similar to reiki, uses the English language instead of symbols. It involves setting up and normalizing polarities, as well as bringing universal energy into structures of the body. It is the mental manipulation of human energy to affect changes in one’s self and in others.

This Hawaiian technique espouses that emotions and experiences are trapped in the fibers of each muscle group and organ in the body. Through a rhythmic massage technique where the practitioner “dances” with the forearm softly across their client’s muscles while informing the client of the particular emotion being addressed (i.e., guilt, fear, anger, etc.), Huna Kane allows the client to re-experience that emotion and to clear it from their body. From this place of clarity, awareness, balance, peace, and harmony become more accessible. Huna Kane is practiced on fully-clothed individuals lying on a mat on the floor.

Although ancient Greece and Rome had 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.



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. 

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.

Insight Bodywork, developed by Kondañña Barry Kapke, is a floor-based energy work that seamlessly integrates massage, movement, and meditation. Earthy, gentle, and spontaneous, its integrative approach to somatic discovery and education facilitates energetic balance and flow, brings awareness to embodied experience, and supports the body to find greater ease and ability. Insight Bodywork utilizes acupressure and myofascial techniques, giving maximum support to the body while mobilizing joints, moving into slow deep stretches, integrating with soothing brushes and holds, and, when appropriate, energizing through shaking, rocking, swinging, or dropping. It is a work that is both playful and sacred in its approach.

Integrated Kabbalistic Healing is a system of energy healing, developed by Jason Shulman, based on the traditional Judaic metaphysical path (Kabbalah), object-relations, and advaitic (non-dualistic) perspectives with the understandings of psychology and the power of healing touch. A session is approximately one hour in length and consists of discussion, followed by a hands-on healing based on what has been discussed. The goal is personal transformation by changing the fundamental patterns that are keeping the client from living the life she wants, ultimately affecting change on all levels: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

Indicates a combination of various massage, bodywork, and somatic therapy techniques utilized by a practitioner in the course of a session.

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.

Alternative and conventional (allopathic) methodologies are combined to stimulate the person’s natural healing response.

An effective set of tools that can be used to mobilize the latent, innate healing abilities of clients to support rehabilitation, recovery, and health. It helps the client facilitate an enhanced awareness of the unconscious imagery they already have, while helping her learn to meaningfully and effectively interact with this process on her own behalf.

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 mediums 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 maintaining responsibility/ respect toward 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.

Iridology is a diagnostic science in which the study of markings in specific areas of the iris are used to indicate dysfunction in corresponding organs of the body. Used by physicians, naturopaths, chiropractors, and other healers, iridology is a noninvasive technique that supplies information not clearly delineated by other means regarding the condition of the body. Based on this information, the practitioner can make recommendations for changes in diet or lifestyle as a preventative approach.

Developed by Charlotte Vandergrift, Isometric Muscle Balancing is based on the muscle testing positions used in kinesiology. Balancing and strengthening the 42 major muscles are accomplished by isometric action, producing a feeling of lightness and an increase in energy. A 45-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.



Jamu massage is a Balinese-inspired technique based on Indian, Chinese, and European techniques involving acupressure, rolling motions, long strokes, and percussion-like drumming. Beginning slowly and building to a staccato pace, Jamu massage is designed to energize and increase blood circulation.

These are an integral part of traditional martial arts training that emphasizes a concern for physical well-being. Restoration therapy has been practiced in Japan for more than 1,500 years. It is a combination of amma, shiatsu, osteopathy, herbal medicine, and suggestive healing techniques. To be a successful practitioner of restoration therapy, a thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology is imperative, as well as knowledge of pathology, dietetics, psychology, and herbal medicines.

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 11?2 hours. 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 10 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. “The Way of the Compassionate Spirit” is based on the eight “Strange Flows” that regulate the entire body/mind energy.

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 dramatically 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 throughout the United States and 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 26 “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.



Kentro body balance is a technique of gentle centering and balancing movements that stretch, exercise, relax, limber, and strengthen every area of the body. Founded by Angelika Thusius, Kentro is based on her observation of people around the world who move with ease into an advanced age. Kentro movements can be practiced by anyone and are easily integrated into everyday activities for muscular and joint relief.

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 is an effective deep-tissue modality that includes massage strokes, body movement, stretches, pressure point therapy, yum yang therapy, and Korean energy work. Gentle on the practitioner, Korean Martial Therapy (KMT) may be performed with the client on a table, the floor, or in a chair, and may or may not incorporate the use of oils. Derived from Hapkido and Traditional Korean Medicine, KMT began as self-therapy stretches that were found useful for keeping warriors in top condition and helping them recover quickly from injury.

The Kripalu bodyworker guides the client into a state of deep relaxation and meditation for the purpose of releasing physical and mental tension. This technique, based on Kripalu yoga, uses specific massage strokes and verbal/nonverbal procedures to aid clients in reconnecting with their body’s own healing wisdom.

Kriya Massage, developed by Kamala Renner in 1970, is different from any traditional bodywork training because of the emphasis on the intuitive aspect by the practitioner in flowing with the “Kriya” movement while performing the massage. Kriya is defined as spontaneous energy movement. Kriya Massage is an art form that integrates the universal, life-affirming flow of energy between the practitioner and client, with any classical massage techniques integrated into the dance. Kriya Massage is a bodywork dance with the individual creating her own style in harmony with four universal forces. The strokes and techniques used in Kriya Massage are a combination of energy work, Swedish, neuromuscular, and somato-emotional release work done in a connected smooth pattern. The experience of a Kriya Massage is one of stepping out of time and space as a means of taking inventory of one’s condition, then allowing the subconscious to shift and adjust programmed responses to life. The healing quality of Kriya Massage is accomplished by transforming attitudes. Giving, as well as receiving, a Kriya Massage is a regenerating experience. (Adapted from Holistic Health Directory.)

This is a form of healing energy in which the objective is to raise the client’s Kundalini energy for the purpose of spiritual enlightenment. First, the chakras and energy bodies are thoroughly cleansed and balanced by undergoing RoHun transformational therapy, a therapy based on Carl Jung and his theory of archetypes, the personal and collective unconscious, and spiritual awareness. The therapist then performs noninvasive, light physical touch and manipulation of the chakras and energy bodies through use of the hands.



Stones of all shapes and sizes and varying temperatures, ranging from zero to 140 degrees, are used during LaStone massage therapy to elicit physical healing, mental relaxation, and a spiritual connection to earth energy. Warm stones encourage the exchange of blood and lymph and provide soothing heat for deep-tissue work. Cold stones aid with inflammation, moving blood out of the area, and balancing male/female energies. Stones are placed in varying positions on the body for energy balancing or may be used by the therapist for specific trigger-point work. The alternating heat and cold of thermotherapy brings the entire body into the healing process, with a rapid exchange of blood and oxygen and alternating rise and fall of respiration rate as the body seeks homeostasis. LaStone therapy requires less effort from the practitioner’s own body and delivers healing warmth to the hands, benefitting the therapist, as well as the client. Founder Mary Harrigan drew from the wisdom of ancient healers in using thermotherapy as the basis for her approach. 

This energy medicine therapy abates addictions, compulsions, fears, phobias, and stress-related problems with a hands-on, noninvasive treatment. It employs electromagnetic and bioelectrical modalities and works within a client’s body.

This is a unique signature massage taught only at LifeStream Massage School in Napa Valley, Calif. This is a method of bodywork developed to fulfill a need for the busy massage therapist, especially those working in resorts, spas, and health clubs. Students learn a one-hour, full-body massage that provides clients with the relaxation and enjoyment of a Swedish massage with the deeper release of deep-tissue work. They also are taught to use their body efficiently in a manner that prevents injury and burnout, yet increases stamina to maintain a busy practice.

This is a system of massage that 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 of pressure. 

This technique offers a unique integration of osteopathic visceral manipulation, using both deep and superficial lymphatic drainage techniques and strokes that are nurturing and effective in detoxifying the body.

Developed by Ted Looyen, this technique is a painless approach to deep-tissue therapy, working with the connective tissue and fascial components. It is a combination of several restructuring systems, including Rolfing, postural integration and Aston-Patterning.

Lymph Drainage Therapy 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, M.D., Lymph Drainage Therapy evolved from years of training in traditional medicine, Oriental medicine 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.


The ‘M’ Technique is a series of stroking movements performed in a set sequence. Each movement, identified with a mnemonic name, is repeated three times. Because the technique is structured in terms of order and number, the technique is completely reproducible and therefore useful in research. The technique was created by Jane Buckle, a critical care nurse, for the very fragile or critically ill patient and produces a measurable parasympathetic response. The ‘M’ stands for manual.

This is a combination of macrobiotic diet, philosophy, and shiatsu. Macrobiotic shiatsu makes use of the classical Oriental meridians. The feet are utilized considerably in the application of this method.

The therapeutic use of magnets may be older than acupuncture, originally involving a material called magnetite applied in a poultice. Today’s magnet therapy is still applied to the skin, but employs steady or pulsed magnetic fields from either electromagnets or less powerful permanent magnets. Fixed magnets may also be taped to the body for a period of time. Magnet therapy is used to relieve pain and discomfort and to aid in healing with a variety of physical and emotional disorders, such as arthritis and stress. Treatment may be administered by the therapist or, as in the case of taped magnets, by the client.

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.

Developed by Reiki Master Ethel Lombardi, the expression MariEL refers to a transformational healing energy that works at the cellular level to help clients discover and release emotional and physical traumas.

Massage, bodywork, and somatic therapies is the application of various techniques to the muscular structure and soft tissues of the human body. The application of massage, bodywork, and somatic therapy techniques may include, but is not limited to, stroking, kneading, tapping, compression, vibration, rocking, friction, pressure, and those techniques based on manipulation or the application of pressure to the muscular structure or soft tissues of the human body. This may also include non-forceful passive or active movement and/or application of techniques intended to affect the energetic systems of the body. The use of oils, lotions, powders, or other lubricants may also be included. Massage, bodywork, and somatic therapies specifically exclude diagnosis, prescription, manipulation, or adjustments of the human skeletal structure, or any other service, procedure, or therapy that requires a license to practice orthopedics, physical therapy, podiatry, chiropractic, osteopathy, psychotherapy, acupuncture, or any other profession or branch of medicine.

Another term meaning therapeutic muscle massage.

Mechanical link is a system of evaluation that allows practitioners to locate and release primary restrictions within the fascial system. These gentle techniques help reduce structural tensions and encourage the body to adjust itself and regulate its systems, including the autoimmune system.

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. 

Through a series of spontaneous movement exercises, participants use basic sensing, focusing, vocalizing, and hands-on techniques to consciously experience the meaning of their personal breath movement. Since its inception, this artistic form of breathing education, developed by Professor Ilse Middendorf, has achieved international attention for its effectiveness as a somatic healing and growth process.

Relaxation techniques, meditation, and easy stretching exercises are combined to allow the client to become “mindful” in order to access inner sources of power. By being fully mindful and awake in life, clients may cope more effectively with stress and illness.

A variety of techniques that utilize movement re-education 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 re-education process. Registered practitioners may include graduates of The Feldenkrais Method, the Alexander Technique, and other movement-based disciplines.

Multi-Dimensional Movement Arts Multi-Dimensional Movement Arts (MDMA), water version, is the art of using movement in the medium of water to create dynamic balance. Specific actions, patterns, and waveforms promote reorganization, re-education, rehabilitation, relaxation, rejuvenation, and dynamic balance. This continuous process of attunement leads to heightened states of awareness. During a typical session, the client is supported by flotation devices and moved in thermal water. Trained practitioner’s play with the various interconnections and influences of orbiting circles, spirals, and infinity signs, promoting vitality and health. A body in water is buoyant. The liquid environment changes auditory experience. One can move freely without using muscles. Travel and movement are distorted and experience is shifted from ordinary reality. This affects a person on many different levels: Memories are jogged, holding patterns released, body parts awakened, and awareness stimulated.

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.

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

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.

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.

Myomassology is an integration of techniques including basic Swedish massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, shiatsu, iridology, herbology, energy balancing, ear candling, and craniosacral therapy in conjunction with instruction in nutrition, meditation, yoga, tai chi, and qigong.

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.

Robert Petteway developed the Myopractic system after 30 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 20 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 bruise); 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 easy-to-learn 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.

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 spinal alignment.

See Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy.



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.

With influences from osteopathy and chiropractic, this system of treatment uses soft-tissue manipulation to release tension and balance energy flows in the body. The practitioner uses palpation to explore the tissue, looking for rigid, contracted areas of the body. He then begins repetitive, rhythmic, thrusts to gently stretch the contracted connective tissues. Sessions usually last 30 minutes, focusing mainly on the ligaments near the spinal column. Diet, exercise, and postural adjustments help improve circulatory and nervous system function.

Naturopathy integrates a wide range of natural therapeutics emphasizing the healing power of nature to treat the causes of disease, rather than suppressing the symptoms. As part of a holistic medical healthcare system with an emphasis on education and prevention, the naturopathic physician seeks to motivate the individual toward a healthy and balanced diet, lifestyle, and mental attitude. Treatments such as homeopathic medicines, clinical nutrition, traditional Oriental medicine, and acupuncture are used to enhance the body’s natural healing process.

This technique is a holistic healing system which utilizes the best of American kinesiology and European neural therapy. Neural kinesiology recognizes and assesses the need for therapies in each of the four primary categories — neurological, structural, biochemical, and psychological.

Neuro-Structural Bodywork (NSB) is a somatic therapy which combines a variety of techniques, including fascial release, neuromuscular re-education, 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 (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.

This therapy utilizes a form of positive kinesthetic conversation with the body to imprint new learnings on the motor control center of the brain, and replace damaged imprints created through trauma, injury, or repetitive strain.

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. 

Nikkon Restorative Massage was developed by Professor Henry Seishiro Okazaki in Hawaii in the 1920s. He incorporated Japanese, Chinese, and Hawaiian techniques. The goal of Okazaki’s style was to restore health and pull toxins out of the body through proper application of pressure using fingers, forearms, and elbows. The result is proper realignment of the body to its highest potential.

See Thai Massage.

This form of traditional Thai medical massage that originated in the Vajrayana Yogic medicine of Tibet. Translated and creatively adapted to the needs of the modern West by Anthony B. James, Ph.D., Nuat Thai massage facilitates and promotes a harmonious state of being. The ancient Tibetans and subsequently the Thai carefully recorded various states of disease and imbalances of the body, mind, and emotions and, over time, devised methods for influencing the course of these imbalances. This was important, since these imbalances often kept people from experiencing life in a full and productive way. Nuat Thai incorporates elements of mindfulness, gentle rocking, deep stretching, and rhythmic compression to create a singular healing experience. This work, a unique form of Vajrayana yoga, focuses on balancing energy and creating wholeness of mind, body, and spirit in the client and practitioner. The four principle methods used in Nuat Thai are Wai Khruu (prayers and spiritual practice), herbs, diet, and laying-on of hands. In the hands-on aspect, the practitioner literally takes the client through a series of specific postures called asanas, progressively facilitating energy and balancing chakra function. Nuat Thai massage is an excellent alternative therapy for rehabilitation, pain relief, and stress reduction. It is nurturing, calming, and enlivening. Training is comprehensive and the practitioner level may take up to two years.



Ohashiatsu is a method of bodywork offering both giver and receiver a complete experience of self-development and healing. Combining Oriental healing philosophy and techniques with psychological and spiritual components, Ohashiatsu expands awareness of self and others through movement, meditation, and touch. As a holistic method, Ohashiatsu emphasizes sensing and working with the overall energy flow throughout the body to create balance and relieve aches, tension, stress, and fatigue. Studying and practicing Ohashiatsu helps to develop a balanced condition of health and well-being encompassing body, mind, and spirit.

Also called seated and chair massage, on-site 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.

One Light Healing Touch focuses on clearing blockages and rebalancing the human energy field by using spiritual and energetic hands-on healing practices and techniques. The application of these healing arts forms facilitates and increases our ambient energetic vibrations and awareness, strengthening the immune system and opening the client to her indwelling god or higher self. As the higher self awareness becomes activated, an evolutionary healing journey begins, moving the client through clarity of understanding, health, spiritual autonomy, and ultimately, culminating in the fulfillment of her purpose of being: to heal herself and her fellow human beings and to find her place within the world.

Onsen is a Japanese word meaning at rest or at peace. It is a state of mind, but can also be a state of body. Developer Richard Phaigh translated it to mean balance, particularly length and strength balance in soft tissue, to form the basis of this new protocol. Onsen includes three key components — muscle energy technique, post-isometric relaxation, and transverse friction massage.

Monitoring the flow of the vital life energy (known as chi, ki, or prana) is at the heart of Oriental bodywork. Using physical pressure and manipulation, the healer evaluates and modulates this energy flow to attain a state of balance. Popular modalities include shiatsu, based on Chinese medicine; amma, a combination of East and West healing traditions; Jin Shin Do, utilizing oriental acupuncture and acupressure along with Taoist principles; Thai massage, blending Hindu and Chinese energy systems theory with techniques similar to shiatsu; and tui na, based on Chinese medicine and the traditional Japanese massage of amma (as distinct from the more recently developed amma therapy).

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 re-establish 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 that are 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. 

Combining some elements of sports and medical massage, orthopedic massage integrates 10 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 therapy utilizes dialogue, coached breathing, and applying qigong from one side of the body through to the other while lengthening, stretching and manipulating the body, all of which creates space in the musculoskeletal system allowing for emotional and psychological restrictions to be cleared.

This system of comprehensive medical care goes beyond conventional medical philosophy to include an emphasis on structural balance of the musculoskeletal system. Osteopathic physicians use joint manipulation, postural re-education, and physical therapy to normalize the body’s structure and promote healing. Most medical conditions are amenable to osteopathic healing. In some cases, osteopathy has been show to resolve illnesses resistant to surgery and other medical approaches.



This technique utilizes deep cross-fiber strokes applied with the thumbs and fingers. Developed by Theresa Pfrimmer of Canada, this is a deep muscle therapeutic technique. As with many pioneers, the technique was discovered in an effort to help herself recover from paralysis. The work enables free flow of lymph and blood, as well as improving joint movement and removal of waste products/toxins from the muscle tissue. Conditions that benefit from Pfrimmer DMT include arthritis, multiple sclerosis, headache, and fibrositis, among others.

This therapy involves a fusion of hatha yoga, bodywork, and psychotherapy. It is holistic art based on the ancient science of yoga, combining elements of contemporary body/mind psychology with assisted yoga postures. It is totally a client-centered process, and it establishes inner balance by awakening the healing life force within.

Energy work practiced as an adjunct to other modalities, Physiohelanics uses the body’s own energy systems to enhance healing. Treatment begins with cleansing, balancing, and repairing the etheric energy field that surrounds the body and is followed by treatment focusing on connecting major and minor energy points (chakras) in the body. Touch from the practitioner is very light and usually targeted toward areas that require cleansing and clearing. Throughout the 35 to 40 minute session, the healer channels energy rather than using her own. Physiohelanics was developed by C. Diane Ealy.

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.

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