Blog: ~Wholistic Well-Being~
by Dazzle

Body Work A to Z (part III)

Continued from Part Two...

Date:   4/11/2006 10:23:59 AM   ( 14 y ) ... viewed 7536 times

P (continued)

Pilates is a series of movements, done from a sitting, reclining, kneeling, or standing position, designed to increase strength and flexibility, release tension, and relieve chronic neck and back pain. Developed by German-born Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, this method combines elements of Eastern and Western disciplines, including yoga, tai chi, and ancient Greek and Roman exercise protocols. Specially designed apparatus are used for stretching and strengthening exercises and can be calibrated to the client’s needs. Repatterning movements and proper breathing techniques are important components of the training. The Pilates method is used in physical rehabilitation and is popular with athletes and performance artists, as well as those seeking to improve body conditioning.

This acupressure technique requires several practitioners to apply pressure to specific acupoints for up to two hours in order to remove blockage and stimulate emotional release within the meridians. The technique was developed by Karen Peterson and John Walsh.

Polarity therapy is based on universal principles of energy — attraction, repulsion, and neutrality. The interrelation of these principles forms the basis for every aspect of life, including our experience of health, wellness, and disease. With this understanding, polarity therapy addresses the interdependence of body, mind, and spirit, the importance of relationships, and the value of creating a way of life in harmony with nature. Founded by Austrian-born naturopath Dr. Randolph Stone in the mid-1920s, polarity therapy is a clothes-on, noninvasive system complementing existing systems with an integrated, holistic model. Polarity is based on the belief that positive and negative poles exist in every cell. The body is gently manipulated to balance the positive and negative energies. In addition to physical manipulation, blockages and toxins are eliminated through a cleansing diet and simple exercises. Treatments are suggested in a series of four. Training to become a practitioner is 430 hours.

Postural integration and energetic integration were developed by Jack Painter in the late 1960s and have spread to Western Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Australia. These approaches focus on the unity of tissue, feeling and awareness. Breathwork, deep fascia manipulation, emotional expression, and meditation are used in a unique synchronicity. Both are similar methods, but postural integration focuses on systematic work with layers of fascia, while energetic integration focuses on melting bands of body character armor. The client will experience not only extraordinary energy releases and tangible changes in body shape and flexibility, but also major shifts in awareness and feeling. The training to become a practitioner is approximately 600 hours of practical and theoretical study over several phases in centers throughout the world.

Pranic Healing is a new science of bioenergetic healing. Developed in the Philippines by Master Choa Kok Sui, it is a practical, easy-to-learn, and highly effective healing art using prana, a vital life force, to correct energetic imbalances underlying most physical, psychological, and psychospiritual ailments. Pranic Healers are trained to use their hands to accurately evaluate the energetic condition of the aura, 11 major chakras, and corresponding minor and mini chakras. Healers then seal holes and cracks, clean out devitalized energy, and energize with fresh prana. Advanced practitioners are trained to deliver healing down to the cellular level. Removing devitalized energy before energizing makes healing more efficient and helps clients avoid “healing crises.” All work is done off the body and sessions are painless. Pranic Healing can be performed on its own or as a complementary therapy to modern medicine and other healing modalities. Different levels of training are offered. Basic Pranic Healing teaches seven fundamental techniques to heal simple and moderate illnesses. Advanced Pranic Healing specializes in healing severe ailments, and teaching the correct proportion, sequence, combination, and use of colored pranas. Pranic Psychotherapy focuses on the healing of mental and emotional disorders, and working with the root and web of chakras to disintegrate and transmute negative psychic energies. It took 20 years of scientific experimentation and research to develop Pranic Healing, which synthesizes the best techniques of the Tibetan, Chinese, India, and Filipino healing systems. It is known internationally and is practiced in more than 30 countries. Master Choa Kok Sui has authored Pranic Healing, Advanced Pranic Healing, Pranic Psychotherapy, and Pranic Crystal Healing, which have been translated into 21 languages.

Performed by a trained perinatal specialist, many methods of massage and somatic therapies are both effective and safe prenatally, and during labor and postpartum periods of women’s pregnancies. Prenatally, specific techniques can reduce pregnancy discomforts and concerns and enhance the physiological and emotional well-being of both mother and fetus. Skilled, appropriate touch facilitates labor, shortening labor times and easing pain and anxiety. In the postpartum period, specialized techniques rebalance structure, physiology, and emotions of the new mother, and may help her to bond with and care for her infant. Specialized, advanced training in the anatomy, physiology, complications, precautions, and contraindications is highly recommended, and many practitioners require referrals from physicians prior to therapy. 

This integrated therapy combines traditional acupressure with zero balancing techniques and psychological processing to enhance psycho-spiritual growth. Process acupressure offers a hands-on method of influencing the body’s mental and emotional systems to stimulate balance, well-being and expanded consciousness.



This traditional Chinese treatment combines hands-on and hands-off techniques that balance the flow of qi (energy) through the body, move and relieve qi blockages, and improve circulation. Qigong is also a combination of timed breathing and gentle flowing movement, meditation, visualization, and conscious intent all working together to achieve an integrated adjustment of mind and body in order to better cultivate, circulate, and balance qi, or life force. Qigong theory is the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is used to treat many serious illnesses, as well as for relaxation. See Qigong Meridian Therapy. 

Qigong Meridian Therapy (QMT) is a natural healing system. It is derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine, which originated several thousand years ago. QMT is based on the concept of qi and its focus is qi. Qi is vital energy, the unseen life force that courses though the body, enabling it to perform its functions, and which permeates all of nature. The purpose of QMT is to release the innate healing ability of the person so their body can maintain health and resist disease. In QMT treatments, specific hand techniques are used to guide healing energy which stimulates the meridians and certain points along or near the meridians. The QMT treatments serve to remove energy blockages, balance the overall qi of the person, and increase their energy.

Quantum energetics is a subtle, gentle healing method that works with the energy body to allow disrupted energy patterns in the body to regain their force. It is a holistic, noninvasive technique that follows a systematic approach. Numerical codes that correspond vibrationally with conditions of the energy body are utilized, along with applied kinesiology.

This hands-on healing method offers spontaneous adjusting of proper alignment of the body. Principles behind Quantum-Touch involve resonance, intention, attention, breath, and innate body intelligence. Using various breathing techniques and meditations, a light touch is applied to activate the body’s own healing process.



This technique is a science of universal energy, taught in seminars by authorized instructors throughout the world. It is a seven-level technique people learn to use for themselves and for others. People from all walks of life learn this technique to use for stress release and energy balancing. Students learn a variety of ways to apply and use unconditional, transcendental energy in their work, play, and everyday lives. These students are taught a basic 12-position, hands-on session that is to be practiced on the self for at least an hour when possible. Authorized instructors of the Radiance Technique do not license or certify students as practitioners. Such licensing and certification is up to the individual student or practitioner according to the requirements of the community in which they live and work.

Radix, also referred to as Radix neo-reichian education, is an instructional method designed to teach the client how to release emotions held within the muscular structure of the body. Emphasis is placed on working through old traumas and moving into unique, new experiences of body/soul connection. The two guiding principles of RADIX are: safety, in which the student may explore deep, painful issues in an atmosphere of trust and comfort; and exploration, primarily of the somatic experience. Charles Kelly, Ph.D., developed RADIX, combining techniques and principles from Reichian and Gestalt therapies, Erickson’s hypnotherapy, bioenergetics, and Bates method of vision training. RADIX teachers include certified professionals licensed by the RADIX Institute and adjunct teachers who incorporate this method into their therapy practice.

Originated by D. Gary Young, raindrop technique is a noninvasive tool for helping to correct defects in the curvature of the spine caused by viruses and bacteria that lie dormant there. Antimicrobial essential oils are used to reduce inflammation by killing the viral agents, thus bringing the body into structural and electrical alignment. The oils (primarily thyme, oregano, birch, cypress, peppermint, and basil) are dispensed like little drops of rain from a height of about six inches above the back and massaged along the vertebrae. The oils used in this 45-minute treatment continue to work for the next five to seven days.

The rayid method was formed by results of research on the meaning of the formations in the iris of the eyes. Hereditary, behavioral, and attitudinal traits with their impact on mental, emotional and physical health are demonstrated in these formations. The rayid method addresses the causes behind symptoms, so maximum health can be achieved on a longer-term basis. This method identifies an interaction between mind and body, seeing the imbalances and suggesting corrective balancing lifestyles and support activities that enable the immune system to work its marvels.

Loosely based on a conglomerate of modalities, rebalancing combines energy balancing, joint release, deep-tissue massage, and dialogue to relieve pain and induce emotional healing and relaxation.Developed in the 1970s by a group of practitioners of various backgrounds including Rolfing, the Trager Approach, pulsation, psychotherapy, and craniosacral therapy, the theory was to combine the best attributes of several existing modalities with introspective analysis into a 10-session series of treatments.

Reflective healing is a form of energy healing in which the therapist uses a combination of guided imagery and energy body manipulations to heal a specific physical organ or joint. Noninvasive physical touch of energy centers is important in this process of repatterning the etheric body. Extensive intuitive development and energetic training are required by the therapist.

Reflexognosy is defined as the application of appropriate pressure to the leg and feet, by the hands of a trained practitioner, to bring about physiological and psychological changes in the body.

Based on an ancient Chinese therapy, reflexology involves manipulation of specific reflex areas in the foot, hands, and ears that correspond to other parts of the body. Sometimes referred to as zone therapy, this bodywork involves application of pressure to these reflex zones to stimulate body organs and relieve areas of congestion. Similar to acupressure principles, reflexology works with the body’s energy flow to stimulate self-healing and maintain balance in physical function. Developed in the United States in the early 1900s, this technique is used today to reduce pain, increase relaxation, and stimulate circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids. It is especially useful in stress-related illness and emotional disorders. Reflexology is also convenient in cases where an area of the body is traumatized or diseased to the extent that direct manipulation is not appropriate.

This technique utilizes manipulation of the musculo-skeletal system to release emotional blockages from the body. It was established from the works of Wilhelm Reich, an Austrian psychoanalyst.

Buddhist in nature, reiki (pronounced “ray-key”) is the combining of universal energy with individual energy to open pathways of healing. It teaches that disease is not separate from the body; it is the body out of balance. Rediscovered by Japanese Buddhist and Christian scholar of theology Mikao Usui around 1921, this energy healing method involves placing the hands on or just above the body in order to align chakras and bring healing energy to organs and glands. The practitioner, trained to access and serve as a channel for the life energy, uses a passive touch that some clients experience as a warmth or tingling. The hands remain in position for 3 to 5 minutes, alternately covering 10 to 12 positions over the body. Treatments work by dissolving or eliminating toxic energy and substances from many levels of one’s being, whether it is physical, emotional, or mental. This works to strengthen the harmonic flow of energy within the body. The three levels of training in the initiation process of becoming a reiki master are referred to as attunement levels. Through this training, the practitioner reaches a level where she can access energy flow through the hands to heal herself and others.

Reiki-alchemia utilizes keys of different geometric shapes to trigger states of consciousness which allow healing and vibrational attunements to occur. Reiki-alchemia combines the traditional reiki of Mikao Usui with the alchemia process, which creates a passive and active blend of energies in the healing. The practitioner facilitates transformation by working with the universal life force, and the four forces that govern all states of consciousness. Alchemia is a form of bodywork that incorporates techniques that release etheric, as well as subconscious energy blockages and stored trauma. The ultimate intent of reiki-alchemia is to achieve a functional ego state that facilitates unconditional love. (Adapted from Holistic Health Directory.)

Reposturing dynamics is a system of stretches and massage techniques designed to restore balance and flexibility to the body. Reposturing dynamics is participatory, with lots of breathing and many stretch positions. There are exercises or additional stretches available to support the rebalancing process. It can be intense and emotional at times, as stress is unloaded from each muscle group. The client is always in charge of how fast and far she progresses in any one session.

Resonant kinesiology is a meditative form of educational bodywork. A resonant kinesiologist teaches experientially, as well as cognitively, using sound, movement, and touch to create active lessons for the body. A fundamental principle of resonant kinesiology is that human bodies inherently have all the resources needed to be healthy, though these resources may not be consistently available to conscious awareness. Healing is viewed as a form of learning.

Restoration therapy has been practiced in Japan for more than 1,500 years and has proven successful in the treatment of migraine headaches, nervous tension, general fatigue, and muscular aches and pains. Professor Seishiro Okazaki was the foremost exponent of restoration therapy in America. He founded the Kodenkan Dojo, Ju-Jitsu School, and Nikko Restoration Sanatorium in Honolulu in 1929. The practitioners of this method in Japan are entitled to the same rank as doctor. It is a combination of amma (original Japanese therapy) acupressure, shiatsu, chiropractic, osteopathy, and herbal medicines. Restoration therapy is divided into four age groups and to be a successful practitioner of restoration therapy, a thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology is imperative.

This is a form of energy healing in which the therapist manipulates the client’s energy bodies near each chakra. The objective of RoHun is to understand how certain adverse patterns became fixed in the emotional and mental energy bodies and to release the negative effects of these patterns on daily life. Although primarily an energy manipulation method, some noninvasive physical touch is involved.

A method to reorder the major body segments, Rolfing was founded by American biochemist Dr. Ida Rolf in the 1940s. Rolfing utilizes physical manipulation and movement awareness to bring head, shoulders, thorax, pelvis, and legs into vertical alignment. It allows more efficient use of the muscles with less expended energy by lifting the head and chest and lengthening the body’s trunk. A sense of lightness and greater mobility often result from Rolfing. Treatments are offered in a 10-session series, as well as advanced sessions. See structural integration.

Using gentle, nonintrusive touch, Rosen Method works with held muscles to bring about physical and emotional awareness through relaxation. Developed by Marion Rosen, this technique utilizes both sensitive manipulation of the soft tissue, observation of the client’s breathing patterns, and communication to promote physical ease, pain relief, and a deeper contact with the inner self. Because the work can bring up buried feelings and memories, it is also used as a tool to promote personal growth. 

Founded by Ilana Rubenfeld, this method integrates elements of the great body/mind teachers — F.M. Alexander and Moshe Feldenkrais — together with the Gestalt theory and practice of Fritz and Laura Perls and the hypnotherapy of Milton Erickson. The Rubenfeld synergy method uses many avenues, including verbal expression, movement, breathing patterns, body posture, kinesthetic awareness, imagination, sound, and caring touch to access reservoirs of feeling.

This technique alters the basic strokes of classical massage so each stroke provides the client with the least invasive and most comfortable treatment. Each stroke in Russian massage has a known physiological effect on a healthy or dysfunctional body. Therapists don’t use their wrists or single digit pressure, instead opting for shoulders or elbows as the primary sources of strength for deep work.


Known as seated massage, chair massage, or on-site massage, this technique involves the use of a specially designed massage chair in which the client sits comfortably. The modern chair massage was originally developed David Palmer, but the technique is centuries-old, with some Japanese block prints illustrating people having just emerged from a nearby bath, receiving massage while seated on a low stool. Seated massage includes bodywork and somatic techniques, such as shiatsu, amma, and Swedish massage, provided to the fully clothed client in a variety of settings, including businesses, airports, and street fairs.

This modality is based on Carl Jung’s concept of the shadow — those parts of your personality or beliefs that you do not give a conscious place to in your life. The theory is that by putting your fears, anger, joy, hope, etc. in shadow, these emotions will then turn against your family, your clients, or yourself, resulting in health, financial, or ethical problems. Shadow integration involves creating a ritual container in a group setting, in which participants give voice and flesh out the conflicting beliefs and feelings that sabotage their professional and personal lives. This process emphasizes the personal and professional development of health professionals (ethics, communication, therapeutic relationships, and body/mind dynamics). It is usually facilitated in groups of 8 to 20, or in one-on-one sessions.

SHEN is the acronym for Specific Human Energy Nexus and was developed by American scientist Richard Pavek. A scientifically researched form of energy healing, SHEN aims to release emotions trapped in the body, leading to freedom from pain and tension. SHEN teaches that most emotions are held in the torso, at four main sites: the heart, the solar plexus, the kath (below the navel), and the root (the perineum). The practitioner places hands in paired positions on the fully-clothed client who’s lying on the table. The practitioner ascertains the locations of somatically held emotions and determines an appropriate physio-emotional release plan. A naturally occurring energy flows from the practitioner’s hands through the emotional centers of the client’s body in a precise way to discharge debilitating emotions.

This is a hands-and-foot-on therapy system designed to create space and unblock restrictions in the body via gravity. Shiat-Surf works with the body’s breathing, pulses, and nervous system.

Developed in Japan, shiatsu is a finger-pressure technique utilizing the traditional acupuncture points of Oriental healing. Similar to acupressure, shiatsu concentrates on unblocking the flow of life energy and restoring balance in the meridians and organs in order to promote self-healing. With the client reclining, the practitioner applies pressure with the finger, thumb, palm, elbow, or knee to specific zones on the skin located along the energy meridians. The treatment brings about a sense of relaxation while stimulating blood and lymphatic flow. The benefits of this treatment may include pain relief and a strengthening of the body’s resistance to disease and disorder. 

A system of healing based on the study of the relationship between the non-physical world (ki, energy, and spirit) and the physical world (illness and environment) as experienced through mind, body, spirit, heart, and life. By synchronizing your vibration with the healing vibration of ki, learning to keep that vibration present within you and continually heightening the vibration, you can heal yourself and others. Shinkiko is a type of medical qigong that increases levels of energy, intuitive sense, and consciousness through meditative-like ki harmonizing, without physical training or exercise.

Soft tissue release (STR) is a powerful injury treatment technique developed in Europe with the world’s fastest sprinters. Due to the amazing amounts of prize money and endorsement contracts available to these athletes, faster and more permanent results were warranted. STR was developed to meet this need. Recovery rates once considered impossible by traditional therapists and sports medicine doctors were achieved. These are not new concepts, but are based on European osteopathy techniques, along with insights from quantum physics. In recent years, STR has been given clinical application for chronic low back pain and whiplash injuries. STR deals directly with the reasons for soft tissue dysfunctions and subsequent referred pain and nerve entrapment. In acute conditions, STR affects the insidious way scar tissue is formed, and in chronic conditions STR breaks up the fibrotic and adhered mass of scar tissue to quickly allow the muscle to return to its natural resting length. Once the muscle or muscle group has returned to the original resting length, there is an immediate release from the pain induced by the inflammation response. With STR, the client is placed in a particular position so that the muscle begins to stretch in a very specific direction or plane. The exact location of the injury has been defined and a determined pressure is applied directly into the affected tissue or along a specific line of injury. At the same time, depending whether passive or active techniques are being used, the client is given a set of instructions that now engage the antagonist of the muscles involved. The muscle is extended from a fixed position in a determined direction under a pinpoint of pressure. Decrease in pain and increase in range of motion are often immediate, offsetting any minor discomfort experienced. STR can be modified so there is no client discomfort at all. The flowing motions of STR and total client control afford new levels of deep tissue work and subsequent pain relief. 

SOMA is a unique development of the holographic body reading technique. Holographic body reading recognizes that each person has an individual blueprint, allowing for the practitioner to analyze this, personalize its needs, and design the sessions to correspond to those individual needs. The SOMA practitioner works with the fascia and musculature to restore circulation and return the body to its original perfection. See SOMA Neuromuscular Integration.

A 10-session system of bodywork, soma neuromuscular integration works the fascial network to release chronic, stored structural aberrations; to effectively realign the entire body; and to facilitate the change process. The three brain model theory and holographic body reading, as part of the SOMA theoretical framework, assist the practitioner to analyze each individual blueprint, personalize needs, and design the session for each structure. SOMA work includes extensive guidance tools (movement, journaling, drawing interpretation, and other mind/body integrating tools) for training bodywork practitioners and for educating clients.

Somatic Education is a healthcare modality based on co-creative science. It is therefore taught and practiced in a co-creative partnership with nature. Somatic Education considers the body as one of nature’s gardens and facilitates self-healing by working with flower essences; MAP and calibration; and environmental, energy, and other processes.

A naturalistic approach to the healing of trauma, based on the understanding that animals in the wild, though constantly threatened by predators, are rarely traumatized. This approach uses education about and awareness of body sensation as a primary tool. Appropriate, gentle manipulation of the muscles, joints, and viscera is employed. Developed by Dr. Peter Levine, somatic experiencing offers a safe, gradual way to help trauma survivors develop their own natural ability to eliminate the excess energy caused by overwhelming events.

This is a body-based orientation that facilitates the client’s therapeutic process. A client session is directed to the body experience that references the body as a resource. The therapist shifts the content of the session to the here and now process of the client, which opens the client’s awareness of her own experience of sensation, tension, relaxation, breath, response, and evoked thoughts.

SomatoEmotional Release is a therapeutic process that helps rid the mind and body of residual effects of past trauma and associated negative responses. Dr. John Upledger and biophysicist Dr. Zvi Karni discovered the body often retains physical forces as the result of accident, injury, or emotional trauma. Following trauma, the body isolates the “energy cyst.” Students in Somato-emotional Release learn how to help the client physically identify and expel the energy cyst through re-experiencing and resolving unpleasant incidents.

Using the media of sound (music, tones, vibrations, etc.) as a tool for healing, sound therapy enables the realignment of natural body rhythms. Therapy may include, but is not limited to, the use of tibetan singing bowls, chimes, acutonic tuning forks, rattles, and drums.

A variety of body treatments administered in spas. Herbal wraps, loofah body scrubs, parafango, salt scrubs, seaweed body wraps, hydrotherapy treatments, etc. See Spa Treatments section.

Spinal release allows therapists to correct distortions of the central nervous system and restore the body’s center of gravity. The therapist works with techniques that address the eight muscle groups of the lower back. Practitioners also focus on the soft-tissue release procedures for the neck and back as they help identify curvatures of the spine and other dysfunctions.

Spiritual massage healing is a form of divinely inspired and divinely guided religious healing. It consists of prayer, love, anointing with oil, and movements derived from the laying-on of hands. It is the practice of one’s religious faith and conscience, and it is a mode of worship. Without prayer, there is no spiritual massage healing. However, each practitioner does spiritual massage healing their own way, which may vary from one client to another.

Sports massage consists of specific components designed to reduce injuries, alleviate inflammation, provide warm-up, etc. for amateur and professional athletes before, during, after, and within their training regimens.

St. John’s neuromuscular therapy seeks out the cause of pain, focusing on creating a balance between the muscular and nervous systems. This bodywork focuses on five basic principles — biomechanics, ischemis, trigger points, postural distortion, and nerve entrapment and compression — that are important factors in the body’s physical homeostasis. Also, attention is given to hormonal balance, nutrition, and elimination of toxins. This therapy is used to treat soft-tissue pain throughout most of the body.

Developed by osteopath Lawrence Jones, this noninvasive treatment helps decrease protective muscle spasms and alleviate somatic dysfunction in the musculoskeletal system. By using palpation and passive positional procedures, the therapist practicing strain/counterstrain therapy can help restore pain-free movement. The position that relieves the referred pain is held for 90 seconds. After resuming the original position and pressing the trigger point, the referred pain is gone. Although the client is often asked to bend or twist like a contortionist to secure a comfortable position, for the most part clients report effectiveness of the procedure.

Developed in 1983, Structural Energetic Therapy (SET) is a deep-tissue, body-restructuring therapy that addresses chronic and acute pain and dysfunction. SET integrates cranial/ structural techniques, myofascial unwinding, myofascial restructuring, emotional energy release, kinesiology, and postural analysis to address client symptoms and problems as they relate to body structure. SET is a client-centered therapy that treats the specific needs unique to each client by addressing their particular injuries and conditions as they relate to the structural distortions. The release of the core distortion pattern, both cranially and structurally, allows a balanced weight-bearing pelvis to support the entire spine, and facilitates the unwinding of all other structural distortions. The goal of SET therapy is to have clients return to life activities pain free.

Based on the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf, structural integration is based on the idea the entire structural order of the body needs to be realigned and balanced with the gravitational forces around a “central vertical line” representing gravity’s influence. Therapeutic intervention is directed toward the myofascial system — the ligaments, muscles, tendons, and surrounding connective tissues. A practitioner of structural integration has a 10-session cycle of work — they use different angles and degrees of physical pressure to stretch and guide fascia to a place of easier movement. The process is not intended to “cure” symptoms; its goal is to create a more resilient, higher-energy system free of inhibitions due to past trauma. See Rolfing.

One of the most commonly taught and well-known massage techniques, Swedish massage is a vigorous system of treatment designed to energize the body by stimulating circulation. Five basic strokes, all flowing toward the heart, are used to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. The disrobed client is covered by a sheet, with only the area being worked on exposed. Therapists use a combination of kneading, rolling, vibrational, percussive, and tapping movements, with the application of oil, to reduce friction on the skin. The many benefits of Swedish massage may include generalized relaxation, dissolution of scar tissue adhesions, and improved circulation, which may speed healing and reduce swelling from injury.

A combination of neuromuscular re-education, hands-on application, qigong, Taoism, and meditation, Syntropy Insight Bodywork acts directly on the nervous system to dissolve chronic patterns of pain and tension. The practitioner helps to access and empower the client’s innate healing ability by focusing on what is functioning well in the body and expanding on it. A noninvasive practice, Syntropy can be used exclusively or as an adjunct therapy.


T’ai chi chih is a series of simple, non-strenuous movements known to relax the body and refresh the mind. Moves can be performed by anyone, regardless of age or physical condition. T’ai chi chih can help you feel calm, even in the midst of activity, and helps relieve daily tensions and stress based on principles of relaxed breathing, rhythmic movements, and equilibrium of weight.

This is an internal practice blending healing, martial art, and meditative art. Dedicated to physical health and spiritual growth, t’ai chi chuan was developed by monks around 1,000 A.D. in order to defend themselves against bandits and warlords.

Taikyo shiatsu is a style using ancient Taoist yin/yang and taijiquan principles combined with the gentle stretching of Zen shiatsu. From the Eastern perspective, this shiatsu focuses on stretching and palming the meridians, opening channels to induce flow of stagnated energies, and supplying circulation (oxygenated blood) to the organs. The application of the Taoist principles enables the therapist to generate and utilize optimum energy to perform the shiatsu efficiently. From the Western perspective, stretching increases bone, sinews, and muscle flexibility, and enhances mobility. A unique “wave” technique — visualizing an ocean wave forming (potential), reaching the highest crest, falling (kinetic), and expanding (distribution) the energy — is used in this technique. The following Taikyo essentials achieve optimum shiatsu efficiency and transmission as well as distribution of energy. Spirit: state of being; intent: volition or plan of action; calm: state of mental stillness to perceive; posture: proper body positioning for optimum operational efficiency; presence: the sum of the previous above essentials; intuition: ability to perceive; breathing: qigong mode; and simplicity: unpretentiousness. “Reeling the silk” is a technique that enables manipulation by gripping with a wrist motion, producing pressure without using the fingers. This technique enables efficient massaging of the “18 joints” of the body. Qigong breathing from the Hara, or dantian, is one of the important keys to generate efficient energy output. Taikyo shiatsu emphasizes philosophy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, essentials, breathing, taijiquan postural efficiency, and the above mentioned techniques.

Tantsu Tantric Shiatsu is a unique form of bodywork on land. It was invented by Harold Dull who also created Watsu, or water shiatsu. Tantsu brings Watsu’s in-water nurturing and power back onto land. In a Tantsu session, the giver cradles the receiver with their whole body. No oil is used; the receiver lies fully clothed on the floor, while the giver kneels or stands beside the person. Like shiatsu, Tantsu is based on point work and powerful stretches to release chi (life force) along the body’s meridians and in the energy centers, or chakras. Tantsu focuses on connecting the chakras and freeing the natural movement of energy along the spine. Learning to give a Tantsu session involves the giver in a process that leads to a deeper connection with others and with one’s own centers and flows of energy. (Definition taken from Dull’s book, Bodywork Tantra: On Land and in Water, Harbin Springs Publishing, 1987.)

Developed by Dr. Stephanie Mines, the TARA Approach is a holistic system for the critical transformation of psychological, physical, and emotional shock and trauma. Combining the ancient oriental healing art of Jin Shin with therapeutic dialogues, this approach activates healing from sexua| abuse, battering relationships, abusive family environments, neglect, and illness.

This is an ancient art of healing using the Universal elemental energy rays of earth (Reiki), air/ether (Angeliclight), fire (Sakara) and water (Sophi-El). Tera-Mai Seichem translates from Sanskrit as “action of compassion.”

Also called nuad bo rarn, Thai massage has been taught and practiced in Thailand for approximately 2,500 years. Although the origins are somewhat vague, credit for Thai massage is given to a famous Indian doctor, Shivago Komarpaj, who was the personal physician of the Buddha and Magadha king. Historically, manipulation was one of four major branches composing traditional Thai ceremonies or magical practices. This is based on the theory the body is made up of 72,000 sen, or energy lines, of which 10 hold top priority. Thai massage also involves peripheral stimulating, meaning it acts as an external stimulant to produce specific internal effects. This point serves as the main division between Thai and Western massage. Thai massage is practiced on a firm mat on the floor instead of on a table, instrumental in the effective use of the practitioner’s body weight. Except for the feet, the client remains fully clothed, so draping is not necessary.

This treatment uses the therapeutic benefits of the sea and seawater products — vitamins and minerals — to restore health and vitality to the skin and hair. The treatment may include a seaweed and algae body paste spread on the body and being insulated with sheets or blankets. Seawater baths may include massage with strong, underwater jets or manual hose massage by the therapist.

Developed through the collaboration of a nursing professor and a spiritual healer, Therapeutic Touch is based on ancient energy healing methods. Practitioners, primarily nurses, are trained to feel or sense energy imbalances in the client and to use “laying on” of hands to disperse blocks and channel healing forces to the client’s body. The therapist uses a light touch or holds the hand above the body, with the client generally seated. Meditation is used by the therapist to center herself and strengthen her connection to the client’s energy system. Therapeutic Touch has been applied in an assortment of medical situations, including the care of premature infants and emergency room patients. It is known to induce a state of relaxation within minutes. Therapeutic Touch is considered safe because of its gentle, noninvasive approach. Developers of this technique affirm that everyone has the potential to heal with Therapeutic Touch and may be taught the methodology in one day.

Developed in 1989 by Karen Peterson and John Walsh, Tibetan point holding focuses on prolonged holding of acupressure points to generate emotional release. Lengthy holding allows the client to address internal thoughts as they arise. As many as five practitioners are used to hold pressure points on the client for up to two hours. Treatment needs are assessed through iridology or kinesiology.

Developed by chiropractor John Thie, Touch for Health combines methods and techniques that include acupuncture principles, acupressure, muscle testing, massage, and dietary guidelines. The method of treatment requires a second person who performs muscle testing. This determines which muscles are strong or weak, indicating if a physical problem or organ malfunction exists. Once weak muscles are determined, a variety of methods are used as part of a muscle strengthening program. Such techniques include finger pressure on neuro-vascular holding points on the head and pressure on the acupressure holding points. After the muscles have been strengthened, Touch for Health theory states that energy then flows through the body, improving vitality and ability to maintain good health. See kinesiology. 

Developed by Iris Burman and Sandy Friedland, TouchAbilities Essential Connections is a universal skill set and philosophy for bodywork practitioners. This skill set includes the core techniques that are common to all modalities, incorporating physical manipulation of soft tissue as well as dynamic interaction with the body’s mental and energetic fields. Philosophically based on the idea that the body is a multidimensional blend of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual qualities, TouchAbilities encourages an “in the moment” dialogue between bodies to support optimal function. Its objective is to identify areas where actions, waves, and flows are obstructed or distorted and to apply techniques that re-establish a more functional dynamic.

Trager is an approach to bodywork developed in the 1920s by American medical practitioner Dr. Milton Trager. It makes extensive use of touch-contact and encourages the client to experience the freeing-up of different parts of the body. The approach consists of simple exercises called Mentastics and deep, nonintrusive hands-on work, including fluid, gentle, rocking movements. The idea is to use motion in the muscles and joints to produce positive sensory feelings that are then fed back into the central nervous system. The result is a feeling of lightness, freedom, and flexibility. A Trager session takes from 60 to 90 minutes. No oils or lotions are used. The client wears a swimsuit or underwear and lies on a well-padded table in a warm, comfortable environment. No long, broad strokes are used over the surface of the body and, unlike various techniques of deep tissue manipulation, it does not utilize extreme pressure or rapid thrusts to create structural change and does not produce pain as a necessary adjunct to its effectiveness. During the session, the practitioner makes touch-contact with the client in such a gentle and rhythmic way that the person lying passively on the table actually experiences the possibility of being able to move each part of the body freely, effortlessly, and gracefully on their own. The practitioner works in a relaxed, meditative state of consciousness. This allows the practitioner to connect deeply with the recipient in an unforced way, to remain continually aware of the slightest responses, and to work efficiently without fatigue. After getting up from the table, the client is given instruction in the use of Mentastics, a system of simple, effortless movement sequences to maintain and enhance the sense of lightness, freedom, and flexibility instilled by the table work. Mentastics is Dr. Trager’s coinage for “mental gymnastics” — a mindfulness in motion — designed to help clients re-create for themselves the sensory feelings produced by the motion of their tissue in the practitioner’s hands. It is a powerful means of teaching the client to recall the pleasurable sensory state that produced positive tissue change. Because it is this feeling state that triggered positive tissue response in the first place, every time the feeling is clearly recalled the changes deepen, become more permanent, and are more receptive to further positive change. Changes described have included the disappearance of specific symptoms, discomforts, or pains, heightened levels of energy and vitality, more effortless posture and carriage, greater joint mobility, deeper states of relaxation than were previously possible, and a new ease in daily activities.

Trauma touch therapy was developed to address the needs of clients affected by trauma and abuse, including sexua| and emotional abuse or battering and the trauma of war, surgery, or criminal violence. Focused on empowering the client, this technique combines therapeutic movement and breathwork with psychotherapeutic elements to bring body and mind together in holistic healing. The pace of therapy is determined individually according to the client’s need. Relearning touch from a healthy perspective is a major focus of the therapy. The trauma touch training program was developed in 1993 at the Colorado School of Healing Arts.

Trigger point myotherapy is a noninvasive therapeutic modality for the relief and control of myofascial pain and dysfunction. The goal of treatment is the client’s recovery from or a significant reduction in myofascial pain. The treatment goal is achieved through a systematized approach. Treatment consists of trigger point compression, myomassage, passive stretching, and a regime of corrective exercises. Success may be measured subjectively by the level of pain reduction experienced by the client and objectively through increased range of motion, strength, endurance, and other measures of improved function. Trigger point myotherapy relies heavily on client-therapist interaction, including verbal and nonverbal elements. The myotherapist encourages the client to be personally responsible for their improvement, with attention to such factors as nutritional intake, stress, proper exercises, mechanical abnormalities, and other physical components. These elements protect the client from delayed diagnosis, delayed treatment, or contraindicated treatment, which are the concerns of first order. Trigger point myotherapy is an integrating approach to myofascial pain and dysfunction.

Tui na is an ancient Chinese system of manual therapeutics with a wide range of techniques and indications. While Traditional Chinese Medical precepts form its theoretical basis, clinical experience governs its application. Tui na techniques are applied by various parts of the practitioner to the client and range from those that are light and soothing to those that are strong and invigorating. Refined over the centuries, tui na facilitates healing by regulating the circulation of Blood and Qi (vital energy), which controls body function and enhances resistance to disease. The term tui na (pronounced t-weigh na) combines the names of two of the hand techniques, tui meaning to push and na meaning to lift and squeeze, which are used to represent the system. Practitioners of tui na claim there are more than 365 hand techniques, although they can be generally placed in the category of pressing, rubbing, waving, shaking, percussion, or manipulating. The term tui na first appeared in the Ming Dynasty text Pediatric Tui Na Classic in 1601. 

With Turaya Touch, using the body’s system of light energy, practitioners place their hands on various parts of the client’s head, back, shoulders, and abdomen. This technique brings about a feeling of deep relaxation as it releases the energy blocks causing mental and physical distress. Turaya also unlocks creative potential at the cellular level.


Unified field therapy (UFT) states that beyond the body, beyond energy, lies a matrix of consciousness that permeates every aspect of our world. This dynamic, ever expansive matrix forms a single field from which all conscious life flows. This field is called the Unified Field. All physical, mental, emotional, and energetic patterns known to our world originate from this single source. Present in our every experience, these patterns form the very fabric of our reality. The most subtle shift or change in these patterns can yield immense expansion in our consciousness and bring enormous transformation to one’s life. Utilizing this knowledge, UFT directly accesses the Unified Field to initiate shifts within a conscious system. Clients remain fully clothed and are asked to lie face up on a massage table in a comfortable position with eyes closed and attention focused internally. The therapist then begins to evaluate, palpate, and integrate fields of consciousness surrounding and permeating the client. This can be done in a hands-on or hands-off application. Sessions last approximately 40 to 60 minutes. Accordingly, clients must define for themselves how their consciousness integrates and changes as a result of this work. For this reason, therapists are trained not to define or project their perceptions or expectations onto a client’s experience. Therapists often request that new clients follow up between 48 to 72 hours after the initial visit to discuss any additional “shifts” that may have occurred in the interim. (Adapted from

UNTIE was developed in the United States in the early 1980s as an alternative to exerting force into soft tissues that may already be painful to the touch. It is basic to UNTIE that soft tissue dysfunction, no matter how deep within the body, can be felt in the skin. These patterns of dysfunction are palpable once the proper awareness and sensitivity have been developed. Patterns are infinitely variable expressions of soft tissue dysfunctions that are synergistically related to the dysfunctions. The skilled practitioner can readily access even the deepest layers of soft tissue by working with the associated patterns. Changes in the patterns are stimulated by the presence of the practitioner’s fingers and determined by the body’s natural desire to reach homeostasis. The fingers respond to the changes without any application of force, will, or preconceived routine. The hands move gently in concert with the changes. Once the patterns release, the soft tissues are re-evaluated to confirm they have normalized and musculoskeletal integrity has improved. Although other approaches may not specifically address soft tissue patterns, the patterns are affected, since there is contact with the skin as soft tissues are manipulated. The more thorough the method used, the more likely it is that the patterns will be released, allowing for more complete, long-term change. Because the foundation of UNTIE is sensitivity, it readily deals with the unique patterns of the individual. It is a procedure for working “with” the body, not “on” the body.


Vibrational Healing Massage Therapy (VHMT) is a bodywork therapy designed to restore one to fluidity. It is like massage therapy, providing touch techniques and distinctions that help a person live in their body as a liquid process, freeing pain as we have known it. VHMT works with the physical structure to free up past tensions and stresses that have been held in the body. This reawakening of the nervous system restores circulation to injured areas, moves energy and emotions, and helps in the letting go of chronic pain or stiffness. There are approximately 16 basic techniques that serve to align, loosen, and connect the body so tensions can reverberate freely. Special sensitive stretching, rebounding, and torquing are some of the techniques helping clients to become aware of where they have been holding. Practitioners and recipients alike begin to feel not only their vibrations move within them, but also new circulation of their basic metabolic fluids flowing again to once-rigid areas. As they listen to people’s body rhythms and frequencies, practitioners of VHMT facilitate a clothes-on massage therapy that is rhythmic and fun, like playing a fine-tuned violin or guitar. VHMT includes new distinctions of awareness in thinking, speaking, walking, standing, and sitting which allow for fully-connected and communicative bodies. These concepts are: The Fluid Body Model — a body of knowledge where we experience being in our bodies in a whole new way, acknowledging and honoring the fluid, evolving processes that we are; Disease as a Strategy — a self-responsible way of thinking that allows us to access self-healing and growth; and The Language of Healing — a way of speaking responsibly about our bodies and lives, so that when we speak, we are causing and accessing healing and transformation to happen.

Visceral manipulation enhances the normal mobility and tissue motion of the organs of the visceral system. Hypertonicity, displacement, and adhesions can all cause organs to work against each other, creating chronic irritation and fixed, abnormal points of tension. The visceral organs are dependent on their ability to move freely in the visceral cavity to then work correctly and efficiently. When they are pulled out of their effective positions, they cease to function properly. By freeing each organ to work compatibly with the others, a therapist can potentially alter and improve the structure and functioning of the entire body.

VortexHealing is an energetic healing art that works solely with divine light and consciousness. It derives its name from a particular energy-vortex that is the interface between our physical world and a divine healing realm that is accessed in this art. This healing realm allows for the practitioner to channel not just a very powerful healing energy — the divine energy and light of the Vortex — but also the consciousness of this realm, which is composed of seven divine beings whose sole intention is to manifest healing. This enables VortexHealing to perform healings on the physical and emotional level as well as to release the deepest karmic issues we hold as human beings — they are transformed directly by divine consciousness.


Watsu, aquatic shiatsu, began at Harbin Hot Springs where Harold Dull brought his knowledge of Zen shiatsu into a warm pool. Zen shiatsu incorporates stretches that release blockages along the meridians — the channels through which chi or life force flows. Dull found the effects of Zen shiatsu could be amplified and made more profound by stretching someone while having them float in warm water. By supporting, rocking, and moving the whole body while stretching a leg or arm, Watsu lessens the resistance there is when a limb is worked in isolation. When the whole body is in continual movement, each move flowing gracefully into the next, there is no way to resistantly anticipate what’s coming next. Warm water and the continuous support it provides are ideal for freeing the spine. 


The word yoga describes a variety of Hindu practices developed in ancient India to unify body and mind with universal spirit, thereby encouraging physical and mental well-being. Yoga most commonly involves a series of stretching postures (called asanas), breathing exercises, and meditative practices. Diet is also considered important to this discipline. Yoga increases flexibility, improves muscle tone, and is helpful in the reduction of stress.

This is a massage modality that enhances the free and natural movements of the body through gentle, sustained stretching and applied pressure. Gentle vibration and energy work with the chakras is integrated into a gracefully flowing sequence. Unique positioning with props is incorporated to facilitate myofascial stretching without strain. Yogassage has been compared to Thai massage on a table, as it blends elements from both the Eastern and Western cultures of bodywork.


This technique integrates Zen training with Eastern teachings of the circulation of vital energy or essence of life.

This style was developed by Shizuto Masanuga, who proposed the treatment of meridian extensions beyond those recognized in the classical Chinese view. He also developed the widely-accepted two-hand style, where one hand moves, applying pressure, while the other provides stationary support.

Zero balancing was developed by Fritz Smith, M.D., and has its roots in osteopathy, acupuncture, Rolfing, and meditation. Relaxing, yet energizing, zero balancing integrates fundamental principles of Western medicine with Eastern concepts of energy. This technique provides clients the possibility of healing by addressing the energy flow of the skeletal system. By working with bone energy, zero balancing seeks to correct imbalances between energy and structure, providing relief from pain, anxiety, and stress. A zero balancing session, which consists of gentle acupressure focusing on joints and bones, generally takes 30 to 40 minutes and is done through the client’s clothing while they lie on a massage table. For the massage therapist or bodyworker, zero balancing may enhance other modalities and open new avenues of energetic and structural balancing through touch.


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