22. Bodywork and Therapeutic Massage Bodywork is a relatively new term for various approaches to working with the body using some form of touch therapy. These may or may not be systems of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Bodywork may use massage. It may also utilize manipulation of the body through movement. Bodywork practices may contain certain approaches emphasizing the physical manipulation of the body for relaxation and physical rehabilitation. This type of Bodywork may require heavy pressure techniques. In it, the client is a passive recipient. They lie usually unclothed awaiting the active stokes, kneads and glides of the practitioner. These forms of bodywork include Deep Tissue Massage, Swedish Massage and Hellerwork. Rolfing is also deep tissue work as is Essalen Massage, Sports Massage, Neuromuscular Massage and Bonnie Pruden Myotherapy. AstonPatterning and Feldenkrais Method are two other forms of Bodywork. Both do not rely on massage therapy but integrate physical movement into the practice. The Feldenkrais Method includes a section called “Awareness through Movement.” Bodywork practices may also be traditional or contemporary practices with emphasis on balancing all aspects of the individual: the mind, emotions, spirit and body. In this type or category of bodywork, the practitioners use a gentle touch. They consider themselves part of a co-partnership. They and the client are not active and passive but interact. The usually clad client is an integral part of the experience of realigning or balancing the entire body and its different aspects. This form of Bodywork is holistic in nature. Examples of this type of approach include Reflexology, Aromatherapy Massage, Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, Shiatsu, Am Na and Tui Na. Bodywork covers a wide range of different types of body manipulation. As a category, it may have types that fall in between the above two separate and even extreme approaches. It may not even include massage. In other words, Bodywork is an umbrella term under which falls the term Massage Therapy. Massage Therapy is Bodywork, but Bodywork does not always include or entail therapeutic massage. Massage or massage therapy is Bodywork. It is a specific type of Bodywork featuring the manipulation of the flesh and soft tissue of the body for specific beneficial results. A massage can be a pleasurable thing. It can also be for rehabilitation. Massage can provide great pleasure. It can also bring relief from many different physical problems. Depending upon the type of massage therapy, the healing process may extend beyond the physical. This is the case with most forms Oriental or Asian Massage Therapy. Massage Therapy, like Bodywork, ranges in its typology. There are two major categories: Oriental or Asian and Western. Within these two constructs, you find overlapping. This is particularly true of the subdivision of the two categories: Modern or Contemporary and Traditional or Classic. The lines are less finely drawn within the modern variations. Some Westernized types massage therapy feature commonalities with traditional Asian Massage Therapy. In a similar fashion, some modernizations of Traditional Oriental Massage Therapy types feature aspects of Western approaches. Massage Therapies operate within the boundaries of a specific system. Each type has specific qualifications, techniques and requirements. These may even vary within a specific type of therapeutic massage. Shiatsu is a Japanese form of Traditional Oriental Massage Therapy combined with a Western body approach. It has many different sub-types. They all utilize pressure point or acupressure. They also recognize the importance of the Traditional concept of a Universal Energy Force. Yet, their absolute purpose and the direction of the styles differ widely and even wildly. There is a 5-Element Shiatsu, Zen Shiatsu and Macrobiotic Shiatsu, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Shiatsu. The only form officially recognized in Japan is Nami Koshi Shiatsu. The techniques of body manipulation vary widely from type to type. In the most basic and well-known form of therapeutic massage – Swedish Massage, there are five basic hand movements. You have gliding (Effleurage), kneading (Pétrissage), frictions and vibration or percussion (Tapotement). Heavier versions of Swedish massage use the same strokes but dig deeper into the bodily flesh, sometimes concentrating on a specific element such the connective tissue or fascia. These include Deep Tissue Massage, Rolfing and Sports Massage. On the other hand, other forms of massage therapy concentrate on specific points using Acupressure. Shiatsu, Nui Na, An-Mo, Jin Shin Do, Trigger Point Massage Therapy, Neuromuscular Massage, Reflexology and Thai Massage all use finger pressure. Practitioners of Reiki and Therapeutic Touch do not directly come in contact with the physical body of their clients. These practitioners perform energy or energetic work from 2 to 6 inches away from the body. Aromatherapy, while using hands and fingers, relies on the strong sense of smell and the quality of skin absorption. Hot Stone Massage Therapy requires the use of hot or cold smooth basalt stone to work its physical, mental and/or emotional benefits. There is also hydromassage which employs water as therapy. Neither Bodywork nor Therapeutic Massage are replacements for diagnosis and medical treatment of an illness or specific disease. They can, however, be part of CAM. In implementing a regime of treatment including Bodywork, you may turn to therapeutic massage as a means of helping you heal yourself. Unlike conventional medicine, it may even aid you in finding peace of mind and reinforce your sense of spirituality.
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