Karen E. Fleeman, CMT
Types of Massage and Bodywork
Acupressure is an ancient healing art that uses the fingers to press key points on the surface of the skin to stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. When these points are pressed, they release muscular tension and promote the circulation of blood and the body’s life force known as qi (pronounced chi) to aid healing.
The use of essential oils (extracted from herbs, flowers, resin, woods, and roots) in body and skin care treatments is known as aromatherapy. Used as a healing technique for thousands of years by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, essential oils aid in relaxation, improve circulation, and help the healing of wounds.
DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE
Techniques that utilize deep-tissue/deep-muscle massage are administered to affect the sub-layer of musculature and fascia. These techniques require advanced training and a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology. The muscles must be relaxed in order to effectively perform deep-tissue massage, otherwise tight surface muscles prevent the practitioner from reaching deeper musculature. It helps with chronic muscular pain and injury rehabilitation and reduces inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis and tendinitis. It is generally integrated with other massage techniques.
MASSAGE & MASSAGE THERAPY
Massage or massage therapy are systems of structured palpation or movement of the soft tissue of the body. The massage system may include, but is not limited to, such techniques as, stroking, kneading, gliding, percussion, friction, vibration, compression, passive or active stretching within the normal anatomical range of movement. The purpose of massage is to enhance the general health and well-being of the recipient through increased circulation, stress and anxiety management and softening of muscle and connective tissue. Massage does not include the diagnosis of a specific pathology, the prescription of drugs or controlled substances, spinal manipulation or those acts of physical therapy that are outside the scope of massage therapy.
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.
POLARITY THERAPY with SOMATIC ELEMENTS
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-1950s, polarity therapy is a clothes-on, noninvasive system complementing existing modalities 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 aspects, blockages and toxins are eliminated through a cleansing diet and simple exercises.
When coupled with Somatic Elements, that is, working with emotions that are being stored or remembered within the physical body and organs, powerful, yet gentle healing can occur on a very deep level. Techniques include visualization, specific hand placement, rocking, and vocal toning while avoiding possible re-traumatization through the retelling of personal story. Treatments are suggested in a series of four.
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 forty-five-minute treatment continue to work for the next five to seven days.
REIKI HEALING--USUI SYSTEM
Reiki healing is a hands-on energy healing art. It was originated in Japan in the early 20th century by Mikao Usui, who had a life-changing experience of light and energy that he recognized as reiki--sacred life force--and that awakened his innate healing abilities. He developed a system of practices that enabled others to become effective healers. In a reiki healing session, the practitioner, trained to access and serve as a channel for the life force (ki or chi), places her hands on or just above the clients body in order to activate healing energy within receptive points on the body. The practitioners hands move progressively with a passive touch through twelve positions on the body, remaining in each position for three to five minutes. As a harmonic flow of energy is strengthened, within the client and practitioner, healing occurs through the return of physical, mental, and spiritual balance.
SHAMANIC THERAPY AND GUIDANCE
These sessions are deeply personal and healing on a spiritual level, though it permeates all levels of existence. You will experience and learn how to navigate non-ordinary realities, traverse unseen worlds, experience the shamanic journey, align with powerful, benevolent spirit guides and animals, learn how to retrieve unconscious or lost parts of your soul and remember the divine self. Techniques include guided visualization, breath work, toning, drumming and prayer. This type of therapy blends and works well with all types of religious and spiritual backgrounds.
Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment. Pre-event massage is delivered at the performance site, usually with the athlete fully clothed. Fast-paced and stimulating, it helps to establish blood flow and to warm up muscles. During the massage, the athlete generally focuses on visualizing the upcoming event. Post-event massage is also delivered on site, through the clothes. The intent here is to calm the nervous system and begin the process of flushing toxins and waste products out of the body. Post-event massage can reduce recovery time, enabling an athlete to resume training much sooner than rest alone would allow. When an athlete sustains an injury, skillful massage therapy can often speed and improve the quality of healing.