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Home > Newsletters > February 2005 >

Frequently Asked Questions About Bodywork

What is bodywork? The term bodywork includes several therapeutic techniques that maintain and promote good health and total wellness through movement and handling of the body. Massage, structural/functional integration, movement awareness, and energy medicine are some examples of this form of health care.

Are there different types of bodywork? Yes. There are five major bodywork categories.

  • Oriental Bodywork - encompasses several disciplines, which are largely based on principles similar to those found in Oriental medicine. These methodologies incorporate many of the techniques found in other types of massage with the understanding of anatomy, spirituality, and health in keeping with Eastern medicine.

  • Traditional European or “Swedish” Massage - is characterized by four movements, (effluerage, petrissage, vibration, and tapotement) performed in the direction of the flow of the heart.

  • Contemporary Western Massage - is a group of massage techniques very similar to Swedish massage and is often combined with this discipline. These methods factor in human kinesiology as well as the body’s connection to the emotional and mental well being.

  • Structural/Functional Integration - is the sub-division of massage that includes those methods that focus on the structure of the muscles, nerves, and skeleton. Like some of the other types of bodywork, some of these techniques account for the link between the body, the mind, the spirit, and total wellness.

  • Energy Methods - use energy, derived either from the practitioner, patient, or a combination of the two, to address physiological disharmonies.

How does bodywork benefit health? Bodywork is an excellent way to increase blood circulation and release tension. Bodywork may also help to increase mobility and flexibility. Those techniques that emphasize the mind-body-spirit connection help to promote mental and emotional stability as well.

What conditions respond well to bodywork? Anxiety, poor circulation, paralysis, inflexibility, and chronic pain are just some of the conditions that can be addressed with bodywork.

Can bodywork be performed while using other types of conventional and alternative medicine? Bodywork can be a useful complement to most types of health care. Western medicine uses some forms to help patients who have difficulty or pain associated with the muscles, nerves, and skeletal structure. Some types of Oriental medicine, such as Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, also encourage the use of bodywork as an integral part of a therapeutic program. Be sure to check with a professional practitioner to find out which style is right for you.

Can bodywork help improve my posture? Yes. There are many massage types that help to align the spine, strengthen the muscles and encourage correct posture. Structural/functional integration is particularly effective in the treatment of posture problems.

How is bodywork regulated? There are several organizations that certify practitioners of therapeutic massage. Most of the structural/functional integration modalities, such as the Trager and Feldenkrais methods, require training periods with instructors who have completed a program designed to develop expertise. Several of the disciplines found in the division of Oriental bodywork require not only licensing and qualification for bodywork techniques, but Oriental medicine as a whole.

Is bodywork safe for children? Many types of bodywork are ideal for children, particularly those with neuro-muscular or musculo-skeletal problems. Be sure to check with your child’s pediatrician to find the type of bodywork that will most benefit your child.

Can expectant mothers benefit from bodywork? Bodywork is not only safe during pregnancy, but it may actually ease some of the complications associated with pregnancy, such as labor pains and tension. Practice during pregnancy may vary form style to style. Ask your obstetrician which approach will work best for you.

Is bodywork safe for pets? Yes, many of the forms of bodywork are wonderful for animals. Be sure to check with your veterinarian before beginning any new therapies.

When can I expect to see results? Because there are so many different types of bodywork and each condition and body is different, it is difficult to determine when you will see the positive effects of your therapy.

Is it always necessary to go to a professional bodywork practitioner? No matter which of the various disciplines you decide to explore, it is highly recommended that you enlist the services of an experienced, qualified, licensed professional to ensure that you receive the most effective treatment possible.

How can I learn more about Bodywork? Your local library or favorite bookstore will have books on bodywork. The Internet is also an excellent source for materia


This Month's Articles

February, 2005
Volume 3, Number 2

Happy New Year - Year of the Rooster

Frequently Asked Questions about Bodywork

The Tao of Love Making

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor


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