What is Bodywork? This is a great question and one that we will do our best to answer for you. When you look up the term “bodywork” you get a broad definition that includes almost all forms of therapy that have to do with the body from chiropractic care to Reiki. Here though we want to narrow our focus and describe the differences between a bodywork experience and a massage experience.
Bodywork is a unique and holistic approach to treating pain and disfunction caused by an array of health conditions. It involves manipulation techniques for eliminating muscle tension, increasing range of motion and postural alignment so that your body can move without pain and dysfunction. To be able to do this a person with a massage therapy license must spend more time attending continuing education and training in order have the skills and knowledge to be a bodyworker.
The bodywork therapists at Body Heal Therapy do work on the deep muscles and can perform traditional massage techniques but they are more adept at performing several forms of bodywork such as myofascial release techniques and neuromuscular therapy. These types of techniques make up what is known as structural bodywork. Structural bodywork works on the body by sections to correct its unnatural patterns that cause poor posture and pain during movement.
In addition to hands on techniques there are other factors that determine the difference between bodywork and massage.
Here are some of them.
Postural/ Movement Assessments
Your Body Heal Therapist may put you through a postural assessment to see how your body holds itself when you are in a relaxed standing position. You therapist will use this time to look at imbalances in the posture such as rounded shoulders, forward head posture, etc. to determine what may be causing your pain and dysfunction. If further analysis is needed your therapist may put you through range of motion tests, muscle tests and/or a movement analysis. All of this is to get to the root cause of your issue.
After your therapist has discovered the possible underlying issues in your body they will begin to piece together the pattern of what may be causing the problems. They understand that headaches can come from tightness in the ankles, and will try to deconstruct the problem from every angle. The education and training they have received gives them the ability to see the interconnectedness at work in your body.
In a bodywork session your therapist will use a combination of therapeutic techniques to bring about relief. Your therapist may coach you through breath techniques, apply cups to the body or place you into long static stretches. When your therapist does apply soft tissue techniques, it is very specific to an area or location. They may ask you to stretch into a position that feels good for you while they hold a certain area of your tissue to create a deep release. The techniques that are applied depend on the therapist and the needs of your body.
Your Body Heal therapist may will you to schedule another session soon and will give you exercises and practices to implement between sessions. You will get the most benefit out of the work if you have two or three sessions in a short span of time because it gives the body the opportunity to integrate the changes and allow the new pattern to begin to take hold. The body will always try to revert back to the old pattern so, continuing to bring it back in to balance allows for long term changes and permanent shifts to occur. After a few immediate sessions, your therapist will reevaluate the situation to determine the next steps. If the issue is resolved your therapist will recommend that you get on a maintenance schedule to keep the body moving optimally.