As a consumer of massage, you already know there are wonderful benefits to receiving therapeutic touch. And you’ve likely tried one or two variations of massage or bodywork as you’ve meandered along this path of complementary healthcare. But did you know there are at least 250 kinds of therapies that are part of this growing massage and bodywork tradition? From acupressure to Zero Balancing, there are a multitude of lush, leaf-filled branches on this bodywork tree, making it a perfect spot under which to throw a blanket and sit a while.
Lisa sat on the side of the table after her first Rolfing session. Her eyes shone bright, her breath filled her chest easily, her shoulders rested comfortably on her rib cage. Her expression of puzzlement and wonder was one I’ve seen many times before. “What just happened?” she said. “I feel so different!”
Bodywork as a meditative discipline may at first seem rather peculiar. Certainly, many seasoned bodyworkers meditate, rightly believing that regular practice of any of a wealth of meditative modalities will promote an increased sense of mental clarity and calmness and may potentially enhance the experience of everyday life, as well as the quality and depth of their work.
Continuing last issue’s Structural Integration (SI) theme, let’s explore a tangent that has implications for everyone in the bodywork field. If there’s one thing that characterizes the approach to integrative bodywork, it is depth. Most of us were drawn into bodywork because we found a deeper experience of our own bodily self. And we choose to do this work to give that depth of experience to others. But how do you get deep? How do you convey the experience of depth? What does “deep” really mean in the context of the body?
When Bill Williams was working on a 10-session bodywork protocol with his mentor Ida Rolf in the 1970s, he knew he wanted to take it further than the physiology that was being explored. His training in psychology and his interest in energy afforded him insight into the integration that could happen when body, mind, and spirit met. While Rolf, with whom he was teaching and researching at the time, didn’t want to take the work in that direction, she gave Williams her blessing to seek out his own truths. And so was born Soma Neuromuscular Integration.
Tom Myers’ first Anatomist’s Corner column appeared in June/July 2000. Since then, he’s gone on to write 20 compelling columns for Massage & Bodywork and publish a book on his myofascial approach to treatment entitled Anatomy Trains.
As you lie on the table under crisp, fresh sheets, hushed music draws you into the moment. The smell of sage fills the air and you hear the gentle sound of massage oil being warmed in your therapist’s hands. The pains of age, the throbbing from your overstressed muscles, the sheer need to be touched — all cry out for therapeutic hands to start their work. Once the session gets underway, the problems of the world fade into an oblivious 60 minutes of relief and all you can comprehend right now is not wanting it to end.
On a daily basis, massage therapists across the country assist their clients in the prevention of, and recovery from, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and related repetitive stress injuries (RSI). Let’s take a look at the anatomy and biomechanics of CTS and related syndromes, and through our understanding of the structural and behavioral origins of this disorder, find ways to prevent it from “impinging” on your own body.