Rae of Light
Aromatherapy Massage
About Massage Therapy

The Benefits Of Massage Therapy

What exactly are the benefits of receiving massage therapy or bodywork treatments? Useful for all of the
conditions listed below and more, massage can:
Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
Ease medication dependence.
Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body's natural defense system.
Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
Improve the condition of the body's largest organ—the skin.
Increase joint flexibility.
Lessen depression and anxiety.
Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
Reduce spasms and cramping.
Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body's natural painkiller.
Relieve migraine pain.
A Powerful Ally
There's no denying the power of bodywork. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (pampering,
rejuvenating, therapeutic) or the reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management),
massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen.

Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us
faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this
fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into:
Decreased anxiety.
Enhanced sleep quality.
Greater energy.
Improved concentration.
Increased circulation.
Reduced fatigue.
Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The
emotional balance bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical

Profound Effects
In response to massage, specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body, with
profound effects. Research shows that with massage:
Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain.
Asthmatic children show better pulmonary function and increased peak air flow.
Burn injury patients report reduced pain, itching, and anxiety.
High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones.
Premenstrual syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping.
Preterm infants have improved weight gain.
Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch—which range from treating chronic diseases,
neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of modern lifestyles. Consequently, the
medical community is actively embracing bodywork, and massage is becoming an integral part of hospice
care and neonatal intensive care units. Many hospitals are also incorporating on-site massage practitioners
and even spas to treat postsurgery or pain patients as part of the recovery process.

Increase the Benefits with Frequent Visits
Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting massage frequently can do even more. This is
the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in
how healthy you'll be and how youthful you'll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money
for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. And remember: just because
massage feels like a pampering treat doesn't mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage
appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to
establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.

Review the
clinical research studies examining the benefits of massage.

Review massage information from the
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a
division of the National Institutes of Health

Types of Massage Therapy

Abhyanga, or oil massage, is an ayurvedic external treatment where one, two, or more therapists use
massage and aromatic herbal oils to bring balance to the body.

This combination of massage, yoga, and acrobatics was developed by Benjamin Marantz. The client is
placed in an inverted pose atop the acrosager’s feet, with the head hanging freely. With no pressure on the
neck or spine, the client’s upper body can be easily massaged.

Acu-Yoga is a system of exercises integrating the knowledge of two holistic methods of health
maintenance—acupressure and yoga. Both relax muscular tension and balance the vital life forces of the
body. Yoga does this through controlling the breath while holding the body in certain postures.
Acupressure does this by directly manipulating body energy through a system of points and meridians.
Each Acu-Yoga posture naturally presses and stretches certain nerves, muscles, and acupressure points,
awakening the meridians and releasing the tension in the points so that energy (chi) can circulate freely.
This energy is the source of all life, and its flow is the key to radiant health. The process balances the
body and stimulates it to heal itself.

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 (sometimes known as qi or chi) to
aid healing. Acupuncture and acupressure use the same points, but acupuncture employs needles, while
acupressure uses the gentle, but firm pressure of hands and feet. Acupressure, continues to be the most
effective method for self-treatment of tension-related ailments by using the power and sensitivity of the
human hand. Acupressure can be effective in helping relieve headaches, eye strain, sinus problems, neck
pain, backaches, arthritis, muscle aches, tension due to stress, ulcer pain, menstrual cramps, lower
backaches, constipation, and indigestion. Self-acupressure can also be used to relieve anxiety and improve
sleep. There are also great advantages to using acupressure as a way to balance the body and maintain
good health. The healing touch of acupressure reduces tension, increases circulation, and enables the body
to relax deeply. By relieving stress, acupressure strengthens resistance to disease and promotes wellness.
In acupressure, local symptoms are considered an expression of the condition of the body as a whole. A
tension headache, for instance, may be rooted in the shoulder and neck area. Thus, acupressure focuses on
relieving pain and discomfort, as well as responding to tension, before it develops into a disease—before
the constrictions and imbalances can do further damage. The origins of acupressure are as ancient as the
instinctive impulse to hold your forehead or temples when you have a headache. Everyone at one time or
another has used their hands spontaneously to hold tense or painful places on the body. More than five
thousand years ago, the Chinese discovered that pressing certain points on the body relieved pain where it
occurred and also benefited other parts of the body more remote from the pain and the pressure point.
Gradually, they found other locations that not only alleviated pain, but also influenced the functioning of
certain internal organs. (Definition, in part, from the book Acupressure’s Potent Points, by Michael Reed
Gach, director of the Acupressure Institute, Bantam, 1990.) Click here to find an Acupressure practitioner.

Acupuncture is an ancient oriental healing technique based on the Taoist philosophy of balancing energy
meridians within the body, thus allowing the body to heal itself. Fine needles are painlessly inserted at
key points corresponding to body organs to relieve pain and cure disease and dysfunction. Related
techniques include the use of low voltage, electric current (electro acupuncture) or massage at key points

Ai chi is a water exercise and relaxation program, created by Jun Konno, to help aquatic practitioners and
students enjoy the water in a flowing, yet powerful progression. Ai chi, created by combining t’ai chi
concepts with shiatsu and Watsu techniques, is performed standing in shoulder-depth water using a
combination of deep breathing and slow, broad movements of the arms, legs, and torso. The ai chi
progression moves from simple breathing to upper extremity movement, to movement of the trunk, and
finally to lower extremity movement. Ai chi promotes relaxation, stability, and coordinated breathing. It
improves flexibility, mobility, and strength, and it will animate the mind as well as the body.

This noncompetitive Japanese martial art aims to harmonize energy with that of a partner or opponent in
order to achieve both physical and emotional mastery through peaceful resolution. Aikido literally means
the path to the coordination of body, mind, and spirit. Aikido is a defensive system of continuous, circular
motions, combining many of the fluid, dance-like movements of t’ai chi along with more subtle, stylized
techniques. When practiced properly, successful defense is achieved through minimal action. Originally
seen as a combination of religion and martial arts, aikido was created by Morehei Ueshiba in the early
twentieth century.

Developed by Kamala Renner, Alchemical Synergy is a process of evolving universal energy patterns and
is used as a holistic counseling system that focuses on achieving transformation by utilizing the universal
four forces—centripetal, centrifugal, gravitational, and electromagnetical—the consciousness portion of
the Big Bang theory relative to the beginning of the universe. Centripetal force controls all inward
movement, allowing us to go inside to observe and reconnect with our inner world, which contains
knowledge of all that is natural for us as an individual. Centrifugal force controls all outward movement,
allowing interaction of the consciousness with the surroundings and other people. Centripetal and
centrifugal force are duality and control all activity that depends on yin/yang, negative/positive balance for
its existence. Gravity regulates the action of centripetal and centrifugal forces to ensure universal balance
and stimulates the ability to step out of duality to observe the effect of its interaction from a neutral
space. Electromagnetics is the life force that is a catalyst for reproduction to occur, allowing the evolution
of consciousness to continue. Synergy training defines every experience in categories relative to the force
from which it originates. (Adapted from Holistic Health Directory.)

The Alexander Technique is movement education in which the student is taught to sit, stand, and move in
ways that reduce physical stress on the body. Alexander Technique teachers use gentle manual guidance
and verbal cues to improve students’ posture and movement patterns. A lesson or group class typically
involves basic movements such as sitting, standing, walking, bending, reaching, carrying, and lying down.
It may also involve more specialized activities such as playing a musical instrument, working at a
computer, etc. The teacher’s manual guidance stresses the adjustment of the head, neck, and torso
relationship. In beginning lessons, the teacher closely monitors the student. Later, the student learns to
monitor herself, ultimately learning a unique self-management process, an understanding of balance and
dynamic postural control. F. M. Alexander, an Australian actor, developed the technique in the late 1800s
as a result of attempting to solve his own physical problem of losing his voice on stage. He discovered
that misuse of the neuromuscular activity of the head, neck, and spine caused maladaptive functioning and
that this movement could be corrected. As he began to teach his technique, he found that his students’
overall health improved and that the technique could be used to address a wide array of problems. Click
here to find an Alexander Technique practitioner.

Known as conventional medicine, allopathy is a medical approach that seeks to cure by producing a
condition in the body different than, or opposite to, the condition that exists within the diseased state.

Amma (sometimes spelled anma) is the traditional word for massage in the Japanese language. It comes
from the Chinese tradition of massage, anmo. This form of bodywork is based on the principles of
Chinese medicine and is more than five thousand years old. When anmo was brought to Japan, the
technique was further refined into its own therapeutic art form, amma. The amma techniques encompass a
myriad of pressing, stroking, stretching, and percussive manipulations with the thumbs, fingers, arms,
elbows, knees, and feet on acupressure points along the body’s fourteen major meridians. Amma brings to
Western culture the ancient art and wisdom of traditional Japanese massage. Through the structure of kata
(choreographed movement), amma teaches the importance of rhythm, pacing, precision, and form in
massage. Shiatsu—a style of bodywork popularized after World War II—was developed from the amma
tradition. Unlike Western massage, amma utilizes no oils and can be done through clothing with the client
either sitting or lying. This makes amma an extremely flexible style of massage suitable to a wide variety
of client needs and environments.

Both pets and performance animals experience soft-tissue damage in their daily lives just as humans do.
Therapeutic massage provides significant relief, stimulates healing, and promotes stress reduction and
relaxation. Other benefits include enhancing performance by increasing range of motion, maintaining
muscle tone and joint flexibility, increasing blood and lymph circulation, increasing oxygen to reduce
muscle spasms, flushing toxins from muscles and joints, improving disposition, preventing injuries,
stimulating areas affected postoperatively, recovering from skeletal and muscular surgery or injury,
relieving muscle pain by releasing endorphins, and relieving discomfort from arthritis, lameness, and hip
dysplasia. Animals also can receive pre- and post-event massage for competition. See equine massage.

See amma.

Applied Kinesiology is a healing system that evaluates and treats an individual’s structural, chemical, and
mental aspects. It employs muscle testing and other standard methods of diagnosis. Applied Kinesiology
therapeutically utilizes nutrition, manipulation, diet, acupressure, exercise, and education to help restore
balance and harmony in the body and maintain well-being throughout life. (From Alternative Healing, by
Hugh Burroughs and Mark Kastner, Halcyon, 1993.) Dr. George Goodheart, a chiropractor in Detroit,
Michigan, discovered the technique in 1964 during a patient treatment. After applying a few seconds of
deep pressure on the man’s severe muscular dysfunction, he found the problem was eliminated. Dr. John
Thie developed a simplified version of Applied Kinesiology called Touch for Health in 1970.

A muscle monitoring technique, applied physiology allows the body to express what is out of balance and
provides information to restore that balance. Muscles are put through a normal range of motion, monitored
to determine where the stresses lie. The centerpiece of the technique is using acupoints to ask “questions”
about specific physiological and anatomical stresses. The goal of treatment is to let go of the stress within
the body by integrating the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components of an individual.

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. Aromatherapy diffusers are utilized to fill the massage room with the scent of the oils.
Specific essential oils are blended by the aromatherapist and added to a carrier oil, such as almond oil, to
be used during the massage. Each oil has its own unique characteristics and benefits. Use of this technique
declined as the modern pharmaceutical industry developed. However, the French chemist Gattefossé
revived the art by coining the term aromatherapy and by publishing a book on the subject in 1928. Click
here to find an Aromatherapy practitioner.

Using the media of the arts (sculpture, painting, collage, etc.) to provide release of symbolic expression,
art therapy allows the individual an opportunity to confront inner perceptions of the self.

This barefoot massage technique uses deep compression effleurage strokes that glide over the body. The
resulting movement may help relieve pain resulting from chronic soft-tissue damage. Correct application
will provide deep relaxation while stretching chronic shortened muscles of the body. Bars are used above
the head for leverage, and lubricant is essential for its application. [This therapy was developed by
massage therapist Ruthie Piper Hardee in 1995 as a result of her own scoliosis and disk pain associated
with bending over the table to deliver deep-tissue massage.] Correct application of two-footed strokes
near the spine creates a “push, pull, pumping” effect on the intervertebral disc space and can relieve
irritation on the spinal nerve. No anxiety should result from this application, and client range of comfort is
maintained at all times. Additional information is available at www.deepfeet.com.

Monitoring the flow of the vital life energy (known as chi, ki, prana, or qi) is at the heart of Asian
bodywork. Using physical pressure and manipulation, the healer evaluates and modulates this energy flow
to attain a state of balance. Popular modalities include shiatsu, amma, Jin Shin Do, Thai massage, and tui

Aston-Patterning is an educational process, developed by Judith Aston in 1977, combining movement
coaching, bodywork, ergonomics, and fitness training. It can be helpful to individuals seeking relief from
acute or chronic pain or for those wishing to improve their posture and increase the efficiency of their
movement patterns, either in activities of daily living or complex activities, such as athletics or the
performing arts. The movement work, neurokinetics, has two divisions. The first part involves instruction
in the most efficient way to perform the simple activities of daily living, and then progresses to complex
activities. The second part teaches the client how to use movement to decrease accumulated tension in the
body. The bodywork includes Aston massage, myokinetics, and arthrokinetics. The massage is a
specialized form based on Swedish massage, utilizing a three-dimensional touch that helps to release
functional holding patterns from surface to bone. The bodywork is used to make new movement options
available, and the sessions are followed with a movement lesson to assist the client in understanding how
the tension had been created and how to maintain the changes achieved. The ergonomic training shows the
client how environment affects the body’s alignment, dimensional integrity, and degree of effort required
to perform activities, and identifies the role the environment plays in the current complaint. The client is
trained to modify or negotiate with less-than-optimal ergonomic situations. Aston Fitness training
includes vertical and horizontal loosening, toning, stretching, and cardiovascular fitness. The loosening
moves address specific areas of tension that, when released, assist the client in achieving the best
alignment and dimensional integrity before working out. Toning teaches the client how to address specific
areas that are less toned in comparison to the rest of the body, resulting in an even distribution of muscle
tone throughout the body. Stretching is taught in a way that doesn’t borrow dimension from an adjacent
body segment while working a specific area. Click here to find an Aston Patterning practitioner.

This is a combination of Paul St. John’s neuromuscular therapy and more traditional Hatha yoga that
helps clients diminish and/or alleviate pain or discomfort and find homeostasis and equilibrium in their
daily lives.

Attunement is a non-touch (or light touch) approach to healing, employing spiritual techniques (prayer
and meditation) to restore one’s naturally vibrant energetic and physical well-being. Attunement balances
the flow of energy through the endocrine glands, organs, bones, and other tissues of the body—
establishing alignment between the body, mind, and emotions and harmonizing these elements with the
“spirit,” described as the radiant source of life and healing. Sharing attunement with clients invites them to
occupy a sacred energetic or vibrational space characterized by stillness and peace, where healing at all
levels can occur. This life-giving process is the doorway through which an individual may enhance or
recover health of body, mind, and spirit.

Ayurveda is the five thousand year-old medical system of India. It is also a philosophy that offers keys
for creating harmony and balance in life. The ayurvedic physician studies for five years and is supervised
for one year in a hospital. Although there are some spas in the United States that are designed as
ayurvedic medical centers, most spas do not focus on the treatment of disease. Instead they adopt
elements of ayurveda that focus on positive life choices, general detoxification, relaxation, enhanced
spiritual awareness, and gentle exercise. An ayurvedic massage is one part of the traditional detoxification
and rejuvenation program of India called panchakarma, in which the entire body is vigorously massaged
with large amounts of warm oil and herbs to remove toxins from the system. With the client’s permission,
oil is also poured into the ears, between the eyebrows, and at specific chakras, or energy points, during
techniques known respectively as karna purana, shirodhara, and marma chikitsa. These treatments have
been modified to meet the needs of the West and have been powerful in their effects on the mind and
nervous system—calming, balancing, and bringing both a heightened sense of awareness and deep inner
peace. The techniques can be done either as stand-alone treatments or in conjunction with the ayurvedic
body massage. The basis for effectively performing all of the various ayurvedic massage techniques is a
thorough understanding of the primordial energies of the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, and earth)
and of vata, pitta, and kapha—the three basic constitutional types (similar to the ancient Greek method of
mind/body classification). This knowledge allows the therapist to determine not only which ayurvedic
massage techniques to use, but also how to customize treatments by selecting the proper oils and herbs
and the rate and pressure of massage strokes to maximize the benefits for each client.


Developed by Edward Bach in the early 1900s, Bach Flower Remedies is a system of thirty-eight flower
essences used in conjunction with herbs, homeopathy, and medications that seeks to correct emotional
imbalances by working on the subtle body instead of the physical body. The pattern in the subtle energy
fields of the living plant influences the subtle energy fields of the human being. In prescribing flower
essences, the practitioner assesses the whole individual, focusing on the disposition or negative emotions
of the person, such as fear, impatience, or overconcern. An essence or combination of essences is then
chosen to facilitate change and administered orally.
Positioned above the client, the Balinese massage therapist performs a combination of kneading strokes,
skin rolling, and foot massage. Treatment is followed by an application of coconut oil infused with spices.

Ancient use of waters to restore and revitalize the body is known as balneotherapy. It has been used to
improve circulation, fortify the immune system, relieve pain, and treat stress.

The Barbara Brennan Healing Science program focuses on clearing blocked energy and balancing the body’
s energy field through hands-on work and deep healing techniques. Emphasis is placed on enabling the
therapist to discover her own healing process and thus personalize her healing approach. Channeling, the
use of spiritual guidance, healing with color and sound, and work with auras are among the techniques
used. Through the unblocking and balancing of energy fields, the client has access to healing on all levels of
functioning—emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental. Click here to find a Brennan practitioner.

BART (Bonding and Relaxation Techniques)
Based on the parent education program of infant massage by Virnala McClure, BART is a program of
stroking for individuals with, or at risk for, developmental delays. Designed to empower parents and
instill parental confidence, as well as nourish the bond between parent and child, BART aids in relaxation,
normalization of muscle tone, respiratory and gastrointestinal functioning, sensory integration, and
behavioral organization.

A series of massage techniques using acupressure points, lymphatic drainage strokes, and facial massage
strokes, Belaví Facelift Massage is designed to firm sagging skin, stimulate blood and oxygen, release
toxins, and soften lines. The treatment also consists of cleansing, exfoliating, hot towel wraps, and a
honeylift massage treatment.

A combination of corrective stretches involving the fascia, cartilage, and joints, Berrywork was created by
and named for Lauren Berry, a physical therapist.

This technique is based on the theory that any disruption or imbalance in any portion of the body affects
the entire system, specifically the autonomic, central nervous, and hormonal systems. Any disruption in
any of the body systems will affect the entire organism, both physiologically and psychologically.
Bindegewebsmassage is a specific, advanced technique intended to assist in the rehabilitation of pathologic
conditions. The theory of this technique extends to the belief that certain areas on the body’s surface
correlate to specific internal organs manifesting the disruptions with an increased sensitivity of certain
skin areas called points. See also connective tissue massage.

This bodywork combines marine algae exfoliation, herbal treatment, and light massage.

Developed by Polish healer Mietek Wirkus, bioenergy is a form of energy healing. The therapist uses a
combination of noninvasive, light physical touch with manipulation and repatterning of the higher energy
bodies and chakras using only the hands. The objectives are release of physical symptoms associated with
disease and stimulation of the relaxation response to relieve stress and tension.

Biofeedback utilizes a system of sensitive instruments that relay information about the physical condition
of the body. Used as a primary therapy, or in conjunction with other methods, biofeedback provides deep
relaxation and stress management skills to prevent stress-related disorders and illness. These skills,
including deep breathing and guided imagery, offer self-regulation and control over mental, emotional, and
physical processes. The principles of biofeedback can be traced back to the eighteenth century.

BioGeometry is a design language of shape that balances energy fields. Vitality, emotions, and mental
activities are energy and can be balanced geometrically. This is the language of the shapes of nature.
BioGeometry is the way of reading the energy workings in all fields of life. (Adapted from www.

Bio-magnetic touch healing is a light touch complementary healing method that employs the index and
middle fingers of each hand to lightly touch specific points on the body. The combination of correct
points, light, and butterfly-like touch activates the body’s own inherent healing ability and is subtly

Developed by John Beaulieu, ND, PhD, BioSonic Repatterning is a natural method of healing and
consciousness development using tuning forks and other sound modalities based on the sonic ratios
inherent in nature. BioSonics’ tuning forks help the client achieve deep relaxation and mind/body balance;
reduce stress and muscular tension, spasms, and pain; increase blood flow and circulation by releasing
constriction around targeted organs; and transcend to higher levels of consciousness and access spiritual
insights. Each tuning fork is calibrated at a specific frequency to address different areas of healing and
development. (Adapted from www.biosonics.com.)

Nerve impingement in cross-linked connective tissue is a major cause of chronic and sports-associated
pain. Through trauma (injury), compression, tension, free-radical damage, pollution, and more, cross-
linking of connective tissue is formed. These threads of connective tissue adhere to adjacent strands,
thereby decreasing range of motion, reducing joint space, impinging nerves, and generally shortening the
body. The BioSync method releases collagen cross-linking by unwinding these locked and hardened
strands, thereby restoring the body’s length, flexibility, and function and allowing regeneration and
revitalization of the whole system. The BioSync method, developed by Mark Lamm, NMT, is a
sophisticated system of neuromuscular rehabilitation and reeducation and has been successful with a wide
range of muscular and trauma-related challenges. It is complementary with existing medical and
rehabilitative procedures.

Nerve impingement in cross-linked connective tissue is a major cause of chronic and sports-associated
pain. Through trauma (injury), compression, tension, free-radical damage, pollution, and more, cross-
linking of connective tissue is formed. These threads of connective tissue adhere to adjacent strands,
thereby decreasing range of motion, reducing joint space, impinging nerves, and generally shortening the
body. The BioSync method releases collagen cross-linking by unwinding these locked and hardened
strands, thereby restoring the body’s length, flexibility, and function and allowing regeneration and
revitalization of the whole system. The BioSync method, developed by Mark Lamm, NMT, is a
sophisticated system of neuromuscular rehabilitation and reeducation and has been successful with a wide
range of muscular and trauma-related challenges. It is complementary with existing medical and
rehabilitative procedures.

Based on a balance between body, mind, and feeling, body imaging enhancement proposes that anatomical
structural relationships of the body need to be realigned and stabilized from a central line of the body.
This line posturally positions the body relationally to the force of gravity. As a result of the correction,
the client will experience energy release and perceptible changes in body shape, flexibility, and movement.
Working with the neuromuscular and myofascial systems, the therapist uses manual manipulations to
stretch and release muscle tissue and fascia to create freedom and flexibility of movement. It was
developed by Dr. Mark Hendler and Denise Hendler.

Developed by Yamuna Zake, this is a highly organized system of structural therapy/bodywork. This yoga-
based therapy works the joints in every possible position to create length and space.

Practiced on a six to ten inch ball, and following specific routines that imitate the logic of the
neuromuscular system, body rolling is a self-care practice that helps maintain the health of the
neuromuscular and skeletal systems, and assists controlling and understanding the internal sensory

Body-Mind Centering is a movement reeducation approach that explores how the body’s systems
contribute to movement and self-awareness. Developed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, the approach also
emphasizes movement patterns that develop during infancy and childhood. Body-Mind Centering
incorporates guided movement, exercise, imagery, and hands-on work. The approach can be used with
infants, children, and adults to resolve movement problems and facilitate the “body-mind dialogue.”
(Adapted from Holistic Health Directory.)

Body-oriented psychotherapy seeks to enhance the psychotherapeutic process by incorporating a range
of massage, bodywork, and movement techniques. Acknowledging the mind-body link, practitioners may
use light touch, soft- or deep-tissue manipulation, breathing techniques, movement, exercise, or body-
awareness techniques to help address emotional issues. Proper training is critical in this work. (Adapted
from Holistic Health Directory.)

Developed by chiropractor/acupuncturist Dr. John Veltheim, BodyTalk is based on bio-energetic
psychology, dynamic systems theory, Chinese medicine, and applied kinesiology. It has been extensively
tested and used in clinics and hospitals in the United States, Europe, and Australia. By integrating a series
of tapping, breathing, and focusing techniques, BodyTalk does not require diagnosis and therefore is
within the scope of practice of LMTs and bodyworkers. Its intent is to help the body synchronize and
balance its parts (organs, endocrine, lymph, brain, meridians, etc.) so they communicate effortlessly and
heal themselves. It strengthens the body’s innate knowledge of how to repair itself. BodyTalk is used to
address a range of health problems including fibromyalgia, infections, parasites, chronic fatigue, allergies,
addictions, and cellular damage.

Various forms of touch therapies that may use manipulation, movement, and/or repatterning to affect
structural changes to the body.

A hands-on, drugless, noninvasive method of relieving muscle-related pain, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy
emphasizes a speedy, cost-effective recovery and active client participation for long-term relief.
Myotherapy relaxes muscles, improves circulation, and alleviates pain in all parts of the body while
increasing strength, flexibility, coordination, stamina, and energy. It improves posture, gait, sleep patterns,
and work and play performance. The first ninety minute session includes an extensive and vital history.
Subsequent treatments are one hour and include self-help techniques. Clients are cleared for treatment by a
physician, which ensures the pain is not due to anatomical pathology requiring medical attention.

Developed by Thomas Ambrose Bowen of Australia in the 1960s and 1970s, this hands-on, light-touch
body therapy consists of gentle rolling movements over muscle bellies and tendons to stimulate the body’
s own healing mechanisms. Originally intended to help people suffering from muscular-skeletal problems,
Bowen Technique has also been successful with many other conditions, including asthma and respiratory
ailments in children and pre-teens. Click here to find an Bowen Technique practitioner.

Created by Paul and Gail Dennison, Brain Gym (or Educational Kinesiology or Edu-K) is a sensorimotor
program based on research by educational therapists, developmental optometrists, and other specialists in
the fields of movement, education, and child development. Brain Gym consists of twenty-six targeted
activities similar to those performed naturally by young children as part of the process of brain
development. Brain Gym prepares learners with the physical skills they need to read, write, concentrate,
organize, and otherwise function effectively in the classroom or the adult workplace.

This technique entails specific kneading, rubbing, and/or squeezing strokes applied to the soft tissue of the
breast to increase lymph and blood flow. As poor circulation to this area can produce uncomfortable
symptoms, and breast scarring caused by surgery and/or trauma can cause painful syndromes and obstruct
blood and lymph flow, breast wellness becomes increasingly important. The practice of breast massage
should be in conjunction with (and not a substitute for) regular self-breast exams. If a lump is found in the
breast, the area should not be massaged until a physician is consulted.

Breath therapy, which can ease anxieties and reduce stress, is the use of respiratory exercises to open lung
passages, oxygenate the blood, and cleanse the body by eliminating gaseous toxins. The client is
encouraged to breathe deeply while the therapist works the appropriate muscles.

The Breema system places particular emphasis on the experience and comfort of the practitioner, teaching
that we can best support others by being truly present with them. Its Nine Principles of Harmony are key
in this practical approach to self-understanding that nurtures and harmonizes the mind, body, and feelings
of the practitioner as well as the recipient. Done with the recipient fully clothed on a padded floor,
Breema bodywork uses a wide variety of rhythmic movements, gentle stretches, and fully-supported
postures. The system includes Self-Breema exercises that also release physical, mental, and emotional

Developed by Jeffrey Budzeky, RN, Budzek Medical Massage Therapy is designed to relieve acute and
chronic pain resulting from muscle, nerve, and joint disorders. This multi-modality therapy is based on the
specific sequence of twelve different bodywork techniques and addresses eight different aspects that
affect the body simultaneous


See oncology massage.
Cathiodermi is a rejuvenating treatment for the skin that provides deep cleansing and oxygenation of outer
tissue layers, removing impurities and stimulating regeneration. The treatment involves the use of galvanic
and high-frequency currents from an electric machine to provide electric stimulation in a low-voltage dose.

Known as seated massage, chair massage, or on-site massage, this technique involves the use of a specially
designed massage chair in which the client sits comfortably. The modern chair massage was originally
developed David Palmer, but the technique is centuries-old, with some Japanese block prints illustrating
people having just emerged from a nearby bath, receiving massage while seated on a low stool. Seated
massage includes bodywork and somatic techniques, such as shiatsu, amma, and Swedish massage,
provided to the fully clothed client in a variety of settings, including businesses, airports, and street fairs.
Click here to find a Chair Massage practitioner.

Champissage is the modern Indian name for the ayurvedic method of head massage, stimulating the
circulation to the scalp and nourishing the hair roots. Originally, the technique only included the head.
Today, however, this modality usually includes massage of the shoulders, upper arms and neck, and face
and ears. Along with increased blood circulation, it also stimulates the movement of lymph, thus having a
cleansing effect, as well as proving to be an invaluable technique for relief of eye strain, headaches,
insomnia, lack of concentration, and lethargy. Typically ayurvedic oils are massaged into the scalp,
however, this procedure can also be done without any oils or creams.

Chi means energy and information, and nei tsang means viscera or internal organs. Chi nei tsang addresses
the origin of health problems, including psychosomatic responses, and increases the resilience of the body’
s defense system. A chi nei tsang treatment may be self-administered or given by a practitioner. Chi nei
tsang practitioners work mainly on the abdomen with deep, soft, and gentle touch to train internal organs
to work more efficiently. All the body systems are addressed—digestive, respiratory, lymphatic, nervous,
endocrine, urinary, reproductive, etc. Chi nei tsang integrates applied qigong with the art of abdominal
massage. This technique was created by a Taoist monk several thousand years ago in the mountain
monasteries of China. In order for the monks to be able to learn to perform the highest levels of spiritual
practices, they needed to generate a very high level of energy. Today, chi nei tsang is still practiced for this
same reason, but people in all walks of life who seek greater health and well-being can also use it.

See qigong.

See Tui Na.

The Christopher Method Sound-Wave Energy Therapy was introduced in 1995 and is a non-touch
therapy that works on the multiple energy fields of the body to reinforce and release energy, thereby
contributing to balance and well-being on the emotional, psychological, and physiological levels. It
gradually realigns all levels of energy that run through the body. Tiny sound-wave vibrations are passed
through the practitioner’s aura to the recipient’s energy field where they resonate through each of the
multiple fields of the body to clear blocked energy, restore and reinforce natural polarity, and align and
reinforce proper energy flow.

A gentle infusion of warm water through the colon is used to cleanse trapped impurities, preventing the
recycling of toxins into the blood stream.

An ancient system using specific color rays to treat the body and mind, color therapy is based on the
notion that organs and systems vibrate at certain frequencies. By applying a particular color ray on an
area, the correct vibration--bringing with it health--will be restored.

A system of holistic acu-light therapy developed by Peter Mandel, colorpuncture applies different
frequencies of visible light onto the meridians where needles are typically placed during acupuncture. By
using differing colors, energy can be manipulated, either to stimulate or sedate. Gentle, relaxing, and
noninvasive, colorpuncture is sometimes used as an alternative to acupuncture for children and adults
uncomfortable with the use of needles.

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) incorporates a large group of healthcare practices and
treatments that are considered outside of or supplemental to the scope of conventional medicine. May
involve either mental or physical techniques, and some therapies may include use of herbs, meditation,
and/or massage.

Also known as bindegewebsmassage, Connective Tissue Massage (CTM) techniques are designed to
specifically affect the connective tissue of the body. CTM was developed in Germany by Elizabeth
Dicke. After diagnosis of a serious medical problem, she experimented with different types of massage on
herself. She found when she applied light pressure through the skin and connective tissue in one area of
the body, there was a related effect at a distant site. From Alternative Healing, by Hugh Burroughs and
Mark Kastner, Halcyon, 1993, “The technique consists of the massage therapist subtly hooking her
fingers into the skin and superficial connective tissue while performing a dragging or pulling stroke that
somewhat stretches the skin. CTM leaves a visible mark that looks somewhat like an abrasion or burn, but
which goes away without leaving a scar.” In Germany, it is considered a physical therapy technique; in
many parts of Europe, it is considered a medical technique. In the United States, connective tissue
massage is taught in many massage schools.

This form of neuromuscular reprogramming and therapy combines massage techniques with muscle testing
in order to help people learn how to use their muscles with greater strength and less effort. Conscious
bodywork is used to treat persistent joint and muscle pain and to treat restriction of movement caused by
injury. (Adapted from Holistic Health Directory.)

Founded by Emilie Conrad, continuum is a visionary inquiry into our capacity to innovate and participate
with the essential, generative, and biological movement processes of life. Much of continuum explores
embryogenesis, allowing each one of us to enter into the great mystery of creation as an existential and
spiritual unfolding. Continuum explores the idea that what we call a body or a brain is actually a creative,
nonlinear, unfolding event. Movement is something we are, as well as something we do. All aspects of our
functioning--thinking, feeling, languaging, and the very shaping of society--are explored as movement.
Continuum provides a nonlinear biological basis for movement education, rather than the mechanistic
models prevalent in society, and uses the primary perceptions of sensation, breath, sound, and movement
to guide us in both subtle and dynamic explorations. (Description reprinted with permission, Continuum
Movement 2001 Brochure.)

Developed by John Pierrakos, core energetics is the unblocking and releasing of emotion in order to self-
heal both physical and mental disorders. According to core energetic theory, combining bodywork,
psychotherapy, and the spiritual can activate a greater consciousness and assist clients in getting through
the varying layers of energy to be able to reconnect with their core and their innate capacity for love.

Originated by George P. Kousaleos, CORE is a myofascial, postural, and structural somatic therapy
combining massage techniques with client-assisted movement. Normally lasting ten sessions, there are four
phases of CORE body therapy organized according to the level or layer of fascia, muscle, and supporting
soft tissues that are manipulated: core massage, core extrinsic, core intrinsic, and core integration.

Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, noninvasive method of evaluating and enhancing the function of a
physiological body arrangement called the craniosacral system. Developed by John E. Upledger, DO,
OMM, this manual therapy enhances the body’s natural healing processes and has proven effective in
treating a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction. The roots of this therapy
are in cranial osteopathy, developed by Dr. William G. Sutherland. The craniosacral system consists of
the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It extends from
the bones of the skull, face, and mouth--which make up the cranium--down to the sacrum or tailbone.
Since this system influences the development and function of the brain and spinal cord, any imbalance or
dysfunction in the craniosacral system could cause sensory, motor, or neurological disabilities. These
problems may include chronic pain, eye difficulties, scoliosis, motor-coordination impairments, learning
disabilities, and other dysfunctions of the central nervous system. Craniosacral therapy encourages the
body’s natural healing mechanisms to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, dissipate the
negative effects of stress, and enhance health and resistance to disease. The craniosacral therapy
practitioner uses a light touch to assist the natural movement of fluid within the craniosacral system.
Therapists generally use only five grams of pressure, roughly the weight of a nickel, to test for restrictions
in various parts of the craniosacral system. It’s often possible for the evaluation alone to remove the
restriction and allow the system to correct itself. Click here to find a craniosacral therapy practitioner.

CranioSomatics is a paradigm for understanding relationships between the cranium and its sutures and
joints, neuromuscular functions, and meridians throughout the body. The concept that both functions and
dysfunctions of the cranial system are reflected in identifiable and predictable musculoskeletal/somatic
responses throughout the body and that the converse is also generally true, was developed by G. Dallas
Hancock, DC, and Florence Barber-Hancock, LMT, in the 1990s. The application of this concept is
CranioSomatic Therapy. Complementary therapies include CranioStructural Integration, developed by
Hancock, and Facilitated Pathways Intervention, developed by Barber-Hancock.

Also known as ice therapy, this modality uses the application of cold hydrotherapy in the form of ice
packs and cold water immersions to alleviate blood flow, swelling, and inflammation with the contraction
of blood vessels. Used in conjunction with heat, cryotherapy can increase circulation, and, hence, remove
wastes and toxins from an injured area.

Utilizing a self-activated crystal stimulator, which creates an electrical stimulus when two crystals inside
are forced together, this therapy stimulates acupuncture, acupressure, and reflexology points on the body,
releasing endorphins from the brain to help block pain receptors in afflicted areas and open circuits of the


Dance/movement therapies focus on personal expression to enhance emotional and psychological healing.
Using expressive movement as a tool, this modality lends itself to treatment of the physically disabled, as
well as clients with histories of abuse and addiction.
The area of the hara approximately two finger-widths below the navel is called the lower dantien (or
tanden). Dan means the medicine of immortality; tien means field. Is is the field of the elixir of life,
sometimes also called the “Sea of Qi.” The Ren Chong, kidney, stomach, liver, and spleen channels pass
through it. The qi of the organs and meridians of the entire body collect in the lower dantien, like a vast
storehouse of power. (Adapted from “Hara,” by Kondañña, Massage & Bodywork, June/July 2001.) See

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. Click here to find a
Deep Tissue Massage practitioner.

Degriefing is the process of recognizing the mental and physical pain that accompanies grief and treating it
with a combination of somatic therapies and psychotherapeutic tools. Degriefing can be used to unlock
and remove grief from an individual’s body, and thereby heal not only physical symptoms, but mental and
emotional wounds as well. It combines effective verbal counseling therapies with individualized physical
care. The techniques used in the degriefing process are intended to ease a person’s emotional distress,
mental anguish, and physical discomforts. The goal of degriefing is to unlock blockages that have
developed in the body and shift them to a more harmonious state.

This is a system of self-massage promoted most recently by Michio Kushi. More than five thousand
years ago, Chinese Taoist monks observed it was instinctive for a person to touch or hold an injured or
painful body part, a form of self-healing. They developed a system called Tao-Yinn: Tao meaning the way
and Yinn meaning a gentle approach. The name has evolved to Do-In, and the technique is used to sustain
overall health, as well as treat specific physical problems.

Dynamic spinal therapy was developed by Rolf Ott in Rapperswil, Switzerland, in the 1980s. The
technique works with the body’s posture and energetic (acupuncture) system and consists of three parts:
The ear reflexology test comes from France and Germany and is a form of ear acupuncture. The ear
provides information about the body’s energetic state. A therapy stylus is pressed along specific lines,
some of which are more sensitive than others and provide the therapist information. Acupuncture
meridian harmonization balances the energetic system. The focus is on chi flow to stimulate the personal
healing process. With the therapy stylus, certain meridians are traced on the skin surface. In the second
part, the pelvis is checked while being rotated, and specific stretches are applied. Afterward, the client lies
face down on the Swiss therapeutic cushion, resting like a person floating in water. This position offers
complete relaxation. The body is gently rocked in several different ways, the gentle rhythmic motion
prompting relaxation and inducing trust. The just-stretched muscles get reprogrammed, and the rocking
moves the joint helping to build them. Finally, the therapy is applied where necessary for joint problems,
migraines, arthritis, foot conditions lumbago, herniated disks, spinal nerve irritations, scoliosis, sciatica,
psychological problems, stress, and many more. A treatment usually takes between thirty and forty


Similar to reiki, as it is the channeling of energy and entails laying on of the hands.
In an hour-long session, clients experience their own electromagnetic field (EMF) and the patterns within
it. The practitioner carries out a series of graceful, t’ai chi-like movements, while the client lies on a
massage table. During some parts of the session, practitioners will gently place their hands on the body to
facilitate the flow of energy.

Endermologie utilizes a computerized machine that massages tissues under suction to improve blood flow
and lymphatic drainage, thus speeding the healing process. Use of the machine allows the therapist to
cover a larger area more quickly and with less effort. Endermologie is also used as an effective method to
treat cellulite, stretching tight tissue bands and stimulating circulation to flush out toxins.

This gentle treatment assists clients in balancing their energy flow. Therapists hold a space for clients to
make whatever shifts or changes toward balance they deem necessary. Emphasis is given to the chakras
and the joints, leaving clients feeling at peace and at home with themselves, with less pain, increased
mobility, and greater range of motion.

The practice of soft-tissue manipulation applied to horses. See animal massage. Click here to find an
equine massage practitioner.

Developed in the 1960s at Esalen Institute on the California Coast, this approach melded classic Swedish
massage with sensory awareness practice and slow, flowing t'ai chi. The practitioner works with the
receiver, rather than on the client. Today the Esalen massage signature flow is punctuated with deep tissue
detail, joint mobilizing, stretches, and energy work. Tension melts away and yields to a state of harmony.
Click here to find an esalen massage practitioner.

This is a healing through the energy field, which flows through and around us, and chakras, or centers of
energy. Each of the seven major centers vitalizes its related endocrine gland(s). It is possible to map and
measure this field and to assist in the restoration of good health through working to rebalance the energy
field. Therapists have learned to sensitize their hands and inner perception to examine the energy field in
detail to find alterations in the flow of energy. The therapist does not touch the client, but works variable
distances from the body. The client remains fully clothed.

A technique of guided breathing exercises and training used by somatic therapists in combination with
musculoskeletal therapy to release and normalize the function of the thorax, diaphragm, and other muscles
of breathing and to enhance health.

Derived from eu, meaning good, and tonus meaning tone or tension, eutony was developed by Gerda
Alexander of Germany during her work in Denmark in the mid-twentieth century. It is based on the theory
that there is a constant interaction between muscular tone and psychic activity. Acting on muscle tone can
affect the whole being and regulate the breathing, circulation, etc. Clients learn how to adjust their tonus
through the observation of sensations in various situations. Clients will explore the body’s perceptions--
from the skin to the bones--in movement, in relaxation, during activity, and at rest. Professional training is
an individual process lasting four years, the last year being devoted to practicum and exams.

StarFace Exerssage is a facial yoga, slow motion movement, and self-massage technique integrated with
breathing to release jaw tension and other tensions from neuromuscular parts of the face, head, and neck. It
is comprised of twenty-four cranial facial yoga postures and a series of rhythmic contouring and
acupressure pulsing massage movements. Connections are made to the vital organs with sound and
intention. It facilitates the release of jaw tension.


The fascial system is one continuous, laminated, connective-tissue sheath that spreads without
interruption throughout the entire body in a three-dimensional web. Fascial mobilization allows therapists
to locate and address restrictions in the fascial system that are causing asymmetries, postural
malalignment, abnormal tensions, and pressures that can lead to pain and dysfunction. The goal of fascial
mobilization is to produce a well-balanced, symmetrical, and mobile body within the skeletal, soft-tissue,
and craniosacral systems.

Developed by Russian-born Israeli educator Moshe Feldenkrais, this method establishes new connections
between the brain and body through movement reeducation. One of two formats of instruction is used:
awareness through movement and functional integration. In the one-on-one functional integration session,
a teacher uses hands-on manipulation to guide the student toward new movement patterns. Awareness
through movement classes are group sessions in which the teacher verbally guides students through
repatterning. Feldenkrais proposed that nearly our entire spectrum of movement is learned during our first
few years of life, but that these movements represent a mere 5 percent of all possibilities available to us.
Habituated responses to problem areas in our lives are ingrained in our movement patterns. By retraining
the central nervous system through the skeletal system, old patterns are eliminated and replaced with new
skills that improve the physical, mental, and emotional functioning of the body. In this way, unconscious
movement is brought into conscious awareness where it may be used as a tool for opening the human
potential. Click here to find a Feldenkrais practitioner.

Feng shui (translated as “wind and water”) is the Chinese system of balancing the energy patterns of the
physical environment. A composite of mystical beliefs, astrology, folklore, and common sense, the
Chinese concept of feng shui blends ancient wisdom with cultural tradition. The laws of feng shui provide
for positioning homes/businesses and designing room and office layouts in ways that promise to enhance
the quality of their occupants’ lives and businesses by channeling energy in positive ways. These
principles strive for creating balanced, peaceful dwellings by bringing together the external and internal and
living in harmony with natural and man-made environments. Good feng shui promises occupants health,
happiness, prosperity, and long life--a conscious connection between the outside environment and the
world within. These same principles can also be applied to the human body (called min xiang shue) to
promote inner character and restore harmony to areas of imbalance. Through meditation and daily
exercises, min xiang shue can allow a deeper self-awareness and regeneration.

This technique is based on classical Chinese medicine’s law of the five elements. The five-element system
views the human body as a microcosm of the universe with the tides of energy and emotions waxing and
waning. These energies and emotions are stored in the visceral organs and move through specific pathways
or meridians in the body in a regular and cyclical fashion. When these energies or emotions become
blocked, or deficient or excessive through stress, trauma, or disease, the five-element practitioner may use
carefully controlled pressure on certain meridian points to help move the energy or emotions. This
restores the natural cycle of energy and emotional movement, thus helping the person’s natural ability to

This aquatic treatment is performed in water heated to body temperature. The therapist and the client
work as a team, following the client’s innate intelligence as her body guides the work. With the water
allowing uninhibited movement, the body moves freely to release old holding patterns, blockages, and
restrictions and then repatterns into wholeness.

Foot zone therapy is based on the premise that energy flows through the body in meridians from the brain
to the feet. Every organ and cell has a representative point. On the foot, and when pressure is applied, the
brain sends a signal to the corresponding part of the body to facilitate healing and restore balance.
Temporary pain, defined also as a blockage of energy flow, is felt on areas of the foot that correspond to
the affected organ or body part. When the pain is relieved or reduced, the healing process has begun.
Positive and apparent results are felt almost immediately. Foot zone therapy dates back five thousand
years and was used in ancient China and India. Egyptian hieroglyphs and paintings also show the use of
this method. But not until the twentieth century, when Dr. Erdal of Norway used a form of this therapy
to cure himself of paralysis, did foot zone therapy get rediscovered. After more than twenty years of
intensive clinical research, Erdal has codified his findings into a medical science widely respected
throughout Europe.

This therapy requires two practitioners to simultaneously massage the client’s left and right sides, making
sure to mimic the other’s motions and to exert equal pressure for a balanced experience


Geriatric massage, with its focus on the elderly, addresses the psychological and physiological aspects of
aging and its associated diseases. Bodywork, often limited to a shorter time span, is often performed in
residential care facilities. Click here to find a geriatric massage practitioner.
The Grinberg Method is a systematic educational method that teaches people to mobilize their own
strength and vitality in pursuit of their well-being. It shows people how they can achieve much more in
their lives simply by paying more attention to their bodies.

Used in China for more than two thousand years, gua sha means to scrape toxins. A method of promoting
blood circulation and removing toxic heat, blood, and lymph from the body, gua sha involves scraping the
skin with a flat tool to facilitate pain relief. Olive oil and herbs are usually applied to the skin to open
pores, increase deep cleansing, and improve circulation.

Also known as visualization, guided imagery is a relaxation system utilizing imagination and thoughts to
improve one’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Often involving a process of listening to music or a
person’s voice, the participant can take hold of imagery, symbols, and deep feelings to stimulate the body’
s immune system, fight disease, and improve overall health. Many seriously ill patients use this technique
to imagine the destruction of their disease and/or disorder.

A system designed to exercise the musculature while mobilizing and articulating the joints. Gyrotonic was
conceived regarding key principles of gymnastics, swimming, ballet, and yoga through which major muscle
groups are worked interdependently and in an integrated manner. This system is served by a series of
specially designed exercise equipment that is built around the human body with all regards to total
freedom in movement, no restriction to speed and versatility, and enhancement rather than distraction
from coordination, strength, and flexibility. The motion patterns are natural, turbulence-free, and pure,
with no interruption, creating a bridge between contraction and extension through the rotating movement
of the joints, resulting in a balanced support system for the skeleton. Each exercise is synchronized with a
corresponding breathing pattern and is performed with either a rhythm or melodic rhythmical expression,
creating a gentle or vigorous cardiovascular-aerobic stimulation, depending on the intensity and speed of
the execution. (Adapted from www.gyrotonic.com.)


Using hands-on bodywork, body awareness, and movement, hakomi integrative somatics enables people
to discover the habitual, automatic attitudes (both physical and psychological), by which they generate
patterns of experience. Particularly helpful in working with the effects of trauma and abuse, emotional
pain, and limiting belief systems, this gentle therapy teaches clients to follow the inherently intelligent
processes of the body and mind. Clients are educated in the nuances of inner body sensations and learning
to track the ever-changing flow of wordless information that is the language of the body. It is precisely
this awareness that becomes a powerful healing tool, as it naturally expands the “somatic sense of self”
and heals the various forms of dissociation from the body. Hands-on bodywork is used experimentally to
help clients gain awareness of inner experience, specifically inner body sensation and patterns, emotions,
images, memories, or thoughts. Unconscious attitudes are brought to consciousness where they can be
examined, understood, and changed. By working physically and psychologically, the transformative shift
can take root on both levels simultaneously.
A body-centered psychotherapy, hakomi was started in the mid-1970s by American Ron Kurtz. Hakomi
uses body tensions and sensations to access information about the limiting beliefs, patterns, and habits of
the individual. Hakomi bodywork includes hands-on manipulation to access and change these beliefs.
Treatments vary to meet individual needs.

This system of sensory-awareness and neuromuscular education makes it possible for a participant to
recognize, release, and reverse chronic pain patterns resulting from injury, stress, repetitive motion, or
habituated postures. Hands-on methods teach how to relieve tension quickly, lengthen and relax muscles,
reduce pain, and regain comfort. Combining the hands-on methods (clinical sessions with a practitioner)
with somatic exercises (done by oneself) expands the range of benefits. Click here to find a Hanna Somatic

The source of health, vitality, and power, the hara is the physical center of the body. Bounded by the
lower rib cage and the pelvic bowl, the hara includes all the vital organs of the body, with the exception of
the heart and lungs--but even these have a reflexive, energetic presence here. The hara is the center of “me”-
ness. The first three chakras, which deal with basic survival needs and ego/personality development,
coalesce and interact here, culminating in a sense of individuality. It is an emotional center. (Adapted from
“Hara,” by Kondañña, Massage & Bodywork, June/July 2001.) See dantien.

This practice uses sound to create balance and alignment in the physical body, the energy centers
(chakras), and/or the etheric fields. It is a vibration applied by an instrument or the human voice and can
be understood as a field of energy medicine. The primary question in this field is: What are the correct
resonant frequencies of the body?

Developed by Janet Mentgen, RN, Healing Touch is an energy-based therapeutic approach to healing.
Healing Touch uses touch to influence the energy system, thus affecting physical, emotional, mental, and
spiritual health, as well as healing. The goal of Healing Touch is to restore harmony and balance in the
energy system to help the person to self-heal. The quality and impact of the healing is influenced by the
relationship between the giver and receiver. Click here to find a Healing Touch practitioner.

Developed by Carol Komitor and adapted from the Healing Touch program, Healing Touch for Animals
(HTA) is an energy-medicine modality combining philosophies, techniques, and applications to promote
energy balance and healing of animals. Also called the Komitor Healing Method, HTA works on physical,
mental, emotional, and spiritual levels and is used to help treat injuries, illnesses, surgeries, wounds,
behavioral problems, and stress-related issues.

Movement education and deep-tissue bodywork are the major components of Hellerwork, named for
founder Joseph Heller. Emphasizing vertical realignment of the body and release of chronic stress and
tension, Hellerwork involves eleven sessions: in each session, one hour is devoted to bodywork and thirty
minutes to movement therapy. Additionally, the therapist uses verbal dialogue to explore emotional
factors that may be contributing to tension in the client’s physical make-up. As a preventative technique,
the goal of Hellerwork is to produce permanent, corrective change in alignment and movement. Click here
to find a Hellerwork practitioner.

Developed by Dave Leflet, HEMME is a soft-tissue therapy designed for practitioners in a clinical
setting. It relieves pain by restoring alignment and improving myofascial dysfunction. The acronym
HEMME stands for history, evaluation, modalities, manipulation, and exercise. It utilizes physical
medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic work, and physical therapy. HEMME is a conglomeration of the most
proven techniques found in these approaches and works successfully in treating chronic low back pain and
soft-tissue injury.

Holistic medicine recognizes that the mind, spirit, lifestyle, environment, and other aspects of a person’s
existence, significantly affect the functioning of the physical body. Thus, in evaluating and treating illness
and prescribing preventative intervention, this approach treats the whole person, addressing more than
just the symptoms or disease. Holistic practitioners may utilize a combination of conventional treatments
along with alternative therapies.

This subtle technique, developed by Charles Daily, DC, allows the Holistic Memory Release (HMR)
practitioner to quickly locate specific holographic touch points that are referenced to the individual’s on-
going process. As in reflexology, where the entire body is represented on the foot, these touch points
correlate to whole-body microsystems. Through very light and specific digital contacts, a piezoelectric
effect is created within the crystalline connective tissue memory system for instantaneous memory
reframing. This self-assembly process enhances subtle self-observation within the individual. It increases
individual somatic awareness and releases self-limiting beliefs and tension patterns that have been stored
within the body/mind continuum. A fifteen minute HMR session spontaneously generates coherent waves
of cellular resonance in the connective tissue matrix and releases information logjams that can rob the
individual of necessary vital capacity.

The holographic nature of healing is a year-long training program that combines hands-on energy work
with verbal process work. The training’s purpose is to add skill to those who are already working
energetically and to assist in providing supervised sessions with feedback in a group setting. There are
three focus areas: the chakra system, hands-on healing technique, and quantum psychology for process

Developed by Dr. Stanislov Grof, a psychiatrist working with people in uncommon states of
consciousness, and by Christina Grof, a transpersonal teacher, this is a simple, yet powerful technique for
self-exploration and healing based on combined insights from modern consciousness research, depth
psychology, and perennial spiritual practices. The method activates uncommon states of consciousness
that mobilize the spontaneous healing potential of the psyche. Sustained effective breathing, evocative
music, focused energy work, and mandala drawing are components of this subjective journey. Holotropic
means moving toward wholeness. Virtually all ancient and native traditions recognize the psychological
and spiritual healing potential of states of consciousness that differ from what we call “ordinary.”
Holotropic Breathwork is a powerful method of self-exploration and healing. This work can be useful for
artists wishing to facilitate their creativity, persons seeking a deep level of healing, or those seeking to
explore their inner self and/or the transpersonal dimensions. It may lead to a spiritual opening and

Alternative healing method developed into a system by Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1700s, and based
on a “like cures like” principle--that is, if a substance can cause symptoms in a healthy person, then it can
stimulate self-healing of similar symptoms in a sick person. Clients are given minute amounts of natural
substances to stimulate the body to cure itself. When these nontoxic substances are properly administered
for an individual’s unique symptoms, they can be safely used by infants, children, and adults. There are
no known or suspected contraindications or drug interactions between homeopathic and conventional

Developed by Japanese-born, Argentine immigrant Tomezo Hoshino, Hoshino Therapy was declared an
official medical therapy in Argentina in 1952. Hoshino is a nonintrusive massage and movement system to
relieve and prevent musculoskeletal pain and restore vitality. Hoshino therapy recognizes two hundred
fifty vital acupuncture pressure points directly over the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that relate to the
biomechanical functioning of the body. Pressure and body warmth are applied by the first joint of the
thumb and with full-hand contact to reverse the hardening of the soft tissues. Therapy is combined with
daily exercises called Hoshino Action.

A method of bodywork that integrates subtle, articulate touch and verbal communication by combining the
focus of physical and psychological health found in Western body-based tradition with the deeper self, or
inner guide, found in Eastern traditions.

This therapy, though similar to reiki, uses the English language instead of symbols. It involves setting up
and normalizing polarities, as well as bringing universal energy into structures of the body. It is the mental
manipulation of human energy to affect changes in one’s self and in others.

This Hawaiian technique espouses that emotions and experiences are trapped in the fibers of each muscle
group and organ in the body. Through a rhythmic massage technique where the practitioner “dances” with
the forearm softly across their client’s muscles while informing the client of the particular emotion being
addressed (i.e., guilt, fear, anger, etc.), Huna Kane allows clients to reexperience that emotion and to clear
it from their bodies. From this place of clarity, awareness, balance, peace, and harmony become more
accessible. Huna Kane is practiced on fully-clothed individuals lying on a mat on the floor.

Although ancient Greece and Rome both adopted the beliefs that water had healing properties, it was the
Romans to first integrate hydrotherapy into their social life, building temples and baths near natural
springs. Father Sebastian Kneipp from Worshofen, Bavaria, however, was the true father of modern-day
hydrotherapy in Germany. Various hydrotherapy massage techniques exist and are generally utilized by
massage/bodywork practitioners, physical therapists, physicians, and spa technicians. These include
underwater massage, herbal baths, thalassotherapy, Kneipp therapy, Vichy treatments, Scotch hoses, and
Swiss showers. Click here to find a Hydrotherapy practitioner.

The use of hypnosis, trance states, suggestion, or altered states of consciousness to facilitate therapeutic
goals, including learning and practicing new skills for alleviating symptoms or changing behavior.


Qualified instructors teach parents how to properly massage their infants. Infant massage is also utilized
in hospital neonatal care units. This specialized form of touch is successful, not only in the critical weight
gain of premature infants, but also in creating a strong bond between parent and infant and exposing a
young child to the benefits and pleasures of touch. Click here to find an Infant Massage Instructor.
The Ingham Method is a form of zone therapy or reflexology. In the 1930s, Eunice Ingham, a
physiotherapist working for a physician, used zone therapy on patients. She mapped the entire body as
represented on the feet. At first used to reduce pain, Ingham developed the work into the Ingham Reflex
Method of Compression Massage, later known as reflexology. Only the hands are used to apply the
pressure to the reflex points on the feet. It is used primarily to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Many practitioners integrate the practice of reflexology with other forms of bodywork. It’s now known
as the Original Ingham Method of Reflexology.

Insight Bodywork, developed by Kondañña (Barry Kapke), is a floor-based energy work that seamlessly
integrates massage, movement, and meditation. Earthy, gentle, and spontaneous, its integrative approach
to somatic discovery and education facilitates energetic balance and flow, brings awareness to embodied
experience, and supports the body to find greater ease and ability. Insight Bodywork utilizes acupressure
and myofascial techniques, giving maximum support to the body while mobilizing joints, moving into slow
deep stretches, integrating with soothing brushes and holds, and, when appropriate, energizing through
shaking, rocking, swinging, or dropping. It is a work that is both playful and sacred in its approach.

Integrated Kabbalistic Healing is a system of energy healing, developed by Jason Shulman, based on the
traditional Judaic metaphysical path (Kabbalah), object-relations, and advaitic (non-dualistic) perspectives
with the understandings of psychology and the power of healing touch. A session is approximately one
hour in length and consists of discussion, followed by a hands-on healing based on what has been
discussed. The goal is personal transformation by changing the fundamental patterns that are keeping the
client from living the life she wants, ultimately affecting change on all levels: physical, emotional, mental,
and spiritual.

This practice indicates a combination of various massage, bodywork, and somatic therapy techniques
utilized by a practitioner in the course of a session. Click here to find an integrated massage practitioner.

This therapy recognizes that each person is more than the total components of anatomy, physics, and
chemistry and is instead affected by emotions, thoughts, social interactions, mind, spirit, consciousness,
soul, and more. Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT) combines multiple therapies to locate and alleviate
health challenges through individual body systems. Utilizing a combination of structural rehabilitation (a
manual therapy process of normalization) and functional rehabilitation (a therapy to restore functional
outcome according to the optimal potential of the client), IMT utilizes the expertise of professionals in
many fields--physical therapy, osteopathic medicine, homeopathy, audiology, massage therapy, etc. Click
here to find an Integrative Manual Therapy practitioner

Alternative and conventional (allopathic) methodologies are combined to stimulate the person’s natural
healing response.

An effective set of tools that can be used to mobilize the latent, innate healing abilities of clients to
support rehabilitation, recovery, and health. It helps clients facilitate an enhanced awareness of the
unconscious imagery they already have, while helping them learn to meaningfully and effectively interact
with this process on their behalf.

Intuitive work is a way of incorporating the perceived and received information that extends beyond the
five senses, transcending what is considered ordinary thinking patterns and reasoning processes. The four
main media by which intuitives receive and perceive information are clairsentience; clairvoyance;
clairaudience; and knowingness--impression or inspirational thought. The challenge for bodyworkers is
how to respectfully incorporate intuition into their work while demonstrating responsibility/respect to the
client. While the science aspect of bodywork focuses on the technique of touch (information accessed
through the left hemisphere of the brain), the art aspect of bodywork focuses on how to touch with care
and sensitivity (information accessed through the right hemisphere of the brain). As obvious tools for
listening, hands touch with the intent to hear and see--information accessed through the temporal lobe.
These three parts of the neurological system are considered the intuitive network.

Iridology is a diagnostic science in which the study of markings in specific areas of the iris are used to
indicate dysfunction in corresponding organs of the body. Used by physicians, naturopaths,
chiropractors, and other healers, iridology is a noninvasive technique that supplies information not clearly
delineated by other means regarding the condition of the body. Based on this information, the practitioner
can make recommendations for changes in diet or lifestyle as a preventative approach.

Developed by Charlotte Vandergrift, Isometric Muscle Balancing is based on the muscle testing positions
used in kinesiology. Balancing and strengthening the forty-two major muscles are accomplished by
isometric action, producing a feeling of lightness and an increase in energy. A forty-five minute to one hour
session also includes instruction in creating and maintaining balance and proper postural habits, as well as
attention to diet and attitude.


Jamu massage is a Balinese-inspired modality based on Indian, Chinese, and European techniques
involving acupressure, rolling motions, long strokes, and percussion-like drumming. Beginning slowly and
building to a staccato pace, Jamu massage is designed to energize and increase blood circulation.
These two practices form an integral part of traditional martial arts training that emphasizes a concern for
physical well-being. Restoration therapy has been practiced in Japan for more than fifteen hundred years.
It is a combination of amma, shiatsu, osteopathy, herbal medicine, and suggestive healing techniques. To
be a successful practitioner of restoration therapy, a thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology is
imperative, as well as knowledge of pathology, dietetics, psychology, and herbal medicines.

Developed by psychotherapist Iona Marsaa Teeguarden, Jin Shin Do combines gentle, yet deep, finger
pressure on acu-points with simple body focusing techniques to release physical and emotional tension.
The client determines the depth of the pressure. Jin Shin Do promotes a pleasurable, trancelike state
during which the recipient can get in touch with the body and access feelings or emotions related to the
physical condition. This body/mind approach, performed on the fully-clothed client, is a synthesis of a
traditional Japanese acupressure technique, classic Chinese acupuncture theory, Taoist yogic philosophy
and breathing methods, and Reichian segmental theory. The client lies on her back on a massage table while
the practitioner holds “local points” in tension areas together with related “distal points,” which help the
armored places to release more easily and deeply. A typical session is about ninety minutes. Jin Shin Do
acupressure is effective in helping relieve tension and fatigue, stress-related headaches and gastro-intestinal
problems, back and shoulder pain, eye strain, menstrual and menopausal imbalances, sinus pain, and
allergies. (With medical problems, the client is asked to consult a doctor.) Over a period of ten or more
sessions, armoring is progressively released in the head, neck, shoulders, chest, diaphragm, abdomen,
pelvis, and legs. After sessions, clients typically feel deeply relaxed and may even feel euphoric. If the
client is responsive, there will be significantly less tension and pain together with an increased sense of
well-being for hours or days. This response will tend to extend after further sessions. In the case of
chronic fatigue, initially the client may feel more tired after a session, because the body is demanding rest.
It is advisable to schedule sessions with time to rest and relax afterward. On the other hand, Jin Shin Do
can be used before athletic events to improve performance, for horses as well as for people.

Jin Shin Jyutsu physio-philosophy is an ancient art of harmonizing the life energy in the body. Born of
innate wisdom and passed down from generation to generation by word of mouth, the art had fallen into
relative obscurity when it was revived in the early 1900s by Master Jiro Murai in Japan. After clearing
himself of life-threatening illness, Master Murai devoted the rest of his life to the research and
development of Jin Shin Jyutsu, gathering insight from a range of experiences and resources including the
Kojiki (Record of Ancient Things). The resulting knowledge of Jin Shin Jyutsu was then given to Mary
Burmeister who brought it to the United States in the 1950s. Burmeister began teaching the art of Jin Shin
Jyutsu to others in the early 1960s and today there are thousands of students and practitioners around the
world. Jin Shin Jyutsu brings balance to the body’s energies, which promotes optimal health and well-
being and facilitates a profound healing capacity. It is a valuable complement to conventional healing
methods, inducing relaxation and reducing the effects of stress. Jin Shin Jyutsu employs twenty-six
“safety energy locks” along energy pathways that feed life into our bodies. When one or more of the paths
becomes blocked, the resulting stagnation can disrupt the local area and eventually disharmonize the
complete path of energy flow. Holding these energy locks in combination can bring balance to mind, body,
and spirit. Jin Shin Jyutsu can be applied as self-help and also by a trained practitioner. A Jin Shin Jyutsu
session generally lasts about one hour. It does not involve massage, manipulation of muscles, or use of
drugs or substances. It is a gentle art, practiced by placing the fingertips (over clothing) on designated
safety energy locks, to harmonize and restore the energy flow. This facilitates the reduction of tension and
stress that accumulate through normal daily living. Click here to find a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner


Kentro body balance is a technique of gentle centering and balancing movements that stretch, exercise,
relax, limber, and strengthen every area of the body. Founded by Angelika Thusius, Kentro is based on her
observation of people around the world who move with ease into an advanced age. Kentro movements can
be practiced by anyone and are easily integrated into everyday activities for muscular and joint relief.
Kinesiology is the study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy related to human body movement,
specifically the action of individual muscles or groups of muscles that perform specific movements.
Applied kinesiology involves muscle testing to assess a client’s condition. Click here to find a

Developed by dancer/choreographer Elaine Summers, kinetic awareness is a system of bodywork that
aims to increase knowledge of the human body by understanding tension as a positive and necessary part
of movement affecting health, attitude, and emotional well-being. Designed to improve mental image,
clients can gain a heightened sensitivity to posture and movement. All parts of the body are encouraged to
be free to move in all directions in which it’s possible. A goal of kinetic awareness is to free the body so it
is always moving away from pain and toward pleasure. There are five phases of awareness, including
attention to breathing, simultaneous movement of body parts, level of tension, speed of movement, and
relation to others.

This is a deep-tissue modality that includes massage strokes, body movement, stretches, pressure point
therapy, yum yang therapy, and Korean energy work. Gentle on the practitioner, Korean Martial
Therapy (KMT) may be performed with the client on a table, the floor, or in a chair and may or may not
incorporate the use of oils. Derived from Hapkido and traditional Korean medicine, KMT began as self-
therapy stretches that were found useful for keeping warriors in top condition and helping them recover
quickly from injury.

The Kripalu bodyworker guides the client into a state of deep relaxation and meditation for the purpose of
releasing physical and mental tension. This technique, based on Kripalu yoga, uses specific massage
strokes and verbal/nonverbal procedures to aid clients in reconnecting with their body’s own healing

Kriya is defined as spontaneous energy movement. Kriya Massage, developed by Kamala Renner in 1980,
emphasizes the intuitive aspect by the practitioner in flowing with the “kriya” movement while
performing the massage. Kriya Massage is an art form that integrates the universal, life-affirming flow of
energy between the practitioner and client, with any classical massage techniques integrated into the dance.
Kriya Massage is a bodywork dance with the individual creating her own style in harmony with four
universal forces. The strokes and techniques used in Kriya Massage are a combination of energy work,
Swedish, neuromuscular, and somato-emotional release work done in a connected smooth pattern. The
experience of a Kriya Massage is one of stepping out of time and space as a means of taking inventory of
one’s condition, then allowing the subconscious to shift and adjust programmed responses to life. The
healing quality of Kriya Massage is accomplished by transforming attitudes. Giving, as well as receiving, a
Kriya Massage is a regenerating experience. (Adapted from Holistic Health Directory.)

This is a form of healing energy in which the objective is to raise the client’s Kundalini energy for the
purpose of spiritual enlightenment. First, the chakras and energy bodies are thoroughly cleansed and
balanced by undergoing RoHun transformational therapy, a therapy based on Carl Jung and his theory of
archetypes, the personal and collective unconscious, and spiritual awareness. The therapist then performs
noninvasive, light physical touch and manipulation of the chakras and energy bodies through use of the


Stones of all shapes and sizes and varying temperatures, ranging from zero to 140 degrees, are used during
LaStone massage therapy to elicit physical healing, mental relaxation, and a spiritual connection to earth
energy. Warm stones encourage the exchange of blood and lymph and provide soothing heat for deep-
tissue work. Cold stones aid with inflammation, moving blood out of the area, and balancing male/female
energies. Stones are placed in varying positions on the body for energy balancing or may be used by the
therapist for specific trigger-point work. The alternating heat and cold of thermotherapy brings the entire
body into the healing process, with a rapid exchange of blood and oxygen and alternating rise and fall of
respiration rate as the body seeks homeostasis. LaStone therapy requires less effort from the practitioner’
s own body and delivers healing warmth to the hands, benefitting the therapist, as well as the client.
Founder Mary Harrigan drew from the wisdom of ancient healers in using thermotherapy as the basis for
her approach. Click here to find a stone massage practitioner.
This energy medicine therapy abates addictions, compulsions, fears, phobias, and stress-related problems
with a hands-on, noninvasive treatment. It employs electromagnetic and bioelectrical modalities and works
within a client’s body.

Life Enrichment Therapy (LET) focuses on touch as a therapeutic agent. Touch is seen as a process of self
expression for individuals seeking self growth and finding meaning. "Through massage" a person opens up
in a refreshing experience. LET is an interpersonal approach between therapist and participant based on
the premise that TOUCH has value. Life enrichment occurs throughout life. Through massage and touch,
awareness, and other tools persons explore what it means to be human. Life Enrichment Therapy Massage
was developed by Mark Hendler.

This method of bodywork was developed to fulfill a need for the busy massage therapist, especially those
working in resorts, spas, and health clubs. Students learn a one-hour, full-body massage that provides
clients with the relaxation and enjoyment of a Swedish massage with the deeper release of deep-tissue
work. Students also are taught to use their body efficiently in a manner that prevents injury and burnout,
yet increases stamina to maintain a busy practice.

This system of massage utilizes very large, broad movements. Two-handed, forearm, and elbow
application of strokes, which cover a broad area, is characteristic of lomilomi. Similar to Swedish massage
in many aspects, this system uses prayer and the acknowledgment of the existence of a higher power as an
integral part of the technique. Lomilomi--Hawaiian for rub rub--is described by teacher Aunty Margaret
Machado as “the loving touch--a connection between heart, hand, and soul with the source of all life.”
Aunty Margaret was the first to teach lomilomi in a formal, classroom situation; previously the training
was passed on within the family by Kahunas or shamans. Oils are used in the application of cross-fiber
friction techniques. The practitioner often uses the forearm and elbow in the application of pressure. Click
here to find a lomilomi massage practitioner.

This technique offers a unique integration of osteopathic visceral manipulation, using both deep and
superficial lymphatic drainage techniques and strokes that are nurturing and effective in detoxifying the
body. Click here to find a lymphatic massage practitioner.

Developed by Ted Looyen, this technique is a painless approach to deep-tissue therapy, working with
the connective tissue and fascial components. It is a combination of several restructuring systems,
including Rolfing, postural integration, and Aston-Patterning.

Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) is unique in that healthcare professionals learn how to palpate the
lymphatic flow. As they develop their skills, they can then identify the rhythm, direction, and quality of
the lymphatic flow. Advanced practitioners will be able to precisely map the lymphatic flow to find
alternate pathways for drainage. Developed by Bruno Chikly, MD, Lymph Drainage Therapy evolved
from years of training in traditional medicine, Asian medical practices, and manual therapies. (Definition
provided by The Upledger Institute.) Click here to find a Lymph Drainage Therapy practitioner.

Developed by Charles W. Wiltsie III, lypossage is a combination of manual deep-tissue massage,
lymphatic drainage, and the principles of structural integration, used to combat cellulite. An alternative to
liposuction and body contouring machines, lypossage enhances firmness and tone and increases skin
resilience and smoothness. The treatment requires a series of sessions because the reduction of cellulite is
only temporary unless treatment is continued. When combined with diet and exercise, lypossage produces
a lifting effect in areas prone to sagging.


The “M” Technique is a series of stroking movements performed in a set sequence. Each movement,
identified with a mnemonic name, is repeated three times. Because the technique is structured in terms of
order and number, it is completely reproducible and therefore useful in research. The technique was
created by Jane Buckle, a critical care nurse, for the very fragile or critically ill patient and produces a
measurable parasympathetic response. The “M” stands for manual.
This is a combination of macrobiotic diet, philosophy, and shiatsu. Macrobiotic shiatsu makes use of the
classical Asian meridians. The feet are utilized considerably in the application of this method.

The therapeutic use of magnets may be older than acupuncture, originally involving a material called
magnetite applied in a poultice. Today’s magnet therapy is still applied to the skin, but employs steady
or pulsed magnetic fields from either electromagnets or less powerful permanent magnets. Fixed magnets
may also be taped to the body for a period of time. Magnet therapy is used to relieve pain and discomfort
and to aid in healing with a variety of physical and emotional disorders, such as arthritis and stress.
Treatment may be administered by the therapist or, as in the case of taped magnets, by the client.

The strokes applied in manual lymph drainage are intended to stimulate the movement of the lymphatic
fluids in order to assist the body in cleansing. This is a gentle, rhythmical technique that cleanses the
connective tissue of inflammatory materials and toxins, enhances the activity of the immune system,
reduces pain, and lowers the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. The most widely taught and
generally accepted form of this technique was created by Dr. Vodder of Austria and requires advanced
training and precise movements.

Developed by Reiki Master Ethel Lombardi, the expression MariEL refers to a transformational healing
energy that works at the cellular level to help clients discover and release emotional and physical traumas.

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; effleurage (either firm or light soothing, stroking movement, without
dragging the skin, using either padded parts of fingertips or palms); petrissage (lifting or picking up
muscles and rolling the folds of skin); or tapotement (striking with the side of the hand, usually with
partly flexed fingers, rhythmic movements with fingers or short rapid movements of sides of the hand).
These techniques may be applied with or without the aid of lubricants, salt or herbal preparations,
hydromassage, thermal massage or a massage device that mimics or enhances the actions possible by
human hands. The purpose of the practice of massage is to enhance the general health and well-being of
the recipient. 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.

Another term meaning therapeutic muscle massage.

Maya Abdominal Massage is a noninvasive, external, massage technique. It guides internal abdominal
organs into their proper position for optimum health and well-being. Maya massage improves organ
function by releasing physical and emotional congestion from the abdomen. The technique applies
anatomy, physiology, herbology, and naprapathy with Ancient Maya healing techniques to address
common female complaints such as painful or irregular periods, varicose veins, lower backache, infertility,
and more. The techniques also address male complaints such as prostrate swelling and inflammation,
frequent urination, and impotency. The technique works by relieving congestion and blockages to improve
the flow of chi and fluids of the circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems to prevent the progression of
chronic disease symptomology. Dr. Rosita Arvigo, DN, developed these techniques after apprenticing
with Don Elijio Panti, the last of the traditional Maya shaman in Central America, where she has lived for
more than thirty years. The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Massage combine modern science
with traditional healing and wisdom to produce a holistic path to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-

Mechanical link is a system of evaluation that allows practitioners to locate and release primary
restrictions within the fascial system. These gentle techniques help reduce structural tensions and
encourage the body to adjust itself and regulate its systems, including the autoimmune system.

Performing medical massage requires a firm background in pathology and utilizes specific treatments
appropriate to working with disease, pain, and recovery from injury. The therapist may work from a
physician’s prescription or as an adjunct healer within a hospital or physical therapy setting. Click here to
find a medical massage practitioner.

Through a series of spontaneous movement exercises, participants use basic sensing, focusing, vocalizing,
and hands-on techniques to consciously experience the meaning of their personal breath movement. Since
its inception, this artistic form of breathing education, developed by Professor Ilse Middendorf, has
achieved international attention for its effectiveness as a somatic healing and growth process.

Relaxation techniques, meditation, and easy stretching exercises are combined to allow the client to become
mindful in order to access inner sources of power. By being fully mindful and awake in life, clients may
cope more effectively with stress and illness.

A variety of techniques that utilize movement reeducation and proper body mechanics in combination
with massage or soft-tissue manipulation. After observing the client, the therapist will determine which
corrective measures are necessary to accomplish specific goals. Active client participation is important
while the practitioner uses verbal instruction, hypnosis and imagery, deep muscle and connective tissue
manipulation, and mobilization in the movement reeducation process. Registered practitioners may include
graduates of the Feldenkrais Method, the Alexander Technique, and other movement-based disciplines.

Multi-Dimensional Movement Arts (MDMA), water version, is the art of using movement in the medium
of water to create dynamic balance. Specific actions, patterns, and waveforms promote reorganization,
reeducation, rehabilitation, relaxation, rejuvenation, and dynamic balance. This continuous process of
attunement leads to heightened states of awareness. During a typical session, the client is supported by
flotation devices and moved in thermal water. Trained practitioners play with the various interconnections
and influences of orbiting circles, spirals, and infinity signs, promoting vitality and health. A body in
water is buoyant. The liquid environment changes auditory experience. One can move freely without using
muscles. Travel and movement are distorted and experience is shifted from ordinary reality. This affects a
person on many different levels: memories are jogged, holding patterns released, body parts awakened, and
awareness stimulated.

Muscle energy is a direct, noninvasive manual therapy used to normalize joint dysfunction and increase
range of motion. The practitioner evaluates the primary areas of dysfunction in order to place the affected
joints in precise positions that enable the client to perform gentle isometric contractions. These directed
movements help correct neuromuscular and joint difficulties.

This technique combines compression, extension, movement, and breath to give therapists a tool to
provide relief from pain, treating such conditions as carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic low back pain,
plantar fasciitis, sciatica, tennis elbow, knee pain, shin splints, frozen shoulder, hammer toes, piriformis
syndrome, tendinitis, trigger finger, and much more.

Muscle testing involves finding a muscle that is unbalanced and then attempting to determine why that
muscle is not functioning properly. Treatments may involve specific joint manipulation or mobilization,
various myofascial therapies, cranial techniques, meridian and acupuncture skills, clinical nutrition, dietary
management, counselling skills, evaluating environmental irritants, and various reflex procedures. The
object is to test the function of a single muscle in the best possible manner. (Adapted from www.icak.

Myofascial release is the three-dimensional application of sustained pressure and movement into the
fascial system in order to eliminate fascial restrictions and facilitate the emergence of emotional patterns
and belief systems that are no longer relevant or are impeding progress. First, an assessment is made by
visually analyzing the human frame, followed by the palpation of the tissue texture of various fascial
layers. Upon locating an area of fascial tension, gentle pressure is applied in the direction of the
restriction. Myofascial release is an effective therapeutic approach in the relief of cervical pain, back pain,
fibromyalgia, scoliosis, neurological dysfunction, restriction of motion, chronic pain, and headaches. Click
here to find a Myofascial Release practitioner.

Based on the discoveries of Drs. Janet Travell and David Simons in which they found the causal
relationship between chronic pain and its source, myofascial trigger point therapy is used to relieve
muscular pain and dysfunction through applied pressure to trigger points of referred pain and through
stretching exercises. These points are defined as localized areas in which the muscle and connective tissue
are highly sensitive to pain when compressed. Pressure on these points can send referred pain to other
specific parts of the body.

Myomassology is an integration of techniques including basic Swedish massage, aromatherapy,
reflexology, shiatsu, iridology, herbology, energy balancing, ear candling, and craniosacral therapy in
conjunction with instruction in nutrition, meditation, yoga, tai chi, and qigong. Click here to find a
Myomassology practitioner.

Myopathy is a system of muscular manipulation designed to accomplish relaxation in muscles in which
there is progressive and residual tension from physical strain, nervous strain, sports injuries, accidents,
infections, and/or years of declining health. Created by Dr. Claude Heckman, myopathy reduces
inflammation and pain, restores circulation and motion, and aids in the restoration of normal body
functions without the use of oil, cream, powder, or lotion.

Robert Petteway developed the Myopractic system after thirty years in the healing arts. His experience in
structural integration, biomechanics, acupuncture, Oriental medicine, and a wide variety of muscle
therapies contribute to the system. He worked with physicians, surgeons, and chiropractors for more than
twenty years to develop this therapeutic model. Myopractic muscle therapy combines three basic
techniques: compression stretching, which achieves deep relaxation and relieves tension, spasms, and
holding patterns; clearing methods, which use the myopractic covered thumb and framing techniques to
clean obstructions from soft tissue (e.g., trigger points, scar tissue, muscle bundles, and old bruises); and
separating techniques to release myofascial adhesions, separate fascial planes, and rebalance muscles.
Myopractic muscle therapy integrates its own unique style of energetic work, Swedish, sports, trigger
point, myofascial, and even structural integration techniques into one system. Myopractic teaches user-
friendly, pain-free therapy for both client and practitioner. This is accomplished using the therapist’s
body weight and leverage, rather than relying on size and strength. Myopractic posture balancing
evaluation identifies the source of chronic pain misalignments in the body’s structure and realigns them.
Myopractic treatments focus especially on misalignments in the lower body, particularly in the feet,
ankles, and the hips. Addressing lower-body misalignments often relieves tension injuries in the upper
body. Myopractic espouses a therapist can clear their clients only to the degree they themselves are clear.
Therefore the seminars focus on clearing the therapist, as well as learning new techniques.

A holistic approach to relief of back and neck pain based on concepts and principles from Rolfing,
osteopathy, and related physical medicine. Focused on detecting and correcting strain patterns to prevent
back/neck pain, this technique combines deep-tissue work with assisted stretching and non-force spinal

See Bonnie Prudden Myotherap


This therapy involves light acupressure applied along both sides of the spinal column in an area where the
energy flow of a meridian intersects with the nerve roots at acupressure points. It is considered a safe,
effective, natural approach to detecting and eliminating all types of allergies.
With influences from osteopathy and chiropractic, this system of treatment uses soft-tissue manipulation
to release tension and balance energy flows in the body. The practitioner uses palpation to explore the
tissue, looking for rigid, contracted areas of the body, then begins repetitive, rhythmic, thrusts to gently
stretch the contracted connective tissues. Sessions usually last thirty minutes, focusing mainly on the
ligaments near the spinal column. Diet, exercise, and postural adjustments help improve circulatory and
nervous system function.

Naturopathy integrates a wide range of natural therapeutics emphasizing the healing power of nature to
treat the causes of disease, rather than suppressing the symptoms. As part of a holistic medical healthcare
system with an emphasis on education and prevention, the naturopathic physician seeks to motivate the
individual toward a healthy and balanced diet, lifestyle, and mental attitude. Treatments such as
homeopathic medicines, clinical nutrition, traditional Asian medicine, and acupuncture are used to enhance
the body’s natural healing process.

This technique is a holistic healing system that utilizes the best of American kinesiology and European
neural therapy. Neural kinesiology recognizes and assesses the need for therapies in each of the four
primary categories--neurological, structural, biochemical, and psychological.

Neuro-Structural Bodywork (NSB) is a somatic therapy that combines a variety of techniques, including
fascial release, neuromuscular reeducation, craniosacral adjustment, and breathwork in balancing the
musculoskeletal, nervous, and chakra systems. NSB techniques restore sensory perception and motor
control and allow for new neurological impulses that support postural balance and free range of motion,
ultimately enhancing one’s poise, balance, and sense of well-being. NSB is effective in treating both acute
injuries and chronic conditions, including strained muscles, upper/lower back and disc problems, frozen
shoulder, joint injuries, fibromyalgia, migraines, TMJ, and chronic fatigue syndrome. NSB helps create a
more receptive environment for a variety of other modalities (especially chiropractic and physical
therapy), improving results from exercise and supporting the body in sustaining skeletal adjustments. It
also provides a possible alternative to more invasive treatments (including surgery) in cases where the
underlying cause of the problem is fascial restriction and/or loss of sensory perception and motor control.
Developed by Nancy DeLucrezia, NSB can also be used to stimulate and support emotional release and as
an adjunct to psychological integration therapies.

Neuromuscular integrative action (NIA) is an expressive fitness and awareness movement program and a
holistic approach to health. It combines movements from t’ai chi, yoga, martial arts, and modern ethnic
dances. NIA uses a variety of movements blended with the conscious use of mind and energy, combined in
a total fitness program.

NeuroMuscular Reprogramming (NMR) uses muscle testing to assess dysfunctions of the coordination
system resulting from traumatic injury and overuse. It cues the brain for new learning resulting in the
immediate correction of neuromuscular imbalances. NMR works with the body’s organizational
intelligence addressing neuromuscular pain at its source: the motor control center of the brain. NMR is
easy on the practitioner, using strategy, not force.

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. Click here to find a neuromuscular practitioner.

Nikkon Restorative Massage was developed by Professor Henry Seishiro Okazaki in Hawaii in the 1920s.
He incorporated Japanese, Chinese, and Hawaiian techniques. The goal of Okazaki’s style was to restore
health and pull toxins out of the body through proper application of pressure using fingers, forearms, and
elbows. The result is proper realignment of the body to its highest potential.

See Thai massage.

This form of traditional Thai medical massage originated in the Vajrayana Yogic medicine of Tibet.
Translated and creatively adapted to the needs of the modern West by Anthony B. James, PhD, Nuat
Thai massage facilitates and promotes a harmonious state of being. The ancient Tibetans, and
subsequently the Thai, carefully recorded various states of disease and imbalances of the body, mind, and
emotions and, over time, devised methods for influencing the course of these imbalances. This was
important, since these imbalances often kept people from experiencing life in a full and productive way.
Nuat Thai incorporates elements of mindfulness, gentle rocking, deep stretching, and rhythmic
compression to create a singular healing experience. This work, a unique form of Vajrayana yoga, focuses
on balancing energy and creating wholeness of mind, body, and spirit in the client and practitioner. The
four principle methods used in Nuat Thai are Wai Khruu (prayers and spiritual practice), herbs, diet, and
laying-on of hands. In the hands-on aspect, the practitioner literally takes the client through a series of
specific postures called asanas, progressively facilitating energy and balancing chakra function. Nuat Thai
massage may be used for rehabilitation, pain relief, and stress reduction. It is nurturing, calming, and
enlivening. Training is comprehensive, and the practitioner level may take up to two years.


Ohashiatsu is a method of bodywork offering both giver and receiver a complete experience of self-
development and healing. Combining Eastern healing philosophy and techniques with psychological and
spiritual components, Ohashiatsu expands awareness of self and others through movement, meditation,
and touch. As a holistic method, Ohashiatsu emphasizes sensing and working with the overall energy flow
throughout the body to create balance and relieve aches, tension, stress, and fatigue. Studying and
practicing Ohashiatsu helps to develop a balanced condition of health and well-being encompassing body,
mind, and spirit.
See chair massage. Click here to find an On-Site Massage practitioner.

Oncology massage refers to massage tailored to the needs of individuals with cancer. This specialized
practice requires therapists to be fully educated in and pay close attention to the physical, emotional, and
psychological needs of clients in all stages of cancer: diagnosis, treatment, recovery, survivor, or terminal.
Training in oncology massage covers appropriate bodywork modalities for cancer clients, includes
precautions for radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery, and covers physiology and pathology.

One Light Healing Touch focuses on clearing blockages and rebalancing the human energy field by using
spiritual and energetic hands-on healing practices and techniques. The application of these healing art
forms facilitates and increases our ambient energetic vibrations and awareness, strengthening the immune
system and opening the client to her indwelling god or higher self. As the higher self awareness becomes
activated, an evolutionary healing journey begins, moving the client through clarity of understanding,
health, spiritual autonomy, and ultimately, culminating in the fulfillment of her purpose of being: to heal
herself and other human beings and to find her place within the world.

Onsen is a Japanese word meaning at rest or at peace. It is a state of mind, but can also be a state of body.
Developer Richard Phaigh translated it to mean balance, particularly length and strength balance in soft
tissue, to form the basis of this new protocol. Onsen includes three key components: muscle energy
technique, post-isometric relaxation, and transverse friction massage.

Ortho-Bionomy was developed by the British osteopath Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls in the 1970s and has
since been refined into a comprehensive system of bodywork that includes a person’s energetic and
emotional well-being, in addition to addressing the physical body. Pauls combined his understanding and
techniques of osteopathy with the principles of martial arts and the philosophy of homeopathy to
stimulate the organism’s self-healing reflexes without needing to use force or painful manipulation. The
term Ortho-Bionomy loosely translates from the Greek into the correct application of the laws of life to
indicate Pauls did not invent something entirely new, but returned to a way of understanding the body and
energetic field that had been known for centuries, but had fallen into disuse by modern medicine. On a
physical level, a practitioner of Ortho-Bionomy uses comfortable positions and gentle movements to ease
the body into releasing tension and pain and to reestablish structural realignment. Proprioceptive nerve
activity and stretch reflex action are stimulated to educate the body about its own patterns and to support
the organism’s ability to find balance, rather than forcing change from the outside. Since the changes that
take place come from within, the results of the work tend to be long-lasting and affect not only the body,
but the overall well-being of the client. The energetic and emotional aspects of the client are included to
facilitate balance and release of mental and emotional holding patterns closely associated with physical
imbalance or trauma. Participation of the client is always welcome in Ortho-Bionomy, and sessions are
often educational in character. Often, awareness alone will change a pattern, but specific exercises are also
a part of what Ortho-Bionomy can offer a client. Click here to find an Ortho-Bionomy practitioner.

Combining some elements of sports and medical massage, orthopedic massage integrates ten modalities to
treat soft-tissue pain and injury. Emphasis is placed on understanding both the injury and its rehabilitation
criteria. Three basic elements adhered to, despite the technical diversity in treatment, are assessment,
matching the treatment to the injury, and adaptability of treatment. Click here to find an Orthopedic
Massage practitioner.

This therapy utilizes dialogue, coached breathing, and applying qigong from one side of the body through
to the other while lengthening, stretching and manipulating the body, all of which creates space in the
musculoskeletal system allowing for emotional and psychological restrictions to be cleared.

This system of comprehensive medical care goes beyond conventional medical philosophy to include an
emphasis on structural balance of the musculoskeletal system. Osteopathic physicians use joint
manipulation, postural reeducation, and physical therapy to normalize the body’s structure and promote
healing. Most medical conditions are amenable to osteopathic healing. In some cases, osteopathy has been
shown to resolve illnesses resistant to surgery and other medical approaches.


This technique utilizes deep cross-fiber strokes applied with the thumbs and fingers. Developed by
Therese Pfrimmer of Canada, this is a deep muscle therapeutic technique. As with many pioneers, the
technique was discovered in an effort to help herself recover from paralysis. The work enables free flow of
lymph and blood, as well as improving joint movement and removal of waste products/toxins from the
muscle tissue. Conditions that benefit from Pfrimmer Deep Tissue Massage include arthritis, multiple
sclerosis, headache, and fibrositis, among others.
This therapy involves a fusion of hatha yoga, bodywork, and psychotherapy. It is holistic art based on
the ancient science of yoga, combining elements of contemporary body/mind psychology with assisted
yoga postures. It is a totally client-centered process, and it establishes inner balance by awakening the
healing life force within.

Energy work designed to address the total person, Physiohelanics uses the body’s own energy systems to
enhance healing. Treatment begins with cleansing, balancing, and repairing the etheric energy field that
surrounds the body and is followed by treatment focusing on connecting major and minor energy points
(chakras) in the body. Touch from the practitioner is very light and usually targeted toward areas that
require cleansing and clearing. Throughout the thirty-five to forty minute session, the healer channels
energy rather than using her own. Physiohelanics was developed by C. Diane Ealy.

This technique utilizes massage, mud packs, wraps, baths, water, and steam therapies, and/or inhalation
treatments using natural herbs and floral extracts, plant oils, and seaweeds.

Pilates is a series of movements, done from a sitting, reclining, kneeling, or standing position, designed to
increase strength and flexibility, release tension, and relieve chronic neck and back pain. Developed by
German-born Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, this method combines elements of Eastern and Western
disciplines, including yoga, t’ai chi, and ancient Greek and Roman exercise protocols. Specially designed
apparatus are used for stretching and strengthening exercises and can be calibrated to the client’s needs.
Repatterning movements and proper breathing techniques are important components of the training. The
Pilates method is used in physical rehabilitation and is popular with athletes and performance artists, as
well as those seeking to improve body conditioning.

This acupressure technique requires several practitioners to apply pressure to specific acupoints for up to
two hours in order to remove blockage and stimulate emotional release within the meridians. The technique
was developed by Karen Peterson and John Walsh.

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 manipulation, blockages
and toxins are eliminated through a cleansing diet and simple exercises. Treatments are suggested in a series
of four. Click here to find a Polarity Therapy practitioner

Postural integration and energetic integration were developed by Jack Painter in the late 1960s and have
spread to Western Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Australia. These approaches focus on the unity of tissue,
feeling, and awareness. Breathwork, deep fascia manipulation, emotional expression, and meditation are
used in a unique synchronicity. Both are similar methods, but postural integration focuses on systematic
work with layers of fascia, while energetic integration focuses on melting bands of body character armor.
The client will experience not only extraordinary energy releases and tangible changes in body shape and
flexibility, but also major shifts in awareness and feeling.

Pranic Healing is a new science of bioenergetic healing. Developed in the Philippines by Master Choa Kok
Sui, it is a practical, easy-to-learn, healing art using prana, a vital life force, to correct energetic imbalances
underlying most physical, psychological, and psychospiritual ailments. Pranic healers are trained to use
their hands to accurately evaluate the energetic condition of the aura, eleven major chakras, and
corresponding minor and mini chakras. Healers then seal holes and cracks, clean out devitalized energy,
and energize with fresh prana. Advanced practitioners are trained to deliver healing down to the cellular
level. Removing devitalized energy before energizing makes healing more efficient and helps clients avoid
healing crises. All work is done off the body and sessions are painless. Pranic Healing can be performed on
its own or as a complementary therapy to modern medicine and other healing modalities. Different levels
of training are offered. Basic Pranic Healing teaches seven fundamental techniques to heal simple and
moderate illnesses. Advanced Pranic Healing specializes in healing severe ailments and teaching the correct
proportion, sequence, combination, and use of colored pranas. Pranic Psychotherapy focuses on the
healing of mental and emotional disorders and working with the root and web of chakras to disintegrate
and transmute negative psychic energies. It took twenty years of scientific experimentation and research
to develop Pranic Healing, which synthesizes the best techniques of the Tibetan, Chinese, India, and
Filipino healing systems, and is practiced in more than thirty countries.

Performed by a trained perinatal specialist, many methods of massage and somatic therapies are both
effective and safe prenatally and during labor and postpartum periods of women’s pregnancies. Prenatally,
specific techniques can reduce pregnancy discomforts and concerns and enhance the physiological and
emotional well-being of both mother and fetus. Skilled, appropriate touch facilitates labor, shortening labor
times and easing pain and anxiety. In the postpartum period, specialized techniques rebalance structure,
physiology, and emotions of the new mother and may help her to bond with and care for her infant.
Specialized, advanced training in the anatomy, physiology, complications, precautions, and
contraindications is highly recommended, and many practitioners require referrals from physicians prior to
therapy. Click here to find a pregnancy massage practitioner.

This integrated therapy combines traditional acupressure with Zero Balancing techniques and
psychological processing to enhance psycho-spiritual growth. Process acupressure offers a hands-on
method of influencing the body’s mental and emotional systems to stimulate balance, well-being, and
expanded consciousness.

PUSH Therapy was specifically designed to eliminate pain originating from chronic tension. Therapists
learn Soft Pressure Stimulation to treat tissue on a layer-by-layer basis. Techniques are administered with
the therapist’s body in a completely relaxed state--no muscular force is required--and without using the
hands. The PUSH Treatment Plan teaches therapists to eliminate chronic tension using four unique and
dynamic therapeutic tools: treatments that follow specific treatment protocols that ensure consistent
results; self-treatment methods that help maintain results between treatments; PUSH Mobility Training
that replaces rigid muscle patterns with new supple patterns and make the positive changes permanent;
and specific education that teaches each client how pain and tension develop and how to prevent their
return. PUSH trainings modules are dynamic and educational. Each student who takes the trainings is
taught how to eliminate chronic tension, eliminate pain, and enhance athletic performance, all while
maintaining a completely relaxed state and without using the hands.


This traditional Chinese treatment combines hands-on and hands-off techniques that balance the flow of qi
(energy) through the body, move and relieve qi blockages, and improve circulation. Qigong is also a
combination of timed breathing and gentle flowing movement, meditation, visualization, and conscious
intent all working together to achieve an integrated adjustment of mind and body in order to better
cultivate, circulate, and balance qi, or life force. Qigong theory is the basis of traditional Chinese medicine
and is used to treat many serious illnesses, as well as for relaxation. See Qigong Meridian Therapy. Click
here to find a Qigong practitioner.
Qigong Meridian Therapy (QMT) is a natural healing system. It is derived from traditional Chinese
medicine, which originated several thousand years ago. QMT is based and focused on the concept of qi. Qi
is vital energy, the unseen life force that courses though the body, enabling it to perform its functions, and
which permeates all of nature. The purpose of QMT is to release the innate healing ability of clients so
their body can maintain health and resist disease. In QMT treatments, specific hand techniques are used to
guide healing energy, which stimulates the meridians and certain points along or near the meridians. The
QMT treatments serve to remove energy blockages, balance the overall qi of clients, and increase their

Quantum energetics is a subtle, gentle healing method that works with the energy body to allow disrupted
energy patterns to regain their force. It is a holistic, noninvasive technique that follows a systematic
approach. Numerical codes that correspond vibrationally with conditions of the energy body are utilized,
along with applied kinesiology.

This hands-on healing method offers spontaneous adjusting of proper alignment of the body. Principles
behind Quantum-Touch involve resonance, intention, attention, breath, and innate body intelligence. Using
various breathing techniques and meditations, a light touch is applied to activate the body’s own healing


This technique is a science of universal energy, taught in seminars by authorized instructors throughout
the world. It is a seven-level technique, in which students learn a variety of ways to apply and use
unconditional, transcendental energy in their work, play, and everyday lives. These students are taught a
basic twelve-position, hands-on session that is to be practiced on the self for at least an hour. Authorized
instructors of the Radiance Technique do not license or certify students as practitioners. Such licensing
and certification is up to the students or practitioners according to the requirements of the community in
which they live and work.
Radix, also referred to as Radix neo-Reichian education, is an instructional method designed to teach the
client how to release emotions held within the muscular structure of the body. Emphasis is placed on
working through old traumas and moving into unique, new experiences of body/soul connection. The two
guiding principles of Radix are: safety, in which the student may explore deep, painful issues in an
atmosphere of trust and comfort; and exploration, primarily of the somatic experience. Charles Kelly,
PhD, developed Radix, combining techniques and principles from Reichian and Gestalt therapies, Erickson’
s hypnotherapy, bioenergetics, and Bates Method of vision training. Radix teachers include certified
professionals licensed by the Radix Institute and adjunct teachers who incorporate this method into their
therapy practice.

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

The rayid method was formed by results of research on the meaning of the formations in the iris of the
eyes. Hereditary, behavioral, and attitudinal traits with their impact on mental, emotional, and physical
health are demonstrated in these formations. The rayid method addresses the causes behind symptoms, so
maximum health can be achieved on a longer-term basis. This method identifies an interaction between
mind and body, seeing the imbalances and suggesting corrective balancing lifestyles and support activities
that enable the immune system to work its marvels.

Loosely based on a conglomerate of modalities, rebalancing combines energy balancing, joint release, deep-
tissue massage, and dialogue to relieve pain and induce emotional healing and relaxation. Developed in the
1970s by a group of practitioners of various backgrounds including Rolfing, the Trager Approach,
pulsation, psychotherapy, and craniosacral therapy, the theory was to combine the best attributes of
several existing modalities with introspective analysis into a ten-session series of treatments.

Reflective healing is a form of energy healing in which the therapist uses a combination of guided imagery
and energy body manipulations to heal a specific physical organ or joint. Noninvasive physical touch of
energy centers is important in this process of repatterning the etheric body. Extensive intuitive
development and energetic training are required by the therapist.

Reflexognosy is the application of appropriate pressure to the leg and feet, by the hands of a trained
practitioner, to bring about physiological and psychological changes in the body.

Based on an ancient Chinese therapy, reflexology involves manipulation of specific reflex areas in the foot,
hands, and ears that correspond to other parts of the body. Sometimes referred to as zone therapy, this
bodywork involves application of pressure to these reflex zones to stimulate body organs and relieve areas
of congestion. Similar to acupressure principles, reflexology works with the body’s energy flow to
stimulate self-healing and maintain balance in physical function. This technique is used to reduce pain,
increase relaxation, and stimulate circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids. It is especially useful in stress-
related illness and emotional disorders. Reflexology is also convenient in cases where an area of the body is
traumatized or diseased to the extent that direct manipulation is not appropriate. Click here to find a
Reflexology practitioner.

This technique utilizes manipulation of the musculo-skeletal system to release emotional blockages from
the body. It was established from the works of Wilhelm Reich, an Austrian psychoanalyst.

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 client’s body in order to
activate healing energy within receptive points on the body. The practitioner’s 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. Click here to find a Reiki practitioner.

Reiki-alchemia utilizes keys of different geometric shapes to trigger states of consciousness that allow
healing and vibrational attunements to occur. Reiki-alchemia combines the traditional reiki of Mikao Usui
with the alchemia process, which creates a passive and active blend of energies in the healing. The
practitioner facilitates transformation by working with the universal life force and the four forces that
govern all states of consciousness. Alchemia is a form of bodywork that incorporates techniques that
release etheric as well as subconscious energy blockages and stored trauma. The ultimate intent of reiki-
alchemia is to achieve a functional ego state that facilitates unconditional love. (Adapted from Holistic
Health Directory.)

Reposturing dynamics is a system of stretches and massage techniques designed to restore balance and
flexibility to the body. Reposturing dynamics is participatory, with lots of breathing and many stretch
positions. There are exercises or additional stretches available to support the rebalancing process. It can be
intense and emotional at times, as stress is unloaded from each muscle group. The client is always in
charge of how fast and far she progresses in any one session.

Resonant kinesiology is a meditative form of educational bodywork. A resonant kinesiologist teaches
experientially, as well as cognitively, using sound, movement, and touch to create active lessons for the
body. A fundamental principle of resonant kinesiology is that human bodies inherently have all the
resources needed to be healthy, though these resources may not be consistently available to conscious
awareness. Healing is viewed as a form of learning.

Restoration therapy has been practiced in Japan for more than fifteen hundred years and has proven
successful in the treatment of migraine headaches, nervous tension, general fatigue, and muscular aches and
pains. Professor Seishiro Okazaki was the foremost exponent of restoration therapy in America. He
founded the Kodenkan Dojo, Ju-Jitsu School, and Nikko Restoration Sanatorium in Honolulu in 1929. The
practitioners of this method in Japan are entitled to the same rank as doctor. It is a combination of amma,
acupressure, shiatsu, chiropractic, osteopathy, and herbal medicines. Restoration therapy is divided into
four age groups, and to be a successful practitioner of restoration therapy, a thorough knowledge of
anatomy, physiology, pathology, dietetics, psychology, and herbal medicines is imperative.

This is a form of energy healing in which the therapist manipulates the client’s energy bodies near each
chakra. The objective of RoHun is to understand how certain adverse patterns became fixed in the
emotional and mental energy bodies and to release the negative effects of these patterns on daily life.
Although primarily an energy manipulation method, some noninvasive physical touch is involved.

A method to reorder the major body segments, Rolfing was founded by American biochemist Dr. Ida Rolf
in the 1940s. Rolfing utilizes physical manipulation and movement awareness to bring head, shoulders,
thorax, pelvis, and legs into vertical alignment. It allows more efficient use of the muscles with less
expended energy by lifting the head and chest and lengthening the body’s trunk. A sense of lightness and
greater mobility often result from Rolfing. Treatments are offered in a ten-session series, as well as
advanced sessions. See structural integration. Click here to find a rolfer.

Using gentle, nonintrusive touch, Rosen Method works with held muscles to bring about physical and
emotional awareness through relaxation. Developed by Marion Rosen, this technique utilizes both
sensitive manipulation of the soft tissue, observation of the client’s breathing patterns, and
communication to promote physical ease, pain relief, and a deeper contact with the inner self. Because the
work can bring up buried feelings and memories, it is also used as a tool to promote personal growth. Click
here to find a Rosen Method practitioner.

Founded by Ilana Rubenfeld, this method integrates elements of two great body/mind teachers, F.M.
Alexander and Moshe Feldenkrais, together with the Gestalt theory and practice of Fritz and Laura Perls
and the hypnotherapy of Milton Erickson. The Rubenfeld synergy method uses many avenues, including
verbal expression, movement, breathing patterns, body posture, kinesthetic awareness, imagination,
sound, and caring touch to access reservoirs of feeling.

This technique alters the basic strokes of classical massage so each stroke provides the client with the least
invasive and most comfortable treatment. Each stroke in Russian massage has a known physiological
effect on a healthy or dysfunctional body. Therapists don’t use their wrists or single digit pressure,
instead opting for shoulders or elbows as the primary sources of strength for deep work.


See chair massage.
This modality is based on Carl Jung’s concept of the shadow--those parts of your personality or beliefs
that you do not give a conscious place in your life. The theory is that by putting your emotions in
shadow, they will then turn against your family, your clients, or yourself, resulting in health, financial, or
ethical problems. Shadow integration involves creating a ritual container in a group setting, in which
participants give voice and flesh out the conflicting beliefs and feelings that sabotage their professional and
personal lives. This process emphasizes the personal and professional development of health
professionals (ethics, communication, therapeutic relationships, and body/mind dynamics). It is usually
facilitated in groups of eight to twenty or in one-on-one sessions.

SHEN is the acronym for Specific Human Energy Nexus and was developed by American scientist
Richard Pavek. A scientifically researched form of energy healing, SHEN aims to release emotions trapped
in the body, leading to freedom from pain and tension. SHEN teaches that most emotions are held in the
torso, at four main sites: the heart, the solar plexus, the kath (below the navel), and the root (the
perineum). The practitioner places hands in paired positions on the fully clothed client who’s lying on the
table. The practitioner ascertains the locations of somatically held emotions and determines an appropriate
physio-emotional release plan. A naturally occurring energy flows from the practitioner’s hands through
the emotional centers of the client’s body in a precise way to discharge debilitating emotions.

This is a hands-and-foot-on therapy system designed to create space and unblock restrictions in the body
via gravity. Shiat-Surf works with the body’s breathing, pulses, and nervous system.

Developed in Japan, shiatsu is a finger-pressure technique utilizing traditional acupuncture points. Similar
to acupressure, shiatsu concentrates on unblocking the flow of life energy and restoring balance in the
meridians and organs in order to promote self-healing. With the client reclining, the practitioner applies
pressure with the finger, thumb, palm, elbow, or knee to specific zones on the skin located along the
energy meridians. The treatment brings about a sense of relaxation while stimulating blood and lymphatic
flow. The benefits of this treatment may include pain relief and a strengthening of the body’s resistance to
disease and disorder. Click here to find a Shiatsu practitioner.

A system of healing based on the study of the relationship between the non-physical world (ki, energy,
and spirit) and the physical world (illness and environment) as experienced through mind, body, spirit,
heart, and life. By synchronizing personal vibration with the healing vibration of ki, learning to keep that
vibration present within you and continually heightening the vibration, you can heal yourself and others.
Shinkiko is a type of medical qigong that increases levels of energy, intuitive sense, and consciousness
through meditative-like ki harmonizing, without physical training or exercise.

Soft-tissue release (STR) is a powerful injury treatment technique developed in Europe with the world’s
fastest sprinters. Recovery rates once considered impossible by traditional therapists and sports medicine
doctors were achieved, through methods based on European osteopathy techniques, along with insights
from quantum physics. In recent years, STR has been given clinical application for chronic low back pain
and whiplash injuries. STR deals directly with the reasons for soft tissue dysfunctions and subsequent
referred pain and nerve entrapment. In acute conditions, STR affects the insidious way scar tissue is
formed, and in chronic conditions, STR breaks up the fibrotic and adhered mass of scar tissue to quickly
allow the muscle to return to its natural resting length. Once the muscle or muscle group has returned to
the original resting length, there is an immediate release from the pain induced by the inflammation
response. The client is placed in a particular position so that the muscle begins to stretch in a very specific
direction or plane. When the exact location of the injury has been defined, a determined pressure is applied
directly into the affected tissue or along a specific line of injury. At the same time, the client is given a set
of instructions that now engage the antagonist of the muscles involved. The muscle is extended from a
fixed position in a determined direction under a pinpoint of pressure. Decrease in pain and increase in
range of motion are often immediate, offsetting any minor discomfort experienced. Click here to find a Soft
Tissue Release practitioner.

SOMA is a unique development of the holographic body reading technique. Holographic body reading
recognizes that each person has an individual blueprint, allowing for the practitioner to analyze this,
personalize its needs, and design the sessions to correspond to those individual needs. The SOMA
practitioner works with the fascia and musculature to restore circulation and return the body to its original
perfection. See SOMA Neuromuscular Integration.

A ten-session system of bodywork, SOMA neuromuscular integration works the fascial network to
release chronic, stored structural aberrations; to effectively realign the entire body; and to facilitate the
change process. The three brain model theory and holographic body reading, as part of the SOMA
theoretical framework, assist the practitioner to analyze each individual blueprint, personalize needs, and
design the session for each structure. SOMA work includes extensive guidance tools (movement,
journaling, drawing interpretation, and other mind/body integrating tools) for training bodywork
practitioners and for educating clients.

Somatic Education is a healthcare modality based on co-creative science. It is therefore taught and
practiced in a co-creative partnership with nature. Somatic Education considers the body as one of nature’
s gardens and facilitates self-healing by working with flower essences; maps and calibration; and
environmental, energy, and other processes.

Somatic Experiencing is a body-awareness approach to trauma, as developed by Dr. Peter Levine.
According to the Foundation for Human Enrichment (www.traumahealing.com), Somatic Experiencing is
"based upon the realization that human beings have an innate ability to overcome the effects of trauma"
and "restores self-regulation, and returns a sense of aliveness, relaxation and wholeness to traumatized
individuals who have had these precious gifts taken away." This work has been applied to combat
veterans, rape survivors, Holocaust survivors, auto accident and post surgical trauma, chronic pain
sufferers, and even to infants after suffering traumatic births.

This is a body-based orientation that facilitates the client’s therapeutic process. A client session is
directed to the body experience that references the body as a resource. The therapist shifts the content of
the session to the here and now process of the client, which opens the client’s awareness of her own
experience of sensation, tension, relaxation, breath, response, and evoked thoughts.

Meaning of the body and often used to denote a body/mind or whole-body approach, as distinguished
from a physiology-only perspective.

SomatoEmotional Release is a therapeutic process that helps rid the mind and body of residual effects of
past trauma and associated negative responses. Dr. John Upledger and biophysicist Dr. Zvi Karni
discovered the body often retains physical forces as the result of accident, injury, or emotional trauma.
Following trauma, the body isolates the “energy cyst.” Students in SomatoEmotional Release learn how to
help the client physically identify and expel the energy cyst through reexperiencing and resolving
unpleasant incidents.

Using the media of sound (music, tones, vibrations, etc.) as tools for healing, sound therapy enables the
realignment of natural body rhythms. Therapy may include, but is not limited to, the use of Tibetan
singing bowls, chimes, acutonic tuning forks, rattles, and drums.

A variety of body treatments administered in spas. Herbal wraps, loofah body scrubs, parafango, salt
scrubs, seaweed body wraps, hydrotherapy treatments, etc.

Spinal release allows therapists to correct distortions of the central nervous system and restore the body’s
center of gravity. The therapist works with techniques that address the eight muscle groups of the lower
back. Practitioners also focus on the soft-tissue release procedures for the neck and back as they help
identify curvatures of the spine and other dysfunctions.

Spiritual massage healing is a form of divinely inspired and divinely guided religous healing. It consists of
prayer, love, anointing with oil, and movements derived from the laying-on of hands. It is the practice of
one's religious faith and conscience, and it is a mode of worship. Without prayer, there is no spiritual
massage healing. However, practitioners perform spiritual massage heling in unique ways, which may vary
from one client to another.

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. Click here to find a Sports Massage

St. John’s neuromuscular therapy seeks out the cause of pain, focusing on creating a balance between the
muscular and nervous systems. This bodywork focuses on five basic principles--biomechanics, ischemis,
trigger points, postural distortion, and nerve entrapment and compression--that are important factors in
the body’s physical homeostasis. Also, attention is given to hormonal balance, nutrition, and elimination
of toxins. This therapy is used to treat soft-tissue pain throughout most of the body.

Developed by osteopath Lawrence Jones, this noninvasive treatment helps decrease protective muscle
spasms and alleviate somatic dysfunction in the musculoskeletal system. By using palpation and passive
positional procedures, the therapist practicing strain/counterstrain therapy can help restore pain-free
movement. The position that relieves the referred pain is held for ninety seconds. After resuming the
original position and pressing the trigger point, the referred pain is gone. The client is often asked to bend
or twist like a contortionist to secure a comfortable position.

Developed in 1983, Structural Energetic Therapy (SET) is a deep-tissue, body-restructuring therapy that
addresses chronic and acute pain and dysfunction. SET integrates cranial/ structural techniques, myofascial
unwinding, myofascial restructuring, emotional energy release, kinesiology, and postural analysis to
address client symptoms and problems as they relate to body structure. SET is a client-centered therapy
that treats the specific needs unique to each client by addressing particular injuries and conditions as they
relate to the structural distortions. The release of the core distortion pattern, both cranially and
structurally, allows a balanced weight-bearing pelvis to support the entire spine and facilitates the
unwinding of all other structural distortions. The goal of SET therapy is to have clients return to life
activities pain free.

Based on the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf, structural integration is based on the idea that the entire structural
order of the body needs to be realigned and balanced with the gravitational forces around a central vertical
line representing gravity’s influence. Therapeutic intervention is directed toward the myofascial system--
the ligaments, muscles, tendons, and surrounding connective tissues. A practitioner of structural
integration has a ten-session cycle of work, in which different angles and degrees of physical pressure are
used to stretch and guide fascia to a place of easier movement. The process is not intended to cure
symptoms; its goal is to create a more resilient, higher-energy system, free of inhibitions due to past
trauma. See Rolfing. Click here to find a Structural Integration practitioner

One of the most commonly taught and well-known massage techniques, Swedish massage is a vigorous
system of treatment designed to energize the body by stimulating circulation. Five basic strokes, all
flowing toward the heart, are used to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. The disrobed client is
covered by a sheet, with only the area being worked on exposed. Therapists use a combination of
kneading, rolling, vibrational, percussive, and tapping movements, with the application of oil, to reduce
friction on the skin. The many benefits of Swedish massage may include generalized relaxation, dissolution
of scar tissue adhesions, and improved circulation, which may speed healing and reduce swelling from
injury. Click here to find a Swedish Massage practitioner

A combination of neuromuscular reeducation, hands-on application, qigong, Taoism, and meditation,
Syntropy Insight Bodywork acts directly on the nervous system to dissolve chronic patterns of pain and
tension. The practitioner helps to access and empower the client’s innate healing ability by focusing on
what is functioning well in the body and expanding on it. A noninvasive practice, Syntropy can be used
exclusively or as an adjunct therapy.


T’ai chi chih is a series of simple, non-strenuous movements known to relax the body and refresh the
mind. Moves can be performed by anyone, regardless of age or physical condition. T’ai chi chih can help
individuals feel calm, even in the midst of activity, and helps relieve daily tensions and stress based, on
principles of relaxed breathing, rhythmic movements, and equilibrium of weight.
T’ai chi chuan is an ancient Chinese martial and healing art. Most obviously characterized by the slow
motion manner in which its choreographed movement patterns are carried out, t’ai chi chuan is more
accurately defined by its attention to correct body alignment and structural detail. T’ai chi chuan
practitioners move slowly and with a minimum of overt muscular effort, opting to rely instead on exact
positioning of the body’s structural components to facilitate the transfer of force through the body. This
efficient transfer of force reduces stress on both the body and mind. T’ai chi chuan principles apply
globally to walking, martial application, bodywork, or any other activity for which economy of motion
and efficiency of effort desired.

Taikyo shiatsu is a style using ancient Taoist yin/yang and taijiquan principles combined with the gentle
stretching of Zen shiatsu. From the Eastern perspective, this shiatsu focuses on stretching and palming the
meridians, opening channels to induce flow of stagnated energies, and supplying circulation (oxygenated
blood) to the organs. The application of the Taoist principles enables the therapist to generate and utilize
optimum energy to perform the shiatsu efficiently. From the Western perspective, stretching increases
bone, sinews, and muscle flexibility and enhances mobility. A unique wave technique--visualizing an ocean
wave forming (potential), reaching the highest crest, falling (kinetic), and expanding (distribution) the
energy--is used in this modality. Qigong breathing from the hara, or dantien, is one of the keys to
generating efficient energy output. Taikyo shiatsu emphasizes philosophy, traditional Chinese medicine,
essentials, breathing, and taijiquan postural efficiency. The following Taikyo essentials achieve optimum
shiatsu efficiency and transmission as well as distribution of energy: spirit: state of being; intent: volition
or plan of action; calm: state of mental stillness to perceive; posture: proper body positioning for
optimum operational efficiency; presence: the sum of the previous above essentials; intuition: ability to
perceive; breathing: qigong mode; and simplicity: unpretentiousness.

Tantsu Tantric Shiatsu was invented by Harold Dull, who also created Watsu, or water shiatsu. Tantsu
brings Watsu’s in-water nurturing and power back onto land. In a Tantsu session, the giver cradles the
receiver with their whole body. No oil is used; the receiver lies fully clothed on the floor, while the giver
kneels or stands beside the person. Like shiatsu, Tantsu is based on point work and powerful stretches to
release chi (life force) along the body’s meridians and in the energy centers, or chakras. Tantsu focuses on
connecting the chakras and freeing the natural movement of energy along the spine. Learning to give a
Tantsu session involves the giver in a process that leads to a deeper connection with others and with one’s
own centers and flows of energy. (Definition adapted from Dull’s book, Bodywork Tantra On Land and
In Water, Harbin Springs Publishing, 1991.)

Developed by Dr. Stephanie Mines, the TARA Approach is a holistic system for the critical
transformation of psychological, physical, and emotional shock and trauma. Combining the ancient
oriental healing art of Jin Shin with therapeutic dialogues, this approach activates healing from sexual
abuse, battering relationships, abusive family environments, neglect, and illness.

This is an ancient art of healing using the universal elemental energy rays of earth (reiki), air/ether (angelic
light), fire (sakara) and water (sophi-el). Tera-Mai Seichem translates from Sanskrit as action of

Also called nuad bo rarn, Thai massage has been taught and practiced in Thailand for approximately
twenty-five hundred years. Although the origins are somewhat vague, credit for Thai massage is given to a
famous Indian doctor, Shivago Komarpaj, who was the personal physician of the Buddha and Magadha
king. Historically, manipulation was one of four major branches composing traditional Thai ceremonies or
magical practices. This is based on the theory the body is made up of seventy-two thousand sen, or
energy lines, of which ten hold top priority. Thai massage also involves peripheral stimulating, meaning it
acts as an external stimulant to produce specific internal effects. This point serves as the main division
between Thai and Western massage. Thai massage is practiced on a firm mat on the floor instead of on a
table, instrumental in the effective use of the practitioner’s body weight. Except for the feet, the client
remains fully clothed, so draping is not necessary. Click here to find a Thai Massage practitioner.

This treatment uses the therapeutic benefits of the sea and seawater products--vitamins and minerals--to
restore health and vitality to the skin and hair. The treatment may include a seaweed and algae paste
spread on the body and being insulated with sheets or blankets. Seawater baths may include massage with
strong, underwater jets or manual hose massage by the therapist.

Developed through the collaboration of a nursing professor and a spiritual healer, Therapeutic Touch is
based on ancient energy healing methods. Practitioners, primarily nurses, are trained to feel or sense
energy imbalances in the client and to use laying on of hands to disperse blocks and channel healing forces
to the client’s body. The therapist uses a light touch or holds the hand above the body, with the client
generally seated. Meditation is used by the therapist to center herself and strengthen her connection to the
client’s energy system. Therapeutic Touch has been applied in an assortment of medical situations,
including the care of premature infants and emergency room patients. It is known to induce a state of
relaxation within minutes. Therapeutic Touch is considered safe because of its gentle, noninvasive
approach. Developers of this technique affirm that everyone has the potential to heal with Therapeutic
Touch and may be taught the methodology in one day. Click here to find a Therapeutic Touch practitioner.

Developed in 1989 by Karen Peterson and John Walsh, Tibetan point holding focuses on prolonged
holding of acupressure points to generate emotional release. Lengthy holding allows the client to address
internal thoughts as they arise. As many as five practitioners are used to hold pressure points on the client
for up to two hours. Treatment needs are assessed through iridology or kinesiology.

Developed by chiropractor John Thie, Touch for Health combines methods and techniques that include
acupuncture principles, acupressure, muscle testing, massage, and dietary guidelines. The method of
treatment requires a second person who performs muscle testing. This determines which muscles are
strong or weak, indicating if a physical problem or organ malfunction exists. Once weak muscles are
determined, a variety of methods are used as part of a muscle strengthening program. Such techniques
include finger pressure on neuro-vascular holding points on the head and pressure on the acupressure
holding points. After the muscles have been strengthened, Touch for Health theory states that energy then
flows through the body, improving vitality and the ability to maintain good health. See kinesiology. Click
here to find a Touch for Health practitioner.

Developed by Iris Burman and Sandy Friedland, TouchAbilities Essential Connections is a universal skill
set and philosophy for bodywork practitioners. This skill set includes the core techniques that are
common to all modalities, incorporating physical manipulation of soft tissue as well as dynamic
interaction with the body’s mental and energetic fields. Philosophically based on the idea that the body is
a multidimensional blend of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual qualities, TouchAbilities encourages
an “in the moment” dialogue between bodies to support optimal function. Its objective is to identify areas
where actions, waves, and flows are obstructed or distorted and to apply techniques that reestablish a
more functional dynamic.

Trager is an approach to bodywork developed in the 1920s by American medical practitioner Dr. Milton
Trager. It makes extensive use of touch-contact and encourages the client to experience the freeing-up of
different parts of the body. The approach consists of simple exercises called Mentastics and deep,
nonintrusive hands-on work, including fluid, gentle, rocking movements. The idea is to use motion in the
muscles and joints to produce positive sensory feelings that are then fed back into the central nervous
system. The result is a feeling of lightness, freedom, and flexibility. A Trager session takes from sixty to
ninety minutes. No oils or lotions are used. The client wears a swimsuit or underwear and lies on a well-
padded table in a warm, comfortable environment. Extreme pressure and rapid thrusts are not used and
pain is not necessary to make this approach effective. During the session, the practitioner makes touch-
contact with the client in such a gentle and rhythmic way that the person lying passively on the table
actually experiences the possibility of being able to move each part of the body freely, effortlessly, and
gracefully on her own. The practitioner works in a relaxed, meditative state of consciousness. After getting
up from the table, the client is given instruction in the use of Mentastics, or “mental gymnastics,” a
system of simple, effortless movement sequences, to maintain and enhance the sense of lightness,
freedom, and flexibility instilled by the table work. It is a powerful means of teaching the client to recall
the pleasurable sensory state that produced positive tissue change. Because it is this feeling state that
triggered positive tissue response in the first place, every time the feeling is clearly recalled the changes
deepen, become more permanent, and are more receptive to further positive change. Changes described
have included the disappearance of specific symptoms, discomforts, or pains; heightened levels of energy
and vitality; more effortless posture and carriage; greater joint mobility; deeper states of relaxation than
were previously possible; and a new ease in daily activities. Click here to find a Trager Approach

Trauma touch therapy was developed to address the needs of clients affected by trauma and abuse,
including sexual and emotional abuse, battering, the trauma of war, surgery, or criminal violence. Focused
on empowering the client, this technique combines therapeutic movement and breathwork with
psychotherapeutic elements to bring body and mind together in holistic healing. The pace of therapy is
determined individually according to the client’s need. Relearning touch from a healthy perspective is a
major focus of the therapy. The trauma touch training program was developed in 1993 at the Colorado
School of Healing Arts.

Trigger point myotherapy is a noninvasive therapeutic modality for the relief and control of myofascial
pain and dysfunction. The goal of treatment is the client’s recovery from or a significant reduction in
myofascial pain. The treatment goal is achieved through a systematized approach. Treatment consists of
trigger point compression, myomassage, passive stretching, and a regime of corrective exercises. Success
may be measured subjectively by the level of pain reduction experienced by the client and objectively
through increased range of motion, strength, endurance, and other measures of improved function. Trigger
point myotherapy relies heavily on client-therapist interaction, including verbal and nonverbal elements.
The myotherapist encourages the client to be personally responsible for their improvement, with attention
to such factors as nutritional intake, stress, proper exercises, mechanical abnormalities, and other physical
components. These elements protect the client from delayed diagnosis, delayed treatment, or
contraindicated treatment, which are the concerns of first order. Trigger point myotherapy is an integrating
approach to myofascial pain and dysfunction. Click here to find a Trigger Point Myotherapy practitioner.

Tui na is an ancient Chinese system of manual therapeutics with a wide range of techniques and
indications. While traditional Chinese medical precepts form its theoretical basis, clinical experience
governs its application. Tui na techniques range from those that are light and soothing to those that are
strong and invigorating. Refined over the centuries, tui na facilitates healing by regulating the circulation of
blood and qi (vital energy), which controls body function and enhances resistance to disease. The term tui
na (pronounced t-weigh na) combines the names of two of the hand techniques, tui meaning to push and
na meaning to lift and squeeze, which are used to represent the system. Practitioners of tui na claim there
are more than 365 hand techniques, although they can be generally placed in the category of pressing,
rubbing, waving, shaking, percussion, or manipulating. The term “tui na” first appeared in the Ming
Dynasty text Pediatric Tui Na Classic in 1601. Click here to find a Tui Na practitioner.

With Turaya Touch, using the body’s system of light energy, practitioners place their hands on various
parts of the client’s head, back, shoulders, and abdomen. This technique brings about a feeling of deep
relaxation as it releases the energy blocks causing mental and physical distress. Turaya also unlocks
creative potential at the cellular level.


Unified field therapy (UFT) has discovered that beyond the body, beyond energy, lies a matrix of
consciousness that permeates every aspect of our world. This dynamic, ever expansive matrix forms a
single field from which all conscious life flows. This field is called the unified field. All physical, mental,
emotional, and energetic patterns known to our world originate from this single source. Present in our
every experience, these patterns form the very fabric of our reality. The most subtle shift or change in
these patterns can yield immense expansion in our consciousness and bring enormous transformation to
one’s life. Utilizing this knowledge, UFT directly accesses the unified field to initiate shifts within a
conscious system. Clients remain fully clothed and are asked to lie face up on a massage table in a
comfortable position with eyes closed and attention focused internally. The therapist then begins to
evaluate, palpate, and integrate fields of consciousness surrounding and permeating the client. This can be
done in a hands-on or hands-off application. Sessions last approximately forty to sixty minutes.
Accordingly, clients must define for themselves how their consciousness integrates and changes as a result
of this work. For this reason, therapists are trained not to define or project their perceptions or
expectations onto a client’s experience. Therapists often request that new clients follow up within forty-
eight to seventy-two hours after the initial visit to discuss any additional shifts that may have occurred in
the interim. (Adapted from www.unifiedfieldtherapy.com.)

UNTIE was developed in the United States in the early 1980s as an alternative to exerting force into soft
tissues that may already be painful to the touch. It is basic to UNTIE that soft-tissue dysfunction, no
matter how deep within the body, can be felt in the skin. These patterns of dysfunction are palpable once
the proper awareness and sensitivity have been developed. Patterns are infinitely variable expressions of
soft-tissue dysfunctions that are synergistically related to the dysfunctions. The skilled practitioner can
readily access even the deepest layers of soft tissue by working with the associated patterns. Changes in
the patterns are stimulated by the presence of the practitioner’s fingers and determined by the body’s
natural desire to reach homeostasis. The fingers respond to the changes without any application of force,
will, or preconceived routine. The hands move gently in concert with the changes. Once the patterns
release, the soft tissues are reevaluated to confirm they have normalized and musculoskeletal integrity has
improved. Although other approaches may not specifically address soft-tissue patterns, the patterns are
affected, since there is contact with the skin as soft tissues are manipulated. The more thorough the
method used, the more likely it is that the patterns will be released, allowing for more complete, long-term
change. Because the foundation of UNTIE is sensitivity, it readily deals with the unique patterns of the
individual. It is a procedure for working with the body, not on the body.


Vibrational Healing Massage Therapy (VHMT) is a bodywork therapy designed to restore one to fluidity.
It is like massage therapy, providing touch techniques and distinctions that help people live in their bodies
as a liquid process, freeing pain as we have known it. VHMT works with the physical structure to free up
past tensions and stresses that have been held in the body. This reawakening of the nervous system
restores circulation to injured areas, moves energy and emotions, and helps in the release of chronic pain or
stiffness. There are approximately sixteen basic techniques that serve to align, loosen, and connect the
body so tensions can reverberate freely. Special sensitive stretching, rebounding, and torquing are some of
the techniques that help clients become aware of where they have been holding. Practitioners and
recipients alike begin to feel not only their vibrations move within them, but also new circulation of their
basic metabolic fluids flowing to once-rigid areas. As they listen to people’s body rhythms and
frequencies, practitioners of VHMT facilitate a clothes-on massage therapy that is rhythmic and fun.
VHMT includes new distinctions of awareness in thinking, speaking, walking, standing, and sitting, which
allow for fully-connected and communicative bodies. These concepts are. The Fluid Body Model--a body
of knowledge where we experience being in our bodies in a whole new way, acknowledging and honoring
the fluid, evolving processes that we are; Disease as a Strategy--a self-responsible way of thinking that
allows us to access self-healing and growth; and The Language of Healing--a way of speaking responsibly
about our bodies and lives, so that when we speak, we are causing and accessing healing and
transformation to happen.

Visceral manipulation enhances the normal mobility and tissue motion of the organs of the visceral
system. Hypertonicity, displacement, and adhesions can all cause organs to work against each other,
creating chronic irritation and fixed, abnormal points of tension. The visceral organs are dependent on their
ability to move freely in the visceral cavity to then work correctly and efficiently. When they are pulled
out of their effective positions, they cease to function properly. By freeing each organ to work
compatibly with the others, a therapist can potentially alter and improve the structure and functioning of
the entire body.

Based on the piezoelectric properties of the human skin, vitaflex is a specialized form of manual
stimulation at specific reflex points throughout the body, using the pads and nails of the fingers in a rolling
motion to produce therapeutic electrical voltages and currents. Vitaflex massage, an ancient modality
originating in India and Tibet, massage can be used as a modality in and of itself but also works well as an
adjunct to aromatherapy with the application of essential oils. Vitaflex is also a part of the raindrop
massage protocol.

VortexHealing is an energetic healing art from the Merlin lineage that works solely with divine light and
consciousness. It derives its name from a particular energy-vortex that interfaces our physical world and a
special divine healing realm that is accessed in this art. This healing realm is what makes VortexHealing
unique, for the practitioner can channel not just the divine energy and light of the Vortex, but also the
consciousness of this special realm, which is composed of seven divine beings whose sole intention is to
manifest healing. This enables VortexHealing to perform extraordinary healings on the physical and
emotional level, as well as to release the deepest karmic issues we hold as human beings--they are
transformed directly by divine consciousness. Even a musical instrument is magically and directly
transformed by this divine consciousness, improving its sound remarkably.


Watsu, or aquatic shiatsu, began at Harbin Hot Springs where Harold Dull brought his knowledge of Zen
shiatsu into a warm pool. Zen shiatsu incorporates stretches that release blockages along the meridians--
the channels through which chi or life force flows. Dull found the effects of Zen shiatsu could be amplified
and made more profound by stretching someone while having them float in warm water. By supporting,
rocking, and moving the whole body while stretching a leg or arm, Watsu lessens the resistance there is
when a limb is worked in isolation. When the whole body is in continual movement, each move flowing
gracefully into the next, there is no way to resistantly anticipate what’s coming next. Warm water and the
continuous support it provides are ideal for freeing the spine. Click here to find a Watsu practitioner.


The word yoga describes a variety of Hindu practices developed in ancient India to unify body and mind
with universal spirit, thereby encouraging physical and mental well-being. Yoga most commonly involves
a series of stretching postures (called asanas), breathing exercises, and meditative practices. Diet is also
considered important to this discipline. Yoga increases flexibility, improves muscle tone, and is helpful in
the reduction of stress.
This is a massage modality that enhances the free and natural movements of the body through gentle,
sustained stretching and applied pressure. Gentle vibration and energy work with the chakras is integrated
into a gracefully flowing sequence. Unique positioning with props is incorporated to facilitate myofascial
stretching without strain. Yogassage has been compared to Thai massage on a table, as it blends elements
from both the Eastern and Western cultures of bodywork.


This technique integrates Zen training with Eastern teachings of the circulation of vital energy or essence
of life.
This style was developed by Shizuto Masanuga, who proposed the treatment of meridian extensions
beyond those recognized in the classical Chinese view. He also developed the widely-accepted two-hand
style, where one hand moves, applying pressure, while the other provides stationary support.

Zero Balancing was developed by Fritz Smith, MD, and has its roots in osteopathy, acupuncture, Rolfing,
and meditation. Relaxing, yet energizing, Zero Balancing integrates fundamental principles of Western
medicine with Eastern concepts of energy. This technique provides clients the possibility of healing by
addressing the energy flow of the skeletal system. By working with bone energy, zero balancing seeks to
correct imbalances between energy and structure, providing relief from pain, anxiety, and stress. A Zero
Balancing session, which consists of gentle acupressure focusing on joints and bones, generally takes
thirty to forty minutes and is done through the client’s clothing while they lie on a massage table. For the
massage therapist or bodyworker, Zero Balancing may enhance other modalities and open new avenues of
energetic and structural balancing through touch.
Schedule Now