Explore our Holistic Health Guide to learn more about the practices we recognize, including the definition, benefits, and history of each practice.
Active Release Technique (ART) focuses on reducing myofascia associated with pain syndromes, loss of strength, and reduced mobility through releasing scar tissue and thickened states of tissues surrounding muscles and organs.
Active Release Technique was developed in 1984 by a chiropractor, Michael Leah, DC, based on his experience treating repetitive-motion injuries and their related production of oxygen-deprived scar tissue. It was formalized as a method and trademarked in 1988.
Active Release Technique practitioners use palpation to look for unevenness or unusual patterns in the texture, tightness, and movement of muscles and fascia.
Practitioners use varying levels of pressure with their thumbs or fingers on or around tissue abnormalities, while clients perform actions and movements (specific to myofascial release) as instructed by the practitioner.
Active Release Technique conditions are often linked to acute conditions or traumas (e.g. pulls, tears, or collision with or from external objects, or repetitive motion/strain injuries).
Acupressure is based on the Chinese meridian theory. In traditional Chinese medicine, energy is believed to flow through the body along recognized meridians. A lack of wellness or imbalance is believed to occur when energy flow isn't optimal or when the meridians are blocked.
Acupressure dates back 4,000 years to ancient Chinese medicine and predates acupuncture. Over the years, various cultures have developed their own unique style of acupressure.
Acupressure practitioners physically manipulate and apply direct pressure to stimulate certain acu-points along specific energy meridians to achieve either an increase or decrease of energy flow at that point. Massage techniques may also be used.
Acupressure is a whole-body treatment that can address multiple conditions. In addition to stimulating energy flow, acupressure may also stimulate local blood circulation and resolve what Western massage therapists call trigger points.
Alexander Technique™ is an educational process that helps the client achieve greater awareness of the body. This technique is based on the understanding that conditioned postures, actions, and stress have an effect on the functioning of the body.
Frederick Matthias Alexander developed Alexander Technique™ in 1890. Alexander realized that conditioned postures, actions, and stress had an effect on the functioning of the body. He developed Alexander Technique™ to teach people how to consciously retrain their habitual postures and actions to minimize stress.
Treatment uses a variety of techniques that are tailored to each individual client. Common movement exercises (and take-home practice movement assignments) may be used.
Clients are directed through the movement both verbally and through hands-on instruction. Massage may also be used to release muscular tension or stress so that new or renewed movement can be experienced.
Alexander Technique™ is a whole-body treatment that can address multiple conditions. Stress is minimized by retraining habitual postures and actions. It also attempts to integrate and achieve whole-body movement or engagement to maximize balance and co-ordination.
Anma/Amma is a part of the Chinese medical system. anma/amma is strictly physical manipulation massage (based on ancient touch principles like acupressure, massage, and reflexology).
Anma/Amma follows the Chinese meridian theory where energy flows through the body along recognized meridians. Illness is a sign that energy flow is less than optimal or blocked in one or more meridians. Stimulating certain points along these meridians regulates energy flow.
Anma/Amma massage dates back 4,000 years to ancient Chinese medicine. Anma/Amma means "push-pull." It is probably the earliest version of massage that led to (or is part of) tuina in Chinese medicine. Amma is the Korean version, based on the same techniques, and does not differ substantially from the Chinese version, anma.
Treatment involves two components: the stimulation of the appropriate acu-points along the energy meridians to achieve either an increase or a decrease in the energy flow and massage to affect the muscular condition in an area.
Acu-point stimulation is usually achieved through direct pressure, although massage techniques may also be used. The massage uses a variety of manual techniques — various forms of pushing, pulling, kneading, tapping, percussive motions, and friction techniques, either in isolation or in combination.
Anma/Amma massage is a whole-body treatment that can address multiple conditions. It can also stimulate and relax the musculoskeletal system; increase energy flow and local blood circulation; and relax, release, or tone muscle and fascial condition.
Applied Kinesiology™ uses a variety of assessment and treatment techniques to address weakened and strained muscles. This can include muscle testing, meridian therapy, joint mobilization, myofascial techniques, CranioSacral-based techniques, and reflexology.
Applied Kinesiology™ was developed in 1964 by chiropractor Dr. George Goodheart, based on his experiences and skills in chiropractic, Chinese meridian theory, joint mobilization, myofascial therapy, reflexology theory and techniques, nutrition, and craniosacral techniques.
Components of all of these techniques can be found in Applied Kinesiology™.
Precise muscle testing, force challenges, and motion analysis are used to pinpoint strengths or weaknesses within the musculoskeletal, organ, nervous, or energetic systems of the body.
Based on the results of the testing, several holistic health practices and techniques may be used. Specific joint manipulation or mobilization, myofascial therapies, osteopathic cranial techniques, meridian therapy, clinical nutrition, dietary management, and various reflexology procedures may be used.
Applied Kinesiology™ can be used both as a preventative approach and treatment to normalize, strengthen, and balance the body. It can identify strengths or weaknesses within the musculoskeletal, organ, nervous, or energetic systems of the body and musculoskeletal conditions.
Applied Kinesiology™ can potentially help with range of motion, gait, and posture. It is used to address issues within the endocrine, immune, digestive, and nervous systems. The overall objective of Applied Kinesiology™ is early treatment to prevent or slow down certain diseases.
Aquatic therapy uses water to provide a low-gravity environment for the application of many different therapeutic practices.
Providing treatment in water has a long historical precedent in many world cultures. The International Council for Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Industry (ICATRI) was organized to formalize minimal training in aquatic therapy. Aquatic therapy is not a holistic health practice by itself; rather, it is specific training that allows a practitioner to practise in a water environment.
If a practitioner recognizes that aquatic therapy may benefit their client, they may opt to use it. By releasing the burden of gravity, therapeutic application of some treatments may become more effective and reduce the effort required for some application techniques. Practitioners require specialized training in aquatic therapy in addition to their other practices.
Benefits of aquatic therapy include increased relaxation and comfort during the treatment. As aquatic therapy is performed in a water environment, it reduces the motion and stress barriers some clients may have.
Aromatherapy uses aromatics extracted from plant sources by distillation, pressing and purifying, or diffusion. The oils are usually inhaled or put directly onto the skin in a diluted form.
Early Egyptians (c. 2,800 BCE) were the first recorded culture to use aromatherapy, specifically the use of essential oils. However, the medicinal use of these oils can also be found in many other medical systems from around the world.
Aromatherapy practitioners apply essential oils to clients in baths, body wraps, masks and plasters, air diffusers, and through many types of massage techniques (rubbing, stroking, and kneading).
Oils may be combined into specific blends and may be applied in more concentrated amounts and in smaller areas to achieve specific therapeutic purposes.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils to benefit physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Aromatherapy is used to achieve different goals, primarily to affect general mood (e.g. relax, calm, stimulate), to create the atmosphere for the treatment space, or to achieve specific therapeutic purposes.
Aston-Patterning™ is a holistic and integrated system of massage techniques, movement analysis, modification techniques, and fitness training (including some Pilates and ergonomic modification). The goal is to release holding patterns and movement patterns that are not beneficial to the body, that limit the range of movement of the body, or that are less efficient.
After dancer Judith Aston was involved in two car accidents in 1967 and 1968, she began to search for alternatives to spinal fusion. She decided to try Rolfing® as an alternative treatment and then decided to train as a Rolfing® practitioner.
Ida Rolf (the founder of Rolfing®) asked Aston to create a series of movements that would help maintain Rolfing® corrections over time. Aston, after developing and building upon her own ideas, eventually independently founded Aston-Patterning™.
Treatment has four components: bodywork, movement education, fitness training, and customized ergonomic modifications. The massage work tends to be lighter in nature and releases restrictions from movement.
Movement education forms the core of Aston- Patterning™ and works at creating fluid, natural motion even for simple tasks and minimizes stress and strain on any single body part.
Fitness education and ergonomic customization are done according to the needs of the client and are used to support ongoing health and functioning of the client. The fitness work can be performed by the client without the aid of a practitioner.
The purpose of Aston-Patterning™ is to loosen, tone, stretch, and improve cardiovascular health.
BodyTalk™ is based on the theory that all parts of the body (atoms, cells, and systems) are in constant communication with each other. When these systems of energy communication are interrupted, different circuits can become dysfunctional.
Dr. John Veltheim, an Australian chiropractor and acupuncturist, developed the BodyTalk™ System in 1995. It is similar to other specialized kinesiology methods although some of its theory and approaches are distinct.
BodyTalk™ occurs in stages through a process of questioning, response, further questioning, or treatment based on the response. The questions are posed to the client either verbally or intuitively.
The client's response is then assessed through the degree of resistance they have to the practitioner's movement. When an energetic imbalance or lack of communication in the body is found, practitioners ask questions and communicate with the client to improve energy flow or recommend a series of treatments.
The techniques include tapping the client in patterns at key points, movements that emphasize cross-body or left-right parallel motion, or rubbing specific acupressure points.
BodyTalk™ is a whole-body treatment that can address many health issues.
Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy® uses a complex system of trigger points. When released, these trigger points cause the release of spasms or tension in muscles. Treatment includes corrective exercises.
Bonnie Prudden, a fitness instructor, experienced a re-activation of an old injury while on a hike with a trigger point therapy researcher. After the trigger point therapy researcher treated the injury, Prudden became interested in trigger points.
After working in a trigger point practice, Prudden learned that manual pressure could release trigger points. She began to develop her own treatment methods for trigger points and incorporated movement and remedial exercises into her techniques.
Treatment involves carefully stimulating or releasing certain trigger points using pressure (fingers, knuckles, or elbows) directly on the trigger points.
Immediately, as the trigger point is released, the muscle involved is run through a series of motions or exercises that teach the muscle its full range of motion and its optimal resting state. Each client is also trained in the exercises needed to prevent the re-development of the trigger points involved.
Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy® can help find and release trigger points and prevent reactivation through treatment, exercise, and lifestyle management.
Bowen addresses the body as a whole unit. Bowenwork™ consists of a series of gentle, rolling connective tissue moves. The body's autonomic nervous system responds to the work, allowing the body to restore itself to its original blueprint. This technique addresses the musculoskeletal framework, fascia, nerves, and internal organs.
Bowen was developed by Thomas Bowen in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1947, Bowen agreed to begin teaching Oswald Rentsch. Rentsch was the first of five people who would train with him over time and found different Bowen styles. BowTech manages the Rentsch style.
Bowen practitioners feel muscular tone for tightness or imbalance. They use their thumbs and fingers to gently move a body structure, (such as muscles or connective tissue) to an end point. Then, while applying gentle pressure, practitioners move the retracted tissue in the opposite direction of the intended adjustment they mean to make.
They then stimulate the body structure in the same direction of the adjustment they will make. The adjustment ends by moving the skin covering the body structure.
Practitioners may leave the room while the client performs certain sequences of moves.
Bowen can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. It can help reduce or eliminate pain through releasing restrictions in the muscle that limit range of motion. It stimulates and balances energy flow and creates deep relaxation.
Brain Gym™ uses movements to accelerate learning and enhance performance. This is performed through sets of exercises that help coordinate and integrate the two hemispheres of the brain.
The movements can be accomplished on their own or integrated with other therapies. Brain Gym™ focuses on the performance of specific physical activities that activate the brain for optimal storage and retrieval of information.
Dr. Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. Dennison were the educators who created Brain Gym™ in the 1970s. Originally, the Dennisons were looking for more effective ways to treat children and adults identified as "learning disabled."
They began to experiment with using physical movement to enhance learning ability. They organized their work into a new educational system, Educational Kinesiology or Edu-K™. Brain Gym™ is the name of activities used and taught by practitioners, and Whole Brain Integration™ is one area of the total body of work.
Brain Gym™ practitioners usually start a treatment through determining balances. Determining balance involves setting the stage for learning and identifying a goal or intention through physical observation or interacting with the client.
It also involves activities that identify aspects of the learning that need more focus, doing the learning through physical Brain Gym™ movements, and then post-activities. Other balances may be identified and treated in later sessions, or the client may also learn and practice movements for deeper and continued learning of the balance.
Brain Gym™ is a whole-body treatment for re-educating the mind/body system to accomplish any skill or function with greater ease and efficiency. It can address several different conditions.
Chair massage, also known as on-site massage, is a specific, de-stressing massage and acupressure-based treatment performed with the client fully clothed in specially developed massage chairs that can be used in almost any professional, public, or private setting.
David Palmer, a massage therapy school owner, popularized the concept of chair massage when he provided clients with seated services for his school program graduates in 1983. In 1986, he developed the massage chair. He also developed routines to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of chair massage treatments.
The techniques are based predominantly on acupressure techniques, which are applied with pressure straight into the muscle as opposed to Swedish massage. While Swedish and other types of massage can be applied to a seated client, these are not normally recognized or understood as chair massage. Deep-tissue treatment is rarely performed.
Chair massage is a whole-body treatment that is used for overall health maintenance or for specific conditions. While chair massage has proven long- term health benefits, the short-term goal of chair massage is to provide brief, effective massage that leaves the client feeling revitalized, relaxed, and alert.
Craniosacral Therapy is an approach where practitioners use their hands to release built up tensions within the body, associated with the craniosacral system (the liquids and membranes that support the functionality of the brain and spinal cord).
Craniosacral Therapy originates from osteopathic traditions in the United States and was first documented and developed by William Sutherland in the early 20th century. It was originally called cranial osteopathy.
In 1970, Osteopath Dr. John Upledger built upon the theory when he directly observed cerebrospinal fluid pulses and disturbances and determined that disease could occur when pulse flow was restricted. He increased the development, understanding, research, and recognition of cranial osteopathy.
Craniosacral Therapy practitioners use tiny movements with their hands to assess and adjust restrictions in the fascial tissues. The goal is to alter these restrictions and alter the optimal flow (pulses) of the cerebrospinal fluid.
Practitioners lightly lay their hands at key points of vibration of the cerebrospinal fluid or directly on points that show movement from those pulses. Treatment is achieved by lightly applying pressure through specific holding patterns to directly manipulate the fascial systems.
These systems contain the central nervous system and the cerebrospinal fluid. Treatment also focuses on altering the flow of the fluid pulses so that pulses gently stretch the fluid's fascial enclosures.
The release of fascial constriction allows the fluid pulses to freely travel through the chambers surrounding the brain and spinal cord where the cerebrospinal fluid circulates.
Practitioners remove blockages of cerebrospinal fluid that can have numerous energetic and physiological effects, particularly to the ideal functioning of the nervous system. Craniosacral Therapy practitioners believe that they can correct this flow to address these conditions.
Edu-K™ (Educational Kinesiology) means learning through movement. Edu-K™ assists clients with unlocking their potential by formulating goals and finding what is internally blocking the client from reaching these goals.
Dr. Paul Dennison and Gail E. Dennison are educators who created Edu-K™ in the 1970s. Originally, the Dennisons were looking for more effective ways to treat children and adults identified as "learning disabled." They began to experiment with using physical movement to enhance learning ability.
They organized their work into a new educational system, Educational Kinesiology. Brain Gym™ is the name of activities used and taught by practitioners, and Whole Brain Integration™ is one area of the total body of work.
Edu-K™ practitioners begin a treatment by determining balances. A balance involves setting the stage for learning by identifying and setting a goal or intention through physical observation or interacting with the client.
It also involves activities that identify aspects of the learning that need more focus, performing the learning through physical Edu-K™ movements, and incorporating post-activities to identify the learning.
Other balances may be identified and treated in later sessions, or the client may also learn and practise movements for deeper and continued learning of the balance(s).
Edu-K™ is a whole-body treatment for re-educating the mind-body system for accomplishing any skill or function with greater ease and efficiency and can address several different conditions.
Energy work focuses on clearing blockages, disturbances, or imbalances in the human energy field. The practitioner supplies the energy or the practitioner acts as a channel or focus for a greater energy field. The work restores harmony to the client's energy field.
There are different types of energy work, from the practitioner using a detailed energy assessment system, to using passive treatment where the practitioner channels energy, to allowing the client's body to intuitively decide how the energy should be used.
There are several written and oral histories of cultures throughout the world spontaneously healing by using hands with focused thought and intention. Energy work became popular in North America during the New Age movement and the self-help and self-awareness movement of the 1970s.
Energy work practitioners begin by physically feeling the energetic layers outside the client's body. Treatment in energy work can take on several forms. In distance healing, the practitioner focuses on the energy field of the client and attempts to create favourable change by focused thought and intention.
Other energy workers actively palpate (with their hands and intuition) the energy field. Based on what they find, they may use both energy and physical movement to alter the client's field.
Some energy workers incorporate massage techniques into their energy work, while other practitioners incorporate energy work into a separate practice.
Energy work is a whole-body treatment. It restores harmony to the client's energy field and may be experienced as relaxing, restorative, refreshing, or invigorating. The long-term goal is to optimize the client's health based on the premise that, over time, a healthy energy field forms or helps create a healthy body.
Esalen® Massage has three interrelated aspects: gentle flowing strokes or kneading to open and release tension, passive joint movement to enhance well-being, and positive client-therapist rapport to encourage conscious awareness.
Esalen® Massage was developed at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California during the Human Potential movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
Treatment consists primarily of lighter-touch strokes. Esalen® techniques include Swedish massage, Eastern breath-work, and yogic passive movements.
Elbows may be used for some deeper work on the limbs or back and to assist gentle stretches. The practitioner may perform light bodywork. Clients may also be instructed to alter breathing patterns to increase their relaxation.
Esalen®, like other styles of massage therapy, is a whole-body treatment and can be beneficial to a variety of different conditions. It helps with relaxation, stress reduction, pain relief, energy release, and balance.
Feldenkrais® stimulates the nervous system's innate sensory motor activities, freeing the client from habitual patterns and allowing new patterns of thinking, moving, and feeling to emerge. Feldenkrais® generally is practised in either group classes in Awareness Through Movement or in one-on-one personalized Functional Integration.
After Dr. Mosche Feldenkrais, a doctor of nuclear physics, injured his knee and was told he would have a 50% chance of being confined to a wheelchair, he decided to study anatomy, kinesiology, and physiology to improve his prospects. He combined his knowledge of martial arts, mechanics, and physics into a unique system of movement re-education and somatic practice, while gradually restoring his knee's functionality.
In Awareness Through Movement (ATM), treatment consists of classes where the practitioner engages clients in precisely structured movement explorations. The movements evolve from easy, comfortable movements into movements of greater range and complexity. Variations on movements are used to stimulate ongoing awareness. The learning is developed at each client's own pace.
In Functional Integration, treatment is performed with the client lying horizontally to minimize the effects of gravity. Gentle and non-invasive touch is used to communicate ways of comfortable and easy motion, assisting the client to relearn and reorganize motions into effortless and efficient movements. Clients are invited to explore unused range and types of motion.
Feldenkrais® can address issues within the nervous system as well as musculoskeletal conditions, recurring pain, and repetitive stress and sports injuries.
Healing Touch™ is an energy-based approach to health and healing. Healing Touch™ is applied to a client to clear, align, and balance the energy systems. Through realignment, the client's energy system is rebalanced and healing of the physical body is promoted and accelerated.
Founder Janet Mentgen, RN, BSN, created Healing Touch™ when she observed the benefits many clients showed after they had their energy field intuitively manipulated using various techniques. She noted the relationship between certain repeatable hand movements and the repeatable results that the specific energy manipulation produced.
She collected about 30 individual techniques into a more formal, structured program of instruction. In 1990, Healing Touch™ became a certified program through the American Holistic Medication Association (AHMA). As the program grew it became a separate credentialing authority, Healing Touch International Inc., in 1996.
Healing Touch™ practitioners re-pattern the energy field through either light touch to the body or by manipulating the energy field a few inches above the physical body using 30 distinct techniques formalized by the creator, nurse Janet Mentgen.
Healing Touch™ is a whole-body treatment. Its non-invasive techniques use the hands to clear, energize, and balance the human and environmental energy and harmonize the client's physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health and healing. Therefore, it can be applied to various conditions.
Hellerwork® structural integration (SI) focuses on the connective tissue patterns of the body. It aims to achieve optimal alignment of bones and tissues by working primarily on the connective tissue patterns of the body.
Joseph Heller, an aerospace engineer, developed Hellerwork® after he became interested in a structural approach of Dr. Ida Rolf's work (Rolfing® Structural Integration) on the human body. He became a practitioner of the Rolf method in 1972 and continued to study with Dr. Rolf until 1978.
In 1975, Heller became the first president of the Rolf Institute. During this time, he also explored incorporating movement analysis and education directly into each session.
Heller developed a component where dialogue is promoted to encourage the client's awareness of their own bodies and choice of motion.
With his unique combination of expertise and training in structural integration, movement education, and body energy awareness, he left the Rolf Institute in 1978 to found Hellerwork® structural integration.
Treatment has three components: deep connective tissue bodywork, movement education, and self-awareness dialogue.
The bodywork consists of moving the body and working along the connective tissues of the body. It involves light or deep movements, ranging from the client being passive to active, while the bodywork is applied.
Movement education can happen during or at the end of the session. Education may include exercises to increase or maintain the bodywork, or to help the client learn more about their own movement or body.
Self-awareness dialogue can be used to explore how thoughts, feelings, and beliefs may relate to the posture and overall health of your body.
Hellerwork® structural integration can address certain injuries or conditions relating to repetitive strain.
Hurley/Osborn Technique strives to release muscle tension, ease joint pain, improve posture and circulation, and help the body realign itself through proper placement of the skeletal system. It is usually achieved by adjusting the position of the sacrum to the field of gravity.
Dr. Russell Osborn, a chiropractor, trained in a structurally focused method called biomechanics developed by the human-focused structural engineer John Hurley in 1944. Osborn became well known for his work, although the field of biomechanics was still relatively unknown.
After practising in Ontario, Canada for many years and later retiring in British Columbia, he found that he was still pursued for his knowledge and expertise in biomechanics.
After teaching some practitioners his methods, he founded a clinic in 1997. After Osborn died in 2000 at the age of 97, practitioners he trained formed an association called the Hurley/Osborn Practitioners Association.
Hurley/Osborn practitioners feel the client's skeletal and muscular positioning for consistency, texture, location, and tenderness. Treatment is performed with the client lying flat and facing downward.
Practitioners press key points in the pelvic area to release contraction and stress in muscles and ligaments. The sacrum is subtly repositioned, encouraging the spine and internal organs to realign.
The Hurly/Osborn Technique can help address issues such as muscle tension, ease joint pain, improve posture and circulation, and correct body alignment.
Infant massage involves participatory courses where a parent learns simple, relaxing massage techniques and stretches to perform on their infants to deepen the parent-child relationship and to manage some childhood discomforts.
Many ancient societies practised forms of infant massage, and different variations can be found throughout the world. In Western societies, infant massage is a particular blend of Swedish massage and stretching, based in part on ancient techniques from Indian culture, that have been standardized by the International Association of Infant Massage, founded by Vimala McClure in 1976.
There is no associated treatment for infant massage. Infant massage sessions are educational sessions for parents where they learn how to gently massage, stretch, and communicate through touch with their newborns or infants.
Techniques are taught slowly to parents, giving them time to practise under the guidance of an instructor so they gain confidence.
Infant massage sessions can teach parents how to address classic childhood problems, like gas or colic, through touch. It can also help infants with relaxation, releasing stress, bettering their sleep, and stimulating better health and growth in mind and body.
Iridology is an assessment technique where practitioners examine the visible eye (especially the iris). It can identify the weaknesses/strengths to health or disease in body organs and systems and identify dietary problems or build up of toxins. Treatment can be through any variety of therapies.
Iridology is based primarily on a system created by a Hungarian physician named Ignatz von Peczley in the 19th century. Peczley noticed iris changes in animals and clients he treated.
Over time, he began to correlate disease and system weaknesses with particular features in the irises of his clients. Iridology was later adapted and popularized by an American chiropractor, Dr. Bernard Jensen, in the 1950s.
Over the years, other practitioners have refined the theory and analysis techniques. Now several different streams and versions of Iridology can be found.
There is no associated treatment involved with iridology. Iridologists theorize that nerve endings in the iris connect to organs and nerve systems through the optic nerve and the spinal cord.
A body part's response to trauma or stress, as well as its overall strength or weakness, creates changes to the quality, texture, or variation of colour of the iris segment associated with the corresponding nerve.
Iridology is a whole-body treatment that can identify the weaknesses/strengths to health or disease in body organs and systems and identify dietary problems or build up of toxins.
Jin Shin Do® ("The Way of the Compassionate Spirit") is a unique combination of Japanese acupressure techniques, Chinese acupressure theory, Reichan segmental theory, Taoism, and Qigong exercises. It identifies tension points associated with common physical problems and with distressing emotions. It is also referred to as Bodymind® Acupressure.
Jin Shin Do® was developed by psychotherapist Iona Marsaa Teeguarden. It was based on almost two decades of bodywork training and experience. Teeguarden founded the Jin Shin Do Foundation in 1982.
Jin Shin Do® practitioners examine different acu-points and determine areas of tension, physical or energetic stress, dysfunction, or imbalance. Treatment is performed clothed and practitioners focus on "strange flows" of the Chinese Meridian Theory — the Chinese believe that these channels are reservoirs of the body's essence.
The strange flows channels have acu-points, just like standard meridians. The touch of Jin Shin Do® tends to be lighter and often uses simultaneous stimulation of both a local and distal point. Each point the practitioner works on may be held for one to two minutes or more.
Choosing the points as well as proper and appropriate pressure into the points are considered vital to success.
Jin Shin Do® is a whole-body treatment that can also address energy blockages and determine areas of tension, physical or energetic stress, dysfunction, or imbalance.
The Jin Shin Jyutsu® method recognizes 26 "safety energy locks" located at various points along the energy meridian system of the body. If any of the meridian pathways become blocked, disharmony occurs, resulting in imbalance, tension, and reduction of vital energy.
Holding the fingers to specific combinations of these "safety energy locks" releases the flow of energy and restores harmony and balance to the energy meridian system.
Jin Shin Jyutsu® is based on a formalization of energy healing traditions in Japan. Jin means "Art," Shin means "Creator," and Jyutsu means "man of knowing and compassion."
Jin Shin Jyutsu® was founded by Master Jiro Murai in the 1900s. After being diagnosed with a terminal illness at 26-years-old, Murai was able to restore his health through the study of ancient energy healing traditions in Japan and the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Things).
Mary Burmeister, who apprenticed with Murai, brought Jin Shin Jyutsu® to North America in the 1950s.
Jin Shin Jyutsu® practitioners gently place their fingertips (over clothing) on any number of the twenty-six designated "safety energy locks" to harmonize and restore energy flow.
The placement of fingertips at these locations acts as a "jumper cable" between these points and facilitates the reduction of tension and stress that accumulate through normal daily living.
Jin Shin Jyutsu® is a whole-body treatment that can help reduce stress and tension and restore harmony and balance to the body's energy system.
LEVA is a specific machine recognized by Health Canada that is used in clinics to augment massage therapy, physiotherapy, and chiropractic treatments through carefully-modulated microcurrent stimulation of muscle and connective tissue. The specific pulse waveform is gentle and stimulates healing in the area.
Although TENS devices have been available for several years, Gerald Zagrosh developed the LEVA variation that monitors the voltage of the charge and precisely controls the shapes of the electrical pulse used in the electrostimulation.
Practitioners use a LEVA device, which produces low-intensity electrical signals that are applied to the skin through electrodes on or near a painful area, producing a tingling sensation.
This assists nerves to discharge or relax their stimulation, which reduces pain. There is no dosage limit (the amount of charge released is controlled by the device), and the practitioner controls the electrical charge available and the length of stimulation based on feedback from the client.
Some experts believe TENS devices work by blocking pain signals in the spinal cord, or by delivering electrical impulses to underlying nerve fibres that lessen the experience of pain. Others suspect that the electrical stimulation triggers the release of natural painkillers in the body. LEVA can act as a pain- reducing agent.
Lomilomi is a holistically balancing massage system.
Lomilomi is an ancient Hawaiian massage system that is part of the Hawaiian healing tradition, in which physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are considered and treated as one unit.
Mastered by the Hawaiian Kahuna, the healing and spiritual leaders of Hawaiian native communities, the techniques were kept secret until the late 1970s.
The focus of treatment is to balance the patient physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, This is achieved through a number of different massage strokes, such as kneading toward the heart, and long flowing strokes.
Lomilomi can help to release stored emotions, trauma, tension, stress, and blocked energy. It is used to invigorate and stimulate, as well as to relax and nurture.
Manual lymph drainage improves health by improving the flow of the lymphatic system. Practitioners apply soft touch to help reduce swelling and pain.
Dr. Emil Vodder and Estrid Vodder created manual lymph drainage after treating several clients who had swollen lymph nodes.
They became interested in alleviating some of their clients' symptoms, and in 1932, studied how the lymphatic system circulates and how it can be affected through touch techniques. Their theories and techniques eventually evolved to become manual lymph drainage.
Manual lymph drainage practitioners use a light touch when they massage, following the flow of the lymph towards the heart. There are five basic techniques: stationary, rotary, thumb circles, pumping, and scooping.
These are used to stimulate or assist lymph flow or to help get lymph reabsorbed into the lymph system from the surrounding tissues. The practitioners may also recommend remedial exercise, as well as compression bandaging.
Manual lymph drainage helps reduce swelling and has some analgesic effects. Some practitioners are trained to help manage lymphedema (congenital/acquired), wounds, and skin conditions.
Manupractic™ (formerly known as Dayana Technique) is an additional technique used by massage therapists. It combines the techniques of Esalen massage, myofascial release, Lomilomi, Qigong, and energy work to produce a blend that brings the most out of the therapeutic benefits of a whole-body approach.
Lincoln Lau trained in massage therapy, Esalen Massage, Lomilomi, Qi Gong, and in energy work techniques. In the late 1990s, he combined them to develop Manupractic™'s unique free-flowing method of work.
The Manupractic™ technique is often used as a complementary technique in massage therapy. Treatment consists of longer and lighter strokes across large body areas. The strokes aim to focus the client away from intense remedial work and re-integrate the worked body part into the experience of the body as a whole.
Manupractic™ is a whole-body treatment which has the same benefits of massage therapy, such as treating acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions and accelerating the healing process by having a positive affect on the circulatory and lymphatic systems.
Massage therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissues (primarily muscle and connective tissue) of the body. It strives to achieve balance and health in the body by affecting the body's systems.
Almost every documented ancient civilization and modern society has variations of massage therapy, that is, therapeutic interventions based on the rubbing and kneading of muscles.
In North America, massage therapy was originally associated with Swedish massage, developed by several people in Europe based on exercise, tests, and observation.
While most practitioners are still trained in basic Swedish massage techniques, there a variety of many other musculoskeletal and myofascial techniques that have been integrated into the practice of massage therapy over the years.
Treatment varies widely, depending on the type of massage specialty used.
Practitioners relax, release stress, or gently tone muscle. Stretching can be used to enhance or maintain the work. Trigger point work and myofascial work release tension, stress, scarring, or restriction in the complex myofascial network of the body.
Joint and muscle balancing techniques are used to maximize range of motion and reduce stress or unevenness in motion. Topical agents are sometimes used to further enhance the effects or to assist with general relaxation or stimulation.
Many of the effects of different types of massage treatment approaches have been identified as effective in treating acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions. Massage can significantly accelerate the healing process by having a positive affect on the circulatory and lymphatic systems.ractic™ is a whole-body treatment which has the same benefits of massage therapy, such as treating acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions and accelerating the healing process by having a positive affect on the circulatory and lymphatic systems.
Maternal massage is a specialized focus of massage therapy, sometimes with other added techniques, applied to treat pregnant women.
Massage for pregnant women has existed as long as the first recorded history of massage. It has always existed as a specialized focus of massage.
Modern maternal care has contributed much to the evolution of maternal massage. It is not an independent holistic practice; rather, it is specialized training a practitioner must have to safely and competently treat expectant mothers.
Treatment in this case is also about the specific care unique to the pregnant client — pregnancy creates specific comfort and positioning needs. The practitioner can treat the client in the normal manner, but special techniques and considerations in any areas affected by the pregnancy must be considered and adopted.
Maternal massage can help treat the discomforts and stress of pregnancy, as well as maintain optimum health and muscle-tone throughout the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum and nursing periods.
The Mitzvah technique is a type of Postural Neuromuscular Education method, adapted from the Alexander Technique™ and Feldenkrais®. It is a physical fitness education technique which can address spinal and postural problems as a preventative and remedial measure.
Mitzvah was founded by M. Cohen-Nehemia, an Israeli dancer and choreographer. Nehemia became interested in the injuries sustained by dancers and how he could potentially treat them.
After studying the Alexander Technique and spending some time learning about the Nomadic culture of the Bedouin of the Sinai Desert, he discovered the Mitzvah Mechanism and integrated Bedouin culture into Alexander Technique study and practice.
Treatment involves a two-part technique. Practitioners use postural exercises and then manipulation techniques to re-train and correct posture. This allows the body to be balanced with gravity and to maintain correct spinal posture while in motion.
Mitzvah can help address postural issues related to poor body posture habits such as slouching, repetitive activities, or poorly designed ergonomic environments. It can also help address tension and stress build-up issues, postural difficulties, headaches, injures, and neck, back, joint, and spinal problems.
Myofascial cupping is a soft tissue therapy that encourages healing by creating a negative pressure or suction on the skin using plastic or glass cups that pull up underlying tissues, blood, and other fluids close to the surface of the skin.
Other types of cupping include wet cupping and fire cupping. The NHPC does not support wet cupping because it involves making small lacerations in its application.
Myofascial cupping does not use scalpels or needles.
While many assume that cupping originated in China with traditional Chinese medicine, the earliest records of cupping date back to Egypt in 1550 BC, where it was mentioned in the Ebers Papyrus. Egyptians are believed to have introduced it to the Greeks around 400 BC.
The earliest recorded use of cupping in Asian medical systems dates back to a Taoist alchemist and herbalist who lived from 281 to 341 AD. Eventually, cupping was spread to the Americas and to Europe.
Cupping has increased in popularity and is used as an integrative therapy in modern medicine. Myofascial cupping is often incorporated into other manual therapy techniques such as massage therapy, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and other injury rehabilitation techniques.
A myofascial cupping treatment uses a combination of massage strokes and negative pressure to lift, separate, and stretch underlying soft tissues. Cupping is typically applied on the neck, shoulders, back, sacrum, hip, abdomen, thigh, calves, and upper arms.
Areas of musculoskeletal tension or congestion are located using massage techniques, and cups may be applied on an affected area and moved over the surface in a gliding motion, or possibly put on a fascial adhesion or trigger point for a short time to reduce or eliminate it.
Myofascial cupping uses cups made of glass or plastic; some have soft squeezable bulbs at one end and some can be attached to a machine or manual pump that creates the suction.
These methods avoid the danger of using heat and fire to depressurize the cups. Cupping procedures may leave light to dark red marks on the skin that disappear in 5 to 10 days.
Myofascial cupping can help treat soft tissue conditions and musculoskeletal tension, pain, and common sporting injuries. It can also create relaxation by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.
Myofascial release is a hands-on therapy based on releasing built-up tension within the myofascial tissues to help relieve muscle pain. This pain is unique from other pain symptoms, because the pain stems from trigger points.
John Barnes, a physical therapist, created myofascial release while trying to alleviate pain stemming from spinal injuries. He developed a theory based on the relationship between the fascia, function, and pain syndromes in the body.
He focused on how problems seem to originate within the fascia and how this can have long-lasting effects. He developed one system for releasing the restrictions in the fascia to help to alleviate those effects.
During therapy, practitioners find spaces that seem rigid and fixed, rather than flexible and pliant, within the fascial tissues.
They then apply light pressure and stretches to loosen these spaces and alleviate pain. Myofascial release can also be created using stretch techniques where the stretch spans the area of fascia being released.
Myofascial release can alleviate or relieve pain associated with many chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
Myomassology teaches the integration of massage, chair massage, lymphatic drainage, reflexology, acupressure, and energy work. Practitioners also have the choice to incorporate several other elective therapies of interest to better support the client's needs.
Myomassology evolved from massage therapy in the early 1970s. Myomassology practitioners believe in the integration of several massage therapy approaches, not just focusing on Swedish massage.
Treatment is a combination of what is assessed and what outcome the client desires. Components of different massage treatments are then applied to best address each particular issue or to achieve the best level of release.
Myomassology is potentially effective in treating acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions. Myomassology can significantly accelerate the healing process by having a positive effect on the circulatory and lymphatic systems.
Natural Bioenergetics™ uses muscle monitoring as an indicator of the nervous system/energy response to a variety of specific stimulations. Using muscle response testing, the imbalances in the meridians, organs, and tissues can be identified and corrected.
Dr. Goodheart developed muscle monitoring for Applied Kinesiology. In 1978, Dr. Jimmy Scott adapted the muscle testing to develop a system that uses muscle information to access deeper levels of meridian and nervous system responses to stress.
Dr. Scott created Natural Bioenergetics™, which uses bioenergetic techniques that find disturbed energy flows in the body/mind and helps corrects them. Natural Bioenergetics™ can help people heal energetically from a range of psychological, physical, and environmental issues.
Natural Bioenergetics™ uses muscle monitoring to access the body's wisdom and address stresses that create imbalance in the body's energy system.
Natural Bioenergetics™ uses a specific questioning protocol to determine treatment. Treatment is based on specific procedures to re-tune meridian energy around stress and reprogram the body’s responses to stress.
The balancing methods used in Natural Bioenergetics™ include magnets, flower essences, aromatherapy oils, self-touch, body positions, and thoughts and memories that mirror the traumas at the heart of the client’s mental, emotional, and physical stresses.
Treatment may use further muscle balancing, energy work, and meridian stimulation or sedation.
Natural Bioenergetics™ is a whole-body treatment that releases blockages in energy flow. This can benefit the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health and well-being of the client.
Neuromuscular Integration is based on the work of Ida Rolf. While practitioners apply classical Rolfing® techniques, they also incorporate lighter touch and more flexibility into their approach.
Neuromuscular Integration was formally developed by Bill M. Williams, PhD, and his wife Ellen Gregory-Williams, PhD. After training as a Rolfing® practitioner, Bill Williams realized that the results achieved in the physical body through Rolf's Structural Integration could be applied to a person's emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being.
Williams believed that a change in the structural integrity of the body must likewise be reflected as a change in the individual's character and emotional well-being. After working closely with Ida Rolf in 1977, Williams went on to develop the Neuromuscular Integration Model. One of the main aspects that separates Neuromuscular Integration from Rolfing® is William's Three Brain Model.
Neuromuscular Integration practitioners use a combination of soft tissue manipulation to adjust the physical structural alignment and emotional/psychological integration techniques to aid in the connection between body, mind, and spirit. Practitioners use soft tissue manipulation techniques based on those used in Rolfing®.
They can be performed on the client in a variety of positions, including the use of a typical therapy bed or a matted floor space. In distinction from Rolfing®, however, Neuromuscular Integration uses a more gentle approach.
Treatment involves stretches and the movement of the fascia to lengthen and balance the body along its natural vertical axis. The practitioner normally progresses from superficial to deeper layers of tissue.
Neuromuscular Integration can help restore flexibility and vertical alignment along what is called the Rolf® line. Neuromuscular Integration can have additional emotional and psychological benefits, such as increased confidence and self-image.
Onsen™ is a combination of three treatment techniques based on fundamental myofascial treatment philosophies (muscle energy technique, post-isometric relaxation, and transverse friction massage).
Massage Therapist Rich Phaigh developed Onsen™. After years of experience focusing on specific movements, he found could create balance in the muscular system and release restrictions that reduce pain and restore normal functioning to the muscles and joints. Onsen™ techniques are often incorporated into other holistic health practices.
Onsen™ practitioners use three components (muscle energy technique, post-isometric relaxation, and transverse friction massage) together to balance the myofascial and muscular systems, releasing stress and pain in the body. All three techniques focus on releasing identified restrictions to achieve a neutral state of stress in the musculature.
Onsen™ can help create balance, particularly length/stretch balance in soft tissues, as balanced muscles do not create pain.
Ortho-Bionomy® is an osteopathically based form of body therapy meaning "the correct application of the laws of life." The practitioner facilitates possible changes in the body by engaging the body’s self-corrective reflexes using gentle movements and comfortable positioning.
Arthur Pauls, a British Osteopath and martial arts teacher, developed Ortho-Bionomy®. Pauls was fascinated by the gentle positional techniques used by American Osteopath Lawrence Jones, where the practitioner puts a body structure into an exaggerated position, which in turn causes a reflexive relaxing of certain muscle patterns. Pauls refined and advanced Jones' techniques and founded Ortho-Bionomy® in 1976.
The client is fully clothed during an Ortho-Bionomy® session. The practitioner acknowledges the person's areas of discomfort and ensures they remain comfortable during treatment. The gentle movements and subtle pressure used results in deep relaxation and loosening of the tight muscles around restricted areas.
Once these areas are activated, the body's self-correcting reflexes naturally bring the structure back into alignment. Rhythmic motions and integrative exercises are often used to help re-educate the body and reinforce the work.
This technique has been incorporated into many treatment practices including massage therapy, physiotherapy, osteopathy, and chiropractic.
Ortho-Bionomy® can help improve balance, ease, and wholeness for clients by focusing on improving musculoskeletal health and function. It can also release unhealthy tension patterns to improve circulation, range of motion, and flexibility.
Orthotherapy is an advanced massage therapy training that combines massage therapy, kinesitherapy, postural re-education, and exercise therapy.
Orthotherapy was originally developed in Quebec, Canada. The Canadian Federation of Orthotherapists was established in 1998 to support practitioners, promote orthotherapy, and develop standards.
This treatment uses basic Swedish massage to soften, relax, release stress, and to gently tone muscle.
Stretching and exercises can be used to enhance or maintain the work. Myofascial work releases tension, stress, scarring, or restriction in the complex myofascial network of the body. Various hydrotherapy techniques can help release tension and restrictions in muscle, as well as reduce pain.
Joint and muscle balancing techniques are used to maximize range of motion and to reduce stress or unevenness in the body. Diet and lifestyle suggestions help the client maximize health.
Orthotherapy can help address acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions.
Pilates places intense concentration on the internal core muscles through a series of exercises and breathing patterns.
Joseph Pilates founded Pilates after suffering from several childhood diseases. He trained in yoga, Zen meditation, and different exercise regimes to overcome long-term stresses and symptoms of these diseases.
He was a gymnast for several years and was a German National living in England during World War I. While he was interned in Britain, he trained other internees in different exercise techniques and developed methods of resistance exercise for bed-ridden clients.
After immigrating to the United States in 1923, he opened a fitness studio where he refined and developed his techniques. His methods, which focused on core or intrinsic muscle strength, became popular amongst dancers and athletes.
Instruction is based entirely on the needs, strengths, and weaknesses of the client. Different exercises and approaches are applied and geared to the current physical condition and abilities of the client to meet long-term objectives.
Exercises can include mat work; the Reformer (a basic device that provides external resistance for exercises); the use of balls, barrels, and weights to provide variations on core mobilization; and the use of exercises and full Pilates-focused exercise equipment.
Some Pilate styles, such as Barre Pilates, incorporate Pilates techniques with adapted ballet, yoga, and overall strength-conditioning techniques.
Pilates aims at improving balance, coordination, muscle length and tone, and reduces pain and the chance of injury. It strives to create harmony and balance in people's lives.
Polarity Therapy™ is a system involving energy-based physical bodywork, diet, exercise, and self-awareness focused on the client's mental, emotional, and physical experience. It seeks to find and release energy to normal flow patterns and to maintain the energy field in an open, flexible condition.
Dr. Randolph Stone, who had degrees in osteopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy, and several other manipulation techniques, developed Polarity Therapy™ after visiting India and learning about the medical system Ayurveda, which focuses on the human energy field.
He learned that the human energy field is affected by touch, diet, movement, sound, attitudes, relationships, life experience, trauma, and environmental factors. After combining Western and Eastern methods together and understanding the disease process as it relates to the human energy field, Stone created Polarity Therapy™.
Treatment can vary widely in approach, depending on the initial and ongoing assessment. Three depths of touch are used: very light or off-body, medium, and firm. Typically, practitioners use a firmer touch on scar tissue.
The practitioner will find an energy blockage and trace the blockage until all parts have been released. After the energy has been balanced, manipulation of related energy points, rhythmic rocking, stretching, and joint manipulation may be used to further the health of the tissues associated with the energy release or balancing.
Polarity Therapy™ can increase relaxation and release stress. Practitioners help the client gain greater self-awareness of their own body processes, energy, and how lifestyle choices affect the body both physically and energetically. Polarity Therapy™ is a whole-body treatment that focuses on each body part in relation to the energetic whole.
Postural Integration® is a physical bodywork technique that integrates a client's physical, emotional, and mental (cognitive) aspects. This technique uses tissue manipulation to explore and release postural patterns leading to the release of negative emotional and psychological patterns or behaviours.
Postural Integration® was developed by Jack W. Painter, PhD. Painter believed that human beings establish protective barriers at a young age in response to psychological and emotional experiences. He believed that those barriers guide the rest of our life unless they are taken down with some intervening technique.
After decades studying Rolfing®, massage, reiki, humanistic psychology, acupressure, and the Five Elements System, Painter developed Postural Integration®.
Postural Integration® practitioners may give the client verbal instructions to improve their breath, body, and/or posture. This helps the client become more self-aware of their emotional and physical state.
The practitioner may include some hands-on-body tissue work to treat tension, numbness, or discomfort. Throughout the treatment the client deepens their breath and becomes more self-aware.
In a typical session, clients can expect a variety of responses, which include not only changes to their physical postural alignment, but also the release or experience of painful or pleasurable emotions.
Towards the end of the treatment, clients can feel exhausted or energized, depending on their experience. The practitioner may end the treatment by guiding the client's breath and performing light hands-on work.
As Postural Integration® focuses on removing a person's innate protective barriers, treatment puts a client into an enlightened state where they experience previously blocked cognitive, emotional, spiritual, and physical experiences. Clients also become more aware of their emotional and physical state.
A combination of moving, stationary, and breathing exercises, qigong modulates the body energy (Qi), for increased strength, resiliency, vitality, and resistance to illness and stress. Gong means an achievement or expertise that is accomplished through consistent practice.
Together, qigong (chi kung) is a Chinese medical system that stimulates or regulates the flow of energy in meridians by using specific, focused physical breathing techniques.
Qigong dates back 3,000 years to the Chinese medical system, and Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Many different qigong styles exist. Tai chi is one element of qigong. It focuses on physical strength conditioning, flexibility, resilience, mental focus and clarity, and on creating proper flow and balance of Qi throughout the body.
Qigong practitioners teach the client specific physical, breathing, or concentration exercises to stimulate the energy flow in specific meridians or acu-points.
Exercises may be performed standing (most common), sitting, or lying down. The practitioner will also use a variety of energy work techniques to clear blocked Qi and assist with the normalizing of the Qi flow. Clients may also be taught some basic self-massage techniques to make the exercises easier.
Qigong is a whole-body treatment that regulates the body, mind, and breath, which all affect health and the quality of Qi in the body. Qigong exercises focus on inward training, which can help clients reduce stress and increase relaxation.
Rebalancing is a fusion of massage therapy, Rolfing®, and energy work. Practitioners fully release and balance the musculature and fascial system of the body, while recognizing the emotional, energetic, and spiritual components of the client and their impact on physical functioning.
Rebalancing was created in the 1980s by a group of experienced bodywork practitioners, under the guidance of an Indian spiritual leader, Osho.
Rebalancing treatment utilizes a combination of deep tissue and connective tissue massage, joint tension release, energy and breath work, and Osho Active Meditations to counteract chronic holding patterns that contribute to pain and illness.
Rebalancing is a whole-body treatment that can help strengthen the somatic system, awareness/presence, health, and energy of the client.
Reflexology is based on the ability to enable healing in one body part or organ (a reflex response) by stimulating specific points on the body. The most common is foot reflexology, where practitioners stimulate the reflex points on the feet to trigger stimulation in a corresponding organ or structure. However, reflexology may also be performed on the hands or ears.
Reflexology concepts appear in several ancient cultures, particularly in Indian, Chinese, and Japanese cultures.
Reflexology was brought to North America in 1913 by Dr. William Fitzgerald, an ear, nose, and throat specialist. He refined the zone therapy theory, where the body is divided into 10 equal zones running along the length of the body.
Each zone is associated with a toe and finger. Manipulating one zone can impact the functioning of the body as a whole. He used pressure on the feet in different zones to affect different parts of the body.
Eunice Ingham, a massage therapist, further refined the technique when she eventually mapped the body onto the surface of the feet. Since then, reflexology maps on the hands and ears have also been developed.
Treatment occurs in two phases. First, a series of work is performed to gently stimulate and balance the whole body. During this process, specific points that need further work are identified.
In the second phase, these specific points are addressed. Many practitioners combine the two by performing general work and pausing and do specific work when active reflex points are found. The reflex points are stimulated using gentle to moderate finger pressure in a number of different application methods (finger walking, thumb walking, rotating, pivoting, etc.).
Reflexology is a whole-body treatment. Stimulation of the reflex points on the feet, hands, or ears is said to help self-regulate the body and encourage the body to move the organ or structure and its associated energy towards balance or better function.
Reiki is a Japanese energy technique, with Tibetan origins, where an emphasis is placed on the body's natural ability to heal itself. The practitioner gently places their hands in various positions on the head and body with the intention of healing on a physical, mental, and emotional level.
Reiki originated over 4,000 years ago, when Tibetan Buddhist monks practised a spiritual and healing discipline called raku kei, a tradition that gradually fell out of practise.
In the 1800s, Dr. Mikao Usui revised the practice after studying texts and other energy systems. He eventually re-discovered a way of channelling Reiki, universal life energy. His student, Chujiro Hayashi, formalized the training and popularized the Reiki movement in Japan.
Reiki practitioners begin by invoking the Reiki energy and then lightly lay their hands on specific points on the body.
If the practitioner has identified hot spots, they will also spend time at those spots. The practitioner is simply a channel to focus the energy on each spot. The client is encouraged to remain calm and breathe deeply.
Reiki is a whole-body treatment that strives to achieve optimal health and energetic health for its clients through reducing stress and promoting overall healing within the body.
Rolfing® structural integration (SI) is a brand of bodywork that falls under the category of structural integration.
Sessions are performed either as an individually tailored program or as a 10-part series methodology, using soft tissue manipulation and Rolf Movement™ to release the whole-body connective-tissue stress patterns that can prevent optimal movement and cause pain.
Originally trained as a biochemist, Dr. Ida Rolf was an avid student of yoga, osteopathy, and homeopathy. She began to apply their principles to her wellness routine. Later, she directed her focus on the effects of gravity on the fascial structure of the body.
Years of investigation led Dr. Rolf to believe that the imbalances in structure placed demands on the body's pervasive network of soft tissues: muscles, fascia, tendons, and ligaments are all connected, thereby creating compensations throughout the body structure.
She developed soft tissue methods of intervention with the goal to restore proper function and movement. In order to pass along her work to others and to make the education process accessible, she developed an expedient series of 10 sessions, which became known as the Ten Series.
Dr. Rolf's life work led to the system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education now called Rolfing® Structural Integration. It has also influenced and/or inspired others to do further research and/or develop their own schools of SI, demonstrating how Dr. Rolf continues to be seen as a pioneer and leader in this field.
Following an extensive initial intake interview, patient feedback and dialogue respective to the patient's treatment experience are an ongoing and important part of each session.
Assessment often includes gait, posture, and functional movement analysis. The treatment method focuses on the network of soft tissues and movement re-education.
Hands-on contact may use light or deep pressure as required and is applied along fascial and other soft tissue layers. These interventions can also include passive and active movement of the patient. Some specific movement education may be incorporated during or at the end of a treatment session.
Rolfing® SI sessions sequentially work through different areas and layers of the body. Practitioners (a.k.a. Rolfers™) use the Rolfing® Ten Series as a guideline, adjusting the rate of progression and number of visits specific to the needs of the client.
Rolfing® structural integration can help to restore soft tissue imbalances to a more a "normal" state. The result can be shown as a more balanced structure, increased range of motion, and more efficient movement.
In turn, once the fascial system is balanced and organized, results may include reduced stress, increased economy of movement, decreased fatigue, and a reduction or elimination of pain.
Rosen Method™ bodywork encourages physical and emotional awareness through working with muscle tension. The practitioner facilitates the relaxation process through awareness, touch, and words.
Marion Rosen worked as a physiotherapist for over 30 years. She believed that breath work is an essential component to help a person experience fuller and freer movement and breathing.
In the late 1950s, her work began to focus on lighter touch, somatic work, and range of motion movement classes. Rosen began to instruct others in the technique in 1972; the technique was formalized in 1980.
Rosen Method™ treatment is held in classes in spacious rooms. The practitioner teaches clients movements that are designed to slowly open up the range of motion and create the experience of ease in motion and in breath. The movements are done independently while standing in a circle, in partnerships, and while on the floor, and are usually accompanied by music. Clients learn at their own rate.
In Rosen Method™ bodywork, treatment is performed with the client lying clothed on a massage table. Gentle, but sometimes moderately deep, massage- style touch creates space for tension and contracted muscles to let go and return to their optimal condition. The breath is monitored as a key diagnosis method during treatment, indicating when the body has learned to let go of stress and tension.
Rosen Method™ is a whole-body treatment that focuses on reshaping and re-educating the body in a gentle way to allow the client to fully experience freedom in their body and movement. In moments of deep relaxation, Rosen Method™ may release long held feelings and memories from the past.
In shiatsu, the practitioner primarily uses the thumbs and palms of the hands as a means of affecting therapeutic changes to the energy systems of the body.
Shiatsu is based on the Eastern Medical model, in which Qi, or life energy, is believed to flow through pathways or meridians in the body. The flow of Qi regulates physical, mental, and emotional well-being and plays an important role in human physiology and pathology, as well as in the prevention and treatment of illness.
Shiatsu originated in Japan. Two common stories exist concerning how shiatsu developed.
The first is that it grew out of Amma traditions that were brought to Japan around 1,000 CE. Tamai Tempaku published Shiatsu Ho (finger pressure therapy) in 1919, which described a mixture of Japanese Amma, abdominal massage, self-massage, acu-point pressure techniques, and Western anatomy and physiology.
The second version of the story is that Tokujiro Namikoshi developed the theory based on his experiences treating his mother for rheumatic pains. The Namikoshi version of shiatsu has fewer acu-points and is the form of shiatsu recognized by the Japanese government.
Treatment involves two components: the stimulation of the appropriate acu-points to achieve either an increase or decrease in the energy flow at that point and massage to affect the muscular condition in an area.
Acu-point stimulation is usually achieved through direct, shallow, or deep pressure, although localized massage techniques may also be used.
Localized shiatsu massage includes a variety of direct hand techniques — various forms of pressing, stroking, holding and vibrating, rubbing, shaking, tapping, and kneading either in isolation or in combination. Joints are often manipulated to increase range of motion.
Shiatsu is a whole-body treatment that can bring balance to all systems of the body and promote health and healing.
Spa/Body Wraps are gentle mixtures (often a paste) of various types of clays, muds, salts, herbs, essential oils, milks, or other organic compounds.
The use of wraps, salts, and other compounds as masks or poultices by herbalists, doctors, and shamans predates written history. While popularity has waxed and waned, these products have been gaining popularity in Western culture ever since the Spa industry regained its popularity in the 1980s as a primary place for pampering, relaxation, and health.
The body wrap is prepared and then applied. Masks are usually like poultices, applied and allowed to dry before peeling off or carefully brushed or washed off. With wraps, the material is gently spread over the client, who is then wrapped up (in sheets, thermal blankets, etc.) and left to relax.
The client is then unwrapped and is either washed off using various shower methods, or may step into a bath to soak the wrapped material off. Practitioners use salt glows or salts with dried herbal products to gently or vigorously scrub the skin until it glows from the stimulation of circulation.
A cleansing process usually follows. In most cases, these services are combined with Swedish or other massage techniques. Aromatherapy may also be involved.
Depending on the mixture, Spa/Body Wraps can have cleansing, detoxifying, relaxing, or stimulating effects.
Sports massage practitioners have a special interest in the needs of professional athletes and people who regularly participate in sports.
The two main aspects are conditioning and injury prevention work, and rehabilitation if injury occurs. Sports massage usually involves massage, exercise, and stretching programs.
The use of massage to treat athletes and other physically active people has been around since recorded history.
Treatment is similar to regular massage. Sports massage practitioners require additional training to understand how massage can affect performance or post-event/post-injury recovery. Sports massage may be used as part of a rehabilitation program or as part of an on-going maintenance program.
Sports massage can help relieve pain and symptoms of stress, or develop, maintain, rehabilitate, or augment physical function.
STAMINA® training provides the knowledge and skills needed to align key stabilizing muscles in a particular direction which results in improved muscle strength, stability, and function.
Aleyna Sheradha founded STAMINA® after a failed back surgery and years of chronic back pain and nerve damage. After eight years of trying a variety of holistic health treatments, which only provided temporary relief, she decided to try gentle hatha yoga postures.
After 18 months of this treatment, Sheradha was able to reverse her nerve damage and return to work as a massage therapist. After her rapid recovery, Sheradha decided to study the biomechanics behind her recovery with yoga.
After further study of kinesiology, manual therapy techniques, and restorative yoga, Sheradha also became a certified yoga instructor. She discovered that certain patterns of muscle movement seemed to consistently relieve compressing forces in the skeletal and muscular system and seemed to answer the underlying issues behind structural and soft tissue compression.
After fusing together several directional movements, yoga postures, and manual therapy into her practice, Sheradha developed STAMINA® Rehabilitation Therapy in 2009.
STAMINA® is often incorporated into general massage practice. Practitioners combine an assessment of certain muscle fibers with neuro-motor reduction. STAMINA® techniques address the musculoskeletal system and the central nervous system, which help the body regulate the autonomic nervous system.
STAMINA® can help decrease symptoms, improve range of motion, increase muscle stabilizing strength, regulate myofascial hypertonus, and resolve trigger points.
Stone therapy is a type of massage that uses either heated or chilled round, smooth stones placed on key points on the body. The practitioner uses the stones to massage the body and to transfer the heat to the client.
Stone therapy originated about 2,000 years ago from Chinese medicine. Heated stones were used to increase the performance of the internal organs. The use of heated stones can also be dated back to ancient religious rituals and cultural folklore, from areas that range from Egypt, Africa, Europe, and North America.
Mary Nelson, a massage therapist, reintroduced Stone Therapy to North America in 1993 after she discovered that hot stones can help treat repetitive strain conditions.
Stone therapy practitioners use stones in two ways during treatment.
Practitioners first transfer heat to the body by laying stones under the client or on top of the client. The client is given an egg-sized stone to hold in each hand; similar sized stones are cradled in the foot arch. Smaller stones are placed between the fingers and toes.
These stones are then placed strategically in key areas of the body, while the practitioner massages the client with other heated stones. These stones deliver both deep and superficial massage.
As the stones cool down, they are replaced with fresh stones. This ensures that continuous heat is used throughout the treatment.
Stone therapy can promote deep muscle and tissue relaxation, alleviate stress, relieve pain, and improve circulation.
Structural Integration (SI) is a type of bodywork that focuses on the connective tissue, or fascia, and alignment of the body. It is practised in an organized series of sessions or individual sessions within a framework that is designed to restore postural balance by aligning and integrating the body in gravity.
Originally trained as a biochemist, Dr. Ida Rolf was an avid student of yoga, osteopathy, and homeopathy. She began to apply their principles to her wellness routine. Later, she directed her focus on the effects of gravity on the fascial structure of the body and discovered how to manipulate it with the goal to restore proper function.
By the 1950s, she refined her theory and began to teach her work. In order to pass along her work to others and to make the education process accessible, she developed an expedient series of 10 sessions, which came to be known as the Ten Series.
In the 1970s, she asked Judith Aston to create a series of movements that would help maintain structural corrections over time. Aston went on to develop and build upon her own ideas and founded Aston-Patterning™, a movement re-education system.
Following Ida Rolf's death in 1979, a small group of individuals from the Rolf Institute left to form the Guild for Structural Integration in 1989. The differences in philosophy between the two schools results in a slightly different approach, although the main tenets, results of the work, and the 10-session schedule remain.
Dr. Rolf's work led her to be a pioneer and leader in soft tissue manipulation and movement education. Others influenced by Dr. Rolf's work continued to do research and/or developed their own methods/brands of Structural Integration.
Today there are many different schools of SI recognized by the International Association of Structural Integrators (IASI), a professional membership organization for SI.
Following an extensive initial intake interview, patient feedback and dialogue respective to the patient's treatment experience are an ongoing and important part of each session. Assessment often includes gait, posture, and functional movement analysis.
The treatment method focuses on fascial bodywork and may include movement re-education. Hands-on contact may use light or deep pressure as required and is applied along tension lines of fascia.
These interventions can also include passive and active movement of the patient. Specific movement education may also be incorporated at some point during the session.
Structural Integration can release areas of fascia to restore it to a more a "normal" state. The result can be shown as a more balanced structure, increased range of motion, and more efficient movement. In turn, once the fascial system is balanced and organized, results may include reduced stress, increased economy of movement, decreased fatigue, and reduced pain.
Tai chi focuses on physical strength conditioning, flexibility, resilience, mental focus and clarity, and on creating proper flow and balance of Qi throughout the body.
Tai chi dates back 4,000 years and is influenced by Taoism, qigong, and several martial arts styles.
According to the legend, Zhang Sanfeng developed 13 postures based on movements associated with the four compass directions and the Five Elements theory. However, tai chi could have arisen much earlier.
Tai chi instructors teach students certain motions and forms, how to connect them, and then refine their movement through repetition. The motions are very slow and graceful, almost dance-like, as they progress seamlessly from one form to the next.
Strength and response training, such as the exercise known as push-hands, also forms part of the training.
Tai chi is a whole-body treatment that can help address several conditions. It helps to improve flexibility and core strength.
Thai massage involves particular stretches and strokes, performed on clothed clients on floor mats or low tables. It opens the joints and stimulates blood flow. This involves at least 104 postures from yogic origins.
Thai massage was developed over 2,500 years ago from the Chinese Meridian Theory and Ayurvedic medicine in Thailand. Over time, these medicinal theories evolved into Thai Medicine, with four branches: massage, diet, medicines and herbs, and spiritual practice.
The relationship with yoga can be seen in the stone carvings at temples in Thailand that visually describe the 104 movements and postures of Thai massage. Some practitioners, due to the yoga connection, call the practice Thai yoga massage.
Treatment, performed on a floor mat, progresses through various poses. Practitioners spend extra time and care on certain poses based on the client's needs.
The client progresses through four positions: on the back, the front, side lying, and sitting. Thai massage is often described as gentle assisted yoga that slowly releases muscles and increases range of motion. Hand techniques also assist muscular relaxation.
Thai massage can increase range of motion, open up circulation, release chronic tension, and encourage optimal energy flow.
Therapeutic Touch® is a holistic, evidence-based therapy that incorporates the intentional and compassionate use of universal energy to promote balance and well-being of the client, or healing partner. The practitioner uses the hands as a focus to facilitate the healing process
Therapeutic Touch® was developed in the early 1970s by Dr. Dolores Krieger, PhD, RN, and Dora Kunz, an intuitive healer. Through their combined experiences and research on the healing process, they developed the Therapeutic Touch® process and the curriculum for teaching this natural healing modality.
Since 1972 Therapeutic Touch® has been taught in more than 80 colleges and universities and approximately 90 different countries.
The process of Therapeutic Touch® begins with the practitioner's focus on the client and the intention to bring balance to the energy field. An initial energy assessment, done with the practitioner's hands several inches above the client's body, identifies areas of imbalance.
The remainder of the session can be done with or without physical contact and focuses on balancing the client's energy field. The practitioner uses their hands to clear and modulate energy, then to reassess the energy field for balance and flow.
The return of balance and flow has been shown to support the healing process both in research and clinical practice.
Therapeutic Touch® can help clear, align, and balance the client's energy systems, promoting healing. It is effective in promoting relaxation, relieving stress, and decreasing pain.
Touch for Health™ uses muscle testing to determine imbalances in the muscles and organs. Practitioners then use muscle manipulation techniques, acupressure-like treatments, lymph massage, and basic CranioSacral therapy moves to affect change.
Dr. Goodheart created a complex muscle testing and treatment system for Applied Kinesiology. However, it was only readily accessible for professional/regulated health providers. Chiropractor John Thie discovered that the system could be simplified for the public. His first manual was published in 1973.
Both the assessment and treatment components of the system were meant to be self-administered. However, many practitioners incorporate Touch for Health™ into their treatments.
Touch for Health™ practitioners begin by doing an energy pulse reading and testing for muscle weakness around the body. Weakness in a muscle represents a weakness around the body and in the organ that corresponds to that muscle.
Traditional treatments include massaging the muscle, particularly focusing on the origins and insertions of the muscle, holding the appropriate/indicated neurovascular points for a short period of time, and deeply massaging the tender/indicated neurolymphatic reflex points for 20 to 30 seconds.
Practitioners may also stimulate acupressure points on the associated muscles or energy meridians and use one or two simple moves from cranial osteopathy.
Touch for Health™ is a whole-body treatment that can help address and correct muscle and organ imbalances.
The Trager® approach is a system of movement re-education and bodywork that promotes health and freedom of movement.
Practitioners seek to create long-term change by introducing new patterns through the experience of new and different movement possibilities. Clients are taught better awareness of their own tension patterns and how to control and release them.
Milton Trager began as a massage therapist who eventually became a doctor in the late 1940s. He treated people based on his original techniques. After studying at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur California, his techniques became more widely recognized. He founded the Trager Institute in 1980.
Trager® practitioners move body parts through their range of motion, releasing the tissue through repetition of the range of motion and gentle rhythmic rocking. This releases habit-formed holding or thought patterns.
Once the range of motion becomes free and light, the practitioner moves on to the next area of interest. The effects of the work are long-lasting because the techniques require the mind to release habit-formed holding or response patterns that affect muscles or tissues.
Trager® can help facilitate deep relaxation, increase physical mobility, and increase mental clarity. It is used for health maintenance, rehabilitation, and pain management and relief.
Trigger Point Therapy uses compression, stretch, and hydrotherapy to release active, tightened, or referred trigger points that create pain in muscle tissue. The area of pain could extend from or be some distance from the active trigger point or points.
Dr. Janet Travell, the founder of Trigger Point Therapy, was a physician who started to explore unusual pain-referring points when she used self- massage to treat a shoulder injury. She eventually created a theory relating to referred pain and the treatment of musculoskeletal pain through the identification, analysis, and treatment of trigger points.
Trigger Point Therapy practitioners treat the client by releasing tightened tissue at the trigger point. Trigger Point Therapy incorporates acupressure and fascial techniques sensitive to tightened tissue into treatments.
Trigger Point Therapy can help address certain pain syndromes and address sensitivity associated with tightened tissues.
Tuina combines soft-tissue massage, acupressure, and other manipulation techniques that realign the musculoskeletal and ligamentous relationships.
The focus is to help the body heal through regulating or stimulating the flow of energy through the Chinese Meridian Theory and to stimulate or relax the musculoskeletal system to optimize the health of the client.
There are different theories concerning the origin of tuina relative to anma/amma massage and acupressure. Anma/amma is most likely the earliest version of massage that led to tuina. Tuina includes anma/amma acupressure techniques and structural realignment work.
Treatment involves several components. Practitioners stimulate the appropriate acu-points along the energy meridians to increase or decrease energy flow at that particular point.
Acu-point stimulation is usually achieved through direct pressure, although massage techniques may also be used. Massage is performed to affect the muscular condition in an area and from a whole-body perspective.
The massage uses a variety of direct hand techniques – such as pushing, pulling, stroking, kneading, tapping, percussive motions, and friction techniques – either in isolation or in combination. The practitioner also teaches specific exercises related to the treatment to support ongoing development and maintenance of health.
Tuina techniques can help stimulate energy flow and local blood circulation; relax, release, or tone muscle and fascial condition; and resolve trigger points.
Visceral Manipulation™ is a gentle hands-on therapy that works through the body's visceral system to locate and alleviate abnormal points of tension. This optimizes the relationship between the organs and the supporting structures of the body.
Jean-Pierre Barral, a French osteopath, founded Visceral Manipulation™ in the 1970s and 1980s. Barral studied the techniques of folk osteopaths in the French Alps and applied it to his own study of the organ support system.
Visceral Manipulation™ practitioners use light palpation before and during treatment to feel for restrictions in the fascia/connective-tissue supporting the organs, as well as in restrictions in the normal pulses or motions of the viscera.
Treatment involves specific manipulative forces and techniques that free normal motion and help to normalize the positioning of the viscera and the condition of the connective tissues.
Visceral Manipulation™ encourages the normal mobility, tone, and motion of the viscera and their connective tissues. It improves a patient's range of motion and mobility.
Watsu® is applied in a water environment and uses a number of flowing, rocking, extension, and cradling motions and patterns derived from shiatsu in its theory and general approach.
Watsu® originated from water-based Shiatsu. Harold Dull developed water shiatsu in 1980. He noticed that shiatsu stretches were more effective in water because the muscles and tissues were able to release tension more easily and completely.
Treatment involves the gentle release of tightness identified within the muscles and fascia, or energy restrictions found within the tissues. These movements can be stretching motions, gentle twisting to and fro, and rocking motions that move from one gentle movement into another.
Watsu® techniques also include Wassertanzen (meaning water dance), which is an intricate, flowing underwater movement and massage technique.
Watsu® can help relieve stress, return joint mobility, and movement fluidity. It can also help clients relax as an advanced form of hydrotherapy.
Whole Brain Integration™ helps integrate communication of the brain's right and left hemispheres through cross-body exercises. Brain Gym™ identifies the activities performed and taught by practitioners, and Whole Brain Integration™ is one component of the total body of work.
Educators Dr. Paul Dennison and Gail E. Dennison created Brain Gym™ in the 1970s. Originally, the Dennisons were looking for more effective ways to treat children and adults identified as "learning disabled." They began to experiment with using physical movement to enhance learning ability. They organized their work into a new educational system, Educational Kinesiology, or Edu-K™.
Whole Brain Integration™ practitioners usually start treatment by determining balances. Determining balances involves setting the stage for learning by identifying a goal for treatment through physical observation and interaction with the client.
It also involves activities that identify aspects of learning that need more focus, learning through the physical Whole Brain Integration™ movements, and post-activities to identify the learning.
Other balances may be identified and treated in later sessions, or the client may learn and practise movements independently for deeper and continued learning of the balance.
Whole Brain Integration™ can enhance cognitive, physical, and mental abilities while reducing stress and difficulties (e.g. learning or hearing) arising from the dis-coordination of the brain hemispheres.
Yoga represents the unification of mind, body, and spirit through controlled actions. Controlled action encompasses the yoga stretches, breathing, and in some systems of teaching, meditation. A number of different forms exist.
Yoga originated almost 5,000 years ago and teaches an ancient form of Vedic philosophy. Though Yoga is widely thought of as a series of stretches, it also includes many other aspects of healthy living, including:
Many different versions of yoga currently exist. Some of the most common ones are Hatha, Anusara, Ashtanga, and Bikram.
Clients are taught yoga poses, how to connect them, and how to incorporate breathing into the poses. Over time, students refine their poses through continuous repetition under the guidance of the practitioner.
As the client's body becomes more limber and supple, the client is able to perform more advanced poses. In most styles, the motions are slow and graceful, almost dance-like, as they progress seamlessly from one pose to the next, often pausing to relax into each pose.
Yoga can help relax, strengthen, stretch, and tone the body while calming the mind and nervous system. Yoga can be adapted to many musculoskeletal and chronic conditions.
Acquired: a condition or disease that arises after birth
Active reflex points: reflex points that are tender, indicating that its associated organ or structure is not functioning properly
Acu-points: in traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that there are points found all over the body and on channels called meridians (which connect corresponding body parts and organs). Stimulating these points is thought to have numerous health benefits to the whole body, as a treatment and as a preventative measure
Analgesic: pain-reducing effects
Assessment: a strategy of care (often involving an observation, physical, and questioning component) developed by a health care practitioner that takes into account the varying needs and goals of a patient and how those needs will be met
Autonomic nervous system: a component of the nervous system that regulates unconscious body functions, including digestion, heartbeat, respiratory rate, and pupil dilation
Ayurveda: a holistic system of medicine, dating back 5,000 years to Indian Vedic holistic medicine techniques
Bedouin culture: a culture from Arabian and Syrian deserts where the people have a nomadic lifestyle
Biomechanics: a division of physics that analyzes biological systems and structure through the study of mechanics
Buddhism: Buddhism dates back 2,500 years to the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama — commonly referred to as "the Buddha". At the age of 29, after living as an entitled Indian prince, Gautama decided to give away his worldly items and live a humble life. Gautama experienced a spiritual awakening at 35-years-old, underneath a Bodhi Tree. Gautama came up with Buddhist principles, which focus on achieving internal, sustained peace (Nirvana) through meditation and through following the "Middle Way" between abstaining from worldly desires and overindulgence in them
Chinese Medicine: a complex medical system that describes the physiology, pathology, diagnosis, and treatment of the human body in intricate and mutually related energetic terms
Chinese meridian theory: the belief that there are fundamental substances (Qi, blood, and other body fluids) that form a large web (containing pathways and trigger/meridian points) linking together several areas on our body
Chinese acupressure theory: in traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that there are points found all over the body and on channels called meridians (which connect corresponding body parts and organs). Stimulating these points is thought to have numerous health benefits to the whole body, as a treatment and as a preventative measure
Chiropractic: a holistic health care approach that prioritizes mechanical and muscular disorders, particularly those that involve the spine
Chronic: an incurable disease or condition
Circulatory: an organ system that involves the flow of blood and other important body substances such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, hormones, and electrolytes. The circulatory system helps the body combat disease and helps the body keep a standard body temperature and pH
Confucianism: a humanistic ideology developed by a Chinese philosopher, Confucius (551 to 479 BCE). Confucianism is centered on the fact that humans are naturally moral and can be instructed how to get rid of their imperfections through following certain tenants or rules. These tenants include morality and virtue, family, justice, propriety, and law
Congenital: a disease, condition, or abnormality that one is born with
Cranial osteopathy: practitioners use this method to "feel" fluid vibrations around the brain. It is connected to blood pressure and its fluctuations within the brain
Craniosacral-based techniques: techniques that address the liquids and membranes that support the functionality of the brain and spinal cord
Discipline: a level of training that includes every competency component needed to safely and appropriately apply the treatment
Distal point: an acupoint that is located at a far distance from another acu-point on the body
Ebers Papyrus: a medical papyrus that recorded ancient herbal treatments and knowledge
Endocrine: a system of glands that controls and releases hormones that modulate tissue development, sleep, mood, reproduction, tissue and sexual function, rate of growth and development, and other such functions
Ergonomic modification: ergonomic modification is a scientific area that studies the connections between human beings and other body systems. It can assist with posture and mechanics and can help prevent stress to the body. Ergonomic modification techniques include anything from alternations to sitting and driving positions, to posture, to the placement of one's desk, chair, or computer
Fascia/fascial: thickened states of tissues surrounding the muscles and organs
Fascial tissues: tissues surrounding the muscles and tissues of the skull, spinal column, and sacrum
Five Elements System: five elements, including fire, wood, earth, metal, and water, that are significant to the Chinese culture and Chinese medicine. The Chinese believe that is responsible for many natural relationships and events
Homeopathy: a type of holistic medicine developed by Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. Hahnemann believed that certain materials in a diluted form create symptoms of illness in healthy people. It can do the reverse for people in poor health
Human Potential Movement: a 1960s movement that rebelled against current cultural norms and supported the ideal that there is unlocked potential in all human beings
Humanistic psychology: this branch of psychology was created in contrast to the Freudian psychoanalytic theory and the Skinner theory of behaviourism, which had known weaknesses. Humanistic psychology supports the theory that a person is able to bring their own creativity and talents to fruition
Hydrotherapy: a water-based therapy where steam, ice, or hot or cold water is used to reduce stress, to increase comfort, and to improve overall health
Joint mobilization: a technique that uses non-resistant movement to stimulate certain skeletal joints, mainly focusing on the synovial joint to induce relaxation and pain relief
Kinesitherapy: movement work
Lymph: liquid surrounding the muscles and tissues of the skull, spinal column, and sacrum
Lymphedema: a treatable, but chronic, condition (either acquired or congenital) that arises as a result of a weakened lymphatic system where fluid abnormally collects in specific tissues and causes swelling
Lymphatic system: a part of the circulatory system, which is made up of vessels that carry a clear fluid towards the heart
Lymphatic fluid: liquid surrounding the muscles and tissues of the skull, spinal column, and sacrum
Meridian therapy: the belief that there are fundamental substances (Qi, blood, and other body fluids) that form a large web (containing pathways and trigger/meridian points) linking together several areas on our body
Muscle energy technique (MET): a type of manual technique where the practitioner focuses on the soft muscle motions (flexing, tightening etc.) of the client. Practitioners aim at restoring proper function and movement of the muscle while supporting client relaxation and comfort
Muscle testing: a type of diagnosis focused on the belief that muscles are linked to specific organs or glands. A weakness in some muscles could be significant of internal issues such as nutritional deficiencies, energy blockages, and organ function
Musculoskeletal: the muscle and skeletal system that is comprised of muscles, cartilage, joints, tendons, ligaments, bones, and connective tissues
Myofascia/myofascial: the hard membranes that surround, support, and join the muscles
Myofascial hypertonus: unusual levels of activity or tension in the fascial and musculoskeletal system
Myofascial Release: a treatment where practitioners release built-up tension within the myofascial tissues to help relieve muscle pain. This pain is unique from other pain symptoms because the pain stems from trigger points
Naturopathy: a holistic medicine that focuses on treating the body in a non-invasive manner and combines elements such as nutrition, homeopathy, and nutritional/lifestyle consultation
Neuro-motor reduction: the reduction of nerve impulses that corresponds with muscles
Neurovascular: the nerves and vascular system that includes arteries, veins, lymphatics, body nerves, and arteries
Neurovascular points: reflex points that help connect meridians and the nervous system
Neurolymphatic reflex points: reflex points associated with the musculoskeletal system
Osho Active Meditations: body awareness training meditations
Osteopathic cranial techniques: an alternative technique of softly manipulating muscle tissues surrounding the brain
Osteopathic techniques: soft manipulation techniques that focus on musculoskeletal health and function
Osteopath: a practitioner who studies how the body's muscular and skeletal system can be altered and manipulated to support better health
Osteopathy: the holistic study of how the body's muscular and skeletal system can be altered to support better health
Palpation: a strategy of touching used in a health/clinical environment where practitioners use their hands and fingers to assess, touch, and feel different body parts and organs for size, location, tenderness, consistency, and texture
Plantar fasciitis: a condition involving the swelling of the plantar fascia, a tissue band that joins the heal bone to the toes and runs across the length of the foot
Postural Neuromuscular Integration: a type of massage treatment that can help improve muscle plasticity and function. It focuses on correcting posture and alignment issues to help address pain and help regulate constricted movement and breathing
Post-isometric relaxation: a technique that involves flexing the client's muscle out of its normal position, while the client's muscle contracts against the stretch. The practitioner then continues with more muscle stretching to encourage client relaxation
Poultices: typically made out of plant-based material, applied to different areas of the body to reduce swelling and pain, and kept in place with a cloth
Reichan Segmental Theory: a theory developed by Dr. Wilhelm Reich, Reichan Segmental Theory focuses on seven distinct parts of the body including the neck, eye, mouth, chest, diaphragm, abdomen, and pelvic area. In Reichan theory, a type of energy called Orgone energy circulates throughout the body. Orgone energy flow, according to Reichan theory, flows from the pelvic area towards the eye area. If there is a blockage in energy, it disrupts the flow to the other six body divisions and can cause visible body changes and problems
Raku kei: an ancient form of Tibetan Reiki, founded by the Lama culture, that fell into disuse. The Lama believed that Raku Kei was a type of energy that unites a person with the fifth dimension. It also ties back to the Five Element Theory, which originated in China
Rolf® Line: the Rolf® line is a part of the original Rolfing recipe. It is an invisible line that connects a person to their environment
Sacrum: a triangular bone that is located near the bottom of the spine
Specialization: an additional treatment that first requires the practitioners to be trained in an appropriate related discipline
Swedish massage: many Western massage specializations originate from the Swedish style. This style uses characteristic gliding motions, following the direction of blood flow towards the heart to induce relaxation
Taoism: an ancient Chinese philosophy based on the concept of the Tao (the path or the way). Some main principles of Taoism are wui-wei (non- action), and being one with nature. Humanistic, fixed principles (such as size and death) are not considered true concepts, as everything is relative
TENS devices: a specific machine recognized by Health Canada that is used in clinics to augment massage therapy, physiotherapy, and chiropractic treatments through carefully modulated microcurrent stimulation of muscle and connective tissue
Three Brain Model: this model describes changes within the brain and how specific brain areas are related to specific tasks. This model doesn't focus on specific anatomical areas of the brain. Rather, it emphasizes the way in which the hemispheres of the brain interact with and process information, how structural changes in the physical body change brain chemistry, and how the brain reacts to those alterations.
Transverse friction massage: a massage technique where the practitioner uses movements that go against the grain of the muscle
Trigger points: rigid, fixed spaces in the myofascia
Visceral system: the heart, liver, intestines, and other internal organs
Vedic philosophy: ancient Indian literature and beliefs based on the visions of healers and sages following long periods of meditation. They relate back to Hindu beliefs and Sanskrit culture
The Natural Health Practitioners of Canada Association (NHPCA) does not endorse one practice over another to address certain conditions. Every client reacts differently to specific practices, therefore one practice might be more beneficial to one client than it is to another. This guide includes only the holistic health practices recognized by the NHPCA.