Guiding Hand - About the Work: manual medicine defined
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ABOUT THE WORK

The focus of manual medicine is to bring greater balance, mobility and coordination to the whole. When the elements of the mind and body are balanced we experience less pain, less agitation and a greater ease of movement and function.

 

Through an amalgam of modalities I approach the body as a sum of many parts; not just tissue, bone, organs and vessels – but a concentration of energy and matter manifesting in different expressions. Each layer is met with different intention, each issue approached as unique and specific to the client.

 

The purpose behind this approach is the reestablishing and reinforcement of well-being – the treatment and rehabilitation of injury and disfunction, pain management, the regulation of the physiological processes of the body (digestion, sleep, appetite, stress), strengthening and conditioning, reconnecting of the client to their physiology and helping them to reach an overall greater comfort and stability within their structure.

 

This type of therapy is not always comfortable nor easy. To properly address areas of imbalance often can be challenging both physically and emotionally. It is my focus and intention to approach this practice mindfully and compassionately but it is our goal as client and practitioner to cause significant and lasting affect with the work we do. That being said – there are many tools in the box – not all of them are physically strong in their approach; some – such as CranioSacral – are far more subtle. For those unaccustomed to this work it can feel like nothing more than gentle holding of the tissues. However, in truth, some of the most subtle forms of work can sometimes be the most potent. This is not necessarily a “no pain, no gain” scenario. The techniques are dynamic, adaptable and designed for efficiency and efficacy.

 

Below is a brief synopsis of the modalities employed in my style of manual medicine. Within each section you will find a link to more information should you be interested.

Jin Shou is an heirloom style of Tuina which has passed down through the North American Tang Shou Tao lineage. Rooted in the principles and structure of Chinese Medicine the techniques employed address both the musculo-skeletal system as well as the energetic channels of the body. The practitioner utilizes manual techniques to clear blood and qi stagnation, work acupressure points, engage with the organ systems and bring about greater systemic balance.

 

This system of Tuina is dynamic and adaptive: well suited for intensive movement, deep tissue manipulation and joint mobilization –  however it also works just as effectively as a softer tool to affect change to the “subtle body”.  Through intention and gong fu mechanics the practitioner approaches the body as both meat and bone, structure and function; as well as an amalgam of water and potential – rivers and inlets of qi.

 

Within this system of medicine we are taught manual medicine, cupping and moxibustion – all of which I employ in my treatment room.

From the Upledger Institute’s website (http://www.upledger.com): 

 

“CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. It was pioneered and developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University where he served as professor of biomechanics.

 

Using a soft touch which is generally no greater than 5 grams – about the weight of a nickel – practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CranioSacral is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it”s effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.”

From the Institute of Thai Massage’s website (http://thai-massage.org): 

 

“The work itself consists primarily of pressure on energy lines and points, and a large variety of stretching movements. Pressure is exerted with the palms of the hand, the thumbs and the feet; at some points the elbows may be used. The pressure and stretching movements are combined in a comprehensive strategy that may be performed in as little time as an hour, or may be extended to 2 1/2 to 3 hours for a full program. Two hours is frequently considered an ideal length of time for Nuad Bo-Rarn.

 

The stretching movements in Nuad Bo-Rarn affect the entire body by increasing flexibility, releasing both deep and superficial tension, and helping the body’s natural energy to flow more freely. The effect of these stretching movements, in which the client plays only a passive role, is similar to yoga. This is sometimes referred to as passive yoga, or “lazy man’s yoga.” The result is an opening of the body which leaves one feeling both relaxed and energized at the same time.”

Note – I am not a certified practitioner of either Structural Integration or ROLFing. I have studied under teachers who have trained in both systems and seen first hand the quality and efficacy of their approach to treatment and therapy. Over time I have incorporated aspects of the S.I. principals and techniques into my own work but this multi-faceted approach is in no way equatable with formal S.I. treatment. Please get in touch if you would like to be referred to a local certified practitioner. 

 

From the Guild of Structural Integration website (http://www.rolfguild.org/about/structural-integration): 

 

“Structural Integration is a scientifically validated body therapy. Unlike massage, Structural Integration focuses not on the muscles but on their protective layer, called fascia (also known as connective tissue). Muscles are contracting tissues that give the body and organs physical movement. The fascia surrounds the muscles, bones and organs in the body. The fascia gives muscles their shape and the body its structure.

 

Structural Integration aligns and balances the body by lengthening and repositioning the fascia. As fascia is lengthened it allows the muscles to move more efficiently. The practitioner will apply pressure to the body, working the entire fascial system in a systematic way. When restricted fascia is released and lengthened the body can return to its structurally optimal position.

 

The continuing pull of gravity, the stress of daily activities and physical injuries can pull the body out of alignment. The fascia gradually shortens, tightens and adjusts to accommodate the misalignment. When the body is out of alignment it creates inefficiency and imbalance resulting in stiffness, discomfort and loss of energy.

 

When a body is aligned and balanced it moves with greater ease. It requires less energy to function. Good posture is effortless and breathing is easier. The body becomes more flexible, more coordinated and athletic performance improves.”

Want the most out of your treatments? Utilize targeted stretches, movement and exercises to improve posture, increase strength and rebalance the body.

 

One of the benefits to the process of focused assessment and treatment is having excellent insight into what areas are out of balance. Through regular treatments many issues can improve but it’s in the work that you take home with you that you continue making strides towards a healthier, happier body and truly get the most out of your time on the treatment table.

 

I am an instructor in Chinese Gong Fu with the North American Tang Shou Tao Association and have trained in “internal” strength conditioning, form work and Qi Gong for the better part of a decade. Our methods of physical conditioning are focused on balancing the body front to back, top to bottom, side to side and attaining greater posture and movement through proper alignment and relaxed coordination.

 

This combined experience in Martial Arts and Medicine lends well to assisting clients in creating packages of material that are custom tailored to their needs which they can practice on their own to bolster the change they gain through the manual medicine.

 

Please let me know if you are interested in integrating exercise therapy into your treatment program and we can discuss how we can make it work for you.