What is bodywork?
A dynamic treatment involving moving the joints actively or passively allows me to feel the glide (or lack of glide) between different layers of muscle and tissue, this gives valuable feedback as to what structures are stuck. Joint motion also allows a more precise approach to generating tension in the tissues and breaking up the adhesions. Advanced trainings like Active release technique (ART) have been helpful for fine-tuning this skill.
Movement also affects the nervous system. It can be perceived as relaxing, distracting, or stimulating to the area being worked which can help facilitate release of the muscles and fascia.
What to expect from a treatment:
Appointments are catered to the individual’s goals and needs. A typical appointment consists of a quick motion screen or functional movement assessment, palpation/touch to assess motion and quality of muscle tissue, a blend of Active Release Technique(ART) and deep tissue bodywork to restore range of motion or alleviate areas of tightness. Joint mobilizations/adjustments and functional exercise recommendations may also be incorporated into the treatment.
An understanding of compensatory patterns:
Further education beyond massage therapy, including a masters degree in sports medicine and a doctorate in chiropractic has given a stronger understanding of biomechanics and compensatory patterns. While every issue is unique, this fundamental roadmap helps prioritize which areas to focus on to get the body back in balance. The pain generator is not always the root cause of the issue, muscles contract in polyarticular muscle chains, not in isolation. If one area is tight, the opposing muscle is likely to be weak, or affected in some way. These concepts, among others, drive the treatment to be more time efficient and effective.
Why you do it/need it? Who is it for?
When getting bodywork, patients will often comment “I didn’t even know I was sore there”
For a patient that is training hard and/or motivated to do self-care, this is valuable information to take home, as the patient now has more information about what is out of balance in the body and perhaps a better idea of which areas to stretch/roll/strengthen to remedy the problem.
If there are areas of chronic pain/tightness that are not responding, or are only temporarily responding to self care, a bodywork appt is a great way to potentially gain new insight on where the problem is coming from, and break through the tight spots on a deeper level.