Active Isolated Stretching
Developed by Aaron Mattes this therapy provides effective facilitated stretching of major muscle groups and, more importantly, profoundly impacts the functional and physiological restoration of superficial and deep fascial planes. An Active Isolated stretch involves taking the target muscle through a two second stretch to optimally lengthen the isolated muscle without triggering the protective stretch reflex and subsequent antagonistic muscle contraction. Restoration of full range of motion and flexibility can successfully be achieved using Mattes approach. This therapy can be done either in an assisted setting with the therapist doing the stretches or the client can be taught to use tools in a home exercise regime. I will use the Mattes stretches within a session of other types of bodywork to facilitate specific muscle lengthening but full body stretching sessions can be scheduled wherein a client can learn proper form in using the stretches in a home-base stretching routine.
Developed by Stuart Taws this therapy is a powerful and effective answer to many soft-tissue injuries, especially sports related injury. Initially, Stuart used his techniques in an aggressively applied program, working as soon as possible on injured tissue. I watched Stuart work on a sprained ankle within hours of injury and the results were amazing. Throughout the 1990s Taws presented seminars throughout the United States with his aggressive mechanical approach using deep pressures through a short stretch to regain muscle memory. New research on chronic pain led Stuart Taws to change his therapy . These new medical understandings are based upon new concepts of what pain is and where it comes from in the body. The new technology of pain relief is faster, easier and painless because it involves higher centers of self-healing. It seems as well to be permanent!
Touch For Health Applied Kinesiology
This technique, developed by John Thie, D.C., uses acupressure touch and massage to improve postural balance and reduce physical and mental pain and tension. Expanding upon the science of muscle testing and kinesiology this modality is a synthesis of skills from chiropractic, naturopathy, osteopathy and ancient Chinese acupuncture. Modern quantum physics has added explanations for a modality in which a muscle is tested, points on the body are touched and when the muscle is re-checked postural changes can occur in the body. Not only physical but mental and emotional changes can be noted.
Touch For Health uses muscles as a bio-feedback mechanism. Muscles can exteriorize our minds for all to see. Muscle tension once relieved can re-occur when we once again recall the original situation. Used as a tool that works at the connection between mind and body using the electromagnetic energy system called the meridians, Touch For Health interfaces the physical and subtle energy bodies as John Thie called it the science of energy balancing. Using applied kinesiology techniques muscles can be tested, strengthened or weakened as appropriate. Additional techniques can address nutrition, allergy, emotional strain and a host of other options.
Trained in the Bruno Chikly, D.O. methods of lymphatic drainage and certified in the Emil Vodder techniques, Pete offers a well-rounded perspective to this modality. Lymphatic Drainage has been relatively slow to be recognized by the medical community at large, most likely because the transparency of lymph and the fineness of the lymphatic vessels render them very difficult to see even during dissection. Anatomists from ancient Greece first wrote of the larger lymphatic vessels. Much more work in the 16th and 17th centuries identified the lymphatic system as an integrated whole system in the body. Lymph Drainage (LDT) was the first modality to train practitioners to attune manually with the specific rhythm , pressure , quality and direction of the lymph flow.
Basically the lymphatic system belongs to the circulatory apparatus. Blood leaves the heart by means of the arterial system and returns via two pathways, the venous and the lymphatic pathways. Lymphatic circulation differs from blood circulation in that is has slower rhythm, low velocity and low pressure. Beginning with the feather fine lymph capillaries the lymphatics increase in size and eventually join the major venous circulation just before reaching the heart, transporting large proteins, foreign bodies, pathenogenic substances (germs, toxins, etc.) and many other components to lymph nodes which act as purification centers. The nodes break down and destroy unwanted particles so they can be eliminated from the body.
Trauma from injury, surgery, inflammation or infection can cause the build-up of fluids in the body, causing pain and swelling throughout the body. Using gentle pressures, the therapist will use lymphatic system maps to direct the fluid through the lymphatic vessels to reduce or eliminate edema (swelling), regulate fluid volume and pressure in tissue, carry food components from the small intestines to the blood stream and help maintain the optimal function and the integrity of the connective tissue. Applications of Lymphatic Drainage Therapy include rerouting stagnant fluid, draining toxins as part of treatment to promote regeneration (scars, stretch marks, wrinkles), aid with chronic or subacute inflammatory processes (bronchitis, acne, eczema, chronic fatigue, etc.) and by increasing parasympathetic and diminishing sympathetic tone (fight/flight response) be helpful in dealing with stress, depression or sleeping disorders.
Jean Pierre Barral
One of the most innovative pioneers in the field of bodywork today is the French-born osteopath and physical therapist jean Pierre Barral. Having treated 140,000 + patients and written many books, Barral has developed an astounding array of therapies, including Visceral Manipulation, Neuro Meningeal Manipulation, Neural Articular and Neural Vascular therapies.
This gentle therapeutic approach follows patterns of stress in the biomechanics of body movements, especially as they affect the viscera or organs of the body. Barral studied the potential of the visceral system to promote lines of tension within the body. His work has enhanced the idea that organs and tissues have memory. Visceral Manipulation focuses on the internal organs, the fascial environment surrounding the body’s organs (the interstitum, as recently “discovered”!) and the potential influence they have on structural and physiological dysfunctions. Pete has spent 25 years studying the fascial system’s ability to interface with internal organs with Myofascial Release Therapy in his extensive trainings with John Barnes P.T. Now he can relate to dysfunction within our internal organs and the potential relationship of viscera to the larger aspects of the fascial system. In both cases the ability of our bodies to hold onto dysfunctional patterns in whole or in part because emotions related to past trauma can become entrapped in the fascial network which permeates and interacts with every aspect of our being. In Jean Pierre’s long career he has again and again demonstrated the body’s ability to store emotions in very specific organs as well as in the brain! He believes that the therapist can have a profound influence in stimulating the body’s ability to heal itself just by doing “a little something” to stimulate that process. All of our organs rely on the interdependent movements that occur within and around the organs. In addition, each organ has connections to the musculoskeletal system. Adhesions or restrictions between tissues or organs will create a lack of movement which can result in decreased function of the organ or surrounding structures. Imagine that we take 24,000 breaths each day and our hearts beats 120,000 times a day. Now consider all the different movements that occur daily within the thoracic cavity. It has been calculated that all of these thoracic movements guarantee that our bodies will experience 3,000,000 different daily movements within the thoracic cavity alone! Now imagine just one restriction between two thoracic tissues – this one dysfunctional pattern can have broad implications. The restriction will interfere with the fluid design of millions of interdependent thoracic movements each day. Compounded over time, one simple restriction can develop into potentially serious consequences for our health. Restrictions in the body have many causes – trauma, surgeries, inflammatory responses from tissue, disease, dehydration and all forms of stress.
Visceral Manipulation stresses light palpation, applied briefly and with great specificity! The therapist employs a unique process of “listening”, wherein the therapist will use one hand to place light cranial pressure to engage the client’s body and elicit a response indicating the “general listening” - the area of primary dysfunction in the body. Again using the light pressure of one hand the therapist will use “local listening” procedures to determine the precise location of the body’s most significant area of restriction or dysfunction. The client’s body informs the therapist where the lesion exists! The more specific the therapist can be the greater the impact of any treatment rendered will be. The treatment is designed to be both brief and precise, with techniques designed by Barral to treat each organ. As Jean Pierre would say, the therapist’s job is to “wake up a little something” which will stimulate the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
Neuro Meningeal Manipulation
Another of Barral’s innovative therapies, Neuro Meningeal Manipulation employs light palpation pressures with an emphasis on maximum specificity of the treatment area. The treatment requires attention to mechanical relationships between the cranium/spine hard frame and the dural and neural elements of the body. Trauma-induced lesions in nerves can react in undefined, non-tradional manifestations in the body. Instead, disturbances in neural function occur across a very broad spectrum. This therapy can affect both intra and extra-neural pressures within the system. Improvements to blood flow and muscle function are common results of the therapy as are the effects of whiplash and other traumatic injuries. Nerves are capable of transmitting sensations of pain and other stimuli (numbness, tingling, etc.) and are also responsible for stimulating muscle movement and organ resppnses in the body. Neuro Meningeal Manipulation is therefore indicated for many conditions.
Our nerves send messages to our brains from countless stimuli, enabling the brain to react quickly and efficiently. Restrictions to nerve tissue can disrupt this communication with the brain and result in pain and dysfunction anywhere in the body. Palpation of nerve tissue in this therapy is direct, very light and very specific. Manipulation of nerves should be pain-free. The therapist locates the nerve and palpates it lightly. Treatment consists of following the “listening” of the nerve as it travels through it’s therapist-assisted stretch/movement. Very often the client will feel referred symptom in the body some distance away from the nerve being treated. Effects are often immediate. As a stand-alone therapy or in concert with other therapeutic modalities Neuro Meningeal Manipulation offers new possibilities for pain relief and improved muscle/organ function.
Developed by Fritz Smith, M.D., Zero Balancing uses Western and Eastern anatomic and physiologic information relating to the systems of energy within the human body. Designed to create clearer, stronger fields of energy to resolve Imbalances this modality works with expanded states of consciousness induced through touch. Using a defined protocol the therapist employs a series of fulcrums and sweeps (vectors) to induce a working state of consciousness wherein change on many levels can occur. If a person is working on physical issues or experiencing stressful issues in his/her life it is recommended that regular sessions be scheduled over a few weeks to help stimulate and/or redirect the persons process, always with the goal of establishing a clearer, stronger force field through the body.
A modality which has been in service to humanity for thousands of years reflexology uses a form of touch which stimulates points on the foot (some therapists also use the hand or ear) which correspond to the organs in the body. In the United States, Dr. William Fitzgerald introduced the theory of Zone Therapy, five longitudinal zones on both the right and left sides of the body. The organs within these zones can be stimulated by pressure to the reflexes in the same zone on the foot. This is similar to Eastern systems of thought using the meridians or channels of energy in the body. Some believe these reflexes work by stimulating the circulatory system while others believe it has more to do with the nervous, lymphatic or energy systems. On either level the goal is to assist the client to come into a state of balance and awareness in order to establish a strong connection with the client's own innate ability to self-heal.