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Complementary Bodywork and adjunctive therapy – a brief overview

There are generally four classifications of bodywork:

  1. Therapeutic massage specifically adapted

  2. Eastern -and Asian based methods developed from culture

  3. Adjunct approaches included with massage

  4. Adjunct energy -based approaches.

There are many different types of body work within the four main classifications which often cluster into the below categories:

Reflex systems – including the use of heating packs, hydrotherapy, essential oils, thermotherapy and music

Fluid Motion methods - such as lymphatic drainage, used often after mastectomy to relieve the effects of lymphedema

Structural systems – such myofascial release and connective tissue manipulation which are used in the majority of massages.

Neuromuscular methods – such as Trigger Point Release therapy, this could also be included in the structural systems as a way to manipulate the muscles, increase circulation, reduce tension and remove toxins with in the body.

Eastern, Asian and other culturally based body work methods – such as acupuncture, involving energy, chakras, meridians and points. These are unique, complex practices that often require extensive training and education to really embrace the philosophy and rich foundations of these systems. Practitioners also apply touch to the body in a structural way to introduce various forms of sensory and mechanical information to introduce different forms of sensory and mechanical information to the body to promote positive physiologic change. It’s also interesting to note that most trigger points are in the same location as the traditional Chinese acupuncture points.

Energetic Systems – such as Reiki, Polarity.

Traditional eastern, Asian and other cultural have traditionally focused on the interconnectedness of body work believing that the skin is not separate to the emotions, the emotions are not separate to the organs, nor are the organs not separate to the muscles. All of these systems can affect the body /mind/soul lifestyle imbalance which can lead to disease in the body and is in need of intervention before disease occurs.

Western Health care is beginning to embrace this concept of wholeness through prevention and now holistic personal care is becoming a consistent component of healthcare.

Bodywork such as therapeutic massage serves the wholeness of the individual through a direct influence on the body and a deep respect for the mind and soul. The concept of body-mind-soul connection leads to the acceptance of the unity and integrity of an individual and working with them holistically.

Massage and adjunctive therapies must be used intelligently based on evidence to promote health and well being and is best used as a preventative to disease and support of optimal health. That being said, if someone is already undergoing medical intervention it is very important for a therapist to confer with the medical team of the client. Massage and any adjunctive therapies should be integrated in to the entire treatment protocol.

Many Massage Therapists use some of the above systems and methods as adjunctive therapy, meaning in addition too. A Massage therapist who knows one or two extra therapies can use these methods to add efficiency, effectiveness and enthusiasm for the benefits that therapeutic massage has to offer with regards to wellness, prevention, rehabilitation and client directed healing.

Capri Clark is the founder of Bayside Remedial Massage and Healing in Brisbane. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Nursing and a Diploma in Remedial Massage. Capri's gentle techniques bring a huge amount of care and skill to her treatments. If you would like to book in for a session with Capri, you can click here.