Body-work is a broad and general term frequently used in alternative medicine to describe many types of therapeutic or personal development techniques which involve working with the human body. It is a unique and holistic approach to treating the body, often involving manipulative therapy, breath work, or energy work. It is a modality commonly used to promote an individual’s awareness of their “body/mind connection” as opposed to the “mind/body connection.” It can also imply a method of manipulation of an assumed (but invisible) “energy field” which surrounds the human body in an effort to positively affect the health and wellness of an individual.
Body-work is not new, it’s an ancient practice and historically most cultures throughout the world have used it. Body-work is (and has been) an integral part of medical practice in Asia. Both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda use body-work techniques as part of their medical treatment.
Don’t mistake body-work with massage or as being limited to massage therapy. Although massage therapy can fall under the category of body-work, body-work goes several steps further, and whereas many people train to become a masseuse, becoming a body-worker takes quite a bit more time, dedication, experience and maturation.
According to “The Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals” (a membership organization for massage therapists and body-workers) there are almost 300 massage and body-work methods which can range from very gentle energy work where the therapist applies a very light touch (or even no touch at all), to more aggressive treatments that may use physical manipulation to release habitual holding patterns and misalignments that are responsible for chronic discomfort and pain.
Experienced body-workers have seen firsthand that many problematic health conditions are the result of issues related to the physical body; examples include tension, tight muscles, aches and pains. They may also be caused by a blockage or obstruction in the energy fields present in and around the body.
Almost all forms of body-work share similar goals, with things like relief from pain, improved physical functioning and increased freedom of movement being top priorities. Better balance and a heightened sense of body awareness are also considered critical to achieving overall vitality and well-being. Active patient participation in their own health and wellness is recommended and encouraged.
People tend to regard body-work simply as nothing more than alternative medicine, but more and more body-work techniques are being accepted by the professional medical community each and every day. Most of the wide varieties of body-work techniques require specialized training to ensure that the practicing therapists understand basic human anatomy and are aware of any potential contraindications.
* Lorraine Houlihan is an experienced, motivational and certified athletic trainer and along with Dr. David A. Gentile and Oasis Integrative Medicine they offer many different modalities to help patients deal with reducing pain, increasing strength, improving flexibility and range of movement, enhancing balance, losing weight, slowing aging, transforming body image, and more.
By using a carefully constructed fusion of different practices they can offer each patient a uniquely designed program to suite their age, level of fitness, medical issues, time restraints, personal preferences and goals. Among their offerings are:
- Tai Chi
- Qi Gong
- Core Stabilization
- Dynamic Stretching
- Progressive Strengthening
Classes are a blend of one on one, group, and home programs. All the programs at our facility take place in a beautiful, comfortable and nurturing setting.