Physical medicine is the direct manipulation of body tissue; employed when dysfunction or pain is caused by mechanical restrictions. These may be related to muscle tension, fascial constraints, joint misalignment, and limited movement of an organ. In addition to standard, deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy, additional physical treatments may be employed at the AHAC.

 

Acupressure

Acupressure is the art of skillfully pressing key points (acupoints) that stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. Pressing points in systematic combinations releases muscular tension, promotes circulation, stimulates the flow of Chi and aids the body’s healing processes. While often used for musculoskeletal conditions, acupressure has the ability to provide full body balance and offers healing support for many ailments. In addition, it is the perfect modality for exploring the mind-body interface.

Acupressure is based on the same principals as acupunctures, using the same acupoints and meridians. An acupressure session is usually an hour long and is performed with the client fully clothed and reclining on a massage table or mat. It is performed using gentle to firm pressure applied with fingers, knuckles, elbows and knees. The goal of the session is to open blockages in meridians to establish the smooth flow of Chi. To this end, a session may integrate meridian stretching and other bodywork therapies, as well as healing imagery and emotional processing to address the underlying causes of energy disturbance.

 

Joint Mobilization and Manipulation

The function of joints is to move. However, many forces can interfere with joint function such as injury, over use, repetitive action, and muscle imbalance. Joints can become fixated (the internal surfaces stick together) so that they are unable to move freely, or misaligned so that they wear unevenly. Fixated and misaligned joints can be painful and can create tension in associated muscles. In spinal joints, impairment can compromise nerves and contribute to organ dysfunction and general illness. Releasing compressed, fixated and misaligned joints improves their function, reduces pain, improves general health and relaxes surrounding tissue.

Joints can be mobilized through stretching the muscles around the joint, and through manipulating the joint. Chiropractors, physical therapists and naturopaths are trained in different techniques for mobilizing joints. Evaluations will determine what type of physical treatment and which practitioner will be most helpful, and what adjunct modalities can be used with joint treatments.

 

Lymph Drainage

Lymph Drainage is a type of very light, gentle massage that encourages the flow of lymphatic fluid.

Lymph Drainage (Continued)

The function of the lymphatic system is to move the fluids that collect between cells containing cellular waste, toxins and bacteria or virus. Lymph fluid is passed through lymph nodes which filter the contents, exposing mico-organisms and debris to the immune cells, designed to deal with them. Consequently, Lymph Drainage is especially useful to assist detoxification, support the immune system, reduce edema, and for pre-surgery preparation and post-surgery recovery. It can also help with scar tissue, spider veins, sinusitis, joint effusion and acne.

Treatment consists of stimulating lymph flow with extremely light, circular pumping movements. The treatment is soothing and relaxing, reflexively reducing muscle tension. Patients are advised to drink water and avoid salt, alcohol and caffeine immediately before the session to avoid disrupting fluid balance and inhibiting the body’s ability to flush out toxins.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial Release was developed by Physical Therapist John Barnes and is a form of soft tissue therapy focusing on the fascia which is a form of connective tissue that surrounds and connects every cell, muscle, organ and structure in the body in one continuous web. A fascial restriction in one part of the body can transmit distortion and create dysfunction in other parts of the body. Fascia is manipulated through slow stretching, lifting and separating of structures. This allows fibers to reorganize in a more flexible, functional fashion.

Injuries, stress, inflammation, trauma, and poor posture can cause restriction to fascia. The goal of Myofascial Release is to free fascial restriction and restore tissue health. This technique can be part of a multi-modality session or used on its own. Recipients are usually partially or completely unclothed on a massage table. Oils and creams are not used. Sessions generally last one half to one hour.

 

Visceral Manipulation

Visceral Manipulation is the manual manipulation of body organs. It was developed by French Osteopath, Jean-Pierre Barral and focuses on the fact that all body parts, from cells to joints to organs, must move in order to function. When one structure cannot move, the rest of the body tries to accommodate and one part of the body works against the rest. The viscera (aka organs) may lose the ability to move due to abnormal tone, adhesions or displacement. This creates a fixed point of tension that the body is forced to move around creating chronic irritation.

Visceral Manipulation (VM) is a gentle, hands on therapy that works by way of the internal organs to locate and alleviate abnormal points of tension throughout the body. VM employs specifically placed gentle touch that encourages normal mobility, tone, and motion of the viscera and their connective tissues. Benefits are the reduction of pain and dysfunction and the return of optimal organ function.