variety of bodywork therapies help you relax, reduce stress and
SARAH C. LANGE
Thai yoga massage, a practitioner eases you into poses and uses
gentle pressure to relieve muscle tension.
While group classes that focus on breath work can ease your stress
levels, you may find yourself creating more muscle tension as you
build strength in your yoga practice, for example. Or you may crave
more one-on-one attention or relief from a condition in a setting
better-suited to cater to your specific needs.
One option is to
schedule a Swedish massage, which includes long strokes, kneading and
deep circular movements and provides research-supported relief for
pain, headaches and other conditions, according to the National Center
for Complementary and Integrative Health. But itís not the only
bodywork therapy. Here are four others to consider:
A Reiki master
gently places her hands on, or suspends them just above, her client to
balance his "life force energy," or "ki," which is
similar to "prana" in yoga. Practitioners believe the
healing touch induces calm, relieves aches and pains, and alleviates
anxiety and depression. "A treatment feels like a radiant glow
that flows through and around you, giving you a feeling of peace,
security, healing and well-being," says Maria Giordano, a Reiki
master at Greensquare Integrative Health Care Center in Glendale.
therapy, a practitioner creates subtle movements with her hands to
relax and open muscles, ligaments and tendons and to get blood and
lymph moving in the tissues, according to Katherine de Shazer, a
craniosacral therapist at Greensquare Integrative Health Care Center.
"If a person is in a lot of pain, craniosacral is one of the most
gentle bodywork modalities that will quiet the nervous system,"
she explains. "(It) uses 5 grams of pressure ó the weight of a
nickel." Craniosacral therapy may help individuals dealing with
fibromyalgia, a recent surgery, chronic pain, anxiety, trauma
or a low tolerance for
discomfort, de Shazer says.
Think of Thai
yoga massage as a passive form of yoga in which a practitioner moves
you into poses, typically while youíre seated or lying on your back
or stomach. As you relax with eyes closed, a massage therapist will
ask you to connect with your breath as she offers adjustments to help
you ease deeper into each pose to maximize the stretch and restorative
effect. While itís not an active practice for you, a therapist may
ask you to hold onto his wrists to enable him to adjust you safely
into a seated forward bend, for example. Popular with runners, Thai
yoga massage can relieve tension and increase flexibility.
If you want to
improve posture and create more space for your breath, you may seek
out Rolfing structural integration. Over 10 sessions, "Rolfing
practitioners work with their clients through sensitive manipulation
of the connective tissue matrix, (which is) responsible, in part, for
the bodyís shape, structure and function," says Kevin McCoy, a
certified advanced Rolfer, with offices in Brookfield and Glendale,
and a faculty member at the Rolf Institute. For example, he says, a
Rolfer can help you find better alignment of your head and neck, ease
in your shoulders and more mobility in your pelvis. "Clients
typically report feeling taller, that movements feel easier and more
fluid, and feeling refreshed and relaxed," McCoy says. Athletes
and dancers also work with Rolfers to enhance their performance,