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Bodywork

In alternative medicine, bodywork is any therapeutic or personal development technique that involves working with the human body in a form involving manipulative therapy, breath work, or energy medicine. Bodywork techniques also aim to assess or improve posture, promote awareness of the "bodymind connection" rather than the "mind-body connection", or to manipulate the electromagnetic field surrounding the human body and affecting health. Some of the best known forms of non-touch bodywork methods include: reiki, yoga, pranayama, as well as other non-touch methods: breathwork respiration techniques, therapeutic touch, the Bates method for sight training, qigong, and t'ai chi. The better known forms of manipulative bodywork include the Bowen technique, chiropractic, craniosacral therapy, reflexology, Rolfing, postural integration, shiatsu, and the Trager approach. There are also some methods that use light touch (not tissue work) to retrain movement patterns or shift awareness of the body, including the Alexander technique, the Feldenkrais method, the Hakomi method, integrative body psychotherapy, and somatic experiencing. Bodywork is a broad term for many different kinds of therapeutic touch, including massage, acupressure, Rolfing, Shiatsu, Feldenkraise, Trager, Craniosacral Therapy, Reflexology, Reiki, and many more. There are almost 300 massage and bodywork methods, according to the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, a membership organization for massage therapists and bodyworkers. Bodywork includes ancient healing techniques such as Shiatsu and Thai massage, along with modern methods that are often named after their creator - Rolfing Structural Integration, The Feldenkraise Method and The Trager Approach. Bodywork ranges from very gentle energy work where the therapist uses light or even no touch, as in Reiki, to sometimes uncomfortable modalities such as Rolfing Structural Integration. In classic Rolfing, a series of ten treatments uses physical manipulation of fascia to release old holding patterns and misalignments that are responsible for much of our chronic discomfort and pain.

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