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Integrative Manual Therapy

Integrative Manual Therapy is based on the premise that pain and disease is the result of abnormal anatomical relationships associated with physiological & energetic discord. Structure and function are interdependent and a balanced musculoskeletal system plays an important role in wellness, disease prevention and recovery. Each client has a mind, a physical and energetic body, and issues in any of these aspects may be reflected as an illness in another. Integrative manual therapy emphasizes the importance of prevention and helps elicit the tendency of the body to heal. Integrative Physical Therapy seeks to remove the impediments to that tendency by the use of manual therapy approaches including Osteopathic Manipulation, Myofascial Release, Muscle Energy and Strain-Counterstrain (Positional Release Therapy), Tui-na, Shiatsu and Thai Massage, exercise therapy like Tai Chi, Qigong, Yoga, Pilates, Alexander Technique, and mental techniques like Meditation, Guided Imagery and Cognitive-Behavioral Training.

Manual Therapy Approaches:

  • Osteopathic Manual Therapy Includes myofascial work, muscle energy technique, positional release technique, strain counterstrain and joint manipulation.

  • Myofascial Release is the three-dimensional application of sustained pressure on the fascial and muscular system in order to eliminate restrictions and facilitate the dissolution of patterns that impede progress. First, an assessment is made by visually analyzing the human frame, then the tissue texture of various fascial layers are palpated. Upon locating an area of fascial dysfunction, gentle pressure is applied to address the restriction. Myofascial release is an effective therapeutic approach in the relief of many conditions as it treats myofascial (muscle & fascia) structures and related neural and vascular components to elongate myofascial structures and relax muscles, improve cellular nutrition, oxygenation, and waste removal by enhancing circulation.

  • Muscle Energy: The client's muscles are actively engaged from a precisely controlled position, in a specific direction, and against an exact counterforce. With post isometric relaxation a joint is freed up by the relaxation of specific muscles after contraction. Reciprocal inhibition takes advantage of the fact that when a muscle's antagonist is contracted, the muscle is inhibited and relaxes. This work mobilizes restricted joints, lengthens tense muscles and fascia, strengthens to address asymmetrically weak muscles, decreases hypertonicity, and improves circulation and respiration.

  • Strain-Counter strain, also known as positional release therapy, this technique relieves spinal or other joint pain by passively putting the joint into its position of greatest comfort thereby reducing inappropriate neuromuscular activity. This method is designed to release painful muscle spasms and chronic tension in the body by interrupting the nervous impulses that perpetuate muscle spasms. Treatment using positional release creates no additional pain, so it is an excellent method for the treatment of the chronically ill or anyone who would benefit from soft tissue bodywork but cannot tolerate more intrusive bodywork methods.

  • Deep-Tissue Massage uses slow strokes, direct pressure, or friction, applied across the grain of the muscles with the fingers, thumbs or elbows. Deep-tissue massage works deeply into the muscles and connective tissue to release chronic aches and pains.

  • Tui-na| This method (pronounced "twee-nah") is an important part of traditional Chinese Medical practice. Tui-Na makes use of many different strokes that are applied to acupuncture points, meridians and muscles. Central to this approach is the manipulation of the body's subtle energy as well as the physical tissue, joints, internal organs and fluids. The problem area can be treated locally or remotely by using the meridian system. Tui-na and the internal arts like Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong can be considered to be traditional Chinese Physical Therapy.

  • Shiatsu This acupressure massage technique was developed in Japan and is rooted in Chinese philosophy and medicine. Pressure is applied to specific points of the body to stimulate or release the meridians through which vital energy flows. Its aim is to restore and maintain the energetic balance through the application of pressure to energy channels and points.

  • Thai Massage uses hand techniques and a unique approach to passive movement and stretching using Yoga postures to open up the meridians and release chronic tension.

Bill Gallagher's Holistic approach to Physical Therapy weaves together individualized combinations of these massage and manual therapy approaches.

Filed under: General Techniques,

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