Also known as Trager work or Trager psychophysical integration, the Trager approach is a unique method of “body education” that involves extremely gentle and painless hands-on manipulation of the limbs, joints, and muscles by a trained practitioner. It also includes the teaching of free-form movement sequences to increase body awareness and enhance agility.
Shiatsu is a Japanese form of massage therapy (the word shiatsu means “finger pressure” in Japanese). Advocates say the practice promotes health and healing by correcting energy imbalances in the body.
Rolfing is a form of deep-tissue, structurally oriented bodywork that was created by Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D., a Columbia University trained biochemist in the 1930s. When she developed this therapy, Dr. Rolf was influenced by her knowledge of Hatha yoga, the Alexander technique, osteopathy, and homeopathy. She called her own approach structural integration because it dealt with the way the body’s structure affects its function. It didn’t take long, however, for the public to start calling it Rolfing–and the nickname stuck.
Myotherapy (“myo” is from the Latin for muscle) is a specialized form of muscle massage and stretching that uses deep manual pressure on specific spots on the body to release trigger points. Knots of tension, trigger points usually occur within a taut band of skeletal muscle or in the muscle’s fascia (connective tissue). Because they are painful upon compression, they can “trigger,” or cause, pain in other parts of the body. Myotherapy aims to relax these muscle knots and quickly relieve muscle-related pain.
Massage is the manipulation of the soft-tissues of the body. It helps to ease stress and muscular tension, relieve pain from injuries, and speed healing from certain acute and chronic conditions. Today millions of people worldwide visit massage therapists as a form of regular health-care maintenance.
Hellerwork is a type of bodywork created by Joseph Heller, a former NASA aerospace engineer. Like Rolfing, Hellerwork uses deep-tissue massage to help reduce stress and ease mobility.
Heller was originally taught Rolfing by Ida Rolf, Ph.D., a Columbia University trained biochemist, who created the therapy in the 1930s. In 1976 he became the head of the Rolf Institute, now located in Boulder, Colorado, which oversees the training of Rolfing practitioners. Two years later he developed his own variation on the method, which added verbal dialogue and movement exercises to the hands-on work.
Aston-Patterning is a system of physical training that focuses on four key areas: bodywork (including deep-tissue massage); movement re-education; fitness exercises; and design changes to the home and work environment (such as altering the height of furniture to suit a person’s particular needs). Its goal is to promote health and well-being by improving the way the body moves and functions.