After working for a few years as a clinical perfusionist (operating the heart-lung machine during bypass surgery) for a number of hospitals across the country, I grew tired of seeing people on the operating table and being unable to have patient contact that addresses the root of their problems.
So I turned to preventive medicine, becoming a licensed massage therapist nearly 10 years ago. Since then, I've come to realize that there isn't just one technique of massage that works for everyone all the time.
Swedish Massage incorporates techniques such as friction and kneading, great for when you just want to relax and zone out. It's not so great, however, for people with chronic pain, since Swedish massage might not address the issue.
Neuromuscular Therapy isolates the muscles involved in the pain while using cross-fiber friction and trigger point therapy to help relieve the muscular tension. The effectiveness of this technique depends a lot on the therapist's sensitivity to the muscle fibers and to the client's tolerance level. Sometimes too much pressure held too long can create more tension for the client than relief.
Positional Release is great for people who are sensitive to pressure but still have tension and pain. The premise of this technique is that the therapist puts the client's body in various positions that help the muscles relax, similar to bringing two ends of a knot together in order for the knot to unravel itself.
Rolfing addresses the illusive fascia system, which is said to be a thin, elastic covering that incases every muscle, ligament and tendon in the body, allowing for the smooth movement. (Visualize the white tissue that comes apart from muscle when you bite into a chicken leg.) Rolfing or Structural Integration addresses this system. This technique is great for unexplained chronic tension when stretching just isn't enough.
Discovering Ortho-Bionomy was a turning point in my career. For the first time I felt that I'd found a technique I could adapt to anyone who came in the door in need of attention. The goal is to create homeostasis in the body.
Orth-Bionomy means bringing the bones into neutral position, allowing everything in-between to unravel and heal itself. The therapist palpates the area of pain with one hand and, with the other hand, gently moves the client's body in the direction of neutral in order to feel the pulse of release with the former hand.
KIM PAHM is a licensed massage therapist, founder of Intuitive Touch located in the ProScan building at 5400 Kennedy Ave. Contact her at 513-230-0489 or www.it-massage.com. Kim describes other massage disciplines at CityBeat's Renewal Blog (blogs.citybeat.com/renewal).