Other therapies

Manual lymphatic drainage

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a type of gentle massage which is intended to encourage the natural drainage of the lymph, which carries waste products away from the tissues back toward the heart. The lymph system depends on intrinsic contractions of the smooth muscle cells in the walls of lymph vessels (peristalsis) and the movement of skeletal muscles to propel lymph through the vessels to lymph nodes and then beyond the lymph nodes to the lymph ducts which return lymph to the cardiovascular system. Manual lymph drainage uses a specific amount of pressure (less than 9 ounces per square inch or about 4 kPa) and rhythmic circular movements to stimulate lymph flow.

Manual lymphatic drainage differs from ordinary massage – it is very gentle and aims to encourage movement of lymph away from swollen areas. MLD is particularly useful if there is swelling in the face, breast, abdomen, genitals or elsewhere on the trunk.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a form of massage that stimulates the lymphatic system with gentle massaging strokes. The light rhythmical massage encourages the lymphatic system to eliminate metabolic waste products, excess fluid and bacteria. The effects of Manual Lymph Drainage are numerous and include general benefits to the nervous and muscular systems. MLD is a great addition to other detox measures, as it encourages fluid flow in the connective tissues.

Cupping

Fire cupping is a method of applying acupressure by creating a vacuum next to the patient’s skin, used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It involves placing glass, plastic, or bamboo cups on the skin. The therapy is used to relieve what is called “stagnation” in TCM terms, and is used in the treatment of respiratory diseases such as the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Cupping is also used to treat back, neck, shoulder, and other musculoskeletal pain. Its advocates claim it has other applications as well. This technique, in varying forms, has also been found in the folk medicine of Vietnam, the Balkans, modern Greece, Cyprus, Mexico, Russia and Poland. In Russia and Poland, it is referred to as banki (singular banka) and in Iran it is called ‘bod-kesh’, meaning ‘pull with air’. Cupping was also commonly used as a Eastern European Jewish folk remedy, with the Yiddish name bankes. Cupping is also sometimes practiced in BDSM for stimulation or pain.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses volatile liquid plant materials, known as essential oils, and other aromatic compounds from plants for the purpose of affecting a person’s mood or health. Scientific evidence is weak and preliminary but mildly encouraging for a limited number of claims. Essential oils differ in chemical composition from other herbal products because the distillation process only recovers the lighter phytomolecules. For this reason essential oils are rich in monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, as well as other VOC substances (esters, aromatic compounds, non-terpene hydrocarbons, some organic sulfides etc.).

Aromatherapy is a generic term that refers to any of the various traditions that make use of essential oils sometimes in combination with other alternative medical practices and spiritual beliefs. Popular use of these products include massaging products, medicine, or any topical application that incorporates the use of essential oils to their products. It has a particularly Western currency and persuasion. Medical treatment involving aromatic compounds may exist outside of the West, but may or may not be included in the term ‘aromatherapy’.

Muscle Energy Technique

Muscle Energy Technique is an osteopathic technique for mobilizing joints and soft tissue using muscle contraction. There are several distinct techniques which may be called muscle energy techniques including reciprocal inhibition, and post-isometric relaxation. Muscle Energy is an Active (requires patient utilization of force) Direct (engages the barrier) technique that promotes muscle relaxation by activating the golgi tendon reflex. It has also been proposed that temporary muscle fatigue blocks reflex-contraction thus allowing for an increase of range of motion to beyond the barrier. Its purpose is to gain motion that is limited by restrictions of neuromuscular structures.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial Release is a safe and very effective hands-on technique that involves applying gentle sustained pressure into the Myofascial connective tissue restrictions to eliminate pain and restore motion. Myofascial Release Treatment sessions are performed directly on skin without oils, creams or machinery. This enables the therapist to accurately detect fascial restrictions and apply the appropriate amount of sustained pressure to facilitate release of the fascia. Myofascial release is a form of soft tissue therapy used to treat somatic dysfunction and accompanying pain and restriction of motion. This is accomplished by relaxing contracted muscles, increasing circulation, increasing venous and lymphatic drainage, and stimulating the stretch reflex of muscles and overlying fascia.

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)

Neuromuscular Therapy Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) is a very specialized form of manual therapy. A therapist trained in NMT is educated in the physiology of the nervous system and its effect on the muscular and skeletal systems. The Neuromuscular Therapist also is educated in kinesiology and biomechanics and how to work in a clinical or medical environment. By definition, Neuromuscular Therapy is the utilization of static pressure on specific myofascial points to relieve pain. This technique manipulates the soft tissue of the body (muscles, tendons and connective tissue) to balance the central nervous system. In a healthy individual, nerves transmit impulses (which are responsible for every movement, function and thought) to the body very slowly. Injury, trauma, postural distortion or stress cause nerves to speed up their transmission, inhibiting equilibrium and making the body vulnerable to pain and dysfunction. It is therefore necessary to stabilize low levels of neurological activity to maintain normal function and overall health.

Structural Balancing

Structural Balancing aim is to unwind the strain patterns residing in your body’s myofascial system, restoring it to its natural balance, alignment, length, and ease. This is accomplished by deep, slow, fascial and myofascial manipulation, coupled with movement re-education.

Trigger point therapy

Trigger Point Therapy involves deactivating trigger points that may cause local pain or refer pain and other sensations, such as headaches, in other parts of the body. Manual pressure, vibration, injection, or other treatment is applied to these points to relieve myofascial pain. Trigger points were first discovered and mapped by Janet G. Travell (president Kennedy’s physician) and David Simons. Trigger points have been photomicrographed and measured electrically and in 2007 a paper was presented showing images of Trigger Points using MRI. These points relate to dysfunction in the myoneural junction, also called neuromuscular junction (NMJ), in muscle, and therefore this modality is different from reflexology, acupressure and pressure point massage.

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