Bodywork has been used to improve health and wellness for thousands of years. Bodywork techniques offer enormous benefits with almost no side effects. They can help your body heal faster, mobilize systems that are ‘stuck’, and improve your quality of life significantly. Four of my favorite bodywork techniques are:
- Massage therapy
- Fascial stretch therapy
Your own health and goals will determine which of these might be best for you, but one thing is for sure – everyone could benefit from incorporating at least one of these into their life. I recommend and regularly remind my patients that they should have at least one of these in their arsenal for their best health.
Which one is best for you? Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Massage Therapy for Your Health – Beyond Feeling Good
Massage therapy has been used for thousands of years to work the body and improve various systems. We all know massages feel good but it goes deeper than that. Scientific studies have found that massage improves the lymphatic system’s flow, balances blood pressure, reduces lower back pain, and boosts mood – it even helps with depression. This ancient technique also reduces the symptoms of arthritis and fibromyalgia.
The best part is, massage therapy offers so many of these benefits with no negative consequences when you’re working with a professional. Massage therapy feels great and when it’s performed by a medically trained and qualified professional, it can significantly improve various aspects of your health.
Cupping – The Oldest Form of Healing
Cupping gained national attention during the 2016 Summer Olympics when athletes like Michael Phelps appears with perfectly circular bruises on their backs. Suddenly, everyone wanted to know what these bruises were and why athletes had them. Overnight, cupping became an international discussion across media outlets. This might make you think it’s a hot new technique for professional athletes only, but cupping is actually an ancient treatment that dates back to Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine.
Cupping uses strong suction cups on different parts of the body to create negative pressure. This pressure is a safe way to loosen muscles and encourage blood and lymphatic flow, which speeds up healing processes.
There are other benefits of cupping that are widely accepted and have been in practice for hundreds of years, which include:
- Draining excess fluids
- Mobilizing and flushing toxins
- Increasing blood flow
- Promoting flushing mucus of the lungs
- Stabilizing blood pressure
- Promoting calmness and relaxation
- Reducing symptoms of depression
- Promoting nutrient absorption
- Reducing inflammation
- Reducing stiffness
- Improving asthma and food allergies
- Reducing the appearance of varicose veins and cellulite
- Treating migraines and tension headache
Some scientifically backed benefits of cupping include:
- Pain treatment
- Significantly reducing chronic neck and shoulder pain
- Relieving symptoms of knee osteoarthritis
- Effective treatment of shingles
- Treating and speeding up the healing of chronic venous leg ulceration
Cupping is a treatment that carries practically no downsides, making it a great, safe option worth trying for numerous health conditions. You can read more about cupping in this article: Cupping: The Oldest Form of Healing.
Fascial Stretch Therapy – A Treatment Used by Professionals Athletes
Fascial Stretch Therapy is a newer form of bodywork that offers effective and long lasting results through focusing on your connective tissues. Essentially, it’s a form of stretching that’s assisted with a professionally trained practitioner but with specific attention the the way your body is interconnected. In Fascial Stretch Therapy, your therapist will first assess your body and personal needs, then develop a program specific to you.
This is a form of bodywork that’s used extensively in professional athletes, including the NFL. Just because high-profile athletes are using this doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the same treatment. In fact, because you aren’t constantly working with a team of doctors and physical therapists, you’ll likely feel the effects more dramatically. Fascial Stretch Therapy is one of my favorite forms of bodywork and I recommend to my patients because of the significant results we often see.
If you live in the Phoenix area, I recommend seeing Rachel Musilli, as she is a licensed massage therapist with advanced certifications in cupping, fascial stretch therapy, and neuromuscular massage. For her full bio and menu of services, click here.
Acupuncture – An Ancient Technique With Widespread Benefits
Acupuncture is another ancient form of bodywork, which has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. This practice precisely promotes natural healing through targeting your body’s meridians. Your body’s system of energy, which is connected through meridian channels can sometimes become blocked. Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to release different chemical messengers, which jumpstarts your own body’s healing process.
Acupuncture has widespread benefits in the body because numerous meridians and systems can be targeted depending on the placement of the needles. You can read more about the 30+ Conditions Acupuncture Can Treat here.
The combination of the functional medicine and acupuncture has been extremely effective in creating optimal healing for my patients. You can find a certified functional medicine physician in your area here, and a medical acupuncture physician here to get your own healing journey started!