What We Do
Within the scope of the physical therapy profession, manual therapy is defined as a clinical approach utilizing skilled, specific hands-on techniques by the physical therapist to diagnose and treat soft tissues and joint structures for the purpose of minimizing pain; increasing range of motion (ROM); reducing or eliminating inflammation; inducing relaxation; improving repair, extensibility, and/or stability; of both contractile and non-contractile tissues; facilitating movement; and improving function. The following are some of the manual techniques that the therapists at BodyWise use to help patients recover and heal from injury, pain, and dysfunction:
- Joint/Spinal Mobilization – a type of passive movement of a skeletal joint, usually aimed at a ‘target’ synovial joint with the aim of achieving a therapeutic effect. When applied to the spine, it is known as spinal mobilization.
- Muscle Energy Techniques – is a type of osteopathic manipulative treatment used in osteopathic medicine and physical therapy. It is a form of osteopathic manipulative diagnosis and treatment in which the patient’s muscles are actively used on request, from a precisely controlled position, in a specific direction, and against a distinctly executed physician counterforce. Muscle energy techniques are used to treat somatic dysfunction, especially decreased range of motion, muscular hypertonicity and pain.
- Strain-Counterstrain – is a type of “passive positional release” created in the early 1960s by Lawrence Jones, D.O. It is a hands-on treatment that alleviates muscle and connective tissue tightness by the use of very specific treatment positions held for 90 seconds (can be held for up to 3 minutes in neurological patients). During the procedure, the involved tissue is “slackened” causing a relaxation of the “spasm” which, in turn, allows local areas of inflammation, trapped within the painful tissue to dissipate. Following this “release” there is an immediate reduction of pain and tension in the involved tissue. This relaxation helps restore normal joint mobility and is also beneficial to other structures in the region that may have been compressed. This gentle and painless technique is a very effective treatment for a wide variety of orthopedic conditions such as headaches, fibromyalgia, sciatica, tendinitis, chronic neck pain, and post-surgical conditions.
- Myofascial Release – The indirect method involves a gentle stretch, with only a few grams of pressure, which allows the fascia to ‘unwind’ itself. The dysfunctional tissues are guided along the path of least resistance until free movement is achieved. The gentle traction applied to the restricted fascia will result in heat and increased blood flow in the area. This allows the body’s inherent ability for self- correction to return, thus eliminating pain and restoring the optimum performance of the body. The direct method (or deep tissue work) / works through engaging the myofascial tissue restrictive barrier while the tissue is loaded with a constant force until tissue release occurs. Practitioners use knuckles, elbows, or other tools to slowly stretch the restricted fascia by applying a few kilograms-force. Direct myofascial release seeks for changes in the myofascial structures by stretching, elongation of fascia, or mobilizing adhesive tissues. The practitioner moves slowly through the layers of the fascia until the deep tissues are reached.
- CranioSacral Therapy – a gentle, non-invasive method that uses very soft touch to assess and enhance the movement of cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. CranioSacral therapy was developed by Dr. John Upledger around 1983 and is based on Osteopathy in the Cranial Field (OCF), which was developed in 1899 by William Garner Sutherland. The goal is to release compression and restrictions in the craniosacral system thereby improving the function of the central nervous system, and alleviating stress and pain. CranioSacral therapy seeks to restore the natural position of the bones in the head to decrease stress from chronic injuries as well as provide relief from migraine headaches, neck, back pain, TMJ dysfunction and more.
- Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Faciliation (PNF) – a combination of passive stretching, alternating isometrics, rhythmic initiation and rhythmic stabilization used to encourage flexibility and to make quick gains in range of motion and performance. Good range of motion makes better biomechanics, reduces fatigue and helps prevent overuse injuries.
- Bowen Technique – Bowenwork is a gentle manual therapy technique created by the Australian osteopathic practitioner, Thomas Bowen. In this technique, the practitioner moves his/her thumbs or fingers over specific muscles, tendons, and soft tissue in a particular sequence and direction, which stimulates the body to reset and heal itself. The Bowen technique is not massage or acupressure. It is a unique form of bodywork which is distinguished by rolling and bending movement of the muscles and by the insertion of pauses between the sets of moves generated by the practitioner. These pauses (generally between 2-5 minutes in length) are crucial to the success of the treatment in that they provide time for the muscles and nerves to respond to the signal given by the practitioner and to self correct the imbalance. This has a deeply relaxing effect on the body and can provide long lasting relief from most neuromuscular pain, spasm and stiffness.
- Localized Massage – is the manipulating of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, to enhance function, and aid in the healing process. Physical Therapists do not typically perform whole-body massage as is done by a massage therapist, but rather incorporate massage into the treatment at the specific area of the body being addressed.