Visceral Manipulation is a form of treatment that deals with the mobility of the internal organs (viscera). Connective tissue not only surrounds the various organs but also creates the framework (stroma) of each. Applying the knowledge of mechanical properties of connective tissue/fascia to the visceral is virtually the same as within the musculoskeletal system. The principles of the techniques remain the same. When treating restrictions of the viscera it is important for the therapist to recognize its tissue sensitivity, physiology, shape and relationship to other structures. It is not uncommon to find restrictions of the organs presenting as musculoskeletal dysfunction. Often our symptoms of pain and decreased range of motion are attributed to an isolated area, however, the fascia or connective tissue knows no boundary within the body, therefore, restriction can spread throughout tissue layers and into “seemingly” distant areas. Holistic approach to treatment includes all tissue types and therefore treatment of all tissue types. Visceral Manipulation includes some very subtle techniques as well as a lot of patient positioning to engage the organs to release holding patterns. If restrictions are present within the viscera and are a part of a musculoskeletal dysfunction, the body will never fully heal until the visceral restriction has also been addressed.
Craniosacral Therapy is a form of treatment primarily addressing the following structures; individual cranial bones, cranial membranes (Falx Cerebri, Falx Cerebelli, Tentorium Cerebelli), the spinal cord Dura and the Sacral bone at the base of the spine as well as the continual fluid fluctuation of the Cerebral Spinal Fluid. As the therapist, I am able to use very subtle palpation to assess and treat dysfunction or dis-ease of the above structures as well as the other soft tissue structures they are in relation to. It is a highly complex system of inter-related movements that when inhibited can create several symptoms throughout the body.
Generally, a very soft touch is used to allow palpation of the tissues MOTILITY, which is an inherent, measurable motion that comes from within all tissues of the body. The afore mentioned structures have a very strong presentation of this motion allowing the therapist to accurately assess and treat or induce motility that may be suppressed or showing an incorrect pattern of motion. These structures also have MOBILITY, a tissues ability to respond to external force. It has been shown that the sutures of the cranial bones are actually somewhat pliable to allow for small movements. Usually this movement is in response to movement of the cranial membranes which are constantly in a reciprocated tension as well as the brain motion itself and all its fluid fluctuations of production & re-absorption of Cerebrospinal Fluid. Where there is movement there can be immobility created from trauma.
Trauma is something that none of us are immune to. We experience it throughout our lives whether it be dramatic or subtle. It can take place anytime from within the womb to our elder years. When we injure ourselves or create postures over the years, does it only just affect the muscles involved or the joints & ligaments of that area? What about the underlying vitality of the tissue? The deeper structures of the Central Nervous System? We cannot say that trauma starts and stops in a logical format. Our bodies are electrically charged, phenomenal beings that have many processes taking place at any given moment that we do not directly feel. This does not mean, however, that we cannot train our hands to feel these processes. This is the essence of Craniosacral Therapy. Working in a more subtle aspect of our bodies to affect the larger presentation & well being.
Via the connective tissue in the body, (See Fascial Release Therapy), treatment within the craniosacral ‘system’ can allow for correction of seemingly more superficial or muscular problems. I have found it to be especially useful for post-whiplash associated disorder (WAD), chronic pain patterns, migraine headaches, sinus conditions, tinnitus and dizziness to name a few. I also find that it creates a balance & support in the body for corrective techniques used for pelvic misalignment which is often associated with lower back pain.
With the proper training, Craniosacral Therapy is a SAFE, NON-INVASIVE and can be practiced with anyone of ANY age including infants. Working with infants has been most rewarding for me, as when a correction takes place, the infant quite simply feels better and shows this in their actions & behavior almost immediately. For the most part, I incorporate CST into my Holistic approach of treatment rather than strictly using its techniques for an entire session. I find it complements and cannot be separated from the Fascial Release Therapy that I use in my approach to the body.
Bio-Dynamic Myofascial Manipulation – Fascial Release Therapy
The body is literally connected from the tip of your toes to the top of your head! Fascia, which is a connective tissue in the body, surrounds, envelopes and infuses ALL structures of the body including, but not limited to; muscle fibers, muscle groups, bone, tendon, nerve sheaths, organs(viscera) & skin. If you were to take away every single tissue in the body except for connective tissue, you would still see the entire human form, facial features and all! It is a truly remarkable tissue, creating a great deal of structural support as well as a medium for transport of cells relating to your immune system, hydration & many other cellular processes.
Often trauma, which all of us experience throughout our lives is held in the Connective tissue/Fascia due to the increased production of collagen fibers during the healing process. As a therapist who has studied Fascia, I understand the physiology, anatomy & mechanical properties of this tissue allowing me to treat most restrictions/holding patterns or dysfunction assessed. Fascia has a tensile strength of approximately 2000 lbs/sq. inch, which in turn, can create very intense holding patterns in the body that do not generally respond to other soft tissue techniques. Whether it be at a superficial or deep level, Fascial Release Therapy approaches the tissues in a manner that uses its mechanical properties to create release of holding patterns & restrictions in the body, thereby allowing greater ease of movement in the body, a decrease in discomfort or pain as well as a greater sense of well being. This form of therapy does not use oils or lotions and often has the client active in the treatment process through various positions to increase the effectiveness as well as create an increase in body awareness.
I have found Fascial Release Therapy to be a very profound and effective form of treatment.
Traditional Massage Therapy
Today’s traditional massage therapy is based on age old methods of treatment & healing practices that have evolved to become a mainstream part of health care. Swedish techniques of effleurage & petrissage are at the heart of the treatment but are now augmented with joint mobilizations, myofascial release, lymphatic drainage, trigger point release, muscle energy techniques and more. The basic diploma program for Registered Massage Therapists is strongly based on the above mentioned techniques and all therapist are very well trained to treat a large scope of musculoskeletal conditions.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Manual Lymphatic Drainage, also known as MLD, is a highly specialized treatment that encourages the flow of lymph which is crucial to the body, as it is it’s main tissue exchange mechanism.
The impact of our Lymphatic system on our health is so far reaching that many of our day to day minor aches and pain, low energy, and susceptibility to cold and flu may be due to a slow Lymphatic system. There are countless ways in which MLD can assist our well-being and increase our health.
MLD can be used in many circumstances to increase overall well-being. In a typical healthy individual therapy increases immunity, decreases pain, decreases swelling of an injury, decreases stress by balancing the nervous system and aids in skin healing and tissue exchange.
In a compromised individual MLD is used to treat the following more serious ailments:
- Venous oedema and leg ulcer
- Burns, post-surgical scars
- Pre/post cosmetic surgery
- Primary, secondary lymphedema
- Cancer rehabilitation/remission
- Facial paralysis
- Chronic headaches
- Tinnitus, sinusitis, rhinitis
- Acne vulgaris, Acne rosacea
- Allergic, chronic eczema
- Digestive tract disorder, constipation, diverticulitis, colitis