I use the word so frequently that I forget that it might be new to some… indeed to most! A friend of a friend asked what I do. When I said “I’m a bodyworker”, she showed a quizzical look and asked, “What is that?” You might want to know, too.
While it falls under the auspices of massage and may include massage, most bodywork is not at all like a massage. It is also never “rote”, as in exercises a physical therapist might send you home with, and it’s never harsh (I hope) or abrupt like a chiropractic adjustment. All of these things have their place in facilitating healing, but bodywork is...different. How? Most bodywork works with your entire structural system, not just one or two parts. Sometimes I’ve felt like people wished they could leave their shoulder or hip with me, have me “fix” it, and give it back to them at the end of the day. It just doesn’t work that way...ever! Indeed, your entire being is involved in any injury or long-term deviation of your structure.
Bodywork is available in many forms. It can go from you (the recipient) being totally still and in receiving mode (as in Cranial Sacral Therapy), to you being active and involved (as in Pilates or The Wallace Method). All bodywork modalities have one important thing in common: the practitioner gives you, your body, and what it is manifesting close, personal attention with the express purpose of helping you work through what is manifesting in a safe and gentle way.
Structural bodyworkers like Rolfers, Feldenkrais and Trager practitioners, Myofascial release and Rosen Method Practitioners, Wallace Method Practitioners, and Rhythmic Movement Training Practitioners (oh there are more!), all use different approaches to help you “unwind” stuck patterns that have caused disorganization of the skeletal structure, and therefore discomfort.
Why would I use Bodywork?
According to the CDC, the most common pain reported is low back pain, with 25% of adults reporting in with this in the last 3 months. Guess what’s prescribed for it, despite lack of evidence supporting its efficacy? Opioids.
Can bodywork help? It helped me and many others.
Our skeletons have a particular geometry. If one of our “angles” or a joint or a bone (or multiples) gets too far off of its alignment, we will most likely experience discomfort and eventually pain from the postural deviation. This can happen over time, even since childhood, or be the result of a more recent fall, accident, or arthritis. Bodyworkers can help people with paralysis, cerebral palsy, MS, and other maladies. They cannot cure these issues, but they can help to increase movement and decrease discomfort over time, and sometimes there is great relief in just one session.
All of us are fighting gravity in every minute of the day (unless you’re an astronaut and actually in space – who knows! Maybe an astronaut in space is reading my little article!). It’s more important than we know to put the effort in and take good care of our biological vehicles. The longer we are in the gravitational field, the more effort we may need to apply. The Wallace Method and all other modalities have helped countless people learn how to keep their bodies healthy and balanced as they journey through life and navigate the aging process.
Give your local bodyworker a call, have a conversation, and see if it feels right for you. Thanks for reading.
About the Author
Some of my posts are inspired by the wonderful questions my clients ask and the inspiration I receive from them. Some are inspired from a simple practice I've discovered recently that helps in my daily life. I thought by creating beautiful photos and sharing My Three Words, it might be able to help others too. I hope you enjoy reading.