NCSAB is a clinical massage therapy school that is on the leading edge of structural bodywork. And here is why:
Few people, even some health care providers, fully understand and appreciate the benefits of soft-tissue therapy. Some of the key elements of this innovative and unique approach to clinical massage therapy and structural bodywork include:
An in-depth understanding of chronic, excess muscle and nerve tension (CEM&NT):
Many texts discuss “tight” muscles, but few explain what muscle tension actually is, where it comes from why it is hard to eliminate, and the multiple problems it can cause. However, this knowledge offers therapists a whole new perspective on how to work with CEM&NT, and it offers clients insights into why effective therapy often requires more time than the typical duration of more commonly available treatments.
Classical neuromuscular therapy (NMT) works quite well. Yet when such commonly available treatments fail or produce only temporary relief, it is necessary to determine the factors that prevent the standard approaches to treatment from working.
- Unique insights into structural analysis and postural assessment: Structural balancing looks at the structural strains and/or neurologically transmitted irritations that develop in many CEM&NT clients. For example, for many people with chronic tension in the neck and shoulders, the true source of tension is the abdominal muscles that pull down on the rib cage and cause the neck and shoulder muscles, through a process of structural homeostasis, to contract in opposition to the abdominals. And, until this imbalance is resolved, every time the client does sit ups or crunches to “strengthen” the abdominal muscles (the primary contractors), the increased downward pull on the rib cage is consequently the neck and shoulders (the secondary contractors) is made worse and more chronic. Yet, most of the time, the client feels pain in the secondary contractors and does not feel pain in the true, distant origins of tension: the primary contractors. Finding the primary and secondary contractors requires some detective work by the well-trained clinical massage and structural bodywork therapist.
- Playing the edge – why no pain means more gain: Edgework is based on principles of physical, mental, and relational yoga. The edge is the amount of pressure or depth applied in a manual technique or stretch; the ideal level applied is that which produces the greatest amount of tension or stress reduction in the client, with the least amount of resistance or negative reaction in the client’s psychoneuromuscular system. The edge is different for everyone at different times, and it often changes rapidly and dramatically. Yet working effectively with the edge is much of what determines how quickly, efficiently, and permanently a client’s neuromuscular and myofascial structure will relax. The therapist and the client must maintain a close rapport and open communication (relational yoga) throughout the session so that the therapist can stay attuned to the client’s edges and make the necessary moment-to-moment pressure adjustments. While it is the therapist’s responsibility to watch for clues, it is the client’s responsibility to inform the therapist about whether pressure is too deep, not deep enough, or just right. The edge concept also applies to mental and emotional yoga, which is outside the scope of this text.
Ultimately, being an effective soft-tissue therapy bodyworker requires clarity and honesty about one’s hands-on limitations. Even experienced bodywork therapists continue to be amazed, though not necessarily surprised, by the effectiveness of manual soft-tissue therapies in treating various conditions of the body and mind.
Effective healing often requires exploring a wide range of modalities and practitioners – because one size does not fit all. It is important to educate potential clients about the vast range of diverse techniques that encompass “bodywork”. Being able to describe the differences between the various approaches is an important part of being a manual therapy practitioner. Although both education and experience are vital to one’s ability to produce results, experience – an education in itself – is more critical. Well-educated practitioners, however, gain far more from their experience than do practitioners with little or no education on which to build.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in massage and bodywork therapy, contact NCSAB at (980) 224-8449. Visit our website: www.ncsab.com and be able to access the information you will need to determine if we are the school for you. We choose our students through an interview process, just as our students choose us. Schedule your interview today!
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