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MANUAL THERAPY TECHNIQUES

Active Isolated Stretching - Is a manual technique of releasing muscle and fascia by isolating specific muscles and contracting the opposing muscles for 2 seconds.  Active movement and reciprocal inhibition are used to achieve optimal flexibility.  This modality is an excellent technique to strengthen muscles that surround and support joints that are involved in injuries, muscle diseases, arthritic conditions and pain.

Cancer Massage - Utilizes compassionate touch techniques developed specifically for those with compromised body systems related to cancer. It focuses on light, gentle touch to provide comfort, decrease pain, nausea, anxiety and depression, as well as insomnia, digestive dysfunction, constipation, difficulty breathing and skin degeneration. Cancer massage can facilitate a decrease in symptoms related to radiation and chemotherapy, as well as help to reduce the need for pain medication.   Family members and caregivers can also benefit from relaxation massage. Cancer massage requires specific training.

Craniosacral Therapy - Is a light touch (generally the weight of a nickel).  The rhythm of the craniosacral system is monitored to detect potential restrictions and imbalances.  Delicate manual techniques release problem areas and relieve pressure on the craniosacral, musculoskeletal and fascial systems. Movement restrictions of any part of the craniosacral system can result in dysfunction at virtually any place in the body.  Working with the rhythm and flow of cerebrospinal fluid through the surrounding bones and soft tissue can provide relief for a variety of acute and chronic neuromuscular and musculoskeletal complaints.  The goal is to reduce pain and stress, particularly migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and problems related to the brain and spinal cord. This therapy requires advanced training.

Geriatric Massage - This is a gentle massage technique for healthy older persons as well as frail and institutionalized elders.  Focus is on maintaining health and regaining physical capabilities by improving circulation, joint mobilization and flexibility, enhancing digestion and elimination, promoting restful sleep, reducing pain and relieving depression related to the stresses of aging and social isolation.  Geriatric massage can be used in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living and retirement communities, and is suitable for wheelchair bound, stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson patients.

Infant Massage - Is a touch therapy for newborns and infants up to 18 months of age. This therapy is a form of education to parents on how to touch your newborn baby in a nurturing, gentle way that not only satisfies your baby’s need for touch, but also helps you begin to communicate. The strokes you will learn are so simple that a young child could learn them, and any member of the family can share in this experience. Benefits include improved circulation, sleep, digestion and elimination as well as stimulation of the immune and nervous systems.  Fussy, colicky, or special needs babies can especially benefit from this gentle touch.  Infant massage helps growth and development. Babies who are massaged have been shown to gain more weight, sleep better, are less irritable, more responsive to stimuli, have better interaction with their parents, and show superior mental and motor skill development.

Lymphatic Drainage - Is a gentle, rhythmic technique, using slow, repetitive strokes in specific directions designed to assist the function of the lymphatic system and reduce swelling by facilitating the movement of lymph fluid through the vessels and nodes.  It is especially effective with post-surgical edema and scar tissue.  Manual Lymphatic Drainage can also be used in conjunction with bandaging and compression garments to treat Lymphedema.  This type of treatment requires advanced training.

Medical  Massage Utilizes a wide variety of manual therapy techniques and procedures to facilitate a treatment plan with the intent of improving medical conditions or pathologies that have been diagnosed by a physician.  It is primarily used in injury recovery and rehabilitation, pain relief, and medical conditions requiring a thorough knowledge of disease states and body processes. Medical Massage starts with a medical history and assessment that includes postural alignment, range of motion, muscle testing and palpation with detailed documentation. Specific exercises or stretches may be suggested to help keep muscles flexible and lengthened, as well as relaxation techniques to decrease muscle tension. This helps to reinforce improved movement patterns and release tension before it becomes a problem. Medical Massage is further defined in numerous types of specific manual therapy techniques, many of which are described here.  Medical Massage requires advance training and certification.

Myofascial Release - Is a gentle, whole body therapy that produces profound effects throughout the body. It is a hands-on technique involving the application of gentle, sustained stretches and pressure to the fascia and muscles. It relieves tension and pain by releasing and lengthening fascia, which allows muscles to return to their correct position, length and function. Fascia supports and covers your muscles, organs, bones and nerves. Fascia can become restricted and inelastic from trauma such as accidents and surgery, as well as from poor posture, chronic inflammation and overuse. Prolonged tension from stress or emotional upset can also cause restrictions, pulling on muscles and other structures, causing tightness, pain and limited movement.  Reversing temporary and long-held patterns of tension allows muscles to stay lengthened and perform in balance with each other. Fascia, as well as muscle, must be released for long-lasting effect, removing tightness with associated pain and discomfort. Multiple sessions increase the effectiveness of the treatment. Myofascial Release involves direct skin contact without lotions or oils.

Neuromuscular Therapy Is a type of manual therapy utilizing a series of treatment protocols to assess, treat and prevent soft tissue injuries and chronic pain using medium-paced (thumb or finger) gliding strokes, compression and static pressure to treat trigger points in the body.  Trigger points are localized areas within muscles along tight muscle fibers that generate and can refer pain when pressure is applied. Trigger points can be activated by repetitive tasks, poor posture, trauma, acute overload or overwork of muscles.  This type of therapy requires advanced training.

Pregnancy Massage Includes pre and postnatal massage for mothers to relieve some of the physical and emotional stresses women experience during pregnancy. It involves particular positioning at various stages of pregnancy to address hormonal, structural, and postural changes. Massage during pregnancy can help to decrease back, neck and foot pain, as well as nausea, swelling of hands and feet, headaches, cramps, anxiety, and insomnia.  Precautions will be discussed with the therapist. Pregnancy Massage requires specific training.

Reflexology Is manipulation and pressure applied to specific areas on the feet (and hands) that stimulates corresponding areas in other parts of the body. The theory applied is that relieving areas of congestion in the reflex zones of the feet can relieve congestion in the organs, glands and body parts associated with them. With thousands of nerve endings on the soles of our feet, they can be quite responsive to the sensory input of reflexology.  Reflexology is used to improve circulation, ease pain, and enhance relaxation.  This type of massage can be performed in a reclining chair or on a massage table with the client fully clothed, removing only shoes and socks. Reflexology requires specific training.

Reiki - Is an ancient energy healing technique meant to bring balance and harmony to the body, mind, and spirit. Reiki means “universal life energy” and is based on the Chakra system of energy fields in the body which act as a conduit for the endocrine system.  Practitioners routinely follow a series of hand positions, but can focus on specific areas of the body. You will receive the amount of energy you need to bring your mind and body into balance.  Reiki alleviates pain and stress, and promotes restful sleep, healing and relaxation. Reiki sessions are very appropriate for pre and post surgery, as well as for cancer patients. It is used in many hospital settings.  While the effects vary from person to person, most people experience deep relaxation. Reiki therapy requires specific training and attunement.

Soft Tissue Release Involves sets of rhythmic and precise stretches with variations in the angle of stretch while compression is applied along the muscle.  It is effective for sports and repetitive strain injuries, as well as chronic pain, frozen shoulder, sciatica, and thoracic outlet syndrome.  This type of therapy requires specific training.

Swedish Massage Is soft tissue manipulation using a variety of basic massage techniques to promote relaxation and improve circulation and joint mobility.  Swedish massage techniques are usually incorporated as part of a full body massage using oil or lotion.  Most clothing is removed and the client is draped with a sheet at all times.  Swedish massage is the most widely practiced form of therapeutic massage typically promoted for relaxation.

Therapeutic Touch is a contemporary derivative of “laying on of hands” originated by Dolores Krieger, PhD, RN.  It is both a technique and a way of life taught and practiced in many varied settings such as hospitals, homes, and hospice.  It is based on the understanding that we are very much connected to each other and to the greater whole, and that through the use of this connection, we can facilitate healing in others and ourselves. Research and experience have shown that Therapeutic Touch can alleviate pain, reduce anxiety, hasten wound healing, enhance immune function, deepen our inner balance and much more.

Visceral Manipulation Is a manual therapy consisting of light, gentle techniques applied directly and indirectly to affect the fascial mobility of the internal organs. Restrictions between the fascia covering various internal organs can create dysfunctions.  Chronic tissue tensions and even tiny adhesions can stress organs, their connective tissues, the nervous system, and the entire body.  Eventually, if the body’s compensation for the restriction is not adequate, structural problems may arise. Visceral Manipulation is effective for scar tissue related to trauma and surgery, as well as musculoskeletal injuries with resultant visceral fascial tension patterns.  No lubrication is used. This type of therapy requires advanced training.

What my clients are saying...
"I had swelling in my arm after my shoulder surgery that would not go away.  Karen used lymphatic drainage and other techniques to decrease the pain and swelling.  I still get treated whenever the swelling comes back. I don’t know what I’d do without Karen!”


K. Gibson

693 Reading Ave.
West Reading, PA 19611

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