Massage therapy, scientific manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, consisting primarily of manual (hands-on) techniques like applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, and moving muscles and body tissues. Massage therapy is one of the oldest healthcare practices known. References to massage are found in ancient Chinese medical texts written quite 4,000 years ago. Since the time of Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” massage, has been advocated by Western healthcare practices.
What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a pseudoscientific and alternative medical practice that involves the application of pressure to specific points on the hands and feet by experts. The massage technique is done by using find, thumb, and hand. This kind of technique does not need any kind of special oil or lotion.
Reflexology has a very long history. It gets its roots in ancient Egypt, China, and Japan. In Egypt, there were pictographs in the physician’s tomb showing a form of healing art that looks like reflexology. Experts often think of reflexology as having its roots in China because it is very similar to acupuncture in theory. Click on this link if you want to know what is acupuncture. There is also a theory named reiteration theory where different parts of the body are a microcosm of the whole. So therefore you can reach every part of the body through the palms of the hands through the soles of the feet on the ears and you can do diagnosis in Chinese medicine by looking at the tongue. So it also represents the whole body, there is also evidence in Japan from the physician’s temple at 690 AD. There was a form of healing being done that also looked like early reflexology. It is believed that it was through the missionaries or Marco Polo that these healing arts from the East came into Europe. There was evidence that it was used in Russia in the 1800s and in Austria later on and later it was brought to the United States by Dr. William Fitzgerald who studied in Europe. He brought the work in a form that he called zone therapy and in zone therapy, he described ten longitudinal zones that run through the body. Eunice Ingham worked with colleagues of Dr. Fitzgerald’s chart at the foot in relation to the body. She took zone therapy and through trial and error found out where it was on the feet and on the hands and made charts. Dwight Byers who was Eunice’s nephew received reflexology from the time. He was a little child and he claims that Eunice cured his asthma. So he became very excited about reflexology and he started to do reflexology and work with Eunice and later on, he opened the National Institute of reflexology in the mid-70s.
How does Reflexology work?
Reflexology is thought to work through the energy pathways and this is the primary theory of how it works in the hands and the feet as you know by the description of reflexology. All parts of the body can be reached by the hands in the feet and through these energy pathways or what Fitzgerald called zones. That is the most common theory of how it works. It is very akin to acupuncture.
There is also another theory that believes that it works through the nerve endings in the hands. The three nerve stimulation, we can send a message to different parts of the body kind of like an electrical circuit board. There is also an energy balance theory that claims that as you work the feet in the hands you are releasing energy blockages and you are allowing the energy to flow properly and flow smoothly and this is very much in alignment with Chinese medicine.
Reflexology has also another theory which we would call the somatic theory and that is the idea that issues are psychological-emotional issues or physical issues are stored in the body. The issues are in body tissues. So in this way when we work the body, we are releasing any stuck energy that is in the body releasing any blockages and helping the body heal and come into balance. So those are the four most common theories about reflexology.
Benefits of Reflexology
Reflexology has many benefits. The common benefits and the ones that are agreed upon are most reflexology relieves tension and stress and that is huge because it is believed that at least 85% of health conditions are due to stress.
Reflexology is also believed to improve circulation which increases oxygen and nutrition to the cells of the body leading to better health. So when you release tension in the body, you are improving the nerves and blood supply just by having it flow more easily through the body. There is less tension to impede the nerves and the blood. Reflexology ultimately helps the body
to normalize and to restore balance.
Biofeedback is a training technique that allows people to become aware of and regulate their personal health by learning to control some of the body’s functions. The body is connected to an electrical sensor during biofeedback and this process measures brain activity, muscle tension, heart rate, and skin conductance. The electrical sensors are used to receive information about the body.
Types of Biofeedback
Therapists might suggest a variety of biofeedback methods depending on the patient’s body and health conditions and goals. There are some types –
- Brain Waves
- Heart Rate
- Muscle Contraction
- Sweat gland activity
Biofeedback training helps people to learn to control their body and brain’s response to stress. It is normal for our brain and body to respond to stress whether that is to increase the blood pressure a little as we stand up or to speed up our mind a little in preparation for a test. Normally these automatic responses to stress should improve the performance. Sometimes they can become exaggerated or out of sync. As a result, it can result in problems like freezing under pressure or finding it difficult to relax and switch off.
Biofeedback is quite simple. It attaches special sensors to the body perhaps to the ears or fingers and around the chest and measure signals such as heart rate variability and breathing then using specialized hardware and software which provides real-time feedback. The person can learn to control these key responses initially when they consciously try and with regular practice at home. These stress responses work better automatically without having to try. NASA, the United States military, police forces, and emergency services around the world, and many top Olympic sports teams have been using biofeedback for many years to improve performance and resilience to stress. A research is found on biofeedback training and it says that biofeedback may help people with problems like –
- Anxiety or stress
- Chronic pain
- High Blood Pressure
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Raynaud’s disease
- Temporomandibular Joint disorder
- Urinary incontinence.
In the clinic, experts have also seen that biofeedback training can also help these conditions such as postural orthostatic, tachycardia syndrome, or pots.
Stress affects almost everyone but biofeedback training can help to get back control and to change a life.
What is Alexander Technique?
Alexander technique is a popular type of alternative therapy and methodology for the treatment of chronic illness or conditions due to stress. Alexander Technique simply shows us how our bodies are designed to move, like the owner’s manual. The manual we should have received as kids but we never did. So, people are all born with great use or great posture, they run around free. They never feel pain when they always tend to move in normal conditions.
But generally over time when people develop some negative postural habits either collapsing or constricting them with excess tension. The reasons range from the physical like sitting in chairs for long periods of time to psychological such as feeling shy, traumatic events or even just straining to be taller than anyone.
Alexander Technique gently reminds the original operating system of humans. So it is easy to let go of the negative habits that are in their way. It is incredibly effective.
How Alexander Technique works?
Frederick Matthias Alexander is considered the originator of the Alexander Technique. Frederick had discovered the necessity of poise of using the full height and lengthening in stature as a basis for all activity. Breathing circulation and digestion, all the functioning of the body depends on poise and poise depends on how you employ yourself. His technique is about the attainment of poise, how you use yourself in all the activities of life. Now Margaret Goldie has just come in and he starts to work on her with one hand on the top of her head and the other on her back. He encourages her to lengthen by freeing the neck and directing the head forward and up. She keeps her length as he sits her in the chair. He slowly leans her backward still maintaining lengthening and freedom. His hands promote the antagonistic action of the direction between the head and the body. So that lengthening and widening expansion of the rib cage and breathing takes place. He stands her up continuing the process, the head leads and the body follows.
Benefits of Alexander Technique
- Lower Blood Pressure
- Clears Throat
- Improves Coordination
- Help to Stand Taller
- Creates Better Balance
- Remove Long-term Back and Neck Pain
- Help in Parkinson’s Disease
Alexander Technique is also popular with vocal coaches, musicians, dancers, athletes, and actors. They use and try to learn this lesson because this technique helps to increase air-flow, allowing vocal tone and skills. The method is also used to reduce stage fright by actors and it has a great impact on being more natural in performance. People who are in frequent pain for many reasons and especially who work on computers should maintain Alexander Technique to improve their life.
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a type of treatment that works on the relationship between the body’s main structures – the skeleton, the nerves and the muscles and the patient’s health. Chiropractors, experts of Chiropractic, believe that the right and perfect adjustment to these structures, particularly spinal column has a great importance to improve health. It is not usual medicine which we have become accustomed to using in our lives.
How Chiropractic works?
The main focus of Chiropractic is on wellness rather than disease. It is also a total preventive approach to disease. Nervous system takes control of all aspects of the body. The spinal cord carries the messages from the brain and a huge network of spinal nerves is ready to deliver information to every cell, organ and system of the body. According to Gray’s Anatomy, “the nervous system is the most complicated and highly organized of the various systems which make up the human body.” The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system consists of a series of nerves by which the central nervous system is connected with the various tissues of the body. A misalignment of the spine can hinder the body’s functioning and health.
Chiropractors perform spinal adjustments with their hands as their main tools. A spinal adjustment is the application of a precise force to a specific part of the spinal segment. The goal of an adjustment is to restore normal nerve transmission and assist the body in recuperating on its own.
Chiropractic focuses on maintaining optimal health naturally, without the use of drugs or surgery. Rather than treating the symptoms of disease, chiropractors help the body help itself by allowing the body to work at its optimal best. From children to older adults, chiropractic can relieve pain, help support the body’s immune system, and maintain good health. Chiropractic is part of a healthy lifestyle, no matter what a patient’s age.
History of Chiropractic
Because of the emphasis on holistic health care like holistic nursing (which is discussed below), chiropractic medicine or chiropractic treatment is associated with the field of pseudoscientific, complementary and alternative medicine. D.D. Palmer is the founder of chiropractic in the 1890s. The founder refers to chiropractic as a science of healing without drugs.
Benefits of Chiropractic
Chiropractic offers five benefits that you can expect from an alternative medicine or treatment system for health.
1. Reduction in Pain
Multiple research studies have shown there is perhaps no easier, safe and better way to reduce pain than with chiropractic care. That goes for the spine with disc herniations, beset issues, spinal stenosis, pinched nerves and more but it also goes for extremity issues. People have challenges in their wrists, ankles, knees and shoulders, having these joints move is one of the best things for anyone. Chiropractic care keeps one healthy and pain-free.
2. Headache Relief
Research has shown that chiropractic care can reduce the frequency and the intensity of headaches and there are millions of people we know over 20 million people suffer from headaches each and every day and chiropractic care again has been shown to be one of the most safe and effective ways to reduce the frequency severity and intensity of those suffering from or with headaches.
3. Improvement in Function and Quality of Life
We have seen time and time again in clinical practice but also through published papers that people who receive chiropractic care can expect to have improved functional ability which really equals a better quality of life. That could be twiddling with children getting back to sporting activities or simply getting through the day without pain. Improving quality of life is one of the top objectives of chiropractors around the world.
4. Less Medication
We all know about the crisis that is gone on with opioids in the last ten to twenty years. In a new study showcased that if you are somebody who receives chiropractic care you are 49 percent less likely to fill an opioid prescription. Opioids result in over 100 deaths each and every day. Additionally NSAIDs, those common prescriptions you may take to relieve pain actually produce over a hundred thousand hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each and every year. So any opportunity to scale back pain and improve your quality of life without having to resort to medications may be a wise decision and chiropractic is one among the best ways to get this.
5. Performance Improvement
Every single NBA, NHL, NFL, and major league baseball team needs to utilize chiropractors to keep their athletes going on the field and performing at their top level. Performance can split down a few different ways being pain free obviously but having greater flexibility, having great range of motion is crucial to performances day in and day out. Whether you are working at an office or whether you are in the professional sports field, making sure that you have a great balance of strength and flexibility is one of the top keys to staying well long-term.
What is Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy (OMT)?
Osteopathic manipulative therapy or OMT is kind of like a combination of chiropractic and physical therapy massage. It is a way where osteopaths use hands to help kind of realign things, diagnose, treat and prevent injury or illness. They have a lot of gentler techniques of kind of moving things, stretching, and resistance around getting things back in alignment.
OMT, Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy, can help people of all ages and backgrounds. The problems that most patients bring here –
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Tension and headaches
- Manipulation for medical reasons
- Menstrual cramps
- Sinus disorders
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Differences between an Osteopathic and Chiropractic
We are here going to talk about three main differences between Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy and Chiropractic Medicine. It will also explain how Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy works. The first is with the philosophy, the second is with the assessment, and the third is with the treatment.
Chiropractors believe a problem in the body is a result of a dysfunction of the spine. When you look at the anatomy of the spine you have the spine and the spinal canal and in that spinal canal, you have got the spinal cord. Coming out of the spine, you have got nerve roots. These nerves supply muscles, organs, joints, and even things like the skin. If the spine is not working properly and one of the joints is compressing a nerve root and that is going to affect the signals going to those structures that it is supplying and therefore it is going to result in less function. So by correcting this subluxation, you are going to restore this natural function of that structure.
On the other hand, Osteopaths believe that a problem can arise from dysfunction anywhere in the body. Your body pain changes your movement and functional style and that is going to cause problems not only in that place but problems elsewhere. As an example, if you have a problem with your knee, you are going to change the way you walk which is going to change the mechanics of the hip and therefore the spine. That affects the muscles and the tightness around the spine. It may also create many problems in the upper side of the body such as headache. So osteopaths suggest watching a little bit more globally.
Chiropractors often use x-rays or some other form of imaging or diagnostic equipment. You will often have this assessment done with x-rays in their first session. For example, they may bring you back in on your second time; they will go through your results and tell you their treatment plan. Then on the third time, you come back and they are going to give you treatment.
Osteopaths on the other hand will usually assess you and treat you on that first session. Now the way of work as osteopaths is they try to have a look at you standing, first of all, they will get you moving; see where any restrictions maybe, then they will have a look and a feel on all the muscles and joints. Osteopaths will observe and see how they are moving, perform special orthopedic tests, try to see if they can provoke the problem. So, Osteopathic can work out exactly what is going on, just by using osteopaths’ hands and eyes, and then at the end of that assessment, they will treat you.
Chiropractic treatments normally take a short time, around fifteen to twenty minutes. Chiropractors are better known for their adjustments. Adjustments are the “clicking” of necks and backs. Necks, upper back, lower back; that is what chiropractors tend to do.
Osteopathic Manipulation Therapy tends to do more of the whole body. Experts on OMT treat more globally, a lot more massage work and the theory is that if you can loosen up the muscles and relax the muscles that when it comes to adjusting those joints, it is going to be a little bit less aggressive on the body. So you will have less of a treatment reaction.
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