Career Focus - The World of Complementary Medicine and Alternative Therapies

Other Therapies

Detailed below are several other 'Touch & Movement Therapies'. We've detailed background information about the therapy, how it is performed and useful contact links for further information.

Biodynamic Massage

This form of massage aims to release energy belived to be bound up in the muscles and gut, causing physical and emotional pain. This approach was developed in the 1960s by Gerda Boyesen, a Norwegian psychologist and physiotherapist. Discussion is encouranged, and techniques can be soothing and soporific or more vigorous.


How is the therapy performed?

Practitioners believe that the intestine digests not only food, but stress and trauma,a process known as "psychoperistalsis" which, they claim, can be improved with massage. You lie undressed on a massage table, covered by a blanket. Swedish massage is combined with technqiues such as 'lifting' the limbs to detect and free trapped 'bio-energy', which is released through the abdomen. A stethoscope is applied to the abdomen to monitor progress. Talking is encouraged is the practitioner feels the massage is raising any issues.



The Metamorphic Technique

Robert St.John, a British naturopath and reflexologist, developed the Metamorphic technique in the 1960s while working in a school for children with learning disabilities. In 1979, on of his students, Gaston St.Pierre set up the Metamorphic Association in London.


How is the therapy performed?

Practitioners describe themselves as 'catalysts' - agents of change who remain detached throughout the treatment, making no comment and offering no counselling. Like reflexology, the Metamorphic technique is founded on the belief that the body is reflected in the feet and hands. The technique goes a step further, claiming that the physical, emotional and mental patterns of our lives are established in the womb and are mapped out on the side of the foot and hand. No claims are made for curing any ailment, but the technique aims to facilitate a positive approach to life, encouraging 'transformations' that loosen old ways of thinking allowing new ones.

You take off your footwear and sit comfortably whilst each foot is manipulated by the practitioner using light circular movements with particular emphasis on the side of the foot. The process is repeated on the hands.




The Feldenkrais Method

Moshe Feldenkrias, was a Russian born Israeli atomic physicist and engineer. A keen footballer and judo black belt, Feldenkrais began to study human movement when recovering from a serious knww injury. His work was initially based on observation of the sponataneous natural movement of children, which he then supplemented with a study of anatomy, physiology, neurology and psychology. In 1950, Feldenkrais further developed his method and aimed at encouraging ease of movement with 'minimum effort and maximum efficiency'.


How is the therapy performed?

Practitioners are essentially teachers of the method, preferring to talk of students or pupils rather than patients. They believe that posture and movement reflect the state of the nervous system: for example someone suffering from depression often has hunched shoulders. The method aims to improve physical and mental health by reprogramming movement patterns, and is based on two approaches.

The first of these is known as 'awareness through movement'. These are simple exercised designed to help you develop body awareness and increased mobility as part of a group following the practitioner's instructions.

The second approach is 'Functional Integration', using touch and manipulation on an individual basis tailored to your needs.




Milton Trager, born in 1908, was a professional boxer who found that by working on people intuitvely with his hands that he could ease pain, even helping polio sufferers to walk. Trager trained as a physical therapist and became a doctor in 1955, practising in Hawaii.


How is the therapy performed?

A session lasts 60-90 minutes and begins with an assessment. Treatment involves 'bodywork' and may also include instruction in 'Mentastics', a self-help movement therapy designed to instil a feeling of freedom and grace in the patient.

For the bodywork you undress to your underwear. No oil is used, as the skin is not massaged but cradled, stretched and rocked. The practitioner enters a state of relaxed, active meditation called 'hook up', which makes him aware of patterns of tension in the patient's body. When areas of tension are located, the practitioner eases the contact pressure to transmit a sense of freedom and lightness to the patient. The effect is subtle but cumulative, as a typical session includes many movements, encouraging the patient to 'let go'.



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