What is Manual Therapy?

Posted: Saturday, January 17th, 2015

According to Wikipedia – Manual therapy can be defined differently (according to the profession describing it for legal purposes) to state what is permitted within a practitioners scope of practice.

Within the physical therapy profession, manual therapy is defined – a clinical approach with direct patient contact utilizing skilled, specific hands-on techniques, including but not limited to manipulation/mobilization. Used by the physical therapist to diagnose and treat soft tissues and joint structures for the purpose of modulating pain; increasing range of motion (ROM); reducing or eliminating soft tissue inflammation; inducing relaxation; improving contractile and non-contractile tissue repair, extensibility, and/or stability; facilitating movement; and improving function.

The International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT) defines manual therapy techniques as: “Skilled hand movements intended to produce any or all of the following effects: improve tissue extensibility; increase range of motion of the joint complex; mobilize or manipulate soft tissues and joints; induce relaxation; change muscle function; modulate pain; and reduce soft tissue swelling, inflammation or movement restriction.”

Alternatively, Korr (1978) described manual therapy as the “Application of an accurately determined and specifically directed manual force to the body, in order to improve mobility in areas that are restricted; in joints, in connective tissues or in skeletal muscles.”

“It is a science dealing with the natural forces of the body. We work as osteopaths with the traditional principle in mind that the tendency in the patient’s body is always toward the normal. There is much to discover in the science of osteopathy by working with the forces within that manifest the healing processes. These forces within the patient are greater than any blind force that can safely be brought to bear from without. – William Garner Sutherland, D.O.

The need to rest?

Posted: Friday, January 16th, 2015

The appropriateness for Savasana

Does your practice leave you desiring Savasana – the corpse pose?
Do you tend to fall asleep in Savasana?
How do you feel 1 hour later after practice? 2 hours after? the next morning?

Savasana is considered one of the most difficult asana is in my observation overtaught and too often desired at the end of a class. Savasana is meant to allow the mind to settle on the stillness, the space, and the unveiling of your true nature. It is not a pose for the purpose of recuperation and rest after an “invigorating”, challenging or hard practice.

Savasana – the seat of the corpse, from the root word Shava. One merely dies away the “old” self to move into the openings created in your practice. A state of renewal. One digests the byproducts of their practice, and absorb the results of practice. It is recommended the practitioner turns their awareness inwards. This can purify oneself of sensory distraction. With a lessening of the senses distracting the relaxed focus of the mind, one can become more aware of their body’s subtle movements, breath and the state of mind. It can be used as a preperatory stage to meditation.

I recommend Savasana for evening practices only!

Meditation does not require Savasana. It is suggested. You can participate in your practice moving through a sequence that is inspired from one’s inquiry into freedom. A sequence derived by oneself must be carefully monitored for pitfalls such as  attachment, desire, aversion, and violence. I recommended for a Yoga practice, one be advised by a teacher who knows you and understands your intentions for practice; and has a good working understanding of  your constitutional nature (Prakriti) and tendencies for imbalance (Vikriti). This is the beautiful combination of Yoga & Ayurveda.

Then your practice supports you. A sequence ending with seated postures, the true meaning of asana – meaning seat, is toward the end of your practice. Here your seat is prepared from the work accomplished in the standing and dynamic movements. The seat one prepares is harnessed with good circulation of Prana. One can then sit for periods of time with compassion, avoiding imposition to sit when the seat is uncomfortable or numb. This is key to the practices of pranayama and meditation.

Back to Savasana. If the body and mind drop into sleep during savasana then one risks the pitfalls of losing the connection to consciousness. Physically and energetically the body goes cold, looses the space and actually collects unwanted stagnation, especially in the lungs and heart. Repeated practice of going to sleep or dozing off during Savasana can create long term challenges often not notice til many years later. If you fall asleep more times than not, please pay attention to your body’s signals and head the body’s need for rest by looking into your lifestyle and the way you choose to live your days. Are you cheating your body of it’s natural desire to be in harmony?

The results of your practice should leave you feeling:
  • Warm, Invigorated, and Light
  • A feeling of ease with activities of daily living
  • Feelings of fluidity with arising from sleep the next day
  • Energized circulation
  • Grounded, with sharpness and clarity of mind; relaxed focus of attention
  • Clear senses.Emotional and mental fluidity