Manipulative and body-based practices involve moving one or more parts of the body to reach a desired result. For example, many women suffer from "frozen shoulder", a painful condition caused by continually wearing a purse on the same shoulder. The weight of the purse and the resulting force on the shoulder causes it to freeze. Eventually, the arm cannot rise up and physiotherapy is required to manipulate the arm and shoulder back to regular mobility.
Chiropractic procedures or therapies are quite common types of manipulative and body-based practices. Due to accidents and falls, the outcome is an incorrectly aligned body. The chiropractor manipulates various areas, but more typically the spine, in an attempt to restore the body back to its natural position. The procedure can be used for symptoms ranging from headaches to severe pain. But it must first be determined that the symptoms are a result of the issues related to the musculoskeletal system. Individual procedures might be performed or there may exist a whole system of health which consists of massage, acupressure, naturopathy, and chiropractic services.
Osteopathic therapy is beneficial in helping to alleviate pain and infections by finding and treating the source of the problem, rather than the symptoms themselves. Osteopathy uses gentle and non-invasive manual manipulation to remove tension from the afflicted area. It has been used to treat backaches, ear infections, migraines, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and sprains. As a manipulative and body-based practice, osteopathy aids the body to heal itself by removing that which is preventing the healing.
Massage is also helpful to patients, as it increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the afflicted area. Both light-touch and deep-touch techniques are employed in an effort to reduce and eliminate stress and pain. Not only do the specific techniques help patients but the very act of human touch is comforting to many people, and produces a sense of well-being. Regular massage creates and promotes wellness and has been shown to reduce anxiety and tension. Successful results have occurred while treating pain from back injuries and chronic constipation. It has even been used to help infants who are less than average weight to develop normally.
Structural Integration or Rolfing, named after American biological chemist, Ida P. Rolf, Ph.D, is a therapy which focuses on the protective layer of the muscles. This is called "fascia" and gives the body its shape. Basically when injury happens or even the stress on the body from everyday living, the fascia conform to the misaligned positions, thereby restricting the movement of the muscles. The fascia must be released and lengthened in order for the body to resume its natural alignment. This process or therapy is called "rolfing" and is considered another form of manipulative and body-based practices.
Reflexology consists of exerting pressure to specific spots on the bottom of the foot. The underlying premise is each area is associated with an organ of the body. By manipulating the correct area, disease can be removed from the afflicted organ. Legitimate reflexologists are accredited by approved colleges.
Indeed, the above list of manipulative and body-based practices is by no means exhaustive. In fact, many other therapies exist such as postural re-education, Bowen technique, craniosacral therapy, Feldenkrais method, Tui Na, and Trager bodywork.