Last week I temporarily put my lower back out causing certain movements to be painful. It didn’t stop me from walking 20 km through the Don Valley on a beautiful sunny day this past Monday. It also hasn’t prevented me from working. Somehow there is never a shortage of well-intentioned advice on how best to cope with any sort of physical infirmity. However, not all advice is well informed. I was advised by a non-yogi to miss out on my thrice-weekly yoga practice. I imagine that this advice was based on an erroneous perception that I would be forced into practicing neck stands and curving myself into pretzel-like positions. That does not give an accurate picture of the many different techniques used in yoga most of which are gentle in nature and include work in the physical mental and spiritual plane. In any case, yoga is about working comfortably within one’s capability. Fortunately, I did not take the advice.
Similarly, I have heard poorly informed people state that massage therapy would not be suitable for treating an acute case of sciatica. Again there may be many misconceptions about massage therapy that misunderstand the therapy itself and the people who practice as therapists. Of course, there may be specific techniques that are contraindicated for certain conditions. Massage therapy does employ certain techniques such as longitudinal gliding, kneading, myofascial release, Deep tissue, massage, trigger point therapy, deep transverse frictions, compression massage, cross fiber massage, lymphatic drainage, Swedish massage, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. Using the most appropriate techniques for the condition being treated is important. I have been in practice as a therapist since 1994. With twenty-four years of practice, I have also learned effective techniques that are not necessarily taught in massage school but which fall within my scope of practice as a massage therapist when defined as soft tissue manipulation.
If one were to come up with a statement that encompasses my approach to the healing arts it is to reduce inflammation and increase a range of motion pain-free. Some techniques and learning used in a treatment can appear almost benign in nature. Yet the result can be profoundly healing if contrasted with the amount of physical effort applied. In the western world, we have been brought up to think that if X amount of pressure will produce this result, then applying X Plus will give a better result. This is not my experience of working with the human body.