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Definitions of  Massage, Bodywork, Energy, Alternative Medicine & Healing Modalities

No statements in the definitions below should be considered to be medical advice or taken as advice against seeking medical treatment, but are provided purely for their educational value. In the case of  serious acute, chronic or degenerative conditions immediately seek competent medical advice from your primary health care provider.
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Tai Chi - (also Tai Chi Chu'an, Taiji or Taiji Quan) Consists of graceful, continuous movements combined with breathing control to  promote relaxation, balance, flexibility, muscle tone, and coordination while improving participants overall physical and mental agility. Tai chi teaches the cultivation, balancing and focusing of internal  energy (chi).  This ancient art that dates back to the 8th century is based on traditional defensive and offensive techniques. In addition to bare hand techniques, weapons such as the sword,  saber and spear are also used. Several schools of Tai Chi include the Chen, Yang, Wu and Sun. Tai chi has been used as part of treatments for back problems, ulcers, and stress. See also Martial Arts.

 Tai Chi Chih originated by Justin F. Stone, an artist, writer, and Tai Chi Ch'uan instructor in the 1970s, who felt the need for a simpler more direct way for westerners to learn a system of 'moving meditation'.  There are only 19 movements and one pose.  The simple flowing moves of Tai Chi Chih cultivate, refine, and balance one's internal chi (vital force energy).

Tantra - There are three traditional schools of Tantra, Kuala, Mishra and Samaya.  Each school focuses on energizing different chakras, but all seek enlightenment through activation of Kundalini energy rising to pierce the crown chakra (ajna) there by attaining union with the one.  Within these schools activation of the Kundalini energy may be sought through left hand (physical senses) or right hand (symbolic/mental) exercises.  Read definitions of the Tantric schools by Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati.  Within each of us when the male  principle of consciousness (in the head) and the female principle of earth (in the body) are in loving union, enlightenment manifests -  light into matter, the whole universe embodied within. In the  West, we seem to focus on a very specific subset of left handed Kuala Tantra which seeks transformation using sexual energy symbolizing the male within the female. 

Tantric Massage This is a form of very sensual whole body massage, which is intended to stimulate the rise of Kundalini energy for emotional or physical healing.  It may lead to spiritual enlightenment. Practiced between consenting adults, it may help foster intimacy and sense of trust.  However, it frequently results in a male or female physical release, which is seen as an end in itself. Yoni (female) and Lingam (male massage focus on the partners genital area.  Licensed massage therapists are prohibited from providing sexual services by codes of ethics and state licensing boards.  ( For more information see Tantra )

Tantric Yoga - in traditional tantra is the practice of mental, energetic and physical exercises to open the chakras to allow the Kundalini energy to flow up from the base chakra to the crown chakra, resulting in a spiritual union of the individual with cosmic conciousness. However, tantric yoga is heavily marketed by many as a couples relationship therapy at best and as a highly erotic physical experience for men and women by the adult video purveyors at its worst. ( For more information see Tantra )

Tapotement; Springy tapping, chopping or close fisted movements, generally applied to the body at a steady, rapid pace to create rhythmical compression to the tissue also  known as percussion. One of the four basic strokes of Swedish massage.

Thai Massage ( also called Traditional Thai Medical Massage or Nuad Bo Rarn ) has been taught and practiced in Thailand for about 2,500 years. Although the origins are somewhat vague, credit for the origin of Thai Massage is given to a famous Indian doctor, Shvago Komarpaj, who was the personal physician of the Buddha and Magadha king.  It is said to have originated in the Vajrayana Yogic medicine of Tibet before coming to Thailand.  Historically, manipulation was one of the four branches composing traditional Thai ceremonies or magical practices.  This is based on the theory that the body is made up of 72,000 Sen, or energy lines, of which ten hold top priority.  Thai massge also involves peripheral stimulating, meaning it acts as an external stimulant to produce specific internal effects.  This point serves as a main division between Thai and Western massage.  Another difference is that Thai massage is practiced on a firm matt on the floor instead of on a table.  This is instrumental in the effective use of the practitioner's  body weight for compression and stretching.  The Thais believe that stretching, compressing, and applying torque to the musculo-skelatal system create energy as well as releasing blockages and allowing relaxation.  Thai massage has been called 'Lazy Man's Yoga'.  Within Thailand there are two 'styles' of massage 'Northern' and 'Southern' Thai massage.  Except for the feet, the client remains fully clothed, so draping is not necessary.

Thalassotherapy - is the use of sea water or a seaweed product in a hydrotherapy treatment.  Sea water and seaweed contain trace elements, vitamins, and minerals which help stimulate blood circulation, eliminate toxins, tone and re-mineralize the body.

The Work ( see Byron Katie Work )

Therapeutic Massage See Massage Therapy )

Therapeutic Touch This laying-on of hands therapeutic technique was developed by Delores Krieger, Ph.D., R.N., and Dor Kunz, clairvoyant and gifted healer, in the 1970s in  the  United States.  Used extensively by registered nurses in hospitals to nurture premature babies and to increase the recovery of some patients, including in the emergency room.  Gentle and  noninvasive, it works  on and above the body.  Using a meditative process, Therapeutic Touch disperses blocked energy and allows the practitioner to channel healing energy to the client.  The  receiver may be sitting or lying down  and may be conscious or unconscious during the treatment.  The receiver ultimately heals herself.  The practitioner's role is only to give of her own  energy reserves in order to boost the healing process in the  receiver.

Therapy, Holistic.  This is a generic term which can be applied to a range of  treatments for healing a combination of body, mind and/or spirit.  The underlying premiss being that imbalances in thought patterns, energy patterns, emotions, and/or spiritual connection will  ultimately manifest as an acute, chronic or degenerative physical ailment(s).

Toning - Using the human voice to make healing sounds of any nature.  These sounds open up our body to become more ourself. Several vowel sounds are thought to be particularly effective.  For example: Ahh, Eehh, Oohh, Ohmm.  In "Chakra Therapy", Keith Sherwood suggests the following sound correspondences:
      U -- in the lower part of the spine
      O -- in the belly
      A -- in the heart, chest
      E -- in the throat
      I -- in the third eye
      Hm -- in the crown

Touch for Health Developed by chiropractor John Thie, Touch for Health combines methods and techniques which include acupuncture principles, acupressure, muscle testing , massage, and dietary guidelines.  The method of treatment requires a second  person who performs muscle testing.  This determines which muscles  are strong or weak, indicating if a physical problem or organ malfunction exists.  Once weak muscles are determined, a  variety of methods are used as part of a muscle strengthening program.  Such techniques as  finger pressure on neuro-vascular holding points on the head and pressure on the acupressure holding  points.  After the muscles are strengthened, Touch for Health theory states that energy then flows through the body, improving vitality and ability to maintain good health.

Traditional Chinese Medicine ( See Chinese Medicine )

Traditional Oriental Medicine ( See Chinese Medicine )

Traditional Thai Medical Massage - See Thai Massage

Trager Psycho Physical Integration developed by Milton Trager (usually just called Trager) uses light, gentle, nonintrusive movements to facilitate the release of deep-seated physical and mental patterns.  Each part of the client's body is moved rhythmically so that the recipient experiences the possibility of moving lightly, effortlessly, and freely on their own. A Trager session should help reduce stress from chronic  tension, teach more effective ways to recover from stressful situations, enhance conscious awareness and flexibility, improve self-image, expand energy, restore free flowing movement and full self-expression by reducing  constriction and rigidity. A Trager session can bring about the experience of peace and serenity -- a high-energy state of well-being beyond relaxation.

Trigger Point Myotherapy ( also referred to as Trigger Point Therapy ) is a  pain-relief technique to alleviate muscle spasms and cramping. The therapist locates and deactivates `trigger points', which are often tender areas  where muscles have been damaged or acquired a reccurring spasm or `kink' that worsens painfully when aggravated. Trigger Points typically 'refer' pain to areas surrounding or even very distant from the 'tender'  point'. The major goals are to reduce spasm inducing new blood flow into the affected area. The spasms are partly maintained by nervous system feedback (pain-spasm-pain) cycle. Spasms also physically reduce blood flow to the trigger point area (ischemia), reducing oxygen supplied to the  tissues and increasing the spasm. ( see also, Bonnie Pruden Myotherapy ).

Pressure is applied to trigger points, for a short time (between about 7 to 10 seconds  per  point), which can be momentarily painful but is greatly relieving. It is common to hit the  same trigger points several times during a session, but you won't be leaning into a sore spot for  several minutes. Often  ice or another cooling agent is used to reduce nervous system response, making the area easier and  more comfortable to work. Then the muscles are gently stretched to  complete the relaxation process, hence the name 'spray and stretch'.

Tui Na - The term Tui Na first appeared in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 AD) texts as pediatric tui na (xiao or tuina). "Tui" means literally to push and "Na" is a  squeezing and lifting technique.  The names of these two techniques are used to represent the system.  Practitioners of tui na claim that there are over 365 different hand techniques, although they can  generally be placed in the category of either pressing, rubbing, waving, shaking, percussion, or manipulating.

Tuning (Harmonic Healing) - Using harmonic vibrations to bring the body's vibrational frequencies back into their healthy normal resonant states. Developed by Christopher Tymmes to  replicate the effect of Tibetan monk chanting.

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