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Home > Health Library > Bodywork and Manual Therapy
Bodywork and manual therapy are general terms that refer to body manipulation therapies used for relaxation and pain relief. Massage is a well-known form of manual therapy.
The idea behind bodywork is that people learn—or are forced by injury or stress into—unnatural ways of moving or holding their bodies. This causes discomfort and may contribute to health problems.
The aim of bodywork is to realign and reposition the body to allow natural, graceful movement. Bodywork, along with identifying possible contributing causes of unnatural movement and posture, is thought to reduce stress and ease pain.
Some of the most common forms of bodywork are:
People may use bodywork to promote relaxation, relieve stress, and reduce pain associated with certain disorders of the muscles and joints, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Bodywork can be a safe form of therapy when a qualified and experienced practitioner performs it. Its effectiveness is not scientifically proven. Talk with your doctor before you start any bodywork program, so you can choose the most appropriate form of bodywork for your specific condition.
Many states license practitioners who provide bodywork therapies. Your doctor or local hospital may be able to help you find a qualified bodywork practitioner.
Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.
Other Works Consulted
Martinez RM (2006). Manipulation. In JE Pizzorno Jr, MT Murray, eds., Textbook of Natural Medicine, 3rd ed., pp. 417–430. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
Current as of:
March 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: March 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
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