The most underrated massage therapy method: Kinesitherapy.
Updated: May 3
What is Kinesitherapy?
It is a specialization of massage therapy techniques and the study of movement to work on bio-mechanical imbalances. The word 'kine' comes from the word kinesis which means movement; truly meaning movement-therapy. Kinesitherapy uses a range of techniques such as manual massage, usually done without oil as fasciatherapy is also a big part of a kinesitherapy session. Working on the layers of fascia without oil prevents from sliding and really allows the layers of fascia to be stimulated and eased at the same time. Muscular assessments, specific range of motion testing and a postural analysis are also conducted- all of which help guide the plan of intervention in a kinesitherapy session.
Furthermore, mobilizations are practiced and they play a big role for the receiver. If you are a bodyworker, using this approach with your clients will be therapeutic and preventive; relieving impingements, creating space between articulations through mobilizations can ensure the work you did on the soft tissue will remain. Performing mobilizations can also ensure the maintenance of the body's mechanics of your client while they are no longer with you, along with a few exercises and stretches they can do as homework (or should I say bodywork?!).
What is the difference between Kinesitherapy and Physiotherapy?
As explained above, kinesitherapy is still a massage but combined with specific assessments to facilitate proper anatomical alignments to promote pain relief. Physiotherapy uses exercises, heat/ice, electrotherapy and mobilizations to promote pain relief. It is also used more often, if not immediately, for rehabilitation after surgeries, accidents or other traumas. Physiotherapy is physical therapy that aims to help strengthen the body back to health. Both therapies have an effect on the muscles, tendons and ligaments for physical as well as mental well-being.
What is a postural analysis?
A postural analysis can be performed standing, sitting or lying down as these are all different types of postures themselves- active and passive. A kinesitherapist will analyze their client through the alignments and symmetries of structures in the body against gravity when standing and sitting, or passive when the person is lying down. The passive postural analysis can be done in the moment of the massage and planning intervention, or it can go further by asking your client what their sleep posture is. How do their bodies torque and compensate to maintain a comfortable position? Attitudes and habits define posture, so by putting yourself in their position you may get a clearer understanding of their restrictions or openings in the body and therefore executing a more concise overall massage.
A postural analysis can determine so many dysfunctions in the body; the prefix 'dys'- stands for difficulty. Difficulty to function in a section of the body can lead to pain, inflammation, stiffness, tingling and many other symptoms. The types of dys-functions the body can have are numerous, such as up-slips, rotations, hyperkyphosis, hyperlordosis, hyperextension in the knees, locked facet joints, lines of pull in the fascia, skin color/texture and the list goes on. Once any of these imbalances are determined, along with an explanation of symptoms, the kinesitherapist can can better find the cause and release tension for long-term relief.
Overall benefits of Kinesitherapy
This wonderful combination of massage therapy has a great number of benefits for the body and mind:
Increases range of motion in joint articulations
Promotes a more supple fascia system
Decreases muscular tension
Relieves tension on the spinal cord and dura matter
Helps correct postural habits
Aims to achieve balance in muscle strength and flexibility
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