What does a bodyworker do

What is bodywork?


Bodywork is a generic term similar to “trees” or “fish” or “work”. It generally describes working with the human body. With bodywork you can influence your body in such a way that blockages, tension, resistance and energy congestion in the fascia, muscle and nervous system dissolve. This changes your external and internal posture, your perception and your movements. You can practice bodywork together with a therapist, together with a teacher or coach, or on your own. Bodywork can be divided into two broad areas.

  • Hands-off bodywork: Here your body is only touched very little or not at all by the therapist, teacher or trainer,
    e.g. with Yoga + Tai-Chi + Qigong + Sport + Somatic Experiencing + Tension Releasing Exercises
  • Hands-on bodywork: Here your body is often touched by the therapist,
    e.g. in massage + physiotherapy + osteopathy + chiropractic + Rolfing

What does bodywork do?

Bodywork takes the sand out of the gears. The pain will go away, the symptoms will stop, and your body will return to normal functioning. You will feel a significant increase in energy. Your movements become fluid, your perception, your inner and outer balance, your stress tolerance, resilience and serenity in relation to the world and to yourself increase. There is a feeling of physical balance and inner equilibrium.

How can bodywork help me?

  • Bodywork uses manual techniques to help the body regenerate faster after an accident, injury or surgery.
  • Bodywork helps calm stressed nerves after a tragedy, burnout or stroke of fate.
  • Bodywork helps your nervous system to cope with the consequences of a shock trauma, a car accident or an operation, for example.
  • Bodywork relieves chronic tension caused by poor posture, constant stress or one-sided strain.
  • Bodywork optimizes the functions of the body before a competition, a stage performance or an exam.

The origin

The term “bodywork” comes from the self-awareness movement of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Pioneers like Alexander Lowen, Dr. Ida Rolf and Dr. Milton Trager coined the term "bodywork" to describe manual techniques and methods that work directly with the human body.

In the wild 1960s, Wilhelm Reich was revered as an idol. His Vegeto-Therapy from the 1940s was picked up and found widespread use in the schools of bioenergetics, rebalancing, encounter etc., which is why Reich is the founder of "Body Psychotherapy" (German: body psychotherapy, synonym: body therapy) and "Bodywork" (dt. body work) is considered. In the form of a “revolution from below” these schools provided answers and concepts to pressing questions of the time. They promoted people's willingness to work on their own physical and mental development and have had a lasting impact on professional psychotherapeutic practice to this day.

With all of these many different methods that use the term "bodywork", the aim is always to influence the human body in such a way that it can move around in a relaxed manner. The relaxed, powerful and harmonious movement is a sign of healthy body function and inner balance. A detailed overview and description of the various bodywork methods can be found under Bodywork by Dr. Again.

Movement art in bodywork

Today, a variety of disciplines that work directly with the human body use the term "bodywork" to describe their work. In the areas of yoga, qigong and tai-chi, it is used in such a way that the body can move powerfully, elegantly and in an integrated manner and thus exploit its full potential. The aim is not to control the movement, but to let it happen from within with as little internal resistance as possible. This is done by working with the flow of energy, the chi.

Energetic or flowing elements in bodywork

In massages such as Esaleen Bodywork, Kahuna Bodywork, LaStone Therapy, Marma Point Massage, Tibetan Massage and Thai Yoga Massage, the tissue and sometimes the entire body is moved passively by a second person, the giver. The focus is not on the tension and pain of the client, as in the classic massage, but on getting the chi moving and harmonizing it. These forms of bodywork consider the body as a whole with its own intelligence. If its chi is set in motion by such a massage, the body is able to reorganize itself on a more balanced, higher level and thus to recover.

Integrative bodywork

The approaches developed in the last 50 years such as Rolfing, chiropractic, osteopathy, Alexander technique and trigger point show the traditional field of the terms “bodywork” and “bodywork”. Its aim is to dissolve behavioral patterns and deep-seated tensions that are stored in the body tissue. The nervous system is also involved in order to enable a change - i.e. an inner movement - in the body that brings it back into balance. This allows him to let go of his "armor" and move freely and without internal resistance.

These therapies combine a relatively calm phase in which the client's fascia tissue is worked and aligned with a more active phase in which the client practices improved physical alignment while sitting, standing and walking. Some of these bodywork therapies such as rolfing and osteopathy even work specifically to prevent or heal overuse, overload and wear and tear. They typically occur in activities in which the body is used intensively: with dancers, musicians, athletes or craftsmen. The therapies are also excellent for treating chronic back pain and neck pain, as well as many other such ailments.

Focused on the client's potential

Although bodywork therapists do not usually address the psychological problems of their clients, they are very well aware of the connection between tension and energy blockages and their relationship to emotional and psychological aspects. However, the bodyworker's attention is not directed towards the client's psychological weaknesses and problems, but rather about opening and keeping a safe space for the client and his body in which he can discover, explore and test his potential .

Learning to understand the language of the body

Personally, I like bodywork so much because the change does not take place in the head or in the thinking. The change happens in the body. There it can be felt directly, perceived and experienced as a process of letting go. This work is very direct. You can't fool the body and it doesn't lie to us. It reports back very quickly whether the approach is correct or not. Every progress is immediately sensual and usually pleasantly noticeable.

Bodywork helps us understand the language of our body. Because our body tells us very precisely when we overdo it because we “push” ourselves too much, what we neglect through a one-sided lifestyle, where we got stuck, where bad habits have crept in or where we hold onto something and it simply hurts . However, since we humans often have a distorted self-perception with blind spots, we need the occasional helpful presence of a therapist, teacher or trainer so that we can better recognize ourselves and better understand the signals from our body.

As we learn to listen, we will discover that our body is providing us with messages that tell us when we are unbalanced or what is wrong with our posture. When we learn to understand these signals, they help us to keep realigning ourselves in the flow of our everyday life.