What Are Body/Structural Therapies?
Structural therapies refer to different types of bodywork that address conditions which compromise the basic framework of the body. Structural therapists diagnose and treat misalignments of the body to restore its structural integrity, functions and mobility.
How Does Structural Therapy Work & What Are Its Benefits?
Structural therapies involve a whole body assessment and the development of a treatment plan that aims to make significant changes in the body's posture and movement. Improving the body's posture and restoring its balance are key to increasing range of motion, minimising pain and preventing a host of health problems.
As well as working on the body, structural therapies also treat the mind because the body and mind have to work in unison for a person to function at their best. The key benefit of a structural therapy is the regaining of the freedom of movement. Movement may have been previously restricted due to stress, tension in the body, injuries, illnesses, or incorrect body posture or movement. Structural therapies track down the source of restriction, or pain, and eliminate it altogether.
Conditions Structural Therapy Can Help With
Correcting the misalignments in your body allows your organ systems to achieve peak performance, which leads to an enhanced wellbeing. Besides getting rid of pain and increasing your mobility, structural therapies prevent secondary conditions resulting from the abnormal change in the body's natural structure such as the following:
- Stiff and painful joints
- Neck and back pain
- Musculoskeletal pain
- Muscle spasms
- Chronic pain
- Disc bulge
- Digestive problems
- Urinary tract infections
- Injured tissue
Where Can You Receive Structural Therapy or Who Provides It?
Structural therapies are provided by trained healthcare practitioners who specialize in various alignment techniques and pain management. They range from chiropractors and kinesiologists to podiatrists and osteopaths. Many of them work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, holistic health centres, rehabilitation clinics, but the majority run their own private practice.
Different Structural Therapies
While all structural therapies focus on restoring the body to its normal structure, each follows a correction procedure that is different from the rest. Here's a list of some structural therapies that you can consider.
- Alexander Technique is a method for retraining the mind and body with healthier movement patterns. It not only improves posture and balance but eliminates limiting thoughts as well.
- Applied Kinesiology identifies and treats imbalances in the organs and tissues of the body through muscle testing.
- Chiropractic fixes alignment problems to eliminate pain, support the body's natural healing mechanism and restore the functions of the nervous system.
- Dorn Therapy involves realignment techniques and self-care exercises to correct spine misalignment and other problems caused by the vertebrae not being in the right position.
- Emmett Therapy is a type of bodywork that applies gentle pressure at specific points on the body, called Emmett points, to revive the muscles to their former state before they were injured.
- Feldenkrais Method is a type of therapy that develops new neural pathways for creating new movement patterns, which reduce pain, increase range of movement and support the body's natural healing ability. If you're new to this modality, you can learn more about Feldenkrais online or arrange an appointment with a certified practitioner located in your area.
- Hellerwork is a type of manual therapy that shifts psychological, emotional and physical patterns to relieve pain and restore the body's natural alignment.
- Ortho-Bionomy is a type of gentle, noninvasive bodywork therapy that stimulates the body's natural healing mechanism to restore ease of movement and balance into the system.
- Osteopathy is a manual therapy that aligns the structure of the body, while taking into account its different organ systems so that it can self-heal naturally and function as it was designed to.
- Physiotherapy is a form of therapy that involves manipulation, massage, exercise therapy and other modalities, to restore a person's mobility and eliminate their pain and discomfort. If you need help, you can book a physiotherapy online consultation and receive treatment in the comfort of your home.
- Podiatry aims at treating all kinds of foot, ankle and lower leg problems, as well as health conditions that affect the nerve endings of the feet.
- Rolfing is a type of manual therapy that reorganises the fascia throughout the body to restore balance and alignment.
- Sports Injury Therapy treats, rehabilitates and prevents sports-related injuries that affect the muscles, joints, ligaments or tendons.
- Structural Integration is a whole body treatment that works with the fascia to treat pain, stiffness and misalignment that restrict movement.
Available Structural Therapy Courses
Successful structural therapists spent many years studying and training to earn their professional qualifications. If you're considering a career in this field and willing to put in the hard work, here's a list of courses to consider.
- An Alexander Technique teacher training course takes three years to complete. However, if you want to get a taster before diving deep into the study, you may sign up for short Alexander Technique courses and learn the basic techniques used in this modality.
- Accredited Applied Kinesiology courses in Australia will take you through the theoretical and practical aspects of the modality. You may begin your journey with a certificate and then gradually work your way towards a diploma-level qualification.
- If you want to establish a career as a chiropractor, you have to complete two chiropractic courses—a bachelor's degree in chiropractic and a postgraduate program in the same field.
- Dorn Therapy courses can take two days to a week to complete, depending on your preferred study mode. A certification training program provides the theoretical and practical aspects of the modality.
- An accredited training course in the Feldenkrais Method will take you four years to complete. If you've never heard of this modality before, you may want to sign up for a couple of short Feldenkrais Method courses and familiarise yourself with the sequence of movements before moving to the essential components of the modality.
- The professional training program designed for aspiring Hellerwork practitioners consists of five Hellerwork courses. It could take roughly a year and a half to complete all levels of training.
- To be recognised as an osteopathic doctor in Australia, you have to complete a five-year program, which consists of two osteopathy courses: a bachelor's degree in osteopathic studies, followed by a two-year master's degree.
- Completing an undergraduate physiotherapy degree is the minimum requirement to practise physiotherapy. If you hold a relevant Health Sciences degree, you may pursue advanced physiotherapy courses or a postgraduate program.
- A bachelor's degree in podiatry is the first step to becoming a registered podiatrist. After this, you have to take further studies in advanced podiatry courses before you can obtain your professional qualification.
- If you're considering a career as a sports injury therapist, you can begin your journey with a certificate program or a diploma-level qualification. Some sports injury therapy courses include subjects on different manual and energetic-based therapies, while others focus on sports-specific injuries.
In addition to this list, you can find more online courses in structural therapies on the Natural Therapy Pages.
What Can You Expect From Structural Therapy?
As they work on restoring the original structure of your body, a structural therapist could be overly inquisitive and observant. They will assess every bone, muscle and tissue in your body to be able to return them to their original position and restore their functions. During the therapy session, you might be asked to perform certain movements so that your therapist can spot any misalignments that need to be addressed.
If you're curious as to how structural therapy can help resolve your chronic back pain, feel free to check out the offerings of Australia's top structural therapists on the Natural Therapy Pages.