Sunday, June 12, 2011

Potential Effects of Bodywork/Massage on the Bodymind-Continuum – According to Tappan’s Handbook of Healing Massage Techniques

Gagori says that when she learned bodywork in the context of the 4-modul Taosomatics program, Frances Tappan’s book on healing massage techniques had been required reading.  We quote from it today to give a brief overview of the benefits of bodywork on the different and interacting system of the bodymind.  This is a general overview taking all possible techniques into account, without differentiating between the specific impacts of the different techniques.

“The literature will often refer in general to the “effects” of massage, but it must be noted that different techniques of soft tissue manipulation and joint movement have different effects.  For example, a light sliding effleurage usually has a relaxing effect.  Tapotement has a stimulating effect if received for a short time and may have a sedating effect if received for a longer period of time.  Practitioners choose specific techniques to obtain specific effects and need to know what those are for effective application.”

Body System/
Mental & Emotional Aspect

Integumentary System, Pertaining to the Skin

Stimulate sensory receptors in skin
Increase superficial circulation
Remove dead skin
Add moisture with oil or lotion
Increase sebaceous gland excretions

Connective Tissue/ Fascia

Improve pliability of fascia
Separate tissues

Circulatory System

Increase local circulation
Enhance venous return
Reduce blood pressure and heart rate with regular relaxation massage

Muscular System

“Milk” metabolic wastes into venous & lymph flow
Relax muscles in general & specifically with specific intention
Relieve myofascial trigger points

Skeletal System

Increased joint mobility & flexibility

Nervous System

Stimulates parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation)
Reduces pain (neural gating mechanism)
Increases body awareness

Endocrine System

Release of endorphins (also involves nervous system)

Immune System

Increases lymphatic flow
Improves immune function via stress reduction

Digestive System

Movement of contents of the large intestines
Better digestion with relaxation


Increased mental clarity


Reduced anxiety
General feeling of wellbeing
Release of unexpressed emotions

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