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MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information
HELLERWORK
Touch & Movement Therapies


For "Informational Use Only".
For more detailed information, contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.





  • Hellerwork Therapy Description
  • History
  • Evidence & Research
  • Conventional Medical Opinion
  • Consulting A Practitioner




  • HELLERWORK THERAPY DESCRIPTION

    Developed in the 1970s by an American engineer, Joseph Heller, this therapy combines massage with re-education in the way the body moves, and an exploration of emotional issues. Heller had worked with Dr. Ida Rolf and shared her ideas about body alignment and releasing muscular tension, but emphasized the therapy's psycho-emotional aspects. "The body stores the traumas of our lives in muscular rigidity," he wrote. "When we release the tension in the body and align ourselves with gravity, we take a new stand in life." Hellerwork is worldwide, but mostly practiced in the United States.


    MAIN USES OF HELLERWORK

  • Poor posture.
  • Persistent muscular pain, including neck, shoulder & back pain.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Prevention of postural or stress-related problems.
  • Sports injuries.
  • Promoting health.


  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Index: Disorders, Therapy & Nutrition




    HISTORY

    Joseph Heller trained as an aerospace engineer and studied the effects of gravity and stress on space rockets. His interest in human development and manipulative therapies led him to train as a Rolfer, and in 1975 he became the first president of the Rolf Institute. However, three years later, Heller broke away from the Rolf Institute, arguing that simple restructuring would not produce long-term benefits, and that treatment would be supplemented by exercises and by an exploration of the relationship between body and mind. Since this time, Rolfing has also developed "movement re-education" exercises. These are over 160 practitioners, mostly in the US, with some in Europe and a few in Australia and New Zealand.




    EVIDENCE & RESEARCH

    In the 1990s, Hellerwork was practiced on employees at a software company in Portland, Oregon, and found to improve posture and reduce physical stress. Most employees also reported better working relationships and less susceptibility to back pain. The study was, however, uncontrolled and poorly designed.

    Any studies on Rolfing techniques also have implication for Hellerwork.

    MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy: Touch & Movement - Rolfing





    CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL OPINION

    So little specific clinical research has been conducted into the practice of Hellerwork that it cannot be said to have any proven effect in cases of disability or rehabitation after injury. However, it may possibly be of value in preventing muscle strain, promoting health and managing stress.




    CONSULTING A PRACTITIONER

    Comprising 11 sessions of 90 minutes each, a Hellerwork course involves deep tissue manipulation using techniques similar to Rolfing, combined with "movement re-education," teaching stress-free ways to perform everyday actions. A key feature is "guided verbal dialoguing," in which the practitioner and patient explore emotions triggered by the release of body tension.

    An initial interview will be conducted to build up a case history, and photographs taken before and after treatment. Each session concentrates on a particular part of the body and emotions related to it. Firm pressure is applied to release tension in the fascial tissue surrounding the muscles. The first sessions focus on outer "sleeve" muscles for example in the feet and arms, that control functions learned in childhood, such as standing and reaching. Later sessions concentrate on "core" muscles deeper in the body, for example in the pelvis and spine, and on their relation to repressed emotion. Final sessions integrate the work done on the "sleeve" and "core" muscles and explore issues of maturity.


    Correcting posture.
    Correcting Posture: Massaging fascia beside the spine releases "knots" that distort posture. For deeper pressure elbows are often used.


    Breathing.
    Breathing is inhibited by poor posture, which reduces the diaphragm's effectiveness. The practitioner releases diaphragmatic tension and improves flexibility with massage, synchronizing her movements with the breathing of the patients.





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