I spent the last day of 2012 getting a massage from one of my favorite local therapists. She knows my body and all the hot spots that tighten up between sessions. We know each other well and enjoy each other's company. I get her best work, because she wants me to come back, and it's almost always relaxing.
Next week, I'm going for a Structural Integration session (also known as Rolfing) with another private practitioner. Structural Integration is considered a form of bodywork because it doesn't use the same classic movements as Swedish massage.
In Structural Integration Rolfing, the therapist works to release the body's misalignment, which causes pain, by working on the fascia. I did a full series of ten sessions last year and it helped me enormously. I actually was able to cut back on my massage and chiropractic sessions. I'm going back because my hip is starting to hurt again.
I still consider massage part of my ongoing maintenance. Bodywork like Rolfing, Alexander Technique and Feldenkraise is more about changing movement patterns that cause pain. But there are many forms of bodywork, and they all come at whatever issue you have from a different standpoint.
Most types of bodywork share similar goals, such as relief from pain, improved physical functioning, more freedom of movement, a balanced mind, and a heightened sense of body awareness, vitality and well-being. They also tend to emphasize active participation in your own health and wellness. That's a good resolution to have for 2013.