Body work therapies include a wide range of options using the physical body to bring about healing – from deep-tissue massage and cranio-sacral bodywork to postural integration and kinesiology. In South Africa, you will find trained bodywork therapists in most areas of the country.

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Aquatic body work is a water-based therapy that puts no pressure on the spine or back and is excellent for stimulating circulation and calming the nervous system.

Body work therapies are used in complimentary and alternative healing, making use of some form of touching or physical manipulation of the body.

Massage therapy is very popular in South Africa and is available at a number of spas and salons. Massage therapies range from your basic sports massage and pampering hot stone massages to shiatsu and aromatherapy massages – all aimed at releasing the tension being held in the muscles and fibres of the body.

Postural integration is another form of physical therapy aimed at aligning the body and mind through an integrated approach and connective tissue work to release energies. Breathing is an important part of this therapy.

Kinesiology is also recognised by South Africa's alternative healing community – some refer to the practise as 'muscle checking' to locate and work with blockages in the physical body. Rolfing is another body work therapy whereby the body's connective tissue is manipulated through touch and movement to integrate the body in a holistic way.

Cranio-sacral body work therapy is also known as cranial osteopathy and is available in South Africa through naturopaths, osteopaths and chiropractors. The therapist needs to lay the hands on the body to tune into the 'cranio-sacral system' and then will work on the spine, the skull and the facial tissue to treat mental stress, neck and back pain, and headaches. The Bowen technique is an option, consisting of gentle rolling moves on the skin that will help reset connective tissue and induce a state of relaxation.

In South Africa, body work practitioners also practise acupressure, manual lymphatic drainage, naprapathy (manipulative therapy), energy therapy, the Alexander technique and much more.

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