BodyWork incorporates massage as well as other healing modalities. From the beginning of human history, BodyWork as therapy was used for self-care and to assist others. It might have involved rubbing a tired muscle, squeezing a cut, holding an aching belly or nurturing a wounded spirit. This has not changed over time.
Each culture has developed its own particular version of BodyWork based on its unique psycho/social/spiritual construct. Touch has been utilized as part of an approach to healing along with diet, nutrition, exercise, meditation, plant medicines and prayer. Historically, techniques evolved that were consistent with the philosophy of a culture. This knowledge was passed down from one generation to the next, first orally and then in written form. Interpretations, translations and further sophistication, influenced by life experiences and society's needs, led to perpetual modification and change.
Intermingling and exchanging ideas between cultures was limited to trade routes and the occasional adventurer. Relative isolation kept the healing practices within a society essentially pure as they were transmitted through the generations. This changed in the 19th and 20th centuries when developments in communication, transportation and other technologies provided instant and distant connection, making the world a much smaller place.
Today, BodyWork is an integrated blend of ideas and applications from around the world. It is the sophistication and organization of techniques that reflect humankind's ongoing inquiry and ever-evolving understanding of the body. Specialty approaches are constantly being created as practitioners focus their work on a particular population, situation or condition. Acquiring knowledge through trial and error brings refinement to the vast array of developing systems and approaches.
In the current trend of integrative therapy, the body is perceived as a multidimensional field extending beyond the physical plane. This field incorporates physical, mental, emotional and spiritual essence and integrates anatomy, physiology and energy. This interpretation lays the groundwork for the term BodyWork, which can be seen from two different perspectives: as an overall profession and as an individual's practice.