I just came back from a four day training workshop learning the massage technique called NISA (Neuromuscular Integration and Structural Alignment).
NISA works on the fascia – the layers of connective tissue under the skin and around each muscle. One of the functions of fascia is to allow glide between different muscles, allowing them to function independently. Fascia is often more responsible than tight muscles in causing pain, limited mobility and postural imbalance.
Here is how the course description puts it:
“The NISA process releases fascial adhesions; it stretches, frees, & clears the tissue. The softened layers of fascia, having regained their flexibility and elasticity, permit improved structural alignment and body mechanics. It provides long-lasting changes to chronic postural habits, and most clients feel increased range of motion and less restriction after one or two treatments.”Fascial massage is different from Swedish or other forms of massage. Most massage techniques are aimed at releasing tight muscle and are ineffective in treating problems in the fascia. The NISA technique uses less lubricant so instead of gliding over the skin we move the skin to address the underlying fascia.
Fascial massage can be incorporated into regular massage treatments on small problem areas but are more effective when applied to large areas. This is due to the interconnectedness of fascia. For example, shoulder pain could be caused by a restriction in the fascia of the opposite hip. A series of 12 one-hour treatments is required to thoroughly treat the entire body but one or two one-hour treatments on the affected area will still accomplish much.
We also learned new techniques of assessment for body structure and balance – to identify where work is needed and to monitor improvements with treatment.
After four days of being worked on from head to toe (during exchanges with the other massage therapists taking the workshop) I feel looser, lighter, and taller (not sure if that’s a good thing?). I stand and sit straighter. My left knee doesn’t bug me when riding my bicycle. And my lower back doesn’t bother me as much as it had been.
Now I’d like to share what I’ve learned to help your body feel and function better than you believed it ever could.
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner. See this article on my website for links to sources and further reading.