Treat the Root Problem
There is an inherent wisdom in the body, which reflects every aspect of our being. Our physical, physiological, mental, and emotional selves are interlinked and affect each other continually. Issues in one area inevitably affect and are affected by the whole system.
I treat a wide variety of conditions, and specialize in treating chronic pain, difficult cases, and improving athletic performance. The approach remains essentially the same: deactivate trigger points, assess and treat mechanical restrictions, restore pain-free full range of motion, and allow spontaneous neutral alignment with gravity.
Welcome to Manual Medicine, my therapeutic massage and bodywork practice, based in Asheville, NC. (NCLMBT #2955). Helping people inhabit their bodies more fully since 1998. If you have any questions as to whether my work is right for you, please contact me at (828)231-5031, or at Manual.firstname.lastname@example.org
“I sustained a painful injury, which had me limping for 6 months. I had gone to several doctors who couldn’t help me much, until one of them referred me to Stephen. I was beginning to think that I would have this problem for the rest of my life. After just 2 sessions, I was no longer limping! It blew me away." Jarret “redfoot” Kaufman
Pain and Adaptation
Effectively treating pain, especially chronic pain, is often not as straight forward as simply rubbing where it hurts. The human nervous system has elaborate mechanisms in place to prevent pain from reaching conscious awareness. This is designed to maximize our survivability. We couldn’t run from the saber-toothed tiger very well if we were consumed with how much our back and knee hurt. In the process of blocking pain signals, we subconsciously adapt by altering our posture and biomechanics to guard the injured area. While in the short term, this allows us to keep living and functioning, it also takes energy, and transfers strain to other areas of the body which must now overcompensate to perform tasks. This process also adds to fatigue, decreases our ability to handle stress, and negatively affects our endocrine and immune systems. All this happens without significant pain!
We adapt and adapt, but eventually we reach the limits of our adaptive capacity and symptoms manifest, usually in a different place than the original problem. Often these symptoms show up as musculoskeletal pain, other times as headaches, or allergies, or digestive distress, or whatever the weakest link in the chain may be. These symptoms compel us to reduce the stress load we place on our bodies, and prevent us from damaging ourselves further. It is important to not just deal with the weak link, but to follow and release the entire chain that it is connected to, otherwise symptoms tend to reoccur. Structural bodywork can have such profound effects because it is an incredibly effective way of treating damaged and restricted tissues, allowing joints to decompress and track smoothly, and restoring a sense of ease in the body.
We spend a tremendous amount of life energy dealing with the force of gravity, and the more efficiently we can do so, the more energy we can free up to deal with the rest of life’s challenges and appreciate its blessings.
While I focus on structurally oriented massage and bodywork because it is such an important and underrepresented part of a complete health care system, it is also only one piece of the puzzle. I believe in a team approach, and enjoy collaborating with other health care professionals in order to bring faster and more efficient results
The martial arts led me to Chinese martial arts and Qi Gong, which in turn led me to Chinese Medicine and an extensive program in Chinese Manual and Movement Therapy (Tui-Na). Of the many aspects of health and the body which Tui-Na addresses, providing effective pain relief and dealing with the structure of the body became my focus. In addition to ongoing studies in anatomy and bio-mechanics, as well as cultivating a refined sense of touch, I have studied many modalities to assist with this goal, most notably: Neuromuscular Therapy (St. John method), Neurosomatic therapy, Posturology, Cranial and craniosacral therapy, visceral release, and myofascial release (John Barnes, as well as other approaches).