Stephen Holloway is one of just 26 therapists offering the Hendrickson Method of treatment in the UK and the only Hendrickson Practitioner in Hampshire. He first discovered the Hendrickson approach in 2008, and was immediately impressed by the treatment itself and the underlying philosophy. As he explains, ‘Hendrickson considers the way the body spirals into dysfunction and uses a reverse technique to aid healing. In my experience it promotes faster healing in many clinical presentations. As a conventionally trained physiotherapist, I usually use a combination of physiotherapy and Hendrickson Method® techniques during treatment.
The Hendrickson Method® is a gentle therapeutic technique that is used to treat postural alignment and soft tissue or musculoskeletal injuries. It combines orthopaedic massage, mobilisation and neuromuscular re-education to stimulate the creation of new cells, rehydrate cartilage and realign soft tissue. This helps to break down adhesions, lengthen connective tissue and normalise muscle and joint function. From the very first treatment, clients usually report that their pain has lessened and normal function is returning. One of the differentiators of the Hendrickson Method® is the unique ‘wave mobilisation®’ stroke, a gentle rocking motion that mimics the ebb and flow of water. While very gentle, the treatment is also very precise and extremely effective, making it suitable for most orthopaedic conditions including lower back pain, whiplash and rotator cuff injuries. The long-term benefits of the Hendrickson Method are also much greater than those seen with traditional massage.
While relatively new in the UK, the Hendrickson Method® has been used in the USA since the early 1980s. It was devised by Tom Hendrickson, an American Chiropractor specialising in soft tissue injuries. Frustrated by the limitations of conventional treatments, he began studying the healing arts used in different cultures and integrated his findings into a unique massage and manual therapy technique. The Hendrickson Method® gradually evolved over 30 years of clinical practice – and clinical experience with 100,000 patients – into the powerful and effective integrated system used today.
Some traditional deep tissue massage techniques, such as trigger point therapy, are very uncomfortable to receive. If a therapist uses a painful technique on an injury it can stimulate the client’s sympathetic nervous system, giving rise to the basic and distressing fight or flight response. In short, by causing pain, some techniques undermine their own goal of healing. The Hendrickson Method®, on the other hand, is a very relaxing treatment to receive. It can be administered without oil and with the client fully clothed, which encourages relaxation from the beginning. Before treatment begins, Stephen will use specific assessment techniques to determine the source of your pain or disability. Working within your comfort zone, he will then use a special protocol of orthopaedic massage, joint mobilisation and muscle energy techniques to resolve the underlying problem. A typical treatment session lasts up to 40 minutes, depending on the impairment and the level of starting pain. Many problems can be resolved with a single session, while more complex conditions may require a course of treatments.
For further information about the Hendrickson Method®, including the history of the treatment and recommended reading, please visit the Hendrickson Method® Institute website at www.hendricksonmethod.com.
Senior Associate of the Royal Society of Medicine.
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