Ola Ha Therapy
Is the name I have coined for the type of musculoskeletal release work that I do. I have been doing bodywork for 30 years and during that time I have trained and practiced many techniques. These have ranged from Deep tissue therapies including Rolfing, Shiatsu/Kiatsu and neuromuscular technique to lighter therapies including Orthobionomy, Craniosacral Therapy, Sacro-Occitipal Technique, Reiki and Polarity with many shades in between. I have blended together many of the best aspects of each of these therapies into my work which integrates the breath with the release process. I use positional release with active muscle resistance and physiotherapy modalities in combination with joint manipulation and mobilization.
Injury and trauma result in the body’s attempt to respond and adapt, hopefully to heal, but often are mismanaged in the process of seeking such healing. It takes sensitivity to recognize where the body’s holding patterns are stuck and how to be moved along in the process. Often times the body produces changes in soft tissue which are actually an attempt to create an adaptation to a potential regular stimuli; for example callus formation on skin which is repetitively worn away. Muscle, tendons and fascia respond similarly in that after suffering micro tears from either strains or sprains, or even just regular vigorous resistance, they thicken and often lose the elasticity which is required for optimal range of motion. With time, and and left unaddressed, acids (which are products of normal muscle metabolism) tend to pool in the areas previously traumatized and result in the formation of fibrous adhesions. These adhesions are not visible with X-ray, however are palpable with even lay peoples’ touch. They have the feeling of stiffened, ropy tissue which are often tender to pressure. They are referred to as trigger points and/or adhesions. In people who have endured trauma and were never or poorly treated these adhesions can form scar tissue. Much of scar tissue that is a result of this process, and not lacerations or torn connective tissue, is actually reversible with treatment. The process of restoring normal health to soft tissue which has degenerated in this fashion involves enhancing blood and energy circulation to these areas as well as breaking down the adhesions themselves. This process can be uncomfortable sometimes as there is often soreness associated with the release of lactic acid which is a by product of the breakdown of the fibrotic soft tissue. This soreness can be mitigated by the tempo of the therapy. By this I mean there seems to be a relationship (in my experience) with the degree of pressure utilized in therapy and the correlating speed of recovery. The greater the amount of pressure (which may mean some extra discomfort) the greater the amount of breakdown of fascial adhesions and consequently the greater the release of lactic acid. This produces some discomfort which is most often felt the next day. This is very similar to the feeling one has if they had not worked out for some time and then had a hard weight lifting session and felt body/muscle soreness and aching the next day. This is normal, albeit maybe sometimes unsettling. The best thing for this is to take a very hot bath and if possible even get some light massage to move the blood and relax the tissue. Setting the tempo of treatment is the aspect of Ola Ha Therapy which is the art form. It is based upon a few factors:
1. The skill and experience level of the Doctor who can palpate at which point the threshold of the patient’s tolerance to the pressure has been met.
2. The “dance” between the rate of progression through a session and the ability of the patient to utilize the breath to surrender to the process, breathing oxygen/prana/chi into the regions being treated. Some patients must inherently proceed very slowly, while others have a drive to go deep and fast and get the best “bang for the buck”. There is only one ideal, that which successfully accomplishes the goal of restoring normal function and renders the areas pain-free. The tempo is actually a parameter which changes session to session, and even moment to moment in a session.
It has been my experience that patients who often felt that the session was uncomfortable and were hesitant to continue forward, soon after look forward to the sessions, even though (and usually they are not aware of this) the tempo and depth of treatment had substantially increased and deepened. This along with the increasing freedom of movement in the body are the ways with which I determine the progress of the patient to be satisfactory or not. In nearly 100% of cases if the cause of the problem is related to the musculoskeletal system there will be improvement.
After the body is experiencing a more comfortable and less contracted state of being it is usually more receptive to having the joints mobilized or manipulated, depending on how they are fixated. This can be done with less pain as a result of the tissue prep and also the “hold” of the adjustment or manipulation is longer thereafter.
THINGS TO ASSIST YOUR SESSION
1. Turn off your phone
2. Remove jewelry
3. As a courtesy to others please refrain from strong or unnatural fragrances or perfumes.
4. You may need to remove articles of clothing because of the use of oils, lotions or gels.
5. Discuss what you need to tell Dr. Ehrlich at the beginning of your session and then focus on your body. If you have other health questions that may pertain to different matters discuss them with the Doctor while he is charting your history, not when you are being worked on.
6. Once you are on the table and ready for your treatment attenuate your breath. Refrain from lifting or turning your head or other regions and try to control any reflex bracing that may be in response to parts of your body that are being palpated. Keep encouraging your body’s deepening unwinding with your deepening breathing. Oxygenate your body completely while on the table and allow the Doctor to palpate the areas of holding and/or contracture. Feel free to communicate what comes up for you as emotions often come up or you may remember a trauma to an area of the body which was revealed only as a result of the therapy. The Doctor may ask you questions while the work is being done, but try to remain relaxed throughout discussion that may take place.
7. When the doctor is done with the session you may be cooled off with cold packs to allow for a flush. After a few minutes of this you may get dressed.