The prefix “myo” refers to muscle tissue. Fascia is the connective tissue that forms a whole-body, continuous, 3-D matrix of structural support and wraps around every single cell, connecting cells to organs, organs to organ systems, and interpenetrates every muscle in the entire body.
We define myofacial technique here as manual therapy characterized by sustained, oblique, and high-friction contact with the aim of stimulating a stretch response in the fascia associated with muscle (myo) tissue (think shear-force).
Myofascial massage can help to treat muscle pain, inflammation and restriction, by relaxing contracted muscles, stimulating length and hydration in the tissue, and improving blood and lymphatic circulation.
WHAT IS BODYWORK VS. MASSAGE?
Referencing Mosby’s Dictionary of Complementary and Alternative Medicine:
Massage is the application of diverse manual techniques of touch and stroking to muscles and soft tissue to achieve relaxation and improve clients' well-being.
Bodywork applies therapeutic touch paradigms with the aim of restoring health and balance to the entire person by working through the body. In other words, the body is viewed as a doorway to access the holism of sustainable and integrative health.
SARGA BODYWORK & TENSEGRITY
Sarga Bodywork is a synthesis of a variety of bodywork techniques that align with the gravitational and tensional forces expressed by the principles of tensegrity. Tensegrity, a concept coined by the architect Buckminster Fuller, is the pattern that results when "push" and "pull" have a synergistic relationship. This basic dialogue of polarity is at the foundation of Sarga Bodywork ideology and methodology.
TABLE OR FLOOR?
Sarga Bodywork has equipment and courses that are designed for either raised massage tables or floor-based mats. While some practitioners prefer the versatility of working on portable raised massage tables, others may choose to work on the floor because of the stability that a larger working area provides, or because they can incorporate Sarga Bodywork into their existing floor-based bodywork practices such as Thai or Fijian massage. Each configuration has its unique benefits and limitations and students will tend to gravitate toward one or the other.
Note that all the techniques taught in Sarga Table 1 can be applied to a floor-based practice, however many techniques taught in Sarga Floor 1 cannot be applied to a raised-table practice.
How is Sarga Bodywork different from other foot-based massage techniques?
While Sarga Bodywork is a barefoot massage method that uses the feet as primary tools for manual therapy techniques, and while our instructors have background in the Ashiatsu pioneered by Ruthie Hardee, as well as Thai Massage, barefoot Shiatsu, and Chiavutti Thirumal of South India, Sarga Bodywork as a modality is none of the above.
We draw inspiration from these methodologies and we honor our teachers and the rich lineages that inform and inspire our work. But just as there are many methods that utilize the hands as manual therapy tools, Sarga is a new addition to the growing world of foot-based massage.
What makes Sarga most distinct from the methodologies listed above is: 1) The use of tensional force via our proprietary equipment, 2) Myofascial technique* and the sparing use of lubrication, 3) Directionally oriented myofascial technique*.
*There are many schools of thought around fascia and the manipulation of fascia, however we define myofascial technique here as manual therapy characterized by sustained, oblique, and high-friction contact with the aim of stimulating a stretch response in the fascia associated with muscle (myo) tissue (think shear-force). We celebrate the broad, densely innervated surfaces of our feet as perhaps the most effective and intelligent tools for this purpose!
*We draw inspiration from a few theories of Structural Integration and the work of Ida Rolf. While Sarga Bodywork is in no way a form of Structural Integration, it employs directionally oriented myofascial technique, or techniques applied in specific directions that aim to help in reversing patterns of structural inefficiency in the body.
WHO IS A GOOD MATCH FOR A SARGA BODYWORK PRACTICE?
Therapists that would be a good match for a Sarga Bodywork practice will answer yes to all the questions below:
Are you an experienced and skillful bodyworker?
Do you have excellent balance and movement control?
Do you have capacity for exceptional focus, patience and grounded presence?
Are you sensitive to your clients’ nervous system and contact preferences?
Do you have a somatic practice such as Yoga, Pilates, dance, Feldenkrais, or martial arts?
Are you passionate about exercise, movement, and health?
Are you in excellent physical condition?
Fitness & Conditioning for Sarga Bodywork
Sarga Bodywork will absolutely get easier with practice, however learning this modality can be quite rigorous at first and excellent physical conditioning (particularly isometric strength), is a must to gain the most from a Sarga Bodywork course. Yoga, pilates, dance, martial arts, or any full-bodied practice that encourages both strength and flexibility will help to condition you for practicing Sarga Bodywork.
Sarga Bodywork does not have specific weight restrictions for students who attend Sarga Bodywork courses. We recognize that a person’s weight is not necessarily indicative of fitness level, however we reserve the right to deny applicants based upon our evaluation. This is especially important for Sarga Bodywork practices on raised massage tables. For more on practitioner weight and safety considerations, please review “Safety Considerations for Sarga Bodywork on Raised Massage Tables" in the tab below.
Here are four basic fitness measurements that can help to gauge your ability to learn and perform Sarga Bodywork with success:
1. The ability to balance on one foot for at least 1 minute without holding onto anything for support. 2. Excellent cardiovascular conditioning and the ability to jog for 10-15 minutes without stopping. 3. The ability to perform at least 3 sets of 20 squats. 4. The ability to isometrically hold a plank for at least 1 minute.
If you do not feel confident that you could meet these four requirements, but would still like to attend a Sarga Bodywork course, then our Sarga Floor 1 Course would be the one for you! While basic strength and conditioning is still important here, a floor-based practice provides practitioners a much wider and more stable working area, and fitness level is less of a consideration.
SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS FOR SARGA BODYWORK ON RAISED Massage TABLES
Sarga Bodywork is a rigorous practice that requires excellent physical conditioning. Strength, flexibility and a fine-tuned kinesthetic awareness are a must for practicing Sarga Bodywork safely and without risking injury to both practitioner and recipient. All Sarga Bodywork techniques are done with just one foot at a time on the recipient’s body, and the therapist’s full body weight is never fully on the recipient, so having a heavier build is not problematic if abiding by the limits of your massage table’s design and weight capacity.
RAISED MASSAGE TABLES USED FOR SARGA BODYWORK MUST MEET THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS:
Must be of excellent quality and condition.
Must have an adequate “working weight” capacity. There is a working weight limit on every massage table, which usually accounts for the weight of the recipient plus the pressure of the exerted force via the massage therapist. For foot-based massage modalities on a raised table however, the massage table’s working weight must be able to support the recipient’s bodyweight, plus the therapist’s bodyweight, plus the moving pressure exerted by the massage therapist. Most massage tables have at least a 500-pound working weight capacity, but massage tables made by established massage table manufacturers can usually support much more (for example, Earthlite or Oakworks massage tables are very well made and are designed to easily hold over 2,500 pounds (static weight), with a working weight capacity of 750 pounds or more). Check the label posted beneath your massage table or research your massage table’s make and model to make sure that it meets your working weight requirements.
Must have a medium/firm foam (massage tables with soft/thick foam cushioning don’t give enough standing stability for therapists.
The width of your massage table must be no smaller than 30” (tables that are between 32” and 36” wide are ideal).
Sarga Bodywork methodology works best at a lower than average table height range (slightly above therapist's knee level). This lower height facilitates proper body mechanics per our methods, and increases working stability for foot-based techniques.
The rubber bumpers or any other obstructions on either rail of your massage table must be removed as the Sarga Strap can get caught on these.
Must have non-slip rubber pads on the legs.
Stationary and electric massage tables can also be used for Sarga Bodywork and are good because they are very stable and have higher weight capacities than portable massage tables. However, width and foam density still need to be considered. Stationary tables cannot accommodate the Sarga Bodywork Attachment, therefore two hardware loops need to be permanently installed beneath the table to serve as as tie-offs for the Sarga Strap. Sarga Loops for stationary massage tables are available for purchase on our online store.
The type of sheets that you use for treatments with Sarga Bodywork equipment are a safety consideration as silk or synthetic blends are slippery for standing practitioners! We highly recommend that you use cotton flannel sheets. Please make sure these are cotton flannel massage sheets (not bed sheets!).
Is Sarga bodywork equipment included in the course tuition?
Sarga equipment and merchandise is not included in tuition costs, however all purchases and purchase orders are 10% off for students present at Sarga Bodywork courses.
HOW DO I BECOME CERTIFIED IN SARGA BODYWORK?
To become a certified Sarga Bodywork practitioner, students must first successfully complete a Sarga Table 1, or Sarga Floor II course with an accredited Sarga Bodywork instructor. Following course completion, students must then submit their 20 practice forms for review and pay the one-time $25 certification fee.
SARGA, SARGA BODYWORK, SARGARX, and MYO.RUB are trademarked names which are legally associated with the products, services, and methods provided by this business. Practitioners may only use the name "Sarga" or "Sarga Bodywork" on marketing media once he/she has been certified as a Certified Sarga Bodywork Practitioner® in the proprietary methodology of Sarga BodyworkTM. Doing so without Sarga Bodywork certification is a legal infringement. In addition, proprietary Sarga Bodywork equipment is exclusively available to practitioners who have been certified in Sarga Bodywork and have been trained in the proper installation and use of this equipment. Other businesses and organizations may not use our proprietary equipment, or similar permutations, to teach massage technique. Our file with the US Patent and Trademark office covers equipment used for foot-based massage methods that is comprised of a piece of fabric or strap attached to a massage table and used by a practitioner both for support, and to deliver force to the receiving client. This file reads as such:
"A method of administering massage techniques comprising employing, by a massage practitioner, a foot of the massage practitioner to deliver force to a patient that is lying on a patient supporting device, and utilizing by the massage practitioner, a flexible member affixed to the patient supporting surface to assist with balance while employing the foot of the massage practitioner to deliver force to the patient."