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 slow, 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.
MYOFASCIAL TECHNIQUE: GETTING TECHNICAL
At Sarga Bodywork we subscribe to the idea that the therapeutic manipulation of fascia (myofascial technique) can be characterized as having slow, sustained, oblique and high-friction contact...
...but what does that actually mean in practice??
Here we detail how we define: 1. Slow 2. Sustained 3. Oblique 4. High-friction contact, and how these four ideas translate into practical applications.
1. SLOW By “slow” we mean that as we apply a manual therapy technique, we are moving at a speed that allows us to “stay behind the wave” of the recipient’s tissue as much as possible. This requires that the “slack” in the tissue remains ahead of our manual therapy tools, and a gentle, yet assertive stretch is applied to the tissue behind our manual therapy tools. If our manual therapy tools get ahead of this “wave” of tissue, we no longer consider it to be a myofascial application, which Sarga Bodywork emphasizes in practice.
“Slowness” will vary from body to body and is more of a felt-sense than a quantifiable speed, but is achieved by a combination of adequate pressure, oblique vector direction, and a specific quality/quantity of lubrication.
2. SUSTAINED By “sustained” we refer to a consistency in the manual elements that underlie the myofascial techniques that Sarga Bodywork practices. Speed, pressure, oblique vector direction, and friction maintain an equanimity and rhythm that are not choppy or imposing to the affected tissues, but rather seamlessly adjust to their qualities from the start to the finish of an applied technique.
3. OBLIQUE By “oblique” we refer to the angle of application, whereas this angle is neither parallel nor perpendicular to the tissue that is being affected. This oblique application of manual therapy techniques has a “shearing” effect on the underlying layers of connective tissue, thereby facilitating mobility between these layers.
4. HIGH-FRICTION CONTACT By “high-friction contact” we refer to manual therapy applications that are not slick or slippery from massage oils and lotions, but rather maintain a certain “tack” and “drag” on the affected tissues. “Friction” often implies discomfort, but as Sarga Bodywork techniques seek to stay on the soothing, parasympathetic side of manual therapies, by no means should recipients experience any discomfort during a Sarga Bodywork treatment.
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 many barefoot bodyworkers prefer to work 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.
Benefits of Floor vs. Table:
Larger and more stable working area.
Less initial cost and fewer days (Floor 1 = 2 days/$395 and Table 1 = 4 days/$795).
If you do not meet our fitness requirements, our Floor courses can still be accessible.
If you are over 175 lbs and/or over 6 feet in height, a floor-based practice might suit you better.
Easily integrated with other floor-based bodywork practices.
Benefits of Table vs Floor:
All the material covered in Floor 1 + Floor 2 are covered in Table 1, but with a focus on a raised table practice.
A conventional raised table or stationary/electric massage table can be easily converted for use with Sarga equipment.
If you already have a raised table practice, your clients do not need to acclimate to a different configuration.
Easier to incorporate hand-based techniques.
Injured, disabled and/or elderly clients have less trouble getting on/off the massage table.
Less sanitation protocols for the floor area surrounding your massage table.
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 the 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 and will inquire further with applicants who are more than 175 pounds in weight and/or more than 6 feet in height. Fitness level 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).
For practitioners over 6 feet in height we recommend no less than a 35" wide table, or a 32" table with a low height range capacity.
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.
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 or cotton jersey massage 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?
Certification is available for graduates of Sarga Table 1 or Sarga Floor II. Following course completion, students must then submit twenty Practitioner Feedback Forms for review by emailing copies or photographs of the forms to Jiva@SargaBodywork.com, or snail-mailing hard copies to: Sarga Bodywork, P.O. Box 824, Kailua, HI 96734. We ask that your practice sessions are performed on at least 8 different individuals. Following approval, please pay the $25 certification fee to complete your certification. Allow 7-14 days for processing.
If you would like to be listed on Sarga Bodywork's Therapist Directory, join our Directory & Discounts membership which provides certified Sarga Bodyworkers with directory listing and product discounts.
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.
HOW IS SARGA BODYWORK'S FLOOR COURSES DIFFERENT FROM DEEPFEET SARGA SILKS?
Sarga Bodywork licenses the floor-based concept of its proprietary equipment to Deep Feet Bar Therapy, and while the equipment in both Sarga Floor 1 & 2 and DF Sarga Silks is the same, the techniques and curriculum presented in these two courses are completely different. DeepFeet Sarga Silks is a course that features the signature barefoot ashiatsu techniques that Deep Feet Bar Therapy is known for. All Sarga Bodywork courses, including our floor-based courses, features barefoot techniques that focus on slow, high-friction, myofascial combing techniques.
MAY I TRANSFER MY COURSE REGISTRATION TO ANOTHER COURSE?
You may opt to transfer your course registration to another course before 30 days from the start date of the course for which you have submitted payment for. A transfer fee of $75 plus any course fee differences will apply upon registering for your new course. Course transfers are valid for 12 months from the start date of the course you originally registered. Transfers are not available for registrants less than 30 days prior to the start of your registered course date. Please contact us at Sarga@SargaBodywork.com to initiate a course transfer. For more details on Sarga Bodywork's course policies, click here.
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 Bodywork. 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."