What is Hendrickson Method?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
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The Hendrickson Method is a style of bodywork developed by Tom Hendrickson of Berkeley, California. This unique school of bodywork incorporates a variety of techniques, including traditional and orthopedic massage, joint mobilization, and re-education, as well as energy work techniques inspired by Eastern medicinal practice. Therapists who wish to learn the Hendrickson Method train at the Hendrickson Method Institute of Orthopedic Massage and Manual Therapy in California; the Institute also maintains a listing of qualified massage therapists for clients who wish to locate a bodyworker in their area.

Practice of the Hendrickson Method is extremely gentle, making this bodywork suitable for people in a wide range of physical conditions, including pregnant women, infants, and the elderly. A session usually lasts around an hour, and it should be painless as the therapist identifies areas of soreness and tension, relieving stress in the soft tissue and educating the body, encouraging the muscles to hold correct postures and to release stress.

One of the more distinctive features of the Hendrickson Method is wave mobilization, which uses gentle rocking motions to loosen the body, freeing tension and stress. The technique also involves a number of stretches, with clients actively working during some parts of the session as the therapist works on resistance exercises to increase comfort and mobility.


As a general rule, a session of the Hendrickson Method is carried out on the table, and the client usually wears loose, comfortable clothing, because the session will involve some dynamic stretching. No oils are used, and the therapist will typically stress the idea that the session should not cause pain. Instead, therapist and client work together to find a comfort level, creating a beneficial and productive session.

Hendrickson Method sessions are suitable for all people, and they can also be integrated into therapy regimens. Dancers and athletes, for example, can use Hendrickson Method sessions to keep their bodies in shape and to treat injuries, and many people benefit from the soft tissue adjustments and gentle work which characterizes the Hendrickson Method.


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