For most people, the most effective bodywork is a kind that stretches joints and connective tissue, and "remodels" i.e. remolds the body. These are the kinds of bodywork I tried personally and highly recommend: thai massage, rolfing, shiatsu with stretching (e.g. ohashiatsu), some forms of orthopedic massage (e.g. Waslaski, Hendrickson). For some issues, like autism, craniosacral therapy will be the best. For some issues, like fibromalgia, hot stones will be the best. Read more about different techniques here.

*However* the name of the bodywork does not matter, in many cases. What matters is the knowledge and the integrity of the practitioner. For example, I have been healed from some major injuries by a reasonably inexpensive Swedish massage therapist with 25 yrs of experience, and I have gone to a rolfer who had no idea what they were doing and I even paid them $90for that - once.

So: when you find a massage therapist or bodyworker, ask before you go for their training, experience, and what kinds of things they do. Explain your problem and ask them if they have worked with similar issues. For example, I have gone to a lomi practitioner who can set dislocated shoulders.

For muscle knots, read Trigger point self manual book and get a back buddy, thera cane, or a lomi stick. They sell all kinds of massage and bodywork tools on Amazon.com.

There are many causes for tight areas in the body. Body works in a circular fashion where everything influences everything. Healing the pain requires that the root cause has to be determined and addressed.

If an inner organ is sick, it will create knots in the muscles (which will then make it harder for the organ to get healthy). In this case, it will be good to work on the tight area to jump start the healing process, and the healing will require that the organ get healthy. For example, tight abdomen (due to wrong foods, stress, illness, injury, bad posture, or whatever) will cause lower back pain.

If the body gets tight, then a healthy organ will eventually get sick because it will not have enough circulation. For example, shrugging the shoulders and tightening the neck when we are cold and huddling to warm up and/or scrunching under intense stress is often a precursor to getting a sore throat or ear infections. Tight tissues have less defensive ability.

Very often tightness is due to emotional stress. For example, divorce, separation, jobs, kids, overwork, etc.

Sometimes it is due to lack of physical ability to do something. For example, weak wrists are more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome.

Sometimes it is the environment that is not conducive to well being. For example, we live with an alcoholic, or our boss is abusive, or we don't get along with our roommates (which also could happen to be our spouse and kids).

Sometimes our lifestyle is not ergonomic, for example we walk with our head first, or have a non-ergonomic computer setup, or talk on the phone all the time.

Very often our tight areas are old, often we carry knots for years. For example, that car accident from 10 years ago can be still felt as a tightness in the neck. Throwing out the lower back 20 yrs ago is still felt today.

Very often, it is rather simple to remedy problems that have baffled us for years. It's just tight connective tissue! Probably with a few muscle knots and trigger points here and there.

Existing knots and tight areas have to be ironed out and stretched. Then keep them away by active stretching. Stretching is a must.

The best stretching exercises are the ancient ones: tai chi, qi gong, kung fu, belly dance, hula, African dance, kundalini yoga, and swimming. Go to a competent yoga class, or swim every day, and you will notice a difference.

Go to the great outdoors, to the wild, natural areas, breathe the fresh air and aid the circulation with oxygen, reconnect with the Earth to recharge your body's electrical system, get some sunlight to perk up the hormonal system, relax in the silence, ... Human are designed to exercise outdoors in fresh air. Yogis say that fresh air and sunlight are food for our cells.

And have some good fun!

Author's Bio: 

Milica Barjaktarovic is a licensed massage therapist practicing in the greater Haleiwa and Waialua area on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. She has trained and continues to train in some of the best schools available, and is world known as a gifted and intuitive healer by her numerous clients. Her specialty is "human remodeling" or making us "feel like new" using Hawaiian lomilomi massage, shiatsu, aromatherapy, and orthopedic massage.