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We celebrate modalities! Because there are so many of them we have variety, options, choices, growth and moment-to-moment uniqueness of experience. All the different approaches bring us different dances, different rhythms, different moods, different textures, different options.

What Is a Modality?

A Modality is the method of application of a therapeutic agent or regimen; a system comprised of a selection and organization of touch skills, based on a particular viewpoint or organizing principle, applied to a body to effect an intended outcome. Modalities include a variety of philosophical approaches, theoretical frameworks, and specific combinations of skills.

Featured Modalities

In our book we identify a variety of modalities that are representative of approaches available today. We invited many practitioners and primary teachers in the field to contribute to this chapter. These contributors distinguish the basic concepts and list the techniques or intentions most commonly utilized by them within a given modality. Then, each technique is directly correlated to its source skill/s from TouchAbilities. As you study the charts it will become obvious to you how TouchAbilities is universally represented in the skillset of, and serves as the fundamental basis for, the wide range of modalities already in existence and foundational for those yet to be created. Many modalities focus strictly on the physical, biomechanical plane and don’t include the intangible aspects of the body. Some are more strongly rooted in the subtle realms and feature specific techniques and intentions designed to play only in these domains. Then there are modalities that are a blended mix.

Primordial Soup

On the surface, all modalities appear different, one from the other. However, once the techniques are peeled down through the layers to their core actions, no matter what the system calls them, we see that everyone is dipping into the same primordial soup of skills. And as they use the same skills, each and every practitioner actually creates a one-of-a-kind individual version of a modality …ranging from something completely new, to variations on existing themes. We originally thought we’d distill the essence of each approach and make a universal chart with a general explanation, but we noticed a variation among practitioners’ responses, even people within the same modality. Even though each system has unifying ideas and principles, there are the human factors of interpretation and practice. In some instances we include more than one version of the same modality to demonstrate this point.


The trend today is toward integration and eclecticism. As you review the charts featured on this site, make distinctions and look for commonalities, differences and crossovers among these approaches. It is empowering to study a modality in depth to get its essence, value and potential. Magic happens when you take new options and blend them with whatever you are already doing and they integrate into your body, to become part of your repertoire, your skillset.