Therapeutic Bodywork

A goal-specific method of bodywork integrating various techniques and styles to achieve a desired outcome. Treatment is focused on improving conditions & mind-body awareness. Goals may include relieving pain, reducing scar tissue & muscle spasms, relieving muscle tension & trigger points, and increasing range of motion.

First appointment requires a minimum of 60 minutes to include time for discussion and observations along with the initial treatment. Adjustments to technique & length/frequency of appointments are made as we see how your body responds to the treatment.

Relaxation/ Wellness Massage

A Swedish relaxation massage used to relieve muscle tension, reduce stress & fatigue, calm the nervous system, & improve mind-body awareness. This style of bodywork is very relaxing and stimulates the body to become balanced within and encourages healing. It is the style of massage most often used in research studies (see the Touch Research Institute). Swedish massage is the most popular style of relaxation massage although each therapist has his/her own method of delivering. Pressure is moderate and typically the whole body is massaged, including face, abdomen, feet, and gluteals (buttocks)*. It is recommended that all these areas are included in treatment; however, your comfort during the session is vital and you may wish to not include some or all of these areas. Please be sure to fill out this section of the intake form and address any questions or concerns with me before your session.

* It is important to note that adding in these areas for massage will take more time. In order to ensure that each muscle group gets adequate attention plus to allow extra time to work on any trouble areas, a 90-minute massage is recommended. I don’t want your massage to feel “rushed” so please keep this in mind when making your appointments. Thank you.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue sessions focus on a few specific problem areas. This is a style that people often like to get to “work the knots out.” Unfortunately there are many therapists who do not apply these techniques properly and end up causing much unnecessary pain to the client as well as causing damage (sometimes permanent!) to the delicate lymphatic vessels that lie between the skin and the layers of muscle.

Since it takes a while to properly loosen up the tissues to safely and effectively work deeply into the tissues, deep tissue sessions typically cover only 1-3 problem areas in a session rather than a whole-body treatment. Deep tissue is often charged at a higher cost per session because it is harder on the therapist’s body than other styles of massage or bodywork therapies. 

“Deep Tissue” does not always equal “deeper pressure.”   It is called “deep tissue” because it works deep into the different layers of muscles to find areas of tension that won’t let go on their own.  Many people think that the harder you push into the muscle tissues, the better.
This can damage your tissues! When done properly, deep tissue is not extremely painful (although it can be painful at times) and does not leave the client bruised. You may be sore and feel tired for 1-2 days after the appointment. As long as it is not excessive soreness or fatigue, this is normal for most people.

Myofascial release technique is often combined with deep tissue in session. MFR reaches deeply into the body and works to release the connective tissue that holds the muscle fibers that are “knotted.”   It is beneficial to end a deep tissue session with brief manual lymph drainage, as most deep tissue work impairs the function of the lymph system.* This helps to clear the areas that were worked, allowing for less soreness and faster recovery from treatment.

*IMPORTANT: If your lymph is congested around the areas of your “knots” that you want worked out, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you get manual lymph work done first to clear the area! Failing to do so can compromise the integrity of the delicate lymph vessels. Once lymph vessels are damaged, lymphedema can become a problem (and a big one!) Please take care to always support your lymphatic system!

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger point: “a sensitive area of the body, stimulation or irritation of which causes a specific effect in another part, especially a tender area in a muscle that causes generalized musculoskeletal pain when overstimulated.” (online dictionary)

Basically, trigger points are over-stimulated muscle spindles, which are “small capsular structures embedded among the much larger extrafusal fibers that are responsible for all the movement in the body. ” Their main job is to provide feedback to the body regarding muscle length, to keep it in balance. The capsule is “filled with an acid found in many joints… and is known to have pressure sensors, substance P, and unmyelinated C-fibers, all involved in afferent pain pathways.” The Muscle Spindle Trigger Point Model of Chronic Pain

There are different methods of treating trigger points. I find a combination approach to be most effective. I utilize a combination of Lymph Drainage Therapy, compression, stretching of the muscles, and light massage to allow the body to relax and bring balance back into the affected muscles. There is also a relationship between the muscles to be aware of: certain muscles will affect other muscles so the primary ones will need to be addressed first. People who have studied these relationships extensively and have learned how to be most efficient when working with trigger points have shared their knowledge; I have learned much from them and see great benefit in the treatment room.

Pre- / Post-Partum Massage

A modified, gentle-touch Swedish massage that includes gentle stretches used to relieve the general muscle aches & tension associated with discomfort due to pregnancy and childbirth. Extra attention is taken to positioning to ensure your comfort and safety. Typically the abdomen is massaged along with the back while you lay in a bolstered side-lying position. Babies really seem to love massage and often remain peaceful during the treatment. Women who have had massage during pregnancy consistently report having reduced anxiety, improved mood, better sleep, less back pain, easier, less painful labors, and quicker recovery times (Touch Research Institute).  Guidance for parent/infant massage is also available and highly encouraged.
I do want you to be comfortable during your session; some people prefer that their abdomens are not touched. Please discuss this with me at your first appointment.

Myofascial Release Technique

A gentle soft-tissue bodywork technique (not massage!) that targets the connective tissue in the body (fascia) and works to relieve unequal tension in the muscle-fascial units. Relieving this tension helps to rebalance the body, reducing pain and improving flexibility and range of movement. This technique can be done alone throughout the body to balance the tissues and resolve areas of restriction; it is also easily combined with other treatments/techniques to reach a desired goal.

This technique is excellent for relieving long-standing conditions of chronic pain and movement dysfunction. Since it targets the connective tissue which is really one large sheet of tissue in the body, it is able to reach into hard-to-access areas such as in and around the joints (hip, shoulder, knee, neck). There is also more advanced techniques that work with the connective tissue and ligaments of the organs, nerves, and blood vessels.

The connective tissue is very strong and is designed to withstand pressure and impact; it has a tensile strength of 2,000 pounds per square inch! Wow! But this strength comes with a price; it does not release built up tension easily. The bodywork approach must be different for the connective tissue than it is for massage. Massage works great on the muscle fibers but unfortunately doesn’t elicit much permanent change in the connective tissue (even tho they are essentially one unit, the myofascia). Thankfully there is a whole research foundation dedicated to the connective tissue (fascia) of the body and we are able to affect it and produced desired therapeutic changes much more easily.

Visceral Manipulation (VM)

(coming soon)

Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT)

A gentle yet powerful form of bodywork therapy developed by Bruno Chikly, MD, that engages the lymph system and manually assists the collection, movement and drainage of lymph fluid. This therapy has a plethora of systemic benefits which result from working out congestion in the tissues and aiding the delivery of fresh nutrients to the body’s cells, promoting health and healing, assisting detoxification of the body’s tissues and organs, and boosting immunity. This therapy can be used alone or easily combined with other therapies or treatments to reach a desired goal.

LDT is often used before and after surgeries, when body/limbs are immobile and/or in cast or similar, after dental appointments, to help reduce chronic pain, for elite athletes after competitions or hard training sessions. LDT or a modified lymph-stimulating massage is often appropriate for people who otherwise are not able to get other massage or bodywork treatments due to physical or mental health issues. Just about everyone can benefit from Lymph Drainage Therapy.

It is said that disease begins in the lymph system: the lymph fluid is released through the connective tissue of the body. As it gently works its way through the tissues to the lymph vessels, it cleanses the tissues of metabolic waste products, cellular debris, sweeping up bacteria, viruses, and other foreign materials (toxins). The lymph is directed through various lymph vessels, passing through the nodes to be sterilized/neutralized before joining the blood system at the area of clavicle and first rib. Once it joins the blood, the body takes it to liver and kidneys where it will be recycled if it is of the body, or eliminated if it is a foreign or toxic substance.

If there is congestion in any area of the body, the lymph vessels and nodes in those areas will not be able to function as they were designed to. When they cannot function, the fluid backs up and becomes stagnant, allowing bacteria and viruses to multiply and wreak havoc on your now compromised immune system (for when the lymph system is not functioning efficiently as it was designed to, immune function is suppressed).

Read more about the lymph system (coming soon).

Ion Cleanse Foot Bath/Detox

An ionic foot bath that draws out cellular waste product and debris through the skin using ionic attraction, diffusion, and reverse osmosis. This debris and waste material gets caught up in the interstitial spaces of your body tissues and then causes imbalance between the electrolytes and fluids within the cell membranes and on the outside of the cells. This imbalance can cause the lymph system to become dysfunctional; fluid and particles accumulate in the spaces between the cells of the body which results in inflammation. If left unchecked, chronic inflammation results which continues to cause more damage and provides a breeding ground for disease.
Regular ionic foot baths help the body stay balanced. Best results are seen when regular treatments are combined with lymph bodywork, living a detoxifying lifestyle, and eating plenty of raw leafy greens and fresh fruits and veggies.

** Just a note: this ion cleanse works great for reducing pain and inflammation in my hands relating to Lyme infection