I am trained in and regularly practice the following modalities:
- Classic / Swedish Massage
- Myofascial Bodywork
- Structural Integration
- Deep Tissue Bodywork
- Trigger Point Therapy
- Emotional Trauma Recovery
I may incorporate techniques of all these modalities during a session depending on what your body needs, but if you'd like, you may choose a primary modality for me to focus on.
Classic / Swedish Massage
* Note: Although I do still incorporate Swedish techniques into warm up and fluid refreshment phases of a session, I no longer offer full sessions restricted to Swedish techniques. There is no reason for me to pass over hypertonic muscles, adhesions, etc that could be relieved with Deep Tissue or Myofascial work. If you are concerned about pain or discomfort during the session, I will certainly be extra cautious, but please remember that the moments of discomfort you may feel on the table are nothing compared to the hours of discomfort you may feel day after day; are you coming to me to feel better for an hour, or to feel better for several days, if not weeks or even months (depending on the severity of your condition)? If you've never had more than Swedish, you may not realize how much better your body could feel.
The primary effects of Classic Massage include:
- Relaxation of muscles
- Loosening of connective tissue
- Increased mobility
- Increased circulation
- Increased lymphatic flow
- Stimulation of the nervous system
- Increased muscle tone
You may also experience:
- Increased body awareness
- Stress / Tension reduction
- Eased digestion
- Increased immune response
- Emotional release
- A deep sense of calm
- A greater sense of connectedness to other human beings
Classic techniques are applied using the fingers, palms, fists, and/or forearms. They can be slow, gentle and relaxing; or they can be energetic and invigorating. Varied pressure and speed is used depending on your wants and needs. These techniques include:
- Gliding strokes
- Kneading strokes
- Joint movements
Deep Tissue Bodywork
Deep Tissue Bodywork focuses on specific needs in the body and makes long lasting changes to muscle and connective tissue structure. Over time and due to a variety of stresses, muscles and connective tissue can change shape or become stuck to each other in ways that restrict movement or weaken the body; Deep Tissue restores the body to a more optimal structure. Often, Deep Tissue techniques can achieve in a few minutes what hours of targeted stretching, exercising, and other massage techniques accomplish.
Deep Tissue techniques include:
- Lengthening / Shortening muscles
- Pin and Stretch
- Working tendinous attachments
- Separating muscles from surrounding connective tissue
Structural Integration is a therapeutic approach designed to correct posture over a series of bodywork sessions, bringing the skeletal structure into a more optimal alignment via soft tissue manipulation. Each session is focused on a single area of the body, i.e. feet and lower legs in the first session, then upper legs and hips, torso, deeper pelvic structure, arms, and finally neck. In addition, a pre- and post-session postural analysis will be used to track progress over the course of the series.
Techniques are the same as Myofascial Bodywork, as fascia is the primary soft tissue affecting posture, but where Myofascial Bodywork sessions are focused on current pain and stiffness symptoms, Structural Integration sessions are designed to be completed as a full series, in order.
Fascia is the connective tissue which holds all other tissues in the body together. Fascia is gel-like, and must be well hydrated to remain mobile and mechanically fluid. When we are dehydrated, nutrient deficient, or injured, fascia can thicken, harden, and become immobile. As a result, our muscles are more difficult to move, and our posture may be affected. Fascia is interconnected everywhere in the body, so a problem with the fascia in your feet may tug on the fascia in your leg, which tugs on the fascia in your torso, which tugs on the fascia in your neck, which tugs on the fascia in your arms...
Myofascial Bodywork focuses on softening and mobilizing fascia so that the body can move more easily. This is achieved by compressing and stretching the tissue along lines of restriction.
After a Myofascial Bodywork session, you may feel open, loose, light, and fluid.
After significant changes to fascia, your proprioceptive sense (your sense of where your body is in space) may be altered, which can have a small effect on your balance. Your nervous system will need some time to adjust to the changes and retrain your proprioceptive awareness. It is not recommended to receive significant myofascial work in the days immediately preceding a sporting event; you'll want to practice a little first.
Trigger Point Therapy
"Trigger points are discrete, focal, hyperirritable spots located in a taut band of skeletal muscle. They produce pain locally and in a referred pattern and often accompany chronic musculoskeletal disorders." They can range from the size of the head of a pin to the size of a golf ball, depending on severity and which muscle they appear in (larger muscles get larger trigger points).
Techniques for relieving trigger points involve softening surrounding tissue by increasing circulation and breaking up adhesions, followed by deep pressure applied directly to the trigger point. Pressure is maintained until the trigger point begins to shrink, and eventually disappear. While pressure is applied, you may experience very uncomfortable pain in an area of your body distant from the trigger point. For example, a trigger point in the scalenes (muscles on the side of the neck) can send pain into the chest, the shoulder blades, or the arms. Once the trigger point is relieved, the pain disappears and you will very likely experience an increase in your range of motion and ease of movement.
Trigger Points are still being actively researched. Their precise causes and effects are still theoretical, but so far, they seem to be caused mostly by overexertion, overstretching, local dehydration, and/or local nutrient deficiency. They typically limit range of motion, cause pain which is difficult to locate ("It kind of hurts here... but when I touch it, it's fine."), and over time can become the source of myofascial restrictions and postural distortions. Some people seem to be more prone to trigger points than others.
Emotional Trauma Recovery
Our emotions are expressed by our bodies, not just our words, our tone, or our face. Through gentle bodywork, we can heal emotional traumas by bringing awareness to our bodies' expression. This is often referred to as "somatoemotional release." Gentle bodywork can be beneficial for people suffering from PTSD, whether diagnosed or not.
It is unnecessary to discuss your trauma with me in order to experience healing; all the work can be done via silent expression: you may express sadness, anger, grief, fear, or disgust without ever having to speak a word (although you may speak, if you'd like to). I am present to witness and to listen to your expression, and to respond with empathy, but because I am not licensed as a psychotherapist, I cannot delve into your psyche; you may find it most helpful to receive bodywork as a supplement to psychotherapy.
It is also unnecessary to tell me that you have suffered at all; you may be completely private. You may request another type of massage or bodywork from the list above, and somatoemotional healing may happen spontaneously. Just know that you are in a safe space, and that you are free to express anything you need to in order to heal.