Integrative Therapeutic Massage means combining different massage styles and techniques to create a unique session that addresses the specific needs of each body. To learn about some of the modalities which I specialize in– read on!
Cranial Sacral Therapy (CST) is a very subtle, gentle, non-invasive technique developed by osteopathic physicians. We work directly with the structures surrounding the central nervous system (CNS), checking the health of the CNS and allowing the release of any adhesions or areas of tension which may be affecting it. Because we are allowing the CNS to function at its best, Cranial Sacral Therapy enables the entire body to relax and self-correct, naturally relieving pain and stress. It can be great for chronic pain and pain for which the source cannot be identified.
Cranial adjustment in some form has been practiced across many cultures for a very long time. The development of cranial sacral therapy began in the early 1900’s with William Sutherland (lovingly nicknamed Bonehead Bill)—then a student of osteopathy. He became fascinated with the anatomical structure of the human skull and was deeply convinced that all of nature’s designs are purposeful. Although he had been taught that the skull of a normal adult is fused solidly, it seemed to him that the bones of the cranium were designed to move. Sutherland discovered that when gently palpating the head, he could detect minute rhythmic motions as well as palpable movement of the sacrum (five fused vertebra located between the lumbar spine and tail bone) in synchrony with motion of the cranium.
This movement, which is known as the cranial wave, is one of the body’s natural rhythms just like the breath and heartbeat. It is the last of these natural rhythms to cease upon death. The most common theory behind the cause of the cranial wave is that the production of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain is more rapid that the rate of reabsorption, causing the pressure within the system to fluctuate, creating a palpable, wave-like motion. It functions like a semi-closed hydraulic system containing the CNS and cerebrospinal fluid enclosed by membranes called meninges. The cranial wave can be felt anywhere on the body conducted by connective tissue called fascia. To learn more about fascia click here!
The cranial sacral system is one of the more recently recognized body systems. It is intimately related to the central and autonomic nervous systems, the musculoskeletal system and the endocrine system.
Cranial Sacral Therapy is generally practiced clothed and it is advised to dress in comfortable, loose fitting clothing. During a session, some clients experience vivid dreams or visions. Some report simply feeling deeply relaxed. Some even begin to feel the motion of their own cranial bones. It is important to drink lots of water before or after a session, and to be extra kind to yourself in the following 48 hours. Emotions held in the body are often brought up to be released and processed and this can be intense as well as rewarding.
Cranial Sacral Therapy can help with a variety of conditions including:
- Chronic pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Dental procedures (pre & post)
- Emotional Shock/Stress (Grief, Trauma, PTSD etc.)
- Head injuries
- Immune disorders
- Neck/Back pain
- Sinus issues
- TMJ dysfunction
- Whiplash injuries
Reflexology is the ancient art of helping the body heal through manipulating points on the feet, hands, ears, and head. I work primarily with the feet as I find this to be most effective.
A reflex is an automatic response. Stimulation of reflex points on the feet creates automatic responses in the areas of the body to which the points relate. Each pair of feet contains three reflex points for every part of the body. In a session, we will systematically address the entire body and all of the body systems. Special focus can be directed at certain areas if need be. Reflexology is great for addressing specific concerns, reducing pain, or simply for promoting and maintaining health and wellbeing. Issues with the feet themselves can be addressed with reflexology, and problems such as bunions and hammer toes can be corrected over time without surgery. Reflexology is EXCELLENT for conditions such as fibromyalgia where regular massage sometimes be to invasive. Clients who are unable to receive full body massage can still enjoy the full body healing benefits.
A reflexology session can be added to any other treatment or enjoyed on its own. It can be wonderfully grounding after a massage or cranial sacral session. Body, mind, spirit and feet will feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Reflexology benefits the entire body and is beneficial for everyone, but is particularly beneficial for:
- Conditions such as fibromyalgia where regular massage may cause a flare-up
- Tender, sensitive, or injured areas which do not respond well to massage
- Structural issues with the foot (bunions, hammer toes etc.)
- ANY body system which needs
- Endocrine system (including thyroid issues)
- Cardiovascular system
- Digestive system
- Lymphatic system
- Nervous system
- Musculoskeletal system (great for low back pain!)
- Sore tired feet!
Lymphatic Drainage Massage (LDM) is another subtle gentle technique which uses very light pressure to stimulate the lymphatic system and help the body remove excess fluids, toxins, regenerate tissues and stimulate and support the immune system. We are literally cleaning out the spaces in between your cells.
During a Lymphatic drainage massage, the practitioner moves the client’s skin with a precise rhythm, speed and pressure. This stretches the microfilaments just below the skin which open the lymph vessels and allow the fluid in the space between cells (interstitial fluid) to enter the capillaries of the lymphatic system. This rhythmic pumping stimulates the lymphatic vessels to contract and propel fluid away from areas where it may have pooled. The lymphatic system can begin to contract more frequently and regularly on its own as a result. While many other styles of massage can move tissue fluids, LDM is specifically targeted and more effective at achieving this result.
Anyone looking for a deeply detoxifying treatment will benefit from LDM. During a session clients may start to smell or taste toxins they have been exposed to or used years ago. Hydration is key when receiving LDM because the body will be filtering out toxins at a higher than normal rate. The average adult human body contains roughly 40L of water, 6-10 of which is circulated as lymphatic fluid in a day. Efficient activation of lymph circulation (such as LDM) can increase this to 10-30L per day. The effects of the treatment are greatly improved when the body is given enough water to continue filtering toxins at that rate.
The body’s immune system lives predominately within the lymphatic system, and LDM can be very effective at stimulating immunity for those with sluggish immune systems, although it is not necessarily recommended for anyone with an acute infection.
LDM is usually acceptable for cancer patients and those undergoing chemo and radiation but cannot be performed in these cases without a doctor’s note.
In cases where a lymph node has been removed (ie. breast cancer patients) the lymphatic system can be trained to redirect around the missing lymph nodes to avoiding the lymphedema (swelling) which would otherwise result. LDM can drastically reduce recovery time when performed pre and post surgery because toxins and contaminants are flushed out of the affected tissues, making it easier for the body to heal and repair itself. It is not recommended for organ recipients as stimulation of the immune system may cause issues with rejection (when the immune system recognizes a new organ as non-self and attacks it.)
This therapy is great for athletes because it flushes out lactic acid and other cellular wastes, allowing the tissues to regenerate faster and reducing recovery time. It is beneficial for injuries as it helps to speed healing by increasing microcirculation and removing cellular debris. LDM reduces pain and improves the health and appearance of the skin.
It is deeply relaxing and some clients find it easy to enter a meditative state during the session. The slow, gentle repetitive movements reduce sympathetic nervous system responses (fight-or-flight) which are too often triggered by the stress of daily life. Stress responses cause our bodies to tense and to release hormones and chemicals which can be inflammatory. During a lymphatic drainage massage the parasympathetic nervous system (rest-and-digest) can take over and allow the immune system, cardiovascular system, and other organ systems to resume normal functioning. Stress hormones can be flushed out.
Lymphatic Drainage can be performed on its own or added to an integrative massage. It is good for:
- Breast health
- General wellness (detoxifaction and healthy immune function)
- Injury (not as a substitute for medical treatment)
- Mild depression
- Minor fatigue
- Pre- and post-surgery including dental (with permission from doctor)
- Scar tissue
- Skin health
- Sluggish Immune system
Neuromuscular Massage (similar to trigger point therapy) is a specific and sometimes intense style of massage which focuses on releasing specific tender points (trigger points) in specific muscles in order to achieve less pain and more freedom in the body.
A trigger point is a tight band of muscle fibers which radiates pain to other areas when pressure is applied (ie. from the shoulder, up the neck and into the head, down the arm, up or down the back, etc.). The area which hurts when we press on a trigger point is called the referral zone. Trigger points can cause tight muscles, decreased circulation, and other trigger points in their referral zones. A latent trigger point may cause dysfunction though it is not necessarily painful unless pressure is applied. An active trigger point can be intensely painful. Trigger points tend to form in the same places in all of us, and the referral zones also tend to be similar from person to person. A good neuromuscular massage therapist can identify and release the culprit trigger point often based on where the effected referral zone is located. Trigger points differ slightly from a muscle knots. Knots often contain trigger points, and trigger points can cause knots, but trigger points are sometimes present without knots. For this reason it can be very helpful to let your therapist know if at any point you are experiencing referral pain.
Often when the human body is injured, it guards the injury and compensates for it. The guarding and compensation can cause trigger points and tension to form in other areas and cause pain. If the pain continues, the body can begin to guard and compensate for the new this new pain and form tension and trigger points in another area. We then have a vicious cycle of new aches and pains and decreased range of motion. Neuromuscular massage is great for breaking that cycle and over time reversing its effects. It is important to remember that problems we have had for many years will probably take more than one massage to resolve.
Neuromuscular massage has a reputation for being painful, but can be performed without pain and at any level of pressure that an individual body may require. Contrary to popular belief, a level of pressure which feels good and is not terribly painful can actually be more effective in releasing the muscles than level of pressure which produces more pain. It is ESSENTIAL (as with any type of massage) to communicate any pain or discomfort to your massage therapist immediately.
A neuromuscular massage will involve analysis followed by specific intense targeted work, possibly on just one or two areas of the body. It can be helpful to wear or bring shorts, and a tank top or sports bra for accurate postural analysis.
Neuromuscular Massage therapy is excellent for:
- Chronic pain
- Old and new injuries (not a substitute for medical examination)
- Reduced range of motion (including conditions such as frozen shoulder)
- Stress and tension
- Whiplash/residual pain from a fall or accident
Myofascial Release means that we are working with the body’s connective tissue, called fascia. The fascia is a fascinating tissue which envelops all of the body’s structures. Muscles, bones, ligaments, organs, nerves, blood and lymph vessels are all surrounded and supported by the fascia. It is one continuous piece throughout the entire body. This means that tightness or restriction in the fascia in one place in the body can create pain and dysfunction in other areas. By releasing connective tissue throughout the system we can achieve a greater degree of freedom in the entire body. Everything is connected!
Myofascial release is often successful in cases where releasing muscle tension over and over again during massage seems to have no long term effect. This occurs because the real cause is adhesions in the connective tissue. Often one injury or imbalance in the body can cause it to guard or compensate, eventually creating pain and dysfunction in other areas. This can turn into a self perpetuating cycle of pain and compensation. Bringing structural realignment the system through myofascial release is a great way to break this cycle and restore balance and freedom. I tend to incorporate some myofascial release into all of my sessions because it prepares the body to receive deeper work and allows us to achieve more long term effects. Myofascial release is great for:
- Structural alignment issues which cause pain in the body
- Muscle pain and tightness which don’t seem to be resolved with regular massage
- Injuries / repetitive motion injuries
- Chronic pain
- Preparing the body to receive deep tissue, neuromuscular massage, cranial sacral therapy etc.
- General preventative maintenance care
- Stiffness and limited range of motion
Access Consciousness Bars is a gentle, hands-on energy modality developed in the early 1990’s. During a session the practitioner will gently hold a series of 32 points on the head. These are the “Bars.” Each point correlates to a different area or aspect of life as a human on Planet Earth. Holding the points releases the electromagnetic charge of thoughts, ideas, attitudes, decisions and beliefs that may be limiting us. Who do those belong to anyway?
Access Bars can be added to any session or enjoyed on its own. For some this work can be life changing. At the very least you will feel like you had a great massage. How much are you willing to receive?
CBD Upgrade! Add full spectrum organic CBD oil to any treatment for $15. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive hemp derived phytochemical which interacts with the endocannabinoid system, a body system which among other things effects the way the body controls stress. CBD naturally relaxes muscles and relieves pain. Humans who use CBD often experience deeper sleep, elevated moods, and inner peace. If you choose to add CBD’s to your treatment, we will determine together the appropriate dosage and application. Most likely the CBD oil will be combined with the oil or lotion used topically in your treatment.
If you wish to purchase your own high quality CBD oil, please click here!
Free Smells! Aromatherapy is complimentary with any service unless you prefer otherwise. I use only highest quality organic cold pressed/steam distilled essential oils. Your aromatherapy experience will be tailored to fit your needs, promote relaxation, ease muscle tension, elevate mood, relieve pain, ease respiration issues (stuffy sinuses from lying face down!?), boost immunity, and more. A normal session begins with several deep breaths of whatever oil or blend best suits your needs. This focus on the breath prepares mind and body to relax and receive. The purity of quality essential oils can actually allow the plant medicines to enter the bloodstream when we smell them. Oils may also be applied to the skin combined with massage oil or lotion. If you have allergies or aversions to scents, do not worry– none of this will ever be performed without your express permission.