What Makes Me and My Approach Different?
Traditional massage is wonderful, and I still use those foundational skills in my work. However, my focus has shifted from localized tissue work to a more comprehensive approach, targeting the nervous system, inviting the body and mind to become aware of habitual postures and restrictions. That awareness gives you, the client, the ability to release and reprogram.
My first goal in every session is to establish a feeling of safety and ease. We begin by supporting the body with pillows and bolsters, if necessary. We find a temperature that is comfortable for you using sheets, blankets, heater, fan, table warmer and warm weighted pillows. I also offer an eye mask or eye pillow, music that you enjoy, and water to drink. We make sure our phones are off or silent so we will not be disturbed.
Once the mind and body feel safe and comfortable, my next goal is to connect with you as if we are dancing. I gently lead, asking continually through my touch and pressure and movement, “How does this feel? Can you allow more space, more freedom of movement? Can you feel the weight, allow it to rest completely?” It is a primarily non-verbal dialogue with the body’s nervous system.
When it feels appropriate, I also verbally engage with you, perhaps bringing awareness to your breath, asking you for feedback, checking in to be sure you are still comfortable. Sometimes we discuss potential exercises, stretches, or awareness techniques to enhance what we have discovered during the session. Sometimes you may sleep deeply and are very passive. I honor that as well, allowing you to rest and recover from stress and fatigue.
The Trager Approach
Although I do not use the Trager Approach exclusively, it has transformed my practice and brought a unique flavor to my work, with a focus on exploring how bodies respond to gravity and how connective tissue supports and restricts the movement of bones. Read more about The Trager Approach…
Traditional Massage Techniques
Swedish massage techniques include long strokes, kneading, friction, tapping, percussion, vibration, effleurage, and shaking motions.
The usual sequence of techniques is:
- Effleurage: Gliding strokes with the palms, thumbs and/or fingertips
- Petrissage: Kneading movements with the hands, thumbs and/or fingers
- Friction: Circular pressures with the palms of hands, thumbs and/or fingers
- Vibration: Oscillatory movements that shake or vibrate the body
- Percussion: Brisk hacking or tapping
- Passive and active movements: Bending and stretching
Longitudinal gliding is a basic but effective massage technique administered in the direction of the blood flow. It aids the fluid dispersion from the injury site and thus helps reduce inflammation and swelling. It is also very useful in relaxing tight muscles.
Myofascial release is a manual technique for stretching the fascia with the aim to balance the body. Fascia is located between the skin and the underlying structure of muscle and bone. It is a seamless web of connective tissue that covers and connects the muscles, organs, and skeletal structures in our body. Injuries, stress, trauma, and poor posture can cause restriction to the fascia, and the goal of myofascial release is to release fascia restriction and restore its mobility.
Transverse friction is a transverse connective tissue therapy applied directly by the fingers. Transverse frictions use an oscillating pressure applied across the direction of the tissue fibers. This technique is used mainly on tendon or ligament injuries to help break down thickened, pain-producing scar tissue. If these lesions are not reduced, then they are likely to cause further irritation and degenerate more quickly than they should.
Rhythmic compression into muscles is used to create deep hyperemia and softening effect in the tissues. It is generally used as a warm-up for deeper, more specific massage work. Sports massage utilizes compression massage.