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Here are some articles I've written:

                                                          The Kind of Massage I do

I prefer to call it bodywork because it's really working with the body to help relieve tension, stiffness, pain and dysfunction. And, the word massage is pretty general - lots of different techniques. Some of those techniques are more for relaxation even though most of my clients say my bodywork is relaxing.    

I do orthopedic bodywork which determines what needs to be done in order to re-align the body back into a better functioning position. This often involves working with a tissue called fascia. Fascia is now known to be ubiquitous throughout the body - it is literally everywhere and therefore is a MAJOR component in any type of manual therapy that aims to get the body back into better function.  

For example, working with fascia means loosening a "local" area of the body - like tennis elbow. It might be that to correct tennis elbow, it only needs working with the arm. But in another case, like a sore upper back, it might mean that the front of the upper body is actually slumped forward and pulling the back out of alignment. . . . thus, the problem in the front HAS TO BE corrected 1st or no lasting results will occur. 

Working with the body is usually a complicated situation but a skilled practitioner can not only see the problems but also adjust treatment protocols as time goes on. 

                                                What Effects can Massage have?

There are 2 basic types of massage - Relaxation and Therapeutic.   Relaxation massage tends to be more comforting, calming, relaxing - it greatly benefits the nervous system by soothing it. This can have wonderful effects for any of us that have had a hard day or are anxious or even frightened for any reason. If we happen to have a traumatic experience, relaxation massage goes a long way to calming us down and can even start the healing process of recovery. A few of the effects of a relaxation massage are to decrease blood pressure and lower the heart rate and aid digestion - but the list goes on.  How about chronic stress?  Yes, here again, relaxation massage plays an important role.  A few types of relaxing massage are Swedish, Craniosacral, Thai, LomiLomi, etc.  Note, some of these techniques are also therapeutic.

Therapeutic massage is more geared toward helping the body realign itself, to decrease dysfunction of soft tissue and to relieve pain in specific areas of the body. Therapeutic massage could be an overall body massage but often really just focuses on the areas that the receiver wants. This process of "targeting" specific areas will give those areas more attention in attempt to correct the issue. Skilled practitioners of therapeutic massage can also see that the body is really all-connected and thus treat other areas as well to bring the body back into balance - this is the true value of a competent therapeutic bodyworker!    A few types of therapeutic massage are rolfing, myofascial release, ART, medical massage, lymphatic drainage, orthopedic massage, etc.     Again, a skilled practitioner can also make a therapeutic treatment very relaxing - this a a great added benefit!

              How many Massage Sessions does it Take to Get Better?

Well, the simple answer is . . . it depends!  But seriously, it does depend on what a person wants to achieve!  

1] Some people just want to get some relief from tension or minor pain - and therefore just want 1 or 2 treatments. That's enough at one time and they're back to their usual lives. And, as massage practitioners, that's sometimes how we serve those people. 

2] Other people who know they have issues that need work and want to work deeper may continue with more treatments - or perhaps just come in every month or 2. These people want to keep up with maintenance so their issues don't get worse.    

3] Another type of person knows and wants to get to the root cause of their pain, mis-alignment and structural dysfunction.  This person may be an athlete looking for max performance, a adept dancer who expects optimum accomplishment from the body or a guitar player who needs dexterous execution of the fingers. Or, there are others who REALLY know they want to feel better and lead more fulfilled lives. But to do this, they also have learned that they must really face their issues and invest enough work to "right the ship!"  For these types of people, bodywork sessions continue for some length of time - at least until there is enough improvement that they feel they're accomplished [at least part of] their goal. 

                                               Specific Client Case #1    

In 2018 when I was working in Berkeley, Suzanne came to me with lower back and hip pain . . . saying that she had "chronic back pain since she was 20 [for about 20 years] but more intensively in the last 6 years."  she continued . . .  "During that time, the work I did with chiropractors, PT's, acupuncturists, massage therapists, etc. didn't lead to any sustaining relief - in fact, during those 6 years, almost every day, I was filled some kind of pain."     Because all her attempts to remedy her pain hadn't worked, Suzanne was frustrated and felt like she was "at a low."  


When complex cases come to me, I of course do an initial assessment to find out what's going on currently as well as relevant experiences from the past. And, I start working on the current issues in a certain order - 1st of all, it's usually important to give the body a general "re-set." This means to 1] calm down muscles/functions that are out of balance; 2] encourage muscular functions that have become inhibited [not working to full capacity].  {{for more info about how that's done, see the Blog on  "M.E.T."}}  

In Suzanne's case, the 1st objective was to decrease her pain - intense back pain almost every day for 6 years??  That needed to be addressed immediately!   And, luckily, it worked - she said, "After the 1st or 2nd treatment with Tom, I had the experience . . . of having my 1st day pain free."   

Suzanne kept coming for regular treatments, but this is where things changed in her progress. As one part of her body re-aligned, another part started to "speak to her."  {{on a different topic, this is how the brain deals with pain - several areas may hurt but the brain will send the strongest pain signals to worst area first.  See Blog on "Pain - how do we feel it?"}} 

Back to Suzanne . . . as one area started to re-align, discomfort/pain came up in another. But, at this point in her treatment, it became important to not only acknowledge her pain but to continue using techniques to re-align her whole body. 

As time went on, more areas became more integrated and she was able to function normally in everyday life and thus came to see me less often.  The final adjustment on her was actually her sacrum. It was tilted to the side. So, using M.E.T., her sacrum was leveled and  . . . she walked out the door a happy client!!  

The total length of treatment time was 4 - 5 months which included 20 sessions. 

                                                  Specific Client Case #2

Rebecca is a surfer in Santa Cruz, CA. Her right leg was not functioning well enough to easily stand up on her board as she was about to catch a wave. She could do it but it felt unnatural, uncoordinated and unconnected to what she was asking it to do. It was limiting her ability to surf in the way she really wanted to – and it was frustrating!

To complicated matters, Rebecca had some rather traumatic experiences to her right leg over the years. This was manifesting as dull pain in her thigh and sharp, burning pain in her foot – all this pain usually woke her up during sleep at night; driving more than 20 minutes was difficult because the pain would increase.

As with Client Case #1, the very 1st objective was to reduce her pain! That much pain in her body, every day, made her life pretty miserable! To relieve Rebecca's pain, I released some trapped/compressed nerves that were causing the pain.  But, next came the real work - to get her right leg back into coordination. That's where MET came it - and it's  actually a different aspect of MET. MET is primarily known to relax and relieve muscle tension. But MET can also "awaken" or stimulate muscles that have become disengaged from the function of the brain. That's why Rebecca felt like her right leg was not as coordinated - the brain had given it a lower priority of function even when she asked for it. But as Rebecca and I continued to work together, she was slowly able to stand up on her board better [and, to boot, the pain in her leg almost completely resolved!]. . . . all due to MET!!  Here's a link of Rebecca talking about her condition/pain:  MET, Rebecca, intro

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