About massage and bodywork

If you are new to massage therapy, wow, there’s a lot to learn! You probably want to know what to ask for, so here are the basics.

When many people think of massage, they think of Swedish massage or deep tissue massage. That’s the type of massage you can always get at chains like Massage Envy. I like to think about it as squishy — it’s primarily a circulatory massage that pushes fluids through your soft tissues via long strokes, squeezing, kneading, wringing, and similar moves. Old blood is moved out of tissues and fresh blood (with oxygen and other nutrients) moves in. It feels relaxing and refreshing.

My integrative massage and pre- and post-natal massages are based on Swedish massage and include other massage techniques and bodywork as needed. Same with my Back Shoulders Neck Head and Neck and Head sessions. Orthopedic massage (aka clinical massage) focuses more on recovery from injuries and conditions and is not a full-body massage.

I avoid saying I do deep tissue massage because there’s so much misunderstanding about what exactly it is. Many people think it means deep pressure, even to the point of literally crushing the soft tissues.

I don’t crush. It is painful, can damage your tissue, and is exhausting for me. If that’s what you want, you can get it at any chain. Just ask for a Swedish massage with firm or extra-firm pressure, and they’ll assign you to a therapist who’s much bigger and taller and younger than I am. 

Deep tissue massage, in my opinion, includes techniques that work the deeper layers, and often it requires more sensitive listening skills than brute force. Trigger point therapy can be considered deep tissue work. Deep Massage and myofascial release can be considered forms of massage and bodywork, as they work with the soft tissues for the purpose of aligning the body’s structure. I incorporate both of these as needed into my massage sessions.

Many massage therapists also offer bodywork under the auspices of their massage license. In a way, bodywork includes everything but Swedish massage. Bodywork may work more specifically with reflex zones that affect the entire body (Reflexology), use techniques that align the bones (Zero Balancing), employ techniques that improve the flow of energy (Zero Balancing and Deep Massage), and use techniques working with the craniosacral system (Classical Craniosacral Therapy) to relax and ease specific conditions. Biodynamics works with your tissue, fluid, and field energies to augment your own body’s natural healing energies to reorganize in a more optimal way.

About me

I sought and received craniosacral therapy monthly for several years from one of Austin’s most highly regarded practitioners because I figured it would help with head and sacrum injuries in the past.

Unfamiliar with the subtle work, after the third session, I noticed I felt calmer, with a stronger sense of myself and more equanimity, and that grew after each session. Later sessions helped me relax more deeply than I knew was possible. I was amazed at my therapist’s palpation skills and her knowledge of anatomy, and I felt better and better over time, with more confidence and clarity.

My interest in bodywork led me to train in Reiki. A few weeks after my training ended, I used it on a gifted healer/friend who had injured his foot. He recovered more quickly than expected and told me, “You need to get a license to touch people.” As a result, I went to massage school rather than acupuncture school.

David Lauterstein and me, April 2011

I attended the Lauterstein-Conway Massage School in Austin, graduating from the 500-hour basic program and later from the 250-hour advanced program.

Six months after becoming licensed as a massage therapist, I learned about craniosacral biodynamics and was asked, “Why aren’t you a craniosacral therapist?” Three days later, I was in training to learn this advanced form of healing. I’ve trained in classical craniosacral therapy with the Upledger Institute as well.

In my advanced training at Lauterstein-Conway, after my first Zero Balancing session, I stood up and was amazed — I felt taller, more spacious, with more ease of movement and a nice energy buzz through my body. It was as if my unconscious but habitual tension patterns had dissolved, gravity had lessened, and my life force energy had been turned up. I wanted to learn how to give others that experience.

Meanwhile, in school and on jobs at Massage Envy, Massage Harmony, Seton Cove, retreats, trainings, offices, medical settings, sports events, a chiropractic office, Cureville at the Kerrville Folk Festival, and other places, I learned how to give a very good massage, integrating my skills to apply to that person in that session.

Education & Training

Besides completing 750 hours of massage training at Lauterstein-Conway and being Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, I am currently certified in:

  • Classical Craniosacral Therapy
  • Deep Massage: The Lauterstein Method
  • Orthopedic Massage and Assessment
  • Pregnancy and Postpartum Massage

I occasionally assist David Lauterstein (Zero Balancing) and Ryan Hallford (Craniosacral Biodynamics) in trainings. I blog about wellness (in addition to this work-related blog), and I use my Facebook business page to share useful articles on wellness.

Beyond work, I have an MS degree in Community & Regional Planning from UT/Austin and a BA in Social Work from the University of Oklahoma. I’ve previously worked in publishing, government, and technology. I have a grown daughter and a grand-daughter…so, lots of life experience! I’ve long been interested in trauma recovery, the Enneagram, yoga, and meditation. How can we awaken to our essential selves?

I’m a master practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and incorporate aspects of modern shamanism into my life and work. I began practicing yoga in 1982, later completing yoga teacher training. I’ve enjoyed ecstatic dancing since 1995. I have a daily yoga and meditation practice.

Last year, one of my dreams came true when I was invited to share an office suite with that gifted craniosacral therapist whom I mentioned above, Nina Davis, and Christian Michael Current, also extremely gifted. It’s such an honor!

Bonus: my office looks out onto a wild scrubby Central Texas hillside. Life is good!

This year (2017) I’m planning to do a 10-day vipassana meditation retreat. I’m serving as a TA for Ryan Hallford’s six biodynamics trainings and will take the last class needed for certification in Zero Balancing. I’ve also started weekly classes in qigong and tai chi, which I’m enjoying.

My practice goals

I give each recipient my best. I interview you to find out your goals for each session and have you map your problem areas. We discuss a session plan and a treatment plan. I check in with you several times during each session as well as afterwards. I’m open to your feedback before, during, and after each session.

I encourage repeat sessions because it can take 3-5 sessions to develop a level of trust and familiarity that makes our work together even more effective and to help your body become adapted to better health and well-being.

On my massage table, nothing should ever hurt beyond the “hurts-so-good” level.

I love to listen to what your body tells me and let those messages guide my work.