BENEFITS OF MASSAGE + FAQ

Massage therapy can influence the body in a number of ways! Massage is an excellent form of preventative health, particularly in seasons that compromise the immune system. While massage can certainly help with acute pain and injury, best results are seen with regular massage and a shift in lifestyle conditions. Integrative wellness addresses the person as a whole.

PHYSICAL

  • Increased circulation (systemic and peripheral)

  • Increased Immune response

  • Support of lymphatic system movement and excretion (waste and toxin release)

  • Sooth repetitive-movement injuries (ex: carpal tunnel, tennis-elbow)

  • Normalization of blood pressure (generally instigates a decrease)

  • Increased joint mobility, range of motion

  • Address and manage acute/chronic pain

  • Improve balance and gait

  • Headache relief (tension, sinus, vascular)

  • Supports nerve tissues and response

  • Supports digestion and waste elimination

MENTAL/EMOTIONAL

  • Activation of Parasympathetic Nervous System ("Rest and Digest" system)

  • Addressing feelings of anxiety and depression 

  • Hormone regulation:

    • increased serotonin (mood stabilizing, feelings of well-being)

    • increased dopamine (controls movements, influences emotional responses and pleasure experiences)

    • increased endorphins (improve mood, relieve pain)

    • increased oxytocin (feelings of belonging, stability, connection)

    • regulated adrenaline release (affects cortisol levels, manages sympathetic "fight-or-flight" response)

  • Promote sleep health:

  • Connection: touch and care in a professional setting

FAQ

Does massage hurt?

Sometimes massage can be confronting, emotional, or uncomfortable-- but not painful. Pain is an indication of a deeper issue or that your therapist is doing something that doesn't work for your body. Your feedback is important. Let me know if you are experiencing pain! A good comparison is the feeling you get when you are mindfully stretching-- it can feel uncomfortable, but not painful. 

What do I wear while getting a massage?

You can always be massaged at your comfort level. That said, often more muscle manipulation can be done skin to skin, so generally the fewer restricted clothing items worn, the easier it is to provide you care (and not damage garments). It is common for clients to remove everything or everything but their underwear bottoms. Regardless of your level of clothing, you will always be kept appropriately covered with a sheet or towel. It is best to remove jewelry and watches before the massage if possible. 

 

Do you massage on a bed?

I use a professional massage table, which is an elevated and cushioned full-body table designed for massage. There is a cradle for your face and a place to rest your arms. While I may lean on it, I will never be on top of it at the same time as you.

Do you talk during a massage?

This is your time and it is important for you to feel relaxed. I will generally never initiate any conversation or share too much about my personal life, though of course if you feel comfortable talking that is completely fine and I'm happy to lightly chat. Silence is usually the easiest way to connect with your breath and body to feel deep relaxation, but there is no judgement if silence feels uncomfortable and you need more communication. I will always be happy to answer any questions related to your care and concerns, my training, or my actions. I will assume silence unless you indicate otherwise, and that in no way is a reflection of you.

Why do you offer reduced and no-fee massage for some people but not everyone?

The world we have made and find ourselves in can be exponentially more challenging to navigate for certain groups of people, namely BIPOC (Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color/Visibly Racialized People), immigrants, LGBTQ+ communities, disabled communities, aging communities, larger bodies, women, and all the intersections of those. I am unavailable to accept this as the only option, and I imagine working toward a different kind of world. For me, that looks like making bodywork more accessible. As my practice in Helsinki grows, I will be able to offer different kinds of care to different communities. By supporting my work at any level, you are supporting and nourishing the idea that every body deserves care. By receiving care, you are allowing more room for ease and change. Thank you for being open to a different kind of world.

What oil do you use?

I use a combination of oils and lotions, usually odorless, and make sure you do not leave feeling greasy. Sweet Almond/Coconut oils are common because they warm nicely and provide extra moisture for the skin. I will ask before using any essential oils or scents. If you have any allergies, to nuts or otherwise, please let me know.

What is a "knot"?

We call those pesky and painful things "adhesions". An adhesion is the body's reaction to injury or overuse that forms on the soft tissue of the muscle. While they can limit movement and cause pain, they are a sign that the body is trying to repair itself from a trauma and they can be loosened and released with regular massage, providing immense relief!

What is that popping sound when I stretch my joints?

Carbon dioxide cavitation bubbles naturally form in your joints. The popping or cracking sound is the collapse of those bubbles (that will reform in time). The prevailing understanding is that this is harmless to your joints and can even release pressure buildup, promoting feelings of relief, and studies show that even just the sound of the joints cracking can release a little dopamine in your brain. Intentionally trying to crack your joints is outside of the scope of practice for a Massage Therapist (talk to your Physical therapist or Chiropractor!), but it can often happen unintentionally while manipulating the muscles around the joints and is no cause for alarm. 

How will I feel after a massage?

Hopefully, more relaxed and energized! Depending on the depth of work, you may need extra rest (whenever I get very deep tissue I often need a nap) and lots of water. With very deep work it may also move things around--digestion, water-retention, and mental space may shift temporarily. Usually though, your body will be feeling more mobile, more fluid, and more calm, as we are working not only on the muscles but the mind as well. You may be hungry or thirsty immediately following a massage.

If you are getting Gua Sha or cupping during a massage, it is not uncommon to have temporary abrasive marks on the skin.

 

How often should I get a massage?

As often as you like! If I could, I'd get one every day. But realistically, it helps to think of massage as maintenance-- regular massage is the most beneficial to your system, especially if you find yourself engaging in a lot of repetitive or high-stress actions and thoughts. My practice is set up to offer options to support your best health and financial situation.   

Is massage dangerous?

There are quite a few medical conditions and contraindications (reasons massage could be harmful) that one may be experiencing. For example: very recent surgery, pregnancy, a known blood clot, an infection, intoxication (alcohol, drugs), an open wound, a communicable illness. However, there are also many conditions that can be serious or sensitive (ex: HIV, diabetes, seizures, auto-immune, pregnancy, amputation) that can really benefit from massage, so if you are in doubt, just ask. If you are experiencing a serious medical condition, it is important that you clear massage with your physician and let your therapist know your situation ahead of time in case any adjustments need to be made or precautions need to be taken. I have had clients with various auto-immune issues, seizures, implants/prosthetics and chronic conditions with no problems. 

 

Who can benefit from a massage?

The vast majority of people can benefit from some type of massage and it is generally considered safe. While most of my clients are 18+, it is also possible to give massage to teens and kids with parental agreement/possible supervision.

Other questions? Just ask!

REFERENCES AND RESEARCH

Digestion - NIH.gov

History of Physiotherapy

Impact of Massage Therapy on Functions of Pain

History of Massage

Massage and Mental Health

Sleep Health and Massage

The Effect of Heat and Massage on Automatic Nervous System

Effects of Repeated Massage on HPA and Immune Function

Immune Response and Massage - Cedars Sinai