At the Integrated Center for Optimum Health, LLC, we offer massage and acupuncture and work together with the physical therapists of Core Physical Therapy.
Our Massage program is staffed with some of Seattle’s finest and experienced therapists that Downtown Seattle, Belltown, South Lake Union and Shoreline have to offer. Therapeutic massage can be used to treat injury, speed healing, relief stress, improve flexibility and contribute to an overall sense of well-being. Our staff specializes in evaluating body systems to effectively treat the cause of a problem, not just the symptoms. Our therapists will be working with you to set up a treatment plan for your symptoms or injury and will assist you beyond pain relief.
Conditions Commonly Treated with Massage Therapy
Specific applications of techniques and modalities for massage therapy can be used for and help the following conditions…
- Chronic Pain
- Relieves tension related Headaches
- Post Motor Vehicle Accident
- Enhances Post Surgical Rehabilitation
- Manages Fibromyalgia
- Relieves Repetitive Strain Injury
- Relieves Stress/ Anxiety
- Improves circulation
- Relieves Frozen shoulder
- Relieves Thoracic Outlet syndrome
- Relieves Tennis elbow
- Relieves Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Relieves Sciatica
- Relieves Sprains/Strains
- Relieves Knee, Ankle, Shoulder, Elbow pain
- Sports Injury
- Work Injury
- Relieves Jaw and Facial Pain
- Relieves Plantar Fasciitis
- Relieves Scar tissue
- Relieves Low back pain
- Relieves TMJ
- Relieves Tendonitis
- Improves postural alignment
What to Expect
Each massage session is tailored to fit the patient’s individual needs. There will be a private confidential health intake, where we will ask you about the symptoms you are currently feeling, your past history of injuries and/or surgeries, and the goals you wish to achieve.
We will work with you to determine if a treatment plan is necessary, and to what extent that would be.
If the style of massage or treatment requires removal of clothing, you will disrobe in private and be draped with a sheet throughout the session. You may wear undergarments if you wish. For techniques done that require a lot of movement or through clothing, please wear loose fitting garments or shorts.
Feedback is appreciated at anytime during the massage, with the amount of talking during a session determined by the client. Some techniques may require more conversation and will be discussed prior to the session.
Menu of Massage Techniques and Modalities
click the + sign to read about an individual modality
Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, noninvasive method of evaluating and enhancing the function of a physiological body arrangement called the craniosacral system. Developed by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, this manual therapy enhances the body’s natural healing processes and has proven effective in treating a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction. The roots of this therapy are in cranial osteopathy, developed by Dr. William G. Sutherland. The craniosacral system consists of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the skull, face, and mouth–which make up the cranium–down to the sacrum or tailbone. Since this system influences the development and function of the brain and spinal cord, any imbalance or dysfunction in the craniosacral system could cause sensory, motor, or neurological disabilities. These problems may include chronic pain, eye difficulties, scoliosis, motor-coordination impairments, learning disabilities, and other dysfunctions of the central nervous system. Craniosacral therapy encourages the body’s natural healing mechanisms to improve the functioning of the central nervous system, dissipate the negative effects of stress, and enhance health and resistance to disease. The craniosacral therapy practitioner uses a light touch to assist the natural movement of fluid within the craniosacral system. Therapists generally use only five grams of pressure, roughly the weight of a nickel, to test for restrictions in various parts of the craniosacral system. It’s often possible for the evaluation alone to remove the restriction and allow the system to correct itself.
CROSS FIBER FRICTION
Deep transverse friction effectively reduces fibrosis and encourages the formation of strong, pliable scar tissue at the site of healing injuries. This technique, also known as cross-fiber frictioning, reduces the crystalline roughness that forms between tendons and their sheaths that can result in painful tendonitis. It can also prevent or soften myofascial adhesions.
A deep, non-gliding, oil-less friction stroke, cross-fiber friction is administered with a braced finger or thumb moving across the grain of a muscle, tendon or ligament. The therapist’s thumb and the patient’s skin move as one over the exact site of the lesion with sufficient sweep and duration to create a mechanical effect on the tissue treated. The stroke must be applied directly at the site of the lesion, at right angles to the fibers, and be broad enough to separate the fibers without bouncing over them. The treatment is painful, though always within tolerance, and should be initiated only with the informed consent of the client. It should never be applied during the initial inflammatory stage in an acute injury.
DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE
Techniques that utilize deep-tissue/deep-muscle massage are administered to affect the sub-layer of musculature and fascia. These techniques require advanced training and a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology. The muscles must be relaxed in order to effectively perform deep-tissue massage, otherwise tight surface muscles prevent the practitioner from reaching deeper musculature. It helps with chronic muscular pain and injury rehabilitation and reduces inflammation-related pain caused by arthritis and tendinitis. It is generally integrated with other massage techniques.
This system of massage utilizes very large, broad movements. Two-handed, forearm, and elbow application of strokes, which cover a broad area, is characteristic of lomilomi. Similar to Swedish massage in many aspects, this system uses prayer and the acknowledgment of the existence of a higher power as an integral part of the technique. Lomilomi–Hawaiian for rub rub–is described by teacher Aunty Margaret Machado as “the loving touch–a connection between heart, hand, and soul with the source of all life.” Aunty Margaret was the first to teach lomilomi in a formal, classroom situation; previously the training was passed on within the family by Kahunas or shamans. Oils are used in the application of cross-fiber friction techniques. The practitioner often uses the forearm and elbow in the application of pressure.
MANUAL LYMPH DRAINAGE
The strokes applied in manual lymph drainage are intended to stimulate the movement of the lymphatic fluids in order to assist the body in cleansing. This is a gentle, rhythmical technique that cleanses the connective tissue of inflammatory materials and toxins, enhances the activity of the immune system, reduces pain, and lowers the activity of the sympathetic nervous system. The most widely taught and generally accepted form of this technique was created by Dr. Vodder of Austria and requires advanced training and precise movements.
MUSCLE ENERGY TECHNIQUE
Muscle energy is a direct, noninvasive manual therapy used to normalize joint dysfunction and increase range of motion. The practitioner evaluates the primary areas of dysfunction in order to place the affected joints in precise positions that enable the patient to perform gentle isometric contractions. These directed movements help correct neuromuscular and joint difficulties.
Myofascial release is the three-dimensional application of sustained pressure and movement into the fascial system in order to eliminate fascial restrictions and facilitate the emergence of emotional patterns and belief systems that are no longer relevant or are impeding progress. First, an assessment is made by visually analyzing the human frame, followed by the palpation of the tissue texture of various fascial layers. Upon locating an area of fascial tension, gentle pressure is applied in the direction of the restriction. Myofascial release is an effective therapeutic approach in the relief of cervical pain, back pain, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, neurological dysfunction, restriction of motion, chronic pain, and headaches.
MYOSKELETAL ALIGNMENT TECHNIQUE
A holistic approach to relief of back and neck pain based on concepts and principles from Rolfing, osteopathy, and related physical medicine. Focused on detecting and correcting strain patterns to prevent back/neck pain, this technique combines deep-tissue work with assisted stretching and non-force spinal alignment.
This comprehensive program of soft-tissue manipulation balances the body’s central nervous system with the musculoskeletal system. Based on neurological laws that explain how the central nervous system initiates and maintains pain, the goal is to help relieve the pain and dysfunction by understanding and alleviating the underlying cause. Neuromuscular therapy can help individuals who experience distortion and biomechanical dysfunction, which is often a symptom of a deeper problem. It is also used to locate and release spasms and hypercontraction in the tissue, eliminate trigger points that cause referred pain, rebuild the strength of injured tissues, assist venous and lymphatic flow, and restore postural alignment, proper biomechanics, and flexibility to the tissues.
Performed by a trained perinatal specialist, many methods of massage and somatic therapies are both effective and safe prenatally and during labor and postpartum periods of women’s pregnancies. Prenatally, specific techniques can reduce pregnancy discomforts and concerns and enhance the physiological and emotional well-being of both mother and fetus. Skilled, appropriate touch facilitates labor, shortening labor times and easing pain and anxiety. In the postpartum period, specialized techniques rebalance structure, physiology, and emotions of the new mother and may help her to bond with and care for her infant. Specialized, advanced training in the anatomy, physiology, complications, precautions, and contraindications is highly recommended, and many practitioners require referrals from physicians prior to therapy.
SOFT TISSUE RELEASE
Soft-tissue release (STR) is a powerful injury treatment technique developed in Europe with the world’s fastest sprinters. Recovery rates once considered impossible by traditional therapists and sports medicine doctors were achieved, through methods based on European osteopathy techniques, along with insights from quantum physics. In recent years, STR has been given clinical application for chronic low back pain and whiplash injuries. STR deals directly with the reasons for soft tissue dysfunctions and subsequent referred pain and nerve entrapment. In acute conditions, STR affects the insidious way scar tissue is formed, and in chronic conditions, STR breaks up the fibrotic and adhered mass of scar tissue to quickly allow the muscle to return to its natural resting length. Once the muscle or muscle group has returned to the original resting length, there is an immediate release from the pain induced by the inflammation response. The patient is placed in a particular position so that the muscle begins to stretch in a very specific direction or plane. When the exact location of the injury has been defined, a determined pressure is applied directly into the affected tissue or along a specific line of injury. At the same time, the patient is given a set of instructions that now engage the antagonist of the muscles involved. The muscle is extended from a fixed position in a determined direction under a pinpoint of pressure. Decrease in pain and increase in range of motion are often immediate, offsetting any minor discomfort experienced.
Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment. Pre-event massage is delivered at the performance site, usually with the athlete fully clothed. Fast-paced and stimulating, it helps to establish blood flow and to warm up muscles. During the massage, the athlete generally focuses on visualizing the upcoming event. Post-event massage is also delivered on site, through the clothes. The intent here is to calm the nervous system and begin the process of flushing toxins and waste products out of the body. Post-event massage can reduce recovery time, enabling an athlete to resume training much sooner than rest alone would allow. When an athlete sustains an injury, skillful massage therapy can often speed and improve the quality of healing.
ST. JOHN'S NEUROMUSCULAR THERAPY
St. John’s neuromuscular therapy seeks out the cause of pain, focusing on creating a balance between the muscular and nervous systems. This bodywork focuses on five basic principles–biomechanics, ischemis, trigger points, postural distortion, and nerve entrapment and compression–that are important factors in the body’s physical homeostasis. Also, attention is given to hormonal balance, nutrition, and elimination of toxins. This therapy is used to treat soft-tissue pain throughout most of the body.
One of the most commonly taught and well-known massage techniques, Swedish massage is a vigorous system of treatment designed to energize the body by stimulating circulation. Five basic strokes, all flowing toward the heart, are used to manipulate the soft tissues of the body. The disrobed patient is covered by a sheet, with only the area being worked on exposed. Therapists use a combination of kneading, rolling, vibrational, percussive, and tapping movements, with the application of oil, to reduce friction on the skin. The many benefits of Swedish massage may include generalized relaxation, dissolution of scar tissue adhesions, and improved circulation, which may speed healing and reduce swelling from injury.
Trager is an approach to bodywork developed in the 1920s by American medical practitioner Dr. Milton Trager. It makes extensive use of touch-contact and encourages the patient to experience the freeing-up of different parts of the body. The approach consists of simple exercises called Mentastics and deep, nonintrusive hands-on work, including fluid, gentle, rocking movements. The idea is to use motion in the muscles and joints to produce positive sensory feelings that are then fed back into the central nervous system. The result is a feeling of lightness, freedom, and flexibility. No oils or lotions are used. The patient wears a swimsuit or underwear and lies on a well-padded table in a warm, comfortable environment. Extreme pressure and rapid thrusts are not used and pain is not necessary to make this approach effective. During the session, the practitioner makes touch-contact with the patient in such a gentle and rhythmic way that the person lying passively on the table actually experiences the possibility of being able to move each part of the body freely, effortlessly, and gracefully on his/her own. The practitioner works in a relaxed, meditative state of consciousness. After getting up from the table, the client is given instruction in the use of Mentastics, or “mental gymnastics,” a system of simple, effortless movement sequences, to maintain and enhance the sense of lightness, freedom, and flexibility instilled by the table work. It is a powerful means of teaching the client to recall the pleasurable sensory state that produced positive tissue change. Because it is this feeling state that triggered positive tissue response in the first place, every time the feeling is clearly recalled the changes deepen, become more permanent, and are more receptive to further positive change. Changes described have included the disappearance of specific symptoms, discomforts, or pains; heightened levels of energy and vitality; more effortless posture and carriage; greater joint mobility; deeper states of relaxation than were previously possible; and a new ease in daily activities.