"There are no stupid questions!"

You have probably heard this before, but it needs saying again. Especially when it comes to your health. If you don't understand what you are being told, ask for it to be repeated in a way that you can understand.

A good professional will take the time to make sure you understand what you are being told.

In the massage profession, a therapist is taught the specific terms used in massage. Once a massage therapist learns these terms, they tend to use them. One reason is so that there can be no confusion as to exactly what they are talking about. That is of course if they are talking to another massage therapist. Sometimes they forget that they are not always talking to someone who understands massage terminology.



Tell your therapist if:
You are pregnant, had breast implants within the last year, have skin infections or ulcerations, recently had Lasik or eye surgery, have TB, thrombosis, phlebitis, varicose veins, kidney disorders, hemophilia, severe osteoporosis, had lymph nodes removed, are on any blood thinning medications or medications that inhibit sensation, diabetes, have a recent injury including broken bones or fracture, hematomas, bruises or conditions in acute stages, have swollen or inflamed areas, severe pain, sun burn, open cuts/ bruises / burn


Contraindications for Massage: Skin infections or ulcerations, aneurysm, uncontrolled high blood pressure, complications in pregnancy, fever, skin rash, cold or flu

Massage Terminology

Acupressure Therapy a.k.a Acupuncture without needles - is an ancient healing art (developed in Asia over 5,000 years ago) using the palms, thumbs, knuckles or elbows to press key points which stimulate the body's natural self-curative abilities. Traditional Chinese medical theory describes these acupoints as being on meridians, or channels, of vital energy called qi (ch'i) that flow through the body. There are 12 major meridians that organize a system of communication throughout your body with hundreds of acupoints, each with a specific connection to a muscle, organ or gland. Acupressure is effective in the relief of stress-related ailments, releasing muscle tension, boosting the immune system, increasing circulation and relieving emotional unrest. Stretching and rocking of the limbs may be used in an acupressure session to increase lymph and blood flow and to relax the muscles, tendons and fascia even more. Acupressure can be incorporated into a massage with more emphasis on the acu-points, or can be a stand alone session.

Aromatherapy - is the ancient practice of using essential oils extracted from plants to treat and heal imbalances of body, mind, spirit and emotions. When we inhale these essential scent molecules, our brains release neuropeptides that can have mood altering effects from relaxation and stress release to mental clarity.

Body Masque - Bentonite clay (also known as Montmorillonite) is an edible clay from naturally occurring volcanic ash sediments, and contains over 70 trace minerals.  This clay is one of the most effective and powerful healing clays used to treat both internal and external maladies.  The largest and most active deposits come from Wyoming and Montana. Externally, Bentonite is used as a clay poultice, mud pack, in the bath, and in skin care recipes. Bentonite clay is traditionally used as an internal supplement to assist with mineral deficiencies, and to help bind toxins making them more soluble. Bentonite clay has the ability to absorb toxins, impurities, heavy metals and other contaminants from the body, and is ingested to treat mineral deficiencies, anemia, stomach ulcers, diarrhea, intestinal problems, hemorrhoids, and for general organ health.

Corrective Massage Therapy- is like no other massage therapy modality as the goal is to alleviate pain by correcting individual postures, we address the root cause of the musculo-skeletal pain and restriction, not the symptoms of it. For example chiropractic medicine focuses on correcting misalignment's of the skeleton to reduce/eliminate nerve impingement's etc., however as bones do not have the capacity to move themselves, this approach will only yield a benefit in the short term. Hence Corrective Massages' focus on the single largest organ of our bodies, our muscles, which accounts for on average 50% of our body weight.

The effectiveness of Corrective Massage treatments depend on a number of variables, the main ones are as follows:

  • How long the postural dysfunction has been allowed to perpetuate itself
  • How many aggravating factors are involved, e.g. Sport and Occupation
  • The age of the individual (the older the client, the more fibrous muscles and connective tissues become. This is a natural occurrence as nature sacrifices our joint mobility for stability)
  • Level of activity - disuse can be worse than overuse
  • Whether the postural dysfunction is due to functional (muscular driven) factors or structural abnormalities (genetic skeletal abnormalities) 0
  • The fitness of the client - the fitter the individual the faster he/she will recover from treatments and the deeper our CMT's are able to work to maximize benefit

Improved posture results in improved musculo-skeletal function, visceral (organs) function, lymphatic and blood circulation.

Couples Massage - Two therapists are scheduled with so that couples may receive a massage session, simultaneously. At BWC we do simultaneous sessions with clients in their own rooms for peace, tension release and mental rebalancing. Then they're free to go about their day, together, both relaxed and relieved of pain and tension. Standard massage session rates apply

Craniosacral Therapy - Rooted in osteopathic medicine, Craniosacral Therapy is based on the theory that cerebrospinal fluid ebbs and flows within the membrane around the brain and spinal cord, increasing or decreasing pressure on the cranium in the process. For some individuals, whether through illness or injury, the cranio-sacral rhythmic flow may be disrupted or impeded, resulting in chronic pain, discomfort or ailments such as recurring ear and sinus infections. It is a relaxing, rejuvenating session which is medium to light in pressure.
By addressing the root cause of dysfunction, it offers more than just symptomatic relief. It has been very effective in helping:
All types of Chronic Pain, Migraine Headaches and Many other types of Headaches, Vertigo, Stress and Tension Related Problems, Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ) and other Jaw Pain, Sinusitis, Earache, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia and other Fascial Pain, Attention Deficit Disorder, Emotional Difficulties, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Post-Surgical Dysfunction, Orthopedic Problems, Scoliosis, Central Nervous System Disorders, Neurovascular or Immune Disorders, Poor Digestion, Insomnia and Sleep Issues.                      

Cupping Therapy - Our office has had an increased number of clients that asked for a cupping treatment. Cupping therapy has been around for years in traditional Chinese medicine. Cupping massage with silicone cups at BWC is a modern adaptation of the ancient Chinese art of cupping therapy. By creating a suction or vacuum, cupping is used to release rigid soft tissue, drain excess fluids and toxins, loosen adhesion, and lift connective tissue, while bringing blood flow to stagnant skin and muscles. Cupping has a sedating effect on the nervous system, and many people find it profoundly relaxing. Massage cupping is a gentle, non-invasive way to soften muscle tissue so that more specific massage techniques can be comfortably applied. Cupping is generally not painful. Some people who suffer from chronic muscle disorders may feel minimal discomfort and should mention it immediately so adjustments can be made. Many people report that muscle tension and tenderness continues to improve hours after the session is completed.​

Cupping massage has a very similar effect on the muscles as a deep tissue massage. The pulling force of the suction places a specific stretch on the muscle, and when massaged with a cup, elongates the muscles and breaks down adhesion in the tissue. In areas of tissue dysfunction, this technique may occasionally leave a temporary mark but is not painful. Traditional Chinese medicine regards the appearance of a light bruise as an indication that toxins and stagnation are being pulled to the surface of the body, restoring healthy lymph and blood flow. Marks usually last 2-4 days, or more depending on each individual. Over a series of treatments, the marks will lighten and disappear faster as stagnation in the area clears.

Deep Tissue - releases the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow strokes and deep pressure on contracted areas, either following or going across the grain of muscles, tendons and fascia. It is called deep tissue, because it focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. This therapy can, but does not have to be hard..

Energy Work - Both Healing Touch and Therapeutic Touch were developed by nurses in the United States. Details of the two techniques vary, but they both emphasize compassion and balancing of the body's energy to restore harmony and promote self-healing. The nurses designed these techniques to help their patients recover and then began teaching the techniques to other people. Practitioners use their hands, either close to or lightly touching your body, to clear energy blockages and promote self-healing.

Esalen Massage - Esalen is similar to Swedish massage in that it focuses on relaxation and the balancing of the muscular/nervous system. It incorporates other modalities like trigger point, myofascial release and lymphatic drainage when need-be. The obvious difference is that the therapist utilizes extremely long, slow strokes covering the full length of the body throughout the session to help them pay more attention to the responses of the body. This allows them to concentrate on the areas which affect and benefit the client based on what the body is needing at the time.

Effleurage - is a stroke generally used in a Swedish massage treatment. These long, smooth, gliding strokes are used to relax soft tissue, stimulate blood/lymph circulation and create a sense of well being. This modality ranges from light to very deep in nature. The therapist's hands, fingers and forearms are utilized.

Fascia - the thin membrane that lies on and throughout all muscle fiber (the most superficial part surrounds the muscle and is directly below the fat layer). When fascia is tight the muscle is pinched, knotted and pulled.
This causes tension in the body.

Foot Heaven Treatments - This treatment cleanses, exfoliates, relaxes and rejuvenates those tired feet and calves! It starts with natural castille soap to clean the feet and calves then proceeds to an exfoliating scrub and ends with a massage from the knee to the toes. During the massage portion reflexology, trigger point and stretching may be used to relieve tension in the feet, ankles and calves.

Friction - the deepest of Swedish massage strokes. This stroke encompasses slow, high pressure movements applied to soft tissue causing the underlying layers of tissue to rub against each other. The result causes an increase in blood flow to the massaged area.

Hydra-Surge Facelift Facial - is pampering, invigorating and also relaxing. It improves the appearance of the face by stimulating the underlying layers of skin and soft tissue. This will make surface wrinkles less visible, slow down the formation of new wrinkles, promote collagen production and will help keep facial muscles toned. Skin elasticity, firmness, and muscle tone are greatly improved with this type of facial.
This process not only restores skin elasticity and a natural glow while removing toxins from the skin, but provides relief from Sinus Pressure, Migraine, Puffiness, Lines, Acne and TMJ due to muscle tension and lymphatic blockage (fluid retention) in the upper extremities.
After the facial exfoliation/cleansing and massage, a masque of Bentonite Clay, Coffee/Clay or Oatmeal/Essential Oils is applied. While the masque dries, the client receives a hand and foot massage, or more massage on the shoulders!
Please do not confuse an aesthetic “facial” with a “Facelift Facial” as they are not the same treatments. The Hydra-Surge Facelift Facial is a very specialized form of massage therapy for the face.

Infrared Heat Therapy -  The Far Infrared (FIR) light is the invisible part of the light spectrum which is the same as what comes from the sun. It’s what we feel when we step into the sun. It's not heat, but light energy which feels warm when it touches us. Because it's light (not just the kind of electrical heat you get from a heating pad, which is a surface heat) it penetrates 2-6 inches into your body, giving you a deep cellular level massage.

Far Infrared (FIR) Health Benefits :
  • Improves Immune System
  • Increases Metabolism and Burn Calories
  • Relieves Muscle Pain and Tension
  • Eases Joint Pain and Stiffness
  • Reduces Stress and Fatigue
  • Increases Mental Focus
  • Improves Skin Health
  • Improves Appearance of Cellulite

The Far Infrared mat fits on a massage table so you can receive treatments for 30-120 minutes while the detoxifying heat penetrates deep into the body’s tissues. Science shows that heating the core of the body to 110' F induces an artificial fever, which promotes the killing of many pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. During this high "fever" it allows fat cells to release their hoarded toxins and also provides an abundance of negative ions which calms the nerves and increases serotonin levels. It utilizes over 150 stones of Jade and Tourmaline to conduct its heat, thus offering hot stone therapy during a session!

-The temperature setting of the far infrared mat is typically between
105'-150'۫ F.

Pregnancy: It is totally safe to use the infrared mat during pregnancy if clients limit themselves to the lower settings and not for extended periods (longer than an hour continuous).  It can actually be great for morning sickness, achy back and body, nausea, pain.  The reason to keep it on low settings is to limit the detoxification and focus on the comforting, soothing, boosting, and restorative functions of the heat.

Lymphatic Drainage - This type of light bodywork relieves the lymph blockages in the body that can hender proper flow of circulation while inhibiting metabolism and optimal immune function. Although only 2-3 liters of lymph is filtered through the lymph system per day, it is vital because it helps to remove proteins that that are too large to get back through the capillary wall. The spaces that open in the initial lymphatic are 4 to 6 times bigger than the spaces in the capillaries. Removal of protein is essential because they draw water to themselves, so excess protein in the interstitial spaces causes swelling or edema. The lymph vessels also collect dead cells, waste products, bacteria, viruses, inorganic substances, water and fats.

Medical Rehabilitation Massage - Medical rehabilitation massage is performed with the intent of improving conditions or pathologies that have been diagnosed by a physician; a wide variety of modalities are utilized to focus the treatment based on the diagnosed condition. Medical rehabilitation massage will have a therapeutic affect and improve health by acting directly on the muscular, nervous, circulatory, lymphatic and immune systems. Directly or indirectly, it will help all systems mentioned before. Medical rehabilitation massage can develop, sustain, rehabilitate or augment physical functions. The basic goal of medical rehabilitation massage is to help the body heal itself and to increase health and well-being. Objectives may be a to heal injury, improve circulation and relieve tension in the muscles and fascial layer.

Body Masque/Wrap - Bentonite Clay provides a world of health benefits and is heralded for its safe and effective cleansing properties. It is composed of aged volcanic ash found in different parts of the world and has been used in treating medical conditions since earliest recorded history. This clay is not only a good option if you want to draw impurities in your skin to the surface, but can also be used as an exfoliant to help get rid of dead skin cells. Making a mask containing this clay can also help increase blood circulation to the skin, and its healing properties could also help a number of skin conditions, including acne, eczema, and rashes. Since ancient times, Dead Sea Mud has been used to purify and mineralize the skin. Dead Sea Mud has the ability to moisturize and hydrate skin, which helps to reduce wrinkles. Mud is a well know as a psoriasis treatment, and is proven to provide effective relief for other skin disorders including eczema, and acne, and can also be used to treat ailments such as arthritis, muscle stiffness, rheumatism, and joint inflammation.

As either mask heats up with infrared heat, it gently pulls out toxins and impurities that can contribute to clog pores that can make the skin appear aged. In conjuntion with the heat of the Infrared Biomat or Infrared Wrap, it penetrates and detoxifies, boosting metabolism and removing stored toxins.

Myofascial Release - a form of bodywork that seeks to re-balance the body by releasing tension in the fascial layer. The Indirect method a.k.a Barnes Technique involves a gentle stretch, with lighter pressure, which allows the fascia to 'unwind' itself. The dysfunctional tissues are guided along the path of least resistance until free movement is achieved. The gentle traction applied to the restricted fascia will result in heat and increased blood flow in the area. This allows the body's inherent ability for self-correction to return, thus eliminating pain and restoring the optimum performance of the body. The Direct method a.k.a Deep tissue work of myofascial release works through engaging the myofascial tissue restrictive barrier, the tissue is loaded with a constant force until tissue release occurs. Practitioners use knuckles, elbows, or other tools to slowly stretch the restricted fascia by applying moderate pressure. Direct myofascial release seeks for changes in the myofascial structures by stretching, elongation of fascia, or mobilizing adhesive tissues. The practitioner moves slowly through the layers of the fascia until the deep tissues are reached.

Oriental Bar Therapy a.k.a Bar Therapy or Bare Foot Massage - Medium to Deep compression massage strokes are applied to the body using the pressure of the feet to relieve tight muscles. Using parallel bars, suspended from the ceiling, the therapist maneuvers their body weight for a deep tissue massage. This is a must try for those who never receive enough pressure in previous massages. Although the roots of Bar Therapy are definitely Asian, this style incorporates Swedish style massage techniques and deep tissue work to deliver the deepest most therapeutic massage possible, relieving pain and relaxing the body. What is the biggest difference between a Deep Tissue, Swedish Massage and Bar Therapy? The amount of even pressure that is applied to the body can rarely be done by the hands. Since the foot is bigger, greater pressure can be applied without bruising the muscle and can be held for an extended period of time. Many clients swear they will never go back to traditional massage after experiencing Bar Therapy. Who will benefit from Oriental Bar Therapy? These techniques are ideal for those who desire a gratifying and results-driven treatment, those who have chronic lower and upper back pain, mild scoliosis or sciatica, physically fit individuals, larger clients, athletes, and those who can never get enough pressure in a massage. Clients seeking improved posture and movement, pain relief and a state of well being, should consider this style. It also addresses tight or painful hamstrings, calf muscles, quadriceps, tight IT Bands, tight forearms and so much more! Clients with laminectomy, lordosis, kyphosis, fusion or rods can often benefit from a Oriental Bar Therapy Session. Who should not receive Oriental Bar Therapy? General Contraindications are as follows: You are pregnant, had breast implants within the last year, have skin infections or ulcerations, recently had Lasik or eye surgery, have TB, thrombosis, phlebitis, varicose veins, aneurysm, kidney disorders, hemophilia, severe osteoporosis, had lymph nodes removed, are on any blood thinning medications or medications that inhibit sensation, have uncontrolled high blood pressure or diabetes, have a recent injury including broken bones or fracture, hematomas, bruises or conditions in acute stages, have swollen or inflamed areas, fever, severe pain, sun burn, open cuts/ bruises / burn, skin rash, cold or flu

Prenatal Massage - Prenatal Massage focuses on the mother-to-be as she goes through the changes due to pregnancy. This is not a replacement for medical care, but rather as an adjunct to aid in the health and rapid recovery of the mother. Massage therapists will focus treatment on the concerns of each trimester. After the mother has given birth, treatment will assist in restoring the body back to its normal condition. Prenatal massage may also help reduce and/or eliminate excess water retention.

Reflexology - bodywork based around a system of points in the hands and feet that correspond, or "reflex," to other areas of the body. This release of reflex points improves nerve response and balances nerve flow throughout the
systems of the body.

Somatic Massage- This therapy uses touch and movement to communicate with specific types of tissue and fluids. It is intuitive and improvised while responding to your body's needs. Every session is unique. Some systems and issues include:
Muscular System- Working out knots and areas of stress. Identifying specific muscles holding tension, and tracing the transfer of stress to different muscle-groups.
Skeletal System- Deep, direct touch that outlines the shape of your “container”, releasing points of tension along areas of muscle-attatchment, and lighter touch facilitating awareness of one's bone-structure through subtle guided movements.
Joints, Ligaments, Tendons, and Fascia- Improving mobility and identifying stress holding patterns.
Lymphatic System and other internal Fluids- Aiding drainage, circulation, and flow through movement and specific massage techniques.
Breath, Lungs, Diaphragm and Voice- Learning to express ourselves with an embodied voice is a valuable asset. Conscious use of vocalization and breath can aid the body in the process of transformation and release.
Whole-body Integration- Giving the body space, time, and attention to itself as a whole, as an important element in digesting and absorbing your experiences. You will learn how to enhance your capacity to identify internal responses to stressors, and mobilize that energy towards restoration and ease.

Michael uses his own breath and sound encouraging the client to use their breath and sound, to deepen the therapeutic experience and release tension. These techniques can be especially useful tools for opening areas of stagnation and holding patterns. They can be used AT HOME along with stretching to focus awareness of the body and stress triggers. Breath is a vital part of giving our body the fuel it needs to regenerate, increasing the blood flow and providing a way out for the tension and toxins that are released.

Somatic emotional release can happen- It empowers a client to holistically discharge stress, body tension and blocked emotions (such as fear, grief and trauma), as well as relieve stagnated energy while restoring resilience.

Sports Rehabilitation - Sports 'Massage' rehabilitation prepares athletes, sport enthusiasts, joggers, personal trainers, etc. for high energy activities at peak performance. A form of massage therapy focusing on the muscle systems relevant to individual athletes, it energizes, relieves swelling, reduces muscle tension, and promotes flexibility to prevent the recurrence of injuries. Sports therapy helps to alleviate the stress, tension and toxins which build up in the body’s soft tissues during overexertion and demanding physical activities.

Steam Therapy - Since ancient times, steam therapy has been used by traditional healing systems around the world to improve and maintain good health and beauty. Steam therapy is beneficial for weight-loss, detoxification, stress reduction, muscle soreness, joint pain, respiratory conditions, circulation, inflammation, and the boosting of the immune system (steam can help the body fight colds and flu by creating an artificial temperature).
At BWC the Steamy WonderTM Tent is utilized for steam treatments. It fits over the massage table so the client can relax while they become detoxified and healthier. This treatment can be used on its own, or in conjunction with clay masque, mud masque, salt scrub and massage therapy for increased benefits.

Steamin' Salt Scrub - Dead Sea salt is renowned for its ability to renew the skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, smooth and soften, and leave skin looking younger. According to a study performed by the University of Kiel in Germany, the minerals in Dead Sea Salt "are known to bind water, influence epidermal proliferation and differentiation, and enhance permeability barrier repair," which means that they help the skin retain water and help keep it moisturized. More moisture in the skin leads to a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and the prevention of new wrinkle formation.
The minerals in Dead Sea salt help to heal and soothe problem skin, including skin suffering from psoriasis and eczema. According to Psoriasis Guru, the minerals in Dead Sea Salt, including magnesium, bromide, zinc and sulfur, help slow overactive cellular growth that causes psoriasis and also help to reduce inflammation and redness.

At BWC the Steamy WonderTM Tent is utilized for salt scrubs. It fits over the massage table so the client can relax while they become detoxified and healthier. This treatment can be used on its own, or in conjunction with massage therapy for increased benefits.

Structural Re-Balancing - addresses misalignments through postural assessment and by integrating Deep Tissue, Myofascial Release, Side Posture Massage and Swedish Massage to bring the body back into balance and
relieve the restrictions.

Swedish Massage - a system of Effleurage- long strokes that increase the circulation of blood/lymph, Petrissage-kneading and Friction techniques that smooth out knots/tension and active/passive joint movements that increase mobility/flexibility. Swedish massage can be light to very deep in pressure and can be coupled with tissue release techniques for chronic physical tension.

Tapotement - is executed with cupped hands, fingers or the side of the hand with short, alternating taps to the client.

Trigger Point Therapy a.k.a Myotherapy or Neuromuscular Therapy - applies concentrated finger pressure to "trigger points", which through stress or injury can become the central location of pain in the muscles. This breaks cycles of spasm and pain in the body. (Trigger points can refer pain elsewhere in the body. ex: a tight neck may cause headache)