What You Can Expect
1. FREE Initial Phone Consultation:
You are welcome to call me for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation, at which time we can briefly discuss your situation and decide whether massage therapy may be of assistance to you. I can answer any questions that you have and help to clarify your funding options, as therapeutic massage therapy is an insured benefit under various insurance providers. If we decide it’s beneficial for us to work together, we will book the initial session.
ONLINE BOOKING AVAILABLE: If you have already decided you’d like to book an appointment, you are welcome to book your appointment online – click here for my booking calendar:
2. First Session:
I will require you to complete a thorough health history form at your initial session which will help me to understand the complexity of your issues, and assist me to create therapeutic massage therapy treatments that will fulfill your goals and produce long term results. Please arrive 10 minutes early to allow yourself time to complete this form without being rushed.
Or you can CLICK HERE to download the health history form to print and fill out at home. Then be sure to bring your completed form to your first appointment!
Our initial interview will include traditional assessment techniques to help me clarify the roots of your pain and will then move into the treatment portion of your session based on what I find in our assessment.
3. Subsequent Sessions:
The ideal frequency of your massage therapy sessions is based on a treatment plan that we devise at our initial visit. Depending on your circumstances I may recommend treatments to continue as often as once a week or as infrequently as each couple of months.
I find that clients who need massage therapy for pain relief realize the greatest gains in their healing when they receive regular appointments. We will know it is time to reduce the frequency of your sessions as your symptoms diminish, and as you gain the resources and confidence needed to continue your self-care at home and notice the subtle cues your body gives you when it’s time to receive more support. As preventative care, massage therapy proves very beneficial for people and is recommended as a part of your wellness plan. Some people choose to see me on a monthly basis for a long while, others I see every now and then over the years, when they decide they could use my assistance for new challenges that present in their life. It is always a pleasure to reconnect with clients I haven’t seen in awhile!
I bring over 20 years of bodywork experience and education to the massage table! I offer you diverse and comprehensive therapeutic massage therapy sessions. Your treatment goals are foremost and your needs will be heard and addressed. I utilize an array of treatment techniques, and recommend self care tips and exercise options that evolve with your individual journey.
My intention is to be a facilitator in the cascade of your healing process and health maintenance. I believe that within the human body is the desire and ability to be well. I serve to act as a catalyst for this process, by providing you with massage therapy for chronic pain relief.
This is your time – I encourage you to enjoy the stillness of your session, and sense the changes occurring in your body while we work – you don’t need to be entertaining or start a conversation; that being said, please recognize that I do not read minds. I expect my clients to participate in his or her experience and give feedback as needed during the treatment.
Cascade Massage Therapy is focused on education and prevention. It is important that you know what you can do to help prevent stress, tension, and pain when you are not with me. I allow for time within our session to converse, suggest self care tips and exercises that would be beneficial for you, and answer any questions that you may have.
I believe that prolonged stress, whether environmental, physical or emotional is a primary factor in dis-ease and a true obstacle to healing. Therefore, I welcome you to a peace-filled and relaxing environment for you to experience massage therapy for chronic pain relief.
“The nature of my work challenges my body, both on the farm and in providing care for my husband who is confined to a wheelchair. When my workload is increased, I get severe lower back pain due to the shifts that occur in my spine during lifting. I can usually alleviate the discomfort with Feldenkrais, a movement therapy which assists my body in staying balanced, flexible and strong, helping me to maintain wellness. I also incorporate other self-care tools into my life, such as massage therapy.
I decided to receive a treatment from Sonja during a busy time when my workload had caused some imbalance in my body. After one session I was aware of the shift in my hips and low back – it seemed that my spine was straighter! This became increasingly obvious over the next 5 months, because I didn’t injure myself once – which is unique for me because of the many awkward postures demanded of me in my daily life. I attribute much of my good fortune with a balanced and pain free body to my massage therapy treatment with Sonja!”
– CR, Farmer, Feldenkrais Practitioner, Caregiver
My Treatment style includes the use of a multitude of techniques that I intersperse throughout my sessions when applicable. For example:
- Characterized by its firm, yet calming pressure that improves blood circulation, eases muscle tension, improves flexibility and enhances relaxation.
- Dry techniques are done over the clothing or I will use oil or lotion with a series of long, gliding strokes, kneading of the muscles, and vibrational taps that are so common when one thinks of massage.
- The sequence of strokes varies according to the client’s needs, typically beginning with broad general strokes, transitioning to more detailed specific strokes to address problem areas, and finishing with broad connecting strokes.
- Based on the principle of reciprocal inhibition, a theory that explains that muscles on one side of a joint will always relax to accommodate the contraction of muscles on the other side of that joint when indirect pressure is applied.
- Is used in order to lengthen shortened or spastic muscles, to improve weakened ligaments and muscle strength, and to improve range of motion.
- This procedure is performed when you are asked to contract a muscle for approximately 5-seconds against an anti-force applied by me. You will perform the gentle muscle contraction 2 or 3 times in a row in order to stretch and relax the muscles further each time.
- After identifying tender points on your body I choose a suitable passive position in order restore pain-free movement.
- Your joints are placed in a comfortable position for approximately 90-seconds.
- During this time your muscles will naturally reset to their proper positions.
- Once the muscles are in their natural position, I gently move the tissue in its normal range of motion so that the area becomes rebalanced with the rest of the body.
- By removing misunderstanding from the body, an Ortho-Bionomy® session is a respectful and comfortable experience combining the structural principles of Osteopathy with energetic and philosophical concepts from Martial Arts and Homeopathy.
- The gentle techniques used activate self-corrective nerve reflexes, allowing the body to regain its original patterns of health and wellness.
- Cranial and visceral (organ) release techniques are a part of this modality, and the work is both gentle and respectful of the sensitive natures of these regions.
- Physical and emotional healing occurs as the body remembers its natural ability to seek balance by moving from pain to comfort.
- Based on the system of Hanna Somatic Education(HSE) pioneered by Thomas Hanna.
- A system of neuromuscular education that can help you retrain tight, sore muscles to lengthen and relax thereby relieving pain and helping you to enjoy comfortable movement.
- To achieve this, practitioners use two methods:
- Hands-on techniques
- Somatic Exercises – a series of safe, gentle remedial exercises that reawaken the cortex’s control over voluntary movement and can be done at home to enhance your treatments.
- Use of static pressure on tender points to relieve pain and improve blood and oxygen supply to the tissue.
- The depth of pressure is not intended to be painful. In fact, as muscles are releasing, most people describe the sensation as “good pain” or a “hurts so good” type of feeling.
- It is important to communicate with me regarding the pressure – whether the pressure is too much, too little, getting better, getting worse. I will listen and respond accordingly.
- Following treatment, any soreness that presents itself will likely fade after 24 to 48-hours.
(descriptions below courtesy of The Barral Institute)
What is Visceral Manipulation?
‘Viscera’ refers to the internal organs of the body. Visceral Manipulation (VM) is a gentle manual therapy that aids your body’s ability to release restrictions and unhealthy compensations that cause pain and dysfunction. VM does not focus solely on the site of symptoms but evaluates the entire body to find the source of the problem. The VM therapist feels for the altered or decreased motion within the viscera, as well as restrictive patterns throughout the body and then applies VM techniques. VM therapy re-establishes the body’s ability to adapt and restore itself to health.
What does it feel like?
VM is a soft, hands-on manual therapy. Underneath the pain or diagnoses is a compensatory pattern created in the body with the initial source of the dysfunction often being far from where the pain is felt. Because of this, the practitioner searches for this pattern and the source and treats the related tissues. The treatment is a gentle compression, mobilization, and elongation of the soft tissues. As the source of the problem is released, the symptoms will start to decrease.
Emotions are Stored in the Organs
It is well documented that our emotions have a great impact on how our body functions, and this is greatly due to how receptive organs are to our feelings. Different emotions affect different organs. Emotional reactions can translate into simple spasms in the gallbladder or heartburn, vomiting, feeling faint, ulcers, and serious diseases. When the brain receives negative emotions it sends tension to the related organ, the organ then sends tension back to the brain resulting in a vicious cycle. Conversely, a physically damaged or imbalanced organ can stimulate emotional upset. VM can break this cycle, enhance the health of the organ, and restore emotional balance.
How Do Organs Contribute to Pain and Dysfunction?
Your body is made up of many interrelated components – bones, muscles, nerves, a thin connective tissue called fascia, as well as internal organs (viscera). Your organs are in perpetual motions. When you breathe, walk and stretch, your organs move in your chest and abdomen. For example, when you take a breath, your kidneys move one inch; and with a deep inhalation, they move 4 inches. In a day, they move over 1/2 mile. That’s around 19,000 miles in a lifetime!
This movement of organs is transmitted through fascia to other structures of the body. When you are healthy, all the structures move with fluidity. This movement is important as it influences activities throughout the body from the tiniest cellular pulsations to the rhythmic contractions of the heart and blood flow. Optimum health relies on this harmonious relationship.
Organs lose mobility due to physical trauma, surgery, lifestyle, infection, pollution, diet, posture, pregnancy and such. When an organ is restricted and fixed to another structure, the body is forced to compensate. This creates abnormal points of tension and chronic irritation gives way to functional and structural problems throughout the body.
Note from Sonja: My heartfelt gratitude goes to Jean-Pierre Barral, the Osteopath and Registered Physical Therapist from France, who developed the technique of VM and has been sharing his knowledge, skills and decades of research with Manual Therapists worldwide so that we may continue to help others enjoy the best quality of life possible. Thank you, thank you, to Jean-Pierre and the teaching team of The Barral Institute!!