"After my session, I felt more grounded, relaxed and able to navigate my day. Karen is a gifted massage therapist, skilled at unwinding problem areas."
- Lisa G.
"After my massage I felt calm, cared for and in balance. My body was at ease, my posture was straighter, and my head felt clear and focused."
- Alex P.
"From beginning to end, the massage had a perfect pace and was a highly relaxing experience. I have had a lot of massages in my life and Karen is one of the best."
- Danny G.
"The rhythm and flow of the massage made every part feel paid attention to. I liked watching the stress and tension just slip off me for a bit!"
- Coral B.
"Karen really uses her background as a dancer and yogi to bring unique elements to her sessions. I left feeling relaxed, calm, and listened to."
- Renee F.
"Karen was the most present massage therapist I have ever had. I really felt her there with me and this distinguished the massage from others I have had."
- Amy O.
"Karen uses a variety of techniques and has a wonderful pace, a comforting and soothing touch, and a gentle confidence that puts me completely at ease."
- Kat W.
"Karen's knowledge of how joints and muscles work allows for stretches that reached my entire body, even parts that I didn't realize were tense."
- Renee F.

Massage Therapy FAQs

1. What should I expect from a massage session?

First and foremost, a massage should feel good! With so many "good for us" things in the world that are a chore or uncomfortable, I'm lucky enough to practice an art that is enjoyable for both the practitioner and the client.

Even in deep tissue or therapeutic sessions where there might be some discomfort as scar tissue or other adhesions are addressed, nothing should be painful. The old adage of "no pain, no gain" does not apply here as what we're doing is nourishing your body and helping it to heal.

If you're receiving a Grounding Floor massage or a Craniosacral session, you'll be fully clothed and will want to wear something comfortable and/or stretchy (athletic pants work well). If you are receiving a Healing Table massage, you'll have the option to undress to your comfort level. You'll be draped at all times and only the part of the body we're working with will be revealed. I will check in periodically during the massage to assess your comfort, but you should always speak up if you would like any modification to your position, the pressure, or the room's temperature to improve your experience.

Ultimately, the massage session is a self-care experience for you. I'm facilitating your journey but we're in it together.

2. What's the difference between Swedish and Deep Tissue massage?

As massage has gotten increasingly popular, the term "Deep Tissue" has become synonymous with using firm pressure during a massage. However, Deep Tissue massage technique is really a way of working that addresses specific problem areas or injuries that might have restrictions due to knots, adhesions, scar tissue, etc. It's most helpful in therapeutic situations and can be incorporated into many other modalities.

Swedish massage, on the other hand, is frequently misunderstood because the perception is that it's always light in touch or "fluffy." As a technique, Swedish focuses on increasing circulation, soothing the nervous system, and can be done with light or firm pressure. It's a wonderful modality and has endless benefits.

What many massage therapists have reported is that clients may ask for "Deep Tissue," but what they're looking for is a Swedish massage with firm pressure. I incorporate Deep Tissue techniques into my sessions when appropriate and believe that every person is different in their bodywork needs.

3. What is Craniosacral Therapy?

Craniosacral therapy is a subtle form of bodywork that focuses primarily on the spinal column, the bones of the head, and the triangular bone at the end of your spine, the sacrum. As the housing for the central nervous system, misalignment or restriction in any of these areas can have effects throughout your body. Recently, CST has really gained momentum in the world of integrated health therapies as recent studies have found that it can have positive effect on a variety of conditions including TMD (jaw tightness and/or grinding), severe headaches and migraines, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, and severe physical injury. Studies are currently being conducted on its effects on autism, and other neurological conditions.

CST uses a series of "holds" where the therapist positions their hands on particular parts of the body and will subtly work with the bones and fascia to help the body back towards alignment. Due to its noninvasive nature, it's appropriate for almost anyone who is interested in this work. It is deeply relaxing and truly taps into the body's intelligence for healing.

A typical CST session with me will include a few minutes of warming up of the tissue via shiatsu-based work, and then shifting into the CST holds. From my experience and feedback from my clients, we've found that 75 or 90-minute sessions work best to really take advantage of the possibilities of this work.

4. Is massage therapy affordable?

It is true that in the US, massage therapy has been mainly considered a luxury item for most people and only for "special occasions." This was understandable given that we didn't yet understand the multitude of benefits that can come from bodywork and touch therapy. It was also true that cultural and physical conditions didn't require regular bodywork the way that our lives now call for it.

We are simply in a time in our culture where bodywork and massage is necessary to balance our lives. With a majority of people in jobs that is mostly "mental work," that asks us to sit at desks and computers for a majority of our day, only to lead to a significant amount of time spent in front of screens during our "relaxing" time, connection to our bodies is difficult. This, in combination with repetitive stress due to driving, sitting, typing, and the mental stress that comes with multi-tasking, our own pressure for efficiency and production, etc.; self-care is a necessity.

There was a time when cell phones seemed like a luxury, until its uses and integration into our lives made it a part of our regular expenses. I believe that with the cultural and social factors we are not facing, regular bodywork is the same way. In order to remain in good health, to be able to strive towards our life goals and be present with our loved ones.

Finance expert David Bach talks about the "latte factor", or the idea that all you have to do to increase your wealth significantly is to look at the small habits you have (that you don't really think about) and re-direct those resources. If you have a latte habit, you're likely spending almost the equivalent of two 60-minute massages on them each month. What positive difference could getting two massages a month make in your life?

5. How can I justify massage when I have many people counting on me to be there for them?

This is one that is near and dear to my heart. I spent many years trying to make sure that others were taken care of before I worried about myself.

But in the case of self-care and massage therapy, I like to use the analogy of the emergency air supply on airplanes. They tell you to get your own air supply strapped on before anyone else's, including your children's. Because if you can't breathe, you're no good to anyone else. The same principle applies here. In order to take care of others well, you need to take care of yourself first. If you don't, everyone suffers. You are extremely valuable, taking care of you is a priority!

6. Aren't the benefits of massage short-lived?

Though the session only last 60/75/90 minutes, the effects of massage can be felt for quite some time afterwards. The easing of your stress and tension often means that you're more focused and productive at work, you might be able to be more present with your partner, spouse, or other relationships, all of which means that your general quality of life can improve.

Depending on your lifestyle and willingness to make even small changes to your daily rituals (like a couple of hot baths a week!), your sessions can actually make a significant difference in your overall wellbeing. Though the visceral physical effects may only last for a few days or a week (depending on your activities and general health), the secondary effects of regular massage can be quite long-lasting and deeply felt.

Want to get in touch? Massage therapy FAQs Karen@KarenTuckerHealing.com (415) 810-1467