Massage and Bodywork

Touch is one of our most ancient healing traditions. In every culture and time touch has healed and soothed.  At Crossings, massage and bodywork are honored for the significant role they play in preventing disease, easing discomfort, and restoring health.

Our practitioners offer an incredibly rich diversity of traditions and techniques. From Traditional Massage to Structural/Energetic work to Psycho-Spiritual approaches, there is a practitioner or style of work to meet you.

No matter which tradition/practitioner you choose, each is rooted in time honored healing principles:

  • human beings are a unified whole with unique qualities
  • any form of physical and/or energetic touch has the capacity to effect body, mind and spirit
  • movement towards integration and wholeness is often the most effective approach at relieving underlying distress and pain

For  a detailed description of each of our traditions and techniques, read more by clicking the link.  Each of our practitioner’s biographies may be discovered just by clicking on their name.

Massage and Bodywork techniques at Crossings:

Active Isolated Stretching – a whole body approach to stretching that takes advantage of certain physiological principles (stretch reflex, reciprocal inhibition) to ensure efficient, effective and safe stretching techniques that improve flexibility and posture, aid rehabilitation, and enhance general circulation and metabolic processes. [Lucia Mercer]

Alexander Technique – The Alexander Technique is a method that works to change (movement) habits in our everyday activities. It is a simple and practical method for improving ease and freedom of movement, balance, support and coordination. The technique teaches the use of the appropriate amount of effort for a particular activity, giving you more energy for all your activities. It is not a series of treatments or exercises, but rather a reeducation of the mind and body. The Alexander Technique is a method which helps a person discover a new balance in the body by releasing unnecessary tension. It can be applied to sitting, lying down, standing, walking, lifting, and other daily activities. [1][Ruth Anne Keister]

Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT) – is based upon Chinese Medical principles for assessing and evaluating the body’s energetic system. It uses traditional Asian techniques and treatment strategies to affect and balance the energetic system for the purpose of treating the human body, emotions, mind, energy field and spirit for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health. ABT is one of the three branches of Chinese Medicine, in addition to Acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Treatment may include, but is not limited to the following: touching, pressing or holding of the body along meridians and/or on acupoints, stretching, external application of medicinal plants or foods, heat or cold, and dietary or exercise suggestions. Cupping, guasha, moxibustion, and other methods/modalities may also be used.  [Cathy Miller]

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (CST) – a hands-on approach to healing that applies a series of gentle holds to balance the craniosacral system (composed of the bones and soft tissue of the cranium, spine and sacrum; the meninges; and the cerebrospinal fluid).  By easing restrictions in these tissues and balancing the rhythmic flow of the cerebrospinal fluid, CST restores balance to the central nervous system and the entire body.  [Lucia Mercer, Ricey Clapp]

Clinical Acupressure - Often described as “acupuncture without needles,” Clinical Acupressure promotes balance, rejuvenation, and wellness by accessing and addressing the vital energies of the body. Clinical Acupressure promotes better health and renewed energy by actively involving the client in his or her own healing and growth process. This modality is ideal for individuals who might not ordinarily seek out acupuncture or other energy healing modalities. The client lies fully clothed on a massage table while the practitioner applies gentle pressure to the acupoints. Clinical Acupressure can address many common physical symptoms, including back problems, headaches, respiratory, digestive and systemic problems as well as colds, flu, allergies, anxiety, stress, exhaustion, and healing from injuries. It is not appropriate for severe medical problems and does not supplant medical care.  [Cathy Miller]

Deep Tissue Massage – describes both specific techniques (compression, friction, deep glides) and is also a general “umbrella” term to describe a variety of modalities that affect and release deeper layers of muscle and other structures of the body (e.g. Connective Tissue Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy).  [Philomena Queen, Holly Markush, Ruth Anne Keister, Lucia Mercer]

Hot Stone Massage –  Hot stone massage is a variation on classic massage therapy. Heated smooth, flat stones are placed on key points on the body. The massage therapist may also hold the stones and use them to massage certain areas of the body[2] [Gaia Baytop]

Integrative Manual Therapy and Bodywork (IMTB) -addresses biomechanical dysfunction -restricted range of motion involving joints and soft tissues – with non-force approaches based onosteopathic methodologies. IMBT is a whole body approach, enhancing vitality and adaptivecapacity by releasing the barriers to free and balanced motion through use of use of positioning, fulcrums and resisted movement. Techniques used include muscle energy, counterstrain,myofascial release, cranial and visceral work, lymph drainage, Zero Balancing, neural tension,functional technique, among others. [Ricey Clapp]

Lymphatic Drainage – uses light rhythmical strokes to activate lymph and interstitial fluidcirculation as well as stimulate the function of the immune and parasympathetic nervous systems.These subtle motions reduce stagnation, aid in the elimination of metabolic wastes and toxinswhile decreasing swelling with it’s associated discomfort. Lymph Drainage, along with yourphysician’s management, is very useful treatment for: reduction of edemas (swelling),regeneration of tissue (ie, burns, wounds, wrinkles), relief of chronic and subacute inflammation(sinusitis, bronchitis, acne), reduction in symptoms of chronic fatigue, pain and fibromyalgia;deep relaxation to aid insomnia, stress, devitalized states; support for wellness and integratedself-care. [Ricey Clapp]

Myofascial/Connective Tissue Massage – are both whole-body approaches to healing that seek to restore balance and postural alignment, and thereby reduce pain and increase vitality.  Techniques focus on releasing restrictions and restoring length in the fascia (the layers of connective tissue that surround and support every muscle, organ and bone in the body).  They have their foundations in physical therapy and structural integration/Rolfing.  [Ricey Clapp, Ruth Anne Keister, Holly Markush, Lucia Mercer]

Neuromuscular Therapy – is a type of deeper tissue massage that seeks to release those overly sensitive, irritated points and bands of pain deep in the muscles (known as trigger points) which are often responsible for radiating, or referring, pain to other areas of the body.

Orthopedic Massage -  Orthopedic massage is a type of massage therapy which is focused on treating painful conditions which affect the soft tissues of the body. The massage therapist may integrate a range of techniques to treat these conditions, ideally adapting his or her style for each client, as every person’s body is slightly different. Orthopedic massage may be recommended by a physician who wants a patient to pursue multiple treatment modalities, and people can also see an orthopedic massage therapist independently[3]. [Gaia Baytop]

Oncology Massage – is the modification of existing massage therapy techniques in order to safely work with those living with cancer. Client-specific and customized, oncology massage is designed to safely meet the unique and changing needs of those in treatment or with a history of cancer treatment. This safe massage plan generally revolves around the side effects, both short and long-term, of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.  The changes that might be made to a massage that make it an “oncology massage” can fall under a number of categories, but typically they will be related to session length, pressure, positioning and areas of specific compromise or concern such as mediports, bone metastases or skin reactions to treatment.  Evidence-based studies have confirmed the effectiveness of massage for cancer patients in the reduction of anxiety and pain-perception. Additionally, because of  the many self-reported benefits of massage and safe touch, oncology massage is now offered in many  of the world’s leading cancer hospitals. Qualified therapists offering oncology massage have been  specifically trained in courses sanctioned by the non-profit Society for Oncology Massage  www.S4OM.org. [Ricey Clapp]

Pregnancy Massage – specialized knowledge of and advanced training in techniques that are beneficial (and contraindicated techniques to avoid) in alleviating pregnancy-related symptoms, and helping support pregnant clients during this period of major structural, physiological, psychological and emotional changes.  [Philomena Queen, Holly Markush, Lucia Mercer]

Process Acupressure (PA) – is a “whole-person” therapeutic modality that integrates the bodywork of Clinical Acupressure with the addition of mental, emotional and spiritual processing. The experience of receiving this work is deeply empowering for the receiver. Normally, the session has several phases—-As a state of relaxation occurs, the client may become aware of issues within the body and/or consciousness. As the session progresses, the client may go into a deeper state of awareness, beneath surface tension, to access clarity or guidance about the issues at hand. Finally, integration and completion of the process occur as the session is closed with grounding and future pacing. [Cathy Miller]

Reflexology – a system based on the theory that the foot (or hand) is a microcosm of the whole body with a “map” of reflex points that correspond to each part or organ system of the body, and that by stimulating these points one can improve the function of that area or system. [Philomena Queen]

Reiki – an ancient energetic healing art that utilizes gentle holds over key areas of the body where principal organs and glands are located (which correspond to the eastern-based system of chakras).  It aims to balance and amplify and individual’s energy to promote healing on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual planes.  [Philomena Queen, Cathy Miller, Lucia Mercer]

Somatic Experiencing – Somatic Experiencing® is a body-awareness approach to trauma being taught throughout the world. It is the result of over forty years of observation, research, and hands-on development by Dr. Peter Levine. Based upon the realization that human beings have an innate ability to overcome the effects of trauma, Somatic Experiencing has touched the lives of many thousands. SE® restores self-regulation, and returns a sense of aliveness, relaxation and wholeness to traumatized individuals who have had these precious gifts taken away. SE® has been used to work with combat veterans, rape survivors, Holocaust survivors, auto accident and post surgical trauma, chronic pain sufferers, and even to infants after suffering traumatic births.[4] [Lucia Mercer]

Strain-Counterstrain (SCS)- is a gentle, indirect osteopathic technique that decreases oreliminates muscle spasm, neuromuscular pain and restricted motion through passive positioningof the affected muscle/joint. This straightforward approach resets muscles reflexes, arrestsinappropriate proprioceptor activity via the central nervous system, returning muscle fibers tonormal resting length and tone. Extensively mapped, palpable tender points in soft tissues areused for both detection and treatment of the affected areas. The therapist is guided by what feelsgood to the client. The gentleness of SCS makes it safe and effective for those in acutediscomfort, chronic pain/fibromyalgia, fragile clients (elderly, osteoporosis, pregnancy). [Ricey Clapp]

Swedish Massage – is the foundation for most western approaches to massage, and often the most well-known.  It aims primarily to induce general relaxation, while improving circulation (blood and lymph), and increase joint mobility through the use of long gliding strokes, combined with kneading, percussive and frictioning techniques.  [All Massage Therapists]

Thai Massage (Nuad Bo-Rarn Tradition) – consists primarily of applying pressure to energy lines and points (known as sen lines), and a large variety of stretching movements.  It is designed to increase flexibility, release both deep and superficial tension, and help the body’s natural energy flow more freely.  Sometimes referred to as passive, or “lazy man’s yoga”, it is traditionally performed on a floor mat and can be adapted to a massage table.  [Philomena Queen]

Zero Balancing – with roots in both osteopathic medicine and acupuncture, this hands-on approach integrates Western manipulative techniques with the Eastern energy system.  A variety of gentle and firm holds are used to balance the body’s energy currents with the structural components of bone, skeleton, and joints. [Holly Markush, Ricey Clapp]


[1] http://www.alexandertechnique.com/at.htm

[2] http://altmedicine.about.com/od/massage/a/hot_stone.htm

[3] http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-orthopedic-massage.htm

[4] http://www.traumahealing.com/somatic-experiencing