Integrative Body Works
David Parker  CMT
Sebastopol, CA


Why might I want to have a bodywork session?

There are about as many reasons to get a massage as there are people. Of course there are common things that people get massage for, but every session is as unique as the individual. I'll tell you what I most often see people for, and then list some of the "official" benefits of massage at the bottom of the page.


Muscular tension and pain, decreased mobility– Whether it is from sitting at a desk too long, the result of a long term postural pattern, fatigue and soreness from over-exertion, or an acute or chronic injury– massage can work wonders, especially with back pain.

Headaches– Effective for those caused by muscle tension and contracture, bodywork can also help manage migraines both before and after the fact.

Stress Management– The big one. Stress is a vital part of life, we would not be alive without it. Problems occur when we are exposed to too much of it, for too long, without rest, and we lose our ability to process it in a positive manner. This is neuro-bio-chemistry at work (look here for more detail on the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system). Many, many minor and major health imbalances can occur when we are dealing with too much stress. Nearly everyone has experienced this in one way or another, from just being irritable to actually getting sick, even developing chronic illness after years of exposure. Bodywork is an excellent choice to help you manage stress– it calms you down immediately and often lets you see your situation with a different perspective, allowing you to let go of needless concerns and take steps to change stressful situations and behaviors. Massage is also good for many of the symptoms of stress, giving you immediate relief in most cases.

Taking a break– Good bodywork often lets you quickly enter a deep meditative state– the world recedes, and you are given a blissful and restorative vacation  for the next hour. People who get regular sessions report even getting relaxed thinking about their upcoming appointments!

Maintaining and enhancing one's life– A lot of room for interpretation here– many of my clients who come monthly or more frequently say they see slow, positive and permanent changes taking place in their life and being, or that the bodywork helps them maintain the state of a more difficult imbalance.

Support for other medical issues– I see people who want to speed their recovery from trauma, surgery or illness, who have more serious orthopedic issues such as scoliosis and joint replacements, and who find the massage helps with the side-effects of chemotherapy. I  also have clients with conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. In most cases the bodywork is part of an integrative therapy program.

Feeling better– Massage Makes You Feel Great!  Maybe the best reason.



Here are the recognized benefits of massage therapy. These are coming from sources such as The Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMP) and The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). I can't cite the research on this list, but these are generally accepted.


Physical Benefits of Therapeutic Massage

  • Helps relieve stress and aids relaxation
  • Helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness
  • Promotes faster healing of strained muscles and sprained ligaments; reduces pain and swelling; reduces formation of excessive scar tissue
  • Reduces muscle spasms
  • Provides greater joint flexibility and range of motion
  • Enhances athletic performance
  • Promotes deeper and easier breathing
  • Improves circulation of blood and movement of lymph fluids
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Helps relieve tension-related headaches and effects of eye-strain
  • Enhances the health and nourishment of skin
  • Improves posture
  • Strengthens the immune system


Mental/Emotional benefits

  • Gives one a feeling of well-being and peace of mind
  • Promotes a relaxed state of mental alertness
  • Helps relieve mental stress
  • Improves ability to monitor stress signals and respond appropriately
  • Enhances capacity for calm thinking and creativity
  • Satisfies needs for caring — nurturing touch
  • Reduces levels of anxiety
  • Increases awareness of mind-body connection


Doctors are prescribing massage therapy for the following complaints-

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Chronic and acute pain
  • Circulatory problems
  • Digestive disorders (including spastic colon, colic and constipation)
  • Headache
  • Immune function disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Myofascial pain
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Sports injuries (including pulled or strained muscles and ligaments)
  • Stress
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction


Did I mention that massage feels great?

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©2002 Integrative Body Works  David Parker CMT     Updated 11/24/02