Karen Small...Creating space for healing and change



Massage Therapy Information

In my practice, I typically combine many different techniques, based on client preferences and my assessment of what would best benefit you during each session. If I find that you would benefit from a technique which I am not trained in, I will gladly refer you to another therapist who can help you.

The primary goal of all my sessions is to help my clients increase their body awareness which improves overall wellness and vitality.

Therapeutic bodywork modalities offered include:

Choosing session length

Thirty minute sessions are great for focusing on one small area (for example, scar work on a healed injury or lymph drainage of one area of your body).

Hour-long sessions are good for one or two focus areas in a full body session, or intense focus on several areas (for example, only the upper body, focusing on arms, neck and back).

Ninety minute sessions are great for full body sessions with many focus areas. Particularly for heavily muscled clients or clients with a physically demanding lifestyle.

Many of the bodywork techniques I utilize need to be done slowly without rushing. These techniques can really make a difference in resolving problems and are worth the extra time.

Sometimes we need to decide during the session to vary the length, shorter or longer, or plan a different length for your next session. I make these decisions based on what I'm finding, accommodating your budget needs.

Is massage always appropriate to receive?

Because of the effects of massage, some conditions are not recommended for receiving massage (although energy work may still be appropriate). Some conditions may only be local contraindications, meaning that your therapist will avoid some areas, but still massage elsewhere. Other conditions may indicate the type of massage that is appropriate. Massage is fully contraindicated in the case of:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Acute illness
  • Fever
  • Recent injury or surgery
  • Inflammation of veins (phlebitis)
  • Under the influence of intoxicating substances or illegal drugs
  • There may be other contraindications depending on what techniques we decide to utilize. The best approach to inform me of all medication and health issues, updating each session if there has been a change or recent illness.

Massage Benefits:

Massage is more than relaxation or pampering. You can read more here for suggestions on how to get the most from your session. Research has demonstrated that massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins (the body's natural painkillers). Therapeutic massage benefits include:

  • Helps relieve stress and aids overall relaxation
  • Helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness
  • Fosters faster healing of strained muscles and sprained ligaments; reduces pain and swelling; reduces formation of excessive scar tissue
  • Provides greater joint flexibility and range of motion
  • Enhances athletic and artistic 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
  • Fosters 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
  • Fosters a feeling of well-being
  • Reduces levels of anxiety
  • Alleviates symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, melancholy, headaches, and insomnia
  • Increases awareness of mind-body connection

What to expect during your massage session:

  • At the start of your appointment, we will go over your health history to check for contraindications to massage. We will discuss questions that you have and plan a massage to suit your individual needs (view some of your choices in the massage).
  • After handling payment for the session, I will leave the room while you undress to your comfort level and relax on a heated massage table under soft, clean sheets.
  • When you are ready, I will return to the room and begin your massage. Only the area of your body that is currently being massaged will be undraped.
  • All-natural products will be used to soothe your skin. Hot packs and aromatherapy may be used to add to your healing and relaxation.
  • Please be sure to communicate with me during your massage: letting me know I've found a tender spot that could use more work, that I'm working too deeply or too lightly, that you're too warm or cold. Massage is most therapeutic when you communicate with me.
  • After the massage is complete, you will redress in privacy, and then relax with a glass of water while we discuss the session.
  • Learning to receive massage is a process. As you continue to have sessions, your body will learn how to relax and let go so that you gain the full therapeutic value of each session.
  • Plan on setting aside a 2 hour window for an hour session to allow you to relax and not feel rushed. There is no need to arrive ahead of the scheduled time.
  • Try not to eat heavily within two hours of the session as this may cause discomfort during the massage.
  • It is not unusual to feel a little "spacey" immediately after a massage. You might feel sore over the next 24 hours, similar to how you'd feel after a good workout. If you feel more severe discomfort or if it lasts longer than 24 hours, please call me. Massage is meant to be comfortable.
  • It is recommended to drink plenty of water for the 24 hours after a massage.
Feel Better...Peform Better...Sleep Better...Think Better...Be Better

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Wellness is so much more than the absence of illness...
It is a path towards a healthy balance in mind, body and spirit.
Regularly receiving bodywork is a fundamental step along that path.

Karen Small
Licensed Massage Therapist
Westerly, RI

Copyright © 2008 by Karen Small.
All rights reserved.