I offer deep tissue, medical, and sports massage. I mention the medical and sports massage because the capacity and nature of pressure are so important to them. Because of my musculoskeletal anatomical understanding, I can often go deeper with less pain than you may have experienced in a deep tissue massage. Because of my size and the nature of my work I can deliver a very even, stable and often broad pressure that can be smooth and calming. I have never been asked for more pressure than I can deliver. This kind of massage is great for deep cycle maintenance. It is not the kind of sports massage you want right before you perform unless you are injured and need to perform anyway. If you have to compete or work the same or next day please tell me all the details before we start. Given enough time or focus within your session I am confident I can soften any tight muscle. If you are desperate enough to devote an hour or more to a single spot on your body, chances are you are in significant pain. Deep tissue work on a muscle in this state is often very uncomfortable. That last sentence is an understatement.
Communication is essential with extraordinarily deep work. The ideal pressure when working deep is lighter than where you want to stop breathing or tighten up in response. The reported subjective range of what “not-deep-enough!” can overlap “too-deep!” depending on the person and the part of the body as well as the state of the muscle. Generally, healthy muscles can take more pressure without discomfort. I will try to respond to your muscles tone and your body language, and if you want anything different please let me know. As the work gets deeper the margin of error gets thinner. If you want less, speak up! The best words for less pressure are “lighter”, “lighter” repeated, and “off” There is a surprising potential for ambiguity or delay with everything else. I have worked on a premature infant in an intensive care unit incubator, the pressure was very light. I am not a monster, I reward communication.
There is a population among my clients who like very deep work. The following progression of “deeper” are for their benefit. It is mostly humorous and ego fluffing as bragging rights or to educate those who think you are indulging in fluffy pampering. If you are a first time client or are not a fan of the very deep work, the following is not intended for you. Pain does not necessarily equal gain. Please respect your body. Never hesitate to remind me of complications, implanted hardware, sensitivities, bone density issues, injuries, or numbness. If you can not speak for whatever reason during the massage tap the table three times like in wrestling.
I walk on some of my clients. Not step on them, not press down with my feet, I walk on them. I weigh 200 pounds. I have a 6’6″ span.
I have broken 4 massage tables. I am proud of this. To be fair they were overused and under-rated tables. None of them were mine and I warned about the danger in each case. No clients were injured and only one of them went all the way to the floor. My main table now is the Stronglight Premiere rated for 4,000lbs of static weight. It is the strongest folding table I have found. If you like very deep work and are considering buying a table I would be happy to talk to you.
I feel very confident in applying pressure. Traction can be a bit tricky. I have one client who asks for a lot of cervical spine traction. The normal amount of traction was not enough for her. When I gave her more traction the massage table started sliding across the floor. When I braced the table, she started to slide off the table. It took a long time to figure out, but I now tie a sheet above her hips and tie that sheet to the fire escape. I make this as tight as I can using a rolling hitch. I then use a pillowcase to cradle her head and brace my knees into the table as I lunge backward. This kind of traction is very advanced and would put most other necks into spasm if not worse. This is something I will only work up to slowly over several sessions, making sure there are not adverse reactions at the lesser stops along the way.
For my most exacting clients, those who are not satisfied with my body weight alone, I push down off of the ceiling. There is a particular pose where I brace my arms on the ceiling as if I was about to do a forearm stand, lock my shoulders and legs, placing the heel of my foot on the desired muscle, and then straighten the curve in my spine. This bracing and straightening affords a mechanical advantage greater than the strength I possess to push down off of the ceiling. The picture below is me about to lock up over one of my clients. Yes the ceiling fan can be a problem.