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Why Add Movement to A Massage & What to Expect from a Session


We’ve all been told that “movement is medicine” – but what if it hurts to move? A qualified massage therapist knows how to overcome this challenge.

The idea behind movement modalities being incorporated into a massage is two-fold. First, the movement I incorporate is executed at a slow, gentle pace to warm up the muscles. And two, movement used within a massage session allows your body to relax and reintegrate movement without pain.


The experience of pain often causes a subconscious reaction called guarding where people “hold back” on how much they move or choose to stretch. An experienced massage therapist will use several different techniques to reduce muscle guarding and activate a client’s parasympathetic system. This allows the body to reach a deeper state of relaxation. A fuller range of movement can be added incrementally to a session to determine in what direction the restrictions are occurring and then help reduce those restrictions. 


The Body is One Unit: Movement-Based Massage Treats Every Part


Movement modalities are designed to address the body as a whole. You may have heard the Skeleton Dance song, “the thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, the hip bone's connected to the backbone, etc.” It’s a catchy tune, but it’s also a great explanation of why pain in one area of the body can affect the whole body – and also why pain in one area of the body could be caused by an issue in different area of the body (sometimes called “referred pain”).


I can gain an understanding of how painful areas affect other parts of your body by observing how your body moves during the session. For example, while it’s important for your leg to move well on its own, it also has to move well anytime your back moves, such as when you sit down and then get up from a chair. In other words, it’s vitally important to ensure that your body functions well as a unit.


When you’re in pain, your body can get stuck in unhealthy movement patterns; in other words, you try to protect yourself from pain by compensating. For example, you rely more on one arm or the other, or walk in a different way. These “stuck” muscles, tendons and joints need to be re-educated to move in more efficient patterns. The first step to this is helping to promote freedom of movement in the body, and then, with repetition, retrain the movement to be performed without pain. 


What to Expect from Your Movement-Based Massage


Your session can be done fully clothed or, if you’re comfortable, in your underclothes with sheets that are draped to keep you covered. My treatment room has been designed to create a relaxing atmosphere, but a movement-based massage is not your standard massage session – there will be a lot of movement (safe and controlled, of course) involved while you’re on the table.


If you’re prone to becoming lightheaded or dizziness, let me know before the session begins. If this happens during your session, please speak up! I can adjust the therapy as needed.


Your job as the client is simply to focus on breathing and relaxing and allow me to perform the movements. If you experience pain or are uncomfortable please let me know, and we can adjust the therapy as needed.


A movement-based session typically begins with a “warm up” involving gentle rocking or shaking motions to release tension in the muscle and to help your body relax overall. Next, I’ll add various movements and ensure that your body doesn’t try to take over and help me out. Your goal is to stay loose and limp and let me do all the work!


With each new movement added, I’ll be working to help your body relax into deeper positions and reduce muscle restrictions. Keep in mind, everyone responds differently to this type of therapy, and it may take a couple of sessions for your body to adjust to the movements. Keep track of how you feel immediately following a session and in following few days so you can share the effects and I can make adjustme

nts that help you get the most out of each session. 


Movement-Based Massage Can Benefit All Kinds of People


All kinds of people of every age, from athletes to weekend warriors, seniors to teens, and anyone dealing with chronic pain conditions, can benefit from massage with movement therapy. If you have pain when you move or decreased mobility, or you want to improve your performance on the field or court, I encourage you to explore a movement-based massage session. I look forward to working with you.



Want a FREE consultation with Adrianna before you book? Set up a free 15-minute phone call by emailing her at:


Adrianna offers several modalities to address your pain and your goals. Choose and book a session at the links below:


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