Music, setting the stage for relaxation

So there you are, on the table, getting ready to get that massage you’ve been waiting all week for. You start to settle in, ready to relax. Hey, maybe even starting to drift off…  and all of a sudden you hear…

Sail away, sail away, sail away…


Music is an important part of my sessions. The right kind of music helps me create a soothing and relaxed mood.  The wrong kind of music, well, doesn’t.  Because of this, I am rather picky about what I choose to include in my ‘Massage Music’ playlist.  I’ve chosen music from several cultural backgrounds and music styles – Native American, Japanese, Indian, Classical, to Windham Hill-esque compilations.  I play my songs on ‘shuffle’ too, in case a song pops up that might not exactly jive with you, so at least you don’t have to listen to a whole hour of Asian inspired music if it’s not your thing.

Everyone’s musical tastes are so different, It can be a bit of a challenge finding music that is pleasant and relaxing to a wide variety of people.    While not completely etched in stone, over the years I have settled on the following criteria for my music selections:

Easy, Gently Paced Rhythm

I choose music that has a slow and evenly paced rhythm.  This slow pace matches the pace that I tend to work at.  While a fast, driving rhythm is great for a workout, can be tough to relax while listening to high energy tribal music.

No Lyrics

Lyrics can be distracting and draw you attention outside of yourself.  To me, massage is a great chance to tune in and connect with what’s going on with our bodies.  When practicing meditating a soundtrack of chanting can be a useful tool, but many people are either distracted or perturbed by it while on the massage table.  One notable exception to the my no singing/no lyrics rule is Polynesian Spa – this is an absolutely lovely CD with vocals that are perfect for drifting off to & one of my all time favorites.

No Super-Familiar, Easily Identifiable Songs

Whether it’s a classical composition, modern jazz  standard or a rendition of a popular song, it’s not unusual for us to associate people and events with familiar songs (think weddings & funerals for instance).  Ava Maria is a perfect example, it is an absolutely beautiful song, but can trigger sad  emotions for some people, so tend to I keep these types of songs off of my list.

Real Vs. Synthesized Music

I will admit that this is a personal preference of mine, but I find acoustic music played Vs. synthesized music more enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing.  I would rather hear a piece of music played on a piano, a classical guitar, or a Shakuhauchi, (Japanese bamboo flute).  To me, heavily synthesized music can sound very dated, like you’ve time-traveled and are suddenly receiving your massage sometime circa the 1980’s.

Nature Sounds

This is a bit of a mixed bag.  Some CD’s that I play definitely fall under the ‘nature sounds’ category – rainfall, ocean waves, birds chirping away in the background.  There is music that just doesn’t make the cut though – that one song where a crow’s ‘CAW-CAW-CAW’ goes on for five minutes? Nope. That one that has the giant clap of thunder that always makes me jump? That one is gone too.

Music is  highly personal.  What one person loves to listen to, may be another persons Enya.  I even have clients who request that I turn the music off completely during their appointments.  Some clients will even bring in their own music for me to play during their session – it’s very easy for me to play a CD or plug in your MP3 player and I am happy to listen to any kind of  music that you might bring in – really nothing is of limits, if your bringing your own music in.  I’ve even massaged to The Beatles before per a client’s request!  It’s always nice to listen to something new-to-me.  Ultimately this is your time to relax, so I am more than happy to do what I can to make your session as enjoyable as possible, so even if you request Enya, I’m happy to cue it up for you!


You don’t have to worry, really.

If you’ve been considering getting a massage but have held off making the call because you’re insecure about your body, please don’t worry.  Really.  We come in all different shapes and sized and I promise not to judge.

Our bodies are wonderful creations, made up of amazingly complex systems and processes.   My focus is working with the soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, fascia).   Massage therapy also helps to relax your nervous system.  My goal is to creating space for you so that your parasympathetic nervous system (the part of your nervous system that tells your ‘fight-or-flight’ response that it can step down) can take over for a bit so you can relax and unwind.  These are the things that I am focusing on when you arrive for your session.

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) Study

Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) Study

Please don’t let your concerns about not having a ‘perfect body’ hold you back from receiving massage or bodywork.  Nature presents herself in abundant variety.  Trees, rocks, mountains, everything around us comes in all shapes and sizes.

Snowy Trees

We see variety in nature, and variety is in our nature too. Every body is beautiful and we all deserve to feel comfortable and confident in our own skin.  I hope to help you find a bit of peace and balance.  That is my wish for you.

To talk or not to talk on the massage table?

Between walking into my treatment room, to you getting on the massage table,  I always like to take a few minutes to talk with my clients before we begin any session.

If you’ve been into the office to see me before, this time gives me a chance to see how you felt after your last session.  I like to check in and see if there is anything I can tweak or change to make today’s session better.  If it’s been a while since you’ve been in it lets me see if there have been any changes with your health since your last appointment.  Maybe what was bothering you the last time around is completely different this time?

When I am working with a client for the first time, this is one of the things I like to discuss so I make a point to say something like this:

“I don’t talk much during my sessions, that’s why I like to take some time before your appointment begins to talk about what you can expect during your session today, and to see what your goals for your massage appointment are.  If you want to chat during your session, you are welcome to. But please don’t feel like you have to.”

The majority of the time, I’ll get a sigh of relief from my client.

I get it, you’re here to relax.

Taking some time to check in with you before we begin lets me get the ‘talking’ out of the way.  I know that chatting isn’t necessarily conducive to zoning out for a bit.  I want you to be able to relax as much as possible when you are here.  I want you to find that quiet space where your head disappears for awhile.  Sometimes people will fall asleep, other times this quiet space allows you to really tune in and focus on what’s going on in your body while we are working along.

While I encourage my clients to enjoy a quiet atmosphere when getting a massage, I have to confess – from time to time, when I am on the massage table, I can be a bit of a Chatty Cathy.  Most of the time when I’m receiving  massage, I do the disappearing act.  I like to soak it all in and tune into what’s going on in those tense spots in my neck, shoulders, and beyond (oh, hey, where did THAT come from! I didn’t know my left hip was so tight!)   But every once in a while…  I do feel the need to chat for a bit.  So don’t worry if you find yourself in a talkative mood, that’s OK too. Go with what feels right for you.  Just know that I will meet you where you are in that moment.  This is your time and space and I want you to get the most out every appointment.  It’s all good!