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Massage Therapy FAQ

Please Note: I wrote these FAQ as they relate to in-person massage therapy. How I approach somatic support sessions and virtual work is still informed by the same ethics, frameworks, and intentions I describe in the FAQ. 

My Framework: In any session, we will only work on the areas of your body that are up to receive touch that day. I encourage you to ask for any changes you need as soon as you need them: changes to the room — lighting, music, temperature, etc. — and changes to my speed and/or pressure, and how and when I communicate. Since I can’t read your mind, your communication is greatly appreciated; you won’t be bothering me by speaking up — you will be helping me. This is your session; not mine. Please know that in addition to asking for changes, it is always in your power to pause or end the session all together. Let’s approach bodywork together, using my knowledge of the body, and your wisdom of your body as it figures out what it likes and doesn’t like.

*Please Note: I am not a doctor, talk therapist, or other kind of medical professional. Any understanding I share about the mind/body relationship should not be treated as, or used as replacement for, medical advice.

Questions Are Broken Down into the Following Categories
(click a section below to skip to it or use Control F to find a key word): 

-About My Practice and Massage in General

-Common Concerns During a Session

-Things Bodywork Can Be Helpful For

-More Identity, Experience, and Language Related Concerns

-Logistics (Also see the Logistics Page)

About My Practice and Massage in General:

What do you mean by bodywork?

I use the words bodywork and massage therapy interchangeably for my own practice, but what I mean is different from the experience you might receive if you went for a “relaxation massage” at a chain. Each session I do is tailored to the person, and tailored their needs on the day they come to me. Depending on what we decide together, some days we might do more mind/body calming/grounding/breathing work with head/neck/jaw/chest opening work; other days, we might be working on a specific range of motion issue or other injury recovery; sometimes, we might just sink slow and deep into tight shoulders; and other days we might do specialized work on chronic muscle and/or nerve pain, in the arms or hips, for example. Refer to the FAQ under "Things Bodywork Can Be Helpful For" for more info.

What kind of massage do you do? 

My work is a combo of deep tissue (which can be done at any level of pressure including light pressure; it’s just a matter of being slow and sinking into the muscles/allowing them to release), Swedish massage (think long strokes and kneading and stretching) and myofascial release (a kind of “muscle-wrapper” release where you will feel a pull into your muscles, but I might not be physically moving your body or sinking super deep into it; it relies on friction so I won’t have much oil on my hands, and I generally start with it for that reason, plus it’s a good way to create broad release before doing super specific work.) When I’m doing deep tissue and Swedish, I’ll generally be using unscented coconut oil on body parts that aren’t clothed. I can mix in some essential oils if you’d like. Please let me know if these oils are an issue. You can always bring your own oil/body butter for me to use instead. I also offer scar tissue release work on scars that have healed and the resulting patterns of tension in the body. Scar tissue can be from a surgery or simply an injury, big or small. In general, I work pretty slow and encourage breathing, but can alter that if that’s not what a client needs. I am a believer that slow is fast (going at the pace the body is ready for, and acknowledging that the mind might want the body to go faster). If the nervous system feels out of control, it’s hard for muscles to release. I believe in honoring the body where it is, and creating enough calm and spaciousness for the possibility of feeling more regulated first before diving into anything intense. 

What is your communication and consent practice? (other than info at top of page)

I will ask for your consent/if you are ready to begin before I make initial contact. Wait until you feel a “yes, I’m ready; yes, I want touch” come up in your mind and body. Wait as long as you need. This is your time. I generally work pretty slow, and I will sometimes cue you to breathe when I am about to go deeper into a muscle, or when I am about to start on, or leave an area of the body. If you’d like me to give you a “verbal cue” each time I move to a different part of the body, I will do that. For example, if I’m moving from your back down to your left hip, I can say, “I’m moving to your left hip, now.” If you don’t need/want that communication, an alternative is for me to give you a “physical cue” by gently placing my hand on your left hip/the next area before I start to work there. If there are any areas you’d like me to ask for direct consent before I move there, let me know. If I’m working too slow/too fast, or you realize my verbal or breath cues are actually bothering you/not needed, please let me know, and I will adjust. If you don’t like how something is feeling, please let me know so I can avoid that technique. I have many tools in my toolbox, and we need to learn together which ones you like. Also, if anything is feeling painful or ticklish, please let me know — there are ways we can reduce pain and ticklishness. I will try to listen to how your body is reacting to me, but I can miss things, and I can’t read your mind, so your communication is much appreciated. 

Do you have to work everywhere on my body?

No. We will only do a full-body session if you want that. Areas I can (but don’t have to) work in a full-body session can include: head, face/jaw, neck, pecs (upper chest), shoulders, arms, hands, back, ribcage/diaphragm, belly, sides, hips (including glutes and full 360 degrees of inner and outer thighs), legs and feet. If you have questions on why massage can be helpful for any of the above, let me know. Folks are often surprised that I can offer work on the jaw for grinding/clenching pain, work on the belly for emotional and/or digestive pain, work on the pecs/ribcage/diaphragm for trouble breathing, and work on the psoas (muscle deep in the hip crease/lower belly area) for lower back pain. Again, this list is thorough, but if you come in and tell me you’d like a little “hello” to your shoulders/neck and the rest of the time on your head, that’s what we will do. It’s your call on any day. 

Do I get undressed? How much? Do I have to? What is draping?

It’s up to you if you remove all clothing or keep underwear on or keep any other amount of clothing on. Generally, you will be under a sheet (and blanket if you’d like) to start, and I will both work through the sheet and also move it off body parts as I work them, tucking the sheet under you in a secure way so it’s not moving around — this is called draping. If you end up liking how touch feels more thru the sheet/blanket in certain areas rather than being “undraped,” (uncovered), let me know. If the sheet/blanket is bothering you (for example if  you don’t like it covering so much of your neck/hands or feet), just ask me to move it, or move it yourself whenever you need/however many times throughout the session! 

I can get deeper into the body with skin-to-skin contact, but also know that I can still get deep through a single light layer (be in underwear or the sheet, for example), so let’s just do what is comfy for you. 


For folks who wear bras, if you decide to leave them on, straps can be hard for me to work through/uncomfy for you, so if you want to leave a bra on, I’ll ask if you’d like to unhook the straps or if you’d like me to work under them. And if not, that’s cool too — I’ll just work around them! 


If I am doing binder-pain-related work, we will be able to do more if you are comfortable without your binder on, but we can still work through and around the binder if you’re most comfy keeping it on (some days or all days). If you are comfy taking off your binder but want to be wearing something, a looser/less thick shirt/tank/sports bra would be a good option for you to change into, and we can get deeper into your muscles that way. It is important that we honor slowness, and the pace at which you become more comfortable with me. 

Do I need to remove Jewelry/Collars/Waist Beads/Body Jewelry, etc.?

For anything that you are comfy and able to remove, great, and for anything you want or need to leave on, I’ll just ask you if you are comfortable with me working under and/or around it. 

How do I lay on the table? How big/sturdy is it? 

If you are comfy laying on a table, we have the options of you being face-up and/or face-down, or on your side. I usually only work on folks laying on their sides if they are pregnant or are having a specific injury or condition, but please request if you would prefer it, comfort-wise. If you might not be comfortable on a massage table, but would be up to try a massage chair, let me know ahead of time to have that option available for you. The table is very sturdy and has arm rests securely strapped to the table to make it larger, but since the arm rests are not part of the table, just be careful of them when getting on and off the table. You may stretch out and use the arm rests for your arms when both faceup and facedown (arms by your sides), or you may hang your arms off the table in any way you want. If you’d like something to place over your eyes, let me know. If you are facedown, there is a headrest that can move up and down and also tilt. Your forehead rests on it and your face goes in the hole so you can breathe. Your chin shouldn’t be on the table. Your neck should feel neutral (not too far forward or back), so please let me know if we need to adjust the headrest at any point. If you aren’t breathing well, you can always turn your head to the side and rest on the facerest like a pillow. If that isn’t comfy, please let me know, and we can have you scoot down the table and lay on the table like you would a bed, and I can give you a pillow to put under your torso/head if you’d like. When you are facedown, I will put rolled towels under your shoulders for support to open them up/not have them curl forward. If this isn’t comfortable to you, move them out of the way at any point. I will put a bolster under your knees if you are faceup, and under your feet if you are facedown. Again, if this isn’t comfy/preferred, just let me know and I will get rid of it. 

Can we chat before I commit to booking a session? 

Yes. If you have questions or are interested in chatting and/or doing the intake portion without committing to doing a bodywork session, email me

Why do you need an intake form and a verbal intake before the first session? And what if I'm not comfortable talking much?

I need an intake form for legal and medical reasons. I have to know about certain conditions and medications because it affects what kind of massage I can safely perform. In terms of why I leave time for a 30-ish minute intake with the first appointment, it’s so that we can start figuring out together why you are here/what you are looking for/what you are comfortable with. If orally communicating is not possible or difficult for a variety of reasons, and writing back and forth to each other would be easier, please let me know. If communicating in general is hard, I will focus on getting and giving enough information so that we can at least have informed consent.

What if I’m feeling self-conscious because I’m smelly, sweaty, hairy, gassy, have dirty feet, am breaking out, etc.? 

Oh hey there, fellow human; I’m used to working with it all, so rest assured that we should focus on what is going to be comfy for you/help you relax, but please know on my end, I am good/not phased by all the stuff bodies do. :) I always have towels nearby if you want me or you to dry/wipe you off! And if you need to fart, no worries at all, just give me a heads up if you want me to back away from the table or leave the room for a second, and you won’t be the first. :) 

What if I have eczema, acne, sensitive skin, allergies to a lot of products, etc.? 

I generally use unscented coconut oil (and can add some essential oil if you’d like). If you are worried about this reacting badly with your skin or on a specific body part, let me know ahead of time. You can always bring your own product for me to use on you. Skin-wise, the things that I do ask for you to disclose (for my sake and yours) is anything contagious and any open skin on any parts of the body we might work, and I’ll just avoid those spots (rash, warts, sores, etc.), or any spots that are simply going to be uncomfortable to be touched (be it bruises, cuts, painful zits, etc.), so just let me know before a session (or during it if you forget) about any of the above. 

I’m jumpy or ticklish with touch. How will I be able to receive bodywork? and/or I generally don’t like touch, but want to try this. What is your approach for touch-averse folks?

As with any client I work with, you and I will work where you are up to try to receive touch, and nowhere else. Leave on/take off whatever clothing you want. If anything is feeling ticklish, please let me know. There are ways we can make ticklishness feel less (me using broader contact like with a full palm or forearm rather than fingers or elbow, me using more pressure, me slowing down, you breathing, you keeping your hand on my arm as I work for you to feel more grounded/in control — think of how it’s harder to tickle yourself.) And I say all this as a extremely ticklish massage client. Please refer to “What is your communication and consent practice?” for more info about what to expect. 

I have a condition (short or long term) I am concerned about/not sure if massage is contraindicated for? 

Feel free to email me, but also you may need a medical clearance anyway, so it might be good to go ahead and talk to a doctor. 

Common Concerns During a Session:

I consented to be here, so why don't you just start working on my body/why are you asking me if it's ok to start/touch me?

I start my sessions by asking the client to take a breath, and to let me know when they are ready to start (receiving touch). I recognize that this might be a different experience for many folks; many of us are not accustomed to being asked for our consent in so many areas of our lives. If it bothers you for me to ask each session, tell me; otherwise, this is how I start encouraging clients to truly feel that this is their session, and they can start it when they are ready to. A lot of times when we get on the table, we are still in go-mode in our brains, and we need a minute, a pause, to orient to the room, the table, the practitioner, our breath, and perhaps our bodies as well. Use this moment to start to tune in. Breathe in what you need and exhale what isn’t serving you. Wait to feel a “yes, I am ready for touch” well up in your body/mind before you consent to start. 

What do “I do” during the session? Do I need to stay still? Should I try to help you aka lift my head when you work on my neck? Can I talk to you? Should my eyes be open or closed?

Please move your body around throughout the session — get as comfortable as possible, and breath loud or soft/make noise/talk/sing/stay quiet/close your eyes/keep them open — whatever feels good to you/whatever your body needs to try to let some things go. Feel free to talk to me if that calms you, but know that I will mainly listen and will guide you back to your breath and/or body when/if it feels ok to do so. This isn’t a haircut; you don’t need to hold still. If I need you to move your body, I’ll let you know, but otherwise, try to allow your body to sink into the table/let me fully support the weight of your head, neck, arms, legs, etc. (whatever I am holding/pulling/stretching).


What if I get cold/hot?

We can add/remove blankets as needed. The table has a table warmer I can turn off/on. There’s also a fan I can turn off/on.  


What if the music isn't helping me relax?

Please let me know, and I will change it to whatever you want at any point during the session. I have Spotify Premium (no ads) that we can use. Feel free to share a playlist with me ahead of time or we might be able to connect your phone to my bluetooth speaker if you’d prefer. 

What if I need to use the bathroom during the session?

I encourage folks to use the bathroom before and after the session, but you might need to go during the session too, especially if it’s a 90 minute session! Tell me, and I will step out. If we only have a couple minutes of the session left, I will let you know so that you can determine if you still want to go. 

Should it hurt? / How do I know if it's the "right" pressure?

Pressure is different for everyone, so one person’s light is another person’s heavy. Pressure will feel different on different parts of the body. What is important is that we stay in your “sweet pressure” zone and not “sour pressure” (words I attribute to Frances Reed) no matter where we are working. Sweet pressure is when you are able to breath and relax into it, rather than bracing. I don’t want you worrying about whether you can “take it” or if you’ll be sore tomorrow. We can figure out what you like together. If I’m not checking in, and you feel like it is too much or too little at any point, let me know. Some folks crave that “sweet pain” and some folks do better with a gentler approach, which can be as effective, if not more. I say “if not more” because if you are “enduring” the pressure, that can mean your nervous system is not relaxed. A relaxed nervous system promotes more healing and will often allow for me to end up getting deeper into the muscles throughout the session than if I just immediately got in there with a heavy elbow, for example. Again tho, let’s try to listen to what your body wants each day, and we will go with that. 


What if I dissociate, become overstimulated, or feel done with being touched?

If you can communicate the above to me, in some way, I would greatly appreciate it. If you need me to step away from the table, move to a different part of your body, leave the room, or just give you still, grounding touch, please try to let me know. A word some clients have found helpful to say is, “Pause.” I also find using this word helpful when I am on someone’s table. Sometimes, we need a pause to figure out what our bodies are trying to tell us before we can verbalize. If speaking up on the table feels hard and/or verbal communication is not possible, please try to communicate to me in a different way to let me know that you need something to change, even if you don’t know what it is yet. Please try to make some kind of noise or movement or touch me, and I will check in with you. I can hand you your phone or pen and paper if needed. 

Things Bodywork Can Be Helpful For: 

What do you mean by bodywork to help with anxiety/depression/trauma?*

Anxiety/depression/trauma, and our mental health in general, is so often intertwined with how our bodies function, and the tension, chronic pain and illness we experience. I draw wisdom from Somatic Experiencing Practitioners and other therapists and authors, many of whom you can check out in the Resources section of this website. When we can calm the nervous system, and perhaps even get more in touch with what our bodies are trying to tell us, there is often more room for release and self-regulation. If you are interested, check out the somatic practice I have created for myself which lives in the Writings Tab.


How can massage help relieve tension and trouble breathing from binding?

Folks who bind often experience neck, chest, ricage, abdominal, shoulder, arm, and back tension, which also can contribute to breathing troubles. Combining massage, especially myofascial release (refer to “What kind of massage do you do?”) with binding may help manage the pain, or for folks who are no longer binding, help disrupt those patterns and provide relief from the, perhaps years of, residual buildup. Myofascial release helps break up the fascial pattern that is created in the body from wearing a constricting item. I think of it as disrupting the second “binder” of fascia underneath the actual cloth binder. Check out Frances Reed, and their website,, especially the Self Massage for People Who Bind and the 9 Healthy Binding Tips sections for more info and best practices. Frances also hosts community workshops for self-massage for people who bind. 


How can massage help before and after top surgery (chest tissue removal or implants)?

Releasing tension in the neck, chest, ricage, abdomen, shoulders, arms, and back can help the body be in a calmer place pre-surgery. For the couple weeks leading up to surgery, we can focus on gentle myofascial release (refer to “What kind of massage do you do?”) rather than anything deep. I will also show you some helpful stretches and self-massage for before and after surgery (and will advise on the timeline). We don’t want you to be sore going into surgery, which you could also consider when thinking about other ways you are using your body in the couple weeks leading up to it (think gentle stretching, yoga, swimming — anything to open/release tension rather than perhaps a rigorous exercise routine that’s leaving you feeling sore afterward). If arm/neck range of motion is restricted for you, it might be helpful for us to already be working on that since it will be even more greatly restricted after (particularly for tissue removal surgeries). Post surgery, if you have a lot of recovery time in bed, you may experience tension/soreness in your hips/back/neck, and massage can be helpful for that in general (and if you can’t be facedown or on your side, no worries, we’ll get you propped up, faceup.) For post-surgery related care, I can do more myofascial release of the torso to help with the restrictions the scar tissue and bed rest is creating. For folks who have had a tissue removal surgery, we can also do specific scar tissue release work on the scar lines, themselves, once the scars are healed. We can also do some fluid-movement massage to assist with swelling, and I can show you self-massage to do at home. For any questions about this, please email me


What about other trans-related care? 

Taking hormones produces both physical and emotional changes in the body. I believe in the importance of having space to feel seen and affirmed during this process, and am happy to talk about what changes someone is experiencing during our sessions, and adjust our bodywork accordingly, or chat about questions via email


How can massage help before and after other surgeries?

Injuries and surgeries usually result in scars, scar tissue, swelling, and tight patterns of fascia that limit range of motion. These are all things we can work on (with medical clearance). Refer to “What kind of massage do you do?” 

What are some other common conditions folks experience that you often work on? 

Plantar Fasciitis


Nervous System - related: (whether it’s diagnosed Fribromyalgia or something else)



Pain in general! (muscle, ligaments/tendons, bone, nerve) 

Carpal Tunnel or other wrist/hand/finger/elbow pain/numbness/tingling

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Sprain/Strain Recovery

Scar Tissue Release after injuries/surgeries 

Fluid movement (to help with swelling) 

Limited range of motion (shoulders, neck, ankles, knees, wrists, etc.) 

Do you do pregnancy massage? 

I have the standard massage school training in this, so I can work with pregnant folks, although I don’t offer specific pregnancy massage, per say/it is not my specialty. Happy to refer you to others who specialize in it, if you prefer. If you have a pregnancy pillow, please bring it! Please let me know what trimester you are in ahead of time via email as that will determine how we can work. Happy to go over in detail how pregnancy massage is different when we do our intake.  

More Identity, Experience, and Language Related Concerns: 


"I’m a POC and am not used to, and might not be comfortable with, a white person touching me, but am interested in bodywork. What are your thoughts?" 

Super fair. I appreciate your trust in being here on this site/reading this. If you are interested in chatting about this together/maybe doing the intake portion (via zoom or in person) without committing to doing a bodywork session, we totally can. And please know that even if we are in the middle of a bodywork session, it is always in your power to ask me to change what I’m doing, pause or end the session all together. It’s your session, not mine, and will only do what you are comfortable with/up for on any given day. And if you know you’d like to work with a bodyworker of Color, either now or after a session with me, let me know and I can refer you to people I know and trust. Please refer to “What is your communication and consent practice?” and “Can we chat before I commit to booking a session?” for more info. 

"I’m Disabled. (Physical/Mental/Hidden) How can we work together? Are there risks? What if I don't have sensation? Are there still benefits?"

Please email me if you have questions about specific Disabilities and/or resulting conditions ahead of time. We might need clearance from a medical practitioner for certain physical conditions, so getting that ahead of time is a helpful move, and knowing from a doctor if any medication you might be taking will affect how/where we can work. We will use your intake form and intake to address further concerns and precautions we might need to take. There might be certain types of massage and/or parts of the body we might need to avoid, especially if there are areas you wouldn’t be able to feel my touch/give me feedback. 

Massage can provide many types of benefits which may include helping the nervous system be calmer, helping alleviate muscle tension, easing nerve pain, headaches, etc. Refer to “What are some other common conditions folks experience that you often work on?” and “What do you mean by bodywork to help with anxiety/depression/trauma?” for more information on other ways massage can be helpful. 

Please see my notes about accessibility on the logistics page! 

"Can you communicate in anything other than English?" 

Unfortunately, I am not fluent in anything besides English. I know some Spanish, but not enough to be able to do the kind of thorough oral intake I like to do. If that is ok for you and you still want to work with me, email me and we can go from there. I do know practitioners I trust who are fluent in Spanish and ASL, and I am happy to refer you if you’d like. If it’s easier to do the oral intake by writing back and forth to each other instead, let me know, and we can get that process started via email. I have a system for working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clients (how we can get each other’s attention and communicate), and we can discuss how that works ahead of time. 

"I'm Deaf. Is your practice accessible?"

Unfortunately I do not know ASL. I do know practitioners I trust who are able to communicate in ASL, and I am happy to refer you if you’d like, so email me. If you still want to work with me instead, email me and we can go from there. We can do the intake by writing back and forth to each other instead. I have a system for working with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clients, (how we can get each other’s attention and communicate), and we can discuss how that works ahead of time. 


"I'm Blind. Is your practice accessible?" 

If you/someone else is able to email me expressing interest in working together, we can talk about concerns (and I am happy to provide my phone number via email if a phone call is best).

"What if I’m a trauma survivor and am nervous about receiving touch?"

Please refer to “What is your communication and consent practice?” and “Can we chat before I commit to booking a session?” and “What if I dissociate, become overstimulated, or feel done with being touched?”


"What if I have gender dysphoria and am nervous about receiving touch?"

Please refer to “What is your communication and consent practice?” and “Can we chat before I commit to booking a session?” and “What if I dissociate, become overstimulated, or feel done with being touched?”


"What if I have body dysmorphia and am nervous about receiving touch?"

Please refer to “What is your communication and consent practice?” and “Can we chat before I commit to booking a session?” and “What if I dissociate, become overstimulated, or feel done with being touched?”


Please also see the Logistics page.

Can you take insurance? 

Unfortunately, no, which is generally the case everywhere, unless you are receiving massage while you are working with say, a physical therapist in a clinic or hospital so that it’s part of your “treatment.” I hope this shifts in my lifetime, and in the meantime, it's part of why I operate on a sliding scale. And yes, even if a doctor refers you to me for massage, I can’t take your insurance. Your doctor’s note will be good to take to a physical therapist, if you are relying on insurance to pay. Reading your doctor’s note, however, will be helpful on my end to talk about the work we can do together. If you have a Flexible Spending Account thru work, you can check if your plan/card allows you to pay for massage, and I may be able to get you a special receipt. 

What if I’m having a cold/flu?  

If you are starting to have symptoms, or are in the middle or end of a cold/flu, please cancel your appointment. Allergies are fine, but please be 100% certain it is allergies, and consider whether laying on a table will be comfy for you. I can’t risk getting sick since I can’t work when I’m sick, so if you show up sick, I’ll have to ask you to leave. Also, receiving massage when you’re sick can have the possibility of making your symptoms worse because everything is getting moved around/stirred up. If you get sick and have to cancel last-minute, I will not charge you. I ask for as much heads up as possible tho, so I can try to get someone else booked. 


What is your Cancellation Policy?

I don’t charge for last minute (less than 24 hours out) cancels due to last minute illness,  emergencies, or if you are having an unexpected hard mental health and/or touch-averse day. If you aren’t sure whether trying to receive touch will be helpful or not, I am happy to talk/text with you about it, so please notify me with as much advance notice as possible. 

If you are someone who is financially privileged and would still like to pay for all or part of your session in any of the above situations, you may, but that is not expected. For cancellations other than the above situations that are less than 24 hours from the scheduled appointment, full payment will be expected. 

Do you do home visits? 

I do not. 


Do you do events (chair or table massage)? 

Sometimes, with advanced notice! (I have to alter my regular schedule to have capacity, so a month or more heads up is appreciated if possible!) Email me to talk dates and pricing.

About My Practice and Massage in General
Common Concerns During a Session
Things Bodywork Can Be Helpful For
More Identity, Experience, and Language Related Concerns
Logistics (Also see the Logistics Page)
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