Massage Therapy

Swedish and deep tissue techniques form the basis for therapeutic bodywork; practitioners then tailor sessions according to each client's needs and goals. Many practitioners incorporate Eastern modalities (acupressure, Shiatsu, reflexology, Reiki, Thai) or advanced Western techniques (neuromuscular/trigger point therapy, positional release/strain-counter strain, myofascial release) in their practice to help you achieve your goals for pain relief, stress reduction and physical recovery.

Not sure what kind of massage you want? Learn more about the modalities we offer.

Active Isolated Stretching 

Incorporates targeted positioning, stretching, & lengthening of key muscle groups. Developed by Aaron Mattes, Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) is a dynamic system for improving flexibility & overall wellbeing. The benefits of facilitated stretching are well-known, helping to reduce the chances of muscle injury, strengthening tendon resistance, & increasing blood circulation. (For an active isolated stretching session, book with Dan Bradley.)


Active Release Technique (ART) 

ART entails identifying, isolating, and targeting the affected area to break up scar tissue.The Therapist applies this manual, hands-on therapy to break up adhesions which limit normal range of motion causing pain and tension, promoting blood flow and faster healing of injuries.  ART is effective for addressing pain and other symptoms caused by injury or damage to:

  • Fascia. This is fibrous connective tissue that protects and supports muscles and organs throughout your body. Inflammation across a band of fascia tissue can cause extreme pain and stiffness. Plantar fasciitis is a common fascia tissue condition.
  • Major muscle groups. Strains and pulls from overuse or trauma can affect any of your major muscle groups. This includes muscles in your neck and shoulders, back, and hamstrings.
  • Tendons and ligaments. Tendons connect muscles to bone and ligaments connect bone to bone. Injury to either can cause pain and decrease range of motion.
  • Nerves. Adhesions and inflammation can compress and entrap nerve pathways, causing direct and referred pain. 

Dan Bradley is full-body certified in Active Release Technique, the only massage therapist in the greater Washington area with this achievement.

(For an ART session book with Dan Bradley)


A blend of “acupuncture” & “pressure,” acupressure is an alternative medicine technique. In acupressure physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points by the hand, elbow, or with various devices. A form of bodywork similar to acupuncture, with the aim of stimulating specific points along the energy lines of the body to establish overall health & vitality by balancing the Qi (energy) flow. Unlike acupuncture, the therapist manually applies pressure to the specific points rather than needling, producing similar therapeutic results. 

Craniosacral Therapy  

A gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain & dysfunction & improve whole-body health & performance. A powerful technique that is effective in releasing neck pain, back pain, & mental stress (among other things). It does this by optimizing the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spine & around the skull. Developed by physician William Sutherland, this therapy provides a very soothing & relaxing healing experience. (For a craniosacral session, book with Nicole Maisel or Meg Griffith).

Deep Tissue Massage 

A form of bodywork that aims to relieve tension in the deeper muscular layers of the body. Deep tissue massage is highly effective for releasing chronic stress areas due to misalignment, repetitive motion, & lingering past injuries. Due to the nature of deep tissue work, open communication during the session is crucial to make sure you don’t get too uncomfortable. (All practitioners offer Deep Tissue Massage.)


Infant Massage

A style of bodywork designed specifically to promote the healthy development of your infant. Caring human touch is crucial for a healthy thriving baby, and the benefits of massaging your infant are potent and numerous. Many infants show improved growth and development of the brain and nervous system. Infant massage has also been shown to improve the quality of a baby's sleep, as well as strengthening babies' immune systems. Infant massage helps parents, too, by learning to read baby's cues, forming closer bonds, and supporting the psychological and emotional transitions associated with early parenthood. (For a private infant massage session or group class, book with Elizabeth Shrader.)

Medical Massage 

Treatment specifically directed to resolve a condition diagnosed by your physician, chiropractor, or physical therapist. The therapists employs a variety of modalities during the treatment, focusing only on the specific areas of the body related to the diagnosis. This approach enhances the body’s natural self-healing process & can reduce the needed recovery time from injury. Following an initial assessment session, we usually schedule three 30-minute sessions over a 2-3 week period.

Myofascial Release

A form of soft tissue therapy intended to eliminate pain, increase range of motion, & re-balance the entire body. The therapist uses various massage techniques to stretch the fascia & release the bonds that exist between the fascia, muscles, & bones. Fascia is the connective tissue that links & envelops all muscles, organs, & skeletal structures of the body. Direct myofascial release may involved deep tissue work. Indirect release applies controlled, steady pressure to gently stretch the fascia, allowing for increased blood circulation and pain relief.

Positional Release 

A form of neuromuscular therapy where the therapist gently moves the body into a position that allows the tightened muscle to become slackened for a period of 90-120 seconds. The muscle fibers "reset" to a non-stress condition, thereby restoring balance, comfort, & functionality. This "fold & hold" technique, akin to osteopathic strain-counterstrain, is particularly effective with muscles that are in discomfort & too sore for traditional massage techniques or on tissues that are non-responsive to other methods. (For a positional release session, book with Elizabeth Shrader.)


A Japanese form of energy work that cleanses & balances the energy system in the body. As a result, the body's natural self-healing mechanisms strengthen, helping to establish optimum health. During a session, the therapist works directly with your energy field to remove blockages, detoxify your system, & restore your vital life force energy. Reiki utilizes a gentle laying on of hands to conduct the necessary energy force between practitioner & client. The benefits of Reiki range from the release of habitual mental/emotional stress to alleviating chronic pain. (To have Reiki incorporated into your massage or for a stand-alone reiki session, book with Angela Jacobs or Emily Tellez.)


A type of bodywork that focuses on applying pressure to the specific nerve zones in the feet and hands. Unlike foot massages aimed at relieving tension in the musculoskeletal structures of the foot, reflexology is a more in-depth session designed to harmonize the entire body. According to Eunice Ingham's "zone reflexology" theory, every part of the human body is mapped into the feet & hands & stimulation of these areas may promote health & homeostasis in the corresponding organ, muscle, or joint. Reflexology treatments may be effective for conditions such as allergies, headaches, & depression. (For Reflexology treatment or add-on, book with Nicole, Emily, Elizabeth or Angela.)

SEVA Stress Release

A simple acupressure procedure given through the clothed body to a person who is seated or lying down. The therapist applies firm yet gentle finger pressure in a sequence to 16 specific points on the body. No needles are involved & it does not produce pain. The session takes about 15-20 minutes to complete. It is a profoundly effective tool for calming the body, mind, emotions, & spirit.

The SEVA (pronounced "SAY-va") Stress Release Protocol was developed by the faculty of Soul Lightening Acupressure following the events of September 11, 2001. Created as a gift to the world to relieve suffering, SEVA was first taken to New York City & delivered to those who endured such tremendous shock & stress during that time. Since then, SEVA has been used in diverse settings, including at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in DC. Because the SEVA Stress Release Protocol is noninvasive, requires no special equipment, is simple to perform, & only takes a few minutes to receive, it can be given to virtually anyone in virtually any setting. It is an extremely useful & accessible tool for addressing a wide range of needs, including general relaxation or extreme shock or stress. (To book a SEVA treatment, book with Emily.)

Sports Massage

Bodywork for highly active people who engage in athletics. Engaging in sports is harsh on the body & can often lead to both acute and chronic injuries. Sports Massage enhances performance and prolongs a sports career by helping to prevent injury, reduce pain and swelling in the body, relax the mind, increase flexibility, and dramatically improve recovery rates. Sports Massage is highly effective in aiding the rapid recovery of an athlete from an injury by encouraging greater kinesthetic awareness and, in turn, promoting the body's natural immune function. (To book a Sports Massage, book with Dan, Ken, Angela, or Nicole.)

Stone Therapy (Hot or Cold) 

Bodywork where the therapist applies deep penetrating heat and/or alternating cold from specialized stones (high iron content basalt for hot stones; cooling white quartz for cold stones).  The therapist places stones on strategic areas on your skin and uses hand stones for more penetrating massage pressure. The physiological benefits of alternating hot and cold to the body have long been scientifically & medically proven. Stone therapy delivers a profound expansion and contraction within your circulatory system, improving the function of your lymphatic and immune systems and enhancing your body’s self-healing mechanisms. This style of bodywork takes you into deep states of relaxation, releasing stress and anxiety and balancing the nervous system. (For a hot stone add-on, book with Ken, Elizabeth, Nicole or Angela. For a full body hot stone session, book with Ken.)

Swedish Massage

The foundation for Western-style integrative massage technique, Swedish massage is a relaxing and therapeutic style of bodywork. It combines oils or lotion with an array of strokes such as effleurage, petrissage, friction, cross-fiber friction, rolling, kneading, and tapotement to help the body improve circulation of blood, lymph and interstitial fluids. The benefits of this type of bodywork are wide-ranging and include relief from aches and pains, decreased stress levels in the body, enhanced mental clarity, lowered blood pressure, and greater joint flexibility. (All practitioners offer Swedish Massage.)

Thai Massage

More energizing & vigorous than many other forms of massage therapy. This modality stems from the physical therapies of Thailand, using a combination of compression techniques, acupressure, & isometric stretching. The session takes place on a thick comfy mat on the floor & the therapist uses hands, knees, legs, & feet to move the client into a series of yoga-like postures & stretches. No oil is applied & the client remains fully dressed throughout the session. A single Thai massage session will release stress, relieve pain, & help you function more effectively at work & home. (To schedule a traditional Thai Massage, book with Ken.)

Trigger Point Therapy 

A style of bodywork that focuses on stimulating & releasing the body's “trigger points,” tender areas of tension similar to acupressure points, except they occur in the belly of the muscle tissue rather than along the energy pathways of the body. These trigger points are built up throughout a person’s life due to physical, mental, &/or emotional stress & may create referred pain to other areas of the body. During a trigger point therapy session, the therapist first applies focused pressure to create an ischemic environment around the trigger point, then releases the pressure to facilitate blood & lymph flow & removal of accumulated cellular waste. This process can be quite painful at times, yet the effects are lasting & profoundly transformative.

Elizabeth Shrader discusses the benefits of Infant Massage.