Why are our reception hours limited?

In an attempt to keep our prices as low as possible, while providing as much service as we can, we have chosen to operate with limited reception hours. Please call between 10am-2pm daily if you wish to speak with someone right away. Otherwise, leave a message at your leisure and one of our therapists will return your call between sessions..

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Why don’t we charge extra for deep tissue, hot stone massage, etc?

There are several reasons why we choose a flat rate in our pricing. First, we are committed to providing a transformative session and don’t feel that a client should be penalized if an alternative modality or tool is needed to achieve that. Be aware also that what one requires may actually change from session to session and having a price checklist and fluctuating bill is not helpful to anyone. We want to be able to utilize any tool that may be at our disposal and we want the client to be able to pick and choose what is needed on any given day without worrying about an alteration in price.

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What are our views on prenatal massage?

Pregnancy is one of the best times in life to choose to receive regular massage. It relaxes the mother, keeps her in touch with the changes in her body, provides relief from some of the discomfort those changes may bring, and provides a nurturing, celebratory aspect to the experience of carrying a baby.

Of course, with every trimester there are cautions and common complaints, but as long as Mom is in good health, that’s really about it. We do not consider a pregnant woman to be a sick woman unless she is a sick pregnant woman.

We have at Opal the option of sidelying massage or the use of a tummy-down cushioning system. We have some mothers on staff, and some therapists who have obtained special certification to provide prenatal massage. You are welcome to request any of those staff members if you so desire.

As a side note, this is a great time to take advantage of our series packages—asking for one as a gift is something that many of our clients have done and they find it especially wonderful to save one or two sessions for after the baby comes (maybe even giving one to sleep-deprived Daddy!).

Why aren’t we more expensive?

When we opened Opal, we wanted very much to make massage available to as wide of a range of people as possible. Keeping our prices as low as we can manage helps us to accomplish that. We do understand that we are not charging as much as some of our local “competitors”, and also realize that lower prices may sometimes indicate lower quality in some people’s minds. We are simply trying to stay true to our youthful vision, and are happy to be able to continue to live it.

As an aside, we have raised our prices modestly since opening, but those changes have always been and will continue to be a response to increased expenses, rather than a desire to increase our profit margin.

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Why don’t we do facials and pedicures?

Opal is not designed on a traditional spa template. We are massage therapists that believe bodywork to be important enough to warrant its own space and complete focus. Putting all of our energies into bodywork alone provides quality of service that cannot be matched anywhere.

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Touching, kneading, pressing and rubbing have all been considered legitimate, effective healing practices for thousands of years. Ancient Greeks, Chinese and Indians, among many others, used massage and touch therapy to help heal injuries, diseases and other ailments. In the early 1800’s, Per Ling, a fencer and physical education teacher, began teaching and performing massage therapy and “medical gymnastics” (what now might be considered physical or occupational therapy) in Stockholm, Sweden. Although Ling died in 1839, his concepts and techniques had been well established in Europe and continued to be disseminated by his pupils. By the end of the 19th century, the term “Swedish massage” was internationally known. Swedish massage techniques include effleurage, petrissage, friction and tapotement, among others.

Here at Opal, we often say our massage is “Swedish-based” unless otherwise stated. Swedish massage provides an ideal foundation on which the therapist can build an effective and healing session. It can lay the groundwork for deep tissue techniques, joint mobilizations and many other bodywork modalities that are highly effective in treating certain injuries and conditions.

Massage therapy is indeed a “manual medicine” which can address the following issues

When pain occurs due to tissue ischemia, or reduced local circulation, massage can be a powerful tool to bring much needed, oxygenated blood to the area. The causes of ischemia include prolonged muscle contraction (commonly known as muscle tension!) and fascial restrictions due to injury. WHY tissue ischemia causes pain is not well understood. It may be due to a reduction of available oxygen, a build-up of metabolites or a release of histamines or bradykinin from the constricted muscle cells (Rattray/Ludwig p.10). However, there is no doubt that the rhythmic action and pressure of massage can address the source of the pain and end the resulting painful nerve firing. A specific technique related to this concept is trigger point therapy. This is simply means applying direct, sustained and often intense pressure on one specific point or “knot,” thereby relieving the pain of the trigger point and its pain referral pattern.

Why do we instinctively rub our toes after stubbing them on the furniture? Pain impulses move more slowly through our peripheral nervous system than other impulses. Rubbing (or massaging) a painful area can set off faster-moving nerve impulses that override the slower ones and diffuse the intensity of the pain.

In addition, massage can change how pain is processed in the central nervous system. When we experience a stimulus as painful, our brains release opiate-like neurochemicals such as endorphins to take the edge off the pain. Studies show that massage releases these neurochemicals. There are a variety of massage techniques, from the lightest touch to the deepest, which can affect nerve system firing and alleviate pain

In addition to controlling the pain of an injury, massage can also help heal it. Joint mobilization and stretches can ensure an active range of motion. Other techniques can reduce the formation scar tissue, and existing scar tissue can be reduced by addressing adhered fascia (the fibrous membrane that covers, supports and separates muscles). Muscle tension resulting from immobilizing or compensating movements is reduced and creation of secondary pain patterns likely avoided.

Clients have come to Opal seeking help to heal the following conditions: sciatica, peripheral neuropathy and/or pain due to herniated disks and muscle tension, whiplash, temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) and plantar fasciitis, among many others.

Massage increases the blood flow wherever it is applied, via the rhythmic pressure on the veins and capillaries. This natural action helps remove metabolic wastes and other by-products of tissue damage or stress.

The lymphatic system is automatically affected during a massage, as lymphatic fluid is pumped through the more superficial capillaries. This effect can help reduce edema (swelling) in the limbs and encourage the healthy functioning of the lymphatic system. Lymph vessels collect and decontaminate fluid from our tissues, returning it to the blood and lymphatic organs (including the spleen and thymus). These organs produce lymphocytes and monocytes which fight pathogens and provide immunity. In addition, one study showed that regular massage increased white blood cell counts in HIV patients. White blood cells are primary in destroying pathogenic organisms, neutralizing infection and initiating tissue repair.

The positive psychological effects of massage on stress reduction, anxiety and depression have long been known and science confirms it. Studies have not only shown that massage increases endorphin levels, it has also proven to reduce levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone.” Simply stated, massage and soothing touch encourages and supports well-being. A person can feel empowered when they choose to have a massage in order to maintain wellness, help heal an injury, or to manage pain and stress. When taking such positive action on one’s own behalf, the individual and all who come in contact with him or her benefit immeasurably!

Sources: Clinical Massage Therapy by Fiona Rattray and Linda Ludwig, Talus Incorporated 2000. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, Edition 18, F.A. Davis Company 1997.

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