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 to someone right away.  Otherwise, leave a message and one of our therapists will get back to you between sessions.

Why are our Sessions 70 minutes long instead of an hour?

Our choice to extend the time beyond the standard 60 minutes was not arbitrary. When we were young therapists working for other companies we found that if we really wanted to give a balanced session while being able to focus on an area of greater concern, we were always fighting the clock and going over by about 10 minutes, so we decided to  honor that reality and allow people to plan for it.

Our 90-minute session is a better choice for people who want to receive special attention to more than one area.

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 the client should be penalized if an alternative modality or tool is needed to achieve that.   Also, what one requires may actually change from session to session and having a price checklist and a fluctuating bill is not helpful to anyone.  We want to be able to utilize any tool in our arsenal 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.

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 a quality of service that cannot be matched anywhere.

What kind of oil do we use?

We use coconut oil in our sessions.  It is completely scent free, water soluble and wonderfully nourishing for the skin.  For our original Opal Oils, we use the highest quality essential oils in coconut oil to create unique aromatherapeutic blends.  We also use Biotone brand massage crème when needed or desired.

How much clothing do I have to remove?

Most of our therapeutic approaches use oil on skin.  It is best to remove all of your clothing.  Professional draping is always used at Opal and private areas are covered at all times.  This being said, you will never be required to disrobe beyond your comfort level.  Full sessions of Thai Yoga Massage, Reiki, or CranioSacral therapy are received fully clothed.

Why aren’t we more expensive?

When we opened Opal, we wanted very much to make massage available to as wide a range of people as possible.  Keeping our prices as low as we can helps us to accomplish that.  We are aware of the fact we don’t charge as much as some of our competitors, and also realize that lower prices can indicate lower quality in some peoples’ minds—but we have chosen to stay true to our original vision.

Can children receive massage at Opal?

Absolutely!  We are happy to work on young people ages 8-17, but they must have a legal guardian present in the treatment room during the entire session.  We are not flexible on this requirement, but we have rooms that easily allow an adult to sit comfortably.

Please be aware that Opal’s minimum session lasts 70 minutes.   Most of the children we’ve worked on at Opal have been fully able to receive a session of this length, with no need for a break or to truncate the session.  However, for a variety of reasons, a session may need to be truncated.   If this happens, or the parent decides ahead of time to have a shortened session, the 70- minute price will nevertheless be charged.

Children and teenagers come to Opal with many of the same issues adults have:  stress, athletic ailments, soreness from carrying bags or sitting at a desk-- or they may simply be curious about massage.  We may require a child with more complex medical issues have a note from a doctor stating he or she can receive massage.  We welcome children who are open to bodywork and in our experience, they receive it beautifully!

What is Massage?

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.