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What to expect during your first session:

Intake, history, and making sure we are on the same page:

I typically suggest a 60-minute session for most new clients. This allows us to review your intake form, ask each other questions, do an assessment(s), and get right into treatment.  We will discuss what your goals are and what you are hoping to achieve by adding bodywork into your care routine.  At the end of the session, we will discuss follow-up sessions, create benchmarks to measure future treatment protocols and review any information that was discussed during the session.  For TMJ Dysfunction (also known as TMD) I look for the quality of mobility and function of the jaw, check for excessive inflammation at the joint, and check the neck and shoulders quality of mobility and function.  When working with any other area in the body, I am checking for localized pain in the area of complaint, possible nerve and postural implications.  Also looking at how well can you move through that part of the body: is the movement there but looks labored or strained, is movement possible but restricted, and if it's restricted where and when you move to what direction, and is there pain associated with it and on what side.

Sessions will be different for everyone, not one body or type of pain is the same.  Whether working with jaw, neck, hip, low back pain, or TMD it can be as much about treatment of the muscles associated with the area of pain as it can be about the tendons, ligaments, and nerves.  When working with the jaw, neck, shoulders, back, or hips many different techniques can be employed.  You may be seated, laying down flat, or on your side, and possibly face down.  You may be just relaxing for a moment on the table one moment, the next you may be resisting a movement or moving along with me.  Sessions are not full body, but focused only on the areas of pain.  You may stay dressed the entire session, or I may have you wearing a hospital gown so you can easily move during treatment while allowing me access to the skin.  While sessions can be relaxing, this is not a relaxation or whole body massage.  I focus on the areas of pain and their associated counterparts.    

Where do we go from here, after your first session:
At the end of your session we will discuss the most appropriate treatment plan for your situation.  For many, that can mean another session within 7-14 days.  The goal is to see more time pass between each session as time goes on as well as seeing the duration of the session become shorter.  Just as you would with physical therapy or chiropractic, we need to get your symptoms under control and then put together what future maintenance looks like for you.  For some people, once your area of pain is resolved you are good to go.  If you do not have another area of focus you would like to address, you can come in as needed, if needed.  For others, maintenance can mean a tune-up once a month, bi-monthly, quarterly, or whatever that looks like for you.  I will also let you know if there is another health care provider you may benefit from working with.  Sometimes pain is never straight forward and it can be a journey along with other medical fields.  If you need a sleep study, myofunctional therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic, etc we can talk about referrals in the area.

After session care:
Just as with traditional massage therapy, you may experience some soreness after your session.  This is normal, you should be able to function in your everyday with no distractions.  Extra water is always a great way to assist your body in recovery.  As the muscles and tissues are manipulated your body will start to move excess fluids through the system, this can increase urination, so adding water into your post-session care is a great compliment to help keep your body hydrated.  Especially if cupping was done.  Cupping can pull water from deep within the cellular layers, adding in the extra water can help prevent cramping and replenish what your body moves out of your system.  Ice, heat, or a combination has wonderful benefit after a session.  Play around with which one or if a combination of the two works best for you.

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