Ask a Massage Expert! Answers To Your Top Questions

If you’re considering a massage, in Seattle or anywhere else in the country, you may have some questions about what to expect during your first visit. Of course, this is perfectly natural. After all, while you may have heard from friends what a massage is like, you’re about to experience it for yourself. And you may want to have a better understanding of how your session will go when you arrive.

Not to worry.  The massage experts at Dreamclinic are here to answer your questions. Our professionally trained staff is always happy to provide you with guidance when it comes to your health and massage, in Seattle or beyond. And today, we’re answering some of your top questions!

What should I wear when I get a massage?

You should dress as you normally do and in what is most comfortable for you. Our staff recommends dressing down, and for many patients, a pair of shorts works well, along with a t-shirt. Once you have had a massage, your relaxed body will appreciate a comfort-oriented approach to your wardrobe.

Are there any risks associated with getting a massage?

While massage therapy is known to be an extremely safe activity, patients should be aware of a few considerations before beginning. If you have concerns or known medical conditions, it’s best to talk with your doctor to make sure massage is medically safe for you.

Should I feel sore after my massage session?

Especially if you’re getting a deeper tissue massage, it’s normal to feel a little soreness the next day after your massage. In fact, that soreness is likely a result of the positive effect of your massage. Increase your fluids to assist your lymphatic system and decrease soreness.

Is a massage more about the experience or the medicine?

The answer is: both! Massage therapy is as much as a science as it is an art. In addition to being enjoyable and relaxing, massage therapy does  also offer numerous health benefits.

Can a massage help me with my active lifestyle?

Yes! For those of you who live an active life, massage can offer even more benefits. That’s because active people tend to pick up dings and stress to their muscles and need more regular maintenance. When you arrive for your  Dreamclinic massage, please feel free to bring up how massage can benefit you regarding the specific activities you engage in.

What licensures exist in the United States for massage?

In the United States, each state has its own regulation that pertain to massage therapy. For our massage team in Seattle, our  excellent team of professionals are licensed with over 750 hours of training.

Does my health insurance plan cover massage sessions?

In some cases, insurance plans may cover your massage therapy. This is especially true if your general doctor or specialist has referred you for massage therapy. However, every insurance plan is different. Best practice is to check your specific plan for benefits pertaining to massage. Also if you have been in a car accident, your auto insurance should cover massage.

Does Dreamclinic offer office-based sessions in Seattle?

Yes! We’re proud to offer workplace massage, onsite sessions for your office or corporate events.

Can I customize my massage session at Dreamclinic?

One of the most important aspects of getting a massage is discussion your goals for the session with your therapist before the massage begins. Before your first session, talk to one of our trained staff about what is right for you.

Ready to get your first massage at one of our Seattle area locations? Get in touch with us!


Massage for Treating Stress

dreamclinic massageMost of us have stress in our lives, whether due to work, family or general environment. For some the stress may cause sleeplessness, anxiety, hypertension or depression. For many the stress leads to muscle soreness somewhere in the body – the shoulders, neck, legs, or back.

Whatever form the stress manifests in, can become an incessant low or medium-grade condition that puts a damper on our every day lives and sense of well-being.  At its extreme, chronic stress wears down our immune system and adrenal function, causing onset of illness and serious medical conditions. Some individuals use exercise to relieve stress but many do nothing. They just live with the aches and pain, blocking out the discomfort they feel. The problem with this approach is that with time our aches and pain only increase, depriving us of health and vitality.

Massage therapy can be used to treat most common conditions related to stress and muscle tension. Massage has both psychological and physiological effects. It can be used to treat specific ailments or injuries and is also used for general relaxation and emotional calm. Massage is beneficial for those experiencing headaches, arthritis, insomnia, asthma, digestive disorders, constipation, carpal tunnel syndrome, sinusitis, and minor aches and pains. Those taking prescriptions for the above and related conditions will find that massage can be a great compliment to or even an alternative for the medication. The long-term benefit of receiving regular massage is lower stress, greater energy levels, and an experience of overall greater health.

Below are the known effects of massage on the body: 

    • Relieves muscle tension and stiffness


    • Reduces muscle spasms


    • Lowers blood pressure


    • Decreases stress and anxiety


    • Strengthens the immune system


    • Improves joint flexibility and range of motion


    • Speeds recovery from pulled muscles or sprained ligaments


    • Treats tension headaches and effects of eye-strain


    • Improves blood circulation and movement of lymph fluids


    • Improves posture


    • Relieves repetitive motion injuries


    • Enhances the health and nourishment of skin


  • Helps removal of metabolic wastes

By Larisa Goldin, MBA, LMP

Massage as Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What do you do if your doctor tells you that you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?  While highly effective, massage for Carpal Tunnel is often not brought up by conventional doctors. Symptoms of CTS include numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand and fingers as well as pain that can radiate up the forearm.  The pain is caused by constant pressure on the median nerve – the main nerve to the hand.  The pressure most often results from swelling or thickening of the wrist tendons due to repetitive wrist movements.  Poor office ergonomics, turning a wrench or using tools all day, playing an instrument, or sleeping in an awkward position can cause or exacerbate CTS.

Traditional treatments recommended by MDs for Carpal Tunnel have been anti-inflammatory or steroidal medication and splinting the wrist to limit movement. While splinting helps the patient avoid lying awkwardly on the wrists while sleeping, it can actually cause additional swelling during the day, as he or she goes about performing normal daily activities. The medications can have side effects and only last as long as they are taken regularly.

Also, very commonly, patients undergo surgery to sever the swollen carpal ligament, thereby creating space for the median nerve so it is not being constantly compressed. Unfortunately, surgery isn’t the magic bullet for relief of CTS symptoms either – after surgery, some still feel pain, tingling, and numbness. Sometimes, even a successful surgery does not last and once the patient goes back to the work or the hobby they used to enjoy, the condition eventually returns.

An alternative not always considered, is massage. Many patients have had success using massage for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and are often able to rid themselves of the condition altogether. Massage helps relieve CTS symptoms by breaking down scar tissue and adhesions in the muscles of the wrist and forearm, caused by trauma or overuse. Restoring the affecting muscles to full elasticity allows the wrist to move more freely, as it is supposed to, easing friction on the inflamed areas.  Massaging and stretching the tendons and ligaments of the wrist directly further aids recovery by relieving the pressure these tendons and ligaments are putting on the Median nerve that is causing the pain and tingling.

CTS symptoms will not disappear after one massage treatment but they can improve significantly and continue to improve with further treatment. Massage therapists can also teach you specific stretches for the hands and forearms to relieve CTS symptoms and help you remain symptom-free.

If you suspect you may have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or another medical condition or are currently being treated for CTS, please consult your physician before beginning any new treatment.

Massage Improves Seniors Health

Nurturing touch has been correlated with positive social and physical development in infants. As one ages, touch continues to play an integral role in human social interactions. Throughout a lifetime, healthy touch remains important to help a person to grow and thrive. In fact, senior citizens – just like babies – still need touch in order to stay healthy and maintain a positive quality of life.

Many seniors can experience isolation and depression due to retirement, widowhood or disability. Massage offers them an emotional lifeline – a connection to and compassion from another human being. On a physical level, massage gives seniors a path to pain reduction, improved circulation and increased mobility.


Caring touch is an accessible, therapeutic remedy for staving off age-related illness. In fact, recent evidence points to improved health outcomes for seniors receiving body-based therapies such as massage1 in conjunction with a conventional medical treatment plan.

The National Center for Health Statistics predicts that the population of seniors in the U.S. will double by 2030.2 Hence, the need to prevent and manage age-related disease and disability will be greater than ever. Massage has the potential to lessen the health burden on seniors personally, and on our healthcare system as a whole. Seniors who receive massage on a regular basis experience improved overall health, greater mobility and independence, and a reclaimed quality of life.

As our population ages, seniors Health, and the need for compassionate interaction between human beings grows more important than ever. Indeed, as infants need touch in order to survive, the same can be said for the elderly. And on the receiving end, seniors can be reassured of massage’s capacity to improve their well-being, help maintain independence and provide them with a better quality of life for many years to come.

This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc. Dreamclinic is a Health and Wellness company committed to sharing information about commonly experienced health conditions and how they may be impacted through the use of bodywork and other natural approaches. Dreamclinic offers massage, acupuncture, and Reiki sessions at its Greenlake and Queen Anne clinics, as well as onsite massage at workplaces around Puget Sound. Contact us to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or your workplace experience greater health.



Other Resources:

PTSD Symptom Relief

by Diana Khoury

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is currently on the PTSDrise in the United States. PTSD is a mental health condition that originates from a traumatic event such as a war, natural disaster, terrorist attack, abuse, violence, or assault. Symptoms of PTSD may last for years after the actual event occurred, and can interfere with a person’s relationships and daily functioning.

When a traumatic event occurs, the body moves into fight or flight mode, triggering the stress response. If this stressful state remains for an extended period of time, the initial trauma becomes ‘stored’ in the body and is unable to let go.

PTSD’s effects are experienced on physiological, physical and emotional levels of the body. PTSD symptoms include: flashbacks, nightmares, trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression, detachment, difficulty with memory and concentration, fatigue and chronic pain. A PTSD sufferer may struggle with fear and hypersensitivity on a daily basis, reacting uncontrollably to seemingly benign triggers. They no longer feel safe or in control of their environment, their body or themselves.

A holistic approach to treating PTSD has been implemented at the Fort Bliss Restoration and Resilience Center in Texas. Army war veterans who wish to return to combat must commit to an intense daily regimen of physical exercise, individual and group therapy, and holistic therapies such as yoga, massage, Reiki, acupuncture, t’ai chi, qigong, biofeedback and meditation.

John Fortunato, the clinical psychologist who spearheaded the program, states, “Many PTSD-afflicted soldiers experience ‘hyper-arousal,’  which the center staff treats with techniques like medical massage and ‘Reiki’… Acupuncture has proven to be ‘extremely effective’ in treating the anxiety, panic, and tension-induced physical pain many [veterans] experience.”1

“Soldiers who have been victims of PTSD after violent wars are being treated with acupuncture [with] successful results. Recently, the Pentagon has been investigating the beneficial effects of acupuncture for PTSD on soldiers affected with this condition. As per findings from recent trials, it has been found that combat veterans were relieved of their symptoms and experienced reduced depression, as well as pain. The improvements due to acupuncture were also found to be very rapid and significant.”2

In addition to this empirical evidence, numerous scientific studies have confirmed the healing benefits of touch. For PTSD sufferers, therapeutic massage offers the benefits of caring touch with clear and safe boundaries. “Massage therapy can help bring clients back into themselves by increasing their ability to feel safety and mastery in the world, to be freely curious without fear, to feel comfortable with their body, and to experience boundaried intimacy with another human being.”3

This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc. Dreamclinic is a Health and Wellness company committed to sharing information about commonly experienced health conditions and how thy may be impacted through the use of bodywork and other natural approaches. Dreamclinic offers massage, acupuncture, and Reiki sessions at its Greenlake and Queen Anne clinics, as well as onsite massage at workplaces around Puget Sound. Contact us to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or workplace experience greater health.


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Recognizing the Signs of Fibromyalgia

By Larisa Goldin, MBA, LMP

An interview with Margaret Mulroney, RN


Fibromyalgia Syndrome, or FMS, is a condition that involves significant pain in the muscles and joints of the body. People suffering from fibromyalgia often seek out massage therapy as a means of temporary relief from pain.  Dreamclinic sat down for an interview with client Margaret Mulroney, a registered nurse and advocate for greater understanding and information about FMS.


Fibromyalgia Points

DC: You hear the term fibromyalgia a lot lately.  For those not familiar, what is this condition?


Fibromyalgia is a syndrome rather than a disease, because the doctors don’t know the cause of it yet.  It is a disorder of the central nervous system where there is perceived pain without any obvious thing causing the pain: no visible signs or inflammation.  The pain involves the ligaments, tendons and muscles of the body.  The most common symptoms are fatigue and muscle pain all over the body.  Other conditions often go along with it, such as irritable bowel syndrome and numerous hormonal imbalances, adrenal gland or thyroid being the most common. Another common condition that goes along with fibromyalgia is an underlying sleep disorder. FMS is diagnosed by a rheumatologist who will check along 18 common tender points and will also rule out other conditions that mimic FMS, such as hepatitis or thyroid condition.

DC: One of the things you hear about Fibromyalgia is it often goes undiagnosed for years. Why is it so hard to diagnose?


The onset can be very slow.  It can take years for the symptoms to become so clear-cut that they can be properly diagnosed.  Sometimes fibromyalgia develops as a post-traumatic condition: if a person has a car accident and a lot of pain that never full goes away.  Then, because the symptoms can be vague, health professionals will attribute them to other causes: viruses, menopause in women or anxiety. Often, doctors downplay the condition: they can’t find an organic or physiological cause for the pain or fatigue and so they focus on the patient’s psychological outlook and they decide the causes of the illness are psychosomatic.  In my case, I had depression for many years, so the fibromyalgia symptoms were ignored.  I was treated as a person with depression rather than a person with a physical condition.

DC: In your case, what symptoms were you experiencing and how did you discover you had fibromyalgia?


I’ve had insomnia since high school and also 20 years of muscle pain.  My first job was in nursing, and after 10 years I had to quit because nursing is very physical and I had a lot of pain in my neck and shoulders.  Chiropractics helped partially, but I always felt something was wrong with my neck.  The pain was never fully gone.  Then, after 10 years of seeing a chiropractor, I developed low back pain.  I went to see a physical therapist and, instead of improving, I began to experience neuralgia (a pins and needles sensation in the hands and feet). An MRI ruled out multiple sclerosis so my next stop was to see a neurologist.  The neurologist said my symptoms were caused by anxiety.  Then I saw another chiropractor.  But, in all these years of seeing different health professionals, there was no answer to why I always had pain.

Four years ago, I started seeing a massage therapist for the low back pain and there were spots on my body so tender they could not be touched.  So the massage therapist told me about her mom who had been diagnosed with FMS and the symptoms were very similar to mine.  So I went to my primary doctor and said I think I have fibromyalgia and he sent me to a rheumatologist.  As it turns out, I had 17 out 18 tender points that are used to diagnose fibromyalgia.

DC: You have had a number of related conditions.  How are they linked to fibromyalgia?


All we know is that fibromyalgia is a disorder of the central nervous system but not the root cause.  Whatever is responsible for fibromyalgia could be causing other multiple disorders.  A lot of people with fibromyalgia have multiple autoimmune conditions. They have low thyroid, lupus or chronic fatigue syndrome.  Also, ninety percent of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women who are pre- or post-menopausal.  After many years of trying to deal with the pain and fatigue, isn’t it normal our bodies are going to show the signs of all this stress?

DC: Based on your personal journey with fibromyalgia, what would you recommend if someone suspects they have this condition?


Listen to what your body is telling you rather than what the doctor is telling you.  If I had paid better attention to what my body was telling me, I would have quit my nursing graveyard shift much earlier.  The fact that I didn’t really took a toll on my body. To be a better advocate for yourself start keeping a journal and get specific. When you talk to a doctor, try to keep your emotions out of the explanation so the doctor is less likely to write off your concerns as psychosomatic. Doctors don’t like self-diagnosis, but if you think you have Fibromyalgia, speak up and ask to see a rheumatologist.  Don’t let the system intimidate you.

There are some good resources I should also mention:

  1. A good website in Seattle is 
  2. There is also the Fibromyalgia Personal Support Center at through which you can locate a number of support groups
  3. The Arthritis Foundation at has some good information about Fibromyalgia
  4. Pacific Rheumatological associates are doing some interesting research with FMS.  Their website is