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!


Holiday Detox Solutions

The holiday season is here and with it comes the whirlwind of parties, shopping, and gatherings with family and friends. There is much planning to do on top of managing existing schedules. Abundant opportunities to eat, drink and be merry present themselves. Stress abounds, whether we welcome the season or can’t wait until it’s over.

dreamclinic massage seattle detox

Numerous parties and holiday events make it easy to over- indulge in sugar, alcohol, and foods you may not ordinarily eat. When you repeatedly partake, toxins build up in the body and can upset your internal balance. The resulting effects may include poor digestion and headaches and fatigue. Added to these challenges is the emotional stress of juggling multiple social engagements or dealing with difficult family members while attempting to maintain your own sanity. Emotional stress can cause you to eat and drink more to cope with anxious feelings, thus increasing the toxic load on the body.

Here are 5 holiday detox strategies you can do to eliminate toxins this holiday season:

  • Exercise. Exercising regularly increases circulation and oxygenation, and eliminates waste products from the body.1 Daily movement also reduces stress and improves cognitive function.
  • Eat cleansing foods. The liver is the body’s primary detoxification organ. Foods that help cleanse the liver include garlic, onions, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.2
  • Drink water. Water helps flush out toxins, so drinking an extra glass or two of filtered water each day can make a big difference. Add a squeeze of lemon to ease gas and bloating.
  • Try Acupuncture. When toxins build up in the body, the flow of life force energy, or qi, becomes inhibited. This imbalance can show itself as food and sugar cravings. Acupuncture balances the body’s qi, restoring a normal appetite and reducing cravings for toxin-loaded foods.3
  • Schedule a Massage. The pressure and rhythmic strokes used in massage improve the body’s circulation and lymph flow, facilitating toxin removal.4Massage also helps to reduce stress levels and boost the immune system.

As the holiday season proceeds, follow these holiday detox measures to keep yourself healthy and manage your stress with ease. Taking the time to take care of yourself will give you the energy to tackle all of your holiday commitments with cheer.


Supporting your immune system with massage

common cold helped by massage dreamclinic seattleCold and flu season is upon us. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that this year’s flu vaccine is 60% effective; so even if you’ve had a flu shot, you are still susceptible. Add a heaping spoonful of stress on top, and you further increase your vulnerability to illness. But there is some good news. A growing body of research indicates that your chances of staying healthy year round are increased because of supporting your immune system with massage

Chronic stress releases hormones in the body that contribute to decreased immune function, inflammation, depression, anxiety and ultimately, illness. Massage counteracts many of the negative effects of stress while encouraging relaxation, improving circulation, and releasing tension.

Multiple scientific studies have confirmed massage’s effectiveness at boosting immunity. One such study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, focused on healthy adults. Multiple blood samples were taken from study participants before and after they received a massage. Results of the blood tests showed that “a single massage produced measurable changes in the immune system and endocrine system of healthy adults.”

Dr. Mark Rapaport, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences and the study leader at Cedars-Sinai, said, “This research indicates that massage doesn’t only feel good, it also may be good for you. People often seek out massage as part of a healthy lifestyle but there hasn’t been much physiological proof of the body’s heightened immune response following massage until now.”

Participants in other controlled studies on this topic have ranged from pre-term infants to HIV+ men, medical students, and women with breast cancer. Each of these studies definitively showed that massage produced a positive improvement in immune system functioning.

Michael Ruff, Ph.D., a research associate professor with a specialty in virology and immunology at Georgetown University Medical School stated, “These are the first studies that show an effect of massage therapy on an immune function test, which can support the use of massage therapy to alleviate stress, relax muscles and now possibly serve as an alternative medical practice,” said “What we’re really looking at is creating a new paradigm for the practice of medicine, where massage therapy could be used in medication treatment versus just for relaxation.”


This article has been brought to you by Dreamclinic – offering quality therapeutic massage and acupuncture in the greater Seattle area as well as corporate massage nationwide.

Pain Relief for Musicians

by Diana Khoury

Professional and aspiring musicians are athletes of their own kind. They practice often and prepare extensively for performances, exerting a physical toll on their bodies. Pain and repetitive stress injuries are common. Since musicians lack the built-in support system that sports athletes have (coaches, trainers, medical staff), most are on their own when it comes to caring for their primary instrument – their bodies. This, and the stigma of injury, keeps many musicians from dealing with the problem until they are physically unable to play.

Musculoskeletal pain in musicians results from a combination of poor body mechanics, lack of stretching, muscle overuse, repetitive movement, or reactivation of old injuries.

The most common issues encountered among musicians are: tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle spasm/ cramping, repetitive stress injury, nerve entrapment, and neck, shoulder and back pain. Each of these conditions may involve inflammation, hypertonic (overly tense) muscles, and pain. Pain occurs when a muscle ‘locks up’ and no longer has the ability to expand or contract naturally. Medication is often prescribed to alleviate symptoms, but it does not address the underlying cause(s) of pain and often has unwanted side effects.

musican massage

After many years in the business, musicians become accustomed to playing through their pain rather than seeking help. Or, they might not know what they can do about it. Massage can be a beneficial course of treatment. A therapeutic massage helps ‘unlock’ and release the offending muscle group(s), thus reducing pain, increasing circulation and oxygenation, removing toxins and improving range of motion.

“The good news is that muscle pain is treatable. As doctors Janet G. Travell and David G. Simons say in Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, ‘When patients mistakenly believe that they must “live with”…pain because they think it is due to arthritis or a pinched nerve that is inoperable, they restrict activity in order to avoid pain. Such patients must learn that the pain comes from muscles, not from nerve damage, and not from permanent arthritic changes in the bones. Most important, they must know it is responsive to treatment. This gives the pain a new meaning. When these patients realize the twin facts that their pain is myofascial and is treatable, their lives take on new meaning and they are started on the road to recovery of function.’”1

The most important aspect of a musician’s injury recovery is self-care. A comprehensive wellness plan may include exercise, body awareness, improved ergonomics, regular stretching and rest breaks from practice. In addition, partnering with a massage therapist to receive ongoing treatment is preventive care against further injury.

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.


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Cancer Patients Benefit from Massage

by Diana Khoury

Many of us know someone whose life has been affected by cancer. A cancer diagnosis can produce feelings of anxiety, doubt, confusion, guilt, fear and depression in the patient.1
A complicated diagnosis paired with an extensive course of treatment can be overwhelming to consider. Cancer treatment encompasses physical, emotional, psychological and social elements. Establishing a supportive care team before, during and after cancer treatment is imperative to achieving a positive outcome.


Massage has been shown to help relieve cancer symptoms and reduce the side effects of treatment. Although massage cannot stop the growth or progression of cancer, a PubMed abstract states, “Therapeutic massage as a cancer pain intervention appears to be safe and effective. Patients who receive massage have less procedural pain, nausea, and anxiety and report improved quality of life… Massage has a positive effect on biochemistry, increasing levels of dopamine, lymphocytes, and natural killer cells.”2

“Some people worry that having a massage when you have cancer may make the cancer cells travel to other parts of the body. No research has proved this to be true.”3

A study done by the National Cancer Institute taught personal caregivers of patients (usually family members) massage techniques for cancer care via DVD instruction. Caregivers then regularly massaged their patients. Results of the study showed reduced symptoms and less side effects from cancer treatment, as well as increased social bonding and improved general comfort of the patient.

“‘The magnitude of the impact of family members was unexpected. Our research found significant reductions of pain, anxiety, fatigue, depression and nausea when massage was routinely administered at home by family and caregivers,’ states lead researcher William Collinge, Ph.D.
The study found massage by family members reduced stress/ anxiety (44% reduction), pain (34%), fatigue (32%), depression (31%), and nausea (29%).”4

For cancer patients seeking professional massage services, deep massage is not recommended, due to the potential of bruising and skin sensitivity (from radiation). Physical manipulation of bones is also discouraged, to avoid fractures of bones weakened during treatment of certain types of cancers.5 However, The American Cancer Society recognizes that “gentle massage and bodywork can be adapted to meet the needs of cancer patients.”6 It is recommended that a patient seek approval from their Oncologist before adding massage into their treatment plan.

Massage is increasingly being offered by hospitals and cancer care centers as a supportive therapy for cancer patients.2Massage is a non-invasive, cost effective way for patients to safely and effectively control pain and reduce the need for medications (thus reducing potential side effects). Regular massage can also help patients reduce stress, improve sleep, increase relaxation, boost immune function, and flush out toxins.

Adding massage as part of a comprehensive treatment plan gives cancer patients a greater sense of control over their own care. By decreasing anxiety and improving the ability to cope, massage empowers patients to take charge of their own healing process.

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.


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Correct Breathing is Essential to Good Health

In The Healer’s Manual, author Ted Andrews outlines four tenets for maintaining health and preventing disease: proper diet, proper exercise, proper rest, and proper breathing.1 We don’t often hear breathing mentioned as an important aspect of well-being. But just as breath is essential to life, correct breathing is essential to optimal health.

When acute stress occurs, the body’s normal physiological adaptation is a shortened, rapid breathing pattern in the upper chest cavity. As high stress levels persist, this abbreviated breath pattern becomes a chronic habit, and produces a domino effect of negative consequences in the body.


Shallow breathing significantly increases the amount of carbon dioxide the body exhales, markedly altering the body’s pH and creating a condition called respiratory alkalosis. “Increased pH (alkalosis) causes smooth muscle constriction. Smooth muscles surround the blood vessels and the gut and are embedded throughout connective tissue. As a result, one of the first effects of alkalosis is that the diameter of blood vessels reduces, impeding normal circulation, increasing blood pressure, as well as altering fascial tone throughout the body and interfering with normal peristaltic function in the intestines, thus leading commonly to irritable bowel syndrome or constipation. One research study suggested that up to 90 percent of non-cardiac chest pain can be brought on by [rapid, shallow] breathing.”2

Prolonged stress locks in this abnormal breathing pattern, affecting the body structurally, physically, and physiologically. As the breath remains shortened, alkalosis is induced, “making delivery of oxygen to the tissues (brain, muscles) less efficient, leading to reduced motor control, lower pain threshold, impaired balance, increased feelings of agitation, fatigue, and a variety of cognitive (“brain-fog”) and emotional repercussions (anxiety, panic tendencies, etc.).”2

Over time, dysfunctional breathing becomes a cycle, making it difficult for the body to revert back to its normal function. “Chest breathing is inefficient because the greatest amount of blood flow occurs in the lower lobes of the lungs, areas that have limited air expansion in chest breathers. Rapid, shallow, chest breathing results in less oxygen transfer to the blood and subsequent poor delivery of nutrients to the tissues…Using and learning proper breathing techniques is one of the most beneficial things that can be done for both short and long term physical and emotional health.”3

The deep breathing techniques taught in yoga provide multiple benefits. A yoga student must be physically and mentally present to learn specific techniques, creating self-awareness of one’s breath in the moment it is occurring (being present). Yoga breathing also has an important physiological component. The deep exhalations of abdominal breathing stimulate nerves at the base of the lungs which activate the parasympathetic nervous system, inducing relaxation and allowing normal physiological functions to reset.

Massage can help break dysfunctional breathing patterns and assist the body in returning to health. As muscle tension is released, the body’s circulation and oxygenation increase and the nervous system is calmed, breaking the stress cycle and creating a higher state of well-being.

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.

1. Andrews, Ted. The Healer’s Manual. Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications, 2006, page 5. Print.


Reduce Neck Pain & Tension

by Diana Khoury

Neck pain and tension is common in today’s society. It can be caused by an injury or by sitting, standing, walking or sleeping in a poor position. Neck tension is exacerbated by stress, creating an imbalance in the internal environment of the body and disturbing its normal functioning.

Seven of the body’s eleven major systems pass through the neck.* Tension restricts range of motion and inhibits the pathways that allow blood, lymph, hormones, spinal fluid, nerve impulses, food and air to travel between the head and the rest of the body.

sternocleidomastoid2“Physical structures [become locked] when the body fails to adapt to an overload of stress. This may result in pain, stiffness, numbness and postural distortions. In addition, the body’s capacity to co-ordinate its functions is undermined.”1Since multiple systems are affected, it is no wonder that constriction of the neck area has a direct, negative impact on the entire body and on one’s overall health.

Structurally, a stiff neck is caused by contraction of the musculature. “When the neck is tense, the shoulders rise and the chin moves up and forward, causing further misalignment and pain. Neck tension can often lead to tension headaches, a problem affecting 78 percent of the general population.”2

Chronic neck tension has a ripple effect on the nervous system. Since “the lower neck supplies the nerves to the arms, there may be pain or numbness in the shoulder, arm or hand. Muscles may be weakened, resulting in difficulty in grasping objects. The tension in the neck may cause headaches or pain in the face or jaw…Body stress in the neck area may also have an impact on nerve connections to internal organs, such as the heart, lungs and digestive system, undermining normal function.”1

Many people simply accept neck problems as a part of life, but this does not have to be the case. To decrease daily stress and support a healthy neck:

  • Practice good posture. Research ergonomics or take a yoga class to learn and use proper posture while working at the computer, sitting, standing and walking.
  • Take rest breaks from computer use every 20 minutes. Give your eyes and brain a rest, and take a stretch to lengthen muscles that have stiffened while sitting.
  • Drink plenty of water. Hydration transports essential nutrients to your cells.
  • Breathe. When you feel stress increasing, pause. Take a few deep breaths, and exhale fully. This soothes the nervous system and reduces stress hormone levels.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercising increases circulation, flexibility and improves oxygen flow to the brain.
  • Get plenty of sleep. The body needs rest, even more so when stressed. Sleep on your back instead of the stomach, to avoid craning the neck to one side.
  • Book a massage. Research and empirical evidence show that massage effectively releases muscle tension and pain, improves range of motion, and reduces stress levels in the body. You may feel relief from neck pain and tension in as little as one massage session, yet continuous relief can be found by making it a part of your ongoing wellness plan.

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.

* Skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems.


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