Why 20% of Chronic Pain Clients don’t Get Better

Discover which muscles can be main contributors to low back pain

Discover which muscles can be main contributors to low back pain

Heating up the fascia in the joint capsule to facilitate the release.

Performing a gentle, pain free, plunging technique using the head of the humerus as a massage tool to melt the fascia deep inside the joint capsule.

Helping my clients become symptom free as quickly as possible has been my mission statement since starting my practice seventeen years ago. Most of my clients realize a successful outcome. Their pain and body dysfunctions are usually resolved within 1-5 sessions, and they also learn how to maintain their wellness.

I know that I can’t help everyone with their problems, but I do know that a therapist’s attitude and a client’s attitude can contribute significantly to the outcome of a session. It’s true, clients who believe they can get better, usually do.

Bernie Siegel, surgeon and author of Love, Medicine & Miracles, confirms my positive experiences working with my motivated clients when he says, When people are willing to make an effort to cure what’s incurable, I’ll work with them. What goes on in your head affects your body.

My clients benefit the most when I am present during a session and have an attitude of gratitude—without thought, in a state of inner connectedness where I’m more alert than in the mind-identified state. My approach is a simple structural solution, with possible adjunctive energetic therapies where needed–a treatment plan easy to explain, that makes sense to my clients, and one that is, in most cases, effective and the best choice for a positive outcome.

Being present means to inhabit your body fully, to always have some of your attention in the inner energy field of your body—to feel the body from within, so to speak. Body awareness keeps you present. It anchors you in the Now. The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

Clients who have the most difficult time getting better are those conditioned to their pain and body dysfunctions, have  identified with their emotional pain for a long time and, on an unconscious level, don’t believe they can become symptom free. Their sense of self is heavily invested in it, and as long as they are so invested, they will resist or sabotage every attempt that is made to heal.

Because it’s an unconscious process, the only way to overcome it is to make the pain conscious by observing and accepting it as part of what is at that moment. To stay present, it helps to be deeply rooted within yourself, otherwise, the mind, which has incredible momentum, will drag you along like a wild river.

A client’s belief and motivation is more important than any type of treatment received. Scientific research by Candice Pert, PhD, Molecules of Emotion, has proved that our thoughts can actually change pain.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others, Cicero (106-43 BCE)

Adjunctive Soft Tissue Treatment Modalities

Zero Balancing Balances Energy & Structure

Zero Balancing Balances Energy & Structure

Can you give me a little more pressure?

The varieties of structural bodywork modalities and soft tissue treatment techniques I use are designed to relieve and eliminate soft tissue pain and body dysfunctions, and in most cases, are effective on even the most difficult cases. However when an especially stubborn case only partially resolves, which is the exception, there can be an energy holding pattern resistant to conventional structural bodywork.

The longer I treat chronic pain clients, the more I realize that certain stubborn cases require more than a conventional structural approach to achieve a positive outcome. Some clients with similar symptoms get better quickly and others take longer and seem to resist a positive outcome. In most cases, clients who don’t do as well with structural bodywork,   respond positively to adjunctive energy techniques.

In several cases of unresolved frozen shoulder and neck pain, for example, several of my clients have responded favorably to adjunctive energy treatment, subsequently improving range of motion and diffusing pain in the most difficult cases beyond what was accomplished with conventional structural bodywork.

Special powers or talents are not required to successfully treat clients with energy techniques. Most of us have the capability to work with energy; the main requirements for being effective are clearing our minds, becoming present, and opening the channel to our universal energy source.

The specific adjunctive energy modalities I use on stubborn cases that only partially resolve with structural bodywork are: Zero Balancing, the SET Quick Release Technique, and Energetic Breath Therapy.

Zero Balancing, a primary health maintenance system, balances the relationship of energy and structure within the bones and tissues of our body by applying comfortable pressure to acupressure points and gentle traction to joints which promotes a quieting and centering of body/mind. Aligning energy with structure enhances the body’s natural healing processes and supports optimum health.

SET Quick Release Technique stimulates 5-7 acupressure points in a sequence of logical energy flow through the meridians of the head, neck, and shoulder to initiate relaxation, and releases restrictions and blockages by reestablishing normal energy flow throughout the head, neck, and shoulders.

Breath Therapy, a physical energetic process for releasing emotional energy, that can effectively release chronically tightened musculature and trapped emotional trauma by oxygenating our blood, subsequently releasing subconscious blockages, which can produce a profound positive effect on our health.

Several primary modalities that I regularly use, Orthopedic Massage, Structural Energetic Therapy, Soft Tissue Release, Myofascial Release, and Trigger Point Myotherapy, to restore structural balance in my clients, focus on the rehabilitation and prevention of chronic pain and musculoskeletal dysfunctions. No one modality or type of treatment is the answer for treating all conditions and all clients. Additional adjunctive energetic treatment therapies can be effective in resolving those resistant energetic holding patterns that resist conventional structural bodyworking solutions.

The Power of Touch

Gentle myofascial stretch of the posterior cervical fascia

Lengthening Posterior Cervical Fascia

The simple power of touch crosses all time and cultures, and the healing power of human touch is ever present.

Studies of infants have shown the dramatic and often fatal effects of touch deprivation on the biological and psychological health of human beings. The need for nurturing touch is not limited to infants and children; basic geriatric massage is also bringing the healing power of touch to our elderly by reducing their anxiety levels and satisfying their need for nurturing touch.

Myofascial Cervical Stretch

Myofascial Cervical Stretch


The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami has conducted over 100 studies on the positive effects of massage therapy on many functions and medical conditions in many different age groups. Among the significant research findings: enhanced growth in preterm infants, diminished fibromyalgia pain, decreased autoimmune problems–increased pulmonary function in asthma and decreased glucose levels in diabetes, enhanced immune function–increased natural killer cells in NHIV and cancer, enhanced alertness and performance–EEG pattern of alertness and better performance on math computations. Many of these effects appear to be mediated by decreased stress hormones.

A recent study among breast cancer patients found that massage therapy increased their overall coping skills, from depression and mood disturbances to fatigue and weakened immune system. Some MDs are recommending massage prior to and after surgery to help reduce stress and facilitate healing because of its positive impact.

Recent data suggests that a simple hug can reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in women. The power of human touch with good intentions is phenomenal.

The benefits that therapeutic touch provides humankind cannot be denied—hands calm, comfort, nurture, and heal. Incorporating more touch into our lives and into the lives of others will go a long way to boosting our health and help others boost their ability to heal and to enjoy life more.

Why Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork?

Lengthening the Extensor Hallucis Brevis Muscle

Lv3 Acupressure Point relieves foot cramps, headaches, and eye fatigue

Myofascial Skin Rolling

Myofascial Skin Rolling Release

Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork is still one of the most underrated types of health care on the market today. Its proven effectiveness for a variety of maladies is still unknown to many. Evidence based research of massage therapy is still in its infancy, but more and more is being done to not only document its effectiveness, but also to explain physiologically why it works. In addition to the growing research supporting its relevance as complementary therapy in rehabilitation, insurance companies are gradually discovering that bodywork is cost effective too.

In the forward to Deane Juhan’s book, A Handbook for Bodywork, and one of my favorite textbooks, Dr. Ken Dychtwald writes: This fascinating text offers…a broad assortment of strategies for releasing tension, freeing energy, and enhancing health through ‘hands on’ bodywork; and an eloquent exploration of the most mysterious and powerful of all human interactions–touch.

Bodywork has been used for thousands of years to relax muscles, eliminate spasms, diminish fatigue, soften connective tissues to make it more supple, and so free up the joints, restoring a fuller range of painless movement.

It’s not uncommon for individuals after surgery or serious injury not to recover their full range of motion or their normal levels of comfort. These soft tissue dysfunctions can also happen as a result of a wide array of overuse, disuse, spasm, injury, illness, fatigue, aging, poor habits, or innumerable physical strains that various occupations demand of us.    Deane Juhan, A Handbook for Bodywork – Job’s Body

Skilled in the latest knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathology, today’s bodyworkers are professionally trained to help you maintain your health and support you in your healing process.

Espousing a noninvasive approach to health, they offer you the luxury of uninterrupted attention to your body’s needs, As Dr. Tiffany Field reminds us, ‘Before drugs, there was massage therapy.’  Massage therapists and bodyworkers are schooled to talk and listen with their hands. It is their mission, and their joy, to serve you with the gift of touch communication. I encourage you to experience this gift, often, for yourself.  Bodywork, Thomas Claire

During my past sixteen years working as a professional clinical massage therapist, the industry has experienced enormous growth with more schools teaching the craft, more available therapists, and many more clients regularly using it as adjunctive health care. Today therapeutic massage & bodywork is more readily accepted as a holistic choice and, in many cases, is the simplest and most effective way to relieve and/or eliminate soft tissue pain and body dysfunctions.