Well, hello there!
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Oh, Hi! I’m Leah, licensed massage therapist and owner of Align Massage Co. here in Austin, TX. I’m formally trained in a wide variety of techniques and utilize them at exactly the right time to get you the very best results. I’m all about the fascia (connective tissue), so we start there. I use a modality called Fascial Distortion Model and then move on to things like manual muscle therapy, cupping, trigger point therapy, pin and stretch techniques, stainless steel tools, and kinesiology taping. I communicate with your body to see what it responds to best.
I was a huge massage enthusiast long before I decided to pursue massage as a profession. I actually started my first massage business at age 8 and would charge my family members a penny a minute to rub their shoulders, hands, or feet. I lost interest, like most 8-year-olds do, and eventually moved on to the next best thing: building tree houses. Since then, I had plenty of jobs that paid the bills, but none that challenged me to grow as a person or presented the opportunity to help others in a more meaningful way. So I went back to school. I launched Align Massage a couple of years later, out of a need for my own independence and the realization that people just weren’t getting the quality care that they need. There’s a world of rule followers out there and I knew I wanted to change that.
The word “massage” is finite but “bodywork” feels limitless. We’re taught in massage school that we need to be quiet. ”SHHHHHH…don’t speak, let people relax. Be calm, neutral, and in the background.” For me, communication and feedback are completely essential for results-oriented bodywork. I aim to elevate your body awareness, so the lines of communication must be as open as they would be with a Chiropractor or Physical Therapist.
Client education is my top priority, because if I can teach you how your body moves and how to move better, then I can teach you how to get the most out of it. Movement is medicine. We can accelerate your results with your commitment to getting better and utilizing the home exercises, stretches, and self-care tips given to you.
I started by helping just one person. Helping that one person has led to helping hundreds. Let’s take massage to the next level, one client at a time, using only methods backed by science and research. Align Massage is not a spa. There are no flameless candles and I don’t own Tibetan singing bowls. I leave the “Ommmm” at home and the “Namaste” for a different day in order to focus on what matters: getting you feeling and moving like a badass!
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Hi, I’m Sarah! I grew up in Dallas, TX with a passion for health, fitness, and the outdoors. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, I continued my education through studying massage therapy, personal training, corrective exercise and teaching yoga. My specialty is an integrative approach towards healing chronic pain via the mind-body connection, structural alignment and energetic healing. In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing, hiking, slack lining, yoga, and relaxing with my little pitbull, Bella.
Align Massage is by appointment only, but we can often accommodate same day bookings. Check out today’s availability in the booking tab at the top of the site or give us a call! We are often in session and don’t have a receptionist, so please leave a message (or shoot us a text). We’ll get back to you ASAP!
Hours & Location
We’re located inside The Specific Chiropractic Centers of Austin at 4106 Marathon Boulevard. Suite B (that’s us) is the gray two-story building behind Waterloo Dental. It’s just 5 minutes off of Mopac’s 35th street exit!
How long of a session should I book?
For your very first visit, we suggest booking at least a 60 minute session. We’re getting to know your body, and that means exploration and discovery of any underlying issues involving your pain. We move very slowly and precisely, getting you the best results possible. After your initial visit (and we’ve found our rhythm,) we’ll need a minimum of 30 minutes per problem area. If you’re coming in with multiple issues that you’d like us to address, schedule accordingly.
Always go with your gut…if you simply want more time because you feel you need it, that’s great! Listen to your body and book that longer session!
How many visits until I’m better?
It depends on what brings you to our treatment table and what your personal goals are. Is your pain keeping you from training and you want to get back in the game ASAP? You’ll want short but frequent sessions (30 minutes/3x weekly) where we’ll test and retest how your body is reacting along the way and change our strategy if we don’t see significant improvement after each visit. Is your pain acute or chronic? Acute pain can be mild and last for just a moment, or it can be severe and last for weeks. Chronic pain is ongoing and usually lasts longer than six months. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, we must be realistic and patient when it comes to getting results. Consistency is key, so you’ll want to book longer sessions perhaps weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Remember, bodywork is cumulative. It’s tough to undo months or years of pain with only one session, but even at your first visit, most people experience noticeable improvement that continues as we work through the issues together.
How would you best describe your approach to pain?
We are clinical bodyworkers that perform highly targeted manual therapy. We also sprinkle in at-home instruction and injury education, which is the “secret sauce.” When you’re doing what you need to do to get better, it expedites the whole healing process! If you’re familiar with arrosti, it’s kinda like that–minus the tears. We like to focus most of our efforts on the fascia/connective tissue. Yes, we’re anatomy nerds and are very detail-oriented when working muscles, tendons, ligaments, and veins, but your connective tissue is the key. Fascia has 6-10 times more nerve endings than muscle, yet it doesn’t show up on any CT scans, MRIs, or X-rays. It’s often overlooked and is often the culprit for pain. Be prepared to move and assist us in our treatment; we’re going to put you to work.
Besides your hands, what other tools do you use?
Great question! When we need to switch it up on unresponsive tissue, we use these tools as needed:
- Cupping: Suction removes the air from the cup, lifting the tissue and increasing blood flow to the area. You’ve probably seen the marks they leave behind, which are not bruises but more like hickies! The scientific studies on cupping suggest that this therapy works very similarly to what we as therapists do with our hands. I enroll them as my “little helpers” while I work my magic elsewhere or deploy them in areas where there is more resistant tissue.
- IASTM (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization:) A metal tool is used to gently scrape the superficial layers of tissue. This is a popular treatment for myofascial restrictions like scar tissue. The many layers of our connective tissue can stick together, and when that happens they start to move together, creating biomechanical malfunction. IASTM can help loosen the layers of tissue, thereby allowing more movement.
- RockFloss: RockFloss is a thin, elastic band applied to the affected area that allows for “fascial shearing.” That sounds scary but feels awesome and gets things moving.
- Kinesiology / RockTape: Otherwise known as KT tape, this stretchy/sticky stuff is used for decreasing bruises/edema/ swelling, restoring good posture, and decompressing fascial layers to decrease pain.
- CBD (Cannabidiol:) A non-intoxicating component of the cannabis plant. CBD comes with a myriad of health benefits and has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, decrease pain, and improve your quality of sleep. We’ve got CBD products for sale in the clinic if you love it (like we do) and want to add it to your self-care routine.
What should I wear to my appointment?
Wear loose fitting clothing that you can easily move around in. If you’re coming from work, bring a change of clothes with you. We use organic, fair trade shea butter that has a potential to stain clothing, so don’t wear your new $30 workout top. Some articles of clothing may need to be removed for treatment, in which case you’ll be fully draped.
Should I eat before I come in?
It’s okay to eat a light meal before your session, but if we’re working on your hips, odds are we’ll be checking your psoas. Your psoas is the deepest muscle in your body, and we access it through the abdomen, so no cheeseburgers right before a session like that.
What should I expect from my session?
Hopefully some seriously amazing changes in your body! You may experience some discomfort during treatment, but we always say “You can’t push a river.” We’ll never work beyond your threshold of pain. Doing so would release stress hormones (cortisol) and could be counterproductive to our work. Forget the “no pain, no gain” mentality.
Not everything that is therapeutic is painful but not everything that is painful is therapeutic. We’ll teach you how to listen to your body and know when what we’re doing is working and when it’s not. Communication and feedback from what you’re feeling and experiencing is our guide to being successful.