Why Bodywork for Peace?
“Let there be an opening into the quiet that lies beneath the chaos, where you find the peace you did not think possible and see what shimmers within the storm.”
~ John O'Donohue
Sessions are therapeutic and relaxing, with just the right amount of pressure, often described as "delicious discomfort." Using slow movement and gentle stretches helps achieve lasting results. Self-massage techniques are often included at the end of sessions to empower my clients and improve self-care for even greater relief. I listen carefully with my ears and hands and seek frequent feedback to tailor each session to my clients' goals. I maintain healthy boundaries to create a safe and comfortable healing environment.
I am an optimistic healer and am honored to help clients experiencing big―and small―emotions by creating a safe rapport, holding space, asking thoughtful questions, and letting the body find its voice. I believe in the body's innate wisdom and optimal health when balanced with mind and spirit.
I practice self-care so I can bring my best self to the table every time.
Meet Your Therapist
April McKnight, BS, CMT, BCTMB
A lifelong learner, I keep up daily with advancements in my field through training, articles, webinars, and networking with other professionals. In 2010 I graduated from International Professional School of Bodywork (IPSB) in San Diego, specializing in Relational Somatics, and opened my business that same year. I have taught self-massage classes and provided massage for teens in residential treatment, women in a transformational recovery program, homeless women, leprosy patients in India, and basic massage for community health workers in Gulu, Uganda.
I graduated as Valedictorian in Psychology (B.S.) from Brigham Young University and worked in the mental health field with troubled youth for almost 15 years, including wilderness therapy and residential treatment.
One of my passions is sustainable development and I have spent significant time volunteering internationally in various countries. The Arbinger Institute and Center for Nonviolent Communication have profoundly influenced my relationships and way of being in the world, and I have led various workshops in these methods in the U.S. and Uganda.
—California-Certified Massage Therapist (CAMTC), since February 2010. Cert. #555
—Member, Associated Bodywork and Massage Practitioners (ABMP) since August 2010. #983017
—Nationally Certified, National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) since February 2011. #598403-10
—CPR and First-Aid Certified, current
—“Touching the Untouchables” about my volunteer work with leprosy patients in India. US Association of Body Psychotherapists (USABP), Somatic Perspectives Today, Spring 2012, pp. 8-11.
—“How do you respond to a client’s emotional reaction on the table?” Massage and Bodywork, March/April 2015, p. 15.
—"Bodywork Meets Psychology" in AMCAP Networker, Spring 2010, pp. 21-25.
What should I do during the massage?
During the massage, make yourself comfortable and feel free to let me know if you need more or less pressure, change in location, or anything else that comes up. I will either gently move you or tell you what is needed such as lifting your arm or encouraging you to let it go. Many people just close their eyes and completely relax, communicating if or when they need to. Some like to talk, though you may find you reap the most benefits if chatting is kept to a minimum and you can focus on your body. There may be areas calling for attention that you weren't aware of previously, your mind may wander to old memories or something to add to your grocery list―just notice what you notice...
If you have any questions regarding the session or about the particular technique you are receiving, feel free to ask. I welcome feedback!
What will the massage or bodywork feel like?
It depends on what your goals are and what type of massage you get. Typically therapeutic massage tends to feel more "painfully productive" or like "delicious discomfort" while massage for relaxation tends to focus more on luxuriousness.
In a general circulatory massage, your session may start with broad, flowing strokes that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas and relieve areas of muscular tension. Often, a light oil or lotion is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. The oil also helps hydrate your skin. Some modalities such as Deep Tissue Sculpting do not use oil on bare skin so there is more differentiation in tissue layers.
Regardless of modality, you should communicate immediately if you feel any discomfort so that another approach may be taken. Massage and bodywork are most effective when your body is not resisting.
For more details on the specific modalities I perform, see Rates and Services.
Must I be completely undressed?
Most massage and bodywork techniques are traditionally performed with the client unclothed, especially if they use oil or lotion. Some, like Thai, are best received in clothing that you can move in comfortably. Ultimately, it is up to you what you want to wear and you should undress to your level of comfort. You will be properly draped during the entire session, uncovering only the area being worked.
Will the practitioner be present when I disrobe?
I will leave the room while you undress, relax onto the table, and cover yourself with a clean sheet. If you need to use the restroom during the session, I will leave the room while you dress or wrap the top sheet around yourself and return when you're covered again on the table.
What parts of my body will be massaged?
A typical full-body session will include work on your back, arms, legs, glutes, feet, hands, head, neck, and shoulders, with abs as desired or time permits. During intake I ask what areas you'd like to focus on or avoid, but we can always revise during the session if something comes up. Even if you want to concentrate on a trouble area(s), it's often helpful to include some integrative strokes to "say hello" to the rest of the body. Please note that I never work under the sheet or on genitals or breasts.
How will I feel after my session?
Most people feel very relaxed or even sleepy. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity which can last for days. If much deep work was done, you may feel some soreness like after working out, but it should be gone within a day and feel improved afterward. Some chronic issues will take a number of sessions to respond to massage, especially if they took a while to develop. Some issues may not be resolved with massage, but the relaxation and increased parasympathetic response in the body will help you better manage your symptoms.
What are the benefits of massage and bodywork?
Massage and bodywork can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, promote faster healing of injured muscular tissue, improve posture, and reduce blood pressure. Massage and bodywork is also known to promote better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and create an overall sense of well-being.
However, similar to exercise, the benefits last longest when more frequently performed. It is unclear whether massage flushes out toxins as popularly promoted (though always a good idea to hydrate well after a massage!), and research continues to discover―and debunk―various beliefs around massage. Check out my Facebook page for insights and highlights on research.
Are there any medical conditions that would make massage or bodywork inadvisable?
Yes. That's why it's imperative that, before you begin your session, you answer general questions about your health. It is very important that you inform me of any health problems or medications you are taking as some are contraindicated for massage. Recent injuries, surgeries, heart, lung, skin, and chronic issues are of particular concern.
If you are under a doctor's care, it is strongly advised that you receive a written recommendation for massage or bodywork prior to any session. Depending on the condition, approval from your doctor may be required.