Posted by: seattledizzygroup | March 31, 2015

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy

by Francesca Garibaldi, LMP, RMT

of Francesca Garibaldi, LMP & Associates

(Presented to Seattle Dizzy Group on 3/14/15)

This presentation gives an overview of Massage Therapy, including how it works, types and benefits of massage, what to expect of a treatment, and self-massage techniques to try at home.  Learn about this complementary therapy for managing the symptoms of a chronic vestibular or balance disorder.

How Massage Therapy Works

Massage therapy is one of the oldest and most effective healing modalities we have available to us. It helps your body rid itself of the toxins you encounter in foods and the environment.

Daily activities, stress, poor posture, etc. can cause our muscle fibers to get stuck together (knotted) which blocks the blood flow and causes toxins to build up.  As we try to compensate for decreased mobility from tight muscles, we only end up causing problems with additional muscles.  Massage therapy works by breaking up knots in the muscles and realigning the muscle fibers which increases mobility, opens up the blood flow again, and releases built up toxins which can then be flushed out of the body.  After receiving a massage, you should always drink plenty of water in order to help your body clear toxins.

Regular massage therapy (received at least once or twice a month) can help improve your health and quality of life by reducing stress, relieving muscle tension, improving mobility, and unburdening your body of harmful toxins.

Types and Benefits of Massage

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage is a very relaxing and therapeutic style of bodywork. It combines oils or lotion with an array of strokes such as rolling, kneading, and percussion to help the body improve its circulation. The benefits of this type of massage are wide-ranging and include relief from aches and pains, decreased stress levels in the body, enhanced mental clarity, improved appearance, and greater flexibility.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is a form of bodywork that aims to relieve tension in the deeper layers of tissue in the body. Deep tissue massage is a highly effective method for releasing chronic stress areas due to misalignment, repetitive motions, and past lingering injuries. Due to the nature of the deep tissue massage, open communication during the session is crucial to make sure you don’t get too uncomfortable. Keep in mind that soreness is fairly common after the treatment and that you should drink plenty of water to aid with the flushing and removal of toxins that are released from the deep tissue during the session.


Reiki is a Japanese form of energy work that cleanses and balances the energy system in the body. As a result, the body’s natural self-healing mechanisms strengthen, helping to establish optimum health. During a session, the practitioner works directly with your energy field to remove blockages, detoxify your system, and restore your vital life force energy. Reiki utilizes a gentle laying on of hands to conduct the necessary energy force between us. The benefits of Reiki range from the release of habitual mental/emotional stress to alleviating chronic pain. Reiki can be done in a separate treatment or included with other massage sessions.

Intra-Oral Massage Therapy

If you have been diagnosed with TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction) or have pain in the jaw, by the ears, forehead, back of the head, neck and/or shoulders, a therapeutic TMJ massage may be right for you.  Treatment consists of massage to the neck, shoulder, facial, and muscles of the mouth. The practitioner will focus treatment on your chewing muscles, eliminating any trigger points, and pain referral areas by releasing tension in the fascia around the jaw, neck, head and face.

This treatment also includes intra-oral massage to the masseter muscles to reduce the stress it can put on the jaw and temporomandibular joints. Pain is frequently aggravated by clenching and/or grinding of the teeth, causing damage to the joints due to disease, arthritis or trauma to the face.

CranioSacral Therapy (CST)

CranioSacral Therapy is a gentle yet powerful technique that is effective in releasing neck pain, back pain, and mental stress (among other things). It does this by optimizing the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spine and around the skull. Developed by physician William Sutherland, this therapy provides a very soothing and relaxing healing experience.

(Information from

What to Expect of a Massage Treatment

Before the treatment begins, discuss with the practitioner your problem areas and goals of the massage as well as any preferences or requests.

Usually, massage is received while lying on a table covered with a sheet or blanket in a room with a relaxing atmosphere.  The massage practitioner will do their best to accommodate your needs, including propping you up if necessary (to avoid positional dizziness or vertigo).  You may undress or remain clothed according to your personal comfort level.

During the massage, breathe deeply and try to relax and enjoy the treatment.  The goal is for you to be as comfortable as possible, so the practitioner should check in with you about intensity and there should be no pain. Communicate any discomfort at once, should you experience it, so that the practitioner may adjust the pressure or location of their hands. If you are asked to change position during the treatment, move slowly especially when turning over to decrease dizziness.

After the massage, you should feel very relaxed.  To minimize disorientation or dizziness, sit up from the massage slowly and take your time getting up from the massage table.  You may also wish to sit in the waiting area for a short while before going on to your next activity.  Be sure that you are fully alert before driving.

Following your massage treatment, you may experience mild nausea, headache, or tender lymph nodes in your neck or underarms for a few hours up to a few days  (especially after deep tissue massage).  Be sure to drink plenty of water in order to flush out the toxins that were released during the treatment and help alleviate any post-massage symptoms.  Exercise is also a great way to clear toxins (by sweating) and help maintain improved muscle mobility longer.

As you continue with regular massage therapy with the right practitioner (one whose touch and technique are a good fit), you will find what works best for you and gives you optimal results.

Self-Massage Techniques

Self Massage Techniques Handout (Click to Download PDF)

Wall Stretch (for Thoracic Outlet)

Position 1                         Position 2                        Position 3

Tennis Ball Massage

 Lying down flat or up against a wall, use tennis ball(s) to alleviate muscle knots and tension.  Use two tennis balls in a sock for neck muscles.  Or, use one tennis ball for shoulder area.

Francesca Garibaldi, LMP, RMT

of Francesca Garibaldi, LMP & Associates

Francesca graduated from Ashmead School of Massage and became licensed as a massage therapist in 2006.  In her eight years, she has focused on deep tissue and injury treatment in both her practice and continuing education.  TMJ and jaw related pain is quite prevalent with other injuries, so in 2012 she was certified by the State of Washington to administer intraoral massage and she has been amazed at the difference it has made in relieving headaches and neck pain.

Life is all about balance and Francesca believes that is true with her practice as well.  Deep treatment work can be great for the muscles, but she believes energy work can be just as important.  Her journey into bodywork began in 2000 when she became Level 1 certified in Reiki while training as a yoga instructor.  She was shocked at the difference she felt with treatments and she continues to be surprised by the positive feedback from clients.


Presentation information is not meant to be taken as medical advice.

Presentations posted online may include discussion notes, links, images, and other information added by Seattle Dizzy Group.


© Copyright 2015, Seattle Dizzy Group. All rights reserved.


  1. […] 2015, we had guest speakers on the topics of Massage Therapy, Acupuncture and Acupressure Therapy, and Biofeedback […]

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Providing support & community for people living with chronic dizziness & imbalance -- in Seattle & beyond

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