The ubiquitous deep tissue massage may not mean what you think it means.

Go to virtually any spa and an aggressive “deep tissue” massage is offered as an alternative to a relaxing “Swedish” massage. Over decades of marketing, deep tissue has become synonymous with deep pressure in the eyes of the public. However, true deep tissue massage has nothing to do with the pressure the therapist uses to deliver it.


Deep tissue actually refers to a massage that addresses more than just the surface layer of tissue.  True, one may use firm pressure or aggressive techniques to achieve this if the client and session goal warrants it. Conversely, one may also use gentle, slow, and light pressure techniques to access deeper layers of muscle and fascia.


Just as the term deep tissue does not prescribe a particular pressure, it also does not comprise a specific set of techniques. A therapist may use many techniques and styles of massage to access the deeper tissues of the body– including Swedish.


So, why would someone use deep tissue massage?


The team at Nimbus typically uses some form of deep tissue massage for most sessions involving relieving pain, easing muscular tension, and improving ease of movement. Sometimes a surface muscle or fascia is the only reason for the problem, but very often deeper layers are involved. The team can target different muscles or tissues at different levels to pinpoint and relieve the problem.

Nimbus therapists have a variety of different techniques in their toolboxes. They will, therefore, adjust their style and pressure to suit the needs and preferences of each client. We can accommodate people who love firm pressure as well as people who need “gentle deep tissue.”


Some massage styles that may be used to access deep tissues include Trigger Point Therapy, Neuromuscular Therapy, Thai Massage, Myofascial Release, Sports Massage, Orthopedic Massage… the list goes on and on. A few styles that do not typically address deeper tissues include Lymphatic Massage, Energy Work, and Pre/Post Surgical Massage.


Chronic Pain is Real.


As massage therapists we work every day with people who experience chronic pain. Over and over we listen to people’s frustration that their medical providers sometimes seem like they doubt the pain. Sometimes, the whole process makes people doubt themselves and their own experience. Well, we know chronic pain is real and we believe you.


We don’t need a diagnosis.


Regardless of whether a doctor has diagnosed a cause; or the symptoms don’t fit neatly into a box; or even whether we can “feel” anything; we trust your word that your pain experience is real.  We will work with you to try to improve it. Even if you have started to doubt yourself.


Generally speaking, massage safely and effectively helps people manage pain. Although having a diagnosis can help your therapist tailor their techniques for optimal results, massage can often help prior to receiving one. Massage eases pain whether it stems from a specific muscular injury or a more systemic cause. It can even help with calming mental stressors, like anxiety, that exacerbate pain.


Complementary not alternative.

In fact, many people who live with chronic pain first try massage because they’ve “tried everything else and it can’t hurt,” especially when feeling doubted. In this way, many people first seek massage as an alternative to other forms of pain relief. For some, massage works wonders and does replace other forms of pain management. For most, however, massage complements other approaches. It can be a key component to a multi-modal integrated approach to care. 


Pain comes in many forms and stems from many sources, not all of which the medical community fully understands yet. But they’re working on it. While research improves, massage continues to help people manage their pain.  And we massage therapists continue to believe that your pain is real.



Because so much of the information of what causes fibromyalgia, how it develops, and how it impacts the body remain unknown, there is no cure for it. The handful of drugs that are used to treat it only lessen its symptoms. Many of these drugs are off-label, meaning they were designed for treatments other than fibromyalgia. One such example, Gabapentin, was originally created for seizures, but in fibromyalgia may be used to decrease nerve pain or improve sleep.

Since most of the medications prescribed only treat your symptoms, documentation of your symptoms as a tool for your medical provider can be extremely important. To complicate things further, it is not unusual for fibromyalgia patients to also suffer from an autoimmune disorder such a lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, or any number of other health concerns.  Often the other disorder is the first to be diagnosed. Medical journaling or symptom documentation can alert your doctor that there may be something more (e.g. fibromyalgia).

What type of things should you document?

Pain Mapping & Activity

In my darkest days prior to my diagnosis, my physical therapist suggested that I keep a record of what particular body parts were hurting each day. That log ended up being key to my diagnosis because it enabled my rheumatologist to quickly spot a pattern of widespread pain. To this day I still record what body part is hurting each day along with a listing of my activities for the day. This documentation of what is hurting in conjunction with the day’s daily activities allowed me early on to identify activities that would flare me up. For example, handwriting or typing on the PC will flare up my pecs, shoulders, neck and upper back if I am not careful. I actually set a timer when I am on the PC to remind me to stop as it is easy to lose track of time. It stands to reason then that documenting your daily activities can provide some valuable insight.

Tami Stackelhouse in her book “Take Back your Life and Find Hope and Freedom from Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Pain” suggests investing in a step counter. By recording the number of steps taken daily along with your pain level, you can determine how many steps it takes to cause a flare-up so you can avoid surpassing that number. Knowing that number can also assist you in planning your daily activities. For example, if my targeted flare-up number is 1500 steps per day and I have already taken 1000 steps, I might turn down a trip to the mall because I will likely exceed my daily limit of 1500 steps. Hopefully, I will then spare myself a flare-up in my hips, legs and back.

Pain Quality

Because people who suffer with fibromyalgia can experience three different types of pain, documenting the type of pain and its intensity daily can provide valuable information to your healthcare provider as well. Is your pain achy like when you have a case of the flu? Perhaps you feel like you just ran a 5k race with muscle soreness in every movement. Or are you experiencing a burning pain? For me it feels like someone just inserted hundreds of tiny needles throughout my body. On a scale of 1-10, what is the pain level of each type per day? A good app to track your pain is can be found at

Sleep (or lack, thereof)

Once you have a handle on how your activity levels can impact your pain, you might want to tackle a study of your sleep quality. Do you have nightswhere it seems you didn’t sleep at all (“one-eyed” sleep)? Do you fall asleep but awaken almost every hour for a brief period before falling back asleep? Are you having trouble falling asleep? This information may be valuable in gaining a referral to a sleep specialist or in obtaining a prescription for a sleep-aide as the sleep of those with fibromyalgia is often dysfunctional. The good news is that Dr. Ginevra Liptan, an expert in fibromyalgia treatment and herself a fibromyalgia sufferer has developed a seven question fibromyalgia impact questionnaire that you can use to keep track of your pain, activities and fatigue. You can obtain a printable copy of the form at her website. This form is easy to use and should not require much time or energy as I realize there are days where just getting out of bed is a victory. If seven questions are too much, focus on one or two to start and the others later. Remember the journey towards wellness begins with a single step or in this case one question!

As always, my thanks to the marvelously skilled staff at Nimbus Massage who assisted with the typing of this blog and who literally keep me moving with minimal discomfort!

Tami Stackelhouse is a fibromyalgia patient herself and a fibromyalgia coach, her book “Take Back your Life and Find Hope and Freedom from Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Pain” offers a number if useful tips in pain relief improving energy levels and sleep, and working with your doctor. Purchase of the book will also gain you access to a free coaching session plus pain documentation sheets and more. The book is available for $14.95 at



What is Oncology Massage

Oncology Massage is not a particular series of gliding and kneading strokes. Rather, it is training in how cancer, cancer treatment, and remission work in the body and how to tailor a massage for someone going through any of these stages. It helps the therapist work safely and effectively through the complex medical needs associated with cancer and cancer care. 


Oncology massage is for anyone who would like a massage to help soothe anxiety or ease depression associated with this life-changing diagnosis. It is for anyone who would like massage to ease pain associated with cancer or cancer treatment. It is for anyone who has lasting effects in their body from surviving cancer, and wants to receive massage as part of their wellness program. Many people find massage to be an excellent complement to their medical care.

What to expect

As with any massage, an oncology massage starts with the intake and consultation. Be sure to discuss your treatment and how your body is doing with your therapist. The therapist will have some specific questions for you so that she or he can tailor your sessions to your particular goals and needs. Generally, the intake process will take a longer than a session for a less complex case.


Some common adjustments that may occur during an oncology massage include: avoiding working directly over tumor or treatment sites, lightening pressure to work around weakened structures,  or shortening a session to the tolerance of a person experiencing fatigue. The oncology massage therapist knows many adjustments to help people stay comfortable and well during their session, therefore, she or he can serve as a valuable part of a treatment team.


Although massage is no cure for cancer, many people going through treatment or remission find therapeutic bodywork to be helpful to their care. It can help ease many symptoms including pain, stress, anxiety, depression, nausea, fatigue, scar tissue formation, and more. 


Logging hour after hour in the data stream takes a toll on the human body. Modern office work leads to fatigue, stress, and often, physical pain. Staying locked into position over a work desk can put all sorts of strain on the physique, something we’ve dubbed “office body.” In the massage room, we help people daily who have developed chronic muscle soreness from working in the digital era.

Common Office Body Concerns

The number one “office body” complaint we treat is what we like to refer to as “tech neck.” Hunching over a computer like a T. Rex leads to neck, shoulder, and upper back pain.  Starting as an annoyance, if left unchecked the achiness can turn into full-blown pain.

The second most common “office body” problem is lumbar pain. Sitting for hours on end locks the lower body into position leading to tension and soreness in the thighs, hips, and low back. Over time pain creeps in making sitting and getting up difficult.

Another common “office body” issue is arm pain such as carpal tunnel, sore wrists, and sore elbows. Even the busy hands get cramped and sore. For those who type all day, this can make for a miserable work day.

Sometimes, computer work related aches and pains even lead to missed days from work and sitting out on life.

How Massage Can Help

Taking time out to disconnect on the massage table can help unwind these, and other, effects of “office body.” Over time, both the shortened muscles in the front of the body, and the stretched muscles in the back of the body, become tight and sore. Using therapeutic massage techniques can lessen the pain, relax the tension, and rebalance the muscles.

In addition to directly working on tight muscles, massage also eases stress and combats burn out. It can help people get out of the body’s stress cycle and re-set into rest mode. Stepping out of the loop of chronic stress and learning ways to incorporate relaxation into regular living can greatly support overall wellness.

So whether you have stress or muscular pain and tension, massage can get you on the pathway back to better.


With Love

Call Nimbus today (804) 714 7932 to reserve one or our holiday gift packages for that special health minded someone. We’ve put together some of our best sellers to create holiday gift sets that promote health and healing. With packages for stress relief, wellness, and pain management, we can help your special someone get back to better! Each set is only $225 and includes a gift card for a one-hour massage.

Be Well Package

One hour massage gift card (tip included)

Mother Earth comfort heart pillow

Mindfulness journal

Spiced tea & mug

Palo Santo smudge kit

Homeopathic energy drops

Himalayan salt lamp

Chocolates by Kelly


Ultimate De-Stress Package

One hour massage gift card (tip included)

Mother Earth aromatherapy shoulder pillow

Chamomile tea & mug

Aromatherapy and diffuser set

Homeopathic de-stress mints

Chocolates by Kelly


Happy Body Package

One hour massage gift card (tip included)

Natural pain pack with aromatherapy


Foam Roller

Trigger Point Ball



We can also help you custom design a set from our selection. Or find that one perfect item. We have old favorites and new products that have got you covered from head to toe. We can help you with:

Stress relief- Aromatherapy, heat packs, teas, salt lamps, and more to help set a soothing atmosphere.

Headache Relief- Sinus, migraine, and tension headache products.

Pain Management- Pillows, massagers, salves, and heat packs to target pain. We have items for neck, back, shoulders, hips, legs, hands, and feet.

Athletic Training Care- Rollers, massagers, and salves for post workout recovery.

And, of course, we have massage gift cards available in singles and sets.

Don’t forget to get yourself a little something special!



Burnout is real. And it sucks.

What does burnout feel like? Exhausted, frazzled, and running on empty. Too overwhelmed by mounting pressure to function. Paralyzed. Utterly depleted. Broken. Stress, over time, can become chronic and lead to burnout. Getting out of the depths of burnout can feel almost impossible – and insurmountable feat. Even for those in or nearing crisis mode, things can get better!


Whiplash is weird.

I was slowing down on the interstate approaching an accident, looking at the flames leaping from the car off on the left shoulder, wondering if the person was ok. When I looked forward to stop behind the person in front of me, a movement caught my eye in the rearview mirror. Headlights. Coming too fast. They weren’t going to stop in time. I braced myself for the inevitable.

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