What is Artful Touch?
Artful Touch (a.k.a. Artful Touch Massage) is a self care studio on Tacoma’s historic Antique Row, existing to facilitate your primordial recollection of how to “be less like a brain in a jar”, as a regular client recently stated.
Most customers come for a series of three to twelve sessions, often working through phases of recovery from issues like chronic injury, uncompleted grief, and habituated self-neglect.
Offerings include medical massage (deep tissue, Neuromuscular, Muscle energy, myofascial, intraoral), Somatic Unwinding®, coaching, energy work, and sound healing.
Artful Touch (708 Broadway suite 103, Tacoma) is located on the first floor of the Passages Building in the St. Helen/Theater District of Downtown Tacoma, near the McMenamins Elks Lodge.
Artful Touch is ADA accessible, but please note that the nearest bathroom is one elevator-accessible floor above the studio.
If you have arrived for your session and can’t get into the building, please text 206-519-4297 for an access code.
Artful Touch is serviced by Pierce County Transit routes 11, 13, 16 1, 2, 45, 57, the TLINK via Theater District station, and Sound Transit routes 590 and 594 from the 10th and Commerce Transit Center (Zone G). Projected walk times from those stops range from two to ten minutes.
Since the opening of the hotel across the street, the detour down Broadway directing traffic to the freeway, and the long-term construction project happening up the block, driving in this area has become a bit tricky.
The best days to find easy parking close to the studio are Sundays, and Mondays. Spots are generally found within a block or two most other times, but please give yourself a few extra minutes when driving.
Clients describe my studio space as calming, homey, comfortable, inviting, and warm. I have both gathering and treatment rooms, a tea station, many educational references, mobility tools (including a trapeze bar!), ample floor space, a selection of chairs, mats, pillows, and carpets, as well as a massage chair, and an ADA compliant hydraulic multi-adjustable table (complete with electric warmer) for us to work with.
Expanded service descriptions
A “Signature session” simply means starting with a longer intake than is expected from a typical massage session, and then entertaining the possibility of allowing for the flow and focus of the appointment to shift as new information surfaces. It is a relic of a period of time in my practice when I was focusing on actively resisting the prescriptive, restaurant-menu style method of offering choreographed and impersonal bodywork to the public.
Nowadays, I just go with session timeframes as a baseline and offer an “Initial Session”, which is basically a discounted Signature session for newcomers.
Intake (goal setting)
Your intake is the most important part of planning the rest of your treatment. The attentive, conversational process usually takes about 20 minutes, sometimes longer, often consisting of assessment and testing.
- If your goals are to hunch less and reduce distress while working at a computer, we may work on postural alignment while sitting, practice some shoulder and chest opening somatics to use at home, perform some forearm stretches, and end with upper body massage.
- If your goals are to reduce stress and sleep better, I may talk you through a scan of your body, teach you a Somatic Unwinding® technique to use before bedtime, and finish with face massage using a calming scent in the treatment room.
- If your goals are to heal from injury or shake chronic habits from an old injury, I may talk you through some stretching or movement to assess the responsiveness of your problem area, go straight to the table for some neuromuscular deep tissue and myofascial release, and wrap things up with a site-specific somatic to integrate the manual bodywork into your nervous system.
- If your goals are to process trauma or move stuck emotions, we may talk about how you feel the issue present in your body, practice some grounding and felt sense visualization techniques, use sound to communicate with corresponding areas, do sidelying massage focused on rocking/traction/vibration, and end by making you a little mojo bag to physically take your calming supportive experience with you.
- If your goals are to sample what my neurological approach has to offer, we might spend 20 or so minutes gaining background and insight, 45 minutes introducing you to Somatic Unwinding®, and the last 20 minutes of the session on table work to clean up whatever stuckness is left.
- If your goal is to fly through the intake and receive a long massage, we may just fly through your intake and give you a long massage.
Homework (goal getting)
As one of my main principles in practice is to place my clients in a position of power in their own care, it is highly likely that I will suggest homework as it pertains to what we worked on and your stated self-care intentions.
A great side benefit of having somatic education in a first session is that it gives you a new tool to use at home, and a built-in homework suggestion for returning clients that builds directly upon our previous work. For this reason and more, many initial sessions include Somatic Unwinding®.
* All Artful Touch Signature sessions are personalized, custom built in real time, and will always take into account our time allotted, best practices, and contraindications. Therefore, no Artful Touch session can ever be guaranteed to include any one modality, technique, or feature.
Artful Touch began in 2008 as a medical massage studio, and has slowly grown over time to include other healing methods in addition to massage. I offer clothed and draped massage options, table as well as chair work, prefer to work side laying whenever feasible, and only use the amount of emollient actually needed to get the job done.
Safety is a key component of restorative touch, so I tend to check in a fair bit, especially with a new client. Anticipate verbal communication, assessment, palpation, twisting, stretching, compressions, rocking, and vibration as core elements of most manual modalities you might receive at Artful Touch, along any combination of the following techniques:
- Mobilization: moving your limbs around the edges of their range, either passively or with your engagement.
- Neuromuscular technique: using specific, continuous pressure to allow for trigger point release, often while positioning you to shorten the muscle.
- Muscle energy technique: using your own slight resistance to trick your brain into relaxing an area.
- Myofascial Release: providing slow, even pressure along myofascial planes of the body, using emollient that maintains grip and friction.
- Intraoral: a gloved modality focusing on the muscles of the jaw from inside the mouth, treating headaches, tension, and TMJ disorders.
- Swedish Deep Tissue: using long oiled strokes with forearms and elbows, kneading, rubbing; what most people think of as “massage”.
- Essential oil scents are added to the air or face cradle cover; never directly to your skin.
I also occasionally integrate fundamentals of Thai massage (getting on the table, standing on you, stretching using my feet to leverage), Trager (which is a rocking flopping trancy sort of shakey thing), Sports Massage (vigorous picky-uppy thumpy stuff, really good before/after a marathon!), and Lomi Lomi (long, smooth, relaxing strokes along extended planes of the body) into some of my more creative manual work.
Somatic Unwinding® combines simple movements with a powerful form of subtle felt-sense awareness rarely utilized as we move about our everyday lives. While laying down comfortably, you are vocally guided through a meditative somatic education.
The painless, repetitive actions of Somatic Unwinding® are meant to be easeful, comfortable, and executed very slowly, accomplished while maintaining three simple principles:
- Act with the least amount of effort required, periodically releasing unnecessary tension.
- Move as slowly as possible, without sacrificing rule #1.
- Focus your perception on the subtle senses of movement itself.
As reiteration and ease combine to lull your unconscious neurology, previously accepted limitations in your movement patterns are reprogrammed from within. Through deepened sensory awareness, movement reeducates nerve functions, allowing for a dormant quality of mobility to awaken.
The Grief Recovery Method®
The Grief Recovery Method® is an evidence based, action oriented program designed to help people let go of the pain, confusion, and suffering surrounding the loss they have experienced in their lives.
The program is taught in eight weekly sessions, in a group or a one-on-one setting, and will work for anyone regardless of their spiritual belief system, or other forms of orientation.
Many suffer in perpetual grief, believing things like their pain must be endured alone, or that grieving loss authentically simply means hurting to some extent forever. In this program you learn that those myths, and others like them, are false, and that recovery from grief is within your grasp.
- We begin recovery from grief by first defining what grief actually is, then examining and dismantling the unhelpful coping strategies that were passed down to us by a woefully unequipped society.
- Next, we place ones life of losses into a balanced, visually-perceptible medium, where clarity and a more candid perspective can emerge.
- Later, we choose a specific loss to look at more closely, honoring the good and the bad with total honesty.
- From there we can finally complete the root communications that were painfully left unexpressed; no matter what the loss, and even if a person being grieved has already died.
The Grief Recovery Method® is an intensive program of eight 90-120 minute classes. Success requires regular attendance, a deep commitment to total honesty, roughly two hours of homework a week, and tolerating some emotional discomfort that you may be currently avoiding.
But simply waiting for time to heal ones emotional wounds is a lot like waiting for time to set a broken arm, or fill a flat tire. If you suspect that unresolved grief is contributing to the pain you endure in your life, The Grief Recovery Method® program might be just the Artful Touch for you.
Not unlike the artist who must credit an intangible muse for their artistic intuitions in which they know themselves to be the conduit, even while still in school my bodywork practice brought a similar mystery. Though I’ve not always talked about it, energy work is a fundamental aspect Artful Touch.
Most of my clients have experienced me clearing stagnant energy by way of physically gathering it and flicking it away with my hands, which I now do with the assistance of one of my abstract paintings of an inferno. Another way I engage with energy in a session is by my subtilely moving the ‘stuff’ I feel myself absorbing from a client by releasing it into the earth through my feet.
I’m currently spending a lot of time creating more intentional energy containers for my sessions, including pre-session smudging and invoking formal circles of protection, while enriching my education in Reiki, Systemic Constellations, and Chakra clearing as I decide which certification path is the right one for me.
Sound healing has become the newest formalized addition to my practice, and I am adoring how versatile it is. Though I’ve utilized a small metal singing bowl informally in my personal self care practices for many years, I’ve recently expanded to a set of 7 crystal singing bowls and begun sharing that practice in my sessions.
I have used sound healing to contain and ritualize the beginning and ending of client sessions, to aid in the release of agitated emotional holdings that activated during bodywork, to intentionally tone and clear the chakras in energy work sessions similar to Reiki, as well as encouraging curious clients to engage with them simply for pleasure, curiosity, and play.
The bowls are a rich, beautiful edition to the studio, and the response in clients who have been drawn to them has been extraordinary. It’s an absolute joy to work with them, and to integrate live sound more deeply into my healing work.
A sliding scale discount of up to 50% may be offered on a case-by-case, session-by-session basis (as well as creative payment methods and partial trades, when applicable). Any alternative exchange arrangements must be agreed upon before booking.
Insurance billing is not provided by Artful Touch, however receipts can be provided towards reimbursement (for massage therapy only). Check to ensure your health plan has authorized benefits before booking.
Please reschedule or cancel your bodywork appointment before the day of to avoid a flat-rate cancellation charge of $60 per session.
Cancelling Grief Recovery Programs
In the interest of supporting your commitment to completing the loss in your life, I do not offer refunds or per-session payments on grief recovery programs, which must be paid in full by the first class.
Transfers, make-up’s, and rescheduling are absolutely possible, however no refunds are offered for grief recovery programs or missed sessions that are not rescheduled, and flexibility can often be limited when your grief recovery participation is in a group.
Your recovery from grief is important to me, and I want to see you succeed in that work. Sadly, my years of experience show that when the financial investment is waived for Grief Recovery programs, including offering payment plans and free programs, participants simply drop out once the work gets hard.
I serve by appointment, generally between the hours of 10am and 8pm.
Grief Recovery Method® programs can be requested online, or discussed in a Self Care Consultation.