The Rise of Medical Massage in New York City at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy by David Weintraub LMT

The Rise of Medical Massage in New York City

How massage is grew out of its luxury spa roots into a respected alternative medicine for pain management

David Weintraub Licensed Massage Therapist and Owner at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy

David Weintraub LMT & Owner at Bodyworks DW writes about how massage therapy has shifted during his career and how he and his colleagues are pushing the envelopes of what’s possible with massage!

A lot has changed in the 12 years since I graduated massage therapy school. And started practicing medical massage in New York City. When I attended the Finger Lakes School of Massage (FLSM) in 2007, I was part of a very small minority of potential therapists interested in learning medical massage. Our school was one of few programs that taught myofascial release as a major part of it’s program. Larger schools such as Swedish Institute focused almost exclusively on Swedish massage and shiatsu (aka acupressure).

FLSM offered direct training in medical massage and myofascial release techniques. This was one of the main reasons I left NYC and moved to Ithaca for 6 months to attend. FLSM’s program was intensive. 6 months straight working 9-5 monday through friday. Plus many additional hours each day of study and hands on clinic work. Here’s a fun fact to give you an idea of how intensive the program was.

We had to learn the names, locations, and bony landmarks of all 206 bones in the body by day 3!

This was so we could spend the next several months of kinesiology class learning nearly 600 muscles. Including their attachment points and functions. All while practicing Swedish, Shiatsu, Myofascial release, medical massage, sports massage, prenatal massage, energy work. And several other massage modalities you’ve probably never even heard of. Basically if you didn’t spend at least an hour a night studying to retain the day’s information dump, you quickly fell way behind.

The Massage Job Market in 2007 = no medical massage in New York City

The basic job market in New York City was almost entirely spa based. Occasionally a therapist could get a job working for a chiropractor or physical therapist. But those were few and far between. And not given to fresh graduates. While some individual practitioners had medical massage practices noone had build a medical massage studio in NYC yet.

When I graduated in late May of 2007 I wasn’t able to work in New York State immediately. Graduating gives you a certificate, but you still need to take a board exam to get a license. At the time, however, not all states required licensing in order to work (they all do now). Pennsylvania was one that didn’t and a spa named The Lodge at Woodloch had come to our school job fair. I figured I might as well work on clients while studying for the NYS boards. That way I’d keep up my hands on skills, gain immediate experience, and maybe even make a bit of $.

I applied at the Lodge at Woodloch in June. Got the job and packed up my car and moved my meager belongings to a new city from Ithaca. I moved to a small rental studio in Hawley, PA, a small rural town with about 5,000 residents. Can you say “culture shock?”

My First Day on the Job = trial by fire

My boss told me she’d keep my first day on the lighter side. Seeing as the most I’d even done in one day in school was three 90 minute sessions. I had four 60 minute session on my schedule when I arrived at work that morning. In the middle of my 2nd one, she called my studio room. And asked, “how do you feel about doing a floor shiatsu session?” I said sure and saw my schedule expand to five 60 minute sessions.

During session three, I got another call asking, “how about prenatal, are you comfortable doing those?” I said sure and watched my schedule expand to six sessions. By days end, another floor shiatsu session was added for a grand total of seven 60 minute sessions. So much for taking it easy on the newbie, right!?

I wound up working 3 days a week with 6-7 sessions per day for the next two months. Needless to say, I had to learn really fast how to manage my body mechanics and technique. In order to not hurt myself and burn out.

All while studying a minimum of an hour a night to prep for the state board. So I could legally work in New York State and get myself back to my NYC home.

Passing the NYS License Exam & Returning to NYC

Obviously, I passed my exam. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here still working as an LMT 12 years later 🙂

The NYS exam is given twice a year, in late February and late August. It’s a 140 multiple choice question test given by proctors with no additional materials allowed in the room except you and a couple of #2 pencils. They were quite insistent on the #2 pencils! The room was freezing cold and you had 2 hours to finish. If you are at all curious as to what’s on the test, click here.

A Brutal Test and a Nail Biting Wait

Once the test is over you have to wait 5-8 weeks for the state board to post results online. Whether you can work in the field or not is entirely based on passing it with a 75 or higher. Failing means you have to wait 6 months to retake it and can’t work in the meantime. If a 75 seems low to you…I’m someone who is an extremely good test taker and studied an hour per day for 3 months for it. I got an 87.

It’s designed so that you only know several broad categories of information to study and you don’t know what specific info from each category will be tested. Nobody gets 100 on it it. Highest score I ever heard of for our year was a 93. She spent 3 hours a day studying!

If it’s late September, anyone you know who has taken this exam will be obsessively checking the state website to see if they have been licensed. And can finally start working in NYS! On October 3rd 2007, my results got posted. Immediately I started applying for jobs. And wound up getting hired by two spas. Equinox in Brooklyn Heights and a place called Providence Day Spa nearby in downtown Brooklyn. I worked 3 days a week at each.

Learning how to Practice Medical Massage in New York City in a Spa Environment

I was lucky to land at Providence Day Spa for my first of two jobs back in NYC. The owner, Providence, was an LMT herself with 19 years of experience. Once she saw that I was retaining clients by trying something different than full body Swedish massage, she let me do my thing with encouragement. I worked on enrolling clients during intake to let me focus on relieving their pain and leave out some areas of the body.

I also learned to explain during outtake that layering focused sessions to work on different areas of the body would yield the best long term results. Not all clients went for it and some simply wanted a full body spa massage. The ones who did though, started seeing their pain go away for the long term. And then sending all of their friends to work with me.

Over the next 3 years I refined my craft. My work is bridge between traditional focused medical massage and Rolfing (aka Structural Integration). Traditional medical massage focuses on deep fascial work to the area of pain and to the surrounding area. Rolfing looks at the body as a whole series of connections and realigns them over the course of 10 focused sessions. I try to be fluid between those two approaches to provide both immediate relief of pain, and a long term solution to it.

Making the Leap to Private Practice

While I was working at Providence, I was slowly building my own private practice at a rental studio in Union Square. As it grew, I added my rental days to my practice and let go of shifts at Providence one by one. At around the 3 year mark I made the scary choice to let go of my last two spa shifts and go fully private.

At this point I would have never imagined opening up my own studio for medical massage in new york city with multiple therapists.

My practice steadily increased over the next several years. I also got tired of sharing a studio space and being locked into the exact same schedule each week. Around the 6 year mark I had a 4-6 week waitlist for new clients. Several were actively pushing the idea of taking on proteges since they couldn’t get onto my schedule if they missed a session.

The First Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy Studio

In order to create and design my own studio space, I needed to rent one. I started with a single treatment room, sub-rented from a psychiatry office. Since I was only planning on being there 4-5 days a week, I had some choices of what to the with the extra time. The safe option was to simply rent it out to another wellness practitioner. The less safe, but more lucrative long term option was hiring and training some therapists to work for me.

Obvs, I went with the less safe option. I started with 3 new therapist hires, including Shiho. All were talented and eager to learn. Shiho has grown into a truly fantastic massage therapist since and now has her own several week waitlist.

A year later we added a 2nd treatment room and hired several more therapists, including Laura and Evana. Both are now some of our best senior therapists!

Opening up our Main Studio in Fidi to Focus on Medical Massage in New York City

By the 3rd year we had grown to the point of needing a third treatment room. I decided it was time for us to get our own lease. Mostly so that we could make the waiting area the same relaxed vibe as our treatment rooms 🙂 After looking at lots of spaces and neighborhoods, we decided on Fidi. I signed a 10 year lease and opened up our main studio in August 2016.

Thank you to all of your kind online reviews and referrals to friends and family! We love working with you and you’ve allowed us to thrive. And to grow into the premier studio for medical massage in New York City. When I started out in 2007 there simply wasn’t a place like this. Now we are part of a small but growing community of like minded therapists. There are only a few other studios in NYC that really focus on medical massage so far. But I notice a trend in the way massage is presenting itself in the area. And that trend is towards massage therapy as great medicine for pain and stress management!

We are proud to be continually growing with your support!

In case you missed it, we just opened up our 2nd location in midtown west!

We’ve got another 7 years on our Fidi lease and 5 on our midtown studio 🙂 So we aren’t going anywhere and will continue to offer the best medical massage in new york city available. For many years to come.

The last 12 years have been quite the ride. Creating something that hasn’t existed before was daunting and there were lots of times when I worried that the whole venture would collapse. Thanks for proving my vision right and my worries wrong 🙂

It turns out that my gamble on offering a viable non-surgical and non-pharmaceutical solution to the pains many experience worked out!

Who knows…maybe in another 12 years my team of super talented therapists will sprout dozens of medical massage studios of their own around the city. Can’t wait to see what they come up with 🙂 – David

How To Find a Chiropractor or Acupuncturist During The Holidays

David Weintraub Licensed Massage Therapist and Owner at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy

David Weintraub, LMT & Owner at Bodyworks DW, writes about how to find effective pain management when you are traveling away from NYC. Read below!

What do you do when your back goes out and you are away from home?!

If you are reading this, odds are you are in New York City. And quite possibly already a happy massage therapy client at our studio. We think our blogs are relevant and important info. But we’d be fooling ourselves if we thought that Google would show them much outside of our home turf, NYC. For many of you, you already know what to do when you back (or other area) goes out of whack. Book a massage with our team of talented therapists for back pain massage in the New York area! When you are out of NYC, we recommend working with a chiropractor or acupuncturist instead. And we’ll show you how to find a good chiropractor or acupuncturist!

Travel is tough on our bodies. And holidays with family can often add even more stress into the picture. It’s not at all uncommon for injuries to crop up while away from home. There are a lot of possible causes:

  • Different mattresses and pillows than you are used to
  • Long plane flights crammed into uncomfortable seats
  • Eating foods outside your normal diet
  • Being thrown into other people’s schedule
  • Your uncle/aunt/mother/grandfather asking you repeatedly why you haven’t gotten married/had kids/gotten a promotion/found a partner/insert existential dread here…..

Counterintuitively, we don’t recommend getting a massage if you are away from NYC and in real pain. Before we show you how to find a chiropractor or acupuncturist instead, we need to tell you why!

Why we recommend chiropractic care or acupuncture instead of massage while out of New York

If you are just feeling sore and tired from a long flight, by all means go ahead and book a massage at a spa nearby. Most massage therapists around the country, and frankly the world, have enough training to provide a decent relaxing full body massage. However, if you are in real pain, you need to make sure you find someone who has the training and experience to help you.

New York State massage therapists have much higher education requirements that most other states. New York requires a minimum of 1000 hours of training to complete school and get a license. Most other states only require between 500-700 hours.

That extra 300-500 hours of training makes a real difference. Between being able to provide medical massage vs a spa massage. Of course, it’s totally possible that you will end up with someone great and experienced, but it can be a gamble.

Massage Therapy does not have national standards. So don’t count on other states having therapists at the level you are used to in New York!

There is no national standard for massage therapy (yet). There are minimum national requirements for chiropractors and acupuncturists. Both disciplines routinely deal with pain management. If you find someone with a decent number of 5 star reviews on Google, you’ll likely walk away with less pain. While there is still no way to guarantee you’ll get what you need the odds are higher. And if you follow our guide on how to find a chiropractor or acupuncturist, you’ll have an even greater chance of walking out pain free.

In states with lower requirements for massage therapy, you’ll have to rely solely on recommendations and reviews. And on their having taking advanced training courses. These courses often use language that is hard to decipher. If you aren’t up on the latest terms (pediatric oncology massage, traditional kinesiology, etc….anyone?) it will be hard to tell what you are getting.

This will only take about 15 mins and is well worth the extra time to make sure you get quality care 15 minutes.

How to Find a Chiropractor or Acupuncturist When Out of Town

  1. Pick what you are most comfortable with

    Not everyone is comfortable with getting their neck or back “cracked” by a chiropractor. Conversely, not everyone is comfortable with getting needles in acupuncture. Which one appeals to you most?

  2. Search online for either “chiropractor” or “acupuncturist” and read reviews

    Find someone with a decent number of 5 star reviews and read through a few. Good therapists have happy gushing clients and the reviews should show this. Also, read some of the negative reviews. A few of these are normal. Some people just can’t be pleased no matter how professional and experienced a therapist is. However, if there are consistent complaints, you probably wan’t to move on to the next well reviewed practitioner.

  3. Factor in the distance from where you are staying

    A long drive to see someone is going to exacerbate your pain condition. You may walk out of the session feeling great, and by the end of the long drive back, feel awful again. Go with someone close by who has a solid reputation. It’s better than going with the “best” if they are much further away.

  4. Don’t forget to read the About section of their website

    This usually lists how long the person has been practicing. Look for someone who’s been seeing clients for over 10 years. That and a solid reputation in their neighborhood (ie good reviews) means they can probably help you. If they can’t they will also be very up front about whether they think you need to see a specialist. Or go to a hospital!

  5. Book a session for as soon as possible

    You don’t need to suffer in pain any longer than you have to. Is the “best” practitioner in town is booked solid for the next several days? We recommend booking with a good quality practitioner for today or tomorrow at the latest instead. Your goal here is to lessen or eliminate the pain for the time you are away. For many issues a single session will at least get your through your trip without having to spend the whole time in bed.

  6. Book a medical massage session with your favorite NYC massage therapist for as soon as possible after you get back

    If you did all of the above, hopefully you were able to enjoy the rest of your trip without being in agony. But the flight back home might re-trigger the issue. When you get back home, working with your favorite massage therapist is key. They know your body already, and can quickly put together a plan to lower or eliminate the pain in the long term. They may even recommend you continue to see either a chiropractor or acupuncturist as well. The synergy between these and massage therapy will often allow you to recover more quickly. And with less overall sessions needed than if you did only one type of therapy.

What to do once you get back home

Like we said above in step 6, the flight back is probably going to re-trigger the issue. Hopefully, you followed our how to find a chiropractor or acupuncturist guide. And were able to locate a great practitioner. And hopefully that meant you were able to enjoy the rest of your trip. Now that you are back home, it’s time for a good reset massage to make sure the issue goes away for the longer term.

We offer back pain massage to the New York area in Midtown and the Financial District. Would you like to schedule a professional back pain massage with one of our highly trained massage therapists? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our back pain massage Midtown or back pain massage Fidi studios!

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Bodyworks DW Medical Massage Midtown - New Studio!

Bodyworks DW Medical Massage Midtown is Moving!

Your favorite NYC medical massage therapists are moving to a new, expanded studio in midtown West 🙂

We’ve had a good run in our 1 room midtown east studio, meeting new clients, and providing our top quality medical massage therapy to those of you who live uptown. However, along with the ups of our midtown location, there have been some downs. Noisy neighbors. Less than great lighting in the waiting area and hallways. A long walk from the waiting area to our treatment room. And from what we’ve been hearing from folks, “too far East.”

It was time to expand and find a space with the same chill vibe as our home in Fidi. After a couple of months of searching around near our current space, we just didn’t see anything we liked. So we started looking at other neighborhoods. Turns out midtown west is rather underserved for high quality massage therapy.

We searched around and finally found the Arts Building at 336 West 37th Street. It’s a really great loft building, with a variety of fun tenants. They’ve got high ceilings and hardwood floors throughout, and nice old architectural details like exposed brick in the hallways. We liked them, and they liked us. So we signed on for a new space to call our medical massage midtown home in suite 540!

The new midtown west studio is going to be awesome 🙂

The new studio is going to be a slightly different layout than fidi but a similar feel. Our walls will still be that chill blue that just makes you want to relax 🙂 The waiting area will be a bit cozier. And our treatment rooms will be together towards the back of the studio instead of opposite ends like in Fidi.

The new building is a much better vibe than our current one in midtown east. Relaxed feel, quiet, good lighting. High ceilings.

We don’t have any pictures of the inside yet…we’ll be building it out for the next 4-5 weeks. But here’s a great shot of the building entrance. Check out the cool tiled archway!

New location…still the best place to find a qualified massage therapist in midtown Manhattan!

The new studio should be built out, painted, furnished, and ready to rock on August 15th. Of course that’s not an absolute given the trials and tribulations of contractors, but we’re told it should be ready by then or sooner 🙂 We’ll keep y’all posted as we know more, and update with pictures as the studio comes together. Until then, our current midtown studio is still up and running, as is our main fidi studio.

We offer medical massage to the New York area in Midtown and the Financial District. Would you like to schedule a professional medical massage with one of our highly trained massage therapists? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our medical massage Midtown or medical massage Fidi studios!

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How to Take the Benefits of Medical Massage Home with You

How to Take the Benefits of Medical Massage Home with You

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about how you can take the benefits of your medical massage home with you. Stay ahead of your pain!

David Weintraub Licensed Massage Therapist and Owner at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy

Medical massage in New York with a NYC licensed massage therapist should be a regular and valuable part of your self care routine. Let’s face it...New Yorkers are not known for doing things gently. We work long hours, slam weights at the gym, and then maybe hit back to back yoga classes. And while this additive approach to health does have it’s benefits, it’s not restorative and our bodies need time to heal. Here are some of our best at home and at work practices for taking the benefits your medical massage home with you! 

A great medical massage helps to relax both your muscles and your nervous system. It gives your brain time to switch out of your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight!). And engages your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) in a way that has benefits for long after the massage. 

In a perfect world we would all get massages every other day and feel fantastic 🙂 Given the reality of time and money this is simply not going to happen. However, there are plenty of practices you can take on to extend the great results of your massage between sessions. These will assist you in feeling great, allow you to go longer between massages, and help keep you from getting injured. 

Restorative practices to take the benefits of medical massage home with you

Lying Down with Your Feet up on a Chair

This is the number 1 homework assignment we give to all of our stressed out massage clients! It’s super easy, and it’s a great excuse to chill out a bit every day. We spend so much time sitting, our muscles get locked up in a sitting position. Which helps us sit, but is terrible for just about everything else we try to do. 

Lying down with you lower legs on a chair puts us in the same position as sitting but without needing to hold ourselves up in gravity. It passively shortens our psoas muscle (main hip flexor), quads, hamstrings, and calves. When you shorten a muscle but don’t make it do any work it gets to completely relax. It usually takes 4-5 minutes for your nervous system to chill enough to truly let go of your muscles. We recommend doing this for 5-8 minutes every night before bed to help you get a really good night's sleep!

All of our clients who have taken this practice on notice really huge results in about 2-3 weeks. Decreased low back pain or tension, better sleep, easier mood. Check out this video to see what it looks like and give it a try!

Contrast Hydrotherapy

Contrast hydrotherapy is a great way to take the benefits of medical massage home with you. It involves alternating applications of heat and cold to an area (or your whole body). The heat opens up blood vessels and tissues and relaxes the nervous system. The cold constricts the blood vessels and tissues and excites the nervous system. Alternating back and forth between them creates a pumping system for the area. This draws out damages such as bruising and brings in new blood with nutrients. The contrast creates a greater therapeutic result than either heat or cold alone. 

Local contrast hydrotherapy for acute conditions anywhere on the body

  1. Apply a heat pack to the area for 5 minutes
  2. Apply an ice pack or rub an ice cube into the area for 1 minute
  3. Repeat this 3 times, ending on ice

Local contrast hydrotherapy for carpal tunnel syndrome or ankle sprains

  1. Get two washbasins large enough to be able to place your whole forearm or feet into
  2. Fill one with hot water (as hot as you can stand)
  3. Fill the other with cold water (as cold as you can stand)
  4. Dunk you whole forearms into the hot basin so that the water is above the elbow (or your whole foot so that the water is above the ankle)
  5. Hold for 5 minutes
  6. Dunk area into the cold basin for 1 minute
  7. Repeat 3 times, ending on cold

Whole body contrast hydrotherapy for general health

  1. At the end of a shower, turn down the hot water and make it as cold as you can stand it
  2. Hold under the cold water for 30-60 seconds
  3. Turn the hot back on and hold under the hot water for 2-3 minutes
  4. Repeat 3 times, ending on cold (unless you shower before bed in which case end on hot to help you sleep) 

Here are some great heat and ice packs to try:



Incorporate a basic stretching routine when you first wake up into your daily practice. And also a post workout cool down stretching routine. Guess what? The old school stretch as much as possible as suffer the pain as long as you can method we all associate with stretching doesn’t actually help much. Newer methods such as activated-isolated stretching and PNF stretching are much more effective. 

We recommend you change your mindset about stretching. Most of us think of stretching as about how flexible you are. We think of it as a surefire way to get blood moving through your body and to areas that might be restricted. Blood carries with it all the things your body uses to heal itself. These are David's two favorite books on different types of stretching:

You can learn owner David Weintraub’s daily morning stretch routine, as well as a bunch of other stretches and self care tips here:

Working on Form and Posture

Getting a great medical massage in Midtown or our Financial District studios involves a bit more that just what happens on the table. Our therapists are trained to look at your posture and movements for imbalances. We craft a table session to help balance these out, but we also always give easy homework practices to work on in between massages. 

The more aware you are of how your body moves the easier moving will become. Practicing simple form corrections while you are walking, sitting, standing, or exercising will make a big impact on how you feel. Since each of our bodies are unique, these corrections need to be given with thought and care by someone who has experience. Listening to the wrong directions in a group class can lead to injury for someone who doesn’t need that particular correction. For instance, some people in a yoga class could benefit from the direction to tuck your tailbone. However, if you are someone who is already tucked, listening to this may lead to lower back pain. 

Due to this, we aren’t going to give any specifics here as they will just be wrong for some of you. If you are working with an experienced massage therapist, pilates instructor, or Alexander Technique practitioner on a one-to-one basis make sure they give you 1-3 simple corrections to work on until you next session. Then give yourself a reminder in your phone to check in with these daily. 

At Bodyworks DW we always give practices to extend the benefits of your medical massage

When you work with one of our trained massage therapists, we aren’t going to just stick you on the table and give you a routine massage. We analyze your posture, and listen to you history and symptoms during a thorough intake. Then we craft a customized medical massage for you. In addition, we create an overall plan including a series of massage sessions with specific homework practices to help you in between. Our goal is to help you to not need us anymore 🙂 

Of course once you are out of constant pain you can come in for maintenance massage therapy to keep you pain and injury free. 

We offer medical massage therapy in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City. Would you like to schedule a professional medical massage with one of our highly trained massage therapists? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our medical massage Midtown or medical massage Fidi studios!

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Neck Pain Massage Therapy_ Designing Effective Lasting Treatments @ Bodyworks DW with David Weintraub LMT

Neck Pain Massage Therapy: Designing Effective Lasting Treatments

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about neck pain and the positive effects of massage therapy to overcome it.

David Weintraub Licensed Massage Therapist and Owner at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy

Why effective neck pain massage therapy shouldn't focus exclusively on your neck

Neck pain is a very common issue. Our phones and devices are constantly pulling our attention. Our head follows our eyes putting us in a "head forward" position. This pulls the muscles in the back of your neck into a constant stretch. And makes them work extra hard to fight the weight of your head. Muscles hate being stretched and working hard. So they yell at you with achy pain. Thankfully, neck pain massage in New York and can be an effective and lasting treatment...when done properly.

Does this sound like you?

a) Sitting at a desk staring at your screen for 40+ hours a week
b) Looking down at your phone multiple times a day
c) Reading your tablet in bed while propping your head up on a pillow

All of these habits tighten your anterior neck muscles (the ones in front). While simultaneously pulling on the posterior neck muscles (the ones in back).

My massage therapist should work mostly where the pain is, right?

Actually, no. That might feel good at the time. But it won't last more that a few hours to a few days if you are lucky.

The next day you may even feel worse. Like you were hit with a bag of hammers. Working only on what hurts won't do anything to relieve pain for the long term. Truly effective neck pain massage has to address what's causing your head to move forward in the first place. And the cause is usually not your neck!

For most common neck pain, the following three areas need to be released together at the same time. This will move your head into a more balanced position on top of the ribcage. When the head is balanced in gravity the muscles in the back of your neck and upper back get to relax. And stop yelling at you with achy pain.

The Three Main Areas to work on in a first session

1) Hip Flexor Muscles (any muscle that helps bring your knee towards your chest...there are more than 12!)

Your hip flexor muscles are tight from sitting all day. This pulls the top of your pelvis forward into an anterior tilt (forward tilt). Basically you can think of it as a small but significant fold forward in your hips. This forward fold pulls you entire upper body forward. If nothing else changed, you would feel stooped over.

2) The Ribcage Position

The position of your ribcage in relation to your pelvis is vitally important to relieving both back and neck pain. With an anteriorly tilted pelvis, the ribcage tilts backwards to compensate. The muscles in the mid back will work extra hard. Basically you will be doing a backbend all day long. You'll have to in order to keep the ribs balanced on top of your forward tilted pelvis. In addition to putting your head and neck in a poor position, this also puts a lot of strain on the low back.

3) The Pectoral & Anterior Neck Muscles

With the ribcage doing a backbend to balance the pelvis, your head needs to move forward to compensate. If it didn't, you'd be looking at the ceiling. As you head pulls forward it overstretches your posterior neck and upper shoulder muscles. Yes, we know that's where it hurts 🙂 However, working back there is not going to make a long term impact. The back of your neck is already over stretched. Releasing it into length even more (which is what massage does to muscles) is not going to help any. To really provide relief, the front side anterior neck muscles need to be released in order to give the back ones some slack.

If your massage therapist only releases the front neck muscles and not the mid back muscles, your neck will feel a lot better. But you'll be stuck looking up at the ceiling. And if they open up the angle of your neck and your ribcage, but not the hip angle, you'll be left stooping over! So, to really release your neck muscles in a way that sticks, we need to make sure all three areas are in better balance. This will allow your head position to float back on top of your pelvis and ribs naturally, without effort. Finally your neck muscles get to rest!

For most neck pain and upper back pain clients, we sequence all three areas in a neck pain massage session. We work on releasing hip flexor muscles, then mid back muscles, then front of neck muscles. By the time we work on those back of the neck muscles, they are already super relaxed and ready for deeper work. You'll leave feeling your neck light and moveable in ways that you had forgotten exist 🙂

What Next? That felt great and lasted weeks! But now that familiar ache is starting to come back...

The above 3 step session is a basic outline of what would happen in a first session. It's going to provide a lot more relief than a standard massage session and it's going to last a lot longer than you are used to. In order to get that relief to last long term we recommend a series of sessions to address some or all of the following (depending on the client):

  • Any old ankle injuries your have that change the angle and shape of the foot: these usually cause hip flexor tightness
  • Your adductor muscles on the inner thigh that may be stuck together due to sports injuries: these also cause hip flexor tightness
  • The position of your shoulder blades on your ribcage: these are often "rolled forward" pulling on the muscles in the back of your neck in a similar way to the front neck muscles
  • Your side body fascia: if the ribcage isn't inflating and deflating while breathing, both the shoulder and neck muscles get "stuck"
  • Your jaw muscles - tension from trips to the dentist or daily unrelieved stress tightens these causing headaches and also neck and shoulder pain

As each of these related causes for neck pain is worked on, it will become easier and easier to balance your head on top of your ribcage. Eventually, usually after 4-7 sessions of neck pain massage, pain becomes a thing of the past.

Effective neck pain massage therapy addresses all of the forces pulling on your head

We've developed truly effective neck pain massage therapy that provides long term relief at Bodyworks DW.

First, we'll address your neck pain effectively by releasing each of the three main contributing factors in the same session. You will feel immediate relief at the end of the first session. And you won't feel sore or beat up the next day.

Next, to have a long term impact, we will follow up the first session with 3-6 custom designed sessions. These sessions will work on more detailed areas in cumulative layers. Each massage allows us to go deeper into the stuck front neck muscles and bring your head into better balance. With your head balanced on top of your spine all of the muscles work less. Less work = less pain!

We offer neck pain massage in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City. Would you like to schedule a fantastic neck pain massage with one of the best massage therapists this city has to offer? Contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our neck pain massage midtown or neck pain massage fidi studios!

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Low Back Pain Massage Therapy Treatment by David Weintraub

Lower Back Pain Treatment with Massage Therapy in New York

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about the benefits of massage therapy for lower back pain. And how massage therapy rather than using the traditional approach of surgery or medication can produce better results at a lower cost.

David Weintraub

Why medication or surgery is only masking the root cause of your pain

Massage therapy for lower back pain is an effective alternative treatment to surgery and medications. Additionally, in most cases the results are noticeably better than either of those traditional approaches. This is according to the newest research. (Excerpt from Vox article "A comprehensive guide to the new science of treating lower back pain").

Lower back pain from bulging or herniated discs often seems to come out of nowhere. In reality there are usually other root causes. An older ankle or knee injury can create an imbalance in the body leading to lower back pain. Compensation patterns from older injuries put asymmetrical pressure on the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is the part of your spine located in your lower back. Eventually this pressure can cause one or more lumbar discs to bulge. If the bulge presses on nerve pathways, light to extreme pain can result.

How Traditional Approaches can Fail

The most common surgical approach is called a laminectomy. This surgery tries to correct pressure on the nerves by shaving down part of the bulging discs. However, the root cause older injury is still affecting your body. The pressure is still there on the lumbar spine. A laminectomy can eliminate the pain symptoms for a short period. However, in many cases a new bulge pops out in another disc later. This usually makes the problem even worse later on.

Medications such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories mask symptoms. This feels good and sometimes can help you move through the issue by allowing you to stretch into the stuck area again.

However, the root cause is still not being addressed. Pain will likely come back to plague you in the future. Opioids are especially worrisome as they are highly addictive. This can lead to reliance on them to even function. In an increasing number of cases the addiction spirals out of control creating a far worse issue than the pain itself.

How Low Back Pain Massage in New York works differently

With back pain massage in New York, we work to discover why the disc is bulging in the first place. Meaning you'll get a more holistic approach. And of course we'll spend some time massaging the muscles in your low back.

In addition, we'll work to identify and address any older injuries that caused the low back tightness to begin with. Once the older injured joints are moving better, your low back will have less work to do. Pressure lessens on the lumbar spine. This allows pain to decrease naturally without medications or surgery.

This pathway might be slower than popping a pill. But you'll know that your pain is being reduced in a healthy way. And you'll gain the tools to keep it from coming back in the future.

[T]here are perceptions that opioid therapy for chronic pain is less expensive than more time-intensive nonpharmacologic management approaches. [However,] many pain treatments, including acetaminophen, NSAIDs, tricyclic antidepressants, and massage therapy, are associated with lower mean and median annual costs. [As] compared with opioid therapy. (excerpt from CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain — United States, 2016)

We offer back pain massage in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City

If you are in acute or chronic low back pain we recommend booking as soon as you can make an appointment.

Are you suffering from lower back pain? There are many advantages to working with our team of trained medical massage therapists.

At Bodyworks DW, we evaluate how the rest of your body and posture is affecting your low back pain. Together we'll make a plan for a series of back pain massage sessions. This will help to unwind any seemingly unrelated issues. As your whole body opens up, pressure on the low back is relieved. This allows the discs to return to their normal shape over time. With less and less pressure on the nerves, pain slowly but surely goes away.

If you would like to schedule a fantastic back pain massage and experience the benefits above, please contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online for back pain massage in midtown or fidi!

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Benefits of Massage Therapy

5 Reasons to Make Massage Your Monthly Routine

Germain Phanord, massage therapist at Bodyworks DW & David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW write about the benefits of incorporating medical massage therapy in new york into your monthly routine.

Germain Phanord
Shoulder Pain Massage, David Weintraub

There are a lot of great reasons to make massage therapy in New York a regular part of your self-care routine. Massage has tons of benefits!

Here are our top 5...

Alleviate Pain

Working late nights while sitting in front of the computer for hours is a surefire recipe for muscle imbalance. When the body is overworked it aches all over. Left untreated, this will lead to chronic pain. There is almost nothing worse than feeling pain, stiffness and achiness. Especially on a cold day!!!

Many of us live with pain in today's high demanding society, especially in busy cities like New York. Eventually your body maxes out your pain threshold. For most, that's when you’ll break down and visit a professional, such as a massage therapist in New York, acupuncturist, physical therapist, or chiropractor.

By making massage therapy part of a regular routine, you can help get ahead of the curve and prevent chronic pain from building up. Try switching your mindset. Instead of only getting massage therapy in New York when you have a major acute issue, schedule preventative monthly massage. You’ve been pushing so hard at work...don’t you deserve a nice massage?

Relieve stress and anxiety

In today’s modern world there are more stressors than ever. We are getting less sleep and staying up longer due to work deadlines, children, school, family issues, environmental issues.

Massage can be a great to decrease stress and anxiety. Bonus...this will help your body’s other systems like digestion and immunity function better. Massage therapy can help engage the parasympathetic nervous system (your “rest and digest” system) which your body needs to go to to restore.

Your parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite of your sympathetic nervous system (your “fight or flight” system). The sympathetic nervous system prepares your body for stressful situations. It pumps you with adrenaline and increases your heart rate and breathing. This is very useful and necessary if you are being chased by a lion. Less so when you are stressing over that report that’s due on Friday.

As New Yorkers, we tend to stay stuck in our sympathetic nervous systems...all the time.

Which is really not good for the body in the long run. Your body doesn’t get the rest it needs to heal. Having regular massage therapy in New York restores your ability to switch back to rest mode more easily. It can help you sleep better and handle stressful situations more calmly.

Decrease Tension Headaches and Migraines

Quick fact (According to the Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology): "Tension headaches, by far the most common type of headache people experience (90-92%), these are triggered by muscular tension, bony misalignment, postural patterns, eyestrain, temporomandibular joint disorders.”

Tension headaches build up due to stress caused by intense work, missed meals, depression, anxiety or lack of sleep.

Did you know that there is a big jaw muscle called Temporalis at your temples? Jaw clenching is a primal fight or flight response that you probably don’t even realize you are doing when you are stressed.

Migraines have different triggers and causes. Some people react to light, smells, foods, stress, or hormone changes. It’s different for each person. And while massage isn’t a cure for the tigger itself, it can change the threshold for when the trigger activates. Also, migraines lead to tension headaches which lead to more migraines in a cycle. Relieving the tension headache component of the cycle helps prevent future migraines.

Massage when you are in the midst of a headache or migraine can undo clenched shoulder, neck, and jaw muscles and help you relax.

Regular monthly massage can help ease jaw clenching and shoulder raising. It can also put you at ease and lower your stress levels (see above) which helps prevent future headaches and migraines.

Boost your immunity

Getting a massage not only helps you relax, it also helps boost the immune system. Receiving a massage decreases levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and vasopressin, a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behavior.

Check out the research on massage therapy and immunity from the AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association). It says that massage therapy increases the activity level of the body’s white blood cells that work to combat viruses. According to massage research from Cedars-Sinai, participants in a Swedish massage group experienced significant changes in lymphocytes. These play a large role in defending the body from disease. A lymphocyte is one of the three subtypes of white blood cells in the immune system.

Monthly massage therapy in New York helps keep your immune system primed and ready to keep you healthy.

Improve Range of Motion and Ease of Movement

Injuries and repetitive stress patterns can tighten muscles and the fascia that glues muscles together. Over time, this restricts range of motion in your joints. This affects all of your daily activities. And makes your muscles have to work harder to move you around.

Deep tissue massage focuses on aligning deeper layers of muscle tissue. It also helps with chronic conditions such as a stiff neck, back pain, shoulder pain and leg muscle tightness.

You’ll find that everything gets easier and lighter as your muscles learn to let go of chronic tightness. Regular massage reminds your body of how much better it is possible to feel.

This helps your brain adjust the nervous system to want to feel that way more often. You’ll be more motivated to include small but meaningful regular self care actions in your day.

You can think of getting regular monthly massage like getting an oil change for your car. Sure you might not need it exactly right now. Your engine will be fine…..until it isn’t. And then instead of a $20 oil change a few times a year you’ve got a major mechanic bill on your hands and a car out of service for a few weeks.

You might not feel like you absolutely need a massage this month, but you’ll feel better faster if you make it part of your routine. And be able to keep up with your regular activities without a major breakdown such as a herniated disc or a torn rotator cuff.

How Massage Therapy in New York is Different

New Yorkers are in luck. Our massage therapists have the highest and most extensive training requirements of any state in the country. And given how hard we push ourselves, we really need it!

At Bodyworks DW we focus on therapeutic massage, with each session tailored to your individual needs. First we work through any acute pain issue you may be having with a series of massage sessions over a shorter amount of time. Usually once a week or bi-weekly for 4-8 weeks depending on the severity of the issue.

Once the acute issues are treated, we recommend a regular monthly massage to keep you running smoothly. And to prevent future injuries.

We offer massage therapy in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City. If you are in acute or chronic pain we recommend booking as soon as you can make an appointment.

If you aren’t in pain, think about what days and times would work for you. Not just for your “next” massage, but for a regular monthly massage in New York. For instance, how about every first Tuesday evening of the month at 6 pm? Ask your therapist if you can create a standing appointment in our system so that you’ll get email reminders when your next appointment is about to come up. And don’t forget to block it off in your calendar 🙂

If you would like to schedule a fantastic massage and experience the benefits above, please contact Bodyworks DW today or click on the button to book online at our massage therapy midtown or massage therapy fidi studios!

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Shoulder Pain Massage at Bodyworks DW in New York City

Shoulder Pain: What’s Causing Yours and How Massage Therapy can Help

David Weintraub, LMT is the owner of Bodyworks DW. In this blog, he writes about shoulder pain massage in New York City. What causes shoulder pain and how can massage help?

Shoulder Pain Massage, David Weintraub

Shoulder pain is one of the most common issues people face today. The shoulder is a very complex set of muscles and bones designed for a large variety of movements. In order to gain that freedom of movement, evolution had to sacrifice some stability. This makes shoulders especially vulnerable to injury. Both impact injuries such as a torn rotator cuff, and overuse injuries such as a pinched nerve. Thankfully, shoulder pain massage can work wonders on many types of shoulder pain.

How Your Shoulders Work - Two Joints, Not Just One!

The shoulder actually consists of two distinct joints, the shoulder joint and the shoulder girdle.

The Shoulder Joint

The arm bone (humerus) connected to socket of the shoulder blade makes up the shoulder joint. The shoulder joint allows for movement of the arm in many directions. All while keeping the shoulder blade locked in place. Your shoulder joint can move your arm forwards, backwards, sideways. As well as rotating your arm in the socket.

There are many different muscles that attached to the humerus and allow for these movements. The pectoral major, latissimus, and deltoid create forwards, backwards, and sideways movements of the arm. The rotator cuff set of muscles creates rotational movements. Contrary to popular belief there is no “rotator cuff muscle.” The rotator cuff actually refers to a set of 4 different muscles: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres major, and subscapularis.

The Shoulder Girdle

The shoulder girdle is made up of the shoulder blade and clavicle (collarbone) and their relation to the ribcage. The shoulder girdle allow for movement of the shoulder around the ribcage without having to move the arm. When you roll your shoulders without lifting your arms you are moving your shoulder girdle joints.

There are a lot of different muscles that move the shoulder girdle. These include trapezius, rhomboids, levator scapula, serratus anterior, and pectoralis minor. Interestingly, the shoulder girdle bones are basically free floating on top of the rib cage. The clavicle is attached to the sternum by ligaments in the way we think of most joints working. With the bones close together and separated by cartilage. There is a ligament that attaches the shoulder blade to the ribs. However, it is long and allows for a lot of movement. Making it unlike other ligaments in the body. This ligament's basic function is to keep the shoulder girdle from shifting too far in any direction.

Common Shoulder Pain Inducing Injuries and How Shoulder Pain Massage Can Help

Rotator Cuff Tear/Tendonitis

Of all the types of shoulder injuries, we hear about rotator cuff tears most often. The four rotator cuff muscles are especially vulnerable to small, medium, and large tears. Usually due to impact injuries. Slipping on the ice or stairs and catching your fall with your arm is a common way to rip one of these muscles.

Pain usually shows up with certain arm movements and not others and can range from mild aches, to sharp debilitating pain.

I once worked on a mountain climber whose rigging failed and he started falling. Luckily he caught himself with one hand. Unluckily, he managed to tear all four of his rotator cuff muscles. And his labrum (the ligaments holding the humerus or “armbone” to the scapula or “shoulder blade”). The pure adrenaline flood that his body pumped him with allowed him to still pull himself up to safety and finish the climb. Later after he was safe on the ground and the adrenaline wore off, he stopped being able to lift his arm!

Rotator cuff tears can also happen slowly over time with repetitive motions

Tennis players, baseball pitchers, and football quarterbacks run into this injury a lot. Throwing something over and over can eventually stress out the muscles. And lead to small tears in the tendons. Usually after a few years of this, they push too hard in a game and a big tear opens up.

Shoulder pain massage therapy can help a lot with all kinds of rotator cuff injuries. By working directly on the four muscles, as well as the other shoulder joint muscles, a well trained massage therapist can restore range of motion. With most clients a series of sessions can bring back most to all of the original function.

In addition, massage therapy is amazing for athletes who use their rotator cuff who haven’t had the big blow out yet. We’ve worked on pro tennis players and pitchers and seen immediate increases in top serve and fastball speeds!

Bursitis & Frozen Shoulder

Both of these conditions can cause a total immobilization of the shoulder joint making it very difficult and painful to lift the arm in any direction. While technically different, the two terms are often used interchangeably. Pain is usually severe and the loss of movement has a big impact on daily life.

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae. These are tiny fluid filled sacs that basically act as ball bearings for your tendons. They allow tendons to slide over bones at places where the bone might grind the tendon down.

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is inflammation of the joint capsule itself. Like the name implies, it’s a “sticky” inflammation that prevents tissues from sliding across each other.

In both conditions, any movement of the shoulder joint causes inflamed tissues to rub against other tissues causing intense and immobilizing pain

Treating either condition may require medication, either a localized cortisone shot, oral muscle relaxants, and/or anti-inflammatories. In addition, physical therapy is needed to build strength back and slowly but surely unstick the tissues from each other. Shoulder pain massage therapy can help a great deal to speed this process along. Massage Therapy and physical therapy compliment each other very well. Done concurrently clients restore movement much faster than with either modality alone.

Nerve Impingement in either the Neck or the Shoulder & TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome)

Another very common cause of shoulder pain is a pinched nerve. This can happen due to repetitive stress conditions that pull the head and shoulders forward. It can also happen due to an impact injury such as whiplash.

The nerves for the entire arm originate in the spine between the 4th and 7th cervical vertebrae. This set of nerves is called the Brachial Plexus. Brachial means “arm” in Latin. These nerves travel down through the upper shoulder underneath the levator scapula muscles. Then they pass under the scalene muscles of the front of your neck.

Next, under the pectoralis minor muscles, then between the subscapularis and serratus anterior muscles. There is opportunity for a nerve impingement by the bones or muscles of the spine, as well as any of the muscles the nerves pass between. Nerves that get impinged in between muscles of the armpit are often called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

Overly tight muscles on one side can be a culprit as well as scar tissue sticking to the nerves due to injury

Impinged nerves can cause dull achy pain that travels throughout the shoulder, to sharp pain, weakness, or muscle cramping. It can also involve tingling, numbness, or burning pain. The pain can be constant or only occur with particular movements.

If the impingement is caused by a structural issue, such as a malformed bone due to a break, surgery may be the only recourse. However, if the impingement is caused due to muscle imbalances shoulder pain massage can do a lot to relieve you. Myofascial release work can unstick scar tissue from nerves as well as create space between the muscles for nerves. Physical therapy to strengthen weaker muscles can help retain the relief.

Treatment With Shoulder Pain Massage in New York at Bodyworks DW

Shoulder pain can range from slightly annoying to truly awful. We forget how often we use our shoulder until simply putting on a coat becomes a painful time consuming affair.

Thankfully, most shoulder pain is treatable and  shoulder pain massage in New York at our studio is here to help. At Bodyworks DW each session is custom tailored to a client’s individual needs. We give you a thorough intake so that we can determine exactly what the cause of your shoulder pain is and how best to treat it.

The number of sessions depends on the type of pain and cause

In addition, we may recommend fewer massage therapy session if you are also seeing a physical therapist. Work usually involves local deep tissue work on all of the muscles of the shoulder joint and girdle, as well as the deeper neck muscles. Follow up sessions will likely also focus on improving overall posture to help the shoulders sit comfortably balanced on the ribcage. This will allow all of the shoulder muscles to relax and heal. And the relief will last much longer with future episodes less likely.

It’s never too late to be pain-free and feel comfortable in daily life again. We offer shoulder pain massage in Midtown and the Financial District in New York City.

If you would like to schedule an amazing shoulder pain massage experience, please contact Bodyworks DW today or click the button to book online at our massage therapy midtown or massage therapy fidi studios.

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Massage therapy for arthritis in new york city midtown and the financial district

Massage for Arthritis: Everything You Need To Know About the Benefits

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about the benefits of massage therapy for arthritis.

David Weintraub

Arthritis is a scary word for most folks. It sounds like some kind of point of no return as we get older. Once we have it, the thinking goes, we just have to suffer with it. However, the reality is a lot more complex than that. The good news is that there are many ways to relieve the pain. Both at home, and with integrative medicine such as licensed massage therapy for arthritis. Getting massage therapy in New York for arthritis can be especially helpful. New York State has the highest education requirements for licensed massage therapy of any state. This includes hundreds of hours of training in medical massage.

What is Arthritis and how can Massage for Arthritis Help?

Any time that you see “itis” attached to a medical term it means “inflammation of.” Arth is short for arthron which is Latin for “joint.” Arthritis is simply a catch-all phrase referring to inflammation of a joint or joints.

There are several main types of arthritis...


Osteoarthritis is a degeneration of the structures inside of the joint: bones and cartilage. It is usually due to overusing a joint, ie a wear and tear injury. It develops over time, first with the larger cartilage between the bones breaking down. Eventually the cartilage that encases the bone wears down as well. Then the bones start grinding together. Symptoms range depending on the severity of the degeneration. This can include stiffness and achiness, all the way to sharp debilitating pain.

New Yorkers are especially prone to this type of arthritis. We are constantly pushing ourselves to work harder, exercise harder. New Yorkers spend most of our time walking around on concrete. We designed our advanced massage therapy in New York for you. We pound the pavement we get you 🙂

According to, osteoarthritis responds especially well to medical massage therapy. Achiness and pain cause the body to “splint” (ie contract) the muscles around the joint. Splinting protects the joint. This reaction to pain is exactly what should happen with a bone break or sprained ankle. By keeping the injury from moving, splinting helps prevent further damage.

Sadly, this splinting reaction has the opposite effect with arthritis. The muscle contraction puts further pressure on the joints. And increases the grinding effect. Without treatment, your body goes into a downward spiral that gets worse over time. Pain causes more contraction, which causes more grinding, which causes more pain.

How Massage Therapy in New York Can Relieve Osteoarthritis Symptoms

An experienced New York City licensed massage therapist can use deep tissue medical massage to treat osteoarthritis. Deep massage opens up stiff muscles and interrupts the nervous system to stop the splinting. This helps take pressure off the arthritic joint. Decreasing pain allows the client to use the joint without triggering the splinting. Repeated massage sessions break the feedback loop. In many cases the joint stabilizes and avoids further degeneration. In other cases, the massage work can prolong the life of a joint before requiring surgery.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks its own joints. Your own body mistakes your joint tissues for foreign invaders. Doctors use bloodwork to test for RA. They treat rheumatoid arthritis with medication. RA does not generally respond well to deep tissue massage, unlike osteoarthritis. Deep tissue massage can often make the symptoms worse. And provide little to no relief.

However, lighter massage can be very effective in lowering symptoms. RA also responds well to energy work such as craniosacral therapy. In addition, movement work such as Tragger or Alexander techniques can be helpful. Our team of advanced massage therapists are trained in a wide range of modalities including these. We can customize all of your sessions to fit your exact needs.


Gout is a build up of uric acid crystals in a joint. This often shows up in the big toes and/or feet. Symptoms will show up as intense pain in the affected joint, then by discomfort after. In addition, the joint may show swelling, stiffness, and/or redness.

A gout attack occurs when your body starts making more uric acid than your kidneys can process. It can be brought on by eating foods high in uric acid. And also by consuming too much alcohol. The initial attack can last from 3 to 10 days. Subsequent attacks may take months but eventually get closer and closer together. If left untreated it can cause permanent damage to joints and kidneys.

How Massage Therapy for Gout Can Relieve Arthritis Symptoms

Treatment of the underlying issue (too much uric acid) is accomplished through medication and diet changes. However, the symptoms in the joints respond very well to massage therapy for arthritis. This includes deep tissue work, movement training, and stretching. Getting the joints to move again helps to break up the uric acid build up and lower the arthritis inflammation. Once the underlying issue is treated, massage can keep the joints mobile and help prevent any future gout attacks.

Arthritis of All Types Responds to Complementary Therapies

In general, most types of arthritis will respond to a combination of lifestyle changes including switching to an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise that keeps the joints moving but does not overdo their use, daily stretching, hydrotherapy (heat or cold), and of course, massage therapy. If you are in New York City, our team of advanced massage therapists have helped hundreds of clients find relief from all types of arthritis. We offer massage therapy in midtown and in the financial district. Come in and see how our customized massage therapy can set you on the road to less arthritis pain!

Eucalyptus essential oil is a great, natural way to ease your inflammation. Are you feeling pain in your knees specifically? A brace may be helpful! See our suggestions below:

holiday stress

Tips for Holiday Stress: How to survive the season

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about holiday stress and ways to keep calm during the season.

David Weintraub


It’s that time of year. And if you are like most NYC’ers, you’ll want these tips for holiday stress.

This year we are sharing our favorite tips for holiday stress to help you identify and plan for the things that usually send our clients into the land of back, shoulder, and neck pain. With so much more on your plate, it’s easy to rush, over do it, carry too much around, etc. Then one or two mornings on a bad pillow and suddenly you wake up to shooting pain. If you read and practice our tips, then maybe we can see you come in for a happy maintenance massage, rather than battlefield triage.

Here’s just a short list of that “stuff” that is adding to your stress levels:

  • Shopping while fighting through tourists
  • Traveling on crowded trains, planes, and buses
  • Crazy traffic if you are driving
  • Sleeping on less than awesome guest/hotel beds
  • Sitting down to a family dinner entirely made from things that you are trying not to eat
  • In fights with family over who’s giving to whom this year and how much you are “allowed” to spend

How can you DEAL??!!

Step 1: Let’s all just actually admit to ourselves that this time of year is stressful. If you are telling yourself that it’s just you and that everyone else seems to have it together…stop. Ask around. We see hundreds of clients who face holiday stress…trust us, it’s everyone.

Step 2: Identify what your stressors are and where/when they are likely to push your buttons. Make a list.

Step 3: Make a plan to lessen the impact for each of the things on your list and practice self-care. If you accept that it’s going to be stressful instead of trying to kid yourself, then you get to do something about it. Choose some ways to handle the stress from our tips list and schedule them in your calendar like you would an important meeting at work.

Top on the list of self-care practices that most people avoid: negotiating with family to create a better experience that everyone can enjoy…including you.

Step 4: Find ways to do more with less. What if we all chose to have the goal this year that everyone gets to have a good time, relax a bit, and enjoy each other’s company?

“My family usually gets into full throated political arguments when we get together….and we are all of the same party!? This year at Thanksgiving we have a new in-law who belongs to the ‘other’ party. So we decided to institute a ‘no politics allowed’ rule to avoid making him uncomfortable. It was fantastic. We had a great time.” – David

To help you make a plan, here’s some of our go to tips for holiday stress

General Tips for Holiday Stress:

  • bring your own pillow
  • pack a rubber ball to use for stress squeezing and for self-massage
  • plan ahead to make sure food is available that is on your diet
  • if you are staying multiple days, plan some “me” time to yourself
  • go with the flow rather than get caught up in arguments…then take that “me” time to de-stress

Check out our recommendations for travel size pillows and stress balls:

Tips for Holiday Travel

  • avoid driving if possible, driving is one of the worst activities for your lower back and neck, and you’ll do more of it than normal with heavy traffic
  • when flying, stick to a carry on bag and pack light…several of our clients always throw their backs out around the holidays trying to deal with a way heavier suitcase
  • pack your own snacks for longer waits at the airport or train station
  • download several episodes of that tv show you’ve been meaning to watch
  • learn a simple stretching routine to do while you are waiting or sitting on the plane/train
  • take vitamin C to boost your immune system
  • spend a little extra and take a car service to the station rather than leave your car in parking or taking the subway

Tips for Staying with Relatives

  • book a hotel or Air BnB instead of staying in the guest room on an old mattress
  • if the bedsprings are old at either the family guest room or a hotel, consider putting the mattress on the floor for better support
  • make a trip to the grocery store yourself and pick up food that you can eat on your diet, especially snacks in case food isn’t going to be served when you get hungry
  • decide ahead of time what time you’ll have breakfast, lunch, dinner and have a family agreement on it to avoid getting “hangry”
  • pack earplugs and an eyemask to help sleep in an unfamiliar room

Tips for Holiday Shopping

  • unless you are getting something that needs to be seen in person, shop online
  • pay to have it gift wrapped and shipped to the relatives house…it’s a small luxury you can probably afford that saves a lot of time/effort/back pain
  • buy small stuff that has meaning to avoid carting heavy packages around (yes, there is a theme here)
  • consider giving experiences over “stuff” (museum memberships, tickets to a show, a class on cooking, etc.)…again, it fits into a card, and is super memorable

Have a happy holiday season 🙂

We are sure some of the tips above caught your eye and went ding ding ding in your mind as something to take on this year for your holiday stress. Even practicing just a few new self-care tips this year can make all the difference.

Our favorite last tip. Book yourself a post holiday massage for the last week of December or the first week of January! 

Happy Holidays and we look forward to seeing you at the studio!

NYC Marathon tips 2018

NYC Marathon Tips: How to Heal an Injury That Makes You Want to Drop Out… and Finish Strong

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about marathon tips and gives detailed session notes about a client’s marathon recovery.

David Weintraub

Here we are again about 6 weeks before the NYC marathon. Our medical massage therapy practice is getting flooded with new clients who are in pain training for the marathon. Each year we get an influx of folks worried they’ll have to drop out and desperate to get back on the road. We can’t guarantee that our NYC marathon tips will get every single one of them through the race. That being said, we have a great track record of helping runners rehabilitate quickly from an injury. And get back up to stride even this close to race day. Having learned a few things over the years, we are happy to share our best NYC marathon tips so that you can have the best day ever on November 4th!

My First Marathon Client That Almost Dropped Out

I’ve been in practice for close to 12 years now. Each year I routinely work with a several dozen NYC marathon runners in all phases of their training. However, my first, was way back in 2009, just a couple years after graduating massage school. A friend of a friend was training for his first ever marathon as a first time runner. (He was not a runner before starting training in spring).

NYC Marathon Tips 1

Start training long before you think you need to: My current advice for folks who aren’t already runners is to start training for a marathon 18 months before race day. (Most people start 6-8 months beforehand). He had started in April, just 7 months before the race. And yes, lots of people start training for their first NYC marathon in the spring of the same year and do fine. However, some folks have older injuries lurking in your history. These will tend to come out and wreak havoc on your training somewhere around September/October.

My client, let’s call him Sven (not his real name), came to me with a golf ball sized knot of seized up muscle tissue in his left calf… 4 weeks before race day. It had been getting progressively worse over the prior 3 weeks. It had gotten to the point where he could no longer run a single mile without debilitating, cramping pain.

He was obviously distraught and unsure what to do. Sven was worried about letting all the people who donated to his race down (a common concern). But he thought that he was beyond help. He had been to a physical therapist 3 times with no relief. Sven was highly skeptical that I could do anything to help him but our mutual friend assured him I was “miracle worker.” (no pressure there or anything!)

Ethically, I’m not allowed to make a guarantee that I can help clients. There are always going to be some cases that are beyond what massage therapy can relieve. Sometimes, surgery and physical therapy are a client’s best recourse. And sometimes all of the best NYC marathon tips you can find won’t matter. So I want to get that out there lest folks think that I actually go around touting myself as a miracle worker (no faith healing here, just straight up science at work). I told him this, and that I’d try my best but I thought I might be able to help.

How we got the client through race day in 3 medical massage therapy sessions:

Session One

I spent most of that first massage on the back of his legs. This included some truly intense deep tissue work directly on the bunched up calf tissue (with his permission of course). We also worked to open up his right hip which was not moving well due to an older injury. I theorized that the hip injury resulted from an even older right ankle sprain. This was confirmed by the client, so I also worked to get the right ankle moving with better alignment.

At the end of the session he said the whole area felt better than it had in weeks and he hoped that this would get him back to race form. At which point I gave him some of the best injury recovery advice I’ve ever come up with…

NYC Marathon Tips 2

Start Over Again – When recovering from an injury DO NOT try to jump back into the same level of training you were at before the injury. That is a sure fire recipe for the injury popping right back again and keeping you down. For Sven, I told him to do the following:

  • Wait two days (agonizing for a runner) before running, spend time stretching
  • Run only 1 mile as long as you aren’t in sharp pain
  • Then stop and call it a day
  • If you are in sharp pain during that 1 mile stop
  • If that went fine with no pain, rest the following day
  • On fifth day, try running only 3 miles as long as there is no sharp pain
  • Rest the following day
  • Book a follow up session for the next week on the 7th day after our first session

I can hear your teeth grinding just reading that list. “But, but, but….it’s only 4 weeks to race day and you are saying I should only put in 4 total miles this week?! What about my big 18 mile long run coming up?!?!?!?!”

Trust me, Sven wasn’t going to make it on that long run in the condition he was in. Thankfully, he did trust me and followed the NYC marathon tips to the letter. He emailed me after each of the 1 mile and 3 mile runs. Sven let me know that there was no sharp pain, just a “bit of tightness that opened up during the run and stopped bothering me by the middle.”

Session Two

Sven came in a week later for session number two. His calf still had a ball of seized tissue but it had shrunk down from golf ball sized to marble sized. We worked on it again, then focused more on quads and hip flexors including the all important psoas muscle. We also worked on opening up his ribcage, and diaphragm. In order to bring his upper carriage into a better alignment with his legs, we worked on his neck.

So many runners come in and request that I work on their legs over and over again. What they don’t realize is that their upper carriage tension in the neck and shoulders is a huge factor for why their legs are always so tight.

After session 2, I gave him the following to do:

  • Wait two days (again, totally agonizing for a runner) before running, spend time stretching
  • Then run 6 miles as long as you aren’t in sharp pain
  • Then stop and call it a day
  • If you are in pain during that run stop
  • If that went fine with no sharp pain, rest the following day
  • On fifth day after session 2, try running 12 miles as long as there is no sharp pain
  • Rest the following day
  • Book a follow up session for the next week on the 7th day after our first session

Sven followed the NYC marathon tips we gave him, emailing me to let me know that his whole running form had opened up. This was likely due to the upper carriage work. He felt not just fine but even better than before on the 6 and 12 mile runs. He wondered whether he even needed the third session. I told him to keep it just in case and that we might be able to shave some time off his run by working on his external hip rotators. He kept it.

Session Three

He came in for session 3 feeling good but a bit worried that he was getting to his long run a bit close to the race. The calf knot was almost non-existent. We spent the session working on his side body, bringing the left and right sides into better symmetry. This session is great for getting the ball and socket joints of the hips and shoulders free again which allows the rest of the body to ease up and relax. The session was on a Thursday.

I gave him the following homework:

  • Wait two days before running, spend time stretching
  • Then run the 20 mile long run as long as you aren’t in sharp pain
  • If you are in sharp pain during that run stop
  • If that went fine with no sharp pain, rest the following day
  • After that take it easy in the lead up to the race doing no more than a few short runs just to keep limber

Sven did fine on his long run and took it easy. Race day went swimmingly and he actually shaved a bit of time off his intended pace! He then followed our NYC marathon tips for race recovery and booked a post race sports massage. He came in for a post race recovery massage a couple days after the race and felt 100% normal by day four.

NYC Marathon Tips 3

Book a post race recovery massage: Some experienced runners book a recovery massage for the evening of race day. Unless you have run several marathons and are sure you’ll react well to that, we don’t recommend it. You could wake up the next day feeling like you had been run over by a tank. However, any time between the day after race and 4 days after the race will be super beneficial. Especially if you have to work at the office and sit in a chair all day. For our studio, we tend to book out the week after the NYC marathon in advance, so book early.

In support of all you runners, we are offering 10% off all sessions from October 1 through November 11th for anyone who is an official participant in the NYC Marathon. Simply bring in your entry approval when you come in for a session and we’ll happily apply the discount 🙂

What we have learned since then:

In a way, Sven was lucky that he was so sidelined. He was willing to go against all instinct and take it easy for a few weeks, even with race day approaching. Had he been in slightly better shape than he was, he might have pushed too hard after the first session. And re-triggered the injury.

Most of these repetitive stress running injuries are due to two main factors. One, an older injury that creates an asymmetrical running form. And two, the slow steady pressure that builds up in the muscles compensating for the older injury. As you start piling on the miles, there comes a tipping point when the system can’t handle what you are asking it to do. It starts complaining loudly. Then boom, you are sidelined.

Correcting the form towards a more symmetrical alignment means less work for muscles to do to get you moving forward. Which in turn means an easier run and faster times.

If all of your muscles are working towards propelling you forward you’ll go faster. If some of them are pushing you sideways or up (or even backwards) instead, you’ll lose efficiency and slow down. Other muscles will have to work harder to fight that movement. You’ll also increase the impact with each stride creating the potential for stress fractures in your feet, shins, hips, or spine.

Ideally, we would work with you when you first start training so that you already have an improved running form. Before you pile on the miles. My NYC marathon tip for Sven after he completed his first successful NYC marathon was to cross train over the winter. Then come in for a few sessions next spring to work on his form. And to go celebrate his first completed NYC marathon  in style 🙂

However, as you can see from above, coming in for medical massage work at any point before race day is likely to improve your day. If you are injured, follow our NYC marathon tips and book a session. Also coming in for a post race recovery massage can get you back to normal quickly!

Good luck to everyone running this year!

sports injuries cartoon

Sports Injuries After Age 30

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about sport injuries and how to prevent them as we age.

David Weintraub

How to readjust your routine to avoid pain

When were your first sports injuries?

If you are into sports now, odds are you started playing team sports when you were young. I remember my first soccer tryout at 9. I also remember my first sprained ankle from getting slide tackled at 11.

There were a lot more sports injuries where that came from between then and now...
Soccer, track, cross country, cycling, swimming, and later aikido (and that one ill fated parkour class during which I sprained my ankle).

Along the way I’ve sprained both ankles more than once, severely torn a hamstring muscle twice, smashed fingers and toes, and torn a rotator cuff. I've gotten a bone spur on my wrist, had shin splints, plantar fasciitis, hip pain, low back pain, and herniated a disc in my neck.

If it weren’t for all the bodywork, acupuncture, physical therapy, and chiropractic work I received since my mid 20’s I’d be taped together with duct tape just to function. And probably would have needed a few different surgeries (currently surgery free at 46).

Like most of you, I’ve got the scars to prove my sports history. Unfortunately, as I get older, all of these old sports injuries make it even more likely that I’ll re-injure myself. So I’ve learned the hard way to be more cautious and create a regular self-care routine.

How scar tissue gets formed:

Each time we sustain sports injuries (or any other injuries) our body has to make a decision. It has to decide whether it has time to heal itself with properly functioning replacement tissue or with scar tissue. The more severe the injury, the more likely the body will use scar tissue.


Building replacement tissue takes time. If you are bleeding internally (or externally) time is a big factor. Your body has to make a choice:

  1. replace the tissue with beautiful “good as new” skin or muscle and risk bleeding out, infection, death….or
  2. plug the hole with scar tissue and save itself.

We all have scar tissue in our bodies. Those of us with a sports background likely have a lot more of it. Can you list all the injuries you’ve had?!

What makes scar tissue such an issue:

Our bodies are basically a bunch of functional pieces glued together. The glue is called “fascia.” Fascia is non-living tissue that our body makes to stick stuff together. It’s made of mostly water and collagen fibers.

Scar tissue is also non-living tissue that sticks stuff together. And it’s also made of mostly water and collagen fibers.

If they are both water and collagen fibers...what’s the difference?!

In healthy fascia, the collagen fibers are woven together in a cohesive way like fabric. It has structural integrity that allows for some movement and stretching in certain directions and also limits movements in others. When healthy, it acts like an ACE bandage already built into your joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

In scar tissue, the collagen fibers are thrown into place like a pile of pick up sticks. The body has to stop the bleeding from an injury quickly. It doesn’t have time to carefully arrange the collagen fibers for structure and healthy movement. If you have any noticeable skin scars you can attest to the difference. Healthy skin moves and stretches, while a scar feels hard and immobile.

Scar tissue can show up in big ways and also in little ways. Push things too hard and you end up with tiny “micro” tears in the muscle tissue. Most of these will be healed with properly functioning muscle but a few may be just too much for the body to handle without plugging it with scar tissue. Over time these micro-tears add up to restricted movement.

You can’t get rid of scar tissue.

The more scar tissue we have the stiffer and more limited our movements become.

And once scar tissue is formed it’s there for life. The idea that you can “break down scar tissue” and that the body gets rid of it is a modern wellness myth. However, a good massage therapist can help to work into the scar tissue and make it more pliable.

With bodywork and regular stretching the scar tissue can form a better alignment and act more like healthy fascia. So you can usually get most of your range of motion back.

Here’s the really important thing:
The older we get, the slower our body gets at healing, the more likely that injuries are going to be plugged with scar tissue instead of healthy tissue.

Check out this Washington Post Wellness article if you want to read more about this: Click here! 

What can I do to prevent sports injuries as I get older?

The first bit of advice I can give is that we all need to readjust our definition of “injury.” I ask hundreds of clients every year about their injuries and many will say, “oh I’ve never really gotten injured….” Which is interesting considering that they are coming to me because they are in pain.

We think of sports injuries as broken bones, torn ACL ligaments, sprained ankles that lay us out for weeks, etc. These absolutely are sports injuries, and major ones. It’s the minor ones we gloss over.

Pushed too hard at the gym yesterday and are feeling a little pinchy “tug” in you hip when you walk up the stairs? That’s an injury; it needs time to heal. But hey, you’ve got to keep to your exercise schedule or you’ll (insert self judgement here). So you go right back to the gym and do another hard workout.

At the beginning the hip is screaming at you, but it “warms up” during the workout and actually feels a bit better now.

The next day it’s yelling at you even more….. And wouldn’t you know it, but your shoulder feels a bit “off.” Yet most of us go back to the gym again anyway.

When you use your emergency systems just to get through everyday life, what’s left for an emergency?

Your body has some amazing tools to be able to function while injured. These include a handy couple of internal drugs called adrenaline (you know and love this one) and cortisol (it numbs pain).

These tools were designed by evolution to make sure that you could keep running or fighting the bear that was chasing you even if it had already injured you. They gave our species a fighting chance and likely saved your ancestors from a bad scrap or two.

Unfortunately, most of us are overusing and addicted to these life saving internal drugs. We mostly use them to bolster our ego and to avoid dealing with the emotional impact of growing older.

So here’s the unvarnished truth: the older you get, the harder it is for your body to recover, the more likely it is that you’ll injure yourself, the more important self care and good maintenance becomes. You can still go hard. However, you'll need a bit more effort on recovery and maintenance.

We aren’t going to “bounce back” like we used to. We can either accept this or break ourselves against the wall of reality. Your choice 🙂 

New Rules for Preventing Sports Injuries as we age:

  1. If you experience any sharp pain beyond regular soreness and muscle fatigue during exercise, STOP. No really, just stop. Do some cool down walking, then light stretching and/or foam rolling (as long as it doesn’t activate the sharp pain area). Then hit the showers and call it a day. Give your body at least 24 hours to heal itself, then try some light exercise again. If you can exercise pain free, great! If not, stop and give your body another 24 hours.
  2. Don’t do any exercise that involves those specific muscles while you are experiencing pain. All you are going to do is rip up even more tissue in the area. However, if it’s your hip that hurts you could do shoulder presses if it doesn’t activate your hip pain.
  3. Practice good post workout self care. This means a minimum of 10-15 minutes of cool down (walk around until your heart rate decreases) and stretching. This is super important as the fascia get heated and more fluid during exercise but the muscles get shorter due to repeated contraction. If you don’t stretch out after you work out, your fascia cools down and hardens around the contracted muscles making everything tighter.

Helpful Tips:

  1. The newest science proves that for cardiovascular health, 3-4 HIT (high intensity training) workouts of 30 minutes each with at least 48 hours in between is just as effective as 1-2 hour long runs 6 days a week. Bonus: less time needed, and more recovery time for healing!
  2. Variety is healthiest which is why you are starting to hear about major football and basketball athletes doing pilates, yoga, ballet, etc. Create a mix of different activities that you like. Or if you are a dedicated runner or cyclist, mix up the speed or distance of your exercise with short sprints, hill workouts, etc.
  3. A hot shower or bath after a workout is a great idea! For bonus points, douse yourself with cold water for 30 seconds at the end (in the shower you can try going back and forth between 2 minutes hot, 30 seconds cold a few times). The heat opens up the blood vessels allowing more blood to wash the fatigued muscles out. The cold squishes the vessels tighter, squeezing out lactic acids. Going back and forth acts like a pumping system for your muscles and speeds recovery.
  4. If sharp pain persists beyond a few days get thee to either a sports massage therapist who’s experienced with injury recovery work. A great practitioner should be able to get you back to the gym (or class or road, etc.) after a session or two. The longer you wait to have it checked out, the more likely it will need multiple sessions to relieve it. And the more likely that you’ll have injured yourself to the point where you need to take weeks to months off from training to fully recover. And nobody wants that!

If you start following the above and incorporating more self-care into your exercise routine, you’ll feel better overall and be far less likely to experience pain. You’ll also find that a less is more approach will save you time while still meeting all of your exercise goals. Good luck!

Here at Bodyworks DW Advanced Massage Therapy, all of our therapists are highly trained to handle sports injuries in their many varieties. We’ll be able to look at your form and see if an older injury is throwing your alignment off and really find the source of the current pain so that you can get back to it quickly, with more knowledge of how to prevent a relapse. We’ll also be able to assess when you have a more serious injury that may require seeing a physical therapist or orthopedic doctor.

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Vacation Goals

Vacation: 7 Ways to Plan Your Way to Relaxation

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about ways to destress during your vacation and what to do when you get back.

David Weintraub

Sounds counterintuitive I know, planning to relax. Afterall, a vacation is supposed to be “time off” and a reset for our overworked brains and bodies. And yet…doesn’t if often seem like we come back more tired physically than when we left?!

Often mentally we are able to recharge and refocus. But, physically, our bodies can be just as beaten up from a vacation as when we left. If not more so.

So, what can we do? First, let’s define the goal of the vacation - is it to:

  • Recharge and relax?
  • Visit family?
  • Sightsee and learn about new culture?
  • To accomplish a bucket list goal... Mt. Kilimanjaro anyone?

Take note which of these ideas seem relaxing to you and which seem mentally or physically challenging (or both).

Challenges tend to add stress, not relieve it.

If you want to come back from vacation both mentally and physically rejuvenated, (and that’s not what you are currently getting out of your travels) you are going to have to plan differently.

To help and support you in planning an actual relaxing vacation, here are some of our top tips for what to take into account so that you’ll be able to relax, have a little adventure, and come back with a full tank of gas-in you!

Don’t workout.

To workout or not workout, that is the question. As long as you make a solid commitment with yourself to get back into your exercise routine when you are home, my advice is to skip the workouts. You are going to walk a lot more than normal on most vacations, or if you are just relaxing on the beach, you’ll swim a bit. If you really must workout, try something different than normal like a yoga class on the beach, or a bike / walking tour of the area. The point is to recharge from your routine life, not engage in it while away.

Take your pillow.

Pillows and mattresses in most places you stay are going to range from awful to just okay. Even if your hotel has a super fancy mattress the pillows will likely be huge and fluffy which is actually terrible for you neck. Although you can’t transport your bed from home, you can bring a pillow from home that you know is right for you, or a travel size Tempurpedic (my pick while away) which fits nicely in a carry on.

The right tools.

A sleep mask, earplugs, and/or white noise app to play through your phone might help sleep in a new place with uncertain noise and light. I like finding rain storm lists on Spotify.

Sleep in. Duh.

You totally deserve at least a few days to sleep in! Bracket rest days around adventure days so that you get the best of both. When I travel, I usually like to schedule 3-4 half day sight-seeing tours inside of an 8-9 day vacation. I don’t do them on consecutive days and keep other days to light sights. Some days, despite being someplace fantastic like Rome, I still take a 1/2 day to sit in bed and read a book. Again, this is a break from normal life!

Come back early.

After a long flight, schedule a staycation day to recover rather than try to eek out the longest vacation possible. Traveling is tough on the body and arriving home late in the evening only to wake up the next morning and truck off to work is asking a lot of it. Take a day to recuperate and collect your travel photos into a nice post. You’ll thank me on Monday.

Throw money at the travel headache.

How you get there sets the tone for the stay. Travel is usually a lot of headaches. Once you’re there and settle in it’s great, but the trip itself?! Packing, getting to the airport, getting through the airport, being stuck in an airplane seat for a long time, then getting through the other airport and to your lodgings all take a toll and create lots of stress. Give yourself any small favors that you can afford:  taking a taxi to the airport instead of the subway, spending an extra $25 on extra legroom seats if you are tall, arranging for a car to pick you up and take you directly to your hotel from the airport. You won’t be able to take away all of the stressors but every little bit counts!

Get a post trip blues massage.

Of course I’ll say this, but it really does help to book a massage for that staycation day at the end of the vacation to help recuperate and revive. Sure, most people go for the massage at the hotel while on vacation, and we wouldn’t say no to that. However, that one will be completely erased by the stress of the trip back home. Booking yourself a massage after you get back means that you can head into work the next day fully recharged, de-stressed, and ready for action!

text neck massage therapy neck pain shoulder pain

Save your text neck

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about "text neck," what it is and ways to prevent it.

David Weintraub

The perils of “always on” technology:

Okay, so your "text neck" probably won’t actually kill you (unless you are texting and driving). However, it’s becoming increasingly likely that at some point in the next 5-10 years of tech use, you’ll develop a repetitive stress disorder.

The phrase carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist pain) has been part of the collective conscious for several decades. It's so common as a disrupter of productivity that it has spawned an entire industry of ergonomics solutions. These range from special keyboards to Star Trek styled full desk/monitor set ups. All keep you at your desk longer making trades, typing contracts, writing legal memos.

And then the 2000’s came along. Most of us jumped all in with smartphones and laptops and tablets.

Suddenly we could be productive all the time.

Standing on the subway platform?

Let me check my email.

Taking the train in from CT?

Let me just go over those sales reports.

Date just went to the bathroom?

Let me text my assistant to make sure I’m set up for tomorrow’s board meeting.

Unfortunately, there are costs to constant device use that might change your mind about your phone and tablet.

Looking down at our phone, tablet, or laptop, pulls our head forward and down. This imbalances all the muscles holding up your head (ahem... text neck). These imbalances can cause any and all of the following:

  • neck pain
  • shoulder pain
  • TMJ
  • headaches
  • low back pain
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • anxiety
  • low energy
  • bone loss
  • depression
  • memory loss

Sound scary? Don’t believe it?

Check out this New York Times article: Keep Your Head Up: How Smartphone Addiction Kills Manners and Moods

Like many things that aren’t healthy for us, these costs are not going to suddenly show up tomorrow. They build up over time. In ways that make it hard to track what the changes are doing to your body. However, there is hope for us all!

What can I do about this?

I’m not some Luddite preaching that we should all return to farming. I happen to be a business owner with 20+ employees and have tech in so many screen sizes it’s getting ridiculous. I deal with text neck too. 

I’ve got a smartwatch, smartphone, an iPad for home and one for work, an airbook laptop, an iMac at my desk. Not to mention the 15 other devices I have at the office for the staff to be "productive" on. I’m just as tempted as you to go on my phone on the subway and read articles on Facebook or Twitter to pass the time. So I decided to try something out...

Experiments DW

Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve been running an experiment to see just how much I can lighten up my daily commute (see the last blog post on how much we carry around with us and tips to help with that).

I’ve gotten down to just leaving home with the following:

That’s right….NO BAG.

I had to get really clear on what my time is worth to me and what my long term health is worth to me. And I had to spend some extra cash to duplicate certain items at work and at home so that I wouldn’t have to cart them back and forth.

Is it worth it? For me this experiment has been a fascinating eye opener. It’s also reduced my daily stress levels by about 20-30%.

I have less issues with headaches at day end, my back feels better, and my overall mood has noticeably improved.

I’ve got new rules for my text neck, I count em:

#1: I am not allowed to look at my phone during my commute except to choose music.

#2: I am only allowed to work while at the office, or while at my desk at my home office. The couch is only for relaxing and the bed is only for sleeping (and well, you know…).

#3: If I need something both at work and at home, I duplicate that item rather than carry it back and forth. The value in stress reduction and ease of movement on my body is a long-term savings in health and self-care costs down the road.

#4: If I do have to look at a device, I hold it up to horizon level and keep my head up.

#5: When my arm gets tired of holding up the device to eye level rather than looking down, it’s time to take a break and put it away.

You may think I’m crazy for buying a second iPad to keep one at work and one at the office. Really the only reason for me to do that is that it has become my primary note taking device for my life coaching sessions. Sure, I could take notes on paper, but then I’d have to create a filing system for them. The iPad keeps all my notes for each client on the cloud.

Of course, you’ll have to do your own analysis of the following:

- what you can and can’t do without

- how much is your time is worth

- which work can be left until tomorrow or

- what work can be put on hold for the 45 minutes to 2 hours you spend on your commute

You’ll probably come up with different ways to reduce your load and stress than I have. (For instance, maybe it’s spending the extra cash on a monthly gym locker. You can leave your workout gear there most of the time.) Prioritize those ideas and see for yourself how helpful it can be. 

Are you willing to give lightening your load and keeping your head up a try? Yes? Your text neck will thank you.

massage therapy for diastasis recti massage case study

Massage Therapy for Diastasis Recti

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about treatment options and massage therapy benefits for Diastasis Recti.


David Weintraub

Getting to the core of the issue

First off, what is this strange sounding condition?

It’s most common among pregnant or postpartum women. About two thirds of pregnant women have it. So why have you never heard of it?
People don’t talk about.

The facts:

Diastasis Recti is a condition where the rectus abdominis splits down the middle causing a vertical gap in the abdominal muscles. It can cause lower back pain, constipation, and urine leaking. It can even make it harder to breathe and to move normally.

How to treat it if you have it:

Massage therapy for Diastasis Recti can be very helpful to rebuild proper abdominal tone as long as you’re also working with a physical therapist who specializes in this issue. An experienced massage therapist can open stuck tissues that are pulling the abdominal muscles outward. These stuck tissues are generally from previous injuries that have left scar tissue behind. In addition to this kind of bodywork, you’ll need physical therapy exercises to knit the torn muscles back together.


Why “ab” exercises don’t work for you now…


It’s counter-intuitive, but doing “ab” exercises such as sit ups, or pilates, can often make the problem worse. Without proper firing of the correct support muscles, these exercises often pull outwards on the linea alba (centerline where the gap develops). This can either increase the separation, or keep it from knitting back together.

A combination of massage and physical therapy can speed up the healing process considerably. In most cases it will open up the stuck tissues that would keep physical therapy exercises from working. The synergy between the two modalities is worth way more than the sum of the parts.


Because massage therapy is an “opening” practice. Our training is in releasing tissues that are either tight (ie over-firing) or stuck (ie glued with scar tissue). We also work to retrain the nervous system to allow muscles that are over-firing to relax and settle into a balanced tone.

Physical Therapy is a “closing” practice. It’s based in strengthening and tightening muscles that are weak (ie under-firing). The repetition of certain exercises draw blood flow to areas that need it, allowing the body to heal and reconstruct itself.

Ready to put in the work?

Diastasis Recti is not a one-time fix situation. It takes a coordinated effort, diligent homework, and focused effort for 8-12 weeks. It is next to impossible to self-heal without a minimum of a few guided sessions. Most clients will need the following:

4-7 sessions with a professional massage therapist

3-5 sessions with a physical therapist who specializes in working with Diastasis Recti

15 minutes a day of homework exercises

If you’d like to know if massage therapy for diastasis recti can help you, don’t hesitate to call us and arrange a phone consultation with David Weintraub. Or book an initial session online!


Stress Management for Commuting and Conferences: how to make the necessary evils less painful—for your body

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about stress management tips for injury prevention during commutes and conferences.

David Weintraub

Sitting at a desk for long hours in a workplace with poor stress management is probably the number one source of aches and pains for most workers. This professor goes so far as to say it’s the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., ahead of kidney disease!

In our last post we covered some tips for setting up your desk at home to create little to no stress.

In this post, we’ll cover stress management tips for what to do when your job requires time outside of the office. For your commutes, off-site meetings, conferences, etc. All that time you spent optimizing your main work area will go out the window the minute you step away from it.

Here are some stress management tips for commuting without injury

First, let’s talk about how you are carrying your stuff around. I’ll admit that the aesthetic options for over the shoulder messenger bags, purses, and briefcases generally look better. However, they are poorly designed from an ergonomics standpoint. Don't buy into it? Check out this Time article on purses and bags...

You're likely to spend hundreds to thousands of hours hauling your things around. Investing in a good looking rolling suitcase or backpack will save you money in physical or massage therapy later on.

My list of must haves

  • A rolling briefcase/suitcase with a pull out handle (best) or a backpack (2nd best). Hauling your life around in an over the shoulder bag, large purse, or briefcase with just a handle is asking for a shoulder or low back injury.
  • Get both! If you're carrying enough stuff around to require 2 (or more) bags, get a rolling suitcase and a backpack. That combo will give you the same “carrying real estate" in the most body friendly package.
  • An iPad with a folding bluetooth keyboard and a light folding stand can handle most computing needs outside of the office these days. Unless you are doing heavy duty photography, graphic design, video editing, or crunching vast amounts of data, invest in an iPad. Your shoulders will thank you for losing the extra weight of the laptop.
  • The right footwear. If I had my way in the world, heels would be completely abolished as footwear. They alter your center of gravity, and do all sorts of nasty things to your spine. The long-term impact of wearing heels is a leading factor for back pain, knee pain, and neck pain. At minimum, switch to a comfortable, cushioned, pair of flat shoes whenever you are going anywhere outside of work. That includes the to and from commute as well. This is one of the few instances where carrying the extra weight around is well worth it.

Additional stress management tips

  • Remember to switch sides when carrying your bag. Give the side you “lead with” a rest.
  • Store as many paper files in digital format that you can get away with. Pound for pound digital files weigh nothing. 
  • If you are hauling around gym clothes everyday, do they fit in a rolling suitcase/backpack combo along with all of your work stuff? If not, it might be time to rethink things. The extra bag is undoing many of the health benefits you are getting out of the gym in the first place. Look into a gym close to home instead of near work. Try switching workouts to first thing in the morning (pre-shower). This is often one of those “best is the enemy of good” situations. The gym near work might be nicer, but you would really be better off with a decent one close to home.

Conferences & Meetings are a Pain in the Butt

For off-site meetings and conferences, the main problem is lack of control over your seating and the expectations for how long you’ll have to sit in session.

Meetings in conference rooms usually have better chairs, so that’s a plus. However, if you need to get up and stretch or even stretch at your seat, you're going to feel a bit weird with people around.

Your best bet is to try the following well ahead of the meeting:

  • Do 5 minutes of stretching before you get to the conference room. You likely won’t have time during the meeting itself. If you don’t have a good place to do that, honestly, use the bathroom.
  • Request that the meeting take 5 minute breaks every hour (at the minimum) to be able to stand up, stretch, walk around a bit, etc. Best is to bake this into the agenda long before the meeting time. If you're attending someone else’s meeting, you can always request this at the beginning before it starts. If you feel uncomfortable asking, you can always “white lie” and say that you have a medically diagnosed low back injury and your doctor has advised this. The others in the meeting will probably thank you for the reminder for self-care.
  • Can’t do the above either because you won’t ask, or because the request was denied? Take 5 minutes anyway and go to the bathroom every hour.

At the meeting or conference:

  • When you arrive, play with the settings on your chair to adjust the height to a comfortable level. During the meeting, try adjusting the height slightly up or down whenever you get a bit sore. This will make you use slightly different muscles and give the ones you just used a break.
  • If you find that you tend to cross your legs only in one direction, try switching. Between not crossing, and crossing to the other side every 15 minutes or so you may find some comfort. This will help relieve your muscles from getting stuck into a habitual asymmetrical pattern (which leads to a repetitive stress disorder).
  • For the really bold, take your shoes off under the conference table and/or attend meetings with laceless shoes that are easy to slip on and off.

For conferences, try the following tips:

  • Pick a spot towards the back or the outside of the seating rows. You'll have an easier time moving around and won’t worry as much about disturbing anyone.
  • If you are in a larger group, less eyes will be focused on you. Feel free to practice some in chair stretching during the lectures. We have a number of useful quick tutorials for workplace stretching on our YouTube channel.
  • Check in with yourself during a lecture. Are you really interested in the topic and material or just going through the motions because someone else thought this would be “good for you?” If you feel like you're getting little out of it, dropping out and getting a quick snack would be a great self-care practice. Check the list of other available opportunities for something more interesting while you're out! Nothing is more stressful than boredom or feeling like you are wasting your time.

The more you can be a leader in the workplace and make small changes for your own health and stress management, the better you’ll feel. As people start to notice how much happier you seem, the more likely it will be that people will start following along and practicing their own stress management. Hopefully, over time, the whole culture around you starts to shift and you'll be dealing with far less stress overall.

In our next post, we’ll cover travel tips for planes, trains, and automobiles!

self care, entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs, Please Don’t Ignore Your Self Care!

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about the perks of working from home and good self care for the entrepreneur.

David Weintraub

Simple Tips for Making the Home Office Work for You

I’ve now been a 10 year self-employed writer, then a 10+ year massage therapist, a life coach, and most recently have grown my practice to have 20 employees. Including 15 massage therapists who train under me and see clients at my practice. In that time I've had to learn self care for the entrepreneur the hard way! 

I’ve seen entrepreneurship from a lot of different angles. Both from my own experience and from working with and talking to hundreds of self-employed massage and coaching clients.

Along the way we’ve learned good practices for keeping your business from feeling like it’s all consuming. And ways to actually get and feel the freedom you were looking for going in... And the stability you thought you might never see again.

So, for whatever stage of entrepreneurship you are at, whether just starting out, or building out your third 100+ employee company, here’s some of our best self care for the entrepreneur advice for de-stressing.

It was a scary leap of faith to quit my “real” job but the benefits were just too enticing to pass by:

  • working from home
  • controlling my own hours
  • making way more per hour worked than when working for someone else
  • different job experiences each time
  • major tax write offs

But with the rewards come stress that can take a physical toll on your body.

  • The feast or famine syndrome (either having too much work at one time or none at all)
  • Managing your own schedule. A skill that none of us realized we lacked since parents, school and “job” handled all of that for us.
  • Learning how to negotiate, create contracts, and stick to deadlines. At least if you want to get paid decently, on time, and keep clients...
  • Saving money for when the work is slow (no more steady paycheck)
  • Beating the learning curve for every new client
  • Doing your own taxes (and they are far more complex)

Unless you’ve got a major investor or a business savvy partner (and often even if you DO), the beginning phase of any new business is a pretty stressful wild ride. Especially if this is your first venture into working for yourself. There are whole sets of systems that are needed that you had no idea were necessary. Suddenly you are building the boat to cross the river to success…… in the middle of the trip.

So, how do we practice self care for the entrepreneur at home?

  1. Ergonomics (ie using the tools of your job in the most body friendly and efficient way) is a lot more important than you’ve given it credit for.

Glad to ditch the desk?…think again…

Desks were invented for a reason. Desks are designed to sit at and be able to write on at a height that is generally good for most people.

Work desks may not have been perfect. They are still light years better than typing at your kitchen table, the coffee table, or (god-forbid) on your lap on your couch.

If you spend more than 1 hour per workday typing,
I highly recommend investing the extra money in a real ergonomic workstation, meaning:

  • an actual desk (pro tip, buy a vintage desk rather than a cheap Ikea one and you’ll be able to sell it later with little to no loss of money and possible make a profit on it)
  • a desktop computer (either as your only computer or in addition to your laptop) with decent sized monitor and wireless keyboard/mouse
  • a good comfortable chair that has the ability to roll and easily change height, and has no arms
  • a convertible sit/stand desk unit to place on top of your desk (especially if you are typing several hours per day or staring at the screen for long periods)
  • a comfortable set of headphones with a mic for phone calls (holding the phone against your shoulder with your head while trying to type is a surefire way to give yourself a cervical spine injury)

However, if you are stuck with your laptop as your main computing tool, try these mods:

    • do at least get a wireless keyboard and mouse (you can find something halfway decent on eBay for $20-30)
    • stack the laptop on several books on your kitchen table (or the desk if you managed to get one) to bring the monitor height up to eye level
    • get the most comfortable chair you can find and get used to switching between typing on the wireless keyboard both on the table and on your lap (the table will be slightly too high and your lap slightly too low so switch every 30 minutes or so to relieve your wrists)

I’ve talked a lot here on at home care. Part 2 of this series will focus on self care for the entrepreneur when you have to leave the office (on-site meetings, travel tips, etc.)

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massage therapy for athletes

The 6 Do’s and Don’ts to Avoid Workout Injury

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about do's and don'ts during workouts to prevent injury.

David Weintraub

Massage Therapy for Athletes

It’s nearing the end of winter and we are all a bit tired of it! Everyone is recommitting to their health goals, trying to get in shape, keep in shape, improve, etc. Bodyworks DW starts to see a lot more injuries this time of year from pushing too hard at the gym. Here’s our top advice for when to push hard and when to take it easier to prevent injury. We’ll also discuss when massage therapy for athletes is worth exploring as both a preventative measure if and when you do get an injury. 

There are a lot of amazing fitness classes available in NYC. It seems like something new is popping up almost every month. And while the variety is fantastic for helping you zero in on something that really works for you, it also means exposure to a lot of different and opposing opinions on what is good for you and what is not. As massage therapists, we have a unique viewpoint on fitness. We get to see hundreds of different clients and track what activities lead to the injuries that we work on every day, and we get to see what you can do to prevent injury that really works.

Fitness instructors don’t know as much as you would think about injuries.

The instructor of your class has one job - push you to your limits and beyond. The training they have is on exercise routines, form, and leading a class. Most don’t get very detailed anatomy training. Few, if any, are trained to deal with injuries.

Only you can have an accurate read on what your limits actually are.


  1. Don’t work out to exhaustion such that you lose fluid balance and ability to perform movements cleanly and well (if you find your balance being affected, stop and rest for a bit then try again)

  2. Don’t overdo movement in one area of the body without also working on the opposing side for balance

  3. Don’t keep going if you feel any sharp pain

  4. Don’t forget to drink water and eat

  5. Don’t do any lift or movement that is so difficult that you can barely pull it off (you need to work up to these as this range of difficulty is a surefire way to injure yourself)

  6. Don’t let an instructor push you past a healthy limit


  1. Do challenge yourself to try different movements on a regular basis

  2. Do try to slowly and steadily increase your range of motion, run times, weights, distances, etc. The key here is slowly and steadily over dozens of workouts

  3. Do slow down and concentrate on smooth and easy form for movements. Getting the movement aligned and efficient from the get go prevents injuries later

  4. Do ask for guidance from an experienced and well-trained instructor on form as good form is essential and do your research on massage therapy for athletes! See for yourself how helpful it can be

  5. Do quit while you are ahead as it’s almost always those last few reps or pushing past that last bit that gets you injured

  6. Do know what the common injuries for your favorite class are and how to prevent them happening to you (scroll down for a list of what injuries are common in our experience). 

Common Injuries for Popular Exercise Classes:

We see hundreds of clients engaging in all manner of exercise. The repetitive motions of most forms of exercise lead to common injuries. While the following are by no means the only way you can get injured in class, they are far more common than you may realize.

If you know what the common injuries are to your activity, you can take it a bit easier when you start to feel anything “off” in those areas.

Basic rule of thumb for pain:

STOP exercising for at least 24 hours. Try exercise again. If you feel okay, great, if you don’t wait another day.

Yoga: hamstring attachment tear, SI joint instability, cervical disc herniations, mid back pain

Pilates: plantar fasciitis, mid back pain

Crossfit: rotator cuff tear, biceps tendonitis, hip issues, groin pull

Soul Cycle/spinning: cervical disc and lumbar disc herniation, hip issues, low back pain, shoulder pain

Swimming: rotator cuff tear, hip issues, plantar fasciitis

Running (distance): plantar fasciitis, knee issues, ankle sprains, low back pain

Martial Arts (striking heavy ones like karate or kung fu): ankle sprains, hip issues, wrist sprains

Martial Arts (soft styles like aikido): hip issues, rotator cuff tear

Ju-juitsu: cervical disc herniations, rotator cuff tear, finger injuries

Boot Camp Style Classes: plantar fasciitis, groin pull, biceps tendonitis

Tennis: tennis elbow, hip issues

Kettlebell: wrist sprains, hip issues

Barre: hip issues, mid back pain

Rowing: Shoulder pain, hip issues

Boxing: wrist sprains, shoulder pain, plantar fasciitis

Kickboxing: wrist sprains, plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains

How Massage Therapy for Athletes can help:

If you feel pain during a class or workout and follow the above advice, it will go away for small injuries. After rest with light movement and stretching, try exercising again. If you feel okay, awesome! You are good to go.

If the pain persists and does not go away, it’s not going to heal on its own without at least several weeks of rest. And that just plain sucks if you have specific goals such as running a marathon, losing weight, increasing your times, etc.

Working with our team of experienced and well-trained therapists can kick start your healing and get you back in action much faster. Customized massage therapy for athletes is different than your average spa massage as we target the problem areas and work with you to improve your form, body awareness, and exercise routine so that you can continue to progress without further injury.

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shoulder pain

Winter & Workouts — A Recipe for Shoulder Pain. Here’s How to Fix It!

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about preventative shoulder pain techniques to get you through the winter.

David Weintraub

Your Shoulders and Winter are not good friends…

Have you booked a massage therapy for shoulder pain session yet? If not, you’ll probably feel like we are psychics in a few weeks…

It’s that most wonderful time of year…okay, actually it’s not all that wonderful right now.
The holidays are over, it’s freezing cold, and it’s a new year at the office with new projects, stress, and pressure.

And the cold just started….we’ve still got 10-14 weeks to go 😬🤒

Add in indoor exercise to that (weightlifting, yoga, boxing, Crossfit) and you’ve got a perfect recipe for shoulder pain and injuries…..

Winter Shoulder Pain Recipe

  • 1/4 cup “lifting shoulders due to cold”

  • 1 cup “stressing at work” which engages our fight/flight response and lifts the shoulders

  • 1 tablespoon “indoor exercise” which impacts shoulders more intensely (due to the other above ingredients)…

This recipe leads to overuse injuries such as rotator cuff tears, biceps tendonitis, and bursitis. 

What you get when this cake is baked is “I don’t know what happened….but my right (or left) shoulder just started hurting…..HELP!”

Shoulder Pain in Winter: What YOU can do about it

If you haven’t gotten to the pain level yet, congrats!

If you don’t want to get there, come see us for massage therapy for shoulder pain (or any other pains you are dealing with). In the meantime, the following will absolutely help to prevent further injury:

Invest in a good winter coat, hat, scarf (no, really)

  • Fashion is cool and all…and usually cold too. You may not like wearing a parka, or messing up your hair with a hat, but your shoulders will thank you if you are warm enough.
  • Your body is dealing with cold that it’s not insulated against.
  • Our nervous system is hardwired to “protect the important bits” (ie your head and your trunk where all of your important organs are).
  • It raises the arms and shoulders in a self hug to bring more body heat to your brain (the most important bit) and lungs.
  • This is brain stem level instinctual….if your body is cold enough to be scared of hypothermia it will raise your shoulders no matter how much you want them not to.

Warm up inside for a few minutes before sitting down (Desk = Death)

  • After you get inside and take off your coat, hat, scarf, spend several minutes walking around your office or house before sitting down.
  • Give your muscles some time to warm up, acclimate, and loosen up before sitting and staying in one position. Otherwise, they will tighten up into a sitting position even more than during the rest of the year.

Stretch (Desk = Death: Part 2)

  • Do some light stretching and moving, especially hip stretching and twists. These tend to get super locked up walking around in boots and trudging through snow and wind.
  • Swing your arms lightly around and roll your shoulders to help loosen up. Normally this happens while walking, but in winter we tend to keep our hands in our pockets. This holds the shoulders locked in place. Hence your shoulder pain!
  • Check out our YouTube page! We have a bunch of self-care at the office stretches to help you out in quick, easy to watch videos 🙂 

Make sure to warm up properly at the gym before going hard

  • Again, when you first get inside at the gym spend several minutes just letting your body warm up. Acclimate after being outside in the cold!
  • It’s even more important during winter months to spend that 10 minutes doing light stretching and warm up exercises. Try light walking or jogging on the treadmill. Before going full out, try a few reps of lifts with much lighter weight than you intend to lift during your workout. (Of course, you SHOULD be doing this throughout the year 🤔).
  • Does your gym have a steam room or sauna? Take advantage of that! Just make sure to bring in water to drink as you’ll sweat out even more fluids in there.

Hydration is vital

  • Winter means heating, which means DRY AIR. It’s going to take more water and fluids intake than you are used to drinking to stay hydrated.
  • Muscles that are stiff from the cold and under-hydrated are WAY more prone to injury.
  • Do you own a humidifier at home? No? Get one (or two or three….). Fluid loss at night while sleeping under heavy blankets and dry NYC heat is guaranteed. And it’s a surefire recipe for muscle injury and getting whatever nasty little flu or cold bugs are floating around the office.
  • Book a massage!
  • Why not take care of yourself? Massage therapy for shoulder pain, hip pain, foot, pain, low back pain, and any other pains that crop up during winter months is a no brainer.
  • And no, it’s not going to just wear off the moment you step back outside 🙂 

What WE can can help you with: massage therapy for shoulder pain

Some of our clients disappear for a while during the winter months. It’s harder to convince yourself to get to the studio when it means extra time outside in the cold and snow. We take on a “this sucks and I’ve just got to make through until Spring” attitude in NYC.

Why suffer?

Getting massage therapy for shoulder pain every 3-6 weeks is even more useful in the winter. You are going to tighten up no matter what you try to do on your own. A few massages during the winter means that you’ll far more likely to enter spring training injury free.

And if you are feeling any sharp shoulder pain during exercise now, don’t ignore it and hope it will get better. We can work on it to keep it from becoming a full blown rotator cuff tear or torn labrum. Not to mention biceps tendonitis…

The advantage to working with our team is that we customize every session to meet your needs for wherever your body is at that day.

Also, we have heated massage tables and delicious ginger tea 🙂

health resolutions that stick in 2018

Health Resolutions for 2018 that Work Because they are Custom Tailored to You

David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about ways to keep track and maintain your New Year's Resolutions.

David Weintraub

It's 2018! Where did the time go?! Have you made your New Year's health resolutions yet?

In the spirit of a new year, most of us make resolutions about our health. We are going to exercise more, eat better, walk more, sleep better, drink more water, drink less wine, eat less junk, etc.

Some of us do well with these and solidify them as habits that have us feeling happier and healthier on a daily basis. But, statistically, most of us don't!

What gets in the way? All of the excuses:

"It's hard to find healthy food near work...."

"I don't have a decent gym near me...."

"I’m stressed about money

“I can't sleep and I need to fix that first...."

"I sprained my ankle and now can't do my favorite exercises...."

(that one is mine btw)

However, if we go up a level the bigger problem is that we simply haven't developed a concrete personal system for changing habits in our lives yet. Without the confidence that one CAN change habits, it's very unlikely that one WILL change habits.

So, how do we make health resolutions stick?

And the answer is......I have no idea. Or rather, I don't know which specific kinds of support systems will work for you.

I'm not YOU.

But, I can tell you what has helped me. And how I’ve seen clients build the personal power they need to take responsibility for taking action to make their health resolutions stick. Don’t feel like you’ve failed if you hit a few bumps along the way.

Step 1: Rewire your thought process away from "failure."

True change of self and habits is going to involve a decent amount of "fails." This is a simple fact of nature, yet we judge ourselves harshly time and time again.

Example Health Resolution: I am going to wake up at 7 am each morning, meditate for 10 minutes, then stretch for 10 minutes.

You might do well for several days, then go out late one night, and BAM, 7 am shows up and you hit the alarm and go back to sleep.

Your internal monologue goes something like this:

"Argh! I can't believe I did that, I'm such an idiot....I'm never going to make this work. Forget it, I quit."

When this happens, you are making making this a problem with you, when in fact, the issue isn't with you at all. It's with the SYSTEM you thought you put in place. The system didn't account for your late night out for example.

So rather than feel bad about yourself as being flawed or incapable, you can look at the "fail" as an opportunity to update the system in a way that seems likely to improve it, and run the experiment again.

Step 2: Take action again, regardless of breakdowns, with the goal of creating a system, not just one new habit.

We all hear catch phrases like "never quit." But what does it actually mean to quit? One definition is that you stop taking intentional action towards a goal. The important word there is "intentional." Remember, the goal here is not actually to just get this one new healthy habit in place, but to create a system where you KNOW that you can build any new habit that you want.

So getting lucky with a few actions that just happen to work for you on one particular habit might feel great. But luck isn't going to help you build the confidence to tackle other things.

However, if you start getting wins based on YOUR OWN intentional choices and actions, that is going to feel far more powerful and reliable.

Step 3: Track and measure the results of your experiments

If you only had one goal to declare for 2018, declaring that you'll create your own system for personal change that is proven to work for you to change and grow would be an important first goal. This is the "teach a man to fish" part of the old adage. Except you'll be teaching yourself to teach yourself. How's that for "meta?"

Most of us subconsciously avoid tracking and measuring...getting the first batch of results in an experiment back can be a serious blow. You expected to see something like 60-80% on target and you wound up getting 10-30% instead!

Be a scientist who studies yourself until you find a system that works for YOU to produce the results that you want with a high degree of certainty!

In order to create a trustworthy system to track and measure, you'll need to set up several components:

a) What is the data that I'm tracking? This needs to translate to actual numbers. Examples: "How many times this week did I exercise and for how long?" or "How many hours of sleep did I get last night?"

b) How am I recording that data? This needs to be easy to input data into, and to read data when reviewing. Examples: excel spreadsheet, phone app, notebook, etc.

c) How will I review the data, observe results, and adjust my experiment to improve results? I suggest a weekly review for 20-30 minutes to go over the results. Preferably routine, scheduled in your calendar and non negociable except in cases of emergency.

Step 4: Keep going until you are satisfied with your results

Nobody has ever created anything of worth without running into major obstacles. If you attach anything at all to the fact that it's not "easy" (ie "I must be stupid if it's this hard") then you engaging in a toxic form of magical thinking. Every time you hear something like, "the idea just came to me," or "I just did it..." that statement is being filtered. It sounds cool, but doesn't match with what really happened. The reality is that hundreds to thousands of hours of study and hard work came before the inspiration.

But satisfaction is where this gets muddy-satisfied according to whom? Most of us have a broken satisfaction meter. We might objectively be making improvements and growing, but if we are not meeting some outside measure that was set by our parents, siblings, society, friends....enemies, etc., then we don't allow ourselves to feel any satisfaction.

Be willing to give yourself an A for effort, even when you don't get the results you want on the first, third, or thirtieth try. If you keep going, you'll get it. 

Then reward yourself 🙂 (maybe a massage hint hint?)

Step 5: Even when you start getting the results you want, keep evaluating and tweaking your system.

If you've stuck with the first 4 steps of this for several months, you are bound to start seeing the results that you wanted on your health resolutions and are starting to feel pretty good about it. Congrats!

However, don't quit while you are ahead. Even when you find something that works for you, there may be a more efficient, better suited, more satisfying way to accomplish what you want if you keep looking at your system. You never know when some new app or device, or some new book, friend, colleague, class, etc. could add to your system and make it even smoother for you.

Also, if your system is working and you are getting the results you wanted with your first simpler resolution, it's time to test it out on something more challenging!

Health Resolutions that stick: 5 step review

In summary, the 5 steps to creating a personal system for changing habits on health resolutions that will work for you are:

Step 1: Change has obstacles, obstacles involve "fails," rewire your thoughts on these

Step 2: Take action-regardless of inevitable breakdowns, your goal is creating a system, not just mastering one new habit

Step 3: Track and measure results

Step 4: Keep going until you are satisfied

Step 5: Continually tweak the system

Try it out, or as Yoda says, "There is no try. There is only do or not do."