Bodywork and massage therapy in Tacoma, Wa for people who want to be active and stay active without the injuries.
You’re sitting at your desk and the stiffness creeps into your body. You ignore it, but it starts to follow you. You notice it during your workouts, when you’re driving and even when you’re trying to fall asleep.
And then it’s more than a minor annoyance. It’s a major distraction that makes everything feel hard that won’t go away, no matter how much you stretch.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Sometimes, you just need a little help.
Mind body exercise like Pilates and active recovery techniques like corrective exercise, stretching and foam rolling can help reduce tension and increase mobility, but as great as they are, sometimes, you need something more hands-on.
Hey there. I’m Nikki Naab-Levy and in addition to the 10 + years I’ve spent teaching intelligent movement, I’ve devoted the past 4 years to studying advanced bodywork techniques, because I realized that when it came addressing tension and pain patterns, there was more to the story.
Bodywork (aka massage) can directly address structural soft tissue restrictions that aren’t easily accessed by movement work to improve posture, increase flexibility and take the strain off your joints, which means:
When you can move efficiently, physical tasks take less work.
No more worrying about if it’s going to hurt when you take on a new physical activity.
More confidence in your physical abilities
When things don’t feel stuck, you can run faster, lift heavier and progress faster.
Not sure if it’s for you? Here’s how it helped a few of my clients:
"As a life long exerciser, I've done hip programs before seeing little change in my abilities or comfort. Now that I've completed several modules of Hips Don't Lie, I can see why previous efforts were a waste of time. Here is what this program gets right: The program starts with some deviously easy-not-easy exercises to meet me where I am. No straining or cheating needed to feel successful. The program progresses. This is a biggie! Every few weeks, a new set of exercises kept me engaged, interested and challenged. I felt stronger and more capable as the weeks pass. Getting up and down from the ground starts to feel efffortless--important as I am remodeling our home and there is a lot of that. Instructions are clear, concise and strategic. I've done some of these exercises before with other trainers and had no idea I was not positioning my body in a way to engage the right muscles. Eye opening! The program's videos were easy for me to follow and complete at home and I appreciated having PDFs to quickly refer to at the gym. The instructor is a delight. I'd definitely hang with her. Bonus? My core strength improved too. Can't recommend highly enough."
"If you are serious about form and you want to do things correctly and see improvement, then this is the program for you. Her cues are perfect and I feel like I am finally doing certain exercises right for the first time. I have finally learned to do squats correctly even though I have worked with other trainers and researched how to do them extensively. Nikki has that rare ability to not only know the right way to do the exercises but also how to explain it in terms that make sense. I often find myself thinking, wow, so that is what this is supposed to feel like. After working through this program I feel like I am getting so much more out of my workouts. Hips are the root of so many problems and these routines will help get you back on the right track. Her modifications adjust this for every fitness level and are useful when recovering from an injury. I am so glad that I found her programs and I am sure you will be too. I was tired and frustrated and had been through so many different programs from face to face personal training, physical therapy, arrosti sessions, nunerius Drs, videos, books, classes, and boot camps and I feel like I have made more progress with her programs than any of the others."
"I found the program covered a nice dynamic between stretching and strengthening. My goal for taking this was to improve my hip strength with the time frame of the 8 weeks coinciding with a hiking trip I had planned. I am happy to say that my hips/lower back were able to sustain some very challenging climbs and surfaces during my hiking days. I also found that I could use some of the sequences at the end of my day to release/stretch my hips/lower back."
"Nikki is an outstanding master of her craft! She has extensive knowledge and a passion for fitness and health and it shows in her Hip Program. I have struggled with hip pain from osteoporosis and followed Nikki's Hip Program for 8 weeks. The results have been incredible! I now have increased mobility, strength, and best of all, I can move pain free! Nikki's program is easy to follow; the exercises are progressive, there are photos and very clear, concise instructions on how to do them. I continue to do many of the exercises as maintenance to keep good hip function and pain free movement. I am also a movement professional and would have no reservations recommending Nikki's Hip Program to clients who are looking for a thorough, online program at home to compliment the work that I do with them in the studio. Highest recommendation!!!"
"You will learn a lot and you will get results."
"I love how Nikki is able to explain complex terms in a way that are easy to understand, and how she focuses on long-term common sense solutions instead of a quick fix. Whether in her group classes or tips on social media, her advice is straightforward and easy to follow. I love that she's not a fitness guru - she just wants to help people feel their best and be their best, whatever that means to them."
What does a massage therapy session with me look like?
Here’s what you can expect:
Before: Within one business day of scheduling your session, I’ll send you an email with a basic intake form and waiver that asks a little bit about your history and what you want to get out of our session.
I’ll also send you all important details like where my home studio address in Tacoma (I’m close to 6th Ave).
During: We’ll spend the first ten minutes talking about what you’re experiencing and assessing your alignment so we can track your progress. Based on what comes up, I’ll use a blend of myofascial, muscle energy, Aston and deep tissue techniques to comprehensively address your tensional patterns.
My style of bodywork is done through clothes and is strongly based in functional movement. This means that after I’ve worked on an area, I might have you stand up, walk around and see how things feel. This gives you a chance to integrate the change and helps me see where we need to go next.
Near the end of the session, I’ll show you simple, actionable strategies + self-care exercises that you can do at home.
After: At the end of our time together, you should feel some physical relief. More importantly, you’ll have a greater understanding of your movement patterns and what you can do to continue your progress long after you walk out the door.
Some of the exercises I teach have corresponding handouts, so if needed, I will email them to you the day after your session.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bodywork
Every body and their history is different, so I can’t tell you how long it will take before you feel better.
However, after working on clients with all sorts of issues – hip replacements, disc injuries, muscle strains – I’ve found that most people feel some relief after just one session.
Estimating your long-term progress is tricky, since it depends on the nature of your discomfort, if you’re able to practice self-care techniques at home and how easily you can modify your environment, but most people will see positive changes in their alignment and experience a decrease in pain over the course of several sessions.
I wish I had a crystal ball for this, but the amount of time varies. What I can tell you is that in each session, I will give you simple and actionable steps that you can take after our session to make the most of the work that you receive.
I’m what I fondly call a bodywork mutt. I’ve studied dozens of modalities and when I find something that works I add it to the toolbox.
I’ve studied from several well-known educators including Brian Utting, Dr. Leon Chaitow and Judith Aston and I practice a variety of techniques including muscle energy, deep tissue, Thai, crainiosacral and Aston spiraling. I’m also currently in the midst of the Aston Patterning certification.
What I don’t do well is your traditional Swedish relaxation massage. If you are looking to take a nap on the table with a piano playing in the background (which does have great value, it’s just not my jam), I’m not your gal. However, I’d be happy to recommend someone to you, if you need a name!
Some bodywork can be really intense, but this isn’t my way of practicing. Much of what I have studied is based in light touch therapy, which means it is gentle, but effective.
However, when appropriate, I will do deep tissue techniques. These can be a little more “sensation worthy,” but shouldn’t elicit more than a feeling of “hurt so good.” At any point in the session, if something feels too intense, you can ALWAYS tell me and I will adjust the pressure accordingly.
Additionally, if you have a preference for depth of pressure (light or deep), let me know and I’ll choose techniques accordingly. After all, this hour is about YOU.