Therapeutic Massage

Fort Wayne's Premier Massage Therapy Clinic and Wellness Spa

HSA and FSA Cards are Welcomed !


“Healing is a process, not an event.” John Barnes, PT

Therapeutic Massage Sessions are customized and may include a variety of therapeutic modalities (described below) depending upon your individual treatment needs. You may also schedule with a VLW Therapist who specializes in specific modalities.

Therapeutic Massage 


For clarification and scheduling purposes, Therapeutic Massage is being divided into two categories: 

Therapeutic Massage - Light/Medium Pressure (TM- L/M); and

Therapeutic Massage - Firm/Deep (TM-F/D).

This will help you determine the service you want and the Massage Therapist you choose.

A Therapeutic Massage session is totally individualized for each client depending upon your treatment needs. Each Massage Therapist will determine which techniques or modalities to use to deliver the best results. Every therapist is different and has different areas of expertise. You may prefer to work with one therapist exclusively or a variety of therapists over time, depending upon your need at the time.

Therapeutic Massage is about accurate assessment, specific treatment, and excellent results… experienced in a deeply relaxing and healing environment. The goal of Therapeutic Massage is to relieve pain and restore freedom of movement by identifying and treating the underlying cause of the problem. This requires that Therapists have advanced training in assessment as well as treatment. Therapeutic Massage is generally “problem-oriented” and is not a full-body massage.  Many of the possible varied treatment modalities included in a Therapeutic Massage session are explained here.

Firm/Deep Pressure Massage 


Some people confuse "Deep Tissue Therapy" (which is treatment-oriented for specific problems and regions) with a full body massage using firmer pressure. This massage is for the person who says they want firm pressure used over their whole body. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to promote relaxation and relieve pain and muscle tension. Specific complaints or problems may not be fully addressed in this massage. For that, we suggest scheduling a Therapeutic Massage (designate light/medium pressure vs firm/deep pressure), Deep Tissue Intensive, Medical Massage or Myofascial Release (MFR) for treatment type work.

Prenatal Massage 


You need us during this important time of your life!  Prenatal massage is beneficial to relax and rejuvenate or to treat specific prenatal (or chronic) issues.  Pregnancy is a time in a woman’s life when many changes are occurring in a very short time. Due to the resultant lifestyle changes and hormonal fluctuations, a woman may experience varied physical discomforts and fatigue as well as emotional upheaval. Prenatal Massage benefits the general health and well-being of the mother and baby. Prenatal Massage may be full-body or treatment-oriented.  Please let your scheduler know which you prefer.  Psoas work prenatally (releasing a specific core muscle) can really ease pregnancy discomforts and aid delivery!  Prenatal psoas work requires a specific therapist - call the Front Desk for details.

Medical Massage 


Medical Massage uses light/medium pressure, has a lot of similarities to neuromuscular work, and is extremely effective in resolving pain and dysfunction. The treatment includes a thorough examination and evaluation by a Certified Medical Massage Therapist. The treatment is traditionally done fully clothed (tank top, loose-fitting elastic waist are preferred) but may be done otherwise, depending upon the therapist's discretion along with the specific health issue being treated.

Deep Tissue Intensive 


Deep Tissue Therapy is NOT the same as a deep pressure full body massage!  Deep Tissue Therapy is a specialized type of bodywork aimed at restoring maximum movement, flexibility, strength, and relief of pain due to chronically contracted and restricted deep musculature. Each layer is relaxed progressively in order to reach the affected layer or layers. Deep Tissue Therapy focuses on specific body areas/regions, not “full-body”. You may need to have many areas addressed if your body is chronically tense and contracted like most people with chronic life stress. To address all of the areas needed you will need to schedule a longer appointment time of 90 minutes. Chronic muscle tension or injury typically develops adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions can inhibit circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation. Deep Tissue Therapy breaks down adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement.  Deep Tissue Intensive requires the patient to communicate with the therapist concerning "good pain/hurt vs bad pain/hurt".  A Deep Tissue Intensive is not indicated for acute phase injuries or within 12 weeks post-operative.

Myofascial Release (MFR) 


Myofascial Release is an extremely effective and deeply relaxing type of treatment for all ages – infants to geriatrics. Do you feel like you’re ‘wound too tight’, ‘shrink wrapped’, or have unrelenting pain? Have you had all types of medical diagnostic testing and treatment – even failed surgeries? Or maybe you’ve tried traditional physical therapy or massage therapy without results? MFR may be the answer.

Fascia is a tough connective tissue interwoven throughout the body like a three-dimensional web from head to toe. If you were to tug on one part of a spider’s web the entire web would move and create a tightening or pulling effect in various areas. The same thing happens in the fascial system; therefore, when the therapist is able to facilitate a “release” in one area of the fascia the effect can be widespread. Unrestricted, it provides support and flexibility to all structures of the body. When restricted, it can wreak havoc on your body and emotions.

Injury, surgery, radiation treatment, physical or emotional traumas, chronic inflammation, stress, scar tissue, and chronic postural habits from daily activities or work cause these fascial fibers to tighten down, shorten, thicken and adhere (glue together), putting abnormal pressure on nerves, muscles, blood vessels, bones, organs, and even the brain.  Some of the repercussions are acute or chronic pain, limitation with movement, structural misalignment and degeneration, and a weakened immune system. Myofascial Release (MFR) can be the blessing for which you’ve been searching!

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) 


This service is therapist specific and may not always be available.

Using a gentle touch, Craniosacral Therapy is deeply relaxing as well as consistently beneficial in improving the functioning of the nervous system by releasing restrictions in the craniosacral system. By complementing the body’s natural healing processes, CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure and is effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction. As the name implies Craniosacral Therapy addresses the important connection between your cranium (head) and its direct link through the spine to the sacrum (base of the spine) and pelvic girdle which influences the parasympathetic nervous system (i.e. “rest and repose” – intended to undo the damaging response to stress). Our lives are inundated with constant stress which has the potential to do much damage – physically, emotionally, and mentally. This sustained stress overloads the parasympathetic nervous system resulting in undue strain on your heart, lungs, pancreas, liver, kidneys, etc….  Craniosacral Therapy’s tremendous influence on the parasympathetic nervous system brings healing and balance in many unexpected ways throughout your entire body.

*Cupping Massage*


Cupping therapy is considered one of the best deep-tissue and myofascial therapies available.  We’ve been providing this service for the past several years, long before it became popular in the 2016 Olympics. (We also do the Rock Taping!)  Cupping is thought to affect tissues up to four inches deep from the external skin. This form of bodywork has been adapted from Chinese Medicine using glass or silicone cups to create a suction, or negative pressure, causing the skin and superficial muscle layer to be lightly drawn into the cup. The cups can be gently moved across the skin (often referred to as gliding or dynamic cupping). Cupping is much like the inverse of massage – rather than applying pressure to soft tissue, it uses gentle negative pressure to pull them upward. For most clients, this is a particularly relaxing and relieving sensation. Cupping is used to soften tight muscles and tone attachments, loosen adhesions and lift connective tissue, bring hydration and blood flow to body tissues, move deep inflammation to the skin surface for release, and drain excess fluids and toxins by opening lymphatic pathways. Cupping is used for a myriad of soft tissue problems, not limited to, back and neck pain, tight muscles, anxiety, fatigue, migraines, and even cellulite. (For weight loss and cellulite treatments, a structured series of treatments are required.) Cupping also helps open up the chest and benefit the lungs and can even benefit menstrual problems and digestive problems, too. The results are time-tested and amazing. Because negative pressure (suction therapy) brings circulation and toxins to the surface of the skin, discoloration of the skin called a “cup kiss” or “doo-hickey” can occur. This is totally harmless. You may associate the appearance with bruising, but bruising occurs when there is an injury. There is no injury with cup kisses.  If this appears during the treatment, it just indicates the releasing of intense stagnation of body fluids and toxins in the area. This technique is used safely in children, adults, and elderly individuals. Vital Living WellSpa does not use fire cupping to create suction.

Table Thai-Shiatsu Massage 



In a nutshell, Table Thai is Thai bodywork performed on the massage table instead of on the floor with a mat. It combines a variety of stretching movements applied slowly; in patterns of gentle rocking and rhythmic muscle compressions, joint mobilization, and acupressure points.  For any type of Thai Massage, you are fully clothed in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.

To explain further, Thai massage is influenced by yoga asanas and emphasizes meditative rhythmic hand pressure and deep stretches. Shiatsu is based upon the principles of Chinese and Japanese meridians of energy and utilizes pressure on acupuncture points to accomplish health goals. This combination gives you the best of both traditions.

In Thai-Shiatsu Massage, you are fully clothed in loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.  No oil or lotion is applied. The treatment consists of passive yoga-like stretches, with rhythmic compressions along specific “Sen” energy lines and muscles in the body. Thai-Shiatsu Massage is the perfect marriage of yoga, bodywork, and energetic healing. By using body weight and leverage, correct posture, and the hands, thumbs, elbows, and forearms the therapist is able to release restrictions deep within the soft tissue. Because this massage is working on the different body layers (koshas) the release works on emotional, physical, and energetic levels. Thai-Shiatsu Massage feels amazing, is extremely effective, and is incredibly relaxing.

Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT)  


CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE  Traditional Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) uses a very light and gentle touch. The proper functioning of the lymphatic (immune) system is critical to your body’s ability to detoxify and regenerate tissues, filter out toxins and maintain a healthy immune system. It’s a complex system comprised primarily of lymphatic vessels and nodes that require physical movement (exercise) or massage to stimulate the functioning of the lymphatic system. When the lymph circulation stagnates, fluids and toxins accumulate, and cellular functioning is significantly compromised. This opens the way for many physical ailments. The lymphatic system may be insufficient, or the pathways blocked due to surgery, trauma, fatigue, ongoing stress, lack of physical activity, emotional overload, cold temperatures, infections, significant swelling, age, chemicals, or food additives. Lymph Drainage is an advanced but gentle therapy in which the therapist uses a range of specialized and gentle rhythmic pumping techniques to move the lymph in the direction of the natural lymphatic flow.  Lymph Drainage is an extremely beneficial component in the treatment and control of lymphedema (lymphatic congestion, fluid retention, and swelling).

Liposuction surgical procedures usually create a pooling of excess lymphatic fluids, lumpiness, and trauma in the surrounding tissues.  LDT accelerates healing and recuperation. Some patients will experience lumpiness in areas affected by liposuction. This is normal for most patients after surgery. The lumpiness is caused by inflammation and trauma from the surgical instrument that is used under the skin to extract the fatty tissue. The tunnels and channels which are created by the surgical instrument will fill with fluid and become swollen with both fluid and left-over fat. Most doctors advise their patients to begin their Lymph Drainage treatment on the 4th or 5th day after surgery to obtain the best, and fastest results, because this fluid and left-over fat tend to begin to harden between one week and three weeks after surgery.  Most patients need 4 to 6 LDT treatments to remove most of the excess fluid.


  •    Cellulite reduction and weight loss
  •    Control of and treatment for lymphedema
  •    Relieve swelling and pain after cosmetic surgery
  •    Accelerate healing and recuperation after cosmetic surgery
  •   Improve chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia
  •   Improve digestion and circulation
  •   Is preventative and remedial
  •   Minimize or reduce stretch marks
  •   Promote detoxification of the body
  •   Promote healing of wounds and burns, improves the appearance of old scars
  •   Promote the healing of fractures, torn ligaments, and sprains and lessens pain
  •   Reduce stress and improve sleep
  •   Relieve edema (swelling, fluid retention): swelling after trauma and surgery, swollen extremities, tired puffy eyes, swollen legs during pregnancy
  •   Relieve inflammation, sinusitis, allergies, acne, and other skin disorders
  •   Strengthen the immune system


Post-Op Rehabilitation 


Rehabilitation is the quickest path back to normal life after any surgical procedure. This treatment is done during the acute, more inflammatory phase post-op, or after a traumatic injury. It focuses on calming down the area and alleviating edema to reduce pain and promote healing.  It assists in regaining mobility, functionality, and strength and is individualized for every patient. This can include recovery after joint replacements, ligament or tendon repairs, implants, amputations, tendon transfers, and joint fusions. This treatment can begin as soon as physical therapy is recommended and is soft-tissue manual therapy. The acute phase of healing is considered up to 6 weeks post-op.  6-12 weeks post-op is considered a chronic phase of healing.  The manual therapy may differ in each phase.

Sports & Remedial Therapy


Specialized for each individual athlete and sport, Optimum Performance Sports Massage is ideal for professional or amateur athletes who want to be their best. This specialized massage is great for injury prevention, conditioning, and rehabilitation. Remedial Therapy addresses chronic issues typically focusing on specific body areas/regions, not “full-body”. You may need to have many areas addressed if your body is chronically tense and contracted like most people with chronic life stress. To address all of the areas needed you will need to schedule a longer appointment time of 90 minutes. Chronic muscle tension or injury typically develops adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesions can inhibit circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation. This therapy breaks down adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. 

  •  enhance strength
  •   accelerate healing
  •   relieve muscle stress and fatigue
  •   reduce inflammation
  •   ease stiffness
  •   aid in injury and pain
  •   remove lactic acid build-up
  •   help with restricted movement

Oncology Massage 


Oncology Massage Therapy can appreciably enhance your healing process if you have been diagnosed with cancer.  Whether you are currently receiving treatment, are in the decision process about what your treatment will be, or have recently completed treatment for cancer, an oncology massage can help build your health, diminish adverse effects and restore your relationship with your body.

      •   Decreases symptoms related to chemotherapy and radiation such as fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
      •   Increases the effectiveness of other treatments such as pain medication, physical therapy, or a medical procedure.
      •   Sedates or stimulates the nervous system.
      •   Increases your awareness of stress signals.
      •   Increases alertness and mental clarity.
      •   Improves bowel activity/elimination.
      •   Decreases anxiety and depression.
      •   Stimulates faster wound healing.
      •   Encourages deeper respiration.
      •   Decreases edema (swelling).
      •   Increases range of motion.
      •   Relieves muscle soreness.
      •   Increases circulation.
      •   Provides pain relief.
      • * From Medicine Hands, by Gayle McDonald, MS, LMT

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