Our Massage Therapist
Marlene Mayman, BA, LMT
My name is pronounced “Mar-lay-nuh.” A native of Germany by birth, I was adopted by an American couple and later became a naturalized U.S. citizen around the age of four. We lived in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley at that time, when my love for the mountains and gentle countryside was established. My husband, step-daughter and I now live in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and we love our “Almost Heaven” home. I have also lived in Maryland, Washington DC, Thailand and California.
I give a great relaxation massage — try me! — and my specialty is medical massage for pain, movement issues and other medical need.
- A Professional Member of the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals— #811887
- State licensed in MD by the MD Board of Chiropractic & Massage Therapy Examiners — #M05146
In 2006 I graduated from the Shenandoah Valley School for Therapeutic Massage after completing a rigorous 550 hour program. I then passed every section of the national certification exam with high marks and obtained my certification and licensure as a professional massage therapist. I enjoy learning new things through regular continuing education classes and personal time spent reading.
Techniques I have studied include:
- Swedish Massage
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Myofascial Release (connective tissue massage; I’ve learned two approaches)
- Orthopedic Massage
- Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (joint mobilization and stretching)
- DermoNeuroModulation (addresses the nervous system)
- Osgood-Schlatter’s Therapy
- Pillossage (massage using special heated flax pillows that are also used in hopitals and clinics; very effective!)
- … among others.
I am not only a talented massage therapist, but I also have backgrounds in web and graphic design, professional photography, writing, community building, dancing, activism and more. I’m also an artist. In fact, my college years studying art (for which I earned a B.A.) were the years I became interested in massage. My anatomy drawings and studies made me curious about the structure and function of the human body. Post-college, I once took a 5-day workshop on sculpting the head from the inside out (bones of the skull and neck; then muscle, cartilage and other tissues; finally the skin) … and LOVED it. Some years later, when I decided to pursue massage training, one of the joys I had was learning about anatomy in detail.
Student of Pain Science
When I became a massage therapist, working in a spa setting didn’t appeal. Instead, helping people manage or recover from injury, illness, pain and movement issues was a much more interesting and rewarding direction.
This led me to seek additional education in the realm of clinical massage therapy, which brought me to my favorite topic: pain science! I started following and participating in some great forums, blogs and web sites that have put me in contact with some of the best minds in massage therapy, physical therapy, pain research and beyond. These include the following, among others:
A credible and reliable channel through which clinical pain scientists can bring their scientific discoveries straight into the real world. Led by world-renowned pain researcher, Professor Lorimer Moseley.
Paul Ingraham translates the science of aches, pains and injuries, using clear and simple language about complex problems.
Exploring issues and controversies in the relationship between science and medicine.
Todd Hargrove’s excellent articles that discuss the science of movement and pain.
Joletta Bolton’s blog about changing the experience of pain through education, movement, mindfulness, and nature.
Groups on Facebook I frequent:
- Exploring Pain Science
- Skeptical Massage Therapists
- Placebo in Manual Therapy
- Biopsychosocial Application for Practitioners
- Touch Science
Along the way, I found that many popular notions taught in massage schools are not supported by evidence, while some directly contradict medical and anatomical knowledge. Unfortunately massage therapy is full of “woo” and mythology, so I had to unlearn some things when new and supported knowledge came along. It really is important to understand why a treatment works, so we can use our hard-earned money on more effective therapies, reduce time spent suffering and — most importantly — prevent someone from getting worse due to misinformed decisions.
What your health practitioner says can have a big impact on whether you have a positive or negative outcome. Many regular doctors aren’t educated about and don’t really understand pain. Sadly, in my personal experience, even some pain specialists aren’t up to date with modern pain science and its therapeutic approaches, misrepresenting test results and speaking in terms that cause needless fear in their patients (technically called “nociceptive language”). All kinds of healthcare practitioners focus too much on biomechanical “causes” for a person’s discomfort or dysfunction, leading people to avoid movement, adopt unhealthy protective behaviors, develop anxiety or despair, and worse. A lot of common notions about pain, posture, asymmetry and diagnostics have been invalidated by quality research; yet folks are still told their uneven leg length, slipped/herniated/ruptured/bulging disc, torn labrum, slouching habit, etc. are their causes for pain. All too often, pain is not the result of a tissue issue.
So what is actually causing pain? The nervous system, in response to a ‘possible threat’ signal it believes is credible. Many people have had tissue damage without pain, such as a scratch or bruise they don’t remember getting. Conversely, some folks without tissue damage still have pain, such as phantom limb pain. Pain and its companion tension are interesting, check out my article on Chronic Pain and Tension if you’re curious to learn more.
Skillful massage therapy directly interacts with the nervous system to help calm the pain and tension it generates. That is the #1 thing I believe my therapeutic approaches are doing. Massage therapists like to think we’re manipulating muscles, fascia (connective tissue) and joints, but that’s been investigated and there’s no proof that what we do affects anything beyond the skin, unless our nervous system feels safe and decides to create change. The skin is the external aspect of the brain, including its thousands of nerve endings per square inch. Skin is what massage therapists are contacting and interacting with. If our hands are cold, rough, unkind, or the approach is too aggressive or otherwise unsafe-feeling, the nervous system isn’t going to let go of its protective hold on the body.
So when I work with a client, I focus on their comfort, use a kind and confident touch, and select from techniques that I feel will best calm their nervous system, so the desired tissue change will occur. When a client is interested in hearing how they can feel and function better at home or office, I may offer information on pain (understanding more about pain lowers pain experience), self-care tools and approaches, and further resources that may help.
A massage therapist paying attention to research and discussion on pain science is unfortunately still a rare thing. If you put your faith in me, I will do my best to help you feel better.
The Early Years
After becoming a massage therapist in 2006, I worked at a massage studio in Gainesville, VA and opened my own office in Front Royal, VA, near where I was living at the time. I had a steady business in Front Royal, but then my mother got sick and I moved up to Maryland to care for her. At that time I worked in Washington, D.C., at a massage studio close to K Street and for a chiropractor in Georgetown. Then I married my husband in 2012, bought a house in West Virginia and decided to start a new practice.
Frederick Massage Therapy
After considering which city would be best for my practice, Frederick Massage Therapy was established in 2013. My business has thrived in Frederick, MD, a lovely town with great people and a lot to offer. Thank you Frederick, it’s a pleasure to work with you!
I designed our logo with the help of my friend Michael “Skip” Sonesen. To communicate the medical aspect of my practice, I decided on the “cross” symbol in a handprint, reminiscent of the Red Cross and the Victorinox Swiss Army company.
A brand is important to a business and I want you to be happy with my service. I’ve been fortunate that as of this date (December 18, 2017) to have received all 5-star reviews on Yelp, Facebook and Google. I strive to keep the streak going!
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Text or call 240-487-9387
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