Mike Papciak is a master bodyworker, teacher, and speaker whose one-on-one sessions and group workshops have helped hundreds of people enjoy more comfort and better performance in their bodies.
Mike trained at the Institute of Conscious Bodywork in Corte Madera, California (now the Healus Center), and has done continuing education at SFSM, the San Francisco School of Massage and Bodywork. Mike is state-certified by the California Massage Therapy Council, and he is a member of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.
Mike was born in Detroit, raised in Atlanta, and after some years in Arizona and Wyoming, arrived in California's Bay Area in 1992. He has worked as a bread baker, theater rigger, stunt double, mountain guide, writer/editor, counselor for the developmentally disabled, and project manager in technology and communications. Mike has been a rock climber for more than thirty years, including several years in the 1990s climbing professionally. He has been a member of the Pacific Zen Institute since 2007. Mike lives with his family in Berkeley, California.
"It's awesomeness I can't explain. Thank you, Mike!"
— Purna T., parent, programmer
"Mike is a soft tissue empath; reading the quality of the body, he employs the perfect touch to release even deeply-seated tension and congestion. Following his care, I have experienced a profound opening and improved health in my trouble spots."
— Ada Lusardi, Yoga with Ada Lusardi
"Wow! This is really special care, different from any other massage therapy I've had. I'd describe it as: just right! Gentle yet powerful. Seeing Mike for maintenance keeps me tuned up. Relaxed yet ready. When I move, I'm more efficient, and when I rest, I'm more comfortable. Mike is also a great explainer: he demystifies things in a way that is realistic, even scientific, but also friendly and down to earth. You are getting an expert's presence and attention when you see Mike. Recommended."
— Lauren M., parent, consultant, yogini
"I've never had neck work like this. My head turns again!"
— Kelly C., busy person
"After committing myself to some of your recommendations for a few weeks, I have found so much relief. I've not had a moment of bunion pain since I started this regimen. Many muscles in my feet and ankles are waking up and getting stronger. Thanks so much for all of your advice. It was literally the opposite of what my doctors recommended, and I do believe it will help me avoid surgery."
— Amy J., biochemist, climber, lifter
"Mike's bodywork addresses the whole person and is deep and effective, specific and intelligent. He seems to know exactly where tension and stress are being held, and I am impressed by how present he is during each session. Mike has worked on me a number of times, in particular helping me regain full range of motion and function following major knee surgery."
— Michael McFarland, master bodyworker and educator, Senior Trainer for the Hellerwork School of Structural Integration, Board Certified with the International Association of Structural Integrators
"I had been on disability from my desk job for four months when I first came to Mike, after seeking numerous other treatments for degenerative disc disease in my neck and radiating pain, numbness, and tingling in both arms and hands. I experienced sustained relief after just one session that allowed me to begin taking less pain medication, and I was back to work full-time and pain-med free not long after! Regular sessions with Mike, supplemented with the self-treatment he so patiently and thoughtfully teaches and advocates, remains a cornerstone of healthy living for me years later."
— Bethany M., NASA contracting officer
"Mike is a gifted healer, informed by knowledge and guided by intuition. Working firmly and specifically into deep layers of tissue, he compassionately nudges the body to lengthen and release. He has been wonderful in helping me heal from sciatica, whiplash, and SI joint dysfunction. Each session feels like a long exhale of relief. I walk away with ease, lightness, and peace, happy to be reminded of what it feels like to be pain-free."
— Poh Teng, Certified Yoga Therapist
"I really like having this helpful understanding of my aches and pains that I get from Mike. In a relaxed way, he offers clear and friendly guidance about feeling better in my body. And then the hands-on work itself, it's fantastic."
— Jane P., parent, professional, marathoner
"I've been to many bodyworkers and Mike is simply the best. He understands the strain we put on our muscles and connective tissue, and he knows how to find the scar tissue, knots, and aches. After suffering the worst injury of my climbing career and having surgery to repair my shoulder, Mike really helped bring my broken wing back to life. Sessions with Mike are an important part of my routine between trips."
— Ethan Pringle, top professional rock climber with hundreds of 5.13, 5.14, and 5.15 ascents worldwide
"I was told that I had arthritis a few years ago, so I started taking chondroitin and vitamins for oldsters, and felt better. But I still found reason not to move my body. A couple hours with Mike brought instant relief, and regular maintenance with him has provided long-lasting improvement with a hip and leg that were previously unreliable and uncomfortable. Now that hip feels great and I can tell my legs are supporting me in a more balanced and natural way. Bodywork feels good... and its aftereffects feel even better."
— Greg G., retired
"Mike is gifted and intuitive, and he has exceptional knowledge of anatomy and the mind/body connection. As a physician assistant, I am pleased to be able to talk with
Mike about the intricacies of human anatomy. As a woman, I am comfortable with Mike; he is courteous and professional. He listens intently to my issues and concerns, and offers helpful and insightful solutions. Mike is grounded and incredibly skilled, yet humble and easy to talk with. All of my sessions have been awesome. I highly recommend him!"
— Susan O., parent, physician assistant, climber
"I started seeing Mike several years ago, right as I was beginning my career as a professional cyclist. My work with Mike is essential preparation for key events. My performance always improves after our appointments — I am more mobile and flexible and I can put down more power on the pedals! Mike has helped me get through several injuries. He's the first person I call when I am dealing with something impeding my performance. His release work kickstarts my recovery, allowing me to return to training quicker. Finally, I have always appreciated how Mike advocates self-treatment, and his enthusiasm for teaching these techniques has made me realize their importance and motivated me to integrate self-treatment into my daily routine. Mike is a master of his trade."
— Beth Newell Hernandez, World Cup cycling medalist, Pan American Champion, two-time National Champion
"I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 13 years ago. I believe my case has stayed as mild as it has because I treat it with bodywork. Mike has helped by finding tension and releasing it on a very deep level — so deep it feels cellular. He helps me see that everything is in the body, all questions and all solutions, which in turn helps me feel my condition is not alien to me and not something to 'fight.' Often, I won't realize that certain areas of my body are affecting how I feel until Mike works with them. Mike always has an intuition about what is happening in the body, and in my experience he is always right. Intuition and knowledge are perfectly married in his work."
— Sarah D.S., parent, business owner
"Rehab for my broken shoulder initially led me to Mike, but he has also helped me work through some issues resulting from breast cancer surgery four years ago. The latter was an emotional struggle for me, but with Mike I feel safe and unjudged. I'm also an avid runner, hiker, and backpacker, and Mike's bodywork keeps me healthy for those activities, too."
— Jenny C., communications professional, outdoor athlete
"During the years I've been teaching and practicing bodywork, I've come to realize that people either have the talent for the work or they don't. When I met Mike in a trigger point class I was teaching, it was immediately obvious to me that he has the talent. I myself have been worked on by Mike many times and he's helped me tremendously with my own aches and pains. I trust him and highly recommend his bodywork to anybody."
— Michael Westgate, natural pain relief expert and owner of Westgate Therapy
"I sought bodywork after exhausting other ideas (physical therapy, acupuncture, yoga) for healing an old, aggravating back and shoulder injury. I've done long-term work with Mike and now feel like I have a new body! I no longer fear for my back or my shoulder; if I do reinjure, I can visit Mike for repair, and he's also shown me some self-treatment tricks which help a great deal. Mike's work has been amazing and I recommend him to my friends who are in pain. He's also worked on my young daughter and my octogenarian mother-in-law with great success."
— Jeni R., parent, medical social worker
"I suffer from degenerative disc disease and I'm frequently in debilitating pain. After my sessions with Mike, my pain is always diminished. Mike's technique is intuitive and targets muscle tension and stress reduction. He never ceases to amaze me with his knowledge of body mechanics. I encourage all my friends to seek his services. Thank you, Mike."
— Beverly M., parent, grandparent, systems analyst
"I'm thoroughly impressed. As a diverse recreational athlete and former collegiate track athlete, I know how important it is to take care of my body. Mike's touch is really special; he knows exactly the right depth and time needed to soften the tension. I swear that I run lighter and faster the day after his sessions. I often refer my chiropractic patients to Mike for his detailed bodywork, because I know he will spend the needed
time to nurture their bodies back to suppleness."
— Dr. Johanna Lelke, DC, ART
"After a fall at age 80 in 2002, I had a hip replacement which left me with sharp constant pain in my lower back. Eight years later, my daughter-in law gave me a session with Mike as a gift. After some deep yet extremely comforting work, Mike zoomed right into the painful area. Within a short period, the pain diminished, then disappeared completely, and after a year, I am still absolutely pain-free. The precise application of Mike's knowledge and his understanding of the human body leads to amazing results. This is combined with his friendly, professional personality."
— Dorothea J.
"As a professional violinist, I've always had neck pain. Sometimes it's been debilitating. Chiropractic was a great help the first time I was in crisis, but Mike's bodywork has finally resolved the issue. Mike really understands the neck, and the treatment doesn't stop there: he also works with the violin-playing musculature in my back and arms, plus there's the deep relaxation you get from great bodywork."
— Rachel D., parent, performing violinist, music teacher
"I saw Mike for help with temporomandibular joint disorder and associated jaw problems, including clicking and locking of the joint. Doctors had told me they couldn't do anything to address TMJ, so I was amazed that bodywork helped, and helped so quickly! One session with Mike made a huge improvement in the function of my jaw, and reduced my pain level considerably. It was great to see that TMJ isn't something I am doomed to live with forever — in fact, Mike says the jaw musculature is quite treatable. As an unexpected bonus, my knee pain from an old skiing injury was much improved from work Mike did on my IT band in the same session. If you have chronic pain and have been told that it can't be fixed, check out Mike's bodywork!"
— Kristina J., parent, media professional, skier, cyclist