All that sitting: let's undo it. Releasing tension in the upper leg, at Mike Papciak Bodywork.

What I do

A good way to describe it is: I untangle you.

This means more comfort and less pain in your everyday life.

It optimizes you for performance in your sport or art.

It's a concentrated dose of restorative downtime that measurably boosts many healing processes in your body, including brain function, immune response, and tissue repair.

Two-thirds of my practice are regulars who have a monthly appointment with me as a kind of healthcare. They might do this for a few sessions, or for years. These are busy people who understand that maintenance is the way — that staying healthy makes life less stressful, more productive, and more fun.

Regular appointments are not required. You can also come see me occasionally, or just once. 

My message to you: helping your body helps everything.

— Mike Papciak


Appointments are two hours. Cost is $310, no gratuity.

A first appointment, or an only appointment, is usually forty minutes assessment and consultation, and an hour-twenty on the table.

Subsequent appointments are usually ten minutes checking in and an hour-fifty on the table.

What to expect

Here's how I work, so you can do a little window-shopping. Your questions are welcome.

You can feel better. If you care for your body, it will improve. No matter where you're starting from. Miracles not included.

You affect your outcome. Age, weight, sleep, stress, fitness, nutrition, and mental health: they're called perpetuating factors. Also known as reality. I have some ideas and resources for you here, but I make no requirements. It's your life, so you don't have to lift weights, change your diet, or start meditating. Even if we know it would help.

One appointment is one dose of maintenance. If you see me once, you get one dose of exceptional maintenance. If you see me occasionally, you get occasional doses of exceptional maintenance. If you see me regularly, you get regular doses of exceptional maintenance. At no point does a permanent fix arrive. This is because you are a living organism. Your health cannot be permanently fixed. Your health is maintained.

Even the good stuff makes us tight. So it's not about never doing the bad stuff. You can have a job at a computer, use your smartphone, be way too busy, wear nice shoes, train hard for your sport, and still feel good in your body — if you support it with expert care and do some work on your own. Instead of taking away things that you enjoy, or stopping things that you must do to earn a living or to take care of others, we're going to add something: maintenance.

It's never perfect. At least not for long. Your body is a complex system that is constantly changing. Instead of always falling short of perfection, we aim for significant and sustainable improvement. If your pain — or your performance — improved by 50% to 90%, how does that sound to you? 

It's never just one thing. It's nice to think that your problem is confined to one spot or one muscle, but this is never true. Your musculature is crowded and cooperative. All problems are distributed problems. In your body, everything affects everything. So we treat broadly.

It really is all connected. Your shoulders are connected to your hips. Therefore your hips affect your shoulders. Your heels are connected to your skull. So your feet affect your jaw. These are actual, structural connections — not mystical stories. You are not a bunch of separate little parts. Well, you are a bunch of separate little parts, but they don't work separately — they work together — and they can't be fixed separately. You're one whole interconnected structure. (The best term for it: fascia.) That's why we address specific complaints like headaches or knee pain by working with the entirety of your musculature and your nervous system. This is treating broadly.

Your nervous system runs the show. Tension and pain are controlled by the nervous system, not by the muscles themselves. You're tight because your brain perceived a threat ("that's too much load!") or a need ("not enough strength there!") and instructed the muscles to respond by shortening and tightening. Often it gets worse: given the chance to do so, your nervous system practices this response over and over, making things more sensitive and more restricted. We're going to burp your brain.

Resting is the secret weapon. Because chemistry. When we rest, we repair ourselves. The fancy term for this is downregulation. During our appointment, your nervous system downregulates, producing a surge of neurochemical and hormonal benefits. The best-kept secret in bodywork is recovery.

You won't get where you want to be without movement. So find a way to move that you enjoy, and do it often. Complex and varied movement is healthiest. Yoga, proper weightlifting, martial arts (including the gentle forms, like tai chi and qi gong), climbing, and dancing are fine examples because they are so three-dimensional. Plain old walking is also very good medicine for the human animal. For optimal health, you need maintenance — that's my work — and movement.

It only hurts a little. Back in the 1970s, the first generation of bodyworkers showed how serious they were by making their work intensely painful. That's how you knew you were getting Real Bodywork and not some wimpy spa massage. No pain, no gain — right? Fortunately, we have science! Contemporary research shows that human tissue is not reshaped, repositioned, or "broken down" by manual therapy. Pressure is placebo. Modern evidence-based bodywork uses the body to cue the brain to chill out and wise up. It's not dainty. It's not brutal. It's a middle way.

What kind of bodywork is it? It's my own style, combining deep-tissue massage, myofascial unwinding, structural integration in the Rolfing/Hellerwork tradition, trigger point therapy, craniosacral therapy, relational therapy, Chinese tui na, and Zen practice. Recognize that some of these terms have no official definitions, and mean different things to different people. Basically I untangle you. It's hand skill, not magic. Anatomy, not make-believe. Expertise, not internet guesswork. I love what I do and I look forward to helping you with it.

Email me to schedule.