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

What I do

Humans are amazing! I help them. I provide a unique method of modern, evidence-informed bodywork to all kinds of people for all kinds of reasons. A good way to describe it is: I untangle you.

What I do helps you have more comfort and less pain in your everyday life.

It optimizes you for 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. We are teaching stress management to your system.

Two-thirds of my practice are regulars who have a monthly appointment with me as a kind of ongoing healthcare and performance tuning. These are busy, active 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

Will you like what I do, and find it helpful? If you read the following, you'll have a pretty good idea. 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: the medical field calls these markers of health — or perpetuating factors, because they feed the pain or keep the injury going. I have some ideas and resources for you here if you want them. No requirements, of course. So you don't have to lift weights, go to bed earlier, 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, wear cool shoes, be really busy, 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 would be nice if a problem was confined to one spot or one muscle, but this is never true. Your musculature is crowded. It's a neighbor situation. Everything affects everything. All problems are distributed problems. 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 brain runs your muscles. Tension and pain are controlled by the nervous system, not by the muscles themselves. You're tight and sore because your brain perceived a threat ("that's too much load!") and instructed the muscles to respond by clenching or spasming. 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. I like to say: to help your body, we're going to burp your brain.

Resting is the secret weapon. Because chemistry. When we rest, we repair ourselves. During our appointment, the downregulation of your nervous system produces 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. It's hard to be healthy if you don't have some kind of movement that you enjoy and do often. Complex and varied movement is best. Climbing, dancing, proper weightlifting, yoga, crossfit, and martial arts (including the gentle forms, like tai chi and qi gong) are excellent choices because they are so three-dimensional. Ordinary walking is very good medicine for the human animal. For optimal health, you need maintenance — that's what I do — and movement — that's what you do.

It only hurts a little. Back in the 1970s, the first generation of bodyworkers separated themselves from the spa crowd by making their work intensely painful. At the time, that's how practitioners thought they changed the body — by pressing really hard — and it seems like common sense, too. No pain, no gain, right? Fortunately, we have science. Contemporary research shows that human tissue is not reshaped 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. I combine deep-tissue massage, myofascial unwinding, trigger point therapy, craniosacral therapy, relational therapy, structural integration in the Rolfing/Hellerwork tradition, some ideas from the ancient Chinese instrument-assisted and manual therapies gua sha and tui na, and some ideas from Zen practice, like gently working with the reality of the situation instead of what sounds appealing but isn't true.

We meet your body right where it is, loosen it, settle it, and tune you up for performance and health. Basically I untangle you. I love what I do and I look forward to helping you with it.

Contact me about appointments.