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

What I do

I help all kinds of people with their bodies.

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 months, or for years. I'm helping a lot of people grow old... including some old people! Regular bodywork is strong medicine. It helps you stay robust and resilient. You feel better than you did a couple years ago, even though you're older than you were a couple years ago. Your systemic health is better and you don't get hurt as easily as you used to — and when you do get hurt, it's not as bad, and you get better faster. You're happier, because your body feels good and works smoothly.

Regular appointments aren’t required — they're just popular. 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 thirty to sixty minutes intake and consultation, sixty to ninety minutes on the table.

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

What to expect

Here's how I work. Use these ideas to decide if we're the right fit.

You can feel better. If you care for your body, it will improve. No matter where you're starting from. This takes time, effort, and money. Not included: miracles, permanence.

You affect your outcome. The usual perpetuating factors — age, weight, sleep, stress, fitness, nutrition, and attitude — affect your result. That's reality. I make no requirements! You don't have to be perfect, go vegan, or start meditating. Even if we know it would help.

Even the good stuff makes us tight. So it's not about never doing the bad stuff. You can work at a computer, use your smartphone, be way too busy, train a little too 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: care.

It's never perfect. At least not for long. Your body is a living 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. (It's called 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. Those words again: we treat broadly.

Your brain and nervous system run the show. Muscle tension and pain are controlled by the brain. Any bodywork, physical therapy, or medicine that pretends otherwise is based on old science, or even shakier ideas. Your muscles do not decide to be tight and painful on their own. They are tight and painful because your brain perceived a threat and instructed them to respond that way. Wait, it gets worse: your nervous system practices this response over and over, making things more sensitive and more restricted. Massage therapy works with the body to cue the brain to chill out and wise up. I call it burping the brain.

Resting is the secret weapon. Why? Chemistry. All the body's healthy processes kick into gear when we relax deeply. A more badass-sounding term for this is: downregulation. During our appointment, your nervous system gets a superconcentrated dose of rest, producing a cascade of hormonal and neurochemical benefits.

Movement fixes you. So find a way to move that you enjoy, and do it often. Doing it imperfectly is fine. Complex and varied movement is healthiest. Yoga, Pilates, proper weightlifting, martial arts (including the gentle forms, like tai chi and qi gong), climbing, and dance are fine examples because they are so three-dimensional. Repetitive motion sports like cycling, running, and swimming are also popular. For optimal health, you need maintenance — that's my work — and movement. I can advise.

What's included in the consultation? You tell me what you need help with, or what your goals are. I'll bust any myths that are holding you down, give you the latest science on your situation, and tell you how bodywork can help. My perspective is usually optimistic — thanks to the forgiving, repairable nature of the body's soft tissue — and it's always realistic: based on anatomy, common sense, and the demands of modern life. I also give you a hard rubber lacrosse ball — you may have seen them on sale in airport lounges lately — and show you a few simple, portable ways to use it to brush and floss your muscles so you can get some relief.

What kind of bodywork is it? It's my own style, developed after studying and combining deep-tissue massage, myofascial unwinding, structural integration, trigger point therapy, craniosacral therapy, relational therapy, Chinese tui na, and Zen meditation. Basically, I untangle you.