The Balancing Hand Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, LLC, was founded by Monica Howell to provide adaptive therapeutic massage tailored to the needs of each client. Monica is particularly interested in working with clients who feel they are not as connected to their bodies as they would like to be. This disconnect may result from chronic pain, body image issues, anxiety, or living with the effects of other chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries. Monica seeks to provide opportunities for clients to work towards greater wellness and mind-body balance. She believes that the client plays the most important role in their own well-being, and she works closely with each client to determine the most appropriate bodywork treatment plan for them. She is LGBTQIA-friendly, and works to create a bodywork practice that is inclusive of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Monica graduated from the clinical massage therapy program at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, MN, in August 2014. Her basic training included Swedish-style relaxation techniques, clinical techniques such as trigger point therapy and cross fiber friction, and coursework in anatomy, physiology, and pathology. Her advanced training has focused on learning how to adapt massage for people with special health needs — illnesses, conditions, injuries, or stages of life that necessitate adjustments to make massage safe and effective for each individual. Since graduating, she has continued her education with training in Bodywork for the Childbearing Year (massage and bodywork for pregnant and post-partum clients; certified by Kate Jordan Seminars), techniques from Ortho-Bionomy (a gentle bodywork system that seeks to create comfort in the body; Basic level training), and Thai foot massage. Monica is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association.
All massage and bodywork techniques can and should be adapted depending on the needs of the client. One example of adapted relaxation techniques: comfort touch, in which the therapist’s hands rest gently but purposefully on the client’s limbs, is often used for clients who have fragile skin, brittle bones, or advanced heart or kidney disease. Clients typically find comfort touch to be very relaxing and soothing, which encourages tense muscles to release and can reduce reported pain and anxiety. Another example of common massage adaptations: clients who are being treated for blood clots should not receive standard relaxation or clinical massage. Depending on how the client is being treated and where their clot(s) occurred, one or more of their limbs may not be massaged so that clots are not damaged or dislodged, and the amount of pressure used on the entire body must be reduced to avoid bruising or other bleeding.
Monica has worked with clients with a variety of issues, including post-surgery recovery, cancer, fibromyalgia, and rehabilitation from spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries. She has interned as a student massage therapist at NWHSU’s University Health Services, Regions Hospital, Edina Care Center, Pillsbury House Integrated Health Clinic, and Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute. Monica is also an infant massage educator and a level II Reiki practitioner.