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Body in Motion Massage Therapy

In the News

July 1 2017. Natural Awakenings Magazine. Susan Stokman

The sun is shining and outdoor sports are going strong.  We all want to play safe but it is equally important that we understand the common types of sports injuries that occur and how to help them heal.


There are 3 categories of injuries: Acute, Sprains & Strains and Overuse. Acute injuries are sudden and usually associated with a traumatic event, like crashing into another player during sports or falling off a bicycle. Sprains are ligament injuries, tearing of the collagen fibers in the ligaments, while tearing of the muscle fibers themselves are strains. An overuse injury may damage a bone, muscle, ligament or tendon due to repetitive stress without allowing time for the body to heal. Overuse injuries are more subtle and usually occur over time.


Medical/Orthopedic massage therapists use active engagement techniques, muscle energy techniques, myofascial release, positional release, PNF stretching and trigger point therapy to help clients recover from injuries or surgeries. They can help resolve your symptoms without exacerbating other existing conditions.


Practitioners understand the ways soft tissues (muscles, tendons and fascia) influence the musculoskeletal system and work problematic areas to release bodily tension, decrease pain and increase mobility.


Expert therapists know that pain in one area of the body can be caused by a misalignment, scar tissue or something else in a seemingly unrelated area. They seek out the root cause of the client’s pain.


Benefits of Medical/Orthopedic massage include increasing pain-free range of motion throughout entire body for long periods of time, loosening and stretching tight muscles and realigning the body.


Susan Stokman is a medical massage practitioner at Body in Motion Massage Therapy, in Vancouver, WA. For more information, call 360-718-7603 or visit

April 1 2017. Natural Awakenings Magazine. Susan Stokman

I am often asked about the difference between a therapeutic (spa) massage therapist and a medical massage therapist.  There are important differences between the two practices and this is how I explain it to my patients.


  1. Though I am considered a Medical Massage Therapist and my work is clinical based, I take a different approach to my work. My approach is more of an Holistic Approach. I look at and treat the Whole body because I believe in whole body wellness.


  2. From the minute we speak on the phone or we meet in my office, know that I am giving you my fullest attention. “You        the client” are my first priority and making sure you feel safe and getting your body healthy again is my biggest           



  3. Know that when I am listening to you, I am not just listening with my ears. During a session, I am listening and   

      observing changes in your breath, skin tone, and muscle tissue. Not only with my hands, but with my heart and



  4. In my sessions I use many different techniques (deep tissue, medical & orthopedic techniques, sports massage and     

      energy work), along with just allowing your body to start working for itself. We will work together to figure out where

      the true cause of the problem is and make it better. Our bodies want to be healthy, so I work with you to do just that.


Benefits of experiencing a medical/orthopedic massage session with me, you will leave my office with:

  1. Better mobility, flexibility

  2. Reduction in pain & inflammation

  3. A feeling of balance (emotionally, physically)

  4. More relaxed and yet more active

  5. Educated (knowing how to take better care of your body so you can do the things you want to do in life).


The next time you are considering a massage ask yourself whether a spa or medical massage is best for your desired results.

Susan Stokman is a medical massage practitioner at Body in Motion Massage Therapy, in Vancouver, WA. For more information, call 360-718-7603 or visit

October 1 2016. Natural Awakenings Magazine. Susan Stokman

In 2011 there were nearly 4,000 auto accidents in Clark County, of which half resulted in minor injuries.  Even the slightest tap on the bumper can cause problems for the drivers and the passengers.  Here is what happens to your body in a minor auto accident:

From the impact, your body (muscle tissue) has been unexpectedly shifted (moved), your muscles have been overstretched causing micro tears in the muscle tissue, therefore causing inflammation and swelling. Some of these symptoms can be made worse by the shall we say... “the knowing fact”  knowing that you are about to be impacted before hand; You see that you are about to be hit by another vehicle, so you tighten your grip on the steering wheel, your foot gets heavy on the brake pedal and you brace for impact; this is when the nervous system is activated and muscles tense up in anticipation.

When swelling and inflammation build up, this is when the nerves surrounding the muscles start to get irritated. This response sends signals to the brain to protect the area. When the nervous system takes over, it causes the muscle tissue to contract and tighten up to further protect the damaged muscle tissue. When the muscles tense up this is what causes pain and discomfort.

Depending on the placement and speed of impact and the position of your body at impact, most people will not feel the affects (pain, inflammation, swelling) up to 2 to 24 hours afterwards or even to some extent a couple days later.

The most common areas injured in minor auto accidents are the neck (whiplash), shoulders, back, and hips. Ideally, if you start feeling sensitivity and pain, you should seek treatment as soon as possible.  A medical massage therapist can provide rehabilitative services that are covered under your auto insurance PIP coverage. If injuries are not properly rehabilitated, the scar tissue that forms can cause problems in the future.

Medical massage can help with the reduction of muscle tension/trigger points, inflammation, swelling, and headaches. It can also help to reduce anxiety, increase blood flow and circulation of affected areas, and increase pain free range of motion throughout entire body for long periods of time. Best of all medical massage can strengthen weak, inhibited muscles while stretching tight, facilitated muscles.

When it comes to minor auto accidents, listen to your body and do not delay in receiving the treatment you need. Contact a doctor whether a Chiropractor or M.D. and ask for a referral to receive medical massage to help you with your injuries.

WSDOT 2011 Collision Data Summary

Susan Stokman is a medical massage practitioner at Body in Motion Massage Therapy, in Vancouver, WA. For more information, call 360-718-7603 or visit

August 1 2016. Natural Awakenings Magazine. Susan Stokman

What is all this talk about Craniosacral Therapy and what exactly is it? You may have heard the rave reviews about how much better people suffering from chronic pain, migraines, orthopedic problems, coordination impairments, and disorders such as PTSD and Chronic Fatigue are feeling after receiving Craniosacral Therapy. Susan Stokman, a medical massage practitioner, says she gets this question all the time and believes it is time to help make some sense of it.

Craniosacral Therapy is a learned skill that combines a gentle hands-on approach and a therapist who can “listen” to how your craniosacral system and central nervous system work together. Throughout your body there are little pathways that receive messages from your central nerve system. These messages create a rhythm, much like that of your heart beat.

A disturbance or blockage in one of these little pathways could prevent your body from healing and lower your immune system resistance to disease. Long term disturbances to your craniosacral system contribute to chronic pain, impairments in your coordination, tension, stress, fibromyalgia, and even emotional difficulties. Susan tells us “I was even more fascinated to learn that childhood conditions like colic can also be relieved by using craniosacral therapy“.

A certified craniosacral therapist is highly trained to evaluate and enhance the function of the body by looking for disturbances and releasing restrictions in your craniosacral and central nerve system’s rhythmic flow. Not every massage therapist can perform this type of work. Make sure you look for therapists that have received training in craniosacral therapy and are certified in the practice.

Susan Stokman is a medical massage practitioner at Body in Motion Massage Therapy, in Vancouver, WA. For more information, call 360-718-7603 or visit

May 2016. Natural Awakenings Magazine. Susan Stokman

Everyone enjoys a good massage from time to time; some have even made massage a regular part of their wellness regimen. However, many people do not know that there are multiple types of massage that can provide drastically different benefits. The most familiar type is Relaxation or Spa massage, which focuses on giving the client time to recover from stresses of daily life. One can expect long smooth gliding strokes and pressure that is deeply relaxing, not painful—a session that is designed to relax, not relieve chronic pain or other underlying ailments. Medical Massage or Orthopedic Massage involves assessment, critical thinking skills, manipulation and movement of the muscles to reduce pain and correct posture. The ultimate focus is on functional outcome. Client satisfaction is not often assessed until the completion of a limited number of treatments or therapeutic outcome has been achieved. Medical massage is prescribed by doctors for specific injuries and/or physical conditions and is billed to insurance companies. For those suffering from chronic pain, tendonitis, bursitis, joint arthritis, back pain, neck pain, shoulder issues, scar tissue adhesions, plantar fasciitis, auto accidents, sports injuries and more, medical massage can change your life. But before scheduling a massage, do a quick symptom check to determine if a relaxation or a medical massage therapist is the best fit.

May 2016. Vancouver Business Journal. Susan Stokman


Current job: I am the owner of Body in Motion Massage Therapy, a practice of medical/orthopedic massage and craniosacral therapy located in downtown Vancouver.

Proudest professional moment: There are two moments I am proud of: (1) Finishing up massage school, almost four years ago now, and being told by all my instructors that I was not only the valedictorian, but I was also chosen to be the graduating class speaker; (2) Starting my own business shortly after graduating massage school where I am able to not only work in my selected field, but in the niche of orthopedic massage that I am so passionate about.

First job: When I was 13 years old I washed dogs for a local dog groomer in my home town of Chicago. It was kind of a wet and stinky job, but hey, someone had to do it!

Fun fact: I love the look on people’s faces when I tell them that I am a licensed aircraft mechanic. I received my certification 2004. I started out working for a small general aviation outfit in Troutdale, Oregon for a few months, then I went over to Horizon Air lines where I was one of the few female line mechanics that worked on graveyard.

Favorite spot on a Saturday night: Home, either on the couch or sleeping in my bed. My nights usually end early so I like lounging around in my pajamas in my comfy place.

Favorite movie: “The Sound of Music.” I love the scenery and have a huge love of music and song.

Music of choice: My music of choice is oldies & blues. I grew up listening to the oldies with my parents. Blues music just falls into place with me. Really, I love all music, but oldies & blues are what I prefer to listen to.

Favorite place to eat: I don’t think I have a favorite restaurant per say, but I do have a love for excellent seafood (crab, lobster, steelhead, scallops). There’s nothing like eating fresh seafood from the PNW.

Motto/Inspirational quote: “Hakuna Matata” – made famous by Disney’s The Lion King. Take it easy, live one day at a time, and yet? Live life to the fullest. Enjoy what you do! Work, play, have fun! Life is too short to let it go by!

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