What is Bodywork?

I am licensed as a massage therapist but I am not a massage therapist.


It isn't descriptive enough.

I am a Bodyworker.

So what is the difference?




Primary Intentions
  • Relaxation and stress relief
  • Calming central nervous system
  • Relieve pain
  • Improve circulation






Primary Intentions
  • Relaxation and stress relief
  • Calming central nervous system
  • Relieve pain
  • Improve circulation
  • Identify root causes of pain
  • Address musculature plus connective tissue (fascia) and joints
  • Improve ease of movement and joint mobilization
  • Holistically treat the entire body as a system
Primary Techniques
  • Kneading
  • Rubbing





Primary Techniques
  • Deep muscle compression
  • Movement and joint mobilization
  • Muscle activation
  • Positional muscle release
  • Lengthening and stretching
  • Assessments
  • Energy release
Bodywork certainly includes massaging muscles, an integral part of healing pain, but it's deeper and more complex than that.
Techniques that I incorporate:

Deep muscle compression - this allows me to affect muscle as well as the connective tissues, including fascia

Movement and joint mobilization - the body isn't stagnant so healing therapies shouldn't be either. I move limbs to lubricate joints and free up adhesions limiting range of motion.

Muscle activation - I use passive range of motion but I also use active range of motion. This activation allows the tissue to relax deeper.

Stretching - lengthening muscles is an important part of creating more balance in the body

Assessment - visual observation is key, because structural imbalances are clues. I observe how your body's holding patterns by identifying imbalances, then my bodywork targets them.

Energy flow - Healing is more than just the physical structures of the body, I also incorporate energetic movement and release.

My intention is more than just relaxing muscles, it includes finding more balance in the body, creating more ease of movement, and releasing what is stagnant.

Healing requires more than massaging muscles, it requires holistically addressing the entire body.


Questions? I'd love to hear from you!
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Jenelle’s style of bodywork


~ a unique blend of Eastern and Western philosophies and techniques ~


Want to learn more about Jenelle’s unique style of bodywork? Let’s dive deeper into the world of East meets West.

Jenelle seamlessly weaves together Western approaches to structural bodywork, including postural analysis, muscular imbalances, myofascial release, positional release therapy, and trigger point therapy with traditional techniques from Thailand, including compression, stretching, energy work, and herbal treatments.

The result is a truly unique blending of Eastern and Western philosophies and techniques.

She also draws on her analytic mind and background in health research and her intuition and ability to “listen” to the body. And as a yoga teacher, her commitment to giving clients the tools to integrate self-healing is apparent.

To further understand what is meant by “East meets West”, let’s dive into the two independently.


Traditional Thai Massage

An ancient modality originating in Thailand, going back as far as the era of the Buddha. Today, Thai massage is still deeply rooted in the culture, lifestyle, and tourism.

At a basic level, Thai massage is practiced clothed on a thick mat on the floor. The practitioner utilizes her whole body to provide a truly unique style of massage, including feet, elbows, knees, and bodyweight.

Client stays clothed and rarely are oils or lotions used.

Pressure is adapted appropriately, depending on the needs and preferences of the receiver, and there are times when the therapist uses her whole body.

Referred to sometimes as “lazy” person’s yoga, there is also a stretching component to facilitate muscle release and lengthening. The muscles are massaged to a point of total relaxation and then lengthened in passive stretching.

Think of how amazing yoga feels and then imagine not having to put any effort in at all!

A unique aspect of Thai massage is that it can be simultaneously relaxing and surprisingly invigorating.

Because there is more movement involved, there is more engagement between the therapist and the receiver.

In a standard massage it is common to fall asleep during, or want to after, but with Thai massage receivers often feel relaxed but invigorated.


And Structural Bodywork?

As a structural bodyworker, I assess posture and the body’s alignment to identify any imbalances that could be contributing to dysfunction, pain, or decreased range of motion.

Assessing posture simply means that I review your structure as you stand in a neutral position.

I look for any number of imbalances, such as elevated shoulders, rotated ribs, forward head position, or basically anything that appears out of balance. I assess before and after treatment as a way to gauge progress and plan sessions.

Treatment is then directed at any perceived imbalances in an attempt to bring the body back into balance.

The goal is for the body to be balanced to decrease effort, pain, risk of injury, and dysfunction.

Techniques include myofascial release, trigger point therapy, positional release therapy, and facilitated stretching.

The result is a targeted and focused treatment, which is generally somewhat engaging. The therapist relies on feedback and some participation to enhance the effectiveness of the techniques.


So, how do Thai massage and structural bodywork fit together?

The result is the best of two worlds!

With the Western focus on structure, alignment, and targeted change I incorporate traditional Thai massage techniques.

I take structural bodywork to the mat, combining assessment, Western concepts of fascia, and tangible results with the beautiful meditative qualities of traditional massage.

The result is relaxing and effective, rejuvenating and invigorating, and will leave you standing a little taller and ready to embrace the day!

Portland trauma recovery bodywork jenelle woodlief thai massage