Meet Your Therapist: Michael Ward

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Health and Wellness

This week we’d like to introduce to you another one of our newer therapists. Maybe you’ve seen him already and know of the great work he does, but if you haven’t, check him out!

Michael WardMichael brings his personal experience with healing from injuries and has developed unique clinical massage techniques during his 16 years of clinical practice that have helped his clients dramatically improve their athletic performance and overall health and well-being.

Michael joined Psoas 5 months ago, but has been practicing since 1998. He has an integrative and intuitive approach to bodywork, and his sessions are about tailoring and modifying his technique to the individual needs of his clients. We’re very proud to have him in our studio.

Q. What got you into massage and what do you love about it?

A. I was first introduced to a modality of stretching and range of motion exercises while working in the hospice community. One of my responsibilities was to make sure that my patients were exercised and given range of motion workouts every day to prevent skin deterioration and fully contracted limbs. I was given the more difficult cases to take care of, for example: late stage Parkinson’s, quadriplegics, MS, and severe stroke patients. I saw the positive effects of human touch on others and how it made them happy and relieved some of their pain. From there I decided to go to massage school to hone the skills that I was already using. While working with the elderly and disabled I realized that this was the profession for me because I love to help others.

Q. What techniques do you use and why?

A. My practice began with the typical Swedish massage style. I have been doing massage for 16 years and during that time I have developed my own style of Swedish, advanced deep tissue, and sports massage. I excel at trouble shooting and pinpointing areas of tension and relieving that tension through advanced deep tissue, myofascial techniques, deep fascial releases, and crainosacral therapies. My skills were sharpened through practicing at the ski resorts in Colorado where I worked on many professional athletes, skiers, riders, triathletes, cyclists, runners, rock climbers, alpinists and hard core mountain folk.

Q. What is different about working at Psoas vs. other massage places you’ve worked before?

A. We’re lucky to have Psoas as a massage clinic that focuses more on a clinical rehabilitation atmosphere with a warm and inviting setting while other places I have worked were mainly focused on the typical spa-like relaxation massage.

Q. Are there any skills you use here that you haven’t been able to use elsewhere? Is there anything really cool you’ve learned?

A. I’m thankful for being able to use my clinical massage skills that other places don’t always allow. I’ve learned some cool psoas work, some cool obturator work, some sciatic nerve work, and I’ve learned some great ways to work with the feet.

Q. Can you give an example of a great success you’ve had at treating a client?

A. I had a 41 year old professional volleyball player who’s career would have ended due to continuous shoulder and hip problems. With my clinical work I was able to not only alleviate these issues, but I was also able to assist with his continued professional career as a volleyball player.

Q. What’s the one type of client that you can without a doubt successfully treat?

A. One who is open to collaborating with the therapist, allowing exploration and discovery of their own body.

Q. What’s one piece of advice you can give people to stay loose, limber and healthier?

A. The reduction of stress will assist with all of these.

Q. Where are you from? How long have you been in SF?

A. I’m originally from the great state of Indiana. In 1999 I moved to the mountains of Colorado where I resided until 2012. I moved to San Francisco in December of 2012.

Q. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not relieving tight muscles and getting people out of pain?

A. I enjoy painting and sculpture, soaking up the sun on the beach, surfing, skiing, and rock climbing.