Wilson Shook LMT, CMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Wilson Shook LMT, CMT: Visceral Manipulation, Therapeutic Bodywork and Massage in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, CA.


Frequently Asked Questions

(and a few less frequently asked)


What does Visceral Manipulation feel like?

VM is a collection of different techniques. What it feels like depends on the structures we're addressing and the severity and complexity of the issue. Most of the work is fairly gentle, but it can feel a little strange to have someone's hands on your liver, for example, if you're not accustomed to being touched there. One of the principles of osteopathy is that greater precision requires less force to make a necessary change. VM is very specific work that uses the least amount of force necessary. Often issues that affect the whole body start with very small injuries that gradually involve more and more of the body in compensation patterns. Addressing the root cause of a whole body problem allows for an efficient and minimally invasive change that will affect the whole body. Rather than feeling invasive or clinical, VM usually feels very relaxing as deeply held tensions finally get relief and the rest of the body is able to let down its guard.

How will I feel after the session?

Deeply relaxed, maybe a little spacey, but grounded and integrated. My goal is to help you feel at home in your body. Sometimes the effects of the session will unfold over the course of a few days or even weeks after. Try to pay attention to subtle changes. Your body is doing its best to establish a new equilibrium based on the work we've done together. See if you can give yourself space to allow these changes to happen, and appreciate them while they do.

Occasionally a VM session will wake up symptoms or emotions that have been stored in the body in ways that have led to unhealthy compensation patterns. Working through suppressed symptoms may mean that they reappear temporarily. This is a productive flare-up. It is a part of the healing process and should pass within a day or two as the body finds a new healthier balance. I recommend that you give yourself time to relax after a session before engaging in stressful or vigorous activity. Eat some good food, drink plenty of water, and get a good night's sleep. If you'd like to check in about how you're feeling between sessions, I'm always glad to hear from you.

What kind of people seek out Visceral Manipulation?

People come to me for all sorts of reasons! Some people love bodywork and are curious to try a new technique. Some people hate bodywork and they are looking for something that works better for them. Some people come in with very specific concerns and diagnoses. Some people come in with unexplained symptoms that keep coming back. A lot of people come in just looking for a relaxation massage. More often than not, when someone comes to see me for run-of-the-mill neck or back pain, or work-related injury, and I introduce the idea of working with the viscera, I see a light bulb turn on for them, and a whole range of connections and possibilities open up that they didn’t even know could be helped by a manual therapy approach. For a list of conditions treated, I recommend reading about my work here.

Can I work with you while I'm also seeing a chiropractor, acupuncturist, MD, etc?

Absolutely. My work is helpful on its own or as a complement to other modalities. My recommendation is that you try to not jump around too much between different approaches, as this can be jarring to the body and counterproductive to healing. But if you have a healthcare routine that you like, and are looking for bodywork to support and amplify its effects, I'm happy to help!

Do you do regular massage? Do you do deep tissue?

Yes, all the time! I am a licensed massage therapist and I'm very proud of my "regular massage" work. I have many clients who come to me exclusively for massage, as well as clients who like to alternate between massage sessions and visceral sessions. This works well. Just let me know what you'd like at any point before or during the session and I'll be happy to tailor my work to your preferences. A good massage is like nothing else—I understand this as well as anyone!

Are you trans-friendly?

Yes! Transgender folks face too many obstacles in finding compassionate healthcare. I have worked with many trans folks in my practice and I aim to be a sensitive and competent ally. I don't make assumptions about your gender and I try to avoid gendered language in reference to the body. I will honor your pronouns and any other requests with respect and confidentiality.

Do you accept tips?

I accept gratuity, but I don't expect it. I run my own business and have the ability to set my own prices. If I needed to earn 20% more per session, I would charge 20% more. Tipping can be a great way to support my sliding scale work, but I ask that you please not tip if you can't afford it. At the end of the day, I greatly prefer that you come see me without tipping than that you decide not to see me because you can't afford a tip. I will not judge you based on whether you tip, and you will receive the same quality of attention and appreciation whether or not you do!

Do you offer any discounts?

Yes. See my Policies & Discounts page for details.

Will I be naked? What should I wear?

Some of my work is best performed with you wearing light workout clothes such as shorts and a tank top, or underwear that you don't mind being seen in. You are welcome to bring a change of clothes with you to your session. If we are incorporating a blend of visceral work and massage, I will generally perform the visceral work first with you clothed, then I'll step out of the room and allow you to undress before we conclude with full body work. During the massage portion of our session you are welcome to undress completely or leave some clothes on. You will be draped with a sheet except for the area I'm focusing on.

Do you work with children? What about seniors?

I have worked with infants as early as 2 months, and elders into their 90s. My work can be helpful at any stage of life, and is particularly useful in getting children off to a healthy start in life. Small issues left untreated will continue to affect the child even into adulthood, and can have wide ranging developmental, emotional and physical effects. I require the presence and written consent of a parent or legal guardian in order to treat any person under 18.

Have a question that you don't see here? Please send me an email and let me know!