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Tom Pettengill Massage

Berkeley, California, Alameda

(26)

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Get a free quote from this professional

‘19 Certificate of Excellence, 2019

About

I practice a therapeutic style massage that addresses pain, tension and dysfunction in the body and restores fluid movement. Areas I work on include shoulders/neck tension, hip imbalances, low back pain, sciatica, rotator cuff dysfunction, carpal tunnel, repetitive motion injuries, etc.

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Reviews (26)

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5/5

26 customer reviews

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1 October 2019

As a result of over-exercising, I was having a lot of pain in my lower legs.  Referred by a well-respected BAP acupuncturist, I contacted Tom Pettengill based on her recommendation.  To say I am pleased with his services is an understatement.  From the start, Tom pinpointed where my pain originated and then proceeded to apply specific massage techniques to promote healing.   After my first visit with him, my knee and ankle pain diminished.  Excited about how good I felt after my first visit, I saw Tom a couple of weeks later, to see if he could make my shoulder feel as good as my legs and ankle.  After my second visit with Tom, I walked away pain-free.  Without reservation or hesitation, I highly recommend Tom. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

21 February 2019

Tom is a highly skilled bodyworker - he brings his excellent knowledge of anatomy together with effective orthopedic techniques, and a warm, sensitive presence. My first treatment with Tom was pain relieving and healing and I definitely plan to work with him again. As another massage therapist (and orthopedic practitioner) myself, I absolutely recommend his work. Read some of the other reviews and check out Tom's website for a better understanding of what to expect with his style of orthopedic massage. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

19 January 2019

Had a stiff neck and Tom took care of it! Loved that he consulted with me before he got started and really focused on my problem areas. I will definitely be coming more often. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

9 January 2019

I was already familiar with the Berkeley Acupuncture Project and their amazing work and was pleased to find Tom Pettengill through them after a year and a half of upper back pain and migraines that were not improved with chiropractic and acupuncture alone. I've now seen Tom seven times after experiencing relief from my first visit. Before visiting Tom I wondered if this was a chronic issue I would be facing for the rest of my life. Now I believe I am healing and this is a temporary pain in the neck. I appreciate his no pressure approach to follow-up visits and immediately knew he was working with me to help me heal not to sell me a package. Tom was quick to respond to my initial phone call, took the time to speak with me over the phone about my issues, and sent me a questionnaire so we could get all of the background information out of the way prior to our first visit. I found scheduling with Tom to be simple and easy. He gives his all to each visit. For more specifics, Tom says it best on his own site and it matches my experience so I'll echo that for you here: "I practice a therapeutic style massage that evaluates pain and dysfunction of soft tissue in the body. This method can help restore fluid movement while reducing pain. An important part of my work is your involvement.  The more you can be aware and tuned into your body during each session we have, the better your results will be!  I can help you to relax but then you have to help yourself to release.  During all our sessions, you will be fully clothed. For your best results, it is important that you stay aware of your body during our session and, afterward, be actively involved in your own healing process. After all, you are your best healer!"What happens during a therapeutic massage session:You will be wearing your clothes - so you can feel relaxed and comfortable as Tom works through your clothing.Tom does therapeutic massage that helps to correct physical imbalances, relieve pain, and realign muscles so they perform better. This is all done thru a muscular re-education technique that is fascinatingly effective! He educates you about your own body regarding correct posture and movement suggestions, looks at anatomy books for visual learning with you because he believes that your education about your own body is the best way for you to get better and for you to heal yourself in the long term. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

25 October 2018

I came to Tom for help with residual quad muscle pain four months after hip surgery. His orthopedic massage has reduced the pain to mild discomfort and increased my range-of-motion, which no amount of stretching could do. I also arrived one day with acute lower back pain, after straining myself. Tom worked on my back and hips the entire hour. When I stood up, there was a 90% improvement, and I was able to work out the next day! I'm very grateful for his skills. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

8 September 2018

Tom has a very special combination of experience, intuition and skill. He is a great listener and really understands the body. He is helping me find pain relief after 5 years of chronic back/hip pain. After my first session, I had my first pain free night of sleep in months. He is also helping me develop strategies to stay pain free. I highly recommend Tom! More...

Reviewed on Google Maps

8 September 2018

Tom has been really great for helping with different tensions that I have in my back. I always feel extremely relaxed and loose when I leave the office each week. Tom has a strong touch that seems extremely intuitive and thoughtful. I was new to orthopedic massage and although it is much different than "regular" massage, I have ended up really liking it and Tom is great with instructing you on how to get the most benefit out of the experience. He is also located in the Berkeley Acupuncture Project location so you can conveniently go get acupuncture afterwards or beforehand if you'd like! Highly recommend Tom!!!!! More...

Reviewed on Google Maps

29 May 2018

I am extremely grateful to have found Tom.  Despite months of physiotherapy 'treatment' at Kaiser, an old shoulder injury was healing very slowly, and had -- as a side-effect -- caused a painful "tennis elbow. " While checking out acupuncture treatment at BAP, I ran across Tom's profile.  After just two massage sessions with him, my shoulder and "tennis elbow" are much improved, and I am quite hopeful that, after a few more sessions, they will be alleviated completely! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

13 April 2018

I've enjoyed my sessions with Tom very much. His presence is open and caring and puts one at ease from the beginning. I have had different parts of my back flare up at different times. Each time I have seen Tom for a session, he has been able to release the tension and soreness from the muscles that are struggling. His knowledge of anatomy and how the muscle groups work together is impressive and he takes the time to answer questions and give suggestions. He's a wonderful healer! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

3 April 2018

I saw Tom a few years ago when he was just getting started at BAP. I had a 30 minute massage with him and was extremely satisifed. He is honest, kind, and can deliver one heck of a therapeutic session. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

22 March 2018

I came in with a snowboarding injury and over two sessions am able to move, swim and exercise again. Tom offered me targeted sports massage to get my shoulder, neck, and back to release tension. It's exactly what I needed. There are many other approaches to body work, and I've tried a few but Tom's has been the most effective. I'm back at 75% and hopeful for a full recovery. It can be hard to find the right healer on Yelp, but if you need a powerful, targeted massage with a deep understanding of physiology and anatomy, Tom is a great choice. More...

Reviewed on Google Maps

18 October 2017

The bottom line: you'll keep going back. Tom has a real healer's touch, and creates an incredibly relaxing environment. He's a great listener, his pressure is just right, and he brings real kindness and caring to each treatment.

Reviewed on Yelp

17 October 2017

Tom has been very helpful and kind at addressing my needs from week to week. He is very thoughtful, and his approach/technique puts me in a good space mentally and physically. I typically see him for pain/discomfort in my hands from straining my muscles too much at the keyboard or playing guitar and piano. I have also had work done on my neck and back. He is very versatile and caring! Thank you! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

9 August 2017

Tom is a truly gifted healer. As a yoga teacher who needs lots of support (so I can best support others), I have had many, many practitioners work on my body. Tom is by far one of the top therapists I have had the pleasure to work with. Working with him is like having my own personal somatic therapist, masseuse, and chiropractor rolled into one! He seems to use his vast knowledge, as well as intuition, to locate the places where my body is holding both physical, energetic, and emotional tension. He then creates the most compassionate and effective pathway into these bones and tissues to move what is stuck or stagnant back into healthy flow. He custom-designs each session just the way I need it to be in that moment, and leaves me feeling truly nourished on all levels. I notice that for weeks after our session my body is pain free and my heart is lighter. This is essential in order to show up in the best possible way for my friends, family, students, and myself. Thank you Tom! You are an important member of my mental and physical healthcare team :-) More...

Reviewed on Yelp

26 July 2017

Tom creates a very relaxing and welcoming space.  He listened to what was going on with my body pain and explained his approached throughout the session. He doesn't do the normal feel-good massage but instead does work focused on soft tissue and releasing tension and re-educating the muscles to relax. Definitely recommend Tom! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

12 May 2017

I recently started seeing Tom to address an old injury that was giving me more pain as I improved my fitness. I was concerned that the problem wouldn't respond to treatment. Tom is knowledgeable in anatomy and is a skilled orthopedic massage therapist as well as a gifted and intuitive healer. He was able to quickly hone in on the issue. Under his treatment, I'm already experiencing greater mobility and less pain. Highly recommended. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

23 April 2017

I have been seeing Tom on a weekly basis for a year now, and I've been incredibly grateful for the progress that we've made in treating my chronic pain and muscle tension. Tom's manner is warm and sincere, and I always feel at ease in his kind presence. He has been very attentive throughout each and every session, and he always remembers what's been going in for me in many dimensions of my wellness. I've been fortunate to experience Tom's skillful approaches, and I have benefited from his extensive knowledge of the body; Tom's practice of Muscle Energy Techniques has been a real game changer for me! Because of working with Tom I have experienced the following: better pain management, decreased neck and shoulder tension, decreased joint pain, increased somatic awareness, mood improvements, improvements in digestion, better sleep, and so on. I have so benefited from Tom's caring support, and I cannot recommend him enough! Thank you, Tom! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

3 January 2017

Tom is a gifted body worker with a gentle and intuitive touch. He uses a combination of active and passive release techniques (orthopedic massage) to relieve muscle tension throughout the body. As someone who suffers from chronic jaw, neck, and back pain, I've had tremendous relief from our weekly sessions. Over the past few months, I've had less back spasms, headaches, and teeth clenching/grinding. I am amazed at how much my TMJ has improved. I cannot recommend Tom enough! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

14 December 2016

Tom is great! I started seeing him about 6 months after breaking 2 ribs on my back. I was still in a lot of pain and couldn't exercise or do a lot of my normal activities. I've been seeing him now for about 6 months and the benefits are outstanding. He's really worked with me and my injury and as the healing progresses the focus of the body work changes. He's easy to schedule and affordable (I can see him 2-3 times a month thanks to his sliding scale at bap). Really good at what he does! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

7 December 2016

Intune with the ways of the body- musculoskeletal and nervous system. Tom's technique of muscle contraction holding and pushing release is amazing. My body is responding effectively. He gives enough pause in between and always starts the session 'inviting me to receive & maintain attention to my body, should I choose' I generally do not want male practitioners for bodywork, but I feel completely respected and recommend him to anyone who wants more awareness and comfortability in their body! He also had a great deal he offered me initially as a Birthworker! More...

Reviewed on Yelp

15 August 2016

Tom has a wonderful intuitive healing touch, which he uses right alongside his vast knowledge of anatomy and physiology. He worked on me for 2+ years, and in that time, besides improved physical alignment and health, I gained a better understanding of the body mechanics and root causes of some of the issues I was having, which he discussed with me and showed me with textbook images. I also felt I gained a more subtle, but powerful, energetic awareness which I experienced in that deep relaxed healing state of his treatments. I enjoyed his orthopedic treatments as well as the oil massages (with his homemade infused oils!) he provided. He is truly a generous, knowledgeable, professional practitioner. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

26 July 2016

I love Tom's technique- he listens to your description of what's bothering you, and then applies just the right amount and type of pressure to help you release locked muscles. He really helped me loosen up my pecs, lats, rhomboids, and traps. I gained a ton of upper thoracic mobility in just an hour of work with Tom, and after a few sessions I feel so keyed into my own systems, and better able to take care of myself. He does this amazing blend of deep tissue and orthopedic massage, listening to your breath to release with the pattern of your respiration, and uses this great technique of having you activate/contract a muscle, and then massage into the subsequent conscious "relax" of the muscle. It isn't a technique I'd encountered before, and I found it supremely helpful for muscles that were stuck in a hyper-contracted or spasmed state. Think of it as "retraining" your brain-to-muscle communication systems.I highly, highly recommend Tom to anyone interested in a thoughtful, active bodywork session. My one caveat is that if you want a massage that is passive and just "nice/relaxing," Tom may not be the therapist for you. He's the thinking athlete's bodyworker. You have to be willing to consciously concentrate on what's going on and help him help you. But if you're willing to do that, you will get a lot out of a session with Tom. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

20 July 2016

I received work from Tom for 2 different injuries- one for an intercostal muscle strain and one for on-going neck and shoulder tension. It was evident both times that my comfort and safety was of the utmost importance to him; I felt very held and supported through both treatments. He started off by first asking me a number of questions around the injury to better inform what he would be doing. He then fully explained how he was going to proceed, which was comforting to hear. The atmosphere was very soft and calm, and I was able to fully relax and be in my body while he worked. Both times I received relief and left feeling lighter, calmer, and grounded.It is clear that he deeply cares for the well-being of anyone on his table and is fully present in mind, body, and spirit for each patient. His humor and compassion are his greatest strengths and make his massages that much more effective. I would recommend him to anyone in a heartbeat. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

12 July 2016

I had never heard of orthopedic massage, but was willing to try anything to get relief from acute lower back pain. Tom thoroughly and patiently explained the process and what he could and could not offer. The procedure, itself, is pure heaven. You're on a standard massage table, but fully clothed and on your side hugging a soft pillow. Tom's hands are magic. He is an excellent communicator, knowledgeable practitioner, generous with his time, and has a warm sense of humor, as well. He's a gentle, caring soul. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

12 July 2016

Tom worked on an old ankle injury. The treatment itself was wonderful and I loved being a part of the process. Tom is a very skilled practitioner, and I have much more mobility in my ankle because of his work. I felt very safe in his presence, as he is a genuine, generous, kind hearted human being with a great sense of humor. More...

Reviewed on Yelp

7 July 2016

Tom has given me some excellent, calming and healing treatments. I was a bodyworker for years and I know when I'm in the hands of a genuinely gifted practitioner with a solid spiritual foundation. Tom is the real deal.

Reviewed on Yelp

Q&As

I love the challenge of finding out the root cause of people's pain and discomfort - - and then treating it!

I was inspired to start my business because I had shoulder and hip problems that were treated by orthopedic massage VERY effectively!! So, I want to offer that same successful technique to others!

I offer to assess and treat pain and discomfort in the body with very specific techniques to get to the cause of the problem. One technique is MET - "Muscle Energy Technique." It not only relaxes muscles but also reprograms tight muscles so they "learn" to stay relaxed. It's pretty amazing!!