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LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE at Massage 143

by Jan Morgan-Swegle

American author and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia, said in part, “Too often we underestimate the power of touch.” A simple touch can convey caring, understanding and concern, but when you turn that touch into manual therapy, it can take away pain, stress, and tension. Christie Chadwick and Karen Trama, both licensed massage and bodywork therapists who collaborate at Massage 143, at 143 Poole Road, Unit E, (above Cape Fear Seafood) in Leland can attest to that.

“Massage 143 is not a spa,” said both Christie and Karen at the same time. “It’s more therapeutic. We look at the whole health picture.” Christie, who has 24 years of experience, explained, “When you talk about pain, there is no 10-step procedure to eliminate it. Everyone reacts and recovers differently from pain and from bodywork. But first we must understand that pain can be physical, emotional or psychological, like the pain that is evident with anxiety, depression or stress. You might come in for a session one day because you have neck pain. Another day, you might just need to get a relaxing massage because you went through a stressful situation.”

In order to determine what type of session works best for you, Christie talks with you about your needs and your wants, and a bit about your history. Once you come in, your session begins with a quick chat about that day, and since our needs change from day to day you may end up changing therapeutic strategies.

From the information you provide, Christie might decide to start with a Swedish Massage technique. This means she would use long strokes with light pressure on your body and then switch to “kneading or gliding” with light to firm pressure depending on pain and tissue tolerance. This type of massage is typically used to reduce tension and increase relaxation.

You might also enjoy Raindrop Technique®. In a Raindrop Technique® session, essential oils that have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are applied to the bottoms of your feet and your spine. Gentle massage strokes are used to the back and neck once all oils are applied. Christie uses thyme, basil, peppermint, oregano, wintergreen, cypress and marjoram, among others. People who experience Raindrop Technique® can look for reduced respiratory discomfort, inflammation, and pain. It’s also a great relaxation tool.

Christie also offers the John Barnes Method of Myofascial Release (MFR). This is different from other types of massages in that it involves sustained pressure instead of kneading or gliding across the skin with lotions or oils. This type of bodywork releases tightness and pain in your connective tissue. Think of it as a method that targets problems in your tissues that lead to pain and imbalance in the body. This is a long-term healing process. Christie and Karen are all about health and total body wellness, and what sets them apart from others is this method.

At Massage 143, MFR is the specialty of Karen Trama. Karen has also been a licensed massage therapist for 17 years, but has exclusively been practicing MFR for 15 years. She is originally from New Zealand and came via Iowa and Chiropractic Assistant school at Palmer College to New York, where she received her massage license in 2006. In 2009, she investigated a whole-body treatment called Myofascial Release, developed by John F. Barnes, P.T., and never looked back. She has taken all of the John F. Barnes MFR classes, repeated many, and she has assisted at MFR seminars. Karen moved to Leland in 2020 after visiting this area and falling in love with the Wilmington downtown area and the proximity to the beach.

Karen also begins her initial session with a comprehensive medical history followed by a 90-minute treatment session. “Our bodies are a result of a lifetime of insults, injury and postural anomalies that reflect our current holding patterns and restrictions, which leads to our aches and pains,” she said.

When you work with Karen, she will ask you to stand naturally to observe your unique fascial strain patterns in front, back and side standing postures, and then the treatment work begins.

“Trauma, whether major or minor, can create pressure of 2,000 pounds per square inch on tissues, organs, and pain sensitive structures,” Karen explained. “These strain patterns often don’t show up on X-rays or scans. This pressure translates to pain and dysfunction, all of which left untreated, leads to inflammation in your muscles and fascia. The word ‘myo’ means muscle and ‘fascia’ means connective tissue.”

Using Christie as a model, Karen demonstrated how Myofascial Release differs from a massage by applying sustained pressure using a crossed hands technique to the muscular collagenous tissue of her back for five minutes. This is followed by further compression or elongation techniques. The applied pressure softens the connective tissue and consequently lengthens the muscle/soft-tissue. Time under pressure is the key.

“Self-care is of equal importance,” Karen said. “Healing is a journey not just a treatment.” She offers classes in proper use of foam rollers, balls, and other equipment.

Both Christie and Karen believe that manual therapy is beneficial to your body. Your body wants to move freely and fluidly, pain is generally more functional in nature than structural.

Just the experience of walking into Massage 143 is relaxing. The lights are dim and soothing music that is so soft you are barely aware of it plays in the background. You can smell the aroma of oils, but it is not overpowering. Like the music, it is part of the essence of Massage 143, but not the main character. There is a large, black screen that sits in one of the corners of the reception area. It is backlit with iced panels and black bamboo-like stalks imprinted on the front that almost suggests an Asian persuasion. There are calm and soothing messages hung in the treatment rooms and a beautiful blue and black rendition of a tree reaching for the sky to help you get in the relaxation mode.

I think Christie and Karen are right. Massage 143 is not a spa — it’s an experience.

Remember what Leo Buscaglia’s said. “Too often we underestimate the power of touch.” Take that to heart and take care of yourself.

To work with Christie, give her a call at 910-712-2712, while Karen can be reached at 914-474-5370. You can learn more about them at their combined website, From there, you can find more information on each of them, and classes and other types of services offered.


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