Stephanie Hunter has been studying and practicing massage therapy, the muscular system, and the way that tight muscles cause pain in the body since 1992. After years of training in nine different types of massage and giving an average of 2,500 treatments a year, she started to document her client’s specific conditions and relief patterns. She came to know through her experience that tight muscles are an underlying factor in conditions, such as: sciatica, plantar fasciitis, vertigo, Golfer’s/Tennis elbow, Psoas issues, Fibromyalgia, migraines, pinched nerves, and all kinds of myofascial pain. She drew from the different types of massage she studied, and found that interactive movement from the patient mixed with specific myofacial touch gave information to muscles that allowed them to loosen. In 2010, Stephanie Hunter developed her own massage treatment protocol based on the science behind tight muscles.
After giving an average of 2,500 treatments a year, Stephanie was overjoyed when she learned that many of her clients were not returning for treatment because their pain had been relieved. Stephanie’s client and mentor Tony Robbins encouraged her to make a commitment to help more people by beginning to train others. She felt compelled to help more people. In July 2016, she commenced her first training program with plans for more training in the future. Stephanie hopes that the Hunter Massage Method will continue to grow and provide lasting relief to people all around the world.
Fascinated with muscles since age 9.
The Hunter Massage mission is to provide actual and LASTING relief for our clients suffering from pain and other issues. Our hope is that our patients will passionately share their “success stories” with loved ones, encouraging and allowing them to get help, too. Then in turn, they share with others, creating and ever expanding circle of positive energy in the world. Hunter Massage is much more than massage; it’s a movement!
CLINIC OWNER / DEVELOPER OF THE HUNTER MASSAGE METHOD
When people talk about Stephanie they use words like “miracle worker”, “muscle magician”, and “healer”, but she would rather call herself a very dedicated, hard-working massage therapist, developer of the Hunter Massage Method, and someone working to make a positive impact on the healthcare system and the world.
When growing up in Barrington, Illinois, Stephanie witnessed her own mother suffer with the unbearable pain of cancer, and what worsened it: the terrible side effects of pain medicine. Her mom’s pain and suffering robbed her radiant mother of her joy of living and affected everyone who loved her. Stephanie’s mother died in 1989, at the young age of 51, and from this Stephanie learned firsthand that having one’s health is the greatest gift we have, to take care and protect, and that without it, nothing else matters.
Stephanie went on to pursue a career in Japanese language, but after landing a job in Japan she realized her heart wasn’t in it. Instead, she spent all her free time reading about health and wellness. Though it was a difficult decision to leave a secure career, she took a leap of faith and enrolled in one of the top massage schools in the country; Boulder School of Massage in Boulder, Colorado. Stephanie knew instantly that this was the place for her. Over the years, Stephanie has pursued countless training and modalities, constantly improving and perfecting her work. She is grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from some of the best in her industry, including: Dr. Michael Uriarte (Myokinesthtic), Dr. Dalton (Myoskeletal), John and Anna Chitty (Polarity Massage), Scott Zamarut (Polarity Massage), Anna Kurashova (Kurashova Re-education), Ruthie Piper Hardee (Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy), John Barnes (Myofascial Release), Matt Williams (Orthomassage), Jeanine Donahoe (Shiatsu).
Overwhelmed by the positive response from her own method, Stephanie worked as much as she could, giving upwards of 2,500 treatments a year. Stephanie’s client and mentor Tony Robbins, encouraged her to make a commitment to help more people by beginning to train others, and in July 2016, she commenced her first training program with plans for more training sessions in the future. Since 1992, she’s given over 45,000 massage treatments.
The Hunter Team
Originally from New York City, Fern Harris came to the Hunter Massage Clinic with the desire to further her massage education and technique. She has a corporate background and experience in the service industry, and she feels that her various experience allows her to work with many different people and personalities.
After graduating from the Hunter Massage Method Training Program, she has remained open to learn, as she believes that a massage therapist should continuously further her education. She believes that the ability to listen to her clients is the most important component of effective massage. With over ten years in the massage industry, she had been seeking a technique with lasting results. She found this and more at the Hunter Massage Clinic.
Originally from Winston-Salem, NC, Alyssa Emerson believes that tight muscles shouldn’t keep people from getting the most out of their lives. Alyssa has trained under the tutelage of Stephanie Hunter and is a recent graduate of the Hunter Massge Method Training Program but has a wide variety of massage experience. Alyssa considers anatomical and physical education as pivotal to being a successful massage therapist. However, she thinks intuition and an open mind are also indispensable to her technique.
Her approach to caring for her clients is understanding what their goals are (whether it is returning to their favorite sport or simply sleeping through the night without pain) and finding her role in helping them achieve those goals. She trusts that every BODY is different, so every massage is, too.
A native of Ontario, Canada, Nicole (Nikki) Schadt has always had a desire to help others and is committed to helping her clients get better and moving again. She graduated with an Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy Assistant diploma in 2005, then worked as a Physical Therapist Assistant alongside physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists and both conventional and naturopathic doctors at a multidisciplinary clinic. This experience gave her exposure to a wide variety of different approaches and techniques. In 2013, she graduated from a 2,200-hour Massage Therapy program at the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy in Cambridge, Ontario.
Nikki ran a practice in her hometown in Canada before deciding to move to Jupiter, Florida in 2015, where she was one of the first massage therapists to be certified in Stephanie Hunter’s Hunter Massage Method. With her extensive physical rehabilitation knowledge and her intuitive touch, she is able to quickly and effectively get her clients out of pain, often with significant results in as little as three sessions.
Born and raised in Jupiter, Florida, Michaela is Hunter Massage Clinic’s Manager. She studied massage therapy at Palm Beach Academy of Health and Beauty before attending Palm Beach State College. After college, she worked in the addiction treatment field as a Behavioral Health Technician, case manager, admissions coordinator, and office manager. Her skills in organizing, computer, and communication made her decide to move into office management full-time. Michaela is extremely grateful to be part of the team at Hunter Massage Clinic and to be part of its movement to help others heal and become pain-free. She is married and proud fur mom to her dogs Dre and Mia.
Hunter Massage Method Treatment
$425/Series of 5 ($85/each)
Hunter Massage Method is a results-focused, interactive, intuitive massage that changes muscle memory for significant lasting relief from common pain, movement and balance problems like Sciatica, Frozen Shoulder, Vertigo, Plantar Fasciitis, Migraines, Neuropathy, Pain conditions, and more.
Developed by Stephanie Hunter, this method combines interactive movement, energy work, myofascial patterns, mind-body processes, and trigger point work along nerve pathways based off of a visual and kinesthetic postural evaluation.
See FAQ for more details.
Hunter Massage Method Evaluation
Hunter Massage Method Evaluation is required for receiving treatment work to make sure that we get to the root of the problem and not the compensation. It entails full postural evaluation, muscles testing, palpation, detailed intake, and pre-treatment photos/video.
Hunter Dog Massage
$425/Series of 5 ($85/each)
Does insurance cover my massage treatments?
The way our health care system is structured today, no. We hope that over time, this changes so that people who pay so much for their monthly, mandatory insurance payments who prefer alternative treatments can have them paid for. We know that our treatments, regardless of not being paid for, are still cost effective as well from listening to our clients tell horror stories of the tens of thousands of dollars in medical treatments they have before coming to us.
How did my muscles get "tight"?
Our standard answer is “I don’t know, I just met you.” The body is always reacting to and interacting with what happens to it. It is an amazing, intricate, sensing mechanism. Here are a few of the most common ways the muscles in the body get contracted.
1. Falls, slips, accidents, and bumps
When you fall, slip, trip, or bump, the body senses that something bad just happened. When you stand up to gravity, you check for broken bones, bruises, and to make sure everything is still attached, then you brush it off and go about your life. But sometimes days or months after a “fender bender,” you notice you can’t turn your head. This in turn leads to sensations in the hand. The original problem was “tight muscles,” so that is what needs therapy.
2. Static stretching
The body is not Play-Doh. When muscles are stretched past the point the nervous system tells them is appropriate, it will send a signal to contract. We all have our own unique flexibility. Some people are bendier than others. Bendier is not healthier – we don’t need to compare ourselves to others in yoga class, we just need to accept our genetic make-up. Flexibility cannot be changed very much by pushing, pummeling, rolling and pressing. We have to respect our bodies’ natural ability so we do not we injure ourselves. Dynamic stretching and using gentle movement is much more effective and doesn’t cause injury.
2. Before & after surgeries: limping, leaning, gimping
This is a common cause for the body to get tight. For example, when you are waiting on getting a knee replaced, you put all of your weight on the other leg. This causes muscle tightness. After surgery and physical therapy are successfully completed, massage sessions have proven to be very helpful for many clients.
4. Holding one position for too long: sleeping, watching TV, driving, sitting, looking at the TV or computer
This is a common way for muscles to get tight. Waking up with a stiff neck that won’t turn or a headache could be an indication that the head was in a weird position during the night. We call this “bed neck.” There is also “tech neck” after hours and hours gazing into the computer, “car butt,” “airplane ass,” “and bucket seat back”…you get the idea.
5. Exercising when your body doesn’t want to, or not letting the body enough time to heal between activities
Exercising is great. Our muscles prefer movement any day over sitting still, but if the body is really tired and we make it do more than it wants to, it often rebels by tightening up to protect itself. Also, if it doesn’t have enough healing time in between sessions, it is not happy. Athletes know this, because increasing the body’s ability to heal is the basis for athleticism. Some of the most suffering people I know are the ones who have methodically tormented their bodies with running five miles every day until they have a hard time walking around their houses without debilitating pain.
How is a Hunter Massage Method treatment different than more traditional massage? What are some things that I can expect?
- The client is dressed in comfortable clothing so that they can move easily during session. Yoga, workout, or just leisure clothing is best; narrow skirts, thick jeans or dresses are not good.
- The client and therapist work together with interactive movement to create change to the muscle memory. It is not a relaxing massage.
- Pressure feels deep, sometimes even painful, but it is actually light. The touch is very specific and connects to muscle fibers and fasciae so at times feels intense. However, the touch is always adapted to the preference, conditions, tolerance, and age of the individual.
- Treatment is based on the entire body and doesn’t just target where the person hurts. We base our work over a visual and kinesthetic evaluation of posture, and movement videos. We often say we are not trying to dig out a “chicklet” in your muscle tissue or remove a “bayonette” from the body. It is about getting the entire body in a relaxed, neutral posture which sometimes means working on an area the you don’t hurt to get something else balanced.
- Treatment is about 30 minutes.
- Breath work, and mind-body principles are used to get the nervous system out of “fight and flight” and into “rest and digest” because in this state in which you heal. If you are being chased by a bear in the woods your body is not interested in healing your hamstrings.
- Self-treatment massage is taught to proactive clients to address more stubborn muscles.
- Photo, video and written testimonials are done throughout sessions to keep track of progress. Our goal is to get people better quickly so that we can help more people. We methodically track information so that we have visual and written materials for each client’s success story. This documentation creates a library to show future clients the effectiveness of the method.
Do you have to be a massage therapist to get become certified in Hunter Massage Method? Are there classes for continuing education ? (CEU’s) What do I have to do if I’m interested in becoming a Hunter Massage Method Practitioner?
In order to train in the method you need to have a license to touch, such as massage therapy, physical therapy, or nursing licenses. This is not an exercise, stretching or training protocol where anyone can train in it. This is not or never intends to be a CEU class. When someone commits to learning the Hunter Massage Method it is not just another technique to put in your bag of “massage moves.” The training is intense and covers not just how to do the actual massage but also how to track results online, communicate with clients, foster relationships with other health providers, and build library of “success stories” to share with one’s community. It’s done in small groups with most time spent on how the body is moved and touched, and studying the interrelated posture and fascia patterns along multiple nerve pathways. The Certification happens after all training, practice treatments, and final four day off-site intensive certification seminar is completed. Certified therapists also train to become trainers, and periodic training weekends are done to keep skills up, learn new elements, and connect with other practitioners.
What is a typical client? Are there any similarities between clients?
We see clients of all different ages: from ages 4-104, male and female (about 50% each), and all kinds of body types. The amount of time that the client has had their condition varies from days to over fifty years, but most of our clients are:
- Overall healthy, but have some tight muscles
- Active – they enjoy moving and are unhappy if their muscles don’t allow them to do what they want to do.
- Impatient and want results quickly. They have no time to sit on the couch.
- Involved in health and wellness and want to age better than their parents.
- Apt to try alternative health and wellness over traditional methods.
- Against drugs, and like to avoid surgeries if at all possible.
- Intelligent and like to learn about their bodies/health.
- Role models of living well and loving life.
How many treatments will I need to have before I have “significant relief”?
Everyone is different, but most of our clients state that they felt significant relief was in between one and eight sessions. These are the numbers we hear most often when clients tell us when they felt relief in their “success stories.” It doesn’t matter how long someone has had a condition. Most clients get 5-10 treatments in a 2-3 week period with some maintenance monthly, bi-monthly or weekly. About 50 percent of our clients get help, then only call us if they have a new issue.
What are some examples of "significant relief"?
We work with the clients to determine what “significant relief” looks likes to them. We do help athletes achieve big goals of winning tournaments or finishing strong at Ironman races, but most “relief” is doing everyday things that have meaning to each particular person.
Here are some client examples:
- Being able to sleep through the night
- Take the dog for a walk
- Shoot a shotgun
- Dance the waltz
- Get down on the floor and play with my grandchild
- Go on a road trip
- Run in a 10K
- Turn my head to check lanes while driving
- Sit and watch a movie with my husband
- Walk the mall with my granddaughter
- Play golf
- Play golf well
- Play lacrosse
- Finish college
- Drive again
- Work at my desk
- Hike Machu Pichuu
- Laugh and smile (without jaw hurting)
- Sleep without having to wear a Merrell shoe on one foot because the sheet hurts
- Wear high heels
- Do yoga again
- Do Pilates
- Play senior softball
- Win at senior softball
- Do girls weekend in New York
- Do tai chi
- Fly on plane and walk off without feeling like a “cripple”
- Not having to do “exercises” every day to keep my body able to move!
Are there any other locations of Hunter Massage Clinic?
We get this one asked a lot. Currently our only location is in Jupiter, Florida. We are working on our training program and systems so hopefully in the future more people will have access. Many people come in from other areas and stay in Jupiter to receive treatment. If you are interested in traveling to see us, please contact us. It’s a beautiful healing place.
I’ve been to everyone, and no one has helped me. I’m afraid and beyond discouraged. Why is this different? Will it make me worse? What are the side effects?
We’ve heard these questions many times after a client’s first session. Typically they say things like: “I heard about this two years ago from a friend and I told them I already tried massage, acupuncture, chiropractic etc. That it wouldn’t work for me. I’m so sorry I didn’t come here sooner. I was afraid that something would make me worse.”
These kind of comments always make us sad. The bottom line is that if we feel like we can help you, we will outline how and show you. If we feel we can’t help you, we will enjoy meeting you, refer you to other resources, and not charge you for the evaluation. There are no real side effects from our method except for maybe increased tiredness, soreness (like a healing workout soreness), and maybe a bruise (but it is rare). We move the body within your range so we never overstretch, we go light not deep, and we don’t use tools like the “scraper” that bruises you. It is just hands-on therapy. Most disciplines just look at your hardware like bones, joints, and discs using MRIs, x-rays, and CAT scans. They don’t actually touch your muscles. This is the most safe and effective alternative treatment for your pain, movement and balance problems.