A little about me.
Therapist + Athlete + Adventurer
Hi there, I’m Chris Gonzales, the owner of Functional Massage Therapy™. I’m a Movement Consultant, a Licensed Massage Therapist in the State of Colorado, and I’ve been empowering people to feel and perform their best since 2013. Because I’m an athlete, I truly understand how important it is to have your body working at its best.
I have had the opportunity to travel the country to study under brilliant doctors, biomechanists, physical therapists, and thought leaders in both the Movement and Manual Therapy Industries. Some of my certifications include: Foundation Training, Functional Range Assessment, Functional Range Release, Functional Range Conditioning, Nutritious Movement Restorative Exercise, and JFB Myofascial Release, among others.
When I’m not helping people live happier, healthier lives, you can probably find me in the Colorado Rockies rock climbing, trail running, slacklining, or hiking with my wife and two children. I love living an active, adventurous life, and empowering others to do the same!
Helping humans move like humans again.
At Functional Massage Therapy™, I merge manual therapy and movement education to retrain the body to move the way it was biologically designed to move. Once people start moving better, problems start to decrease, while health and performance start to increase. The better you are at being human, the better everything else will be.
My approach is very different than most, but my philosophy is simple. I use:
– Manual Therapy to create change when needed.
– Movement Education to reinforce and create new change.
– Homework to maintain and expand the changes (yes, I assign homework!).
I’ve found that by merging soft tissue work and proper movement, people get better, longer lasting results, and accomplish real change in their bodies.
A Deeper Look:
While every session looks different, they are typically comprised of a mixture of the following approaches depending on the needs of the individual.
Functional Range Systems is a comprehensive approach to whole body assessment, soft tissue therapy, and physical training. It is the culmination of years of systematic review of the current scientific literature by a team of highly skilled doctors based in Canada.
The process starts with Functional Range Assessment. In its entirety, a Functional Range Assessment is a head to toe, joint by joint assessment to identify your body’s current abilities, to determine your specific needs, and to develop a plan to address those needs. Depending on the nature of a visit, however, sometimes local assessment is all that is needed to identify and address a specific problem.
Next is Functional Range Release. This is the application of the current science in regards to soft tissue therapy. It differs from many other modalities in that it focuses on targeting specific lines of tissue tension (not just a muscle), and “speaking” to the fascia on a cellular level. The work consists of sustained holds with directional loads, as well as muscle recruitment exercises. As one of the founders, Dr. Andreo Spina, says, ‘Force is the language of cells, and movement and manual inputs are what we say.’ So, by using the mixture of the two we are best able to tell the tissue exactly what we want it to do.
Lastly we have Functional Range Conditioning. This is similar to the movement work in Functional Range Release, but at a higher intensity with the intention of expanding and strengthening your joints’ ranges of motion. This type of mobility training lays the foundation for everything you do in life, sport, and adventure. Without a properly working shoulder joint, for instance, it makes no sense to strength train. Training with insufficient joint function is simply adding load to dysfunction, which often has disastrous (and highly avoidable) consequences.
Most people wait until they are in pain before seeing any type of manual therapist. However, pain is one of the last indicators of musculoskeletal problems. Under the care of a trained professional, many potential problems can be detected early, and addressed before they become painful limitations to your life or sport.
These three pillars build the comprehensive basis for treating and training a human body the way it was designed to be treated. By seamlessly integrating them together, an individual can climb the ladder of wellness as high as they want, whether they want to perform at the most elite level, or simply play on the floor with their grandkids.
Myofascial Release: John F. Barnes is the father and founder of what we know as Myofascial Release. As a physical therapist, he has been teaching and practicing this method of soft tissue treatment for over 50 years. Many other modalities have started using his terminology while employing very different techniques than what he actually teaches. If you are looking for the original Myofascial Release, look no further.
Myofascial Release is a gentle, yet powerful, approach to soft tissue work that focuses on the fascia. While medical schools have taught for years that our fascia (the white spider web looking material you may have seen on your raw steak) was simply the “packing peanuts” around the muscles and bones, this could not be further from the truth. Fascia plays an integral role in every body system because it is intertwined with every single one of them.
For example, when a muscle feels “tight,” it is often the fascia that is causing the restriction, not the muscle. Therefore, it is the fascia that needs to be addressed, which requires very different techniques than muscles need. Fascia responds best to focused and prolonged holds or stretches (5+ minutes). Over time, the fascia begins to release and allow for proper movement of the affected areas. You can picture it like placing your finger on a cold stick of butter. If you push it hard and try to force your finger into the butter, the stick will crack. However, if you gently hold pressure, it will slowly heat up and allow your finger to sink into the stick.
When our fascia is compromised, any system around it will be as well. Restricted fascia can become like a sieve filled with mud and limiting the flow of fluids through it. This means that no matter how well you eat or hydrate, those nutrients can not make it to the areas around the restricted fascia. By freeing up the fascia, we are freeing up the pathways for the delivery of vital nutrients.
Neurological signals, oxygen delivery, trauma responses, etc. can all be affected because, as mentioned before, fascia touches everything. The reach of true Myofascial Release is deep, often surprising, and can only truly be understood through experiencing the work for yourself.
Foundation Training is a body weight exercise protocol designed by Dr. Eric Goodman. It focuses on undoing the negative postural adaptations that we all have developed as a result of our modern lifestyles.
One of the biggest issues we have as a culture is that we outsource the role of supporting our bodies to our furniture. We are no longer hunting, gathering, or even cultivating agriculture. Think about it. We wake up and sit at the breakfast table. Then we sit in a car on the way to work. Then we sit at a desk, sit at lunch, sit some more for work, drive home to sit at the dinner table, and top off the long day by sitting on the couch to watch tv. The result of these habits, along with many others, is what Dr. Goodman calls “complacent adaptation.”
All of that time sitting is teaching our postural muscles that they no longer have to work to support our bodies. Those muscles then forget how to work, and begin to atrophy. The good news is that we have a myriad of other muscles to take over that allow us to move around, but that is only good news in the short run. When our posture and movement are based on poor adaptations (I.e. compensations), our bodies inevitably have to pay a biological tax that usually feels like pain or disfunction.
With Foundation Training, you will learn exercises that retrain your body to move the way it was designed to move. The exercises strengthen the weakened muscles, and teach them exactly what they need to be doing throughout the day. As with all exercises programs, the movements will be tailored specifically to you and your needs. It will take work to make the changes, but you are only given enough work to slightly push your body. Foundation Training can be scaled for everyone from chronic pain clients, to Olympic level athletes in order to help restore proper form and function.
Give Foundation Training a try to discover what it is like to support yourself structurally, and move yourself muscularly.
Restorative Exercise is a movement system designed by world renowned biomechanist Katy Bowman from the organization Nutritious Movement. The primary aim of Restorative Exercise is to teach people how to move their bodies in proper alignment.
By way of analogy, if a car’s tires are out of alignment, many of the vehicle’s systems suffer. The engine will have to work harder to move the car, the tires will wear unevenly and more quickly, the ride will be less smooth, and overall handling and performance will decrease.
Just like a car needs to have its tires aligned properly in order for the vehicle to perform at its best, so it is with us. When our musculoskeletal system is not aligned correctly, various “parts” wear out more quickly from either overuse or underuse. For example, if our knees do not track correctly, then we will be putting excess pressure on one side of the knee. This can then lead to the wearing of the meniscus, cartilage, acl, etc. depending on the type of compensation pattern in the specific individual.
Restorative Exercise focuses on bringing the body back into optimal alignment in order to promote health on every level. While the mechanical parts like joints are easiest to visualize, our alignment can have profound effects on our internal systems as well. If we are constantly in a position that compresses the digestive tract, for instance, then digestive problems can very easily ensue. If, however, we position ourselves in a way to promote optimal space for this system, then it can regain its ability to function at full capacity.
The exercises are very gentle, and scaled specifically to you and your body’s needs. By learning the Alignment Points in the exercises, you will also be learning about the alignment points that are ideal to carry with you into everything you do. By bringing awareness to how you move and hold yourself, you will be able to start making subtle yet profound changes immediately.
Discovering optimal alignment is a journey, and it is one that will help connect you more with your body every day.