Restorative Touch

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I am a New York State Licensed Massage Therapist specializing in Oncology Massage and Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy.

In addition to Oncology Massage, I also have a special interest in working with the elderly. My practice is currently located at Kendal at Ithaca in Ithaca, NY where I work with both residents and the public.

How I help:
It is a commonly held misconception that one cannot receive massage during cancer treatment or other physically invasive medical treatments. However, there is a growing body of research in oncology massage which suggests it can help with pain, anxiety, nausea, fatigue and even depression. Clients also say that it helps support good sleep, eases stress and promotes relaxation.

What I believe:
I believe that informed, educated touch can help us re-connect to the body and the knowledge that our bodies still have the ability to feel good, even in times of great pain and discomfort.

How I work:
The core of what I have to offer is rooted in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST). I combine the still holds of BCST with my massage techniques. My work supports rather than challenges the body, allowing you to deeply relax and re-set. Every session is different and follows your body’s needs in the moment. One of the main ideas behind BCST is that there is an inner intelligence within each of us, that when given the opportunity, can promote great healing. For more information about the concepts behind BCST, please see the FAQ section. I also offer pure BCST sessions which consist of still, light touch holds around the body and do not include any technique or manipulation.

Why Oncology Massage?
Shortly after I graduated massage school, my mother-in-law passed away from colon cancer. After she passed away, I decided I wanted to pursue further training and specialize in Oncology Massage to offer people like her a respite from the pain and stress a cancer diagnosis can bring. It brings me great joy to know that she is my inspiration each time I am able to help someone undergoing cancer treatment feel more at ease.

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy
  • “Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion” Buddha

  • “After having a Craniosacral session with Dana, that night I HAD the most deep and restful sleep” JOHN S.

  • "Natural forces within us are the true healers" Hippocrates

meet the practitionerDana Shoemaker, LMT, BCST

Dana Shoemaker is a NYS Licensed Massage Therapist and Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist (BCST) who has actively practiced bodywork since 2009. Dana has always been drawn to work in the helping professions. Before becoming an LMT she was a Licensed Master of Social Work. She worked with children and adults with developmental disabilities as well as with the elderly in a hospital setting. This was a gateway into discovering her calling to the healing arts.

Dana received her massage education from The Center for Natural Wellness in Albany, NY, completed an extensive 700-hour certification program in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy with Turtleback Craniosacral Education, and continues to receive advanced training in Biodynamic work with Michael Shea. She also studied Oncology Massage and Mastectomy Massage with Tracy Walton and Cheryl Chapman. In addition, she is an instructor at the Finger Lakes School of Massage in Ithaca, NY.

  • “After having a Craniosacral session with Dana, that night I HAD the most deep and restful sleep” JOHN S.

  • "Work is love made visible" Khalil Gibran

Schedule an Appointment

You can book an appointment by filling out the following contact form, by email, or phone. All sessions are by appointment only.

Contact information:


I understand that unanticipated events happen occasionally in everyone’s life. In my desire to be effective and fair to all clients, the following policies are honored:

24 hour advance notice is required when canceling an appointment. This allows the opportunity for someone else to schedule an appointment. If you are unable to give 24 hours advance notice you will be charged the full amount of your appointment. This amount must be paid prior to your next scheduled appointment.


Anyone who either forgets or consciously chooses to forgo their appointment for whatever reason will be considered a “no-show.” They will be charged for their “missed” appointment.


If you arrive late, your session may be shortened in order to accommodate others whose appointments follow yours. Depending upon how late you arrive, I will then determine if there is enough time remaining to start a treatment. Regardless of the length of the treatment actually given, you will be responsible for the “full” session. Out of respect and consideration to me and other customers, please plan accordingly and be on time.

Price list

Home visits are available by request.




Integrative Swedish Massage:

A full-body massage utilizing different techniques depending on your needs that day. Techniques include traditional Swedish strokes, connective tissue work, trigger point therapy, and stretching. You will be draped throughout and only the body part being worked on is exposed.

Swedish Massage helps to warm muscle tissue, loosen tight muscles and adhesions, increase circulation, and improve muscle tone. Best of all it provides an overall sense of well-being and relaxation.

Regular massage has many restorative and preventative benefits for your well-being. The more you receive massage, the better your muscles respond to the work and the longer the results last.

Connective Tissue Therapy:

A “deep” form of massage that works with the connective tissue in the body that surrounds muscle fibers, tendons and ligaments. CTT can help relieve adhesions within this connective tissue and helps restore range of motion to chronically tight areas.

Many clients come in believing that they have to experience pain or extremely deep pressure in order to feel better, but this simply isn’t true. When deep pressure is applied before the muscle is warmed up and ready to receive it, it will often react by contracting and resisting the work, which is what can often be felt as pain. This is counter-productive!

Connective tissue therapy is done slowly and encourages the muscles to relax at their own pace, so it is able to go deep without feeling painful. Clients often describe a feeling of the tissue “melting” as the tension decreases and a sense of deep relaxation.

Oncology Massage:

An Oncology massage session can be performed in the massage office, in the client’s home, or in a hospital setting depending on the client’s needs. Massage can help provide relief from the side effects of cancer treatments and surgeries in many ways:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced pain
  • Reduced nausea
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Decrease depression

Cancer is grueling, both mentally and physically, and massage might seem out of the question. However, massage can be performed safely for most cancer patients. Many cancer treatments require immediate as well as long term bodywork considerations for side effects such as low blood cell counts, bone metastases, removal of lymph nodes, lymphedema, radiation skin changes, neuropathy and medical devices, to name a few.

In my oncology massage trainings, I have been taught what questions to ask in order to design a safe and relaxing session as well as massage techniques that support the changing needs of the client in regard to pace, pressure, positioning, and length of treatment.

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST)

Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST) is a subtle, light touch form of bodywork that allows your body to completely relax and reset by helping you deeply re-connect with the parasympathetic, or “rest and digest” state of the central nervous system, In today’s hectic society we are spending more and more time in the sympathetic state which can weaken the body, causing pain and disease.

A trained BCST practitioner is able to bring their own nervous system into the parasympathetic state at will. The client’s own nervous system is then able to resonate with this relaxed state, becoming reacquainted with the body’s slower tempos (the parasympathetic state) that are fundamental to health and well being, which may result in the resolution or lessening of chronic health issues and emotional and physical trauma.

BCST may be beneficial if you have had limited success with other forms of manual therapy. In fact, BCST may help other therapies you are receiving work better by helping build your body’s resources. I am drawn to combining the still, light touch holds of BCST with my massage techniques with great results. Clients often describe a deeper sense of relaxation which allows the massage work to be more fully received, as well as feeling more grounded and in touch with how they feel in their bodies, afterwards. I also offer full one-hour sessions of BCST. For more information, please see the FAQ.

BCST can be beneficial for conditions such as migraines, TMJ, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and aid in recovery from emotional and physical trauma, accidents, illnesses and surgeries.



What is Oncology Massage Therapy?

Oncology Massage Therapy is designed to meet the unique and sometimes changing needs of people with cancer and cancer histories. Massage therapy is adapted to symptoms of cancer and any short or long-term side effects of cancer treatment. Sessions are designed to ease common side-effects, so oncology massage therapists ask clients about cancer treatment along with general health questions.

How is Oncology Massage different from a "Regular" Swedish Massage?

Like any massage, oncology massage is customized for the individual client. Many cancer treatments require immediate as well as long term bodywork considerations for side effects such as low blood cell counts, bone metastases, removal of lymph nodes, lymphedema, skin changes from radiation, numbness/lack of sensation and medical devices, just to name a few. Even if cancer treatment was several years ago, adaptations still might need to be made for things like lymphedema and lymphedema risk due to surgery and/or radiation, scar tissue, osteoporosis and effects on organ function.

In my oncology massage training, I have been taught what questions to ask in order to design a safe and relaxing session as well as massage techniques that support the changing needs of the client in regard to pace, pressure, positioning and length of treatment.

Clients undergoing cancer treatment are also often suffering with anxiety and depression and receiving regular massage can help reduce these symptoms, as well. In fact, easing these feelings can help alleviate the other unpleasant side effects from cancer treatment- that’s really HUGE for people.

Can Massage Spread Cancer?
  • This was an old myth in massage therapy, but it hasn’t held up to the science of cancer spread
  • The myth was based on the notion that massage, by increasing circulation, would speed up and spread cancer cells
  • Both exercise and movement increases circulation, and both are typically encouraged in cancer care
  • If circulation increase from exercise is safe, circulation increase from massage would be safe
  • Massage therapist’s do not press directly on accessible solid tumor sites to avoid disturbing them
Is Your Massage Therapist trained?

Download this worksheet from the Society of Oncology Massage. Whether you had cancer treatment 25 years ago or are currently undergoing treatment, it is beneficial to see an LMT specifically trained in Oncology massage. This resource can help you in knowing what questions to ask your therapist about their knowledge and training.

What can I expect during a Biodynamic Craniosacral session?

Before we begin, we will discuss how you have been feeling, any events that may have contributed to your issue, and what your goals are for us working together. You can share as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. You will lie on a padded massage table fully clothed, on your back. I will provide pillows and blankets if needed to increase your comfort level. I may also have you lie on your side and your stomach as the session progresses. If lying down is uncomfortable for you, I can also work on you while you sit in a chair or stand. I will start at your feet, and will perform light touch holds around different areas of your body, such as your side, spine, head and shoulders. I will check in with you periodically to ensure your comfort level. If any of the holds do not feel comfortable for you it is no problem to stop the session or move to a different area.

There is no “typical” experience during a Biodynamic Craniosacral session. Each time can be a unique experience! Changes can occur on a physical, emotional, energetic or spiritual level. Some clients have described feeling like they are in a place between “awake and asleep” or may fall asleep completely. Other descriptions I have heard include sensations of movement or floating, or processing of memories and emotions. Some people sleep much better at night. You may also feel deeply relaxed and more in touch with yourself and how you feel. You may even notice changes hours and days after your session.

BCST is not a massage, and there is no manipulation of bones or tissues during a treatment.

How is BCST different from other forms of Craniosacral Therapy?

This short article by Cherionna Menzam, Ph.D.,OTR/L, BCST, RCST® of does a great job of describing the difference between the different forms of Craniosacral Therapy.

Why Nature's Space?

Why Natures Space?

Why did I choose to name my practice Nature’s Space? As I have trained in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, the interconnectedness of everything has become more and more apparent. One day while spending time in nature, watching the waves lap up against the shore of a lake, it became more clear to me than ever before that a universal organizing force is what creates those waves in the water, blows the wind through the trees, what gives breath to humans, plants, and animals. It is all the same thing. We are all the same. In our busy, everyday lives, we tend to lose sight of this. I feel these waves, these organizing forces, whenever I place my hands on someone during a Biodynamic Craniosacral session. Being present for and acknowledging these forces, and giving them the space to fully express themselves, can be so profound and healing. In time, the continued acknowledgement of this connection, of this expression, strips away the layers of stress that mask who we truly are. This is the space I want to provide for others.