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Hi, I'm Dr. Erik Gullen, PT, DPT

Congratulations on discovering Village Therapeutic Massage. Whether you're looking for relief from pain, rest from stress, reconnection with your body, or reward for your hard work, you're in the right place.

Here's what people are saying...


I had a fantastic all around experience for my first massage with Erik

He is respectful, has an exceedingly warm and kind energy to him, and above all he is a very skilled massage therapist. The massage was very therapeutic and it is clear that he puts forth all his energy and effort to bring health and healing to your body and mind.

In my humble opinion massage can be one of the most therapeutic and healing of modalities. If you are not used to getting a massage it may feel very foreign and tough to relax at first because it is not in your immediate comfort zone. Erik does his part to create an atmosphere of ease and comfort , the rest is up to you to give yourself the permission and space to relax and enjoy the experience. He is open to any and all communication during the massage so do not feel you have to be quiet if there is something you want to communicate, something you are not comfortable with, you want to shift positions etc. After all it is your time and space for healing so allow yourself to speak freely and openly.

Erik has the rare gift of healing hands and a heart of gold, I would highly recommend trying it out for yourself, you will not regret it!

To all who are wanting to maximize their workouts and are considering incorporating massage into their schedule, I highly recommend Dr. Erik Gullen. He is a consummate professional and his massage can work wonders for the body and mind. I have experienced the benefits first-hand, and have even gifted his massage to close friends so they too can experience the benefits. When I first started working out at Village Fitness and before incorporating massage into my routine, I was perpetually sore. I am now rarely sore.

It is widely known that elite athletes incorporate massage into their total body routine to maximize performance. And while we may not be elite athletes, we do put serious work in here at Village Fitness; incorporating a therapeutic massage can help maximize the benefit of that hard work. I have learned over the years that pain and tightness can be caused by more than just muscle knots, it can also be caused by irritable nerves, poor breathing patterns, indigestion, even our thought patterns (inner dialogue). Erik’s hands-on techniques address all these areas and truly get to the root of pain instead of just temporarily relaxing the guarded muscles and mind.

I suffer from a herniated disk in my neck area at C7 and C8 and from time to time it becomes inflamed and aggravated causing extreme tightness in the surrounding area as well as a mild numbness and lameness in my arm. I frequently am the recipient of deep tissue massage during the period of time when the pain and weakness flare up. The standard massages help but it doesn’t really elevate the discomfort. I was introduced to Erik and I asked for some help in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort – hoping that he would do more than a standard massage. Erik incorporates his knowledge and experience in physical therapy and his understanding how the body functions to really target areas of pain or ailments. After three separate sessions with Erik I walked away feeling amazing. I will always have the herniate disk but knowing that a session with Erik will do wonders and last much longer than a standard massage. Thank you Erik!
I believe a massage is a therapeutic gift to your wellness, and if you find a really good massage therapist, you’ve hit the jackpot. Dr. Erik Gullen is that therapist. Erik is one of my valued health trainers at Village Fitness and has been an integral part of my lifestyle transformation and exercise journey; so when I had the opportunity to receive a massage from him, it was an easy decision. As a doctor of physical therapy, Erik has the knowledge and technique to address sore muscles or injuries with just the right amount of pressure. I really appreciated how he explained the massage process to me clearly, asked questions, listened to me and encouraged open communication. His professionalism and caring manner helped put me at ease so I could feel comfortable throughout the massage. The entire experience was relaxing,rejuvenating and beneficial to my mind and body, and I will definitely make his massages a regular part of my self care. Thank you, Erik!
Massage can be very intimidating and possibly even a scary thing for many people. The idea of having someone, who is essentially a stranger, touching you and rubbing your body puts you in a very vulnerable place. Thankfully my massage experience with Erik Gullen at Village Fitness was a very thoughtful, comfortable, and relaxing experience.
I have had several massages through the years. Mostly on vacations at a resort or a day spa experience where you come in, lay down, and they start their scripted massage routine. This was nothing like that.
I expected to come in and have to take off my clothes and hop under a sheet, but Erik just had me come into the room, and have a seat on the massage table. The lights were off and there were a few candles going, an essential oil diffuser going, and some gentle music playing. We had a conversation about my previous experiences with massage, and he asked if I was having any specific issues I was dealing with right now. I shared with him a couple trouble spots, and he began to work in those areas. He started with a few pressure points, and then begin to manipulate my arm, head, and neck to relieve the pain and pressure I was having. It worked wonderfully.
Eventually, Erik had me lay down on the massage table and began moving around my back, arms, hands, legs, and feet…taking plenty of time in each area. He consistently checked in with me to make sure he wasn’t applying too much pressure, or asked if he was working a good area. We also had some good conversations through the massage.
I am very satisfied with the massage I received from Erik at Village Fitness. It was one of the best massages I have ever received. I highly encourage you to make an appointment with Erik. You won’t regret it.
The year I moved to Pasadena was the same year the Burke Williams opened there. Being a resident I got a few mailers and finally was intrigued enough to check it out. I figured between the workouts, the cardio and the occasional hikes, I deserved the occasional treat… or at least my sore muscles thought so! It worked out nicely until I moved away here to Glendora and the getting wound up in an hour of traffic seemed not worth it.

A friend introduced me to Village Fitness and happily started up the regular workouts again after a two year gap. And boy did the two year gap make a difference! I’ve slowly gotten some of my stamina and perseverance back but also started missing my massage membership.

Now you’d think that when Village Fitness offered promotional certificates to members to try out their new massage service that I’d have jumped at the chance to get back into my old habit. For some reason I hesitated… Burke Williams felt familiar and I had no idea what this experience would be like. A month went by and after a particularly grueling version of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck workout, me (and my tired back and sore hamstrings and calves) decided we needed to try out the service. And I am still glad I did.

For now, the massage service is primarily Coach Erik who just happens to be a doctor of physical therapy. At my first session, we began with a quick interview… he wanted to know what I considered a good massage. A novelty, if you’ve ever gotten a massage elsewhere…. they usually follow the routine the school teaches them. We talked about a few ideas and he left it to me to get ready and get under the sheet.

What I like about having a doctor of physical therapy do the massage as opposed to a masseuse is the the DPT is not just relaxing you but healing, and tracing, and diagnosing and explaining… all in a very natural and reassuringly pleasant way. I left feeling less stressed, more relaxed and learned quite a few things about nerve responses and muscles and ligaments. (I have a feeling Erik would also would have been fine had I not asked so many questions and just relaxed in silence!)

The last and one of the best parts of the massage was realizing that had I paid full price, it would have been almost half of what the massage chain price would have been…. even less than at the fancy hotels. And having had both, I could say the service better than both.

My friend who introduced me to Village also told me “You HAVE to let me know how it goes. I think I want to get one to.” And now I can easily recommend he go as soon as he can!

I’ve been a Village Fitness client for more than a year and was thrilled when the therapeutic massage option was added. Erik is fabulous! Because of his doctorate in physical therapy, he understands the physiology of the body and can address particular areas of need with confidence and success. Besides being a gifted massage therapist, Erik is kind, caring, and communicates well.

I am thrilled to discover Village Therapeutic Massage! The massage you’ll receive here is unparalleled. You will be delighted with the professionalism and level of quality Erik has to offer. Before your massage, you’ll meet with him to discuss what to expect, talk about any concerns or trouble spots, and get to ask questions about his techniques. You don’t feel rushed during this time and it adds so much value to the overall experience. If you find a massage intimidating know that you can leave on as many articles of clothing as you want during your massage; this won’t hinder you from getting a great massage. Village Therapeutic offers a quiet ambiance, with soothing music as you breathe in the lovely aroma of essential oils diffusing throughout your massage. Erik used just the right amount of strength I was comfortable with and made sure I felt at ease throughout. Having been to many high-end spas I found they all offered “standard” types of massages. However, a massage from Erik is not your standard massage. He gives a massage unique to your needs and is very courteous, kind, and respectful. I’m sure his years of study, schooling and professional experience play a part in making the massage not only amazing but therapeutic. I booked my massage to get relief from the pain in my shoulder/neck area that I carry daily. Massage therapists I’ve had from high-end spas were able to relieve me from the pain but it would pretty much return the next day. Guess what? It’s been 3 weeks since I received my massage from Erik and I am still pain free! I HIGHLY recommend a massage with Erik at Village Therapeutic. You won’t be disappointed!!!

I’ve struggled with neck and back pain for 20+ years. Through the past 20 years I have tried numerous doctors, different therapies, and nothing seemed to work. The pain was manageable as long as I continued to workout. Well, that was easier said than done since I couldn’t workout if the pain was to severe. So, then I was coming to the reality that this was something I was going to have to accept. Well, I am happy to say that Village Fitness really offered me the best Christmas present ever. They offered a special on a therapy session with Dr. Erik Gullen. During my first visit I was a little nervous since I had never met with Dr. Gullen and I had seen other physical therapist and done other treatments. So, what was going to make this visit any different. Well, my first visit with Dr. Gullen was very professional. Dr. Gullen is extremely knowledgeable with neck and back pain and instantly I felt that Dr. Gullen knew exactly where my issues were. As a female, it can be very awkward to be with a male physical therapist but I never felt uncomfortable during any of my sessions. After my first session I was amazed at how quickly I was able to move my neck and the pain in my back dissapated. This was a blessing since some treatments had me walking out of offices worse. Don’t continue to live in pain, see Dr. Gullen! I recommend Dr. Gullen, his staff, and give him two thumbs up!!!!
-Melody Ponce
I just experienced a wonderful, relaxing Massage from Dr. Erik!

I have been in Physical Therapy with Dr. Matt for the last 5 weeks for my right Knee and neck. It has helped me a lot on my workouts and in everyday life. I just felt I needed to relax enjoy and work on the areas that were hurting from hard workouts. I really have been blessed to enjoy Spa time with my Daughter and friends, always with a massage, at some pretty great resorts and spa places. Making the decision to go see Erik and get my massage was a good one. I have already booked my next one with him.. He really listened to me about where I was hurting and that of course was my neck which I have a bit of arthritis in and carry all the stresses of life too. He was calming and excellent. His expertise was evident and very awesome. I highly recommend you book one now; you will not regret it!

Dr. Erik Gullen is an intuitive master at therapeutic massage. As a client with 35 years of back pain and history of back surgery, I can say with great confidence that Dr. Gullen is the best! He communicates and educates me with enthusiasm and a passion for wellness. I came to him wanting deep tissue massage with an “elbow in there and kill it” mentality, but his approach is gentle and simple. I have experienced great results in a short amount of time. Erik is a gem!

HEAD + HEART + HANDS



Head


Unlike most massage therapists with 1-2 years of formal preparation, I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy with 7 years of higher education in movement, pain and tissue science. This gives me an incredible perception and sensitivity to what is happening beneath my hands during your session. From the moment you walk through the doors, from your posture to the way you walk, from your breathing patterns to your tone of voice, I will be able to see exactly where your body needs therapeutic touch.

Heart


I LOVE what I do. Seriously. Everywhere I go I see people working so hard to succeed in their jobs, to care for their families, to follow their dreams, but so tired from the world pushing back on them. Are you one of these amazing yet tired people? My clients are dreamers, doers, and difference makers. They are pioneers in their families and in their workplaces, and all they need is a little well-deserved rejuvenation here and there to keep it 100%. I get the privilege and honor of watching people remember that they are made not only for work, but also for rest- not only to care for others, but also to be cared for. This rhythm of life is an ancient and beautiful wisdom, and it is at the heart of everything I do.

Hands


I’ll just come out and say it: I have really strong, really skilled hands, and I have been doing this as long as I can remember. In fact, when I was only five years old I already had people lining up for shoulder rubs at my aunt’s wedding- a true story that’s better told in person! These days I mix elements of Deep Tissue, Swedish, Thai, and Sports massage with Essential Oils in a style that is as unique as my fingerprints and most importantly that responds with your body and your needs.

Essential Oils


Whether you’re the person who’s never tried essential oils before or the essential oil guru who preaches the oily gospel to all the tired huddled masses, I am pleased to tell you that every therapeutic massage at Village is augmented with topical and diffused essential oils.
Some, like argan oil, are simply wonderful for your skin and hair. Others, like peppermint and wintergreen will cool and sooth sore, achy feet and calves. The best part is that there is no standard treatment or formula. Like every other component of your session, it is custom tailored for you!

Which oils do we use?


ARGAN

Feel: Nourishing, Protecting, Decadent
Aroma: Odorless
Use: Luxurious oil for massage of face, TMJ, temples, and scalp. Nourishes and protects skin and hair.

WINTERGREEN

Feel: Warming, Soothing, Analgesic
Aroma: Sweet, Minty, Clean
Use: Respiratory and sinus clearing when used on chest and neck, warming analgesic effect when used on tired, achy muscles from working out or daily tasks.

PEPPERMINT

Feel: Cooling, Soothing, Analgesic
Aroma: Sweet, Minty, Energizing
Use: Respiratory and sinus clearing when used on chest and neck, cooling analgesic effect when used on tired, achy muscles from working out or daily tasks.

EUCALYPTUS

Feel: Cleansing, Opening
Aroma: Bright, uplifting, clarifying
Use: Respiratory and sinus clearing when used on chest and neck, aromatherapy


CEDAR

Feel: Warm, Substantial
Aroma: Grounding, Earthy, Strengthening
Use: Purifying effect on distressed skin, feet, armpits, aromatherapy.

LAVENDER

Feel: Soft, pampering, delicate
Aroma: Comforting, Sweet, Relaxing
Use: Quiets anxious thoughts, helps relieve headaches and allergies.

YLANG YLAG

Feel: Beautifying, Nurturing
Aroma: Floral, Feminine, Joyful
Use: Nourish and protect skin and hair, brighten mood, perfumes.

 

Relief + Rhythm + Resonance + Rest


Specialities


“I’ve tried everything”
“I can’t take this anymore”
“I think I take too many painkillers”
“I’m afraid of surgery”
“My last cortisone shot did nothing”
“I’ve maxed out my insurance”
“The pain makes it hard for me to work”
“I can’t find a comfortable sleeping position”

In my experience, cookie-cutter, one size-fits-all therapy will help about 80% of people suffering with pain, and that is enough to keep most clinics and hospitals busy. But what about the other 20%?

Stacy was one of the 20%. She had been everywhere. She had tried everything. And she was at the end of her rope. When I met her she was frustrated, and understandably skeptical that I could have anything new to offer.

So I just listened to her story. It took a while. But that was fine with me, because I know that our stories have tremendous value. She seemed to be finishing, and once she fell silent, I asked my third-favorite question: “Is there more you would like to say?” Sure enough, she was actually just getting started. That is often the case with chronic pain. It is a long and lonely road. One where even friends and family at some point stop listening.

Then I asked my second favorite question: “Stacy, would you like to change your pain today?”

What we did next surprised her. We changed her pain. But more importantly, we began to uncover the roots of her pain, not just the symptoms. I could tell that we had made enough progress for one day, and I could see that the tired, dispirited person who walked in an hour earlier was now noticeably glowing.

Then I asked my absolute favorite question: “Stacy, would you like to start a new chapter?”

Stacy continued to see me for about 3 months after that day. In that time we were able to walk together through some highs and also some lows, celebrating little victories and also weathering unforseen storms. She generously shared her time, and with that time we unraveled not only the physical causes of her pain, but also the emotions, thoughts, and complicated relationships surrounding the last several years of her life.

If you are like Stacy, you have probably tried all the quick fixes, all the pills, and every other trick in the book, and if you are like Stacy, nothing has worked. Why?

Because cheap solutions are for cheap problems. But you are not a cheap problem to be solved. Your life is powerful and infinitely valuable. You are worthy of healing, and you are worthy of the time it takes to heal.

I am passionate about succeeding where others have failed. I am excited to meet you and listen to your story, and I am even more excited to see hope restored in your life.

Does your monthly routine begin with a survey of your calendar and multiple to do lists?
You are starting your month- and all of its challenges and projects- not from a place of stability and rest but from demands and striving. While beginning from the former will nourish and sustain you month after month, year after year, the latter will slowly drain you into burnout and dramatic loss of productivity or meaningful accomplishment

Sunrise to Sunset, Spring to Winter, our world turns in an ancient rhythm that has helped sustain life on earth for millenia. In turn, we are healthiest when we live our lives in purposeful rhythm. Yet such a simple concept- balancing sleeping and waking, working and playing- is often sabotaged by ever increasing demands on our time and energy from employers, family, and even technology. A life out of rhythm is marked by restlessness, endless to do lists, and the loss of deep satisfaction in a work fully accomplished.

Does your life feel like a run on sentence that just keeps going and going and veers in one direction and then another and then circles back and then tricks you into thinking you are going to get some peace but actually something else comes up and its all back to back to back and is this going to end at some point because right now you are probably mentally gasping for air just reading this sentence omgosh like really where is the period or is it a question mark just let this sentence stop!

Does your life read like that awful run-on sentence? In order to restore rhythm, you need punctuation. The day is punctuated by a sunset and the night by a sunrise. The summer is punctuated by thousands of falling autumn leaves, while the winter is punctuated by a thousand new budding spring flowers. One powerful way to restore rhythm to your life is to punctuate your busy month with a rewarding therapeutic massage. As wonderful as the massage will be, its true benefit far exceeds the session. It allows you to start each new month not from a place of physical, mental and emotional duress, but from a place of tangible restoration and tranquility. In other words- and I encourage you to read the following twice if you gloss over it the first time- it allows you to begin your month from a place of your true identity; a living being capable of great works but also worthy of rest and peace.

Punctuate your month with rhythm massage. Begin your month with truth in your identity. Watch as your endeavors in family and work flourish and grow. Repeat.

Are you completely at peace with your body, or do you feel a little at war with yourself? Have you experienced illness or trauma in your past that makes it difficult to be fully present in your physical self?

“I felt- still feel- betrayed by my body.” I never forgot how she said that to me. At 41, Shelley was a mother of two, a high-school teacher, and pretty happy about her life. But that was the year everything would turn upside down. Like 1 in every 8 women, Shelley was diagnosed with breast cancer. And like all courageous women facing one of life’s worst diseases, she heroically stood her ground. For ten long years she fought, losing not only her hair and breast tissue, but also thousands of precious moments with her children and husband. When the dust finally settled, Shelley’s final scan came back clean. It was a tremendous victory, but one that would be short-lived. Though her body was cancer-free, her mind was trapped somewhere far away. She could not shake the sense of betrayal from her body, nor the fear that her disease might one day return.

“I’m afraid of touch.” Tricia tearfully explained to me. I was confused. “But you spend all day touching people!” And she did. As a yoga instructor and esthetician, Tricia was frequently in physical contact with her clients. We met shortly after I finished college when we both were working at big health club. Although I usually stuck to fitness training, word got out that I had a knack for fixing headaches, which is why Tricia came to find me on her lunch break. Initially, she was hesitant to let me put my hands on her forehead and temples. Over the next few weeks, she shared her story: She grew up in a household with very little physical touch, and eventually found herself in a physically abusive marriage. No wonder she didn’t want me to put my hands on her!

Besides being dear to me, what both of these women have in common is dissonance in their physical experience- one from an attack that was inside-out, the other outside-in. Though they could go places or touch people physically, there was a vast emotional dissonance that rendered true presence in their lives and relationships impossible. Fortunately, both of these remarkable women were willing to share their stories with me and allowed me the privilege of walking with them. Through a delicate process of movement and touch, we worked together to find new hope and steady peace. They were my original teachers.

Now I bring the sum of that teaching to you in Resonance massage.
Resonance massage is touch that is supportive, respectful, honoring, dignifying, encouraging, patient, giving, and safe. The intention of every session is to reveal a simple yet powerful truth- that your body is good, that your body is alive, and that you are made to resonate with all of your relationships, adventures, and dreams.

Are you tired? Do you fatigue more quickly than you would like physically? Mentally? Your life may be overly compartmentalized.

In American culture, we tend to compartmentalize everything: Home life, work life, love life. Carbs, fats, proteins. Business, Pleasure. If you are a scientist trying to discover a new atomic particle, the ability to temporarily separate things is key. However, if you are a warm, living human being who sees in color, it is the connections, rather than the separations that reveal the immense beauty and power of life. Indeed, connections between seeming polar opposites are often the spark for the world’s greatest ideas and innovations.

Can’t I just treat fitness, nutrition, sleep, friendships, career, and medicine as separate issues?

Let me ask you this: When you have a big fight with a friend or spouse, do you sleep well that night? Do you make good nutrition decisions the following morning? Do you have the kind of day at work that accelerates your career?
Like a stone thrown in a pond ripples all the way to its furthest edges, what affects one “area” of our lives inevitable affects all.

So why do we compartmentalize?

Different arenas of life seem to have different rules and success strategies. Taking them separately helps us feel successful, but only until they come back together. Staying up late in bed replying to emails may help you close a business account, but its unlikely your spouse will appreciate the attention your phone is getting instead of her. Ultimately we tend to compartmentalize because it allows us to justify poor or lazy choices, mistakenly thinking they can be safely quarantined.

Why does compartmentalization lead to chronic fatigue and loss of creative power?

Imagine you heard a new song, enjoyed it, and wanted to to share it with a friend. Now imagine that for some reason you could not simply download an mp3 and play it, but instead had to try to imitate the drum beat- then the guitar, then the bass, then the piano, then the vocals, then the harmonizing vocals- instead of 3 minutes it would take 3 hours, and your friend would probably politely ask you not to share any more new songs with her.
Taken together, the pieces of our lives can form a beautiful symphony, but separate them out and you have a tiresome cacophony- one your family, friends and coworkers all are stuck hearing.

Fortunately, there is a solution to our tendency to compartmentalize, and even better, a path to tremendous increase in energy, mental fortitude, emotional stability, and creativity: Deep Rest. Deep Rest combines the centering and clarifying effect of meditation with the profound living support of human touch.

If your life feels thinly spread over a mile-wide weekly planner, a deep rest session will help bring the edges together.
If you are struggling to make a decision in relationships or work that will have consequences for both, a deep rest session will help you make your decision not only with your head, but also your heart.
If you chronically make destructive choices out of feelings of loneliness or isolation, a deep rest session will help you remember that you are not alone, and that joy is found in giving, not taking.

Can all of this happen in a single session?

The answer to that question is up to you. A deep rest session is a powerful tool, and I can help you use it. However, it is not a quick fix or a fast acting pain pill. If you do not currently pray or meditate regularly, I would encourage you to try doing so. I would recommend setting an intention and a goal with a dedicated hour of weekly prayer or meditation time. If you are not sure where to start I can help you. After four weeks of meditation/prayer on your own, you will be well prepared to get the most out of your deep rest session. You may find it so beneficial the first time that you will consider making it part of your monthly rhythm. Can you think of twelve areas of stress or worry in your life? Most of us could think of a hundred! What if over the next year you began to systematically clarify your life, like a well organized thesis? What if your unique gifts, talents, and ideas that the world so desperately needs could be revealed? What if the story of your life could go from a boring pamphlet to a thrilling page turner?

One of my greatest passions is helping the people around me live life to the fullest, and helping provide Deep Rest is one of the powerful ways I have found to do it.

I’m looking forward to seeing you thrive!