Call / Text Me at 201-704-0380
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Call / Text Me at 201-704-0380
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BIO and FAQ's

MLD Upper Extremity

Paula at work!

Manual Lymphatic Drainage of the arm

I'm Paula!

Welcome! I’m Paula Bernhardt, licensed massage therapist and founder of South Mountain Massage Therapy.

I am happiest when I am caring for my family members and my clients. My mission is to help you achieve drug free relief from pain and stress in your joints, such as knees, neck, shoulders, back or hips.

I’ve been a massage therapist since 2003, after years of working in education-related jobs. I am a service minded person by nature. After years of dealing with the pain of scoliosis, combined with my desire to help others, I realized that massage therapy would allow me to blend my intuitive skills with massage techniques to improve musculoskeletal issues. Some years before coming to this conclusion, I visited my first massage therapist due to severe spasm in my low back, caused by the anxiety and stress I experienced as a new Administrative Assistant. I was so nervous to go, yet was blown away by the practitioner’s compassion and skill towards relieving my pain. These experiences, along with recognition that I feel best working in a one to one environment, inspired me to become a licensed massage therapist. I understand pain, stress, and anxiety, and I am dedicated to helping you be relieved of yours.

I have worked with hundreds of clients since 2003, helping to reduce their pain from stress, overuse, and postural habits. My clients enjoy my ability to relax them, even while performing deep tissue work.  Many fall into a restful sleep while I resolve their muscular discomfort and wake feeling de-stressed and revitalized.

I have helped many clients prepare for and recover from joint replacement surgeries. (NEW! My new credentials as a Certified Manual Lymphatic Drainage therapist will help you prepare for and experience quicker, more complete recovery from surgery - see my Services page to read more).I have also helped others avoid surgery altogether. My attention to detail, communication skills, intuitive hands, and calming nature keep clients happy and feeling good. Most clients book once or twice a month to get relief and to maintain good health. I care deeply about every person who comes to me for a massage. Please know that I will give YOU my FULL ATTENTION when you are with me. My clients express gratitude for the relaxing ambiance and personal service I provide each and every time.

My super power is making you feel important, heard, and cared for. I’m an empath, so when you feel less than perfect, I am compelled to help.

  • PA Massage Lic: MSG008674
  • 600-hour Massage Therapy Program 
  • Healing Hands Institute for MT
  • Additionally Certified in Manual Lymphatic Drainage by Academy for Lymphatic Studies (ACOLS)

A dedicated mom, wife, and daughter, everyone comes to me to offload stress or just spend time together. I enjoy the simple pleasures of being at home with my husband, daughter, mother-in-law, and our dog, Chester.  I enjoy reading, kayaking, going to the gym, watching baking shows with my daughter, and movies or UFC with my husband (while cuddling with my little terrier).


Here are five common questions people ask when starting out in massage.  If you have other questions, please reach out using a contact page, or feel free to call or email me.

Cell phone: 201-704-0380


Common Question #1

Should I undress for the massage?


Good question! For most massages, you will be asked to undress. Massage therapists use lotion or oil, and work directly on the skin most of the time. For this reason, most people will undress to their bottom underwear, or sometimes completely nude. I will leave the room while you get undressed, and only the area being massaged will be uncovered, while the rest of you can relax under a cozy sheet and blanket. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions, or stay partially clothed if that helps you to feel more comfortable. Sessions are about you, and you should feel safe, comfortable, and empowered while you get a massage.

Common Question #2

Should massage hurt?


Some techniques used may not be the most comfortable, depending on the techniques used and if there is any pain present before the session. However, your massage therapist wants to know if something is painful or is keeping you from enjoying your massage. Your therapist will check in periodically during the session about your comfort, but it is definitely encouraged to let your therapist know what does and does not feel good for you!

Common Question #3

How often should I get massage?


For clients who are new to seeing me, or working through an injury or chronic pain, I usually recommend once or more weekly until your pain is more manageable, and then reduce the frequency of sessions depending on your goals for pain relief. Most of my clients see me one or two times a month, after they feel like their pain has been managed.

Common Question #4

What do I need to do prior to the session?


Before your first session, fill out your intake/release form and READ the Policies.  If you did not fill out the emailed forms before your appointment, make sure to arrive 15 minutes earlier to fill the out.

Common Questions #5

How do I pay and do you accept tips?


I do not accept tips.  I charge a fair price at a flat rate. You get the best I have to offer in the time you booked. No charge for upgraded services that fit in the allotted time.

Jean Burd

"After massage, my sleep is so much deeper and I find I wake up more refreshed. Massage also helps calm me. A wonderful gift.

Massage is an important addition to your overall health - of course it needs to be part of good nutrition and exercise."

- JB

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