Get to Know: Frances Kimmel, Somatic Movement Therapist

I’m so excited to introduce you to Frances Kimmel, a member of our Ellwood Thompson’s Health Team and a long time local practitioner here in Richmond. Frances has a unique niche in the healing world, offering skilled movement therapies for all ages and a multitude of conditions. Her skills are multifaceted, and it’s impossible not to be in the presence of Frances without feeling her deep love for her work (and her infectious smile!).

Tell us a bit about your practice and how you got started with movement therapy? 

My practice has evolved over the years from my initial training as a dancer, then moving into body/somatic practices that informed my understanding of movement. This year is actually my 30 th year in practice; starting in 1987 in New York City.

Can you tell us some specifics regarding the Alexander Technique, CranioSacral Therapy and The Trager® Approach?

The Alexander Technique – is a process where one learns to observe the habits we develop in our lives that interfere with ease of movement that is everybody’s birthright. It helps to solve common movement problems that cause discomfort or pain. 

CranioSacral Therapy – is a non-invasive, light touch approach that helps you heal at the source of the problem. It involves optimizing the central nervous system so it can perform at it’s best. By reducing stress and tension on the bones, membranes and fluids that surround the CNS, the body can self correct. 

The Trager® Approach – a type of hands on bodywork that is known for it’s deeply relaxing benefits. Through touch that soothes, delights, and allows your mind to rest, you will feel your body move freely and comfortably. The Trager® Approach has a self-care component that teaches you to recall and practice in your daily life, the positive feelings experienced in the session.

In summary: All of these modalities involve the use of touch in a one on one setting. Touch is so important. Our nervous system is wired for it. It is how we interpret our safety in the world. Science is showing that our brain is changed by our touch experiences. I feel my work offers positive touch experiences for it’s educational and healing potential.

A large number of people do not need physical therapy or have completed their physical therapy, do not need surgery or chiropractic but still have the ability to learn to use their body more efficiently with less stress and strain. These approaches and techniques all address an individual’s life-long habits of misuse, stresses, or traumas that affect one’s natural coordination, ease, and health.

What makes these unique therapies so effective and individualized?

Based on a client’s goals – be it to reduce pain, eliminate affects of stress, physical and emotional trauma, effects of aging, injury prevention, postural improvement or self- awareness, these modalities can help anyone who has the desire and motivation to pay attention to their body and discover through these experiences what is possible.

Who are your favorite people to work with?

I enjoy working with people who are curious, open and desire to be a participant in the process. I work with a diverse group of people who come to me with questions and needs that are unresolved.

What can people expect from their first appointment with you?

The first appointment would be an exploration of what the individual wants and needs. It is important for me to get a full picture of a person’s overall physical health, daily activity and stress level. After our initial evaluation we start with some hands on work and introduce movement to establish a starting point.

How do your nourish yourself holistically and what do you do for your own self care?

My personal practice includes attending to my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. I walk every day. I meditate, dance, practice yoga, and use elements of what I am teaching for my well-being. I also actively engage with my colleagues in exchanging the work itself.

What people are saying:

“I began work with Frances in my late 40s after having painful herniated disk problems in my neck.  I had been an avid runner, and medical advice was to stop running. Thankfully, her work with me using The Trager® Approach and The Alexander Technique helped me return quickly to active running.Over a dozen years since, sessions with Frances have allowed me to continue to be an active long distance runner, even as I age, with a better sense and connection with my body and abilities.”

Daniel M. Siegel, Attorney


“I have been working with Frances for five years now and she and the Alexander Technique have changed my life.  I started to work with Frances after trying chiropractic and physical therapy due to chronic shoulder pain.  The Alexander Technique and Frances have helped me become more aware of my body and how I move through my everyday life.  Frances gives me tools that I can take home, practice, and incorporate into my life. Frances has helped me reeducate my mind and body so that I am able to move through life more freely. “ 

Emily Bentzen, Teacher


“Frances is a brilliant, loving, talented practitioner, skilled in multiple modalities.  She has supported my spiritual growth and personal development by helping me heal energetic and physical patterns that are no longer in service to me.”

Kelly Lewis, Leadership Coach


“Frances is a skillful, understanding and caring therapist that I’d highly recommend. I have found her to be helpful in reaching my long term goals around health and wellness. After years of massage and especially deep massage, I find that The Trager® Approach and Craniosacral Therapy offer a much deeper relaxation.  I have also discovered that weekly lessons in the Alexander Technique have helped me develop a more disciplined practice that has helped my lower back problems avoid surgery.”

Rick Hood


“You are loving us back to wholeness one person at a time just like your teacher Milton Trager taught you. I like it that you have a lot of different approaches.  Problems are multifaceted so the more information you have the more options you have for finding solutions.” 

Evelyn Helwig, 87 years old


“I first went to Frances for sciatic pain which she banished completely and have continued to see her once a week to keep reminding my body to continue what she teaches it. She also repairs the damage I do periodically from all of my activities such as maintaining my farm, barns chores for three horses , keeping them fit, and fox-hunting three days a week.  She has kept me straight so that I can stand and teach for three hours straight. ( All of this at 76)”

Angie Pell Jernegan


Contact Frances:

My office is on Berrington Court, a quiet street located 2 blocks North of Ellwood Thompson’s Natural Market. I see clients by appointment and can be reached by phone or e-mail.

804-201- 3166 | |


Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN |

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