“The sooner we start introducing self-care practices into our routine, the better chance we have of preserving or improving our health.”
What was your path to becoming a massage therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I wish I could say there was one event that led me to massage therapy, but the truth is this was a culmination of experiences, opportunities, and perhaps even fate. My career trajectory was business-oriented, and for a time this seemed a certainty until a friend asked me to be her demo partner at a wellness workshop. I left fascinated with the concept of holistic therapy and although it would be several years before I enrolled in a massage therapy program, I gained new insights into healing with a health sciences foundation. My career as a massage therapist has given me a perspective on life that was previously lacking or severely limited. It has taught me compassion, patience, and mindfulness, and provides me with an opportunity to work with a diverse mix of health and wellness professionals seeking to provide clients with access to and an awareness of integrative healthcare.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
Massage therapy can seem intimidating, both physically and emotionally. The initial contact will be geared toward determining if this is the best form of treatment based on a client's current medical conditions, physical limitations, and other concerns. I may ask the client’s permission to consult with other healthcare providers to verify that their current treatments, conditions, or medications will not be adversely affected by muscular therapy. Typically, the first massage session will consist of evaluating the client’s goals and an assessment to help formulate a treatment plan. Whether using a mix of clinical applications such as neuromuscular therapy to address pain and mobility issues, or restorative touch therapy to calm the nervous system and promote balance, my aim is always to ensure the safety and comfort of the client.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
Collaborating with other healthcare providers, such as physical therapists, psychiatrists and acupuncturists, allows me to gain deeper insight into how I should create and structure a treatment plan in order to yield the most benefit based on the client's physical and emotional wellbeing. Working as a wellness team helps us to chart progress, set measurable goals, and allows the client to become more involved in their healing process and outcomes.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the massage therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
First and most importantly, you are in control of your treatment session. The thought of getting undressed and working in such close proximity with a stranger can be a major hindrance, especially for clients who struggle with anxiety, body image, and physical contact. I realize how vulnerable this form of therapy can be, which is why I set boundaries that ensure safety and comfort. New York has some of the highest educational requirements for massage therapy; we are required to adhere to a professional code of ethics and confidentiality. I have been trained to communicate through clinical terminology and to address a variety of musculoskeletal issues and injuries in a respectful and thoughtful manner.
Why is self-care an important practice in maintaining both our physical and mental well-being?
Quite simply, we only get this one body to reside in and we deserve to show ourselves the love, care, and attention we wouldn't think twice to give to our loved ones. My oldest client is a great example: at the young age of 84, he still goes to his office daily, is involved in a number of philanthropic causes, and has a close and active relationship with his family. His secret is that he never takes himself too seriously and ensures that he carves out time each week to reset with massage and yoga. While the concept of self-care can differ from person to person, on a fundamental level self-care should include the nourishment and maintenance of your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. The sooner we start introducing self-care practices into our routine, the better chance we have of preserving or improving our health.
“I realize how vulnerable this form of therapy can be, which is why I set boundaries that ensure safety and comfort.”