After a career in marketing, juggling commuting and childcare, I decided a change was long overdue. So I took a leap and quit my job to re-train as a personal trainer, with a view to coaching exercise as rehabilitation. I’m lucky enough to live very near St Mary’s University which has a great range of short courses. One of those courses was body massage, and as an afterthought I thought I’d try it to compliment the personal training. It was like a light bulb moment for me! I’m fascinated by the human body and found it invigorating and liberating. I loved it from the very beginning. From there I just went on to study more and more…
What do you enjoy most about massaging people for a living?
It may sound cheesy but I get to meet many different and interesting people. It’s great to be part of their journey back to reduced pain and greater range of motion, so that they can enjoy the things that may have been limited due to injury or stress.
What sort of client do you see most often in your practice?
It’s hard to answer this as I see all sorts of people with different experiences. Some may have massage as part of their well being, others may have an injury they are trying to get on top of. Right now as marathon season gets underway I am seeing more and more runners as their mileage increases and the niggles start to appear. I also see many people with desk based jobs living with pain, from poor posture and more screen time than their backs might like!
What’s been your favourite massage experience so far?
Goodness - another hard one to answer. As it’s so recent, I’ll go with finding out after more than a year of study that I had passed my Certificate in Advanced Clinical Massage. It was a year of discovery and enrichment, and along the way I met some fantastic people – one of whom, Donna, works right here at The Soma Room!
A couple of years ago I was volunteering as a massage therapist for a charity at London Marathon. It had been a great but very long day as I had seen many people for treatment. As we were about to pack up, one more exhausted person came in for a massage. What was remarkable about this person was that she revealed that at the same time last year she had been four stone heavier. She had watched the marathon and thought at that time; 'enough is enough'. She then committed herself to a change of lifestyle and a year later ran the marathon herself. A brilliant example of what can be achieved with a healthy lifestyle and sheer determination. It was an inspiring story and made my afternoon!
What are your biggest challenges as a massage therapist?
There is always something new to learn! Each time I discover new techniques I realise again and again that I am only just scratching the surface of what can be achieved. Luckily I have an enquiring mind and I am fascinated by the human anatomy. Even though it can throw up puzzle after puzzle in trying to work out the source of someone’s pain!
How would you describe your massage style?
I hope I make my clients at ease with my massage style. I work very slowly into the muscle tissue allowing the fibres to open up and therefore allow me to work very deeply into them. I always remember one of my teachers saying to me that you should never treat pain with pain, and to me this seems so logical. So I definitely do not advocate a ‘no pain, no gain’ style of massage. To me this is counter-productive, making the muscles contract and ultimately making it more difficult to treat the area in question and achieve a positive outcome.
I’m a mum to three lovely children, so life is really busy. But as well as running around after them, I do a number of things to keep myself active and healthy. I am an avid runner – I try to run 4-5 times a week. Being outside is really important to me and I’m lucky enough to live right next to beautiful Bushy Park. I always feel better in both body and mind for getting out. I also love to do core strength training and yoga. Massage is a physical job and it’s really important to look after myself so that I can be a better therapist.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to all of your clients, what would it be?
Pretty simply, do the things you love. Don’t wait. Life is short.
What courses are you wanting to take/ what are you looking forward to learning more about in the future?
Last year was a big year of study for me as I completed my Certificate in Advanced Clinical Massage. I was going to take a little break but there’s so much more to learn! This year I’m hoping to spend some time adding to my pregnancy and post-natal massage skills. I also want to spend some time learning more myofascial techniques as well as doing a medical acupuncture course. That should keep me occupied for the time being!