Before "reduction in force" they called it "downsizing" in the 1990s. Seeing my job unique in it's industry on the chopping block was the best thing that could have happened, since it gave me the opportunity to look for a career in something I actually like. I was most fortunate to determine massage therapy would be my best course of action, and have never seriously looked back. I selected the Potomac Massage Training Institute (PMTI) as the best massage training program available in the area and graduated in July 1999. I am a certified member of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) and earned the eighth Certified Massage Therapist (CMT)—now LMT, or Licensed Massage Therapist—license issued in the State of Maryland, as well as my National Board and Commonwealth of Virginia Certifications in massage therapy.
I have maintained a private massage practice since obtaining my first license while also working in a chiropractic and natural healing office under the supervision of chiropractors and physical therapists. I augmented my income doing subcontracted massage work and day spa massage, which provided me with a broader view of the application and benefits of massage therapy in many diverse settings. I relocated to the Charlottesville area in 2004, where I have an office at the corner of Commonwealth and Greenbrier, off of 29 between 29th Place and Stonefield. I also maintain my Maryland massage therapist license and return to Montgomery County twice a month to see clients there. I have worked exclusively in private massage practice since 2004, which keeps me focused on delivering my best work possible with every session, since my work reflects directly on not just my business, but also on me personally as an independent massage practitioner and bodywork provider.
My massage therapy focus is very simple: it is a partnership effort in which my job is to bring the client's attention to their body so they can be more in touch with what their body needs to stay healthy, while I encourage their muscles to relax and lengthen. I may do this by using long, gliding strokes, deep compressions, passive movement, stretches, or any number of other techniques. My years of non-verbal communication with muscles have taught me to be fluent in the unique, non-verbal language they "speak."
While each session has a plan, I listen as well and adapt what I am doing as the conversation unfolds. My experience has taught me that our bodies respond more effectively when given suggestions rather than ultimatums, so respect is always present, even when I am using my deepest, most vigorous techniques. Most sessions include a little bit of most of the modalities I have learned over the years, since it often takes more than one tool to provide the most effective massage session. I believe awareness on all levels is a key to staying healthy. Massage is something I do with my clients, not to them.
In 2005 I began actively offering energy techniques, although throughout my massage training and career I have seen how the flow of energy is an integral part of the most profound bodywork sessions. Along the way, I have become Charlottesville's first Heart Thread and Circuitry Alignment Facilitator Trainer. Whether a client would like elements of energy techniques included in their massage session or not is always their own decision to make.
While I'm always flattered when someone says "you're the expert," I am quick to point out that they are the experts at living inside their own body. I invite feedback during sessions to ensure my pressure, pace and techniques are appropriate for each individual. As long as we remain within the Certified Massage Therapist/Licensed Massage Therapist scope of practice, your massage session is just that: yours.
In February, 2013, I was rear-ended while stopped in traffic and much of my life changed. My hobby/passion of West Coast swing dancing may have come to an end, but I have been able to build back up to working what is considered to be full-time as a massage therapist, though not as many hours as I used to work. Working as I do, in a quiet office with low lighting, I am acutely aware that much of modern life is highly stimulating, and that time to decompress is absolutely vital. Taking the time to slow down and really check in with our bodies is not just for people who know they are stressed (though who these days doesn't) – it can greatly benefit everyone. My commitment to the relaxing and restorative benefits of even the most clinical and vigorous massage techniques is stronger than ever.