Did you know that Yoga One offers a range of massage therapy treatments as well as acupuncture? Massage and acupuncture are useful for treating many different types of ailments and injuries and best of all – regular massage therapy promises enduring relief.
Keep reading to meet one of our amazing massage therapists, Jaz, and learn why she believes you should include massage in your self-care program instead of treating it as a luxury.
1. Why did you decide to become a massage therapist?
I grew up on a farm in the midwest and spent a lot of time taking care of animals. Eventually that transitioned into people, I was always massaging friends and family. Often the would say to me, “you’re really good at this, you should be a professional.” At the time, to me, it seemed like a ridiculous career. Where I grew up “New Age-y” concepts were often mocked and attracted negative attention. But when I moved to Minneapolis for college, I met a more supportive community that encouraged me to explore massage and meditation.
My introduction to bodywork was an elective course called BodyMind Centering. It changed my life and the way that I lived in and perceived my body. During this time, however, I wanted to be a painter and was pursuing a Bachelors in Art. When I finished my undergrad, I knew I needed a skill that I could do anywhere in the world. I had considered massage but I was sure I was going to become an American Sign Language interpreter. When I went to the community college to register, all the classes were full for an entire year! I didn’t want to wait that long, so that very same day I went to the local massage school and signed up for classes.
2. What benefits have you or your clients received from regular massage therapy?
Many people have the idea that massage is only a luxury. And yes, it certainly can be, but what those people don’t realize is that massage can be utilized as a way to maintain health, prevent disease and decrease stress. Regular massage clients are less likely to get sick, go to the doctor less frequently and report fewer feelings of stress. Massage is also especially beneficial for anyone with an injury such as a strained shoulder, twisted ankle or sciatic nerve pain. I often hear that their sleep has improved or that pain is forgotten about the next day.
For me personally, massage always makes me feel human again. When I experience massages, I think to myself: Oh yeah, THIS is how I make other people feel. It always reminds me why I do bodywork and how profound something as simple as touch can be.
3. Do you have a favorite type of massage?
My favorite type of massage to give is Chi Nei Tsang. It is an ancient Chinese abdominal massage that has been around for thousands of years. The Taoist monks would meditate for hours in their temples in the mountains yet still they had digestive issues. Over time they started exploring ways to help them feel better by rubbing each other’s bellies, eventually it evolved into this very massage.
Chi Nei Tsang (pronounced Chee Nay Song) was kept secret for a very long time and only in the last 30 or so years has it been revealed to the public. Not only does it address digestion and elimination issues, it confronts emotions as well. As a culture, we are not given appropriate tools to cope with many of the daily emotions we experience. The imbalance of these unexpressed emotions often causes disharmonies in the organs, or vice versa. This massage includes breathing techniques and visualizations to “transform negative energy into positive vitality.” These are tools a client can take home with them to use in their daily lives. I feel that this massage empowers people to transform their bodies into healthy, balanced beings.
4. Something interesting your clients might not know about you is:
In 2008 I spent seven weeks in Thailand studying with Taoist Master Mantak Chia in the city of Chaing Mai. I completed a four week teacher training course and certified as a Chi Nei Tsang practitioner.
5. What’s the best advice you give for how to really enjoy a massage?
Communication. Don’t be shy! Tell your massage therapist what you want. This is your massage and it should feel good to you. A massage therapist can easily modify to meet your needs, it should not be painful. There may be occasional discomfort, but it should not last the entire massage. Talk to your therapist about pressure, sensations you experience or something you’d like repeated or avoided. Also, breathe! I often find clients are holding their breath. Coming back to your breath helps bring you to a place of peace and enjoyment.