How do I see massage?
I see massage as a platform for radical self-acceptance. I see massage as a tool to fully connecting to one’s own body, and feeling confident and comfortable in that body. I see massage as a way to give back to my community, serve others, and be an advocate for health, touch, and movement.
As a dancer, I consider movement pivotal to health. Through massage, I assist my clients move more freely, with less pain. I love when a client leaves with a smile, leaving their headache, neck-ache, and all-the-other-aches behind. I use deep tissue techniques and Swedish massage. I graduated from Oberlin College and Potomac Massage Training Institute.
I specialize in: runners, cyclists, triathletes, climbers, and athletes of all shapes and sizes; stressed-out office workers; depression and anxiety; neck and shoulder injuries.
1. I’m from Point Reyes, California, a small town just north of San Francisco. I’ve spent quite a bit of time in New Rochelle, NY and Cleveland, Ohio.
I currently live in a collective in Park View, DC, and I work in Capitol Hill, at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Potomac Avenues.
2. I studied massage therapy at Potomac Massage Training Institute. PMTI is an 18 month program, nearly twice the length of most massage therapy schools, and trained me in Swedish techniques and deep tissue, as well as functional assessment, myofascial release, anatomy, and active isolated stretching. In school, I completed a case study on cervical nerve pain and conducted fieldwork at Whitman Walker, working primarily with HIV/AIDS patients.
Most of my sessions use deep tissue techniques to relax overly-tensed muscles. Many sessions involve targeted work on a single part of the body — the right shoulder, the neck, the quadriceps, the left side of the pelvis — to create more mobility within a joint and decrease pain. That said, most work incorporates whole body techniques to overall relax the body, and help the body “reset” to a less tensed state.
I’m also working on my Personal Training Certification through the ACE, as I work with a lot of athletes, and I’d like to better serve those clients. Also, as a long-time fitness nerd, I’ve always wanted to learn more about fitness, exercise physiology, and nutrition.
3. I work at Freed Bodyworks. Freed is a studio whose ethics completely match mine. We provide a safe, inviting, non-judgmental space to people of all body types, genders, orientations, and lifestyle choices. We support people who live in a non-conforming body, or in a non-conforming way. We serve people of all sizes and shapes, and we provide a 10% discount to individuals working in the LGBTQ rights, and human rights fields. We work with transgendered people and queer people, as well as with straight and cis-gendered people.
We are based out of Capitol Hill, at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Potomac Avenues. I share this space with four other massage therapists: Frances Reed, Liz Goldberg, Aviva Pittle, and Sue Pate, all of whom I recommend emphatically.
My “Freed Story”? As a massage therapy student, I conducted a case report study, working on an individual with cervical neck pain, thought to be caused by a pinched nerve. However, in the course of treatment, I found an incredible amount of holding and restriction in his pectoral muscles, which lead me to speak with Frances. I had heard that Frances was a guru regarding deep tissue work, and I wanted their advice.
Having almost-met-but-just-missed Frances for a number of months, I finally found time to speak with them on a Wednesday afternoon. I was excited.
I blocked off thirty minutes in my calendar.
Frances and I spoke for over three hours.
I’ve had very, very few conversations like that. Every aspect of Frances’ practice was a precisely the practice I’d always hoped to join, or emulate. Freed has a mission I believe in and ethics I emphatically support, and I hoped that any practice I hoped to build was even the sweetest shadow of Freed.
And then, in a strangely serendipitous way, Frances looked to expand Freed just as I was graduating from PMTI and securing my own license. Everything lined up.
And we spoke again, for over three hours.
And then, I interviewed, trained with Frances to get me in shape (in both style and form), and started seeing clients, as a part of Freed.
I owe Frances and Jessica an enormous debt for believing in me, and fostering me as a practitioner. I love where I work.
4. I also studied at Oberlin College. I majored in writing and politics, which somehow mangled together my deep love of stories, information exchange, communication, and teaching.
I’ve worked in a variety of roles besides massage therapy– in the non-profit / philanthropy world, as an assistant manager (and bartender) at a restaurant, as an outdoor educator, as a pre-k movement teacher, and as a “Web Fellow.”
Currently, I’m staff at Capital Blues, organizing blues dances in the district, and I write for Disrupting Dinner Parties, a feminist blog. I spend my non-massage time dancing, writing, dreaming, running, lifting, reading, and making friends.
5. I do massage therapy because I love it. I love the feeling of massage, and I love the effect it has on others. Honestly, it feels magical to feel a person’s tensed muscles release and soften. Every time a client leaves the studio with that rested, dreamy expression, I feel elated.
It’s a bit of a long story, to explain why I love massage, and why I love to do it. You’re welcome to grab some water or a snack.
In college, I spent a large quantity of time in the circus. I love circus, in its exploration of the impossible, and its glorification and celebration of the unexpected and the bizarre. I learned acrobalance, I studied clowning and acrobatics, and eventually, I directed circus shows. I saw people find parts of themselves that were beautiful, and encouraged them to share them with others. I found a better understanding of my own body, of my strengths and shortcomings.
And I saw people get injured. Often. I wanted to help them, but I didn’t know how.
After college, I noticed that most of my friends were in pain, often regularly. Whether in office jobs, spending ten hours a day hunched over a computer; or at a busy restaurant, hauling heavy dishes up and down stairs; or as teachers, constantly on their feet and over-stressed. All of my friends were hurting, and often, they ignored it. And it didn’t improve.
I knew that many of my friends felt uncomfortable in spas, and often ill-served by the medical community. We spoke about insurance issues, insults and discrimination at spas, and incomplete medical attention.
And I wanted to find ways to help my friends feel less pain, to see if I could actively, positively influence their bodies to stop hurting them.
Massage therapy was the easiest (and for me, the best) answer.
6. I like to listen.
Rephrase: I really, really, really love to listen. As a part of my work at Freed, and a part of my services in every regard, it’s imperative to me to set aside time to hear from my clients about their bodies in every regard. So, I ask a lot of questions. I’d like to know about the spots that are painful (or tense, numb, cold, or achy), as well as the parts of life that are stressful, and those that are restful. I promise to listen with empathy.
I see massage as a way to listen to a person’s body, and give it the attention (and space) that it deserves.
So please, feel free to speak with me.
(Me, at Brentwood Health Block Party!)