Saturday, October 13, 2012

Client Experience

My clientele over the past 23 years has included a wonderful variety of people from all walks of life, ranging in age from 6 to 99 (so far). Here's what some of them have to say about my work:

"I have been a client of Bethrenae's for over three years. Her massage therapy is a perfect blend of solid, strong technique and intuitive touch. After two back surgeries, one bike accident and chronic back pain, Bethrenae shows time and again that she has a unique gift for healing. As a traveler, I have had many different styles of massage from all over the world, and I always look forward to coming home to the wine country to visit Bethrenae's studio."
     - Todd, 49, Producer

"When I get a massage, I look for an experience that is healing, loving, and therapeutic. When I discovered Bethrenae, I found someone who provided all of those. I have serious, chronic spinal issues, so I need to really trust the person massaging me--that they know the human body and will treat it with care. Bethrenae does that, and I consider her massages to be a core part of my ongoing healing." 
     - Sandy, 55

"Bethrenae is a gifted massage therapist, with an emphasis on the word 'therapist'.  Her knowledge of anatomy is excellent. Her ability to intuitively find and release tension caused by pain is phenomenal. Her generosity of spirit and compassionate nature create a healing atmosphere that is both soothing and beneficial." 
     - Jodi, 59, Student

"Bethrenae has magically intuitive hands. She has been working on my body for over 15 years, and I have yet to encounter another massage therapist who has the strength and technigue to get to the deep knots in my body the way she does. A massage with Bethrenae is more than a physical working out of stress. She spiritually steps into my experience and knows where to move stuck energy--there is an unspoken partnership in the work."

     - James, 45, Marriage & Family Therapist Intern

"Bethrenae consistently helps me through both the emotional and physical trauma I am experiencing. While her physical strength is unmatched in terms of her ability to work on unforgiving tissue, her empathy for my emotional and experiential challenges has also helped me break through in ways I never thought possible. She offers the perfect balance between physical healing and spiritual support. I can't recommend her more highly."
     - Diana, 51, Labor Compliance Manager 

"Every single time Bethrenae works her magic, I receive a marvelous massage. This past spring I was having horrific pain and burning in my back. Two massages later, it was gone. I continued on with more sessions, and the benefits were incredible! The salon is very peaceful; I always hate to leave."
     - Mary Jo, 66, Professional Organizer

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Therapeutic Massage vs. Spa Massage

Having been a certified massage therapist for almost 20 years, I've learned that the word massage is as nebulous and subjective as the words love or God. Most folks have an immediate personal definition of massage, and the nature of those definitions ranges from medical care to prostitution.

In my opinion, when provided by a sincere practitioner, massage is always therapeutic. One of the many beauties of this profession is that it caters to mind, body and soul. I know that sounds like trendy, bumper sticker marketing, but it's true. I've had clients who hired me strictly to remedy their physical pain yet reported their primary benefit as mental ease. And those who sought massage to reduce emotional stress and were extremely surprised at how much better their bodies felt. Etc. You get the idea.

My primary skill set is deep tissue massage. I have a bit of a "search and destroy" mentality. I seek out the problems and work to eliminate or alleviate them. That's why you pay me the big bucks, right? My client list includes massage therapists, musicians, computer geeks, food servers and bartenders, tattoo artists--all people who use their upper bodies and arms to excess. I also specialize in injury and acute pain remediation, from post-surgical discomfort to road bike crashes to "oops, I slept wrong". I have been honored to massage many pregnant women (and their empathetic partners), and I'm experienced in both foot reflexology and lymphatic/detox massage. 

Okay, so back to the title of this post.

Spa massage is an exceptionally slippery term, as you never quite know what you're going to get:

Desk clerk: Mary will be your masseuse today. Would you like to put that $135 on a credit card now? You can add a tip to your payment or give cash to Mary in person. Here's your lavender-scented towlette.

You: Okay. 

I have had some of my best and worst massages at spas. Again, this is all subjective. Most commonly, spa massage is associated with relaxation and luxury, whereas therapeutic massage elicits "ouch" and "wow". And an occasional <expletive deleted>.

At the end of the day, I recommend trying a variety of bodywork practitioners. You will certainly find someone that makes you feel comfortable and meets your needs. Just as there is an endless array of individual bodies, there is an endless resource of individual body workers. Please go find yours, and be well!