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On Becoming a Massage Therapist

Sadly, I can’t remember when I had my first massage. The first one I can remember having was when I was in my twenties.  I loved it then and have ever since. Lucky me - that I also do this for a living and people love to come see me! I went for massage when I was feeling stressed or to treat myself.  I knew it felt good and was relaxing. I didn’t have too many aches and pains to resolve at that time, but I knew I felt more balanced when I left my massage therapist's office, both physically and mentally. I loved to see my massage therapist and I thought, what a great job that would be!

Before I had kids I worked as an Orthotist at Children’s Hospital and New England Medical Center. An Orthotist is a person who designs, manufactures and fits orthopedic braces (also called orthoses). I loved that job.  I felt I was helping people. I loved the artisitic and creative aspects of designing, building and fitting the braces. I loved the personal interaction I had with my patients. They were lovely. They weren’t always happy to be wearing a brace but they were happy with the improvement in their quality of life or health. I hope that their time with me and our interactions were as valuable to them as they were to me. After several years I left my job as an Orthotist to have my kids and be a stay at home mom.


When I had been home with my kids for a number of years, and I felt that it would be manageable for myself and my family, I attended school to become a  massage therapist. (I always like going to school, taking courses and learning new things...even today)  I assumed that because I loved receiving massage and I liked working with and helping people that I would also love being a massage therapist. I was right! I do love it. People asked me “Are you sure you are going to like touching other people’s bodies all the time?” That had never crossed my mind.  It felt perfectly natural to provide therapeutic touch to people. It makes them so happy, and it improves the quality of their life and their health. How could I not like that?

I learned several things about myself and what makes a good experience for a client from these jobs and from my personal experience in receiving massage.

  1. I love being able to interact one on one with people and feel that I have made a positive contribution to their lives.
  2. I like working cooperatively with people - teaching them as well as learning from them.
  3. Part of what makes me good at my job, and also makes for a profound and effective experience for my patient or client, is the energy I put out to them during our interactions and in their treatment. My massage is entirely different from another therapist’s for many reasons, but I feel one of the most influential factors is energy.  By energy I don’t mean the vigor with which I give a massage, but the manner of my presence.  Each person’s energy is unique. It’s wonderful when you find another person whose energy naturally complements yours and enhances the work you receive. I personally find that I need a certain type of energy in a massage therapist or any other type of health professional I see, for them to be most effective and comfortable for me.

So that is how I came to be a massage therapist.  I may or may not be the right one for you. I'd be happy to help you figure that out. The important thing is that you find your massage therapist and avail yourself of all the benefits massage has to offer. Who knows, you may love it so much that you think…hmmm…what a great job that would be. It could happen.

It's the Little Things

In seeing clients over the past few months and introducing them to Maya Abdominal Therapy I have realized something; how easily we become accustomed to things being slightly off, bothersome or not in balance. We dismiss things if they hover below a certain threshold. When we live with something every day or every month, and it is not something too severe then we may adapt to it. But should we? Clients have come to me to experience Maya Abdominal Therapy and learn self-care, thinking they have have no specific issues...
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Five Easy Ways to Improve Your Health (and a Laugh)

Here are five simple ways you can improve your health every day.  Even if you add only one or two of these to your daily life you will be doing yourself a terrific favor!

1. Moving Along.  Drink warm or hot water every morning before you put anything else in your body. This helps to cleanse your system and get things moving along. For a greater effect add some lemon to your water.

2. Breathe Deeply.  Proper breathing is one of the most important contributors to good health. Breathe deeply, letting your belly be soft and expand as your lungs fill with air.  Allow your lungs to fill all the way to the bottom.

3. Spice It Up.  Use spices (such as turmeric, garlic, cumin, ginger and cinnamon) often and generously in your food and drink.  Food is medicine and spices have multitudes of antioxidants and healing properties.

4. Five Minute Massage.  Give yourself a five minute foot massage or belly rub each night before going to bed. Use plenty of warm oil such as olive, safflower or jojoba (organic if possible) and add a few drops of essential oil such as lavender or sweet orange for enhanced benefits. Both types of massage help you relax, destress and be present in your body.  Foot massage can access the reflexology points which correspond to all parts of your body; abdominal massage can improve digestion and elimination among many other benefits.


5. Plant Yourself.  Buy some indoor plants; they purify the air and increase the humidity, reducing allergies and sinusitis. Bringing nature into our homes helps us to feel happier, more grounded (my favorite word) and less stressed.


Laugh. Laughter decreases stress hormones and can act as a powerful muscle relaxer. Laughter can help you breathe deeper, strengthen your immune system, forget about pain and lower blood pressure. If you need a little help with this one and you like the plant tip then watch this little number.

Five Minutes to Care for Yourself

Hopefully we all know, even if we have not implemented it yet, the importance of self-care. As women, sometimes it is hard for us to make the time to do this on a regular basis (or at all).  We think there are so many things that need to be done before we make time to care for ourselves! Giving yourself a foot massage is something that will take you five minutes and can have a great return in the well-being department.  I find it especially helpful to quiet a busy mind and produce a peaceful night's sleep (also works well for the kids). Here are some guidelines for giving yourself a foot massage (or self-abhyanga). You can use whatever oil you have handy, and if you want to add a drop of lavender essential oil to your carrier oil, even better. If you choose to get more specific you can select an oil that is best suited to your type or dosha.  So tonight when you get ready for bed remember: five minutes to care for yourself is not a whole lot to ask. I know you would do it for someone you loved, why not for yourself?

Mayan Abdominal Massage and a great story...

I recently read a very interesting book. It was Sastun: My Apprenticeship with a Maya Healer by Rosita Arvigo. It is the story of how Rosita learned the Mayan art of natural healing from Don Elijio Panti, a well-respected healer in the rainforest of Brazil.

Why did I end up reading this book? I am interested in The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® which is taught by Rosita and the Arvigo® Institute. I am taking a self-care class offered by them in a few weeks and I am very excited about it. Mayan abdominal massage can help with symptoms such as painful or irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation, bladder or yeast infections, peri menopause, menopausal symptoms, infertility, PMS/Depression with menstruation, and can enhance pregnancy and aid in labor and birthing. The techniques work to restore the body to its natural balance by correcting the position of organs that have shifted and restrict the flow of blood, lymph, nerve and chi energy.

I read the book hoping to find out more about The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy®.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed the actual story of Rosita’s time with Don Elijiio.  I think you might find it interesting too. 

For more information about The Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® visit

Wellness in Bloom Massage & Bodywork for Women - Bolton, MA - 508.410.1138
Copyright © 2014, Rebecca Susi.  All rights reserved.
ARVIGO® and THE ARVIGO TECHNIQUES OF MAYA ABDOMINAL THERAPY® are trademarks owned by the Arvigo Institute, LLC and are used herein by permission of The Arvigo Institute, LLC. ©2016 by The Arvigo Institute LLC.  All Rights Reserved.