• My Massage with Denis

    I told Denis that I wasn’t just some wussy when it came to massage. He could get right in there. I could take it.

    He grinned. “We’ll see.”

    I don’t know why I felt the need for this show of courage. After all, Denis is the expert; he’d be able to judge what my body needed. So why the swagger?

    I’ve had a few massages in my time, from Shiatzu at the mall, to hot stone massage in the open air studio at the Wickinninnish Inn in Tofino (yeah, I know. Lucky girl.)  But this was the first time I’d ever had a massage with (gasp!) a man! Would it be weird? Awkward?

    The answer? No.

    I’d been doing some serious life renovation in the weeks prior to my massage with Denis: new house, new job, new relationship… When I change my world, I like to go big. But change, even for the better, is stressful. My back was a mess. Shoulders up around my ears. Discomfort in my hip, inciting a barrage of “geriatric girlfriend” jokes from my new, much younger boyfriend. Sheesh.

    But don’t cry for me, South Granville. I mean, I work at a massage studio.

    Denis did a full body massage, though he focused on my upper body. We did a lot of Yoga-like moves, with me breathing in for a count of seven, and exhaling while he gently stretched out my muscles. “Do you do Yoga?” He asked.

    “Yes.” Was my immediate, slightly defensive reply. Then after a pause: “But not as much as I should.”

    Bet he hears that a lot.

    By the time he’d reached my lower back, I’d dropped the superhero routine. This was “me” time; I didn’t have to impress anyone. Denis’ hands are strong, and at times the massage was deep and slightly intense, though he regularly asked how the pressure was. Just before the end of my hour, he put my earlier braggadocio to the test.

    “Okay,” he said, “This might hurt a little, but it will really help.”

    “Right, I’m ready.” I was rolled over onto my back by then, so I put on my brave face.

    He moved his fingers down my collar bone slowly, from the throat area towards my shoulders. Woah. Little fireworks of pain exploded along my neck, and I worked to keep breathing normally.

    “That okay?” He asked.

    “Yeah,” I croaked. Brave face.

    And when it was over, release. Muscle release. Stress release. Much like my experience with Lori, I felt almost giddy afterwards, giggling with the therapists at the front desk before I left. I felt so relaxed and positive the next morning, I sent Denis a little email, even though I was going to see him at work. If you have a massage story or testimonial you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it!

    Thanks Denis!


    Be happy,




  • Everything I know…

    I had the great fortune to be the daughter of a wise woman. My mother was ahead of her time in many ways; most notably, her interest in herbs, alternative wellness, yoga and massage.  This was revolutionary stuff in small town Saskatchewan at that time. When I was 12 years old, she became a Registered Massage Therapist  and started a small practice in our home. I have known massage therapy to be an alternative to pain medication since I was quite young.  As a figure skater, I benefited greatly from her abilities.

    One of the myriad things that Mom taught me was that people use massage for many different reasons.  I hope to clarify for you how massage therapy can be used in your life.


    Some clients are referred to a registered massage therapist (RMT) by their MD, chiropractor or physiotherapist, for a specific health concern. It may be headaches, back or neck pain, injury from a car accident, sport injury, stress or depression. Often these situations require urgent attention and a patient might see an RMT twice a week. For both therapist and patient, getting the symptoms under control is a priority. After seeing an RMT for 3 weeks or so,  the main issue may be alleviated or at least under control. These clients may then stop coming for treatments until some other problem arises.

    Lifestyle/chronic conditions:

    Other clients choose to come for treatments as part of their wellness plan.  There may not be an obvious problem to work on or a nagging injury; this is more of a preventative approach to wellness. Clients book a treatment once every 2 weeks or once per month, on a regular basis. They reserve the time and make it a priority, like exercise.  Usually this type of treatment involves relaxation. Relaxation time should not be underestimated!  We live in a stressful world, with stress-induced illnesses. When the body knows how to relax, it can deal more effectively with what we put it through on a daily basis.

    Some of our clients have chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia. Massage therapy lessens the effect of the condition and adds to the quality of life for someone who faces these additional challenges.

    Temporary conditions:

    At Soma, we are all trained in pre and postnatal massage therapy. We’re very comfortable helping pregnant women cope with the many changes of the child-bearing year.  Many clients begin treatment at the beginning of the 2nd trimester, although massage therapy is very safe during the first trimester as well.  We recommend treatments once every 2 weeks in the beginning, increasing to once per week for the last month. Regular massage during this time helps to reduce swelling, lessen fatigue and decrease back strain. We also suggest that massage treatments continue for at least a few weeks after the birth, to help with hormonal adjusting, fight fatigue and reduce strain on the body.  Some women continue with regular treatment even after the baby is born to help with strain from breast-feeding, or simply for some “Me” time.

    So you see, massage therapy can be useful for everyone, at all stages of life! Listen to your body, and be good to it. Bring it in to Soma once in a while for a tune-up; you’ll be happy you did.

    Wishing you health and vitality,