We’re so happy to welcome Sara Lee as a part of our BodaHealth team! Sara is a registered massage therapist whose philosophy is to tailor her sessions to each client’s individual needs, based on her extensive experience and her mastery of a wide range of therapeutic bodywork techniques. Read on to learn about Sara!
Jeda Boughton: How did you become interested in Massage Therapy? Can you tell me about the first time you discovered massage?
Sara Lee: I was interested in the human body at a young age, probably because my mother ran a spa that included bodywork and massage. As a young adult, I started working in a traditional Taiwanese rehab clinic doing what we called Tuīná. While working there, I was able to help my mom when she had a severe frozen shoulder. I gave her a trigger point release, deep tissue, and myofascial release massage every other day with hydrotherapy. I’m happy to say that my treatments were an essential part of her full recovery.
My mother was one of my most important instructors and has always been supportive of me in my career.
JB: That sounds like such a great experience! Is your mother still practicing?
SL: No, she’s retired now.
JB: In addition to being a Registered Massage Therapist, you have a number of other certifications and training. Can you talk a little about them and how they fit into your practice? For example, what conditions are best treated by them, and how do you determine which techniques to use?
SL: I’ve been trained in Acupressure, also known as Asian somatic therapies, which is related to acupuncture. While acupuncture uses hair-thin needles to stimulate acupoints, acupressure uses a firm stationary pressure to massage the point. Similar to deep tissue massage, it uses gliding pressure, firm point pressure with passive release. However, deep tissue massage is also a little different from acupressure, in that it’s often paired with Myofascial release to treat deeper musculoskeletal tissues that have been injured by muscle strain, a sports injury, or surgery that has caused scar tissue. I also practice Pre-natal massage and Trigger Point Release. I use whichever combination of techniques is best suited to my individual patient. Every person’s body is different, and even the same body varies from day to day.
JB: You initially trained as a massage therapist in Taiwan and then received your certificate as a Registered Massage Therapist in Canada. Can you speak about if and how your past experience and training comes into play in your treatment sessions?
SL: My background training in Acupressure is a great complement to Western massage techniques. In practice, different techniques are often naturally integrated into a single treatment session.
JB: Are there any specific conditions, injuries, or kinds of pain that you tend to treat a lot, and that your style of treatment works really well for? For example, do you treat low back pain, rotator cuff problems, neck and shoulder pain or arthritis?
SL: I really like to promote health and healing in clients regardless of their particular physical treatment needs. Some common things that I treat are upper crossed syndrome, work-related repetitive strain injuries, muscle tension, headaches, piriformis syndrome, sciatica, whiplash, sport massage, and pre and postnatal massage.
JB: What is upper crossed syndrome?
SL: Upper crossed syndrome refers to an imbalance in your neck, upper back, chest and shoulders. Poor posture and misaligned repetitive movements are the primary cause of this condition. Many people exhibit hunched forward-rounded shoulders while standing but especially while they’re sitting and engaged with screen-based devices, like computer work and driving. These sedentary positions often involve unconscious shoulder rounding and head-forward positioning. A slouched posture reduces the engagement of the core and the glutes, shortens the hamstrings and hip flexors, and stresses the lower back.
JB: What about the mental health benefits of massage? Do you work with clients who are looking to reduce stress? If so, how would a stress-relief session be different from one in which you’re treating someone in pain?
SL: When treating clients with localized pain, I select treatment techniques that are specific to the area of the body that requires relief. In contrast, because stress can manifest in many different ways in the body, stress-reduction treatments are primarily guided by where and how stress manifests for each individual client.
JB: Of all the conditions you mentioned, are there ones you especially enjoy treating?
SL: I really like to treat muscle tension such as in upper crossed syndrome, tension headaches, work-related repetitive strain injuries, sport massage and relaxation massage, as well as working with prenatal and postnatal clients.
JB: It’s really great that you are working with pregnant women. Your work with massage fits in really well with our work with fertility and pregnancy patients at BodaHealth!
SL: Yes, I particularly enjoy pre-and post-natal patients, and they can really benefit from massage.
JB: You have training in deep tissue massage, trigger point release, and myofascial release. These all sound deep and very beneficial. Can you speak about how they work and when you’d use these techniques and what kinds of conditions do they treat?
SL: These techniques are specific to different anatomical structures, for example, fascial tissues vs muscle tissues. They are most powerful when integrated in a way that the massage therapist can treat multiple aspects of common physical problems.
JB: With all your training and experience, what’s next for you professionally? Is there more education on your horizon? Are there areas of expertise that you want to explore or certifications that you are planning to pursue? What do you see for yourself in the next couple of years?
SL: I would like to pursue further training in female health-related conditions. In September, I have a massage course coming up on breast massage treatment. I have found that the best training so far is practical experience guided by individual client feedback.
JB: When you’re not in the clinic, what kinds of things do you enjoy doing and what do you do personally to stay healthy?
SL: I love to practice Pilates, biking and enjoy the beautiful hiking trails of BC.
JB: Is there anything else that you’d like people to know about you or massage therapy?
SL: My love for holistic and natural therapy has led me to pursue a career in health and wellness. I believe that massage therapy is one of the best treatment approaches in helping others achieve optimal physical and mental health.
JB: Great, thank you so much Sara, we are really excited to have you working with us!
Sara Lee, RMT began her education at the Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science in Taiwan. She became certified in massage therapy from the Vancouver Career College in 2017. Sara is experienced in a variety of massage styles including deep tissue, trigger point release, Thai massage, myofascial release, acupressure and Swedish massage, to name a few. To learn more about Sara or to set up a session with her, click here.
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