The following is an interview that took place with Jen to allow us all to get to know her better.
Q: How did you get into your current career/what made you decide to peruse this career?
A: I was working in marketing and admin jobs, and my work/life balance was completely off. But working in continuing medical education opened my eyes to how much I love healthcare. I could read up on the latest treatments and approaches to disease management.
I kept working in a corporate role while I trained as a yoga teacher and then I spent a good two years researching healthcare fields. At the end of those two years I knew I wanted to be a massage therapist, helping people in a direct and hands-on way. I absolutely love it and would not change a step in this journey for the world.
Q: Do you have a special focus/specialization in your practice? Is there a reason why you have this focus in your practice?
A: I have close family members and friends who have had to live with chronic pain from childhood and young adulthood. I’ve seen that the medical treatments they receive are helpful but not enough. Because of that, I focus my continuing education and research on the effects of massage therapy on chronic pain, autoimmune disorders, neurological disorders, and pediatric care.
Q: What is your #1 health tip?
A: Move as much as you can, and as gently as you need to. If your body isn’t able to recover from a long run or lifting heavy weights, don’t let it stress you out!
Some of my favorite ways to get in gentle exercise:
A five minute walk to the park, sitting on a bench and walking home.
Gentle yoga for 10 minutes
Going to a therapeutic pool and alternating between kicking your legs, stretching in the warm water, and talking to a friend or people watching
Q: What is your favourite thing about your practice?
A: I meet people with such an amazing diversity of jobs, hobbies, backgrounds and goals. And then with something as low-tech as massage therapy I can help all of these people to achieve their healthcare goals.
Q: What do you like to do for fun (any hobbies, activities etc)? Why do you enjoy these things?
A: I’m very outdoorsy – my parents took me camping the summer I was born, and it has stayed my favorite thing. Even with a short walk by the lake my mind clears and I have time for a deep mindful breath.
I also get very, very excited for Christmas. My apartment starts getting decorated on November 1st, and I’m already having trouble waiting. The rest of the year I channel that passion into food. When I travel, I treat the local grocery stores like museums, and at home I’m always cooking for myself and my family.
Q: What do you value most in your life? Why?
A: My memory! I had a bad concussion a few years ago, and it was terrifying not being able to remember my niece’s name or what I wanted to ask a friend. I’ll never take my health for granted again.
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
A: I love where I live! My apartment is cozy and close to everything. I would love a vacation retreat big enough for lots of friends and family to fill it up, like a giant multi-day sleepover.