30 years ago I was working as the store manager of Cost Plus Imports in Santa Rosa - with three assistant managers and 35 employees under my direction. It was a good job (although quite stressful at times), but upon returning to work after the birth of my son, my heart just wasn't in it anymore. In addition, the company was going through some changes due to being sold and I didn't like the look of how things were going under the new management.
A friend of mine, who had given me MY very first massage and whose uncanny intuition I had grown to trust, said to me, "You're a healer... you should go to massage school". That sounded good to me. I'd always wanted to help people but, at age 35 and as a full time single mom, the idea of going back to school to become a teacher or nurse didn't seem feasible. So just like that, I quit my job and enrolled in massage school. Needless to say, my family and friends thought I was crazy to leave a lucrative, steady paycheck and very nice Christmas bonuses, but I did it and I've never looked back or regretted it one bit.
I'll never forget my first day at massage school when half the class was instructed to undress and get on the table - in front of God and everybody!!! But I soon got over that and began to realize that something in me knew how to do this work already... as if I had done it before. (This kind of woo-woo thinking was VERY new to me back then.)
Six months later I received my certification as a Massage Practitioner and was blessed to get a position as an independent contractor in a Sebastopol chiropractic office. I worked there for eight years as I built up my private clientele both there and in my home office in Healdsburg, and while I continued my education to become certified as a Massage Therapist. Working on chiropractic patients weekly was a HUGE bonus since I could really see the results of my work over time. I became very good at deep tissue or what I call "therapeutic" massage, and was lovingly nicknamed Brunhilda by my clients. (:-D
In 1995, I moved my home to a 16 acre rural property on a hill overlooking Forestville and moved my practice there full time as well - opting for the peace and quiet, beauty, and convenience of that location over the business office in downtown Sebastopol. I stayed there for 11 years seeing clients and raising my son in a great environment and community. Here are some photos from a newspaper article written about me during that time - check out those biceps!
In 2006, with my son grown, I moved into a small cottage on three acres in the Graton area, where I still am today. A few years ago, I cut back on my hours a bit and retired "Brunhilda" (for the most part) in an effort to honor my body's not so subtle messages to do so. I'm grateful for my passion for nutrition, daily exercise (that includes LOTS of yoga stretching), and my spiritual practice that all keep me going and growing - happily and healthfully.
Fortunately, my clients have stayed with me through it all - many for over 25 years. They continually tell me that I can't retire, so guess I'll just keep on keepin' on. I'm so grateful for the opportunity and ability to continue doing this work that I deeply love .
AND It's always a treat to work on someone new...
For more info about my massage services, click here.
Happy, Healthy Living!
JoAnn Newton is a Master Massage Therapist, Certified Diet Counselor & Holistic Nutrition Educator, and Spiritual Counselor who is committed to creating, living, and enjoying health, balance, and freedom on all levels, both personally and professionally, while providing educational and healing services.