This week we are focusing on using Jojoba Oil* as a Massage Medium (If you are a Massage Professional, check out our in depth page about using jojoba oil as a massage medium). We want to get to know our customers better and have you along for the ride! In our #HowDoYouHobaCare series we find out how/why individuals, professionals and businesses use our HobaCare Jojoba – and showcase their lives, services or products! (see list below for more in this series).
We are delighted to introduce you to Michelle of Lumina Massage in Miami Lakes, Florida. She started using jojoba oil as a massage medium a few years ago. We are so grateful she took the time to chat with us over the phone to share her love of all things massage therapy, motherhood, jojoba, and wellness.
Can you tell us a little bit about your practice and what originally drew you to training in Massage Therapy?
Wow, there are so many things about doing massage which I feel are very special. It’s a long list, but if I were to summarize it, I would describe us as a clinical massage company, utilizing neuromuscular massage therapy as our primary avenue for healing people and helping them get out of pain.
Our main demographic is moms, including women seeking to be moms, so it’s fertility focused. The bulk of our clientele is prenatal and runner up is postpartum. I feel like the number of postpartum will increase to almost as much as prenatal. We also see children for pediatric massage.
The way we view our mission is to take care of the mother. We see the mom as the cornerstone of the family, whether she is single or married, and we feel very strongly that if we take care of her, the family unit will benefit as a whole. We see everyone else that comes our way, dad, grandparents, but mom is our primary goal.
I just had a discussion with my local community church – “When you were a child, what did you want to be?” And one of my vocations was working as a massage therapist. I grew up with a single mom who worked really hard. My mom would ask me to massage her. It was really sweet and I made this association very early on that physical touch helped people feel better.
That’s how it got started. It really worked well with me and I loved working with my hands. I really enjoyed helping people, so right after high school in 1997, I decided I wanted to join a message therapist program.
Every Massage Therapist has their own voice, their own personality of caring for others through their profession. What are some of the core values at Lumina Massage?
Oh my, that’s a great question! Compassion is number one. Every massage therapist is their own person, I have a lot of respect for them, yet I have seen cases where some massage therapists have treated people as if they’re just a number and they are eager to get them off the table. Or when they’re delivering touch, they’re not really respecting the persons non-verbal signals or even if they do see them, they have a “no pain, no gain” philosophy. Everybody’s entitled to their own values, of course, but those just don’t work well with me. I don’t respond well to that level of care and touch.
In my professional experience, if you blend clinical knowledge with compassion, patience and respect – the cleint, how they open up to you, how their body and their mind just really allow you in, it’s so much easier to work with a body that way. Because they’re not in a fight or flight state where their muscles are tight.
So, their surrendering to treatment, it’s a state of trust, is beautiful. I’m really just going by what my clients have told me again and again, because I’ve asked them “what’s the primary reason you come back?” and one of the top answers is compassion. So, I think it’s compassion and competence.. Having a drive, an ambition to constantly study anatomy, get to know your local doctors in the area, be a referral source for your client base and share information. It’s a holistic approach.
Thank you for choosing HobaCare Jojoba over the last few years! Do you recall how you found us and/or what piqued your interest to try jojoba oil as a massage medium?
Yes, I remember the exact moment! I think I had ordered from Massage Warehouse. I had their catalog and I spent five years in luxury hospitality. Miami is blessed with a lot of world class resorts and we were frequently stocked with oils, like canola, safflower, sunflower seed (and that’s just the oil department). When I was doing neuromuscular work in the medical setting, it was more wax based products or cremes and that’s all I knew, so that’s what I bought.
I remember I saw “The Jojoba Company” in the catalog and I think I had also heard of you through Massage Business Blueprint, which is an excellent podcast, so I kind of had that reference as well, so I said “Oh! The Jojoba Company! Let me just order the tiniest of bottles and see what happens” and I remember the shipment came in and I’m not exaggerating – it looked like a little bottle of golden liquid, I put it on my hands, I started working with it and I fell in love! I instantly felt like holy smokes, this stuff feels amazing and I just loved how it felt to work with.
Then later on I learned about all of its benefits and I loved the way it didn’t stain my sheets, I loved the way it didn’t smell rancid, I loved the way it glided – and then I started to get feedback from my clients that had eczema. I literally got Facebook messages like “what did you use on me – it’s so good!”
I was already sold as a practitioner just using it but having that client feedback makes me so proud to boast about it. Especially with my prenatal clientele, because I know safety is such a big concern for them. Although, I am shocked at how many people never ask “what are you putting on my skin/body?” and I have to educate them and when I do, it makes Lumina massage even more of an appealing place to visit.
We love that you offer classes for infant massage through social media – what a great way to help others bring safe, therapeutic touch into their homes. What are some of your favorite aspects of infant massage and the benefits of it?
I’m always going to back to the moms – I will go back to the babies, I promise, but the moms are what I gravitate to all the time because when a woman gives birth, all the attention goes to the baby. “How’s the baby doing?”, the many pediatrician visits, and I just feel like mom, her health and mental emotional state gets cast aside. So, I always bring it back to them.
One of my favorite aspects about offering infant massage is that it supports postpartum moms and it is a place that I can connect with women. It’s a platform where I get asked questions about postpartum care, not so much to get clients, although that happens organically. I feel like as you educate people, you earn their trust and it creates an open forum for talking about the challenges of a mom at home alone for hours at a time, dealing with all these changes with her body. So that’s the primary aspect that I love about using baby massage to support moms during those first several weeks.
The second, of course, is all of those cute babies! I’m a sucker for those babies. Pre-Covid, I would get to meet babies and we would do classes live. I think also just being able to give moms a resource, they could do this from anywhere they don’t have to live in Florida. There’s just something to the ease and convenience of being able to learn these techniques without having to visit a hospital that makes it a really great way of promoting massage and also I really want the babies to start receiving touch.
There are so many wonderful, wonderful aspects of soothing the nervous system and preparing the nervous system for when baby starts turning and doing tummy time – it’s therapeutic. I know it helps them sleep – not at that exact time of the massage (many moms say “why is my baby so fidgety” and I say “just let them be fidgety”) but it definitely soothes the nervous system in terms of helping baby be calmer overall.
It helps with postpartum depression, especially moms who struggle with connecting with their child because of these really strong hormonal fluctuations and they just don’t know how to do it. And if they just have a teacher guiding them, even if they’re not feeling it at the moment, eventually something will click.
I’m not claiming that baby massage will fix postpartum depression, but I know that creating that bond with the baby is really important and for dad, too! The majority of the moms who come in to see me are in a good place in terms of the traditional family unit, but that’s not always the case. There are single moms where sometimes grandma is helping out and we have a lot of immigration here in Miami, lots of immigrant parents where maybe dad needs to work really long hours or maybe he’s still in another country.
Infant massage is something anyone can learn. The entire household is trying to find a rhythm when you bring a baby home and as that gets formed, with the feeding and bathing – massage can also be a rhythm. Children take a lot of comfort in routine.
There will be times when the baby’s not feeling it and that’s ok. Maybe they’re colicky or didn’t sleep well but 8 times out of 10, baby’s going to really look forward to it and the more time passes and the more the two of you or dad and baby have a routine of say a 7pm bath time and right after that is massage time and some days you maybe diffuse lavender essential oil in the background. It’s a nice non-tech, no screen, relaxing time to just enjoy your baby.
Have you ever tried HobaCare Jojoba in your personal life? For skincare, hair conditioning, DIY aromatherapy or perhaps around the home on a kitchen cutting board?
No, I haven’t tried it on my cutting board – that’s very interesting! But yes, whenever I go get a massage I have two products that I insist on because I don’t know what the heck they’re using at their place and one of those products is HobaCare Jojoba. I literally wrap my bottle up to take with me and get a massage every two weeks because my work is very physical and it’s part of my self care. I also use it for a make-up remover and to do a facial massage at night to moisturize my face.
Are there any myths about using jojoba oil as a massage medium or massage you’d like to dispel?
What I explain to my clients about jojoba when they ask “what is it?” is it’s a seed extract and I let them know its non-toxic, it’s non-allergenic, I use it safely on myself and I use it safely on clients that have sensitive skin, auto immune disorders, pregnancy – anyone who is highly conscious of what goes onto their skin, as everyone should be. So no myths about that, just education about using jojoba oil as a massage medium.
As for massage – like many massage therapists, I would love to get away from the idea that massage is pampering or spoiling. I really dislike those terms! I do a lot of pediatric massage. I see a lot of young dancers who compete and they get injured, so if it’s a serious injury, after they’ve been discharged from physical therapy, I utilize neuromuscular massage to keep them in good shape or treat an injury they have, if it’s muscular.
So, it makes me really sad when people say “Oh you’re spoiling your children” and it just goes back to that very archaic, old school way of thinking that massage is for the wealthy, that it’s just for a certain race, that it’s just for your birthday or something like that.
There’s just this huge educational gap as to the transformational power of massage therapy and what it can offer. We also see an uptick of anxiety, you know, we’ve had clients who cry on our massage table, as I’m sure other massage therapists have had, but just the manifestation of stress that we‘ve seen and we’ve been able to help with that.
I had a postpartum mom who literally could barely walk when she first came in, the birth was awful, she was so swollen and in so much pain. Working on her was heartbreaking and I had to keep my composure as a massage therapist.
Her husband was waiting for her in the car, she told me when she left the office and got into the car, she started crying and her husband panicked, asking “what happened, did they hurt you?” and she said “No, quite the opposite. For the first time I actually feel like someone heard me and validated what my body is going through. I’m so tired of being on pain meds.”. Long story short, I think by session three or four, she’s completely off paid medication.
So, that’s what I would like to dispel in terms of myths associated with massage – that’s it’s just a very light, very frivolous thing. It can be life changing, especially if you couple it with conventional medical care. I have no problem with, in fact I love asking people “when was the last time you got a check up?” – it’s part of taking care of people. This woman’s husband is now off of medical cannabis for back pain after utilizing massage, so it’s just a testament to massage when it’s done in the best way possible – it’s great!
Life has been challenging for all – is there a quality or behavior you would recommend practicing to invite more wellness into our lives?
We all know 2020 was so hard. I’m sensitive to it, my staff is sensitive to it, so for 2021, as an effort to raise awareness, we decided to start a mental health series on Instagram. We actually have 3 practicing mental health professionals as our clients and we’ve had them for years tucked away in our little treasure trove. All of them are wonderful women. I’ve benefited from talk therapy, so I would say, although I’m biased with massage, if I were to pick something outside of that, I would say just speaking to a mental health professional.
Know there are many tiers of affordability. Many places will work with your income level. Talking to someone on a regular basis can really make a difference. That is something that we are really rallying behind this year. We are excited, we had our first mental health awareness talk a couple of weeks ago and we had such a great turn out. We spoke about trauma and people were asking questions left and right. I was really surprised at the outcome!
We really do emphasize helping women, we love our guys, too and we value them, but gosh, moms are a never ending fountain of giving and it feels like they just need to be filled. So, if there’s any way we can support them, I would say mental health would probably be the number one (outside of massage) that I would really ask people to consider.
Thank you again, Michelle! Be sure to check out her Lumina Massage on-line and follow her on social media @luminamassage to discover info about massage therapy, tips for self care, lessons in infant massage and more.
A few other posts relevant to using jojoba oil as a massage medium:
Jojoba Oil for treating Cradle Cap
Jojoba Oil for Abhayanga
Massage Therapy for Oncology Patients
Why I Use Jojoba oil as a Massage Medium – Ginnie
Do you use HobaCare Jojoba oil as a massage medium in your business or personal life? Do you use it in other ways? Let us know! Your interview could be the next to show up on our blog! We’d love our readers and our social media followers to know – How Do YOU HobaCare?
Read more posts in our How Do You HobaCare Series:
- INTERVIEW WITH LAURA MCCANN OF ADORATHERAPY
- HILLARY – HOW DO YOU HOBACARE?
- CARI, HOW DO YOU HOBACARE?
- AMY GALPER – USING JOJOBA OIL IN AROMATHERAPY
*Jojoba is actually a wax ester and not an oil, to learn more about that see our in depth page with information about Jojoba. We refer to it as an oil because it’s what people understand but we prefer to call it an “extract” instead.