LM: Your practice, Rhemedy By Rhed, offers therapeutic massage, providing a combination of massages including, Swedish, Deep Tissue, Massage Cupping, Lymphatic Drainage, Cranio Sacral, Hot Stones, Aromatherapy, Pre/Post Natal, Thermatherapy, Thai Yoga, and Reflexology. Can you tell us a bit more about your practice and how the different disciplines work together?
JRY: The massage healing arts, as a whole, is much more complex in the variety of disciplines or “modalities” it offers. At Rhemedy By Rhed Therapeutic Massage, we offer many modalities to explore the aspects of manipulation of soft tissue through pressure and stretching (Deep Tissue, Swedish, Massage Cupping, Thai Yoga), subtle body systems (Cranio Sacral, Lymphatic Drainage, meridian points and trajectory (Thai Yoga, Reflexology, Massage Cupping), energy (Stones, Reiki, Lymphatic Drainage, Cranio Sacral), specific body location (Reflexology), temperature (Hot Stones, Himalayan Salt Stones, Therma-packs, Marble Stones, Selenite Stones) and landmarks of life changing time periods (Pre/Post Natal). A typical session can be a fusion of multiple modalities which are rendered as a prime example in our Rhemedy Ritual service, where the therapist combines the skills and intuition of soft tissue work, energy, meridian trajectory and stretches from Thai Yoga. Conditions which cannot be as effectively supported in one modality are supported by another. This is why the term “healing arts” applies, as the practitioner melds many aspects to offer potential changes for the client.
LM: What do you enjoy most about your career?
JRY: I enjoy seeing and experiencing the healing capacity of an individual’s body without any pharmaceutical or surgical enhancements. I enjoy being surrounded by positive colleagues who, like me, support and believe in the capacity of self-healing through expertise and non-ego based sessions. I enjoy working within the mostly serene, aesthetically and audibly pleasing environment daily. I also enjoy pushing and pulling on people as that reminds me of the pliable humanity in of all of us.
LM: What are the top benefits that therapeutic massage can have on a person’s whole health?
JRY: The top benefit, hands down, is the utter relaxation a person can experience which physiologically increases serotonin (happy pleasure based hormones) levels, reduces cortisol (stress hormones) levels, and allows the client to unplug from their brains and into their body’s consciousness. This in turn creates a well-balanced mind and body. The other known benefits are: reducing scar tissue, elongating shortened muscles, unlocking chronic postural issues, and increasing overall body circulation.
LM: Can you describe a typical client session?
JRY: Most clients reserve a one hour session. The client’s historical evaluation is taken, with injuries and current lifestyle in mind. The client is asked for their current condition and the intent of their session. The client disrobes while the practitioner steps out and is covered fully for their privacy, prior to starting the session. Proper draping is maintained to honor the client’s comfort and security level. Some wish to focus only on the upper part of their body and some prefer a holistic full body session with the area of intent as the focus. Depending on the modality, aromatherapy oils are used. Breath of the client is noted and integrated within the massage. Upon completion of the session, the client is welcome to discuss their experience, as well as elaborating on the practitioner’s observations about their body.
LM: When you were training to become a massage therapist, what were some main causes of stress you learned about?
JRY: Lifestyle choices, life altering events, old physical injuries, residual unresolved emotions, habitual bad habits all can attribute to stress in a body. Whether it is the body or the mind that creates this stress, depends on each individual.
LM: Besides therapeutic massage, what are some other ways of coping with stress that you recommend to your clients and why?
JRY: As a long time practitioner of yoga, I offer remedies from the yogic angle of asanas, withdrawal from negative habits, whether it be postural holding patterns, supporting a more restorative aspect to their lives with creating some time-out’s and or suggesting healthier eating habits to the client. Meditation has been proven effective when practiced daily, however, any enjoyable non-competitive daily activity which engages the body is recommended to take a break from being “inside the head.’ It can be a low impact activity such as gardening or a high impact activity like running. Pranayama, the breathwork branch of yoga is also a powerful tool to understand how to notice and control your breath during stressful times. And the best stress coping tool to have in your arsenal is having some great laughs with your dearest friends and or family.
LM: You are involved in numerous professional and personal development activities. What continues to motivate you in your ongoing development?
JRY: I believe that therapeutic massage is an integral part of complementary and preventative care for my clients, as well as myself! AMTA is an organization I support to create more respect for massage therapists as a profession, but at the same time, I see politics even within our industry, yet there is a web of support there that allows me to not become entangled in the politics…Otherwise, I would not be able to work with my clients so readily! To see progress in healing or supporting transformation with my regular clients motivates me to constantly educate myself further. As for personal development, I would not be here had I not been able to focus on myself and committed to self-care. Through my gratefulness in that opportunity and a bit of personal perfectionism which rears its naughty head, I am always striving towards the balance.
LM: What led you to pursue your career in massage therapy and graduating from the legendary Swedish Institute? And why did you choose to pursue your education at the Swedish Institute?
JRY: 9/11 allowed me to let go of my stressful lifestyle as a design director producing retail design products which developed and demolished ephemerally. The frailty of life becomes a reality with a tragedy like 9/11 and from that place of darkness, the realization of my innate desire to connect to humanity eventually evolved into my transition to connect to people on physical and emotional levels. I also had a strong desire to travel and see the world outside of US and thought I could travel the world working as a massage therapist!
Swedish Institute is a venerable education institute in the massage therapy world with a history and esteemed accreditation process. The teachers there provide strong Western Anatomy, Physiology and Neurology education balanced with Eastern philosophies of 5 Elements Shiatsu and Thai Yoga. And it was perfect, since it’s based in the heart of NYC!
LM: How does therapeutic massage affect the body?
JRY: As mentioned, physiologically, it alters the seratonin and cortisol levels, boosts circulation which allows the heart to do less work, reduces scar tissue, reshapes the muscle and fascia, alleviates the hold on skeletal structures. Energetically, massage therapy can uplift your energy, sedates your erratic sensations, supports you through emotional difficulties, and most importantly… allows you to let go, (for the moment), of the constant control and decisions you make for your body.
LM: What are some of the latest trends in therapeutic massage treatment?
JRY: I have been studying Bruno Chikly’s, Lymph Drainage course and his technical anatomical knowledge merged with sensory approach is so admirable, he even address the pathologies of lymphatics in the brain! Harnessing the understanding of the microsystem of lymphatic will be evolving in the upcoming decades, as the lymph cleans our body systematically, as a whole.
Another soft tissue modality that is growing currently is “active release” techniques which are effective in reeducating muscles efficiently.
Other energy modalities which are part of the bodywork umbrella are being requested more often, now that more and more people are receptive to energy work. More hospitals and spas are now offering energy sessions like Reiki and Chakra Healing, which will also change people’s perceptions of bodywork.
LM: What are some myths and misconceptions about the massage therapy profession?
JRY: The main myth is historically linked with the sexual connotation of “Happy Endings.” This is the furthest from the truth. Therapeutic massage has been utilized over the centuries in many other countries as part of the healthcare system, yet in the US, only certain states mandate the 1000+ educational and hands on hours required just to take the certification exam like we do in New York. There is also still a divide throughout US massage therapy organizations to allow relaxation-based massage, as received in pampering spas, to be a separate degree from the advanced medical massage degree. As a professional member, it is imperative to increase your educational hours every 3 years. This also separates the pros from the illegal bodyworkers, who I am sure can get the job done, but are still an issue in high GNP countries like the US.
The other misconception is that a big tall male “masseuse” will give you the deepest tissue massage. In actuality, it is the well-trained and balanced practitioner, working from their core and inner strength, who will surely better address your deep chronic tensions.
And on the flip side, there is the sexist misconception that a male practitioner will not be able to render an intuitive, nurturing, non-sexual healing session. Many men are hesitant to work with male practitioners, when in fact, those therapists know your body the best! Life is funny that way, but touch is touch. But at the end of the day, the session belongs to the client and they should decide who they want to work with.
LM: Beyond massage, what are some other complementary and alternative medicine treatments you recommend to your clients to ensure a strong and healthy body and mind
JRY: Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Naturopathic and Homeopathic remedies, Ayurvedic and Chinese Herbal Medicine, Yoga, Tai-Chi, Qi-Gong all have high success rates in complementary healthcare. Any treatment is more effective when you are committed and regular about it. The best medicine, I believe, is the combination of consistent healthy eating, an inquisitive mind and a happy heart.
About Judie Rhed Yim, Principal & Proprietor, Rhemedy by Rhed
“My core belief in bodywork is to promote complete relaxation for each client, modality, and session. Our body has an amazing self-healing system, which benefits from relaxing, nurturing, self-focused rituals like massage sessions. Within relaxation, the body opts to regenerate, renew, and re-energize as well as release holding patterns which perpetuate tensions.”
Graduating from legendary 1000+hours curriculum at the Swedish Institute in NYC 2005, Judie has continued her bodywork education: 100 hours ARCB accredited Reflexology course; Mastery Medical Massage course; 100 hours Lotus Palm Thai Yoga certification Massage courses in Montreal; Reiki I & II attunements; Craniosacral Biodynamics and CranioSomatics with Dr. Hancock; TheraCupping and LymphaticBalancing with Beth Ellen Zang; certification of Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Lymphedema with Michael Alatriste; and most recently Lymphatic Drainage Therapy with The Chikly Institute. Her experience comes from working with variety of body types: from injury rehabilitation and chronic pain patients to Olympic swimmers to entertainment celebrities as clients. Her rhythmical deep tissue sessions usually incorporate unwinding of the body with assisted breath-work. The twelve years as an ever learning yoga practitioner with highly respected teachers has taught her strength, finesse & agility; as well, her background of many hours in high-end spas and design firm have taught her the definition of “anticipated unique service” for all visitors.