Spa spotlight – Rae Johnson

I am so grateful to be able to support and accompany people through the modality of Massage Therapy. My entre’ into this work came via an invitation from a friend who was attending massage therapy school and needed a volunteer for her practice sessions. I had only received one massage before, a gift from my Mom before my wedding, and I had always perceived it as a luxury very separate from my work as an RN in public health. My friend educated me in the benefits of massage therapy: that it could be supportive to a person’s wellness and health on many levels including the physical, emotional and spiritual realms. In fact, research was, and continues to be conducted around the world to document the potential health benefits so that eventually it will be included in general primary health care both in the preventive and treatment realms.

Six months later I found myself enrolled in the 18m month training program at PMTI (Potomac Massage Training Institute). I had been working in public health for almost two decades with the last 10 years mostly in roles as health educator; so it was a thrill for me to be able to add back in the role of touch to my professional life. I had no idea, however, the world that would open up to me through the introduction of this modality. After finishing the training to become certified, I went on to receive advanced training in myofascial work, as I had found as a long distance runner that it was quite helpful with the stiffness and injuries that come with athletics. I also learned of various types of energy work and decided to receive levels one and two of Reiki training. Finally, I went through training for Oncology Massage and was thrilled to be a part of a local Susan Kommen Breast Cancer grant that offered massage to low income women. This lead me to apply for my own grant where I was able to lead a pilot project offering massage to patients with chronic pain in the public health clinic where I still work part time as an RN.

It has been a privilege for me to be a part of the Tranquil Space Spa team at Dupont circle since it opened in its new location now in its third year. I view each treatment session as a chance to accompany someone in his or her own pursuit of wellness. Sometimes this just means a break from the stresses of life working in the fast paced city while other times it’s a chance to focus on recovery from chronic pain or an injury. I am happy to give as much or little information about the work I am providing as the person desires. As a receiver and promoter of this work, I am always ready to discuss any concerns or questions someone might have, especially if their is any fear about receiving the work that would prevent someone from trying it.

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