Massaging Shoulders Since Age 7: Interview with Abby Davis

Jun 22, 2018

My name is Abigail “Abby” Davis and I’m from Massachusetts. I graduated from UMass Amherst with a BA in theatre. Then after college in 2004, I moved to the D.C. area to be a nanny for my sister during the summer. I loved it down here and have stayed put ever since.

Q: What’s your earliest memory of giving massage?

Both sides of my family consist of doctors, nurses, and therapists. So it’s safe to say that healthcare/self-care is in my blood.

Both of my parents worked long hours and my father often had to go back to the hospital after a long day at his practice. I think I always knew that I didn’t want to work that hard (I hate the way that sounds, but it’s true!). For whatever reason, I started massaging the shoulders of my parents, older sisters and their friends, at age 7. That’s as early as I remember doing it! Massage is just always something I’ve had a knack for and it feels inherent.

Q: How did your path lead you to The Still Point?

As I got older, I was developing interests in other fields, but still massaged people on a whim. For the longest time, I was very passionate about anthropology and archeology. The study of ancient cultures has always fascinated me: what they believed in, how they lived their lives day to day, how they survived, and what was their demise? I think massage, and the study of the human body, requires the same amount of exploration. It’s a bad joke, but the fact that I wanted to go on big digs as an archeologist and now earn a living digging into people is amusing to me!

Another big element in my life comes from my mother’s side of the family: music. I’ve always loved to sing, did a lot of theatre in school and have sung in choirs since I was nine. So it made sense to me to get a theatre degree. I also thought it best to have a side career and why shouldn’t that be massage?! While auditioning around D.C. I went to massage school at the Potomac Massage Training Institute (PMTI) and fell more in love with massage as a full-time career. I worked in PMTI’s graduate clinic, found a job in D.C., got married, bought a house in Maryland, and had a baby.

When my daughter was about 15 months old, I felt the need to work closer to home and found a want ad for a job at The Still Point. It was the best decision I ever made, coming here! I am part of a strong community of nurturing, hard working people. Not to mention, we all love what we do, but are always wanting to learn more!

Q: What’s your approach to treatment?

I’ve always thought my approach is somewhat clinical because of my medical background. I prefer not to do anything too “fluffy” and primarily use deep tissue. I did find over time that it was more beneficial to combine swedish and deep tissue to ease my client and their body into the work.

After working on thousands of bodies, I’ve learned that the body tells you a lot without the client saying anything. So I use that as my guide.

Q: What’s your favorite modality?

Deep tissue! It is not and does not have to be like sports massage! I want to find out what really may be causing me or my client their discomfort. To me, deep tissue helps in that exploration. I have been told that my style of deep tissue is similar to “medical massage.” Whenever a client tells me their main complaint, I focus on that first. I then work my way out and around to ascertain a cause and find compensatory patterns. That’s exactly how I would want to be “treated!”

Q: What kind of ailments do you see on the treatment table?

I tend to see a lot of physically active people, whether they be runners, weightlifters, or retirees starting more exercise. I also have a good number of pre-natal clients. I consider them physically active too! I’ve been there and am expecting another in October.

I recently heard from the daughter of a client I saw two or three months ago. She said that since seeing me, the chronic knee pain her mother had was gone! The thing is, I can only tell you that I followed my intuition and worked around the knee, stretched the leg, flexed it, and applied a lot of Swedish massage. I did things that made sense and what I thought might offer some relief. It’s nice to know that was enough.

Q: What aspect of your healing work do you incorporate in your daily life for yourself

I always try to take the time to sit, lay down, stretch, and check in with myself. It’s so important to do a self-check. It’s easy to convince your mind to keep going and completely ignore your body. Before you know it, your body will wave it’s white flag.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share?

Just that we all need to remember to drink more water, move more, and get good sleep!

Book a massage with Abby in Takoma Park today!

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