Years in Tampa Bay
I moved here in 2017, exactly one week before Hurricane Irma.
Barefoot Massage Therapist – I provide energizing, mobilizing, revitalizing massage therapy for exhausted people in pain.
What do you do?
The modality of massage therapy I practice is called Chavutti Thirumal in the Malayalam language of Kerala, South India. It means ‘foot pressure therapy.’ I specialize in relieving pain and exhaustion for hard working people via long sessions of relaxing deep tissue massage that I apply with foot pressure. I have always been a massage therapist by trade. I did conventional table massage to support myself while earning an undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. During those years I was also practicing and learning to teach classical Ashtanga yoga, as my teacher’s apprentice in the traditional yoga school that she built from grass roots in Ann Arbor.
Why do you do it?
I enjoy helping exhausted, overworked people balance/restore their energy, maintain their mobility, and feel good so they can show up to their life with ease in their body and a positive outlook on life. My clients are professional and everyday athletes, and people who work physically, mentally, or emotionally demanding jobs.
What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)
In 2014, I traveled to India to study yoga. Soon after arriving in Mysore, Karnataka, for my second of three of long study-stays at KPJAYI (now Sharath Yoga Center), I met my Indian massage teachers, The Three Sisters. These very special women, and their family have provided supportive services for yoga practitioner-pilgrims from all over the world who have come to study yoga for generations. I asked the sisters if they would teach me how to do their style of South Indian barefoot massage, and they graciously took me on as a student. I am in touch with them still, and I intend to return to Mysore to continue learning from them over time. The knowledge and skillset that I received from the sisters tapped me into a wellspring of resources that now nourishes every domain of my life. It led me to deepening in the yoga tradition, and eventually a merging into the martial arts tradition. The therapeutic bodywork I offer in my business is infused with the energy of my devotional study and practice of the martial, the medical, and the mystical.
What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?
People often do not know what barefoot massage exactly means. They assume that means I only massage peoples’ feet, or that I just walk on peoples’ backs. Neither of those is the case! I work with clients positioned on a soft mat on the floor, and I hold a rope above for balance. I apply special, herb infused oil to the body, and then I apply the entire massage with my feet! This treatment addresses all major muscle groups with long heavy strokes that cross multiple joints along energetic lines. This has a unique, balancing effect on the nervous system. Most people tell me that if they did not know I was using my feet, they would swear it was a massage with hands – if hands were capable of providing consistent, heavy pressure over long lines of contact.
What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?
Eating enough calories to fuel my work and my other practices, given that they are all physically demanding and mentally absorbing. I still do a modified ashtanga yoga practice and meditate daily. I study the wisdom traditions. And I am a dedicated student of martial arts as well, and currently a blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?
My business coach’s central teaching is “never step over anything.” Integrating this instruction has helped me clarify my business’s policies, enforce its boundaries, and streamline operations in a way that keeps the energy very clean and functional. This allows me to give my best energy to my practices and to the healing work afoot.