By Je’Don Holloway Talley
For the Birmingham Times
Jacqueline “Jackie” Wilson always wanted to become a massage therapist, but it wasn’t until a visit with her aunt in Montgomery that she decided to pursue it seriously.
“My grandfather passed away in 2016, and at the time I was trying to figure out if I wanted to continue working as a flight attendant or pursue my passion,” said Wilson, who had spent 11 years in the skies. “I went to the funeral and stayed with my aunt. One day, I was massaging her knee … and she told me I should really think about pursuing it.”
Twenty years ago, Wilson had considered massage therapy as an occupation and was talked out of it. This time around, she looked into schools and enrolled at the Birmingham School of Massage, where she earned her license in massage therapy. She started her business Elite Hands Massage Therapy in 2017.
Wilson moved to Birmingham in 2015 to be near her sister, who called her out of the blue one day and said, “My husband and I have been thinking, and you should move here. You can stay with us.”
Wilson, who lives in College Hills, said, “It was a transition point for me because I was about to be between apartments. … I pulled up to Birmingham on April Fool’s Day .
Birmingham became home base for her business, as well. Elite Hands Massage Therapy offers a broad range of services that provide health benefits, including the relief of chronic headaches.
“With headaches, a lot of people rub their temples, trying to relieve that pressure,” Wilson said. “Massage school taught me to rub the scalene [muscles] on the side of the neck to relieve the pressure and tension causing the headaches.”
Regardless of the reason for seeking massage therapy, clients must have open lines of communication with their therapists and reveal any ailments they’re dealing with or medications they’re taking, she said.
“It’s very important to tell your therapist about your medications because there may be side effects,” Wilson said. “Blood thinners may cause bruising and soreness. Pain relievers may give a false pain-level reading during deep-tissue massage, and the extra pressure may cause injury. And it’s not just medications: I have a client that didn’t tell me he experiences vertigo. Communication with your therapist is key so they can provide the best massage regimen for you.”
Wilson, whose company is the official massage therapist for Birmingham’s semiprofessional American Basketball Association (ABA) team, the Magic City Surge, said massages can help athletes and people who have high-intensity workout regimens.
“All athletes—tennis players, runners, football players, swimmers, basketball players—abuse their bodies in some type of way,” she said. “Massages for athletes aid with quicker recovery and better performance. It helps with relaxing, strengthening, blood flow, movement, and more.”
To learn more about Elite Hands Massage Therapy or contact Wilson, email firstname.lastname@example.org.