By Je’Don Holloway Talley
For the Birmingham Times
Two years ago, Latrisha Redmon remembers being in a dark place. She was pinching pennies, trying to promote shows, and had an “aha” moment.
“It was if God spoke it directly to my heart,” she said. “Throughout the years, I would give massages here and there, so it was always in the back of my mind to do. … I searched for massage therapy in Birmingham, came across Virginia College, … and it changed my life for the good.”
Redmon said she was “drowning” mentally, spiritually, and financially trying to become an entrepreneur.
“Many days I was depressed,” said the 38-year-old Fairmont neighborhood native and Ensley High School graduate. “I was living in my studio space, [which had] no bathtub or shower, no kitchen. It was not an ideal place to live, and I did that for seven long years. My [massage therapy] career helped me succeed and get on my feet.”
Massage therapy has not only helped Redmon—a massage therapist at the Spa at Ross Bridge—turn her life around but also allowed her to help others.
“Many people I’ve had on the table sometimes start off crying,” she said. “You hold emotions and stress in your muscles, in your shoulders, in your neck, in your back. That’s why they’re really tight.”
A massage session, according to Redmon, is a safe space for release of stress, toxins, and tears.
“It is essential for mental health just like anything else,” she said. “It’s like you’re going to a therapist and talking to someone. Your body needs a release; your muscles need a way to release stress—they should go hand in hand. You can either go speak to somebody or come lay on the table.”
Redmon said many of her clients appreciate her skills: “Plenty of people have gotten off my table and said, ‘Girl, you have a gift. God has gifted you. This is your calling.’ That gives me such pride.”
Massage therapy should be viewed as an essential part of self-care because it helps to detox the body, Redmon explained, adding that massages are not for “luxury” purposes.
“It’s for your mental health. It’s for you to detox and destress, so it needs to get away from being a luxury,” she said. “[People] need to have a massage regimen because it helps not only your body but your mind when you’re on that table releasing those toxins. As you push and massage toward the heart, [toxins] are released through the pores. That’s why I always tell people to drink water because when you urinate it flushes [those toxins] out.”
Many people who have fluid or swelling in their legs or muscles can benefit from some type of massage, Redmon said: “Once we push the fluid in a certain direction, we have to make sure that people are hydrating themselves to re-up on what they’re losing as we are pushing out the toxins.”
The Irondale resident has worked at the Spa at Ross Bridge since graduating from massage therapy school in 2017. Since that time, she’s noticed that African Americans have reservations about massages. A good massage session can be as cathartic as speaking with a therapist, but many people often confuse a massage therapist with a masseuse.
“The reality is that we try to make sure we educate people and tell them we are massage therapists,” Redmon said. “Therapy is for the body and any ailments in your muscles. We’re not going to be unethical when you come into our rooms.”
In addition to working at the Spa at Ross Bridge, Redmon does travel massage therapy on Wednesdays and Thursdays at Kind Roots Yoga in Avondale, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only. For more information or to contact Redmon, email email@example.com.