By Je’Don Holloway Talley
For the Birmingham Times
VaLesa Magee worked her way up through the ranks of a massage clinic in Hoover’s Greystone area, even becoming an administrator directly under the owner before realizing she wanted to be more hands-on—literally.
“The administrative side was not my calling,” she said. “I felt like I achieved what I wanted and learned a lot [in management], … but my heart was not in it. I missed being in the room and hands-on with the clients.”
Magee, 39, who’s been with Massage Envy Greystone for the past 11 years, said helping people get past the pain of physical ailments has always been the core of what she wanted to do for a living.
“Coming out of a physical therapy background, that’s where my mindset is,” she said. “What’s going on with the client? How can I help make this lower-back pain disappear?”
Magee attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science with plans to continue her education in the university’s physical therapy program. When that didn’t work out, she took a job at a rehabilitation center and saw that she could use massage to help others in the same way.
Regular massages improve a client’s overall state of being, Magee said: “Clients will begin to notice the difference in how they feel … and understand how the body works. They will take the initiative to start doing things that are better for themselves, then I can encourage them to take a walk, do some stretching. [Their] state of mind follows that.”
The Hoover High School grad and single mom to 13-year-old daughter, Paris, is also certified in neuromuscular therapy. Still, Magee has noticed that there are lots of misconceptions about massage therapy.
“For instance, some have said that they thought massage was just for females … or that they think massage is just for relaxation,” she said. “The reality is massage therapy can be for any gender and starting as young as 8 years old.”
Another misconception is that massage has to hurt in order to be effective.
“There might be some discomforts when addressing a trigger point or tight muscle, but it does not mean it should hurt to be effective or good,” she said. “Most massages are relaxing, but sometimes the best technique for certain injuries or chronic pain will involve the client having to be an active participant. So, instead of just leaving relaxed, the client may experience the after-leaving-the-gym effect.”
Magee is also an independent contractor and works Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Yoga and Therapy Center in Hoover. For more information or to contact Magee, email Vmagee12@gmail.com or www.massagebook.com/biz/valesa-magee.