• SJ


Updated: Jan 28

“Self care is such a big part of my life. So much so, I’ve turned it into a career”

Meet Nina

After 9 years working for a Spa company on the High Street, massage therapist Nina decided it was time for her to expand further into her potential. After finally taking the plunge to set up her own, divinely unique, holistic practice, Nina now works from her lovely home in Farsley, Leeds.

Nina’s approach to massage is a holistic one, meaning her treatments focus on more than just the body. Considering her client’s emotional + spiritual wellbeing, Nina uses methods of massage that stimulate the body’s blood circulation + lymphatic drainage system, using trigger-point techniques to assist in releasing toxins + relaxation. That’s the spot...

This kind of massage works inside + out, connecting the mind + body, to balance your divine energies. Illness + stress affect our emotional, spiritual + mental wellbeing, not just our physical. Through holistic massage the body’s natural healing abilities come to balance as one.

Press Play

First to feature on the Handle with Care podcast is Nina, discussing self-employment, her journey into the holistic therapies + massage as a form of self care:

Disclaimer: This month Handle with Care is piloting a podcast feature, meaning it’s quality content over sound quality! If you end up loving the podcast (fingers crossed because I love talking), let me know.

The Treat in Treatment

It was very interesting to speak to Nina about the concepts of ‘luxury’ when it comes to massage embedded in the western world. It seems most people in the UK + other western cultures associate massage with ‘indulgence’ ‘pamper’ + ‘a special occasion’

This lavishness marketing around massage treatments is part of the reason why Nina felt so compelled to leave behind her Spa therapist job, + begin a holistic practice that fulfils her wholeheartedly. Nina gets to know her clients like cats get to know cardboard boxes, + trust me guys, she mixes the treat in treatment with some deep level healing.

The thing is, when people view massage as a treat, they only allow themselves a treatment once or twice a year. Truthfully, massage is not ‘just an indulgence’ or luxury. The benefits of massage are endless. Massage can assist in balancing emotions, pacifying anxiety, circulatory issues, joint + muscle pain, insomnia and much more.

Ready, Set, Align

Obviously, we can guess why massage has become known as a thing of luxury; it feels blooming incredible! And you feel incredible afterwards too. That feel-good feeling we all love is due to the release of endorphins, that promote an overall feeling of wellbeing, while at the same time reduces stress causing hormones such as adrenalin, cortisol + norepinephrine.

Regular massages help establish and maintain positive health and wellness. Like any other form of therapy, massage is much more effective when used routinely, every few weeks or once a month. How’s about a massage on payday instead of that take-away?

For the most part, experiencing aches + pains in the body is commonly why people book a massage (guilty!). While massage can alleviate physical pain, it can greatly improve the health of your mind too. Massage improves blood flow + pushes the body to deliver oxygen + nutrients to other areas in-need, including the brain + headspace. This remove toxins + leaves us feeling cleansed, lighter, relaxed + de-stressed; equally as critical when it comes to getting a good night’s rest. Goodbye 50 shades of dark circles around my eyes.

“... people will wait until they’re already in pain, to do anything about the pain – similar to how most medical issues are treated in this part of the world. Massage is the kind of thing you experience and immediately afterward, you’re like, I don’t know why I don’t do this more often...

Cortisol is a stress hormone, and when you feel anxious, your body pumps this out like it’s going out of fashion: causing your stress levels to keep rising. Deep Breath. Massage can be hugely beneficial for people with depression. Like anything else that helps the body relax, the mind can relax too. Whilst not a long term or sole treatment for conditions of depression or anxiety, massage can help to alleviate symptoms + absolutely garner some happier + better energised people, full of endorphins.

From Mother to Massage

In line with Female February, we discussed the feminine influence on Nina’s journey into the holistic therapies. Nina (with Finnish-Swedish roots) grew up in a family of strong women who embraced both their bodies + holistic self care practices.

Nina’s mum first sparked interest into the world of creative expressive therapies (big up Mamma H., that was my first degree!), with drama + movement, and later began practising reiki + other holistic therapies.

At the same time, Nina’s step-mum was a nutritionalist, extremely interested in diet + health. Meaning Nina was never shy to the world of holistic therapy, and the female influences in her life only encouraged her to go deeper. #WomenSupportWomen am I right?

“My step mum would always encourage me ... We’d go to health + healing festivals together, like conventions ... and spend time in nature”

Sorry, Not Sorry

Sweats, periods, body hair, acne, body fat, eczema, farts... sorry, not sorry.

There are several reasons people avoid massage therapy, when they need it the most. If you worry over feeling embarrassed or self-conscious, you should know, your massage therapist mostly likely:

a. won't care

b. won’t notice

c. won’t worry

so why should you? The human body, your human body, is never something to be embarrassed of.

“I’ve been brought up with this Finnish-Swedish background where body positivity + nakedness + openness ... isn’t odd! I’ve spent countless summers sat in a sauna naked with my Mum + my Nan which is just the most normal thing for me”

Rest assured, massage therapists work with all kinds of bodies, in kinds of shapes, conditions + ages. Holistic therapists are non-judgemental by nature + profession. Like any other professional therapist, a good massage therapist aims to hold a balance between engaging with you as the uniquely complex being you are, in addition to seeing your body’s individual qualities from a clinical perspective. Massage is about the conscientious application of techniques to your body to enhance your whole being. No judgement, just healing.

"I don’t see the human body as something that’s overall sexualised or should be covered up - as well as a carrier for you, it’s something that should be equally cared for ... not just on a surface level of aesthetic"

The Experience

I can’t interview + blog about Nina without mentioning my own experience in her therapy room! If you’re a friend of mine reading this, you will have already heard, and/or are sick of hearing, how bloomin' epic it was.

I travelled from Sheffield to New Pudsey, with a change at Leeds. I loved this little trip, it made me really pause + appreciate the time I was taking for myself, by myself. I spent the hour travelling journaling + drafting some blog ideas.

I followed Nina’s directions from New Pudsey Station to her dainty home just 10 minutes away, in a charming suburban area. Nina gave me the warmest welcome + after I dropped my off my coat + bag, we sat in her therapy room.

A warning for cat-lovers. Brace yourself, you will absolutely fall in love with her Maine-Coon Cat called Pocket.

Equally, Cat-foes fear not, Pocket only makes an appearance if he knows you’re a cat person.

During my 30-minute consultation, I spoke to Nina about my lifestyle, current aches + pains, + emotional frame of mind; what I hoped to gain from my massage. Nina listened to everything I said, confirming she heard me correctly, explained what massage techniques she would use + why. We then chose a blend of essential oils together that I would benefit from the most, body + mind.

The treatment was... a dream.

I felt like a crinkly duvet cover, being washed, rolled out + tugged from every corner, ending up light, uncreased + feeling brand sprankin' new!

Nina worked on my long-term areas of tension, and I felt a new sense of flexibility + space within my body. My knots were untied + my muscles revitalised, I felt how I can only describe as Free. Moved + squeezed into a deeply relaxed state, experiencing intense body pressure + release all at once.

My favourite part was the trigger point at the beginning – I was shookth! Nina found points around my neck that held a lot of my stress + tension, + when she used her technique to release this, I could feel it the whole way down that side of the body, to my big toe! It was crazy, I felt like she found my chill-the-f-out-and-relax-your-whole-body-button.

The flow of the session from start to finish seemed so smooth + effortless, I genuinely forgot where I was, and when I remembered - I couldn’t believe Nina only had 1 pair of hands!

Where to find NINA

You can find NINA HOLISTIC THERAPIES + everything you need to know at:


Subscriber Offer!

Nina has been so kind to offer Handle with Care followers a special £5 discount on any of her treatments. All you have to do is:

1. Sign up to Subscribe to the blog

2. Email: handlewithcare.sj@gmail.com

3. With Subject: I always, always...

4. Tell me in your email one thing you do to handle yourself with care.

Hope you enjoyed this week's feature in Female February

a month of massage tits + flowers

Next week, get ready for the Tits, with Burlesque Performer + Creative Director, Poison... Until then, remember to always, always,

- handle with care

Handle with Care

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