Updated: Jun 1, 2019
Charlotteans have no shortage of options when it comes to massage, and choosing the right massage therapist is important. For those in our community who are seeking an extraordinary massage therapist, let me introduce you to Rebekah Butler. It’s not just her years of experience that make Rebekah special. It’s her kind, compassionate, and calm personality; her impressive skill level; her patience; and her ability to address her clients’ individual needs. Her Dilworth area massage studio is the perfect setting—immaculately clean, tranquil, and serene. Having a lifelong passion for helping people, Rebekah brings enthusiasm and strong dedication to her work. Now let's get to know Rebekah's story!
Have you always had an interest in helping people?
I have. I was a nurse before becoming a massage therapist. I actually come from a long line of nurses—my great grandmother, my grandmother, and my mother were all nurses. Even as a child I was always trying to fix or heal, whether it was people or animals.
When did you become a massage therapist?
Fifteen years ago. I was going through a divorce so it was a time of transition in my life. I wanted to do something different, something that spoke to the holistic side of wellness. As a nurse, I knew how healing and magical touch could be. I became certified in Pennsylvania and then moved to Charlotte in 2010. I worked in a spa for six years and then opened my own office three years ago.
You are known for your deep tissue therapeutic massages. These are not the typical, spa type, relaxing, light massages. Can you discuss the way you approach massage in your practice?
When done correctly, a gentle massage can be extremely beneficial. When you receive caring touch, it triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to create a more relaxed state. It’s only when we are in this relaxed state that healing and repair can happen. A regular massage can do that. What I also do is take it to the next level.
Can you explain further?
I work to change the body’s reaction to everyday stress. We overuse, misuse and abuse our bodies daily. We need both therapeutic bodywork and a sense of relaxation. Soft music, dim lighting, aromatherapy and a heated table all add up to creating a relaxed state.
Our bodies struggle to heal if we’re in a state of high stress—which is why an environment that is conducive to relaxation is so important to the healing process.
Once a person is in this relaxed parasympathetic state, then I can apply much deeper pressure, trigger point work, and deep stretching. They will continue to feel more and more relaxed all the while. This is when the treatment becomes truly healing. There are exceptions, of course. Some people have a very difficult time relaxing, or ‘shutting off.’ For them, the process may take a few sessions to get to that point. If this is the case, we may also need to work with some meditation and breathing exercises.
What does a deep tissue massage feel like?
The pressure and release should always stay at a ‘hurts so good’ level. However, if someone finds themselves tensing up or holding their breath, I tell them to let me know immediately. Otherwise, it defeats the whole purpose.
What are some health issues that can be helped by massage?
Fibromyalgia, any kind of arthritis (rheumatoid or osteo), lupus, multiple sclerosis, migraines, TMJ, diabetes, auto-immune, blood pressure, and many others. Our lymphatic system only gets stimulated either by massage or movement. So if you’re fighting the cold or flu, massage can also help by strengthening the immune system. I’ve also used massage to help people with chronic edema as well as those with cancer.
What would you tell people who’ve never had a massage, and feel apprehensive about trying it?
I think my energy, confidence in my work, and sincere desire to help puts people at ease. I am happy to explain the process and address any questions or concerns people have. It can be hard to let go and open ourselves up to the joy of having someone else touch us in a kind, healing way. Massage doesn’t require anything on your part. You just receive.
In addition to deep tissue work, you also practice some other methods that you’ve been trained in. Tell us about that.
I do prenatal massage, Thai bodywork, neuromuscular, trigger point and myofascial work. I also do structural balancing. This is a process of assessing the way you stand and move to find the imbalances present causing chronic pain and poor posture. For instance, when one muscle becomes tight due to the patterns we have formed in the way we sit/stand/walk, the opposing muscles become weak, in response. I help people with the process of loosening excessively tight muscles and strengthening the weaker ones.
What are some ways people can do this?
I don’t want to just chase the pain. I want to address the causes behind the pain. Once patterns are identified in the way you move, we can take steps to correct it. This means becoming mindful of your movements, and how you sit or even sleep. Then, with corrective exercise, stretches, and bodywork, you can truly start seeing progress.
And what about your coaching?
I realized several years ago that true wellness wasn’t just about how our bodies outwardly feel, but also how we nourish our bodies and minds, our relationships, our joy and purpose, and how we move our bodies. So I became certified as an Integrative Health Coach. Now it’s become an expansion of my current services and I can truly offer 360-degree wellness.
How does it work?
It’s a six-month program where we typically meet twice a month. We discuss your goals and what’s holding you back from reaching them. That can open the door to all kinds of things. It’s not unusual for someone to come in with one goal in mind and then discover that that’s not really what they ultimately want to work towards. I believe that everyone already has the answers, but having someone to walk beside them, supporting them, cheering them, holding them accountable and helping them see their own blind spots can make all the difference to their success and personal journey.
How do you address food issues that are impeding health?
In addition to educating people about healthier food choices, I’ll even to go their house and look at what they have in their refrigerator and cupboards or go with them to the supermarket to look at food labels. Someone may need help with learning basic cooking skills or shopping on a budget. I specialize in a plant based lifestyle, but I work with all kinds of people, with a variety of lifestyles. I’m happy to work with and encourage anyone who wants to improve their health and life.
Everyone’s story is different, which is what makes this work so fun and rewarding.
What’s the difference between getting a massage from you as opposed to chain massage business?
Without question, the massage industry has become quite successful. Unfortunately, with that success comes rapid hiring and increased turnovers. They are profit driven and therefore care less about the therapist’s abilities and more about production. I’ve worked with many therapists who didn’t even know simple anatomy. At best, they aren’t helping and at worst, they are actually hurting people. This isn’t always the case. I’ve also worked with some absolutely gifted therapists who worked at these chains. They were true healers.
When you work with me you’re getting the benefit of years of experience, as well as my undivided attention. I will listen to your concerns, fears, and questions. I will address your issues to the best of my ability, and if I can’t help you, I am happy to refer you to someone who can. I believe when you pay for an hour you should get an hour. Also I will never charge you more for additional ‘upgrades’ such as hot stones, cupping, aromatherapy, stretching, or different massage modalities. I’m present with you and I will listen to your body and together we will design your treatment.
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