Learn more about the wellness professionals that make Serendipity go.
It goes without saying that having a skilled, cohesive team is crucial to the success of any business. In the day spa business, the team’s impact is only amplified further.
Your therapists and estheticians are THE point of contact for clients – the direct providers of relaxation, relief, and beautification. A good spa will provide a relaxing setting, good client service, and all the best tools of the trade; but when all is said and done, it’s the wellness professionals themselves clients are coming back to see.
Being therapist-owned & operated has provided us with a unique perspective on this here at Serendipity, and we know firsthand how fortunate we are to have the team we do. With this in mind it’s time to get to know the aforementioned awesome team a little better.
We’re excited to bring you this series of interviews with our talented wellness professionals. First up is Michael Annaian, an LMT originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Michael’s passion for helping clients obtain better health, wellness, and quality of life shines through with every client he serves. As a former business owner, he places an extremely high value on customer service – making him a natural fit here at Serendipity.
Let’s get into it!
We sat down for a one-on-one with Michael Annaian, a Licensed Massage Therapist here at Serendipity.
How long have you been a practicing licensed massage therapist for?
I have been practicing massage for almost 2 years. It will be 2 years in November.
What was the main driving force behind you wanting to get into the field?
I have always known I wanted to be a therapist. I just wasn’t entirely sure what kind. I first went to college to study social work but I just wasn’t connecting to school back then so I got into a career in landscaping. After 30 years I felt my true calling to be of more service to people pulling at me. At which point I retired from landscaping and enrolled in massage school.
You’re a graduate of St. Pete’s Cortiva Institute. Outside of the physical mechanics, what would you say was the main thing you took away from your time there?
The most fascinating part of school for me was learning about and understanding all of the systems of the body and how they operate and work together.
People who have never received a massage are often apprehensive to do so for a variety of reasons. What advice would you have for them?
This is a great question. If someone is apprehensive about receiving massage there is a good possibility they are apprehensive about touch from another person in general. So I would say to call an establishment and ask questions. Ask about what services they offer, ask about the environment, ask about policies, ask about the therapists, learn as much as possible to bring as much comfort And peace of mind to ones self as possible. People want to feel safe and secure and as a massage therapist that is always my number one goal. Creating that safety and comfort for people will go a long way for their experience and the benefits they can receive from the bodywork.
How frequently, in your opinion, should someone get a massage?
To me that always depends on how they are feeling when they come in for their first massage. If someone is feeling severe in their condition, whether it’s an excessive amount of stress or physical discomfort they are in, I would say every 2 weeks until the severity of their condition has lessened to a more comfortable level. Then I would say once a month is ideal to maintain consistency in how they feel.
What are some of the lesser-known massage benefits that you wish more people knew about?
So many of our physical conditions are connected directly to our emotional states. We all carry certain levels of stress that can lead to feelings of melancholy and/or chronic physical pain. Our bodies are storage units and when we pack stress away it takes a toll on our soft tissue which leads to physical discomfort. Massage can benefit all of those issues. Our bodies want to be moving, we were created to move. The less movement the more our issues will grow. Calming the stress leads to calming the soft tissue and will allow the therapist to help free the restrictions in movement which will lead to a much healthier way of living.
What, would you say, are the main things you’ve learned since you began practicing that weren’t taught at Cortiva?
This is another great question and one that kind of stumps me simply because I can’t say enough about the education and experience I received from Cortiva. The school has a great reputation for their ability to not only educate people but to prepare people to walk out of the program and be very effective therapists right from the start. They cover so much more than just massage modalities. They educate strongly in ethics, the best ways to greet clients, and create that safe and comfortable environment I was talking about earlier. I have learned so many new techniques since graduating so I would say that’s the biggest thing. They laid the perfect foundation and now I am just creating and taking it to my own levels in who I am as a therapist.
What are some massage modalities or styles that you excel at the most and/or like to use with clients the most?
I feel the key to effective bodywork is freeing and releasing fascia, which is a very strong connective tissue that wraps around our bones, muscles, internal organs, and is vital in our overall movement. Myofascial release combined with neuromuscular therapy and stretching are my favorite areas of focus in this amazing work we do.
Are there any modalities or styles you would like to learn more about and improve upon over the upcoming year?
Oh yeah. I feel like I’m still just scratching the surface. I am very interested to learn more about and get certified in cupping and reflexology. Cupping is another great way of releasing fascia and reflexology is an amazing way to open up our clogged and congested energy channels, which can help lead us in understanding how to most effectively help someone and which modalities would be best.
The Tampa Bay area wellness community has come a long way in recent years in terms of education and services offered. Are there any areas you would like to see even more growth in?
I think people need more insight, education, and understanding on just how beneficial massage and bodywork is a vital part of overall health care. Massage has had certain stigmas attaches to it for far too long that don’t tell anything about the true benefits of the work we do. Being that the Tampa Bay Area is so rich and abundant in bodywork professionals I would love to see that entire community come together and work more to bringing that insight, education, and understanding to anyone and everyone who is unsure about or eager to learn more.