Corporate Law and Oncology Massage couldn’t be more opposing professions however this local Sydney Mum of 2 girls manages just that: Meet Jen Lafferty – a local Sydney mum of 2 whose true passion lies in her massage therapy business, Vital Elements Massage Therapy which she operates in Maroubra Beach in eastern Sydney.
She believes every person has the innate ability inside themselves to heal and that massage can help with that journey. Sydney Mum sat down with Jen to talk about her journey and what she loves about her life and motherhood.
Working in a law firm and running a successful massage therapy business may seem contradictory to some, thoughts?
‘My interest in massage therapy has been with me for over 20 years, even completing a remedial massage course in the early 1990’s but when I left Australia to travel it went on the back burner. Working in a law firm is a way of being independent, earning money, having some security and disposable income. Whilst I would love to massage full-time, it’s a tough industry – people still perceive massage a treat and a luxury. Yet there was still something missing and when I had my eldest daughter I suffered from postnatal depression, it was horrible, our families were too far away to give any practical day to day assistance. I was desperate to find help. It’s taken me a long time to realise I can be at my best when I massage part-time’.
Did that help with motherhood come in the form of massage therapy?
‘Yes, I saw an ad in a newspaper for a parent course on infant massage; I had a light bulb moment and didn’t think anything to lose. I went along not really knowing what to expect, but to my delight, my whole world changed almost immediately. I went from having this irritable baby who would never settle to having this blissful little bundle of joy, it really was a miracle in my eyes. I thank my lucky stars I took that course, and I’m sure my child is too!
Fast forward daughter number 2 and another short stint overseas I took up that love once again completing a Diploma in Remedial Massage Therapy. Since working in the health and well-being industry I have continued to learn new skills, including massaging babies in a NICU setting (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), massaging older children through a CPMT course (Certified Pediatric Massage Course) I studied in Ireland, Touch Therapy for Childhood Cancers, Oncology massage and a host of other great modalities’.
Wow, that is amazing…Why oncology massage?
‘It was a special moment during a pediatric course I was facilitating when one parent came up to me when the class had finished to tell me her child had cancer and could I help…I felt so helpless, like she was the first person I couldn’t help. I knew straight away I needed to be proactive and do something. That’s when I completed the Touch Therapy for Childhood Cancers and Oncology courses and I certainly believe there is a transfer of energy when massaging that is just not physical. It is so much bigger than what I thought, apart from stroke techniques, there are medical terms, learning about the different treatments and outcomes and the possible repercussions post cancer. It is a privilege to be a part of their lives during a tough period and to bring them a level of comfort and relief’.
Do these experiences impact or influence your journey as a mum?
‘My corporate job means I don’t have to give anything to anybody, sort of like autopilot, whilst massage therapy is really rewarding so being in the two worlds allows me to be the best person and mother I can. I have had a few client’s die, one not so long ago…he was 40yrs old. I went into complete shock and was emotional about lots of things. My husband persuaded me to find an outlet and I did. I started to meditate more regularly and now will mediate daily to help me relax and regroup. It also helps deal with the girls (laughs). I see death as a mix of sadness and happiness in that a person’s physical form has moved on but their soul is free. It was strange at the time of that client’s death, about ¾ of my clients were pregnant – like a balance of life. Now with the girls I don’t sweat the small stuff, I let it go and am more capable of dealing with the bigger things.’
What do you love about motherhood?
‘I love hanging out with my kids – most of the time (laughs) and playing with them – it brings back the joys of my childhood. I also love that I have a whole new network of great friends that I have met through them’.
Favourite place in Sydney?
‘As a family we often go walking and exploring all over Sydney. I love it all, but if I had to pick one favourite at the moment it would be the coastal walk near La Perouse in Kamay Botany Bay National Park. It’s a great way to connect with the girls’.
Favourite family tune/music?
‘We’re always singing at our house. My eldest daughter has quite a good voice so I often ask her to sing to me the latest hits and have also taught her the words to some of my favourite Cara Dillon songs!’
Charity of Choice?
Jen has developed her own infant and toddler massage course to share with parents her knowledge about massage and how beneficial it is for their children. The course includes massage techniques and sequences which can be done by mums and dads at home, help little ones as they grow and hopefully give parents that much-needed confidence.
Check out her website http://www.vitalelementsmassage.com.au