March 25, 2010
Erin Lehn Floresca, Thymes Editor
Cozy. Energetic. Compassionate. Easygoing. Cool.
These are just a few of the words I would use to describe Jen Fichter, owner of New Moon Massage Therapy. I recently visited Jen at her office in the Hollywood Professional Center where I discovered first-hand that she is especially gifted in her craft. She is an open and energetic person and made me feel instantly comfortable after we met. One thing that stood out during our session was that she is no wimp when it comes to deep tissue massage. Jen explains, "I am able to give pretty deep pressure, and I like to work on what the client's needs are on the particular day they come in. I like to work on trigger points and think about posture...and how to release short muscles and help the client learn how to shorten the long muscles to help the body be in alignment."
Another thing that stood out is how passionate Jen is about people taking care of themselves. She is a huge advocate for self-care and believes that the new moon is a great time to start something new, such as finding fresh ways to pamper ourselves. In fact, New Moon Massage Therapy got its name from Jen's love of the moon and stars. "I wanted something to represent renewal because that is what I feel massage provides to us. We ask a lot of our bodies every day, and massage is one way to give back to ourselves and keep ourselves in good health."
There are so many benefits to massage, which include increased body awareness, relief from stress and tension, and an increase in circulation and lymph flow. It is also a valuable way to manage chronic pain as well as provide relief from repetitive strain injuries. "These injuries can result from computer work, many work trades or even riding a bike," says Jen. But, even for those of us who donít have any injuries, getting a massage just plain does a body good. Jen, being the self-care advocate that she is, practices what she preaches and regularly visits other massage therapists. "I know when I go and get a massage, I am so happy that I am doing something for myself and that I can relax while my therapist takes care of my body."
Good self-care includes what we put on our bodies. Jen uses only vegan lotions and oils and ensures that nothing that touches her clients' bodies has animal products in it. Nurturing oneself also includes what foods we put into our bodies. And while Jen is not in the business of feeding her clients, they can rest assured that their massage practitioner is not spending her money on anything that causes harm to animals. A massage with her is the ultimate cruelty-free massage experience. Jen, who has been vegan for 15 years, first learned about animal cruelty as it related to fast food. She was against the "fast food" industry, so she made a vow about 18 years ago to stop eating it. But that was just the beginning of her transformation. According to Jen, "Then one day I was cleaning chicken to make a curry chicken meal. All of a sudden, it grossed me out that I was pulling someoneís body apart...I couldn't even eat the meal I made. I decided right then to be vegetarian." It was a few years later that she made the switch to being vegan. "I had not even heard of vegan until I moved to Colorado in 1994 and met someone who was vegan and cooked vegan food for me," says Jen. "I realized how easy it was and how much better it was and decided to make the change." She has never looked back. Since then, her resolve to be a vegan has gotten even stronger as she has become more educated about animal rights and issues related to eating meat.
This mother of three not only worries about her own well-being, but her children's as well. She knows her career choice and food choices are positively affecting them. She believes that they have learned compassion and empathy through being vegan. "For us, it is not just about veganism, but also about animal cruelty," says Jen. "About being kind to others and thoughtful about our actions and how they affect the world. As far as my career, I like that they see me doing something to support and care for my community, see my example of self-care." Another perk for her kids--they get massages too!
Jen has been involved with NW VEG for about five years. Her favorite event is VegFest. "I love to see how it has grown over the years and how many more people attend it as time goes on. NW VEG does such a great job of showing the public how accessible a cruelty-free life style is." Jen first volunteered for VegFest when she moved to Portland from Wyoming in 2005. At that time, VegFest was being held in the basement of the First Unitarian Church. "VegFest was fun and exciting and like nothing I had seen before," explains Jen. "I felt so connected to other veg/vegan folks just by being there. That was the very first VegFest. and I have been to every one in various capacities since then."
New Moon Massage Therapy is located at 3939 Northeast Hancock Street #307 in Portland. Call 503-752-8340 or visit www.newmoonmassagetherapy.com for more information. All genders welcome. NW VEG members get a 10 percent discount.