11 Questions With The Best Massage Therapist in Sayulita

11 Questions With The Best Massage Therapist in Sayulita

Last Updated on August 26, 2021


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About Me

Kien Lam  

I'm Kien, an international photographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. After quitting my job in finance, I've traveled to over 70 countries in the last 10 years finding the coolest experiences to check off my bucket list. I hope to help you find your inspiration with my photography and tips to travel the world.

Those who know me know I love massages and it’s something I seek out in every country I travel to. I partly attribute it to also the wear and tear of being  on the road and traveling, but over the years I’ve learned that my upper back muscles compensate a lot for the lack of curvature in my spine. It’s not something I notice day to day, but it’s why that area is always tense. After hundreds of massages, I came across Emily Glos in Sayulita, who gave me perhaps the best therapeutic massage of my life.

The way she intuitively felt for all my tension points was something just astonishing and then feeling for and knowing just how much pressure to work each area was magical. I use no exaggeration when I say that I felt the effects immediately and since. One recurring problematic area has more or less disappeared, which was not something I was expecting.

Side view of masseuse giving a massage in hotel

We chatted for a bit after and I wanted to do a Q&A with Emily to introduce her to the world.

But first, a quick introduction, Emily moved down to Sayulita a couple of years ago and has since made the place her home. Originally from and trained in Ontario, she brings her skills down to one of my favorite towns in the world and if you’re visiting, you should definitely seek out a massage with her. Now let’s begin.

1. How did you get started with massage therapy?

I started as a Registered Massage Therapist in Toronto, Ontario. There, I worked as an independent contractor, slowly moving into my home practice. I absolutely love what I do. This meant I overworked myself a bit. A little burnt out from this work ethic, I finally booked a vacation, tagging along with some Vancouver friends to meet up in Sayulita.

The very first thing I noticed were the flowers, plants and greenery, followed by the colourful architecture, and close knit family structures. I was really in awe of everything flora and fauna – especially during the winter months, when Canada is so grey. I wanted to open my eyes to this everyday, and over the next two years planned and executed my immigration.

Minimalist Aerial Drone View Sayulita Mexico Beach Print

2. Tell us about your training?

I graduated from Sutherland-Chan Massage Therapy School from their two year diploma program. I chose the school because it is renowned in the country for having the fullest education in massage therapy. It’s rare to come across a condition I’m not familiar with or can’t apply other physiological knowledge to create a treatment plan.

One interesting case was a client with advanced Parkinson’s recovering from Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, and managing her side effects of dulling the tremors and spasms.

I never get bored because there’s always so much to learn! I went back to Ryerson University to continue my training with some mental health and addictions courses – having seen the direct effects of massage therapy on the nervous system. I followed up with Doula/Labour Support Coach training, Equine Massage, onto more athletic aspects like Kinesio-Taping and Thomas Meyers’ Fascial Release, back to High Risk pregnancy, post natal and infant massage, breast massage post mastectomy/lumpectomy/alteration, Medical Acupuncture, and most recently Thai massage and Yoga Teacher Training.

I already have my next courses planned out so I can keep offering clients new, scientifically proven methods to help them return to the lives they were living, or help manage new injuries/traumas. I get so excited talking about the future of massage and how it can help absolutely everyone.

3. How do clients find you?

Here in Sayulita, most clients find me from word of mouth or google. In Toronto it was all word of mouth, so the marketing aspect is new and fun for me. I called the business “Sayulita Sports Massage” in order to let people know I want to address their injuries through the scope of massage therapy. At the moment, I only do house calls, however I’m working on setting up an accessible clinic space so I can treat more people each day.

4. What’s your favorite type of massage?

My favorite type of massage to receive is truly anything intuitive. The kind where your muscles do the talking for you and the therapist is present and intuitive enough to read and respond accordingly.

My favorite type of massage to give? I love a good ‘project.’ I like to integrate my knowledge and skills from all of the training courses I’ve taken, in order to more effectively treat clients. I also love giving pregnancy and relaxation massages. Pregnant people are by far the most grateful clients, and relaxation massages can even be relaxing for me – moving in a flow. I really like Thai massage and mixing it a bit with sports massage as far as stretching goes. It’s a bit like choosing a favorite book though – there are too many good ones from which to choose.

5. Do you have a favorite part of the body to work on?

Not particularly. I don’t have a favorite part of the body to work on, I’m just glad there’s more than just one so it stays interesting.

6. What do people not know about massage therapy?

People are still warming up to massage therapy as healthcare. It’s still thought of as this fluffy extra treat or indulgence, even though there have been plenty of studies proving any number of benefits, from improved sleep, improved mood with oxytocin release, and decreases in pain receptivity from massage therapy treatments. Really, the body needs more than food, water, sleep and sunshine; we need touch! That’s the most basic aspect of massage therapy and in my opinion, still the most important.

Of course it can help work out knots and sore muscles, help with circulation and swelling, decrease scar tissue etc, but for me, the neurological effects that result are just so incredibly interesting. Our neurons and their signals control breathing, muscle resting tension, heart rate, digestion, everything! All of these have a huge effect on our physical and mental health as well.

7. How do you approach each client’s needs differently?

The massage I do will depend on your presentation physically and mentally. It will depend on the setting. If you are about to compete at an event, we’ll be using short and rapid movements to stimulate neuromuscular connection and target circulation, maybe joint mobilization. Or maybe you took a fall last week or pulled something and I’m coming to your home. In this case we want slower movements, treating your neurological system as the ruling aspect of your muscles.

Meaningful, slow, intentional, and predictive movements are best. I think any muscle in spasm is like a wild animal to borrow from the imagery. If the movement is in any way startling, the injured muscle, like a hermit crab, will respond accordingly by retreating and tensing up. Another fun analogy is “magic mud.” If you played with cornstarch and water as a kid, you know that if you tap it quickly, it responds as a solid. But move slowly and it engulfs your hand like a liquid. That is really a lot like a muscle.

Woman using knuckle to work out upper back knot

8. What separates you from other massage therapists?

As a Massage Therapist, (Ian Kamm I hope you’re out there reading this) I am registered with the province of Ontario and follow the guidelines put forth by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, and the Health Care Professions Act, (1991). I’m still a member in good standing with the CMTO as Inactive, as they require 500 hours of massage in Ontario to stay Active, and well, I like it better here in Sayulita.

I’m physically active myself as a lifelong runner and learn from my own injuries and get to apply those to my practice. I truly love the profession. I am so incredibly lucky to have found it so soon in my adult life, and so excited to keep it growing and expanding.

9. How do you come up with a treatment plan for clients?

For my clients, my goal is to get you back to your active life ASAP. If you want regular maintenance, relaxation, etc, I’m here for you, but for the rest, I want your treatment plans to be as short as possible. Progress is a must, and if we aren’t seeing it, I am happy to refer to different practitioners with different modalities in order for a faster recovery.

The massage is also goal oriented. If decreasing discomfort in your neck and shoulders is the main focus, that’s where the massage stays. However, if you want attention to those areas and full body, that can also be accomodated. It’s a give and take with the time allotted. And of course, you can change your mind at any time throughout the massage for new goals.

10. What’s up with those copper needles you stuck into my back?

Traditional Chinese Acupuncture, which is practiced by an Acupuncturist, works with energetic lines in the body called ‘meridians.’ It can address all sorts of ailments ranging from too much of an element in the body, to the organs’ coinciding systems. Medical Acupuncture, which is what I practice, focuses mainly on soft tissue and releasing adhesions in muscles. The basic principle behind it encourages the body to heal itself through “micro injuries.” Kind of like an alarm for the body to signal vasodilation and increase blood flow to the affected area. I learned this type of acupuncture for my practice because it was so effective when applied to my own muscles. I knew it would be a way to help clients recover even faster, especially those stubborn areas unable to release.

11. What advice do you have for surfers?

Surfers, like any athlete, benefit greatly from massage, helping relax and reset muscles, proprioception and address any specific injuries whether chronic or acute. New surfers and vacationing surfers should take care to stay hydrated, and limit their time in the sun and water. When we start out surfing, our arms, backs and necks are more tired because we aren’t as adept at reading waves, so we tend to paddle for the wrong ones, with less efficiency.

Our postural habits and new muscle patterning also add to that soreness. I think it’s possibly one of the most fun and addictive sports, so it’s important to put your physical health on the forefront, otherwise your body could be screaming later. More advanced surfers come with an entire chart of issues, from old to new, unhealed shoulders and a lot of low back pain. Hydration and stretching are your best friends.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. If you are in Sayulita, definitely look up Emily on her website at Sayulita Sports Massage. If you’re planning a visit, also check out my guide to everything you need to know about this gem of a town and more importantly, the best places to eat while you’re in town. Trust me on this.

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