Evenings and weekends open back up

We’re coming back strong! At Deep Roots, we feel incredibly lucky to have been able to open back up, safely, and better our knowledge and skills in the process.

In fact, we’re opening up evening and weekend hours, our new schedule, starting in mid-October, is:

Monday & Tuesday - 8:30a.m.-4p.m.
Wednesday Through Friday - 8:30a.m.-9p.m.
Saturday - 9a.m.-5p.m.
Sunday 11a.m.-5p.m.

How are we able to do that? In addition to the fantastic employees who had already returned to us after our COVID-19 closure, we are hiring several more! Stay tuned here to meet all of them.

There’s something else you should know: with help from the Paycheck Protection Program from the Cares Act, we were able to invite back employees for almost 8 weeks of work, even before we were able to see clients again. We "doubled down on our down time" by investing and paying our team to complete 250 hours of training with the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the Academy of Clinical Massage. Mark Rebillard, Cassie Sundstrom, Casey Carroll, Sarah Bessonett, Angelique Shepard, and Heather Spaulding all took part in earning certificates in Corrective Exercise and Orthopedic Massage.

We continue to take precautions to be sure our clients and our therapists are as safe as they can be while providing excellent massage. Among the actions that have become rituals in our office: No one is allowed in without a health screen and a face mask, we change our scrubs and face masks in-between massages, and wipe all touched surfaces between clients. See the whole list here.

A demonstrated commitment to professional development as well as to the health and safety of our clients and staff has brought amazing new therapists to our team. Read on to meet them!

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Heather Spaulding

Heather Spaulding’s arrival at Deep Roots coincided (im)perfectly with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I did one massage, and then we had the meeting where everyone found out we were closing,” she recalls.

But by then, she’d already gotten to know the Deep Roots staff in the course of the interview process and realized that the company’s focus and philosophy matched her own.

“I had been doing a lot of spa and relaxation work and couples’ massages,” she said, but it wasn’t enough. “I had the technical, therapeutic skills but I wasn’t using them, so that’s why I picked Deep Roots. I wanted the more health care-focused work.”

Heather graduated from The Massage School in Easthampton, Mass., in 2017. Getting there required a reboot of her original career goals.

“I wanted to help people, that’s really what it boils down to,” she said. But “I wanted people to feel better on their terms. I was going to go to nursing school, and I had started my prerequisites but – they don’t allow for a lot of autonomy with patients.”

With therapeutic massage, she said, “we figure it out, instead of me saying, ‘this is what I’m going to do, deal with it.’”

When she and the rest of the Deep Roots family got the news that they had to close down for safety during COVID-19’s first push, the blow was softened by owner Mark Rebillard’s offer of continuing education. That training added another 250 hours of study to Heather’s resume, and added to her massage repertoire when the company opened back up this summer.

She does a lot of deep tissue massage, but prefers to pull from different modalities rather than specialize. She’s finding that seeing the same clients regularly gives her the opportunity to build on their treatment over time.

“I see people with chronic pain issues, I see people who are rehabbing after surgery, people with specific problems they need help with,” Heather said. “It is exactly what I was looking for.”

It’s more consistent. Spa work was date nights, and bridal parties, I might see somebody twice in a year, or even once a month – but those were few and far between. I’m actually starting to build rapport with people I’ve seen three and four and five times now.”

And the attention being paid to creating a safe treatment space means she feels safe back in practice, she said.

COVID-19 is “being taken very seriously, and the accommodations are such that, as a therapist, I still feel like I can do my job, nothing is stopping me from giving the best massage I can,” she said.

Heather lives in Chesterfield with a roommate and her Lab-corgi mix, Sigmund.

***

Sam Boothroyd

Sam Boothroyd knows headaches. In fact, when she came to Deep Roots as an intern over the summer and learned self-massage techniques from Mark Rebillard, they became part of a 20-minute-a-day routine that put her own regular and debilitating migraines to a near stop.

“I love to help people with migraines, whenever I see anybody on the schedule with a headache I get excited to try techniques,” Sam says. “When I see someone who has migraines, I know how much it’s affecting their life.”

Sam has been hired out of her River Valley Community College internship as a full-fledged therapist here. She isn’t a newbie to massage, though – she got her start setting up a table on a beach in Costa Rica, where she lived for two years. Since then, she’s taken some Reiki training, studied some Thai and Mayan abdominal massage, and become well-versed in lomi lomi techniques. That last is a Hawaiian modality that encompasses a number of different methods. Her favorite is “mana lomi.”

“That definitely is the foundation of all my practice,” Sam says. “I just got really comfortable with it.”

Described as “loving touch,” she says, “it’s goals are to just bring awareness of one’s body. It’s generally assessment-based and deep, it has a lot of stretching and deep compression.”

Sam was encouraged to get her license here by her massage therapist-husband Brian Strauss, who was also recently hired at Deep Roots. The two each have their own practices in Vermont, but Sam also wanted something a little more - sociable.

“I really wanted to work somewhere with other people and just learn from a variety of people,” she says. “When I met [the people at Deep Roots] I just thought ‘these people are so nice. These are the kind of people I want to work with, and for.’”

She didn’t know, at the time, that Deep Roots’ continuing education ethic was so strong, but now she’s thrilled to know that her tendency to “dabble” and try new things will be celebrated and nurtured on the job.

Sam is currently doing her yoga teacher training online. She and Brian live in Brattleboro with their dog, cat, and bunnies.

***

Brian Strauss

When he went to an information session at The Massage School in Easthampton, Mass., Brian Strauss had been an art teacher, he’d done some entry-level management work, and he was working with adults with developmental disabilities.

His wife Sam Boothroyd, now also a Deep Roots massage therapist, had encouraged him to try out the program.

“I figured, if nothing else, I’d give my wife better massages,” he said.

But as it turned out, he’s now available to give Deep Roots clientele great massages.

“As soon as it started, I knew I loved it,” he says. “I see someone they have pain, they have stress, and I can be involved in the process of helping them in their wellness.”

After being licensed in Massachusetts, he worked for a national chain and a local spa in Northampton, Mass. But there was something missing in the offerings available to him as a therapist.

“I wanted to work with people on an ongoing basis, not just for an anniversary and birthdays, and have a therapeutic relationship where I’m kind of seeing how the work is going and how someone’s doing over the course of time,” he says. “Where I can kind of challenge myself with improving and helping people manage pain, rather than just stick with the relaxation.”

So, Deep Roots – with its focus on therapeutic care – was an obvious choice, and the ongoing training was a major plus. He learned from earlier job postings, and then from Sam, an intern at Deep Roots at the time, that continuing education was a major component of work life here.

Sam “just had such a good experience there that I talked to Mark about interviewing. His passion for learning and supporting the learning of other therapists and wanting to be a place where therapists can grow and learn, and in that way provide better service, really came through.”

Avoiding stagnation, Brian says, is one of his guiding principles.

“It’s helping to push me forward because I want to keep growing. In a group of people with that kind of mindset, it just seems like a much more positive place to work that it would be otherwise.”

"He is just so down to earth, so humble and approachable and capable," says owner Mark Rebillard. "He’s somebody who wants to make a difference, he values helping people.”

Brian especially likes working on shoulders and with people who have chronic pain.

He and Sam live with their dog, cat, and two bunnies, and he’s recently returned to art by drawing, he says, “whatever’s in front of me.”

***
Abigail McCoy

Abigail McCoy was living the life of a starving artist. As a freelance illustrator, she knew she was going to need another income stream to help make ends meet, but she had no intention of spending that much time doing something that had no meaning for her.

“I told myself I wasn’t going to get a part-time or day job I didn’t love,” she says. “I always loved massage, and was always interested in alternative and holistic health care methods … so I said, ‘why not?’”

Turns out, it was the right choice.

“I really like myofascial release stuff,” she explains. “My tendency is to go deep and slow, and I really enjoy the sensation of someone’s tissues letting me sink through them.”

Every client is so different, she says, which makes the work so interesting. “There’s the personality of the person, and then there are the tissues.”

Abigail studied massage at River Valley Community College, and was part of our most recent batch of interns. When it was a choice between a job at a spa and working here, that job experience helped her make the decision. Deep Roots is “more medically oriented, there’s the idea that massage has a physiological benefit and we’re going to teach you how to bring about that benefit.”

“I like the dynamic of it being a partnership, it’s not just me treating the person … but also encouraging them to be engaged in their own therapy,” she says.

Abigail has a degree in illustration from MassArt in Boston, and continues to work on her own illustrating mythology and folklore. Find her work here.

She lives with her parents in Newport, N.H., and is planning to relocate to the Keene area.

***
Juniper Christgau

This woman is a wonder. Where exactly does she get the time, let alone the energy?

Juniper Christgau is one of the newer hires here at Deep Roots, discovered when she joined us as an intern this summer. When you picture “intern” you probably are thinking of a different person, though. This single mother of six kids ages 4 to 16 didn’t come to us as a newly established adult – she came with a unique set of experiences that have helped make her a great therapist!

As a teenager, Juniper was headed toward life as a performer, being accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston. It didn’t pan out. As is sometimes the case, students who return to their studies later in life surprise even themselves with their success. Juniper scored a 4.0 GPA at River Valley Community College and received a president’s award from that school.

“It’s pretty amazing when you figure in that I have six kids and I am a full-time single mom,” she said.

You can say that again.

Her story is run through with joys – the love of a wonderful grandmother who gave great back rubs, the births of her children – and also with hardships. She was born 14 weeks early, spending three months in an isolette. An illness once left her bedridden for nearly a year, and one of her sons has a sensory disorder.

“In my personal story over and over and over I’ve seen the transformative benefit of intelligent touch,” Juniper says. “And that’s something that’s completely universal, it’s an unspoken language, it reaches people on a physiological and emotional level.”

“I knew that, in pursuing [massage therapy training], it would be therapeutic to myself and that I would be able to help others.”

That “intelligent touch” is especially necessary now, she says, as people are social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“There’s this whole spectrum of touch and needing touch,” Juniper says, and that need is different for everyone. “I like to start with the mindset that anyone on my table could have trauma, anyone on my table could have proprioceptive needs, anyone on my table could have an underlying health issue that they haven’t discovered yet. This is why listening to the body is so important – for both, it’s a partnership.”

Juniper is very interested in orthopedic massage and deep tissue massage, in working with people who have experienced trauma, and in helping to make massage more accessible to people of all abilities.

She’s back in school, by the way, studying psychiatry, chemistry and English composition.