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.