Mary Cates has been practicing massage therapy since 1993 since she graduated from the Body Therapy Institute when it was still conducted in a yurt in Saxapahaw, NC. Mary’s interest in bodywork began in her explorations in art (sculpture) and in dance during high school and college working with various teachers, some of whom taught bodywork techniques such as Trager to help the dancers warm up and wind down after classes. After college, she explored other fields of work returning to bodywork as a profession in 1992 when she received training in the Laura Norman Technique of Foot Reflexology. After experiencing the profound effects of foot reflexology, she decided the best way to promote this new and upcoming modality was through full-body massage, hence her journey to The Body Therapy Institute. Ever since, she has enjoyed nurturing and helping her clients get in touch with their body through integrating various modalities into their sessions. Mary’s work is informed by her studies in various modalities including visualization with breath and/or sound, Continuum Movement, Trager, Polarity Therapy, Reiki, Muscle Release Technique, Connective Tissue/Myofascial Release, Foot Reflexology, The Wallace Method (myofascial unwinding stretching), Vodder MLD (Manual Lymphatic Drainage) and knowledge accumulated from professionals she has encountered during her own healings.
Whether Mary is applying Swedish or deep tissue, Mary’s intention in any session whether it is Swedish or Deep Tissue is to always promote nurturing and relaxation. Mary’s technique involves a mindful, slow, fluid and movement quality to her work in order to help provide a nurturing, deep healing experience for her clients. While Mary believes that a 60-minute massage can be plenty effective for Swedish massage, she believes that 90 or 120-minute sessions are best, especially for full-body deep tissue massage to allow the body the time it truly needs to fully “let go” and take in the work. In Mary’s sessions, you can expect to experience tidbits of other modalities such as foot reflexology, the Vodder Technique of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD), as well as some passive stretching and movement, as needed or as requested. In fact, Mary invites her clients to request full sessions of Foot Reflexology and Manual Lymphatic drainage, preferably 90-minutes, in order to achieve deep benefits of these very powerful modalities. Ultimately, Mary’s wish is to help create an individualized session for her clients and for her clients to emerge from their session feeling heard, nurtured and leaving with a deep sense of well-being.
Mary’s Other Interests:
When Mary is not working, she is enjoying caring for and hanging out with her and all the rescued goats on an animal sanctuary in Siler City, NC, and enjoying various dining experiences with her friends and family. She also enjoys being a novice at medicinal gardening, learning about healing through whole-foods, and exploring and improving her skills on her Native American Flute. You may even see her acting abilities in an independent film every now and then.
Mary’s Deep Tissue:
My general observation is that everyone has a different idea of “deep”, and that no body is the same. What is deep to you may be light or “too” deep for others. My belief is that much of our pain and tension comes from stress, not just physical but also emotional, mental and spiritual, and that our tension is from individualized holding patterns we have created and learned to hold in our bodies in order to survive. In my deep-tissue technique, my goal is to still ultimately promote nurturing and relaxation as I do in Swedish but adding deeper more therapeutic strokes and modalities. I come from a philosophy that “no pain” doesn’t necessarily mean no “gain” and is sometimes the best route to go. This is the route I prefer to offer. After listening to my client’s concerns, and coming to a mutual agreement for a protocol for the session, I initially approach the body as I do in a Swedish Massage with gentle rocking and compression, effleurage (light, long strokes) and kneading strokes to help assess and sufficiently warm the tissue. I then move into longer, slower and deeper strokes using more of fists, forearms, thumbs with deeper pressure than I generally use in Swedish to work specific areas of attachment and origin, according to the client’s “deep”, checking in with the client to help achieve the comfort level they desire and need to my best capabilities. My mission is to listen (sometimes encouraging the client also through a technique called Innerrelationship Focusing), feel and “invite” the tissue to “let go” through the use of gentle movement and nudging, in hopes to still achieve a relaxing and nurturing session. When necessary, I will incorporate myofascial passive stretching (Wallace Method), MRT (Muscle Release Technique), and some Connective Tissue modalities to help achieve a more therapeutic effect. I recommend 90-minute, 120 minute and sometimes 180-minute sessions for deep tissue to give enough time for the body to let go and the time that I need to help you to achieve your goals for that session.
Modalities offered by Mary:
Swedish, Deep Tissue, Foot Reflexology (Laura Norman Method), Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Warm Stone Massage, Prenatal Massage, Sports Stretching.