Here at The List, we love finding out about new Illawarra businesses and meeting the people behind them. Going for a massage is one of those things that feels like such a luxury, that it often gets pushed to the end of the ‘to-do’ list. We often only go for a massage when we’ve picked up an injury that needs treatment, or if someone has bought us a gift voucher for our birthday. I can genuinely say that every time I go for a massage, two thoughts are bound to pass through my mind. The first is “I wish I’d booked in for a longer session, that massage went way too fast”. The second is “I feel so fantastic, why don’t I do this more often?”

We received a hot tip about a new massage therapy practice opening its doors in Shellharbour Village, I decided to go and get a massage for ‘research purposes only”, and see if there is a bit more to it than simply spoiling yourself for an hour or two.

A new massage therapist in Shellharbour Village

Coastal Village Massage Therapy officially opened its doors to clients and launched via social media on 1st August 2023. We spoke to owner/massage therapist Abby Devitt about all things massage and why this is one of those activities that should be bumped up your priority list.

Abby describes Coastal Village Massage Therapy as a humble clinic, starting out as a room in her own home. “I provide a safe and secure space for clients to unwind and recharge. I love creating that space for them to prioritise their own needs and give them some time for self-care. I love seeing the relaxation on their face and hearing the calm in their voice as they come out of treatment. It is a really fulfilling role being able to give that space to others.” 

pregnancy massage in shellharbour

How Coastal Village Massage Therapy was born

Abby’s official studies and training in massage therapy began in February this year, but it has been sitting in the back of her mind for a long time now as something that she could possibly pursue as a career. Often, starting a family can result in a new direction for your career, and Abby has embraced this opportunity with the same enthusiasm and high standards as her career pursuits pre-kids.

 “From high school, I headed off to uni and completed an Advanced Science degree, which then saw me take on the role of Tutor and Casual Teaching Academic for many years, while I balanced work with starting a family. I do still tutor privately, specialising in Maths & Science, and I love helping students learn and grow in confidence, both in and out of the classroom. But now that my own children are getting older and filling our afternoons with multiple sporting and extracurricular activities, I have very limited time to give to my tutoring business.” says Abby. 

“I began to think – how can I still get my fill? I love helping people, I love problem solving, and I love seeing my clients grow in strength and confidence. Focusing on these values, and adding in my strong and long-running involvement in sport and family life, I discovered massage therapy is the perfect fit for me! I get my science fix from all the anatomy and physiology involved in massage, I get to help people feel strong, relaxed & calm, and I get to fit my client bookings in and around our busy family life!”

Coastal Village Massage Therapy currently offers a range of therapeutic massage options. These include relaxation techniques, frictions, tapotements, compressions, and soft tissue release. Abby will complete her Certificate IV in massage therapy by late November. In addition to this, she will complete further studies over the next few months to allow her to offer and specialise in Pregnancy and Paedeatric Massage.

As both a high achiever and a self-confessed sports nut, Abby is looking forward to continuing to add to her skill set. “Next year, I will continue my studies and complete my Diploma in Remedial Massage, allowing me to take my skills further. At this level, I will be able to assess & treat injuries, provide deep tissue treatments, and have the added bonus of being able to offer health care rebates to my clients.”

pregnancy massage shellharbour

A focus on pregnancy massage in Shellharbour

Although Abby loves getting sports people back on the road to recovery post-injury and has plenty of knowledge and experience in this area, her main interest draws on her experience of becoming a new mother. As a mother of  four,“My hope is to build the business primarily around pregnancy/post-natal treatments and paedeatric treatments. I understand this client, and what they need, all too well – the highs and lows of trying to make a baby, the risks and the requirements involved during all stages of pregnancy, and the crazy life that comes after the bub arrives! I want to use my skills and abilities to help improve the motherhood journey in any way I can.” says Abby.

Encouraging new mums to take a little time for self care? Not an easy task sometimes, but so valuable for everyone! Can we get an amen?

Massage therapy study has its perks too… all that practice has to go somewhere, right? Most of the time your fellow students “have” to be on the receiving end, just to get through! “Studying this course has also had the advantage of meeting plenty of other massage therapists! I now have quite a few friends I can call on when I need to relax my own body, mind & soul. When I am having a massage treatment, it is one of the only times that I can completely switch off. It is my time to slow down, to reset, and to have any aches and pains melt away at the hands of my massage therapist.”

The many benefits of massage therapy

Anyone who has ever had a good massage doesn’t need much convincing as to why it might be a good idea. Whether you are a light-weight “just move my skin around a bit” softie, or a “give it all you’ve got” tough guy, a big part of what makes a good massage great, is finding the right fit and good communication with your therapist. To be honest, I think I feel better after a wide range of experiences through the massage intensity scale. In this fast-paced world, we rarely stop for long without some kind of visual or audio input. And humans simply benefit from a caring, therapeutic touch. 

The benefits of massage therapy include much more than just relaxation and stress relief. Regular treatments can help with improving circulation, stimulating the lymphatic system, increasing mobility & flexibility, improving skin tone, and more. Booking in once every 4-6 weeks would be a great start for anyone trying to refocus on a healthier, stronger life. 

My Experience at Coastal Village Massage

When I arrived, Abby greeted me with her warm smile and welcoming demeanor. As we sat down to discuss the mandatory pre-screening questions and paperwork, she had no troublehelping me immediately feel at ease. 

The treatment room has relaxing music playing and immediately puts you into a chilled out frame of mind. As she leaves the room, while I get ready to do my part in this newly formed ‘relationship”, I notice how large and luxurious the towel feels that I cover myself in. It’s the little things like this that can make a massage feel all the more special. 

The massage itself consits of many different techniques, both to benefit the massagee and to reduce the strain on the massager. There was one particular manouvre that felt amazing on my back, and I did ask the name of it, but I think due to my relaxed state I can’t quite recall what it was. The term that keeps popping into my mind is bump and roll, and I know this is a term used in my vocabulary from my day job, so you’ll just have to trust me that it was a winner.

During the sixty minute session, I had my back, shoulders, neck and legs all included and was offered a choice of feet or face to finish. A tough choice, but in the end I chose my face, having never experienced a face massage before.

As is my usual experience with a good massage, my time was up before I knew it. An hour felt like it had flown by in about ten minutes. I was again asking my self the same old questions. To finish and get me back “on my feet” again, I was treated to a herbal tea and a light snack to help raise blood sugars and bring me out of my relaxed state just enough to get safely behind the wheel to drive home.

prenatal massage shellharbour

Coastal Village Massage Therapy is a place where clients receive personalised, holistic treatments. Looking at the whole person, how they function, and what they want to achieve in their health and wellness journey. “I want to be an advocate for self-care, especially for busy parents in the midst of raising young families. Massage therapy is not just about a short-term release of some tight muscles, it’s so much more than that.”

 Sounds like it’s time to start looking after yourself, and moving self-care up the priority list!