Massage Therapist, George Bavin at Treat Norwich
As we edge deeper into January, now is a great time to revaluate our health and step up self-care. It’s one way to prevent winter viruses and the New Year is a great time to make meaningful changes. That’s why we’ve interviewed Treat’s massage therapist George Bavin. Here he shares more about the incredible benefits of the humble massage and explains a bit more about the difference between sports and deep tissue massage.
What did you do before massage and what prompted the career change?
Before becoming a massage therapist, I worked in the health and social care sector for about four years in care homes, hospitals and with people in the community. This was often challenging and rewarding work which I enjoyed. I also liked the variety that came with working with so many different people and their different needs. However, eventually I began to notice changes within myself, I was becoming drained by the work and feeling less motivated – I soon realised it was time for a change.
How has massage helped you personally in the past?
Besides providing me with a very necessary means to make ends meet, massage has helped my personal growth and development. The humble massage reminds you to stop ‘living in your head’ and to remember that your body is more than a vehicle to ferry your mind about.
Before I began studying massage, I used to believe massage was something of a luxury either for athletes or people at spas with time and money to kill. Now, I feel like I couldn't manage without it. Receiving massage is lots of things. It’s both rejuvenating and relaxing, balancing and grounding. I believe it should be a pleasant experience. I don’t subscribe to the‘if it’s not hurting I’m not benefiting’ school of thought. As a practitioner, I much prefer to feel like we are working together to alleviate the stress, tension, whatever. That way it’s easier for everyone all round.
I guess massage has helped me to come to know myself better. There’s enough to learn about bodies to keep me intellectually curious. There is also another side that has only quite recently begun to reveal itself. This involves connecting to others and yourself while working which is quite subtle. I think it’s also about listening and paying attention.
Sports massage vs. deep tissue – what’s the difference between the two and the benefits of each?
Firstly, there’s a lot of overlap between the two. I have textbooks that use the words interchangeably. Secondly, I think ten different massage therapists would give you ten different answers. In my view, a deep tissue massage is delivered at a pretty consistent pace and depth where the individual assumes a passive role. This is a really great way to loosen off muscles and afford some mental time out to relax.
A sports massage is a more interactive treatment where the person receiving the massage assumes a more active role, working with the therapist. This might mean a bit more movement around on the couch and changing position. In a sports massage the person receiving the massage is unlikely to have the same kind of mental time-out, as they need to stay present and concentrate a bit more.
A sports massage isn't necessarily a deep massage and usually is focused on, for example, restoring the individual’s range of motion. A sports massage is useful for people who perform the same physical tasks again and again. Think of David Beckham's free kicks or all those hours a day when your right shoulder is slightly protracted as you click the mouse at your computer.
What do you like most about being a massage therapist?
Being a massage therapist ticks lots of boxes for me. I love working for myself and the flexibility that affords me. I love that it’s a physical role and, specifically, not behind a desk. The best bit though has to be the people. I get so much satisfaction when people leave feeling better than when they came in.
Do you have any new offerings for 2024?
At the moment I’m studying at the school of Thai yoga massage in London. This treatment happens on a futon on the floor, and unlike many massage treatments, the individual is fully clothed. It’s a very traditional form of massage. The ‘yoga’ has been inserted latterly to manage European expectations and set it apart from many Thai massages, which often involve oils and take place on a couch.
The yoga massage is a very thorough treatment with lots of passive and assisted stretching. I’m finding it so much fun. To give, it’s dynamic and physically beneficial. One is always moving around and so never working in the same position for too long. To receive, it’s pretty magical. One stays mostly passive and relaxed while being moved into some really nice stretches.
I’m about halfway through the course now. My exams should be in October 2024 and I’m looking forward to being able to offer it once those are completed. I anticipate a treatment will last about two hours and, honestly, the time flies by!
Do you have any hobbies and how do you spend your spare time?
I don’t feel that I’ve had much spare time for hobbies since the beginning of the pandemic when my partner and I had a child. For such a small person he takes up a seemingly disproportionate amount of time and effort. I try to swim a couple of times a week. I aim for three times but that rarely happens. I’d love to have more time for reading and ideally painting again.
How much does a massage cost and how can people book?
At the moment my prices are:
30 mins £32
45 mins £45
60 mins £50
75 mins £60
90 mins £70
To book head to my page on Treat’s booking platform here.
What’s the best thing about working from Treat Norwich?
Everyone working from Treat benefits from the efforts of Rebecca and DJ to make the clinic such a success. I know that I wouldn’t be as busy as I am without them because I’m less of a promoter than they are. Other good things about working from here include the reception and online booking system, which is such a time saver. I also really like my room with its dual
aspect windows, it’s a great space.
Located in North Norwich, Treat is a Health & wellbeing clinic. Founder and acupuncturist - Rebecca Geanty started Norwich Acupuncture Rooms in 2011, offering a wide range of therapies and a community multi-bed acupuncture clinic. Norwich Acupuncture Rooms expanded into Treat in 2016 and was located at Capitol House in Norwich. However, in January 2022, Rebecca and her business partner David renovated the old Dyers Arm pub on Lawson Road in NR3. Today Treat offers over 50 different health and wellbeing therapies, beauty and spa services.