Thursday, July 24, 2014

Meet: Enrich Massage Therapy’s Olivia Van Lierop


I’m a huge fan of massage, and try and indulge in one whenever I can. Swedish, Thai, Ayurvedic or Balinese, you name it and I’ve had a bash at it at least once. In an age of technical and, at times, impersonal medicine, massage offers a drug-free, non-invasive and humanistic approach based on the body's natural ability to heal itself, and that’s what makes it one of my first ports of call when I’m feeling run down.
An absolute gem of a massage therapist that I’ve discovered of late is the wonderful Olivia Van Lierop from Jervois Road haven Enrich Massage Therapy. A recent arrival back in New Zealand, Olivia left the country nine years ago after completing a Bachelor of Therapeutic and Sports Massage.
“I was always super intrigued by the body and the way it works when I was younger,” Olivia tells me, “and I imagined I would go into physiotherapy or something like that but with a more holistic approach. My mother was involved in healing and was a huge influence on me from a very young age.” She started her career in podiatry, but grew frustrated with “only treating problems from the hips down” and wanted to work in a way that encompassed the whole body. Cue: massage, and a trip down South to train in different modalities.
After completing her training in massage she moved to Australia to work as a sports masseuse for a leading Australian clinic working with top athletes. From there she explored the idea of working on yachts in Europe, landing a position just two week’s later in Greece as a private masseuse, beautician and yoga instructor on one of the most prestigious luxury yachts in the world. “I was sent to qualify as a beauty therapist in London and it gave me a whole different approach to my work as a massage therapist,” she explains, “and I added more of a pampering, relaxing aspect to what I do as opposed to just taking a sports massage approach.”
Looking for further challenges she travelled to many beautiful parts of the world, completing her yoga teacher training in Bali and then returning to New Zealand, where she combined her talents to establish Enrich. She incorporates both a therapeutic and pampering aspect into almost every massage that she does, even sending some clients away with yoga poses to practice to keep their bodies in check.
“I’m trying to make my unique combination of the technical and the relaxation aspect of massage integral to what I do,” says Van Lierop, “because it seems like you have to go to a sports massage clinic to get a deep tissue-type massage to treat the likes of chronic pain and a spa to get something really warm and pampering. I think you should be able to go for a very technical, therapeutic massage but still feel like you’ve had some ‘me’ time.” Even if she has to do something “a bit brutal”, she likes to start with a soothing foot massage before moving onto the tough stuff, “and then finish with a facial massage to really release the tension before someone leaves the room. I also like to incorporate some hot stone work if someone is keen on that, it just makes such a difference.”
You'll find Olivia working from Enrich at 37 Jervois Road, Ponsonby, and for booking details head to: www.enrichmassageponsonby.co.nz

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