The space we share with one another is defined by the space we create. It may not be something you would think about on a day to day basis, but space is a part of everything we do. Some of us need large spaces and may not enjoy crowds, while others love concerts or any event where large groups of people gather. These two examples are on a large scale, so let’s move on to the smaller, more specific situations. The movements you perform while exercising creates space in your joints, and are an active decision. Yoga, Pilates, heavy weights, etc. create a space. In some cases, space may be restricted and the desire would be to create more. Stretching to increase flexibility and even engaging in massage therapy (and maybe Asian Bodywork) are good examples for achieving greater movement for your body and all its mechanical components.

Active movements happen during exercise (the intentional choice to flex, stretch, and lift heavy weights, spin classes for cardio, Pilates for core strength, etc.) Passive movements are different in nature, but just as important as these other active movements we make. Receiving a therapeutic massage is a great way to achieve passive movement, and the therapist is the one who creates that space our joints need so badly.

Asian Bodywork, such as Thai or Shiatsu falls under the larger umbrella of massage therapy. Bodywork is distinguished by the body mobilization techniques utilized, and can easily be incorporated into a traditional massage. What’s more, the therapist gets to stretch and move during the massage therapy treatment as well, at times mirroring the client.

Related: click here to try FFC for free and check out all the amenities at our clubs!

My personal journey with massage therapy and Asian bodywork

FFC massage therapist Jessica demonstrating Table Shiatsu with fellow massage therapist Samantha Margaret Wolf.

These practices are what led me to become a massage therapist and dabble in Asian bodywork. I have a background in dance and martial arts, and at one point in my past I had to make a decision to find a career path that encompassed what I loved about both. Defining the space around myself with movement, whether it was dance or martial arts, is what massage therapy is to me now.

I have been a board-certified massage therapist and experienced with Asian bodywork with BCTMB for 12 years now. My most recent training is from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine with an A.A.S. degree in holistic sciences. I am also a certified practitioner of Asian Bodywork, specifically practicing Shiatsu work and Acupressure with 5 Element Theory.

Related: no time for a massage? Find your zen anyway. Check out these helpful tips for how to practice mindfulness every day.

I believe learning is a lifelong journey and for a new challenge I have returned to martial arts. I am learning Jiu Jitsu at my home club in Park Ridge from personal trainer Aiazbek Mustakov, who is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and 2nd dan black belt in Judo. I have also had the opportunity to collaborate with a fellow massage therapist Samantha Margaret Wolf, LMT, CST who is board-certified as well.

If you think you would like Shiatsu bodywork, call the spa at FFC Park Ridge and ask to book that overdue massage with Jessica Heffernan, or email me at for a complimentary consultation! I am at the club Friday 3-8 PM, Saturday 9 AM – 6 PM and Sunday 9 AM – 6 PM. Let’s create some space and define that journey of wellness.

Post written by FFC Park Ridge Massage Therapist Jessica Heffernan.

FFC Park Ridge Jessica HeffernanAbout Jessica

Jessica is board certified in massage therapy and bodywork with NCBTMB. She is also a certified practitioner of Asian Bodywork, including Thai, Shiatsu, Tui Na and Acupressure. She integrates these modalities into all types of massage – relaxation, deep tissue and sports massage. Her work is a blend of eastern and western.

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