I strongly believe in the mind body connection and taking care of yourself physically while you are traveling is just as important as making sure you get to see all the sites and galleries in Rome that you’ve been dreaming about. Many travelers suffer a lot physically – not only from a change in diet and the stress of air travel, but also from the practicalities of essentially carrying your temporary home with you – either literally on your back or struggling with a suitcase. In Rome physical discomfort can be exacerbated by lugging your bags on and off trains, down cobblestone streets and in the summer – doing all this in the heat of the city.
Not many of our guests realize massage therapist and personal trainer, Jenifer Vinson, has her own little cozy space downstairs at The Beehive near our lounge. For the past several years, Jenifer’s home for her private practice has been at The Beehive where she gives massage to our guests as well as her own permanent resident clientele.
Jenifer is an American who grew up studying ballet in her hometown of Tallahassee, Florida. She later earned an MFA in Dance from Florida State University. She then studied dance in New York City and received a BA in Humanites at FSU. Jenifer is a graduate of New York’s Swedish Institute, College of Health Sciences and is a New York state-licensed Massage Therapist.
Recently, I asked Jenifer a few questions about her personal history with massage as well as her life in Rome.
How did you become interested in doing massage? Being the one dancer in a family of three talented (but less flexibile) tennis players must have pricked my interest in loosening up others. My teenage brother would ask for help executing a rather jarring abdominal exercise where I’d hurl his legs towards the floor (forcing him to catch his heavy legs with his ab strength). I was always trying to get him to slow down and stretch his super tights legs. Around fellow dancers in college — folks who already stretched — I’d massage their shoulders and feet while we chatted after classes and rehearsals. A fantastic massage therapist in Tallahassee was helping me with the excess tension in my back at that time, and it felt natural to do the same for others. I guess you could say I slid effortlessly into the role of caretaker and teacher. By the time I started the Swedish Institute’s massage program I was quite used to massaging friends, and I’d been teaching dance and exercise for many years.
Any suggestions for how travelers can avoid back or neck trouble? Yes! Only pick up children or bags with a straight back and bent legs. Brace your suitcase against your legs when going up stairs. Stay balanced – frequently switching your rolling suitcase from left to right so you’re not holding the same twist for too long. If carrying bags on your shoulders, try to balance your load. On the airplane, get up frequently during your flight and make gentle circular movements with your ankles, shoulders and neck, both for your comfort during the flight and so you don’t hurt yourself taking your suitcase from the overhead compartment.
What would you say to someone who thinks it’s too indulgent to get a massage while they’re traveling on a budget? Oh it’s maintenance, not indulgence:) Your legs have never before stood on so many marble surfaces! Pinch pennies instead by refilling your water bottle for free from Rome’s excellent fountains (the “nasone“) and by eating sandwiches or pizza picnic style or at the local tavola calda rather than having every meal at a sit-down restaurant.
How long have you lived here and what brought you to Rome? I first came here in 1999 to live with my boyfriend (who’s now my friend, ex-husband and occasional client).
What are some of your favorites in Rome – places to go, things to do, restaurants? I love the walk up Salita di Grillo in a part of the Monti neighborhood that’s uphill from Trajan’s Forum, and the walking up the Campidoglio stairs at night (then taking the less conspicuous stairs to the left down to Via Fori Imperiali.) When I meet friends out we enjoy the older wine bars in the Monti neighborhood or other parts of the historic center.
Plans for the future? I still need to see Sicily and Sardegna, and then a year or at least a summer working in Berlin interests me. I want to see Holland and Ireland as well…….and the parts of France I haven’t seen, but I’ll never move there as I can’t approximate those tricky vowel sounds.
Jenifer can be found at The Beehive, via Marghera, 8, by appointment, just ask at our reception or call 0644704553.
Her rate for an hour massage is €45 and Beehive guests receive a special rate of €35.
She can also be reached directly at 3395399550 or firstname.lastname@example.org