I’m delighted to launch the next in our series with Bodied – a truly inclusive massage space based in East London – founder, Joke. After using human touch and massage therapy to heal her own chronic injuries and pain, Joke set about to create a welcoming, safe therapy space that would provide a community to all, in particular minority ethnic communities who are under-represented and under-served in the massage and wellness therapy industries. You can learn more about Joke and the Bodied Studio on their website and instagram.
One of the core pillars of Bodied is creating inclusivity within the massage and wellness space – encouraging everyone to take care of themselves. Why is this so important to you?I think the wellness industry and even allied health services can be (in some places) extremely whitewashed. It can be daunting as a woman of colour walking into a space, expecting to begin a process of healing and not identifying with or recognising myself in said space. If anything the pandemic has really shown us just how vulnerable minority ethnic communities can be and we all have a responsibility to ensure that health and wellbeing (on all levels) remains inclusive and accessible.
Massage is a practice steeped in a rich history. How much of the ancient traditions influence you and your work today?For me, heritage and tradition are focal points that can decolonise the wellness industry. We forget that so much influence and inspiration has been drawn from ancient practices, remedies and recipes, so I'm constantly researching for the next phase of Bodied – how best to stay true to, and most importantly, honour those origins.
As someone who spends a lot of time taking care of others, how do you nurture yourself?There is nothing remotely inspiring or glamourous about my process. I think just recognising...'I need a minute' has been enough to keep me going. I'm a great walker and London is a beautiful city at night, so it'll remain a past-time of mine to cross the bridges on foot and just take it all in. I stretch and strength train, play my digital piano (not very well), go to performances alone and try to keep it light-hearted.
Are there any small, simple self-massage practices that you would encourage people to implement in their everyday self-care rituals?More so than self-massage, taking a few moments to breathe from the diaphragm and potentially trigger a release in serotonin is something I think everyone can afford themselves, as well as strengthening and mobilising their frames. The human body is the greatest example of biomechanics; we've been designed to move and whether parkour or tai chi is your gig, 30 minutes each day would probably shave millions off our nation's tax bill each year. Leave the bodywork and massage to us at Bodied!
What have you been inspired by in the small business and wellness space?Honestly, the camaraderie and support of women in business. The likes of female founders such as Katie at Re:lax London, Sam at Curate Beauty and of course yourself here at Palm of Feronia among many others, have been a great support and constant reminder that allyship is everything!
Is there anything you're reading, watching, or listening to that you're finding particularly inspiring or helpful right now?
I recently saw Yuja Wang perform at the Southbank Centre this past April. Her rendition of Ligeti's Etude No.13 (L'escalier du diable) was honestly breathtaking. You could see the physical toll this piece was taking on her, a lifelong pianist. Again, it served as a reminder to stay consistent with my own practice and find new pieces to keep me uncomfortable. That's where the growth is right?