Today I met with Alexandra Zanardi, owner of True Massage in Clinton, CT, which is actually located in the same building as Jenna Snelgrove's Gratitude. These two gifted massage therapists not only share space, but they also share similar stories of sobriety and healing. Alix invited me onto her couch and into her life today to open up about her past and explain why she's so passionate about the healing power of touch.
Right off the bat, I was struck by Alix's honesty. She told me she has struggled with many trauma-related issues, including alcoholism, hospitalizations, drug abuse, and body image issues, all starting at a young age. It wasn't until she turned twenty-one that she began to look around and notice her own self-destructive behaviors, as well as the pattern of alcoholism that permeated her family. She knew she didn't want to continue down this road. She knew she didn't want to use alcohol as a crutch and medication any more, because she had dreams of being a mom. She had dreams of being a healer. She had dreams of taking her painful experiences and turning them into stepping stones toward a better life.
And so, she began to pave her path to recovery.
At twenty-one, Alix joined AA and enrolled in CCMT (Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy school, now known as Cortiva Institute). While AA gave her the support she needed to combat her long family history of alcoholism, CCMT acted as the catalyst for her holistic journey. As a child, she was raised in the beauty industry, brought up in her mother's beauty salon, surrounded by superficial beliefs about health, but massage therapy school opened her eyes to a deeper form of health. In every class, she was surrounded by nurturing people and full-body acceptance. She had to let down her walls and allow others to practice massage on her, while also practicing massage on a wide variety of other individuals and body types. Through all this genuine, loving body touch and care, Alix began to learn self-acceptance. She started to eat better, lose weight naturally, wake up earlier, and sincerely care about her health. She started to love herself.
At age twenty-five, she still struggled with alcohol issues, but she no longer abused drugs or was a hundred pounds overweight. She continued to stick with her AA support group and continued her journey of holistic healing, learning all about reiki, heat therapy, and essential oils to incorporate in her practice as well as her daily life. She also kept her community of sober-minded people close, choosing to spend her time with those who supported her and were on a similar path instead of friends and family members who were still stuck in old patterns. She worked hard to retain the healthy, nurturing environment she adored from school and continue to share this way of life with her clients through her practice.
Now, at age thirty-five, she is a passionate, talented healer and a resilient woman. She has been continuously sober for four months, but has been piecemeal sober for fifteen years. While her road to recovery hasn't always been a smooth or steady one, she believes that she needed to learn all her lessons the hard way in order to become the empathetic, intuitive massage therapist that she is today. She does not look at her clients as bodies with separate parts and muscles. She sees her clients as full human beings, in need of genuine love, deep healing, and human connection. Every massage she gives comes straight from the heart. She caters to individual needs, adding customized reflexology, all natural products, and energy work without adding any extra costs. From personal experience and transformation, she knows massages are not just a luxury--they are a method of healing. They are a preventative form of medicine. Here are just a few ways regular weekly massages have improved Alix's well-being:
1) Increased circulation.
2) Improved quality of sleep.
3) Taught her self love.
4) Helped ground and center her.
5) Taught her self-acceptance and healed her body image issues.
6) Opened up her ability to receive healthy, nonsexual touch, regardless of weight and size.
Alix believes healing is a journey--a continuous one that never ends. She has not had an easy life, but she has fully accepted the need to be grateful. Through all the darkness and struggles she has endured, she never wanted to remain bitter. She never wanted to harden from trauma. She wanted to grow stronger, but at the same time grow softer to become a better healer for herself, her friends, and her clients. Empathy through touch is her gift.
The biggest lesson Alix has learned through all her years of recovery and holistic healing is the art of perseverance. She believes if you fall down seven times, you get up eight. Never give up. She believes in self perseverance, but most importantly, she believes in perseverance in faith. Her guiding light has always been her faith in a higher power and a higher purpose to heal others. When she is in service to someone else, she feels at peace. She believes nonsexual, caring, and loving touch is her divine responsibility. She knows the life-changing power of positive bodywork and wants nothing more than to spread the massage-healing goodness to others.
Schedule an intuitive massage with Alix today!