I was taught to skip the chapter of me.
I was taught to pull myself up by my bootstraps and keep going.
I was taught that self-care was selfish.
I was taught that getting a massage was indulgent, luxurious, beyond my means.
I am still undoing these teachings, but this story is not about me. It’s about Melanie Gorr, the woman who nearly 7 years ago, took me into her little room and gave me a touch of confidence and kindness. And when I left, she let me know that I would never have to skip the chapter of me again, that I can let the straps fall, that by taking care of myself I was doing a great service, and that yes, indulgent and luxurious may be used as adjectives to describe a massage, but the more accurate description is: worth every dime.
So, who is Melanie Gorr? Well, for starters, she’s the type of practitioner who is so singularly focused on the work that trying to nail her down to get her to talk about herself took several months and some teeth-pulling. She’s also a practitioner, who, though therapeutic bodywork was never her original career choice, has now made herself into a truly professional body therapist.
Melanie always knew that she wanted to be part of human-service work. However, her original plan was that massage would be her side hustle. With a degree in English and Arts History, Melanie had every intention to continue her education and get her M.S.W (masters in social work) – a noble and incredibly emotionally draining profession. But, the universe took her another way. Melanie now knows, that she was in fact, made to do this work.
Mel (as I call her) has always taken her work very seriously. It is no surprise to me that she had ambition to be in a profession that takes a lot more strength and resilience day in and day out than most of us have. She graduated from the Baltimore School of Massage and began working in spas – generalizing in a lot of different modalities, eventually working her way to Aveda, and finally landing at Ohana. Each time growing her professional limits and creating new ones, Melanie remains true to herself: she wants to provide her best work to every client.
She learned the power of touch at an early age – her father was a high-touch parent, her cousin who was diagnosed with cancer would only respond (read: stay calm) to having his head rubbed, she suffered a severe accident in college and massage helped not only her body heal but also helped her process the trauma of the accident. Now, the mother of two young, bright, precocious children, healing and touch are a big part of her kids’ lives. She has imparted on them a very important lesson: giving and receiving touch is nothing to feel embarrassed about.
My first experience with Ohana Wellness was on Melanie’s table and though she will never classify herself as an energy worker, she is incredibly attuned to her client’s needs – both verbal and non-verbal. Melanie believes firmly that it is not her job to fix someone, in fact, it is her job to accept her client, as they are, on her table, and let that fully be. To Melanie, this work is her creative outlet – she sees it as working on a long-term project, often asking herself, how is this pain, or this reaction connected to the muscle groups I’m working on (or not working on)? It is telling of how Melanie approaches this work. With an intensity, intentionality, and humbleness that allows her to push the limits of her own learnings.
Melanie has become an increasingly adept practitioner on pre-conception fertility work all the way through to post-partum; the pelvis muscle and sciatic pain; the connection between physical and emotional tension and how it translates into gut health, pregnancy, labor, and delivery, etc., and more. Like many of the healers at Ohana Wellness, Melanie is constantly learning more, fine-tuning her craft, continually diving into particular parts of the body. It may not come as a surprise after reading this story that Melanie is one of the most sought-after practitioners at Ohana, often with a waitlist of more than a month! Mel, in my humble opinion, embodies what it means and looks like to be a true professional in this field.
Mel vows to give support, comfort, and love while on the table, she vows to always be grateful for the experience and opportunity, and that she will take it seriously every minute of every day. She firmly believes in the professional nature of the relationships she’s built with her clients. And, she honors every client by respecting their boundaries, however they want to set them. And, when she’s with you on that table, she is fully committed with a guarantee that she puts her whole self into that session each and every time.
Schedule time with Melanie HERE.