Bodywork in the Bay

home-logoI’m always surprised to stumble across the odd person who has never received a therapeutic massage. I guess my lifescape of experiencing someone else’s hands on my body coincided with the beginning of yoga as a young woman fresh to the puff of the city of sails. I’d like to say I remember my first time on the table. Wellpark College rings a bell. Since then I have had oodles of palms and digits knead and sweep trapezius, glutius maximus, bubbling well points, and temples. Men and women. Students and experts. Shiatsu. Ayurvedic. Swedish. Deep tissue. Acupressure.

Why do I spend $80 per hour on my body?

It used to be for purely practical reasons – to restore my corps. Once upon a time, I worked as an actor, and especially with musicals I was moving my body a lot. Other times I have run half-marathons. During these times I’ve wanted to put energy back into my body after it had given me so much. I’ve always used massage for relaxation. I’ve also turned to it to relieve a back/hip injury. But most recently, I’ve recognised bodywork acts as a sort of meditation slash teaching dream-state, which can often bring my attention to obstacles limiting me. Now, whilst on the table sometimes a solution to these obstacles arises and other times a question or a simple awareness of this preoccupation visits me.

But this post is not intended to try and convince you of the value of bodywork. I’m assuming if you’ve found this you’re already converted and perhaps instead you’re looking for…who?

With anything do to with our self, our body, our mind, our heart, our wellness, I like to tread with awareness. I like recommendations for a GP, a dentist, an osteo, an acupuncturist, a massage therapist.

Tracy Pepper of Magic Hands arrived to me via an email from a women’s circle I was sitting within. At that stage Tracy was publicising one of her Yoga mini-retreats. I was astonished by the weekend’s lineup: imported Yoga teachers, Thaiatsu, Yoga Nidra, Chanting/Kirtan and all in Tauranga and at an illegally accessible price.

I had to meet this generous creature.

Her voice was what followed next. Tracy has a most harmonious voice. Harmonious in the therapeutic sense –  lyrical, peaceful, calming. Pointedly, the notion of sound as therapy coincided with Cameron Tukapua’s teaching that sound will be very helpful and healing for 2013, the Year of the Snake and transformation. And the links kept collecting. I was then invited to my first ever Yoga Nidra, a 21st of December 2012 gift from Tracy, for a collection of ‘her’ ‘bodies’. We lay like spokes of a wheel on her lounge floor being led into Yoga Nidra via a voice recording she’d just made. P.S This lady works wholeheartedly and seemingly non-stop on health & well-ness for all.

downloadNow come I, to Tracy as a massage therapist.

She operates a cosy clinic in the Mount – a few blocks away from Bayfair. It’s out the back of her home, within her garden. Her home is a learning space with a minimally furnished lounge ready to teach a myriad of therapeutic movements. Noticeable also in this space are a few cats that may attempt to talk with you and shelves of books amid quotes like: What would you attempt to do, if you knew you could not fail? Her lush emerald garden smells of love and tenderness. A tropical resting place, reminiscent of The Waihi Beach Secret Garden.

In the consult room at the beginning of our first appointment the thing that ‘ping-ed’ was she asked of my pressure preference. Did I prefer light or firm pressure on a scale of 1-10? Great question, one which I don’t think I’d ever been asked, and in particular before the massage. Often therapists would ask me whilst I was on the table and their hands working my muscles – which she checked in with also. Most usually, I’d feel too concerned about appearing critical to answer truthfully. A little bit like when you get your eyebrows waxed and it feels like the therapist has pulled a teenage prank and erased all of them, but you feel too awkward, or anaesthetised to whisper ‘ please stop’. It must be something about the instruments, the dismissive posture of the client versus the dominant position of the therapist. I’m sure Cesar the dog whisperer would have opinions.

Anyhoo, Tracy’s massage is mind and body and heart shifting. She has all the reassuring posters of pressure points on the wall and nearby fat anatomical and medical encyclopedias looking tired from being pawned over. There are a collection of fragrant waxes sitting next to the CD player which has always sung Fijian music, complete with the ocean humming beneath the warm voices.

Her hands are strong, knowing, intuitive. And I’ll be honest my injury site does hurt whilst on the table and under her hands (but this is always the case with any therapy I’ve had for my injury). The difference is afterwards the mobility is increased and pain extinguished, which is sustained for about a fortnight. I’m imagining the benefits would be more long-lasting if I accompanied her efforts with my own and had a regular physical practice, but ‘consistent anything’ is playing second fiddle to being a Mum of a 7-month and 3-year young at present.

The four times that I have gone to Magic Hands I have been given a full hour on the table (as opposed to when I arrived) and no other body has been waiting in the waiting room upon my hazy exit. Hence, I have felt that much-needed space after the appointment ‘to return’ also. My final plug is like many ‘alternative’ health practitioners I know (Debbie Karl, Acupuncturist, being another local example) if your discomfort is acute she will sacrifice lunch-breaks etc to squeeze you into her list of appointments. You may (like me) also be covertly impressed by the fact she is a massage therapist to the New Zealand Rugby Sevens team. She is the shiznik.

To sum up, apart from being a rigorously qualified and skilled (not to mention intuitive) massage therapist she is also authentically committed to well-being in the greatest sense, through her general joie de vivre and the various workshops she delivers. She is a healer, a teacher, a gift, a golden find and one I just had to share with you all.


  1. Awesome revue and so on the button! Tracy at Magic hands is the bees knees of massage therapists. xxxx

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