Matias Rozenberg, Shiatsu & Registered Massage Therapist
By Vivian Khouw

The Appeal of Massage Therapy

The patient's head lolls to each shoulder as she shakes her limbs loosely before sighing contentedly. She ambles out of the therapy room relaxed and pain-free thanks to a massage at Matias Rozenberg Shiatsu & Registered Massage Therapist. A practising Shiatsu therapist since 2003 and with Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) certification, Matias Rozenberg has long desired to help others, even before he transitioned to massage therapy. "I felt it was my calling to help people. It's always been my calling," he explains.

That impetus to do for others was first sparked when Matias earned a Master's in social work prior to studying RMT and Shiatsu, which Matias defines as "a Japanese style of massage that is based on traditional Eastern acupoint theory. It's sometimes referred to as 'acupressure' or 'acupuncture without needles.'" Matias offered social work services in expressive arts therapy and community arts programs but wanted to explore an approach that focused on helping the body as well as the mind. This inspired Matias to move towards Shiatsu massage and then Registered Massage Therapy.

After having worked for a decade in various therapeutic environments, Matias decided to open his own space in 2013, establishing one of the few full-time Shiatsu and RMT spaces in Hamilton. "It just felt right," he says. "I was inspired by the challenge." In addition to working full-time in Hamilton, Matias serves clients in Toronto twice a week.

I felt it was my calling to help people. It's always been my calling. - Matias Rozenberg, owner

The Holism of East Meets West

Matias enlisted his knowledge of Eastern healing systems and Western medical beliefs to create what he terms an "East meets West holistic practice." "I look at the whole person," he explains. "I consider not just the symptom, but also underlying causes and contributing factors. I consider not just the body, but also the relationship between a person's body, thoughts and emotions."

Matias' enthusiasm is evident as he dissects the limitations of Cartesian thought, and emphasizes that the body should not be conceptualized as a machine but as a living entity. Having knowledge in both Eastern and Western-based massage skill sets, along with the fact that Matias values his clients' experiences and input, has enabled him to craft a collaborative and individualized approach to healing. "In addition to using my intuition, I rely on my knowledge of anatomy and body mechanics, along with knowledge of centuries' old Japanese and Chinese healing traditions. I listen deeply to my clients in order to meet them where they are at rather than prescribing everyone with the same 'one size fits all' solution," he explains.

Matias is proud of how receptive Hamilton has been to his unique brand of services and the "non-judgemental approach" he takes. "It's really gratifying that they love it."

The Safe Space of Healing

Education is a key component of Matias' practice, as is his insistence on creating a safe space where his clients are empowered to ask questions, to be listened to, and to receive feedback. Whether it's through the treatments Matias has given at trade shows and work places, or the massage services he's gifted to community charities, he endeavours to cater to his clients' wants and needs. The kernels of this philosophy were inspired by the teachings of his mentor, Ted Saito, the Shiatsu master who brought the practice to Canada.

Matias' hands have massaged over 800 clients throughout the years, and the difference he feels by helping people motivates him and imparts meaning to his life. The dialogue he opens with clients is but one tangible benefit in a larger conversation about health, healing and well-being. "I love the work I do. I love helping people," Matias affirms. "I'm in the right place doing what I'm doing. It's very humbling that in helping others, I feel inspired."

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