If you are looking for a massage therapist with whom you can develop a long-term, friendly and comfortable relationship, consider scheduling an appointment with Janie Chandler or Joseph Micketti. Partners in both life and business, the two are celebrating 30 years together, with 25 of those years working with clients right here in Ashland. In that time Janie and Joseph have had the opportunity to literally touch the lives of hundreds of locals, all the while developing a great reputation for their exceptional work.
In addition to their private practice, Janie and Joseph have taught at the Ashland Institute of Massage, and Janie is a senior faculty member of Donna Eden’s Energy Medicine Programs. Joseph excels at the structural side of things, while Janie has specialized in combining massage with energy medicine. Practically speaking, you might think that mastery alone has set these two into a league of their own, but I would say that their exceptional presence and friendly and intentional attention creates a unique and therapeutic session that will have you have settling in to the feeling that finally you’ve found “the one.”
Janie and Joseph, thanks for speaking with me today and congratulations on 30 years in life and practice!
Thank you, LocalsGuide. It’s mind-boggling to think that we’re old enough to have been doing anything for 30 consecutive years, but to have been in partnership in both love and business for that long, feels like a real accomplishment. We are grateful to the community of Ashland, and our community of friends and clients who have nourished both our business and our marriage, and we wanted to do this interview as a way to celebrate this milestone as well to say thanks to everyone. For those who are wondering, we met as roommates and fellow massage students in Boulder, Colorado in January of 1986.
What does it feel like to have practiced so intensively in one community for so long?
Oh man, we feel so blessed to have found our way to Ashland in our early years, and to have landed in the exact spot that we have, where our home-office is centrally located, making it feel like we’re really in the heart of town. We’ve had the privilege of working with so many people in the community, and with some individuals for many, many, years (we have a number of clients that have been with us for over 20 years), so we’ve gotten to witness their lives unfold, work with their children and spouses, work with their visiting parents, and work with them through lots of life transitions. We’ve also seen Ashland unfold as it has gone through its stages of growth.
Over the past 25 years you have also raised your own family, as you have two grown daughters now.
We came to Oregon from Colorado after we got married in 1988, and we lived out in the Applegate for a couple of years before moving into Ashland. Our daughter Azalea was about 18 months old when we moved into our current home/office in 1991, and our daughter Autumn was born here in 1993. When the girls were little we had a tag-team thing worked out where one of us would be on kid-duty and the other would be on work-duty. We only had one treatment room and table – which we didn’t always adjust to our differing heights – so things were busy, but simple. Autumn was an unusually quiet child so sometimes she would be in the room while we worked, looking through books, playing with soft toys, or napping. Clients would forget she was in the room with us.
It seems like you have also been able to work with and get to know many families along the way.
Yes – that is one of the coolest things about being in practice for so long here – getting to know entire families as they each find their way on to our tables. It’s cool enough to work with clients and their spouses, but when they start bringing in their children and their parents – that’s really an honor. We have several people whose parents request that they schedule a session for them during their visits from out of town. Of course, having raised our girls here we know many families from school and community engagements, so many of our clients have come to us through meeting us as fellow parents.
This makes total sense to me that once someone settles into working with you, of course they are going to want to share you with their friends and family.
You know, we also tend to have work-related “families” share in our practice, OSF in particular. People want to share what’s helping them function and perform better – we’ve had many OSF company members give gift certificates to other company members to support them in taking care of themselves. (Being an actor particularly takes a unique toll on the body.)
I would like to comment that your space is very unique. It feels very therapeutic and intentional. Has this been the result of 25 years of healing work being done in this space or what?
Our office as you have experienced it has been a dedicated space to healing sessions for 15 years. In 2000, we converted our three-car garage into a studio with his-and-hers treatment rooms, so every workday, the energy of the space is naturally charged with the intention of healing, relaxing, grounding, centering, and relief from pain and the stressors of life. Lots of people walk into our office and comment on how relaxing it is just to be here. We often hear from people who say that our own groundedness, openness, and authenticity are what makes the space feel so real and inviting.
Let’s go back to the relationship side of things. You guys have a great relationship together, your clients love you, and your kids even like you. What are the secrets behind your great relationships?
Well, in the case of our own relationship, it’s helped that we met at a crucial stage of our personal development (which was in massage school). Basic counseling skills and personal reflection were built-in parts of the curriculum, so they were cornerstones automatically built into our relationship. It also helps that we have a lot of shared interests and values, while at the same time we are both very supportive of the other’s independent interests which we might not be personally engaged in. As far as our kids liking us, we think that that can be attributed to being truthful and candid with them, as well as doing our best to support them in evolving their authentic selves, rather than trying to mold them. In terms of our long-standing clients, we think they like us because we show up. Really show up. We are present, warm, authentic and consistent.
Ok enough about attention, presence and being friendly. Let’s talk about mastery. Together you collectively have enough massage experience to have earned a fifth or sixth degree black belt. On top of this, not only are you practitioners, you are both also educators and lifelong students. Please say more.
We both feel so lucky that we managed to choose careers that really suit us. Who knew, 30 years ago, that we’d still be loving the one-on-one session with clients as much now as we did when we started? And we are both always eager to learn something new and refine our skills even more. You should see Janie when she gets on a nerdy tangent about fascia – she really lights up! Or, with Joseph, he gets really excited talking about joint articulation. It seems natural of course to have branched into teaching, after having been practitioners for so long, and it’s probably a pretty even tie between loving teaching, and loving the hands-on work we do with clients.
Joseph, you have really zoomed in on advanced myofascial techniques. What intrigues you the most about your continued studies?
This question just gave me the opportunity to reflect over the past umpteen years – since college in the 70’s – and realize that I’ve been intrigued by the human body and what makes it tick since I was a teen. In college I studied anatomy, physiology, and biology and graduated with a degree in X-Ray Technology, and worked in the medical field for a few years. Then I moved on to the field of massage and immersed myself in studying structural kinesiology and the science of soft tissue. Nowadays I am expanding my studies to include subtle energy and the amazing phenomenon of fascia. So from cells to bones to muscles to fascia to energy, I am constantly evolving my understanding of the human body. I never get bored with it.
Janie, you have really dived into fascia and its relationship to energy. Tell us about it.
I joke that I am truly fascianated by fascia. It’s the ubiquitous connective tissue that is found throughout the body – between muscle and skin, encasing the organs, protecting bones. John Barnes calls it a “liquid crystalline matrix,” and when the fascia is open and unrestricted, it is the perfect transportation system for energy. If you’ve ever had goosebumps that start on one side of your head and go all the way to your toes, you’ve had the experience of feeling energy move through fascia. I have been combining myofascial release-like techniques with my understanding of the subtle energy flows in the body (meridians and strange-flows, particularly) which has resulted in a hybrid sort of bodywork. I’ve been teaching this work to energy medicine practitioners as well as to massage therapists.
How has your practice changed and transformed over the past 25 years?
We started out with the same foundational training for the first 4 years of our careers, but then we each took off in our own direction in terms of specializing – Joseph into more therapeutic, structural aspects of bodywork, and Janie into energy medicine – so between us we cover a wide spectrum of healing possibilities. At the same time, both of us are very clear with our strengths as well as our weaknesses, and we’ve lost the urge to try to fill a need that’s beyond our capacity. We’re very confident in referring a client out of the office if we recognize that we aren’t the right practitioners for them.
Right now you are running an immune system special. How does this work and who needs it?
Our winter special is called the Immune-Boosting Protocol, and it combines massage, energy medicine and essential oils to keep the lymphatic system strong and resilient. It’s great to do if you know the flu is in town, if you have children in school, or if you’re getting ready to go on a trip (or just came home from one). It’s an hour-long session focused on the immune system, and is both relaxing and invigorating.
Many of your clients have worked with you for 10 or more years, some for more than 20 years. What do you feel allows people to settle in with you as their go-to practitioner?
Well, aside from the fact that we bring a friendly, authentic presence to our work, our treatments are never rote, and we bring all these years of training and experience to every session. Recently a long-time client said that she’s always trusted Janie to respect and safeguard her vulnerability during her sessions, so it seems that along with trusting our skills, they trust us with their vulnerabilities too. We are profoundly honored by that kind of feedback.
Obviously having healthy routines of self-care and massage are important in one’s life. What is the secret of success to your longevity?
With the average career span of massage therapists being only 7 years (and only 10% of massage therapists having more than 16 years experience), we realize that we must be doing something right to have been doing this for so long, and still digging it. We both not only believe, but know in our bones, that our own self-care is key to our longevity, as well as our ability to serve others. We really try to walk our talk – but it’s an ongoing process. Our personal practices include consistent attention to proper nutrition, meditation, movement (stretching, yoga, tai-chi, exercise), and energy medicine techniques, as well as getting on the table regularly.
Tell us about some of the unique techniques that you both use in your practice.
One thing that surprises many people is that there are muscles in the front of the neck that can be released with massage. Whiplash and other neck injuries, as well as general tension from stress and work, will cause these lesser known and slightly hidden muscles to contract and get stiff, but the pain is experienced in the back or sides of the neck. We like to go where few therapists are trained to go, and work on these muscles in the front (like the longus colli and capitus, and infrahyoids). We also work with TMJ issues by massaging the muscles within the mouth, which is profoundly effective. Maybe a little weird at first, but worth the temporary discomfort for the big relief.
You guys mentioned having an open house to celebrate 30 years, but that this will need to wait until spring when it can be outside in the garden.
Yes, we’d really like to have a good party to celebrate the richness of our careers – but our office space is waaaaay too small to hold all the people we’d want to share that with, so we’ll have to wait until May so we can spill out into our large garden, or have a street party.
Even after 30 years, you guys still have great enthusiasm and positivity.
These days it takes intentional focus to maintain enthusiasm and positivity. Janie likes to say that consciousness is vulnerable to viruses as much as an immune system is, so we pay close attention to our states-of-mind in order to keep our vibrations up (which is no easy feat in the current scheme of things). We choose to spend our time and energy on the yes of life, making choices that affirm joy and well-being, so it’s not just luck that we still have enthusiasm and positivity – it’s intention and determination.
In closure, do you have any last comments or thoughts to share with our readers?
We love you Ashland! Thank you for being the ideal community to do the work we love doing, and living the lifestyle we love living. We look forward to meeting many more of you and your families, and we’d love to have the chance to visit with folks we haven’t seen for a while. Give the office a call and schedule yourself a session!