Meet the Team : Hayley Ware

December 20, 2022

Meet Hayley Ware, Auroraflow's Ashiatsu expert.

Book an appointment with Hayley here.

Hayley! Great to have you as part of the team. Why don't you start by telling us a bit about yourself?

I'm originally from Hillsborough, just a couple minutes down the road from Auroraflow. I've also spent a chunk of time in Roanoke, VA, while at Hollins University, so I have a soft spot for the Blue Ridge Mountains. I'm a Leo and an INFJ, meaning I'm a big-picture kind of gal with big homebody energy. I love to do all things crafty, especially sewing, embroidery, and furniture redesign.

What do you do for fun? What does your typical weekend look like?

My partner, Keita, and I are big foodies, so the weekends tend to be our time to explore new restaurants or concoct our own dishes. When we retire, we really want to open our own Japanese-Southern fusion restaurant. I have also been challenging my dancing background by taking aerial silks classes on Sundays.

Who do you look to for motivation or inspiration?

My friends! I went to a tiny (like less than 200 people in my class) women's college, where I met the fiercest, goofiest, most compassionate, empathetic, and badass folks that I have the privilege to call my friends. I watch them deftly navigate their day-to-day, all while combating injustices due to their skin color, gender identity, sex, age, and ability. Watching them grow, change, and molt reminds me to afford myself the same amount of wiggle room.

What brought you to massage therapy?

I've been dancing for almost 20 years now and wanted to translate all of the skills I had learned in the studio into something I could share with a wider range of people. Dance taught me how to improvise, how to be intuitive with others' minds and bodies, and how each body savors movement in a different way. It also gave me immense knowledge of anatomy and kinesiology. After a pretty severe dance injury, it really shocked me that there was not an accessible system set up for post-physical therapy care for higher-performance athletes and artists. So, I would say that my injury opened the door to seriously considering massage therapy as a career goal.

Why did you decide to specialize in Ashiatsu?

Ashiatsu means "foot pressure" in Japanese. It's a super slow, deep massage that feels almost like you're being enveloped in a warm, compressive wave. If you ever watch a session, it can look like a meditative dance. As a dancer, I wanted to take advantage of the knowledge that my body already possessed and get into the groove with my clients' minds. Another pro is that Ashiatsu uses gravity to deliver deep pressure instead of pure muscle. That means that 5’2” me can deliver 6’2” pressure consistently.💪

Who do you think benefits the most from Ashiatsu massage?

While I think almost everyone can benefit from ashi, I would say two groups especially benefit from this modality:

1. Those who suffer from chronic pain conditions.

Why? The amount of pressure Ashiatsu can provide targets more than just superficial muscles and fascia (a connective tissue that binds almost everything in our body together; bones, muscles, skin, organs, etc.). By releasing these deeper structural binds, you get longer-lasting relief.

2. Those who suffer from anxiety, insomnia, depression, or other mental or spiritual health difficulties.

Why? The sympathetic nervous system kicks off our "flight or flight" response. This feeling presents itself in a myriad of fun ways (not): that you've got to run, you're glued to the ground, you're going to shit your pants, and you're going to pass out and die. We've all been there.

The opposite of "fight or flight" is the "rest and digest" response, which is triggered by the parasympathetic nervous system. Think about how you feel after your favorite meal, followed by a cozy nap in front of a fireplace. Ashiatsu utilizes deep, slow pressure, which helps engage the "rest and digest" response. Sort of like a moving, weighted blanket.

What made you decide to bring your talents to Auroraflow?

Something that has always bothered me in healthcare has been the lack of support post-treatment. I've seen several trans clients who have been left in the dust months after gender-confirming surgeries. These are major surgeries with lasting impacts! For example, scar tissue after top surgery can overgrow and throw your whole torso out of balance, which can then cause neck pain, hip instability, etc. I wanted to participate in a space in which people could be honest with their difficulties and receive unconditionally positive care.

What would you want clients to know about you?

Help me help you! Every massage I do is specifically crafted for you and your tissue issues. For example, I work around specific body parts to avoid sensory input overload when I work on loved ones who are on the autistic spectrum. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make your experience better, no matter how minute or "silly." Also, sometimes unexpected emotions can come out of nowhere during a session. Please keep me posted if you need a minute to yourself to recalibrate.

What is a quote you live by?

I'm a huge David Bowie fan, and I've always vibed with the line "Turn and face the strange" from the song Changes. It uplifts me to stay curious, stay brave, and, most importantly, stay weird.