Faces at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market

On Sunday mornings, local mum Toni Shaw can be found next to the flowers at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market.

Did you start out your career doing massage?

No. I trained in architecture and worked for 10 years before embarking on our personal house project.

Then I had children and found myself immersed in freelance projects, school and community projects like the GL2030 Waste Away group and Plastic-Free July.

Have you always had an interest in natural health?
Having a child with serious allergies heightened my interest in natural health and I became a lot more aware of supporting the immune system with good nutrition and trying to lead a toxin-free, additive-free lifestyle.

How long have you been doing massage?
My first course was when I did a baby massage class through Plunket when my eldest was a baby and I massaged the kids as they grew up. They still love their massages!

Later, I trained in relaxation massage and use Swedish and deep tissue techniques. Plus, I end up doing a bit of post-sports massage to help unwind physical stresses.

What was the training like for that?
I loved the training – how can you not love getting five massages a week? It was a great antidote for all the stress of studying.

Tell me about relaxation massage
Contrary to what people often think, relaxation massage is not fluffy nothing. It involves various strokes and firm pressure to release muscle tension and knots or adhesions. It increases blood flow and oxygen to the tissues, releases waste products and stimulates the skin and nervous system to soothe nerves, bringing about that wonderful feeling of relaxation.

That sounds like it could be a bit painful
Not at all. I’m always very careful to work into the pressure so that people are ready for it when it gets to that point. Everyone is different so I work with the individual and every massage is different, according to their needs.

What do you like about doing massage?
I really enjoy being able to help people reduce their tension levels. I love it when someone comes and sits down in the chair looking stressed and gets up looking much different and happier.

How do you do massages at the market?
At the market, I do short massages of neck, shoulders and back. It’s perfect for the tensions that so many of us build up from working at a computer. It’s easy because they just sit in the massage chair and don’t need to take their clothing off.

Tell me about your customers
I get a mixture of people. There are some regulars who make sure they get a Sunday morning refresh between buying their veggies, milk and eggs. And sometimes I get people who have only ever had massage as part of physiotherapy for treating injuries. It can be a real revelation for them how good they feel after a relaxation massage.