Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Many patrons of Massage Envy at Maywood Mart Shopping Center call Anita Winfield "The Knot Whisperer" because of her reputation for resolving sources of discomfort clients didn't know they had.
"I'm here to help someone else feel better than when they walked in," the 43-year-old massage therapist says, even if that means putting in extra effort to address a problem in addition to a client's original complaint.
A lifelong Jackson native, Winfield graduated from Bailey Magnet High School in 1995 and earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Jackson State University in 2000.
Winfield taught in Jackson Public Schools from 2000 to 2001 before teaching anatomy and physiology at Jackson State from 2002 to 2007. While teaching, she pursued a master's degree in biology, but a hyperthyroidism diagnosis forced her to stop her studies.
"My system was out of control," Winfield recalls. Without health insurance, she lived untreated for seven years. In 2014, Winfield learned she had Grave's disease, an autoimmune disorder caused by a hyperactive thyroid, and spent five days in the hospital receiving treatment.
"It almost took me out of here," she says. "Almost."
Winfield decided to study massage therapy at the Institute for Health and Technology, Jackson campus in January 2019, because it related to her background teaching anatomy and physiology. She graduated 11 months later in December, received her license in February 2020, and started working at Massage Envy in March.
Massage therapy provides a practical outlet for her knowledge, Winfield says, "because you have to understand (anatomy and physiology) to perform it on each client correctly."
Her personalized service encourages clients to communicate the experience they need to decompress. From being willing to modify her techniques, to even lending a listening ear, Winfield is there for those who seek her help. "Each client that I work on, I want to make sure they enjoy their massage and that I cater to their specific needs," Winfield says.
Winfield plans to pursue a master's degree and a doctorate in kinesiology so that she can teach massage therapy. She is also preparing to launch I Am Royalty, LLC, a women's accessory line she started created last summer, in February 2021. You can follow I Am Royalty, LLC on Facebook and @iamroyalty_77 on Instagram.
"No matter what you face, keep going," Winfield advises. "You may have setbacks, but they are only set-ups for your future coming to pass."
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