KNOTEWORTHY: Jillian Ayer, J. Ayer Massage

Jillian Ayer owns J. Ayer Massage in Hingham, Ma. She delivers stress-based relaxation massage to women and has advanced training in oncology massage that she gears toward women and children. 

Jillian has been nominated for the Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver award twice and for six years has been a partnering massage therapist to Lucy's Love Bus, a non-profit that delivers holistic therapies to children with cancer. As a result of her work with Lucy's Love Bus, Jillian is currently working at Floating Children's Hospital in a pediatric oncology clinic, bone marrow transplant unit and ICU. Jillian's private practice, located on the south shore of Boston, serves women both in optimal health and in cancer treatment. 

Her practice is known for its use of the five senses while delivering a relaxation based massage that is truly both a sensorial experience and deeply relaxing. 

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in the clients that I work with. Part of my practice is working with women in optimal health, but the other part of my practice is working with women and children that have cancer. Cancer has a way of stripping away all that does not matter and leaving the most beautifully vulnerable parts front and center. It is that kind of beauty, the kind that is honest and

earnest and that is focused on dealing with something out of a soul’s control, that most often builds wisdom and depth in a person. For me, this is what is truly inspirational.

My oncology clients have also helped me create the foundation of everything that I do in my massage practice. Their journeys have taught me how to stand in someone else’s truth whether they are well or sick, to hold deep space for another and reverence for a stranger’s experience while not trying to change it. Their experiences and stories have beckoned me forward, asked me

to sit on the edge of my own discomfort, often while forging a deeper understanding of myself, sometimes causing me to hold my breath but always inviting me to behold the profound simplicity and healing of nurturing touch. These qualities form the soft skills that any good massage therapist should have (beyond their technical knowledge of the body and its muscles).

We build these skills through the life experiences that mature us and the intention to know how to manage our own energy so that we can meet another just where they are. Without these skills, a massage has no depth. 

How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?

There came a moment when I stopped chasing external success in corporate environments and began listening deeply to myself and the things that made me feel more alive. Mary Oliver, the poet, once said: “ you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” I love to nurture, and getting in touch with that truth inspired me to leave the corporate world and begin my journey as a massage therapist. I think there is a kind of magic that happens when we authentically align with ourselves. I believe that God tucks a love letter into our hearts before (s)he sends us here. We read the love note out loud each time we chose to do what comes most natural to us. Our natural inclinations are like lighthouses to others on the journey. They call in mentors and teachers as we step deeper and deeper into the world with our gifts. I have been blessed that many people have seen the light from my lighthouse and supported my journey. I think that when we just humbly do what we are strongly called to do, when we gently work to perfect what may already be perfect within us, the opportunities and recognition comes; at least this has been my experience. The less striving that I do and the more aligned I humbly remain, the more doors seem to open up for me.

How did you get your idea or concept for your business?

As a woman who has raised several kids, is caring for aging parents, and owns her own business, I see how vital balance through nurturing myself is for accomplishing all that is asked of me on a daily basis. The concept of building a business for women was simply born with the intention to help other women nurture themselves so they can find balance and continue to do all they do each and every day. Women wear so many hats and do so much for so many that I wanted to create a place where they could come and be cared for themselves. My massage services are specifically geared toward women.