Like many other Petalumans, Erica Hokett, NCBTMB, ABMP, finds her passion in giving back to others. A certified massage therapist since 2003, her interest in the healing arts came after spending the majority of her young life dealing with chronic pain, giving her first-hand knowledge how pain can change one’s life.
When only 8 years old, she stepped on a nail, spent over 3 months in the hospital and had 9 heel surgeries over the span of 9 years. This left a large scar on her heel that felt like she was walking on rocks. For years she limped which affected daily activities. While she is grateful to the medical system that enabled her to keep her foot and get rid of the "rocks" in her shoes, she admits "there are some big holes in my life that I don’t remember from the pain meds". She continues, "If the kind of bodywork I offer would have been available at that time, I would have had a very different life experience. I feel I’m doing my part if I can offer another person a treatment that is not invasive, can help them augment their pain and have a better quality of life."
Hokett’s training came from several arenas giving her a well-rounded and unique perspective. Her path began in Santa Cruz in 1994 meeting and training with many healers. After moving to Hawaii, she had 600 hours of training at the Maui School of Therapeutic Massage. Here her studies included Anatomy, Kinesiology, Hydrotherapy, Shiatsu, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, Sports Massage, Reflexology, Body Mind Integration and Neuromuscular Therapy, to name a few. This is where the name Malama Massage came into being for the name of her business. Malama means "to care for and attend to" in Hawaiian. "My practice began on Maui," explains Hokett. "I keep the name because it pays homage to the practitioners who helped me heal my body, inspired me to go to massage school and then became my teachers."
It was also in Hawaii that she met her friend, Victoria, with whom she went on to start a practice here in Petaluma.
Of course, Erica’s pride and deepest joy is her 5 year old daughter who loves dance, make jewelry and read. In addition to volunteering at her daughter’s school, Erica, too, loves dancing as well as gardening, hiking and making art, especially painting and sculpture. Born in Topeka, Kansas and raised in Shawnee, a suburb of Kansas City, Hokett eventually came to settle in Petaluma. She was drawn to the people here, her family and to raise her daughter.
Having also studied at The Center for Pain Management, Hokett offers more than a good-feeling massage. Hers is therapeutic in nature in that she incorporates Advanced Orthopedic Massage in complicated pain conditions. Her knowledge of Muscle Energy Techniques for the hip, pelvis and thigh as well as Lymphatic and Thai Massage give her an array of tools to use and specialize in the treatment for each client.
With her reputation getting out there, she is seeing more people who are looking for pain relief and alternatives to surgery. She loves to work with clients to figure out what they are doing on their day-to-day lives that is negatively impacting their bodies, with hips, neck, and shoulders, a specialty. In Petaluma, baby boomers, who are more wellness-oriented, are the bulk of her practice. When we worked also in San Francisco, Hokett’s practice was young professionals who were looking for relaxation from hectic jobs or who had chronic pain problems due to their posture and ergonomics. Now, she prefers to solely practice in Petaluma to be close to home, her daughter and serve her community here.
"Every massage practitioner is different," says Hokett. "We all bring a different prospective to the table. I specialize in pain relief because it’s an area where my technical skills excel. My clients appreciate my depth of knowledge, my dedication to their well-being and the quality of my touch. I offer a sliding scale because I think that it’s more important for people who need work to get it."
For her, it has been a rewarding journey, one for which she is grateful for the opportunity to help others find ease within their body through therapeutic massage. She hopes that one day soon, massage will be integrated into healthcare and viewed, as she does, as preventative medicine. For more information, go to www.malamamassage.com.