Better Know a Freedster: Aviva Pittle
I’ve been here over five years.
How did you get into massage?
I have been doing massage since I was a child. My father is a cantor, and I used to have to go to a lot of boring temple functions. I figured out somewhere around seven years old that the only thing I could do so that I’d be less bored and not be yelled at by adults to sit down and be quiet was to walk around rubbing people’s shoulders. When I was about 14 somebody said to me, “have you thought about doing this as your career?” My mind was blown. I went directly from high school into massage school. I’m one of the few massage therapists that I know for whom it was my first career.
What do you look for in a massage therapist?
I think the twin goals of massage are what your experience is like and how you feel later. For me, how you feel later is a higher priority. I also look for people who have competency working with bigger bodies who know how to do things like work through fatty tissue in a way that actually accesses the muscles and doesn’t cause pain on the surface level. I look for people who are responsive to my boundaries about where I do or do not want to be touched and listen when something is too much.
What’s the biggest misconception about massage that you want to clear up?
If nobody ever apologizes to me again about anything about their body, in particular for not shaving their legs, that would be soon enough for me! I understand that people are self-conscious and have body shame – it’s unavoidable in the culture that we live in and it’s certainly not something I’m immune to – but I’m not in the business of judging bodies. I’m really here to create change in people’s bodies based on what they want.
What do you wish clients knew about your sessions?
What sets my work apart is a combination of relaxation and therapeutic work. I have a background working in spas and I’ve always been invested in massage being therapeutic, so I had to learn to sneak deep therapeutic work into a relaxing full body massage experience. The kind of feedback I get from my clients is “no one has ever worked that deep on me before without it hurting,” and that’s what I really love to do.
What’s your favorite part about being a massage therapist?
My favorite thing about doing massage is how I’m the best part of people’s day. Everyone shows up happy to see me and looking forward to what we’re going to be doing together. That’s really had a tremendous impact on my mental health.
What’s your preferred superpower?
I like oddly specific and constrained super powers. I’ve often wished I could teleport from the street that I’m on to any street in the world that has the same name, or that I had a time traveling umbrella that would take me anywhere in the past where it was raining.
What would your last meal be?
What was your first concert?
Ani DiFranco. We were seated in the row that the ended up putting the sound equipment in we got moved to the orchestra pit.
What book did you read most as a child?
I grew up on a steady diet of Robert Heinlein. I have a really keen belief in space as the future of the human race. If they built a Generation ship tomorrow, I would volunteer to be on it. That definitely comes from reading too much silver age sci-fi in my formative years.
What’s your favorite spot in DC?
I really love The Potter’s House. I love it both because it’s filled with queer youth and because it has a pay-what-you-can approach to some of the items on the menu. It feels like a caring, welcoming space. I also love the Pretzel Bakery.
My life motto is just to have as much fun as possible and avoid causing any unnecessary pain. I believe strongly in treating people well. Once that’s taken care of, I’m a hedonist.