In her childhood homeland of Gambia, Bintou Ceesay’s grandfather would make his grandchildren massage his feet at the end of a hard day. When her own mother was pregnant and took a bad fall, Bintou watched her remedy this by placing warm, wet towels on her aching low back. Growing up, her father placed high value on a healthy lifestyle and always being active. The importance of eating right, self-care, and all the other aspects of “maintaining the physical being” became a high priority in Bintou’s daily life.
At age 15, during a time of great political unrest, her parents sent her to live with her sister in Maryland. By 21, she yearned to be with schoolmates and enjoy better weather, so she moved, again – this time to Charlotte.
More than a handful of years later, she had her first professional massage – an experience which set the course of her life in an entirely new direction.
“When I got my massage, I said, ‘That’s incredible, when done the right way!’ ” So, she set out to investigate this as a possible new career, with the idea that she might offer this same experience to others. Within a few years, she had signed up for massage therapy school; nine years ago (during her pregnancy!), she received her license.
Bintou, 40, is now in her sixth year as a full-time professional massage therapist. Having lived in Matthews for more than two years and working in town for six, Bintou finds it to be “a good balance of location and a good balance of people.” She says it has also provided a home for both her family and her business. “Matthews has a lot to offer!” Bintou said.
But, it is her love of massage combined with her love of helping people that fuels her passion for getting up and going to work each day. “This is a career that is very much tied to who I am as a person,” said Bintou. “The muscles and anatomy are underappreciated and overlooked. Massage is the perfect balance of everything.”
“I believe in [this],” she said. “They come and try massage therapy and find it meaningful for themselves...addressing the whole being.” Recently, a client asked her how she knew where to focus on. She responded with a laugh, “You can call me the ‘Muscle Whisperer.’”