ROOTS Massage was founded in December of 2016. It started as my (Julieta Benavides’s) little solo massage practice, where I offered relaxation massage, prenatal, orthopedic massage for pathologies and manual lymphatic drainage. Demand for the lymphatic drainage increased exponentially every year, and in April of 2023 I decided to add another therapist to better serve those who needed a seasoned therapist for their lymphatic needs. Monica Marler has been a friend and a respected colleague of mine since 2017. She is not only an expert in lymphatic drainage but in many other modalities as well. I knew she would be the perfect person to partner with to expand ROOTS!
Meet your massage therapists:
Julieta Benavides, LMT, CMLDT
As your massage therapist, I invest in your well-being by providing a nurturing and knowledgeable foundation for your best self.
Whether you need my support for lymphatic health, pregnancy or desk-job-tension, my first goal is to address the nervous system and to ensure that you feel safe and relaxed while in my care. All details are considered to ensure that you are comfortable; I understand the vulnerability involved in presenting yourself for massage and the importance of imparting healing with full presence and attention. I combine warmth and intuition with technical skill in order to build trust as the massage unfolds. Once this is established, together we will make magic!
My practice has evolved into a good mix of lymphatic drainage, orthopedic work, relaxation and perinatal massage (which encompasses prenatal, labor and postpartum) – and I truly love to mix it up! Since lymphatic drainage is such an important part of my work, it has its own page HERE.
My work surrounding the childbearing year has a special place in my heart, because it is the time during your life in which you will require the most support (both informative and nurturing) and so often will not get it. This work allows me to be a part of your “village”! I have resources to share along your journey – I can suggest a trusted chiropractor or be the one to remind you about your pelvic floor physical therapy after the baby comes. In addition to the massage piece, I was a doula for a few years, so I integrate techniques to get mom and baby ready for labor.
For therapeutic massage, my style is a blend of myofascial and active techniques knitted together with slow, broad strokes. I draw from a variety of modalities (Swedish, myofascial release, neuromuscular therapy, active release, pin & stretch, passive stretching, manual lymphatic drainage, positional release, cupping, hot stone therapy, aromatherapy, Zero Balancing, shiatsu) in order to curate the most therapeutic session for each client. Often clients find they like a combination of all of the above. If you want to read what my actual clients have to say, check out my reviews HERE.
Prior to graduating from A New Beginning School of Massage, I managed restaurants for twenty years. After having been in the hospitality industry for much of my life, I have a deep understanding of the importance of compassionately listening to a client, making them feel safe and comfortable and anticipating their needs. Taking care of others is something I have always done naturally and I genuinely love doing it. Prior to receiving schooling for massage therapy, I taught myself basic techniques using DVDs and would practice on others just for fun and to relax myself. After doing this for ten years, I loved it so much that I had to do it full time. I have also been a bootcamp instructor and a running coach. My background in athletics and running gives me an understanding of the basics of human movement and how pathologies can develop, but also the empathy to understand being injured and unable to find solace in the exercise one loves.
I believe that regular massage should be a part of everyone’s maintenance regimen. Our current medical system often addresses illness when it is already a problem in the body and daily life is affected. However, massage can be a powerful preventive tool, especially given that stress is a precursor to and a causative factor in many chronic illnesses. Regular massage calms the nervous system, promotes body awareness, lowers blood pressure and decreases anxiety, allowing the integrated body systems to better function as a whole. It also provides you (and me, ha ha) with some much needed human connection and one more person checking in on you in your circle of care! Massage is also beneficial for calming autoimmune disorders, addressing repetitive use injuries and postural distortions as well as alleviating pain due to soft tissue injury.
A New Beginning School of Massage – Massage Therapy, 500 hours
Lauterstein-Conway School of Massage – Advanced Program for Clinical Massage and Bodywork, 250 hours
Relieving Chronic Head and Postural Distortion, 6 hours
Releasing the Rotator Cuff: A Massage Perspective, 6 hours
Clinical Massage for Piriformis Syndrome and SI Joint Dysfunction, 6 hours
Advanced Muscular Therapy with Ben Benjamin: Neck and Back, 7 hours
Manual Lymphatic Drainage:
Introduction to Manual Lymphatic Drainage, 6 hours
Manual Lymphatic Drainage Certification Course (Klose Training, Vodder Method), 45 hours
Introduction to Cupping as a Lymphatic Drainage and Deep Tissue Tool, 6 hours
Plastic Surgery Recovery and Fibrosis Massage, 3 hours
Massage After Tummy Tuck, 1 hour
Myofascial Massage after Liposuction, 1 hour
Lymphatic and Fibrosis Massage Cupping after Liposuction, 2 hours
Pre- and Peri-Natal Massage Therapy, Carole Osborne, 32 hours
Childbirth Education and Doula Training Workshop (DONA), 23 hours
Rebozo for Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, 7 hours
Breech Basics Online (Spinning Babies), 3 hours
Reiki Levels I, II and III
Pranic Healing, Level I
Monica Marler, LMT, CMLDT, CZB
I am a licensed LMT, CMLDT, CZB and reflexologist. My passion for learning new modalities of body work and helping clients has been a life-long pursuit. As a native of Austin, I have been influenced by holistic and natural healing practices that are abundant in the Austin area. Originally a ballet dancer from age 3, my love of body movement began early in life. The demanding ballet workouts prompted a need to learn about body movement and best practices to heal and recover quickly.
This experience set me on a path to massage school, knowing how impactful bodywork was for me as a dancer. With each modality I have studied since, another layer of understanding has helped me become a healthier version of myself while learning effective techniques to help understand how best to support those I work with in my practice.
Each modality I practice has been so supportive in my professional and personal growth that I want to share it with others! Working with people to show them the power they have on their own to best help them on their journey is truly my passion.
Lymph work was the first modality I focused on after mastering massage. The discipline checked the right boxes for me as it supports the body’s natural healing function: the immune system. After learning lymphatic massage techniques, I began using them on myself. At first, only when I was feeling sick and realized how fast relief came. I began offering lymphatic drainage for people who were experiencing allergies and sinus issues with great results. Eventually my practice grew with patients who needed post operative work. The results for those clients was dramatic! Since then my practice has grown exponentially and has been focused on recovery and support, working with those with post operative recovery needs, chronic autoimmune issues, and patients going through recovery and treatment.
In massage school I did a research project on reflexology that piqued my interest in the discipline, but shelved it to focus on traditional massage study and practice. After a few years of studying massage, I wanted to expand my knowledge to include
other, more gentle and clothed modalities as I felt it would be more inclusive and helpful to the people I enjoy working with the most. I also found benefit in reflexology for my own wellbeing.
Reflexology is a therapeutic method based on the principle that there are nerve endings (reflex spots) in the feet, hands, and ears that map to other systems in the body. Through the application of pressure on these points, reflexology supports the body’s efforts to function optimally, and regulate the nervous system properly.
Not only did I get to learn and delve into reflexology, but being able to experience the results first hand was illuminating..I could actually feel my nervous system start to calm down in a way that I’d been trying to achieve for years. After the initial course, I had to know more, so I continued on to complete the 300-hour program. Friends and family noticed when I treated them with reflexology they were able to relax, and feel more calm during and after each session, building on the positive results of the previous session. I was able to easily show them how to do the same basic reflexology techniques for
themselves between treatment sessions. On a personal level, I saw a noticeable improvement in my overall health by including reflexology in my health regimen.
Zero Balancing is a bodywork modality, similar to acupressure, that works with the bones, ligaments and key joints of the
body using a method of clear structural and energetic touch. The goal is to provide feedback loops within the body to promote postural alignment, reduce pain and discomfort and create a sense of balance and harmony.
Zero Balancing (or ZB) was developed by Dr Fritz Smith, MD, while he was going to Acupuncture School. He saw the need to combine Western scientific investigation of human anatomy and quantum physics with Eastern principles of energy and healing into a cohesive and adaptable protocol of body-mind touch therapy. Zero Balancing is one of the most impactful ways to observe how a person moves in the world physically and energetically. It helps practitioners tailor sessions to each client’s needs at that time, no matter how specific. The practice is simple and informing. A typical session is done clothed, starting with a seated evaluation of the movements of the shoulders and spine. The client then lies face up, while the practitioner runs through a sequence of evaluations and fulcrums moving around the body in a methodical way. The evaluations check the range and motion of each joint, giving the client and specialist an idea of the state of that area of the body is; tight, loose, strained, etc…
A fulcrum is then placed for reevaluation. A fulcrum is a field of tension created using lifting, bending, sliding, pushing,
pulling, twisting, or compressing as a catalyst for change. It sounds intense, but it’s incredibly gentle because of the focus on
the quality of touch. Nothing is supposed to feel painful or uncomfortable, only provide information as to how the body is and
moves, and perhaps how it wants to move. It’s a process of exploration, questions through movement, and compassionate
While learning Zero Balancing I could see and experience first hand the changes in my body and psyche. I’ve used Zero
Balancing in countless ways for my well being and in my practice. As I started receiving sessions, I noticed I felt more at ease in my body and I moved with more freedom. My shoulders and low back felt better than ever, and I wasn’t experiencing the same discomfort as before. I was able to maintain that freedom of movement for incrementally longer periods of time after each session.
I also use Zero Balancing in conjunction with talk therapy to process things that are difficult to move through, like a
nonverbal guided meditation session. Because it is done clothed, and the emphasis placed on informed quality touch, I felt I was
able to relax more deeply into an experience of peaceful inner curiosity. Zero Balancing is about creating a structured container for curious exploration and positive body movement.
“If you can Balance something to neutral without judgment or comparison by holding it in its own space, it will
naturally move to its highest possible benefit” – Fritz Smith, MD
For more information about Zero Balancing, and the Zero Balancing Touch Foundation https://www.zerobalancing.com
PRODUCTS I USE:
I support small, women-owned businesses who share my ethical principles. All of the companies I buy from exhibit a commitment to: high quality, ethically sourced and third party tested ingredients, giving back to the community, no testing on animals and concern for the impact on the environment. None of them distribute through Amazon.
The choice varies depending on the goals of the massage:
Pure Pro Ultra Massage Oil: Unscented, nut free, gluten free, cruelty free, vegan. Completely natural – absolutely no chemical dispersants or preservatives. Made in the US by a team of women massage therapists.
Deep Tissue Massage Cream: Unscented, nut free, gluten free, cruelty free, vegan. Free of parabens, formaldehyde & phenoxyethanol. Made in the US by a team of women massage therapists.
La Abeja Herbs Wildcrafted Massage Oils: Everyday Alchemy Small batch, hand-crafted oils made in accordance with the lunar phases by a magical herbalist here in Austin.
MotherHylde: Brigid’s Body Oil: Small batch, hand-crafted plant medicines made by an herbalist and massage therapist in Pennsylvania using plants she’s grown and wildcrafted herself or has sourced locally. This is the “kava oil blend” everyone loves – I dilute it in a 1 to 4 ratio for massage use. I personally also use her Bliss Elixir and Beyond the Veil Elixir.
Barring allergies, clients normally like incorporating one or two essential oils into the session. Topically, I use only the highest quality oils from Aromatics International, as they are responsibly sourced, third-party tested and each one comes with a GC/MS document detailing the chemical make-up of the batch. Essential oils are a wonderful way to support the goals of the massage: I have oils that help lymphatic drainage, oils that combat colds and flu, some that calm muscle spasms, relieve sinus congestion, relieve anxiety and promote better sleep. Oils can be uplifting, promote mental clarity, balance female hormones and even calm obsessive thinking or foster a stronger sense of self. Using the oils in small dilutions on the feet and back can promote calming of the mental state as well as soothing the physical body.