A chat with holistic therapist and pilates teacher Ivone Tavares

Ivone Tavares of Raglan Pilates is a holistic therapist that provides patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness.

Ivone is also a certified soft tissue massage therapist and pilates teacher who has built a successful business helping clients with injuries and stress relief in Raglan and all over the country.  Massage is becoming increasingly recognized in New Zealand. Ivone is her last year at Waikato University doing a Bachelor of Health and Sport science majoring in Human Performance and Psychology.

Tell us about your award?

Normally I wouldn’t share something like this so publicly but this award was absolutely unexpected that made me feel very happy and honoured. This award means a lot to me. I still have a lot of work to do but I am happy to know that I’ve come so far. So I sincerely appreciate the support of the New Horizons for Women Trust in raising funds to provide grants to assist women all around the country to develop their potential.

The Mildred Keir Award is sponsored by the Graduate Women New Zealand Charitable Trust and by the Association of Women in the Sciences.

What are your main interests in the area of science when did it started?

It started when I first watched Star Wars! I think it may have started when I worked with James Dyson back in UK. He was a very inspiring and down to earth individual and very creative. My main interests in the area of science are human performance, physiology psychology and neuroscience. I like learning how to push my body further in specific measurable ways and then at Waikato University we get to physically test out these measurements in laboratories.

What do you feel as a holistic therapist?

I feel the more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know. In psychology we called it the Kruger effect. The more you know, the less confident you’re likely to be. Because experts know just how much they don’t know, they tend to underestimate their ability; but it is easy to be overconfident when you have only a simple idea of how things are. I think the key is for patients to try not to mistake the cautiousness of experts as a lack of understanding, nor to give much credence to lay-people who appear confident but have only superficial knowledge.

I have been doing meditation now for more than ten years, two hours a day, every day so I feel that I am able to really listen and feel into people. I have a lot of self-knowledge and self-discipline, have done and am still doing my inner work and am getting better and better at setting my boundaries. I am really good at seeing the qualities and (hidden) treasures in others and to help them see them as well and get in touch with them. I love connection and connecting the right people together. I am not perfect but I know my limitations.

What do you focus on your massage treatments?

My treatment restores harmony, wellness and balance. I am blending relaxation, deep tissue, psychology and I focus on an holistic recovery. Massage therapy is not all about being pampered but about building a healthy foundation for the day-to-day lives.

Where do you come from?

I was born in Portugal. My family lived in Mozambique in Africa but they had to leave to Portugal when the civil war started – about 1 million people died in that war. Hard times for my family then but we are very close because of that time together. Then I lived in UK for many years while working and completing my studies. After that I went to Africa to explore my ancestors and to study the wildlife and I lived with the bushman in the Kalahari Desert.  Then came to NZ and I was granted a citizenship.

Do you like Raglan?

I think Raglan is a place where people can achieve their dreams if they want.  They are so many different interests here and so many different groups of people.  I have accomplished a lot of my dreams. I am doing what I want to do and what I love – which is helping people and improving their quality of life. But I had my struggles too.

What were the struggles that you faced?

I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease after two years being in NZ. I actually thought I could not live in NZ as there are a number of well-known deficiencies (Iodine, Selenium, Zinc, Chromium, Boron) within the NZ soils. And the problem is if the essential nutrients are not in the soil in the first place, then they cannot be in our food. This is why soil depletion is such a critically important issue – one that it’s worth being aware of. But after a while when I completed my research about my disease I found a connection with a drug called Roaccutane (Isotretinoin). I was given this drug in my teenager years to treat acne and found out that this drug has shocking side effects. This drug has now been publicly and emotionally linked to an increased risk of depression, including suicides and autoimmune diseases. While other countries have pulled this drug out this drug is still available on prescription in NZ.

The currently funded brand is Oratane. So please it’s important to do your own homework and take responsibility for the medications that you are given.

My other struggle was in the beginning of my journey as a mother. It was a turbulent time to say the least. So I have so much respect for single mothers, and knowing the struggle, I created a way to give back to the single-mother community I am a proud part of. Every month I pick a new mum and give them the chance to win a free massage with me.

So when looking back at my life, I see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life I have now.

You can follow Ivone on Facebook at Raglan Pilates or send her an email at raglanpilates@gmail.com.