Eric Espinosa's Ride on a Flying Saucer

'I traveled down the rabbit hole to get here'

Reinventions profiles people who've made big pivots. Meet Eric Espinosa, an advertising and communications journalist who discovered his hands have the power to heal. He's since launched Dans La Soucoupe ("In the Saucer"), his own massage practice.

What were you before? 

For four years, I worked on the editorial staff of INfluencia, a digital publication on innovation, trends and communication. I wrote articles for the daily newsletter and did community management to bring the content to life and make INfluencia shine.

What triggered your reinvention(s)?

Even as an adolescent, I'd always had it in mind to work with my hands (a paradox, because my 10 fingers were rather clumsy). Later, professionally, I began to feel that my adventure with INfluencia was losing steam. I needed a fresh start, new perspectives. Soon, everything changed. 

One evening in October 2017, my sister had back pain and asked if I could give her a massage. At the end of that short session, she said something that set off a bomb inside me: "You do that so well, you should become a massage therapist." While I did practice massage occasionally, the idea had never crossed my mind before. Suddenly, becoming a practitioner seemed obvious.

What did the first steps look like?

On the first day of training, I wondered what I was doing, and whether I wasn't experiencing some kind of midlife crisis for stagnating professionals. I had no idea what to expect, or what a career in massage therapy really meant.

Yet two things excited me. First, the direct relationship with other humans—relationships are frank and sincere. And I would no longer need to spend my day behind a computer. This was so liberating.

What was one hard obstacle to overcome?

The performative aspect of massage took time to set aside—seeking validation at the end of a session. I imagine that's normal when starting a new career, considering the infamous "impostor syndrome" and all the doubts that go with it. I felt much lighter when I realized that, when you work with your body, hands and energy, you give what you have in the present moment. No more, no less.

What was easier than you thought?

Accepting the suddenness of things and the irrational side to change. I felt a force saying, "Go on, do it." It felt good to let go and be carried away by this energy. If I had doubts, I didn't try to block them. Even today, when I think back on that transition and how it unfolded, I still find it crazy.

What's something you learned along the way that other people, hoping to do something similar, should know?

Working with my hands is without a doubt the most rewarding thing I have done so far. I feel like I traveled down the rabbit hole to get here. Many changes occurred after this decision, particularly in terms of spirituality, my magnetism, my way of living, and perspective on life … I feel I have found my place. This is worth remembering when setting off on a new journey and embracing change.

Did anyone or anything inspire you along the way?

From the start of my career change, my goal was to bring a dreamlike adventure to life during the sessions. I wanted to think outside the box of the wellness sector, its graphical codes and stock representations, to offer something more than a moment of relaxation.

To bring this notion of a time-transcendent adventure to life, I used a flying saucer in my brand identity. This symbolizes freedom for me, and is also an object of great curiosity—a fun way to take a break from hectic daily life. Finnish architect Matti Suuronen, and his "Futuro House" concept, inspired both my graphic and mental representations of the flying saucer.

Currently, the power of intention is at the center of my desire to help people relax so they can fully experience their in-session adventure. Ultimately, I want to further develop the notion of "space tourism," using scenography, architecture and a tailor-made soundtrack to fully immerse people. Providing an opportunity to leave earth, just by closing your eyes, is what will drive me in the years to come.

What has this fundamentally changed for you?

Recently, some fellow practitioners and I were amusing ourselves by trying to define our practice by our personality traits. I see myself as a travel agency. This feeling was only reinforced by the pandemic, and the need to escape in order to find oneself.

Do you think you could go back/do you want to?

The page has permanently turned; this feeling of freedom is too precious. Crucially, I feel like I am advancing my life's work. My experience at INfluencia helped immensely in learning how to manage social networks, and in developing the editorial aspect of my concept. Nothing is lost; everything is transformed.

Tell us your reinvention song.

"Impossible Island" by Gaussian Curve. This song made me realize how music can transport a person during a massage. Plus, it has a "washing machine" effect on the mind, which I really like.

How would you define yourself now?

I like the idea that people don't come to these sessions by accident, and that I somehow play a role in their lives. Whether it's in terms of how they perceive their bodies, helping them live in the present moment, experience the joy of being with themselves, or experimenting with new sensations, the effects of massage can surprise the body and mind. It can be a vehicle for small joys. That's what I want to keep cultivating!

Reinventions is a questionnaire series with people who are making pivots in their lives. If you're going through a reinvention and would like to be interviewed for the series, please get in touch.

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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