About my journey and education

My journey into the healing arts began when my own mother massaged me when I was an infant. She said that I would “coo” and relax as her hands would say “relax” in that non-verbal language that we all understand. When I shared a room with my sister as a kid, I enjoyed being able to soothe her back to sleep when she awoke with anxiety in the middle of the night. And in high school, I loved “untying knots” in my classmates necks and shoulders. 

Relaxing into my mom’s loving arms

But I never thought of a career in the healing arts until I went through my own health crisis as a young adult shortly after graduating from art school and college. I was experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety,  had some frightening health issues surface and I was afraid of what was happening in my body. But through the wisdom and compassion I experienced from massage and energy work practitioners that I met, I started to understand what was happening and relaxed about it. Once I understood that bodywork could help people to heal, and that it wasn’t just for pampering or for helping with athletic performance, I was hooked… I wanted to learn more about how to take my health into my own hands and how to help take care of my loved ones. 

In the year 2000, I enrolled in the most holistic massage school I could find, the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics (closed in 2020). Here, I studied Swedish Massage, Polarity Therapy, Reflexology, Acupressure and Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Nutrition, and Holistic Healing. Since completing that 750 hour training, my unquenchable desire to provide deeply transformational healing experiences led me to study many modalities and healing methods over the years, with over 2200 hours of continuing education since graduation… and I will never stop being a student! 

I was so excited to begin my first massage internship, 2000 

While I was in New Mexico, and in the years following, I have studied the powerful and gentle work of Core Synchronism and Polarity Therapy with Robert Stevens, which transformed the way I touch and it was during my first core workshop that I discovered the name “Listening Touch” described what I was learning to do with my hands – not just feel and touch and respond, but to deeply listen and respond in a way that honors and doesn’t force. 

A diagram of the energy body 

After practicing for a couple years, I wanted to release some of the deeper tension held in the nervous system that seemed to be holding people’s body’s so tightly, which lead me to study CranioSacral Therapy at the Upledger Institute where I learned even more about the power of gentle touch to release tension and pain, relieve headaches, and facilitate healing on a deep level. I love working with this beautiful system.

The cerebral spinal fluid, the dural tube and membranes

Since I am a relatively small person, I wanted to learn how to leverage my body weight to get deeper pressure and so I created a “study abroad” program in Thailand where massage is integrated into every day life, as well as spiritual life, and learned Traditional Thai Yoga Massage with Asokananda and Pichest Boonthume. Both experiences were personally healing and transformational and I returned another time a few years later to deepen my studies. I also had the opportunity to attend a ten day silent meditation retreat where I started to understand the powerful connection to the mind and body. I blogged about my travels in Thailand, India, Nepal and Japan in this blog if you’d like to learn more about my adventures.

Practicing my Thai massage moves in a village in Thailand

I have been a student of Yoga since 1998, and I have over 300 hours of teacher training in Hatha, Iyengar and Anusara Yoga. While I don’t actively teach yoga classes, I enjoy teaching yoga poses to my bodywork clients and I often incorporate guided meditation or relaxation into my bodywork sessions.

After practicing bodywork for a few years, I started noticing my own pain and tension was increasing and I was introduced to the most nurturing, gentle and firm bodywork practice called Breema Bodywork, and a self-care practice called Self Breema which has transformed my relationship to life. The philosophy supports me to stay present, and honoring my body so that I can continue to do bodywork, hopefully into old age!

Practicing Breema Bodywork with a friend

While living in my home town of Chicago, I had the amazing opportunity to create a holistic program for women going through Breast Cancer treatment at Mercy Hospital, with funding from the Susan G Komen Foundation. I have studied the art of Oncology Massage with incredibly generous teachers such as Gayle MacDonald, Isabel Adkins, and Tracy Walton. While working intensely with Breast Cancer survivors, I was seeing so many problems with the lymphatic system, so I completed the Norton School’s Complete Decongestive Therapy and Manual Lymph Drainage Certification program.

Giving Manual Lymph Drainage to a woman recovering from Breast Cancer Surgery

My desire to support people on an even deeper level drove me to continue to study meditation, and self-care and I have found Ann Weiser Cornell’s teachings of Inner Relationship Focusing have been a powerful tool in helping my clients to listen, witness, and honor all the various parts of our selves, as well as body sensations, in order to experience more self love and inner peace.

I love the title of one of Ann Weiser Cornell’s books: The Radical Acceptance of Everything

Many of my regular clients started getting pregnant, and I wanted more education so that I could keep them safe as well as be effective in relieving their pain and discomfort. So I took a Pre-Natal Massage Certification course with Kate Jordan, and her teachings of myofascial release and Strain Counter Strain has transformed my work with everyone that I work with since then, whether they are pregnant or not! And now that I have experienced the wonders and challenges of pregnancy, birth and postpartum, I feel even more passionate about working with this population!

36 weeks pregnant, 2017

 My own journey with fertility and reproductive health lead me to seek out bodywork to support my own reproductive health. And this led me to apprentice with Naomi Love, a Mayan Abdominal Massage practitioner who has taught me how to weave Wise Womb Massage with Taoist energy healing, shamanic journeying, and plant medicine into the work that I do… it is so magical and powerful! And I believe this healing work supported me to give birth to a beautiful healthy baby girl at age 41.

Naomi Love and I at a fire ceremony

(Naomi Love and I at a fire ceremony)

Years later, I wanted more connection with spiritual healing and began studying with Ann Drucker. It has been incredible to learn how to be in right relationship with an ancient healing practice that has been passed down through many generations. I am honored to be learning the ancient healing practices Ms Beatrice Waight from the Yucatec Maya lineage in Belize. I have a whole new relationship with spirit, and I am in awe of the power of plants to support us on our healing journey.  

I adventured into the subconscious world when I studied Hakomi: Mindfulness-Centered Somatic Psychotherapy in Boulder. This powerful way of being with people in an atmosphere of Loving-Kindness has helped me to be able to track people’s subtle body messages, and has given me tools to help me stay present even when intense emotion is surfacing. 

 

Throughout my life, I have benefited from Life Coaching, and I had the honor or studying  BodyMind Coaching with Laura Wieck. This work helps you to learn the language that your body speaks. We look at habits and patterns that are keeping you stuck, and use your physiology and intuition of the body to establish new neural pathways that help you feel aligned, energized, and at peace. I also completed my certification in Life Coaching through the Certified Life Coach Institute in 2020. 

I have also had the honor of teaching the next generation of massage therapists, and have taught  at the Boulder Massage Therapy Institute, as well as SOMA Institute of Chicago, and the Asheville Center for Massage and Natural Health and I am now honored to be assisting with the Hakomi Somatic Coaching training. 

Don’t worry if none of this makes any sense to you. If you feel that you would like to work with me and you are not sure which offering would serve you, schedule a free discovery call, and we can explore together. 

When I’m not doing bodywork or coaching, I can often be found in nature, hiking, dancing, or singing, and I love to have adventures in the mountains of Colorado with my husband and our six year old daughter