About my journey and education

My journey into the healing arts began when my own mother massaged me as 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, I loved 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.

But it wasn’t until after I graduated from getting my undergraduate degree in art, when I was feeling scared and stressed, and I had some frightening health issues surface, when I experienced my first massage and energy work sessions. The practitioners were so compassionate and calm, and the touch was so soothing, and they had such a refreshing perspective about how the body heals that was so different from the doctors I was seeing. I learned about how my emotions were effecting my body and learned some ways to release my stress. I became more curious about my health, and I knew that I also wanted to have a better understanding about how the body works and how to facilitate healing using natural therapies.

In the year 2000, I enrolled in the most holistic massage school I could find, the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics in Albuquerque. There, I studied Swedish Massage, Polarity Therapy, Reflexology, Acupressure and Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Herbology, 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 1500 hours of continuing education since graduation… and I will never stop being a student!

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.

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 Cranial Sacral 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.

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 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 asanas 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!

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. Because of the funding I received, I was able to learn the art and science 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.

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.

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!

My own journey with fertility and reproductive health I have loved working with pregnant women so much that I want to help women beyond pregnancy with post-partum suppport, and fertility and reproductive issues. And this led me to apprentice with Naomi Love, a Mayan Abdominal Massage practitioner who is teaching 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!

I also 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 helped me to be able to read people’s subtle body messages, and gave me tools to help me stay present even when intense emotion is surfacing.

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 in Chicago, and the Asheville Center for Massage and Natural Health and I look forward to teaching again someday soon.

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 modality would help you, contact me to schedule a free consultation and we can talk about what modalities would best serve you.

In my spare time, I spend as much time as I can in nature, hiking, camping, dancing, singing, and I love to have adventures with my husband, our daughter, and our dog.