- 2000 graduate of the Muscular Therapy Institute, Cambridge, Mass. 900 hours
- Licensed massage therapist in the state of Maine for 21 years
- Reiki I, II, III and Master level trainings
- Founding member of the Belfast Area High School Wellness Room
- Professional member of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals
Born in Pittsburgh, PA, the youngest daughter of a Mennonite minister, I grew up in Bucks County and remember giving my mom back rubs: I can still see reaching for her and making my little hands go up her back and around her shoulders. She would always say encouraging things to me, and yelp -- "ooo! That's great!" and sigh -- "ahhh, that's wonderful." I learned, from an early age, that working another person's muscles is one of the most loving things you can do for them, and if they make noise, you know you're doing a good job.
Mom taught me, of course; she spent plenty bedtimes giving my sisters and I massages: neck and back, feet and legs, sometimes working on us no matter how much it tickled. "Breathe!" she would command if we couldn't take it because we were laughing so hard. She would "pound" our legs to finish out her work. To this day, tapotement is one of my favorite techniques.
I learned later that she had learned from her dad. The thought of my grandfather -- a hard-working, charismatic man with a fine, strong singing voice, who farmed and sold his goods on a truck around Middletown, Pa. in the 1940s and 50s-- tucking his five little daughters into bed with back rubs, has always warmed my heart.
I didn't have a burning desire to become a massage therapist, though: performing with my family from a young age (the Burkholder Family Singers, offering four-part harmony accompanied by my father's acoustic guitar: very "Sound of Music") gave me the showbiz buzz, and between hamming it up and loving to read and write, I graduated from Messiah College in 1993 with a B.A. in English and Theater.
Moving to Massachusetts in 1995, I earned an M.A. in professional writing from UMass Dartmouth and spent a few brief, misguided years bumping around the high-tech industry, writing HTML in badly lit cubicles. One of my favorite movies is 1999's "Office Space." The character Peter Gibbons pretty much summed up my corporate career when he said, "So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it..."
To put it mildly: I was bored. And, well, kind of lost. And depressed. A therapeutic massage for my 27th birthday led me to enroll at the Muscular Therapy Institute in Cambridge, Mass. In one of my early classes, I looked around and saw my fellow classmates working wordlessly and ardently on each other's trapezius, rhomboid and levator scapula muscles, and realized I was at last participating in something beautiful, something that could bring meaning and sense to the world and make a difference in other people's lives. I knew I had found my calling.
I graduated in 2000, and promptly moved to Maine, a state that held endless romantic notions for me. Eighteen winters later (no romantic notions left!) I am still living in Maine, by the grace of God, and I am humbled and grateful for what I've learned here. In July 2011, I finished my oncology massage training. I have also studied with David Lauterstein and his Deep Massage technique.
I have offered massage therapy and Reiki at spas, fitness clubs, retirement facilities and businesses all through the Midcoast. My deepest joy comes from seeing clients in my office...and other places. In 2012, Dr. Jane Robertson and I started a Wellness Room at the Belfast Area High School (modeled after the Camden Regional High School Wellness Room).
I attend St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Belfast, Maine.
I live with my husband Nathan Raleigh, and our black cat Olivia, in Morrill.