Dana Christy is a skilled bodyworker and trauma-informed care practitioner who runs Wellspring Healing Arts in Chicago. With a background in shiatsu, a form of Japanese massage, Dana offers personalized sessions that address clients’ physical, emotional, and energetic needs. She has a special focus on supporting survivors of trauma, and often collaborates with talk therapists to provide a holistic approach to healing. Through her work, Dana strives to make alternative healing modalities more accessible and promote the integration of these practices into mainstream healthcare. Dana chats with MysticMag.
What inspired you to start Wellspring Healing Arts, and what is your philosophy on healing?
I came to the healing arts through my martial arts practice. Initially, I trained in seven-star praying mantis Kung Fu. Kung Fu philosophy, in the traditional sense, believes that the martial arts and the healing arts are closely integrated. According to this philosophy, martial arts is a path towards healing, much like acupuncture. At our school, we had an acupuncture clinic that was connected to the school. So, alongside my martial arts training, I began practicing acupuncture at the clinic. I was amazed by the incredible power and efficacy of Chinese medicine, and it piqued my interest in studying it further. However, I wasn’t particularly keen on using needles, so I decided to go to school for shiatsu, which is a type of bodywork based on Chinese medicine. With shiatsu, we still work with the Meridian system but use touch instead of needles.
My philosophy on healing is centered around creating space for the natural healing capacity that is within each individual’s programming to unfold. One of my teachers once said that we all have a generative blueprint – the idea that we have evolved to heal, and we all possess an innate capacity to recover. So, all I do is try to hold space for that natural healing process to come through on its own.
Can you describe the types of holistic therapies and modalities that you offer, and how you tailor them to meet the individual needs of your clients?
I appreciate shiatsu as a modality because it combines elements of Chinese medicine that look at the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – rather than separating them out, as other healing modalities often do. Additionally, because it involves massage and touch work, there’s an element of pleasure and the opportunity to release tension held in the body. This unique approach allows me to work with clients on various levels of their being, which I find truly rewarding.
In terms of tailoring the work to each client, the core of my practice is trauma-informed care. I work with individuals who are survivors of trauma, and this requires an individualized approach because trauma manifests itself in different ways in different people. While there may be certain generalizations that can be made across various forms of trauma, the healing path looks different for each person. As a practitioner, I’m always curious about what my clients’ bodies are asking for in the moment, whether it’s mental, energetic, physical, or otherwise. I use that information to guide our sessions and to determine where to go next in the healing process.
How do you collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide integrated care for your clients, and what kind of results have you seen?
As a practitioner, I frequently collaborate with talk therapists. Many talk therapists refer clients to me for body work because it supplements and complements the work they’re doing. Talk therapy engages the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for conscious thinking and decision-making. However, trauma often occurs in the lower brain, brainstem, and body, areas that talk therapy alone may not fully address.
Sometimes, clients may hit a wall in their progress during talk therapy. That’s when therapists refer them to me to delve deeper into what’s happening in the tissues and free up any stuck energy. By incorporating body work, we can remove physical and emotional blockages and help clients continue to make progress in their healing journey.
How do you ensure that you are continuing to develop and enhance your own skills and knowledge as a holistic practitioner?
I appreciate that you asked this question because I believe that continuing to grow and evolve in my healing work is crucial. I actively engage in my own healing work because it allows me to learn about healing through my own experience, which in turn helps me hold space for clients to move through their own healing process.
Continuing education is also an essential part of my practice. I teach about trauma-informed care, and I am constantly refining my workshop materials based on the research I conduct or other classes I take. I also study with other people to deepen my understanding of healing.
Furthermore, I am currently going through a training process to become a shiatsu teacher, which is the modality I specialize in. I find that learning via teaching is a significant part of my practice, and I am excited to share my knowledge with others.
In what ways do you see the field of holistic healthcare evolving, and where do you see yourself therein?
As a practitioner, I hope to see more alternative modalities like acupuncture being offered in hospitals and covered by insurance. It would be great to see these modalities become more accessible to people who may not be able to afford them, as many have to pay out of pocket for services like massage. I believe that the healthcare system should continue to evolve to promote accessibility to these transformative and useful modalities.
If you would like to find out more about Dana and Wellspring Healing Arts, visit https://wellspringhealingartschicago.com/ or follow on https://www.facebook.com/WellSpringHealingArts or https://www.instagram.com/WellSpringHealingArts/