Mystic Mag’s Miguel Amado talked with Heather McFarlin, a massage therapist based in California and specialized in Reflexology, Energy Medicine and Chi Nei Tsang, a special massage created in ancient China. Know more about Heather’s work and Chi Nei Tsang reading the interview below!
Please present yourself to our audience
I was born a highly sensitive person and have always felt deeply connected to nature, the Universe, the Tao, Great Spirit, God, or whatever name you choose to call this higher power. I have been blessed in this life to be able to ‘follow my bliss’ and pursue a successful career in the Healing Arts as well as the Fine Arts, where I use painting as a portal to healing.
I graduated from Massage Therapy school 24 years ago and began working as a Massage Therapist in San Francisco. I then went on to study Chi Nei Tsang and Intuition Medicine, graduating from the Chi Nei Tsang Institute and the Academy of Intuition Medicine, broadening the scope of my offerings in my private practice.
I currently offer sessions in my Sausalito office.
You offer Chi Nei Tsang, Reflexology and Energy Medicine, which is really impressive. When a client comes to you, how do you know what each one needs?
I get a sense in the initial intake which modality would be best. If someone is new to Alternative Health practices, hasn’t previously had energy work, acupuncture or is new to spiritual work, I typically suggest Reflexology, which can feel very safe and non-invasive. While working on the feet I send healing energy through the corresponding organ points into the body.. The entire abdomen is mapped out on the feet so it’s an effective alternative to Chi Nei Tsang. It’s a way of working with the organs, nervous system, and energetic patterns that is powerful and effective for almost anyone.
That being said, I am most well known for Chi Nei Tsang, and the majority of the appointment requests and referrals are for Chi Nei Tsang. I blend in Energy Medicine to some extent, leading them through basic meditations for grounding, removing energetic ‘hooks’, bringing in healing colors, etc.
What are the benefits of Chi Nei Tsang? Do they change from person to person?
The most universal benefits are reduction of anxiety, a sense of lightness and ease, reduction of depression or anxiety, deeper breathing, inspired creativity, decreased addiction, improved digestion. Serotonin is a well known brain neurotransmitter and 90 percent of the body’s serotonin is made in the gut! So just one session can bring a person into a deep state of peace.
I would say highly sensitive people make up the majority of my clientele and seem to have the most profound benefits. Sensitive people of course feel things deeply, and that has propelled them onto a spiritual or healing path. When they lay on the table they have the capacity to be with some of the intense energies that become conscious during a session; their nervous system isn’t in defense mode due to all of the work they have done. This is key for getting results in Chi Nei Tsang.
Some people come in seeking help with digestive issues or fertility issues, general stress or sleep disorders. Chi Nei Tsang has the capacity to heal all of these, especially if they are working in conjunction with other professionals, like a naturopathic doctor, nutritionist, psychotherapist, spiritual coach, etc. That is because a lot of the unconscious can become conscious; a lot of ‘unwinding’ of deep trauma and stress can come up and out, and having proper support is one of the conditions necessary for healing.
Tension, anxiety, and stress are common maladies in the contemporary world. Is there something that people can do easily on a day-to-day basis, so they don’t suffer from those conditions?
Drop into this Now moment: One of my favorite quotes is ‘Magic exists only in the moment.’ I think anything that brings you into the present moment is the key to healing from anxiety and stress.
Sunlight: There’s a practice called ‘sunning’ which simply involves stopping what you are doing for 2-5 minutes a day and face the sun and let the warmth pour through you.
Breathing: Yoga, Qigong, conscious breathing, walking and other physical exercise. The lungs and the large intestine are paired in Chinese Medicine, so breathing aids digestion which is key to health.
Inspired living: go to nature, paint, dance, play, or whatever makes you feel inspired
Intuition – take classes or learn about ways to connect with and trust your intuition
Can you explain to us what Intuition Medicine is?
Intuition Medicine is a healing modality that includes many tools, as taught by Francesca McCartney at the Academy of Intuition Medicine in Sausalito, CA. It involves working with the energy of the chakras as well as doing healing of past lives, belief system, ancestral work and much more.
When did you discover your passion about health and healing?
I used to go to a metaphysical book shop in high school in Palo Alto, CA. It was heaven for me! I’d spend hours reading and feeling into the energy of the crystals. I think this was the experience when I realized my passion for health and healing needed to be a big part of my future.
San Francisco is known as being open to new ideas, cultures and ways to see the world. Do you believe that there is space to grow and teach Chi Nei Tsang, for example, to other cities and states in the US?
I would hope so! The internet is a powerful tool for connecting like-minded people these days. I always say that if it wasn’t for people being able to search for this modality online or Yelp I’m not sure I could have a thriving practice doing CNT and that is because it’s not necessarily a word-of-mouth referral modality, like say, Massage Therapy. Meaning, if you tell ten people about your wonderful CNT session in hopes to refer them, nine would say no way! That is because they are not ready.
The people that are ready are lit up with excitement and book immediately. So I would hope that because there are people ready for this work everywhere (even though they don’t know it exists), it could just be a matter of getting the word out/ connecting with them, and exposing them to the magic of this ancient Taoist Healing Art form.