By KATIE WATTS / Petaluma Towns correspondent
Kat Lilith didn’t set out on a path to massage therapy. A friend did.
“She told me, ‘I think I’ll go to massage school.’ I said, ‘That’s a great idea. I’ll do it too.’”
Lilith laughs. “I did, and she didn’t.”
Lilith had never had a massage before, but something about it struck her. Twenty years later, she now offers a “broad spectrum of modalities, including massage, acupressure, Reiki, energy work, Intuitive Energy Medicine, sound healing, readings, clowning and art.”
Um, clowning? How does that relate to body work?
“What I found,” Lilith said, “is that when people laugh, we can’t defend against anything and the places in the body where muscles, emotions or energy are stuck can be released. And people who laugh during treatment are overjoyed, ecstatic about being in their body afterward.”
Lilith, 41, realizes massage and clowning are an unlikely combination that could make clients uneasy. She doesn’t greet clients wearing a red nose, activate a fart machine or offer a hand with a joy buzzer concealed in the palm.
Clowning is just another tool, a way for her to help clients’ bodies feel their best. The body, she said, has an innate ability to heal itself.
“If only we can get out of our own way, be fluid, let go of hurts, anger and negative emotions, though those can be helpful too. We just have to know how to work with them.”
After taking that initial massage course, Lilith knew this was what she wanted to do, but she was still too young to be “deeply present” with people. Five years later, she went back to learn more and found they were doing “energy work,” exploring how emotions relate to the body.
“I wasn’t into that at all, didn’t want to get into emotional stuff, wanted a nuts and bolts deep tissue massage practice,” she said.
And so she began her business offering that type of work.
“But I started getting different experiences while working on people,” she said. “An image of someone close to them, perhaps, or some type of dissonance within themselves. I tried to ignore it, but finally it became so loud and strong within me I began reflecting it to the client.”
She found what she was telling her clients helped them, acknowledging their feelings and emotions.
Now, before she begins therapy with new clients, they fill out a form similar to what they would see in a medical office, asking about their physical and emotional health. Then she talks with them.
“I need to know what modality will have the most resonance with them,” she said. “I create an opening. Really it’s just them, remembering who they are and that they have the power to create the life they want.”
When she lays her hands on her clients’ bodies, she’s using not only the physical skills she’s learned but also the wordless communication between their body and her hands, she said.
“Not all my clientele is open to working in that way,” Lilith said. “Sometimes people come in and say, ‘Just help me feel good, or free, or peaceful, and I do whichever modality seems will work the best.
“Some are not believers, but there is a reason they are coming to me. And in that case, I try to not be interested, because it’s invasive.”
At other times, she is surprised.
“Perhaps it’s someone having neck problems, but I’ll have an impulse to work on their feet,” she said. “I’ve followed my intuition for so long, I just do it. And later, they’ll tell me, ‘Oh, I hurt my foot, and then my neck started hurting.’”
How does she know what she does helps?
“I can see it,” she answered. “Sometimes what I do is so effective they don’t come back. Other times, I see a difference in their faces, feel it in their energy, or they’ll tell me their body feels so free.
“I would have an ego attachment to making it better, but that’s not my business,” she said. “If I’m attached to the session’s outcome I’m less efficient, so I just have to trust, witness them as deeply as possibly. It’s about acknowledging and respecting the body on the table.
“In the end,” she said, “it’s helping someone remember themselves. In some ways, you can say, I just follow my hands.”
For more information about Kat Lilith or The Healing Heart, call 762-3053 or visit katlilith.com.