The past 2 years have been a mini roller coaster! I saved the updates for a little personal record of history :)
12.12.21: New Clients with Referral
If you are a new client, you must have a referral to schedule an appointment. For Maya Abdominal Therapy, new clients are welcome without a referral. Thank you!
NOTE: New Phone Number:
9.22.21: New Clients for Maya Abdominal Therapy Only
You may schedule an Initial Maya Abdominal Therapy appointment if you are a new client. For all other services, only continuing clients may schedule an appointment. If you have questions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Masks and Self-checks at home are still required for appointments. Let's continue to stay safe and healthy.
9.8.21: Scheduling Changes - Accepting New Clients with Referrals only and for Maya Abdominal Therapy
If you have received a session from me before, you are welcome to schedule online. If you are a new client you must have a referral. The exception is for Maya Abdominal Therapy since it's a specialized treatment. This is temporary until the schedule isn't too booked out, thank you for understanding.
6.18.21: State-Wide California Covid-19 Re-Opening:
At this time, due to the close contact nature of this work, I'll keep wearing a mask for all appointments and continue getting weekly Covid tests. I also strongly advise mask-wearing unless you have a medical reason. Please continue to conduct your own health checks at home, and do not hesitate to cancel if you have a cough or fever. Thank you and let's continue to stay safe.
5.28.21: Covid-19 Safety Protocols:
Although Santa Clara County is now in Yellow Tier and Social Distancing Protocols are no longer required, please conduct your own health check before your appointment. For now, masks must still be worn throughout the treatment and I'll continue to sanitize between each appointment. Thank you.
1.31.21 The online scheduler is open. Masks must still be worn at all times and appointments have been spaced out for cleaning protocols. Thank you and see you soon!
UPDATE 1.26.21 The State and Santa Clara County now allow massage therapy indoors with ongoing Covid guidelines. The online scheduler will be up in the next few days. Please contact me directly for an appointment: email@example.com or 415-412-3213 text or call. Thank you all so much for your continued support.
UPDATE: 1.5.21. State order Shutdown continues. As soon as the order is lifted I'll open the scheduler. Until then, Happy New Year!!!
UPDATE: 12.4.20: SHUTDOWN ORDER for Santa Clara County
Effective Sunday, 12.6.20 Massage Therapy is prohibited until January 4, 2021. I am so sorry for cancelling all upcoming appointments. Have a Happy Holiday and STAY SAFE!!!
UPDATE: 10.12.20: Massage Therapy Allowed Indoors
Although a Doctor or Chiropractor referral is no longer required, COVID guidelines are still followed and appointments will be pending upon approval in order to space out treatments. Please use the online scheduler to book online and email or text with questions. Thank you all again for your patience.
UPDATE 9.1.20: Medical Massage Allowed
The State of California and Santa Clara County now allow Massage Therapy with a Doctor or Chiropractic referral. I've started accepting patients with a referral and have opened up the online scheduler. When you get the referral and schedule an appointment, the appointment will be pending upon approval. The referral can be sent by email or text, so as soon as I receive it, the appointment will be confirmed. I look forward to seeing you soon! Thank you.
UPDATE 7.15.20 - SHUTDOWN ORDER:
Santa Clara County is now among the counties complying with the state mandated shutdown of indoor businesses which includes massage therapy. I am cancelling existing appointments and continue to closely monitor the updates.
Thank you again for your patience.
30 counties in California were ordered yesterday back to stage 2 of the SIP. Santa Clara County is not among those affected so I will still be opening this week. Things could change at any time and I'm closely monitoring the updates. Stay tuned!
Santa Clara County has authorized massage therapy to resume and I have opened up my schedule on a very limited basis. If you are a new client, contact me first before scheduling an appointment online.
Please see https://www.pureheartbody.com/blog for more information.
Updates are changing everyday, so thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we figure this out as we go.
As the order for Stage 3 high risk businesses to remain closed is still in effect for Santa Clara County, I have to cancel appointments and close my schedule again. As soon as the order is lifted I will open up my schedule. I'm very sorry to have to turn away appointments - please stay well and safe.
I am still observing the Shutdown order which is extended to May 31, 2020. My schedule is up and open from June 1, so you can make an appointment on my online scheduler. I hope to be open at that time, but of course circumstances may change. We'll see when we get there, until then, stay safe and healthy!
I am currently shut down until further notice. May we all stay safe, calm, and healthy.
In addition to the standard health and cleaning practices that I follow, I have implemented additional measures such as: more frequent wiping down of door handles, cabinets, bathroom counter, faucets. I have sometimes used gloves and now I am using them for every treatment, and of course, washing my hands and arms past my elbows before and after. My family and myself are currently healthy, exhibit no symptoms, and have not come into contact with anyone with COVID-19.
The only people who come into the space are myself and my clients. There is no foot traffic in-and-out of our office, The goal is for a peaceful, clean and healing sanctuary.
It goes without saying that if you're sick, you'll stay home. If you have to cancel last-minute because you feel ill or believe you may have been infected, the cancellation fee will be waived.
Thank you for your continued business. It is my pleasure to actively maintain a place of healing and respite in these anxious, uncertain times.
Santa Clara County has given the authorization to resume massage therapy services with COVID-19 Safety protocol restrictions. Some of these restrictions include:
--Maintain safe distance where possible.
--No handshakes or hugs. Use of contactless payment if possible.
--Masks: Must be worn at all times, including through the entirety of the treatment. This limits facial massage.
--The massage therapist must wear latex-free disposable gloves ( I already practice this).
--Before the treatment, client must wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
--I will be seeing fewer clients per day and the time between appointments will be considerably lengthened to ensure proper cleaning and sanitation between each treatment as well as overall contact and exposure.
--In addition, as an employee at the Apple Wellness Center, I am taking advantage of the offer to be tested for the COVID-19 virus on a weekly basis. So far I've had one test which was negative. My family and I continue to mostly stay at home and see a very small, select circle of friends and family.
With all this in mind, it cannot be stressed enough that those who are higher-risk, live with those who are at a higher risk, has had any known exposure or exhibit any symptoms of illness should not come in for a treatment.
Thank you for your cooperation and see you soon.
This November will be the 20th anniversary of getting certification in massage therapy and I am definitely going to celebrate. However, right now:
--Statewide, Massage Therapy is not authorized except for those working directly with physicians or chiropractors providing deferred or preventative health care services.
At this time, my office remains closed until Governor Newsom lifts the order. I've opened up and closed back up my schedule since the Shutdown started several times, and it looks like I will have to do so again. I am very sorry to everyone who has reached out..we'll just wait until it's time.
My family and I are doing well - everyday I am grateful that we are in our home and that we are safe. Here's what I've been up to:
Homeschooling: This has been our 3rd year homeschooling our 2 daughters and so it was a pretty good transition to keep on doing what we're doing. It's not easy! I'm sure everyone with kids has come up with resourceful ways to help your children learn while the schools remain closed. Good days and bad days for us all!
Cooking: Not being able to see my mother (an incredible cook!) who is on lockdown at her senior residence, I've been cooking more Korean food. Maangchi's YouTube channel has great recipes, here's a couple that I've tried out that we keep on making:
Meditation: Up until the Shutdown, I went to Japantown SJ about 4 days a week, 5:30am to meditate with my group. We have transitioned to Zoom online meditation almost everyday and it's an interesting experience. My group is a very small one and is not taking new members at this time, but San Francisco Zen Center has opened up their practice online. Of course, it's not the same as being at the meditation center, but this can give some guidance if you're interested in starting a meditation practice:
Handmade Paper: I love paper and stationery and recently, started learning how to make paper from our bags and bags of office and school papers. I thought it would be fun to start documenting the journey and started an Instagram page for my handmade paper, it's @moonlifecollection.
A few months into getting my massage certification in November 2000, I learned of a Zen Shiatsu weekend workshop at a massage school in Marin County. I can still see the flyer in my mind: the photo of Ryuho Yamada, smiling serenely above the caption of "Zen Shiatsu Master." The description said that he would teach his style of Zen Shiatsu that he called "Leaning in" (way before Sheryl Sandberg's book). I was a newly-minted massage therapist and was eager for more knowledge, more training into this way which had found me during my darkest times.
I had randomly fallen into massage therapy, by first receiving it and finding that it helped with the depression that I had struggled with most of my life. What attracted me most was the totally natural, sweet feeling that massage can give, something that I had rarely experienced up until then. I was starting to tune into my body which I had ignored for so long. There was a massage school around the corner from my apartment in San Francisco, and I decided to take some classes. It was clear from my first class that I had a natural talent for massage therapy--a wonderful realization after struggling academically for so many years.
I just wanted to learn more for myself and didn't really see it as something I would be doing as a career. Massage therapy wasn't a career that was any kind of consideration in the family I grew up with, for many reasons. This all changed when I met Ryuho.
We sat in a circle in the classroom and he entered with his assistant, a young hippie woman. He was about my parents' age, but he was unlike any other Asian elder I had ever met. He spoke about his life--and what experiences he had had! There were stories about growing up in a strict Zen Buddhist temple in Japan, studying intensively at Zen Buddhist monasteries, at one point living as a beggar monk with only a bowl as his possession. He told the story about leaving Japan for America in the early 70's and falling in with the hippies, artists and musicians in San Francisco. He spoke about his many psychedelic experiences with LSD and relationships with women ( he said he loved women who were controlling). He spoke about his different explorations with other religions, traditions - Japanese Shinto, Native American sweat lodges, his experiences with shamans and other psychedelics in the jungles of South America. Whatever he was interested in , he delved into it deeply.
In the midst of his talking, he showed us a few Zen Shiatsu techniques. They were very simple: palm presses along the back, elbow acupressure along the spine, and some other pressing down techniques in seated or lying sideways positions. He showed us some self-massage with tennis balls and some meridien stretching. Not much else. Partway through the class, I overheard grumblings from some other students, "I thought we were going to learn shiatsu, I didn't know I signed up for a philosophy class!"
I was completely intrigued by it all. The best massage teachers taught us the utter importance of using our bodies when we're working, which is one of the most important aspects of massage therapy training. But Ryuho went a step further, he emphasized not only using our bodies, but gravity itself. He told us, when pressing down into the recipient, "Use your weight and gravity because they are more powerful than anything you yourself can do!" If at any point, we found ourselves using our own strength, we were told to pull back. Just lean in. Do nothing. As he leaned into the recipient's body he said, " I feel great, I can just hang out here all day!" Even now, if I feel myself using my own strength in a session, I remember his words and just lean in. Just gravity and my own weight. Minimal effort, maximum results. His teaching gave me a confidence in myself and the practice that I believe is what ultimately led me into a career in massage therapy.
At the end of that weekend he told us he would have an advanced workshop at a Zen temple where he lived and I already knew I would be signing up for it. A few months later, I randomly learned about, and embarked on a Vipassana 10-day silent meditation retreat, my introduction to meditation, which completely changed my life, but that's another story. A few months after that, I walked into Jikoji Zen Retreat Center to take the advanced Shiatsu workshop with Ryuho and my life changed again.
Zen meditation is quite different from the Vipassana technique. I'm grateful that Vipassana was my introduction, because it's rigorous, pulls no punches, and explains what is happening every step of the way. Zen meditation, at least in the Soto Zen tradition as practiced at Jikoji, was pretty "easy" for me after experiencing Vipassana. When I say "easy," it's only that after 10 straight days of sitting for an hour at a time, from 4:30am to 9pm, the Zen way of sitting for 40 minutes at a time with 10 minutes of walking meditation wasn't such a physical struggle. Internally, it's the hardest thing I've ever faced, but though I didn't know it at the time, I had one of the best teachers in Ryuho.
At the advanced class, it was more of the same - lots of talking and some shiatsu technique, but since we were at a Zen retreat center, he also gave us Zen meditation (zazen) and walking meditation (kinhin) instruction. It was a beautiful October and the air was crisp. The vegetarian food was wonderful. At one point I sat and spoke with him about my Vipassana experience, and he was highly encouraging, saying it was a great thing I had done. I told him I wanted to learn more massage, to learn more about meditation and he said, "Take more courses, keep learning, but especially, learn from yourself." I signed up for an upcoming sesshin - a 7-day meditation retreat in December that Ryuho was going to lead.
That Rohatsu sesshin in December 2001 (Rohatsu is held in Buddhist places all over the world in recognition of Buddha's enlightenment) was the beginning of my commitment to Zen practice. I still remember just about every person who attended - fewer than 8 people in all, as I recall. Ryuho sat with a couple of us beginners and again went over different ways to sit Zazen and also Oryoki, the way we take our meals in Zen tradition. He showed us step-by-step how to unwrap and take apart the 3 bowls and put them back together again. Unfortunately, a lot of his words are lost in time, but I remember he emphasized, over and over: "One movement." When he went over kinhin, he emphasized, "Half step, one movement." For one of his dharma talks he had us do some simple shiatsu on each other, a welcome break for our tight muscles after hours of sitting.
After that Rohatsu sesshin, I continued to find my way up to Jikoji for their other sesshins and programs. In July of 2002, Jikoji's founder Kobun died tragically with his daughter Maya in Switzerland. Ryuho by then had gotten married to a woman he had met in Hawaii. However, the colon cancer that he had previously struggled with returned and he was mostly ill in his room when I would visit Jikoji. As happens with cancer patients that I have seen, whatever had not been dealt with in his life seemed to overtake him. I heard many accounts of angrily severed and ugly relations between him and Jikoji residents. These accounts were a source of dismay, but he and I never got so close for me to witness anything untoward, and he was ever pleasant and cordial with me. At one point he and his wife were on one side of the Jikoji grounds and residents on the other, like a line drawn in the sand. After hearing more ugly stories, I decided to walk over to him and his wife as they sat in the kitchen eating together. Without thinking, I got on my hands and knees, and bowed. He bowed back, gratified. Sun Faced Buddha, Moon Faced Buddha. I believe that is the last time I saw him. Ryuho died in December 2003.
In the years since, much has happened both in my life and at Jikoji, but I've never stopped practicing Zen meditation and massage therapy. I can see who and what influenced me, both good and bad, which are all parts of the same teaching. And I can say that Ryuho's influence, brief as it was, compared to other teachers I've spent time with, impacted me greatly. I'm still unpacking it all, after carefully holding it and growing it within myself. For me, my Zen meditation practice and massage therapy practice are forever entwined. What seemed so simple at the time, the shiatsu techniques that Ryuho showed us, the words about leaning in and learning from ourselves, I use in practically every massage session and whenever I practice Zen Meditation. In a few days, I will be taking the Buddhist precepts in a ceremony at Jikoji. I again, bow deeply to my original teacher, Zen Master Ryuho Yamada.
***Here are a couple of links to articles I found about Ryuho: