<p><a href=”http://blissandradiance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/IMG_0672.jpg”><img class=”wp-image-525 size-large” src=”http://blissandradiance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/IMG_0672-1024×682.jpg” alt=”Getty Villa, Malibu, CA. Photo taken May 2007. © blissandradiance.com” width=”1024″ height=”682″></a> Getty Villa, Malibu, CA. Photo taken May 21, 2007. © blissandradiance.com
I am so happy to be able to share these beautiful, inspirational words from Barbara Sanchez-Reichert, founder and owner of <a href=”http://www.alterrawellness.com” target=”_blank”>Alterra Wellness</a> in Cresskill, NJ. I’ve been crossing county lines to visit Barb at Alterra Wellness since the start of 2014 and it has been so helpful to incorporate her caring, integrative approach to body work into my own self-care practice. I hope you savor Barbara’s wise words as much as I have.
<strong>1) What inspired you to follow your calling with bodywork via Alterra Wellness</strong>
My mother inspired my initial introduction to wellness. Formally a physical therapist, my mother became a teacher for the physically handicapped. As a child, I spent many hours with her students but had no idea how much influence they all had on me. Each student had a congenital physical limitation. Other than external adaptive devices, neither they nor I thought there were obstacles to living a fulfilling and happy life. Physical limitations did not stop them from learning, running, playing, and laughing. I never once heard my mother tell them they couldn’t achieve a goal. On the contrary, she encouraged and expected excellence from them and taught them to nourish this notion.
Like my dad, I was creative and artistic and was encouraged to pursue art in college. Still drawn to health and wellness, I landed a graphic design position for a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer. Unfortunately, without any creative license, I became bored and uninterested with the position and decided to return to school for physical therapy (PT). Before entering a PT program I decided to go to school for massage therapy. I believed increasing my palpation skills and working with all types of clientele would only make me a better therapist. Both in my volunteer work and my first internship in PT, I had the opportunity to work with many types of patients. I had patients with lymphedema, neurological and brain injuries, orthopedic, geriatric, and pediatric patients. I believed I was finally in my element; the only problem was most of the physical therapists I shadowed had 15-20 minutes to treat multiple patients. The second conundrum I experienced was the lack of will, on the part of many clients, to heal. While being faced with a physical limitation, a temporary setback that might lead a person to seek physical therapy, why would anyone not want to adhere to treatment? Why was there such an aversion to PT compliance?
Due to a family tragedy, I left the program and never pursued physical therapy again. Left with a deep-seated desire to assist people with physical limitations but completely baffled on how to help them, I decided to put my massage degree to work. I spent years in continued study learning the industry and practicing my craft.
While working in a day-spa, my massage sessions allowed for 60-90 minutes of bodywork, which gave way to a very important aspect of the session…the mind. Having a long enough, private session time allowed my clients to calmly talk about their day, their family, their careers, their dreams, and many times, their fears and pain. Psychology was clearly outside the scope of my practice but I listened and learned about each client. I returned to night school and got a degree in psychology. The mind and body connection was fascinating to me. The negative dialog we read over and over again in our minds is truly destructive. I hadn’t been privy to it in my early experiences. I was with children who didn’t know they were different and were reminded by their teacher that they were capable of anything. Could I help to inspire people to get better? Feel better? Pursue a happy existence?
With all that I absorbed, and so much more to learn, I decided it was time to open my own company. Alterra Wellness was my vision of bodywork, elements from the earth such as organic products and therapeutic essential oils to foster health, a safe and inviting environment in which I had total faith in <em>would</em> survive it’s conception in one of the worst economic downfalls of our time. Sixteen years of study in body mechanics, anatomy, bodywork, psychology coupled with genuine compassion for people is my definition of wellness. This is the very foundation of Alterra Wellness.
<strong>2) How do you re-connect to that original calling on a daily basis?</strong>
Under the right conditions <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeostasis” target=”_blank”>homeostasis</a> can be achieved. Life, however, has a way of throwing us off balance doesn’t it? In my life I was faced with negative people and experiences, extreme tragedy and sadness. Prolonged exposure to negative stimulus is harmful; but truly embracing, understanding and experiencing it also can be very beneficial to one’s existence. The first time man ran from the saber-tooth tiger, his sympathetic nervous system and adrenal-cortical systems made it possible for him to run from danger and his association with the tiger made him prepared for any future encounters. Prolonged stress, we can all agree, is not healthy and is destructive to our mind and body. We are an incredible energy incarnate, worthy and deserving of all that is wonderful and good. Your body is your temple and the first and most important place where you should worship and praise. Your mind is capable of learning as much as you want to. This all sounds great, but how do we actualize all this and yet maintain balance in our lives?
When I need grounding or assistance in maintaining my personal homeostasis I look to surround myself with genuinely supportive and positive people. People who encourage me, teach me, and genuinely care about me are all excellent sources of nourishment for my energy, but the real and permanent building blocks to a healthy and whole existence comes in the reminding myself who I am and knowing and owning my worth and potential. Practice. We must eat right, exercise, reach out to other human beings and listen (not just do all the talking), have physical contact with them, laugh daily, run and play, receive and exchange bodywork.
</p><blockquote>Life is practice and my practice is my life.”
<strong>3) Where do you look for new inspiration?</strong>
My clients teach me everyday. They are curious, well-educated and well-read individuals who share books and articles, experiences, and stories with me.
We share techniques, notes from workshops, and webinars with each other. I often exchange bodywork or training sessions with them in order to maintain our healthy bodies and spirit.
Where else can I find the latest techniques and fads but YouTube or Google? If I want to read a peer-reviewed journal on a subject, look up a pathology, or read/view the latest advances in surgery, the Internet is my go-to source.
<strong>4) how wellness can positively impact a woman’s inner bliss and outer radiance? and, 5) What does the phrase ‘inner bliss and outer radiance’ mean to you?</strong>
What great questions Renu! I’m going to combine questions 4 & 5.
When I think about the term ‘inner bliss and outer radiance, I envision my body as a sanctuary. I start to collect the basic building blocks for a foundation on which I build the most magnificent composition I can: health, love, family, friends, clean/green food and products, educating myself (learning) and sharing. From the moment I meet someone who is looking to achieve ‘inner bliss’ (as I know it) I want to connect with them, share with them, listen to their story or journey, and assist them with the collection of building blocks that I am able to supply them with, which is wellness.
We are all sort of like sculptors. Each of us has skills (let’s call skills raw material) and each of us has the ability to shape another human being (henceforth the sculptor). My experience in massage therapy and bodywork helps to allay physical and sometimes mental discomfort that a dentist (another sculptor, for example) may not have any skill in. The dentist however is another contributor (among many) that devotes dental health and esthetics to this awesome conformation we are evolving together.
My raw materials are a combination of medical and holistic techniques, over 20 years of organic vegetarianism (if one should ask advice about food alternatives and clean eating), over 25 years in using and studying aromatherapy and finally settling with one of the leading therapeutic essential oils which I exclusively use on myself, my family and clients: <a href=”http://www.youngliving.com/en_US” target=”_blank”>Young Living Oils</a>.
There are over 50 Hospitals that use Young Living Oils on their clients because they are so pure, so therapeutic, and extremely healing. Here are some of them that are on the list:
<ul><li>Alegent Health Bergan Mercy Medical Center, Omaha, NE</li>
<li>Aurora Healthcare System, Foxpoint WI</li>
<li>Banner Health, Mesa AZ</li>
<li>Benedictine Hospital, NY</li>
<li>Beth Israel Complementary Care Center, New York City, NY</li>
<li>Children’s Healthcare, Roseville, MN</li>
<li>Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC</li>
<li>The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH</li>
<li>Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York City, NY</li>
<li>Elk Regional Health Hospital, PA</li>
<li>Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, AK</li>
<li>Florida Hospital Medical Center, Orlando, FL</li>
<li>Goshen General Hospital, Goshen, IN</li>
<li>Heather Hill Hospital, Chardon, OH</li>
<li>Ingham Regional Medical Center, Landing, MI</li>
<li>Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Oakland, CA</li>
<li>Manilaq Hospital, Kotzebue, AK</li>
<li>Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, NY</li>
<li>Mercy Holistic Health, Cincinnati, OH</li>
<li>Pinnacle Health, Harrisburg, PA</li>
<li>St. Barnabas Healthcare System, Toms River, NJ</li>
<li>St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford, CT</li>
<li>St. John’s Riverside Medical Center, Yonkers, NY</li>
<li>St. Luke’s Medical Center, New Bedford, MA</li>
<li>Sentara Healthcare, Wilmington, DE</li>
<li>The Valley Hospital, Ridgewood, NJ</li>
<li>University of Michigan Hosptial, MI</li>
<li>Wishard Memorial Hospital, Indianapolis, IN</li>
When we eat clean, pure food, unadulterated by pesticides or hormones we are honoring ourselves, fostering a clean environment for all of our cells and system processes. We are mindful of our environment, other living creatures, which do not have a voice to be an advocate for their own lives, and our planet as a whole. This is an amazing start towards inner bliss. The next step is to educate women on taking care of themselves through fitness. Exercise is imperative to good health and happiness. Ladies listen up: heart disease is our number one silent killer. Taking a daily out-door walk decreases high blood pressure, increases cardiovascular health, fortifies our vitamin D warehouse, increases ligament and tendinous integrity, strengthens our muscular system which increase capillary supplies and increases ADP (adenosine diphosate-the powerhouse cells of the muscles). Oh, and if you were hoping to shed a few pounds…giddy-up!
Bodywork and touch therapy is no longer considered a spa luxury but a medical necessity; commonplace among many corporations as part of their wellness program for employees and part of the prevalent healing protocols at fitness studios and hospitals. Touch is the first sense we acquire. Psychological research has demonstrated that without human touch we do not thrive as a species. Babies need touch to foster physical growth, adopt feelings of safety, and we all instinctually know and understand the language of touch. When the sculpture is complete inner bliss is achieved and only outer radiance can be observed.