Introducing Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona

Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine and trained in family medicine, psychiatry, and clinical psychology. He has been on the faculties of several medical schools, most recently as associate professor of family medicine at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine. He continues to work with aboriginal communities to develop uniquely aboriginal styles of healing and healthcare for use in those communities. He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, and Coyote Wisdom, a trilogy of books on what Native culture has to offer the modern world. He has also written Narrative Medicine and, his most recent book, Healing the Mind through the Power of Story: the Promise of Narrative Psychiatry. Lewis currently teaches in the Family Medicine Residency Program at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine and is Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of New England. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation. Lewis has been studying traditional healing and healers since his early days and has written about their work and the process of healing. His primary focus has been upon Cherokee and Lakota traditions, though he has also explored other Plains Cultures and those of Northeastern North America.

“My goal is to bring the wisdom of indigenous peoples about healing back into mainstream medicine and to transform medicine and psychology through this wisdom coupled with more European derived narrative traditions. My personal goals include the furthering of a paradigm shift within medicine, psychiatry, and psychology toward aligning with indigenous knowledge systems and providing healing activities more in line with what traditional cultures have offered. I am interested in our creating new science that is not the same old linear boredom of Newton and conventional statistics, but that that uses complexity theory and quantum physics concepts to explore our world, and, more importantly to find ways to help each other to heal and to grow and change.”

We are excited to welcome Dr. Mehl-Madrona next month, when the NAHA (North American Healing Arts) program begins.

Exploring Traditional Healing Systems and Commonalities with Western Massage Techniques

Throughout the world, original peoples have developed extensive healing systems, which can be quite different from the biomedical model of North America and Europe. Traditional practice integrates what we are now calling narrative medicine with hands-on therapies and energy medicine. Traditional practitioners didn’t have or need our contemporary categories, which define our specialties and scope of practice, but are of questionable value for efficacy of practice. 

North American Healing Arts (NAHA), CATA’s 16-month, one weekend per month training course, brings this wisdom of spirit-guided practice, traditional bioenergetic principles, and energy medicine practice into the contemporary world. We will explore integrating touching, speaking, and sounding simultaneously for increased efficacy. We will begin by exploring what is common to indigenous systems and highlight a few items of uniqueness among some cultures within which we have worked. We will then explore the role of massage therapy within a variety of cultures, understanding how touch and manipulation fit within the whole context of a system of healing and compare them to western Swedish massage techniques: effleurage, petrissage, vibration, tapotement, and friction. There will be an overview of Cherokee Body Work with comparisons to other indigenous systems (Shawnee, Pawnee, Zuni, Hawaiian, Apache, and others).

Osteopathy, founded in the early 20th century, apparently grew out of Indigenous North American body work and similar forms have been practiced by other tribal nations as well. We will explore these origins, and how indigenous body work has continued to evolve, influencing and being influenced by Western and Eastern massage practices.

Our faculty includes Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, a physician and student of indigenous healing for over 40 years; Barbara Mainguy, a creative arts psychotherapist; John Beaulieu, a naturopath and expert in sound healing; Joseph Schmidlin, an osteopath and integrative practitioner; and Nita Renfrew, a long-time energy healer and now massage therapist.

Learn More About the Program

Traditional North American Healing Arts (NAHA) in Association with Coyote Institute for Studies of Change and Transformation

We aim to bring the wisdom of traditional North Americans into contemporary health care. In this context, we are focusing on massage therapy, osteopathy (developed by A. T. Still from indigenous North American body work), sound, and body work practice. Traditional practice integrates what we are now calling narrative medicine with hands-on-therapies and energy medicine. Traditional practitioners didn’t have or need our contemporary categories, which define our specialties and scope of practice, but are of questionable value for efficacy of practice.

This 14-month, one weekend per month training course brings this wisdom of spirit-guided practice, traditional bioenergetic principles, and energy medicine practice into the contemporary world. We will explore integrating touching, speaking, and sounding, simultaneously, for increased efficacy.

Our faculty include Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona (of Cherokee and Lakota heritage), a physician and
student of indigenous healing for over 40 years; Barbara Mainguy, a creative arts therapist; John Beaulieu, a naturopath and teacher of polarity and craniosacral therapies, and sound healing; Joseph Schmidlin, an osteopath and integrative practitioner; and Nita Renfrew, a long-time energy healer, now also an integrative massage therapist, and Facilitator of the NAHA program.

CATA’s intention with the program is to offer instruction and certification in Traditional, Indigenous, and Integrative healing arts to the community of body workers and related healthcare professionals. The aim is to teach and preserve traditional, alternative, and complementary healing practices, and to integrate them with each other, as well as into mainstream healthcare therapies.

Who Should Take this Course
This course has been designed for healthcare practitioners of all stripes—including body-centered therapists and narrative psychotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, craniosacral and polarity therapists, energy and shamanic healers, and massage therapists—who either want to be integrative spirit/mind/body healers in Traditional North American Healing Arts, or who would like to expand their knowledge and considerably deepen their existing healing practice.

Visit NAHA for 2016-2017 Curriculum and workshop descriptions.

Contact if you’d like to register for the full program.

Get $10 Off Midsummer Networking Event

Social Event of the Season for Bodywork and Fitness Pros
July 27th

Fellow Bodyworkers,
Join CATA and Body Local members for the social and networking event of the season: The 4th Annual Midsummer’s Night Networking Party at the Mercedes Club in midtown. Meet NYC’s top wellness and fitness experts as we come together with 500+ friends and colleagues to connect, share ideas and simply enjoy the evening under the sky. Use promo code CATAVIP to get $10 off a Wellness Pavilion or Business Growth Pavilion Ticket. Use the link below to register and I hope to see you poolside on July 27th.

Food for Thought: July 12th, 6-8pm

RSVP for this free event to by July 10th

CATA, NYC, in association with Juice Plus+, Daily Greens, Raw Revolution and Black Label Wines, invite you to a FREE cocktail reception to network with industry professionals and sample nutritional products.

JuicePlus+ representatives Lauren Gould and Shelley Simpson will share valuable information on whole food nutrition and explain how the JuicePlus+ Virtual Franchise is designed to serve as a valuable tool for wellness practitioners.

Sample products by:

Juice Plus+, Daily Greens, Raw Revolution, Black Label Wines, and more!

Hope to see you July 12th, 6-8pm!

Why Our Crew Does Wai Khru

by Reinhold, LMT


The wai khru (Thai: พิธีไหว้ครู, pronounced [wâːj kʰrūː]) is a Thai ritual by which we purify our intentions before rendering each session and practice gratitude for our teachers.

Although the Thera Veda traditions originating in Sri Lanka inform the bulk of what makes Thai Massage, the rituals of the wai khru are believed to have derived from ancient animistic beliefs, from India.

The wai khru is not only for practitioners of Thai massage. Thai people have unique wai khru ceremonies for different jobs and vocations. Children in classrooms and schoolyards recite a wai khru to respect the Buddha, their parents, and other teachers. Graduations for any discipline include a wai khru. Muay Thai fighters are well known for their ceremonies featuring the dance to respect teachers, especially the founder of this martial art. Performers, musicians, soldiers and doctors, all perform the wai khru for the discipline they belong to. Although each of these may involve a different recitation or chanting, all include the intercession of a higher power in order to accomplish a specific action or deed with integrity, clarity, and respect.

In Thai, the word for respect is “wai”; it is also a word for the common gesture of bringing two hands together, as in prayer position while slightly bowing with deference toward the receiver of our regard. The Thai adaptation of the Sanskrit/Pali word guru is the word “khru”. So wai khru literally is “respect teacher.” But there is so much more in this.

The Practice:

As students, practitioners, and teachers of Thai healing arts, performing a wai khru is an integral part of our practice. It calms our body and quiets our mind; it establishes a respectful, humble atmosphere within us.

Most effective whenever it is practiced in the morning, before the start of a day’s work, you can additionally practice the wai khru on a daily basis, and/or also add it to your existing regimen of meditation, yoga, or other spiritual and physical practices, whether in the morning or in the evening. Keep your eyes open for an annual wai khru somewhere in order to find yourself surrounded by others who do this.

In Thailand it is performed before an altar containing images or statues of the Buddha, Jivaka, and sometimes other deities or respected ones such as a reusi, a monk, or a revered person. Photos or mementos of deceased parents and teachers are also customary, as well as candles, incense, and other offerings, such as old coins and fruit.

Although the wai khru ceremony has been inextricably connected to Buddhism, (WHICH IS NOT EVEN A RELIGION) Thai massage practitioners who follow religious beliefs can adapt or eliminate or elaborate on their existing altars and prayers or mantras accordingly.

Reinhold, LMT
Reinhold, LMT

However you structure YOUR wai khru, it is important to recognize that traditional Thai healing arts are the life concepts and teachings of the Buddha, and to practice Thai healing without embracing these basic concepts is something else. Fortunately, the teachings of the Buddha are such that it would be difficult to find a person, whatever religion they may follow, who disagrees with the foundations embodied in Buddhist philosophy.

Regardless of your affiliation with an established faith, maintaining an attitude filled with respect, reverence, compassion, equanimity and loving-kindness are essential to a deep and effective massage practice.

Making the wai khru our regular routine can help to promote all of the elements that are necessary for us to have great effect on the person we touch.

wellb Networking Party

Looking to Book More Clients?

Come to CATA for a free networking party on Friday, July 8th, 6-8pm hosted by wellb, a wellness marketplace for massage therapists, personal trainers, acupuncturists, yoga instructors and much more.

A little about wellb:

wellb sells your time slots through their online marketplace (based on your availability)

wellb handles your marketing and billing for the slots that are sold

wellb charges no upfront fees and takes 20% commission from sessions that are booked through wellb

You set and control your own schedule, session prices and locations, all in just 1-2 clicks!


Stop by on July 8th to learn more!

Visit wellb