Gong and Vibrational Sound Healing Circle July 9th


In conjunction with CATA’s new North American Healing Arts (NAHA) program, we invite you to come and relax in a sacred space of vibration & sound with sacred gong and Tibetan singing bowls, bells and other instruments.

Saturday, July 9th

Register Here

Please Arrive by 7:15pm
Doors Close at 7:30pm

with Judith, KRM, Irma StarSpirit Woman & Friends

Enter and let your Spirit Breathe, Relax, Receive, and let it flow into a deep state of meditative relaxation and serenity, which allows healing to come into the body, mind and spirit. Aligning to the Earth and balancing your chakra energy from your Earth Star to your Soul Star.

As you receive a Gong activation, your body will allow the waves of vibration and energy to filter and open up. The vibration helps clear blockage or stuck energy within the body, as it allows the sound flow through the body. The bath opens, rejuvenates, and activates all three energy bodies (Mind, Body & Spirit, which break through the 5 vitals, the physical, emotional, mental, moral and Spiritual).

Benefits of a Gong & Sound Vibration Healing Session:
• Deep Relaxation
• Release of Stress/Tension
• Relieves body ache/pains or discomfort
• Enter a state of Meditation
• Relief of Mental Distress: Re-balance your Universal Life Force Energy in a safe and comfortable, relaxing environment.

As you enjoy the evening we recommend you bring water, comfortable clothing, and your favorite pillow if you need one.

We ask that you Relax, Receive & Rejoice and take in the sound vibrations that will stimulate your body.

This event is part of CATA’s North American Healing Arts program, to promote the 14-month training beginning the weekend of September 10, featuring Indigenous North American Healing with Lewis Mehl-Madrona and Barbara Mainguy, Great Bear Reiki with Nita Renfrew and Barbara Mainguy, Osteopathy (mirroring Indigenous Bodywork) with Joseph Schmidlin, and Sonic bodywork with John Beaulieu. For additional information: NAHA

Questions? Contact shamanicfirereiki@gmail.com

How Does Rhythm Fit into Massage?

A Three-Part Series by Michael Alicia

For me rhythm has always been a part of massage. Having been a dancer, I think of massage like a dance with choreography. Each session is like a story with a beginning a middle and an end. Music is often also a part of the massage experience I create for my clients, sometimes lyrical and relaxing, sometimes upbeat and energetic. Having also studied architecture, I have found parallels between the architectural elements of buildings and the structural elements of the body- arches, columns, trusses. For all of these art forms, massage included, rhythm is a unifying theme. I would even venture to say – All Art has Rhythm.

It is easiest to hear rhythm in the beat of music, as it is notated and defined by the time signature at the beginning of each musical stanza. Dancers and choreographers use rhythm and the beat of the music to keep time and to help tell a story. Literature, too, has measures like music in the form of chapters that give a book structure and meter, but the rhythm is more likely told in the type of story being told and how the plot unfolds. Poetry, like song, uses meter to convey a mood, tell a story or elicit a response. In architecture, rhythm is observed in the patterns of how architectural elements are arranged, like a symmetrical row of columns or the juxtaposition of windows and spaces on the facade of a building.

Rhythm is created and defied by patterns and meter and how the artistic elements are arranged. Rhythm becomes an integral part of how art is perceived and received. This is an important concept for engaging in massage. First, by recognizing that massage is an art form (and a science). And second, by realizing that how massage is delivered, metered out, has everything to do with how it is received. So next we might recognize that artists, massage therapists included, need, first and foremost, to Know Their Audience. This translates to Meet your Clients Where They Are and give them what they want. If our client arrives in a yang state we need to match their energy and so our rhythm will be faster at first. If they arrive in a yin state we find a slower rhythm that matches theirs. All Rhythm wants to find Balance. Ever notice how when music plays we find ourselves, whether consciously or unconsciously, tapping to the beat? We need to start our sessions by finding a rhythm that harmonizes with the rhythm that walked in the door. What comes after, the story we tell, the dance we perform, the choreography we create in our session, will have its overriding intention and its individual elements (strokes and stretches) for creating a unique piece of art using rhythm to communicate and harmonize the energy in the body.

Master Class with Christine Schneider 5/16

The Neck Series Part 3: The Anterior Neck

This week we continue on the journey of exploration of the neck by delving into the anterior aspect.
We will explore the four fascial layers, discuss important landmarks, and enhance our palpation skills to help rid the area of tissue restriction. We will then take some time to discuss emotional holding and its effect on the vocal tract, as well as the increased possibility of an emotional response after or during treatment.


What to bring: 1 sheet and comfortable clothing. Ladies, please wear a sports bra.

Christine Schneider is a Licensed Massage Therapist and graduate of the Swedish Institute College of Health Science in New York City. She specializes in Vocal Massage, which includes Laryngeal and TMJ Therapies. After graduating, Christine received extensive training in Myofascial Release, Laryngeal Therapy, TMJ Therapy and several other specialties and modalities. She is a proud member of PAMA (Performing Arts Medicine Association) and works along side New York’s leading Otolaryngogists, Speech Pathologists and Voice Teachers to provide the manual component for vocal rehabilitation and vocal health maintenance. Christine has a thriving private practice in NYC where she works with professional voice users from all around the world!

What is Cherokee Bodywork?

I met Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD, and Barbara Mainguy, MS a year ago at a Cherokee Bodywork (Indigenous North American Bodywork) workshop with a group of shamans. At the time, I knew nothing about shamanism except that maybe the mainstream medical establishment probably regarded shamans as something akin to heretics and kooks. And here I was early on a Saturday morning at the suggestion of a new friend and a former teacher, taking a two-day workshop surrounded by people from a part of the fabric of our city of which I knew nothing. Or so it seemed.

That is one of the things I love about New York City: one can take a class with a diverse group of people whose backgrounds and life stories are so completely different and yet discover a common bond and language that precipitates looking at life through completely different eyes.

At the class I encountered another teaching colleague from the Swedish Institute, where we both teach shiatsu. She was more familiar with shamanic healing circles and so I felt ready for a new adventure. It was not long before I discovered the common bond between a shiatsu practitioner and a Cherokee bodyworker. Not only is balancing energy at the core of both practices, but they also share an archetypal approach for observing the body and the manifestation of energy. For years I have studied and practiced 5-element theory, based in Eastern medicine and philosophy from China.

The common thread between the Eastern and North American practices was that both philosophies explore the balance of energy between the macrocosm of the universe and microcosm of our bodies. From opposite sides of the planet our forefathers looked at the sky, the sun, the moon, the seasons and humans’ reaction to them and interaction with them and began to piece together languages that spoke to their observations and practices that answered their curiosities.

And here we are 5,000 years later observing the same moon and stars and finding our place amongst them in Beijing, in New York City, in classrooms and shamanic circles.

Over the course of the next few months, we will post articles,opinions, links and related material defining Cherokee Bodywork in association with Osteopathy, Sound Healing and Reiki in the context of a new series of classes at CATA.

Starting this fall we will offer a series of workshops entitled North American Healing Arts (NAHA). There will be 16 weekend classes with renowned teachers Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, Barbara Mainguy, and John Beaulieu, along with osteopath Joseph Schmidlin and Shamanic Reiki practitioner, Nita Renfrew.


-Michael Alicia

Dr. John Beaulieu
Dr. John Beaulieru ND, PhD- Biosonics Healing Enterprises
Composer, Musician, Artist, Poet, and Healing Artist

Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona
Native American Healing: Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD | Professor of Family Medicine and Psychiatry

Barbara Mainguy

Joseph Schmidlin
Joseph Schmidlin – Health Touch

Massage Taught Me How to Hear My Body

CATA’s Oncology Massage Training & Certification program is designed to teach massage therapists how they can work safely and effectively with oncology clients. Read on to learn the difference that massage has made to one of our program volunteers, who received massage regularly during treatment and recovery.


I did not expect the medical profession to teach me how to heal myself. The thing that shocked me as a patient was how the act of human touch through massage helped me overcome my fear and thus to this day, serves as a ​viable ​tool ​which I call upon ‘as needed’ ​to heal myself.”

“Human touch had the ability to quiet the noise so I could ​face ​my treatment.”

“I had to find a way to manage my fear, to feel aligned. Every time I walked out (of a massage session), I was centered. ‘Massage’ held space for me — helping me find center (and thus myself) again.”

“The sum of it all: massage taught me how to navigate three years of treatment. Today, I still need help managing my myofascial restrictions and my fear, so, I continue to use massage to heal myself, and to learn how to take the best care of me going forward.”

Thank you for eloquently describing how oncology massage has been an essential part of your care, and for reminding our students how powerful human touch can be.

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

by Michael Alicia

Practicing massage is an athletic endeavor. We are athletes. We use our bodies daily in repetitive ways to make a living. We need to remind ourselves that in order to do this work effectively, with good humor and without pain or injury, our work begins long before we step into the treatment room. Athletes practice their sport, doing strengthening and stretching exercises, and countless drills to reinforce the muscle groups they use in their sport. They cross train to strengthen secondary muscle groups to increase output potential and decrease strain and injury. They hire trainers to put them through their paces and coaches to help them refine their form all with an eye toward maximizing their performance.

There are so many ways to practice massage with so many physical considerations. Regardless of what we practice (Swedish, sports or shiatsu) or even where we practice (on a table, on the floor, in a chair) the ergonomics of the body have a few basic mechanical considerations that when understood and adhered to can support many years of efficient pain-free massage work.

A long straight spine, flexed joints, weight transfer, a neutral shoulder girdle position are a few of the considerations that help support good body mechanics. But putting them together and training the nervous system to fire in the proper sequence is part of the “practice” of massage. A massage “coach” or teacher with an outside eye can help with form. Sports teams review game day tapes to asses performance. Following up on our first Master Class, in our second class on Feb. 22nd we will video tape therapists working and review the tapes so we can all benefit from the experience of observing each other practice and then associate what we feel when we are working with what we see to create a fuller kinesthetic understanding of our body mechanics.


How to Be a Valuable Part of Oncology Massage

Michael Alicia and Felicia Newsome wrote this article for the January 29th issue of Massage Magazine.

oncologyphotoIn the past, massage was considered contraindicated for cancer patients, because of fears that massage could spread the disease.

Before this perception was debunked, massage therapists would work with massage clients only with a doctor’s permission and probably only in the end stage of care.

Roots of Oncology Massage
Tracy Walton, L.M.T., and Gayle MacDonald, L.M.T., two well-known authors and pioneers in the field of oncology massage, helped to changed the minds of the medical establishment and the trajectory of oncology massage through their compassion, commitment and research. Massage therapists now stand respectfully and respected at the bedside of oncology patients along with a team of doctors, nurses and medical professionals in the most prestigious cancer hospitals in the country, such as MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Mt. Sinai and NYU Medical Center, among many others.

Improved Patient Care with Massage
Gone are the days when massage was seen as only a comfort in the last stages of treatment, but instead is embraced as an integral part of the oncology team providing a comprehensive body-mind-spirit approach to healing. Cancer patients receive massage treatments tailored to their specific needs at every stage of treatment and in every setting including hospitals, clinics, home care and hospice.

Research indicates that cancer symptoms like nausea, fatigue, depression and insomnia are reduced when massage or bodywork is part of cancer treatment, and patients and doctors are realizing that massage can be a game changer in the patient’s ability to tolerate toxic and debilitating cancer protocols. Instead of massage being an addendum to treatment for cancer, it has become a vital and respected tool that addresses patients’ comfort and care.

Training for the Best Care
Today, thanks to pioneering teachers like Walton and MacDonald, massage therapists can get specialized training that addresses the specific needs and concerns a cancer diagnosis presents. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation all have detrimental side effects which, coupled with the trauma of a life-threatening diagnosis, compromise the patient’s physical and mental well-being. Oncology massage does not aim to treat the disease, but rather focuses on alleviating the side effects the treatment produces.

Massage therapists looking to specialize in oncology massage need training that addresses the specific needs of oncology patients. There are teachers and organizations around the country that offer oncology massage continuing education. The Society 4 Oncology Massage is a resource for finding teachers and programs specializing in oncology massage.

Oncology massage training educates practitioners about the myriad physical and mental assaults a cancer diagnosis presents. The side effects of cancer treatment may include the risk of lymphedema; deep vein thrombosis; a weakened immune system; painful, hyper-sensitive skin; paraesthesia; anxiety; fear; depression; and constipation, among others.

A great oncology training program discusses these issues so that therapists are able to develop and deliver a session that may include physical and energetic work. Techniques range from simple hand-holding to extremely light strokes to frictioning scar tissue.

Connecting to Clients
After you have completed in depth training in oncology massage, one way to enter the field of oncology massage is to start by volunteering at oncology-related organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Hope Lodge, Susan G. Komen Foundation and Avon 39—Walk to End Breast Cancer. Volunteering can help you develop relationships with administrators and oncology patients.

It is not necessary to affiliate with a hospital, nor is certification necessary. However, oncology patients tend to be educated about their disease and look for therapists who understand cancer and treatment protocols, so oncology training is imperative. As with all massage, relationships and word of mouth are the best ways to grow a practice.

Impact Lives Through Massage
It would seem that massage is returning to its rightful place alongside doctors and nurses in medical settings after decades of being relegated to the sports and spa world. Pharmacology and technology replaced the simple, yet powerful, art of touch in hospitals for expediency and efficiency.

The art and science of massage, through the decades-long work of dedicated professionals, has captured the attention of the medical establishment, the massage community—and most importantly, cancer patients, because informed touch has tremendous power to establish trust, alleviate suffering and facilitate healing.

About the Authors
Felicia Newsome, L.M.T. has specialized in oncology massage since 2005, when she began her comprehensive training at Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Integrative Medicine Center. Currently, she is senior massage therapist and team leader at the Perlmutter Cancer Center at the NYU School of Medicine, and managing director of the Oncology Massage Training and Certification Program at The Center for the Advancement of Therapeutic Arts (CATA, NYC).

Michael Alicia, L.M.T. is the founder and director of CATA, NYC. Alicia has been a licensed massage therapist since 1992 and a teacher at Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences in New York, New York, since 1994. He is also a visiting faculty member at the Therapeutic Massage Training Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina. With Newsome, Alicia created CATA’s Oncology Massage Training and Certification Program, a comprehensive, state-of-the-art curriculum designed to educate licensed massage therapists in the safe practices of oncology massage.

Body Local Networking Event 5/11

Body Local is a networking group for body workers and like-minded professionals.

Join us at CATA on May 11th, 11am-12:30pm for lunch and an opportunity to meet other professionals with ideas and businesses that might help you to grow yours.

Special Offer: get 50% off the regular ticket price with CATA’s promo code. To register, go to the Body Local Registration Page at bodylocal.com and use the code CATAGUEST.

Hope to see you there!

The Power of the Obliques

by Michael Alicia
In our first Master Class (February 1st, 11:15-1:15) we will explore the mechanics of rotation for developing power and efficiency in our work.
In the evolution of movement fish propel themselves through water by laterally flexing their spines. When they move onto land, as reptiles, their fins become feet and they waddle forward, as before, by laterally flexing. In dinosaurs and mammals, the pelvis is reorganized allowing their feet to move beneath the body which allows their bellies to lift off the ground making moving easier, more efficient and faster, but still using lateral flexion as the primary tool of locomotion. With this new organization of the pelvis, flexion and extension of the spine becomes the action for moving forward on four legs. The four-footed design evolves as animals start balancing on their hind limbs, freeing their front limbs for grasping, digging and climbing. Primates push up from a quadruped position where the spine acted as a bridge but is now more vertical, allowing for bi-pedal locomotion. Humans reorganize so their spines align even more vertically. Humans become fully upright with the skull arranging on top of the spine and the pelvis shrinking in size and orienting vertically, allowing for greater mobility and increased visual capacity. The spine develops a lumbar curve to counter balance the forward pull of the thoracic curve and oblique muscles add rotation to the act of locomotion. With the shrinking of the pelvis and the vertical organization of the spine, muscles in humans shrink in size and locomotion is faster and more efficient while a degree of power is lost. This deficit is accounted for by muscles organizing obliquely across the midline of the body adding rotation and power to this new organization.
Examining the form of athletes, it is easy to see this rotational force in action. Sprinters explode out of their blocks driving their arms and shoulders across the body at a 45 degree angle. It is this same 45 degree angle alignment of the shoulder girdle in relationship to the rib cage that affords the most efficient movement of the arm and shoulder girdle. Pitchers in baseball “wind up” their pitches by pulling the opposite leg across the body loading the spiral line of the fascial continuities, while their pitching arm and shoulder girdle torques along the same spiral backward. This rotation loads the spiral line. The oblique muscle fibers of the pectorals major, serratus anterior, abdominal obliques and gluteus maximus unwind this backward torque and stretch by pulling and rotating the body around the midline and use the power of loading and unloading the kinetic chain to powerfully propel the baseball across the plate. Tennis players and golfers use similar rotational mechanics in their sports to drive the ball with tremendous power.
If massage therapists, who use their bodies repetitively, think of themselves as athletes, then understanding the power of the obliques and how to use this rotational force to facilitate their work and inform their mechanics will add years of efficient, powerful and pain-free stroking.

Master Class, 4/18

The Neck Series Part 2: Sotai

Register Now
In our ongoing exploration of the neck, we will examine an eastern form of PNF bodywork balancing called Sotai. As you may know, PNF- Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation – exercises engage the physiological components of the neuromuscular system. The muscle spindles and golgi tendon mechanisms are employed to release tension and holding in muscle tissue to affect change in the tissue locally and improved postural balance globally.

In Sotai the vocabulary is more poetic as Eastern philosophy, which is the backbone of Eastern medicine, tends to be. So instead of contracted or hyper-toned muscle tissue, we would see and feel a yang (full) expression of Qi or energy.

The overall goal in Sotai is to promote balance by releasing tight areas for increased function and improved flow of Qi. The form starts with a visual and tactile form of assessment to determine yin (empty) and yang (full), soft and hard or full range and limited range of motion. Then using active range-of-motion exercises (muscle spindle and golgi tendon mechanisms), where the client participates both in the assessment and the treatment protocol, the practitioner takes the client through a full-body session for assessing and treating postural imbalances and hyper-toned muscles. Clients are directed to move from hard areas (yin-contracted) to soft areas (yang-less contracted) with light resistance (equal to the weight of an egg) to release and reset the muscle tone and move the body toward greater balance.

In this class we will isolate the protocol and learn the techniques for treating the neck.

Hope to see you there–Monday, 4/17, 11:15-1:15.

Michael Alicia