Lisa & Mara

We are blessed to have access to so many amazing healers in our area, and I am always learning about new practitioners and techniques. Two massage therapists are bringing on-site chair massages to the masses by connecting with local businesses. Here, Lisa S. Lynch of Holistic Happiness and Mara Schiff of Massage with Mara share their stories.

How did you become interested in massage therapy?

Lynch: As a young adult, I was introduced to yoga and foot reflexology. In the 1990s, a card reader suggested that I would do something with the whole body and I said, “A massage? Never! I don’t want to touch someone’s whole body.” By 2000, I received by bachelor’s degree in transpersonal psychology, with dance therapy as a focus. I experienced many healing modalities during those years and oddly enough, after one experience, I said “I’ll never have another massage, it hurt during and for weeks after.” I’ve always been a good listener and had compassion for others. Fast forward 23 years into the corporate world, and I found myself pulled toward a training that included energy work, gems, and massage. I thought I’d take the class to prepare me for a second job, because I had become more interested in spirituality and wanted to work with natural-healing modalities. By 2011, I had not only gotten my massage certificate, but I had become an endorsed practitioner of Mana Lomi®. I have come to strongly believe that when the body is given the best care, it can heal a good deal of things on its own. Think well, eat well, move well, breathe well. Be well!

What is Mana Lomi® massage?

Lynch: Mana Lomi® massage was created by Dr. Maka’ala Yates. Born a native to Hawaii, he was brought up from the age of six to learn his lineage of healing, which included herbs, cleanses, living in alignment with source and Lomi Lomi, among other things. In his adult years, when he was away from Hawaii he realized he wanted to get back to his lineage practice. That is when he created Mana Lomi®, integrating what he had learned as an adult with his earlier learnings. Mana Lomi® is as much a way of life as it is a massage! My understanding of Lomi Lomi, the traditional type of Hawaiian massage is long flowing strokes, graceful in application. Mana is that as well, and it brings in more focus on life force and deep-to-bone pressure with gentle touch. Although that sounds contradictory, it is a blissful treatment. It is unique because the massage is more than hand strokes, it includes focused breath work, universal life force, and problem solving. Promoting a relaxed state, Mana Lomi® massage prepares the muscles and bones to receive the treatment deeply. Some are as rejuvenated as they are relaxed.

Mara specializes in oncology massage. What are the benefits?

Schiff: Inaccurate, outdated myths are perpetuated that cancer can be spread through the act of touch, yet this has never been proven. Indeed, studies show that persons receiving cancer treatment have lower stress levels, sleep better, demonstrate fewer and less-intense side effects, and may respond better to treatment when receiving regular massage. Knowing how to modify massage therapy in a way that allows the client to safely and comfortably experience touch through and after treatment is key. Over the years, it seems that so very many of us have relatives and friends dealing with a cancer diagnosis, or we’re dealing with our own. I saw a large gap in education and comfort in massaging this large population, which led me to seek out advanced training in this modality. Providing this service has been extremely rewarding. My dream though, is to work hand-in-hand with Rutland Hospital’s already strong cancer center. I’d love to see massage included in its treatment protocol.

Tell me more about your on-site chair massage. What are the benefits to employees?

Lynch: After my many years in (the) nonprofit corporate world, and seeing the illnesses (many possibly due to stress) pile up around our families and communities, I had to make a move. I believe that a chair massage on-site is the best benefit a company can offer their employees. In the chair, I can access the neck, shoulders and low back. By hitting those three areas, with focus and gentle touch, the body’s systems are able to rest, reset and rejuvenate; now the person is better able to handle their oncoming work load. We have been on-site already around Rutland and the reviews are positive, by coordinators and recipients. We have worked through a few kinks and are ready to go everywhere there are people stressing, to give them fifteen minutes of care at a time. This is best done on the job or at a gathering, as one chair can address multiple people in a location. What an investment is someone’s health! What an investment in productivity, to work with a calmer mind and be in less pain.

For more info, contact Lisa at

Lindsay Courcelle, CMT is a myofascial release therapist, part-time vegetable farmer, and natural-health advocate. Email her at


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