I'm Brittany. This is my story.
My journey to the healing arts began from self healing. For the majority of my life I felt as though I was a hostage in my mind and body. A prisoner of an internal hell created by negative thought patterns, anxiety and depression. I suffered from widespread chronic musculoskeletal pain, daily debilitating headaches and migraines, gastrointestinal issues, low energy, poor immunity, skin issues and insomnia. I had no control over my health, over my thoughts or my emotions. Pain dictated my life. My anxiety was so out of control that I began to suffer from OCD tendencies, twitches and tremors. My depression left me in emotional states where I would dissociate from my body, be unable to feel appropriate emotions, have healthy eating habits or leave the house. I feel that being alive today is somewhat of a miracle in itself. I never would have imagined that one day I would not only be flourishing in health and happiness but teaching others to find their own inner healer. I have spent my entire adult life dedicated to my healing and my transformation didn't happen overnight. It has been a very long journey and I continue to heal and grow more and more each day.
When I began to first seek help for my pain my doctors couldn’t understand what was wrong with me. My medications made me more sick and my anger and frustration grew as questions were left unanswered and symptoms persisted. For years I suffered in desperation to understand my illness, then I decided to shift my focus. I began to explore holistic healing practices. I studied yoga and meditation, changed my diet and started receiving massage therapy. I found that healing touch was especially therapeutic for me, massage sessions would be some of the only hours of my week when I didn't experience pain.
I spent time studying psychosomatic illness and how our mental and emotional state can create physical illness. I started to correlate my symptoms worsening to when my stress was heightened. It was difficult at first to wrap my head around the idea that my mental/emotional state could really be manifesting physically in my body as chronic pain and my other physical issues. The more I read the more it began to resonate with me.
I felt called to learn more about Eastern Medicine. Eastern Medicine, like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), views and treats an individual with no mind/body duality as we do in Western Medicine. This means the entire person is treated and the mental and emotional state is taken into consideration during the healing process. I began receiving Eastern bodywork. The techniques were unlike anything I had experienced before, incredibly unique and therapeutic. During my sessions I could feel energy flowing through my body in ways I had never felt before and trapped emotions started rising to the surface. I was waking up. I began to learn how to listen to my body, and she had a lot to say. With time it started to feel like a heaviness had lifted. I was finally showing myself the type of love that I needed and during my sessions I felt trauma leave my body. I felt anger leave my body. Depression and anxiety were balancing out and my heart began to open. This experience allowed me to understand just how connected physical health and mental health are. How true healing happens when you care for the entire person. Their mind and their body, their spirit and their matter. I had to learn more.
I was studying psychology in college at the time and made the decision to transfer to Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago in 2013. Here I studied Chinese Medicine, kinesiology, anatomy and physiology, meditation, both Eastern and Western forms of massage therapy, bodywork, and energetic movement practices. I had profound experiences working in my school’s clinic leading up to graduation. My clients were having strong emotional releases during their sessions, experiencing less pain, and were overall feeling happier. It was at this time where I began to understand that this was my gift and it was no coincidence that my life played out in the way it had for me to end up right here.
I received a degree in massage therapy and Asian bodywork from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. I continued my education at Thai Massage School of Chiang Mai Thailand and became a Reiki practitioner after studying at Zen Shiatsu Chicago. I started to think about how I could best share my gifts, serve my community and bring this healing into other people’s lives.
The start of Spirit and Matter
My intention behind Spirit and Matter was to create an inclusive space that offered a different kind of healing experience. One where individuals have the opportunity to receive care focused around the mind/body connection and not simply the body alone. I felt I could challenge the clinical massage setting as well as the traditional spa setting. While wanting to offer my services to any and all individuals who felt drawn to this work, Spirit and Matter was initially sparked from my passion of working with women who had experienced trauma, sexual harm or abuse. I applied for and won a grant in college expressing my interests in this work and it has since been a priority for me to create an inclusive space while also offering a special and safe container to female identifying persons to introduce healing touch in a non judgemental environment focusing around sacral, womb, and trauma healing. I feel passionate about working with individuals who are consciously working towards self-improvement, self-acceptance and radical self love! I introduce healing touch in a safe, non judgemental environment. Offering space to discuss wellness goals, current emotional and mental state, intentions and at home practices.
As a conduit for healing energy that often times brings emotional pain to the surface, I felt it was absolutely necessary to hold more space for clients than your average massage therapist. I wanted to create a holistic experience where I could help set my clients up for success in connected and embodied healing.