In this podcast, Heather shares her many gifts: the main one being herself! She is joy, as the meaning of her last name describes, and reminds us all that we are human in process. She discusses her dance career has been an essential part of her life and offerings, being human and feeling, the myth that we are “healed” or “zen” at some point, saying “No” and having healthy boundaries, and how the body talks to us.
Heather has a beautiful gift of talking with our fascia, muscles and body, and teaches this to all those around her. She brings a lightness, joy, and ease in self care of the body, heart and soul.
In essence, Heather brings forth a compassionate, listening ear to each session, workshop, or circle, and enjoys helping clients empower themselves on their road to recovery!
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Hello and welcome to the Embody Podcast. This is Candace Wu, and today I share a lovely conversation with Heather Fraelick, a good friend and colleague of mine, the owner of Heather Fraelick, LMT, Bodywork, and Massage based in Wicker Park, a friendly neighborhood of Chicago.
Candice Wu 0:17
In this podcast, Heather shares with us, her gifts. How her dance career has been an essential part of her life and her offerings to the world, the experience of being human and having emotions, the myth that we’re healed or zen at some point, saying no and having healthy boundaries, and also how the body talks to us.
Candice Wu 0:36
Heather has a beautiful gift of talking with our fascia, muscles, and body and teaches this to all those around her. She brings lightness, joy, and ease in self-care of the body, heart, and soul. And her last name, Fraelick, even means joy and that is exactly what I experienced her as.
Candice Wu 0:56
In essence, Heather brings forth a compassionate listening ear to each session workshop or women’s circle and helps clients empower themselves on their road to recovery. And without further ado, enjoy this conversation with Heather.
Candice Wu 1:10
Hi Heather, welcome to the show.
Heather Fraelick 1:11
I’m honored to be here.
Candice Wu 1:13
Thanks for being here. I have just admired your work from before I even knew you for years. I think I told you. But could you tell our listeners what you’re about and who you are?
Heather Fraelick 1:23
Of course, well, I own a body work practice in Wicker Park and it specializes in a form of treatment called Myofascial Release. But I also combine it with cranial psychotherapy, Reiki and reflexology, as well as my previous background as a professional dancer. So it’s an approach to the body that’s very well rounded and the energy systems that are very well rounded as well. And I like to work with people, you know, focusing on their individual needs, and where they’re at in the moment, rather than approaching the body like a cookie cutter kind of approach, where’s just this formula of working with the body because everybody’s different. Everyone has their own experiences to bring to the table. So as best I can, I try to intuitively work with people in the moment, drawing from those tools that I just shared with you and I draw from.
Candice Wu 2:19
Beautiful, and I have felt your work in that way, the intuitive nature of it. And also, you as a dancer, can you say about how that’s influenced your healing work and your, all of the pieces you put together now?
Heather Fraelick 2:35
Oh, for sure.
Heather Fraelick 2:37
Well, with regard to dancing, not only is there a physical aspect to the work, obviously, you know, you’re moving your body in such a way to bring choreography to life on the stage. However, there is also an energy behind that as well, the energy that the dancer plays with and off of the audience with an off of the other dancers that are on stage. And if it’s a solo, you know, how do you take your energy in and make it big enough to be that solo dancer on a huge stage. And that has been a surprising twist in the body work I do. Because I originally went into this field, to learn a little bit more about how to heal my own body from dance injuries that I had. And going into it, I was just more about the physical aspect of the human body. But little did I know, there is also an energy when you are doing healing work with people and approaching the body from that standpoint, rather than just like working with a body as if it’s a piece of meat, you know?
Heather Fraelick 3:47
You need to — at least I found, you know, have an awareness and how to enter into someone’s energy field and respect them from the place of where they’re at, and I feel like dance, surprisingly, had trained me so well in that before I even entered into the world of energy work. So that’s very much has come naturally to me and I think that has really helped me create a space for people to come in, and to be felt and seen as an individual, rather than just another body to work on. That sensitivity is something dance really taught me.
Candice Wu 3:49
Candice Wu 4:31
Yeah, you’re really attuned and it’s almost as if you’re having a conversation with my body when I’ve had an experience with you. What is your take on that and how the healing is working?
Heather Fraelick 4:46
Oh, yeah. Well, that’s really awesome to hear that that’s what you experienced, because that’s the attention I do my best to go in with, you know, to each session.
Heather Fraelick 4:57
So with regard to healing, I don’t heal people. I am not someone that has this magic power that can, you know, transform people out of their pain, that, to me, that’s not how healing works.
Heather Fraelick 5:13
My mentor, John F Barnes, talks a lot about healing happens through feeling and those aren’t her exact words, but you have to feel your experience in order to heal it, whether that’s pain, whether that’s stored up in moments of laughter that were stifled down, because you were in a quiet place, and you couldn’t laugh, for example.
Heather Fraelick 5:34
And so when I work with people, there are techniques, whether it’s energy techniques, body techniques, that are introduced to the person’s being and body. And through those techniques, the body has an opportunity to either soften into the techniques, and the client has an opportunity to feel what’s going on in their experience. And either if they need to let it out through deep exhale, or crying or laughing, whatever it may be, the work creates a space for the client to be able to feel what’s going on inside of them, to create that connection in their own body. And it’s through that connection, and it’s through the opportunity to stop and feel what’s going on with a client and actually move through the healing process rather than hoping to come in for a session, have a massage, and walk out like they just took a pill and it’s all masked and covered up. So I see myself more as a facilitator to people’s healing rather than, “Oh my God, I heal people.”
Candice Wu 6:43
Yeah, I’m totally in line with you on that. And it sounds like you in a way, turn the lights on inside the body and the body just goes “Oh, okay.”
Heather Fraelick 6:52
Candice Wu 6:53
Heather Fraelick 6:55
And I truly believe that everybody’s body and being has the capacity to heal under the right circumstances, whatever that may be for that particular person in that particular moment in time.
Candice Wu 7:09
If our fascia could talk. And I guess maybe we’re speaking more generally, or if you want to talk about yourself, but if our fascia could talk, what would it be saying?
Heather Fraelick 7:21
Oh, it could be saying a number of things. And it does talk, it definitely does.
Candice Wu 7:28
Our fascia is talking.
Heather Fraelick 7:29
It is, and it’s considered the tissue of consciousness.
Heather Fraelick 7:33
So, for those of you who have seen, you know, Avatar, for example, just seeing a depiction, there’s a tree in Avatar, where the characters go up to it, and they hold on to the branches and they hear memories from people long ago. And this tree has stored those memories — that’s very similar to what happens in the fascial tissue.
Heather Fraelick 7:57
So if there’s an experience or trauma that happens, and the person experiencing it doesn’t experience it to its full capacity at the moment of onset, it gets stored in the fascia. It doesn’t just leave the person’s being. It gets stored in their body until the fascia is addressed, and has an opportunity for that memory or that experience to come up to the surface so it can be moved through and healed after that. It just, it can stay stuck in the tissue and the fascia can speak through placing 2000 pounds of pressure per square inch on the person’s system until it’s dealt with, to open up and let go. So the fascia can definitely speak by trying to get our attention through pain. Oh yeah, but once it’s released and fluid and free, the sensations that you can feel in your body that maybe you forgot what it felt like to have freedom in your body or never even knew. It’s amazing when you feel that openness within your physical being and how that affects you energetically.
Candice Wu 9:15
I love the way you describe that. And speaking of energetically, I know that you work with the Chakras., and you’ve held women circles in groups exploring that. Tell me about what’s been interesting for you around that lately?
Heather Fraelick 9:31
Heather Fraelick 9:32
Well, I was called to facilitate women’s circles. I had been participating in circles for over a decade, myself personally, and they have been a grounding rock for me, during times, good and bad and anywhere in between. Being able to come together on a monthly basis with a supportive group of female friends, has been incredibly healing for me. I mean, much like our menstrual cycle comes once a month, you know, it’s once a month gathering together and tuning in that way, helped catapult me to rise up to anything I had going on in the month thereafter.
Heather Fraelick 10:14
So what I was noticing, with what clients had shared with me, and obviously, you know, I’m not a therapist, so I can’t, you know, work in a psychotherapeutic model, if you will. However, clients do share a lot with me during sessions, and I hold the space just to listen. And if it seems appropriate to refer them to the appropriate therapist, I will do so. However, what I had heard from a lot of these women were wanting a space to connect, to connect with themselves, to connect with other women, not to feel so isolated in this day and age of technology, where so many people are glued to their cell phones and computers.
Heather Fraelick 10:55
And so one day, I received an email from a colleague that you and I both know, regarding a women’s circle facilitation training, and the lights went off in me, I was like, “Okay, let’s do this.” So I received my training to actually facilitate women’s circles, and not just participate. And that’s where the first circle had offered, called the Chakra Movement came about and what I had heard through the women that I’d worked with individually, one on one, wanting a space to connect, was very much a parent in the circle of women that came together for that particular group, and coming back together once a month for eight months, really proved to be a solid ground for them to come back to each month, so they can spring forward into their life, you know, outside of the circle and a more balanced, centered, knowing themselves approach. And we worked with the chakra system to be able to help facilitate their healing during our time together.
Candice Wu 12:01
So, Heather, there’s this myth out there, that, there’s this, at some point, a place where people feel healed or think that they should be healed at some point. Do you experience that?
Heather Fraelick 12:14
Candice Wu 12:15
Heather Fraelick 12:17
A lot of people make comments to me like, “Oh, you’re so zen, you’re so at peace all the time, how do you do it.” And, of course, when I’m working with people, I do my best to get to that place because of the fact that I need to be centered in order to work with them and work with them to the best of my ability. However, that’s not the full Heather, that’s not the real person inside, there are an aray of emotions that I go through every day. And while I have definitely healed some deep wounds from my past, sometimes they can still rear their head. And it’s through the tools that I have learned along the way to help with the healing that’s already taken place that I can draw from and present day moments where they rear their head again, to be able to move through the experience and circle back to my center.
Heather Fraelick 13:21
So while the experiences, you know, of turmoil, if you will, are few and far between in certain circumstances like they don’t trip me up as often as they used to. They’re still there, and I don’t know one person in our related field that has it all together, that is 100% healed and has no other work to do. If there’s no other work to do, you know, where’s the life in that, you know, life is about, to me, is about experiences and different experiences are going to come and some of them may trip us up a little bit. But how can we, as consciously as we can, move through them with the healing tools that we know?
Heather Fraelick 14:08
I don’t know a person taht has got it all together yet? Have you?
Candice Wu 14:12
No. I don’t know. I don’t know a single wellness practitioner, meditation teacher, Yoga teacher, massage therapist that, anyone that is completely healed and Zen. That’s just not human.
Heather Fraelick 14:31
Well, I don’t know about you. I feel like that’s part of the reason why I got into this work. And unbeknownst to me, did I find that I would fall in love with it so much that I wanted to make it my full-time career, that at the time I entered massage therapy school that was actually more for selfish reasons, in the sense that I wanted to heal my body. I was a dancer experiencing chronic injuries over and over again. And I knew I loved the studies of anatomy and physiology that I wanted to take a step further to be like, okay, I want to learn more to heal these chronic conditions that I’m experiencing, so I can go back and dance. But during my experience in school, it was like, Oh, I actually really like working with people in this manner. I think I’m going to take the fork in the road to the right and actually work with people instead of focusing going back to dance. But it all originally began with my own need to heal. And I know a lot of other practitioners in our fields that had a feeling sense that they needed to do some healing work and took their studies even further to also help other people.
Candice Wu 15:39
That’s exactly what I came into most of the different modalities that I practice now like Family Constellations and Somatic Experiencing that I lived it in my bones before even beginning to offer it to others and facilitate it and that seems like what you do, you live it in your bones, in your self, in your fascia.
Candice Wu 16:05
I’m curious, what do you do to take care of yourself, to nourish yourself?
Heather Fraelick 16:11
Yeah, that’s been a bumpy road too, actually, currently I’ll share that, you know, I make sure to receive my own Myofascial release sessions. I also see a chiropractor and an acupuncturist on a monthly basis. I practice Yoga on a regular basis. I do what I can to get outside and get some nature, you know, in my life and get some fresh air and not be stuck inside all the time, which sometimes can be challenging in the winter in Chicago.
Heather Fraelick 16:42
However, it took me some experiences of being injured as a massage therapist to realize, oh, my gosh, I do have to take care of myself because there was a period of time where, when I started practicing, I was all about helping people and that I forgot to help myself, the original intention, I had to go to massage school until I had a shoulder injury, and I couldn’t work for a month. It was like, Oh, wait, I can’t forget myself too. Yes, it’s, I think it’s noble to go out and want to help other people. But if you don’t help yourself, you literally cannot help other people.
Heather Fraelick 17:20
And in that case, when I had to take a month off, I literally couldn’t, because I had to heal myself and my shoulder. And so there was no work for me to be able to do with others. So it’s like, that’s when I really started getting the picture. Oh, wait, I need to receive treatments, I need to make sure I’m on top of my exercise and eat as healthy as possible, you know, and I do my best to listen to my body. I am not, I don’t eat like a strict diet. I eat what I feel my body wants to be nourished by. For example, I don’t exercise all the time, super hard. I do what I feel like my body needs, one day it might feel like Yoga, the other day, it might feel like cardio on an elliptical machine, one day might be a dance class, you know. I do my best just to listen to where this vessel is at.
Candice Wu 18:11
Can you tell us an example of how you were giving too much or not taking care of yourself and putting others first, of course?
Heather Fraelick 18:20
So in my practice, I got to a point where I was booking out or currently am booking out a month or two in advance, and having some issues trying to fit in my current clientele that I see on a regular basis because of new clients wanting to come in, which I’m so grateful for. However, I had a challenging time at first saying no to new clients coming in and also trying to fit in my current clients to the point where I was spreading myself way too thin. My working days hands-on with people were much longer than I had ever worked before and it wasn’t until I noticed, I would wake up in the morning exhausted and feeling like, oh my gosh, I have to go in and work with more people now. That was when those kinds of thoughts were coming up. It was like something has to change and it has to change within me. So that’s when I started putting up some boundaries and saying no to new clientele for a little while so I can fit in my current clients without overextending myself. And as a practitioner, especially when you work for yourself, it’s, you saying no to people may or may not depending on the person, be a challenge. And for me, at first, it was until I started saying no and taking care of myself by not overextending myself, did I realized, Oh, that was the best thing that could have happened.
Candice Wu 19:45
I totally get that it can be so enticing, especially to just want to help more people. Sometimes you get a referral that you’re just so happy and grateful and you want to be able to accommodate that. Or, we just get in linear thinking and we think you know, more is better or something but it sounds like you’re talking about feeling a quality of life and it really enjoying your practice.
Heather Fraelick 20:08
Exactly, and clients can feel that. The quality over the quantity has become for sure, my go to model that I’m doing my best to work with right now. Because not only do I enjoy my work more, however clients feel that enjoyment more and the sessions tend to be more effective for the people that are coming in. Because I’m coming from a more centered, joyous place rather than, oh my gosh, I have to work with someone else kind of place. No one wants to receive a session from a therapist that’s in that space.
Candice Wu 20:43
Yeah, I can totally feel that.
Candice Wu 20:47
Well, and speaking of challenges, what, you know, just broadening it, I find that people are interested in hearing from anyone they know what’s going on in their lives, and are you struggling with stuff too? Because I am. What are some of the current struggles you’re having or life themes that you’re working with, that you experience?
Heather Fraelick 21:09
I would say the most prevalent one right now is, you know, I’m going to be turning forty this year, and what does that mean? First of all, because I don’t feel forty necessarily, however, coming into this stage in life, one of the main things I’m noticing is really trusting myself and trusting my intuition in my own day to day experiences. I feel very strongly that I trust my intuition during my work. But in my outside relationships and the activities that I involve myself with, choices that I’m making outside of my practice, and also with my practice. Forty, to me, feels like the new thirty in a way because I still feel young and vibrant. I don’t feel like forty years old at all. However, I do feel like it’s a level of adulthood that I’m stepping into where it’s like, very important for me to trust my intuition in all my dealings as best as I can, instead of constantly turning to other people to answer the questions for me.
Candice Wu 22:12
And when you say trusting my intuition, I notice you taking your hand and putting it right in your gut. What do you feel when you truly trust your intuition?
Heather Fraelick 22:24
I feel that there’s no questioning about the action that I’m taking. No questioning. It feels —
Heather Fraelick 22:34
A woman I rent space from Cari Rogers over at Tribes, one time said to me, light and right, it feels light and right, like she had said, and if I’m not following the intuition, it feels very deep, not deep, heavy, and weighted. And following my gut, it just feels more natural and I feel like I come alive, in my body, in my spirit, in my emotions.
Candice Wu 23:05
I can relate so much to that. And someone once told me that, especially for me, if it’s not an obvious yes, it’s a no. Because sometimes I live in the middle space. It’s a little murky and little heavy and I debated for a while, but if it’s not an obvious yes, it’s a no.
Heather Fraelick 23:24
That’s awesome. If you don’t mind, I’m going to put that one in my repertoire because it’s very helpful and actually reminds me of one of my massage teachers when I was in school, he would say, when in doubt don’t. And it’s kind of very similar and I had forgotten that he had said that just until this moment. So, you know, perhaps, that’s another way to think about moving from that intuitive space rather than the heady space.
Candice Wu 23:53
Yeah, I love that. And I love what you said about light and right, as well, like all three of those seem like, I can keep them in my back pocket and use them.
Heather Fraelick 24:05
Another thing along those lines that I’ve been sitting with is giving myself permission to be able to live in that way. There has been so much healing work of my own that I’ve done, over stuff that had felt so heavy, and intense. Now, that I’ve moved through some of that, I have experienced what life could be like feeling lighter, and more connected and centered, and in a way, enjoyed. Now, you know, stepping into this new decade of my life, giving myself permission to live life from that light and right place is another thing that I’m working towards. And, I find it very easy to, you know, work with clients being like, you know, you can do it, you deserve to live life, you know, feeling good and feeling like this way. And now it’s like, oh, wait, does that include me too? I would hope so.
Candice Wu 25:04
Yeah, I think that many people are struggling with that permission and waiting for someone to give them permission and that someone is now usually ourselves, do you find that in your work too?
Heather Fraelick 25:18
In my work, I noticed that with people who almost have an addiction to their pain, are afraid to let that go for whatever reason that may be, whether they feel they don’t have a right to or they need permission to or it’s what makes their life makes sense on some level. And on a personal level, I’ve noticed that waiting for permission for someone else, to give me this unseen permission to live my life, according to my heart and own terms, comes from more of a place of once again, not trusting myself and looking to other people for the answers.
Candice Wu 25:58
Just the very nature of what you’re saying, asking someone or waiting for someone else to give permission, makes me think about just the level, like, the need for safety from someone else and that comes from so many places. But we are now adults and we don’t need that same kind of safety as we may have once needed.
Heather Fraelick 26:20
So it just makes me think about that. And that’s actually something that I’ve noticed a lot. I don’t know if it’s living in a city like Chicago or what it is, but so many people feel unsafe in their bodies. And when you feel unsafe, viscerally, on a visceral level, trying to make yourself feel safe mentally and emotionally, I don’t want to say it is impossible, but it’s pretty hard. A lot of hard work has to go into that to try to make that happen and sometimes it won’t happen because of your body’s feeling otherwise, and our bodies, whether consciously or subconsciously, what you’re feeling in them can easily override what our thoughts might be.
Candice Wu 27:01
Well, now I’m thinking about the collective nervous system and just how unsettled we all are in the entire world. What advice do you have for people or what tools can you offer to support just building safety?
Heather Fraelick 27:18
I think of this one study that I had heard, and I apologize, I’m not going to know, I’m not going to be reiterating the exact facts to a tee. There was a study though of people coming together. I believe it was in Washington D.C years ago, hundreds of thousands of people coming together to meditate.
Candice Wu 27:37
The Transcendental Meditation study. I may get it wrong too but the author might have been last name Travers.
Heather Fraelick 27:45
I’m not sure about that. But I will take your word for it.
Heather Fraelick 27:49
But when these people came together to study, the amount of crime that was taking place amongst the city had lowered significantly due to all these people meditating. That’s something that I’ve held on to any point in time where I noticed that I become shaken up about the current state of affairs, and even just how I may feel on in any given day of that study, of tapping into that collective unconsciousness of those people that are meditating, that are coming to life from a place of hope, that are doing their healing work, you know, just tapping into that space within me, but also thinking about all those other people out there that are doing the same thing. And that not everybody is involved in this corrupt experience over here, that’s freaking me out. But really focusing on, Oh, what else are other people doing too? How can I tap into that so I could feel better in the moment here and maybe perhaps have an effect on someone else that I might not be seeing right now?
Candice Wu 28:54
Yeah. You’re bringing up something so important is to while acknowledging what is going on in the world, shift your focus to what you can do and what’s also happening already that’s positive and healthy.
Heather Fraelick 29:09
Exactly, because — I was listening to something, Wayne Dyer had once shared with a story of dandelions. You know, the dandelions, when they’re at that stage, was like that white puffy flower and if someone goes and into the yard, and they see that, all this growth of these dandelions happening in their yard, and they take a shovel and just like smash them, what happens to those seeds, they become dispersed, and more dandelions will grow in the next, you know, coming year. And I think he was talking about that being akin to hatred, for example, like, you know, you see the hatred that’s going on out in the world. But then you know, if you give in to that hate of what everyone else, you know, that person is wrong, I don’t like that person, that’s just spreading more hatred seeds with whomever you come in contact with. What can we do to focus on the more accepting, loving thoughts and seeds and interactions? And how can that spread from one person to the next? That is something that I try to focus on when it seems very easy to go the other way?
Candice Wu 30:26
Yeah, that’s really helpful.
Candice Wu 30:28
So Heather, how do you then spread seeds of positivity in the winter?
Heather Fraelick 30:35
That’s an awesome question. Because, as you know, Chicagoans love to complain about the weather. And I know I have been there myself. Over the years, though, I’ve noticed that what I love about the winter in Chicago is that life outside my home or the four walls of wherever I find myself tends to be a lot quieter. And I love walking in the snow and like hearing the snow crunch under my feet, but like hardly anything else going on around me. Whereas in the summertime, there’s so much life that’s out and about and a lot of noise outside that I’ve come to really enjoy the quiet reflectiveness of winter. And it’s just not only helped me get in touch more with myself, you know, being indoors a little bit more, enjoying the quiet when I am outside, it allows me to slow down a little bit, and prepare for the lively seasons of spring and summer that lie ahead. And so by honoring and noticing how life all around me quiets down and slows down, it helps me get in touch with that in my own nature. And then, once life becomes more lively comes spring, then I’ll have the energy to be able to join that if you will. And that’s helped me cope with not complaining so much about the fact that it’s so darn cold.
Candice Wu 32:00
You’re really aligning with the cycle of the seasons, the cycle of the year. And also I hear you feeling gratitude for what it can bring that has lent into a more joyous outlook.
Heather Fraelick 32:17
Because before I tapped into this, I mean, I was just as miserable as the next person, you know, complaining about the winter, can’t wait for it to be over. And in the meantime, I found myself just like not enjoying my day. And it was like, I’m alive now. Why am I wasting my time, feeling bitter in this coldness? I felt cold inside as well and it just felt like a waste of time after a while.
Candice Wu 32:46
So let’s switch gears here a little bit and talk about your practice. You’ve talked a little bit about it already. But for all the wellness practitioners out there that might be listening as well. Something I know that a lot of practitioners are challenged with is how do they clear their energy or stay grounded or feel that they have solid boundaries that they’re not taking on the energies of their clients or their patients. What was your experience with that?
Heather Fraelick 33:19
That’s a great question. And that’s one that I know is still taking practice. And I think we’ll always will on at least in my experience.
Heather Fraelick 33:27
First and foremost, learning how to say no, was huge. I’ve noticed anytime I have overworked myself, it was next to impossible to stay centered. And when it is next to impossible to stay centered in my experience, the more I noticed my empathy on hyperdrive. I was exhausted. I would pick up other people’s emotions and not know how to process them myself. So saying no was huge, first and foremost. Next to that, I find that sleep, simple sleep, getting enough hours of sleep at night helped me immensely be able to process in my dreams, what has taken place so I can get ready for the next day. Salt baths have been huge. And anything I can do to stay centered, and once again as I shared before, that changes day to day for me. If it means that, you know, I have to go out with some friends, you know, on a Friday night and have a really good time, because I’ve been working so much and that good time helped balance me out a little bit, you know, to go into my next day, so be it. If it means eating — you know, having a cleanse, taking a cleanse, you know, nutritionally for a week, so be it. If it means, you know, upping my Yoga practice, that just really depends on what that is, and any given day. So doing what I can outside of my practice, to nourish myself with activities that I enjoy doing and whatever that may be in the moment, you know, may shift, and all those things help keep me centered. And when I’m centered and working with people from that place, it becomes a lot easier to naturally have those necessary boundaries that are needed as a practitioner working with clients.
Candice Wu 35:13
And so then, what do you do when you have picked up other people’s emotions or energies?
Heather Fraelick 35:19
It depends on the situation. Sometimes it’s as simple as letting the emotion run through me if I have to.
Heather Fraelick 35:28
There’s been a couple of times where I’ve been working in a session with people where there’s been intense crying that takes place from the client that I’m working with. And sometimes I will feel the emotion so heavily that I’ll just let some tears flow out as well. I won’t break down while I’m working with them, but just feeling what they’re experiencing, let it run through me so it can pass. Once again, staying centered in the manner that I shared with you just before and if it happens to be a really intense day, for example, where there’s a lot of heavy energy or intense energy of the people that I’m working with, I will definitely make sure and go home and not do work, go home, take a salt bath, write, paint, do anything I can that I enjoy to express what’s coming up and out of me, to be able to let that energy move through is what I found has been most helpful.
Heather Fraelick 36:24
Sometimes I will do some Shamanic practices, like having a ring of fire around me or picturing myself covered in rose petals. However, there are moments where I’m working with people and in the moment, I might lose that image in my head, and that’s when I connect with my spirituality and prayer. And I’ll just, you know, if I notice, I lose that visual image in my mind of the fire and the rose petals, I’ll just say a quick prayer and that tends to help center me right away. That’s just been my personal experience. Just saying I need help, or, you know, help move this through me or what can be done next, or whatever the words that may come to mind
Candice Wu 37:09
There’s so much acknowledgment on that. Like, it’s here, it helps me.
Heather Fraelick 37:12
Candice Wu 37:13
Yeah. So what types of challenges have you come across lately in your practice? I heard about saying no, right? Are there other things?
Heather Fraelick 37:23
Fortunately, there not a ton right at the moment, I would say, if the two things that come to the forefront of my mind is how to work with a clientele load that is thriving and overflowing, which I’m so grateful for. I didn’t expect my practice to get to this point where, you know, my schedule is booking out a month or two in advance. So I didn’t necessarily prepare for that. So I’m just taking it one step at a time, one day at a time, trying to do my best to accommodate my current clients and work with the quality that I bring to the table and go from there.
Candice Wu 38:05
Literally to the table.
Heather Fraelick 38:06
Heather Fraelick 38:08
And aside from that, you know, sitting with where I want to go next, you know, people have asked if I’m going to open up my own space, or if I’m planning on doing more teaching or whatever that may be, and just sitting with what is next, because I’m enjoying my experience so far in the moment that I haven’t really thought about that next step.
Candice Wu 38:33
Sometimes it’s just good to just stay in.
Heather Fraelick 38:36
It is and honestly, it’s so easy to get seduced by, in my experience, overachieving, that actually just enjoying where I’m at right now feels very unfamiliar to me, yet, needed.
Candice Wu 38:54
You know, it’s like, we all want to achieve this good feeling and yet, when we get there, we keep running forward, and we don’t stay and feel into it sometimes,
Heather Fraelick 39:04
Right, and then you miss it. And so, I’m really doing what I can right now just to relish in where I’m at, and enjoy it, for what it is, and I have a feeling the next step will be shown to me. That’s my feeling and I trust that.
Candice Wu 39:20
I’m wondering what advice you have for practitioners, maybe in your field or in other wellness fields that are starting off?
Heather Fraelick 39:27
My main advice would be just to take it one day at a time, one foot in front of the other and do the best that you can with what is right in front of you. Yes, if you have a big picture, you know, have that in mind. But it’s really, you know, take that day to day and give it the best you’ve got. And honestly, I don’t have a magic business formula. I’ve been asked before, how did I create a successful practice. I don’t think it was just solely me creating it. It was definitely cocreated by support seen and unseen around me. I had many dear friends, talented friends help me start off, help me get my website going, help me understand small little things in business up into larger things. Like, for example, like, make sure to get back to clients within 24 hours, little things like that.
Heather Fraelick 39:42
And all that I really did is just really put one foot in front of the other. Answer the emails the day that I had to answer them. Work with the clients I had on my schedule, get back to clients who had contacted me. And then it just grew from there and pay attention to what is going on around you. Pay attention to what may come up in conversation with friends of yours, that might give you an “aha” moment of like, Oh, I need to move in this direction. Oh, maybe I need to offer this at my practice, that feels right. Oh, look at this natural connection that’s happening with this person, what could come up that really paying attention to that too, because that’s something that I had noticed that really helped me along through meeting people that I got to collaborate with along the way. And through those collaborations, clients that I’ve met, or other practitioners that I’ve been able to come in contact with, to refer clients to, there’s an abundance of possibilities out there, if you’re willing to pay attention.
Candice Wu 41:20
That’s such a good reminder. And the one foot in front of the other, just taking one step, even myself have found that I have, sometimes I have this grand vision and because I’m also intuitive, I feel it for myself, it’s an, you know, practicing visualization, sometimes it’s right there. And I can pressure myself to have to be there now. But there’s a whole journey from here to there and I can be hard on myself sometimes. What do you do when you’re hard on yourself or when you find that self-critic come up?
Heather Fraelick 41:59
Oh my gosh, that self-critic can be so relentless.
Heather Fraelick 42:03
Yeah, you know, that’s, personally, that’s when I turned to spirituality. That’s when I feel like I surrender and just pray about it. I don’t mean to sound pious, but I just feel like, I recognize it in myself and then I just sort of give it up to the creator that I feel connected with, in the sense of just, I’m feeling this right now help me, you know, and I noticed like when I take the weight off of my own shoulders, and just give it up and let it go, I feel like I’m able to notice in the moment what I have now, and that gratitude grows. And then I noticed that gratitude growing and what comes to me, later on, has been nothing short of miraculous. And I’ll give you an example.
Heather Fraelick 42:51
I was talking with a dear friend of mine, where one day I was saying, I was in that day where I had this grand vision. But it wasn’t necessarily a vision where I can literally see in my mind’s eye of what that was, but I felt it. I felt so expansive and alive and just large and shining brightly. I didn’t know what to do with myself, you know, so I was talking with a girlfriend of mine about that. And, like, Heather, just relish in what you’re feeling, you know, what do you want to do right now? Like, I want to go dance, so I danced. And I just kept enjoying this feeling that was coming over me.
Heather Fraelick 43:25
And then a week later, I received in a Facebook message from the director of massage school that I had gone to and was like, Hey, would you like to teach Myofascial release, you know, just to fill in for one of our teachers that’s out healing right now? And I was like, of course, you know, and I felt like the vibration of him asking me that, match the vibration of what I was feeling that day. And there have been so many circumstances that have happened throughout my years, especially when I started going off on my own as an individual practitioner, that’s happened time and time again.
Candice Wu 44:01
Heather, I believe that each of us, each of our lives, is an expression of some message, some gift, what do you feel that is for you?
Heather Fraelick 44:10
So that has shifted for me quite a bit over the years. Whereas before, especially when I was a dancer, and even to this day, I noticed I can get an over ambition attack and working so hard to achieve my goals. That’s what I was like as a dancer and I was working my body to the bone to the point where I injured myself so many times that I couldn’t even do or enjoy what I loved the most at that time, which was to dance.
Heather Fraelick 44:41
And so while I’ve gone through my own healing journey, and have received my own body work and have worked through some challenges on the, you know, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels, I’m able to enjoy my life and enjoy my experiences now. I’m able to enjoy dance again, because my body doesn’t hurt so much. So what I really feel that my life is about and what I have to bring to the table, if you will, is enjoying my time here on this earth and I notice when I enjoy myself more, the best of myself, I’m able to naturally bring to other people. And this is reminding me too, some people have pointed this out to me, my last name, Fraelick, means joy. And some of my friends had pointed that out to me when I was going through challenging times. And I really think that that’s a huge part of my life right now is living that last name.
Candice Wu 45:37
That’s powerful and it’s so deep. And I’m just thrilled for you that you just connect with it so well. And thank you for that reminder.
Heather Fraelick 45:46
Thank you. I’m grateful to have connected with that as well because that was eluding me for a long time.
Candice Wu 45:53
Well, thank you so much, Heather. It’s been such a pleasure and I appreciate you.
Heather Fraelick 45:58
Thank you, Candice. I appreciate you too.
Candice Wu 46:01
Now with over a decade of massage therapy experience, over two decades of professional dance and movement education experience, and women’s facilitation training, Heather brings forth an intuitive blend of bodywork modalities to tailor each of her sessions to meet her clients’ individual needs. And I know this from personal experience. It is fabulous working with Heather.
Candice Wu 46:22
She primarily draws from Myofascial release, deep tissue massage therapy, cranial sacral work, Reiki, and reflexology. Many of our clients are those experiencing chronic pain, neck and shoulder injuries, headaches, low back pain, and plantar fasciitis. And she offers annual circles to support women on their healing journey.
Candice Wu 46:45
She also recently started teaching Myofascial release classes at her alma mater, the new school for massage, and what I love about Heather is how she incorporates the spiritual and emotional aspects if you bring those to her.
Candice Wu 46:57
And before I leave today, I’d like to thank you for listening and invite you to subscribe to the weekly Embody Podcast at CandiceWu.com/podcast or learn more about me get lots of free resources on embodiment and healing, meditations and more by going to CandiceWu.com/embody. See you next time on the Embody Podcast.
LMT Bodywork and Massage
Links & Resources mentioned in this Episode
- Avatar (The Movie)
- “Light and Right” Quote by Tribe and renting space at
- John Barnes, founder and creator of the John F Barnes Myofascial Release Approach, and mentor Heather studies with
- The Transcendental Meditation Experiment in Washington DC that was found to reduce the crime rate.
- 1:10 Opening
- 2:25 Heather’s Dancer Moves Her Healing Work
- 4:31 Conversing With the Body
- 4:56 Facilitating Healing Vs. Helping
- 5:35 Not Fixing, Inspiring the Body
- 6:56 “Everybody’s Body and Being Has the Capacity”
- 7:09 if Our Fascia Could Talk, What Would It Be Saying
- 7:34 Avatar (The Movie) and Fascia Storing Memories
- 9:17 Working with Chakras and Women’s Circles
- 12:01 Myth : That Suddenly We Are “Healed”
- 14:08 Nobody Has It All Together!
- 14:32 the Reason Heather Got Into This Work
- 15:27 Experiencing It Yourself First to Then Give to Clients
- 16:05 How Heather Does Self-Care and Nourishment
- 17:13 “If You Don’t Help Yourself, You Literally Can’t Help Other People.”
- 18:11 Giving to Much and Overbooking Your Schedule
- 20:51 Thoughts on turning 40 and Trusting Intuition
- 22:12 Trusting Your Intuition / Feeling Your Gut
- 22:34 Cari Rogers Quote: “light & right!”
- 23:07 Not an obvious Yes? It’s a No
- 24:04 Giving Yourself Permission
- 25:03 Waiting for Someone to Give You Permission
- 25:58 the Need for Safety From Someone Else
- 27:03 the Collective Nervous System / Tools to Support Building Safety
- 29:11 Story of Dandelions
- 30:28 How Do You Spread Seeds of Positivity in the Winter?
- 32:02 Aligning With the Cycle of the Year and Finding Gratitude With What Is
- 32:46 How Heather Does Not Take on the Clients’ Energy?
- 35:13 What if You Have Picked Up Other Peoples Emotions or Energies?
- 36:24 Shamanic Practices and Prayers
- 37:14 Heather’s Practice Challenges
- 38:54 Missing the Achievement
- 39:20 Advice for Practitioners That Are Starting Off
- 41:51 What Do You Do When You Are Hard on Yourself?
- 44:01 What’s Heathers Message?
- 45:18 the Meaning of Heathers Last Name
- 46:01 Outro and Send Off