Tag Archives: massage

True Colors

August 19, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Chanell Jaramillo helps people discover their true colors—just as she once sought to divine her own.

Gifted with vision and intuition that transcended her childhood in a hardscrabble neighborhood of Yuma, Arizona, she later revived those abilities to make another great escape. She transformed herself from an ill, overworked executive to a healer, surrounding herself in the safe, centered haven of her ultimate truth.

“Life experiences are teachings,” says Jaramillo. “You can look at them as challenges and get stuck in your circumstance, or, you can see them as lessons and allow them to take you to a place of wisdom.”

Channell1Jaramillo is a solution-focused holistic health practitioner with a Ph.D. in transpersonal psychology, a school of psychology that integrates the spiritual and transcendent aspects of the human experience within the framework of modern psychology. She employs that philosophy in guiding her clients toward their own personal truth and optimum path. Working primarily as a transformational life coach from her Omaha Healing Arts Center office, Jaramillo skillfully walks the line between analysis and intuition, academic knowledge and life-learned wisdom, fact-based theory and gut-based truth.       

Jaramillo first adjudicates clients with her Biopulsar, a biomedical measuring device that’s one of just 300 in the U.S. It reads energy from the hand’s 49 reflex zones—each correlating to an organ or gland in the body—to produce a uniquely kaleidoscopic aura scan portrait, bursting with colors from the chakras, or spirit centers in the body. Jaramillo interprets these colors, from red for basic trust to violet for spirituality, to determine distressed bodily areas.

Someone needing more white in her life may need to unblock the heart center. A client needing more turquoise can use something as simple as a coffee cup to visually help open the lines of communication between the heart and the spoken word.

Jaramillo then provides clients a customized healing regimen, which can include lifestyle and diet changes, yoga, energy work, massage, and other forms of therapy.        

“In real time, [the Biopulsar] measures your consciousness—what you’re feeling and thinking,” says Jaramillo, adding that thoughts have relationships throughout the body that are able to create holding patterns and can cause physical problems. “It’s used medically for preventative health in Europe and Asia because it shows if a thought has manifested yet at a physical level or if it’s still within your auric field.”

Channell3Before Jaramillo could heal others, she had to find her own path to healing and happiness.   

Years ago, while navigating 70-hour workweeks as an executive for a large Southern California resort and winery, Jaramillo became extremely ill. A chorus of doctors chimed in with various theories, yet none could explain why she was sick.     

“I started balancing my work/life better and changed my entire outlook,” says Jaramillo, who, on the heels of a profound awakening, found herself intuitively guided toward lifestyle adjustments that ultimately healed her where prescription medicine had failed.

Striving to make sense of her experience led Jaramillo down a path resulting in a vocational calling to return to husband Chris Basilevac’s native Omaha and work as a holistic healer.     

“I kept having dreams guiding me back to Omaha to work in the spiritual field. At first I thought, ‘Uh, Universe, I think you have your coordinates wrong,’” says Jaramillo. But the call persisted, so she decided to “just trust and follow the breadcrumbs.”

The leap paid off, and Jaramillo now embodies the tradition of her great-grandmother, a curandera, which means “healer” in Spanish.

“I’ve always admired the idea of the crone, the wise old woman, which isn’t honored in our society today,” she says. “I want to be that wise old crone someday, who people can look to knowing that I speak from the experience of living life, learning from mistakes, and growing. Maybe that’s how I ended up doing this work, trying to return to a tradition our culture’s lost.” Encounter

Visit thlpros.com for more information.


Doug Strain

June 23, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Nestled in the leafy upper levels of the Old Market Passageway, tucked in the conjoining rooms of a former yoga studio, you’ll find the cozy abode of Aether & Epsom, a massage therapy studio and spa just a flight of stairs up from the bustle of Howard Street.

You may also encounter the studio’s founder, Doug Strain, either brewing a cup of tea at the end of the hall or engaged in a session with a client. Strain practices a variety of techniques, from deep-tissue massage to aromatherapy, with self-concocted distillates.

“I work with a large population in migraines,” Strain explains. “They’ve popped every pill and seen 500 neurologists, tried every CT scan, and I’ve been able to get a lot of them off of medication. They’re so frustrated and desperate to find something, anything, that will help them, and being able to be that resource for them—that’s pretty cool.”


Strain found himself disillusioned with nursing practice after four years of CNA work, and decided to pursue massage therapy where he could still pay homage to his science roots and “work proactively with people’s pain, not just in damage control.” Strain’s practices subscribe chiefly to neuromuscular massage, a deep-tissue technique that focuses on relieving the body’s pressure points to ease physical pain and tension. After adhering to Nebraska’s hefty requirement of 1,000 hours of massage therapy school, Strain’s decision to start his own business seemed like the natural conclusion.

“I have full control of my working environment, practice the way I want to in a way I know is best, and honestly, I can offer a private, quiet setting for someone to receive body work in,” Strain says. “You’re already getting treatment, that puts you in a vulnerable place; the quiet environment is just more comfortable for people.”

Beyond various massage techniques, Strain also self-studies aromatherapy, creating his own scents and detailing them in a therapeutic index. His secondary passion is making craft cocktails, where he uses the hydrosols, or herbal distillates, as additives for the drinks.

Doesn’t it get stressful, managing all those tasks?

“Because it’s just me here, I wear all the hats, which can be stressful,” Strain agrees. “When it comes to customers, it’s really cool because I interact with them on every level. I’m their receptionist when they come in; I’m their therapist; I’m their manager. It actually gives me the opportunity to develop a better customer relationship than the average business might.”

Another service Strain offers is the chance to relax while viewing original art. Right next door to Strain’s studio is the art studio of abstract painter Mary Ann Chaney. Chaney exhibits a collection of barn paintings in the hallway for clients to peruse while waiting for their massage appointments.

The synthesis between massage therapy and artwork is a natural one, it would seem. “You’re almost in a zone when you paint; I like that aspect of it, it’s like therapy,” Chaney says about her work. “I like painting abstract, not tight realism. They have to look kind of relaxed, but also controlled.”

She pauses, smiles, and adds, “Just like massage.” Encounter

Visit aetherandepsom.com for more information


Perspectives on Pain

July 25, 2014 by and

Chronic headaches can be withering. They can also lead a person down the path to dependence on opiate-based pain meds. There are better ways to treat the pain. Here are three solutions—from three very different perspectives—on how to find relief.


Tereshel Johnson believes her acupuncture sessions work to relief headaches. But, as a woman who has worked and studied in the American healthcare world, she is sometimes skeptical about many of the claims made by other acupuncturists.

“There is so much that is unknown about it—it’s hard for Western medicine to get a grip on the Eastern mind,” says Johnson, owner of both Omaha Headache and Migraine Clinic and co-owner of Green Chiropractic in Omaha. “What we do know from studies: Acupuncture can work to relieve some problems. It definitely has its place.”

For those with chronic headaches, the first step is an extensive assessment. The primary goal: To make sure that there’s not some major medical issue that first needs addressing. “Acupuncture isn’t for muscular-skeletal problems—that kind of thing,” she says.

But acupuncture can be very successful releasing stressed muscles or reducing inflammation, she says.

“Sometimes Western medicine isn’t the answer for pain,” she says. “There is a place for acupuncture. We may not know how, but it has helped countless people through the ages.”


At her chiropractic clinic, Johnson also begins with an extensive evaluation. She first determines if there are major structural problems—or some other major health problem—that should be handled by medical doctors and surgeons. If the patient is healthy outside of some spine misalignment, she will begin a chiropractic regimen.

Headaches, she says, can come from problems in both the thoracic and lumbar sections of the spine. There is often a nerve being pinched or too little, or too much, movement between certain vertebrae. The key for those suffering headaches: Make sure you seek a cure to the underlying problem, not just some pills to numb the pain.

“If you medicate, the dysfunction and structural problems are still there,” she says. “And they are not going to get better by being masked. You need to go to the source of the pain to get any long-term relief.”


Haley Martin can toss around some awfully impressive Latin terminology for the muscles in your back and neck. The point is, though: As a licensed massage therapist, you’ve got to know the intricacies of the human body to know exactly where to focus massage therapy.

For those with chronic headaches, Martin says, the primary culprits are usually the three scalene muscles, the scalenus anterior, scalenus medius, and scalenus posterior. Whiplash is a common cause of damage and inflation in those muscles. Bad posture at work causes problems, especially if you’re slouched over a computer all day.

“Anatomically, people get their shoulders rounded, their chest muscles pulled together—everything pushed and pulled from where it should be naturally,” says Martin, who works for Downtown Omaha Massage. “Whatever the cause, the nerve bundle that leads to your upper extremities gets inflamed. So we have to go release that area with massage.”

And yes, the worse the ball of angry muscles and nerves, the rougher the job might be to get relief.

“Honestly, things can get a little intense,” she says. “The longer you’ve had the problem, the longer it can take to get to the solution. If things get intense, we start talking a lot about those deep breathing exercises.”