The healing arts have always held a deep fascination for Robin. Her journey began in 1992 when she moved to Hiroshima, Japan to teach English. Here she was introduced to the practice of shiatsu and the concept of Qi (or as the Japanese call it, Ki). The idea that the human body possessed an energy system in addition to its material system (i.e. the physical structures) resonated with her on an intuitive level, as well as the cultural influences on Eastern and Western healing practices.
After two years in Japan, she spent another year backpacking through Asia and Europe where her worldview broadened and her interest in holistic therapies grew. She experienced everything from Thai massage in a grass hut in Chiang Mai to the classic “venik” massage at the Sandunovsky Banya in Moscow, Russia’s most famous bathhouse. Along the way, her interest in East-West studies expanded as well.
In 1996, she landed in New York to attend graduate school at New York University, earning a Master’s degree in International Education in 1998. After navigating the corporate world for a few years as a cross-cultural trainer and academic administrator, she decided to attend massage school.
What appealed to her about the Swedish Institute was its broad focus on both Eastern and Western approaches to health and healing. Their 1000-hour program delved deeply into the science, history, philosophy, and cultural aspects of both worlds. Not only did she learn the Western modalities of Swedish massage and its counterparts, but also the Eastern modalities of shiatsu and acupressure based on the Five Element theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
After graduating in 2001, she spent the next eleven years working in a multitude of settings throughout the New York metropolitan area with a variety of clients—from Broadway performers to cancer patients to veterans suffering from PTSD—eventually setting up a private practice on the Upper West Side. In 2012, she moved back to her native North Carolina where she now has a private practice in Chapel Hill.
Swedish Institute College of Health Sciences (1999-2001)
Associate in Occupational Studies, Massage Therapy
New York University, Steinhardt Department of Teaching and Learning (1996-1998)
Master of Arts, International Education
East Carolina University, English Department (1987-1990)
Bachelor of Arts, Writing
“Massage in the Wake of the Pandemic: How One Therapist Found the Presence Needed to Self-Connect and Carry On,” massagemag.com, June 25, 2021.
Allen, Erika (2012) The New York Times Fashion Section, “The First Issue in Any Massage.”
Integrative Acupressure for Mind-Body Balance (IAMBB) is a technique Robin has developed over the course of her career. Built on the concept of energy systems, IAMBB is a combination of Eastern and Western massage and bodywork techniques.
“I like to think of the body in terms of a multi-layered energy
matrix with a network of superhighways flowing throughout
the body from head to toe.”
On a basic level, this technique combines Swedish massage with acupressure and energy balancing. Like acupuncture, acupressure stimulates acupoints along energy meridians throughout the body, but instead of needles, the practitioner uses her fingers, thumbs, palms, and elbows.
“Every client presents their own unique physical, mental, and emotional concerns. You cannot separate the three—they work in tandem with one another. These concerns manifest as patterns of stagnation or depletion in some areas of the body while in other areas, an overabundance or hypertonicity exists, especially around specific muscle groups.”
Working layer by layer, she unwinds the charged areas of muscle tension with Swedish and myofascial techniques, while “tonifying” the stagnant areas with acupressure, thus enhancing the healthy flow of Qi (vital energy) throughout the body.
On a deeper level, acupoints have high electrical conductivity and work in tandem with the nervous system to influence the mental, emotional, and energetic state. Stress, anger, and other intense and/or repressed emotions cause hormone imbalances that can damage the immune system and deplete the neurochemicals in the brain associated with emotional balance. Applying pressure to certain acupoints stimulates the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers) and serotonin (which stabilizes our moods), prompting the parasympathetic response in the body which promotes relaxation.
When these patterns of imbalance are diffused and dispersed, the body feels more relaxed and pain-free, the mind feels clearer, negative emotions dissipate, and overall energy is lighter. The person leaves the session feeling more fully integrated.
“My goal is to help people reach their full potential through dynamic, transformational bodywork that functions on a physical, mental, emotional, and energetic level.”