By Lisa Bakewell
Alyse Kribs was one of the winners of ABMP’s Massage is for EveryBody 2021 contest, and we wanted to share more of her story, which exemplifies the inclusive values of this campaign. Please join us in celebrating Alyse!
“When it comes to giving back, you can only give what you already have,” says Alyse Kribs, owner of Daydreams Massage in Naperville, Illinois. “Some people are wealthy and can donate large sums of money, some have an abundance of time to give, and some hairdressers give free haircuts. I’m a massage therapist that likes to give free massages!”
Kribs says she loves the quote “You only keep what you have by giving it away,” because monetarily, she has complete faith that what goes around comes around. Volunteerism has a special place in Kribs’s heart. It was finding her own way out of addiction that has inspired her to help others who are struggling. “Now that I know a way out, I am dedicated to sharing with others.”
And even though she feels she’s only making small strides to advocate for those suffering from addiction and mental illness at the moment, largely because of the challenges of COVID, she has bigger plans for the future and for reaching more people.
“For now, I volunteer at halfway houses when I have time,” Kribs says. “I am a safe person for my friends who are actively using and seeking help. And during massages, I am a listening ear for everyone. I don’t discriminate, and I am actively researching alternative therapies to help people with these ailments—things like acupressure, EFT (emotional freedom technique), reiki, sound healing, and soul retrieval.”
When Kribs started massage school, she was only two years into her recovery, attending 12-step meetings, and going to weekly therapy sessions. “My therapist was my mentor,” she says. “She believed in me, she saw my light, and persuaded me to go back to massage school (I had dropped out of my first program about six years ago). Lisa helped me work through traumas and gave me so many tools that I will continue to use for the rest of my life.”
Kribs is inspired, too, when visiting treatment centers and talking to active users. “Going into treatment centers and talking to people who are actively using is a great reminder of how far I fell,” she says, “but also how far I have come from there. Today, I am able to clearly see that addiction is not a choice; it’s a mental illness that has gone untreated. It helps me forgive myself because I know now that I was very sick and wouldn't have made those poor choices in a healthy state of mind.”
Through her own experiences, Kribs says she learned that addiction and trauma cause a separation in body, mind, and soul, and to truly heal, the lost parts need to be retrieved and realigned. “Massage gives people a time to be quiet with their thoughts,” she says, “to meditate, to become aware of their feelings and their bodies, and to care for themselves. [Massage may also] bring to light mental and physical ailments that a person has been running from, and they can decide if they want to face it.”
Having lost her father, her son’s father, and countless friends to addiction, Kribs says she gives back for them—trying to help others from self-medicating and to reach those who have already fallen.
“Touch is a powerful thing, especially in these times of isolation. Some one-on-one time can really brighten up a person’s day!”