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Education Spotlight: Heath and Nicole Reed of Living Metta


Due to space limitations, we published an abbreviated version of our Education Inspiration Q&A with Heath and Nicole Reed, founders of Living Metta, in the May/June 2019 issue of Massage & Bodywork. Here is the entire Q&A.

How did Living Metta get its start? 

Our business was born from our personal relationship spanning more 20 years of co-commitment. One of the very first agreements we made to one another was that we could only imagine staying together if we continued to evolve and grow together. If one or both of us became static or settled, we agreed that would spell the death of our relationship. And for more than two decades, we’ve lived into our co-commitment to evolution as we graduated university, traveled to and lived in various places in the country and overseas, and together took the quantum leap to explore the healing arts through touch therapy.

We took the plunge into massage therapy in 1999 and felt completely transformed down to the marrow of our bones by our school experience. When we were green to the massage therapy field, we were consummate explorers of conscious touch therapies, especially those that combined movement, breath, and friendly human connection. That’s what led us to backpack our honeymoon with a trip to Thailand: a journey to both celebrate our relationship, and combine our passions of yoga and massage therapy with Thai Massage training.

On our first trip to Thailand, we felt immediately at home in this foreign land where we were welcomed with smiles, authentic caring, and a felt-body inclusion by the locals. We travelled thousands of miles to experience our homecoming into this culture that extolls “metta”. Through our Thai Massage teachers, local taxi drivers, and random encounters we were introduced to the experience (not merely the concept) of metta or loving kindness. 

One of the most pressing questions we ask ourselves is, “How can I increase my capacity to both give and receive larger amounts of loving kindness for longer periods of time?” This wonder question informs our relationship as well as creates an internal guidance system in forging the impact we want to make in world. We often ask and answer this question experientially as we teach and practice touch therapy approaches, conscious movement and with the intentional oscillation of our generous attention. We’ve taught bodywork through the lens of metta in schools, resorts, national conferences and lead retreats in beautiful healing lands. Living Metta is our embodiment of loving kindness and we share a multitude of simple and easy practices to continue to grow and evolve more positivity in all areas of our lives. 

What sets Living Metta apart from other continuing education providers?

All our classes are a distillation of results-driven therapies, with an emphasis on the power of presence. As our company slogan, “Presence is more important than techniques,” asserts, how you do something is more important that what you do. We are strong advocates that you can heal with your presence. In our classes we harness the fuel source of presence to activate the greatest positive impact with the least amount of effort. What’s also unique about us is our personal commitment to continuing our own education. Our own persistent hunger for more ways to presence, connect, and play, has lead to the study and practice of full spectrum intelligence. We infuse full spectrum intelligence skills in all our classes and retreats, where we utilize the synergy of our mental, emotional, and body intelligences to generate a reliable resource of information that informs our choices, fortifies our intuition, and deepens our connections.  

Why should therapists take your courses?

We love to play, laugh, discover, and explore into the known and unknown with allies. It is our intention to infuse Loving Kindness in every technique, interaction and contact we make. We don’t believe that healing or learning occurs very successfully in a rigid, serious context. Rather we’ve experienced the most remarkable healing and transformative experiences occurring in playful, fun-loving environments. If you like to be in joy then you’ll love exploring and expanding with us!

What are the biggest things you see lacking in massage therapy and bodywork education today?

Our dream is for all those in the service field to give themselves the same quality of care they so freely give to others! We’ve experienced and witnessed countless times where we or our comrades in healing have given until it hurts. Imagine how you would feel or how your life would unfurl if you gave yourself the same compassion and care you give others…We see taking exquisite care of ourselves to be the biggest impediment to massage therapists thriving and replenishing themselves. As one of our favorite Thai teachers, Pichet says, “How can you feed someone else if you are hungry?”

What do you wish you had learned in your own training?

I wish I would have learned from wisdom, rather than from experience, that I must fill my own cup first, before helping someone else. I wish I would have learned to put myself in center of the therapeutic relationship, along with my clients, so that I reliably receive as much benefit from my sessions as my clients, if not  more so. 

What new trends or developments in the profession are you most excited about?

For several years, we have been leading small group continuing education excursions to learn and explore in beautiful locations, like Thailand, Maya Tulum, Bulgaria, and throughout magical and sacred lands in the Southwest. We love how changing our environment helps activate our openness to curiosity and our capacity to expand into what we think we know—personally and professionally. We love joining a group of like minded people who value loving kindness, expanding into positivity together, and creating once-in-a-lifetime memories that refuel our reservoir for sharing healing touch.

What exciting things do you have planned for the future?

We’re thrilled about birthing our three-years-in-the-making brainchild: an online community for massage and movement therapists to regularly dip into for reliable support, connection, and inspiration. We plan to roll out our continuing education Discovery Center as an evolution of our creative expression and passion for experiencing wholeness, synergy, and loving kindness. 

Read our Q&A with Heath and Nicole in Massage & Bodywork magazine here: