In a society plagued by our precious time wasted on social media addiction, over-stimulation and dependence instead, it is refreshing to find hidden gem individuals who operate under that radar and remain social media free. Cassandra Wheeler is one of those local gems who wisely and amply spends her time either nurturing herself or nurturing others instead of online, which allows her to offer incredible quality of services and personal attention.
Cassandra’s journey to becoming an incredible body-worker and teacher begins with her natural inclination to express herself and find joy with body movement. She recalls that as young as 5 years old, she was a dancer and also always running and jumping around. She loved flipping and climbing, so she was happy to practice gymnastics 6 days a week when she was 8 years old, up to 30 hours a week. Cassandra’s face lit up with a big, wide smile whenever she was doing any physical activity, and she expressed herself happily as a performer. During this time, she traveled around the US for gymnastics competitions, and she had a really good coach that truly helped her and team to really believe in themselves.
Cassandra realized she had always felt great joy and much gratitude from people around her whenever she did acts of service to others and was giving. As an adult, she worked as a seamstress at a production line in a factory where she and coworkers did repetitive machine operations. She saw that their bodies were hurt from repetitive movement and postures and she started massaging everyone’s shoulders and boosting everyone’s attitude. She quickly noticed that she could really make a difference by helping people and they would then be more efficient in their work as well as happier. This also helped her connect with people she shared the workplace with, as they started giving back to her or even sharing food with her, when she would come massage them. After years of positive feedback and noticing how energized she felt by giving massage to others, she finally decided to take the plunge and go to massage.
HER MASSAGE THERAPY TRAINING & EXPERIENCE
Cassandra has been a Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist in Bend, OR since 2006, and she also teaches massage technique classes at COCC (Central Oregon Community College) for LMT students. Her signature style combines Swedish traditional massage with relaxation, deep tissue, cupping, Gua Sha, hot stones and Thai massage modalities. She also offers additional and deeply nourishing, more specific healing treatments in addition to full body work, such as Japanese facial massage, hand and feet massage, and head & shoulders massage.
One of Cassandra’s favorite experience to provide (and teach) is Thai massage. She learned about Thai massage even before going to massage school by learning and practicing a type of Thai yoga form first. She felt compelled to go and learn from the source, and went to Thailand twice to get trained in the art of Thai massage. She first trained with Homprang Chaleekahna at the Baan Hom Samunphrai in Chiang Mai, and later also in Khao Sok.
It was the Buddhism background of love and compassion what strongly resonated with her. Cassandra felt so moved with the fact that when performing massage therapy you are working with a spiritual being’s energy and they are allowing you to relieve and restore them. She was instantly fascinated with this required ability to both connect with people and support them in their healing, while at the same time keeping yourself open and connected to yourself. While in Thailand Cassandra did deep training on the sensitive areas of the arms and legs, and she also studied the Sen and the meridian system, which involves learning about the energy lines in the body that create circulation. The massage in this manner is very nurturing and creates healthy energy flow restoration.
Further training includes working with David Weitzer In Portland, OR, and with Devorah Swartzman in Ashland, OR. Cassandra additionally trained with Kalline Kelly & Arno in Santa Cruz, CA where she learned to further develop her skills adding intuitive assessment and natural wisdom. She learned to let go of the strict attachment to the form and focus more on tuning into the body she had in front of her, the area of concern. She learned the art of assessment prior to treatment with visual and sensory intuition, and to make sure to touch every part of the person’s body to tune in and discover where they’re holding tension, stagnation or limited movement.
A great work experience that also greatly influenced Cassandra in her massage practice was working part-time at Rebound Physical Therapy for 10 years. She gained highly valuable experience and support from Physical Therapists’ knowledge, and she also saw 10-15 patients a day which enabled her to see progressions, learn first-hand what worked what didn’t , get more in tune with expectations, gain accurate perspective and confidence in explaining the impact of the length of time doing repetitive movements that may influence the length of time to heal from resulting injuries.
WHY SHE LOVES HER JOB
What Cassandra love the most about her occupation is feeling like she’s helping people feel better, more in tune with their body and to learn what makes them feel best. She loves supporting her community. It feels reciprocal being present, having faith in the healing, lightening up expectations for details and perfectionism. Cassandra enjoys having a few clients and keeping them well taken care of rather than quantity over quality. This work is about accepting where they are, where she is. About remembering that things take time and you can’t rush them, so it’s best to be present and aware of where your body and spirit are. Cassandra feels so grateful that she can do this work and continue in that state of service, it keeps her humble and balanced in a world of ‘do more’, ‘too much’. Her moments are high quality and a reminder to stay simple and not have to prove anything. What is, is enough.