Feel comfortable, deeply relaxed and wonderfully happy. Release your aches and realign. Feel accepted, appreciated and celebrated. Reset who you feel you are based on a profoundly positive experience. I am here to befriend you and your body, and provide caring companionship that enlivens and empowers you.
Developing a relationship where we can communicate easily and fully makes this collaboration possible. Start by reading about me and what I do. Then complete the client preferences form and discuss it with me, so that I understand who you are and what you are wanting.
Once that is done, use the link below to schedule online. I look forward to learning and growing with you.
We each wear a physical posture of personality that matches the emotions we express. When that personality is limiting our bodies hurt. Touch brings awareness to our posture and helps us realign it. Touch brings awareness to our personality and helps us deepen and expand it. Occupying a larger range of feelings transforms us. When touch is delivered in a relationship where growing one’s personality is encouraged and supported, a more comfortable and functional posture develops; a poised sensitivity to ourselves that channels a wider range of emotions and more fluidly releases past experiences. This work encourages that progression.
Our society and culture are designed to domesticate us. They are arranged to teach us obedience and enforce generic patterns of behavior. Obedience interferes with having one’s own thoughts and feelings, and pursuing a life customized to one’s unique needs and impulses. This therapy aims to provide a relationship where it is safe and supportive to differentiate from social and cultural templates; where exploring and building your preferences is encouraged. Discovering your feelings, your body’s consistent direct knowing about what is right for you, and honoring them, makes thriving possible. Learning that your feelings matter and that you matter are life-changing lessons I aim to help you claim.
Contrary to popular belief, money does not equal time, and you can afford regular massage. When you fill out your intake form, suggest how much money you would willingly give for a good massage, a great massage, or one of the best experiences of your life. I will tell you how much time I need to give you each of them, and we will schedule time to trade experience for money.
At the end of the first session you will have the option of paying for one more and getting two more; three sessions in three weeks, for the price of two. This is to give you the lived experience of who you could be if you were getting massage every week. It takes three weeks to change a pattern. Running enlivening and enthusiastic neurotransmitters through your body for three weeks will make obvious to you how happy and functional you could be if you gave yourself nurturing and empowering human support every week.
Many of us have a touch, affection, and acknowledgment deficiency so deep and well-developed that we would need a two hour massage every week for a year in order to improve it. My basic rate for 100 hours of massage is 10% of your annual cashflow (some minimums apply). That is two hours a week for fifty weeks (with two weeks off). You can tithe at the church of your happiness and feel divine every week of the year.
The picture below is me, Mo Lohaus CMT, in August 2016, working at the Tuesday Berkeley Farmers' Market at Alcatraz and Adeline. I was certified in Neo-Reichian Massage, Shiatsu, and Polarity Therapy in 1995 and 1996 at Heartwood Institute, and have practiced in the Bay Area ever since.
My practice primarily serves the Bay Area’s conscious dance, yoga, Kohenet, and Burning Man communities; providing sensitive care to intelligent bodies.
I started out rubbing dogs and cats and did that for my first decade. They taught me all the essentials of how to be caring and well-connected. When I was nine I did my first back rub. As a teenager I learned sports / lymphatic drainage massage from books and practiced for a solid ten years before entering massage school. I learned that the kind of connection possible with animals is possible with people, and that creating a supportive setting is important: an honest, reverent relationship in which communication is encouraged; a comfortable, warm, place in which to disarm and relax; and enough time for organic relaxation patterns to run and complete — generally two hours, minimum.
By the time I was formally trained, I already knew what worked well, and was prepared to upgrade standard practices to those more effective; structuring therapy sessions and professional relationships to support the emotional content evoked by touch.
After graduating, I began a 10-year period of working on the street as well as in an office. I did chair massage on Market Street at Powell, in San Francisco, from 1997 to 2007, becoming a familiar presence. I also worked on Telegraph Avenue and the UC Berkeley Campus during this period, before moving to the Berkeley Farmers’ Market in 2010. I learned enormities about doing chair massage, and holding psychic space in places where there was no physical container. I also developed a hands-off energy work style that gets significant results. I tended to attract yogis and meditators who understood that I was offering an unusual degree of attunement and sensitivity which honored their own inner work and confirmed their inner wisdom.
I worked the festival circuit (Earthdance, Harmony, Symbiosis, Burning Man) heavily from 2004 to 2016, doing deep work with those willing to instigate powerful life changes. Sharing unguardedly, allowing myself to put down being an expert and meet every client as a complete authority on their own experience was deeply humanizing.
I did 5rhythms dance 40 - 50 times a year between 2004 and 2009, and was the resident bodyworker at Dance Jam > Dance Journey > Berkeley Ecstatic Dance from 2010 to 2015. I began working at NCDC Dance Camp in 2010 and still do. Working with dancers has given me valuable experience with highly functional bodies. Working with these intelligent bodies was a natural extension of work with yogis and meditators, with the added feature of a population comfortable with deeply embodied states.
Over 200 healing sessions at Center Camp, Burning Man, over twelve summers, starting in 2004, decisively redefined how I work: More honesty and more emotional connection mean more relaxation and more perceptual repatterning. Bond-strength created by consistently supportive verbal and touch-based communication seems more important than skill alone in creating safe experiences that unlock and realign us. Having truly precious people to work with each year refined my comfort in connecting deeply, and upgraded my integrity, attentiveness, and intuition in serving as a catalyst for others' self-respect and authentic authority.
More and more my work seems like metaphysical therapy: changing the patterns below the surface, changing the beliefs that shape the feelings, the feelings that shape the beliefs, and the physical patterns that arise from both. 2017 and 2018 have seen a blooming of my work as I leverage my full sensitivity, and the vulnerability I occupy gives permission to clients to occupy it too.
Sciences of consciousness and elective perception developed by ancient people support all that I do. Yogic, Taoist, and Toltec practices guide and inform my life and have for about thirty years. These traditions offer practical means to real-world ends; resources for expanding and enriching awareness; and maps and milestones for migrating from social to natural referents. I particularly recommend: Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, by BKS Iyengar, the Taoist New Year’s lectures of Liu Ming at DaYuanCircle.org, and The Fire from Within, by Carlos Castañeda. Thanks for your interest, and for the opportunity to grow together.
><I drive more than an hour to see him. I am a big-bodied Latina lesbian and he is a straight white man. He is the closest thing to my grandmother that I have. She was the one who listened to, understood, accepted, and adored me, no matter what. Now it is him.
><When I need to feel at home with another man, who accepts me regardless of what my mouth or mind or body is doing.… Who accepts all of it gently, without comment or opinion.… When I need to return to completeness through tribal belonging: I call him.
><He is my go-to-guy for breaking bad habits. When I am giving myself to a man who is bad for me, I see him regularly to get contrast and perspective. Being with him reminds me of the difference between being self-abandoning, compulsive, disconnected, and doomed, and being self-respecting, intentional, connected, and inspired. He resets me and restores me to reality–the reality of what is healthy and good for me.
As someone who has judged their body their whole life, and felt judged because of their body their whole life, it is a life-changer to feel completely welcomed and liked, accepted and protected, the way I do with him.
He reminds me of a different period in history, when people were honest and direct and helped each other.
I was a pretty, rotten, miserable person. I used anything I could to control people into wanting or needing me. This is just how women are, where I come from, and what I knew how to do.
I think he figured me out when I walked into his office. He was immediately kind, gentle, and attentive with me—the way folks are with the elderly. In his eyes I could have been 100 years old. I was used to feeling attractive and desired, and certainly in this situation–about to get a massage–I was expecting to feel powerful and wanted.
Suddenly I was just a person. My body was no big deal.
My normal role and position were unplugged and that was vulnerable and unfamiliar at first. I think he could tell, and made a point of making me talk a lot so that I would listen to myself and realize there was a lot to like about me; a lot more than just my body. It was one of the first times someone seemed sincerely interested in me and sincerely liked me.
I got amazing massages from him. I felt completely precious and completely safe. I knew he didn't want anything from me. I relaxed like I have never relaxed with another person. I still cry when I think about it. It changed me.
He was like the one teacher in middle school who really gets you, believes in you, and wants you to succeed. The one who wants you to be fully yourself more than anything else, and will sacrifice, and put aside personal profit in order to make that happen. It saved my life.
><I worked with him for two years and never spoke to him. I filled in his form and told him that was how I wanted it. I wanted the comfort animals get from their own kind, that basic affectionate encouragement that I was a good creature, and the world was glad I am here. I got it from him. I detached from the story of my life and recentered in the experience of it. I had two homes, his office and the dojo, and it was enough.
><I go to the edge with him; the edge of what is safe and possible. I take off my clothes, my masks, my weapons, and my tricks: This is someone I cannot manipulate and would not want to. This is someone I can trust and be real with; every time. I see him when I need a total professional. He is like my climbing guide on El Capitan; the one I am tied to by metal and rope, hanging above a void as I exceed my assumptions and beliefs. In his care I lean out into total trust in the universe’s goodness. Every time I am completely blessed. Every time I return more whole, more me, having claimed more of myself.
When I studied massage for a professional certification I had already been doing it with people for 15 years and with animals for 20. I had learned from books and from direct practice, and developed an intuitive knowing about what to do and how to do it to get effective results. In school to learn massage, my instructors booked sessions with me unrelated to class, and claimed I had “magic hands.”
I did not. I had simply developed the skill of listening with my hands and emotionally attuning to my clients as we shared contact. Unfortunately for me, emotional attunement was considered by many to be unprofessional. It allowed for a closeness and connection which were threatening to those who just wanted a physical experience, and were averse to being emotionally witnessed or vulnerable. Being “polite” and “professional” required being emotionally detached and dumbing down the felt sense that I had so carefully developed.
This way of working never worked for me. Those with whom I shared physical but not emotional connection did not improve. They would experience temporary relief, but would return a few days or weeks later with the exact same symptom set.
In contrast, those with whom I shared both an emotional and physical connection did improve. In fact, the more emotionally transparent I was with them, and the more careful and skillful I was in creating experiences that helped them feel emotionally safe, the more their defensive tension released permanently. An updated personality, and updated posture of comfort and confidence was nurtured by our interaction, and took root.
I took the second path. I focused for two decades on understanding what clients needed to feel comfortable and safe: emotionally, socially, mentally and physically. By doing this I acquired a second skill set: one of actively listening and responding to voices and body language to accept, understand and appreciate clients in ways that promoted our safe and secure connection.
The outcome is a therapeutic process that is relational: I provide mirroring that allows clients to deepen their self-acceptance, self-understanding and self-appreciation. I make emotion safe to experience, and safe to be witnessed in. I help clients inhabit their sensation, emotion, and expression in ways that feel natural.
Much spiritual work puts us in touch with our vulnerability and authenticity. This therapy allows them to be explored and strengthened in a positive and supportive container. It evolved as it did because the physical aspect was perfected early on: I was consistently providing experiences of total relaxation where clients experienced ecstatic and transcendental states. Those experiences needed grounding and context in a safe relationship where they could be repeated until previous socially inhibited perception and expression patterns could be fully replaced.
Building those relationships is now the focus of my practice, and determines its process and timing. The ambrosia of good-feeling sensation is still served, but the emphasis is on bringing the non-physical parts of you safely present, so that the transcendental happiness you experience can become consistent in your daily life.
1) Touch is powerful
Touch is direct communication and direct experience. It reaches us at a level deeper than language. Because of this, it has the power to peel back layers of self-judgment that language has installed; the verdicts we heard pronounced about us, and those we pronounced about ourselves; the stories we internalized about ourselves when we felt hurt or rejected.
When we are in touch, we are simply being. We are innocent animals. The names, rules and expectations of being socially correct are disconnected. There is no way to be perfect. The best we can do is be present to our cells, and fine tune our awareness of what feels good to them.
Feeling is both reception and expression. It is direct, unfiltered communication, broadcasting our state. When we are in feeling's dream, logic's categories dissolve, and direct communion with everything in our extended perception happens. We dilate and soften. The beliefs and ideas which have blocked and thinned our noticing are removed.
Touch is a place we can go to remake ourselves: To dissolve who we have imagined we are, and discover ourselves again, updated, in a strong, present-tense experience. Touch alerts us to who we are, unconstrained by the story of the five senses or the ratios of rationality we habitually repeat. It offers the great reset, the great renewal.
With such powerful, positive transformation available who could settle for playing the social roles which keep us in pain, rubbing the same old knots, and pretending to be physical but not emotional creatures? Not me.
As someone who has touched hundreds of people, connecting long enough to have profound conversations, the power of touch has called to the surface the importance of bringing the rest of the massage interaction into congruence; with the understanding that something powerful is happening here, and if handled skillfully and caringly, can be awesomely resetting and empowering.
I gave up rubbing knots years ago. I gave up trying to fix anyone. I chose instead the more ambitious goal of helping others accept and appreciate themselves more sensitively. With sensitivity, the postural patterns that create pain become obvious. With acceptance, avoidant dissociation decreases. With appreciation, self-valuing and self-care gain momentum.
I am sharing these essays with you so that you can meet me with shared understanding about how my form of therapeutic interaction works.
2) Purifying sensation
What feels good to us is good for us. This is the basic navigation system nature has installed in us. Most of the time it is highly reliable.
Unfortunately, we no longer live in nature. We live in a system of mutual predation and exploitation dressed up by education and entertainment to seem civilized. It teaches us to be predators and prey, aggressors and submissives.
War is our civilization’s central activity. Taking by force is its primary activity. Punishing those unresponsive to its power is its secondary activity. Creating stories that excuse aggression and violation, making them seem normal and happy, are its third activity. The institutions developed by governments that emerged through warfare perpetuate these activities. To those of us socialized and enculturated by these governments and their media subsidiaries these three activities are invisible and unconscious. Yet their effects on our bodies and personalities are profound.
Very little of the pleasure we receive in civilization is pure. The sugar has a crash. Physical intimacy frequently occurs without emotional intimacy or sincere care about one another's feelings or well-being. Like the bulk of our unconscious activity, scavenging each other to meet our own needs is the rule that dualized perception enforces.
The natural way of being and relating present in primitive societies has been partially or wholly unplugged. Radiating our emotional state honestly no longer wins the immediate care, concern and supportive response of those around us.
Radiating our emotional state is now dangerous. It is can be an invitation to connection and mutual care or it can be an invitation to predation. In an environment where our developmental and survival needs are not provided by the social group around us, individual strategies of hunting and gathering develop to meet personal needs. Emotionally manipulating the perception of those around us is a cornerstone of those strategies’ success.
Given this context, ambivalence about emotional connecting is understandable; and the ability to safely and securely emotionally connect is often underdeveloped: We do not know what safe and secure connection feel like, and thus do not know how to create them. The culture around us is teaching us to be business men and hustlers, to get what we can for ourselves, to detach from the emotional consequences to others, and to abandon relationships as soon as the costs are greater than the benefits.
The consistent output of this operating system is trauma. In traumatic situations, pleasure is blended with pain and shame, and openness is tainted aggression and submission. The intuitive, genetic, time-coded progression of developing intimacy is overridden. Starvation for touch, connection, pleasure and intimacy plays out as urgency and compulsion; putting us in situations of intensity that our depth of mutual understanding and appreciation cannot support. The roles and rituals we learned from our coercive corporate culture set us up to fail. And we do. Over and over.
It all moves too fast. Because we cannot name or choose our experience as it happens, we often feel responsible for collaborating afterwards. Someone in the experience is usually unable to speak up about feelings or needs, and so all involved become distorted. In the rushed merger of bodies, clarity of whose feelings are whose never has time to arise. The vicarious kinesthetic patterns absorbed from movies, television and other media, and reinforced hundreds of times are stirred together with authentic responses with comparatively little reinforcement.
Ideally, our emotional openness to each other would allow us empathy, compassion and understanding; leading us to hold space for each other tenderly, and cooperate in finding a way of interacting that honors and supports us both. But emotional openness is exactly what has been beaten out of us by a culture that teaches us that our feelings do not matter, and that the proper course of behavior is to identify socially correct behaviors and mimic them.
The violence that aggressive civilized touch creates is often insensitive or unconscious. Though verbal dialog is often these too, touch puts it directly in the body, as facts with evidence. More than half of us have non-consensual or semi-consensual touch-based experiences that leave us traumatized and scarred; powerfully shaping how we feel about ourselves. For many of us, it does not even occur that how others touch us, and have touched us for years is "trauma”; it is simply the way things are.
This is the background from which people come to massage. Aware of it or not, many of us carry a docket of experiences in which we did not feel appreciated or valued through touch. Getting back to the purity of "what feels good to us is good for us" is the first priority.
The intensity of feeling is not the important thing: It is the purity of having an uncomplicated experience of simple positive feeling, with no question about if it was good or bad. To be healing it should help us feel closer to our natural goodness, and imprint the pattern that having good feelings now will not have any bad consequences later.
The second major consideration is bringing intentionality to the interaction. In traumatic or unconscious exchanges events move too fast to evaluate what we want to happen and what is comfortable for us. This pattern can be shattered, and replaced with something more empowering.
Here we can move as slowly as we need to. We can carefully decide boundaries and intensities to assure that what is shared is positively reinforcing. And we can check in often, supporting the awareness that we do have choices about what we are participating in, and our voices can be encouraged and heard.
The more I practice massage, the more evident it becomes to me that giving people boundaries and authority is a key part of the process. We desperately need to know that our feelings, preferences, voices and choices do matter. We need space to express them and have them honored.
Massage can restore safety, confidence, self-trust and authority in a way few other modes of therapy can. If we can signal or speak our feelings and needs when in the receptive vulnerability of touch, signaling or speaking them in more active and differentiated states becomes easy.
To empower clients in this way, the therapeutic model must be updated. Submitting to the expertise of the practitioner and enduring treatment in order to be “healed” should be decisively discarded. A different relational chemistry and distribution of power must be exercised.
Ideally, the experience is relaxing, empowering, and sustainable. If it is not empowering, the relaxing part is mostly wasted. If it is not sustainable no template for autonomy and empowerment is developed. To get maximum effect the interaction should give rise to a safe and supportive relationship where relaxing and feeling empowered are essential features.
3) I am not here to fix you
There is a place for pain relief. Millions of people go to massage for it, and some of them get it. But getting people from negative to neutral does not seem like much of a victory. It seems like settling for half-way. Getting folks from neutral to positive seems at least as important, and is the primary part of the spectrum I work in.
One of my takeaways in dealing with hundreds of people and hearing their life stories is the painful understanding that many of us do not like or care about ourselves enough to conduct our lives in ways that serve us. There is a deficit in self-belief or self-value that consistently undermines and short-circuits our efforts, and leaves us settling for a workable but scaled-down approximation of living.
My interest is in using the therapeutic interaction to shift the balance point of self-value. My interest is in having you know that your feelings matter, that your experience matters, that you matter, and that your life matters.
I generally approach this challenge with two strategies:
The first is to help you feel accepted, understood, and appreciated. If you are interesting to me, and worthy of my attention and curiosity, maybe you will turn up your own curiosity about yourself, and more passionately and enthusiastically involve yourself with self-discovery, cultivation, and growth.
Liking yourself does not cost anything. And it is a very functional and enjoyable way of being. I am happy to like you, and provide a jump start.
The second strategy is to flood you with comfortable pleasure; to help you feel directly good about yourself. By being connected with you, I develop awareness about the volume of happiness required to dissolve your defensive postures of personality. As our relationship develops I build that volume; inviting you to occupy more of yourself; and support you in expanding your personality around feeling comfortable and confident.
If life feels good, you will be more interested in it. If it feels thrilling, you will be excited by it. If it feels rich and rewarding, you will be more willing to take risks in order to have more of it.
Pleasure does not cost anything either. Seeking healthy and empowering pleasure is an enjoyable and functional way of navigating life.
Radiating happiness is one of the secrets of success. Knowing that what feels good to you is good for you, and that you can have it, directly, unapologietically, without inner conflicts or any unhappy consequences, is the secret to attracting events that make you happy. If you give a pure "yes" gratitude signal for events that feel good to you, the universe will give you more. It is not magic, it is just physics.
When we are together, I take the responsibility for guiding your experience towards pure goodness very seriously. I want to make sure you have no conflicts or regrets, just quality happiness.
Happiness is a sacred thing. Restoring it to purity is a sacred task. Cleaning up all the sloppiness and unconsciousness that make it conflicted is righteous spiritual work.
I am sorry that many of us have generic, cardboard experiences. I am sorry that many of us accept the truly cruel personality templates presented by corporate cultural programming. All of us have the ability to thaw each other out of this numbness and stuckness with interest and good-feeling experiences.
My two default therapeutic goals at this time are comfort and confidence: I want to give you both. I want to be such a good listener and responsive supporter that you feel increasingly comfortable with yourself, and confident in the self-connection through feeling that allows you to make consistently good choices.
What we do for others we do for ourselves. Showing up for others in this way, I do it for myself, reflexively. That is one of touch's lessons: There is only one thing, and we are all part of it, sharing it. The quality of how we do all the things in our lives, for each other or ourselves determine how our experience is furnished. Doing good feels good. It leaves nothing to explain or think about.
4) Liberty, equality, sorority
Refinement creates simplicity. Simplicity allows freedom:
I feel both increasingly secure in the procedures I have built and increasingly easy about trusting your inherent intelligence. You know what is good for you, and I will help you tell or show me.
In this room we are equals. You are visiting the musician of bodies as a unique instrument of awareness and expression. The music of your happiness is like no other, and evoking that music requires tuning to you and appreciating you as a resonant individual.
Our performance together is really a duet; you fulfill your part by being yourself. Gentleness, politeness, grace and poise may make our interaction work, or bluntness, boisterousness and raucous humor: Whatever is natural and comfortable for you.
So show up with what you have. I will meet you responsively. Touch will make us real together; cutting through the half-truths of language and giving us direct communication. Connected by touch, and our direct emotional communication, we are equals. I am exactly as vulnerable as you.
Touch has bandwidth for a far wider emotional signal, and tends to precipitate us out of our stories and into our sensations, out of our conceptions and into our perceptions, out of our illusions and into our bodies. What a nice place to live. What a nice place to meet.
I have had the best conversations of my life during massage sessions. Usually at the end of the session, but sometimes during. The depth of direct sharing and direct mutual understanding that happens through touch seems to give courage and confidence about telling our most far-out stories; the most painful, funny, audacious, tender, revealing, and absurd.
Being so connected by shared feeling, for a prolonged period of time, seems to spark the awareness that we are all one. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. That we all see through and understand each other all the time. That there really is nothing to hide.
Since there is nothing to hide, we might as well be joyful and fearless in our nakedness. Telling our most secret stories is a way of owning our comfort with ourselves, and admitting to this great cosmic connectedness, that has no shame or judgment when looking at itself.
We really are natural creatures. And getting back to that naturalness is such a relief. However long it takes to arrive back there is worth it. However long it takes us to become comfortable with each other and take our authentic self out of the closet, I accept.
Massage, as I have experienced and conducted it, is a social bypass; a primitive cure for the civilized disease. It is a space outside of social space, a time outside of clock time. Normal social rules do not apply. There is unclothedness, vulnerability, trust, loyalty, and deliberate evocation of feeling. There is the slow, patient work of building comfortable closeness and supportive connectedness.
In a society where feeling is fearfully controlled and compressed, here it is safely decompressed. It is like a carnival, where because we are out of our normal costumes, we are freed up to be honest and expressive.
I believe in the liberation boundaried touch creates. I believe in the ritual of intimacy that massage provides, and its ability to give us the boundaries we have not had.
Many of us are unready for total intimacy. Many of us need a place to practice self-connection, safely merge, and learn not to merge. Many of us need strong doses of the touch and affection we have been starved of for years; the touch and affection that primitive people instinctually give each other every day.
Massage has the power to humanize and naturalize us, to reconnect us with each other and ourselves. Practiced religiously and devotedly, it bears the same fruits as other spiritual paths: union and harmony.
It excites me to think about a society where touch-based communication is universal. Where we all learn to harmonize and support each other in feeling good. I imagine there would be no lying, and no need for it; no violence, and no need for it.
I listen through touch. I am part of the great sorority of priestesses who use touch to answer questions that are not spoken. I am part of that sorority of comforters and restorers to wholeness, who offer silence, so others can hear their own sound.
Somehow, by being receptive to so many, I have found in the femininity of receptive and responsive touch, a path to masculinity and wholeness. I am grateful for that.
I look forward to converting you to my religion of touch, or at least to singing your praises in my service, and helping you experience your divinity.
Thanks for reading. Feel welcome.