Welcome to our IHMC Hall of Fame where we feature the people with a passion for promoting the benefits of Indian Head Massage. Today we welcome Mary Atkinson, tutor, therapist, author and one of the founders of the Indian Head Massage Community.
1. What treatments or courses do you offer and where are you based?
I’m based in Chichester, West Sussex UK. My main therapies are Indian Head Massage (of course!) and reflexology. I have a lot of elderly clients and visit them in their homes. They all love gentle Indian Head Massage. My main income is from teaching and writing about holistic therapies. I teach an FHT accredited Diploma in Indian Head Massage and several CPD courses. More recently, I have become co-founder of the Story Massage project and run courses for therapists, teachers and health professionals to share nurturing touch through storytelling with children. We offer an FHT accredited day course in Story Massage.
2. How did you become a therapist in Indian Head Massage?
I’ve always loved massage and when we moved to the Chichester area in the 1990s, I booked on a course at the local college as a way of making new local friends. I was hooked!
I did courses in body massage, reflexology and Indian Head Massage. I fell in love with Indian Head Massage as it is so flexible and offers such scope to be creative and personal in your approach. I tried to do more research but there was so little information about it back in the 1990s. So, I set about finding out more by talking to Indian families and before I knew it, I was writing a book! My book The Art of Indian Head Massage was published in 2000 and was one of the very first books on Indian Head Massage.
I have since written several books on massage – with the latest being Healing Touch for Children which is supported by demonstrations on my You Tube Channel.
3. What do you love most about Indian Head Massage?
For me, it’s all about the quality and power of touch. I think that we can over complicate holistic therapies and Indian Head Massage is a very simple way of offering the many benefits of nurturing touch. I don’t like too many rules and the joy of Indian Head Massage is that you can choose the moves that work best for you and your client. Every session can be tailored for the needs of your client on that particular day.
4. What is your greatest professional achievement?
In 2012, I was invited to join a team of Japanese therapists working with the local people affected by the Japanese tsunami. It took me completely out of my comfort zone as very few people in this part of North East Japan spoke any English, and I could only say two words in Japanese! Everyone was obviously suffering huge trauma but it was so rewarding to see the benefits of simple hand massage or Indian Head Massage and help people to have some comfort and relaxation in their lives. It was completely exhausting (I was no spring chicken at 56 years old!) but it made every minute of my training and experience feel absolutely worthwhile. I have now made many Japanese friends and I am UK representative for Cocoro charity.
I was awarded the FHT Leadership Award in 2015 of my work with the charity. Since then, I have worked as a therapist with a charity in Nepal and with refugees in Dunkirk.
5. What is top of your bucket list?
I’d like to walk the Great Wall of China.
6. Tell us your favourite joke
It’s a bit long but it makes me laugh every time!
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson decide to go on a camping trip. After dinner and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night, and go to sleep.
Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend.
“Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”
Watson replied, “I see millions of stars.”
“What does that tell you?”
Watson pondered for a minute.
“Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.” “Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo.” “Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three.” “Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant.” “Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.” “What does it tell you, Holmes?”
Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke: “Watson, you idiot. Someone has stolen our tent!”
To find out more about Mary’s work with Indian Head Massage please visit her website: www.maryatkinson.com