Meet Jennifer! The woman who is creating a body-positive healing space for all
Meet Jennifer! Jennifer is a Holistic Health Practitioner and Licensed Massage Therapist focused on creating a body-positive healing space for Women, the LGBTQIA community and all body types. She is originally from Buffalo, NY. Her education in the healing arts began with a request from a friend to join a reiki training to help “ ground the energy” and temper emotions between two brothers, one of whom was battling terminal cancer. A foundation course at The International School of Shiatsu gave her solid bodywork base to begin working as an acupuncture assistant in San Francisco focusing on clients who were battling cancer, HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis.
Eventually she found herself at The Heartwood Institute, a rural residential massage school in Northern California. There, Jennifer acquired a 1000 hour Holistic Health Practitioner Certificate, an Apprenticeship in Prenatal Massage, Independent Study with a local Acupuncturist and experience as a teaching assistant in Heartwood’s science and business curricula.
The healing arts was not the only profession Jennifer has had. Before she started her business she had worked as a Barista, Cafe Manager, Crystal and Jewelry Peddler, Yoga Teacher, a Project Manager overseeing street cleaning teams in West Passyunk and Point Breeze, and many others!
In 1994 Jennifer moved to Philadelphia with a friend hoping to explore Philadelphia’s art and culture scenes. A love of travel and learning has kept Jennifer grounded and engaged here in Philly where she eventually started her business, South Philly Wellness.
South Philly Wellness officially began in 2015 in a tiny one room studio in West Passyunk. “My life had been upended by divorce and the unexpected dissolution of a group teaching practice I had co-founded. I needed something that was all mine. SPW was a project that could help me heal, rebuild my sense of value, allow me to focus on healthy interests and build a financial future based on my own terms and ideals.”
In 2021 South Philly Wellness suffered a catastrophic flood, destroying equipment, files, furnishings, and inventory and Jennifer had to close her commercial space. “With the help of crowdfunding, angelic advisors, and loads of sweat equity from my fiancé and community, South Philly Wellness was able to reopen and expand into a bi-level, 3 treatment zone, healing arts center.”
South Philly Wellness now serves clients through 4 healing arts practitioners and they are actively building a calendar of classes, workshops and events for 2023. So stay tuned!
Roses and Thorns
Jennifer most loves seeing her client transformations that unfold as they reach their health goals.
“I adore being present when someone shifts out of limiting belief, embraces their life experience, comes to terms with the obstacles they face and comes out the other side feeling safe, worthy of love, and liberated from their pain.
Supporting folks who have been told they are incapable of pregnancy without medical intervention has become my niche. Helping a 32 year old with low ovarian reserve go from 1-2 low quality eggs retrieved per cycle, to 8-10 high and medium quality eggs per cycle has been a highlight in my career. Working alongside this client as they progressed in their perceived “high risk pregnancy” without complications is monumental. Receiving the birth announcement and first baby pictures was a gift, only topped by having Momma and Baby together on the table during a post-partum massage treatment.”
The hardest parts of owning a business for Jennifer centers around the medical culture in her industry.
Rather than regular maintenance and proactive acts of prevention, we seek out care only when something is ‘broken’. We seek out quick fixes. We seek easy solutions to superficial inconveniences rather than sustainable approaches to healing systemic imbalances. We seek solutions from guru’s and celebrity influencers over choosing to hear the wisdom of our bodies. We have forgotten that healing is about reconciling past and present, implementing changes to build a more aligned and balanced future.”