Pamela Balanag, born in St. Louis, Mo, has been a Santa Fe resident and massage therapist for the past 25 years. After her studies at the New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts, she has worked locally at Ojo Caliente, The Life Healing Center and 10,000 Waves..
Pamela received Reiki training and transmissions (Usui Shiki Ryoho) as a level III practitioner from White Crane Healing Arts in 1997, where she was also a long time student of the internal martial arts (Tai Chi, Chi Gong, Kyudo), as well as an assistant teacher of Tai Chi. About 10 years ago Pamela studied at the Healing the Light Body School of the Four Winds Society which began her initiation into the Shamanic Realms. Within their "system" she became a "Full Mesa Carrier". Since then she has had the honor and pleasure of working with various well-known and unknown indigenous healers, and others trained primarily in Andean and Amazonian traditions. She does not refer to herself as a Shamanic Practitioner, despite the fact that as a medicine carrier of the "Pachacuti Mesa Tradition" Pamela does utilize many tools, techniques and ceremony as seems appropriate to the situation.
When not at work, Pamela enjoys being in nature, walking, gardening, camping and travel. She also loves the sanctuary of home, good movies, food, books, music, pets & people, yoga, movement arts and the fine arts.
Tammy Baumgartner was born and raised on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, California. Experiencing a ski injury in 1982 that left her physically limited, she sought relief with massage and Rolfing. That's when she became interested in the art of massage and, while working on friends who were members of the us ski team, she began practicing massage in 1984.
Her foundation is traditional Swedish massage and it's benefits to circulation, lymph release as well as deep relaxation. She studied and practiced integrative massage in Berlin, Germany from 1993 to 2005, with it's foundation in trigger point therapy, deep tissue specifics and myofacial release. Returning to the US in 2005 she studied and later taught massage at NMAHA in Santa Fe. She is attuned with Reiki and Source Point.
Tammy's experience with therapeutic bodywork has taken on its own poetic journey that has lent itself to her continuing passion in aspiring to be more and more effective in her learned modalities. She studied Aikido, a Japanese martial art based on physical and energetic angles of non-resistance, from 1986 to 2009. She trusts that practicing this art has influenced her massage practice more than any other teaching. "The angles of non-resistance are everywhere in nature, to notice subtle energetic dynamics of say, trees growing tall out of a dark forest to reach the sunlight or sometimes growing literally wrapped around each other in the dance of tight space is simply awareness of what is. I practice this awareness in addressing physiological and energetic discomforts related to injury or habits of cliental. My intention is to assist relief and unwinding to create more space, more breath in the forest."
Janis Amelia Gordon, DOM
Janis has lived in Santa Fe since 1974. Her interest in the face and skin began while she was working on her degree of Oriental Medicine. She began noticing the luminosity of the face after treatments of acupuncture, which led to further study with a Japanese acupuncturist. From there she went on to learn Japanese facial massage - the Art of Ko bi do. This method of massage invigorates the facial meridians that connect with the total body meridians. The client benefits from a whole-body effect, as if receiving a traditional massage.
Janis received her license from the Aveda Institute in Albuquerque, NM, and has been on the staff of Absolute Nirvana since its inception in 2005. She incorporates traditional facial knowledge with her ko bi do skills to create a truly unique offering. Janis enjoys working at Absolute Nirvana, both because of its small size and for the opportunity to work alongside its talented and experienced therapists. Janis' goal is for clients to leave with a face that is alive and glowing, while also feeling relaxed, refreshed and beautiful both inside and out.
Elenya Grafals has been practicing professional massage therapy since 1999. Since then she has specialized in prenatal and postpartum massage alongside her practice as a birth worker. Elenya also specializes in deep tissue massage. In 2015 she completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training that brought a deeper understanding of how the human body moves. Her massage therapy practice combines both the knowledge and understanding of anatomy with the fluidity of intuition. Elenya approaches each massage sincerely in order to meet the individual with her full presence and authenticity.
Karin comes to us all the way from Germany, though she has been a Santa Fe resident since 1985. She has been a massage therapist since 1992, with 25 years of private and spa service under her belt. Karin studied initially at the Rolf Institute and Guild for Structural Integration in Boulder, CO and has done additional studies in Structural Integration and Craniosacral Therapy. Her particular specialty is deep tissue. “What I like most about being a therapist is that I can positively affect the lives of my clients. Whether this happens by aiding in stress reduction, recovery from an injury or an illness, or simply by stimulating healing potentials — there is nothing more rewarding than helping a human being feel better and more relaxed through my work.
Her outside interests are being in nature, hiking, running and bicycling. She also loves studying nutrition and helping her husband in cancer research. Karin also enjoys photography and making jewelry.
Lauren has been a massage therapist for 29 years, having run her own health center, The Rising Moon Center for Healing in Pennsylvania and creating a successful private practice for 18 years. She has studied at Massage Acts and Science in Philadelphia as well as the Scherer Institute in Santa Fe. In addition, Lauren brings to Absolute Nirvana her specialized training in Thai Massage, La Stone Hot Stone and Reflexology. While adept in all modalities, her notable offerings are a Thai/Shiatsu combination treatment involving stretching and resistance training along with hot stone and deep tissue work. For Lauren, seeing results, being present with her client in the moment and seeing clients transform positively makes massage therapy a very rewarding career.
Lauren's spiritual practice makes its way into her life in many ways: “I love to gather and collect rocks for healing and to create quiet spaces of beauty with them as well." She also sings professionally with a band, and has sung swing music for the past 30 years. Lauren has worked at Absolute Nirvana since it’s inception in July 2005.
Gwyn has lived in Santa Fe for 30 years. After studying art in Chicago, she moved to Santa Fe and worked in the arts for several years. She became inspired to become a massage therapist after receiving a massage to heal an injury. Graduating from Scherer Institute of Natural Healing in 1998, she began her career working in a Chiropractor's office, where she learned about injuries and chronic pain. She has also worked at Ten Thousand Waves, Inn and Spa at Loretto, as well as her private practice.
Gwyn has studied Swedish, therapeutic massage, deep tissue, Trigger Point therapy, myo-facial release technique, Lomi-Lomi, Reflexology, has completed Level 1 Reiki, and has a daily yoga practice.
Gwyn is also an Esthetician, having received her license in 2008. She enjoys educating and helping people feel good about their skin. Gwyn studied Japanese Facial massage techniques to stimulate the circulation and move lymph, and ease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. She enjoys facilitating the reduction of inflammation from environmental factors, and nourishing the skin with healing products.
Kelleen moved to Santa Fe 30 years ago from the Virgin Islands, where she managed health food stores, raced bicycles, sailed and competed in running and swimming. She graduated from the New Mexico Academy of Massage and Healing Arts in 1992 and has been practicing massage for the past 25 years. Aside from a private practice, Kelleen spent ten years working at the El Gancho Health Club in Santa Fe before joining Absolute Nirvana when it opened in the summer of 2005. She is also in charge of training all of the spa's new therapists in the detailed and highly complex deluxe treatments.
Kelleen's extensive background in sports and natural healing arts gives her a broad basis for her approach to a thorough full body deep therapeutic massage. Her emphasis is on lymph, joint, and muscle release techniques, bringing length and circulation to muscles to relieve joints, ligaments and tendons. Hers is a unique blend of strength and nurturing. Along with her continued interest in biking and swimming, she has been a long time student of yoga and pilates. She loves to garden, parent and create good food.
My bodywork career started as a young girl. I have always enjoyed the challenge of moving my body in new ways. I became a gymnast in high school and college, graduating from a performing arts college with a BFA in Dance. After graduation I moved to San Francisco to study Contact Improvisation, a movement form I am passionate about. Since 1985 I have practiced massage in many settings; private practice, spas, Sports medicine, and Physical Therapy. I taught massage students anatomy and kinesiology in a Community College setting and in 2005, I completed my Ortho-Bionomy training through Ursula Hofer and Christina Montes de Oca at New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts, in Santa Fe, NM. I am now a registered Orthobionomist in the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International® (SOBI). I received a 700 hr Craniosacral diploma with Etienne Peirsman at New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts. I also bring my experience of Hanna Somatics, Tai Chi, psychotherapy and Buddhist meditation to my bodywork practice.