How Medical Massage Therapist, Renae Valdes-Seago, Transforms Lives with the Healing Power of Touch

Posted by Jade Marvin on 8/4/22 4:00 PM


Before SWIHA I had the privilege and blessing of being a full-time wife and mom of four amazing children. We owned a mortgage company that my husband ran. My husband of 15 years passed away unexpectedly after a 25+ year struggle with chronic pain which led to opioid addiction. This rocked our world and my children and I lost everything. The depths and darkness of addiction ran deep and his passing uncovered a painful spiral of a brilliant man.” said Renae Valdes-Seago. She continues, “I found myself lost, undereducated, underemployed and urgently needing to figure out how to provide for my family. I didn’t find SWIHA, my angel grandmother led me to this institution for my own healing and to rediscover the gifts I was born with. I felt guided to choose medical massage because of the world I existed in loving a man who hurt constantly and searched tirelessly for respite from pain.”

Great Graduate Renae Valdes-Seago, of the 750 hr Massage program, turned something that was painful in her life into something good. With what Renae and her family went through after the passing of her husband, she used her personal experience to help heal others who are in pain. Within her program, Renae chose to specialize in Medical Massage, which fits perfectly with her mission to help those searching for ‘respite from pain’. Renae asserts, “My soul was touched many times while on my journey at SWIHA, however, it was Suzie McLaughlin who truly gave me my ‘Ah-ha’ experience. She spoke to my soul when she taught about the mind/body/spirit connection and the subtle signs within the body that speaks without words.” Suzie McLaughlin introduced Renae to the writings and teachings of Gabor Matè and Bessel Van der Kolk and Louise Hay. A book that stood out to Renae was ‘The Body Keeps The Score’ by Bessel Van der Kolk. It made a profound impact on the way Renae understood how life trauma affects the body. Renea recalls, “The body keeps the score of all experiences we ever have and how these experiences define us, and how the traumas we have affect our decisions and our health. With this understanding, I could make peace with the passing of my husband.”

There were many affirming signs during Renae’s time at SWIHA. During one of her weekends in the Shamanic Reiki class, her angel grandmother named Curandero whispered to her “Remember Mija who you are and where you came from”. The thought of having to face her past was terrifying for Renae, because of her own unresolved traumas. Renae explains her process of facing her past by, “leaning into the world I’d forgotten, to speak about the unseen, the ‘mystical’... I answered the call and have not looked back.

“My life is a complete 180 degrees from where I was five years ago.”

renaeSWIHA opened the flood gates to my journey of understanding my purpose; it has been my starting point and courage to follow my path. I’ve gone deep into my culture and roots and have been learning the ancient ways of my Mexican Mestizo upbringing and the influence of Zapotec healing lineages of Mexico.” She continues, “I’m currently studying South American plant medicine under a Shaman native to my people of South America. I have a thoughtful inclusion of traditional Indigenous healing practices alongside the conventional allopathic conventional medical treatments offering support within the addiction recovery community and VA.”

After her journey at SWIHA, Renae now owns her own practice called WHOLE-listic Body Wellness LLC. From the beginning, Renae knew she wanted to be a holistic entrepreneur, as the idea of working for someone else was not her destined path. Everyone's path is unique, and Renae did not want to be confined to doing things outside of her heart or integrity. Renae proclaims, “This is a sacred work as we are all divine spiritual beings having a human experience, and I fiercely honor and protect this work.”

While reflecting back on her time at SWIHA, the biggest lesson she learned was that there isn’t just one way to do anything. She further explains, “All the answers we seek are already within - just listen. SWIHA taught me to trust what feels right and have the courage to follow it.” For any future/potential SWIHA students, Renae’s advice is to “lean into the truths that whisper to your soul.”

Become a Massage Therapist

Topics: Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, spirituality, Massage Therapy, SWIHA, entrepreneur, Holistic Healing, Holistic wellness, Arizona, Tempe, Licensed Massage Therapist, medical massage, Shamanic Reiki, Arizona Massage School

About the Author Jade Marvin

Jade Marvin graduated with honors from Arizona State University with a BS in Business Digital Marketing. She is SWIHA’s Marketing Specialist who loves to write, dance, hang out with her friends and shop! When she’s not in the office, you’ll probably find her cuddling up with her cat & binge watching the latest show on Netflix.

Jade Marvin

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