About Susanna

head shot unicorn

Photo by Deidre Schoo

I’m a native New Yorker who has been on a life-long mission to spread well being in my glorious but stressful hometown.
“Life-long” is not an exaggeration. When I was twelve years old, my ballet teacher noticed a curvature in my spine, and recommended that my parents take me for a series of ten Rolfing sessions to help straighten it. My parents were skeptical and wanted me to consult with a surgeon instead, but after contemplating, we all decided to try the less invasive option. During my Rolfing sessions, a lot of time was devoted to the simple but profound practice of breathing to exhale stress. This was the first time I noticed the connection between relaxation and breath, and I was immediately hooked. Having this tool at the onset of adolescence was invaluable. I still suffered, but in between hormone storms and bouts of tears, I would often remember to come back to this very simple and cathartic breathing meditation.
Those Rolfing sessions proved to be a rite of passage, and I emerged an enthusiastic amateur Rolfer. My family and friends throughout middle- and high school were my guinea pigs as I tried to imitate the healing touch I had experienced. During my college years in Middlebury, Vermont, I apprenticed with a local massage therapist as a way to help myself and my classmates handle the stress of exams and deadlines. One night, bored at a keg party, I asked my friend Abby, who was equally uninspired by the goings on around us, if I could try out a new massage technique I had just learned. We found a futon on the floor of an empty room and I went to work. After twenty minutes we re-emerged, and our mutual friend Andrea, seeing us from across the room, yelled out, “Abby, what happened to you? You look great!!!” I was amazed that the effects of a twenty-minute back massage could be so noticeable to anyone other than the person receiving it.
Fueled by my continuing search for peace of mind and body, I had a life-altering experience when I traveled to Nepal in 1986 for a semester abroad. I studied Buddhist meditation and philosophy at Shechen Gompa in Boudhanath, and in central Kathmandu I studied Newari Temple Dance with the priest Ratnakaji Vajracarya. I also went on a pilgrimage to the remote mountain retreat of Hyolmo, where I stayed in the humble home of a Tibetan yogini, Pema Latso. There was the most basic stove for cooking, but no electricity or running water. The living conditions were not easy for me and for the first few days I suffered from pain in my joints due to the cold and damp. However, Pema Latso’s generous hospitality and constant kindness lifted me out of my habitual self-pity. She spent many hours each day and night chanting a hauntingly beautiful song, accompanied by her hypnotic bell and double-faced drum. The more I bathed in her prayers and sacred songs, I felt a weight lifted from both my body and mind. Her wealth of warmth and spirit gave me a sense of ease and comfort I had longed for. Living in a Buddhist society, and meeting meditation masters from Tibet, showed me a way of life I had never known existed, a path of profound grace and peace. I was inspired to bring this transformative experience home with me. Once home, I decided I wanted to make a career out of helping people reduce stress and increase well being; massage therapy seemed to be the best way to do that. I do my best to bring the inspiration of the healing meditation masters who have touched my heart into every massage I give.
I enjoyed studying both at the Ohashi Institute, and the Swedish Institute in NYC. I continue to expand my understanding of the body and add to my skills by taking classes in Chinese herbal medicine, therapeutic essential oils, and Ayurvedic healing. I bring all of these to my practice, uniquely tailored to each individual client’s needs.
I have maintained a private practice since 1997, providing treatments in private homes and offices. I also have many years of experience working in film, television, music videos and commercials, including a long-standing engagement with Saturday Night Live. I have also worked with patients in hospital settings. Massage can benefit all kinds of people, and help with a wide range of physical and mental ailments. Whether unwinding after a long day or as a pre-performance tension reliever, whether a regular part of your week or a special treat, massage provides a necessary way of tuning into body and mind. I am endlessly grateful to be able to provide this service.