Vaya Karakosta, an honours graduate of the full-time Spa Therapy Program and the Shiatsu Program, migrated to Canada just one year ago. Vaya is originally from Greece, where she explained there is a rich cross section of eastern and western cultures. It was this and her interest in body-mind healing that drew her to the Spa Therapy Program.
“The way the school approaches the healing arts is right in the middle. Both western and eastern philosophies are respected and incorporated here, which is how I think bodywork and massage should be and what attracted me to the school.”
Despite the two philosophies being seemly incongruent, Vaya admires the knowledge of both.
“There are clinical connections in Eastern and Western medicine and by studying both I’m often surprised. For example, in traditional Chinese medicine, which Shiatsu is based on, they say that we are born with a specific amount of ‘chi’ or vital energy stored in our kidneys. Western medicine explains that the number of nephrons, which is the smallest functioning unit of the kidneys, is established at birth and new nephrons do not form to replace the injured or deceased. So many things like this are translated differently but both say the same thing.”
Vaya’s favorite part of the Spa program was studying anatomy and shiatsu, both areas she has continued her studies in. “The anatomy course was tough but so worth it! The nervous system is my favorite, it controls all activity in our bodies – I want to know everything about it!” she said.
“We did a full week of Shiatsu in the Spa program and after receiving one treatment I just knew I wanted to learn more. I felt so energized and in-tune with my body, like I could do anything! I was pain-free and the benefits were effective and instant. It was crazy!”
Back in Greece Vaya was a performer and spent many hours a day dancing and working on her feet. With hyper-mobile joints, she found she was very prone to injury and suffered from several dislocations and muscle pain problems.
“I have always been interested in exploring the body and its limits. I would massage myself everyday and try to work out what was going on. Doctors would say ‘you need surgery’ but I tried alternative ways of healing and it worked for me.”
Vaya plans to continue her education in the healing arts and hopes to one day start her own practice. “A lot of my classmates are already working in the industry but I’m taking the time to study and gain as much knowledge as I can. Studying here is the best thing I’ve ever done! It opened hundreds of doors and possibilities in front of me, some of which I had no idea I was interested in. I never thought I would be a healer.
Vaya also said that the student clinic, which is a core part of the spa program, was a valuable part of the learning experience.
“As a student, you have the chance to meet and practice on a variety of people all under different conditions. The feedback we receive is so valuable part. The clients are consistent and always very happy with what they experience. I always feel very honoured with every person I get to treat.