Himalayan Healers stretches to include GJ Nepalese woman
Sudarshana Adhikari could not have been farther from home. Halfway around the world, far from her family, expecting to see massive Himalayas on the horizon and instead getting mountains with no tops. Everything was so different. Slowly, she got her bearings.
She was working in the Grand Junction High School cafeteria, raising a daughter and son, spending time with her husband, making friends, adjusting to life as a working American mom rather than a Nepalese homemaker.
And then this enthusiastic man showed up, befriended her and her family, suggested she go back home to Nepal for three months and attend massage therapy school. Her response: ???
“I didn’t know what massage is,” she recalled.
But when Rob Buckley began talking to Adhikari about training as a massage therapist, not only to help her make more money for her family, but as a way to help other people from Nepal, she was curious. And then intrigued. And then convinced.
In 2008, Adhikari, who has now lived in Grand Junction almost six years, returned to Katmandu with her son, Sandesh, now 10, to study massage therapy and other healing modalities with Himalayan Healers. Though not a member of the “untouchable” class from which Himalayan Healers students usually come, Adhikari had experienced the discrimination that the ostensibly outlawed caste system creates. When she and her husband, Kamal, married, his family, from a higher social level, did not approve.
Himalayan Healers sponsored her trip to Nepal and back to Grand Junction, her studies and the establishment of a massage therapy business in downtown Grand Junction, the first Himalayan Healers location in America.
In Nepal, she studied traditional Nepalese massage, as well as ayurvedic and other Asian massage therapies, plus Swedish and sports massage, Reiki and other healing arts.
Returning to Grand Junction, she and Buckley established Himalayan Healers, 131 S. Sixth St., in Grand Junction.
Their plan was that once the business reached a certain point of profitability, she would begin donating a portion of her proceeds toward building a permanent Himalayan Healers school in Nepal. She and Buckley also are formulating plans for how they can help Nepalese and Bhutanese refugees in America.
She had to overcome her own prejudices — massage still has a spotty reputation in Nepal — and those of others, but practicing massage therapy has helped her reclaim a part of her cultural heritage.
Her people, the Newar, have a tradition of post-natal massage for mother and baby every day for two months after the birth. It’s a service she offers in Grand Junction, too.
Massage therapy, she said, has helped her settle into her community and create a place for herself. Her children, including 15-year-old daughter Shristi, sometimes even ask for massages, she said.
“I like to help people,” she said. “With massage, I can help people.”