"Breath Integration" and Polynesian Massage | Miscellany | Chicago Reader

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"Breath Integration" and Polynesian Massage

Just Curious

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Breathing is one of those things you probably think you have down cold, but Helena Gudzowski disagrees. "People don't know how to breathe," she says. Originally from Poland, Gudzowski passes on the teachings of a New Zealand self-improvement guru named Colin P. Sisson and practices Polynesian massage therapy (in which she uses her forearms almost as much as her hands). She and her husband, Marek, run a storefront business on the northwest side, the Holistic Academy/Aloha--Self Mastery. Their latest offering is a workshop in "breath integration," a Sisson innovation similar to Transcendental Meditation, except it uses breathing "as a tool of transformation" to "release suppressed memories," Gudzowski says. Lying on sheets on the floor with a mohair blanket over them, students breathe deeply and continuously, "without gaps," for an hour while Gudzowski occasionally touches their hair, chest, or forehead and asks, "What do you feel now?" In the final session, they try the same thing in a bathtub. Gudzowski claims this beats massage hands down. "I get an unbelievable sensation when I am giving people breathing session. This is something I cannot describe. I am flowing, I am flowing to heaven."

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Joeff Davis.

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