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Shawn Kinsella’s calling to work as a healer isn’t merely professional; he knows healing because he’s lived it. As a nutritional therapist and licensed massage therapist, he understands intimately the challenges and joys of making the changes necessary to live a life with health and balance because he’s gone through them himself. The awareness of how profound the healing process can be both informs and inspires Shawn’s work with others on similar journeys.

In his early 20s, living a life of extreme physical activity that included martial arts and allowed him (or so he thought) to eat whatever he felt like eating – including half a gallon of ice cream every night – Shawn gradually noticed his body going into revolt. He began to suffer aches and pains more common to a man more than twice his age. Then his digestion system began to roar and rage and eventually went into full revolt. Unable to digest or keep down any food, he lost 40 pounds in less than a month. He became too weak to engage in his sports and was unable to work for several weeks.

Seeking help, he visited two different medical doctors, neither of whom knew what was wrong. One suggested a parasite; another thought it might be food poisoning. Their treatments bore no fruit, and Shawn continued to suffer. At just 22, this situation proved frightening, and Shawn began seek his own answers. Visiting a bookstore one day, browsing the medical section, he picked up a self-diagnosis book and quickly discovered one of his big troubles: lactose intolerance. For a young man who loved milk and his evening ice cream, it was a wake-up call. He had suspected a milk allergy since his early teens, but he’d been ignoring it in lieu of eating what he enjoyed. Cutting out milk products, he immediately began to feel better. He eventually recognized his dietary troubles were linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and took steps to eliminate other known irritants from his diet including sugar and wheat.

At the time Shawn made these changes, his goal was to increase athletic performance. Engaging in hard-core workouts four days a week, often sparring with others in his martial arts practice, he was regularly getting injured, suffering pulled and torn muscles and damage to his neck and shoulders. By the time he turned 27, he was in constant pain, beset by trouble in his lower back, hips and neck. Eventually, unable to recover from injuries fully before experiencing more of them, Shawn took a year off from martial arts and took up yoga practice. He also began to learn a more healing style of martial arts from a master at a Chinese Kung Fu school, where Shawn would eventually meet his life partner, minga lily. During this time, he began to explore alternative healing practices, including acupuncture and herbal medicine. He was introduced to Thai Massage and experienced so much relief in those initial sessions that he was hooked.

Having worked at a printing company since the age of 20, and constantly exposed to the chemicals involved, Shawn began to see a need not just to change his food and activities, but also his work. In 2004 taking his love of Thai Massage as an indication, he pursued professional training as a body worker. He trained for a year privately with minga and eventually completed formal training in Thai Massage before attending a table massage program in California, from which he graduated in 2008. He also pursued studies in Cranio-Sacral Therapy, learning the more mechanical approach to that treatment commonly used by osteopaths. Between 2006 and 2008, he also completed an intensive training program in yoga therapy, in which the tools and traditions of yoga are used as a healing modality. Shawn later pursued training in nutritional studies beginning in 2007, including mentoring and workshops and formal studies with the Nutritional Therapy Association, and is now a Certified Nutritional Therapist.

Drawing on training from such diverse sources, Shawn brings to his professional practice a depth of knowledge and wisdom that allows him to assess each client through a holistic framework. He approaches each person who walks into his office as a unique individual with a personal constellation of challenges, as well as dreams and goals of overcoming them. Shawn’s work focuses on returning clients to a state of balance in all aspects of their lives.

Recalling the troubles he had getting a good diagnosis of his own health conditions decades ago, Shawn has made a commitment to remaining open-minded and malleable when attempting to assess and treat the health conditions troubling his clients. Rather than accepting pre-existing idea of a problem or diagnosis, whatever it may be, Shawn chooses to focus more on what is happening in his sessions and how individuals respond to specific treatments.

Now, more than 20 years after he first started down his own path to healing, Shawn finds that his greatest feeling of reward comes when he sees evidence of change in his clients – and when they notice it, too. For some, it might be a change in posture; for others, the improvement of skin conditions or recovery from injury; for others, more energy and greater ability to deal with life’s stressors. For Shawn, it boils down to a simple practice: bringing a fresh perspective to the origins of physical troubles, listening to feedback, suggesting lifestyle changes to enhance health and providing encouragement to make those changes. Many may at first seem difficult, but as Shawn himself knows well, long-term health and greater feelings of well-being are fundamentally worth it.

Shawn’s Education (in order from most recent):

Higher education
Currently enrolled in Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, Masters program- Fall of 2017
Portland Community College- 3 years pre-medicine (including Associate of Science degree)

Body work
Dennis Lasaius- sports massage
Life Energy Institute- craniosacral therapy
IPSB college- table massage
Lotus Palm school of Thai Massage- thai massage
Minga lily- thai massage

Nutrition
Nutritional Therapy Association- nutritional therapy training
Thrive Nutrition- nutrition and QRA applied kinesiology
Dr. Vincent Medici- nutrition and orthopedic assessment
Dr. Jeff McCombs- nutrition/ candida cleansing

Yoga
Integrative Yoga Therapy- yoga therapy


Martial Arts
Muay Thai Kickboxing Gym (Kru Rex and Kru Neil)- muay thai
Transformation Arts Kung Fu (Sifu Daniel Carr)- shaolin kung fu, qi gong, tai chi
Hapkido (Master Ma)- korean karate

 

You may contact Shawn directly at shawn@mettariver.com
or call 503-234-0325