A Girls Rite of Passage – The Sri Lankan Way…

I have just arrived home after two weeks away in the gorgeous country of Sri Lanka.  While there, amongst many adventures and delicious meals, I learned of the way the Sri Lankan people celebrate the time of menstruation for a girl when she first becomes a woman.

I was going through a wonderful tour at a spice garden when I met Manju.  He was showing us around and was also a student at the local Ayurvedic college.  After the tour we dropped him back to his home and went in for a cup of tea and a meal of hoppers (the local pancake type dish often served with chilli paste or curry).  While we were sharing a meal, it somehow came up in conversation that he had two daughters and that they would be doing ceremonies for them when it came to their first bleed.

The eldest daughter of Manju with Tim.

I sat there in amazement as these two men, Manju and my fabulous driver Channa, both opened up and told me of the Rite of Passage that all girls go through during this time.  It was so wonderful to hear the respect and pride they had of their customs and ceremonies and their willingness to openly share it with me.  They went into explicit detail for me as I asked questions and probed with undivided attention to their stories and honoring that is involved for their women.

This is what they told me:

1. The first thing that happens is the girl tells her mum what is happening.  She is now having her first bleed.

2. She is taken to a special hut or room where only women are allowed to go.  She has other family with her, either an aunt, sister, cousin etc who will stay with her the whole time for this sacred process.  If she has to leave this place, (to go to the bathroom etc) she has a white cloth wrapped over her face so that the men will not see her.  This is important as it is a time of transition and she is becoming a women.

3.  An astrologer is contacted and advised about the best time for her for a celebration.  This would be in the following weeks  and will be specific in time and date for the girl to be embraced into her womanhood.

4. On the day that she is allowed out of the room before the ceremony, a special pot is bought into the room.  In this pot herbs are prepared and boiled.  These include saffron, jasmin, sandalwood powder, jungle jasmin amongst others.  The water is warmed and is then poured over her head in cleansing.

5.  After this, a new white cloth is wrapped around her face and head so she cannot see, and people cannot see her.  The pot is crashed to the ground in ceremonial way to ensure it is never to be used again.

6.  She is dressed in white clothing that has never been worn before and she is bought into the home.

7. On a special table in the home there is an array of ceremonial items.  These include a Kandian Oil lamp, rice, spices, flour and betal leaves all spread around the lamp.

8. At this point the white cloth is removed from the face of the girl.  The family and friends that have come to be part of the celebration all sing out to her words that translate to “Big Girl” in honor of her transition and rite of passage.  There is lots of clapping and they do a special type of clap which claps out the candles on the table so they go out.

9. Seven betal leaves are handed to the girl.  She then passes, with both hands, one of the leaves to the mother who then blesses her and gives her gifts of jewellery.  She then passes, with two hands,  one of the leaves to her father, who also blesses her and gifts her jewellery or fabric etc.

10.  The final leaves are then passed, one at a time and with both hands, to the remaining guests who also bless and give gifts to her.  This can include other sisters, aunts, cousins etc who are present.

11.  Finally there is a big feast and celebration before her final event of the evening which is to visit the local temple for prayers and blessings.


Manju and his wife with Tim and I. The man on the far left is Manju’s father.

It was an honor to hear the way this time in a girls life is celebrated.  I was a bit jealous that here in Australia this time is so often disregarded and suppressed.  I loved the mens passion and interest in honoring these transitions and respecting such a sacred time.  I also loved their willingness to talk about it and share it with me.  Thank you Channa and Manju!


Channa, Tim and I at our last night before coming home.

copyright © 2012 Fiona House



Honouring the Sacred Process of Childbirth

As a massage therapist I come across women having experienced traumatic childbirth with their children, and with their own traumatic births as babies.  During a session they express to me their anger, guilt and grief over their personal experience when giving birth, or ‘gut feelings’ about the trauma they experienced being born.  These women hold in their bodies these memories, which for years into their adulthood impact their health and their decisions  – not to mention, their posture, digestive and reproductive health, emotional balance and personal confidence.

This sacred birth process, that is so often undervalued, needs to be supported in an elegant and empowering way, to reduce the potential for psychological and emotional trauma.  This rite of passage for mum and baby needs to open their life together in a positive and empowering way to carry them forwards, rather than hindering their path.

image credit : Christy Nielson


I wanted to help, not just with my clients expressed symptoms, but also in preventing these symptoms ever arising. I decided to become a certified doula.

‘Doula’ is a Greek word that means ‘woman’s servant’.  A doula is a woman offering non-medical support and information to parents in pregnancy, childbirth and the post-natal period.  She is there for you, ‘mothering the mother’, and taking care of the needs of parents during this time.  A doula is present while you give birth, and also in your preparation for birth and during the post-natal time. Doulas not only help women find the information you need, they also empower women to have the kind of birth they want.

Birth can be a chaotic and unpredictable process. A small birth team is a good approach and a doula can be a vital part of that team. A labour that extends into its twentieth hour (or more) will be taxing on all involved. At times like this the team can be stretched thin and, despite everyone’s best intentions, the focus on the mother’s birth plans and support of the practices she selected to help her—be it massage, aromatherapy, or just plain encouragement—can get lost. At that point the birthing mother may not be literally alone, but she may very well feel alone.

Doulas are equipped with the skills, techniques and resilience to support the mother and take the pressure off tired partners.   They do not take the place of a partner, but rather complement the partner’s role while upholding the integrity of the process and the birthing mother’s wishes.  Doulas appreciate that the birth process is a sacred time that impacts the mothering that follows.

Doulas are not medically trained and therefore are not responsible for any of the roles that midwives and obstetricians play. They are instead there to hold the psychological and physical space for the mother, allowing her to relax when she is in her most vulnerable state.  A trained doula is experienced in relaxation techniques, position options and natural and safe comfort measures to help pain management.  They are great listeners, nurturing companions and respectful of the mother’s needs and wishes. Doulas also recognise that birth is not simply a medical event but a time to honour the wisdom of the female body, and the memory and capacity it has to birth. A doula can also help with the decision making process if the birthing plan needs to change.  A doula will never make the decision, but can facilitate and clarify communication between staff and mother and take the pressure off the partner who would otherwise be the sole person to mediate this process.

copyright © 2012 Fiona House



Kahuna Bodywork. Flowers and Hula skirts or Psycho Spiritual Transformation?

When  people speak of Kahuna Bodywork it might conjure up images of Hawaiian women dancing in hula skirts and flower necklaces.  Many get confused with the massage term ‘Lomi Lomi’ and think that it’s the same thing.   Is this true? What actually is Kahuna Bodywork?


Kahuna Bodywork does have its roots in Hawaii.  Kahu Abraham Kawai’i, who accessed this work from his own genetic memory, was a Hawaiian Kahuna.   He is responsible for bringing his beautiful Bodywork to the West and introducing Westerners to Kahuna sciences training.  This is where the Hawaiian connection finishes. Those who perform Kahuna Bodywork as trained by Ki’a’i Ho’okahi Weber, a direct student of Kahu Abraham, do not have anything to do with flowers, hula skirts or ‘temple style massage techniques’.  We are participants of a traditional lineage, of a training that is Hawaiian in its roots, but not specific to Hawaiian culture.  Rather, the training is a universal yet personal journey where we gain access to our own genetic line, and gain the wisdom and power from within us.  With regards to Lomi Lomi, this is another type of massage and is not Kahuna Bodywork.  Lomi Lomi is a Hawaiian word that refers to general massage, a bit like we would go and get a therapeutic massage each week to ease back pain.  Kahuna Bodywork is something very different.

Kahuna Bodywork is not really a form of massage. We do use the application of oil on the body as a tool used in combination with rhythmical strokes to take the client into motion, but we do not ‘rub’ a client in the manner of in a normal massage.  While we do address different aspects that may be bothering the client, we do not work with intent and try and ‘fix something’.  Rather, Kahuna Bodywork works like a dynamic re-patterning process on body, mind and spirit that gives people the opportunity to realign themselves: their own body’s wisdom changes old non-contributing patterns that are no longer serving them.  The rhythmical application of the strokes, applied with chi energy, allows their body to reorganise itself energetically on a cellular level into a more contributing pattern —something that does not happen with therapeutic and remedial massage.  This means that when you receive a Kahuna Bodywork session you are reaping the benefits of physical pain relief and relaxation, as well as a deeper realignment on emotional, mental and spiritual levels.  Because of this, Kahuna Bodywork has been described as ‘a body based psycho spiritual transformation’ as it skips the busy mind and enters the body allowing the wisdom of our multifaceted beings to come forward.

Training in such a modality takes years of dedication.  It is not about doing one or two courses and then becoming a Kahuna Bodywork practitioner.  One needs to find that space, awareness and wisdom within our own selves first before we are able to perform and provide the deeper healing space for others.  Our training is mostly non-verbal, and certainly very physical (it has been compared to a martial art), giving us increasing access to the wisdom held in our bodies so that we can then learn to ‘perform’ this wisdom on another.


Copyright © 2012 Fiona House


Open Night Success

The open night that we had at Rainbow Tree on the 7th May was a huge success.  We had a full house of people and Grace Portolesi MP even popped in to say hello and have a look around.

Below is Kelly Lulic -Mums and Bubs Nutritionist, Fiona House – Bodyworker, Rachel Clark – owner Rainbow Tree, Jacqueline Illes – Ayurvedic Consultant . Each of us did a great talk on the night and we had loads of give aways and door prizes from each practitioner, Rainbow Tree and all the local shops within the area.

Fiona House with Grace Portolesi and Rachel Clark

Getting ready before the talks

All the practitioners offered 20% off all bookings made on the night and each guest went home with a free goody bag filled with trial size moisturizers, massage oil, spirulina, organic ghee plus discount coupons and info sheets from the talks.  If you want to be notified of further activities with the practitioners at Rainbow Tree, or Rainbow Tree functions,  fill in the form on this website to be put into the newsletter list.


Pre Natal and Female Care the Mayan Way

Have you ever considered your uterus to be the doorway between the infinite and the finite? Sounds odd, doesn’t it? Not according to the ancient Mayan traditions and culture.  The Mayans believe that your uterus is the ONLY spiritual organ in the body and is a being that lives inside of you and exists as her own entity. She is alive, has a consciousness of her own, she creates, and she sheds. She lives to create. Without even knowing the word or concept of the sacral chakra, the Mayans knew that she was the creative centre of the being. If she does not create babies, then she creates art, music, literature, gardens and dreams! However, if things are out of balance, she will create fibroids or endometriosis as a way of garnering your attention. She is the doorway, the gateway, and the passage that everyone on this planet had to pass through from the infinite to Earth!  The Mayans believed that because of this it is an honour to have a uterus. It is a special gift to be able to create life and to give birth.

Did you know that we need to take care of our uterus? Are you taking care of yours?  Is she happy? Are you planning a baby? There are many signs that things are not harmonious within your uterus. Firstly, society teaches us that a “normal” menstrual cycle consists of cramps, dark clotty blood, mucousy blood, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, lower back pain, headaches, depression, nausea; just to name a few. No one informs us that this is not okay. When a woman has a healthy menstruation, it should be bright red, fresh, runny blood, like when you cut your arm and it drips out. A little mild cramping at the beginning, no lower back pain, no headaches, no bloating and no dark red or brown blood. Having issues with your menstrual cycle (or lack of) is a sign that your uterus may be tilted to one side, sitting low, or just surrounded by congested tissues. The great thing is, that there is a way to change this. This is particularly important if you are planning a baby.

The Mayans carried through their culture a simple abdominal massage to improve the health of the female cycle and reproductive system, to ensure the uterus is sitting in its correct position and to prepare the woman for pregnancy and childbirth (also for post natal care). The work is focussed on the five flows of the body – arterial flow, venous flow, lymphatic flow, nerve flow, and Chu lel (chi). When there is an imbalance in one of these areas, a blockage occurs, then the signs and symptoms of reproductive issues entail. By encouraging and strengthening these five flows, the body is able to bring itself back into balance and healthier functioning. The uterus can be prepared for pregnancy and women can enjoy their menstruation as an opportunity to reconnect with their body. It is a great time to write, dream, read and be still in the shedding.

Mayan Abdominal Therapy is a beautiful way to reconnect with your body and establish a relationship with your uterus. This ancient technique empowers women to make changes to their health and prepares them for the beautiful experience of pregnancy. It is also a wonderful way to bring the uterus back into alignment and healthy functioning after childbirth.

Copyright © 2012 Fiona House



Meet and Greet our Natural Therapists at Rainbow Tree

Come and explore what goes on beyond the door at Rainbow Tree!

Rainbow Tree now has three practitioners working from the therapy room.  Natural Therapists Fiona House, Jacqueline Iles and Kelly Lulic, and Rainbow Tree.  Proprietor Rachel Clark will be throwing open the therapy room door for a night of fun and insight.  This is your chance to come and meet and greet us all.  There will be short talks from each of us, plus nibbles, organic wine, special offers, free goody bags and loads of door prizes!

Fiona House – Tactile Therpaies for the Body, Mind and Spirit

Kahuna Bodywork
Fertility, Pregnancy and Post Natal Massage
Holistic Massage
Mayan Abdominal Therapy

Fiona will be speaking about the range of therapies she offers and how they support your mind, body and soul though stressful times of transition and change.  She will also be discussing women’s reproductive conditions and how her work supports the health of the hormone system and uterus,  as well as  with supporting you in conception, pregnancy and after the birth your baby.

Jacqueline Ilnes – Ayurvedic Consultant and Yoga Teacher
Jacqueline has been a yoga teacher for over 10 years and an Ayurvedic Consultant for over 6 years.  She has a wealth of knowledge and wisdom of the ayurvedic constitutions and the human body.  She will be speaking about how the ancient and powerful ayurvedic system of health and healing supports your body in all your day to day health concerns, and how it can also help prepare you for child bearing, support you in pregnancy, and balance your system reducing uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms.

Kelly Lulic – Mums and Bubs Nutritionist
Kelly is a qualified Nutritionist.  Through her study, and from her own journey of pregnancy and child rearing, she is a wealth of information and support for nutritional advice covering the childbearing period.  She specialises in prenatal, pregnancy and post natal nutrition – as well as breastfeeding, food for your baby, introducing solids and how to take care of your own body nutritionally after pregnancy.  Kelly will be discussing ways to support yourself nutritionally over this time for you and your baby.

We have so much pre-natal, pregnancy and post-natal knowledge and experience to share!




Open Night, Door Prizes and Offers!

Pop the evening of  Monday 7th May into your diary!   We are having an open night for you to come and meet all the practitioners at Rainbow Tree.  We will have some nibbles, door prizes, special offers and a chance for you to ask all your health related questions to the experts there!
Kelly Lulic – Nutritionist    Jacqueline Iles -Ayurvedic Medicine     Fiona House – Bodyworker

Jacqueline Ilness (Auyvedic Practitioner) and Kelly Lulic (mums and bubs Nutritionist) are now sharing my room with me.  We will all be doing a talk on each of our modalities at the opening night with Q and A.  It is a perfect time to come and meet us all, and find out more about the new practitioners and their great knowledge and skills.  Great for if you are having any prenatal, natal or post natal issues with your health and body as all three of us will be speaking about our own specialisation with women and mums during these times. Also suitable if you have any general health issues you need support with and want to find out more before booking an appointment.

There will be more information to follow in the next month so keep your eye on your inbox!


Autumn Equinox Ceremony

 Calling all Wemoon!: Its that time of year again for a Wemoon’s Circle to celebrate and recognise Autumn and the gifts that she brings.  The heat and long days of summer are over and we are now experiencing the wind down and shorter days of Autumn.  This time of year is perfect to take a look at what we have achieved over the last 6 months, and whether we are still going in the direction we want.  Have we created what we needed over the last few months?  Have we created excess of what we needed?  Are there things that are now outdated and need to be let go of?  Do we have gifts to share physically and also with our wisdom and learning’s over this last summer?  Autumn is a perfect time to let things go… clean out cupboards and give away clothes that we do not need anymore  – and to share the fruit from our trees and gardens!   It is also the time to let go of old emotions we do not need, and old ways of being with ourselves.  

Autumn is also a time of gratitude as we reap the rewards of our efforts, and we can now stop and take stock of where we have been and where we are going.

Come and join Samantha Miccallif and I in celebrating this time of year with a women’s circle.  This is the perfect time for you if you need some time out and some clarity on your life and your priorities.  Do you need a clearer vision on how to nourish yourself or how to direct yourself right now?  Do you need to let go of things holding you back, or needing to make space in your life for something new?  This might be the perfect thing.  A beautiful opportunity to connect with yourself and other women, learn about the cycles of life and Mother Nature, and go away with new space and clarity within yourself…

When –  Sunday 25th March
Time –  1.45 pm – 4pm sharp
Cost – $25
Where – Fiona’s Aldgate practice.  (Address given upon booking.)

Please note that this is a beautiful circle to bring daughters (above age 11/12), sisters, mothers and best friends!

Please RSVP ASAP as numbers are limited.


Woodford Music Festival and Kahuna Bodywork training…

Its been too long since my last newsletter!  Now its already Autumn and I have not updated you with Summer news!
I had a great Xmas break.  I did some more Kahuna Bodywork training at Woodford Music festival in QLD.  This is a massive world music festival similar to Womad, only about 10 times bigger!  The Australian College of Kahuna Sciences has a stall there each year where students participate and work on the festival goers.  Its a super chance to update skills, learn more about the bodywork and connect with other students and my teacher Ki’a’i Ho’okahi Weber.  I was there for eight days working in the therapy room doing bodywork and also helping my teacher manage the logistics of running such large stall.

It was a really super week and in total I worked on about forty different people while there.  When in such an intense environment, which requires huge demand physically, emotionally and mentally, the range of our skills increases and we scale to new heights in our capabilities.  Working on one person after another, day in day out, allows deep integration of new levels of awareness and anchors in new, more contributing holding patterns and ways of being for us.  Great change occurs internally for both the bodyworker and the client, and it is a time to savor and appreciate, as its only an opportunity for training that comes once a year.

I continued my training down in  NSW for another 10 days and participated in a kahuna training workshop.  This is a different style of training to the festival, and although very physically demanding, is a great way for me to begin my year.  We do a lot of exercises that promote the movement of chi or energy throughout our bodies.  This gives me a perfect beginning of the year as I have a chance to repattern my own energy in my body, and set myself up for a new year.  Its a super way to let go of old things, whether that is an outdated belief system, or a way I might be walking or standing that is not good for my being.  The training effects us on all levels, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – its a bit like clearing out the old clothes closet on all levels, and starting fresh for the year.It was a great way to begin my year!

Miss Beatrice Waight and Mayan Abdominal Therapy

Some of you may remember that in November 2009 I traveled to Belize in Central America and spent 8 days studying Mayan Abdominal Therapy with a traditional Mayan Healer Miss Beatrice Waight.  It is great sadness to let you know that Miss Beatrice passed away late last year.  She has left a legacy behind her and many westerners had the privilege of studying with her during her life. A book of her life and art has now been released to celebrate her achievements and continue to spread some of her gifts and knowledge.

I have been lucky enough to have been included in this book, in a section where her students could write and tell a story of their experiences of Miss Beatrice.  It is a great honor to have known this woman, to share her home, and to be able to share my experiences of her in this book.