Best Bodywork: Clearing Blocks, Knots and Lingering Mommy Issues (2008)

Carolyn Jacques at Côte d'Azur

Carolyn Jacques takes an amalga-mated kitchen-sink approach to bodywork. A Native American, she taps into the tribal healing techniques coursing through her veins, along with Maori (ouch!) modalities, Qigong, cord cutting, traditional massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and quantum healing. I met Jacques while in the throes of total Mercurial meltdown, having stumbled into her hands stinky, late and frazzled. Two hours and one Indigo Series later, I was floating on air in a blissed-out haze.

She started by scanning the front of my body with an outstretched hand an inch from my skin. "It's all in here," she said, laying her palm gently over my heart. "You're completely blocked."

Face-down in a giant, dimly lit treatment room at Jacques' swanky Old Town Pasadena spa Côte d'Azur, I listened to soft, New Age music while Jacques unearthed — and removed — emotional blocks, limiting beliefs and ancestral scarring (seven generations back), not to mention the rote kinks and cricks, using hot stones, warm rice, strong hands and clear intention. She dug her fingers into my feet. "You eat a lot of vegetables."

She's good. I yelped as she kneaded a family of knots in my right calf.

"If your mother was compassionate and supportive, you wouldn't be as strong as you are now."

Really good.

Usually, to get deep healing bodywork of this caliber — infused with ancient mojo, divine light and empathic, motherly love — you have to travel to the far ends of the Earth and leap through flaming hoops along the way.

—Dani Katz