Massage Spot Owner Focuses on Empowering Women, Healing Body Image

San Rafael Patch sat down with Deborah “Bee” Uytiepo, owner of holistic massage business Beelight and founder of Healing is Giving, for a chat about the community of San Rafael.

Beelight offers holistic prenatal and palliative massages. Additional services include Beelight self-care and Betrothal Bliss, both of which include a massage and guided meditations. Beelight uses products that are organic, vegan and cruelty-free, and donates 15 percent of its earnings to Healing Is Giving, an organization that assists women in need.

Have you been to Beelight? Rate it or write a review.

Patch: Where are you from and what brought you to San Rafael?

Bee Uytiepo:
I’m originally from Eagle Rock, Calif in Southern California. It’s a small community near Occidental College. I lived in Marin since 2005, and came up for work. My husband was born and raised here so moving up to the area felt like coming home.

What was the deciding factor to open a space in San Rafael and what were some of the challenges you faced?  

Well, since my husband is a homegrown resident we really feel like this is our town. We love living here. We want to benefit from and give back to the local community. We hike, bike, kayak and soak up the wonderful culture San Rafael has to offer. One of our most important daily goals is to keep it local and reduce our footprint, so being central was very important in choosing a location.

To be honest, it was magical and easy to start Beelight. I was already plugged into the eating disorder and body image community, and when Beyond Hunger opened the space in which I’m currently located they wanted other practitioners who work with and support women in hopes of empowering them to reconnect with their bodies and mind. Bringing the body birth element to my own community just felt right.

What did you do before starting Beelight and Healing is Giving?

While living in Los Angeles, I was an educational program coordinator at a Buddhist center and upon moving to Northern California, I got a job with a local funeral home as the cultural events coordinator and worked with the local Buddhist community. My responsibilities included a lot of ceremonial events but I’m very comfortable with death and to be in a supportive position for clients dealing with end-of-life issues was an easy transition from the Buddhist Center. I’ve also been a meditation instructor for over 10 years, which has helped me in this realm, and allows me to be a good listener and to really see a person physically and subtly.

P: What has been your experience with San Rafael patrons?

They’ve been awesome! I’ve seen a variety of clients, mostly women, they are all very receptive to my work and I’ve got great feedback. I really enjoy working with the local community.

Why are the sessions at Beelight unique?

With my meditation background I’m able to concentrate on a person, fully see them. I take the time to get to know each client. A lot of my current clients have body issues, they feel really safe and open with me. I’m also really excited about the fertility massage sessions. Personally I was looking for something holistic and non-evasive to help me in my own journey. Being a vegan, I wanted a process not requiring that I ingest animal product and wanted to find natural avenues for fertility which embrace the whole woman. My work as a Mercier therapist with many women reflects these goals and theories. I hope to get my clients to the point where the body can heal itself and bring it to the optimum state, where their bodies can receive and hold a pregnancy to term.

What is a Mercier Therapist?

It is a hand-on therapeutic massage technique addressing a woman's pelvic region in a purely holistic manner. The founder of this style of therapy, my mentor Dr. Jennifer Mercier, did a study in which she found 80 percent of the women who received this treatment were able to become pregnant without any other type of interventions, internal or otherwise.

What’s the best part about being a business owner in San Rafael?

The diversity of people who live in the community: spiritual people, strong career people, super-health conscious. It’s a really nice mix! Everyone is really opened minded. People care about their health, the world around them and it resonates with my own beliefs. I feel I’m bringing a service that really meets the local needs.

What’s on your iPod?

Oh, I’ve done a little flashback lately! Natural Calamities’ Peachhead album, Mamuse, Sufjan Stevens’ The Sea and Cake, and lots of Hawaiian music. My mom is from Hawaii so it reminds me of my childhood.

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