Thank you to Voyage LA for the Feature!!! Meet Jenny Lorant Grouf of Center Herself in Santa Monica
Jenny, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I began reading about alternative healing modalities in my teens and was immediately overtaken with fascination. The interconnection between mind, body and spirit spoke to me on a deep knowing level in such a way that I could not read enough. This still holds true almost 30 years later.
My learning path began with Shiatsu, or acupressure, which is based in Chinese medicine followed by a really comprehensive massage therapy program in New York originally created for the nursing profession in the early part of the 20th century. It gifted me a great blend of the sciences with both Western and Eastern healing practices.
To that I added certifications in perinatal bodywork, infant massage instruction, a bit Mayan of abdominal massage. I began practicing full-time in 2004 with the clear purpose of serving women in the perinatal period as well as survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. I grew up with a very positive exposure to the birth process and have endless respect for the female body. It is truly miraculous. My own subjective experience with sexual assault highlighted to me that such trauma profoundly impacts our whole being and healing from it must address every layer. Most recently, I completed a two-year biodynamic craniosacral program that incorporated a deeper understanding of the nervous system, embryology and human formation.
The world of bodywork/massage, healing practices and self care is one of lifelong learning – there are so many ancient and evolving approaches for us to integrate into our lives. I love learning and then sharing what I learn with others and, ultimately, my clients are my greatest teachers.
Most recently, my 10-year old daughter, Lily, invited me to help her develop a self-care class for girls ages 9 and up. It is a very organic and fun new piece!
Q: Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
A: Of course not It took me many years to fully embrace the possibility that practicing bodywork could be my profession. It was so full of joy and utter fascination, it could not possibly be my work! Once I got out of my own way, it all began to flow. I am also very grateful to be a mother of two elementary school-aged children. Finding the blend for these two roles is an ongoing challenge, always shifting.
Q: Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Center Herself – what should we know?
A: My bodywork practice, Center Herself, is dedicated to women specifically around the perinatal phase as well as survivors of trauma. It is rooted in my beliefs that the mind, body, heart and spirit are infinitely interconnected and that we have a responsibility to play a role in our own healing processes. The name, Center Herself, refers to these beliefs as well as the commonality among various modalities that I have learned, all of which have a connection to the belly, our center. Like all other bodywork practitioners, I have my unique blend of modalities and learnings. In this way, we are all naturally set apart. I am most proud of seeking out what captivates me and integrating it into my practice, which ultimately translates into leading from my heart.
Q: Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
A: Every teacher I have had deserves credit as does every client I have had the privilege to work with. I learn from every single session in that each one presents a puzzle of its own.
I am grateful to have joined with the Joyful Heart Foundation over the years in working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. In our partnership, I have had the opportunity to realize what I considered dream work as well as grow incredibly as a practitioner.
My biggest cheerleader has always been my husband, who wholeheartedly supports and believes in me, shares household responsibilities and helps me frame my practice as a business. He deserves most of the credit!
Lastly, my children have played a huge role in a very simple way: they often tell me that I am generally doing a great job. This consistently reminds me that I am doing my best with everything, to be gentle with myself and take it one step at a time.
Individual Sessions: $125
Package of five sessions: $575
In-home Infant Massage Instruction: $150 on the westside