Stephen Kirwin is a skillful practitioner of integrated manual therapy. With a focus on genuine deep tissue release, Kirwin’s unique methods help clients unearth the natural healing powers of the body and allow them to get back to a freer state of being and mind. He’s a popular visiting practitioner who works at a number of resorts and wellness centers in Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Finland, Turkey, and Belgium.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START PRACTICING INTEGRATED MANUAL THERAPY? HOW DID YOU GET INTO IT?
I was living with a professional mountain biker in Boulder who attended a massage school. I was at the University of Colorado at the time and doing the Ironman Triathlon and was always offering my body for him to practice on. I fell in love with the power of healing bodywork immediately.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS
Empathic, intuitive, loyal.
INTEGRATED MANUAL THERAPY IN A NUTSHELL
Through skillfully using their hands to manipulate the soft tissue and energy systems, the therapist assists and encourages the client’s inner physician to heal oneself.
WHAT HAPPENS IN A TREATMENT SESSION WITH YOU?
I always try to connect with my client straight away, to establish a level of trust and show my commitment to their healing. We then go through their goals and reasons for seeking my therapy, and I explain what we can try to achieve together to help them heal. My methods include a fusion of neuromuscular therapies, eastern bodywork modalities, and energy healing such as reiki and cranial sacral therapies.
See also: 7 Lesser-Known Holistic Therapies
WHO SHOULD COME FOR A SESSION?
I usually treat people with physical injuries, but that generally leads to spiritual-emotional healing as well. Clients start with the physical complaint, but as the sessions go on, they start to connect the dots between spiritual turbulence and their physical pain.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT INTEGRATED MANUAL THERAPY?
Touching another human being is a sacred privilege. I am honored to be a part of my client’s healing process through hands-on therapy. I love the connection with people and playing a role in their healing. With manual therapy, you feel the immediate relief and results.
WHERE DO YOU WORK FROM AT THE MOMENT?
I work at Joint Dynamics in Hong Kong. I’m mostly based at Chiva-Som in Thailand, but I also visit resorts in the Maldives, as well as private retreats in Boulder, Colorado and New York. I also work with pro clients around the world, in places like New York, Holland, Ireland, Turkey, Pakistan, Singapore, and Thailand.
BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Even after seeing multiple healers, psychotherapists, and astrologers, the best advice is from my mother: “It’s all about love my dear son, and you’re full of that. So go out into the world and heal people with your gift of a healing touch’’.
See also: Top 14 Wellness Retreats in Thailand
SOMETHING YOU’RE PARTICULARLY PROUD OF
My eleven Ironman Triathlon finishes and being a father. I’m also super proud of buying land in Chiang Mai, Thailand last year, which my wife and I plan on turning into a small wellness center and a Muay Thai gym.
WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?
What keeps me up is the constant game of aligning all my international contracts as a visiting practitioner with my professional home base in Hong Kong. Being self-employed, you can never take your foot off the gas pedal to keep on top of your game.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG?
A physiotherapist and a forensic anthropologist. I was also intrigued by Buddhist-centered psychotherapy.
WHO’S YOUR DREAM CLIENT?
Every client who comes into my treatment room is my dream client. People who give a huge amount of energy to their personal healing and spiritual path.
FAVORITE ‘ME’ TIME
Getting bodywork and Muay Thai and trail running. I love being alone in nature, especially the trails in the mountains.
WHAT HAS THE PANDEMIC TAUGHT YOU?
Humility, gratitude, and deepening my faith. It has taught me mental resilience and fortitude. For sure it’s deepened my Buddhist spiritual practice. The concept of “for now this is what is’’ saved my mind during the pandemic.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Being of service to those in need, being around people who give back to society, and being around young go-getters. Also, older spiritual mentors such as Sadhguru, Mooji, and Noah Levine; they infuse my spirit with hope.
WHO DO YOU FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM?
Lots of people…bodyworkers, MMA athletes, Mooji and Sadhguru, ironman athletes, Against The Stream Meditation Center, and truth seekers.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
Starting my own bodywork butter business and deepening my practice. I am also going to get into teaching more, so I can pass on the wisdom given to me in my thirty years of experience in the field of bodywork.
YOUR SECRET TO SUCCESS
Complete dedication to the practice.
YOUR FAVORITE MOTTO?
Discipline equals freedom.