Lisa Tennant

My day job is being the owner and a body/mind therapist at ReLeaf Bodywork Therapy.

My background is in Western medicine: I have an undergraduate degree in exercise physiology and did my graduate work in cardiac rehab and adult fitness. I spent 15 years working in inpatient and outpatient cardiac rehab and much of that focused on education.

During this time, my older daughter started to suffer from debilitating migraines. We went through a lot of testing, drug regimens and even a hospital stay and nothing Western medicine had to offer provided any relief. That was the catalyst that led me to take a more holistic approach. Eastern medicine has been helping people for thousands of years—it seemed worth learning more.

I started out doing Craniosacral work—which involves the interplay between your nervous system and your fascia, which is basically the “Saran wrap” that covers every organ, muscle and nerve in your body.

Over time, I’ve been trained in a number of other healing methods including acupressure, neurovascular integration therapy and Zero Balancing, which is a hands-on mind/body therapy. 

Skilled touch therapies such as these focus on using supportive holds and pressure points designed to assist the body in relaxing from the inside out. They help to cultivate a balanced nervous system response while re-aligning structural and energetic imbalances that can be at the heart of chronic pain and emotional distress. The relaxation of your nervous system has a cascade effect on all physiological systems, which helps create more optimal functioning.

I work with my patients to help them see the connections between their mental and their physical health. Say a patient comes in with jaw and shoulder pain. How is that physical pain related to what’s happening emotionally? Often, when we have physical pain, that causes us to be scared, which causes our nervous system to tighten up even more, which creates a vicious cycle.

Perhaps the most important thing I help my patients do is to find balance. We’re all trying to juggle so many things. If we can find more ease and calm in our bodies and our minds, we can find our true selves, which, in turn, allows us to make better choices for ourselves and others.

My most memorable caffeine was at Caffé Reggio in Greenwich Village. My husband read about it and we had the chance to visit it during a trip to New York City. It first opened in the 1920s and has the first espresso machine that was brought to America from Italy. The café has only been owned by two families and is filled with pieces of art from as far back as the Renaissance. It was a hub for the Beat movement and folk music and it’s been in a number of movies. You can even see the fan from Casa Blanca.

We visited early on an April morning after walking The High Line. It was a weekday and very few people were out, which made it feel even more special.

My current caffeine of choice is a vanilla latte.

My favorite place for caffeine is the EVP at Sequoya Commons.  I enjoy the baristas, the coffee and the proximity to the library and the Nutzy Mutz & Crazy Catz pet shop. My granddaughter and I call it the trifecta experience: I have a beautiful latte, we go and visit the kittens and check out some books.

The people I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with and the world problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine go together for me.

Throughout my career in healthcare, I’ve been struck by the many barriers that keep us from being our best selves: barriers to payment, to providers, to location, to knowledge.

I’d like to bring together the following women: Melinda Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama and all the wonderful body/mind mentors I’ve met throughout the years.

Together, we could create a non-profit where any female, from infant to elderly, has access to body and mind therapies as often as they want without any barriers. Think of the difference if we each had the ability to show up feeling our best every day.

In the words of Melinda Gates, that would truly be a “moment of lift.”