Journey to The Health Hut and Follow the Path to Pain-Free Living

Katherine Burrows

Thomasina Larkin, owner of The Health Hut in Enterprise. (Photo by Katherine Burrows)

[This article appears in the February/March 2020 issue of the SCOOP.]

An entrepreneur’s journey requires resilience, adaptability, and creative problem-solving. Thomasina Larkin has demonstrated these and more during her journey as owner of The Health Hut in Enterprise.

Working as a journalist in Japan during the early 2000s was an adventure, but a high-stress one. Long hours sitting at a desk combined with vacation time backpacking around Asia and weekends spent dancing all added compressive force to her spine, which eventually led to extreme pain and a diagnosis of severe disc herniation.

Instead of surgery and morphine, Thomasina adapted her schedule to include yoga five days per week at a local studio. “After just a few months none of my symptoms remained,” Thomasina says of her decision to use yoga to heal.

At the same time, Thomasina read a book about three people who quit high-stress jobs to follow passions, creating jobs for themselves doing things they loved to do in their free time. Knowing she needed a change for the sake of her health, she was inspired to create a career doing what she loved – yoga – while helping others become pain free as she did.

Returning to Canada, she became a yoga instructor for two years. After that, she went to massage school, as a single mom with a two-month-old, and fast-tracked her completion of a three-year massage program in eighteen months.

Opening her own business was a risky venture, especially in such a small town with a limited population to draw clients from. “But there’s a real community feeling – everyone who comes to the classes becomes friends and gets to know and care about each other,” she notes with a little awe.

Thomasina had always wanted to live in a yurt, a home designed for travel and exploration, used by nomadic peoples since before written records began. Parenthood and the need to maintain a reliable business location for her clients led her to a creative solution. She bought the family home where she grew up and built a yurt in the yard where she could spend her days teaching yoga and doing massage. As her massage clients increased, she decreased her yoga classes and made a conscious shift to focus on pain management.

“When people come to the yurt, it’s my goal for them to have an experience.” Natural light and year-round heat provide a cozy warmth to the space. Relaxing, uplifting music from off the beaten path and creative decorating that continues to evolve combine to stay true to the structure’s nomadic roots.

The next adventure in Thomasina’s journey is Myoskeletal Alignment Therapy (MAT). After completing the Master diploma program in six months, the MAT creator and the education director approached her about becoming a teacher. She travelled the states for six months and has just signed a contract to become the first Canadian MAT instructor in the program.

Proving that no experience is ever wasted, Thomasina will draw on her journalism background when picking out details to explain simply. She is thrilled to teach her first course on May 2/3 at the Ambassador Hotel, Kingston and hopes a lot of local therapists will take the classes.

There is a huge educational component to all the work that Thomasina does. She listens 100% to each client, combining their information with her assessment to identify the root cause. Pain may result from an injury or the nervous system or a combination of both. “It’s important with clients to explain in a way that’s easy to understand why they’re feeling pain and how I will provide a customized solution. No two people require the same treatment. Even the same individual has different treatment needs from visit to visit as the client changes each time.”

Mindfulness (think yoga) plays an important role to help clients identify what factors in their daily life are affecting their pain. People feel their bodies moving in ways they never paid attention to before. Now they consciously use the correct muscles for the correct jobs. Once they are more aware and understand why it is happening, then they can take control. Empowerment leads to faster, more effective healing.

“It’s such rewarding work to see people go back to their jobs and hobbies, to see them enjoy a better quality of life with their family, and sleep through the night without pain.”

To help her clients achieve a pain-free lifestyle, Thomasina will now focus on three angles for treatment: 1) MYoga – her own creation based on MAT training; 2) MAT; and 3) PhysioKinetix – pain management and mobility progression for people with pain.

By combining her 10+ years of experience teaching yoga with MAT and PhysioKinetix, Thomasina has created her own brand (based on what she learned in MAT training and a deeper understanding of how yoga works), which she named MYoga.

Thomasina’s mentor, Paul Kelly, is the creator of PhysioKinetix and the most senior Myoskeletal alignment instructor. She has also trained with Erik Dalton, creator of Myoskeletal Alignment Therapy.

Most recently, Thomasina has enrolled in a program at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Massachusetts to become a Yoga Teacher Trainer (YTT) by 2022. Based on MYoga, she will create a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training course and plans to offer it in modules both here and abroad. After that, she plans to pursue full designation as a Registered Yoga Therapist, for which she must complete 1000 hours in total of training.

Like the round yurt, Thomasina’s energy continues to flow and circulate, in with the good, out with the old, as she works in this tangible symbol of her journey and the journeys of her clients.

Looking ever forward, she explains, “I feel like every experience is worthwhile and building you up to be the you the person that you are.” Spoken with the resilience of a true nomad and entrepreneur.