The Heart of Healing
The work of Zendrik van der Merwe
Somatic Healing Therapies, Bodywork Training Courses
Classes - Seminars - Workshops
Welcome to the website and landing place for students and clients and those who want to get to know me and my work.
I am a therapist and teacher, but also just an ordinary person following his bliss; from wanting to be a human rights lawyer when I left school, to studying psychology, sculpture and music, yoga and meditation, and then esoteric and somatic healing arts from the age of 23. My life's work also still includes my passion for sacred sound, healing music, poetry and art.
I have 35 year's experience as a somatic healer/bodyworker, and for the last 10 years I have been giving training courses and retreats as part of my calling to share my knowledge and love for humanity with others.
Inspired by my artist mother, a scholar of Carl Jung and Zen Buddhism, I pursued esoteric knowledge from an early age, and I started my formal training in Buddhist philosophy and meditation and Hatha Yoga at the age of 21. I later studied with zen masters and received transmissions from Namkai Norbu, a Tibetan Lama of the Dzochen school. I took my first Tibetan Massage course, Taming the Tiger, with Edie Erwin, in 1985.
My life and work is also strongly influenced by Advaita Vedanta, and the teachings of Shri Nisargadatta and A Course in Miracles and Tantric and Taoist practices. I trained as a Sivananda Yoga Teacher, and started teaching in 2001. I also work as a musician, sound healer and a conscious dance DJ.
I founded the Ananda Healing Center in San Marcos Lake Atitlan in Guatemala in 2014, where I taught courses in Thai Massage, Chi Nei Tsang, Reiki and Esoteric Healing. I closed the center in order to travel and teach courses and retreats in my home country and other parts of the world.
I combine various techniques and modalities to approach healing and personal growth in a holistic way. My yoga classes are focused on the harmony of the inner and outer asana and the free-flow of prana/chi, and are influenced by my zen and qi gong practice. My work as a healer is predominantly focused on releasing emotional and mental energy blockages and contractions and old cellular memories held in the body for deep and lasting healing and spiritual growth.
After 35 years of working as a massage therapist and energy healer, my main focus is now teaching and offering Taoist abdominal massage - Chi Nei Tsang - restoring the function of the organs and intestines by releasing toxins and toxic emotions that are stored in the abdomen. In private consultations I usually guide my clients through the unfolding and release of past emotions and traumas, and help them to reconnect with their true essence, call back power into their body and energy centers, and retrieve their soul path and purpose. I integrate deep tissue massage, Thai massage, esoteric healing and Reiki as needed by my clients, and offer emotional and spiritual guidance and counseling as an integral part of the session.
Some of my philosophy of healing:
Acceptance of the way things are is an important step towards self-love, and acceptance of yourself, and where you are at. Our physical ailments are messages and signs towards adjustments on the path, the soul calling us onward, and into alignment, awareness and presence. Offering a healing presence is about sharing feelings of support, oneness, togetherness, unity, love and freedom. True healing comes from within. Healers are just the "cleaning crew", with heart. Much of the training I offer is about the techniques, but the essence of my teaching is about learning how to read, feel, see, sense, play and work with the subtle and dense forms of energy that we are made of and exist in. As a therapist this knowledge and skill is invaluable, not only allowing you to do the healing work people so desperately need at this time, but also for you to manage your own energy field before, during and after healing sessions. For all people alive today this essential awareness of the way energy, especially mental and emotional energy moves and affects us, is fundamental to our evolution as individuals and as a species.
As therapists, this really is the "wellness industry" we are in. Wound and scar healing is important, but also to go beyond healing to wellness. To see and know wellness, not just to be free of the symptoms of dis-ease, but enjoying the naturally ecstatic human condition, and the "bliss body". We find and express that space of wellness via many pathways. Yoga and meditation and creativity have always been crucial in my personal journey. And for me massage, music, dance, sound, play, creativity, ceremonies, prayers, and community living are all in themselves ultimately ways to, and expressions of wellness.
The best healers are very often wounded healers. We learn how to heal ourselves and then share that knowledge with others. If you are interested in doing a training course with me, please read the blog for chapters from my energy medicine manual, A Healer's Handbook, for my insights into healing and the path of the healer/helper/therapist.