New Services!

pregnancy-clipart-img_b2301912aa1Pregnancy Massage + Birth Doula

I am so very excited to announce New Services by Dawn Welburn LMT here at ReAwaken Through Touch. I have spent the past few months in intense study and workshops for both Pregnancy Massage and Birth Doula and am in the last stages of the certification processes. I am so pleased to now be able to offer these Services to the women in the NYC Metro  community.

Both Pregnancy Massage and Birth Doula are Services that have you, the Mother, at the center. Knowledge of the physiological changes within the body from the time of conception through 3 months Postpartum are at the core of this work and the safety of Mom and Baby at its forefront.  Services are Integrative and Individualized for each client, as with all of my other services which I provide. My vision is to assist you in having a safe, comfortable, joyful and pleasurable organic birth experience.

For more information, please take a look at the specific pages on the website for each of the services or contact Dawn at


How Can I Help You?

Investing in Massage is an investment in your health. All sessions are individually designed around the needs, goals and concerns of YOU.


My energy and massage bodywork are extremely Calming, Soothing and Nurturing. Because of this energy, my Services are especially suited to individuals in need of a slower pace, giving time to adjust and trust.

I specialize in services for everyone including those living with stress, anxiety, chronic pain, terminal illnesses, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, trauma, and chemical dependencies.

All of my massage sessions are Individualized and Integrative. Here are some of the types of massage that may be included in your sessions:

Deep Tissue Massage
Swedish Massage
Sports Massage
Medical Massage
Integrative Massage
Therapeutic Massage
Relaxation Massage
Post-Natal Massage

Your sessions with me may also include services such as:  Focused Breathing, Chakra Clearing, Stretching, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Energy Work, and more.

Please discuss with me your needs and goals for each session. Massage works best when we work as a team united in our vision.

 Massage Rates:

30 Minutes   $60

60 Minutes   $100

90 Minutes   $140

Massage Packages:
Buy 4 and get 1 free!

30 Minutes   $240

60 Minutes   $400

90 Minutes   $560

* If your financial situation is keeping you from the bodywork you need, do not hesitate to contact me. Lets see if we can come up with a solution!

*Payment may be made by CASH or Credit Card at the time of your session OR in advance through PayPal.   Please contact me to schedule PRIOR to making a payment through Paypal. 

Why I Bought a Home HIV Test

As I sit here on the couch, with the test on my lap, I wonder what you will think of me when you know that I am taking a home HIV test. Will you think that I have lied about my sexual history? Will you look at me differently than you did yesterday? The twenty minutes wait for the test results is a long time for a worrier to think about all of the consequences of every action she has ever taken, including the purchase of this test. Maybe I should tell you a little about myself, while we wait for the results.

I am a single (divorced people should be able to call themselves single after 15 years, right?) 41-year-old woman and mother of a fabulous daughter. Most people who know me would describe me as dependable, reliable, honest…blah, blah…all those words that describe a woman with a rather boring and vanilla sex life. As much as I would like to tell you that they are wrong, that my sexual history is full of wild, crazy and even risky encounters, I must admit that they are right. My sexual history will never be made into an erotic novel. I’ve had a handful of long term relationships where I was monogamous and that is it. Nothing risky. As far as IV drug use? Please refer back to the beginning of this paragraph and just substitute the sex for drugs. So, no risk factors in my personal behavior for potential HIV exposure. Why would I buy and take a test for HIV? The short answer is, why not? What makes me so special that I am immune from possibly contracting HIV?


Yvonne Cruz holds an OraQuick Advance HIV test at a World AIDS Day event in Chicago.Wait, I know where your mind is going. You are thinking back to my being a worrier, maybe a little crazy, worrying about contracting strange diseases that I could never have. Yes, I realize that is exactly what I thought a year ago, but this past year has changed me. In this time, I went from a being someone who had nothing but a basic and fairly outdated knowledge of HIV and AIDS to pacing the halls outside of health clinics with a friend, crying and devastated over a positive test result and then elated over subsequent negative results; meeting people living full, happy and mostly healthy lives with HIV and watching others with untreated HIV infections go from bad to worse. In my growing desire to help those living with HIV through my massage therapy profession, I have educated myself by reading article after article on both the current state of HIV in the United States, and how bodywork can help those living with HIV.Contrary to popular belief, this disease has not gone away and is actually on the rise again. It is frightening and unless you know people affected by HIV, you just have no idea.


This still doesn’t quite explain to you why I am sitting here on this couch, waiting and actually worried about the results of my test. Well, it suddenly hit me a few weeks ago, that for all of my personal and professional experiences this past year, I was still viewing HIV as something outside of myself and my possibilities. I was still seeing this with a sort of ‘me’ and ‘them’ viewpoint. I wanted to help ‘them’, but I never saw myself or ‘women like me’ as potentially ever being one of ‘them’. What a huge realization this was for me and quite honestly, a bit shameful. I mean, where do I get off thinking I am better or somehow safer than anyone else?

Here is where we get to the reality of the matter. I am not any safer from HIV than you or anyone else. There are no guarantees no matter what your sexual partners have ever told you, and their previous partners have told them, and on and on. You cannot be sure of your HIV status and exposure unless you have been tested or have never had any sexual encounters whatsoever, consensual or otherwise. For me, that worrier with trust issues, the idea that I have spent my adult life trusting the word of not only my previous partners but their partners before (and possibly during) our relationship…well, I will just say that is quite a reality check.  As a woman, I suddenly felt like I had unconsciously lived this societal programming to just go along, behave, believe and stay ignorant. That is not the woman I strive to be.

So, with the support of a trusted friend, I ventured alone to the pharmacy this morning and bought this home HIV test. Today, I am taking back both control and responsibility for my life, my health, and my sexuality. My twenty minutes are up and it is time to check my results. Thankfully, it shows that I am HIV negative. Now I know and there is power in the knowing.



Picture 2About Dawn Welburn:

Dawn Welburn is a Licensed Massage Therapist on a journey of reawakening, reconnecting and rediscovering her Self and her World. She hopes that in sharing this journey through her hands, her words and ReAwaken bodywork, others may find their own Path to ReAwaken.

Connect with Dawn:

ReAwaken Through Touch

DAWN by Dawn Welburn

Twitter: @DawnWelburn

Massage Benefits for HIV+ Children

Here is another article from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine website, specific to Children who are HIV positive.

By Alex A. Kecskes

Today, millions of children worldwide live with HIV. Regrettably, global access to antiretroviral drugs is not readily available. Massage therapy, which has been shown to improve immune function in HIV-positive adults and adolescents, may boost the immune systems of young children living with HIV.

A strong immune system allows the body to shore up its disease-fighting arsenal. In contrast, a weakened immune system is an open invitation for disease. For HIV patients, the immune system must be continuously built up to prevent the patient from succumbing to the disease. Research has proven the benefits of massage therapy among patients who were HIV positive. Massage boosts immune system function by reducing anxiety and stress, increasing white blood cell counts and decreasing the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, which has been noted to destroy immune cells. Massage has also been shown to activate the body’s natural killer cells.

Although massage therapy, consisting of rubbing, kneading, squeezing and stretching of muscles, has not been regularly prescribed for HIV or AIDS, recent research suggest that properly administered massage therapy may help preserve the immune systems of HIV-positive children who lack access to antiretroviral medication.
Studies at the Mayo Clinic found that HIV patients who underwent massage therapy had increased levels of natural killer (NK) cells that fight viral cells. Measuring cellular levels of natural killer cells and other immune system helper cells has been the metric used by researchers to determine the efficacy of massage therapy.

In a recent study*, 54 HIV-positive children without antiretroviral medication were randomly assigned to either a massage group or a friendly visit control group. Those in the massage group received two 20-minute massage sessions per week for 12 weeks. Those in the friendly visit control group received two 20-minute friendly visits. Trained nurses administered moderate-pressure stroking and kneading massages. The study revealed that massage therapy appears to have a positive impact on immune function in HIV-positive children not receiving antiretroviral medications. Massaged children showed reduced lymphocyte loss (lymphocytes are the body’s primary means of immune function).

In evaluating massage therapy as beneficial for those suffering from HIV**, the factors that appeared to strengthen the immune system were pressure strokes, dosage and duration of massage therapy. The effect on the immune system was even more pronounced when pressure was applied with multiple-dose massages of longer duration. A full-body stress management approach was most beneficial. The most effective techniques were twice weekly, one-hour sessions of acupressure, trigger-point therapy and deep strokes extended over several months for best immune-enhancing results.

If a child is HIV-positive, first consult a primary care physician before attempting massage therapy. The doctor may recommend the appropriate treatment. If massage is suggested, find a licensed massage therapist who is nationally certified through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork ( or the American Massage Therapy Association ( Note: Medicare and most private insurance do not cover massage.

*Preliminary Report on the Efficacy of Massage Therapy to Preserve the Immune System in Children without Antiretroviral Medication.” University of Miami School of Medicine, Division of Disease Prevention, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Medicine, and Touch Research Institutes; and staff at Robert Reid Cabral Children’s Hospital in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

** Diego MA, Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Shaw K, Friedman L, Ironson G. HIV adolescents show improved immune function following massage therapy. International Journal of Neuroscience, 2001;106:35-45.

Benefits of Massage for those living with Chronic or Terminal Illnesses


by Dawn Welburn LMT

Many people are still under the misconception that massage is a luxury with purely superficial benefits. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Massage therapy has many health benefits on a mental and physical level. These  can be especially beneficial for those living with chronic or terminal illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, Cancer, PTSD, Depression, and many others.

An immediate benefit of massage can be a feeling of relaxation. Massage facilitates the release of endorphins and help reduce the levels of stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol, creating a feeling of well-being. Stress is known to impair immune system function, so stress reduction is very beneficial for those with immune system related illnesses such as HIV/AIDS.  Working the soft tissues of the body can also greatly reduce pain levels, important for those living with all chronic or terminal illnesses.  Many of these illnesses also have stigmas and trust issues for the persons living with them. Massage provides a safe environment for receiving compassionate and meaningful touch in a therapeutic and healing way from a trusted health professional.

Those living with chronic or terminal illnesses face increased challenges and obstacles in the search for comfort and relief from their constant mental and physical pain. Massage can greatly improve the quality of life for these individuals and everyone who receives it.  Consult your healthcare provider to find out if massage is recommended  for your specific illness. Be sure to share your medical history with your Massage Therapist so that s/he can provide the best services and environment for you.

Dawn Welburn is a NYS Licensed Massage Therapist who specializes  in services for everyone, with a focus on people living with mental illnesses, chronic pain, terminal illnesses, domestic violence, and chemical dependencies.  All massage therapy sessions are individually designed around the needs, goals and concerns of each client. Some of the services that may be integrated into a therapeutic massage session are: deep tissue massage, medical massage, chakra clearing, Swedish massage, stretching, focused breathing, aromatherapy, relaxation massage, acupressure, and reflexology.  

Research Shows Massage Therapy Reduces Depression in HIV-Positive Patients

Depression effects the health and quality of life of any person suffering from it, but those who are HIV-positive are at an even higher risk. This article from highlights the research behind  the claims that Massage Therapy reduces depression in these clients.

Research Shows Massage Therapy Reduces Depression in HIV-Positive Patients.

Massage Therapy and HIV/AIDS

People living with HIV/AIDS can benefit greatly from massage and authentic, conscious meaningful touch. They are an underserved group, still suffering greatly from misinformation and stigma. This is a great article from the website The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource covering the benefits of massage on many levels, with research to back up these claims. (  This article is full of information relevant to those infected by HIV, their loved ones and caregivers, and massage therapists.

Healing Touch: Massage Therapy and HIV/AIDS 

From Seattle Treatment Education Project

Summer, 1999

Evidence of Massage Benefits

Anyone who has ever had a massage can vouch for the relaxing, peaceful, and sometimes invigorating effects a good massage can have. People living with HIV/AIDS have touted the benefits of massage for years, claiming it has helped with everything from stress reduction to increased T cells.

But the benefits of massage are not merely anecdotal. The Touch Research Institute of the University of Miami has conducted numerous studies on the various benefits of massage therapy and its effects on a large spectrum of individuals. Among the studies are three that are of specific interest to people living with HIV/AIDS.

The first study, in 1996, involved 29 HIV-positive men and showed that a majority of the individuals receiving massages had improvement in immune system function, both in the number of natural killer cells and in the activity of those cells. As a result of this evidence that massage therapy can build the immune system, two more studies ensued

The second study was done on nine healthy female medical students in the middle of exam period. Not only did the students report reduced anxiety, but blood samples taken before and after the massage showed that five had a substantial increase in white blood cell numbers and in the activity of natural killer cells. The third study involved 20 breast cancer patients, divided into two groups. One group watched relaxation tapes and the other received massage therapy 3 times a week for 5 weeks. The patients who received massage therapy showed an 80 percent improvement in immune system function. Of the group who watched the tapes, only 30 percent had any improvement. These studies reaffirm that massage can facilitate the improvement of immune system function.

Researchers and scientists cannot entirely agree on how massage therapy improves immune system function, but there are many theories. Michael Ruff, an immunologist and professor at Georgetown University Medical School, believes that massage works by reducing stress, and thereby alleviating the wear and tear inflicted by stress hormones, in particular, cortisol. One previous study showed that 80 percent of illness is stress-induced, so it stands to reason that if massage therapy can reduce stress, it can also improve the body’s defense system against illness.

Naturally, massage therapy is not the only answer; it is a conjunctive therapy to many other valid and appropriate therapeutic avenues. Each person must find the right combination of therapies that best suits his or her needs.


Other Benefits of Massage

Massage works to boost immune system function by reducing anxiety and stress, increasing white blood cell counts, decreasing levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), and activating disease-fighting cells. Massage can also decrease pain by relieving muscle spasms, cramps, general body tension, edema (swelling) and inflammation. It works by increasing the blood flow, which assists in the removal of toxins and increases oxygen and nutrients to affected areas.

Certain modalities can aid in relieving respiratory congestion by facilitating the removal of excess phlegm. Other techniques increase liver function by assisting in the removal of toxins and increasing blood flow. By improving muscle tone, massage also helps in the prevention or reduction of the muscular atrophy that can result from immobilization and inactivity. Other benefits include increasing red blood counts in cases of anemia, acting as a mechanical lymph drainage system by stimulating lymph circulation and speeding the elimination of wastes and toxins, and assisting in the post-surgical breakdown of scar tissue and adhesions.


Massage Philosophies East and West

There are two basic philosophies of massage therapy, western and eastern. In the western philosophy, massage is defined as the systematic manipulation of soft tissue for the purpose of affecting the muscular, circulatory, lymphatic, respiratory, nervous, digestive, and visceral systems to produce therapeutic effects. This includes modalities such as Swedish, deep tissue, neuromuscular therapy, sports massage, and Alexander technique. In the eastern philosophy, the definition of massage is the balancing of Qi (energy) through the manipulation of the 12 energy meridians (channels), or of specific points on the meridians, to affect and promote proper body function. The various methods include Shiatsu, accupressure, and Qi Qiong. Each philosophy and type of massage has its place as a conjunctive therapy.


Which Type Is Right for You?

Since HIV/AIDS encompasses many types of infections and each infection calls for a different form of treatment, it would be impossible to cover all the pathologies and list the most appropriate form of massage for each. Instead the following are some general rules of thumb:


  • Any open lesions, inflamed area, or bacterial disease that can be spread through the circulatory system, should not receive direct pressure. Trigger point, accupressure, or any point-specific massage should be chosen instead. Energy work such as Qi Qiong can, however, be used in both bacterial disease and fever. 
  • All forms of massage can relieve the effects of neuropathy. 
  • Diarrhea needs deep abdominal or any work that increases activity of the intestinal tract. Massage of any of the other areas of the body could be helpful as well. 
  • Finally, if at any point during the massage you experience dizziness, nausea, or illness, you should stop the therapist — your body can flush only so many toxins at one time. Shorter duration massages may be in order.


Finding That Healing Touch

The demand for massage therapy far outweighs its availability for people living with HIV and AIDS. The 1999, King County Public Health Department’s HIV/AIDS Care needs assessment survey found that alternative/non-Western therapies ranked seventh on consumers’ lists of priority service needs. This category also showed the largest gap between consumers’ desire for a service and their access to it.

Obtaining and paying for massage therapy, even for those with private insurance, is still extremely difficult. Most insurance plans allow for massage only for a small list of ailments and require a referral by a primary care physician. For those without insurance, or whose insurance will not cover massage for HIV/AIDS-related reasons, the high cost of massage therapy is often prohibitive.

In Touch at the Northwest Institute for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is one of the leading places for people with HIV/AIDS to get massage. Founded as a special project of the NW Massage Practitioners Association in 1984, In Touch provides free and low-cost massage to King County residents living with chronic, life-changing illnesses, including HIV infection.

The two part-time employees of In Touch coordinate over 70 volunteer massage therapists to provide more than 100 massage treatments per month. In Touch services are open to anyone, regardless of ability to pay. To contact In Touch about massage services, or to volunteer, call (206) 633-2419.


Delaney M. Toups Jr. LMP graduated from Blue Cliff Massage School in New Orleans, LA. in 1995. He has 2+ years of hospice experience, 4+ years of therapeutically massaging HIV/AIDS and can be contacted at