Ian Yap has been an integral part of the Meridians team for over two years. During that time his skills have grown and developed as he integrates a lifetime of healing skills. In today's post we focus on Ian and ask him how he got to this place.
What made you get into healing? How old were you?
I got into healing basically to save myself! At about 17, there was a lot of turbulence in my own psyche. I realized there was a problem when I started waking at 3am just to cry. I had panic attacks constantly. I forgot how to be happy.
At that time my living environment was unstable and together with my own sensitivities and most probably hormones, it fueled a suicidal mind. I tried conventional counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy but they didn’t work for me.
Through great good fortune, I met a woman who taught the Twelve Steps along with many other spiritual principles and that was the beginning of me getting in healing. She became my mentor and sponsor. I started to recover slowly but surely.
At the same time, the people around me started to turn to me for advice. Through intuitive readings, a nifty skill that I picked up along the way, I started to help people heal by reading their energy and offering them a space to find answers, reflecting on what were they learning at that time.
What was your first formal training?
My first Formal training as a therapist was in EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique.
You started at Meridians in 2013. At that time you were offering Zenatai and Breath Work. How did your practice change?
These days I am more known more for Sound Healing and Life Coaching. Zenatai became integrated into my Shiatsu practice, and Breath Work has merged with Sound Healing.
I’ve received a lot of teaching and guidance at Meridians and from the Martha Beck Life Coaching Tribe. Previously, I had seen healing as cleansing, meaning ‘’find the problem and cleanse it out’’. Now, I have learnt that healing is not a crime scene or a search and destroy mission. It is more of a nurturing and nourishing of the many different aspects of ourselves, integrating them so that they can work together. If we give each other space and time to get nourishment, we find that people do have the answers on how to proceed with their lives. They are geniuses!
Can you explain anything about the Singing Bowl Healing work? How do you decide which bowl to use and what sound to produce? What are you listening for?
Singing Bowl Healing was seen in ancient times as medicine. People noticed sound could produce different effects within the body, mind and spirit. They began to make different types of instruments for different purposes.
Essentially Sound Healing works on the scientific principle of Entrainment. That means, if you put grandfather clocks in a room that are swinging at different rhythms and frequencies, you will discover after a while that they synchronize and harmonize pace. That means if you ‘marinate’ in the harmonious sounds of a sound healing session, you will return to harmony very quickly.
In a session, the best metaphor I can give is I use the bowls like a dolphin’s sonar. To sense and listen for which areas of the body, mind or spirit are in need of nourishment or soothing. Interestingly, if the sounds bounce back weakly, I would know that area is in need of nourishment. If the sounds bounce back ‘’clunky’’, I would know that area is in need of soothing.
From these indications, I would know which sound to produce to create the shifts. In other words, the sounds tell me. The sounds and I work together to help people return to harmony. After working with sound, there usually is a Life Coaching session to debrief. This gives clients an opportunity to digest their experience and begin to apply the wisdom gained from the session into their lives.
You treat groups and individuals. How is that different?
With individuals, we get to target areas that they want to nourish. It could be in the area of career, relationships, stress-relief, and/or attracting goodness into their lives. It is more customised.
With groups, it is slightly less easy to customise, as we are working more with the group challenge. Often individals within the group will find that they have parallel challenges going on. They also benefit from the group healing energy, which can speed up their own process.
So now you are now able to offer Breath Work, Life Coaching, Singing Bowl Healing, Warm Bamboo and Shiatsu. That’s quite a list! How do you and your clients decide what to try? How do they all integrate?
It’s a chicken and egg thing! Often people will find they can’t get happy, if their body is unwell. Or when the body is unwell the mind slowly becomes unhappy. The mind and body are intricately connected. I often tell people to start with the one that feels the most enjoyable, because as they move along their sessions will shift naturally to address their different needs at that time.
Herbalism! I am now studying how to use plant medicine. I am also using my social science research skills to go deeply into a lot of nature-based healing traditions. My hypothesis is that people are becoming unwell or unhappy from a lack of connection with the natural word. I might be wrong, but that’s what I’d like to really find out!