By Olivia Lynn Schnur
Mikah Jaschke has made health and wellness her business. Her list of titles includes yoga teacher, herbalist, reiki master and teacher, birth doula and educator, and homebirth midwife assistant.
So, how does Jaschke define health? “I think everybody’s definition of health is different. For me personally, it’s having the energy and vitality to show up in my life as my most authentic self as often as I possibly can.”
In each of Jaschke’s roles, she starts by assessing what she called “the four bodies: physical, mental, emotional and energetic.” From there, she develops an individualized treatment plan. However, she pointed out that her clients’ goals often shift, and the range of modalities she offers allows her to provide continuity of care as her client’s needs evolve.
While her treatment modalities differ, Jaschke said the thread that ties them together is “empowerment and the nervous system. Nervous systems in our culture don’t get enough attention and that’s something I’ve really focused on.”
Reiki and Yoga
Jaschke offers reiki and restorative yoga, which are designed to assist clients in entering the parasympathetic nervous system (sometimes called the rest-and-digest response). According to Jaschke, “Helping our bodies to be able to switch from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system more skillfully and rapidly has a profound impact on overall wellbeing.” Along with that she said, “It allows us to respond rather than to react.”
Yoga typically involves a series of poses synced to the breath. However, restorative yoga is a distinct style that relies heavily on props and modifications to allow for rest and ease. Reiki is a system of energy healing that might feel similar to a state of meditation for a client. Both yoga and reiki are considered complimentary or alternative medicine.
Currently, Jaschke has partnered with Nina Smock to offer workshops several times each year which are centered around each change in season. Each two-hour workshop includes sound bath healing by Smock along with restorative yoga taught by Jaschke. The workshops also include a tea ceremony with organic and wild-harvested tea she has hand crafted.
Another modality that Jaschke offers her clients is herbs in the form of teas, tinctures, salves or sprays. As an herbalist, she grows and wild harvests her own plants. She believes it is important to use plants that are local and part of the regional micro-climate.
Jaschke first discovered herbs when she was working as an archeologist
for the Forest Service in Colorado. “We had to identify plants growing on sites and I started to realize how many plants were medicinal and had been used by the Native Americans as medicine.” From there, she utilized plant identification and medicinal herb books to sustainably and ethically harvest herbs for personal use. Then, she started saving seeds and growing her own. Eventually, she trained with herbalists she both trusted and respected.
According to Jaschke, “herbs are an incredibly accessible way to care for yourself and your health. Many of the herbs I offer literally grow in people’s back yards and with just a little education you can access them yourself.” She added, “I am always happy to make people herbal blends, but I am thrilled when I can teach them to go find them for themselves.”
The range of services Jaschke offers are designed to help individuals cope with a variety of life cycles, but her specialty is the birthing cycle. According to Jaschke, “It is a space that is ripe for empowerment.”
As a trauma-informed birth doula and birth educator Jaschke said, “I am able to advocate for my clients and their vision for their birth.” Jaschke draws from years of experience as both a homebirth midwife assistant and a nanny. She works with expectant mothers throughout the entire birthing process, starting with two-to-five meetings before the due date.
A doula can be especially helpful for new parents overwhelmed by all there is to learn about the birthing process. “I help carry that knowledge for them,” Jaschke said. During the pre-natal period, she talks with her clients about their birth plan, including their hopes, dreams, and fears. She also incorporates herbs, reiki, and pre-natal yoga. From 37 weeks onward, Jaschke remains on-call.
At the hospital, she is focused on advocating for the needs and wishes of the mother. Jaschke will “advocate for what you want so you’re not trying to hold these boundaries when you’re in this most transformative moment of (potentially) your whole life.”
Jaschke also works to ensure the mother is as comfortable as possible by dimming overhead lights, helping her move with freedom in birthing poses and answering questions based on her birth plan to ensure the mother is not distracted. She also helps to prepare the home by cooking, cleaning and making it as comfortable as possible.
After the birth, Jaschke spends another two-to-five sessions with the mother. One of her goals is to work on “story catching” or working with the birth story. “It’s such a powerful moment that sharing it and working with it can feel really important.” During the post-natal period Jaschke also provides herbal support for healing. She has an herbal line designed for pregnancy and post-partum along with salves for babies. She also helps to support the breast-feeding relationship between mother and baby. She might also support the family by cooking, cleaning, or watching the kids.
The benefits of working with a doula include increased reports of satisfaction with the birth experience, shorter recovery periods and improved breastfeeding success. Working with a doula has also been linked to reduced rates of c-sections, epidurals, and induction, along with reducing the rates of reported traumatic birth.
Overall, Jaschke said, “As I doula I witness this transformation in a family’s life and do all I can to make the transition as smooth and as easy as possible.” She also offers a quarterly birth education class along with fellow doula, Anna Peterson. The workshop is designed to prepare expecting parents for the full circle of the birthing process from pre- to post-partum.
Jaschke’s passion is working with individuals and tailoring her services to meet their needs. She practices confidentiality across the board with all her clients. Overall, she says, “I work with people one-on-one to bring transformation into their lives.” Jaschke offers a free, 30-minute consultation to anyone interested in working with her. To learn more about Jaschke, visit Jaschkemae.com, find Jaschke Mae on Facebook or email wellness@Jaschkemae.com.