Heaven on Earth seeks to provide comfort and spiritual connection
“From what I’ve been told, when people enter, they feel that they’ve just entered a space of comfort and they feel safe being here and they feel connected,” says Armanda Amaro, owner of Heaven on Earth Wellness on Main Street in Osoyoos.
The walls of her business are covered with inspirational messages and the shelves are decorated with symbols from Eastern and Western mysticism – Buddha figures, the Hindu elephant god Ganesha, Dreamcatchers, images of lotus flowers, and abstract paintings.
Amaro spends much of her time giving relaxing massages, but she emphasizes the connection between physical and spiritual.
“It’s not just about the physical body,” she says. “It’s about the emotional body. When I work with an individual, I work with connecting total body systems and that’s why I call Heaven on Earth ‘total body care and wellness,’ because it connects the brain to the body, and you can’t work with one without the other.”
Originally from the Okanagan – her mother and other family members still live in Oliver – she worked about 30 years as a baker for a grocery chain in Lethbridge, Alberta.
She’s long been interested in wellness and holistic medicine, and back in 2000 she began taking courses in reiki and other holistic healing. For a while she worked in a spa in Lethbridge, and she began running a wellness business there from her home.
When she became ill in Alberta, she returned to the Okanagan to be closer to family.
“Next thing I know, I stayed,” she says. “I found myself feeling like I was back home, and I decided it was time, so I quit my job at a baker and found the space on Main Street and put my energy into it.”
She opened her shop in Osoyoos in September of 2015.
At first, business was quiet, especially since she opened in the fall after the tourism season.
“There was a lot of tears and a lot of sweat,” she said. “I sat here behind this desk many times without a client. It was very quiet.”
One senior gentleman asked her if she was here to stay, or if she was just here to make some money and move on.
“I said, I’m opening in the fall and it’s very quiet, so I would say I’m here to stay if you’re willing to support me,” she recalls. “And he has been my client since then.”
It took her about three years to build a steady clientele, but today she has a large number of repeat customers.
“I’m very surprised and feel very blessed, but I am booking anywhere from four to six weeks ahead – which is bittersweet,” she said.
Now she subcontracts rooms to others who work in wellness services and operate under the Heaven on Earth name but book their own clients and run their own schedules.
Some customers come weekly, others biweekly or monthly or seasonally. Customers are both women and men, though they may come for different services. And although some are young adults, she sees more customers aged 40 and up.
In Lethbridge, her main services included waxing to remove body hair, and pedicures, along with reiki. She still does these in Osoyoos, along with foot soaks, hand soaks, pedicures, nails, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, and she even offers saunas and tanning.
But now she says her most popular services are massage and reiki.
She often does a combination of massage and reiki, a Japanese form of energy healing.
“The reason I decided to do the massage with the reiki was that a lot of people weren’t familiar with reiki, or weren’t comfortable,” she said. “Reiki is a very spiritual forma where it aligns your chakras. We go in and remove negative blocks… We have a lot of negative things attached to us – frustration, anxiety, stress. Reiki works in many forms by releasing these tensions. It’s a very spiritual thing.”
The technique of reiki involves Amaro’s hands levitating over the client, starting at the head, and going all the way down to the feet.
“At some levels you actually pick up energy on people’s bodies that is either cold or hot or tingling,” she said, noting that there is energy in everything.
Although reiki is known as hands-off healing, Amaro said she does touch clients with their permission.
“It’s not that I’m healing you,” she said. “I’m just the middle person. I’m the facilitator for your healing.”
As a Catholic, she prays to Jesus as a higher level of spirituality in the universe, asking that her hands be guided, but she says it’s not about religion.
“It’s literally about just being present,” she said. “With anything that you believe in that brings comfort, so for me it’s a spiritual connection… For me, spiritual is being connected to nature, to animals, and to just about everything that’s above us.”
Amaro says she creates an atmosphere in which her clients feel comfortable just by being herself.
“Everything I do, I do with passion,” she said. “I am true to my word. I am not here to sell and to keep people coming to me just because I need them financially. I want them to come to me because it’s a need and it’s also a comfort.”
Story and photos by Richard McGuire
Heaven on Earth Wellness
8315 Main Street,
Osoyoos, BC V0H 1V0