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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Diverse healing center in Berlin

(Sept. 29, 2016) Tucked in a small, round building in a peaceful section of woods near her home on 8341 Libertytown Road in Berlin, Chantal Birch Ashton operates a healing arts business that combines aspects of Reiki, yoga, and her background in herbal studies.
Ashton’s training includes a degree in that field from American College of Health Sciences and two years of additional study with well-known herbalist Rosemary Gladstar.
She also holds E-RYT 200 credentials with the Yoga Alliance, meaning she is an experienced yoga instructor with more than 1,000 hours of teaching experience and one year of training exclusively in yoga therapy with integrative yoga therapy.
“I’ve been adding little things and I’ve been at it for a while – one thing will lead me to another,” she said. “Now it’s to the point where I kind of weave all those things together under the guise of health coaching – a lot can fall under that, depending on where people are on their journey.”
A certified Reiki master, she teaches the subject and holds regular sessions. Reiki is a Japanese treatment that involves laying hands on a the subject and transferring energy from one or more persons to the treatment recipient.
“My past students will come and we’ll do a Reiki share, which is really nice. It’s a good way for us all to get together and share this healing practice,” she said. “One person will lie on a table and we all get around, so you get a very intense Reiki treatment. When that person is done, we rotate and another person gets on the table. It’s really nice, because a lot of times when you’re doing this kind of work you’re giving out a lot and you don’t get it back.
“I also do a lot with vibrational healing,” she added. “We use the drum and we use rattles and things like that to help clear energy blockages in the body. It’s a very ancient practice, which has been around from indigenous cultures for a long time.”
Her space, a circular yurt with hardwood floors and a dome ceiling that looks onto a lush canopy of trees, was inspired by a similar space where she worked with Gladstar.
“I like the circular shape – all the buildings that we build are square, but when you look at nature, everything is round. You don’t see square trees,” she said. “I think that’s one thing that really makes it a nice space is the circle, and when we have groups in here who come for meditation we sit in the circle. In a circle everyone is equal. It’s kind of a balancing thing, which I think is really apt.”
She also offers Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) sessions on others parts of the expansive property.  
“Usually, when I work with the horses, it’s someone coming out specifically for that,” she said. “Most of the time they’re curious and they just want to check you out and see what it’s like. We’ll start out talking a little bit and do a little bit of yoga, that kind of gets them more in their body and letting go of their everyday stuff, and then we’ll go out and work with the horses.
“The horse is free most of the time and the person is in there interacting with the horse without a halter, and nothing is forced or coerced,” Ashton continued. “Then we come out and we’ll explore what happened in there.”
The property, which includes a stable of five horses, is called “Solas Aisling.” Ashton said that name was chosen to “connect the property to [her] ancestral roots and the healing work that I offer there.”
“Solas, meaning radiant or bright, and Aisling (pronounced Ash-ling) means healing vision, in particular a vision of healing for the earth/land in Irish, so the property as well as the healing arts work I do there offer healing and reflect that vision,” she said.
Ashton said she feels like she is “finally at a point where everything is coming together” in terms of all the unique aspects of her work weaving together.
“My passion, really, is the energy work and the drumming and all of that. I think that’s really cool, and we do that in the women’s circle. Last weekend we had a group of about 12 women, and each month it’s been growing since we started in May,” she said.
For more information, call 410-251-9982 or visit www.chantalbirch. com.