Farcia De'Toles Medearis and her husband, Tayari Medearis, are the founders and owners of the , a local massage, body wrap and healing dance temple. This dynamic duo graced me with their story one afternoon as we sat wrapped in the warmth of the Healing Hut’s waiting room.
Below, I will share their history as well as a look into their future, as the Healing Hut transitions to a new location in downtown San Leandro.
The Story of the Healing Hut
Farcia Medearis grew up in Liberia, West Africa. Her grandmother was always gathering herbs and giving them to people who sought an alternative to hospital treatment. She also led traditional West African healing dances.
Thanks to her grandmother, Medearis absorbed a deep appreciation for dance and movement in healing. She's made it a pillar of her treatment philosophy—indeed, it inspired the name of her business.
“Natural Rhythms" describes the method Medearis developed and in which she now trains her practitioners. In involves tuning in to one’s own body rhythm and that of the client in order to give a treatment that is sensitive to the individual’s present needs and facilitates his or her inner ability to heal.
Medearis immigrated to the Bay Area as an early teen, and has accumulated an extensive education in massage and dance arts.
Besides massage, which she's been doing since 1999, Medearis offers classes and workshops in Neuromuscular Integrative Action, or Nia. Nia is a fusion of dance and martial arts intended to be therapeutic for mind, body and spirit.
Medearis is also trained in African healing dance therapy.
Tayari Medearis, a native of San Francisco, grew up in a family in which helping people was part of everyday life. His passion for developing organizations and making peoples’ lives a little better was a perfect addition to Farcia’s therapeutic skills.
The two say they've taken many leaps of faith to realize their vision for The Healing Hut.
Tayari’s kind and welcoming voice booked me for a massage the same day I called to make the appointment. My experience there lived up to the couple's intention of making people feel welcome and comfortable. They do this by “meet[ing] [people] where they are at,” says Tayari.
Clients come in for different reasons, whether to relieve emotional or physical stress, or as a treat to pamper themselves, and they will get just what they are looking for. This is in part thanks to the intake form, which felt more like a call to express my needs than a waiver. It was apparent that my massage therapist actually read it, too, because she focused on exactly what I had outlined on the form.
The massage itself was amazing, and the whole experience lived up to the owners’ aspiration to have the treatment begin with the greeting and end with the goodbye. Sarah, my practitioner, offered me a glass of water before and after the massage, and her calm and gentle demeanor alone reduced my stress.
Although petite, Sarah was surprisingly strong and agile, even getting up on the massage table to lift my arms in traction and do other stretches. She had a wonderful way of lengthening and loosening tension, while also placing her hands on me in a very grounding way.
An hour and a half later, I was convinced that the Healing Hut offers something very special. The rhythmic focus helps the body integrate the treatment, and many different modalities are combined to give comprehensive and diverse care.
Farcia and Tayari are proud of the diversity in not just their treatment modalities, but also in their practitioners and clientele. The team of massage therapists includes individuals from Thailand, Japan, Philippines and Trinidad, to name a few. They all approach the work as healing, as well as a “pampering” treat.
The Hut welcomes clients from all walks of life—no matter age, gender, sexual orientation, body type or background. It is based on the village model from Farcia’s experience in Africa, where each member of the community is cherished.
What the future holds
The Healing Hut's new location at 1475 E. 14th St., Suite A, will accommodate this village feeling even more than the quaint hut on Estudillo Street, which has been home to Natural Rhythms for almost nine years.
The new reception and waiting rooms boast an African motif, featuring hand-painted murals by Farcia’s brother. The space can open into one gathering area for events and special guests.
A long hallway undulates along the curves of the rounded treatment rooms, transforming an industrial office suite into a soft-feeling hut. Rich browns, reds and purples further transport one from San Leandro’s commercial center to a far-away healing temple.
There are four treatment rooms and a training room; an expansion from the previous location.
When I asked the pair what they thought of San Leandro, they both said they like the quiet. Farcia considers herself a “small town girl” and appreciates that while San Leandro is not too busy, it also offers a wide range of cultures.
Tayari is grateful for the vast and rapid growth he has seen in the town. He said San Leandro has come a long way from being fraught with racial tension, and has grown very fast both culturally and economically.
They plan to stay.
“It’s been good to us,” Tayari says of the city. The two have a loyal staff and clientele, and hope that the new storefront on East 14th Street will attract more foot traffic.
Next week is a great time to stop by and check it out, or if you already know the old Hut, get to know it’s new home. Doors open on Wednesday, Feb. 23.
Call 510-352-2020 to make an appointment or to bet on the Healing Hut email list for exclusive deals and offers. A complete list of services is available on the Hut's website.