Certified End-of-Life Doula
State Licensed Massage Therapist
Nationally Board Certified Massage Therapist
Part-time adjunct instructor, Women's and
Gender Studies, EMU, BS, MLS
Jess remembers exchanging "treatments" with her maternal grandmother and mother, which meant, sharing comfort touch, tickles and scratches on the back, arms and hands. Jess still has a picture of herself when very young massaging her mumma’s shoulder. It wasn’t unheard of to share touch as a kid, but it wasn’t on her radar as her work in the world as an adult. When asked, what do you want to do when you grow up? She usually responded with: “dental hygienist, child psychologist, or sex therapist.” She remembers sitting in the room while her parents would get their chiropractic adjustments. Her formal introduction of bodywork and massage started when receiving craniosacral therapy after an ankle sprain in 1995 from falling into a deep hole, that after waking the next day she couldn’t open her jaw. This led Jess on a search for her own healing and desire to share with others and brought her to Reiki 1 attunement/ignition in 1996, by Reiki Master Ray O. Golden (now an ancestor), which eventually led to massage therapy school in 1997. Jess studied at the Ann Arbor Institute of Massage Therapy, soon after graduation in 1998, she was hired at a mind-body wellness center in Brighton and the rest unfolds from there.
Jess has taken numerous continuing education classes including:
CranioSacral Therapy, SomatoEmotional Release, Lymph Drainage Techniques, Final Touch Technique™, Massage Cupping™, Thai Yoga Massage, AromaTouch Technique™, and Reiki Master/Teacher Training.
She is a Nationally Certified, Licensed Massage Therapist and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association for 22 years, serving the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor areas.
Jess taught at the School of Orthopedic Massage in Ann Arbor for a number of years as well as being a primary instructor and student clinic supervisor for the Massage Therapy Program at Schoolcraft College for many years, as well.
Jess earned her Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies in Women’s Studies and a concentration in Leadership and Counseling from Eastern Michigan University in 1997 and is currently marking her 21st year in the classroom as an adjunct part-time lecturer at EMU, teaching undergraduate classes in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department. Alongside, teaching classes on campus, Jess has been teaching at Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility (WHV) since 2009, but specifically with the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program since 2011, taking 15 outside EMU students inside the prison to learn and collaborate with 15 inside students housed at WHV.
Among other interests, Jess was led to become trained as an End-of-Life Doula (EOLD) in 2016 through Lifespan Doulas. And became a certified EOLD and earned her proficiency badge through the National End-of-Life Doula Alliance (NEDA) in February of 2019. Since July 2017, Jess has worked independently and with a small collective of EOLDs in the area offering non-judgemental, non-medical, support, end-of-life massage, and resources for the dying and their beloveds and families. Jess has volunteered with several hospices since 2017 and currently is the only volunteer massage therapist for a local hospice. Jess has studied under Amy Wright Glenn at the Institute for the Study Birth, Breath and Death since July of 2019 and has successfully completed courses in Holding Space for Loving, Dying and Letting Go, Understanding World Religions for Birth and Death Doulas, Holding Space for Pregnancy Loss and will be embarking on an intensive teacher training on Holding Space for Loving, Dying and Letting Go with Amy from April to June of 2020.
Jess’s approach to facilitating healing and comfort sessions (and working with the dying and their families) is one of deep listening, holding space, intuition and skillful training. Having studied many massage and bodywork techniques, as well as, earth-based spiritual practices for over 2 decades, led many rituals, officiated many wedding ceremonies, taught and facilitated 1,000s of students in the classroom, supported and facilitated healing and comfort for many massage and bodywork clients over the years, her approach invites in all of these skills and more. Each session starts with deep listening and respect. When the client checks in with Jess, she begins to check in with their body, the subtle energy, and the emotional body. This deep listening continues throughout the session.
Jess allows the client’s body and soul to lead the session using a variety of modalities and intuition to best serve the client and their unique needs and concerns for that particular session.
Thank you for being here.
“Before coming to see Jessica, I had not had much experience with massage therapy. All I knew was that I had annoying and painful TMJ symptoms and in trying to find some relief, I decided to give massage therapy a try. I had been under chiropractic care for about ten years for my TMJ, and regular adjustments kept my symptoms somewhat manageable. But I can honestly say after ONE session with Jessica, my clicking jaw disappeared! I couldn't believe it! I drove home opening and closing my jaw over and over again just to make sure I was really experiencing a pain-free jaw with no popping. The intraoral work she does once a month for me has completely taken away my symptoms. Even my chiropractor is amazed! I can't say enough how much I appreciate and rely on Jessica's skills in making everyday activities like eating, yawning and even talking normally again!”
“I have been fortunate to receive bodywork from Jess for several years on a regular basis. I have come to her with my long term chronic pain issues, temporary ailments, and at times just the need to find rest and relaxation. All of my issues are met by her with love and care in her healing work. Often she is able to notice exactly where my body needs attention, even when I may not. My chronic TMJ has become more manageable from day to day and severe pain or jaw locking has become a rare experience. The atmosphere of her space is peaceful and provides instant relaxation. Know that when you visit Jess, you are in the hands of a great healer. I look forward to my visit every time.”
“Jessica Kilbourn is among the most talented bodyworkers that I have ever encountered. In addition to being exceptionally well-trained and knowledgeable, she brings a depth of grace, sensitivity, and compassion to her practice. Jess is the first and only massage therapist I have ever even considered sending my child to because she is so radiantly nurturing. Whether she is providing Reiki, deep tissue work, intraoral massage, or reflexology the experience is always one of profound healing and transformation.”
“Healing Ministry. I've been blessed to have benefited from the massage therapy of Jessica Kilbourn. The experience, for me, is one that provides mental, spiritual, and physical relief! It's more than a massage, it's a time to align the mind, body, and soul!! It's time to relax and refresh yourself. But it's also a quiet moment, full of peace, which allows the perfect chance for one to meditate and cleanse/clear their energy! I'm thankful to be a regular client of this blessed ministry! Healing mind, body, and soul!! “