The world sometimes feels hellbent on denying us the opportunity to heal. What we’re trying to do with this blog is break down some barriers, make healing accessible and easy to understand. In bringing you closer to your healing journey, we want to actually introduce you to the healers and guides of Healers & Guides.
Every episode of this article series will interview a different practitioner. We’ll have them share their journeys, their stories, their motivations, and their approaches to healing. In the process, we hope you’ll get to know them a bit more and consider reaching out to them for a consultation or to learn more about their practice.
We’ll start our series with Sumaya Holdijk, founder of Osana Family Wellness and a pillar of the Cairo community.
Tell us a little bit about your story and how it led to your practice today.
I grew up in a family where we only approached our health holistically. My parents are both homeopaths, I was never given any medication, so it was sort of inevitable.
I started studying homeopathy with my father when I was 18, when he started the first homeopathy course in Cairo.
I became a doula in 2010, and then I learned chi nei tsang—traditional Chinese abdominal massage—because I wanted to massage my birthing clients. So now I do both my doula work and massage, and I integrate a little bit of homeopathy in my practice as well.
And there’s also another element of your practice, how you can help someone decide what they need in their healing journey, if they should be focusing on spiritual, physical, emotional, or energetic work. If we start from the belief that healing is holistic—that we’re whole beings and everything connects together—how do you decide what someone should prioritize right now?
If somebody’s coming with severe physical issues, I wouldn’t recommend spiritual or energetic work. Because they’re physically depleted, and they need to get their physical body back to health.
Most physical issues root from emotional issues, but the problem is that at some point, it’s useless to work on the emotional and spiritual aspects without supporting the physical system first.
Sometimes, I’ll also recommend multiple modalities at the same time, not just the physical. It depends on the person and their issue, but I could for example recommend some family constellation work with maybe acupuncture and some nutrition. It completely depends on what’s coming up for them, what needs to be looked at, and what they can handle.
Let’s pick up on something you said about how healers will hold space. You’ve said that as a practitioner, it’s important for you to understand that you’re not the healer, you’re the vessel. Could you elaborate on that?
At the end of the day, there’s no one that can just heal you. People will hold space for you, but you need to do the work. And if you’re not ready and willing to do the work, then no matter what, you’re not going to get better. As practitioners, we’re just channels for the divine to work through.
It’s important to know that better health isn’t something you just come into—it’s in the way you live your life, it’s in your spiritual practice, it’s in your community, it’s in the food you eat, it’s in everything.
Even when it comes to massage, if the person doesn’t want to do the work, they’re not going to get better. If they don’t want to do the emotional work of why the blockage is there, that blockage will keep coming back.
The body is where most of your shit gets held. All of your emotions are held in your physical body. So if I’m working on the shoulder and the shoulder is stiff and tight and holding on to things, then that’s usually related to something emotional that’s being held there.
And I can hold space for that to be released, but at the end of the day, the person also needs to be willing to release that, willing to look at it, and willing to let it go.
You also organize women’s circles, can you explain why that work matters and what kind of power you find in those spaces?
I started setting up women’s circles five years ago. The idea is to bring women together, because sisterhood is extremely important. That’s where you find strength, and start to really understand what it means to be in the divine feminine.
It’s a very old tradition; women have always gathered together. This is where knowledge was passed on, where a safe space was held, where we learned about being women, and learned what it means to be held by women.
It’s very different from what’s happening now, especially with patriarchy and the way that modern society is set up with women competing against each other.
It’s also very important for men to also have brotherhood, and for them to gather, and do activities together and connect and be vulnerable in front of each other. And that’s something that’s been lost—but lately more and more people are coming together and creating these groups.
If you had the opportunity to offer one thing to a very large group of people—be it an everyday practice, or advice, or a lesson—what would it be?
I would say an opportunity to connect consciously to the divine through a daily, mindful effort. I believe the divine exists within all of us. So whether you believe in the divine or not, having a daily practice that allows you to really be within yourself and to connect.
And that basically consists of compassion—for yourself and for others—forgiveness, and gratitude. All of these things are really important to have as a daily practice in your life.
When you develop that daily gratitude practice, it actually changes the way that you view the world. Things start shifting, so what we can do is just make sure we integrate these things into our life, whether it’s through prayer, having an altar or dedicated space, or just consciously thinking about the things you’re grateful for.
Learn more about Sumaya Holdijk and book a free 15-minute consultation here.