Matthew Galena is a dedicated massage practitioner and instructor who has been honing his craft as a hobbyist, enthusiast and explorer since his middle school years in 1989. He has been operating on Maui for over 14 years, and has been in private practice overall for 20 years.
Growing up in rural Virginia, Matthew was introduced to the world of bodywork through a severe muscle injury at age 11, teaching himself in the years that followed how to successfully restore his body, despite ongoing professional discouragement that there was little that could be done to help.
By high school graduation, Matthew was already a fairly effective practitioner of the basics, but was also on a path to James Madison University for a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science. After spending a few years working as a software developer for The Rosetta Stone, he returned to his path as a healer, graduating from the Virginia School of Massage, and immediately going into private practice in 2003.
Shortly after graduating from VASOM, Matthew was initiated into the Thai healing traditions by Pierce Salguero, founder of the then-titled Tao Mountain School of Traditional Thai Massage, and formerly Director of Research for the Thai Institute of Healing Arts. Matthew was so enamored by this holistic approach to bodywork that he converted nearly overnight. Following apprenticeships, advanced trainings, internships and assistant teaching positions with Pierce, Matthew was certified as an instructor of the Shivagakomarpaj Lineage in late 2004.
Matthew then furthered his training by traveling to Thailand many times in the following years to study with honored instructors and institutions, including the Shivagakomarpaj Institute or "Old Medicine Hospital" of Chiang Mai, the royal massage school Wat Pho in Bangkok, Master Pichest Boonthumme in Hang Dong (who recently passed in August 2023), and the Lek Chaiya Nervetouch School (traditions now carried on by Jack Chaiya Massage, here you can read Jack's tribute to Mama Lek Chaiya, and this tribute by Janice Vitavec.)
In 2007, Matthew completed a 200-Hour instructor training with Yoga Works while affiliated with (the former) Georgetown Yoga, in Washington DC, adding new perspectives in body awareness and movement therapy to his practice (while also commissioned to teach the preceeding anatomy portion of the class to his fellow classmates.)
During a research trip to Thailand that same year, Matthew observed that many of the energetic "connections" uniquely described and pointed to by Pichest Boonthamme sounded much like myofascial tissue structures. Upon his return to the US, Matthew sought foundational instruction with the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration where he became more fully aware of the body's interconnective myofascial network. With the help of Advanced Rolfer Thomas Myers' body of work on myofascial meridians, or "Anatomy Trains," Matthew recognized similar threads of energy manipulated by Thai, myofascial and structural therapists, and has since worked for the last 16 years to understand how they are entwined, to bring their benefits to his students and clientele.