ASHEBORO — Most Americans don’t even realize there is a Native American Pow Wow circuit that awards cash prizes to its top dancers. Jeanette Egan not only knows of the events but follows them up and down the East Coast.
But here are her own words:
“We have been traveling artists on the Native American Pow Wow Circuit for the last six years. What we realized is that as grueling as the travel and work is to set up for these events, it's even harder on the dancers and drummers that compete up to 10 hours a day for 2-3 days. I returned to school and became a licensed massage therapist in December of 2023 so that we can offer on-site sports massage therapy (pre- and post-event) for the participants.
“This allows us to set up at pow wows and provide a service that is normally unavailable at these events. This also allows us to have some weekday, after work and evening hours to provide the same organic healing services to the greater Asheboro community.
“Our focus is Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT) which is a treatment for trigger points, which are small contractions in muscle fibers that cause pain, weakness and discomfort in a referred area. NMT is a soft tissue therapy that may help alleviate movement/stiffness issues and we encourage folks to come and sign up for a 30-minute neuromuscular therapy session to try out a holistic, healing hands approach without the medications or smelly creams.
“We bring the therapeutic touch, in combination with aromatherapy when acceptable to the forefront of massage. Relaxation may help you for a few hours but some healing relief can put the smile back on your face.”
Egan’s website is https://crossbreezepyrography.com/deep-reflexions. She received her license to practice massage therapy in December and has opened a shop upstairs at Brightside Gallery, 170 Worth St.reet, Asheboro, where she held an opening reception on Jan. 22. She calls her business Healing Hands with the Native Touch.
To call Egan a Renaissance woman is not an exaggeration. She’s also an artist in wood burning, having displayed her works at the NC State Fair’s Village of Yesteryear; had her own design business specializing in beach houses; has set up solar-thermal systems; and can play the flute.
But her focus now is massage therapy, particularly neuromuscular.
So how did she become involved in pow wows?
Egan is an indigenous Taino of Puerto Rico. Although born in the Bronx, NY, she spent her elementary school years in Puerto Rico before returning to New York. She moved to North Carolina in 1997, spending several years in Wilmington.
How did she come to Asheboro? “By the grace of God,” she laughed. In 2011, she said, “We came to visit the zoo and I absolutely loved it. The countryside was more like when I lived in Puerto Rico.”
Egan met Mary Murkin of Brightside Gallery through her artwork and continues to have wood burning items there. She also played her flute during a musical event at the gallery.
But she has kept up with her Taino culture, which led her to attend pow wows held from Florida to Maine, from March to November. The main event at a pow wow is the dancing by colorfully dressed Native Americans.
Egan feels a kinship with the various tribes through her Taino background. She takes her artwork to sell at pow wows. But she noticed something that concerned her.
“The pow wow dancers are in a grueling competition for prize money they use for college or cars or living expenses. They endure intense schedules but there are never services for them on-site,” she said.
“My goal is to get sponsorships so I don’t have to charge small fees. I can recruit other massage therapists to help.”
Egan said the age range for the dancers is from toddler to seniors. They often dance 8-10 hours a day for two or three days. And they also need to keep up their native regalia, which can cost into the thousands of dollars.
“It’s hard on their bodies,” Egan said. “Their endurance is mind boggling. I want to say, ‘Hey, where does it hurt?’ and help them.
“I can do relaxation (massage) but I want to help people move better rather than medications,” she said.
Egan is now accepting applications for massage sessions. They can be scheduled on her website. Clients can do full hour massages or break them up into minisessions.