INSPIRING MACROBIOTIC TEACHERS

 

 The Directors 

 Oliver Cowmeadow

Oliver is co-director and founder of the International Macrobiotic School and is the lynchpin of the professional training courses. He brings more than 30 years of experience to his teaching and health counselling, beginning his study of macrobiotics  and shiatsu in 1980 in London.

He travelled to Boston USA and around Europe to deepen his studies with Michio and Aveline Kushi and other leading teachers, and in 1984 he moved to the south west of England where he has been teaching and practicing as a macrobiotic health counsellor and shiatsu therapist ever since.

He has seen a very wide range of clients over the past 32 years, and helped thousands of people find greater health. In the 1990’s he studied person-centred emotional counseling and rebirthing, and often includes the emotional side of healing in his holistic consultations.

In 1985, Oliver founded one of the first shiatsu schools in the country, and over the next 29 years trained hundreds of shiatsu practitioners. In 2003 he founded the International Macrobiotic School with his partner Marijke de Coninck stemming from his passion for high standards of education and in depth training for practitioners.

Having worked for the Shiatsu Society for seven years setting up training standards for the profession in the UK, in 2006 he initiated the same process for macrobiotics within the Macrobiotic Association.

He is respected for his deep knowledge of macrobiotic and natural healing, and with a degree in Zoology also brings relevant scientific information to his teaching and practice. He has written five books on macrobiotics and shiatsu, and continues to work hard to bring his passion for empowering people to take care of their own health and lives with Oriental medicine and natural healing to as many people as possible.

Marijke De Coninck

Marijke De Coninck is co-director and founder of the International Macrobiotic School. She is the mother of four grown up children and the grandmother of five.

She was diagnosed with lung tuberculosis as a child and developed a severe scoliosis after that. In 1979, she started with yoga and macrobiotics and this way of living helped her to live life much more fully.

She is a sought-after counsellor and teacher, and has helped thousands of people on their healing journeys. She is also a very good cook and has been writing two cook books together with her daughter Tine, who runs the famous vegan/macrobiotic restaurant in Ghent, Avalon.

She is the driving motor behind the school in the UK and the restaurant in Belgium. Her knowledge and charismatic personality inspires people. She runs two summer weeks, every year in Belgium for advanced students and beginners.

 

The Teachers

  Emma Cunis

Emma is an inspiring teacher, counsellor and practitioner of macrobiotics. Having transformed her own health and life, Emma feels passionately about offering the same opportunity to others.

Her empathic approach has helped empower students and clients to develop their own potential; intuitive abilities; and to resolve or lessen health issues such as IBS, ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, eczema, hayfever, thinning hair, muscle stiffness, persistent colds/flu, migraines, dark circles and puffiness, jaw tension and stress.

Emma previously worked in corporate businesses in London, New York and Hong Kong for 20 years. 
 

 

 Sarah Hill

It was a desire to find a more natural and healthier way of life, and to help her to overcome some health challenges, that led chef Sarah Hill to macrobiotics and then to volunteer as a kitchen assistant at the Macrobiotic School in 2008.

It was the start of new journey for the chemist-turned-chef, who moved into mainstream cooking from a science background, allowing her to develop her experience with wholefoods cookery. She worked in a cafe and then in a family-run hotel kitchen.

After being introduced to macrobiotics in 2006, Sarah arrived in the school’s kitchen two years later, then worked with us as a cook for two years before her daughter arrived. She has completed the school’s three year training course and is qualified as a macrobiotic specialist cook and health advisor. Sarah lives in Totnes with her partner and three-year-old daughter.

 

Nicky Clinch

Nicky is a dynamic and inspiring teacher, counsellor and chef. Having transformed her own life and health, she has become a passionate advocate for the importance of holistic self-healthcare and personal development.

She describes her goal as being to empower others to re-connect with their own trusted intuition and power. She says: “20 years ago, in the depths of addiction, eating disorders and health issues, I never thought I’d see a day past 30. Now healthy, strong and full of life, I am living a life I never dreamed. We all have the power within us to transform ourselves, often we just need the right teachers to show us the way.”

A qualified Macrobiotic Chef, Counsellor and Specialist Healing Cook, Nicky runs her own thriving business in London and teaches her own six-week course “Transform Your Diet, Transform Your Life”. Now married and a mother she raises her daughter through macrobiotics.
 

Lucie Thring

Lucie's first experience of Shiatsu was as a young child and the seed was set. After several years of general education, a graphic design BTEC, various work and dabbling in the arts, she came back round to Shiatsu when she received a session after her first child and she knew that Shiatsu was what she wanted to be doing. She says it gave her the support she needed at that time, meeting her on on a very deep level.


After completing the three years at the Devon School of Shiatsu, she went straight on to being a teaching assistant for three years, having a busy practice in Cornwall and holding workshops at yoga camps and festivals.
Always enthusiastic to broaden and deepen her skills, she has done various courses including Structural Alignment with Saul Goodman, Central – Channel release with BSS teachers, Seiki-Soho with Akinobu Kishi and Macrobiotic short courses at the International Macrobiotic school.

Currently based in Devon, she has a busy practice in Exeter and Totnes and is a  keen Taiko drummer.
 

 Kirsty Hurd-Thomas

Kirsty has a background in drama and movement work and has been practising body-based work all of her adult life. These practices continue to include contact dance, five rhythms, movement of being and Qi-gong.

She graduated from the Devon School of Shiatsu in 2009, and has had a private Shiatsu practice ever since. She continues her studies with regular post-graduate courses including Movement Shiatsu. As well as her private practice and teaching, Kirsty works for a detox retreat where she offers Shiatsu and abdominal treatments.

At the moment she is developing some work with a colleague exploring how we can become more present to touch. She lives in Totnes with her family.

 

Bini Sharman

Bini is a macrobiotic chef, counsellor, and shiatsu therapist. Running her own business, she supports individuals and groups that want to make healthy changes in their lives, by offering a combination of wholesome cooking, coaching and shiatsu treatments.

As well as her work with the school, currently, she is offering holistic health retreats in France and the Netherlands, providing introductory courses to macrobiotic cooking and theory. This includes cooking workshops on food and femininity, fall and spring detox, and immunity boosting. On a regular basis, she works work as a retreat chef at Puyssentut centre for people dealing with or recovering from cancer. She also gives private food coaching sessions, shiatsu massage and counselling.

A few times a year, she runs a small pop-up restaurant in collaboration with artists and musicians in her living room. And she teaches healing cooking at the Shiatsu School in The Hague. 

Over the past few years, she has developed her own product line of Bini’s Balls, bite-sized healthy snacks, which sell in local health food shops in the Netherlands and ship on-demand. Born in Germany, she lived in the UK and Canada for many years, and is currently based in the Netherlands, in Rotterdam and on a farm on the island Texel.

 

Suzanne Uren 

Suzanne has been working as a counsellor and shamanic healer/energy therapist for 25 years, having completed a four-year diploma in counselling and three years of shamanic training.

In her counselling practice she offers breath work, body work, soul retrieval, past life healing, re-birthing, movement ritual and sound healing. She aims to create a safe environment for people to explore, unravel and clear what occludes them from being their true alive selves. In this way she hopes to support self responsibility for emotions which in turn can facilitate self empowerment. She specialises in inner child healing and sexuality issues. Suzanne also works in outdoor nature based ceremony/therapy on Dartmoor, including vision quests and shorter nature retreats.

She works with many issues and is interested in the connection between our spirituality, mental health, physical well-being, emotional connectedness and food. She believes that the self discovery of this inter- connectedness within us to what is outside is a deeply empowering healing.

 

Keith Belliss

Keith teaches all of the western anatomy, physiology and pathology on our courses. He first trained in Sport Science, and has been working at a physical rehabilitation centre since 1990.

Keith studied Shiatsu at the Devon School of Shiatsu, and now has a private practice, as well as introducing shiatsu to the Nuffield Hospital in Exeter.

His teaching is renowned for being lively and easily understood, especially for those with little prior study of this subject.
 

 

 

Visiting teachers

Michael Rossoff L.Ac

Michael brings over 40 years of experience and dedication in natural healing to his teaching and personal counselling. He is recognised and respected for his articulate, organised way of conveying valuable and fascinating information. He translates profound wisdom into practical, useful and applicable knowledge. His teaching inspires students not only in caring for their own health needs, but also in guiding others in healthy living and eating.

In 1969, Michael began his journey of personal change by discovering macrobiotics. At that time he studied with Michio Kushi, joining other early students who gathered for classes in Boston’s “study houses”. A couple of years later, Michael went to study acupuncture and oriental healing with J.R. Worsley, in England, before schools for acupuncture were available in the United States.

By 1975 he had set up a personal counselling and acupuncture practice in his home town, Washington, DC and the Maryland suburbs. He also began offering classes, from one-evening public lectures to extended advanced study programs. In more recent years, he has was dean at a North Carolina acupuncture school and taught shiatsu massage at local massage schools.

Michael’s teaching draws on over 40 years of experience. He has taught beginning to advanced levels, from evening lectures to extended courses. In addition to cities in the United States, he has been popular in other countries — England most often, also Italy, Israel, Croatia and Portugal.

Michael continues his journey as a student of both western medicine and eastern health practices. He currently maintains a private counselling and acupuncture practice in Asheville, NC, in the mountains of Appalachia. He has counselled many thousands of people, of all ages and health conditions, helping them regain greater health and wellbeing.
 

Anna MacKenzie 

Anna qualified and worked first as a designer, then in Macrobiotics at the Community Health Foundation in London and Kiental.

She has been teaching, catering and leading workshops in macrobiotic cuisine and nutrition, healing and home remedies, yoga and movement and the Art of Space Clearing, for many years in different countries.

She sees that an open, generous macrobiotic way of life and philosophy is a sound basis for a healthy, ecological, spiritual culture and sustainable future.

Taught by Aveline Kushi, Denny Waxman, Denise Linn among others, she considers nature to be a remarkable teacher. She also and enjoys gardening and counselling. Anna is a past chairman of the Macrobiotic Association.
 

Karin Baank

Karin began macrobiotics with her partner more than 30 years ago, and they have raised two children the macrobiotic way. She says they are all on a voyage of discovery with macrobiotics.

She started her training at the Kushi Institute in Amsterdam and has worked at the East West Centre in Rotterdam, Amsterdam and the East West Centre in Antwerp.

Cooking is her passion and she loves to take students on a journey to enjoy and experience what macrobiotic food can do for body and mind. Her style of teaching is both playful and inspirational.

 

 

Francisco Varatojo

Francisco is the director of the Macrobiotic Institute of Portugal and author of several books, as well as being a regular contributor to various newspapers, magazines and TV shows in Portugal.

He has given numerous lectures in Portuguese and International institutions and is a regular teacher at many macrobiotic centres in Europe.

Francisco was the president of the International Macrobiotic Assembly for six years and has been responsible for an international wellness clinic in Spain.

In 2010 he was awarded the Aveline Kushi Award for his work in the development of macrobiotics and the establishment of health and peace.

 

 

The office staff

Martin Hope - office manager

Since a young age, Martin has been passionate about wholefoods and their relationship to health, wholeness and healing. He spent 25 years in the Far East with 18 of them spent in Japan working in a macrobiotic natural food company.

His work involved promoting the traditional grain-based diets of Japan and supporting local food artisans to use traditional and natural methods in the production of food staples such as miso, shoyu, salted plums and vinegars. The onus of the company was on supporting organic farming and connecting farmers to the general public.

He opened a Macrobiotic wholefood vegan café in Japan which fulfilled a dream of creating a space where wholesome, locally grown and produced products were the core of the menu.

Martin has also studied wholefood nutrition and healing from both Eastern and Western perspectives with Paul Pitchford, and studied Shiatsu both in the US and Japan along with cranial sacral therapy.

Tina Burchill - marketing manager

Tina first stepped into the ‘alternative’ world as a teenager, when she became a vegetarian and a passionate advocate for the green movement (both uncommon in those days).

After a career as a journalist in local newspapers and then as a freelance, she eventually re-trained as a homeopath, having discovered this system of medicine when her son was a baby suffering from severe eczema.

Qualifying in 2005 from the Devon School of Homeopathy, she has spent many years treating patients with a wide range of health issues, becoming increasingly aware of how important food is in both recovering from ill health and staying healthy.

As well as her homeopathic practice, she has written various columns and articles on homeopathy and alternative health, and has worked as a marketing consultant for the Society of Homeopaths. She is currently the editor of their Journal.

Tina re-located to Devon in July 2015, and as marketing manager with the school, has been enjoying learning more about the macrobiotic approach. Tina also has a passionate interest in mythology and wilderness, and is part of the faculty team at the West Country School of Myth and Story, run by Dr Martin Shaw.

Bini Sharman - kitchen manager

 As well being an excellent macrobiotic cook and teacher (see above), Bini has fantastic organisational skills that she is putting to work managing the school's kitchen.