About Laura

Laura Garrard is an artist, writer, licensed and board certified massage & bodywork therapist, certified Upledger CranioSacral Therapist-Techniques, sound healer, and Reiki master teacher who lives in Port Angeles, Washington. Her professional membership and insurance reside with Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals.

Prior to her career shift to massage & bodywork, Garrard worked in Nashville publishing after she earned a master’s in news-editorial journalism. She worked as an editor, production manager and proofreader for the Country Music Foundation Press, Rutledge Hill Press, and Thomas Nelson Books.

Then Garrard attended the Cumberland Institute for Holistic Therapies in Brentwood, Tennessee, where she completed her certification in massage therapy. While earning this degree, she contributed to fundraising endeavors at the League for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as a part-time special projects assistant, grant writer, and annual campaign manager.

The mountains of the West called, however, so after several months of operating her own massage business in Nashville, Garrard moved to Jackson, Wy., to pursue her careers in massage therapy, art, and writing. She worked in resort spas like Amangani, then opened a private practice, Attuned Healing, which she operated for 15 years.

In 2020, she and her husband relocated to Olympic National Park of Port Angeles, Washington. She owns Attuned Healing, an Energy & Sound Therapy Practice, writes and publishes poetry, creates art, and practices distance Reiki through a monthly Remote (Zoom) Reiki Circle. She also plays guitar and hikes, kayaks, and paddleboards.

12×9″ acrylic painting on canvas.

In addition to her certifications in massage therapy, lymphatics, CranioSacral Therapy and Reiki, Garrard holds a bachelor’s in advertising and public relations and a master’s in communications, with a journalism focus and a women’s studies concentration. Her academic honors include Magna Cum Laude undergraduate distinction, Kappa Tau Alpha journalism honor society membership in both degrees, and a full academic scholarship and stipend for graduate study at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Following her undergraduate work at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and an internship with the advertising department of Harcourt Brace Publishing, she joined a competitive advertising agency in the Dallas–Fort Worth area. Her first full-time professional positions of assistant media buyer and advertising executive prepared Garrard to work directly with clients and respond to their needs. This mid-sized agency, called Dally Advertising, presented opportunities for crossover work in design and copywriting. It was this combination of skills that earned Garrard her graduate assistantship at UT-Knoxville’s nationally recognized Journalism School.

Laura’s family.

While in graduate school, Garrard completed a news/editorial internship as a reporter at the Farragut Press Enterprise (40,000+ circulation), where she contributed over 30 stories and also feature articles on health-related issues. Her work as a graduate assistant gained her additional publications in the UT Department of Communications’ alumni journal, and also graphic design experience, as she created the Tennessee High School Press Association newsletter over three semesters. In addition to her editorial training, Garrard developed graphic and illustrative skills that would bring her contractual work throughout her career – at a point she cultivated a niche promoting speakers and authors.

16×12″ pen and ink on illustration board.

After completing her master’s program, Garrard decided to pursue employment in the field of book publishing. Her largest project as an editorial project manager was The Encyclopedia of Country Music – published by Oxford University Press – which included over 1,200 articles written by 130 authors. She also served as the editorial assistant and production manager of the Journal of Country Music, to which she contributed articles. A full-time position as editorial assistant of the Country Music Foundation Press in Nashville evolved into the role of graphic design production manager for the entire foundation.

Garrard eventually managed and created over 300 print projects a year, marketing the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. These jobs often required her personal contribution of copywriting, graphic design, and illustration as well as print production management of brochures, signs, exhibit displays, ads, website imagery, banners, billboards, flyers, invitations and more.

Meanwhile, Garrard continued to flex her editorial skills through copyediting, proofreading and indexing for Rutledge Hill Press and Thomas Nelson Books in Nashville. She also contributed book revues to the Nashville Woman tabloid newspaper as a member of the Women’s National Book Association, where she served as Board Member for two years. She sold her black and white art drawings at a Nashville gallery and exhibited pieces in member shows of local art organizations. Plus, it was in Nashville that Garrard began to ballroom dance, as an extension of her childhood love of dancing ballet.

20×16″ mixed media on canvas.

In addition to art and dance, the outdoors has been a love of hers since youth, when Garrard traveled the West with her family on camping trips. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama, but also lived in New Jersey and then seven years in Northern California before her family moved to Nashville when she was almost 13.

While living in California, the Garrards visited Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Lake Shasta, Big Bear, Yellowstone, the Tetons, and many other dramatic, western wilderness areas. As an adult, she took up cycling and backpacking to tour roads and trails in Alaska, Montana, Virginia, Scotland, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. Her cycling culminated in a fundraising bike ride that traveled from Fairbanks to Anchorage, Alaska – she raised over $6,000 to support AIDS Vaccine research and participated in the 2001 Alaska AIDS Vaccine Ride.

As an environmental activist, Garrard organized events in Nashville for the Alaska Wilderness League in an effort to prevent oil drilling on the Coastal Plain of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. She also served on the advisory board of Team Green, an outdoors recreational club in Nashville, and contributed through community volunteer work with SaddleUp! Nashville (Therapeutic Riding Association), and the National MS Society.

Laura’s first Jackson neighborhood.

In Jackson, Garrard sung with the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole choir, served as a church deacon, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and St. John’s Living Center, where she and a fellow therapist led an activity called “Music and Massage” with the elderly residents there. She volunteered at the Teton Raptor Center at the beginning of COVID.

Every year, she donated bodywork gift certificates to silent auctions generating money for local nonprofits. In 2006, Garrard opened her own massage and art studio located in downtown Jackson at 430 South Jackson St. Her office resided in a suite of offices within the Jackson Holistic Healing Center. Garrard performed massage in reputable spas, such as Amangani and Shooting Star, and participated in local holistic events such as the St. John’s Health Fair, the Wellness Institute’s Festival, Destination Wellness, the Eco-Fair, the Harvest Festival, and Relay for Life. Prior to the pandemic, her work focused on energetic and health-focused therapies.

Healing on Lake Crescent.

In October 2020, she and her husband relocated to Port Angeles, Wa. In the same timing, she received a shocking cancer diagnosis of a plasmacytoma, a singular myeloma tumor. Garrard took a break from employment to heal herself through proton therapy at Mayo Clinic, acupuncture, and Reiki, and also attend to her creative writing. In 2021-22, the disease that created the rare tumor, now successfully treated, progressed into multiple myeloma. She decided to treat it using a three-drug combination, immunotherapy infusions and oral anti-angiogenesis medications, through the Olympic Medical Cancer Center. At five months, Garrard took a break from this protocol, and the myeloma amount remained reduced and stable using one oral medication. In faith, Garrard continues to take one medication and anti-angiogenesis natural supplements–along with utilizing holistic therapies of prayer, Reiki, sauna, acupuncture, sound healing, CranioSacral Therapy, and Meyer’s cocktail IVs–to control myeloma. She has realized significant healing within her bones over the last year and a half.

In January, 2024, she gained her Washington licensure in massage therapy. As well, Garrard has rented an office in Port Angeles at 634 E. 8th Street and plans for a February opening of a new practice focusing on relaxation, stress reduction, and energetic balancing utilizing Reiki, her own Heart Balancing and Heart-Directed Therapy, CranioSacral Therapy, sound therapy, aromatherapy, and infra-red and light therapy.

Her bodywork education has included Certification in Swedish Massage, Certification in the Techniques of CranioSacral Therapy; SomatoEmotional Release Therapy; Certification in Manual Lymph Drainage and Complete Decongestive Therapy; Thai Massage training in Chiang Mai, Thailand; Reiki Master Teacher training in Jackson; and Yoga Instructor training (200 hour level) at Neesha Zollinger’s School of Anusara Yoga in Jackson. She taught Reiki in Jackson for 11 years and also Anusara Yoga at Akasha for 3 years.

24×18″ pen and ink on paper.

The images and lines of nature and dance have influenced Garrard’s artwork, both in her black and white ink drawings and also in her colorful acrylic paintings. The surrounding beauty in Jackson has inspired her to paint landscapes as well as abstracts that express spirituality and emotion. In February 2011, Garrard’s abstract paintings, which she created for a play set of a Riot Act production, were shown at a solo show at Shade’s Cafe.  In August 2014, she collaborated with Erin Ashlee Smith and David Bowers to create an art show, “Breathe,” at Intencions Gallery. She showed a special collection of emotional works inspired by her poetry and short essays. This unique combination of photography, painting, dance, music, and poetry inspired a deep response in viewers due to various sense inputs. A similar pairing of her art and writing appeared in Teton Spirit Magazine summer 2014, and one of her poems published in the same publication in 2017.

Garrard supported the Art Association of Jackson Hole through donation works to “Who Done It?” in 2019 and 2020. In fall of 2020, she was invited to show three multi-media pieces that incorporated her poetry in “Anything’s Possible,” an exhibit on sustainability at the Jackson Center for the Arts. Also in the fall of 2020, she contributed one of her poems, “I Sit, I Wait,” to a published book by Agnes Bourne (Moments, Commonplace Books, p. 134). This author then invited Garrard to contribute photography and poems inspired by her new home in Olympic National Park to the spring 2021 art showing, “Nature,” and one of her photograph’s served as the monolith cover publishing the artists’ biographies and works from the exhibit.

Now she is actively publishing her poetry and has created a photography and poetry blog, Poetryintime.com. Centrum of Port Townsend, Wa., has awarded her three writers conference scholarships, and she was selected as a Tieton LiTFUSE Poetry Festival Scholar in 2022. Her poems are published in three compilations, Moments, Potpourri and Poets of the Promise, as well as in the literary journals, Tidepools and The Madrona Project No. 6. The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center and Olympic Peninsula Authors selected two of her poems to exhibit in the Poems in the Park program in Webster Woods Sculpture Garden. She was also selected to read her poetry at three live events in Port Angeles. Finally, Garrard has written a full-length poetry memoir about the first two years of her cancer experience and is shopping for a publisher.

Potpourri: Poetry, Prose & Pictures

Personally, Garrard says that her parents provided her with a strong work ethic, the desire to excel, and the heart to help others. At the core of her life and work are strong spiritual connections to God and the Earth. Following a personal health challenge with a blood cancer 2020-, she trusts ever stronger in the power of Spirit. She aims to live more presently and offer hope to others through her work and creativity.

18×24″ colored pencil on paper.

Personal Life Statement:

“My faith grows as my life progresses and I witness miracles happening in my life and in the lives of others, regardless of the difficult circumstances that we must weather. I believe that we are here on Earth to learn as spiritual beings, become the best of and give of ourselves, and experience the beautiful bounty provided to us by God our Creator. I also believe that humans have the responsibility to protect the world and its creatures, just as we care for our bodies, so that our spirits can carry out their important missions here and relate in a healthy way to all that surrounds us. All of us have strong purposes in living, our unique paths to discover and follow, yet we depend on one another for love and learning. Everything I am, do and become is from the world unseen – the true journey is within.  ~ Laura Garrard, January 2006, Jackson, Wyoming