Alexander Friend – The Art of Tea
Location: Oakland, CA.
Occupation: Conductor of tea drinking and alternative healer.
Understanding the “Art of Tea” is an age-old question that all cultures across the world are continuously exploring. But for Alexander Friend it’s no mystery.
Alexander Friend is a holistic healer from Oakland, CA and has been fortunate enough to explore the delightful insights of tea drinking. From its history to its preparation and even diving deeper into the various varieties that stem from each plant, Alex has trained himself in the extensive knowledge of herbal teas by opening a traveling Tea Clinic.
Alex founded his tea clinic in 2013 as the central project of his independent business, “Alexiteric Health”. The tea clinic is a mobile outfit that provides a relaxed lounge space with gong fu style tea ceremony and customized combinations of complementary therapeutic modalities. Whether just hosting a tea party or also providing bodywork; qi gong instruction; Tarot card readings and creative writing workshops, the tea clinic is modular and can adapt to a diverse array of people, settings and events.
I met Alex during Monica Canilao’s “Born From Ruins” art show hosted by Subliminal Projects in Echo Park, where I was lucky enough to experience Alexander’s tea cupping ritual. As I sat down next to him I realized Alex had created an exciting and limitless adventure with room for everyone to explore, connect and interact while drinking tea. I was curious to know more about him and his tea drinking intentions. With a hot cup of tea in my hand I pulled him aside and asked, “Why do you choose the Art of tea making?”
“As an independent contracting, nomadic tea clinician I do what I want. And I want to share integrative medicine with people in diverse arrays of cultural synergy. Art and medicine are distinguished by fine lines, which are fading even more as the main stream begins to recognize the medicinal powers of art and the artistry of medicine.
In tea ceremony – whether in the Chinese, Japanese, British, Moroccan, British, Afghani, Indian, Mongolian, Russian or any cultural tradition – we bring artistry to ordinary life and we bring salubrious humanity to each other. Even the United States Military began sitting down to tea with influential members of villages in the Middle East because they recognized that honoring tea ceremony reduced violent encounters.
The tea ceremony gives us a chance to set ourselves on a human-sized altar and allow our every day existence to matter, to contain value, to be sacred; even in casual repose; even in contentious negotiation.
Ultimately, I love creating an autonomous zone whose special design and inhabitance offers people a resource to relax and feel comfortable to be oneself among others. To me, this is a potent and vital action – one critical enough to explore with vigor and tenacity and to provide support and reciprocation as we may for any significant natural resource or vital service. So we can get smarter and stronger together.”
On a biweekly basis, the tea clinic provides tea ceremony and bodywork every other Tuesday at The Salt Lick in Oakland’s Jack London Square.
The long-term goal is to create a home base for the tea clinic to cultivate a more permanent location where everyone can continuously get smarter and stronger together.
To learn more about the clinic and how to make it a part of your next event, visit www.AlexitericHealth.com.
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