Jan Mundo began her healing work as a child when she would ward off her mother’s migraines by massaging away her neck and shoulder pain—and go to faraway places in her mind during first grade imagination exercises. After majoring in Theater, English, and Art at Cal State University Northridge and UC Berkeley, she changed course to pursue a spiritual path. She read Eastern and Western philosophers, attended classes and lectures of gurus and yogis, communed in nature, and visited spiritual communities throughout California and the Southwest, seeking her “tribe.”
At age 22, she invented a hands-on headache therapy and got lots of practice on friends, family, and random strangers, who seemed to announce their pain in her presence. Receiving positive feedback and honing her skills on her own migraines, Mundo kept on, although her migraines retreated when she moved to the country and adapted a healthier lifestyle. She had joined with 300 hippies in pursuit of making a better world, after attending Stephen Gaskin’s Monday Night Class in San Francisco. They moved to Tennessee, collectively bought land, became farmers, and built a town in the middle of nowhere.
Living on The Farm for fifteen years, Mundo learned to work hard in pursuit of a common vision, and to use energy, attention, and the body’s innate intelligence for health and healing. Wife and mother of three, a few of her jobs, along with lots of farming and gardening, were: co-manager of WUTZ-FM and host of The Janet Planet Show, pre-school and Community Kitchen head cook and manager, Farm School music teacher, contributing editor of The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, and author of two stories in Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. The Farm community pioneered today’s vegan, soy, home birth, and ecology movements.
After returning to Los Angeles in 1985, she worked in ad sales at CNN and TBS and was West Coast advertising sales manager for trade magazines Video Insider and Cahners’ TWICE, before changing career course to pursue headache and healing work. She became a certified massage therapist in 1992 and trained in transformational body-centered therapies, including energy, intuitive, and breath work. Her migraines had returned under the stress of being a single parent reintegrating into the fast-paced business world after fifteen years of country living. However, she began noticing that when she ate and slept better and was under less stress by practicing the new therapies she was learning, her monthly migraine wouldn’t appear.
After receiving her first referrals from UCLA Medical School Associate Professor, Susan L. Perlman, MD, and positive feedback for her self-care relief method, Mundo was inspired to create a body-mind self-care program for prevention. She incorporated everything that was working for her along with the knowledge she had gained from reading consumer and medical articles, books, and research.
In 1994, Mundo founded the Headache Healing Center in Berkeley, CA. She designed and taught classes in natural headache relief and prevention throughout the Bay Area for Kaiser Permanente and Hill Physicians Medical Group—for whom she also taught stress reduction, massage for couples, and breathing and qi gong workshops for seniors.
As she worked with massage, headache, and energy work clients, she noticed that their emotional and historical content would emerge. She also experienced a spontaneous release of her own fifteen-year mysterious back problem during a cathartic breath work workshop. As a result of her client and personal work, Jan trained extensively in “body-as-self” work with a view toward healing through the body-mind connection. She is a certified: Body-Centered and Conscious Relationship Therapist (The Hendricks Institute) and Master Somatic Coach and Bodyworker (Strozzi Institute), where she is a longtime Associate.
Jan has taught faculty/staff headache programs at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and UCSF Mt. Zion Medical Center, employee programs at Hewlett Packard and Lockheed Martin, and public courses at Planetree Library and Institute for Health & Healing/CA Pacific Medical Center. She has presented workshops at professional conferences at: UCSF Medical School IMF, UC Berkeley IMC, Health Medicine Forum, USCF Embracing Menopause, UCSF Medical Center: Passport to Women’s Health, Association for Humanistic Psychology, and US Association for Body Psychotherapy. On-staff at USCF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine for its startup year, she saw private headache clients and taught classes and seminars.
A research study conducted in 2001 showed that the Mundo Program was effective in relieving and preventing migraine. Seventy-eight migraine patients, with a median of nineteen headache years, attended a five-week class offered by their HMO. Analysis of their cases showed 41% reduction in the number of headaches and 52% decrease in abortive medication use. Patients described a reduction in the length and intensity of their headaches, and 97% reported greater self-control and understanding of their headache pattern. The study abstract was published in the international medical journal Cephalalgia and presented in poster session at the 2001 International Headache Congress in New York City.
Mundo’s chapter, “Conquering Chronic Migraines,” is published in the anthology Being Human at Work edited by Richard Strozzi Heckler, PhD, and her articles have been featured in Massage and Massage & Bodywork magazines.
Jan has a private practice in New York City. She offers individual sessions, classes, workshops, and professional training and is writing a book about her headache therapy. She is featured in the documentary American Commune by her daughters, filmmakers Rena Mundo Croshere and Nadine Mundo. The film had its world premiere at Hot Docs International Film Festival in May 2013.