Cleo Tjitrodipo is a certified, experienced massage therapist and teacher with over 10 years of professional experience in massage and bodywork. Cleo grew up in the cultural melting pot of Suriname, in the Javanese tradition of “Kejawen”. Islamic (Sufi) influences and animist, Hindu and Buddhist elements come together here.

A basic in Asian households, is to touch and care for your loved one. Passed on from grandparent to grandchild was to massage. And if you were particularly gifted with this talent, you were regarded as a ‘Dukun’. Loosely translated; ‘Shaman’.

The practice of ‘Pijet/Pidjit’ (Massage) is one of the lost arts of traditional Javanese healing. The reasons are that all the old and wise ones have passed on and there are no documents containing the old ways. But there are some nowadays who are reviving it, gathering all the knowledge of all the different grandparents.

Although he never met them, Cleo’s great grandparents were ‘Dukun’. This is one of the main reasons why he practices and studies bodywork and all of its facets. Cleo: “It is in my blood, like a distant memory. And I shall honor that.”

Cleo has completed a 4-year (HBO) education at the ‘Akademie for massage and movement’ in Amsterdam. There he mastered a wide range of techniques, such as Esalen massage, Deep tissue, Rolfing, Pulsing, Triggerpoint and Joint movement. Later Cleo specialized further in Traditional Thai Yoga Massage (Nuad Bo Rarn) and Ruesi Dat Ton, in Amsterdam and Chiang Mai.


“I’m charmed by Mahara, it harkens back to a time of wonder and sacredness. Like a distant memory. My dream is to practice my trade and to be of service to the ones who visit the space. I am grateful to see that guests become familiar and eventually become trusted friends. In a way I hope we are all growing old together and God(s) willing, gracefully and peacefully.”

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