Nicole Drake

Nicole Drake

Perpetually looking for ways to move and groove, Nicole Drake is a dancer, yogi, and plant-based health fiend. She likes any way to exercise that's a little out of the norm, but most of her true favorites take place on a dance floor. She teaches Argentine Tango in her spare time, dances salsa on the weekends, and writes with all the rest of her hours.

Martial Arts of Wellness
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Trainer and Healer to the Stars, Sifu Matthew comes to South Florida

“My whole philosophy is really this: we need to understand that fitness is not wellness.”

Sifu Matthew, Kung Fu Healer and Chi Master, founder of the Martial Arts of Wellness (MAOW) and known as the “Injury Whisperer,” has been practicing martial arts for over 40 years. He began his training as a hyperactive child, and from there has gone on to become a trainer and healer to professional athletes and celebrities. 

Most recently, Sifu Matthew has partnered with the Carillon Wellness Resort in Miami Beach. We sat down to ask him a few questions about what he does, the people he’s worked with, and what he has coming up for South Florida.

You’ve worked to heal thousands of people’s injuries over the years, including some big name clients as well–Gwyneth Paltrow, Eric Dickerson, Wes Saunders, and Iman Shumpert, to name a few. Which healing journey has stuck with you the most, and are there any that you still think about now?

What sticks with me is the quickness of how a body can heal when the right technique is used. For example, De’Aaron Fox, an NBA star and the starting point guard of the Sacramento Kings, had a toe injury since high school that wouldn’t heal. His trainers had put a metal plate in his shoe so that his toe wouldn’t hurt, but he was constantly in pain and he couldn’t bend it. I remember working with him at his house, and I spent about six minutes on the toe and it healed completely. He was able to move it, and he had no pain. He couldn’t believe it! I worked on two other injuries he had, which also disappeared on the spot.

This is just a reminder of how little we access of the body’s internal intelligence. I’m sure the trainers were doing an amazing job, working with his hips, his glutes, and making sure that his arches were firing properly. But that’s just one aspect. There’s a fundamental missing piece -- the electricity -- that people aren’t taught how to work with. It always amazes me and my clients that in just a few minutes, certain injuries can heal that have been through unsuccessful surgical interventions.

What is your philosophy on wellness and maintaining health, beyond what you’re doing directly through martial arts?

For me, it’s really about understanding that fitness is not wellness. There is an aspect in all of us that I refer to as “electrical wellness.” We train all the time and most of the time, we are actually damaging ourselves while training. This is because we’re burning out chemicals, but not actually working on how we restore our electric charge.

Most of the time when we’re training in fitness, we build muscles, yet at the same time, we damage our nervous system. We run faster and at the same time exhaust our kidneys. Therefore we’re not looking at the larger picture of how to put together body electrical wellness with mind wellness in a way that’s functional. When you combine the two, you can actually use them to heal yourself. A person can start to understand that after a workout you may decide to go in the sauna, drink some electrolytes, or do acupuncture to try to restore yourself, but it’s not enough. The body has its own language and series of actions designed to repair itself.

There’s a whole science behind what I do and what I teach – you have to be strong in your body, strong in your mind, and strong in your energetics. When all are aligned, this is the picture of global wellness.

Okay, so you’re focused more on a full-picture perspective on health, rather than just maximizing what a body can do. When you’re talking about restoring their body and their electrical charge–how do you go about doing that? Is that based on the healing that you’re doing or are there other specific things within that?

Yes. I teach people how to heal themselves, I don’t just heal them. I have a system called MAOW, which is the Martial Arts of Wellness, and I give specific positions that you hold that change the electricity of your body’s field.

I’m teaching you how to use this electrical force that’s already there to change your cells. All you have to do is go into the position and then let it affect you. What’s interesting is that we don’t understand the full picture of what wellness is yet. For example, you could go to the gym but you might be in a poor state of mind. Then what you’re doing is actually agitating yourself because the body isn’t calm enough to take in any new information. By pushing yourself, you’re actually making your brain hot, and you’re amping up your nervous system. You can also put yourself in poor alignment or just burn yourself out.

What does South Florida have to look forward to from you? What events, services, or workshops do you have coming up in the Miami area?

I’m going to be doing Warrior Force and Healing Intensives on a regular basis. I just finished two of them in September. They are profound immersive experiences where I teach both combat and healing. I teach from a place of first learning to feel your electricity, understanding your internal force, knowing how to heal yourself, and then learning how to interact in a combative situation. I just love the intensives and they’ve been life-changing for people because most people have never made a connection to themselves that way.

We are also going to be doing different types of corporate wellness groups, one-on-one training, athletic training, and we plan to do an event at least every month or couple weeks.

To keep up with Sifu Matthew, check out his: WebsiteFacebook, and Instagram

Catch our interview with Sifu Matthew, founder of the Martial Arts of Wellness (MAOW), known as the “Injury Whisperer."

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meditation apps

Meditation On-The-Go: 3 Apps to Make it Easy

You’re running on not enough sleep but too much coffee. You’re behind on one project and about to be on two others. You want to start meditating, but it just doesn’t feel like you have the time to light some candles and sit around for an hour.

*RELATED Get Your SIT Together! 9 Meditation Tips to Decrease Your Stress

It’s hard, but not quite as hard as it seems, and the “pros” list is extensive. Meditation is a great tool for self-care and mental health and can increase your overall happiness. Even better, it doesn’t have to be a big ordeal. That’s why we’ve lined up a few apps that let you start building meditation into your routine. We’ve included two categories for our recommendations, one for when you’re on a break and are able to slow down for a few minutes, and one for when you have absolutely no time at all. Give it a go–because when did breathing ever hurt anyone?

1. Oak

Level up your meditation game from Grasshopper to Bonsai with Oak, an app that tracks your meditation progress in the badges that you gain. While it might be the cute motivational push you need to spend those few free minutes meditating, Oak’s real value is in its simplicity. It pares everything down to three focus areas: meditate, breathe, and sleep. Pick one, choose your time, and background noise (think roaring fire or rain hitting a rooftop).


On a break: Choose “meditate” and do 10–30 minutes of mindfulness meditation.

No time at all: Pull this app up anyway, hit “breathe,” and do a single set–only 1 minute 54 seconds.

*RELATED 4 Meditation Myths You Should Stop Believing

2. Calm

Calm knows the kind of day you’ve been having. Calm knows it so well that the home screen just says “take a deep breath.” After that fades a few moments later, just long enough that you actually do take a deep breath, you can dive into this one-stop-shop for meditation and mental health. This is one of the more comprehensive apps out there, and while the app is free, for $12.99 a month you get access to their entire extensive library of meditation series. They have series on everything from stress to mindful eating to flight anxiety, as well as a specific series for beginners who are trying meditation for the first time. The real heavy hitter, though, is the “Self-Care” category, which has a little of everything you might be needing during your most hectic days.

One of Calm’s more unique features is a daily mood check-in. It’s as easy as clicking an emoji, and based on that, Calm gives you meditation recommendations for your current emotional state. After you choose your emoji, it gives you the option to add a note where you can break down what you’re feeling and then lets you add a tag for what it is related to (work, family, money, friends, etc). Keep track of this over time in the app, and you can see more of your emotional patterns over time and what’s causing them.


On a break: Use the daily mood check-in and do the first one it recommends to you–on average, this will take about 12 minutes. In return, you’ll get something customized to your mood that will leave you feeling more balanced for the rest of your day.

No time at all: Choose “Emergency Calm” and do three minutes of meditation designed to immediately tackle feelings of intense stress.

3. Headspace

Headspace is another app packed full of different meditations, with an adorable design to boot. While Calm keeps things serene, Headspace has joyful animated characters on each of their meditations. Aesthetic differences aside, these two apps have a lot in common in all the best ways. Headspace is also free, but you can unlock the entire library for $10 a month. It has you covered for any life issues you might be facing, be it work, parenting, personal growth, or even sports. Every day, the app presents you with a different daily meditation so you always have something fresh to try. Headspace keeps track of how many days you’ve meditated, and gives you a daily summary of your progress–so you always feel like you’re going somewhere, even when you’re taking a few minutes to just sit still.


On a break: Choose one of their Beginner series and start building up your meditation foundations. They only last 3–10 minutes and can help you get more out of the time you do meditate.

No time at all: Click on “Everyday Headspace” to check out their daily meditation! You can choose the meditation length, from 3–20 minutes, so snatch up that three-minute meditation and in no time you’ll be back to your daily grind feeling a little bit more zen.

Try these three meditation apps that are for all experience levels. Give them a go–because when did breathing ever hurt anyone?