About Me

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I have actively practiced as a Holistic Health Practitioner (HHP) and massage therapist since 1993 with special interest and training in the Vodder method of Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) technique. My experience is with lymphedema disease, edema in general, pre- and post-surgery massage, cosmetic surgery edema  and more.   My search for a low or non impact movement modality led me to become a certified trainer in the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® I have found it to be a helpful movement modality to stimulate the Lymphatic system and other stagnation out of the body. The Gyrotonic method is the base for movement sessions used at the office. Palliative care is another direction of great interest, as many of my clients are in disease states.  My mission is to provide compassionate care and resources for my clients.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gardeners Live Longer

Picture an old French or Greek couple who work in their garden all day long, eat butter, cheese and other rich foods and drink wine everyday. Chances are they'll outlive sedentary office workers in spite of their diet, because of the mental and physical health they develop through gardening.

Gardening has many benefits besides beautifying your neighborhood and giving you giant zucchinis every year.
  • Cardiovascular health 
  • Endurance 
  • Muscle strength 
  • Go green 
  • Healthier diet 
  • Continuous learning 
  • Esthetic satisfaction
According to the National Institutes of Health Newsletter, regular gardening -- at least 2 1/2 hours per week doing repetitive work like weeding or shoveling -- gives you cardiovascular strength and endurance. Add some heavy gardening to that, more work than your muscles are used to doing, and you strengthen your muscles too. Besides that, gardeners learn new things continuously which stimulates the brain, and they are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables. Add to that the esthetic satisfaction of a beautiful and productive garden and the pleasure of sharing your flowers and produce, and you improve your mental health.

Safety Precautions

Use a sunscreen between 15 and 30 SPF. Wear a hat. Drink water. Try to do most of your gardening before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.to avoid the most intense sunlight. Wear gloves. Get a tetanus vaccination every 10 years, as tetanus  lives in the soil. If you are going to be gardening for several hours, take some snacks as well as water with you into the garden. After a day of heavy gardening you need some rest, but that doesn't mean lying on the sofa watching a game. The next day, keep moving, but do less intense work and take a nap if possible, to allow your muscles time to grow and heal.

NIH News in Health: Get Moving and Stay Healthy
CDC: Be healthy and safe in the garden
Environmental Health: Allotment gardening and health: a comparative survey among allotment gardeners and their neighbors without an allotment
Social Science and Medicine: "Cultivating health": therapeutic landscapes and older people in northern England.
Journal of the NY State Nurses Association: Gardening: a strategy for health promotion in older women.
Pediatric Rehabilitation: Horticultural therapy: the 'healing garden'and gardening in rehabilitation measures at Danderyd Hospital Rehabilitation Clinic, Sweden.
Health Promotion International: Growing urban health -- community gardening in South-East Toronto.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Leaky Gut - An Overview

Some alternative practitioners teach that "leaky gut" is one of the causes of autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS.) On the other hand, sites like quackwatch say that leaky gut is just another fad diagnosis. So, what is leaky gut, and how does it affect your health? Is it something to worry about?

According to the authors of an article about leaky gut, published in the June, 2010, journal "Clinics," increased intestinal permeability (IP), commonly called leaky gut, is found in disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease, and in the case of severe abdominal injuries. When the intestines are unusually permeable, bacteria and other toxins can leak from the intestines into the abdomen, triggering inflammation. Auto-immune diseases are conditions of excessive inflammation.

Usually the linings of the intestines are not very permeable. The cells that make up the walls of the intestines have very tight joints. However, the joints between cells can be disrupted due to chronic inflammation or injury.

What causes intestinal inflammation? The authors of the article say that injury, infection, allergies and even asthma are some of the conditions that cause intestinal inflammation and subsequently intestinal permeability or leaky gut.

For most people this isn't a problem; their intestines can handle most disruptions without becoming leaky. However, one of the causes of IP relates to diet, specifically high levels of fats or glycated proteins. The combination of high cooking temperatures which causes browning, plus high levels of fat and sugar in foods produces irritants known as advanced glycation end products (AGE.) The process which produces AGE includes chemical reactions that produce free radicals, triggering inflammation. People who already have IP, due to conditions such as irritable bowel, Crohn's disease or injury, could benefit from reducing the amount of fat and sugar in their diets, and from cooking most of their food by steaming or boiling, which produces the least AGE.

If you don't have a condition such as Crohn's disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, or asthma, it is unlikely you have IP. Even so, reducing sugars and fats in your diet will help to prevent inflammation in your intestines. The same is true if you reduce the amount of browned foods you eat, cooking more foods by boiling or steaming. This doesn't mean you can never bake, barbecue, grill, roast, broil or fry your food. Healthy intestines can handle some of it. However, browned proteins and fat should be a minor part of your diet. You can accomplish that by using high-heat cooking methods less often, and eating smaller portions of your favorite succulent charred steak or ribs.

In addition, eat plenty of fiber, so that food material, bacteria and other toxins move through the intestines quickly, take a probiotic supplement daily, and if you like, take an anti-inflammatory glutamine supplement.

Rapin, Jean Robert and Wiensperger, Nicolas.Possible Links between Intestinal Permeablity and Food Processing: A Potential Therapeutic Niche for Glutamine. Clinics (Sao Paulo) 2010 June; 65(6): 635–643.

Andrew Weil: What is Leaky Gut?

Quackwatch: Be Wary of "Fad" Diagnoses

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


A couple of updates:

We now offer Low Level Laser Therapy as one of our services. See the article a few weeks ago about the benefits of LLLT, and contact me if you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment.

The Environmental Working Group has released their new list of safe sunscreens and those that are unsafe or simply ineffective. You can read the list at: Environmental Working Group Sunscreen Guide.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Salad Mistakes

Salad makes a wonderful lunch or supper. A well-dressed bowl of mix greens topped with crumbles of this and strips of that is delicious, easy to prepare and gives you the feeling that you are eating a healthy meal. However, as good as salad is, there are some pitfalls to avoid. If you don't avoid them, your healthy salad turns into a large bowl of tossed fat, sugar and salt. The basic mistakes are listed here:
  • High-calorie dressing
  • High-fat ingredients
  • Sugary dressing
  • Lack of protein
  • Lack of healthy whole-grain carbohydrates
  • Lack of color

Creamy dressings -- made with mayonnaise, sour cream or buttermilk -- are often high in fat, which adds many unnecessary calories to your salad. Vinaigrette is high in fat also, when made the traditional way with twice as much oil as vinegar or lemon juice. To keep things in balance, serve your salad dressing on the side, and measure how much you use. One or two tablespoons of salad dressing is all that is needed, even for very large salads.

If you add lean protein to your salad, you will be satisfied longer and won't find yourself as likely to grab an unhealthy snack in the mid-afternoon or before bed time. Add about three ounces of lean meat to your salad, 1/2 cup of cooked beans or lentils or a boiled egg to your salad.

Avoid potato salad, macaroni salad or similar salads made with white starchy foods and a mayonnaise dressing. If you'd like some healthy grains with your salad, add 1/2 cup cooked brown rice, wheat berries, whole-grain orzo, bulgur or pilaf to your salad. Or, if you prefer, have half a sandwich with your salad, made with whole-grain bread and your favorite lean protein.

Lettuce is good for you. It contains minerals, vitamins and fiber. But don't limit the salad to lettuce. Add cabbage or other cruciferous vegetables for anti-cancer nutrients. Sprinkle in a variety of other vegetables in lots of colors, steamed or raw. Add a handful of fresh chopped herbs for additional flavor. The more colorful your salad is, the healthier it is. 


Take a hint from spa cuisine and add some water to your vinaigrette to reduce the calories without reducing taste. For instance, a good vinaigrette can be made with 2/3-cup each of water, vinegar and oil. Use walnut or olive oil -- very healthy -- and any kind of vinegar you like. Cider vinegar has a lot of flavor, balsamic vinegar is sweet without having a lot of sugar in it. Lemon juice is tart, orange juice sweeter and more mellow. To the water, vinegar and oil add one teaspoon each of salt, honey or agave syrup, mustard powder, dried oregano and onion powder. Add one clove of crushed garlic and beat the mixture with a fork or whisk until it is well-blended. Store it in the refrigerator in a jar with a tight lid. Shake it well before serving on your salad. Note: avoid the temptation to mix the ingredients in your blender. It makes an unattractive foamy mess. Shaking the jar or beating briskly with a fork is all that is needed to sufficiently emulsify your vinaigrette.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Exercise Mistakes

I like Pilates as a regular workout, but I also like hiking or riding my bike around the desert looking at birds and other wildlife. It's very easy to spot the ubiquitous road runner and sweet little groups of desert quail with their tiny babies like yellow cottonballs running behind them. I also love the burrowing owls, you can see them quite often in low rock formations, even in rock landscaping. I've seen many hummingbirds, especially in the Indian Canyons, the Morongo Preserve and the Coachella Valley Preserve. Other birds you might see include blue jays, the cactus wren, kestrels, larger hawks, and if you are really lucky, eagles.  The vermilion flycatcher, hooded orioles, woodpeckers, vireos and thrashers are other birds you might spot. You'd better bring a guide to desert birds with you so you can identify them.

This post is really about exercise mistakes. One of the mistakes, of course, is to make your exercise boring. Watching nature, spotting interesting critters and plants, as well as the beautiful views around here make outdoor exercise a wonderful experience.

Other exercise mistakes include:

No exercise at all. Tell yourself that you only need 12 minutes a day of real exercise to make a difference. Walk up hill for 12 minutes, working hard enough to have to breathe more deeply than usual. At the end of 12 minutes, turn around and walk down hill, a little more easily. That adds a few minutes to your exercise, works slightly different muscles than you were using to go uphill, and it lets you cool down your muscles before you stop exercising.

Not enough exercise. If you are out of shape, it doesn't take much exercise to make a difference in your condition. As you get more fit, you need more exercise, at least 30 minutes a day of walking or biking vigorously.

Too much exercise. If you like to exercise, it's tempting to just keep doing it. However, if you over exercise, you are more likely to be injured. Which leads to the next mistake:

Lack of rest. Exercise challenges your muscles and bones, but they actually grow and change during rest. Be sure to rest enough after exercise to fully recover and allow your body time to adjust. Rest can include just laying off the heavy workout for a day or so, or it can include different activities such as swimming or meditating.

No variety. Variety in your exercise makes it more interesting, of course, but it also challenges different muscle groups. If your exercise is a simple good long walk, vary the terrain so that you walk uphill and down, over easy terrain and over difficult terrain so that different muscles get worked. Then, at a different time, do your stretching to keep all your muscles balanced.

Never getting a massage.  Massage helps to iron out the tight muscles, reduce soreness, balance your muscles and improve the circulation of lymph, which stimulates your immune system. You know you need a massage! Contact us for more information about our massage services.