To Risa Gettler 2013 Holidays

I created these mandalas for Risa Gettler, artist, calligrapher extraordinaire as a holiday card in thanks for her inspiration, support on all levels and her friendship.

Circles of Healing

My book, Circles of Healing, The Complete Guide to Healing with Massage and Yoga for Caregivers, Practitioners, Students and Clients, a 576-page volume complete with 600 photos and illustrations is available for purchase at It is on sale through December 31st, for $30. (Usual price is $34.95).  It is a must read for every bodywork practitioner and yoga teacher, therapist and student, as well as medical professionals, hospice workers, veteran advocates and first responders.

I have been practicing and teaching massage and yoga for over 35 years and have given over 15,000 hours of massage to clients ranging from infants to hospice care patients. The publication of this book is the culmination of an eight year process chronicling my in-depth experience working with a full range of yoga students and massage clients, including many who are special needs.

If it is easier you can mail a check or money order to:  Ama Press, 1977 Lendee Drive, Escondido, CA  92025. )

Please tell your friends and co-workers in yoga, bodywork, nursing and caregiving, therapy or teachers of these professions about my book. I welcome any and all comments or suggestions from my friends and readers.

Gwen Wendy Hammarstrom has been practicing massage and yoga for over thirty-five years and has given 15,000 + hours of hands on bodywork or classes in Philadelphia and Southern California.  Circles of Healing is a culmination of her experiences working with people with specific challenges, from parents of babies in NICUs, to a midlife woman caring for her dying mother, from a woman struggling with Torticollis, to a man still traumatized by the Vietnam War.   In addition to clients and students with more severe physical and mental challenges, the book encompasses the circle of life, from massaging pregnant women to healing touch for elders.  Self-care and wellness tips throughout and lots of resources with which to continue exploring and learning.

Nestled under trees and vines it is easy to drive right by All of the Above Bakery and Cafe at 27423 Ynez Road in Temecula, across the parking lot from Michael’s and Big Lots and between Allstate and Armstrong’s Garden Center.  Once inside you may think you are in a European cafe, with its friendly and peaceful atmosphere.                 . 


Although I was tempted to sample every bakery item, I began with a delicious, light but filling Mexican Quinoa salad made with organic quinoa (healthy wheat alternative), organic roasted corn, black beans, tomatoes, wine sauce, salsa, cumin and I won’t give it all away! That was more than enough for my lunch, but I was talked into trying the delicious agave (lower glycemic index than cane sugar) sweetened Upside Down Pineapple Cake; my friend was enchanted by the Black Magic Bundt Cake.  Along with the desert I tried the hot chocolate which was made with potato powdered mix.  I was skeptical but found it to be delicious.


Owner and chief baker Lorilyn Teasdale began her special needs son on a gluten free and dairy protein free (that is, caseine free) diet when he was seven years old and had been diagnosed with autism.  Certain foods were causing him to have seizures so his mother explored possible causes and solutions.  She was warned that teenage years might be extra challenging and that is when he would need to go on ADD medicines.  But he was calmer and more focused than most of his peers with similar conditions.


Her son’s challenges and strengths inspired Lorilyn to start what she called a “Starbucks for People with Allergies” and thus the current name All of the Above, referring to multiple allergen checklists.  In addition to her items being gluten free, casein free and soy free, her recipes include rice milk, powdered potato milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and for several recipes she uses ghee instead of butter.


I was interested to learn that in addition to digestive problems that result from eating dairy, gluten or soy, there is now a recognized condition called neurological celiac disease, the most extreme example being a man who ate gluten and soon after drove and crashed into a tree.  Other milder reactions include stuttering and interchanging words. 


Lorilyn made an observation about our society’s need for anti-inflammatory medicines such as aspirin, ibuprefren, Tylenol and stronger ones such as arthritis meds.  She pointed out that it might be wiser to eliminate inflammatory foods from our diets, including gluten and dairy, or at least to minimize their consumption.


Her recipes, many her own creation, also include vegan items (no animal products).  2/3 of her cookies, all her cupcakes, most muffins, carrot bundt cakes, rice and quinoa salads and half of her soups are vegan.


Lorilyn and her husband, with help from their daughter and two sons, have been in operation since May of 2010.  Their website is almost complete, which will list the soup of the day or other items being cooked that day, as well as hours and days.  Currently they are closed Tuesdays and are open for three day weekenders. 


If you want more information, go to their website at or call 951-693-4000.

>I received this from my friend Lurena today:

 Southwest U.S.A.  Tribal Prayer Request
>                            Friday, 24-Jun-2011 11:38 AM
> Wallow Fire – Special Request from the Native Brothers
> and Sisters in the SW
> Please forward as you see fit
> Hello everybody – as you can see on the news the Wallow fire in Northern
> Arizona is still uncontrollable and spreading.
> The fire has destroyed everything in its path, over 1/2 million acres so
> far, the largest fire in Arizona history. Please join us in a tribal
> to help the firefighters and all involved. Pray so the winds stop and the
> rains start (without lightning please) We want to pray for the safety of
> all. Ask for heavenly walls to protect our land and animals from fire. All
> the choppers, manpower, planes, and bulldozers are not enough, they need
> help. We are one Nation as Natives and our traditional prayers to the
> Creator as Natives can be pretty powerful; not only are our tribal lands
> stake (White Mountain & San CarlosApaches, possibly Zuni, and some Navajo
> areas), but our non-native friends also need our help. Please let us all
> connect our minds, hearts and our prayers across the miles and pray.
> Wherever you are and whatever you have plan please stop for a few minutes
> and raise your hands to the Creator to ask for help. If all of you can
> forward this message across the Nations, we can reach many thru phone and
> internet. Please start forwarding ASAP to reach as many as we can. Please
> your spiritual preference is not traditional – pray with us in however way
> you talk to the Creator.
> Thank you,
> Dorothea Stevens, San Carlos Apache Nation
> ****

** **

Angela Teske
Carp Ridge Learning Centre
Leader, Sustainable Education
Tel:613-839-1179 ext.1
2386 Thomas Dolan Parkway
Carp, Ontario
K0A 1L0

My father used to say that every day should be Father’s Day!

Celebrate this Father’s Day with a gift certificate for an hour of massage therapy or private yoga instruction for only $50…  for a father, or anyone he knows!


with Wendy Hammarstrom

California Credentialed Massage Therapist

Thirty-five years experience with all ages and bodies

I have been practicing and teaching massage and yoga on the west and east coast, where I directed Innerworks Center in Philadelphia, PA.  I have written about bodywork for various publications including Awareness Magazine, The Californian (Temecula), Neighbors Newspaper and High Country Journal.  My book, A Mandala of Massage and Yoga, will be available soon.

In-home or in Wildomar at Korrie’s Pilates Place

Call me at 951-303-4508

Or email me at

Cougars and Coyotes

What is man without the beasts?  If all the beasts were gone man would die of a great loneliness of the spirit.  For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to man.  Chief Seattle 1854

Several years ago I was walking in the arroyo behind my house near Murrieta Hot Springs when my five dogs ran into the creek-side bushes at full force.  Ten seconds later they were running back out, tails between their legs and heading for home, with the exception of Peanut, who held his ground and remained with me.  I was curious but not too concerned.  As I made it the rest of the way home, I noticed a large tan animal quietly walking stealthily along the creek, head down, looking like he wanted nothing to do with me.  I thought it was a coyote, until I saw that it was a cat.  I thought it was a bobcat or a lynx, but noticed its long tail.  If I got any verbal message from its demeanor, it was “leave me alone.”

That was my first and only mountain lion encounter, although old timers near Murrieta Hot Springs tell me they had often seen, several years before, a mama mountain lion and baby lounging on the picnic tables.

I felt honored by that brief meeting.

Around the same time a pack of coyotes ran in the same arroyo and one who was separated from the others, perhaps even part domestic dog, moved into our backyard.  We fed “Scruffy” and my dogs played and rested peacefully with him (as well as with the pack at large.)  My cats kept a wary, but not particularly fearful eye on this very small, thin coyote.

I know, there have been tragic encounters with mountain lions, especially with runners or mountain bikers alone in wilderness areas, and I know all too many cats and small dogs, and even on occasion small children, have been carried off by a roaming coyote.

The coyotes I have seen are painfully thin and hungry, a result of housing tracts and malls encroaching on their homes, cutting back on their natural habitat and food sources.  It is understandable that they hunt and eat anything they can.  Respect them, give them space, and take precautions to avoid their visits. 

Do not leave food outside that will attract their prey.  In a previous home I made the mistake of leaving food for possums, raccoons and skunks and lost a very dear cat friend.  Keep your cats indoors as much as possible.  If you start them indoors as a kitten, they don’t have to suffer from confinement frustration, and they are safe from communicable diseases, unwanted pregnancies, cars, other animals, and even, sadly, poison from neighbors who are not cat friendly.

When aware of a mountain lion, give the animal a way to retreat, which is what they usually want to do.  If face to face, the wildlife experts say to stand tall to appear large, never bend or crouch even when picking up a small child or pet, make yourself larger by putting arms up and opening your jacket, and speak loudly and firmly to appear as the predator.  Never run away as the cougar may see you as prey.  In the rare instance of an actual attack, you can fight back with pepper spray, rocks, sticks, jackets, even bare hands.

Rob Hicks, Park Interpreter at the Santa Rosa Plateau for Riverside County Parks says to always hike with a least one other person.  He says no one who has been hiking in close proximity to another person has ever been attacked by a cougar.  He also notes that there have been less than twenty attacks in California the last one hundred and sixty years.

Keep children and pets in before dusk and until after dawn.  Never leave children or small animals unattended unless your yard is totally cougar or coyote proof.  Install outdoor lighting and remove dense or low-lying vegetation so that you can see the area around your house.

Make sure that outside animals are securely fenced in.  Or, according to The Mountain Lion Foundation, some people with livestock are having success combining larger livestock such as cattle with more vulnerable such as sheep.  When the animals sense the mountain lion, the cows make a ring around the sheep.  Other people are finding that reviving the ancient art of sheepherding by humans, or in some cases with guard dogs such as the Akbash, Great Pyrenees or Komondor                has radically decreased death from predators.

I believe that animals can pick up our thoughts and intentions and by holding thoughts such as, You don’t have to be afraid and I don’t have to be afraid, or, I respect your strength and beauty and your need for privacy.  Perhaps by acknowledging that cougar and coyote ancestors have been here as long as or longer than ours, we can co-exist.

For more information you can contact Rob Hicks or other staff at the Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Center at 951-677-6951.  Or call the Mountain Lion Foundation in Sacramento at 916-442-2666 or go to

Winnie in the moment

Before I moved to my current home outside Sun City, California,  I had to work hard to entice my thirteen year old wolfhound-bouvier-terrier- rotweiller-retriever mix to take walks with me.  Not so anymore.  She has had a rebirth, or more specifically, she has discovered sheep!

The first time we bumped into the (hundreds of) sheep on one of our hillside walks she stared in disbelief.  Next time she barked and they listened.  Third time they were not in the same field and we climbed and climbed until we found them.  Today she talked to them, and they answered. 

The shepherd who only speaks Basque is always nearby with his herding dogs.  He spends his days and nights in solitude, and apparent equanamity.  I envied that quietness around him until I became aware it was seeping into me.

Southern California in February is sometimes sunny and sometimes rainy, often with pink and lavender sunsets amidst gigantic ocean clouds.  The blue and white spring flowers are beginning to appear, peeking out above the soil while the snow covered mountains are ever near.

As I walk along these hillsides I feel my worries fall away with every step I take, slowing down, becoming in sync with the rhythms of nature.  I remember reading about Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh who suggests during walking meditation to rather than focus on stepping into the ground with the purpose of dropping your fears and dark thoughts downward that each step we take be filled with happiness and love for the earth and each other.  Some walking meditation masters sugest inhaling as you step on one foot and exhaling as you step on the other.  All practitioners suggest that to be totally in the moment of walking is meditation in motion.

Is the Basque shepherd free to focus only on his steps, how he contacts the ground, how straight he is standing, feeling his way around the fields, or is he thinking about his precious wards, how to protect them, how to contain them? Perhaps a combination of the two.

Thanks to the sheep, the shepherd and the springtime-green rolling hills of Riverside County, I am once again feeling that child within, lost -or found- in time and space, in no hurry to move onto further details of the day, savoring the moment.

My friend Anna had a trying time this holiday and she has shared with me her process for working through and out of it with the help of several holistic practitioners and ancient remedies.

She was the unfortunate recipient of a brownie cooked with a large amount of hashish.  She did not know that it was not a “normal” brownie when she ingested it but soon after noticed as she was getting ready to sit on the floor that she did not know if she was standing or sitting.  This concerned her and she wondered if she was having a stroke or a heart attack.  Soon after she was told about the brownies and then she blacked out. 

After vomiting for several hours at the ER and having cat scans of her abdomen and head and blood work and a long list of diagnostic tests that would have not been done if her driver had admitted knowing what she ingested, she realized that to end the nightmare she would have to act as if she was feeling okay.  She couldn’t understand why she couldn’t end this nightmare like she usually did.  She has little snippets of images from 8 hour black out, including being treated unkindly by those trying to move her, and a doctor saying it is a good thing you vomited that all up, because it was very toxic.  She also remembers hearing an angry voice say several times, “vomit into the blue bucket” but she had no idea where that was.  And she remembers hearing several times, outside her “room”, “They found her lying face down in her vomit.”  Some friends took her home, (sadly the hospital only supplied a hospital gown and slippers over her pajama bottoms ).

The combination of the hash and the tranquilizer the ER doctor gave her, in a body that had experienced a few drugs but not since 1970, did a number on her nervous system.  She told me she remained in a doped up space for ten days!  The first few days were a wash.  Then she became more alert but was in shock and could not sleep.  She said she felt as if there was an electric current pulsing up her spine and getting stuck in her neck.  She forced herself to drive to her first healing treatment from a craniosacral therapist who helped her let go of shock in her spine, skull and legs.  He told her she was pale when she got there, but had plenty of color when she left.  Driving home she felt more relaxed and that night did fall asleep watching C-SPAN Book TV.  Her second treatment was with an acupuncturist who put needles in her areas of depleted “chi” and on points to help her sleep.  She felt much better after that but could not sleep that night.  The next day she thought she better get some sleeping pills because she knows that not sleeping can make it impossible to recover from shock to the system.  She went to the health food store and found Bach flower Rescue Remedy sleep aid and that night used it whenever she woke up.  She did get sleeping pills to have on hand if needed, but she  never used them.  She had a second craniosacral treatment during which she released some more shock but was concerned that a week after her event she still felt liked she was going to faint.  Her acupuncturist told her she was probably dehydrated and suggested water with electrolytes and emergen-C.  After a day and a half she no longer felt faint.  One more acupuncture treatment, and then a massage on the 10th day helped her turn the corner.  She now felt grounded and in her body.  But she had to work hard to get there.  She also took hot baths in epsom salts, lay on tennis balls to release tension from her spine, did yoga in the middle of the night when she woke up, began to take  some walks and constantly had to remind her self to stop holding her breath and breathe.  An aromatherapist also put some anti shock oils on her solar plexus and shirt and some myrrh for protection.  She slept in that shirt for several days as that also seemed to help her sleep.

She told me she wondered how all the people who experience shock and trauma recover from it.  Do they get help, or ignore the physical and emotional symptoms.  Does the painful event(s) stay stuck in their nervous system?  Or are they able to release it gradually and gently, without causing more shock to their body/mind/spirit.

She says she is thankful for the help she received, medical and holistic, for her friends who cooked her nurturing meals, for her pets who stayed tuned into her throughout, and for healing touch which she noticed was essential in her healing.  Anna is savoring every minute of her peaceful holidays.

Wendy Hammarstrom massages Freida Wone, Innerworks Center, Philadelphia

Although I have expressed my frustration with the process of becoming credentialed through the California Massage Therapy Council, as have many others, I was thrilled to hear the following news, in a letter from Ahmos Netanel:

You might have heard by now that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed AB 1822.  The CAMTC and the massage therapy community strongly believe that the governor listened to reason instead of rhetoric in making his decision, and that the veto itself reflects the disciplined, transparent and cooperative approach we have brought to certification of massage therapists in California.

In his veto message to members of the Legislature and the public, Governor Schwarzenegger wrote:

“I am returning Assembly Bill 1822 without my signature. This bill is unnecessary and inappropriately requires specific law enforcement association appointments to the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC). This Council is already working closely with law enforcement professionals across the state to ensure the profession is appropriately screened for past criminal activity before being certified. In addition, there are members of the public, not associated with the massage industry, already appointed to this Council. For this reason, I cannot sign this bill.”

In a decision of equal importance, the Governor signed Senate Bill 294, by the Chair of the Senate Business and Professions Committee, Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod.  This measure contains language written by Legislative Counsel and supported by the massage therapy community, clarifying that statewide certification by the CAMTC does allow CAMTC certified massage professionals to practice anywhere in the state – in general law cities and charter cities alike. 

On behalf of the CAMTC Board, I would like to thank all of the therapists and practitioners who stood up for their profession. The Board is very proud of how the massage therapy community so cogently expressed to policymakers the critical role they play in providing safe, quality care in California.  You and your colleagues are the ones who told the story of an honorable profession that is doing an extraordinary job of working constructively with law enforcement to weed out the bad apples. It is rewarding that massage professionals were able to make their own case against very difficult odds, but it is equally important that we leave the door open to our critics so they can be further educated about the benefits of massage therapy.


 Ahmos Netanel

Chief Executive Officer


When our nervous systems are out of balance, we feel fatigue, confusion, and experience poor performance.  When proper energy flow is restored, feelings of clarity and effectiveness are regained.  Yoga movements are designed to integrate the body and mind, clear the body of accumulated toxins, increase oxygen to the cells, and to strengthen, stretch, and activate muscles and tendons that may be atrophied, constricted or sore.  If you are a person with special needs, before you start any exercises be sure you are comfortable with good back support and proper alignment.  If there is “negative space” (an unsupported part of your body) use rolled up yoga mats or soft balls to fill space and create support.  Make sure there is plenty of distance from wall, tables, and chairs.  

 Yoga is a Sanskrit word for union of body and mind; some people say it describes the union of the individual with the divine. For a super athlete or for an immobile person, yoga is about finding one’s center.  It is also about finding one’s limits and playing that edge. An advanced yoga student may hold a full backbend for twenty minutes, using the breath to go deeper into the pose.  For someone paralyzed from the neck down, a stretch for opening the chest and elongating the spine can be as simple as sitting in a wheelchair with soft rubber balls between the shoulder blades, leaning back, and breathing into the area.   

Here are some other ideas for simple stretches that you can do seated, lying on the floor, or on a bed.  Remember not to hold your breath, and imagine your breath is traveling to the areas that are being stretched to help them release. Take your time, pay attention to how you are feeling, what works and what doesn’t, and enjoy the possibly new sensations!  Notice any changes in your movement, or posture throughout the day and the next days.

  • Tennis balls, rubber balls (different sizes depending upon flexibility of client) behind any area of the back
  • Towel or exercise mats rolled up to prop up spine and stretch spinal muscles and open chest
  • Ties or belts as extensions for arms that can’t bend or stretch very far
  • Balls at base of skull to massage sub-occipital muscles (for reduction of pain and tension, and headaches)
  • Balls or beanbag pillows under hamstrings
  • Large balls or beanbags under legs as ottoman for circulation and to stimulate acupressure channels


    In this issue: 

    • What’s Happening
    • CowFriendly Good Eats
    • Healthy Living Marketplace
    • Vegetarian News & More

    September 2010
    to learn more.
    Thank you!
    We truly value the generosity of our supporters. Please help us keep this resource on the internet.

    Support HappyCow

    About HappyCow
    We are an internet guide to vegetarian restaurants and
    health food stores worldwide.
    We promote
    vegetarianism as a compassionate, healthy, and environmentally sustainable way of

    What’s Happening

    October 2 is World Farm Animals Day, and caring people worldwide will be participating in events to raise awareness for the plight of farm animals. Visit VegEvents Calendar for events, your local meetups, plus:
    – Hug a Veg*n Day Sept 24
    – World Vegetarian Day Oct 1
    – National March for Farmed Animals in London Oct 2
    – World Veg Festival San Francisco Oct 2-3
    – New York City VegFest Oct 23
    Bizarro: Eat Like a Bird comic strip
    (from The Veggie Blog)
    Tempeh advocates, Betsy and Gunter, share their love and craft for making this nutritious protein staple at home… learn more (from The Veggie Blog)
    Your letters. I really need the encouragement from time to time and have found it at happycow. Thank you. -C.Goneau

    Cow-Friendly Good Eats

    Wholistic Healing Center Argutha in uptown Tokyo, Japan, features a vegetarian cafe, organic shop, lounge and bar, yoga studio, and an aromatherapy salon.
    The Garden Restaurant in Santa Rosa, California, is a vegan health food eatery, bakery, and juice bar that also provides educational classes in cooking and seminars.
    Annapurna World Cafe, with locations in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, offers healthy Ayurvedic vegetarian cuisine and specialty chai teas.
    Flore in Silverlake/Los Angeles is a local favorite for classic American vegan food like tempeh reuben, black bean burger, and roasted vegetable pizzas.
    Sage’s Cafe in Salt Lake City, Utah, is an acclaimed vegan restaurant that’s been voted ‘Best of Utah’ for 8 consecutive years.
    …more cow-friendly restaurants & stores

    Healthy Living Marketplace

    Living Tree Community Foods almond butter is created in Berkeley, a wellspring of the human spirit. It has a rich tradition of Americans who dared to stand up and speak their truth. In its aliveness it is an intimation of what you can be. That’s why it’s called Freedom Butter.
    May Wah Healthy Vegetarian Food is a company dedicated to supplying delicious vegetarian food. Their extensive line of products includes vegan ham, vegetarian popcorn chicken, and vegan sausages.
    Pure Kidz super fuel formula
    Good Earth Beauty natural and organic

    Vegetarian News & More

    Vegetarian diets associated are with healthy mood states, significantly less negative emotion than omnivores: a cross-sectional study in Seventh Day Adventist adults.
    Bill Clinton embraces vegetarian diet for good health.
    Denny’s restaurant chain across the US now offers a meatless burger made by Amy’s Kitchen. The sesame seed burger buns are vegan. Hold the cheese.
    The first ever ‘Vegan iron chef’ competition squared off in Portland, Oregon.
    Scientists closer to vegetarian chicken.
    Is BPA in your soup?
    Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver launching vegetarian cookbook.

    Dear single-payer activist:Sunday, August 29th at 8pm Eastern Time, join Healthcare-NOW!’s monthly single-payer activist call to discuss moving single-payer healthcare forward.

    Please use this Dial-in Number 1-218-862-1300 and Conference Code 441086. To mute and unmute the line, please hit 4*.

    Proposed agenda:

    • Update on Hands Off Our Medicare and the deficit commission – Katie Robbins
    • Candidate pledge/Bird dogging
    • March for Jobs October 2nd: Bringing the single-payer message – Donna Smith, National Nurses United
    • Update from Retirees for Single Payer
    • Update from Physicians for a National Health Program
    • Healthcare-NOW! November Strategy Conference
    • Open discussion

    Please submit any additional agenda items or questions to

    Looking forward to hearing you on the call!

    For Improved Medicare for All,
    Katie and Jeff
    Healthcare-NOW! National Staff

    I received this urgent alert today, August 20th, 2010:


    Police Bill May Go Before State Senate on Monday!!Immediate Phone Calls and Emails Needed!!

    The California State Senate is about to vote on AB 1822, a bill sponsored by the California Police Chiefs Association. If AB 1822 becomes law, California’s police chiefs and sheriffs will be forcing their way on the California Massage Therapy Council (CAMTC) board. It is a dangerous precedent.

    The police chiefs original intention with AB 1822 was to force the reversal of SB731 and give back police departments the unrestricted power to regulate massage therapists. When that effort  failed, thanks to the many letters massage professionals like yourself sent to their state legislators in protest, the police chiefs switched tactics and are now are attempting to force themselves onto CAMTC’s Board of Directors with AB1822.

    No other California professional board, and no other state massage board in the nation has law enforcement officials as directors.

    The CAMTC Board of Directors believes that if AB 1822 if becomes a law, it will:

    • destabilize the CAMTC Board and make it harder for the CAMTC to protect the rights of certified massage professionals to practice without undue interference.
    • unfairly stigmatize the massage profession in California,
    • do nothing to improve public protection.

    California State Senators will vote on AB1822 any day now.

    If you were to make a list of the reasons for an aching back, it would be long!  From sitting at a computer in an awkward position, to driving in stressful traffic and not being able to get out and stretch, to sitting in one position at a class or lecture, to overwork, to under-exercising and subsequent weak abdominal muscles, to problems during birth, to giving birth, to spinal abnormalities, to traumatic injuries, the list goes on.
    My back started hurting when I was in my mid 20s due mostly to strenuous modern dance, and then from over-doing it giving deep tissue massage therapy. So I am an expert at making my back get better.  Here are a few tips:
    1.  Lie down with your knees bent and rest calves on an exercise ball.
    2.  Lie down with a tennis ball on each side of your spine, starting at your sacrum and gradually working up the spine to the edge of your shoulders.
    3.  Lie on a medium size ball in between your shoulder blades to stretch your upper back.
    4.  Lie on your back with your knees curled into your chest and roll around
    5.  Lie on a large exercise ball, draped back over it, keeping your balance
    6.  Curl up in child’s pose and have some press along your spine.
    7.  Strenghten your abs
    8.  Strengthen your back (Dog pose is good for this, as are many other yoga poses)
    9.  Go for a walk to see if you can help the tight areas release
    10.  Relax in a jacuzzi (unless you shouldn’t for health reasons) and let the jet stream massage your tight muscles.
    11.  Get a massage from a skilled and experienced bodyworker and encourage your insurance company to cover massage so you can go back on a regular schedule.
    12.  If you still are in pain after several massages, look into chiropractic (I like the activator technique because it is gentle) and then acupuncture.
    Most of us have the resources to heal ourselves.

    I had my niece in mind when I made this mandala, so it is for Priya on her birthday.  It is also my offering for the summer solstice.  May it be a time of healing and centering for the earth (including its waters) and all its inhabitants!  Feel free to use this mandala as a centering device for yourself, and feel your calm, as it ripples outward.

    Dr. Masaru Emoto’s prayer for the Gulf of Mexico

    Dr. Masaru Emoto is the scientist from Japan who has done all the research and publications about the characteristics of water. Among other things, his research revealed that water physically responds to emotions. Many people have a predominantly angry emotion when we consider what is happening in the Gulf.

    And while justified in that emotion, we may be of greater assistance to our planet and its life forms if we sincerely, powerfully and humbly pray the prayer that Dr. Emoto, himself, has proposed to set an intention of love and healing that is so large, so overwhelming that we can perform a miracle in the Gulf of Mexico.

    We are not powerless. We are powerful.

    Our united energy, speaking this prayer daily…multiple times daily… can literally shift the balance of destruction that is happening. We don’t have to know how…we just have to recognize that the power of love is greater than any other power active in the Universe today.

    (The prayer)

    “I send the energy of love and gratitude to the waters and all living creatures in the Gulf of Mexico and its surroundings. To the whales, dolphins, pelicans, fish, shellfish, planktons, corals, algae … humankind … to ALL  living creatures …

    I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I Love You.”

    Please join me in often repeating this Healing Prayer by Dr. Emoto. Feel free to send it around the planet. Let’s take charge … and do our own cleanup.! 

    Please share this note with your friends and contacts around the world.

    For weeks I have been dreading getting an MRI.  I have grilled everyone I know to find out how it was for them, if they felt claustrophobic, etc.  In fact I put it off once or twice.  Then I bit the bullet and told myself that with all my yoga and breathing background, I should be able to relax and focus on my third eye, or at least zone out.  My yogic friends assured me I could do that, no problem.

    The day before the MRI I asked the Rite Aid pharmacist to call my doctor (who wasn’t returning my calls) to okay some valium, and one hour before the procedure I picked it up.  A very low dose, just in case.

    That was my deciding moment — to ingest or not.  I could hear my herbalist friends saying take hops, or valerian root or rescue remedy.  I think that herbs are often the way to go.  Maybe I could get a massage right before the procedure, or have someone massaging my feet while I lay there to help me relax and stay still.  I had gone there several weeks earlier to see the room and the MRI “thing”, as I called it.  It didn’t look as much like a coffin as I feared, but I still found it almost impossible to envision me in it!  It was going to take an act of magic for that to happen, I thought.

    The closer we got to the hospital, the closer the drug got to my mouth.  Especially when I heard herbalist Susun Weed in my head saying how overused x-rays and imaging are in the United States, and how potentially damaging they are.  I had to block her voice somehow. I would rush home and eat seaweed to help detoxify!

    In most cases, I would rather experience an event raw and undrugged and pay attention to the experience in all its nuances. But since I still felt affected by t he car accident several months earlier, I thought I might be unusually on edge.

    Ten blocks from the hospital, down it went.  I wasn’t really aware of any shift in my way of being or my perspective.   I was fine with the whole experience, especially after I told the radiologist to keep me informed regarding what he was doing.  The earplugs were helpful, actually necessary.  The loud, stacatto banging noises I still heard I used as percussion for some choreography and for planning my next yoga class.

    It was over fairly soon and I was impressed how little the drug had affected me.  I think it made it easier for everyone, and other than tripping over a rose bush the next morning, and sliding down the hill in my backyard, it was an overall positive experience!

    Driving home from a friend’s house today, I ran into a traffic jam on a not usually busy road.   I saw a man and his daughter, who was half on and half off her bike, gesticulating to drivers in front of me.  I became immediately concerned that someone had been hit.  When I was able to get a clear view,  I stopped my car, put on the flashers and got out to help him lift the rabbit who was standing, but walking in circles, and bleeding.  I was getting ready to try to pick him up, but since I didn’t have my own car I didn’t have my supplies which always include blankets for just such an emergency. 

    While several cars in the traffic jam were honking in annoyance, most cars were gratefully stopped.  Then, a woman ran up who said she was a vet tech and after struggling awhile was able to pick him up and get him into her truck.

    Thank you to the man and his daughter on Murrieta Hot Springs Road east, for the vet tech, all the animal lovers who willingly stopped (and didn’t slam into my friend’s car!), The Great Spirit, St. Francis, and whatever else.  

    “Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough.  We have a higher mission – to be of service to them wherever they require it.”

    St. Francis

    Have you ever wondered how many people over sixty years old are comfortable balancing on one foot (for more than five seconds), or how many enjoy the feeling of stretching backwards over an exercise ball, or even how many can get into a squat position and stay there?
    These three poses are valuable for anyone, regardless of age.  By keeping our balance we protect ourselves from falls, we stand straighter and are stronger.  By stretching backwards over a large ball, we lengthen our spine and open our chest, which helps us breath deeply, energizing and revitalizing us.
    My favorite pose of these three is the squat.  Randolph Stone, DC, DO, ND, the founder of Polarity Therapy and Yoga believed in the benefits of the squat so much he called the squat “Youth Posture.”  He taught at least seven variations, and believed that along with healthy eating, receiving polarity therapy and bodywork, and meditation that the squat is essential for our health.
    Why?  Practicing the squat regularly stimulates the downward current of elimination and thus improves digestion.  When you squat you are stretching the achilles tendon;  By stretching and lengthening the lower back you are easing pressure on the sacrum at the bottom of the spine.  You are enhancing the flow of energy (a central focus in Polarity Therapy) because the proximity of the calves, thighs, solar plexus and chest is similar to the fetal position.  Additionally, the squat posture assists in concentration, focus, a feeling of being grounded, and is soothing and rejuvenating.
    The modern dance company I founded in the 1980s in Philadelphia, Agape Dancers, used the squat pose frequently in our choreography.  Sometimes we were still, sometimes swiveling side to side, as we hummed or “toned.”
    There are, however, different degrees of comfort in the pose.  For people who have difficulty squatting, making a rocking motion while in the pose can help acclimate hips and legs.  For some, resting the heels on yoga blocks or tennis balls make the pose possible, and even comfortable.  Those with painful knees and varicose veins will find it difficult and possibly contraindicated, although placing a small folded towel under the knees decreases the strain.  Another way to play with the pose is to rest arms on large exercise ball, or to face a partner, hold each other’s wrists, stretching and counterbalancing each other. 

    Saturday, May 22, 2010, 10AM-3PM

    Come get a mini table massage from me, and check out first edition of my new book, Circle of Healing: Helping Extraordinary Clients with Yoga and Massage, A Practical Guide.

    Pechanga Resort & Casino

    45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula, CA 

    Sponsored by Riverside County (CA) Commission for Women

    60 vendors and speakers

    Admission free with non-perishable canned food item or grocery store gift card for $5.  Refreshments provided with admission.

    The County of Riverside Commission for Women seeks to improve the status of all women by ensuring opportunities for each woman to develop to her full potential.  In support of this mission, the Commission for Women identifieis problemsl, defines issues and recommends policies and procedures to the County Board of Supervisors regarding, but not limited to, women and health, the workplace, family, education, violence, law and society.

    More information, contact me at 951-677-5962 or Michele Broad, Women’s Health and Wellness, 951-304-3180.

    My childhood was healthy, thanks to my mother, and father. My mother gave me nutrilite, vitamins of several colors that came in a green plastic container with several compartments. We almost always had salad with meals, and we often stopped at the orchard market down the road for apples, peaches and pears. She encouraged me to play outside with my dog or my friends, even though due to her heart condition she usually could not join me and supported me in my modern dancing days because she could “vicariously enjoy” the movement.  As she got older she got even more into her garden and made her own sprouts, cooked lentil casseroles and any other vegetarian food she could think of.  What we did not share — yoga and massage — I have successfully shared with my daughter and she is slowly following my footsteps, and carrying on a legacy of healing movement.  She is a peer counselor for college students in santa barbara, where she speaks and gives presentations on self care.  She organizes yoga classes and chair massage for her fellow students, is learning more about yoga and will be teaching aerobics at LA fitness this summer.  She has been receiving massages since her first day and before, and now is reciprocating.
    She is also getting me more serious about working out.
    My mother’s mother was a friend of Isadora Duncan, the free spirited improvisational dancer who danced as her spirit led her.  My grandmother always asked me to dance for her, and I think she and I shared a connection with Isadora.  My daughter has also been a natural mover and dancer from the get go.
    May the power and joy that comes from these healing practices continue on, and on.

    (formerly titled My Animals Are Dying)
    This time last year my cat Leo passed over.  He was a smallish gray tabby my husband brought into our house from a feedstore eleven years ago. The owner had been arrested for brandishing a gun, shooting up into the sky, and accidentally grazing someone standing in the way. I am not sure why my husband thought we needed Leo in our life. Having a rescued wild mustang, another horse, two burros, several goats, a million rabbits and some ducks, plus several cats and about eight dogs, with our seven year old running around with them seemed like enough. And we were in the middle of a town on a couple acres, so we had to maintain some semblance of normalcy.
    Leo wasn’t sure about being there either and upon arriving climbed up my body, leaving several scratches and bites on all accessible parts of me. He then ran up the edge of a door and spent forever sitting up there. But soon he became accustomed to us, and mostly hung out with the other cats, but also with Rosie’s litter of puppies. My dog Winnie grew up with Leo.
    After several moves we ended up by an arroyo near Murrieta Hot Springs, CA and Leo reigned. He outsmarted the coyotes at every turn, and befriended each new cat that showed up at our door. His last few months were difficult due to us getting evicted and he and our other cat and Winnie the dog living several places. In our recent quarters, I thought I would give Leo the healing energy he needed and would get him well again by having him sleep curled up with me and by giving him daily, gentle massage.
    But the vet said he was in pain in both front legs, had fluid between his ribs and lungs, and was in danger of drowning in his own fluids any day. Leo had perked up for several days on Metacam for pain, and even caught a mouse outside, and liked the scratching board and stretching. Previously, whenever I had a stomach ache he would lie on the area until it got better. But recently he wouldn’t stay long and soon disappeared into his closet.
    Leo died from cancer. My dog Rosie died in the spring from diabetes and Cushings Syndrome, after having two toes removed that were cancerous. Gravy, Rosie’s mate, died a year earlier from abdominal cancer. My ex husband’s wife’s pitbull died of cancer, and the black lab I picked out as a pup in Long Beach died this spring of cancer. Two other dogs that were part of the pack in Aguanga, at the Back 40 where my ex lived for awhile died in the last year, of cancer.

    What is happening? Are animals dying the same as always but we never bothered to have them diagnosed? Or is the water they are drinking, the food they are eating and the air they are breathing killing them,? Should we throw out the commercial food and just let them eat the purest grains and fruits and veggies, with some protein? I am thinking that Paul Newman brand pet food is a good way to go, but there are many wholesome dog food brands.  We need to get them affordable for everyone.
    Leo, I wonder what we should do to keep your animal friends well.
    I am so sad you had to go, faster and sooner than you or I wanted.
    We love you, and trust you are with your friends in the spirit energy realms, feeling no pain, and at peace.

    I highly recommend checking out veterinarean Michael Fox’s website.   He is former vice president of the Humane Society of US,  author, world traveler.  He writes of helping our pets get healthy with pure drinking water and wholesome food, enough exercise, massage, love and many other things!

    My friend Mary has been fighting an uphill battle against a variety of illnesses, including cancer, since the early 1990s.  When I met her she had just moved to Murrieta Hot Springs in southern California to get the full gamut of healing waters, massage and other bodywork, yoga, and also the help of some fine MDs.  But, as the hot springs closed to the public, she was forced to look elsewhere and she ended up in a cancer clinic in Mexico, where she rallied and beat the cancer. 

    Today she is facing some more cancer issues and is living in Albuerquerque, NM, where she had moved to care for her mother.  Her mother died this past year, and Mary needs a place to stay to help her heal again.  But where?

    I have called all around the US and Canada to find a cancer clinic that combines the best of modern western medicine, and the best of holistic health, where the person with cancer can live during the treatment.  Many of the calls I made were to hot springs since Mary was always drawn to healing waters.

    I have not made much progress, so I’m putting this wish of hers out to the world.  Any suggestions?  Please email me at

    This is the headline of an email I received from the Government Relations Chair of the American Massage Therapy Association California chapter today, April  9, 2010.   Having just received my state (voluntary)certification after 36 years of working in the field of bodywork and healing arts I am dismayed.   Ever since I moved to California in 1992, I have observed local law enforcement  creating difficulties for bodyworkers to practice their profession. 

    I thought Senate Bill 731  was the beginning of positive change, that finally bodyworkers were going to be acknowledged and respected for the valuable work they do.  It is particularly troubling to me that massage therapists and law enforcement and other first responders work so closely in the face of natural and manmade disasters, and yet are at odds when it comes to this issue.  At  least SB 731 was a beginning.

    Apparently Assembly member Sandre Swanson has introduced Assembly Bill 1822 into the legislature and if it becomes law (albeit  not until after December 31, 2015), all massage therapists will again be required to have local permits for each city in which they practice.  That means that in addition to the fee paid to the California Massage Therapy Council,  for fingerprinting and background checks and certification process, that they will have to pay an additional $75, or $100 or more  to practice per city and to fund local background checks.  Also local law enforcement would have the final say regarding whether or not to certify someone.  

     Under local permitting procedures, massage therapists are subjected to humiliating and unreasonable requests that have nothing to do with their fitness to practice massage therapy.  I can personally attest to this. 

    Some people believe that this issue is being driven by fear.  Fear of non-western medical health care, fear of the power of healing practices, and fear of the practitioners themselves, who are mostly women.  I hope this is not the case, but I think we need to carefully examine the motives.

    Is separating legitimate massage health professionals from prostitution the real reason for the the law wanting to enforce this?  Or, is it profit for local jurisdictions?  Or is it power?  I know when my city first devised its police-run massage therapy ordinance, one of the creators of the ordinance was a business man who was not a bodyworker.    As a 36 year veteran of the bodywork field, I have to question the logic of that.

    Massage therapists need to be regulated like other healing professions are – by a state board, not by police departments.  AB 1822 would undo everything that massage therapists, consumers, and law enforcement gained with SB 731.

    If you would like to become involved in this, sadly, ongoing battle or have questions, contact the Government Relations Chair Amanda Whitehead at

    Learn yoga poses and self-care techniques for flexibility, to help balance the endocrine system, to create strong muscles and bones, to promote balance and clear thinking.  Learn ways to enhance your midlife and beyond.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010 – 10:45-12:45

    Korrie’s Pilates Place. Baxter Road off Rte 15 in Wildomar – exit east, make first left at Monte Vista, first right on Fredrick St., up the hill and buildings to the left.  34859 Fredrick St., Suite 108

    $25, or $20 to members of Korrie’s Place.

    Questions?  Call 951-677-5962.

    When I lived in Philadelphia we had a dog named Fox, who looked like an orange fox.  When he was 15 he began to have urinary problems.  An herbalist friend of Susun Weed’s, Pam Montgomery, suggested the herb stinging nettle so I went to Pennypack Park and dug some nettles up –carefully — and planted them in our garden.  For the next two years I cooked the green leaves in water with rice and added chicken baby food and that is what Fox ate.  Our vet could not believe he survived and happily, those two more years, based on condition of kidney when he was first seen.
    I am no herbalist, so I would recommend you go out and buy some of Susun Weed’s books, and I think Pam Montgomery also has a good book.
    But stinging nettles are great for urinary tract issues, endocrine issues, especially those at midlife, adrenals and have lots of calcium and more.
    There is a hillside of nettles behind the house in Murrieta, and also at Dripping Springs pond where I maintain the native plants. 
    Guess what I am doing this week?
    Happy Spring!

    Mandala Osteoblast


    I have been researching the many challenges of midlife transitions and being surrounded by people in the 40-60 year age range spurs me on. I have been teaching yoga since 1973, but just recently I have honed in on the value of yoga for women (and men) experiencing osteoporosis. We are told that getting enough calcium and getting enough weight bearing exercise is important. There are two reasons that yoga helps with both of these imperatives.

    Many of the standing and balance poses taught in yoga classes involve bones and muscles of the legs, hips and spine working together; but also, yoga exercises often involve strengthening the upper body and sometimes require arms and hands to support the rest of our body weight. So you are strengthening yourself from all angles! What better way to strengthen your upper body than support your whole body in crane pose?  And what better way to improve your balance and strengthen your body from your feet up than in tree pose or dancer’s pose?

    Yoga poses done on a continuous basis can help activate the endocrine glands that are so important for maintaining calcium balance, and for alleviating menopausal complaints such as mood swings, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, hot flashes, and disruptive sleep patterns.

    Additionally, poses such as dog pose and table top stretch lengthen your spine  to increase space between the vertebrae.

    I think it is important to see our changing bodies and new found challenges in mid-life and onward to be our guides for improving our overall health and increasing our sense of well-being. Yoga is a wonderful tool and a path for increased self-knowledge and awareness

    See dance this Friday & Saturday!

    Philadelphia Dance Projects Presents 2010 is here! It feels like it was just yesterday that we were celebrating the start of the New Year, and now we’re about to jump into four weeks of contemporary dance performances. The series opens this week with performances from Local Dance History Project artists Dan Martin, Michael Biello and Ishmael Houston-Jones and Next Up artist Otto Ramstad at The Performance Garage on Friday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 27 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Find out how to get $5 off tickets below. We hope you will join us and bring your friends!

    Join in the conversation at Sunday’s Local Dance History Project Forum

    Box Office + Get $5 off tickets!
    Snowmageddon got you down? Learn how to navigate your way to The Performance Garage

    Don’t let the canyons of snow still lining Philly streets deter you from getting out of the house to see some delightful, engaging and provocative dance artists. The Performance Garage, located at 1515 Brandywine Street, is one block North of Spring Garden Street and is accessible by public transportation. Take the Broad Street subway to the Spring Garden Street Station, or catch the C bus or #2 bus. Driving? Metered parking on Spring Garden is FREE beginning at 6:30 p.m. and there is a safe and well lit parking lot at the NW corner of Broad and Spring Garden, just one block from the venue.

    Want to learn more about Philadelphia’s dance history? Join us for the Local Dance History Project Forum on Sunday, February 28. The free all-day forum begins at 12 p.m. and will feature a dance class led by project artists, two panel discussions exploring Philadelphia’s contemporary dance scene in the late 1970s and early 80s, and a presentation of archival video clips, photos, flyers, and more. The panels, moderated by Lisa Kraus, will feature project artists Dan Martin and Michael Biello, Jano Cohen, PDP’s Terry Fox, and Ishmael Houston-Jones alongside Jeff Cain, musician, playwright and performance artist and co-founder of Old City Arts; Gerry Givnish, visual artist and co-founder of the Painted Bride Art Center; Wendy Hammarstrom, who appeared with the project artists in Dance & Dancers; and Bruce Schimmel, journalist, founder of Philadelphia City Paper, and editor of Dance Dialog, a journal of critical writing circa 1980. Check out the Local Dance History Project Forum on our website for a complete schedule.

    Read more about the first program on PDP’s new website at! The new site is now live and features detailed information on all series events, the ability to purchase tickets online, videos from artists, news about other PDP programs, a blog and more.
    Pictured: Otto Ramstad (photo by Per Morten Abrahamsen)



    Pictured:  Agape Dancers, Wendy Hammarstrom, Elizabeth Luff, Susan Tomita O’Connor-a corner of the Philadelphia Art Museum, 1984
    I am looking forward to being part of Philadelphia Dance History Project Forum.Feb 26th & 27th – A group of five dance artists who were among the first in Philadelphia to explore post modern, improvisation and performance genres, were featured in Dance & Dancers, a sold-out presentation at the Harold Prince Theater at the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. Now, these five dancers reunite to reconstruct their work, which will be performed by young Philadelphia dance artists. Each Local Dance History Project program is paired with an emerging choreographer, providing a unique look at contemporary dance, past and future.Feb 28th – An all-day free event, the Philadelphia-based Local Dance History Project Forum features a dance class led by project artists, two panel discussions exploring Philadelphia’s contemporary dance scene in the late 1970s and early 80s, and a presentation of archival video clips, photos, flyers, and more. The panels, moderated by Lisa Kraus, will include LDHP artists alongside Jeff Cain, co-founder of Old City Arts; Gerry Givnish,visual artist and co-founder of the Painted Bride Art Center; Wendy Hammarstrom, Artistic Director and founder of Agape Dancers, who appeared in Dance & Dancers; and Bruce Schimmel, journalist, founder of Philadelphia City Paper, and editor of Dance Dialog (circa 1980). For a complete schedule of events, visit

    Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with Lorena Weinstock, a Murrieta, California, ER RN who recently began working at Menifee Valley Medical Center.  Originally from Romania, she came to the US when she was 10 years old.  Recently, her travels took her to Haiti with the Haiti Endowment Fund where she worked for ten days at a 25 year old 30 acre compound in the city of Hinche, in the middle of the country, far from where the earthquake hit.  She said she has been praying for a long time about participating in a medical mission and when the earthquake hit she was in between jobs, her parents had just moved in to help with her family and it was a good time for her.

    Lorena worked along side an anesthesiologist, an orthopedic surgeon, and 25 others from Calvary Church to help patients recently injured in the earthquake in Port au Prince, as well as working with regular on-going patients from the area.  She said the team treated 2000 people during their stay, and that included amputees, extremity fractures and on-going patients with deformities.  One girl with hydrocephalus who was never treated may come to the US to be treated, and another girl did come to the US for eight months for surgery on her club foot.  A benefit for that girl was that while she was in US she learned English and returned to Haiti with a new foot and a new life as a translator.  One lady who had to have her leg amputated from the knee down fortunately had the benefit of the anesthesiologist’ presence. In this case Lorena had to hold her other leg up because the woman’s blood pressure was too low and they did not have the usual hospital bed with the ability to place patients in the trendelenburg position.   When she awoke she looked down at her stump and said, “Thank you — God Bless You.” 

    She said she was struck by the poverty of the country (95% are unemployed) and as a result of the earthquake they lost schools, including medical schools, so people cannot pursue education.  She also noticed the huge gap between the very rich and the very poor, and the lack of facilities that many westerners take for granted.  Most of the people they met had no electricity, and in many areas there was no local dump so garbage just piled up along the city streets.  She said dogs and horses she saw were 2/3 the size of those in the US, and much of the country’s soil is unusable, mostly from de-forestation.  She anticipated there would be trouble with food and water since 700,000 people were displaced from Port au Prince who have no intention of going back.  In Hinch, where she was staying and working, the population of 50,000 had just increased to 170,000.

    The Haiti Endowment Fund is providing teams of medical personnel and social workers to provide consistent overlapping support.  When I asked her what the greatest needs are, she said clean water, good food, antibiotics and anti-worm medication.  She said she hopes the government will succeed at creating an effective infrastructure to get the supplies to where they are needed the most.  I asked Lorena how to help.  She said, “If you have a skill, volunteer.  Otherwise, send money.”

    In the north part of Haiti, the land was green and lush with good soil and she has an image that she carries with her of  little children, running happily by the river in Hinch, through the land that they love.  Her greatest reward was being able to help, seeing the smiles on their faces and hearing the words of thank you, and we love you.


    I am now a California credentialed massage therapist. The California credentialing has just begun going into effect this fall after many years of organizing and lobbying in Sacramento.  Although 42 states and Washington, D.C. regulate massage therapists or provide voluntary state certification, it is the first time there has been a state wide massage credential in California.  Voluntary statewide certification of massage therapists was chaptered into California law on September 27th, 2008 through the passing of SB 731.  

    The purpose behind CAMTC’s creation was to serve the interests of the public and the massage profession by making the process of certification the same throughout the state, rather than different in each city and county. At this point, however, massage therapists still have to pay a separate business license for each city they work in.

    I have been practicing and teaching massage and yoga for over thirty years, in Pennsylvania and California, and currently teach a Thursday night yoga class at Korrie’s Pilates Place in Wildomar, where I also offer my unique blend of acupressure and massage therapy.  My other clients have included infants & parents, the developmentally disabled, the medically fragile, hospice patients and animals.

    I was a co-founder of Inland Holistic Health Assn, wrote a column on health and wellness for the Californian newspaper for two years, a bodywork column for Awareness Magazine, and am in the final stages of completing my book, “Circle of  Healing: Finding Our Way to Wellness.”  I am also a member of the Temecula Valley Women’s Club.

    For more information on my classes on yoga, pet massage or the art of mandala making, you can contact me at

    Winter Solstice Greetings!

    From the shortest day of the year to later and later twilights,

    May your lengthening days be filled with increasing

    health, happiness, humor, peace and riches of all kinds.

    Winter time was the Star of Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, with candles in every window, huge snowdrifts blocking our front door, wood fires in our little Limeport home, and sleigh rides on the hill. It was time for small gatherings with remarkable friends and family and the annual 10 mile Christmas Peace Pilgrimmage from Nazareth to Bethlehem.  We welcomed the beginning of winter with piano, recorders, flutes, violins, and song.  Today winter is pink sunsets over the Pacific coastal mountains and crisp clean air.  It is snuggling with Marina between her visits to her childhood friends, being amazed at how independent and wise she has become, and being thankful that Winnie, the dog and Gray, the cat are safe and cozy.  It is time for running to our old house to see the winter stream after first rain, and trimming the native plants by the pond.    

    The winter solstice is like magical twilight, when the yellow haze of day turns to pink, blue, and then moonrise.

    I know many of you have been faced with seeming unbearable losses and challenges, and I trust that the cool blue twilight of winter will give us quiet time to center and prepare for all of our upcoming changes and unfolding.    

    Hello & Season’s Greetings from Wendy Hammarstrom!
    Please remember to take care of yourself during this hectic holiday season & come and relax at yoga class, let go of your concerns with a 30 minute or 60 minute massage, or experience the peace and contentment from creating your own mandala art.

    • I have created and hand made a large variety of mandala coloring card kits for children of all ages, as well  gift cards and greeting cards.  available at Korrie’s Pilate’s Place, 34859 Fredrick St, in Wildomar off Baxter Road, east of Rte 15 & up the hill  (Look for large YOGA sign)—by donation. 951-609-9080.
    • My Thursday night yoga classes continue at Korrie’s Pilates Place, 7-8:15PM– by donation. 
    • Hour massage holiday price for the month of December is $50, the same cost as for gift certificates – at your home or business or Korrie’s Pilates Place. 


    Call me at 677-5962 if you would like to set up a massage or private yoga appointment,  purchase a gift certificate, or host or participate in a 2010 class in mandala creating,  pet massage, yoga or massage therapy.

    I am looking forward to seeing you at this year’s end or early next year!    

    I hope all is well with you,

    Wendy Hammarstrom

    Last summer my ninety year old father was hospitalized for a broken hip.  He was not getting much touch as his nurses were over-worked, and he developed a MRSA infection which meant no one could touch him without wearing plastic gloves.  In addition, his hearing aids were lost, and perhaps most challenging was the fact that he was brain damaged from an accident forty years ago.  When I got there his legs were blue from the knees down, and his feet were ice cold.  He was sleeping but seemed agitated.  I massaged his legs, feet and back.  He never woke up but when I left him he was sleeping with a peaceful look on his face.  The next morning his feet were warm and his legs and feet were a healthy color, and he was in good spirits.

    Due to several complications he died several weeks later.  But during those weeks, at my insistence, he was graced with caring and loving touch from his immediate and extended family, and his entire Quaker meeting.  We in turn were graced to be sharing that sacred time with him.

    Most people, like my father, appreciate caring touch.  Many, unfortunately, experience touch deprivation including people with AIDs, people with cancer and other illnesses; infants in Neo Natal Intensive Care Units, especially those who have been abandoned by their parents; people with injuries and amputations and deformities, the not very visible part of our population that is challenged with physical abnormalities; those recovering from addiction; victims of physical and emotional abuse who find it difficult to trust any touch; those suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome including victims of natural and man-made disasters and even car accidents; the elderly and the dying, and many veterans returning from Iraq who are suffering from the wounds of war. 

    During times of high stress and financial hardship, healing touch is a gift you can offer someone, either done by you or if you prefer, you can find a reputable bodyworker who will work with you financially to find a price that works; most massage therapists I know offer holiday gift certificate specials.

    Besides the emotional comfort of caring touch, massage therapy oxygenates the cells which increase endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers; it increases flexibility and movement in joints and eases stiffness and pain in arthritis sufferers and it gets the “chi” or life force moving, which helps us feel revitalized.  Healing touch reduces or eliminates stress related headaches, eases digestive disorders and chronic muscular pain including fibromyalgia, improves body image and speeds healing after surgery, and improves the immune system.  By increasing circulation, massage is invaluable in preventing bedsores that are so problematic, and too often life-threatening for the immobile.  It relieves agitation in Alzheimer’s patients, enhances blood pressure and pulse in geriatric patients, and helps women with all phases of the childbearing years.  Massage therapy comforts and relaxes children with attention deficit disorder, those with autism and people with many forms of mental illness.

    You can start with those closest to you — your family and your immediate circle, including your pets.  My teenage daughter reminds me constantly that she needs massage to loosen tight muscles after an extreme physical work out, or to help her get to sleep when she is over-excited.  Our aging dogs need massage to help them with a myriad of conditions.

    As vital as food and water is to our survival, so is touch and giving from the heart.

    Educational Programs


    Yoga: Uniting Body, Mind, Spirit

    Our December networking event will focus on the emotional benefits of yoga

    Speaker: Karen Gagnier, OM Women Cancer Survivors (WCS) certified yoga instructor

    Register for this free networking meeting.

    Join Living Beyond Breast Cancer for our next free networking meeting, Yoga: Uniting Body, Mind, Spirit, on Monday, December 14, 2009, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Philadelphia Marriott West in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

    Karen Gagnier, an Om Women Cancer Survivors (WCS) certified yoga instructor, will discuss the emotional benefits of yoga, including:

    • How yoga can improve your quality of life by increasing strength and flexibility while decreasing stress
    • Where to find resources for locating qualified practitioners


    During the evening, you’ll also have an opportunity to participate in a hands-on yoga demonstration. Please wear comfortable clothing and bring a mat or towel.

    About Our Speaker

    Ms. Gagnier is an Om Women Cancer Survivors (WCS) certified yoga and Kripalu instructor. A runner for 30 years, she was originally drawn to yoga because she wanted greater flexibility. After she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, Ms. Gagnier discovered the many other benefits of yoga. Since then, she has used yoga to strengthen her immune system, reduce stress and manage the side effects of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Ms. Gagnier teaches Repose Yoga classes at Focus Fitness in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, where women affected by breast cancer can come together to renew and restore the body, mind and spirit, both during and after cancer.

    Location and Registration Information

    The Philadelphia Marriott West is located at 111 Crawford Avenue in West Conshohocken. On-site parking is available for a $3 fee. For directions, visit the Web site of the Philadelphia Marriott West.

    This event is free, but registration is requested. We encourage you to register online. If you have questions, please call us at (610) 645-4567.

    It has been two weeks since the car behind me got rear ended by another car whose driver didn’t see that the four cars in front of him were crawling along about five miles per hour, along with about a thousand other cars.  Although the driver behind me saw the car speeding up from behind and braked to soften the blow for all of us, I had no idea what hit.  My first thought was, “How could I be in a car accident?  I was going five miles per hour, and for the last ten minutes.”  Before that thought, I don’t know how long I sat there.  I don’t remember opening my car door, although it was open.  I remember seeing fluid coming out from under the car and my horn kept honking.  Getting out seemed like the best course of action.  I stood and leaned against the median, until I couldn’t stand anymore.  I wondered why the other drivers weren’t getting out of their cars.  There were two pick-up trucks in front of me, also part of the crash.  For some reason, perhaps because I was the middle layer of the sandwich, my car sustained most of the damage, and was totalled.  I noticed that my right wrist was hurting and the right side of my back was tightening up.  But I turned down an offer from the paramedics to go to the hospital because 1), I wasn’t bleeding, 2) no bones were feeling broken, and 3)I didn’t feel like I had any internal injuries.  Plus I was trying to get to a hearing in Riverside, and I wanted to get my car to the mechanic I knew.  Too many things to worry about to go and possibly, spend hours in an emergency room.  On the other hand, I remember that Liam Neeson’s wife felt fine one hour and tragically worsened the next.

    As a massage therapist who was worked with many car crash victims, I know that often the pain and the symptoms don’t hit for weeks after the event.  So I was carefully observing myself, to observe my body and to watch for signs of PTSD.  It took ten days until my mental faculties were back to normal.  The first few days after the accident I could not read words, I used the wrong words, I made wrong turns in neighborhoods I know well, and was overall feeling “not grounded.”  Five days after accident another bodyworker worked on me, using some acupuncture and foot and lower leg points.  When I stood up I felt like I had feet for the first time in five days.  The next day, after I saw my chiropractor, I felt grounded, like my brain was connected to my body and my body was touching earth.  I was still extremely fatigued and very easily could get an overuse reaction from over twenty minutes at the computer, or after making necklaces for my daughter and her friend.  I tried to write at the computer and could not until around day eleven after the crash.  I didn’t feel like I had the brain capacity.  When I began to read, the only way I could read was lying down on my back. 

    My body went through the gamut.  Neck and shoulder pain and stiffness, rhomboid pain and shoulder blade pain, TMJ and ear pain, upper outer arm and greater trochanter pain so that I couldn’t lie on my side, right rib cage pain, knees locking up, ankles feeling gimpy, calves going into rock hard spasm, and did I say both wrists and arms sore?

    All this from a “non-injury collision”.  I understand that car accidents are the number one cause of PTSD in America, and it made me wonder how many have gone through similar suffering and how many have been acknowledged.  I also thought how difficult readjusting to non combat life is for veterans. 

    These are the things that have helped  me:

    Making figure eights with my hand in front of me and following with eyes.  Doing this on both sides or using both hands together.  Crossing the midline of the body to help right and left brain connection.

    Making  jewelry and mandalas, although the amount of time doing this was considerably limited due to arm and hand pain, and back fatigue.

    Seeing my activator chiropractor

    Getting massage

    Twenty-thirty minute walks with my dog-though the first day after the accident I walked up a hill and the next day my calves went into spasm.  I assumed that moderate exercise was okay, but even a little challenge can set off the reactors in the body. 

    Not resuming working out – yet

    Stretching on floor on mat and lying on tennis balls on each side of spine and under hips, shoulder blades, wherever the weight of my body can handle the pressure to release the muscle spasms. 

    Hot baths in epsom salts, followed by ice at times,  if it seems helpful.

    Acknowledging that I was fatigued and being good to myself, and reminding myself that even though there are millions of car accidents every year, they are nonetheless, not normal.  There is nothing normal about being shaken up, on whatever level you are feeling it.  So appreciate what you are going through, and respect others who are going through similar situations.

    Lakota is a half wolf who lives in my house and is in danger of being put down because his owner is losing her home and she doesn’t think she can find him a home.  I have just learned that 100,000 wolf hybrids are put down each year because of situations like this.  He is a beautiful, sweet being who sleeps on my bed and after 5 months now sleeps on the bed with my cat. He needs a constant, steady owner. If I wasn’t in such limbo myself, I would take him in a heartbeat.
    Please spread the word and email me if you have any leads.  Thanks,
    WendyLakota & Marina

    mandala sea flower

    mandala vision

    mandala celebration 2

    I thought this was worthy of sharing!