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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.