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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.


Healing WatersLast night I dreamt about hot springs.  In my dream there was some confusion about whether or not the hot springs were in Pennsylvania or California, and whether they were Harbin Hot Springs or Wheeler Hot Springs.  This morning a friend of mine invited me to Glen Ivy Hot Springs, near Corona, CA. 

Every day I drive by or walk near Murrieta Hot Springs,  once home of the Luiseno Indians and the village of Churukunuku (sp?).  When I was writing for the Californian newspaper one of my “In Touch” columns was about Murrieta Hot Springs and the healing power of the springs from days past when Indian tribes, not always in harmony, would lay down their weapons to heal their wounds.  Once, when I stayed up all night reading about the history, mythology and tragedy of the local Native Americans, I walked to the creek where the village once was.  I tripped over a shiny, black obsidian arrowhead.  Never before, and never since, have I seen anything like it, although I am told by a local historian that the the creekbed is artifact-laden. 

In 1916, the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce created a brochure that stated:  “The Murrieta Hot Springs have become famous…many rheumatic invalids have been carried on stretchers to the springs, unable to walk or even to feed themselves, and after a few weeks of mineral water and mud baths, have been able to walk, unaided by crutches, the five miles to the station.” Franklin Roosevelt came here to heal his paralysis, Charlie Chaplin and many of the early Hollywood stars came here in the 1900s as well as throughout the century.

During the 1980s the spa at Murrieta Hot Springs was one of the most frequented in North America. It was open to everyone and people from all over the world came. The Alive Polarity group taught yoga and exercise classes, cooked delicious vegetarian meals in the lodge, and offered healing treatments in the mudrooms and spa.

Local residents give testimony to the curative and healing effects of the mineral-rich baths.  The water, which comes out of the ground at one hundred and forty to one hundred and sixty degrees Fahrenheit after traveling through the Elsinore fault, is believed to get its healing properties largely from its ionization and rich mineral composition.

Murrieta Hot Springs as a holistic health retreat was unique in several ways: The magnesium-rich mineral baths were uniquely effective in detoxifying the body, providing pain relief, and restoring mobility. Many physical therapy clients used the warm mineral pool as their primary treatment modality and a fibromyalgia support group also used the healing waters.

In Europe today doctors prescribe specific hot springs depending on a patient’s particular illness.  They do not question the powerful healing effects of mineral water.  Why don’t American physicians do the same?  There are hot springs everywhere in Amercia.  Who is using them?

Why aren’t the hot springs open to the public?  Calvary Church bought the land for a retreat center and bible college in 1995, promising neighbors it would continue to be available for them.   The springs were the reason that the town of Murrieta started, and flourished to its present size of 100,000. The hot springs have been an irreplaceable part of the Murrieta area, both in terms of their therapeutic value to the many people who have used the waters for health reasons and in terms of the springs’ heritage as a recreational landmark for the whole community.  At a time when all communities need an economic boost, the hot springs and guest accomodations and entertainment seem like a good way to bring in revenue, are possibly healthier than wineries and definitely healthier than casinos.

But to end where I began this flow of thoughts: Harbin Hot Springs may be a destination for me as there is a Contact Improvisation dance workshop there in September.  Wheeler Hot Springs is near Ojai, CA and I saw signs for it on the way to Santa Barbara last week.  Last night’s dream may become reality for me, and my wish is that Murrieta Hot Springs becomes open to all.

Yesterday I taught three people an in- home pet massage class, along with their three dogs and my elderly dog. Hope the black lab and Gracie the black newfoundland were very clear in their communication. When I suggested that we ask our dogs if it was okay to massage them, they dropped down, rolled over and said, in effect, lets get started!
Gracie could probably lead Zen classes of her own. She had no tension along her spine, where we began the massage, and could sit or lie in apparent bliss and stillness for a long time. After about ten minutes of total relaxation, she stood up, holding that position for five minutes, and then slowly made it into the corner. She was clearly finished.
Hope was almost as relaxed, and seemed to enjoy all the techniques. The only place she had any resistance was in the hind legs as her person slowly extended and flexed. There was one angle that she would not allow. Hope did not seem to have a limit for the amount of massage she could receive, but then she had been a service dog, helping children with emotional challenges her first few years. She probably thought it was time for her love and care to cycle back to her.
The two year old jack russell terrier did not really like my dog being in the family living room, so it was an effort to get him to stop bad vibing her, but he did relax and on occasion lay down.
My dog, Winnie, is eleven years and has gone through considerable stress lately as we lost our home (perhaps will get it back—–depending on outcome of lawsuit.) She spent six weeks living outside only in someone’s (very beautfiul) yard, then several days in an animal rescue setting. She now shares our temporary home with a wolf-hybrid, who loves her and respects her. But her spine has tight areas, especially her lower back, and her hamstrings are tight. If she goes for more than a couple days without walking, she locks up in her hips. In spite of her recent angst, and stress response to new environments such as the home where we had this class, she did relax.
As in pet obedience classes, the animals slowly establish their little bubble of space, and realize they are safe, and then can relax and accept the healing touch.
For someone who wants to get into massage for animals (and this could be for pets, for farm animals, for rescued animals of all sorts (including fighting dogs, lab research experiments, abandoned and abused, and animals soon to be butchered) healing touch can be life changing.
Additionally, massaging an animal can be healing to you. Besides helping your pet’s circulation and immune system, giving healing touch can reduce your stress level, slow you down to appreciate non-verbal communication, and even help with your own immune system. For some people, touching their animal friends is the only touch they receive.
And healing touch can include all creatures, such as lizards, snakes, and birds.
My cats, who also have suffered as a result of losing their home, are benefitting from massage. I haven’t heard of PTSD as something animals experience, but I am sure that they do.
Want more info? I recommend Michael Fox, VMD, website,, Carol Tellington Jones’ Tellington Touch, and Cesar Millan.
Is massaging our pets pampering them? Let me know your thoughts.

In 1986 I met with a bodyworker trained in New York City by the renowned shiatsu master Ohashi. She was showing me how she worked with, what was to me at the time, an unusual client. Duke was a great mastiff puppy from New Jersey horse country who was receiving deep muscle massage around his leg and hip joints to increase circulation to lessen the chance of sprains and strains as he grew.

Duke enjoyed every minute of the flexion and extension, friction massage, acupressure along his spine, and energy work he received. I was impressed by this and even more so when the therapist, a small woman, introduced me to her next client, a very large brown horse. She used the same shiatsu pooints and meridans that she showed me on Duke. As with working on Duke, she began by quietly sitting and waiting for a sign to begin. Then she visualized the horse’s spine, scanning vertabrae at a time, for areas that were deficient in healing energy. Based on that and how the horse would press into her hands, she would begin work. This was clearly a dance of mutual respect, trust and appreciation.

Soon after that I learned of Linda Tellington Jones, founder of Tellington Touch (TTOUCH) healing for animals, one of the better known systems used especially for horses but not at all limited to them. One of Linda’s clients was a python at the San Diego Zoo named Joyce who suffered from a recurrent respiratory ailment. After spending hours using TTOUCH on Joyce along with some assistants, Linda pointed out that this was a result of her inability to stretch to her full eight feet. Joyce made it apparent that she was grateful, in front of a room of two-hundred previously skeptical zoo personnel by rising up cobra sytle in front of Linda and flicking her “third eye” with her tongue. She also rested with her head over Linda’s heart.

Michael Fox, VMD, author, former director of the Humane Society of the United States, who writes a syndicated column for the Washington Post, and is co-founder of a wildlife sanctuary in Southern India, has also done work with wild animals in addition to extensive work with domestic animals. He told me that when they brought in injured animals at the wildlife sanctuary in India, he would call in one of his therapy assistance dogs, or a previously rescued wild animal to comfort the newcomer. This, and from the his staff being trained to give gentle strokes, the laying on of hands and prayerful presense stimulated the animal’s will to live.

Most pet owners I speak to say they instinctually massage their pets. Learning specific points and techniqes can be helpful for degenerative and chronic conditions such as arthritis and stiffnesss. Massage therapy can be used as an adjunct to other treatment including as a stimulant to enhance post-operative recovery; as a catalyst for convalescence from sickness and as an adjunct to intensive care in cases of shock and severe debility.

Massage increases endorphins, the body’s painkiller hormones, and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which brings the body into homeostasis or balance. The benefits are the same in animals as they are in people.

Other benefits include improving circulatory disorders, especially impaired heart functions in old age; reducing obesity and hypothyroidism; improving liver and kidney function; and reducing stress and anxiety. This last benefit works both ways. The pet massage giver also has a decrease in stress and anxiety.

I have a client from Hemet, CA whose chihuahua lies on her for the second half of the massage when she is face up. I am not allowed to leave the room until I have spent a minute on Angel’s spine. Another client in Fallbrook has a large Shepherd-Rotweiller who is beginning to experience pain and stiffness in his joints. Bo always presents the hip that is giving him the most discomfort.

Animals know our intentions and rarely will refuse help from us, unless the memory of the problem is so painful they can’t bear it, or if they have been mistreated. Pamela Hannay says, “Each horse I have worked with lives in my heart and continues to be my teacher.” We must show them the respect they deserve, give them the opportunity to let them do the work they are best at and let them by our teachers.