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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.

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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.

Respectfully,

 Ahmos Netanel

Chief Executive Officer

CALIFORNIA MASSAGE THERAPY COUNCIL


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

THIS IS AN URGENT ALERT TO ALL CAMTC-CERTIFIED MASSAGE PROFESSIONALS THAT NEEDS YOUR PROMPT ACTION!!

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.


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.


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 gr@amta-ca.org.


 

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 Wendy726@verizon.net.


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.


mandala celticI am confused.  My understanding of bodyworkers in California getting state certified was so we wouldn’t have to pay every city or county we worked in!  How many other jobs ask that of their employees?  Does that mean I need to pay a business license fee (about $75 in Murrieta) if I work in Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Escondido, Fallbrook, Menifee and Moreno Valley?  As it is many of us are getting paid less than we received when we started.  (In 1982 when I began doing massage therapy professionally, I would not accept work that paid me less than $30 an hour. ) And sadly, places like Massage Envy came into the area advertising $39 massages.  The public response is of course to expect that from any bodyworker.  I would be the first person to suggest people pay less money for healthcare and I hope we get a non-criminal health care system soon.   I hope massage therapy becomes covered by insurance, as it is all over the world.   This all feels wrong to me.  I will get back to you after I consult with the California bodywork certifying agency!


solstice mandala Good news!As a result of hard work of many dedicated people  including lobbyists, California now has  state certification for massage therapists.  After becoming certified,  massage therapists can work anywhere in the state of California.  Before now, massage therapists paid for a city license and then were unable to work in another city unless they paid that city’s fee.  (Or in some places, there was an extra fee for crossing county lines.) Many states in the US have state certification, and soon it will be nationwide.

As a result of this I will be offering massage therapy at Korrie’s Pilates Place (formerly A Balanced Body Center) in Wildomar, and at The Herb Peddlers on Main Street in historic Lake Elsinore.

More good news:   With a lot of help from friends, writers, editors, etc., the book I have been working on for six years is almost finished!

Yoga class:  I am still not in my home on Via las Flores.  The lawsuit with the bank is still pending.  So I am gathering students for a  class at Korrie’s Pilates Place.  Evening?  or noon hour?   Or if you know a home or business that would like a class there, contact me and we can work out details.

If you would like to host an infant massage class, a pet massage class or mandala creating class, talk to me!

And as holidays are approaching, I am offering gift certificates for massage or private yoga, for $50 for an hour, or $25 for thirty minutes.  This includes house calls.  I welcome working with the elderly, hospice patients, people with physical challenges and special needs, and those recovering from accidents and trauma.                   

Call me at 951-677-5962 or email me at Wendy726@verizon.net.

I hope you are well & enjoying the beginning of cool weather,

Wendy Hammarstrom

Blog: www.WendysWellnessWorld.Wordpress.com  

Website: www.WendysWellnessWorld.com


me massaging Clare Yetter

Healing neck pain

Is your neck tight?  Some suggestions to help:

1.  Get a massage that incorporates trigger points, acupressure and energy work.

2.  Looking straight ahead, stretch your right ear to your right shoulder with the right hand.  Breathe into the left side of your neck.

3.  When you sit and walk, imagine there is a string attached to the top of your head gently pulling you up.

4.  Squeeze your shoulders into your ears, then release.  Repeat three times.

5.  Standing, slowly lower your head into hanging forward bend.  Imagine all your tension in your back, shoulders and neck flowing into the earth.