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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.


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.

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.

I am enjoying teaching this class. So far mostly new students. Today we focused on hip stretches and strengtheners, from mat work to partner stretches to standing poses. As always, I included some dance warm-ups, self-acupressure with tennis balls, and upper back stretches with larger balls. People seem to enjoy seated spinal twist with a partner as it is easier to go deeper into the pose and also flat back stretch, where we counterbalance, and have to trust each other. The energy in the room at Korrie’s Pilates Place is wonderful—very inspiring and peaceful. We ended the class with savasana, complete relaxation pose as I asked the class to visualize breath and energy coming in left hand and swirling around body, and whatever we don’t need flowing out the right side of body through the right hand.
Thursday mornings, 10-11:15AM, Wildomar, CA. Call 951-677-5962.

mandalawendyIn my 30 years of studying and practicing massage and bodywork, I have watched this country go from keeping massage at arm’s length to reaching out to it. Today, there are over 46,000 massage therapists certified by the American Massage Therapy Association, working in 27 countries. There are 60,000 massage therapists and bodyworkers Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, and a multitude of other bodywork organizations.

Thirty-three states have state licensing, and California finally is one of them. State licensing is a way of ensuring the quality of practitioners, which will (soon, we hope) encourage health insurance companies to reimburse for massage treatments.

But we still haven’t fully embraced the field of bodywork. Why is there still a shroud of mystery around it and a distrust of the massage therapy profession?

One reason is that the boundary between therapeutic massage and sensual or sexual massage is still unclear. In many Yellow Pages, including one of our local Temecula books, all types of massage come under one heading. So who is to know which therapist to go to? I have been told by several new clients that they went to get a sports or relaxation massage, only to be offered more.

For many people, that would be upsetting. But it can devaste people who have already had their boundaries violated physically, emotionally or mentally.

Bevery Susan Johnson, a massage therapist and educator from Alaska, says, “Each of us has our own energy cocoon (and needs for space), and it is not appropriate for someone else to be in our space without our consent.”

And that is why the ethics of bodywork is a required course in all massage schools today.

The National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, or NCTMB, requires members to abide by its code of ethics and defines ethical practice as “acting in a manner that justifies public trust and confidence, enhances the reputation of the profession and safeguards the interests of individual clients.”

The NCTMB requires that practititionres “always be responsbile not to engage in sexualizing behavior and therefore not engage in any sexual conduct or activities even if the client attempts to sexualize the relationship.”

I think also our society is touch phobic partly because our Puritan forefathers frowned on pleasure, and partly because healthy, nurturing touch was not modeled for many of us when we were children.

Recently I saw a television movie about the man who killed his pregnant wife and was having an affair with a massage therapist at the same time. It was the first time I have ever seen a massage therapist shown in a positive light on television.

My wish is that Americans and others become educated and enlightened and realize that therapeutic massage and bodywork sessions are a safe place for healing.