Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pavia to Close and Pass Torch to Preston Wynne; Last Day is June 27, 2010

I am sad to announce that by the end of June 2010, Pavia will no longer be Pavia. We have struggled to stay afloat during the worsening economic conditions, and after a long battle, we have succumbed. We were just not able to earn enough to keep our space, and as a consequence, we lost our lease.

This is extremely traumatic for me and for my staff, as you can imagine, but there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. My friend, teacher, and mentor, Peggy Wynne Borgman, owner of Preston Wynne, and I have come to a great solution for our clients, staff, and wellness community. Preston Wynne has invited ALL Pavia employees to apply for employment there, and they have also volunteered to accept all unused Pavia gift certificates as payment for treatments there, allowing clients to use those over 2 visits (50% of the value of the remaining GC per visit), and they have asked me to go and set up a wellness program in their location. So truly, they are picking up the ball and running with it, and for that, I am extremely grateful.

I have to say, I must be an extremely stubborn person to have kept going as long as I did. There I was, at the end of my 7th month of pregnancy, holding down a high-tech consulting position, a husband, AND a spa, and I didn't want to let go of anything. I had to be served a notice of termination of tenancy for the end of June in order to let go of the spa - without it, I know I would have fought on like a determined soldier...or a dog with a bone....or a little kid with a favorite toy. It had to be yanked from me for me to see the bigger picture.

Far wiser people than me have said that at times like these, it's the Universe smashing you in the head with a "brick" to let you know that it's time to move on, there are other things in store. And far wiser people would not have waited for the brick to come a-smashing, but I am not one of those people. Like I said, they're far wiser.

Well, the brick has struck, and I'm now listening and paying attention. At first I resisted (yes, I'd call 2 weeks of crying and raging and sobbing and wailing, "resistance"), but now I am more or less at peace with it. I look forward to bringing our special brand of wellness and our community to Preston Wynne, and to being able to have time to spend with my new baby.

I just want to end by thanking all of those who have patronized Pavia, all those who have worked there, and all those I have met through owning the spa. You have each taught me something, and I will treasure the lessons forever. They were and are a huge part of my growth path. Thank you for blessing me by crossing my path, and I wish you all the best in life. You deserve it.

Love, Mare

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Vitamin D Dilemma

Recently I was sent an article by one of our vendors on the trade-off between getting Vitamin D and potentially getting skin cancer. Since Melanoma Awareness Month is only just now over (as of yesterday), and since the sun is only going to get stronger as we move into the summer months, I thought I'd re-post what I wrote in my newsletter, which quoted large sections of the article:

In a nutshell, the vitamin D dilemma goes like this: if the sun is a good source of vitamin D, and we can suffer from vitamin D deficiency by not getting enough sun exposure, then shouldn't we be unafraid to spend 5-10 minutes getting unprotected UV exposure from either the sun or tanning machines 2-3 times a week?


Over the last several years, physicians and scientists have debated sun exposure as a beneficial source of Vitamin D. Many assert that vitamin D produced in the body can help prevent prostate, colon, breast, and other cancers, as well as bone diseases.

These scientists are worried that people are now at greater risk for these diseases because "dermatologists have scared them out of the sun." Most dermatologists and cancer groups (including the Skin Cancer Foundation), however, argue strongly against the solution of spending unprotected time in the sun or in UV tanning machines. And new analysis from the Department of Dermatology at the Boston University School of Medicine appears to support this stance.


After reviewing the massive research available on vitamin D and sun exposure, Drs. Dean Wolpowitz and Barbara Gilchrest found that in regions where people have greater sun exposure, fewer cases of colon cancer occur, and fewer deaths occur from colon, breast, and prostate cancers. Presumably, this is because of sun-induced vitamin D. However, Wolpowitz and Gilchrest contend that UV is an officially recognized environmental carcinogen, and that the more than 1.3 million people diagnosed annually in the U.S. with skin cancers qualifies as a "near epidemic." And the cause of most of these cases? Sun exposure.


In a word, NO. According to Wolpowitz and Gilchrest, the studies that support getting unprotected sun exposure are "observational" and "variable in quality." In general, the data links mortality from colon, breast, and prostate cancer from specific regions with the amounts of UV in those regions, but such studies can be muddled by climactic factors such as pollution, variations in population genetics (such as darker- or lighter-skinned populations), and cultural or lifestyle factors (socioeconomics and diet). Therefore, these studies cannot directly correlate disease with individual sun exposure.

By contrast, much research (ranging from animal studies to surveys to large population and human DNA studies) has strongly established the connection between sun exposure and skin cancer. Drs. Wolpowitz and Gilchrest note that very small amounts of sun exposure provide ALL the vitamin D the body can manufacture. They say that even when you're wearing sunscreen, some UV reaches the skin, and for fair-skinned individuals, this may be plenty. The doctors conclude that greater exposure to the sun does nothing for vitamin D stores, but does increase DNA damage in a linear fashion. Their bottom line? The tradeoff of vitamin D production for photoaging and skin cancer does not make sense.

At Pavia, we like to recommend Colorescience's Sunforgettable powder sunscreens, which come in 3 shades, are SPF 30, easy to apply, water-resistant, and have received FDA approval as well as the Seal of Recommendation from the Skin Cancer Foundation of America.


Fortunately, there are effective and almost effortless sources of vitamin D - that are also non-carcinogenic. These include vitamin D supplements and vitamin D-fortified foods. For example, I like to take 4,000 IUs of vitamin D from a supplement supplied by my holistic physician, Dr. Kim Millman. You can also drink vitamin D-fortified orange juice or eat salmon and other fatty fish. There's even a vitamin D oral spray from Dr. Mercola, found here. And all of this is so much easier and safer than climbing into a tanning booth or laying out and frying our whole bodies in the sun.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Events at Pavia: The Power of Group Energy

Last night was the fourth class in Brian Rainie's series of energy work events at Pavia. Ten women gathered together to learn more about spirit guides and the different energies and entities that surround us in our lives and how they can effect us. Brian has always told us that once a critical mass is reached at about seven people, a group can run its own energy, and the potential for new experiences, perceptions, and even new levels of healing truly takes off.

I have personally experienced how easy it felt to do healing work in the group setting of my Bodytalk classes and Reiki shares, whereas one-on-one work can sometimes feel like more of a challenge. In last night's class I was particularly aware of what an amazing opportunity group work presents. In the fun and welcoming environment of classes at Pavia, we all seem to be that much more capable of "getting out of our own way" and looking past blockages and beliefs that cloud our intuition.

I'm sure that most of the participants (myself included, certainly) started out the class thinking something along the lines of, "But I can't see spirit guides! How the heck will I know what's going on?" But when the entire class began to focus their energies together on these readings, the results were absolutely amazing.

Somehow it's just that much easier to pipe up and say that in your mind's eye you see a very little old man with a stick standing right in front of your classmate's face when your other classmate is sitting next to you, saying "Yea, he's a tiny old man, with a stick!" And it was a beautiful thing to say to the person getting the reading, "He is SO proud of you."

Not only were we helping each other know to our spirit guides, but to know ourselves more deeply. We weren't just building confidence in our own intuitive abilities, we were opening doors to whole other worlds.

Please contact us if you'd like to know more about our events at Pavia and our Soul Therapy energy work offerings.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

3 Things Make a Person Ugly...

1. Tanning
2. Smoking
3. Drinking

Since May is melanoma awareness month, I want to talk about #1: Tanning. I still remember my best friend in college sunbathing every weekend with a can of Crisco at her side. This particular friend is no dummy either - she went to Stanford undergrad, blew away her LSATs, and went on to attend and graduate from Yale law school. But, for some reason, she couldn't get it through her head that sunbathing IS dumb. Sunbathing with Crisco on is just...spectacularly stupid. Sorry Lisa, I love you, but there it is.

Let's start with the basics: What is melanoma?

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. The disease begins in skin cells called "melanocytes." These cells make melanin, which gives skin its pigment and also protects the deeper layers of the skin from the sun’s UV rays. When skin receives too much UV light, melanocytes may begin to grow abnormally and become cancerous melanoma.

How do you spot Melanoma?

In many cases, the first sign of melanoma is a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of an existing mole. Melanoma can also appear on the body as a new mole. Most melanomas have a black or blue-black area and may appear abnormal.

For men, melanoma often appears between the shoulders and hips, on the head, and the neck. Women most commonly find melanoma on the lower legs, palms of hands, on the soles of feet, and even under the fingernails or toenails. Although these are the most common places on the body for melanomas to appear, they can appear anywhere on the skin, so it is important to perform routine self-examinations and get an annual head-to-toe skin check from your dermatologist.

And if you find something that looks suspicious, don't hesitate to contact your doctor.

Did you know that...

* UV exposure is greatest when the sun is highest in the sky between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. It is also greatest in the summer, at higher altitudes, and nearer the equator.
* Up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays can penetrate light clouds, mist and fog.
* Fresh snow reflects back about 85 percent of the sun’s rays; water reflects back about 5 percent of the sun’s rays; concrete reflects back 10 to 12 percent of the sun’s rays.
* Protecting your skin during the first 18 years of life can reduce the risk of some types of skin cancer by up to 78 percent.
* Studies have confirmed that sun exposure is responsible for the development of at least two-thirds of all melanomas.

Please, what people don't know CAN kill them. Spread the word to your friends, family, and loved ones about the dangers of melanoma. Wear a full-spectrum sunscreen of AT LEAST SPF 30 every day, whether you're inside or outside. Put this on your children and loved ones as well. If they don't like the greasiness of sunscreen, there are powder sunscreens (we use the Colorescience brand at Pavia) that work as well. My husband won't let me put on a cream sunscreen, but a powder one he will tolerate.

This disease accounts for more than 65,000 new cases, and claims more than 11,000 lives each year. But with early detection, this disease can be stopped.

I wish I'd known to say these things to Lisa. I think I still will call her up and tell her.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Holistic Medical Approach to Allergies: May 24, 2010, 6:30pm

Dr. Kim Millman, MD/PhD, is a Board-certified Internist trained in the traditional Western ways, but wholly converted to holistic methods of diagnosis, treatment, and therapy. Dr. Kim, who operates the Millman Clinic in San Jose, CA, has agreed to give us a FREE seminar at Pavia on allergies on Monday night, May 24th, from 6:30 to 8:30pm. Just in time, too, because my allergies have recently attacked me full force, and I could use some help getting rid of them. Here are some of her perspectives on allergies, and how she might approach them.

Dr. Kim, what is an allergy?
You may know that itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing are symptoms of allergies, but you may not realize that allergies can also cause aches and pains, irritability, anxiety, and mental fogginess. In fact, since allergies can affect any organ and any cell in our body, virtually any problem could be caused by an allergic response.

Why do we get allergies?
The body is always trying to heal itself and produces allergic responses in an effort to neutralize or eliminate something that it has recognized as being foreign or toxic, i.e., an allergen. The allergic response gets rid of the allergen, but in the process, the immune system also generates histamine and other chemicals that produce the well -known histamine reaction that results in itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, sniffling, and post-nasal drip.

Allergens can take many forms, including foods, pollens, dandruff, saliva, chemicals, and metals. We screen for over 120 different foods and environmental allergens in our screening process.

How do you feel about conventional methods of diagnosing and treating allergies?
Conventional medicine uses “scratch tests” to identify allergens. It is an insensitive method compared to ours. Allergy shots are given in an attempt to desensitize the body, but typically they are not very effective. On the other hand, allergy medications decrease the production of histamine and leukotriene, components of the immune system that cause the allergic reactions, but depressing components of the immune system is, in general, not a good idea. Medications are all or none, they do not work well in a system that is meant for adaptation. That is why there are so many side effects with allergy medications, including groggy, hang-over like symptoms, and the inability to concentrate.

That explains why I always feel like I got hit by a bus after I take a pill!
Exactly. And then, once the allergic reaction is “under control,” the patient is told to avoid the allergen indefinitely. Treatment in this manner is merely palliative. The allergy still exists.

So, how do YOU approach treating allergies?
I use something called the "Natural Allergy Elimination Technique," which works with the energy system of the body so that it is becomes more compatible with the allergen. As a result, the allergen no longer causes a negative reaction, and the symptoms from the incompatibility disappear. It is like an energetic reset button.

This technique is a procedure that utilizes muscle testing, cold lasers and Qi energy flow. I have personally experienced a profound improvement in my allergies as a result of my treatments - I have had an increase in my mental capacity, a general lightness in my body and mind, and less of the usual sneezing, sniffling and chest tightness. I will demonstrate this technique at Pavia on Monday night, 5/24, and I hope people give it a chance to see if it helps them as much as it has helped me.

I can't wait. I want to volunteer to be the demonstration dummy!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sani-Tea not Vani-Tea

It seems like everyone these days is talking up tea. What is all the fuss about?
Well, from what I’ve learned, green and white teas not only have less caffeine and are less acid-forming than coffee, but they also contain powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols help your body to detoxify and regenerate.

Recently we had a visit from our fabulous Eminence Organics sales rep. She told us all about their exciting new line of products called Immuni-Tea. These products contain green, white and red rooibos tea. Each tea has it’s own special vitamin and mineral properties that contribute to the potency of these products. I also learned that white tea actually comes from the same plant as green tea. White tea is made from the unopened leaf buds of the green tea plant and contain even higher concentrations of the potent polyphenol antioxidants than green tea.

Rooibos tea has no caffeine and in the Eminence skin products, it offers the refining and healing powers of alpha hydroxy acid and zinc. Green tea has been proven to boost the immune system, and new studies are finding that it also can have the miraculous effect of helping your body to burn fat. I am especially excited about THAT property. You can read more about it here, in an article from Dr. Mercola.

In addition to smoothing, healing, and strengthening your skin topically with the new Eminence line, there are easy ways to ingest the benefits of tea with out having to drink piping hot pots and pots of it. Many of you already enjoy our Pure Inventions tea extracts in your water before your services at Pavia. Did you know that those little bottles are jam-packed with all concentrated antioxidants of green tea and none of the caffeine?

Pure Inventions even offers a special extract focused on assisting with weight loss. Who knows, we may have some at Pavia just in time for the beach and those infamous bikinis.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Help, I Need a Pedicure! And a Pedicurist!

Oy, this last week has felt like a string of obstacles to surmount. In no particular order, except the order in which they occur to me, they are: 1) I can no longer see my feet, and can't reach around my big tummy to cut my toenails. So my feet look worse than Paul Bunyan's, I think, but can't confirm because I can't really see them.

Yuck, I just looked down at them and CAN confirm that they are probably even worse than Paul Bunyan's...they probably look like Paul Bunyan's ox's hooves. Nice! Great to be walking around as a spa owner with lumberjack feet.

2) I got the punch-in-the-gut that our wonderful nail technician, Annie, is LEAVING!! Waaaaah. She has been suffering from allergies for quite a while, and they have gotten so bad that she had to spend the night in a hospital recently because she couldn't breathe. Her doctors want her to take a break from the nail industry, so she is doing the right thing and putting her health first.

3) So I start interviewing for nail technicians, and so far, have been striking out. The first one to come through the door seemed very promising, but her cousin needs her help at the family nail salon for the next two months. The second one sent a great resume, but then decided not to relocate to the area after all. Back to square one - I have decided to affirm and trust that no matter what, the Universe will send me the right person. It's better than thinking to myself all the time that finding a good nail technician is hard....that's just the reality I will create if I think that.

Well, if anyone .... ANYONE ... knows of any great nail technicians, let me know. I'll send you a gift certificate for a complimentary pedicure if I hire the person you send me!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sayonara, Leg Cramps!

Remember how I complained in a previous blog about my godawfully painful leg cramps? Well, I haven't had one since then, and that blog was at the end of March. It's now the end of April, so what have I done?

1. I went to Dr. Kim Millman for muscle testing, and she thought it was a potassium deficiency. She suggested I take something from Standard Process called, "Organically Bound Minerals," 1 pill a day. Check, I did that. She also realized, through muscle testing, that I am also short on Folic Acid. That elicited a big HUH? from me because I've been taking my pre-natal vitamins religiously - and isn't Folic Acid one of the biggest ingredients in pre-natal vitamins? I guess it just goes to show that everyone is different, and we need customized solutions for each of us.

2. I started eating a banana each day. Okay, that's a lie. I hate bananas. It is accurate to say I started to eat a banana a day, but then stopped for a week, and then started having half a banana a day, and now just eat a banana whenever I think of it (or when the husband shoves one in my face).

3. I started doing ankle pumps throughout the day, especially before bed. Nothing stressful, I just raise one leg at a time and start rotating it and then pressing down on an imaginary gas pedal a few times each hour.

4. I started using Eminence's new Lychee & Chestnut Leg Firming Treatment! This is a new product from their Immuni-Tea collection, and I have to give it two thumbs up. In fact, I wish I had more thumbs to give. The product has been clinically tested and shown to improve circulation, which I think is my primary issue - the baby puts pressure on the blood returning to my torso, and my legs get tired and sore very easily. After a whole night of lying on them horizontally, no wonder they want to cramp, with or without my permission. But I've felt an immediate effect upon application, kind of a re-invigorated feeling combined with a cool, tingling, soothing feeling.

If you're on my newsletter, stay tuned - I am going to make a special deal available on this product for my newsletter members, and ONLY for them. Membership does have its privileges...;-) If you're not on the Pavia newsletter, then what are you waiting for? Sign up!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Flea Manifestation...Er, Infestation

This is a story of how you do bring about what you think about. And how Aromatherapy can help the results.

First, a little background: my husband and I just moved into a duplex. When we first toured it, we saw that the previous tenants had a cat. This set my husband off into a tizzy - he was convinced from the first that the cat had fleas and that we would be plagued by unwanted insect housemates from the moment we moved in. I assured him that the landlord had assured me that he would steam clean the carpets before we moved in, and that all would be well.

Except, all has not been well. At least, not for the hubby. Each night since the first night he has woken up with multiple bites on his lower ankles and legs. He looks like he has been eaten alive from knee to ankle, covered with red bumps. At first, I kept telling him that it must be unrelated to the house, because how could I sleep next to him and live with him and NOT be affected by even a single bite? (That didn't go over too well).

Then, I did some research online and learned that fleas DO prefer certain people to others...except that they should prefer the pregnant person, the one with lots and lots of extra blood coursing through her veins. So, I guess it IS possible that they just find my hubby more yummy than me, but VERY improbable. My husband is like Jack Sprat from the nursery rhyme, who could eat no fat (and whose wife could eat no lean). He has no meat on him AT ALL.

Therefore, I conclude that since I am (on paper) a more attractive candidate for a flea, and yet I'm untouched, that he has manifested his own personal flea infestation by concentrating his energy towards it. Talk about law of attraction working like crazy.

Well, here's where the Aromatherapy comes in: I can't change his belief systems or the way he thinks, but I *CAN* help prevent him getting flea bites. I made him an ointment consisting of 25 drops of Tea Tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) and 10 drops of Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia, or also MQV), and 1 ounce of Castor Oil. Castor oil is NOT my first choice of carrier oil, by any means, but it was all I had in the house. It is EXTREMELY sticky, thick, and unpleasant to sleep in. I would have much preferred to use Grapeseed oil, but beggars can't be choosers.

Each night I've applied it from his ankles up past his shins, and for 6 days now, no flea bites the next morning. I've also made an anti-flea carpet powder by combining 8 ounces of Arm & Hammer baking soda and 45 drops of Tea Tree essential oil. I shake it around in a baggy until it's good and mixed, then sprinkle it on the carpet. Then, I wait 30 minutes and vacuum it up - the house smells medicinal and clean and I bet the fleas are really unhappy (they hate Tea Tree oil).

Le voila! The best result would have been for him to have released his expectations of fleas, but failing that, the Aromatherapy worked, too, in the end. :-)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Safety First, It's Not Just for Kids!

While I was visiting friends and family in Los Angeles over the Easter weekend, I heard a piece on talk radio which interested me. The radio segment was discussing a recent incident involving children who contracted the measles while traveling with their family in Europe. These children were unvaccinated. The radio show was focusing on the growing number of parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, or not to vaccinate according to the recommended vaccine schedule, and the issues and repercussions surrounding that choice.

I found it very interesting that the show mentioned that the majority of these people who are choosing to go against the grain of recommended vaccinations are not doing so because of lack of education or finances, or because of religious doctrine. The woman from a local health and disease authority who was handling those measles cases stated that a majority of parents who are choosing not to vaccinate are actually highly-educated.

As I have reached an age where many of my close friends (and now my wonderful Sister, as well) are having children and undertaking the colossal task of choosing what is best for their children in every aspect of their new life, I have become more and more aware of the heated debate on vaccine safety. Today I came across a video series in a newsletter from Dr. Joseph Mercola that also focuses on that hot topic. I have always personally enjoyed Dr. Mercola's newsletter for interesting, helpful, and timely articles which seem to present a multi-faceted perspective on their topics. His site is also ranked the number one most-visited natural health site by Alexa.com.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching this series of interview videos, and I feel that it gave one of the most comprehensive presentations of the complex core issues at play as more people begin to question the safety of currently available vaccines. These videos also shed some light on potential therapies for the mysterious and very serious health issue of autism. It takes about an hour to view the videos entirely, but I highly recommend them, especially if you are concerned about the health of children, and adults, all over the world. You can watch the videos here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over - My Bra Cup, That is...

I was very happy with my pre-pregnancy bra measurement: 38D. I outdid my gene pool, that's for sure. My mother, who can barely fill a B cup even at her most hormonal, used to always say to me, "What the heck did I feed you?" I'm not really sure, but I guess it worked.

Now, though, I have busted out of all my bra sizes and am reluctant to measure myself for a new one, afraid of what I will find. Also, I'm paranoid about wearing underwire bras because of the blog Claire posted on this topic and also because of the warnings I've received from my holistic doctor (Dr. Kim Millman). So for now, I'm wearing camisoles and Bella bandeaux for that much-needed "support."

The first thing to hit the wall, were I to walk into one, would definitely be my tummy, but I'm sad to say that my boobs are not that far behind. And I'm also afraid that gravity will take hold and nothing will go back to the way it was before pregnancy. Oh well, that's one consequence of not getting pregnant until 37, I guess. Not that I wasn't actively trying to get pregnant from 32 to 36.

I think the extra weight in my front chest is also creating some strain in my back - Daniela always says that the pain in my rhomboids (those little knobbies between the spine and the shoulder blades) are because my chest muscles are understretched, leading the back muscles to be overstretched. Which is why, when I go in for a back massage, she always gives me a chest massage. Seems counter-intuitive, and also not as pleasurable as a back massage, until you get a Daniela massage and then bam! You feel good for 2 weeks straight.

Which is also why, as of April 10th, at 11:15am, I am doing a face-plant down onto her massage table for another Pregnancy Massage. Oh wait, can't lie on my stomach. Guess I will slither onto that coveted surface on my side, then. Nah, nanny boo-boo, you're so jealous!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where Did My Feet Go?

The question of "Where's My Belly?" has been definitively answered. If I went to the movies and sat in the back row, my belly would be in the front row. Now the question is, "Where are my feet?" 'Cause truly, I can't see them anymore when I look down.

Pregnancy has been good to me thus far. My skin is glowing and radiant like it was back in high school, minus the pimples. I haven't thrown up a single day, and my energy level is still pretty good (well, it's only 24 weeks, so we will see how long this lasts). The baby is healthy and behaving like a human octopus, kicking me in every possible place I can think of and amusing the heck out of my husband (who likes the sight of my tummy bouncing around from the inside).

The only issues I seem to have are a) trouble sleeping and b) these GOD-AWFUL leg cramps. Several nights now I have woken up with painful charley horses in the back of my calves, and all I can do is hold on for dear life and pray that it releases. I've read up on these leg cramps (the Internet is awesome), and they suggest a few remedies...one that really cracked me up was, "Stand on a cold floor or surface." Are you kidding? I can't even get out of bed during the cramp or suffer my husband to touch me during a cramp, let alone limp over to a cold floor/surface and stand a while.

The sites also give conflicting messages. BabyCenter.com says it's a lack of magnesium (this is what we have also learned during Herbalist training). My doctor says it's a lack of potassium. And still other web sites say it's a lack of calcium, though the more I read, the less support there seems to be for the lack-of-calcium theory.

Either way, I have started making changes. I started rotating my ankles while sitting, stretching my calves more frequently, and to test out the potassium theory, eating 2 bananas a day (sucks for me that I am one of those banana-haters in the world, their mushy texture just repulses me). I'll also start walking for 30 minutes each day (now that the move is done!), and keep my fingers crossed that I don't wake up to more unholy pain in the middle of the night. And you know, I think I am overdue for another Pregnancy Massage. Luckily, I know a GREAT place to get one. ;-)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Of Stroopwafel and Cellular Memory

This week, I experienced my first deep tissue massage with the amazing Bettina Roether. As I mentioned in my blog about my massage with Chelsea, I have some “preeettyyy gnaarrrly” knots in my upper back and shoulders, which cry out for relief. Those areas certainly found some release with the assistance of Bettina's strong and skillful hands. The massage was both powerfully therapeutic and potently relaxing. Bettina's ability to identify and articulate what was happening with my muscles really impressed me as well. She told me how building some more muscle tone and strength in my body could cushion and buffer my joints, which I never knew. Hopefully, my yoga practice as well as my jazzercise class with Pavia client Mckenzie Ector will take care of that!

Bettina also commented on the fact that my left shoulder was actually more contracted than my right, which surprised me because I feel the most tightness and discomfort on my right side. As she worked deeply into the back of my left shoulder, gently and firmly coaxing the muscle fibers to expand out toward my left arm, I breathed deeply to assist my body in releasing. At that time, a very pleasant impression started to bubble up into my consciousness. As I let it take form, I realized that it was a memory of my trip to visit one of my very best friends in Amsterdam in April of 2007. I saw gentle sunlight falling on the charming 16th century row houses and cobble stone streets. I had the warm, delicious sensation of enjoying one of many stroopwafel cookies that I consumed on that journey as well.

Perhaps I was just having a nice memory as I entered a deeper state of relaxation. However, I have often wondered what the connection of such memories could be to certain movement in my body. Especially during yoga sessions with one of my former teachers in New York, I would have very sweet and enjoyable memories arise quite regularly. I particularly remember a very vivid recollection coming back during one class. It was as if I had been transported to the beautiful back yard of my grandparents' home in Richmond, Virginia. So much feeling came with that impression. I felt the pleasure of the sunlight, smelled the pungent, woody scent of the boxwoods, and remembered the feeling of being blissfully alone in a secret and magical place.

According to Wikipedia and other sources on the web, the notion of Cellular Memory takes life only in anecdotes and fiction. Apparently, it has never been scientifically tested or proven. Well, then, it hasn't been disproved either. Many psychologists recognize that traumas can be stored in the body, so why not other memories and experiences? Most energy workers that I know, such as Theresa Hatcher and Brian Rainie, experience Cellular Memory as an absolutely valid and real element of their practice. I don't know just what holds the answer to the mystery of these bright, vivid, and loving memories arising during body work for me—but I am so grateful for them nonetheless.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Purpose, Passion and Prosperity at Pavia with Life Coach Laura Rice

For the past year Laura Rice has been first my life and love coach, and now my personal friend. I'm so excited to say that she will be teaching a class at Pavia on the 28th. Let me tell you a little bit about her! Laura's life story is an inspiring road map for following your passion and your intuition. Through her Life Purpose Coaching and Seminars for Women, she is helping her clients both design and live their own such unique plan. Just a few years ago, however, Laura was living in Oregon working as a high school teacher. Each day at the job, she was feeling her creativity and enthusiasm drain away. But as her desire to leave her unfulfiling job and live out a larger life purpose grew, so did her fears. She knew that she wanted to be a life coach, but didn't know exactly what that was. Laura also worried about how her husband and family would react to the news that she wanted to leave her financially stable but increasingly stifling position.

After gathering the courage to finally share her dreams and desires with her husband, she found a very pleasant surprise in his warm and supportive response. That one conversation then lead to a year of traveling the country and adventuring in an RV, getting life coaching herself, enrolling in the Life Purpose Institute of San Diego, and eventually moving to the warmer climes of the Santa Cruz coast.

Through her five step program 'Claim Your Purpose & Create Prosperity,' Laura helps women to have more clarity, less frustration, and more financial abundance in their lives. She describes a central function of this work as, "Helping women to find their own internal permission and make choices based on that." Sometimes that task begins with something as simple as reconnecting with your own personal preferences. Laura finds that women often lose sight of their own desires and get stuck in what she refers to as "Auto-Nurture." Fortunately, bringing more joy and excitement into your life seems to be the best catalyst for positive change. One client found that she experienced more synchronicity and enjoyment in her life after making the simple yet delicious decision to treat herself to a caramel latte once a week.

Laura's clients are reporting making more money and having more fun than they ever thought possible. I'm already noticing a positive upswing in my finances since completing a five week program with her. Results are very important to Laura. One client just fulfilled her dream of opening up an Adventure Boating business in Minnesota, another launched her Hypnotherapy for Weightloss Business and made more money in a day than she usually makes in a month. Committing to your passion, purpose and personal enjoyment--what could be more fun and rewarding?

Laura Rice is offering her class, 'Unlock Your Life Purpose & Make Money Living It' at Pavia on Sunday, March 28th at 6pm. To register, give us a call at 408-741-1555

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Moving to Tranquility (Hopefully)

With a baby on the way, our one-bedroom apartment is officially too small - we would have had to put the new addition to the family in the kitchen sink. My husband and I have therefore elected to move! The good news: we found a great duplex in Sunnyvale. The not-so-good news: we've lived in the same apartment for the last ten years and have accumulated, accordingly, ten years of crap.

We have been packing each and every night since March 1st. My schedule is: work, come home and pack, eat, pack, sleep, then go to work, come home, pack, etc. Rinse and repeat. The apartment looks like a disaster area, with exploded mounds and piles of junk and papers and knick knacks and whatnot lying about as hazards.

I recognize, of course, being the spiritual athlete that I am, that this is a great opportunity to release "old things which do not serve me anymore," serving as a metaphor on the physical plane for all of those unwanted belief systems, attitudes, and philosophies that I should probably also be trashing on the metaphysical plane. I know that an uncluttered home leads to an unfettered mind, that you can't allow new things to come in without releasing the old. Yup, I am exceedingly familiar with all the usual adages and aphorisms. It's just that doing the physical work is so durned hard.

I started out by putting things into two piles: Things-I-Want and Things-I-Don't-Want-For-Sure. I saw that the first pile was still much bigger than the second, and much bigger than I had originally envisioned. So then I divided the Things-I-Want pile into the Things-I-Really-Want-to-Keep, the Things-I-Have-To-Keep-for-Legal-Reasons, and the Things-I'm-Attached-To-But-Cannot-Articulate-Why. It was this third pile I started going through and examining inner attachments as to WHY I felt I had to hold onto them. An example: my old trophies from the days I used to compete in beauty pageants - I never outright won any beauty pageants, by the way, but I did earn Miss Talent in one and First Runner-Up in another. After much meditating, I realized I had entered those pageants in the first place to somehow prove to others that I was pretty - as if they couldn't decide for themselves upon looking at me. It was a way to strongarm their perception, as it were: "You don't think I'm pretty? Well, here's a TROPHY to prove you wrong." And since then, the years have marched on with inexorable precision, so those trophies are essentially ways to prove NOW that I was once beautiful, even if others disagree or can't otherwise tell today.

But at 37, my self-esteem is no longer in the hands of others the way it once was at 23, so guess what? Out with the trophies, the tiara, the dresses, the sashes, etc. etc. I have my photos and my memories, and that is good enough for me. I felt SO GOOD to throw those silly things in the dumpster, positively lighter and brighter. Now, if I could just convince my HUSBAND to take this same approach...........

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Losing One's Home--Where We All Come From

My Mother was planning to visit California for Easter. She was hashing out the complexities with my sister and I all last week. First, she would be in Portland for a business conference. Then, she would fly into San Jose to spend a week with me. Then, she and I would drive down to LA together to spend Easter at my Sister's home. Afterward, she would fly home to South Carolina.

With a dog-sitter in place, and United Airlines policies sussed out at last, it seemed that her visit was a go. But Wednesday, an email appeared unceremoniously in my inbox. Mom was telling my sister and I that she had finally gotten in to see her gynecologist, and it was decided that she needed a hysterectomy next month. Her California visit was canceled.

The news of her upcoming surgery was a shock to me and sent me straight into a spiral of fear and worry. Why did she need a hysterectomy? Couldn't something be done to stop this? Would she be okay? Who would care for her afterward? What was going on? My heart raced as I contemplated the possibility of the unspeakable "C" word...cancer.

I also had read recently about the very high percentage rate of post-menopausal women in America who had had their uterus removed. The source questioned whether the procedure was always necessary or just an outdated safe-bet for doctors. All these things ran through my mind. I kept returning to the vision of my mother, lying in a hospital bed, just waking up from the anesthesia after her emergency appendectomy and hernia surgery five years ago. I saw how pale and thin she looked, but she also had a fine, luminous beauty about her. I acutely felt the tenuous nature of our physical existence, and both our eyes filled with tears of relief and gratitude as I held her hand.

Another thought kept coming into my mind though, it seems selfish and almost too crass to repeat. I thought, "How can these people take away my home?" Not just my first home, but the place where I was actually created, and my sister as well. How can something so life-giving and sacred simply be removed, and cast aside? And what then? Where does it go? I shuddered to think.

In my studies of the energetic body and energy healing, I came to firmly believe that every part of your body not only has a physical purpose, but a conscious and energetic purpose and place. I do not believe that we can open our bodies and remove something without losing more than just cells and tissue. So, I worried for my mother's healing process, not just in her physical body but the many other layers involved.

Thankfully, I was able to speak to my Mother on the phone that evening. She told me that she had a prolapsed uterus. This condition occurs when the muscles, tissue, and ligaments that hold the uterus in place fail, and the uterus begins to collapse. I had never heard of such a thing, and it did not seem right or fair that it was possible. It sounded like another monster emerging from the hidden vaults of female being, along with all the scary child-birth stories girls begin to hear in their 20s and 30s. I wished for any way to save her from the physical discomfort and emotional strain she was facing. But I was comforted knowing that her trusted gynecologist and another specialist will be performing the surgery.

The following day my sister sent mom and I this article from Dr. Oz. I scanned his words in vain for any alternative process for a prolapsed uterus. It looks like I won't be able to save my home. But this experience has given me a renewed commitment to my own female health and body awareness. And I hope to be there for my Mom during this difficult aspect of womanhood to assist in both physical and energetic healing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

What's Tantra Got To Do, Got To Do With It?

Last week my boyfriend performed the ultimate act of coolness.
Camouflage in downtown Santa Cruz was holding an Introduction to Tantra class, and he actually came with me, willingly. As you can imagine, this greatly impressed his general awesomeness upon me. I thought, "It takes a real man to Tantra, whatever that means!"

Before the class we both confessed that attending such a thing took us both out of our comfort zones. I knew from the flier for the class that there would be "no nudity or explicit activity in the class." I knew that Tantra was an ancient practice related to yoga that used the essential and elemental energies of masculine and feminine to build and release ecstatic energy. I knew that it could create more pleasure in your life and more intimacy with your partner. That's about all I knew, but I wanted to get in on that--even if it required some touchy-feeliness that elicited awkward giggling.

Fourteen attendees gathered in the front room of Camouflage, singles and couples alike. We sat in a circle on yoga mats and blankets. The workshop was being taught by a man named Luke who runs the business Tantric Joy with his partner Jan. You can see their website and read more about Tantra here. Luke was a handsome fellow in his 30's with a straight forward and knowledgeable attitude but a great dry sense of humor. No overly-thin, ponytailed instructor in tie-dye with ooglie eyes and an exaggerated smile. I was more comfortable already.

Luke gave us an overview of the history and different practices of Tantra. He lead us through some breathing exercises and reviewed the body's seven primary chakras as well as the sound to activate them. At one point the class lined up in two rows facing one another. We broke away from the partner we had previously pared up with. We moved down the line, spending a few minutes just gazing into the eyes of someone who was a total stranger. We attempted to truly see them as a whole individual and send love to them. I would have thought that this exercise would be extremely difficult for me. But I actually found it to be such a beautiful and profound experience that I just wanted to hug these strange women whom I had been both staring into and opening myself to for only a few moments.

The class finished up the evening by returning to or original partner or "buddy." My boyfriend and I stood facing each other. Luke instructed us to put our right hands out to touch the other's heart. We then covered our partner's hand with our own hand, and gazed into their eyes. We stayed like that. I felt a powerful flow of energy between us. I also felt surprisingly shy. I thought, "Wow...look at the way he's looking at me... I think this guy really does love me... I think I really love HIM!..."

I had to suppress an awkward giggle.

It was a powerful evening, and a meaningful introduction to this ancient philosophy and practice that many have heard of, but few have experienced.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's a GIRL!...and other musings...

Yay, we found out we're having a baby girl and we are just over the moon. Somehow knowing the sex of the baby makes her more real to me...rather than referring to her as "the baby" or "the cub," I've been using her name and for some reason I have not examined, it crystallizes it a lot for me ("It's really happening!").

I also attended our "What's Your Real Age" health seminar given at Pavia by Dr. Kim Millman, MD, PhD, this past weekend and have now been motivated - no, galvanized! - into changing my diet and exercise patterns. As a vegetarian for the last 13 years, my diet consisted of carbs, carbs, carbs. I figured, hey, bread is vegetarian! Cake is vegetarian! Cookies are vegetarian! And when I got pregnant, I used it as an excuse to eat even more of those items ("Hey! I'm eating for two!"). As for exercise, what exercise? I get no exercise unless you count taking the 3 flights of stairs to my cubicle 4 days a week (at my consulting job). So, diet was bad, exercise was nil.

This is all going to change as a result of the Bio-Impedance Analysis that Dr. Kim gave me. I was so mortified at the results that I don't know if I can share them. Well, first of all, I am 31.8% body fat. Are you kidding me? I am almost one-third fat? I think that qualifies me as obese. None of my other measurements -  phase angle, ECM/BCM ratio, fat mass, etc.- are where they "should be" either. That little slip of paper has really served as a kick in the pants for me. No longer will I put my own health or that of my daughter's at risk.

Dr. Kim recommended that I up my protein intake (eggs or tofu, since I don't eat meat), my intake of category 1 veggies, and take more EPA/DHA (fish oil). She also wants me to make sure I get my daily supplement of nuts (so I raided Trader Joe's and bought out their inventory of walnuts, pecans, and almonds), fruits, and category 2 veggies (the veggies that are waxy and convert directly to sugar). I also started an exercise regimen last night, with the hubby calling out the number of reps I have to do. I was amazed at how quickly I got winded (yes, I was deep in self-denial), and so I feel really grateful to have this chance to change my health and my life!

It's just like what I've been saying about getting pregnant at 37: Better late than never, right?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hot Stone History and Technique by Sarah Woods

Hot stone massage is a treatment that is both powerful and healing. When performed correctly, and in a fluid manner, this type of massage can allow for the release of muscles that seemed as though they would never be able to let go. Hot stone massages in the western world include an array of techniques, however, the working tools are usually the same. These include: a set of stones that accommodate every nook and cranny on your body, a heated pot similar to a crock pot to heat the stones, and a sheet to create a barrier between the recipient and the stones, in case the client is too heat-sensitive. Of course, the client will be properly draped and laying down in a comfortable and supported position. Other than that, it is just the client, the therapist, and the stones.

Each stone is unique--just as each person is unique. Every stone is placed on the person receiving the service in a way that fits their body, and will give them the most comfortable and therapeutic experience. The rocks range in size from tiny toe stones that infuse heat into your littlest pinkie, to a large moon-shaped rock that cradles and comforts your aching neck. With stones to custom fit each client, your experience with westernized hot stone massage should certainly be a pleasant one.

Western hot stone massage is performed as every typical massage is performed. It is usually a full body treatment, excluding the obvious personal areas. Facial and abdominal massage techniques performed with heated rocks are absolutely out of this world, and will surprise those who are open to receiving such a treat. Of course, if there is any area that you as a client are concerned about, you should always share any feelings of reserve with your therapist. It is their first and foremost goal to make your massage experience utterly enjoyable. We never take offense to you sharing your feelings; it makes us happy to know that you are comfortable.

Hot stone massage is relatively well-known in the West (thanks to Mary Nelson the founder of Lastone Therapy), however the history of it is not. When you look into the background of this amazing technique you find that it has existed for thousands and thousands of years. More recently, it has morphed into a labeled technique, but ancient cultures have been using hot stones for medical and spiritual practices for a very long time. Native Americans, peoples of India, Asia, Hawaiians and indigenous people in South America had this idea of using stones to heal many, many years ago.

Native Americans have been performing sweat lodges for spiritual enlightenment and health purposes for thousands of years. They would build a tent-like structure with a pit in the very center to place the hot stones in. Heated for days, these high metal content stones retain and maintain such high temperatures that can stay hot for hours. In a sweat lodge session water would be poured over the stones and the steam from the hot rocks would wash over you in a blast of heat. I actually experienced a traditional Cherokee sweat lodge once, and I must say that the heat is stifling. Therapeutic! but stifling. A session can range in length but it is usually over only when the spiritual ceremony or goal has been attained. Heated rocks have been key aids in guiding one’s body and mind throughout time.

In indigenous traditions, hot stones have been used to alleviate pain from muscle or even menstrual aches. But, the purpose of a warm stone on one’s body is not only to comfort, it increases circulation and is truly beneficial to the overall balance of energy within the body. Digestion issues can literally melt away, and a deep feeling of true relaxation follows a treatment with hot stones. I highly recommend experiencing it for yourself! The results are utter bliss.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

One of Life's Great Mysteries: Relaxation Vs. Deep Tissue

One of the questions that comes up the most for us at the front desk is, "What is the difference between Relaxation and Deep Tissue?" These are our two most popular massages, but many clients who are relatively new to the service aren't sure which one is right for them. My typical response is that a Relaxation is a basic Swedish massage with a light to medium pressure, and a deep tissue provides a medium to deep pressure. But recently, when I had the extreme pleasure of having my first massage with Pavia's lovely and talented therapist Chelsea Boyer, I got some valuable insight.

I opted for a relaxation massage, but asked Chelsea to help me identify the difference between Swedish and deep tissue techniques. She told me that deep tissue involves putting strong concentrated pressure into the hot-spots--where a client has the most tightness. The therapist holds the pressure on the muscle fibers until they feel them release. This process can be used in just about any area but is needed most frequently on the back, shoulders and legs.

I knew that massage itself is very detoxifying for recipients, because it moves impurities from your muscles and tissues and assists the lymphatic system in carrying away toxins. (This is part of why we always recommend that clients drink lots of water after a massage, to help their body cleanse). But Chelsea let me know that using deep tissue techniques on a client's entire body could flush out impurities TOO quickly and cause discomfort. So the Relaxation massage and the Deep Tissue both contain elements of the other, depending on our guest's individual needs and preferences.

For me, I have some crazy knots in my back, between my shoulders. I refer to them as my "hazelnuts." Unfortunately, hazelnuts go much better with chocolate than with scapula. But Chelsea blended her stellar deep tissue techniques into my relaxing massage and really got those knots to give it a rest. All evening I couldn't stop saying,"I LOVE massage!"

Thanks again, Chelsea!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Getting on my Soapbox: Holistic Kids

I've got babies on the brain, that's for sure. Since becoming pregnant, all I have eyes for are babies and toddlers. At 17.5 weeks, I have suddenly started thinking about how, exactly, I want to raise my kid, and what I want to show him/her about the world. Especially about the world of plants and herbs, and nature's wonderful medicine chest.

This train of thought brings me to a little digression...during my Herbalism studies, I had a classmate, Amy V., who owned an herb store in Florida. One day Amy was keeping shop, standing on the sidewalk outside her storefront when an older woman stopped, gazed at her sign and then at her, and asked pointedly, "Do you really think these plants can heal us?" Amy said, "Absolutely!" The woman shook her head and said, "No, you're wrong. Only God can heal us." Whereupon Amy gently remonstrated, "And whom do you think put these plants here?" Haha! I LOVE that story. Touche, Amy.

Back to my stream of consciousness. A babbling brook, really. I want to basically immerse my son or daughter in the world of healing herbs and plants immediately, and I started putting down remedies about how I was going to deal with everyday mishaps. Like, how I'll poultice bee stings with crushed plaintain leaf, or apply lavender oil to first degree burns, or rub calendula ointment into chapped fingers. For colds, I'll give the kid an infusion of sage, elderflower, ginger, yarrow, and thyme, and for coughs, I'll make the kid a syrupy candy from horehound and peppermint. For cuts and scrapes, I'll apply calendula - unless there's an infection, in which case I'll use Hypercal (St. John's Wort and Calendula). Instead of spraying the kitchen with RAID to get rid of ants, I'll sprinkle peppermint oil in the corners. Instead of spraying the kid with OFF, I'll slather him/her in natural insect repellents, like a mixture of catnip, lavender, and peppermint. Intestinal worms? No problem, kid, eat some pumpkin seeds. Diaper rash? Massage the kid in apricot kernel oil plus ointment of marshmallow. Colicky? No issues, I'll just Aromatherapy the room with some dill and chamomile in a candle diffuser. (Yes, I really did just use "Aromatherapy" as a verb.)

This is going to be one holistic baby. Probably even slightly disgustingly so, but it's important to me that my child learns what an abundantly fragrant pharmacy we were given, and how joyful it can be to use remedies from our own little green planet, and how sometimes, the most useful things in life are also the most common. A great lesson, wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pregnancy Brain...and How to Make Toners

Wow, it's true that you lose your mind when you're pregnant. Now I know why my mother is so forgetful...she had three kids. Two months ago in late December, I left my apartment without my keys. So I could neither get back into the apartment, nor get into my car. It was wintery cold and I had nowhere to go - standing outside with nothing but a laptop while pregnant is not what I consider responsible behavior. I went to the apartment manager's office, but their place was completely cleaned out. My poor husband had to drive 35 miles home from work to let me back in.

Then, this past weekend, I drove up to Sacramento to see my new baby niece, Madeleine. Well, given that I am still pregnant, and the baby is still sucking out my brains, I forgot my lovely Eminence toner (I love their Stone Crop Hydrating Mist), a centerpiece of my skin care regime. Ah duh duh duh duh duh.

Good news is, you can easily make your own toners at home in a pinch. Sometimes I even do this on purpose just to switch things up. All you need are the following:

  • A glass bottle (preferably cobalt or amber, not clear) - 4oz
  • An atomizer (a spray top, basically)
  • 2 oz of distilled water
  • 2 oz of witch hazel extract (I would not buy the drugstore kind though, those are more alcohol than witch hazel)
  • 45-60 drops of your favorite essential oils (ones that are good for skin)
So, here is what went into my makeshift toner:
  • 20 drops of Geranium (great for hormone balancing, which I am definitely in need of at this point)
  • 20 drops of Ylang ylang (great for uplifting the mood, again something which a pregnant woman sometimes needs)
  • 20 drops of Rose (very expensive, but great for overall feminine balancing)
  • I added the 2 ounces of distilled water and 2 ounces of witch hazel extract (the latter I bought from an organic bulk herbs and spices company, and it is 14% alcohol and 86% Witch Hazel Extract)
  • Shook it up, and started spraying! Yum yum yum. Very nice, lovely floral notes. And my skin looks soft and glowing.
If you have favorite recipes for homemade toners and mists, please share them with us here!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Is the Superbowl Bad for Your Skin?

Well, here we are, Superbowl Sunday. Cue the hilarious commercials, the everflowing booze, and fun parties at friends' houses. But for me, Superbowl Sunday has also frequently meant bad skin. Yup, Monday morning quarterbacking is not just reserved for whether or not Peyton Manning should have thrown that screen pass, but also for what I should and should *not* have stuffed my face with. We are what we eat, after all, and our skin is evidence of that. The largest organ in our bodies is also part of our all-important elimination systems, purging us of toxins and impurities.

So, what CAN we do to stay beautiful this Sunday? Here are MY tips:

1. Don't drink alcohol. Have a seltzer water with a twist of lime instead.
2. Stay away from that soda. I must admit, this is hard for me, too, especially since about all that I've been craving since my pregnancy is Coca Cola. But the high acidic content (yes, it can melt the gunk off battery terminals) translates into indigestion, which translates into poor skin.
3. Stay away from that cheese pizza. Or it might show up in your pores about a week later.
4. Ditto on the cheese puffs and corn chips and chocolate chip cookies. Why not try this recipe for a yummy guacamole dip instead, courtesy of a vendor of mine at the spa?

Ole, Guacamole! 
3 avocados – seeded, halved and scooped
2 limes – juice from
1 medium yellow onion diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
½ teaspoon chili powder + more to taste
½ teaspoon ground cumin + more to taste
1 ½ cloves garlic minced
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 roma tomatoes seeded and diced

  1. In a large bowl, lightly mash avocados and cover with lime juice – lightly mix with spoon (keeps avocados from turning brown)
  2. Add onions, salt, chili powder, cumin, Garlic and mix
  3. Next add the fresh cilantro and tomatoes and mix well.
  4. Taste and then add additional salt, chili powder or cumin to taste --  if necessary
Cover bowl and let set and chill for about 30 minutes, then serve!

Have a happy Superbowl Sunday!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Important Breast Health Info.

I have known for a while now that the typical underwire bra was not a healthy choice for several reasons. But I recently learned of another very serious reason to take a long, hard look at the type of bra you wear each day. A friend who works at the gorgeous lingerie shop Amoreuse in Santa Cruz recently told me of a class action law suit that Victoria's Secret is involved in. It turns out that they were sued by a group of women who suffered chemical burns on their breasts and torsos from wearing Victoria's Secret molded bras. They discovered that the reason for this is that Victoria's Secret uses formaldehyde in the fabrication of their bras, which has caused chemical burns on many women who wear those bras regularly.

My friend let me know that Victoria's Secret has worked very hard and paid a lot of money to cover up this scandal. However, I found it easily by googling "Victoria's Secret Class Action Law Suit." This important topic was even covered by ABC news. You can read their article here. I've been told that they will give you a refund for ANY bra purchased there at any time because of this appalling scandal, and I plan to return my own uncomfortable molded VS bra. Then I won't own any more under wire, and let me tell you, it is so comfortable that I never plan to go back.

Breast health has been brought into the spotlight by the very disturbing rise in breast cancer rates. A healthy diet low in processed foods and sugars, exercise, and a chemical free body-care regimen are crucial to all types of cancer prevention. But one factor in breast health that I feel is often over-looked is your lymphatic system. The lymph is the "sewer system" of the body. Waste and toxins are sequestered from the rest of your body and moved out through a vast connected network of little sacks called lymph nodes. However, unlike our circulatory system, the lymphatic system does not have a wonderful pump like the heart to move it. The lymph requires muscular movement to do its job.

The breasts contain a large concentration of lymph nodes. Bras in general, but especially constricting bras and those with under wire, prevent the breast's lymph nodes from draining with normal healthy breast movement. This can cause toxic build up in the breasts and contribute to issues like breast soreness, breast cysts, or even cancer. One book that draws a link between bras and breast cancer is called, "Dressed to Kill." If you are interested, take a moment to check out the Amazon.com page.

You may end up doing yourself and your breasts a big favor. If you are concerned about your body's lymph flow in general, please give us a call at Pavia to inquire about Daniela's Lymphatic Drainage service. That extremely gentle and light form of massage is both relaxing and very detoxifying!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Belly Has ARRIVED...

...seemingly overnight. This past Saturday I was still sporting the "food baby," but by Sunday, I had to run out to Target and get my first maternity outfits. They're very cute, although I am not sure how useful they will be post-pregnancy.

And along with the belly, some other things have also arrived that I wasn't quite ready for. First of all, my knockers are SO BIG now that the necklines of my blouses don't quite touch my skin...which means that whenever I eat, food drops into my clothes and trickles down into my bra and finally migrates into the waistline of my pants. Which, in turn, means that whenever my husband goes to do my laundry, he always has access to an inventory of what I ate: "I see you had Pop Tarts  and Hot Tamales this week..." Can't hide anything from him anymore.

Second of all, the flatulence! Oh my goodness. I am passing more gas than a high school football team and a row of fraternities and a zoo full of elephants combined. Maybe I should start a fumigation service, as I am sure nothing and no one would survive the kind of intestinal radioactivity I am emitting. Sorry to gross you out, but it is what it is: the truth.

One thing I've been a bit annoyed about is that in Master Herbalist classes, we were taught to recommend Peach Leaf tea and zinc, but NOT Ginger, for morning sickness. Well, I kid you not, I have done a gazillion on-line searches, visited a gazillion health food stores, and found zero peach leaf tea. Ginger, on the other hand, is prevalent everywhere, and cheap. I never threw up even once throughout my first trimester, but I did sometimes feel like I was on the deck of a ship, and could have used a little nausea alleviation. I think I am going to make it my quest to find a way to bring peach leaf tea to pregnant women everywhere (and not just peach-FLAVORED tea).

Lastly, I had my Pregnancy Massage last week - it was divine. It WAS a bit interesting to have the massage on my side, especially because I was never quite able to find a comfortable position for the arm that was squeezed against the bed. But, it did put me to sleep in a way that no other massage ever has, so I am looking forward to more!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Where's My Belly?

14.5 weeks pregnant today. I can't wait to have a big belly, because right now I am just walking around looking like I had a big lunch. "No, I didn't just overeat today. I'm actually pregnant..." Already busting out of my normal clothes, but still doing the backstroke in maternity clothes, so the wardrobe is in a bit of purgatory as well. Each week I run out of clothes that fit by Wednesday, and have to start over with Monday's outfit on Thursday.

I *am* very excited that I can finally have a Juno Motherhood Massage at Pavia, now that I am safely in my second trimester. Yup, treating myself to that little slice of heaven this coming Friday with Barbara, our certified Pre-Natal Therapist. We do pre-natal massage using the side-lying method at Pavia, where you clutch a pregnancy pillow and lie comfortably on your side. Many professionals, midwives, and massage therapists consider this to be the safest position for pregnant women.

We do it this way because those one-size-fits-all tables with the hole cutouts in the middle are very sub-optimal for pregnancy massage. Why? Because one size does NOT fit all. If your abdomen is too large for the cutout, it'll apply pressure to your stomach and baby. If the hole cutout is too large, it can allow your abdomen to dangle, which can cause uncomfortable stretching of the uterine ligaments. Bottom line: listen to the experts and never receive a massage lying face down or face up while pregnant.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Holistic Medicine Works: After All, I'm Pregnant

For several years now, my husband and I have desperately wanted to have a child. After 4 years of "working on it," we went to see doctors who told us that our sperm count was low, that my ovulation was irregular ("your ovaries are a little sad and inactive-looking"), and that without intervention, our chances of getting pregnant naturally were less than 2%. We were asked to start the process of assisted fertility by me first getting an HSG (hysterosalpingogram), wherein they inject dye into my uterus to test for fibroids and obstructions of the fallopian tubes. When I heard that I had to take antibiotics for 3 to 9 days prior to this (to prevent infection from the dye), I balked and decided not to go the assisted route. My husband, being a devout Roman Catholic, also had serious issues of his own, as assisted fertility (especially IVF) ran contra to his deeply held beliefs.

So, this past June, I decided to see an ND, Dr. Connie Hernandez, of Palo Alto. She had me take a full blood panel, whereupon she gave me the advice that a) my Vitamin D levels were "out-of-sight" low, and b) that we can use herbs and natural supplements to greatly strengthen the communication between my brain and my ovaries (to get myself to ovulate). I started taking 5000 IUs of vitamin D daily, and a regimen of herbs and pills that ranged from inoffensive to downright nasty (especially the maca root - that was vile). Then, in October, I started seeing Dr. Kim Millman, MD/PhD, who supplemented my regimen from Dr. Connie with additional aids like calcium lactate (to normalize my thyroid). Dr. Kim also theorized that a large scar on my right leg was impeding a few of the fertility meridians that women have, and helped me by using laser therapy and other natural oils to re-activate those meridians.

And voila, by early November, I was pregnant! For me, who thought I could not have children naturally and was looking down the road of adoption, this was a true miracle. I know in my heart that it was seeing the two holistic physicians that made a difference for me...why else would it be 4 years with no results, and then 5 months after seeing them, poof, I'm pregnant? In any case, I am truly ecstatic, overjoyed, and ready to proclaim to the world that natural medicine can work. What can it hurt, anyway? If you've been trying for a while to get pregnant, and traditional methods aren't working for you, I would suggest taking a look at alternatives from the holistic world. In the meantime, I'm happy happy happy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pavia Prayers for Haiti--and Ways to Help

At Pavia we believe consciously caring for yourself is the first step to having the most to offer the world. But as we all watch the magnitude of devastation in Haiti unfold on our television and computer screens, it's easy to fall into feelings of despair and helplessness. It is important, however, not to underestimate the power of sending healing energy and prayers to everyone effected by this disaster. When you want to translate your prayer into material assistance, there are many wonderful ways to help get aid to the Haitian people. This excellent link from the Huffington Post gives a list of top charities and organizations prepared to give assistance in the form of volunteers, food, clean water, sanitation, and much-needed medical assistance. See the article on ways you can help here.

I especially love the easy and innovative option provided by Yele Haiti. Yele Haiti is a charity founded by the hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean. Their site, Yele.org describes the organizations focus: "Projects are designed to make a difference in the fields of education, health, environment and community development." You can donate five dollars to Yele Haiti for earthquake relief just by texting "Haiti" to 501501 on your cell phone. The five dolllar charge will be added to your cell phone bill. You can donate up to six times from your phone, or go to their site to give larger amounts.

An expert in emergency response, the International Rescue Committee offers the same text donation service. Simply text "Haiti" to 25383 on your phone, or donate here. Call the San Jose chapter of IRC for more information at (408) 453-3536. I love to see technology used in the service of making it so easy for people to help one another all over the world.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Eat, Pray, Love" author has a new book on marriage!

I am so excited that Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the best-selling and truly wonderful book, "Eat, Pray, Love," has a new book out! "Committed," follows her challenging personal journey from confirmed divorcee to happily married (again). It also contains a great deal of research into the institution of marriage from cultural and historical perspectives. If this book is anything like her first one, it will provide some seriously fun laughing-out-loud moments as well. I can't wait to read it.

I found this great interview with Gilbert about "Committed," on CNN.com: