Cuban by birth, Guyanese by descent, living in Trinidad and Tobago, I am a simple, down to earth person who loves life. My hobbies include travelling, cooking, reading, listening to music and dancing. I love all types of music and to dance. Married and a mother of five (three stepsons and two daughters), my life is anything but boring! I have always wanted to be a doctor, to be able to alleviate suffering when possible. I have a BSc in Biology (University of Western Ontario) and Medical Degree ISCMH, Havana, Cuba.
I was always very attached to my grandparents; my grandmother always believed in Chinese medicine and we also grew up in the country and were exposed to a lot of our ancestral remedies (bush medicine). While studying in Cuba I realized that being a doctor meant more than dispensing drugs; it meant connecting to patients on a spiritual level and colloquial level, to determine what was indeed right for their healing. I felt as though I needed to find out more about the complementary branch of medicine, the herbal aspect, so with a lot of coaxing from my husband I did a laborious internet search for an herbal medicine school, I put questions out there, and most answers pointed me into the direction of East West. Then I called Jill at the school, and as they say, the rest was history: I signed up in 2007. I am currently in the advanced track of the East West course, and if I can finish all the coursework I will be at the herbal seminar next year, which is really a lovely intense retreat/treat.
I am a medical doctor by profession but decided that my patients would benefit a lot more from the combination of the two branches of medicine East and West. I just recently opened my practice and have been combining the two with a lot of success. The journey is enjoyable. My goal is to help patients with chronic ailments return to a happy, healthy lifestyle combining the Eastern and Western branches of medicine, at the same time empowering them to take charge of their health and to achieve that balance of body, mind and soul '“ HEALTH.
For my first nine years, I lived just outside Xenia, a small town in southwestern Ohio where my brother and I roamed freely through yards, pastures and weed fields with only our imaginations to entertain us. My mother baked bread and made us eat lots of vegetables. Our doctor made house calls with his "little black bag" - and always looked at our tongues. Family vacations were always camping back when bath houses were a novelty in the national parks.
In the early '˜60s we moved to the Florida 'Space Coast' where the beaches were still pristine and the only recreation! It was an exciting place and time, being part of the community on the frontier of space exploration. My high school had an outstanding science program which exposed me to some of the cutting edge research in molecular biology of the day. That exposure showed me how little was truly understood about how the body functions, and together with the '˜60s philosophy of questioning the status quo, formed my distrust of western medicine.
I moved to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University, ended up with a degree in Finance, and settled into life here. I developed a passion for Dressage, that most elegant of horse sports, requiring thousands of hours of dedicated, hard sweaty work to master. Today, my horses are in my pasture out my back door for the comfort being close to them brings and for the day I will take up riding again. In addition to the horses, I live with my partner Earl, daughter Jennifer, three dogs and two cats.
My herbal journey began when I became really sick in Jan 2007. It was some viral thing but I did not fully recover and fell ill again (a new experience for me). Listening to my intuition, I called a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner recommended by a friend. She recommended herbs to me, first to support my recovery and then tonics to treat deficiencies, but tea pills had little effect so I moved to decoctions. I was fascinated. My TCM practitioner remarked one day that I had an intuitive feel for the herbs. I began to look into ways to learn more and found the East West School. It was the program which spoke most strongly to my heart.
Previously, I had set the intent to find something to supplement my income which could generate positive energy when I become eligible to retire from my present job in a few years. I believe that intention has been given direction. My aspiration is to complete the Professional Herbalist Course, open a practice and see what comes next. I am humbled, excited and grateful for all the love, guidance, support and direction I have received here at East West from all the instructors and my fellow classmates; and for the vistas this course has opened in my life.
I was born Arvella Louise Harris in
I desired to be a doctor since childhood but never got there '“ which is good because I couldn't practice a system devoid of Spirit. I began training at North American Institute of Medical Herbalism in May of 2008 as a reward for being smoke-free for over one year. That July I enrolled at East West as the next step to a certificate, but didn't start the coursework until finishing my NAIMH course in October 2008. I also completed hpathy.org's Intro Homeopathic Course last year.
My professional goal is to have a small practice specializing in substance recovery and 'black water tea' therapy. I'm hoping to travel to the Orient for some training and look forward to learning shiatsu and reflexology as adjunct bodywork modalities because bringing comfort through the power of touch resonates with me. I have 16 clients and a little office in a modern, gated RV storage area, adjoining David's custom car shop '“ not ideal, but it does have the advantage of being clean, private, and less than a mile from home. It's right where I'm supposed to be at this point in time.
I extend warm 'thanks' all who have helped me cultivate this calling, or seed, that has dogged me forever to uncover and water. It is an honor to care for people in this capacity.
I'm a city girl who was raised by a 'health conscious' mother and that was extent of my familiarity with alternative health care until 2003. A brush with breast cancer and some very impressive complimentary health care detoured the direction of my life.
Two intense years of counseling, journaling, yoga, support groups, and radical diet and lifestyle changes led me to my life work and passion for natural healing. I met Nicholas "Spirit Bear" Schnell in 2005, who agreed to make me his first apprentice at the Four Winds Natural Healing Center in Omaha, NE. That work has exposed me to his lifelong study of Traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic, Western, Native American and European herbal therapeutics and led me to study with the East West program from August 2007 to May 2010.
Before Planetary Herbology found me, I earned a B.A. in Psychology from Creighton University and held jobs in phlebotomy, insurance marketing and third-party unemployment claims, professional recruiting and desktop publishing, and owned a small business, while raising three daughters. For fun, I resurrected an old interest in playing bassoon and joined the Nebraska Wind Symphony three years ago. Friends and family have stopped trying to guess my next move.
Practically speaking, I'm a 'city herbalist' with urban clients, so it makes sense to apply natural healing in the most accessible and simple ways, subtly educating my patients about how effective herbal healing can be. At the same time, I'm trying to bring the healing plants of Nebraska closer to my living and working environments.
Growing up, I remember my parents frequently using herbs and traditional, European folk remedies. When I was about 5 years old, my mother had severe pneumonia and stayed in bed for a number of days. During her illness, she drank a strong-smelling herbal decoction and I recall watching another family member do traditional cupping over her whole back. Smelling the strong herbs and seeing the raised skin and dark, reddish-purple spots over her back, I felt fascination, fear and awe. This experience and other similar encounters with traditional healing methods planted a seed for my future health care choices and practices.
As an adult, I was first exposed to the concept of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) while in massage school; I have been studying TCM ever since. Around that same time, I also met Misha, my current partner. Her knowledge and practical use of herbs rekindled my fascination with traditional healing and inspired me to learn herbs more in depth. After exploring medicinal herbs on my own for some time, I decided to formally begin my studies at East West School of Planetary Herbology in 2003.
I recently completed the East West course and earned the Planetary Herbalist certification. Now, I'm in process of working with a mentor and continuing to grow in my herbal practice. My goal is to earn the East West Certified Herbalist degree and become registered with the American Herbalists Guild as a professional herbalist. My mission is to enrich, educate and empower those I serve to confidently use local herbs for their health and well-being.
Professionally, I have been practicing massage and bodywork in Chicago, IL, since 1999. In my private practice, I have specialized in craniosacral therapy, somatoemotional release, and integrative body therapy. During a seven year period, I also worked within several grant-funded, low-income clinics with HIV+/AIDS clients and for three years I worked within an outpatient pediatric pain clinic at a major children's hospital. In addition to my clinical practice, I have been a massage instructor at three different massage programs. And, for five years, I served as the director of education for one of these schools. As I evolve my private practice, I am excited to bring the benefits of herbs into my work with both adults and children experiencing pain (physical, emotional and spiritual).
Currently, I live in Chicago with my wife and two, energetic children.
My private practice website: www.SolFulBodywork.com
In 2009, I published and released a massage DVD and e-book entitled, 'Professional Full-Body Massage: A Step-By-Step Video Guide and E-Book.' To learn more, visit: www.LearningMassageVideos.com
I was raised in the San Francisco bay area and currently live in Grass Valley, Calif., north of Sacramento. My father was a hunter and fisherman. During my childhood, he inspired my love of animals.
While living in Iceland with my husband and two children for a couple of years, I got to be known as the Cat Lady. All the hurt cats ended up at our house. I started medical training as a veterinary assistant in 1980 in Iceland, and continued when I got back to the States. In 1987 I passed the State test to be a nurse (RVT) for animals.
Also in 1987, I got introduced to herbs for animals. At that time I was able to see how well herbs worked but at the time I didn't believe in herbs. I think the reason I started to believe in herbs because animals can't think, "This will make me feel better" -- they just respond to the herbs. (But for humans, yes, it is very important to have a good mental attitude for getting better.)
In 1989 my mother was told she had cancer so I started studying herbs for humans as well. Those herbs did help my mom. In 2000 I was told I had cancer. I started looking up herbs again for cancer and learned what I could use during radiation and chemo. I was surprised that those herbs were able to help my body fight the disease.
In 2005 I started a class in acupressure and massage for animals. This is when I started to learn about Traditional Chinese Medicine and the five elements. That same year, my mother was told she had cancer again, and in 2006 she passed away. Besides of the normal feelings of her passing I felt bad because I didn't help her with the herbs this time and I decided I need to learn more.
I'm also a coordinator for the Disaster Response team for animals. What that means in short is we are the Red Cross for animals. I work mostly during fire season, but we have also worked floods.
I teach CPR for animals, anatomy, zoonotic diseases, and many other topics about animal health.
I am hoping to work more with people and some of the doctors in my area.
I have held a deep interest in natural healing for as long as I can recall. My grandfather was a chiropractor, and I remember receiving an adjustment from him at age 5. Perhaps that spurred the initiative to pursue natural medicine. Having studied karate when I was younger also seemed to influence my leaning toward taking care of my body and mind holistically.
My formal journey began 18 years ago when I started studying massage therapy, graduating as a Registered Massage Therapist after two years of study. This opened my passion for healing which then led me to study homeopathic medicine for four years with the Vancouver Homeopathic Academy and later for two years in the Homeopathic Master Clinician Course. Throughout my career I have been drawn to continue my studies in homeopathy, osteopathy, bowen therapy, postural exercise, and energy medicine. In 2008 I excitedly began studying herbal medicine with the East West School of Planetary Herbology, anticipating being able to help people in a new way using herbs and diet therapy. It has been a rewarding journey that continues to inspire me.
Gradually over the years, my passion and interests have opened in the direction of teaching others how to heal themselves. In January 2010, I wrote and published my first book titled BODY '“ The Essentials of Health and Wellness which has been my first major step in this direction. BODY is the first in a series of three books '“ BODY, MIND, and SPIRIT, with the latter two books due to arrive over the next few years.
When not practicing, studying, or writing, I love to spend time in nature, especially hiking in the backcountry mountains of coastal British Columbia and the Rocky Mountains. I currently live and practice in Port Moody, British Columbia with my wife'”a Naturopathic Doctor.
Later this year I plan to teach some workshops in holistic health and launch my newsletter on my website at www.ryancarnahan.com. Other future plans include holding retreats with a group of colleagues where people can rejuvenate in body, mind, and spirit.
I began my plant kingdom journey seven years ago when I started studying primitive living skills with Earthwalk Northwest. Through the experience of exploring my relationship to the natural world around me, I fell in love with plants and apprenticed for three years with ethnobotanist Karen Sherwood. I learned practical botany, ethical wildcrafting skills, and traditional uses of plants for food and medicine.
Following my years of apprenticeship, I involved myself in intensive self study of herbalism. Besides my studies here at the East West School of Planetary Herbology, I have also been honored to be mentored by Paul Bergner, Michael Moore, and Kiva Rose.I am currently taking a course on clinical herbalism with KP Khalsa.
Over the past two years it's been my privilege to be an herbal consultant for HerbMentor.com, a community-based website for herbal education. To date I have written four e-books, created over 30 educational videos, and written many articles including a series on Anatomy and Physiology for herbalists. I also spend a lot of time in the forums participating in herbal discussions and answering questions.
This year, my main focus is creating a botany-for-herbalists course, publishing a book on colds and flu, and creating a mini visual glossary series to explain herbal terms.
I am also the wild plants and herbal health instructor for Methow Wilderness School where I lead wild plant walks aimed at helping people connect to the natural world
I met my husband Xavier while I was studying the wilderness arts. After marrying we remained dedicated to our values of living close to the earth. Our small cabin is located on the edge of the wilderness and we live simply with minimal solar electricity and no running water. We love experiencing the seasons and having the wild world at our fingertips. Pretty soon the forest around us will be covered in arnica and mariposa lilies!
Another exciting part of my life recently has been my involvement with the Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference. This new event is bringing together innovative teachers to present on western herbalism with a strong focus on plant energetics and bio-regional herbs.
Besides my passion for plants I am also a Structural Medicine Specialist. This type of structural integration focuses on easing chronic and acute pain by aligning the body in the gravitational field. I have a private practice where I see clients for herbal health consultations and Structural Medicine sessions.
So far my life has been a fascinating journey and I am thrilled that East West has been a part of my path. This school gave me a constitution-based approach to herbal health. This understanding is invaluable in the successful practice of herbalism.
You can follow my herbal adventures at http://www.MethowValleyHerbs.
I also enjoy connecting with herbally minded folk on Facebook.
My earliest memories are filled with plants. My parents were both gardeners and my father is a landscape architect; at 85, he is still planting his vegetable garden this year. My mother had a deep understanding that we should be out soaking up and exploring the natural world. I first lived in the Midwest and then for a few years in the dry high plains of West Texas, an ecosystem completely opposite to the green hills, streams and rivers with which I'd become familiar.
My mother, intent on giving her brood reprieve from the dusty plains, gathered us up and drove each summer to a magical valley cared for by the Puye natives in New Mexico. My first herb walk took place during one such family vacation. Mormon tea, bearberry, juniper berries and piÃ±on, 12 plants in all: I pressed their leaves into my first notebook walking along the cliff-dwellers' trail.
My tour through different ecosystems continued after college, when I moved to the Cascade Mountains and worked for a brief time for Dr. William Kelley, who had cured himself of pancreatic cancer. Kelley understood that different individuals were of different metabolic types, and that poor and metabolically mismatched diet was a primary contributor to disease. Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez arrived from Sloan-Kettering that year to study Dr. Kelley's controversial protocols and review his cases.
While living there, I also had the opportunity to host and spend time with Daniel Bensky and his wife, who were completing his first TCM materia medica translation. Dan provided me with more information regarding constitutional differences, and offered great encouragement to continue pursuing my interests. I began treating my own symptoms with western herbs and pored over herb books.
After four years, I accepted a job in the Midwest and then transferred to the Bay Area, working in a number of corporate positions in the telecommunications industry. For several years, on weekends, I studied with Barbara Brennan, Dr. M. Mamas and with a number of elders, shamans, mystics and poets. I also pursued extra curricula in Core Energetics, Diamond Heart, Pathwork, Hakomi, Continuum, energetic anatomy and physiology, and massage.
Over the years, I found many references to Ayurveda and felt immediate and great affinity for its holistic approach. After a class in its basics, I had the blessing to literally bump into Dr. Vasant Lad one summer at Mt. Madonna, and began my Ayurvedic education in earnest. I felt completely at home. I graduated from formal Ayurvedic programs in the U.S. and in India, a land that continues to live in my heart, where I interned in panchakarma clinics. My teachers have been enormously generous and encouraging and I have abiding gratitude for them. It has been a gift to have so many of my interests merged together in this ancient system of healing. I began an Ayurvedic and panchakarma practice in Northern California over a decade ago and it gives me great joy to share it with others.
Having referred to Michael Tierra's books for many years, I enrolled at East West in the spring of 2009 to expand the number of global herbs I feel proficient in using. The education of an herbalist is life-long, and the mutual support and sharing at East West is simply wonderful.
In addition to Ayurveda and Herbology, I also love spending time with my beloved partner Phil, hanging out with our sweet dog Pico, spending time with my family and hearing them laugh, immersing myself in poetry, travel, sustainability, being in nature, reading the works of Nisargadatta, Ramana Maharshi, and Ramesh Balsekar, witnessing the play of light and dark, and observing the infinite forms of beauty.
I also teach classes and write a newsletter offering Ayurvedic information and ideas. You can visit my website at http://www.vitalityandbalance.com/