Sonoma County's Birth Center
I don’t know if I can clearly explain or adequately put into words why I am so drawn to work with pregnant women, new mothers and their families. When I think back, the first indication of that interest came in 1974, my last year of high school in a small town in Arkansas, when I wrote my senior research paper on natural childbirth. I don’t know how I got interested in natural childbirth at age 18, with very little personal exposure to prenatal care or birthing practices! But it must be a passion that is really integral to my being because here I am 40 years later and there is no other work I would rather do! My own experiences of pregnancy, pregnancy loss, giving birth and mothering have deeply shaped the person I am today and it is a privilege to witness and support the growth and healing that can happen for women during their childbearing years.
One of the things that I love about working with pregnant and postpartum women and their families, is the recognition that that time period Is so special, crucial and influential on the rest of that family’s life together. So, any small improvement in the experience, like helping a new mom build confidence and trust in herself or a stronger bond with her baby, can have far-reaching ripple effects. In the big picture, that early trust and connection can be the foundation for creating adults who are capable of empathy and the experience of interconnection with all beings.
I have over 30 years experience as a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist in a variety of mental and medical health settings. In my current private practice at my home office in Sebastopol, I specialize in hypnosis for childbirth preparation, support for parents, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy for anxiety, depression, insomnia, chronic pain and illness. I am a licensed clinical social worker, as well as being certified in hypnosis and childbirth education. In addition, I have learned a great deal, including a sense of humor, humility and self-forgiveness from being a mother and wife!
At the birth center, I will be offering a support group for new mothers, “Surviving and Thriving Through Postpartum Challenges”, as well as seeing pregnant women or new moms for individual psychotherapy.
I was raised in the gardens and kitchens of strong Italian matriarchs who taught me lessons beyond simple words. We turned soil, grew giant juicy red tomatoes, stirred cauldrons of steaming pots of pasta, sewed torn clothes by hand and made use of all things as sacred & valuable. The “old ways” passed down to me as ancient secrets carried the essence of simplicity; of living in rhythm with nature; using medicine from the plants around us; finding the sacred in each form. My life path has been dedicated to offering this sustainable way of living both to my clients and to myself through acupuncture, herbalism and yoga in English or in Spanish.
I arrived at acupuncture in my early twenties via a long and winding road that ultimately healed not only a physical trauma to my spine but also revived me at a time of deep spiritual crisis. So inspired by it’s incredible effects on my own life I decided it was something I must learn. In 2009 I completed my Master’s Degree in Acupuncture in the Five Element tradition, an ancient medicine rooted in Taoism and the cycles of Nature. My inspiration for this work comes from the potent teachings of Nature. As opposed to focusing just on what is “imbalanced” and “wrong” with the body, the intention of treatment is to allow the virtues and gifts we all have to shine. I believe that honoring and listening to the wisdom of our bodies is one of the greatest ways to facilitate healing. As a resonance medicine, this medicine reconnects access to our own greatest healing power.
I combine acupuncture treatment with my deep knowledge of herbal medicine, both Eastern Herbs and Western Herbs, as well as moxa therapy, nutritional support, medical qigong and craniosacral therapy. Herbal medicine, both growing plants as well as offering them as medicine to clients, is one of my favorite gifts of treatment. I have completed extensive trainings in both Chinese Herbs and Western Herbs as well as apprenticing on the Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm in Petaluma, CA.
Yoga has been an integral part of my life since my teenage years and in many ways it was one of the first stepping stones to becoming a holistic practitioner. In addition to teaching group yoga classes like Vinyasa, Restorative, Prenatal and Mom & Baby, I also combine pieces of practice into my treatments like breathwork or as “homework” for my clients. Yoga offers an invaluable resource in the classroom, treatment room and at home.
Through all of my teachings and experience, I’ve never lost sight of the powerful matriarchs that guided me. Through their inspiration, women’s health and the empowerment of women through spiritual-based medicine has always been my greatest passion. My private practice has been focused on assisting women with reproductive health, pregnancy, birth and postpartum care as well as prenatal and postpartum yoga classes, and I look forward to continuing this focus at Thrive. I also support babies and children with acupuncture, shonishin treatments, herbal medicine and moxa therapy.
My husband and I welcomed our daughter into the world in September 2013. This first hand experience of pregnancy, birth, post partum and motherhood have taught me so much both as a woman and as a practitioner. I hope to offer my broad spectrum of knowledge to help all women find health, peace and balance through pregnancy and into motherhood.
Nationally Board Certified Acupuncturist – California State Board Certified & Licensed Acupuncturist
Certified Herbalist – Certified Medical Qigong Practitioner – Certified Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 200)
Growing up on the slopes of Haleakala Maui, I developed a deep passion for biology. My love and respect for mother earth and her resources originated out of experience with Hawaiian cultural practices ranging from traditional horticulture practices to the hula and Hawaiian chant.
I moved to Sonoma County to attend Sonoma State University and continued to explore my passion in the sciences. Majoring in Biology, with an emphasis in Botany, I decided to continue my exploration of plants at the California School of Herbal Studies where I investigated every aspect of working with plants, exploring their therapeutic properties, ways to extract them, and ways to make them readily available through food and body care products. After 3 years of intensive studies, I then continued my education at Bauman College where I became a certified holistic nutrition consultant & educator. Blending this education with my work done at the California School of Herbal Studies, I provide a holistic approach with well rounded support through diet analysis, cooking instruction, healthy recipes & meal planning, supplement & herbal education, lab test analysis, and individual dietary guidance and education.
In 2011 I began to work with COTS (Committee on the Shelterless). I worked one-on-one with the underserved population of Sonoma County, providing nutrition consultation to the homeless community. Dealing with issues ranging from autoimmune disorders, pre & postnatal nutrition, diabetes, drug/substance abuse, and chronic degenerative diseases, I was able to see first-hand how greatly food impacts our health, and how little is understood by the majority of people dealing with these chronic health issues. I was motivated to be apart of the change that is so greatly needed, and began teaching.
My focuses are in Pre & Postnatal Nutrition, Nutrition for Autoimmune Disorders, Foods and Herbs for Detoxification, and Eating for Health. In addition to teaching and consulting, I also offer customized therapeutic meals for individuals wanting to eat healthier, but for whatever reason, need a little support in this area, and customized therapeutic body care products.