GARDEN TOURS GALORE on the Coast this July

On the south slope of Astoria, gardener Martin Buel has been procuring the last details of his botanical masterpiece in preparation for the locally famed Lower Columbia Preservation Society’s 12th Annual Garden Tour.

Buel, a retired landscape architect, who designed other people’s gardens for a living in Florida, upon moving to Astoria, procured a small family home with a hilly back lot. This for Buel, an opportunity to create a long-desired collector’s garden. While one could describe Buel’s work as a breathtaking masterpiece, because upon first descent it does take the breath away, it is a breath of discovery.

The 2/3 sloped acre is a literal maze of winding pathways, leading the stroller passed a fecund greenhouse of tropical’s, through a deep grove of mystic cedar trees, tucked-away sitting benches, yarded clearings, and montage after montage after montage of tubers, bulbs, perennials, and edibles (a large amount hardy orchids). Buel has planted and nurtured over 200 plant varieties. It seems you could probably spend hours tripping along and enjoying each wild clumped surprise.

Buel describes his work as “a natural cottage garden with a Japanese flair, built for contemplation rather than ‘Butchart’ pizzazz. “ Different from a Japanese garden though, Buel has taken care to emphasize the luscious floral pathways, foregoing Japanese accoutrement, such as lanterns and furniture, opting for the beauty and artistry of pure botanical.

“It’s a collection blended into artistic sense based on texture, form, fragrance and color,” says Buel, and he adds, “And no garden should be without edibles.”

Broccolli, Brussels sprouts, squash and the like are planted amongst the decoratives, in places Buel thinks (knows) they will grow. Almost exclusively organic, Buel’s goal is to have something blooming 12 months of the year. He notes that his garden is based on influences rather than any specific style, and credits the English responsible for the decorative hybrid, of which he finds the Astoria climate to be of parallel success.

Buel, who is partially-sighted, is an instinctive gardener, who also puts an incredible amount of labor to his creation, then producing something magnificent, magical, and yet intentionally peaceful.

There are many gardens to see on this wonderful annual tour. And gardeners are known too, to have a competitive spirit. Count on having lots of surprises.

Lower Columbia Preservation Society’s 12th Annual Garden Tour

Lower Columbia Preservation Society (LCPS) has scheduled its 12th Annual Garden Tour for Saturday, July 14th, from 10am until 3pm. On the day of the tour, the tickets may be purchased at 17th Street and Grand Avenue in Astoria from 9:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Admission is $1 per person or $10 for LCPS members.

Tour-goers will delight in six residential gardens, all bursting with color, unique design, unusual plantings, and interesting hardscape. The owners will share their challenges, successes, favorites, even their failures and disasters. The tour will be held rain or shine.

Raffle prizes for garden-themed items, dinners at local restaurants, and season tickets to next year’s Music Festival will be sold for $1.00 each or 15 for $10.00. Following the garden tour a reception of beverages and refreshments will be served at the last garden on the tour where the winners of the raffle prizes will be announced. Winners are not required to be in attendance.

Proceeds from the garden tour will be used to promote the organization’s mission and its educational programs. For more information about the garden tour, call 503-325-3245.

Individuals who join the Lower Columbia Preservation Society on the day of the tour will receive the LCPS membership tour rate of $10. Membership in the organization is $15 per year per person or $25 per household, and includes free or discounted lectures and workshops, the newsletter “Restoria”, emails notices of preservation related news and events.

Music in The Gardens • 6th Annual Long Beach Peninsula Garden Tour

The 6th annual GARDEN TOUR on the Long Beach Peninsula, titled “Music in the Gardens” will feature 7 private gardens this year, and a wonderful variety of live music, delectable food, and beverages. Included for the first time is the Leadbetter Farm, known for its lighthouse structure at the northern most end of the Peninsula. These combined offerings will encourage you to linger, experience and enjoy the Peninsula’s beautiful outdoor rooms.  And in addition, meet the gardeners who have mastered the art of successful gardening on the coast.

Saturday July 21st, from 10am to 4pm Tickets, at $15 will be available for purchase starting one week before the tour at The English Garden in Seaview, The Basket Case Greenhouse in Long Beach and Adelaide’s Books & Coffee in Ocean Park.  Proceeds benefit the Water Music Festival Society, supporting its music events throughout the year.

“The Water Music Festival Society, a non-profit organization, provides high-quality, affordable music programs for residents and visitors in southwest Washington State. WMF expands cultural opportunities, increases awareness of diverse types of music, and promotes educational outreach.” Garden Tour Chair-Nancy Allen 360 642-2507.
6th Annual Spade and Wade Garden Tour

The Tillamook County Master Gardener Association will hold its sixth annual Spade and Wade Garden Tour on Saturday, July 21, from Noon to 5:00. The six gardens, located mainly in Tillamook, will include such features as unique garden design, wide plant variety, topiary, vegetables, use of native plants, original combinations of color and texture, and beautiful garden settings. Visitors will have the opportunity to see which plants grow and thrive in our various microclimates and how gardeners deal with the challenges of deer, elk, salt and wind. The tour is self-guided, and gardens may be visited in any order. Also included in the tour is TCMGA’s own Learning Garden where refreshments will be served.

Proceeds from the garden tour will support college scholarships for deserving county residents, the Learning Garden at the county fairgrounds, and gardening education throughout Tillamook County.

Passports for entry into the gardens will cost $15 and may be purchased at the OSU Extension office in Tillamook, or the Pioneer Museum. Passports will contain garden descriptions and complete driving directions. TCMGA is a non-profit making organization.  For more information, call 503-842-3433 or 503-355-2655.



Darcy Wiegardt: Permanent Cosmetics Technician to the Coast

Darcy WiegardtIn the start of every new year, there is a hope, a wish to fulfill what has not materialized in years past, a fresh look, a yearning for new confidence. Darcy Wiegardt found an opportunity to not only take on this desire, but to put on a fresh face, permanently. Folks from the Pacific Northwest are no strangers to tattoos; sailors, hipsters, and the like, treat themselves to a body souvenir to celebrate special occasions or relationships, but permanent cosmetics offer selected, natural pigmentation to re-create everything from basic make-up to eyebrows for victims of facial hair loss and areolas in breast reconstructive surgery patients.

Darcy, who has been licensed and certified since 2003 in Oregon, which has a much more rigorous certification and licensing process than other states, initially began as a permanent cosmetics technician in Astoria on a part time basis. As things shifted in the job market and economy, she found herself able to join the group at Medical Spa LaCost as her primary job. After extensive training in Portland by Carol’s Cosmetic Tattoo, she took her well-honed skills to the coast to offer permanent make-up services: Eyebrows-color added to shape, to fill, to lift, and to cover scars above the eye; Eyeliner and Lash Enhancement-definition given to eyes by lining for a thicker, fuller look; Lips-volume and fullness added to improve lip definition with either lip line or full lip treatment.

In recent months, Darcy has expanded her abilities to help with areola repigmentation for breast cancer patient reconstructive surgery. Areola Repigmentation is the process of creating realistic, well-proportioned areolas with properly chosen pigments and skilled application. It is an ideal procedure for breast cancer survivors, breast augmentation recipients and anyone who is unhappy with the size, shape or coloration of their areolas. She is currently finalizing this training, and plans to offer areola repigmentation service in Spring of 2012.

Costs for this variety of services ranges from $350-$1800, and Darcy initiates the process with a consultation first, applying her experience with the clients interests to make the end product most satisfying. The typical procedure takes two sessions with the initial session being the main permanent pigmentation application, and after thirty days, the touch-up, or second session is completed to cover any variation or difference in the coloring.

“Permanent” is part of the procedural terminology; so, Darcy provides information to take the best care and make the cosmetic color last. However, pigmentation, being coloring, may fade with time and under certain situations, even more so. Darcy warns that sun, swimming, and the natural course of time will cause coloration to fade, and touch-ups may be required to keep the color fresh. Luckily, in the Pacific Northwest, extreme sun exposure is not too common! This procedure is safe and offers options to those suffering from allergies or who just want to look their best all the time. Darcy, who is a permanent cosmetic client, herself, says, her husband loves it because he does not have to wait forever while she gets ready to go out! Darcy enjoys giving clients more confidence and the opportunity to wake up looking great everyday.

Darcy Wiegardt
Permanent Cosmetic Technician
At Spa Lacost, 1428 Commercial
In Astoria, 503.338.5555
for more info visit:


Spa at the Cannery Pier Hotel

Cannery Pier HotelA Finnish sauna, mineral bath, glorious body treatments and massage to suit your needs!

Spa at Cannery Pier Hotel Open House
Thursday, December 8 from 5 pm to 7 pm.
No. 10 Basin St., Astoria, Oregon
503.338.4SPA (4772)
Specially priced Gift Certificates, Food, Drink, Treats, Free Raffle and other surprises! Meet the professional therapists, tour the facilities and explore Astoria’s only Spa with an authentic Finnish Sauna and Mineral Therapy Hot Tub!

“OLEN UUSI NAINEN!” translates from Finnish to “I’m a new woman!” On my father’s returns from Astoria’s famed Union Town Steam Baths, he and my mother from their every Friday night ritual, my father would say in part English and Finnish, “I feel like an uusi mies.” A new man, that is.

A ritual of renewal is an integral part of Finnish sauna culture, and of many cultures on the globe. Renewal, replenish, a part of a natural cycle in the enjoyment of life. Sleep, obviously an essential, to go from one day to the next, does not fulfill a conscious need to get within.

If you are an inhabitant of the Columbia Pacific Region, you are familiar with the Cannery Pier Hotel that welcomes visitors to these shores, housing guests in an elegant, yet spare, homage to history. The sport where cannery Finns began a steadfast, egalitarian business of catching and processing fish and making sure the fancy east coast devils didn’t get advantage on them. The Union Fish Company.

Imagine how some of those hardworking Finns would have laughed at the thought that lumbering fish house would someday be the inspiration for a hotel. A brilliant plan that native Robert Jacobsen, at times had a hard time convincing people that it was much of an idea. But now, we can look out to the mouth of the Columbia and remember, and dream and reminisce.

And even better. You can look out from the Spa at the Cannery Pier Hotel, from the mineral therapy hot tub looking straight east, down the Columbia.

“On a foggy day, soaking int he hot tub, and gazing out on the river, there isn’t a better place to be,” says Spa manager Summer Oja. And that is where the folks at the Cannery Spa want locals to be.

The Spa at the Canner Pier is an elaborate spa system, designed for you, “local person” to enjoy with ease, comfort, and affordability. Spa manager Summer Oja has been in the business for 10 years, and her unique mission states, “Peace, tranquility, order and outreach.”

Spa at the Cannery Pier employs 5 massage practitioners and a facial specialist. They offer every type of massage, and manager Oja will help to facilitate and match you with a type of massage and practitioner that best suits you. Oja is not only the spa manager, but really the manager of the customer’s individual therapeutic needs.

Any treatment that you receive at the Cannery Spa includes the mineral hot tub and the authentic Finnish Sauna. This means, a 1/2 hour Head and Neck and Shoulders treatment ($55), comes with steam and hot tubing. At the turn of the 1900’s, Astoria was a blaze with public saunas. Today, well, not there aren’t any – but the smell of the cedar in the Finlandia Sauna System at Cannery Pier is divine. And the steam when you throw the water on the rocks with the wooden ladle… does a body good, oh yea!

Every month the Spa offers a “local’s special.” It could be up to 20% off one of many delicious body raps; Marine Minerals, Seal Algae, a decadent Chocolate Orange Wrap, or an Anti-Aging Flaxx-C Facial. Goodbye body toxins, hello cleansing.If you think thsi doesn’t work – well, experience before judgment rings loudly in this case.

Depending on how much you allow to spend on “self,” the availability of choice and budget is completely user-friendly at Cannery Spa. And, every fifth treatment, whatever yo design, is half off, too.

The body treatment packages, massage with facial, wrap or scrub are complimented with a spa snack plate; salmon and fruits and chesses and champagne. Plan a get together, with a partner or group of friends, and you will get “the treatment.”

Plan for regular therapeutic breaks in life, Cannery Pier is there to assist.On any visit, you choose a Young Living Essential Oil to compliment an aromatherapy sensation, plus, the Spa keeps Thieves Oil permeating to protect against airborne bacteria. Summer Oja and the crew at Cannery Spa are knowledgeable in many facets of alternative therapies to help sooth and compliment with natural remedy modalities.

Spa at Cannery Pier Hotel is a healing resource in our hometown, promoting proactive healthcare. Not a luxury, a necessity. Nonetheless, a very nice necessity, accessible and an awesome place to hang out for an hour or so to get what you need and deserve. Take time and discover this natural treasure, and tis the season, gifts of experience, that come in a pretty box with complimentary chocolates – consider that!


Health & Wellness Shorts

Permanent Cosmetic Makeup Services now available in Lower Columbia Region
Permanent  cosmetic makeup is a non-surgical method  of applying colored pigment  to enhance eyes, lips, and eyebrows with a soft, natural finish that looks like perfectly applied makeup.

Permanent cosmetics can beautifully define facial features, correct the appearance of many imperfections, and improve your overall appearance.  Offering a new kind of personal freedom, permanent cosmetics will make your life easier.  Particularly beneficial to busy professionals, those with little or no time to apply makeup, allergy sufferers, or anyone who has difficulty applying cosmetic products – the results are always the same – perfectly applied, waterproof color that always looks fresh and beautiful!

If you always want to look your best, gain self-esteem, and feel beautiful 24 hours a day – you may be the perfect candidate for a fresh new look that can start now and last for many years.

Call For Your Consultation:  Darcy Wiegardt, Permanent Cosmetics Technician licensed & Certified. Located at Medical Spa LaCost, 1428 Commercial St. Astoria, 503-338-5555.

First ENCORE Happy Hour Evening
A fun gathering at the Baked Alaska’s ‘Happy Hour’ from 4 to 6pm is planned for Sunday, June 12.  Baked Alaska is located on the Columbia River at #1 12th Street, Astoria,OR.

  Baked Alaska will exceed your expectations with their $3.00 food menu plus $3.00 beer and well drinks. You can have alcohol or not as your choice of beverage.

  Please come for our first happy hour event overlooking the Columbia, where the Pilot Boats are docked, and  enjoy visiting with fellow members, for an  inexpensive Sunday Supper. Membership is not required, guests are welcome if interested in the organization and are retired or semi-retired adults 50 years old and over. We will meet in the Discovery Room.

Kathleen Hudson is the coordinator. If you have questions please call Kathleen at 503 861-2802, or Paula Duncan at Clatsop Community College toll free  1 866-252-8767.  “20 Questions” will be our entertainment and educational challenge for Sunday,  June 12 at 5:30 P.M.

ENCORE – Exploring New Concepts Of Retirement Education: is an association of retirement age people who share a love of learning.A variety of interesting and informative classes are offered during Fall, Winter and Spring terms, following the calendar of Clatsop Community College, the sponsor of the group.  The classes are taught by volunteers and there is no homework, no tests – only enjoyment and education.  For information about ENCORE, see the web site,, or call Paula Duncan, Liason, 503-338-2408 or email Paula at

Each month on the first Tuesday of the month members and their guests are invited to meet for a no-host lunch, one month in Astoria, and alternate months in Seaside or “south county”. – All members are welcome to attend and to bring a guest.

Tuesday, the 7th, is the date for June LUNCH BUNCH and will be held in Astoria at Fultano’s Pizza Restaurant, 620 Olney Ave, Astoria. (503-325-2855).  Members are asked to dredge up their memories of their first encounters with pizza!  Come prepared to tell your tale.

WANTED:  Artists and Instructors to Teach Summer Term June 26th through September 3rd
Tolovana Arts Colony is currently recruiting instructors to lead outstanding arts, fitness, cultural, and other leisure classes for the upcoming summer term.  Would you like to share your art or interest with residents and visitors to the North Oregon Coast?  Please email your request for an application packet to  Completed applications are due June 6th for the summer term.  Classes are held at Tolovana Hall in Cannon Beach, OR.

Community organizations are also welcome to request use of the hall for meeting use.  There is no cost to instructors or community organizations for use of the hall.  Tolovana Hall is owned by the City of Cannon Beach and managed by Tolovana Arts Colony, a non-profit arts organization, dedicated to providing year-round arts education and supporting the efforts of local working artists.


Menu of Earthly Delights – Longevity in Manzanita

Longevity in Manzanita
Jamie Ehrke, Proprietor

There is something truly self-nurturing and sensual about being rubbed with warm oil—chosen specifically for one’s unique combination of energies—and then soothed with hot towels. Or perhaps hot stones and shells placed on the body to facilitate relaxation, or a massage accompanied by therapeutic and aromatic essential oils. Follow with a yoga class, tonifying elixir, or stimulating browse through a boutique bursting with mindfully chosen treats to nurture body and soul.

Where and what is this paradise of nurturance? LONGEVITY in Manzanita . . . your friendly neighborhood yummy place!

Longevity, “a place to relax and rejuvenate,” is the lovingly crafted business of long-time North coaster Jamie Ehrke. Located in a beautifully remodeled historic building in downtown Manzanita, Longevity offers massage, yoga, unique shopping, and an elixir bar. Like many coastal business folk, Ehrke found her way to her livelihood via a circuitous route.

She studied sustainable agriculture and political economy at Evergreen College in Washington. She then moved to Nehalem with former partner Hank Tallman, a coastal native and co-founded Lunasea Gardens. Departure from that endeavor brought her to the usual round of coastal work. Restaurant jobs, landscaping, all good jobs at the time that allowed her to take care of her young son and stay in the communities she loved. And, there came a time when Ehrke knew that she wanted a different life.

“I had always wanted to do something in healing arts field. I just had an ‘aha’ moment after seeing a flyer in Portland for East/West Massage School and said, that’s what I’ll do. And I just went and did it. I knew that I would like it but it turns out that I love it and am passionate about it! I’ve found my niche.”

Although Ehrke wasn’t necessarily intending to start a business like Longevity, events flowed in that direction and here she finds herself. She took over an existing business, Parinamah, but changed the services significantly and put her own brand on the opportunities offered. Like many coastal businesses, Longevity caters to the tourist trade as well as to year round residents. And while the three-village area doesn’t lack yoga, massage, and spa opportunities, Longevity has its own special vibe. “It’s casual, comfortable, and nurturing. People feel that,” Ehrke says.

Yoga and massage are the emphasis. The beautiful studio can accommodate up to 12 students per class, so yogis are assured of an intimate setting with a great teacher to student ratio. For summer the studio will offer 2-3 yoga classes every day. A variety of styles and levels give plenty of options. The massage menu is truly inspiring, with everything from the standard Swedish or deep tissue massage to Abhyanga Ayurvedic massage (of aforementioned warmed oils and towels!), Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Chakra Balancing or pregnancy massage. Longevity massage therapist Christina Pyktel has developed a line of chakra specific products, including oils that can be used in massage. Both she and Ehrke have a robust list of local massage clients and found themselves completely booked throughout the tourist season last year.

Longevity boasts two lovely massage rooms—one that accommodates couples or friends wanting to enjoy individual massages in the same room—and a cozy spot for hanging out and enjoying an herbal elixir. The artisan boutique showcases wares by seven local artists, including jewelry, pottery, found and visual art. Also shop for regional fair trade beauty products and fabulous socks, as well as yoga wear and accessories. The experience is delicious all the way round. Skip the ice cream and give yourself a real summer treat: a few hours of self-nurturance. Your body will thank you!

Longevity is located at 123 Laneda Ave. in Manzanita. Tel: (503) 368-3800 Email: Web:

Longevity Longevity Longevity

Bodies In Balance COLUMNS HEALTH

Got Questions?

This month I want to take time to answer a few questions.  These are either from you, my readers, or frequently asked from my patients.  I always welcome questions and comments as they often give me great ideas for upcoming articles, so keep them coming to…

What are the best sweeteners?  Many of us are turning up our noses at artificial sweeteners (thankfully), and so what should we use instead?  There are indeed a litany of options from table sugar to honey so let’s go through some of these ‘sugars’ to find out what they are and which suits our health best.

Let’s begin with the sources that are least refined and closest to how nature intended…honey, maple syrup, fruit and fruit juices.  In my mind these are the ideal sugars to utilize in our diets because they are food and take little to no refining from their natural form to make things a little sweeter.  Honey quite specifically has some wonderful health benefits in that it contains vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and can improve immune function in conditions like allergies.  Similarly maple syrup and fruits offer some terrific health benefits.  Along with molasses (a refined product from sugar cane which is incredibly nutritious), these are my sugars of choice!

Now there are many refined sugars which are touted to be more natural and healthy than table sugar…some examples are turbinado, agave syrup, brown rice syrup, and fructose.  The similarities with these is that they are all refined sweeteners, the difference is their source.  Turbinado comes from sugar cane (like white table sugar) but is a little more raw (less processed) therefore has larger crystals and is a tan color due to the retention of some of the molasses within the cane itself.  The syrups come from the plants mentioned and fructose is the sugar within fruits, which is refined into a powder.  There are pluses and minuses to each of these so my advise would be to use sparingly.

White table sugar, commonly from sugar cane or sugar beets, is the most refined sugar product, and while if given the choice of this over aspartame I would choose this every time it is still not a nutritious option for our bodies…so I put it on the generally avoid list.

The newest member to the sweetener family is Stevia, a plant which has an extreme sweetness concentration.  The interesting thing about Stevia is its positive effects on blood sugars despite its sweetness; BUT mind you these studies were done with crude herb not stevia sweetened blueberry muffins, so while I am considering this to be a worthwhile option I am keeping a scrutinizing eye on this trend.  You can find Stevia in powdered form and in lots of prepackaged products.

Remember the big picture here is our obsession with sweetness not solely the sweetener itself.  So yes for those with an extreme sweet tooth finding healthier options is worthwhile, but appreciating other flavors (bitter, savory, spicey, etc.) is key!

Antibiotics, I get a lot of questions about antibiotics.  If they’re needed, dangerous, what other things can be used instead of them and how to recover from their use.  All good questions!  Without getting too specific, there are indeed some situations where antibiotics are absolutely warranted, and that is best evaluated in a doctor’s office.  Yes, naturopaths can prescribe antibiotics.  No, antibiotics are not inherently dangerous, it is their overuse which is concerning; and I’m not talking solely about those that are prescribed, but those that are also in our food supply/farming practices, and homes (i.e. hand sanitizers).  Our microbe paranoia is making our medicines weaker and them stronger, and that is concerning.  Yes!  There are situations where natural medicines can certainly be employed, again under the guidance of a licensed professional.  Herbal medicine and nutritional supplements can create weakness in microbial growth along with immune strengthening to make for a powerful healing combination.  Making sure that there are adequate levels of good/normal microbes in the digestive system is a key to avoiding infection as well as recovering from antibiotic use.  I’m talking probiotics here, you can take these with your antibiotics and definitely following.  Yes, there are so many choices (get something with multiple organisms on the list of contents, and refrigerated…take more than once a day) and yes there are foods, which when eaten regularly, can enhance your probiotics status (yogurt, miso, tempeh, raw sauerkraut, kim chi, Kombucha, Kefir, etc).

Insurance coverage is certainly a common question I get regarding my care.  Thankfully many insurance companies are carrying plans that cover naturopaths.  BUT those same companies usually have a variety of different plans with a variety of coverage options.  So it’s not always as simple as asking ‘do you take such and such a company?”.  I always advise my new patients to call their insurance company and ask whether naturopathic care is covered under their plan prior to our initial visit.  Another thing to remember is that many plans have a deductible, a set amount of money that must be spent by you BEFORE the insurance company begins to pay anything; yet another detail to understand prior to an office visit.  This may mean that the insurance accepts the visit and applies it to the deductible but you are still responsible for paying the doctor.  Remember that insurance is a contract between you and the company, that we the doctors are dealing with multiple companies so are not going to be nearly as well versed in the language of your insurance plan as the company itself.  And a final note is that Medicare does not recognize naturopathic physicians at all, so this means they will not cover our care and often the secondary or supplementary insurance will not either as they are generally abiding by the same rules as Medicare.  It is a confusing and convoluted system, and you the consumer have more power to change it than me the doctor, so make sure and speak up about what type of coverage you would spend your dollars to use…change is slow but possible!

Hope that clears the air a bit at least for these few questions…again keep them coming and remember…DO something you love, BE with someone you love, EAT your vegetables, DRINK clean water, BREATHE deeply and MOVE your body EVERYDAY!!


Love to Love You Baby

Marie Meiffren
Marie Meiffren

LOVING TOUCH Infant Massage offers a unique way to commune with your child

When: June 2, 9, & 16, 2011. From 10-11am
Where: Lotus Yoga Studio, 1230 Marine Drive, Astoria
Who: Marie Meiffren, LMT
Cost: $25 for the three sessions, $10 optional for oils and booklet
Contact: Pre-registration and information: 503-338-8106;;
Additional Resources:

Imagine yourself helpless, unable to ask for what you need. Perhaps you don’t feel well, or you are afraid, or tired because you can’t sleep. Enter the person you love most in the world, whom you most depend upon. And that person gently cradles your head, looks into your eyes, and asks if they can help you feel better. If they can give you a massage, even! Imagine your relief, your delight, the love that moves between you and this fabulous person who is here to care for just you.

Ahhhhh . . . sound amazing? Delightful?

This tender asking for permission is the beginning of an infant massage session, and the initiation of a deep level of contact and in-tunement with your child (or child in your care). And the beautiful truth is, anyone can learn the techniques of massaging an infant for health and well being.

Marie Meiffren, LMT, brings her knowledge, training, and compassion to a three-day training on the gentle, ancient techniques of infant massage. Drawn from Indian, Chinese, and European massage traditions, the techniques build in three hour-long se    ssions with your baby. Meiffren took her training from the Loving Touch Foundation, an international training organization based in Portland.

Baby Massage“I feel like I have an opportunity to help mothers,” Meiffren smiles. “I didn’t know anything as a young mom! The massage offers a deep way to be in contact with your baby. You learn to read your baby’s cues; what does it mean when your baby’s face starts screwing up? They don’t like what you are doing! You adjust . . . there is a trust that happens when you are correct in really reading your baby’s cues.”

Meiffren has four children herself, and in fact her career as a massage therapist began with her first colicky baby and a book on infant massage. She taught herself the techniques and worked on subsequent children and foster children—until she realized the hunger in herself to know more. She desired be more helpful to the children in her life—especially the medically and developmentally challenged foster kids she and her family looked after. She was licensed in the mid-90s and had a thriving practice in Arizona until relocating with her husband and youngest daughter to Astoria in 2006. Now Moon Lotus massage is housed at 1410 Marine Drive, the location of Jade River Acupuncture, where Meiffren also works in conjunction with Acupuncturist Deborah Shelton.

“My practice is changing as I myself get older,” Meiffren muses. “While I still do deep Swedish massage, I find myself drawn to gentler work; the infant massage class is really like coming full circle for me.”

Meiffren offered a County sponsored class in winter of last year that was successful and well attended. Not only did moms (and dads) learn to be confident with the massage techniques, but also there was networking and sharing among the parents. Attending the class is a way for parents to meet each other, and help mitigate the isolation that new parents especially can sometimes feel. Meiffren’s next class, offered in June, is economically accessible—a feature which is of paramount importance to her. “The class is just $25 for all three sessions, and an optional $10 for the book and oils. If someone really feels they can’t pay, they should contact me.”

Students learn a set sequence of techniques that begins by asking the infant for permission, massaging the whole body, and ending with gentle stretching. There are easy and effective sequences that soothe common ailments, alleviate fussy crying (from colic or teething), and promote general well being.

Baby MassageThe class is perfect for moms, dads, caregivers, or grandparents. Pregnant women can come too, as Meiffren has life-size dolls to work with. Infants of any age are welcome—the techniques are applicable to toddlers and older children—but age 0 to 9 months are ideal for this class setting.  Even children with disabilities or other health problems are welcome, but Meiffren asks that parents contact her first if there is a significant health challenge. The class will accommodate 10 students and pre-registration is required. She hopes to offer the class three times a year, and a Spanish language class may be in the offing. Meiffren also offers private instruction for new parents.

“It’s so great to watch the moms with their babies—totally focused, totally in tune—seriously, there would be world peace if every mom was like this with her baby.”

World peace and happy babies? What’s not to love?

Bodies In Balance COLUMNS HEALTH

Spring Cleansing

Spring is here!?! So I thought it time to revisit the idea of cleansing, a must for me this time of year, hope you will consider it for your health too.  Spring is a time of change and transition.  The ground is warming, new green growth is emerging and the winds are gently turning over wintered waters – so it is in the body as well.  The forces of nature are at work in us too, and the body needs our help to clean the waterways of the blood.  So let’s talk about cleansing, as it is a fundamental of health and naturopathy.

There are many words to describe what I am talking about – detoxification, purification, cleansing, and there is also fasting so let’s clarify.  Cleansing, detoxification and purification are all focusing on clearing certain organ systems of toxins in order to help them function better – kind of like changing the oil, cleaning out the junk drawer or sweeping the chimney. Ideally the major organs of detoxification are supported:  liver, kidneys, lungs, colon, and skin.  Cleansing commonly involves herbal or nutritional products to promote the pathways of detoxification along with dietary restrictions.  Fasting has some of the same ideas in mind but is most commonly focused on food restriction.  Water or juice fasts can give the body a needed rest from digestion, therefore lowering the demand for those functions for a finite period of time. Either system can tune up your body but some methods are likely a better fit than others depending on the individual – so seek guidance from a knowledgeable health care practitioner before launching into your program.

Tracy ErflingWho might need to cleanse? Well frankly we all do.  If you live in a city, eat packaged food, drink alcohol, coffee or tap water, smoke, are around chemicals, car exhaust, the list is sadly endless; then you are a candidate.  Some of the signs from the body that the detox pathways are overworked and undernourished are fatigue, poor sleep, digestive problems, foggy thinking – sounding familiar? Even if you live as pure as you possibly can, I would guess that your body would still reap some benefits from a cleanse.

So what are some elements to a cleanse? Let’s start with the food component. While cleansing it is ideal to break from packaged/processed foods – this would include most grains, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and processed, highly preserved meats.

What does that leave?  The basics, vegetables and fruits, a single serving of a whole grain daily, legumes (that’s beans), clean (organic, free-range, grass-fed whatever this may mean to you) lean (fish, poultry and eggs) meats if you desire more protein, otherwise vegetables and fruits only are fine. Watch condiments, sauces and dressings as they commonly contain some unwanted additions.

I would also recommend a meal replacement mix, as whole food based as possible, and without any of the aforementioned no-nos. Fiber is a must; bowels should be regular if not increased during a cleanse…this means going daily or more than once a day.  Antioxidants are also a must, as the body needs that extra help to neutralize toxins as they are cleared. Filtered or purified water, at least half your body weight in ounces. Lastly be gentle with yourself, don’t plan a cleanse during a high stress event, vacation, or important holiday.

Make sure your exercise is gentle and supportive, spark up the sauna for a low temperature sweat or fill the tub for some Epsom salt and baking soda baths.  I also encourage cleansers to set up some regular massage or acupuncture to promote good lymphatic flow throughout the body.

The lungs are yet another organ of elimination and deserve some attention here as well.  Breathing is a mindless act we perform 24/7 but the irony is that despite the fact that we don’t have to think about breathing – we still don’t do it right.  We tend to be shallow breathers only using the upper lobes of the lungs. So here’s a deep breathing exercise that I encourage you to introduce into your daily routine, especially during this cleansing time. While lying, place your hands over your lower abdomen (around the belly button). Take a deep complete inhalation into your belly so that you feel your hands rise, exhale and feel your hands descend. Count as you inhale (1,2,3,4) and exhale (1,2,3,4) and work towards having the same number for each. After you can achieve that work towards increasing that number, and then begin to focus on the transition between in and out breaths. I recommend trying this when lying in bed; do at least 5-10 repetitions and let your thoughts focus entirely on the breath.

This exercise will not only cleanse the lungs but the mind; setting aside time to be introspective is a key element to involve mind and spirit!

These are the basics of the program I recommend (although there are many others out there), even though it may sound complex; it’s all about simplifying.  Each time I cleanse I learn about my world, and myself so I encourage you all to do the same.  I can think of no better way to celebrate spring, the natural world, and your health.


Surya Healing Arts Healing Services and More

Surya SignWith seven pointed crystals aimed toward a table, cables snaking here and there, and the variations of colored light pulsating from one clear, pointed wand to another, the Vogel Crystal Table may look straight from the set of Star Trek, but is, in fact, an extraordinary healing system. Pioneered by IBM scientist Marcel Vogel, these crystals utilize different colors and frequencies to aid in healing. Combined with other modalities, the Vogel crystals can offer folks suffering from emotional or physical pain some literal light at the end of the tunnel. And the best part is, curious clients needn’t travel any farther than Cannon Beach to take advantage of this unique alternative therapy.

Deborah Anderson is the resident healer and proprietor of Surya Healing Arts. Though her retail shop has had a few incarnations on the coast, the most recent is a cozy building in mid-town Cannon Beach. Upon entering, treats for the body, mind and spirit beckon from every corner: essential oils for aiding chakra attunement, coral and lapis ‘teapots’ from Tibet, healing arts books, jewelry, and more. But the heart of the business, for Deborah, is toward the rear of the shop, in the treatment room. “I love the retail, and try to stock only things which really contribute to healing—like the jewelry, all the stones have therapeutic properties. But the real satisfying work is with people, assisting their healing.”

Enter the Vogel table, and Deborah’s impres- sive list of studies and experience in the realm of alternative energy therapies. Originally a coastal gal, Deb left home to pursue what became a calling in healing arts. She began with Reiki, the simple and powerful energy modality discovered by Dr. Mikao Usui in 1922. Open- ing to the possibilities afforded by Reiki, Deb found a hunger in herself for more knowledge. The School for Enlightenment and Healing, in Asheville, NC, offered a rigorous and intensive three-year program in energy work, and after completing this course Deb began her own practice in New York City. “It was a busy time, a successful time—immensely rewarding. But like everything, it [the practice] had its life span. I was called to come back to the coast.” Return she did, in 1999, reconnecting with family and the landscape of home.

Like any practitioner of alternative healing, Deborah’s method is unique to her skills, and includes the Vogel crystal work. The crystals (man-made and specifically faceted quartz) are aligned to the chakras, and emit light with different frequencies depending on the work being done. Clients feel a deep relaxation and a “lifting” of energy when under the lights. Deborah uses sound recording in conjunction with the crystals, to encourage clients to reach the deep brainwave states (delta, theta) that assist healing. She also uses her hands-on techniques. “The crystal work essentially helps people get out of their own way,” she explains. “Deep relaxation and the light energy allows the clients to let go of what is currently blocking them on physical, emotional, or spiritual levels.” Deborah feels that clients should walk away with tangible results in the first session, but like all healing work, there is generally a need for ongoing treatment and the client must bring their own willingness to heal.

Intuitive reading is part of Deborah’s practice too, and most treatments begin with time spent in conversation with the client. “The healing takes place, really, while we are talking. And they will have shifted several times before we even get to the table. It’s amazing, and you can just see their energy transform.” Sessions typically last 1.5 to 2 hours.

Deborah is starting a Reiki mastery program as well. Her approach is high integrity and will require a level of commitment from her students. To receive mastery, students will be required to receive a certain amount of healings from her to aid their own personal process work, as well as have a practicum requirement. Deborah will provide practice clients, one-on-one time with all students, as well as the healings with her as components of the mastery package. “I feel confident that by the time you get your Reiki certificate from me, that you are going to be confident and your clients will be confident in you. There will be time and practice behind it.” Though every one has the innate ability to be a healer, proper apprenticeship is crucial to navigate the very complex world of working so deeply and intimately with others.

Vogel WandSurya Healing Arts is more than just another Cannon Beach gift shop. The store offers a visual oasis of international items and opportunities for customers to enter into healing on a variety of levels. From purchasing the perfect item for a personal altar, to indulging in essential oils, to working with Deborah on specific issues, there is an access point for everyone. Deborah’s friendly and open manner is inviting and easy to be with.

“We’re not broken, we just need to unfold. With the type of work I do, that occurs slowly, gently, and kindly,” asserts Deborah. “There are all kinds of ways for healing to happen.”

Surya Healing Arts is located at 115 Sunset Blvd. in Cannon Beach. Web: Email: Tel: 503-436-8818.

ALSO: In-house Henna Artist Ann Perkins is available by appointment, and shop Surya for a great selection of yoga DVDs.

Bodies In Balance COLUMNS HEALTH

Weighing in on the Problem of Weight

Tracy ErflingTHERE IS NO MORE concerning issue facing my patients, our country and the world than our increasing weight. It is a complex and multi-faceted issue, which is by no means solved with a single recommendation, but instead a careful evaluation of the individual. I would like to attempt in this article to shed light on some of the contributing factors and potential solutions. Some of you will relate, others will continue to be perplexed, but my hope is that everyone will see the possibilities for success.

Starting with the obvious, diet and exercise is a must. When counseling people on weight control it is imperative that this issue is explored in detail. Just laying out the basics is often an eye opening experience for many, especially if they have never been given some simple guidelines, which frankly are rarely addressed. Let’s first look at eating patterns…do you regularly skip meals, go long periods of time without eating, or frequently go without breakfast? Now by the calorie only theory this method would seemingly work because we are using more calories than we are consuming. Indeed a useful thought, unfortunately there is a big BUT here (unintended pun). When there is no fuel coming in we have to create it from within and this happens by means of cortisol, our adrenal stress hormone. When we overproduce this hormone there are many consequences, one of which is the release of insulin, our storage hormone, so fat storage begins. When insulin is released in this way (as opposed to the increase of blood glucose from food digestion) we begin to become less sensitive to its message, which then compounds the whole problem.

Another important question is not so much what you eat but what are you drinking? Many are consuming high amounts of sweet beverages – sodas, juices, flavored waters, sport drinks, and the ever popular coffee drinks. Now granted many of these drink may be sugar free or have low calories, but even so they are sweet! Just having something sweet sets off this whole insulin cascade; add to that the fact that beverages are fairly instantly absorbed into the blood stream (no fat, protein or fiber to slow the digestion) means they almost immediately affect the blood sugar/insulin system. So back to plain old boring water huh? Yep! OR make sure your sweet beverages are consumed with a meal versus alone, AND set some limits on this treat for your taste buds. Also worth checking out are beverages that aren’t sweet, green or herb teas, black coffee, or mineral waters (for those who like the bubbles) are some ideas to try.

Exercise (like water) is just a must, I can’t think of any way around it. These bodies are meant to move, they were not designed to sit all day! This is where we return to calories in calories out. It is indeed an important balance of weight maintenance. So for a very sedentary person there are WAY fewer calories necessary than for a more active person (regardless of weight). There are some terrific websites or apps for your smartphone to help track this balancing act, and of course this is also the keystone for many popular weight loss programs. I will add that exercise is very different from an active job/lifestyle. There are some very essential reactions from a vigorous walk as opposed to running around after your toddler. One of which is the effect on blood sugars, so yes I am saying that if you have that double mocha latté AND go to your spinning class you’ve created far more balance than without…FIND THE TIME!!

So you knew this already, many of you did and hopefully you are employing that knowledge! The connection recently made to me, and hopefully a new insight for you, was related to estrogen. This is a powerful hormone which although associated primarily with women is also pro- duced in small amounts by men and is certainly a player in weight management for both sexes. Estrogen and cortisol are in cahoots with one another, meaning when one is high it can increase the other. Estrogen is also increased with inflammatory conditions again through this cortisol connection. What are some other sources of estrogen? Well if you are already overweight it is stored in and released from your fat cells, and sadly much comes from our environment. Plastics, skin care products, food additives (i.e. dairy and meat) to name a few; it is an incredibly prevalent hormone which is creating some unfortunate consequences in our health. What’s the answer? Good quality dietary fiber, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussel sprouts and cabbage), and progesterone balance. But as with all hormones this is not a solution to take lightly, whenever I suggest hormones I can only recommend doing it under the supervision of a qualified professional as all too often I see self administration of hormones causing as many problems as it can potentially solve.

Sleep! A good night’s sleep will help to clear many of the problematic hormones mentioned above. Good elimination, this is something to optimize from the bowels, liver, skin and kidneys. If you are not pooping, peeing, sweating or detoxifying properly, weight loss will be more difficult. And how can we ignore the ever important endocrine glands, especially the thyroid and adrenals. There are of course some great lab tests available to evaluate these, but a simple in home test would be to average your first morning temperatures for 5-7 days. If you are averaging below 98 degrees Fahrenheit then you may be a good candidate for professional evaluation and treatment.

Phew, weight loss is exhausting and for many a life-long pursuit. I hope I have shed light on some new food for thought, or better yet action against this weighty concern.

Do something you love, Be with someone you love, Eat your vegetables, Drink clean water, Breathe deeply, and Move your body EVERYDAY!!

Welcome Back Hipfish! Thanks to all who helped contribute to the return of this fabulous monthly.

I am delighted to be sharing my health musings once again…