Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tui Na Take 10!

From now until the end of 2007, all Tui Na massage appointments of 70 minutes or longer will be $10 off. This is a great time to try this unique and very effective style of clothed therapeutic massage, or to arrange a holiday season session for a friend or loved one. For details and appointments, go to our web site,

Kiva is Popular!

I logged onto last week to do some lending. I got a notice that loan contributions were being capped at $25 per person. It seems the site has become so popular that Kiva wants to be certain that everyone who logs on gets a chance to participate.

Exciting! Apparently the site was featured on Oprah's show and in Bill Clinton's new book, and pretty much all over. So they're experiencing huge traffic and tons of people wanting to make loans to entrepreneurs all over the world.

Today I logged on again. I made loans to a man in desperate need of home repairs in Mexico, and to a woman who sells fish on the Ivory Coast. I went to make a third loan and I got the following message:

Due to the overwhelming response to recent Kiva press coverage, we will soon run out of businesses on our website. We are limiting everyone to one $25 loan today so that as many people as possible can try Kiva. We thank you for your understanding and for making a single $25 loan today.

Wow! this is a truly thrilling message to get from an organization that perhaps the best use of the Internet to ever be invented. If you have any inclination to try for yourself, now is a great time to do it. The financial commitment is low and the rewards are high. But watch out: you may find microlending becomes addictive.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007 News

Thanksgiving Week 2007 Newsletter

New Additions: Please help us welcome a new addition to our wellness team: Tui Na therapist David Lesseps CMT, who comes to us from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. His name will be familiar to many of you to whom I have enthusiastically recommended his work as an acupuncturist. Now we're thrilled that David will be joining Apotheca to bring Tui Na, Chinese Medical Massage, to add to our menu of services.

Those of you who enjoy deep, vigorous work such as shiatsu and Thai massage will love Tui Na. It is particularly effective for treating neck pain and stiffness, back pain, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, and hip, leg and knee pain.

Best of all, Tui Na is done with clothing on, so it is a great option for those of you who can't imagine shedding your clothes for a massage during winter's chilly months.

David's first day will be Monday, November 26th. All Tui Na sessions of 70 minutes and longer will be $10 off on that day. Click here to make your first appointment with David today.

We have another exciting new addition to our service menu, also great for those of you who prefer to stay clothed for your massage. The amazingly talented Eri Cela is now offering tension-busting chair massage for your back, neck, arms and hands. Eri has been back in grad school studying Somatic Psychology and learning a whole host of new techniques to approach your sports injuries, chronic stress and pain. His chair massage is done through your clothes and without massage oil in a specially-designed massage chair. Sessions are perfect for stressed-out office workers, and will leave you relaxed, refreshed and ready to face the day a new person.

And as ever, the wonderfully gifted Sari Gelzer transports you to another (far less stressful) world with her own flowing approach to Swedish-based massage. Sari will be available throughout December so now is a perfect time to book a session and experience her soothing style.

New Product: Tu'el Hy-drate Moisture Gel

Here is the moisturizer your skin has been thirsty for! Perfect for the helping the skin transition from the ravages to summer to the dehydrating effects of winter's indoor heat. This hydrating liquid gel has Hyaluronic acid to increase surface moisture retention to plump and firm the skin.

Hy-Drate helps prevent chapping, too, so it is excellent for wearing under sunscreen if your winter plans include snowboarding, skiing or other outside sports. It is anti-aging, ideal for all skin types, and wears beautifully alone or under heavier moisturizer. It is particularly great for oily skin that needs surface hydration without added oil. Best of all, it contains no artificial additives, fragrances or colors. Perfect for men or women of any age. $62 for 4oz. If you want to try this great product for yourself, please send an email to to inquire about retail hours.

in other news. . .

1. Apotheca's holiday schedule: Sari will be taking off December 26th. Eri will be away from December 17 to January 22. Kirsten is spoken for between December 17th and January 12. David's vacation schedule is TBA.

2. January 2008 schedules will be available in the next few weeks. You will get an email when the schedule goes live.

3. We're on the map! We were surprised to find that we've been featured on's cool new Beauty Map of San Francisco. And we didn't ask. Thanks! Log onto www.shecky' to get your own map.

4. Save the date: December 14th at Space Gallery, 1141 Polk Street. Urban art and music featuring artists from Juxtapose Magazine, and Apotheca favorites Mark Brown and James Drason.

And finally,

I will be taking some modified maternity leave from now until Spring. I won't be booking any new massage sessions but I will keep doing skincare until my burgeoning baby bump grows to the point that I can't reach past it to massage your beautiful faces anymore. So I hope you will come in for a facial treatment with me when the 2008 schedule goes up. And in the meantime, I leave you in the very warm and capable hands of Eri, Sari and David for your massages.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Practitioner: David Lesseps, Tui Na Massage Therapist

Update: Hooray! David has joined Apotheca to bring his fantastic Tui Na work to our menu!

I've been David's acupuncture patient for the better part of a year and my frequent sessions with him have played a bigger part in helping my physical and spiritual health than any other medical of therapeutic work I have done. I recommend him wholeheartedly to all my friends and massage and skincare clients who are interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine. So when he told me he was taking his Tui Na practice to the Mission I jumped at the chance to schedule a session with him. I'm so glad I did. My session was wonderfully thorough and effective, and the tight shoulders and creaky back I walked in with were loose and fluid when I left his table and went out into the world an hour later. The work is energizing as well as deeply relaxing, and his office is airy, light and calming. I'm eagerly looking forward to my next session. I'm so glad to have David in the cadre of practitioners I visit regularly to keep me feeling well and happy.

(This entry was originally a review.)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Practioner: Ravena Feldman, Craniosacral Therapist

I had my first Craniosacral session with Ravena Feldman this past week and it was heavenly. I'm an unrepentant holistic treatment junkie and I've had all kinds of therapeutic work-- the proverbial good, bad and sadly ineffective. This session was something very new and wonderful for me. It was my first craniosacral session ever, and I'm still feeling the effects of it, still feeling dreamy and soft and energized and vibrant.

Craniosacral work is unlike manual massage therapy. To learn more about it, take a peek atthis website.

Ravena is a wonderfully competent, capable, confident practitioner. I had come into my appointment from a crazy hectic day, and the minute I stepped through the front door and into her calm and happy presence I felt relaxed and happy myself. The session itself was wonderful. Ravena was able to zero in on the exact areas where I was holding tension and where my body was feeling less than energized. She used quiet, meditative, very light touch and I quickly went from heart-pumping caffeinated go-go-go Kirsten to softly snoring Kirsten, lone resident of Blissland, pop: Me. As I left, she gave me some simple exercises for increasing energy and fertility (two issues I'd requested we address in my session) and sent me out into the world calm, breathing deeply, and unable to stop smiling at everyone I passed.

That smiley freak you passed in the Mission on Thursday? That was me. Thanks to Ravena.

(This entry was originally a review.)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Giving: Addicted to Kiva

Kiva - loans that change lives

This past week I made another donation on Apotheca's behalf. Kiva is seriously addictive!! Where I used to enjoy shopping for books and music and vintage housewares online, now I can't get enough of finding small business to fund. I love supporting various people in developing countries in their endeavors to start businesses to feed and house their families.

Why is Kiva so compelling? For one thing, I like the idea of using globalization in a positive way. I look at Kiva as the anti-Walmart, an entity made up of thousands of people who want to build up rather than destroy mom-and-pop shops around the world. That resonates with me, being part of a small-fry practice myself. But what it really comes down to is that I live in a place I love doing work I adore. I never forget how lucky I am, and I want to share my good fortune wherever I can.

So this time, we are supporting Nicholas Matata Mukosi in Nairobi, Kenya. He is a 39-year old father of four who requested a loan to buy stock for his small grocery store. We are also lending to Kim-heak Chhim in Kean Svay district, Cambodia. She is a mother of three who sells flowers in the local village. Her husband hires himself out to do freelance tractor work in the local farms. The couple has requested the loan to put toward repairing their house.

For anyone looking for a wonderful way to give back to the global community, I wholeheartedly endorse Check them out. But be's addictive!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Music: "The underground is in the living room"

I'm so excited to have received my big order of new music from my friends at Dynamophone Records this morning. Those of you who have come in for massage and facial treatments have probably experienced some of this wonderful little local label's beautiful indy offerings in the studio. I was inspired to visit their web site and do some shopping after live listening party put on by Dynamophone's music community resource, Ixmae. The event was at Poleng Lounge, and it featured some of the prettiest and most inventive music I have heard in a long time. The highlight for me was Zoe Keating, a "one-woman string quartet" who uses live electronic samples as she plays to create a lush ensemble sound that really must be experienced to be believed.

Heavenly music. The next time you are in for a visit, listen up and you will likely hear some lovely Dynamophone tunes. I am glad as ever to live in a community full of creative people doing such interesting projects. It's a pleasure to support this local label. And now I'm off to open that box and have a listen.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Products and Ingredients: Sea Turtles and Sun in Oahu

Aloha Apotheca people! I had the great pleasure of visiting the North Shore of Oahu at the beginning of the month. The white sand and the blue water, the scent of plumeria flowers and the warm tropical sun (especially wonderful to this fogged-in San Francisco girl) were every bit as dreamy a tropical paradise as I would have hoped. As a skincare professional I was of course obsessive about sun protection while away, but despite my best efforts at staying safe while hiking and body surfing and hanging out with a mai tai in the shade, the sun got to me after a while. So I decided to check out Turtle Bay Resorts' fancy-schmancy spa for some pampering post-sun skincare.

The spa uses Epicuren products exclusively. The highlight of my treatment was the Chai Soy Mud mask, used to help purify my poor sunscreen-clogged pores and give my skin some plump and firmness. It felt and smelled terrific, but reading the ingredients afterward I saw that the product was not as safe and natural as I would have hoped, and that the third ingredient in it is. . . talc. Yuck! Didn't we stop using talc a long time ago? It's a known irritant and it's a proven carcinogen. Not a product I would choose or use on my self or my clients. While I enjoyed the treatment tremendously (who doesn't love being primped to nirvana in front of a window overlooking the Pacific?) I was made more confident in my choice of product lines and treatment procedures when all was said and done.

The other nice thing that happened while I was gone is that I rekindled my love of kukui and coconut oils. I love a good coconut oil massage, especially for the scalp, as in the Ayurvedic tradition. So I am working on some lovely services to offer in the fall and winter, when we can all use a bit more tropical warmth in our lives.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Who Gives the Mechanic's Car a Tune-up?

One of the wonderful things about doing the kind of work we body therapists do is that we can live fully in our bodies. No being stuck in cubicles all day for us. On the other hand, there are potential downsides, namely: the kind of wear and tear that comes from constantly using our bodies as our instruments and our tools. As bodyworkers, if we don't take good care of ourselves we can quickly run the risk of becoming like mechanics whose cars have broken down.

I've been a practicing body therapist for the better part of a decade, and before that I was a PR and marketing writer, driven by insane deadlines and spending the same 50+ hours a week in an office chair that many of my clients do. These occupational hazards, along with mild scoliosis and the strains of beginning distance running could take a serious physical toll. But being a holistically-minded sort who has never been one to swallow unnecessary pills or unhealthy ideas, I have honed a great plan of action to deal with stress and pain over the years. It involves healthy amounts of movement, a balance between time spent in the studio and time spent with friends and family, a yummy diet based in whole and local foods, a bit of wine, a bit of chocolate, and frequent visits to other holistic professionals.

These are the things that keep me sane and feeling great. I love sharing my recommendations and resources with you, especially of the practitioners I visit who keep my body aligned and pain-free.

Why "Apotheca?"

Before the modern-day pharmacy, with its impersonal fluorescent feel and its synthetic, chemical-laden products for “health” and beauty, there was the apothecary. Unlike the chi chi spa, the commercial skin care counter, or the anonymous, sterile drug store now on virtually every corner of every town and city in America, the local apothecary was the place you would go for personal attention. You could select natural herbal remedies, shop for exotic teas from far-off lands, and choose beauty preparations that were derived from natural plant and mineral sources and individually selected or combined just for you. It was also the place to go for expert services and sensible advice from well-trained professionals who were not just employees but also active members of the community.

With the spirit of the old-time apothecary in mind, we have created Apotheca Skin ~ Body ~ Wellness. Our vision was to dedicate our simple one-room office in an historic downtown building as a friendly sanctuary where you can honor yourself and that slow-paced past. We offer personalized massage and skin care therapies, and bath and body products for the whole person. Think of us like slow food for the body mind and spirit. Or the antidote to the assembly-line spa, the opposite of the mass-market skin care kiosk.

We don’t offer a mass-produced, synthetic, or impersonal fix. We provide one-on-one hand-crafted and personalized custom therapies and products made to ease your body’s tensions, improve your skin’s condition, and give you what your spirit really needs to relax and unwind.

Apotheca Skin Body Wellness proudly offers you our unique blend of bodywork techniques to help get results for your chronic tension and pain, and custom aromatherapy and flower essence work to bring balance to your hectic life. Now we are thrilled to offer holistic skin care therapies to address your skin’s total wellness: to treat acne and rosacea conditions, create custom anti-aging strategies, and maintain your skin’s fitness with a foundation in total health and balance. And like the apothecary of old, we also stock a unique, hand-picked selection of products for skin, body and home. We offer environmentally-friendly products made from natural and organic ingredients, free from harsh chemicals and synthetic additives, to let your nurture your spirit and let your natural radiance shine through.

You’re already beautiful. We want to help you really get your glow on.