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.