We are moving through the transition from winter to spring with each day becoming a bit longer and each night a bit shorter. Stores are beginning to carry spring plants. Garden seeds are appearing. Catalogs contain flower seeds to shorts to swings.  Spring and fall tend to be major transition time with shifts in temperature, wind, sun and rain. Usually I talk about things to do to make these transitions easier but I have to point out also that these apply to all the shifts particularly in temperature, we have had through the past few months and particularly the past few weeks.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with shifting of any kind around you, physical, emotional, or spiritual is that each of us has a core vital force that supports us to be and feel stable. This is your vital essence: who you are.

Check in with yourself from time to time as all the wisdom you need to stay healthy is within you. The things that help us feel grounded are the same things that help us roll with the punches. For me it’s getting outside every day no matter what the weather. I dress in layers, always with wool socks through the winter and this time of the year, and a hat, with mittens rather than gloves. I have a scarf around my neck and a coat that goes down and covers my butt. I can always take a layer off or loosen some buttons but I also know to dress one day in a t-shirt and the next day in a winter coat does not allow for health transitions for my body or my psyche. I drink warm fluids and eat cooked food this time of the year.

I do not change this routine until the air has a feel of softness that comes in the spring and the temperatures are not so wildly fluctuating.

The spring and the fall for me are times to gently transition and can teach us if we just pay attention. Plants do not all of a sudden disappear. Leaves do not all of a sudden disappear. Slow and steady changes/transitions are good examples from nature for us.

Spring greens, wild ones especially are magnificent to waken the juices but keep us grounded also. Fall root crops do the same for that time of the year. Greens tend to be the last of the harvest in the fall and the first in the spring.  Little by little they appear in the spring, and in the fall we have less and less to harvest. Think about what this means in terms of amounts we should be eating.

Balance and grounding with the examples of nature as our guide should be practiced in every aspect of our lives and we will stay happy and health, joyous and at peace.

Nature provides us with herbs whose focus is to help keep us balanced. The early spring greens fit here especially nettle greens, dandelion greens, violet greens, and mallow. These are full of vitamins and minerals, but also help us do a gentle detox and get the spirit moving to assist in maintaining health and cleaning out any dust that has gathered in the corners, before winter and in the spring to get us moving.

Think of the rhythm in your life that keeps you balanced every day: yoga, tai chi, lemon and water, sleeping with your dog, taking a bath, singing, praying, sitting naked in the sun. Keep these alive. Nourish yourself so you may be full of health and may in this way keep yourself and your community healthy and balanced.


I am writing this blog to honor those who I have been fortunate to know and support over the last year. These are heroes to me: People that reflect the philosophy that is the basis for my practice. These are people that have chosen a way to live their lives, through the hardships and the joy. They have dealt with life in ways that are a reflection of their beliefs. Life is full of laughter and turmoil. One can choose to allow fear to rule and results in their giving up their beliefs and handling over their life to another, for instance a health care provider who looks at things from a very black and white philosophy, who believes the body is not good enough to know what it needs and must be helped by taking over.  Or one can choose the path of supporting the vital force of the body:  that you are the healer and only need guidance and you can chose the right path for you.

These people manifest spirit, the vital intelligence of the vital force, which we are all endowed with, and how we truly live a life of health.

At this time of the year when we give thanks for so much. Let me give thanks for all of you and what you have taught me. Thank you.

This is for all of you.



The dog days of summer are upon us. We feel lazy and lethargic. We are all aware of the toll the heat can take especially with the New Jersey humidity. We had wonderful things planned to accomplish and to fill our days but our energy flags and our accomplishments are not what they should be. We think, “I must be getting older: I can’t do that five mile run any more.” Or “I hope I don’t have Lyme Disease” or we chastise ourselves for being lazy. “We must have adrenal problems or chronic fatigue.” Let’s take a lesson from those dogs. First, recognize that in countries that experience this type of heat and humidity all the time, one goes with the rhythm of life and nature. When the heat peaks, rest and quiet activity or a siesta is great fun and rejuvenating. The dog finds the coolest place under a tree, the cool mud, or the cool hard wood floor. Then it stretches out and sleeps until it’s done. Second, don’t set a time limit for these breaks. Let your body tell you when its ready to return to activity. The dog gets those big sloppy drinks and then sits and studies the horizon with all its senses, its nose, ears, and eyes before beginning their stroll back into activity. Third, keep hydrated through drinking and bathing. A quick shower can be very refreshing, or a dip in the pool or a splash at the sink. Why do you think the dog spills as much as it drinks? Then slowly return to life and activity. Check the lay of the land, including family, house, and the land itself. Take it all in before you jump back into activity and your accomplishments will be more, as they should be: appropriate for the needs of your life and the time and tempo of the day.

Carbs are the bad word of the day but recognize that this is the time of year when they make the most sense. Proteins are often more heavy feeling when you eat them and they take more energy to digest and process. Remember that carbs are your grains, fruits, and vegetables, which are the staple of most societies that live in tropical countries. Eat with the season. Salads of grains and greens with a sprinkling of chickpeas, nuts, cheese, or sliced turkey will nourish you better and sit better in your stomach. Remember the lethargy you feel after a big holiday meal is the same lethargy you will feel in the summer if you eat heavy foods. Eat above ground parts of plants. These are the most full of energy, vitamins, and minerals this time of year, as they are the parts that are growing and stimulate all your senses with their color, smell, and texture. Eat them slowly, savoring each bite. This will give you more energy and provide ease to your digestive system. Drinks should be separate from your food especially this time of the year to prevent bloat and improve complete digestion.

Add some borage flowers for their cucumber taste and the energy of courage. Have some rosemary punch to make your hair grow, nourish your nerves, settle your stomach, calm dizziness, and strengthen the sight, memory, and the heart. 2T crushed rosemary leaves with 3T sugar and a pinch of salt- simmer for 2 minutes. Cool and strain this syrup- you can make it ahead and freeze it in ice cubes. Add to this ½ cup water, 2 cups apricot nectar, 1 qt Gingerale, and 1 cup of lime juice (frozen is easy). Serve in tall, chilled glasses over shaved ice with a twist of lime. Have some spicy nasturtium flowers in your salad to add a bit of spark to your energy. Latin Chicheghi Salatassi- Mix 1 cup of flowers with a T of chopped Chervil, sprinkle with 2-3T olive oil and the juice of a lemon. A pinch of salt brings out the flavor (from Turab Effendi, Turkish Cookery Book, 1862). Mints are enlivening in all their forms. Make a sun tea by filling a jar with crushed leaves of all the mints you have: spearmint, peppermint, lemon balm, catnip, and bee balm for example. Use the flowers as well as the leaves. The catnip and lemon balm in particular raise the spirits and thus the energy. If this is too much work, just crush and sniff or rub around your face and neck. It will keep the bugs off (not necessarily the cat). Adding mint to your drinking water makes it more cooling and helps it get in to the cells, as does a squeeze of fresh lemon.

The freedom that summer brings with schools closed and vacations giving us a break from work is part of our fatigue as we try to cram all we can into the long days and free days. Don’t forget the break. Use some of your energy to relax, lie in the hammock, take a nap, listen, smell, and taste the quiet languor of summer. Enjoy the butterflies, the colors of summer, the laughter of children, and the hum of the cicada. It will soon be gone. Take a deep breath, exhale slowly, smile, enjoy.

Kegel Exercises – Toning your Pelvic Floor

The pelvic floor is a figure 8 of muscles that lie between the anus and the vagina and provide support to those structures also. This is the muscle plate with the highest tone in the human body. Think about everything that by gravity could fall out that is above our pelvic floor. Every step we take, it supports us. Due to modern living, childbirth, bowel and bladder issues, it can suffer wear and tear and loose some of its tone, or all of it. Loving it and supporting it are important. Keeping the digestive system working well, so we have healthy bowel movements, keeping our kidneys and bladder healthy by drinking lots of water, and keeping our female and male organs healthy through massage (see all help to support our pelvic floor. Gravity, pressure from above, in particular through straining, too many abdominal exercises, jogging on hard surfaces, and carrying heavy loads can all contribute. Prevention is the key, and below find exercises for this area of the body. You know you should exercise all your other muscles. Don’t neglect these. Enjoy and it will reward you. See for the true expert support.

Step 1: First find the correct muscles that you are working to tone that make up your pelvic floor:

Lie on your back on a bed or the floor with your legs stretched out and one hand beneath your buttocks toward the side and the other hand have two fingers touching the area between your vagina and your anus. This is the pelvic floor.

Now contract the muscle under your two fingers. Pretend you are in an elevator and trying to prevent gas from passing. This area should contract even just a tiny amount. More important the buttocks under your other hand should not contract. Once you can do this, take the hand from under your buttocks and put it on your abdomen and contract the pelvic floor again. You want only the pelvic floor to contract, not the buttocks as you have already tried and not the abdominal muscles either. Also your inner thighs should not move either, on either side of the hand touching your pelvic floor.

Step 2: Now that you have found the muscles, even if they only contracted a little you can do some great work:

Wash your hands and insert your index finger into your vagina. If this is painful, check with your health care provider.

Now contract your pelvic floor without contracting the other muscles as you learned in step 1.

What did you feel around the fingers in your vagina? A great Kegel is feeling the fingers being pulled in and up. That is your goal. Rating yourself helps you to see progress, which can take a few weeks. Don’t get discouraged.

Try to hold whatever contraction you can do for as long as possible. Set a goal initially of 10 seconds.

Set aside time each day to do this work, just like you would do any other form of exercise or meditation. Try 2 minutes twice a day. You can get muscle fatigue if you try for too long at one time.

Watch yourself improve. How much stronger is your contraction? How much longer can you hold it?

Step 3: The next step is to see if you can do the same while doing activities around the house.

Step 4: Another important step is to see how long you can hold it and breathe during the Kegel also.

The next time you are trying to make it to the bathroom with the great urge to go, doing Kegels and breathing, with your focus on this, rather than on the bathroom door, will help you to get there without leaking or flooding. The next time you feel a sneeze coming on or want to jump on the trampoline, your urine with stay put, as those pelvic floor muscles stay contracted.

The best support for this work/exercise/self care is: – Alice is a wonderful nurse and expert, and offers a great support network without leaving home.


Sleep time is very important at any age. It is when we shut down a lot of bodily functions to process what we have taken in since the last sleep time.  This is true for all ages and stages of life. Everyone is different when they need to sleep and how much, but none of us can go without some sleep time.

Here are a few tips for getting more sleep and more restful sleep. Remember, if we cannot sleep we cannot be well, and if sick, we cannot heal. These are for all ages from birth until we pass, unless otherwise indicated.

  1. Sleep rituals – appropriate for all ages
    1. Do not eat too close to sleep time (except an infant and nursing)
    2. Quiet activity before sleep time – reading, music, meditation, gentle exercise, including yoga and stretching – See or, or  meditations with Thich Nhat Hanh on YouTube or on Facebook
    3. If awakened in the night these also will support you in returning to sleep, especially a simple breathing meditation
    4. Do a lovely massage or have some one give you one or the person who cannot sleep – use a gentle lotion with chamomile or lavender essential oil
    5. Go outside in the quiet for a few minutes. Be sure to bundle up if it is cold
  2. Sleep in total darkness- cover the digital clock and do not have any electronics charging in the room.
  3. Are you comfortable sleeping with someone else – its ok to give yourself some space of your own to sleep – it may only be temporary or give some thought on how to avoid disruption of sleep by another, or how to return to sleep more quickly (see 1b and 1c above)
  4. There are lots of herbs and supplements and medications one can try for sleep – this is for adults only and if something is needed for a child, please talk with someone knowledgeable in these items before using;
    1. medically there are sleep aids, anti anxiety and antidepressant drugs
      1. know the side effects
    2. Benadryl has been used effectively- if this is a safe medicine for you,start with a child’s dose and increase to an adult dose as needed –more is not necessarily better
    3. melatonin – this works best to help those who cannot fall asleep and/or work shift work – start with a low dose and go slow
    4. any combination of these herbs: chamomile, lemon balm, catnip, and passion flower, – valerian works for many but makes some people more wired, hops also works well especially if the issue is somewhat related to hormones.  Alcohol may make you fall asleep but it is often short lived with increased waking in the night and sleep is not refreshed
    5. There are many homeopathics – if you feel wired and restless and cannot fall asleep, try coffea cruda, or if you wake at 2 or 3 am and cannot return to sleep try nux vomica – what ever potency you have, one pellet as needed
    6. Rescue remedy sleep works for many people

Remember, anyone can have a reaction to anything, so please use this information responsibly. Do your first testing of the substances over a weekend. Do not use this information to suppress or mask real issues you need to address so you will stay well. Your body may be saying I won’t let you rest until you take a good long hard look at yourself. I know that has happened to me and the listening has helped my sleep and me.

In Peace, Pat


I have spent the last few years with an increased number of patients coming to me to assist in the diagnosis of cancer and the initial and ongoing support. It has been a humbling experience and has directed me to study “cancer”, to get to know it and how it is defined and managed from a variety of philosophies. This past year I spent studying everything I could find, including spending the year with Donnie Yance from the Mederi Foundation in Oregon. Donnie has worked with people with cancer and chronic diseases for many years and I first met him back in the ’90s when he published his first book, Herbal Medicine, Healing, and Cancer. I am still processing the huge amounts of information I have from him.  I also read, The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukheriee. I have  been studying how other cultures “see” and treat what is called cancer. This includes homeopathy and ayurvedic and I have read much in books, articles, and rarely on the internet.

Cancer is a term that sets off anxiety, fears, sadness, and sometimes panic. Please take some Bach rescue remedy right now.

I hope to share some of my thoughts and insights over the next few months and give some recommendations to help this word become less of a trigger.

One comment I hear over and over again is “I do everything I can to eat right and take care of myself to prevent cancer. Why me? What did I do wrong?”

One comment I hear too often is “I had the genetic tests and I have the genes that could cause cancer so I am having those organs removed so I don’t have to worry.”

Remember, we all die. Remember that the leading cause of death is not cancer but heart disease. Remember also that chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer  become more common as we age and we are living longer so the time called old age has changed. Wear and tear of life makes us more susceptible to misfires. Its not because we are bad or have done bad things. It is part of life. Finding ways to get rid of the fear is the basis of all true philosophies from a belief in a higher power to meditation. Letting go decreases our vulnerability to cancer and heart disease. If our core essence is strong we can live a great quality of life, and it is only when disease becomes dis-ease that we increase our risk.

Please give me your feedback and questions.     Pat


It has been requested that I write a blog on vaccines. Wow! Where to start? I am one of those rare health care providers that grew up when communicable diseases were still commonplace. We all had them. My oldest sister was one of the last patients in the communicable disease hospital in Northeast Pennsylvania for 6 weeks with polio. My father was the only one allowed in to see her. It was the era where people often used to bury a child under the age of five, and bought life insurance at birth rather than start a college fund, which is more typical today.  Fear, sadness, and resignation were common emotions. Thousands died from the flu. Public health measures were well in place. Something had to be done. The issues then were not cancer and heart diseases. The public demands action to save the children. Vaccines seemed to be the answer. Doctors, nurses, public health workers were passionate about preventing death and disease. Risks and benefits had to be considered but the benefits were real. Unfortunately, this desire to help has snow balled and now instead of looking at a broader picture of health and disease, the focus narrows to vaccines. Medicine develops vaccines when they have no way of treating the actual disease. Vaccines are based on a good guy/bad guy vision- no gray areas allowed. Vaccines are based on a western philosophy of drugs are the answer. Vaccines are based on a belief the immune system can take lots of hits and survive unscathed.

I want to make it clear, vaccines work. There are possible ramifications.

Vaccines rarely provide permanent immunity. The only guaranteed immunity is to get the disease. This is highly unlikely in this day and age. Shots will be a never-ending ritual of life. No drug, including vaccines is without side effects and we are each unique individuals, so what these side effects may be for us is unclear. Vaccines are now just as likely to be developed for economic issues as for public health issues.

Vaccines are given by shots. They are therefore not given through the normal pathways, these diseases enter our bodies and meet our immune system. There are many “inert” substances, which are used to get this foreign body into our system without our immune responding, as it should to a foreign body. We are doing some chemical manipulation here.

The diseases we are talking about can cause disease, disability, and death. I have seen this. The vaccines can also. It is up to each individual to choose what they are comfortable doing. Will you take a chance on getting the disease? Have you educated yourself on what these diseases look like and what recourse you have if you or your child becomes ill? Are you taking advantage of the herd immunity (protection for you because most people around you are vaccinated)?  Will you take a chance and get the vaccines? Have you educated yourself on how to support you or your child around getting the vaccines and how and when you will get the vaccines? There are lots of decisions to be made here. It is your choice.

Medical Foods

Yes, this is an actual entity. A food put together by medicine because you cannot find it in nature. Wow! So initially this was introduced under the FDA to include mixes that were put together for special diseases or special situations, like kidney failure and mixes needed for people on dialysis or people who needed to be fed concentrated mixes through a feeding tube. All of this requires medical supervision.

Now it is being expanded and companies are producing mixes of substances for instance, for Alzheimer’s disease.  Are these foods or drugs? That is the question to me.

My concern is that medicine is so far removed from nature and real food that I don’t think they even tried taking the first step which to me is hanging out with food and really experiencing it and embracing it. Most diseases we know are improved by diet changes, yet medicine has only paid lip service to this concept and jumps quickly to drugs, as food can never be enough.

I would love to see the following:

  1. Anyone who wants to practice in the health care field must take a true nutrition course that includes information and actual eating of foods representing the variety of diets that exist in this diverse world. Maybe we could pay restaurants and/or grandmothers to be part of the curriculum. I really enjoyed studying at the Natural Gourmet Institute ( run by Annemarie Colbin and taking classes with someone like Edward Espe Brown who wrote the Tassajara Cook Book (“How to Cook Your Life” Trailer).
  2. The first instruction to a patient or patient’s family would be label reading.  The most important ingredients are the first three. Read all the ingredients, including inert. If you don’t know what it is, put the food back.
  3. Take time to eat. Chew each bite and enjoy the texture, flavor, and smells. Do not eat at your desk at lunch with your computer or smart phone on, etc., etc., etc.
  4. Be with someone as often as you can when you eat.
  5. Thank the food and all those who helped it to come to your palate.
  6. Read a book or article about some kind of food that is new to you and try it.
  7. Love your water.
  8. Smile with satisfaction.
  9. Yes, even note with satisfaction those lovely bowel movements that complete the process.

All this is nourishing with food. Some of these things we can enjoy even when we must eat from a can or through a tube. Those around us can help us be with our food in a better way.

Our wonderful skin

I have had a request to write about skin care, so here goes.

Our skin is an incredible organ serving so many purposes:

  • It keeps us from drying out.
  • It provides us with incredible sensations of the world and those that inhabit the world with us.
  • It is a major part of our immune system, our first line of information and defense.
  • It protects us from many of the bangs and bruises of life.

Remember that the skin includes also the line of all our openings: ears, eyes, nose, and mouth, through our whole digestive tract, the urinary system and the vaginal opening.

We really dislike when our skin is clearing something out for us: rashes, pimples, diarrhea, mucus, and pus. Yes, this is how we can see what a good job the skin is doing, though we may not be so happy. Remember all of this is a sign you are healthy, that the body can move things out and prevent them from lodging within us or perhaps going deeper and causing more disruption and weakening of our vital spirit/energy/essence.

Our primary job when you see these signs is to support the body in its clearing process. Primary is that we hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Some people may think I am talking about detoxing. NO! We need to nourish, nourish, nourish. Fluids help to sooth and bathe tissues.

  • This can be with drinking water or nettle tea.
  • This can be with nasal flushes or eye washes with chamomile or eyebright tea.
  • My favorite is baths, to a small area of the body: hand or foot soaks, first hot for 30 minutes and then cold for 1 to 3 minutes, poultices to the chest, or sinuses, or hemorrhoids. or full baths with aveno and/or baking soda or sea salt.
  • When you have a rash or pustules, hot salt soaks can help the body clear it on to the surface so it can permanently clear.
  • My favorite for rashes is plantain tea or poultices and for pustules or acne, try chickweed.

A poultice is just the herb crushed and wrapped in a thin cloth such as cheesecloth moistened with hot water. Do any of these treatments as frequently as you feel is helpful, comforting, and restoring.

If you find you are getting the same discharges over and over again, think about balance within which is what the body is seeking. Do not detox, but nourish the system you feel maybe out of balance (also called homeostasis). Each system of the body has a tonic herb to support its balance. For instance:

  • For the nervous system and skin it is oats
  • For the respiratory system, upper and lower it is mullein leaf
  • For the female reproductive system it is raspberry leaf
  • For the male reproductive system and urinary system it is corn silk.
  • The digestive system has many different ones, depending on which part is out of balance, but the first step would be bitter herbs.
  • For the immune system think of what is called an adaptogen herb, such as mushrooms and others depending on the system that seems to be part of the disruption.

This complexity of the issues could fill several books, but this will get you started. Please let me know any questions I can answer in future blogs, on this or any other issues.

Love that skin!!!!!

What is this thing called a disease?!?!

I have received emails from the British Medical Journal ( for years now and find their editorials often very interesting. Lately, two issues have come up that I have found worrisome. The first is, medicine and complementary medicine treating pre- diseases. When our health care system (conventional, integrative, complementary or alternative) uses the medical model as its basis, genetics and chemistry dictate the way a human being is defined. Therefore if you have a certain genetic picture and your numbers according to chemistry (blood work) are falling in a certain range, you might get the disease, so we need to treat you with drugs or supplements. Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Cancer, and Heart Disease, are examples.

Please understand, I am not suggesting that we should not be respectful of our health and preventing diseases, but the basis of this approach is fear. It is a negative approach to health. I feel our health can reflect the fear that we are pathological even before we become sick. We can become the disease.

The research to show that pretreatment with medication, natural or chemical will change this is lacking and often just assumed. We set ourselves up to be on a polypharmacy of chemicals, natural or synthetic for a lifetime. No wonder medicine (called healthcare) is such a large player in our economics and politics.

To me the most important is the lack of respect for our own body, mind, and spirit and its ability to heal itself.

We need to be very thoughtful with each step we take and to question: are we doing this test, drug, supplement, surgery to help ourselves or in response to fear? Have we spent the time to be thoughtful in our decision-making and checked in with ourselves before we take this step?

Susun Weed ( in her six steps of healing has a step 0, which to me, is the most important. DO NOTHING – listen to the wise voice of the healer within.

I firmly believe that in the future, they will look back and remark on how barbaric our generations were.

Or perhaps it is as Voltaire suggested: “The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while Nature cures the disease.”

Looking forward to your comments and watch for my next blog on the second issue.