Power Life Balance - My Story
Power Life Balance -        Bodywork & Nourishment for Your Whole Life
My Story



I grew up in the Bronx and have lived in New York City for most of my life.  As a graduate of Oberlin College (B.A.) and Hunter College (M.A.), I worked for many years as a writer and media producer.  My interest in health & healing began after a series of horseback riding and auto accidents left me in chronic pain.  Bodywork and Chinese medicine introduced me to a fuller experience of wellness—body, mind and spirit—than I had ever known.  

Training & Experience

In 1999 I became a NYS-licensed massage therapist, certified at the Swedish Institute in NYC.  Additional training includes Clinical and Process Acupressure through Soul Lightening Acupressure, Reiki Master Teacher, Craniosacral Therapy, Zero Balancing, and Kinesthetic Anatomy.  I have also studied and practiced energy healing for animals since 1996, working with cats, dogs and horses.
 
Much of my work has been influenced by the study of Chinese medicine. I have practiced the Yang-style short form of Tai Chi Chuan since 1997, and studied traditional medical qigong with Lisa Van Ostrand.  I am also a certified teacher of Pan Gu Shengong qigong, developed by Master Ou Wen Wei.  

In 2009, I trained at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York and became a certified health coach.  Among my specialties are auto-immune and inflammatory conditions, Lyme Disease, and food sensitivities, along with traditional/nutrient dense foods and gluten-free cooking. I offer workshops on a broad range of nutrition, cooking and health-related topics as well as stress management.  

Other experience includes energy field work, Authentic Movement, Alexander Technique, and therapeutic riding.  I've taken a turn at running, cycling, swimming, and swing dancing.  I am also a writer and visual artist, currently loving comics and cartooning.

And now, the twist:
 
In 2007, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.  After taking my generally robust health for granted, facing a chronic and potentially disabling auto-immune illness terrified me.  A lifetime of medications with known toxic side effects did not make sense to me, so I began to explore other options with the goal of healing from the core. I learned about the connection between the immune and digestive systems and got better using nutrition, bodywork, qigong and other holistic practices to heal my "leaky gut" and eliminate my arthritis symptoms.  

Then, in 2011, I was bit by a deer tick and contracted Lyme Disease. As it turns out, tests showed that my auto-immune symptoms may have been from an earlier Lyme infection all along, meaning that I had chronic Lyme Disease.  Healing for the long-term has been my main focus since then, and I continue to work at strengthening my immune system, healing my digestive tract and keeping my system in balance to function optimally.
 
Facing a chronic illness has been both frightening and humbling.  At times I've had to slow down and rest, and to face some hard truths about my tendency to spread myself too thin, worry too much, and judge myself harshly.  Lyme Disease has made me take a step back and look at what I'm doing, where I'm headed, and what's important to me.  I can't say it's been super fun -- but it has been positive in this way.  I'm committed to living and working at a more balanced pace, doing things that are in harmony with my inner wisdom.  
 
It has been a challenging but transformative path. I now have a deeper understanding of illness, authentic wellness and the healing process, as well as a commitment to sharing the possibility and tools of healing and lifelong well-being with others.  And yes, I'm doing well! A holistic and functional medicine approach—including bodywork, diet changes, nutritional supplements, exercise & qigong, stress management and lifestyle changes—allows me to manage my symptoms and remain medication free.  So I'm here to say, it IS possible! 

One thing I'm really good at is never giving up.  This is what I want to share with you.  I truly believe that authentic healing is possible, and I strive to offer this perspective with clarity via health coaching, integrative bodywork, and teaching. 

Here is what I've learned:

There's no one way to eat, or live well, or heal body, mind and spirit.  You may have to experiment, try new things, and sometimes stumble, or even fail.  It may get messy!  Sometimes healing, or any kind of change, feels like the hardest work in the world. At other times it can be fun, miraculous, swift, and surprising. 

You get to be (and you actually need to be) compassionate and kind with yourself--always!  You also get to set high standards for your well-being and quality of life, and hold yourself accountable for heading in that direction.  You deserve thoughtful care and attention from healthcare practitioners, and nobody has permission to tell you that your possibilities are limited.  You get to ask for help where you need it, and demand that others stay hopeful for you and with you.

You are not your diagnosis, and your health condition does not define who you are.  Healing is a process of remembering who you really are and allowing yourself to shine.  It is a continuous shifting toward balance and integrity on all levels of your being.  We are all in this process all the time, no matter what our current state of health.  

You may need to get fierce about it.  I did. I still do.  I think of it as ferocious living for gentle people.  You are more powerful than you may think.  You can do it.  

I look forward to connecting with you!

~Donna