Referrals for alternative health care providers

I’ve received different types of alternative health care, and I’d like to list some of my favorite practitioners here on my blog. I will update this list from time to time.

First of all, for do-it-yourself pain relief, relaxation, and massage, get yourself some arnica, some epsom salts, and a foam roller. I also recommend meditation. They cost little to nothing and make a difference.

If you’d like to have a floatation tank experience, try Zen Blend, in far south Austin. I’ve been three times now, and each time I’ve been more relaxed and present. The epsom salt in the water plus silence and darkness all contribute to the relaxing effect.

If you’d like to improve how your body moves, either for a sport or better workouts or the movements of everyday life, I recommend Matt Fuhrmann of Tao Health & Fitness (on Facebook) for functional movement screening and classes. It’s what Tim Ferriss (in The Four-Hour Body) calls “pre-hab”. In other words, injury prevention. Matt also offers classes for kids.

For biodynamic craniosacral work, I recommend Nina Davis. I also recommend David Harel, who specializes in TMJ disorder Gtreatments. In the DFW metroplex, see Ryan Hallford for treatment. He also teaches craniosacral work. (Note: I am studying craniosacral therapy from Ryan after receiving it from Nina and being mentored by David.)

For classical chiropractic, I recommend Active Life Chiropractic, which offers a wide range of services including Graston and “the activator”. I’ve seen both Dr. Cynthia Schade (the owner) and Dr. Cynthia Lara.

For upper cervical chiropractic (first cervical vertebrae and cranium), I recommend Back N Balance. If through head trauma or emotional stress your head is not sitting atop your spine in a balanced manner, check them out. It unwound my spine from scoliosis. I saw Dr. Shelley Lorenzen.

For applied kinesiology chiropractic, I recommend Austin Holistic Health. It’s another form of unwinding from dysfunctional neuromuscular patterns. I saw Dr. Chandler Collins.

For integrative healing, I recommend Fran Bell at Austin Holistic Health.

For acupuncture on a budget, I recommend South Austin Community Acupuncture (sliding scale) and the student clinic at AOMA ($35 per treatment, supervised by professors, in both north and south Austin).

I have personal experience with each of these practitioners and clinics, and I know how valuable good word-of-mouth can be. I hope this helps you find healing.

Working with a healer, Fran Bell

Yesterday I went to see a new kind of healer. Her name is Fran Bell. Remember that name.

I work with practitioners who specialize in one healing modality, and others who combine modalities, and some who’ve learned and integrated multiple modalities and added something else to it. They’ve invented something that nobody else does.

That’s the kind of healer Fran is. Her business card says she is an integrated health coach. Because of course, the body, mind, heart, and spirit/soul are integrated. The name of my blog and her business card nearly match!

So the background for me going to Fran is this (skip ahead if you’ve heard my story before – la di dah): I’ve had a lot of body and alignment issues in my life, including a sacral nerve injured at birth, a major childhood trauma that left me with PTSD, scoliosis from adolescence until a couple of years ago, and a car accident that left me with significant soft tissue damage in my lower back, which centered around my left sacroiliac joint.

And you wondered why I like yoga so much! It’s all about healing and expanding my well-being.

So all this physical and emotional trauma, even with yoga and everything else I do, has left me with movement patterns that stem from trying to hold myself together in ways that are less than optimal.

These ways were the best my jangled nervous system could do right after the injury. They did hold me together when I had to soldier on — go to work to have health insurance, be a single mom. (That’s part of the problem, too, the belief that I had to soldier on and couldn’t really take the time for myself that I needed to heal.)

I’ve had balance issues. Tree pose is hard. I often wake and go through my day with minor aches and pains. I don’t have stamina for being on my feet for more than a couple of hours, and forget running!

So now it’s time to learn functional ways of holding myself together, ways of just using what is needed and letting everything else relax. These old injuries are long healed, and the patterns no longer serve — they constrict.

If I knew how to repattern my body on my own, believe me, I would have done it.

I went to Fran because I had been told by my chiropractor that she was trained in Functional Movement Systems, which Tim Ferriss wrote about in The 4-Hour Body. (Read the chapter called Pre-Hab: Injury-Proofing the Body.) FMS looks at bodies in terms of mobility, stability, and strength. I was sure I needed more stability and was looking forward to Fran giving me some exercises.

Fran starts where she starts. She’s a delightful person who knows that people get into these holding patterns because they’ve experienced injury and they’re trying to protect themselves. She knows how to make a client feel safe.

She’s empathic, intuitive, and has developed her perception of how to correct dysfunctional patterns to a remarkable degree. That is something that has marked the healers I’ve worked with in the last few years: they have developed their perceptions (of injury, imbalance, energy pathways, blockages, holdings, and releases, movement patterns, the nervous system) to such a degree that I can barely understand how they do what they do, except to know that it’s beyond me. It’s deepened my awareness.

Fran watched me walk and said I had a big holding pattern. She took me to a massage table. She had me move this way and that, coordinating movements with my breathing.

I came out of our first session feeling different and better when I walked. Before, I was holding myself together from the sacrum, with stiffness in my lower back and not much range of movement.

After, I was walking from the hip joint, which is the natural place to walk from. My lumbar curve increased and I got to experience a springlike movement there as I walked, a fluid dynamic relationship between the masses of my pelvic bowl and my rib cage.

My breathing was more relaxed.

I also could see more clearly. Fran took me to the window and raised the blind. Everything had more depth and richness.

Wow. Isn’t this what we all want, to be more alive?

A day later, I’ve lost a little of that freedom I felt at the end of yesterday’s session, but I know I won’t revert to how I was before. I can feel my body shifting, adjusting, taking in as much as it can of a new way of being.

After my session with Fran, I actually did remember that after the car wreck, I was aware that my body felt very different, almost alien-feeling. One day when I was walking, I realized I was dragging my left heel. I made an effort to pull myself together, and at least I didn’t drag my heel any more. That’s probably where this pattern stems from.

Fran is certified in Spiritual and Medical Healing by the Jaffe Institute, now called the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism. She’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a Certified Personal Trainer, as well as being trained in Functional Movement Systems. And she’s been a healer since the age of 11.

I’m going to see her weekly for a while. I’m feeling very grateful to have this opportunity right here in Austin, Texas, USA. And I’ll keep posting. You can search my blog for “fran bell” to find posts about my work with her.

If you have body aches and pains that are persistent, I recommend seeing Fran. And here’s a link to some more testimonials.

She’s at Austin Holistic Health. Call her at 538-5993 or email fran.bell @ to schedule or discuss. Her rates are $120 for the first session and $95 after that.