Licensed acupuncturist Kathleen Lee has a competitive streak. When she isn't skating with the Santa Cruz Derby Girls, she puts her drive to use by helping her fellow athletes battle plateaus and injuries with holistic treatments and epic montages. Kathleen holds a master's degree in Chinese medicine from Five Branches University and continues to teach at her alma mater, unlike anyone who's ever graduated from the school of hard knocks. She bolsters her educational career by continuing her own practice, where she dispenses herbal remedies and treats ailments ranging from mental disorders to fertility issues.
Lead by Dr. Tonya Fleck-D'Andrea, N.D., an all-female team of naturopathic doctors and massage therapists at Santa Cruz Naturopathic Medical Center soothes bodies with holistic care in a nurturing environment. First-time patients create a personalized treatment plan during a two-hour consultation with a licensed N.D. (naturopathic doctor). In these sessions, the doctors review lab work done in the past year, go over current medication, and discuss the client’s health concerns to establish a regimen designed to treat these issues and prevent conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and turf tonsils. The Center's specialists strive to establish an open dialogue with patients when tailoring therapies by performing physicals and ordering new lab work only as necessary. Precision healing also comes from the hands of licensed massage therapists, whose cross-training in Swedish massage, Craniosacral therapy, and acupressure create a single super-modality sent from the future to terminate knotted muscles and release stress-induced tension.
TriYoga's classes guide students through traditional poses supported by rhythmic breathing and a deep, centered focus. The practice’s founder, Yogini Kaliji, travels the world to teach her signature style, with occasional stops into TriYoga Center of Santa Cruz to lead master classes. Yogini Kaliji designed her method and classes to shuttle beginners and experts alike toward deep relaxation, attainable elsewhere only by convincing a sea breeze to sing you "Happy Birthday." As students graduate through levels and master TriYoga’s wavelike movements, they often note boosted strength, flexibility, endurance, and breath control.
Whenever she strolled down a sandy beach or marveled at the redwoods of a lush forest, LeTa Jussila would be reminded that Santa Cruz was the most beautiful place in the world. It seemed a shame to her that most people spent so much of their days inside houses and offices rather than taking advantage of the diverse landscapes of their surroundings. Inspired, she spearheaded the foundation of Optimal Health and Fitness—a multidimensional outdoor-fitness program.
Today, LeTa and her staff of trainers conduct energetic boot-camp classes at local beaches, forests, and mountain trails. They use the tools of their surroundings as exercise equipment, such as running up park stairs for a cardio workout. Encouraging well-rounded, healthy lifestyles, the instructors also conduct seminars on holistic topics such as stress management and meditation. Nutrition specialists, meanwhile, provide students with balanced meal plans and supervise detoxifying cleanses. The staff also offers various treatments popularized in the East, including traditional Chinese acupuncture treatments and rejuvenating qi gong stretching classes.
After Camille Smith-Ballon was struck by a car, she refused to treat her neck, back, and shoulder injuries lying down. Instead, she hit the gym. As she pushed through rehabilitative exercise and resistance routines, she accumulated numerous fitness certifications and acquired the knowledge that would one day fuel her own training business. Now, as the owner of CruzFit, she stands by the belief that willpower trumps all other circumstances on the road to wellness. She leads private- and group-training sessions based on her clients’ preferences, asserting that fitness should stem from the activities you love to do. She also hosts Aqua Running classes at neighborhood pools, utilizing water resistance to tone the body's sprinting muscles and prepare runners to finally outpace showoff mechanical rabbit lures.
For nine years, Gloria Walker has helped clients of all ages and fitness levels shape up with low-impact exercises. She puts her certification from the Aquatic Exercise Association to good use while leading exercises that strengthen muscles, lower blood pressure, and build endurance in both deep and shallow waters. Gloria outfits clients with hand buoys and flotation belts so that they can concentrate on toning muscles and flexing newly formed gills. To further reduce the risk of injury, Gloria—who is also a licensed lifeguard certified in advanced first aid and CPR—emphasizes body alignment and deep breathing.
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