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Thursday, October 23, 2008

American Herbalist Guild Symposium (Pre-intensives)

Yesterday I traveled over the Cascadian Mountains to attend the American Herbalist Guild Symposium. I've been looking forward to this event all year, not only because of the event itself, but also to be able to spend time with my friends the Gallaghers.

The ride over was spectacularly colored with rich reds, yellows and oranges. The summit even had a good dusting of snow - a hint of what's to come.

As soon as I got to town however, everything seemed to go disastrously wrong. I made it to Redmond and was here about all of 30 secs. before I was pulled over for speeding. I have never ever ever in my life been pulled over because I am so meticulous about speeding. It was just a crazy moment where I was lost and trying to follow directions, and having just been in a 40 mph speed zone that had switched to a 25. The cop (and I have good friends who are cops) was a complete $%#&$, with no consideration for me as a person. But I guess that's his life and his problem. Of course the $160 ticket is my problem.

Then, immediately following this incident I spilled gas all over me while trying to fill up. So, you can imagine my relief at finally making it to the Gallagher's house, safe and sound. (although smelling horribly)

The drama wasn't over for the day however. All the stress had me breaking out in cold sores and then to top it off, my alarm clock was dysfunctioning, waking me up at 5:30 am (instead of 6:30 am) and then later not going off at all.

Of course in the grand scheme of things, life was still filled with so many blessings, especially safe travel and time with friends. (I would think that one moment, and then remember the ticket tarnishing my record the next moment, and then get a good whiff of myself the next moment.)

After everything that went wrong yesterday I woke this morning trying to be positive while also holding my breath.

John and I arrived at the American Herbalist Guild Symposium to attend the first day of pre-intensives. My first intensive was an indepth class on Fibromyaglia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrom.

I have to give a full round of applause to this wonderful class. Khalsa was very clear, organized, witty, and engaging in this very informative talk. Obviously I am not going to type out all that was discussed in those three hours, but I'd love to give highlights.

First and foremost I thought it was incredibly interesting to hear his perspective that the list of symptoms that people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia experience could quite possibly be caused by chronic sleep deprivation. It would be too simplified to say that he primarily works with people to get restful sleep, but this did seem to be a big part of his treatment plan. I also appreciated his outlook on vitamin D and the role this important vitamin plays in chronic pain issues. His basic protocol for fibromyalgia was:
T -touch (massage twice a week can be helpful if possible for the patient)
H - herbs (for pain, restful sleep, depression)
R - Rest (12 - 14 restful hours of sleep per day is ideal)
I - Immune Support (Could be caused by underlying chronic infections)
V - Vitamins and Nutrition (Besides vitamin D, he also spoke highly of magnesium)
E - Exercise (Very light exercise - not overdoing it)

Having works with hundreds of "fibromites", he had very practical assessments of the reality of what people can and can't do when faced with this debilitating "syndrome." He also spent considerable time discussing the importance of treating a person and not the "Fibromyalgia" - which of course is always appreciated.

So that was three hours of my morning.

The afternoon John and I took a class from Michael Tierra entitled, "the many external uses of herbs." This fascinating class that gave me a whole new perspective on herbal usage. Countless times Tierra discussed the importance of working with herbs outside your front door. Something I didn't think I would hear from Tierra, the "Chinese Herbs Herbalist."

In this class he gave a short history of naturopathic medicine, and then discussed the work of Massague, a French herbalist who used herbal foot and hand baths as a primary means of treatment. In these baths he used a variety of common herbs - several of them poisonous when taken internally. (Scotch broom and Ivy for example.)

I found this to be an interesting method of dispensing herbs to complicated cases that are on multiple prescription drugs, and may be sensitive to taking things internally.

Today were the pre-intensives for the American Herbalist Guild Symposium, with the actual symposium starting tomorrow. It was a full day and I'll be processing all that I've learned for weeks if not years to come. I can hardly believe that there are still three more days to go!

After the classes today, John and I came home to a lovely meal prepared by Kimberly. There was a delicious souffle, salmon, a yummy squash soup, and cooked greens. It was so nice to sit with friends and enjoy such a good meal.

I am so thankful that things not only didn't go wrong today, but that it actually went quite well. Tomorrow I have two classes at the American Herbalist Guild Symposium, and if I get home early enough I'll post about those tomorrow night.


S. Kay said...

Wow what a shitty start to a great weekend. I'd offer you a hug, a slice of pie, and a cup of tea, but it sounds like you've got that covered. It sounds like you'll have lots of new information to absorb. I hope the symposium ends shiny side up!

HerbisOrbis said...

Thanks for your great coverage of the AHG symposium! It was a great weekend for me, leaving me reinvigorated in my studies and budding practice.

Inspired by Tierra and Messegue, I just formulated my first herbal footbath for a client last night. We shall see how it goes. Thankfully, he's a compliant patient so I think he'll actually make the baths everyday.

By the way check out Michael's blog here: