Jamie Sparks
Licensed Massage and Body Work Therapist

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All things healing to mind, body, spirit and earth. 

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Embracing the blog

Posted by Jamie Sparks on July 7, 2011 at 8:27 PM Comments comments (0)

Welcome to my blog. I travel a lot. I teach a lot. I go to many workshops. And I create a lot. And I get a lot of questions and curiosities from yoga students and massage clients about all these things that I do. And after about the 3rd time hearing the same question, well the answer gets diluted. That is just the nature of hearing your own voice over and over again I suppose. However, I do want to share and offer knowledge and maybe inspirations and whatever else my words may offer. Also, I am sometimes shy about sharing my experiences and sharing my words. So this is something I would like to get better at. For we all are such wonderful teachers. And we all know things that others don’t know. So, share it! After years of resistance, I am in fact embracing the blog and beginning to write one. Mostly this will include juicy bits and pieces about healing and empowerment through community and herbs. Empowerment in the forms of self yoga practice, making your own tincture, or creating food that is nutritious AND healing. And whatever else inspires me. And, this blog will be pretty free form flowing. So if you get up tight about those things, you may want to take a nervine (that would be a nerve tonic, hopefully some herbal formula, to calm those ruffled nerves) Thank you for reading (whoever you are) and I hope this may offer something for you to enjoy.

Here's to your healing!

Winter at Ithaca Free Health Clinic

Posted by Jamie Sparks on June 18, 2011 at 2:59 PM Comments comments (0)

 So where was I?  Well,  I spent the winter in Ithaca New York, working at the Ithaca free clinic,  learning and practicing herbalism with Sevensong.  Sevensong is a dear herbalist, friend and teacher of mine that runs the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine.  He also has been dedicated to offering his time as a clinical herbalist to the Ithaca Free Clinic since it opened.  His students have opportunitiies to work in this clinical setting as well as see patients in "less formal" settings.   I find this to be an amazing opportunity for it is quite challenging to get very much "hands on" clinical experience as an herbalist.   I personally quite enjoy working with Sevensong. He is a very caring and present clinical herbalist (though, quite the cut up as a teacher).   You can find out more about Sevensong and about his herb school and the various programs at http://7song.com.  His website is also a great resource on many of the things that a curious herbalist might be interested in (herbal first aid, materia medica, herbal physiology and many other juicy things).  

The Ithaca Free Clinic was opened in 2006 by the Ithaca Health Alliance, which is an amazing organization that works to offer health care and health funding as a local service to the uninsured.  TheIthaca Free Clinic offers free services (herbalism, massage, chiropractic, general practitioner, acupuncture and more)  to the community of Ithaca.  Yes, ladies and gentleman, an integrated clinic!  And it is donation funded!  I believe it is one of two clinics in the country that has an herbalist on staff, alongside physicians.  AND they are all volunteering their time.  This is a clinic that happens 2-3 times a week that is mostly ran by volunteers.  I mean the nurses, the massage therapist, the physician the herbalist everyone.  I found there to be a decent level of respect for each other and the differences in the medical options available.  I saw massage therapist coming to herbalist for tinctures to treat muscular pain, I saw a general interest in differences of treatment options by practioners and I saw referrals to other practiioners as needed for the health of the patient.   I saw a true amount of care, concern and passion for healing people.  When it isn't about money and pharmaceuticals, health really gets to be about.......HEALING!   Both for the practitioners and the patients.   I sensed stronger relationships between patients and practitioners because of the amount of time that they have together.  If you want to learn more about the Ithaca Health Alliance and the Ithaca Free clinic, please see:  http://www.ithacahealth.org/freeclinic.html.  In the dead cold of winter (yes, I do go North for the winter, all to feed my desires to seek out more knowledge of herbalism) I stayed invigorated and filled with a "sunny demeanor" by filling my hours with patients with goals towards healing, asking Sevensong about treatment plans, participating and observing in on the meetings of the health clinic, pouring into my herbal Materia Medica and yes, visiting the waterfalls.  And I spent a great amount of time interacting with yogis, dancers, performers and visionaries on a beautiful acrobatic project.  An astrological acrobatic/partner yoga calendar!  There are a few images in my photos.   The goal was to merge yoga postures with the energies and/or shapes of astrology.  This calendar will be out in 2012.  Ithaca truly is gorges!  There is an electrical feel in the air.  I thought I would be calling on a lot of my herbs, such as St. John's Wort, Calendula, LemonBalm and more to keep my spirits up!  However, I was so in love with this new and beautiful place, that I felt totally alive on the sustenance of hot yoga, waterfalls and working with patients.  I immediately fell into community in this very community minded town.  I am grateful to have been welcomed with such open arms and honored to have been a part of some great visions.  


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