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Sonoma County Gazette

Health and Well Being

Staying healthy is a high priority for many. Here in Sonoma County we have plenty of fresh air, opportunities to exercise, and health pracitioners in a broad range of modalities. If you have information you want to share with our readers, please send us your articles.

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2020-02-06Feb 6, 2020

Our historic record of grassroots activism is what gives us the quality of life we all treasure. We have established a spider web of protected areas, greenbelts and parks that serve as community separators. When I’ve gone to public hearings and meetings where people are working to further preserve these areas from development and degradation, I’m both impressed and alarmed that often it’s the same people who fought to establish the initial protections for these areas who are still the ones fighting to protect them. At forty-six years old, I can look around the room and ask, where is the rest of my generation? Do we take these lands that our predecessors saved for granted? Are we willing to stand up for our open spaces? 

2020-01-07Jan 7, 2020

The Forestville Wellness Center (FWC) sustained significant smoke damage from a non-structural fire that occurred early Friday morning, January 3, 2020.  Services will continue uninterrupted in an alternate location in Sebastopol while the facility is under repair.West County Health Centers is extremely grateful to the Forestville Fire Department for their immediate response to the incident which prevented more serious damage. West County Health Centers remains the sole provider of primary medical services for the unincorporated areas of western Sonoma County and one of the few providers of dental and behavioral health services available to Medi-Cal recipients. West County Health Centers is accepting donations from people who want to help the Forestville Wellness Center with the cost of repairs.  Please visit  to donate.

2019-12-25Dec 25, 2019

In late November, Governor Newsom took a dramatic step in moving towards some actual solutions to the climate crisis. By limiting new oil and gas drilling in California, he has gone beyond rhetoric and acted to stop the destructive practices that are causing climate and health problems. As a practicing physician and a County Public Health Officer, I am seeing firsthand the health impacts from climate change.

2019-12-23Dec 23, 2019

An open discussion with local health professionals and community experts on how we get there. Saturday, February 8  9:30-noon, Odd Fellows Hall, 545 Pacific Ave, Santa Rosa.


2019-12-04Dec 4, 2019

The magic of Blank Days can only happen when zero is planned. We moved leisurely from eating hot biscuits with savory gravy at Big Bottom Market to a competitive four-leaf clover hunt in Armstrong Woods. Then to singing rap songs by Grand Master Flash in the RV to putt-putt and ice cream cones at Pee Wee Golf with a finale dinner at the Russian River Pub to check it off the Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives list.

2019-12-04Dec 4, 2019

I was alone at home and rushing through the morning before leaving in less than an hour.  I knew that if I left now, I’d be early.  I could knit, read, meditate. Instead I’m looking for yarn. Certain yarn. I’m getting it all out now, might as well. You are supposed to look at your yarn at least annually. “Is that all of it?” I asked myself.  “ Perhaps just beyond where I can see…this was not a good idea. Whoa! Losing balance! Whew. Shit. Didn’t hit head. No blood, but let’s check this arm here. Whooo, not good. Should not look like this. “ I close my eyes, swoon, and breathe.  The Center for Mind Body Medicine training shelped me through this.

2019-11-20Nov 20, 2019

CAL/OSHA has issued emergency regulations that require employers to take protective measure to safeguard their employees who work outdoors.

2019-11-20Nov 20, 2019

We had a really challenging experience in late October with the fires and the PG&E power shut-off.  With the climate situation continuing to worsen, all scientific predictions are that these circumstances will increase in frequency. Preparation is very important, especially if you have some medical issues. 

2019-11-12Nov 12, 2019

The inspiration for Osmosis was born in Japan the day I took my first enzyme bath in the spring of 1984.  As the healing warmth of the bath enveloped my entire body, I was relieved of a crushing nerve pain that had plagued my body for months. At the same time, I dropped into an indescribable experience of sensing the entire universe like never before. As a minuscule part of this journey, a vivid picture of a healing sanctuary with the enzyme bath at the core surrounded by meditative Japanese style gardens and gracious hospitality flashed before my minds eye. From this remarkable moment, I knew it was my calling to bring the Japanese enzyme bath back to West County. 

2019-11-06Nov 6, 2019

Legacy Fire Relief Program offering free counseling to community members who were in need of treatment as a result of the fires..With the Kincade Fire, we now have more people who need care from this traumatic event. Also, people with PTSD from prior events are seeking care as this fire, the loss of home and work, the evacuation, and power losses have triggered symptoms again.

2019-10-24Oct 24, 2019

While California’s cannabis market is bursting with countless new brands and flourishing with innovation and sophistication, with products in gorgeous packaging, a surprising majority are made with mass produced, low quality ingredients like distillate, isolate and corn syrup. Gasp. The fact that many of us are just happy to be able to legally acquire cannabis products has precluded many of us from asking the important questions about the source and quality of a product..

2020-02-05Feb 5, 2020

So now Gazette readers know I sold the Gazette to Sonoma Media Investments and very little has changed. I’m still working way-too long hours, but over time that will change. My most compassionate reader-friends wish me well and understand. Others are afraid of the change and other changes that will come in the future. Nothing stays the same. But I’m old and tired and I need to get a life. I love what I do. Don’t get me wrong. I really do. But there has to be a way for the Gazette to continue without me so I don’t die at this desk!

2019-10-23Oct 23, 2019

With the current health crisis around vaping, especially in young people, it seems to be a good time to look at how the e-cigarette phenomenon is influencing youth involvement with nicotine.  “The CDPH urges everyone to refrain from vaping, no matter the substance or source, until current investigations are complete.”  Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday directed the county health officials to figure out a way to ban nicotine vaporizers and flavored tobacco products rather than waiting on the federal government to act.

2019-10-22Oct 22, 2019

The Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County, through the Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative, offers free help for those recovering from the devastating fires of 2017. The Collaborative’s goal is to ensure that Sonoma County residents learn to recognize the signs of mental health distress and have access to resources and services for personal recovery, as well as long-term healing and resiliency skill-building. Working with mental health experts from local and national associations, as well as a network of clinics and nonprofits, the Collaborative has put together a county-wide approach to healing that includes evidence-based methods. 

2019-10-16Oct 16, 2019

When people think of teachers they rarely think of horses when, in fact, horses are first-rate educators who can teach young children and teens a variety of useful skills that promote lifelong learning, success, and fulfillment. 

2019-10-07Oct 7, 2019

Did you know that it is now possible for cancer patients to prevent significant hair loss? Scalp cooling is non-invasive and effective for many chemotherapy regimens. A patient wears a cold cap beginning just before chemo and continues during the duration of the chemo infusion and for about 90 minutes afterward. Chilling down the scalp creates vasoconstriction –causing the blood vessels in the hair follicle to tighten up and constrict the flow of blood and therefore chemo, into the follicle.


2019-10-05Oct 5, 2019

At some point in our lives, many of us will face a medical emergency due to accident or illness. Half of the people brought to an emergency room are unconscious, sedated or too ill to speak for themselves regarding treatment choices. By completing advance care planning to make your medical wishes known now, you and your loved ones can be ready then. 

Advance care planning is the process of thinking through, talking about and documenting your healthcare wishes and priorities before a medical crisis.A FREE workshop to help adults age 18 and older complete advance care planning, Who Will Speak for You If You Can't Speak for Yourself?, will be held Tuesday, October 29, 2 – 4 p.m., at Redwood Credit Union, 3033 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa, hosted by My Care My Plan: Speak Up, Sonoma County (MCMP).

2019-10-02Oct 2, 2019

In an effort to empower area students to relieve their own stress and anxieties andimprove their learning environment, long-time Santa Rosa resident and Registered Nurse Beryl Ryan is offeringFREE workshops in the practice of “Tapping” to area schools. Tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), is a self-healing tool that uses a sequence of light physical tapping on external acupressure points to reduce or eliminate physical pain and negative emotions, including anxiety, stress, and PTSD.

2019-09-23Sep 23, 2019

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Heat Advisory for the North Bay for Tuesday, September 24 and Wednesday, September 25 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. each day. The hottest temperatures are forecasted Tuesday with Santa Rosa expected to peak at 103 degrees. 

2019-09-19Sep 19, 2019

At some point in our lives, many of us will face a medical emergency due to accident or illness. Half of the people brought to an emergency room are unconscious, sedated or too ill to speak for themselves regarding treatment choices. By completing advance care planning to make your medical wishes known now, you and your loved ones can be ready then.

2019-09-19Sep 19, 2019

With the recent spate of hundreds of hospitalizations (and 5 deaths at the time of this writing) associated with vaping nicotine and THC in healthy young people, the public health community is sending out significant warnings to medical practitioners to be on the lookout for pulmonary complications and for the public to avoid getting vape products from unlicensed sources. E-cigarettes and vaping of nicotine and THC/CBD has exploded on the scene over the last few years, in many ways being presented as a‘ healthier’ alternative to smoking the substances. While there have been suspicions of longer term negative effects, nothing has really come up until this flurry of pulmonary problems that began in June.

2019-09-14Sep 14, 2019

The solution to our health care crisis is right under our noses!  Medicare — now 54 years old — is popular, efficient, and proven to improve health outcomes for seniors. But before we expand Medicare to all U.S. residents, we must improve Medicare for seniors by covering all medically necessary services, including those not currently covered, such as vision, hearing, dental, mental health, and long-term care. We must also eliminate the financial burden of premiums, deductibles, and copays, making medical bankruptcy a thing of the past. 


2020-02-04Feb 4, 2020

This is the decade of hope. Hope that we will finally stop the war against people and a plant by legalizing cannabis in the USA and around the globe. Hope that globally we are increasingly focused on real-time solutions to help sink carbon and restore climate stability. Interestingly, Industrial Hemp, and its use as a fiber, fuel, food, and much more is available to support this transition and both frees the plant and gets us off the carbon-economy.


2019-08-30Aug 30, 2019

Did you know that brain cells do reproduce? Many preventable factors contribute to brain decline and eventual dementia, including stress, inflammation, trauma or injury, hormonal imbalance, poor diet, drug overuse, and toxicity. Even Electro Magnetic Fields (EMFs) or radio frequency fields such as from cell phones, towers, WiFi or electrical units, can throw the brain and nervous system out of balance over time. The good news is the brain can heal! In my natural medicine practice, certain nutrients are important for rebalancing the brain.


2020-02-02Feb 2, 2020

On December 31, 2019, Edward M. Chen, U.S. District Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California,  dismissed an EPA motion for summary judgement (MSJ) in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Fluoride lawsuit. This means the lawsuit will go forward. The trial has been rescheduled to begin Monday April 20 and will run for two weeks. Judge Chen delivered his ruling on New Year's Eve. 

2020-01-31Jan 31, 2020

Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, the new California Surgeon General, has made Adverse Childhood Experiences (or ACEs) a focus of her work.  You can see her on aTED talk that explores the topic. Children growing up with toxic stress may have particular difficulty with forming healthy and stable relationships. This may all lead to erratic work histories as adults and ongoing struggles with finances, jobs, and depression throughout life. Many chronic illnesses are much more likely in people with higher numbers of childhood ACEs.   

2020-01-29Jan 29, 2020

“In the 2016-2020 AAA Community Report, 57% of Sonoma County older adults and persons with disabilities stated they are concerned about access to local transportation,” says County of Sonoma Adult and Aging Division Director Paul Dunaway. From January-March 2020, the AAA will host several discussion groups throughout the County under a grant from the state Department of Transportation, Caltrans, to study how well local transportation systems serve older adults age 60+ and residents with disabilities.

2020-01-27Jan 27, 2020

In partnership with Sonoma County Library, SAY’s mental health clinicians will be hosting a series of weekly and bi-weekly drop-in wellness groups for youth ages 12-19. These groups will be focused on supporting mental wellness and healthy ways to cope with challenges. Possible topics include: normal responses to loss and change, identifying complex emotions, and making meaningful choices. 


2020-01-11Jan 11, 2020

As Americans grow more dissatisfied with their insurance arrangements, public discussion about the wisdom of switching to a system sometimes referred to as Medicare for All has grown. There’s more press attention to this topic than I have ever seen. What’s not been discussed, however, is how providing health care for everyone and controlling prices are interrelated.

2020-01-10Jan 10, 2020

Sonoma County is planning to move occupants of the Joe Rodota Trail (trail) to permanent supportive housing and sheltering in other locations in the County by January 31, 2020.  The county is working to establish hardened shelter units, which are secure and private, with locking windows and doors. They've already ordered 30 pallet shelters.


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