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 Simple Self Care practices  like   the  ones on this web site are effective and anyone with a browser can access these self-help instructions. Accessible, affordable quality care CAN be achieved with innovative uses of technology. Our hope is that combining content with media technologies will create a new way of delivering self-help instruction, and a new model for healthcare delivery that is blind to age, economic status, culture, color or location.  Self-care education is essential to prevention and to help relieve some of the burden and suffering within overloaded health care systems.  It is an option for the uninsured as well.   Health practitioners are encouraged to try and use some of these methods on a daily basis.   Without care and nurturing of our caregivers we are doomed.

At the Berkeley Primary Care facility located on the Berkeley/Oakland border, everyone who comes in is either living on the street, or close to it.   This was my first experience working with acupressure in a clinical setting.  The primary physician (there was only one most of the time) was Dr. Haas. Approximately 17,000 people are served by this clinic with over 101,000 visits annually. The clinic closed its door to new patients 3 years ago.  

The clients that were referred to me by Dr. Haas were the ones who could not easily be helped.  They often suffered greatly, had tried many prescriptive remedies, many surgeries, that were not working.  Sometimes there were physical and mental problems.   For instance, one client had been struck by lightening twice, another had been in a house that caught on fire and collapsed on her, another had had 17 abdominal surgeries, another had been raped and beaten and was still living on the street, a reformed crack addict who frequented the emergency room, a survivor of a gunshot wound with various unexplained pains and difficulties, etc.

The appointments were 30 minutes.   Occasionally the clients would confess that this was the only place and time where they felt anyone really cared and was listening.   Occasionally, doctors or nurses would come in for a short appointment.  One physician shared that what I was doing was what he thought he went to medical school for.   But he was now only allowed 7 minutes per patient, and in that time he had to arrange for records to be sent (or tracked), find out how the patient was doing, figure out what to do, and deal with any complications from social services or record keeping.

I worked a 4 hour shift each week and each week the roster was full with patients coming to the door trying to find a way to get an appointment.    It was at this point I began considering self-help instruction, but there seemed to be no resources to create a class, even though my services were free to the hospital because it was part of my training requirements for the state of California certification.


People often come to Stanford Hospital with really big health projects.  I worked with patients who were fighting to live against difficult diseases and very high tech invasive procedures (heart surgery, bone marrow transplant, etc.)  I also experienced patients and families dealing with chronic and serious illness.   There was no specific program for acupressure at the hospital.  It was the patients and their families who brought in the acupressurists.  Generally, these patients and familes were highly educated, wealthy, had a strong will to live, and saw themselves as responsible for their eventual outcome, working as a partner in their health process.   Nurses from the Phillipines and other countries often commented the methods were commonly used in their country of origin and were supportive of the acupressure treatments, helping to raise or lower the bed, etc.  Although Stanford has an Integrative Mind Body Program, many patients did not tell their doctor about the sessions until after they went home for fear the doctor would not understand.

There was often a team of acupressurists who took turns visiting each day during hospital stay.  Many of these patients also had acupressure prior to the hospital visit, or had been receiving acupressure for some time in order to manage chronic illnesses or other aspects of their health. 

The types of health projects I encountered included open heart surgery, autologous stem cell transplant (patients left 14, 17, 21 days ahead of schedule, 1 with no caregiver), and cancer related hospitalizations.

cardiology unit stanford hospitallucille packard oncology


It goes without saying that people in hospitals are often quite sick.  The experience at Kaiser Hospital is no exception.  Patients receiving acupressure treatments were sometimes clinging to life by a thread, or needed support surviving side effects from chemotherapy.  As with Stanford Hospital, there was no specific program for acupressure at the hospital - patients and their families brought in the acupressurists and felt strong enough about its benefits to pay out of pocket.  It must be said that Kaiser does seem to be on the ball with what benefits patients.   Not only was the staff supportive of a patients' personal healing sessions, but the outpatient oncology nurses were guiding patients in visualization while chemo was administered, as shown in this picture.kaiser outpatient oncology  The patient who was a client is doing self-help acupressure. The head nurse was in this unit was also in a training program for similar approaches. I was offered a job on the spot during one session.  I would have taken it except for the fact I had begun the process of creating self-help videos.

The types of health projects I encountered included cancer, diabetes complications, advanced infections.


Material for Self Help courses developed through four years of teaching, including courses at the Japanese Cultural Center in Berkeley, Avenidas Day Health Center, SRI International, Bryant Street Nursing Home, Cubberly Community Center, the Jewish Community Centers in Berkeley and Palo Alto, and through private self help lessons with patients, families, caregivers, as well as the instruction of self-help during private sessions.