Health Springs Maternal
A new women's health and resource center opens in downtown Monterey.
Thursday, January 22, 1998
A Woman''s Wellspring just opened its doors in downtown Monterey Jan. 2, but the interest already expressed in the community would seem to confirm Dr. Stephanie Taylor''s notion that this new center, focusing on non-traditional healing methods and health and wellbeing issues in general, addresses an unmet need in the area.
Taylor, an OB/GYN, has sought to combine traditional and complementary medicine in her local practice since 1989, but feels the need for and interest in alternative and complimentary resources that have overflowed the bounds of a traditional physician''s office. The center is "like an extension of the waiting room, where we can do educational things we don''t have time to do in the office. It''s designed to make complementary medicine more accessible. A lot of folks know about [non-traditional medicine], and are interested in it, but they don''t know how to find it or evaluate different methodologies,"she says.
But the center will offer much more than alternative healing. Taylor has set up the center to be "a meeting place and networking and resource center for women." The center will offer classes and workshops as diverse as yoga, Tai Chi, drumming, financial fitness, eating disorders, mid-life, infertility, and menopause, and also has a library with open Internet access and a retail area offering books and health-related products. "I think that our community has needed a meeting place for women for a long time," says Taylor, who has recruited other health professionals, including Carmel nutritionist and personal trainer Linda Rodriguez, to bring their expertise to the center.
"It''s a safe place," says Rodriguez, "it''s a nurturing place where women can get together and share information and resources. It sounds trite, but it''s like a sisterhood of women helping each other with [a wealth of] resources for enriching and enhancing their lives."
Rodriguez will offer nutrition and fitness counseling every Tuesday at the center, where she hopes her approach will help women who aren''t interested in becoming hard-core fitness fanatics. Rodriguez teaches women pressure-free techniques for health and fitness that fit easily into their lives without "having to go to a gym and feel intimidated and work up a sweat to where they''re dripping wet," she says. "That''s not for everybody. It''s great for some of us, but we don''t want to shut other women down and keep them from feeling the benefits of good health," if the high-intensity scene isn''t for them.
Rodriguez won''t be teaching high-power aerobics classes, for example, but will have a small demonstration area instead, where she will teach a 25-minute routine with dumbbells that clients can practice at home.
Taylor says some of her colleagues in the medical profession have been very interested and supportive, while others have been skeptical, "because they don''t have any experience with it, so they''re concerned [non-traditional methods] may not have research support," she says. But many complementary methods are supported by research, says Taylor, and a flood of data will soon become available from research now underway. "There are herbal therapies that are safe and effective and that are widely used in Europe, for example, and are much less costly." she says.
Taylor believes the perceived split between traditional and non-traditional methods is erroneous, and hopes the center will also serve as a "demonstration project for health-care professionals" to the complementary nature of alternative methods. "Once you learn enough about other healing modalities and know how to appropriately refer patients," she says, "they work together extremely well."
One of Taylor''s goals is to develop a complementary method to reduce the side-effects of chemotherapy. "The question then is not, do I do healing touch or chemotherapy, but rather use one to complement the other to [try to achieve] a good quality of life."
Taylor also holds a doctorate in psychology, "so my background lends itself to the integration of complementary medical practices," and to approaching the patient as a whole person rather than a symptom or a diagnosis. It''s that relationship part of the skilled practitioner that people miss. We''re going to have to get that back, because it just doesn''t work as technology only," she says.
A Woman''s Wellspring is located at 575 Calle Principal and is open 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday, as well as evening hours for scheduled classes. The center is staffed by a full time office manager and, while tailored to women, is also open to men.