Thu04172014

News

City chips in $7,000 for SFMOMA installation

City chips in $7,000 for SFMOMA installation


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos City Council earmarked $7,000 for the purchase of Chris Johanson’s artwork.

The city of Los Altos will contribute $7,000 toward the purchase of a $28,000 art installation featured in the San Francisco Museum...

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Schools

LASD students celebrate service learning

LASD students celebrate service learning


Courtesy of Sandra McGonagle
We Day, held March 26 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, exhorts students in the Los Altos School District to effect positive change.

More than 150 Los Altos School District student leaders joined 16,000 Bay Area students to ce...

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Community

Film career launches with Cannes screening

Film career launches with Cannes screening


Courtesy of Zachary Ready
Los Altos native Zachary Ready, front left, and co-director Andrew Cathey, right, celebrate their Campus MovieFest awards.

After learning the art of filmmaking as a child in the front yard of his family’s Los Altos home...

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Sports

Sports on the Side

Pathways Run/Walk slated May 10 in Hills

The 13th annual Pathways Run/Walk is scheduled 9 a.m. May 10 at Westwind Community Barn, 27210 Altamont Road, Los Altos Hills. The course wends through Byrne Preserve and onto the Los Altos Hills Pathways sys...

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Comment

Now is the time to expand parking: Editorial

Just a few short years ago, vacancies dotted downtown Los Altos. Property owners had a hard time attracting businesses because there was a shortage of customers. That is no longer true. Now, the cry is: Where are my customers going to park?

The city...

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Special Sections

Epicurean's Mary Clark Bartlett: Serving sustainability

Epicurean's Mary Clark Bartlett: Serving sustainability


Courtesy of Michael McTighe
Mary Clark Bartlett is founder and CEO of Los Altos-based Epicurean Group.

Labels such as “healthy,” “organic” and “green” are rarely used to describe the meals served in most corporate cafes in Silicon Valley. But on...

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Business

Local realtor honored for volunteer efforts

Local realtor honored for volunteer efforts


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Coldwell Banker recently recognized realtor Kim Copher, right, for her philanthropic efforts. Copher and colleague Alan Russell, left, volunteer at Reach Potential Movement, where they collect books for its Bookshelf in ...

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Books

Local Author Spotlight

In an effort to support authors from Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View, many self-published, Book Buzz periodically spotlights their books and offers information on where to purchase them. Local authors are encouraged to submit brief summa...

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People

Noteworthy

RotaCare honors local volunteer

RotaCare Bay Area honored Jim Cochran of the RotaCare Mountain View Free Medical Clinic with the Outstanding Clinic Volunteer Award April 10 for his commitment to RotaCare’s mission of providing free medical care to t...

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Travel

Sausalito: Explore the historical city with world-class views

Sausalito: Explore the historical city with world-class views


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
Sausalito offers panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay. A number of companies schedule boat tours that sail past Angel Island and Alcatraz.

On a clear day, Sausalito offers spectacular views of the San Franc...

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Stepping Out

Western Ballet performs this weekend  at Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos Hills

Western Ballet performs this weekend at Smithwick Theatre in Los Altos Hills


Courtesy of Alexi Zubiria
Western Ballet’s “La Fille Mal Gardée” features Alison Share and Maykel Solas. The production runs Friday and Saturday at Foothill College

Western Ballet is slated to perform “La Fille Mal GardéeR...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away

A yoga class a day keeps the stress away


Van Houtte/Town Crier Yoga of Los Altos hosts a variety of classes, including Strong Flow Vinyasa, above, taught by Doron Hanoch. Yin Yoga instructor Janya Wongsopa guides a student in the practice, below.

It’s nearly 9 a.m. on a Monday mornin...

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Loosening up Los Altos’ aches and pains


Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/town crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Rolfer Steph Thurman, left, sees patients at her newly opened office at 164 Main St. in Los Altos.

In a second-story cubby on Main Street, Steph Thurman has established a haven for the work-wizened, hunch-shouldered refugees of Silicon Valley desk culture. A newly trained Rolfer raised in Los Altos, Thurman prods and smoothes limbs tight from stress or injury.

Rolfing looks like a mash-up of chiropractic practice and deep-tissue massage and can feel like a cousin of yoga or Pilates. Founded by biochemist Ida Rolf in the 1970s, the discipline targets the fascial tissue that weds skin to muscle and muscle to bone. Fasciae allow body parts to slide smoothly against each other, flexibly connecting and supporting moving pieces.

“Fasciae are like a web – it wraps around all your bones and all your muscles. If I work in one place, you might feel it radiating elsewhere,” Thurman said. “It’s giving the body more length and space, with the end goal of feeling taller, longer, more spacious and easy.”

Thurman, a familiar face locally from her years working at Hidden Villa and Bumble, trained in massage, where she encountered a teacher who was also a Rolfer.

“I got Rolfed and it changed the way I felt about being in my body – I wanted to learn more,” she said. After completing a course of study at the Rolf Institute in Colorado, the only school of its kind, Thurman started up her practice.

For a mentor, she connected with Michael Murphy, Los Altos’ only other Rolfer, who practices at Loyola Corners. Opening a new practice requires extensive community education to introduce a procedure commonly assumed to be a particularly intense (that is, painful) form of deep massage.

Demonstrating her craft on this reporter, Thurman made a point of checking throughout the session about levels of pressure and comfort. For the patient being plied with sensations of stroking, prodding, stretching and smoothing, the experience can be mysterious (Is that an elbow working my knotted shoulder? A thumb?) but never became painful.

Clients often seek an appointment after experiencing neck or back pain, “things we have because of way our jobs situate us,” Thurman said. In addition to touching her clients, she encourages behavioral changes that will continue outside her office.

“The Rolfing is great,” Thurman said, “but ultimately the shift is what’s happening in your body.”

Thurman’s subjects remain clothed in shorts and sports bras. An appointment involves moving and walking to assess balance, mobility and posture habits. She assesses parts of the body that are moving off kilter and seeks to loosen and relax them manually.

“More space is more ease,” she said. “Ida would say, go around the problem and the problem will fix itself.”

Rolf studied how physical structure affects function and became convinced that attention to connective tissues would help people restore flexibility and alleviate discomfort. She referred to her work as Structural Integration, a therapy that combines touching the body and encouraging behavior to improve posture and alignment. The term “Rolfing,” initially a moniker adopted by clients and students, eventually became the trademarked word for practitioners trained at the school Rolf founded in 1971.

Formal medical research has not deeply explored the theories underlying Rolfing. In recent years, some studies have investigated specific subjects such as whether treating the plantar fascia can relieve plantar fasciitis. The Rolf Institute cites patient outcomes when discussing its results. In her own writing, Rolf drew a metaphysical connection between physical problems – a painful back or a fatigued body – and a more spiritual sense of misalignment that puts the body at war with itself and gravity. She believed that an aligned body could work to heal itself, rather than perpetuating the movements and postures that cause discomfort.

After physically manipulating stiff or tight spots on a patient’s body last week, Thurman sent her across the room to walk back and forth and assess how her body felt: What had changed? What felt comfortable or uneven? Dealing with physical discomfort or lack of mobility addresses mechanical problems but also the feelings pinned to behavior and work lives.

“You fit the work to fit the person, whether that’s what’s going on in someone’s body or how they come in that day,” Thurman said. “You just meet them where they are.”

Thurman practices at 164 Main St., Suite 212. For more information, call 521-6706 or visit stephthurman.com.

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