Sat10252014

News

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

Election flyer mimics newspaper coverage

A flyer is being distributed across Los Altos that looks like it is from the Los Altos Town Crier but was neither created nor distributed by the community’s weekly newspaper. The flyer, pictured at right, is being distributed by workers from Pyrami...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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