Mon07282014

News

Downtown green park pops up again in August

Downtown green park pops up again in August


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Third Street Green debuts Aug. 3 on the 300 block of State Street in downtown Los Altos.

Another temporary park is poised to pop up in downtown Los Altos this summer.

According to Brooke Ray Smith, community devel...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand int...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building in L...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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