Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dogpatch USA Remembered

There’s a young man doing a documentary on Dogpatch USA, a family amusement and theme park from the 70s and 80s that was based on the L’il Abner comic strip by Al Capp.  My brother, Rob, and I decided to go to an open call for interviews of people who had worked, or been involved with Dogpatch, and while the kind of information the interviewer was looking for seemed somewhat different from what we had to contribute, it was super fun to relive that time with my brother.

When we first started working at Marble Falls in Dogpatch, I was 10 years old.  It was 1980.  My dad gave me a guitar and told me to learn how to play it.  It wasn’t long before we were playing gigs together as a family.  At the time we were living in Low Gap, in between Ponca and Jasper, about a mile behind the Low Gap church down a dirt road.  We used to ride the bus to school and it took us an hour and a half each way.  That was part of the reason that our parents decided to home school us.  Too much time on the bus.

Our family was back-to-the-landers.  We bought 20 acres of land and proceeded to build an 11 sided log cabin by hand, with stone floors.  We loved it there. We didn’t have electricity, running water, or telephones.  My mom cooked every meal on a wood cookstove.  She gardened on a one acre garden and canned all of our food for the year.  We went to the store once a month for necessities, and tried to get by with what we had.  I think at one time I remember my dad saying that we lived on 1200 dollars a year.

My dad used to tell stories about taking the county road grader a case of beer in trade for dynamite that would help us blast past the rocks in our soon to be well.  Newton County was a dry county, meaning that it was illegal to sell beer there, and for as long as I can remember, there were several bootleggers where my dad went to get beer when he wanted it.

My mom and dad were musicians so it was natural for them to give us instruments and for us all to play together.  Sort of natural.  My dad was the task master who mandated that we practice so that we could excel at our music.  My mom played the bass, my brother played the fiddle, my dad played guitar, and I played guitar and mandolin.  We played old bluegrass songs and country songs.

At some point when I was almost 12 we moved to Possum Trot in Osage (Carroll County).  It’s a place best remembered by Frank Stamps’ store which still stands there today.  Frank has since passed on, but when we lived there in the early 80s we would go to Frank’s store where he would be with his white hair, tending shop with his 5 white dogs following him around everywhere he went.  We sometimes got to buy huge sandwiches there that he would make with his big meat and cheese slicer.  There were shelves and shelves of general store items, some of them covered in dust because product didn’t always move as fast as it did in more populated areas.  And in the winter time the wood stove in the middle of the store was surrounded by benches of old men chewing tobacco, whittling sticks, and telling tall tales.  It was a beautiful time.

When we first started working at Dogpatch we had a Volkswagen bug that we would load up with a bass, two guitars, a mandolin, a fiddle, and all of the sound equipment necessary to produce our show.  There were 4 of us.  It was an exercise in, how many elephants can you fit in an VW.

We performed 6 shows a day.  Every hour on the half hour.  I wore a black and white polka dot cancan dress.  Did I mention it was a summer gig in Arkansas.  There was a lot of asphalt and it was HOT.  My brother’s costume was red as was my dad’s and my mom also wore black.  In between shows I would run around the park, in and out of the character dressing areas, roller coaster rides, and arcades.  I remember riding a ride was a giant cylinder.  You stood against the wall and the centrifugal force would propel you against the wall as you spun deliriously in a circle, eventually the floor fell out.  I think if I rode that ride now I would puke my guts up, but then it was great fun.

Dogpatch was Daisy Mae and L’il Abner, costumed characters, and the Schmoo, hillbilly talking, goats on the roofs, and bluegrass music.  It was teenagers with summer jobs in the most beautiful place on earth.  It was a water slide and Ms. Pac Man when I didn’t have enough money to play arcade games.  It was roller coasters and slow train rides, waterfalls and trout farm.  It was music contests and Bill Monroe.  It was hours at home at night practicing with my family.  My brother with his self conscious slicked back hair and lack of a sense of humor.  My dad with his constant hope of hitting it big.  My mom working her butt off growing the food, cooking the food, canning the food, fixing everything, and at the end of the day singing and playing music.  Supporting.  Dogpatch was my first job.  I was 12.  I was a musician.  It was a different kind of existence.

My earnings at Dogpatch paid for my homeschooling books from Calvert.  It paid for my first braces on my very crooked teeth.  It was a sweet time.


Self Employment Versus Job Job

My life has changed dramatically.

Last year this time I still had a business in downtown Fayetteville, I was in school full time, I worked part time as a student nurse, and my husband and I were working together to get through school–our 4 kids in the mix.  Now I have a Job Job.

This year is very different.  I released myself from 10 years of business ownership, I graduated nursing school, I only have one job now-that of a nurse, and we’re getting a divorce.  The kids are doing great.  They amaze me every day.  I had no idea a year and a half ago even that I would be living this life in this way.  Life on the planet is an adventure.

It’s remarkable to me, having come from a position of decision maker where people sought me out for solutions, to being part of a ‘cog in the wheel’ job job, that the thought processes are completely different.  Perspective is everything.

As a self employed or self motivated person, I am the sole motivation behind what I do.  Nobody is making me punch a clock or fill out miles of documentation to prove that I am doing the job for which I was hired.  I choose to be here.  I choose to work hard.  I love what I do.  I take pride in my efforts.   I am not a victim to any perpetrators within my working scope of practice.  I take responsibility for my work success.

Don’t Succumb to the Allure of Victim Language

As an employed person, I find myself surrounded by language of ‘us and them.’ Victim to the system.  “They are doing this, they are doing that, surely they don’t expect us to…, can you believe they did that?”

Rampage of Gratitude!

I want to stay grounded in my optimism, love of people, and gratitude.   I don’t want to be a victim.  I want to be somebody who is choosing every day to be happy to go to work, to do the best I can with the time that I am given for the people I am responsible for helping.  I am grateful for the people I work with.  They are kind, loving, and helpful.  I have had the best mentors and preceptors, and I am so glad for my experiences with them.  They have taught me so much.  I am grateful to work in a place that values its employees financially and beneficially.  I am grateful to work in a place that has the closest thing to patient centered care that I have seen in organized ‘traditional’ medicine.  And I hope to continue finding successful medical models that embody patient centered care in a way that can be emulated.

I may have a job job now, but I hope to continue to find ways to fuel my creativity as I redefine myself in this period of time.  So much has changed for me, my job, my connection to my community, my connection to a partner.  Uranus has had fun redefining my life this year.  It will be so fun to see how this next chapter unfolds.

I still value health, clean burning food, family, yoga, running, meditation, alternative therapies, and community.  It will be interesting to see how this new clean slate that I’m working with will manifest itself, and what direction all this new energy will take.  I hope that I am able to maintain my sense of responsibility for my position in life.  I’m pretty sure I’ve put myself here and there is nowhere else I’d rather be at this moment.  The sky is the limit.  At the same time, there is a certain amount of fear involved, similar to when, as an artist I am faced with a blank page committing to those first defining strokes

Hiking New Territory
Hiking New Territory, what I can do when I am not at the Job Job.  One of the cool features of Job Jobs is Time Off.  This is a previously undiscovered possibility in my last 10 years of self employment.



“There’s a million things to be, you know that there are,” keeps running through my head these days.  Thank you Cat Stevens.   May the continual background conversations of victimhood fall unheeded around my feet at the job job, and let the first strokes of color fall on the blank page of my life.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, an entrepreneur, a Registered Nurse, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a writer, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist and educator of 22 plus years, and a gardener.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health. 


Massage Therapy for Mental Health

I just finished up a clinical rotation in Mental Health this semester.  It’s enough to make you suffer from depression!  Or at the very least need a massage for your Mental Health.

Our instructors and books say repeatedly that our jail systems are the biggest warehouse for the mentally ill.  There may not be any inpatient beds for somebody suffering with psychosis, but somehow they fit right into our jails.  Our mentally ill are being incarcerated for behaviors that are a result of mental illness, schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s, or addiction.  Many of them are homeless.  They need treatment, medications, and support.

And probably the most depressing part of Mental Health Clinicals is the adolescent unit.  These kids have endured trauma and abuse beyond what I can fathom, and when they leave the treatment facility will return to the people and situations that caused their pain to begin with.  It’s downright depressing.

Massage Therapy for Mental Health
My mental health textbook references massage therapy 4 times. I’m so impressed with how far we have come.

And it’s not just that there is a little bit of mental illness.  Mental health is similar to physical health.  Sometimes you get sick.  Most of the time you’re pretty healthy.  And sometimes you have a lifelong illness (physical or mental) that needs lifelong treatment.  Most people can identify times in their lives when they were out of balance, overly anxious, stressed, depressed, or just not functioning as well mentally as they know they are capable.  And all of us know people in our family, friends, or community who are suffering with more extreme forms of those imbalances.  Mental illness touches us all.

I’m grateful for the dedicated Mental Health care professionals that I have met this semester.  God Bless Them!  We need them so badly.  We need funding and policy changes to allow mental health the same importance and voice that physical problems like cancer get.  We need more health care providers to get excited about helping people with mental health problems, to serve health care in that capacity.

I actually feel guilty because I prefer to work with people with their guts falling out than with mental health problems, because at least if your guts are falling out I can stuff ’em back inside and slap a bandage on it.  In mental health, the guts are falling out, and people are bleeding out, but you can’t stuff it back in.  You can’t see it.  It’s not so easy.  I guess I feel disempowered by mental illness.  There is no immediate fix, no bandage, just a winding road of possibilities and not enough resources for long term support.

But at the same time, I deal with mental illness/health all the time in a positive way, on the massage table.  And it has been a very empowering relationship.  People come to us in pain, grieving loss, with anxiety and depression, and needing help with dealing with the stress of everyday life on the planet. We are honored every day that our community chooses to come to us for stress relief.

According to University of Maryland, massage makes us feel better by the “release of endorphins (natural painkillers and mood elevators),” and reducing the levels of stress hormones (cortisol).  Endorphins are one of the main neurotransmitters involved in depression and bipolar.

Foot Massage is AMAZING!
Massage Therapy for Mental Health

So, looking at the mental health problems our country is faced with right now may be devastatingly depressing, but thank goodness there is massage therapy for those times when we are in pain, grieving loss, having anxiety and depression, and needing help with dealing with the stress of everyday life on the planet.  I guess massage is the bandage that I feel empowered by when dealing with the guts of every day mental health/illness.  I’m grateful to have it in my life.

If this post was so stressful that you now need a massage, call 479-251-7422 to schedule an appointment.  Or you could just come get a massage because you know you need it.  Or because we haven’t seen you in forever.  Please pop in to I.M. Spa to see us when you are downtown for the Farmer’s Market!  If for no other reason than that it is good for OUR mental health to see you!

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422



Acupuncture Works, Have You Tried it Yet?

This is the phone call we get over and over at the spa.  “I want to ask the acupuncturist some questions.”  We want to know if the needles hurt.  Is acupuncture recommended for pain, for endometriosis, for depression, for erectile dysfunction, for neuropathy, and for a million other ailments.  Can I receive acupuncture when I’m pregnant.

The answer is a resounding yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.  And no, the needles do not hurt.  They’re tiny.

In this New York Times article about bioelectronics, the author talks about getting the nervous system to heal itself, and that neuroscientists are learning how to hack into our nervous systems.

That is what acupuncture does.  And you can read Michael Behar’s behind the scenes interview about how Eastern Medicine practitioners have known this for 4,000 years.

Acupuncture works for so many things.  There is no way to know for sure if it will be the perfect thing for your body right now until you try it, and we would love to introduce you to the world of acupuncture.

Schedule an appointment at I.M. Spa: 479-251-7422

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422


Let’s Get Real About Food Addiction

I’ve had a lot of people say to me that, “Eating raw is easy for you.  You’re different from me.  I’m just not that disciplined.  I could never do that.”

Let’s get real for a minute.

I smoked cigarettes from the time I was 16 till I was 24.  Smoking was the first thing I did every morning and the last thing I did every evening for 8 years.  Craig had to wrestle the cigarette out of my hand at our wedding.  I even had to quit for basic training in the Air Force for 6 weeks, but did I take advantage of that opportunity?

Hell no.  The first day I was out I defiantly bought myself a pack of Marlboro Reds in a box and proceeded to be sick for three days reacquainting my body with the toxins of cigarettes.  I’d be damned if anybody was going to tell me I couldn’t smoke.

I spent the next 4 years on the flightline at Langley Air Force Base smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, and eating Rally Burgers (remember those).  Oh man, those were good and I loved them.

Actually my diet was so bad, and I drank so much Crown Royal and Michelob that I was Hypoglycemic.  I made a great victim too with my hypoglycemia.  Not to say that I didn’t feel faint, and weak, and unable to focus or keep from shaking.  But nobody told me (or if they did I was to ornery to listen) that all I had to do was eat better and stop boozing so much and I wouldn’t be hypoglycemic.  In my mind I had a condition and it just couldn’t be helped.  Something was wrong with me.

I didn’t quit smoking till I was pregnant with my first son and my midwife, Kate Conway, told me she wouldn’t deliver my baby if I didn’t quit.  Even then I had to get the help of a hypnotist to quit.  I couldn’t do it on my own.

Every day before my hypnosis session I would be out in the parking lot with my “last cigarette.”  I can still vividly see myself in my red Ford F-150, sucking that cigarette as if my life depended on it.  Every night I would listen to my hypnosis tape as I went to bed.  My hypnotist guaranteed I would quit in 3 sessions.  It took 5.  That was over 20 years ago.  And I still breathe really deep whenever I think about cigarettes.  That was the replacement behavior that she programmed me with.

Even after I quit smoking and drinking and had my first child, I still had beliefs that were keeping me from eating healthy.  I believed that because my mom cooked things from our farm, and that she believed her cooking was healthy, that it was healthy for me.

That’s a big one.

We grow up with great trust in our parents and our food traditions and we can’t possibly fathom that there is a distinct possibility that we are not eating as well as we think we are.

We did eat good, farm raised, local foods.  But come to find out, I had severe wheat and peanut allergies, and you just can’t know those things until you pare back your food and figure out what is causing problems.

Just because it’s farm food, doesn’t make it the right chemistry for your body.  Especially when we’re talking about bacon (yeah, I said it), butter (oh, now you’re hating me), and lard (I know.  Sacrilegious).

I watched my dear friend Martha go through her full pregnancy with her twins, Leif and Roald, on Raw Food and asked her all of the same questions that people ask me now.  Do you get enough protein?  How do you do that?  I could never do that.  Don’t you think your kids should eat SOME of the ‘normal’ food so that their bodies don’t completely reject it when they go to a birthday party where they are serving cake and hot dogs?

I was honored to assist her for the home birth of those beautiful boys.  They thrive on a raw food diet.

I didn’t believe it until I ended up in a doctor’s office, depressed, crying all the time, no energy, didn’t care if my kids hurt each other–or not that I didn’t care, I was aware that it was a possibility and I was not motivated to act on it, and 25 pounds overweight.

The doctors said I was stressed and I needed to rest.  One doctor treated me as if I was hysterical and actually rolled her eyes at me.  I was convinced something was wrong.  I knew it probably had to do with my food.  I suspected it was food allergies and knew some of the ones I was allergic to, went to the Allergy doctor to get tested, thinking he would give me a comprehensive list of what I was allergic to, and found out that I had a ton of severe food allergies.

I started out thinking about eliminating what I couldn’t have.

I don’t recommend that approach to anybody.  I spent all my time in the store looking at ingredients and getting more depressed because when you look at it that way it seems as if you can’t eat anything and that is simply not true.

When I discovered Raw Food it was a huge relief, because instead of thinking about what I couldn’t have I could focus on everything I could have.  When everything you buy comes out of the produce section or the bulk section there are no limitations and you can eat as much as you want to without worry.

The cleaner my body got, the more I valued feeling great.  It was no longer worth it to ‘indulge’ in crappy food.  I wasn’t depressed and crying anymore, I wanted to be involved with everything, and I could be the parent I wanted to be.

It changed my life.  I cringe to think what might have become of me and my family if I had continued drinking Dr. Peppers every day, eating bread at every meal, and eating processed meats and other food like substances.

My life is amazing because of clean burning food.  But don’t think that I just walked into healthy eating as if it were a walk in the park.  I’ve been in the trenches with my food trip and I don’t envy anybody going through that right now.  Change is hard.  But if I can do it, so can you.  Don’t give up.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.  Schedule an appointment for a massage  479-251-7422


Healing Community

When I was a kid we moved around a ton.  Texas, the Bahamas, San Diego, New Hampshire, Possum Trot, Low Gap, Monterey.  My parents were musicians and the community we had was the community of artists and musicians.  It’s a beautiful thing because there is a whole culture of people who speak the same language, hold the same values, and they dedicate their lives to their art.

It’s been amazing watching my kids grow up in the same house for the past 18 years.  It’s a whole other level of community that I’ve come to know, and man is it beautiful.  We have a supportive spiritual community in our church, a very active and supportive local business community, a musical community, an educational community at the university as well as at the public schools,  a farm community that is feeding us well, and a downtown local community of folks who, you might not know them all one on one, but there are faces that are just part of the fabric that makes this town so beautiful.  I’m sure I’m leaving out a bazillion folks but you get the idea.

We also have a healing community here in Fayetteville that is a remarkable resource.  We have great chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, physical therapists, vibration therapists, acoustic therapists, art therapists, nurses, doctors, psychologists, hypnotherapists, yoga instructors, physical trainers, midwives, doulas, herbalists, nutritionists (or rather ‘foodies’), and many other specialties.  Hah!  I almost left out one of my favorites, massage therapists.

I’m on a mission to interview as many talented, smart, innovative, out of the box thinking, health practitioners who are amazing at their job as I can.  (Which isn’t very many right now since I’m in nursing school full time).  I love to find out how people got interested in their work, what they love about it, how it changes lives, and how it contributes to our  healing community.

I have quite a list of people I want to talk to, but I’m interested in you.  Who do you love?  Who has helped you with your health?  Who has made you feel better?  Who are you grateful for, and can we talk to them so that we can tell others how awesome they are?

Leave a comment below with the website and contact information of the healing community people you love, so that we can share the love.  Inquiring minds want to know!

Learn more about I.M. Spa or book a massage, facial, or acupuncture appointment 479-251-7422.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

Our Travel Minivan outside of Cosmic Cafe in Dallas.

$100 Giveaway. Spa Girls on the Road 2014

Spa Girls on the Road 2014.  Where should we go next?  We’re having another $100 giveaway because we need ideas.

When I started nursing school I said to the girls (employees) at I.M. Spa, “We should go on a trip to celebrate the business (and me) surviving the semester.  Where do you want to go?  And that’s how we ended up going to Dallas to visit Cosmic Cafe, Shuang Feng Foot Massage, King Spa, and Be Raw Food and Juice together.

Well, another semester is upon us.  It’s intimidating.  It’s challenging.  It’s a lot of work.  But we’re determined to make it through.  And when we do, we want to travel somewhere awesome and be clients at somebody else’s amazing spa location, eat amazing healthy food, meet amazing spa people, and see things we don’t always get to see.

Where should we go?  Post a comment below about places we could go and you will be entered to win $100 worth of spa services or products from I.M. Spa.

Our Travel Minivan Outside of Cosmic Cafe in Dallas
Our Travel Minivan Outside of Cosmic Cafe in Dallas

Places we’re considering going?  Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, New Mexico, and Colorado.

What kind of places do we want to visit?  Spas, hot springs, local independent stores, vegan or raw food restaurants, yoga studios, and other cool local attractions.

The last $100 giveaway we did only had 6 people participating.  Which is crazy, considering that there are thousands of people who come to I.M. Spa for services.  But that means the odds of winning are in your favor.

So post a comment below, and we’ll put your name in the drawing for the $100 giveaway.

Or just call I.M. Spa for an appointment!  479-251-7422

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.

Julie gets a deep massage

Chinese Foot Massage in Frisco, Texas

One of our most excellent, awesome clients, Alpha, recommended that we travel through Frisco on our trip to celebrate I.M. Spa surviving me being in nursing school full time.   Why Frisco?  There is a quirky little, hole in the wall foot massage place, where they’re not very good at advertising, marketing, signage, or branding.  But they’re amazing at Chinese Foot Massage.  It’s called Shuang Feng Foot Massage.  And for $30 each, all 6 of us from our little day spa here in Arkansas, piled out of my minivan in Frisco Texas, and received a full hour of Chinese foot massage together.

Chinese Foot Massage in Frisco Texas.
Chinese Foot Massage in Frisco Texas.

Chinese foot massage isn’t really just a foot massage.  It starts with a hot foot soak and foot massage, but it is a full body experience.

And it’s not anything like what we do at I.M. Spa where we’re all about connection and, ‘How are you feeling?  Do you like deep pressure, medium pressure?  What would you like me to focus on during your massage?”  That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just a different focus.  It’s actually quite amazing and great.

The focus is definitely on stimulating energy lines.  The massage was methodical, deep, and sometimes uncomfortably so, but the goal was not to send us into a relaxing coma.  The goal was to balance the acupressure meridians.  If you get relaxed in the process that’s great, but not required.

Wendy Gets 'Foot' Massage
Wendy Gets ‘Foot’ Massage

When we got done with our massage and were all talking about it on the sidewalk, everybody admitted that there was a point in the massage when the pressure was uncomfortably deep around the throat and there wasn’t really a way or time to adjust our bodies or communicate with the therapist to ask for lighter pressure.  We all just suffered through, hoping that part would end soon.  And it did.

Jessica Crass was particularly happy with the deep pressure of this massage.  Loved it.

The therapists really work hard in this kind of

 Julie gets a deep massage
Julie gets a deep massage

massage.  The amount of pressure is intense and constant.  I felt guilty that they only charged $30 for the session and left a good tip.

When my therapist was done with me she said, “You done, Lady,” and tapped me on the shoulder.  I felt amazing.  I was sore for two days afterwards, but in a good way.

And I guarantee you, the next time I go to Texas to visit my family, I’m making a one hour stop in Frisco at the Shuang Feng foot massage place.  Let me know if you want to join me.

Oh, and don’t get discouraged when you are looking for the place and you don’t feel like you can find it.  This is what their store front looks like:

Shuang Feng Front Door
Shuang Feng Front Door
Shuang Feng Price list
Shuang Feng Price list

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.


The Dread Urinary Tract Infection

I paused before writing this post as I considered whether it was TMI and erred on the side of ‘we’re all in this boat together.’  If you are a woman chances are that you have had to deal with Urinary Tract Infection.  50% of women get them.

It’s one of those things that is sooo uncomfortable that it’s easy to go running to the doctor for an antibiotic to get rid of the pain, oh, and get rid of that blood in my urine too please, pronto.  The problem is, if you take the antibiotics to clear up the Urinary Tract Infection the antibiotics will wipe out all the good bacteria in your body too, and then you’re stuck dealing with another one of those aggravating things most women have had to deal with–yeast infections.  So you escape one painful horrible problem by taking the antibiotic and you have effectively replaced one horrible problem for another horrible problem, all while smiling at friends and coworkers and the unsuspecting general public.

But if you’ve had more than a couple of them, then you can certainly tell when they are coming and start treating them right away.  I have never had to go to the doctor for a UTI, not to say that you shouldn’t go to the doctor if you need to–I prefer to handle things myself if I can.    “Conventional” methods tend to leave me with more problems to fix and I have always been able to take care of UTIs myself.  The girls at the spa helped me compile a ‘go to’ list for everything you can do when you start noticing that you have the tell tale signs of the dread infection:

  • urgency to pee even though not much of anything coming out
  • irritation in the urethra, especially when pee-ing
  • general discomfort in your lower abdomen
  • burning sensation
  • start to get worried if you are having fever and chills or if you have flank pain (time to go to the doctor for sure)

What can cause UTI?  UTI is a bacterial infection in the urethra that can spread to the bladder and then up to the kidneys where it can inflict serious damage.  As women, with short, little, somewhat exposed urethras there are some things that we do that give the wrong bacteria access to our insides:

  • Sex-all kinds of bacteria meshing together
  • Too much time in the hot tub-soften and swells tissue
  • wiping from back to front-brings E. Coli bacteria to the front
  • using a wash cloth to clean the area-roughs up the tissue making it easier for bacteria to ascend
  • women have a shorter urethra than men, 4cm in women compare to 20cm in men. This is why we are more susceptible.
  • some women simply have anatomically susceptible urethras.

It’s possible that you might have a resident population of bacteria that normally gets along just fine, but given ideal opportunities, takes advantage and overgrows repeatedly–kind of a dormant gang that has to be put in its place by your good bacteria on a regular basis.  Cops and robbers of planet Urethra!

What to do:

  • Drink water.  Lots.
  • Homeopathics
  • Uva Ursi (tea, tincture, or capsules)
  • “Just Cranberry “Juice (doesn’t have sugar which feeds bacteria)
  • Yarrow tincture
  • Cranberry (capsules)
  • Always pee after sex
  • don’t use a washcloth to cleanse

First thing you should do is stay hydrated.  Drink huge glasses of water.  Getting through the discomfort of a UTI is much easier with a full bladder and a steady stream of fresh urine.  If you have to have an urgent need to pee a lot it’s tons easier to do with a stream instead of a trickle.

My go to, first thing I used to tell people who asked was the Homeopathic Boiron Cantharis pills.  They can make life bearable while you are working on cleaning out your insides.  But one of the girls at the spa turned me on to Uva Ursi, something I bathed in after home birthing my babies (Web MD says not to use it with children or pregnant woment).  She has pills of Uva Ursi that she swallows and marvels at my ability to drink it as a tea.  I guess I’m pretty hard core.  I’d just as soon get rid of it than worry about what it tastes like.  “Just Cranberry” is super bitter too, but I just chug it straight down.  I’m interested in feeling better.  Tastes are temporary.

My nursing pathophysiology book even talks about cranberry juice as a remedy for UTI.  It works because the substances in the cranberry make the surfaces of the urinary tract slippery so that the bacteria cannot adhere and are washed out with the urine.

10% of women are asymptomatic and don’t feel a thing when they have a UTI.  UTIs can spread all the way to the kidneys if left untreated and become a serious problem.  Always check with the doctor when in doubt.

It helps to know that you’re not alone and there are plenty of options that can work that don’t involve medication, especially if it is a recurrent thing for you.

Do you have other tips for eliminating urinary tract infections?

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.





“What would life be without home grown tomatoes.”  Guy Clark said it best, “When I die, don’t you bury me, in a box in the cemetary.  Out the garden would be much better, and I could be pushing up home grown tomatoes.”

Full Excalibur of Dehydrated Tomatoes
Full Excalibur of Dehydrated Tomatoes

Yeah that’s right. I did it.  Loaded up all nine trays of my Excaliber with second tomatoes from the Farmer’s Market.   One full grocery bag of second tomatoes.  I don’t even know how much it weighed but it was heavy and I carried it all the way from the market down to my shop.

The girls at work were like, “Dang!”

And I was like, “Shah!”

Total cost?  $12.

I hope to do it a couple more times before nursing school starts.

Yeah, don’t come crying to me in the middle of winter when there aren’t any fresh tomatoes to be found and you’re paying $8 for 2 ounces of sun dried tomatoes to thicken your marinara sauce.  🙂

Yep, feeling pretty full of myself.  Mighty tomato hunter!  I can stalk a bag of tomatoes in the middle of a crowded Farmer’s Market in the middle of summer, drag it into my kitchen, slaughter it, dehydrate it, and stash it till stocks are low.

Wendy Finn is the mother of 4 boys, owner of I.M. Spa, a Raw Food Enthusiast and educator, a world traveler in pursuit of superior massage education, a Master Massage Therapist of 20 plus years, a gardener, and a nursing student.  She’s passionate about touching people and sharing health.