Apr 052018


Classes for Herbalists, Healers, & Culture Shifters – at the upcoming 2018 Good Medicine Confluence 

Since moving our Good Medicine Confluence to its new mountain-top site in Durango, Colorado, we have been able to procure sufficient spaces to expand our topics to include additional modalities, and means for a wildly healthy and deeply meaningful life. In just 4 weeks time, we will be presenting 5 days and nights with 140 unique classes that have never been taught anywhere before, exploring the depths and frontiers of empowered healing in all its many forms from botanical medicine to healthy foods, nature therapy, cannabis and entheogens, and the radical remaking of the current cultural paradigm! 

Good Medicine Confluence Website: www.PlantHealer.org/intro.html


Once we have learned assessment skills and developed an understanding of materia medica, we need to concern ourselves with basic human physiology, clinical skills such as therapeutics, and quality care. To this end, we have booked more practicable instruction than ever seen before, including the following described classes by the likes of Kenneth Proefrock, Phyllis Light, Vicky Salcido-Cobbe, Tiffany Freeman, Missy Rohs, CoreyPine Shane, Anja Robinson, Julie James, Marija Helt, Dave Meesters, Betsy Costilo Miller, and Penney Garrett.


Fascia & Physical Reality: Sensory Integration, Pleasure, Pain & Psychology

with Kenneth Proefrock (1.5 hrs)

Here we take our lead from Ida Rolf and discuss the far reaching ways that fascial tension and rupture can impact the architecture of the rest of the body. We discuss the ways in which botanical medicine, nutrition, and specific movement can impact the fascial system in pain syndromes like fibromyalgia, CRPS and arthritis. Specifically, we talk about the botanicals Polygonatum (Solomon’s seal), Urtica (Nettles), Asparagus (Satavari), Cissus quadrangularis, Piscidia, Albizia, Equisetum, Hemidesmus, Zanthoxylum,Phytolacca and Ashwagandha as well as oleoresinous plants like Curcuma, Zingiber, Alpinia, Larrea, and Boswellia. We will also address Nutritional and Physical exercise options for patients with chronic pain syndromes within a backdrop of the myriad ways that our everyday experience of life leads to our everyday sense of purpose, meaning and contextualization of life’s events.


Abuelita Herbalism: The Sacred in the Simple

with Vicky Salcido-Cobbe (1.5 hrs)

The foot soaks, the onion poultice, the oregano-heavy soup. In these complex times, simple and powerful traditional remedies like these have their place in our Herbal Practices now more than ever. As access to basic healthcare becomes endangered in many communities, the ease-full, approachable, and low-cost remedies of old have the potential to enliven folx of all walks of life. Join in a celebration of the Abeulos and Abuelas (Grandfathers and Grandmothers) who walked before us. We will embody the Grandmother Oaks of old: full of wisdom, strong, loving, and a bit stern when needed. In celebration of sacred simplicity, we will create and/or experience easy, accessible, and affordable remedies for general well-being. Learn ways to incorporate herbs into your meals and other everyday rituals such as bathing, moisturizing, and sleeping. We will discuss the value in embracing “Multi-Tasking Herbs,” herbs that play many roles and are easy to grow in most climates. We will challenge ourselves to ask the question, “what would I do if this were 300 years ago?”

This class is intended to be an encouraging, practical look at bringing herbalism into the lives of many. You’ll find no exact ratios here, but a rekindling of the wisdom held within the many Medicine Carriers of your bloodline. You are encouraged to bring stories of the teachings of your elders. Join us as we demystify herbalism as the people’s medicine, a lovely medicine indeed.


Medicines of Our Ancestors: Smoke, Cupping, & Blood-Letting

with Tiffany Freeman (1.5 hrs)

The use of Smoke, Cupping & Blood letting as therapeutic techniques have been used across the globe by many of our ancestors for time immemorial. Blood letting and cupping often conjure up images of the dramatic techniques that took place during the dark ages, or the backs of famous folks in Hollywood that looked like they’ve been attacked by an octopus, and for a lot of us it just makes us feel uneasy & queasy to think of bleeding or the sucking up of skin. In this talk we will discuss how many cultures across the globe had systems of medicine, that predate blood letting in Europe or Hollywood fads, that have several hundred years of practice, tradition & literature on these techniques. We will be looking at the history, past & present, and the importance of the therapeutic benefits of using cupping & blood letting as well as smoke for tools for health. Alongside we will  also explore the cultural and spiritual significance of these globally shared techniques.  


Topical Applications of Botanical Medicines for Pain:

Revisiting The Use of Liniments, Lotions, Salves, Creams & Gels

with Kenneth Proefrock (2 hrs)

Revisiting the historical origins of topical pain relief while reconciling those original understandings with modern clinical practice. We will discuss strategies for making topical agents for botanical interventions, what seems to work for certain clinical presentations, as well as methods that allow for the best extraction and utilization of particular plant constituents. Ideally, we will demonstrate how to make particular topical preparations, including Aloe based lotions, salves into creams and several gel forming bases, what to consider in your interventional strategy and how to apply it. We will spend some time discussing the topical use of Tropane alkaloid containing plants like Atropa, Datura, Hyoscyamine, Lobelia as well as neurologically active agents like Veratrum, Aconite and Sassafras as well as relatively rarely spoken about agents like Amanita, Celastrus, Zanthoxylum and Rhus spp. We will address the treatment of painful conditions that are neurological, fascial, muscular and articular in origin.


First Aid For The Herbal Healer: Handling Emergencies Well

with Missy Rohs (2 hrs)

Perhaps you know which herbs to use for wounds and broken bones, but do you know how to handle an emergent situation?  Keeping a level head and being thorough when crisis strikes can make an enormous difference in outcome.  As community health resources, herbalists often find themselves in a special position to utilize these skills.

In this class, Missy will draw on her personal experiences, her wilderness first aid training, and her years of teaching street medic skills with the Black Cross Health Collective.  Together, we’ll cover the most important parts of being the first responder to an emergency, from scene assessment to patient evaluation.  We’ll talk about identifying your resources, working together with bystanders, and overcoming common hurdles to competent treatment.  Most importantly, we’ll practice the skills in realistic scenarios, learning by doing.  Please come dressed to spend time outside, and bring along whatever accoutrements you typically carry in your bag when you plan to spend the day outdoors.


Let’s Get It On: Herbs to Enhance Sexual & Sensual Experience

with Missy Rohs (2 hrs)

How can we use herbs and ritual to support sexuality and sensuality in our lives?  Missy will discuss the fundamentals of herbal support for a pleasant engagement with ourselves and others as sexual beings, incorporating simple ritual into setting intentions for this work.  After covering the basics of bolstering sexual health with herbs, we’ll dip our toes into the delightful pool of aphrodisiac herbs, plants to spice up and enhance our sensual experiences.  You’ll leave with plenty of ideas to create a juicy, indulgent date with desire.


Neurotrophorestoratives: Support For Nervous Exhaustion

with CoreyPine Shane (1.5 hrs)

It’s a mouthful, but this word was coined by 19th century American herbalists to describe herbs that were nourishing instead of sedating to the nervous system. We’ll talk about how to recognize excess functioning of the nervous system and deficient functioning of exhaustion and depletion, and which herbs to use when. This important diagnostic difference can help us treat diverse conditions like anxiety, depression, and insomnia.


Herbal Choices For The Three Stages of Respiratory Illness

with CoreyPine Shane (1.5 hrs)

There is a large materia medica of herbs that work on upper respiratory infections, probably because they are so common. But different herbs work better for different stages of infection, and this understanding is very helpful in choosing the right herb. We will talk about the 3 stages of 1) Initial infection; 2) Deepening infection; and 3) Resolution and Recovery – a time when remedies are often tossed aside but actually need to be continued.


British nurse Florence

Herbs for Pain: Breaking Addiction

with Phyllis Light (1.5 hrs)

We’ve all had aches and pains at some time or the other such as those resulting from overwork or the flu. For most of us, these aches and pains tend to go away after a few days even without application of a remedy. However, for many folks, the pain is unrelenting or unmanageable leading to taking prescription drugs for relief. Home remedies, including herbs and natural care approaches, can speed the process of healing and provide pain relief and an end to discomfort within a very short time. Join Phyllis as she discusses natural approaches to breaking the pain cycle which include herbs that can help reduce pain and inflammation such as cayenne, turmeric, ginger, devils, claw and many others. She’ll also discuss a variety of natural health modalities and their role in helping manage pain, both acute and chronic.


Autoimmune Disorders: A Holistic Approach

with Phyllis Light (1.5 hrs)

Autoimmune diseases affect millions of Americans especially women. While the specific causes of autoimmune disease are not known, there are some commonalities to be found among many autoimmune diseases.  Phyllis Light, renowned teacher, author, and herbalist, in an inspiring discussion of autoimmune disorders and natural approaches to their management. She will discuss theories of the cause of autoimmune disorders, common signs and symptoms or patterns of dysfunction, different types of autoimmune disorders, lifestyle approaches for management, nutritional support, and herbs that help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.


What The Hell is The HPA Axis?: Holistically Managing Stress in These Crazy Times

with Anja Robinson (1.5 hrs)

In this class we will take a deep dive into the mechanisms of the stress response system and the mismatch occurring in our modern environment. We will break down the components of the nervous system that make up our stress response such as the adrenals, neurotransmitters, hormones as well as something known as the HPA Axis. We will explore healthy cortisol rhythms and how our modern world is playing a role in disrupting our bodies natural flow. We will discuss signs and symptoms of adrenal dysregulation as well as many common health concerns we are seeing in our current culture as a result. As a class we will explore creative solutions for dietary, herbal, lifestyle shifts as well as body/mind techniques to help us come back into balance, support our nervous systems and holistically manage our stress in our modern world.


Rivers of Life: A Deep Dive Into Ayurvedic Breast Health
with Anja Robinson (1.5 hrs)

In this class, we will explore Lymphatic Breast Health though the lens of Ayurvedic self-care & massage. We will dive into our inner landscape and begin to understand the importance the lymphatic system plays in self-care and immunity as well as learn some tools to help support lymph flow & blood circulation. We will discuss anatomy and physiology, common health concerns for women as well as life style factors that contribute to our breast health. We will discover how to map the terrain of our breast tissue and the lymphatic system so we can decipher what is “normal” and walk away with the knowledge of how to massage, check and care for our own breasts for health and vitality. We will explore the interconnectedness of mind & body to deeply understand how we hold our emotions in our tissues and how to support ourselves in releasing grief, trauma and processing our emotions through this work. Together we will come up with creative solutions to our blockages around self- care as well as mind-body medicine techniques to infuse into our daily practice so that we may receive deep nourishment and support our healthy flow. This will be an exciting and inspiring journey into Ayurvedic self-care and Women’s Health!


Tissue Tonics: A Completely Made-Up, But Very Handy, Class of Herbs

with Julie James (1.5 hrs)

In my practice, and in my teaching, the very best use of herbs is as nourishing, strengthening agents that build and balance systems and organs and tissues, resulting in an environment conducive to healing. No matter the condition, no matter the complexity of the problem at hand, this class of herbs, Tissue Tonics, can always, always provide considerable assistance and improve healing capacity.

The term Tissue Tonics, as previously noted, isn’t an official action yo’ll see in book.  In fact, I have never seen it (the closest I see is the homeopathic tissue salts, a completely different, but sort of similar, concept). And yet, I constantly refer to them, and I, my students, and my clients, find them to be easily understood, exceptionally practical, and very handy. Tissue Tonics are those herbs that improve the health of various tissues: cells, membranes, skin, hair, tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones – all of them have complex chemistry that is significantly supported by many different herbs: astringents, nutritives, anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories, tonics – we have numerous names for them, but when we collect them all under this heading, we can change the way we approach healing: by setting a goal of nourishing both the specific tissues in questions, and all of the tissues in general, we change the measure of success, we change the meaning of how we heal. And it’s a profound change. In this class we will reframe how we approach certain well-known and well-loved plants, and how they provide healing to ourselves and our clients. We will taste them, explore how and when to use them, and how to expand this concept into our foods and our environment.


The Vagus Nerve & Brain-Gut Communication

with Betsy Costilo-Miller (1.5 hrs)

Unlike Las Vegas, what happens in the vagus nerve doesn’t stay in the vagus nerve.  The impact of this parasympathetic innervator extends throughout our entire physiology, exerting particular influence over lung, heart and gut function.  This class will look at the anatomy & physiology of the vagus nerve, and how its tone (or lack thereof) impacts a range of processes, from how we respond to stressors to the formation of memories.  In particular, we look at the intricate communication network between our brain and gut, facilitated by the vagus nerve (like a super awesome tin can phone), and the marvel that is the enteric nervous system.


Healthy Sleep: Herbal & Holistic Approaches

with Dave Meesters (1.5 hrs)

Getting plenty of restful sleep is one of the pillars of health & vitality. Yet it’s easy to overlook the importance of sleep, and to allow the concerns of waking life to erode our daily dreamtime and bodily restoration. Furthermore, many of us have trouble sleeping well, and don’t achieve the quantity and quality of sleep that we desire and so badly need. Sleep troubles come in many forms, they can arise from different causes, and are often symptoms of deeper conditions and energetic imbalances, which lack of sleep can easily exacerbate. For these reasons, herbal treatment of insomnia can be tricky, and the herbalist typically needs an array of remedies and approaches, as well as skills for discerning between them. Passionflower alone doesn’t always cut it!

This class distills my experience and research into establishing and supporting lasting healthy sleep. We’ll talk a little about the physiology of sleep, about what keeps us from sleeping well, and about general practices to support good sleep. Then, we’ll spend most of the class differentiating between different kinds of insomnia, and presenting a wide variety of remedies for sleep troubles, including when and how to use them.


Botanical Support For Athletes

with Marija Helt (1.5 hrs)

Actually, this class is not relevant to just athletes. It’s applicable to anyone who moves, whether for a physically demanding job, as an avid gardener or in preparation for clearing all the crap out of the garage.  I’m simply basing it on experiments with what helps as a 40-something year old martial artist and cyclist and with what helps my training partners and clients.  One habit that has been helpful is using a muscle warmup liniment before training and a muscle and joint antiinflammatory oil afterwards. When I get lazy and stop doing this, I’m more prone to injuries. We’ll make both in this class and I’ll share my favorite plants and essential oils for muscle, connective tissue and bone support in preventing and dealing with injuries. These include Pedicularis, Nettles, Goldenrod, Horsetail, Ashwagandha, St. John’s Wort, Mullein Root along with essential oils of Ginger, Black Pepper, Rosemary, Marjoram, Frankincense and Helichrysum.  It doesn’t take much effort to use botanicals to keep yourself moving, and it can make a big difference for those of us no longer in our 20’s (or 30’s, for that matter).


Food Elimination Diets: How To Make ‘Em Not Suck

with Penney Garrett (1.5 hrs)

Do you know someone who stopped eating gluten and no longer gets joint pain or acne? Have you thought about ditching dairy to see if you lose weight or stop getting stomach aches? Have you tried to guide your clients through dietary changes but find they always seem to fall off the wagon?

Elimination diets are quite the fad these days, but actually implementing one into your life can be difficult beyond belief. Not only do you have to change all your shopping and cooking habits, but the emotional component of breaking up with your favorite foods can be fraught with deep sadness and unsuspecting triggers. If you’ve wanted to shake up your diet – or help someone else do so – but aren’t really sure how, come to this class to learn tips, tricks, and recipes that can make the difference between success and failure. Learn ways to help stay satisfied even without your favorite snacks, tips to make cooking more efficient and cost effective, and what herbal allies you can use to help along the way. This is a great class for those that want to experiment with their own diet for personal change, as well as superb information for practitioners that would like more tools to help guide their clients.

Penney is a certified nutritionist, clinical herbalist, home fermenter and brewer, educator, and personal chef. One of her deepest loves is inspiring people to learn about food and gain the skills for deep and satisfying nourishment. Snacks and treats will be provided in this class to help illustrate the diversity of flavors you can achieve, even on a highly restricted diet. A small donation is requested to help offset the price of food, though no one will be turned away for lack of funds.


The Table Turns: Caring for Our Elders

with Julie James (2 hrs.)

It is inevitable, in the best of circumstances, that each of us, as we age, becomes the caregivers to those revered elders who once cared for us. The wheel turns, and we move into this role often with considerable, and understandable, fear and uncertainty: What can I offer my parents to help them heal, when they are already taking handfuls of medications, when they have multiple health challenges, when their system, their metabolism, their inner fire is not what it once was. We are taught to avoid herbs, that they can be deadly when combined with the medications, that the only certainty comes from the medical protocol given by the doctor. This is patently untrue, in so many respects. The materia medica of healing plants at our disposal for elder care is considerable, safe, and can ease much of the discomfort of aging, and often, of the effects, side effects and interactions of those handfuls of medications. We can still nourish and strengthen them, we can learn to appreciate and work with the changes in their bodies and create herbal protocols that are easy for them to understand and use, and that their doctors may even support and learn from.

We will discuss:

•Common concerns in elder health, and protocols for dealing with those issues.

•The most common herb-drug-nutrient interactions, and how to safely navigate through them.

•Compliance and dosing strategies.

•Caregiver care and appropriate boundaries for our own safety and sanity.

In these times, with fractured families and broken health care systems and uncertain futures, This is an area we all need to be more mindful of. My hope is that you leave this class with more compassion and confidence in your own abilities and in the safety and efficacy of herbal medicines, and feeling empowered to work as an advocate and caregiver for your beloved elders.


Accepting Death: Stepping Over the Final Threshold

with Julie James (1.5 hrs.)

“A culture that does not know how to die, will live in fear of the unknown.”

The dominant culture in America has become wholly and unhealthily removed from the process of death and dying. We tend to see any open discussion of death as ghoulish, we deny death and at the same time have a bizarre obsession with images of violent death, horror, and ideas of what comes afterward. We have come to this state in a relatively short period of time– as recently as our grandparents’ time, families still honored their beloved dead at home, tended lovingly and mindfully for their bodies, and during the process of dying, stayed with their loved ones, caring for them and surrounding them with community, family, and children. Now, too often the process of dying is relegated to sterile hospitals, with the dying isolated from their community, accompanied often by only their doctors and nurses. And when the body finally dies, it is whisked off to a mortuary, unseen and untouched and unloved until it is finally presented in a sterile, artificially preserved and painted manner. Families who seek to care for their dying at home are seen as oddities, and if they then choose to care for the body of their beloved dead themselves, atrocities.  And yet the right to care for our dying and our dead is so very human, and is a deeply healing way to come to terms with death. We are able to more closely work through our grief and loss when we are not disenfranchised from it, when we can openly and publicly mourn, when we can properly honor the relationship that we had and the transition of that relationship. And with that more profound understanding of the process of death and dying, we receive the unmatched gift of emotional and psychological acceptance and closure that can support us in the process of grieving.

In this class, we will look at historical death traditions in American culture and how and why that changed so much, as well as the many cultures that still honor the process of death. We will discuss how herbal allies can help us to be present and supported in the process of dying, how we can ease the passing over that threshold by our beloved, and how we can work through the grief and loss after death.  We will examine how to be with death in a more personal, direct manner, and examine how herbalists can work in and with hospice, death doula, and home funeral organizations, how we can offer pre-death care to the dying and to the community, and how we can help clients regain their incontrovertible right to home death, and become, if they choose, an active participant in the transition as well as the honoring of the body after death. We will look at the physical process following death, how to care for the body, and the legal issues surrounding this process. Regulations are already in place that protect our right to home funerals, and disposition of the body, including alternatives to embalming. By speaking clearly and plainly about death, we hope to start a larger discussion that will continue in our communities and beyond. It is long past time that we take back this extraordinary final journey, making it our own and embracing a deeper understanding and acceptance of our own death in the process.


For all 140 class descriptions and 70 teacher bios – or to purchase Advance Discount Tickets – click on:

Good Medicine Confluence Website: www.PlantHealer.org/intro.html


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