Empowering Self Care through Integrative HealthcareKarin C. Uphoff
Karin is a Master Herbalist and Iridologist, Massage Therapist, energy healer, Reiki practitioner and Yoga Instructor, and co-founder of Mind Body Medicine for Health, Education & Wellness in Mendocino, California. Since 1992, Karin has practiced and taught about many aspects of holistic health including herbal healing, nutrition, energy skills, plant spirit medicine and advanced massage. She has written many articles about herbs and nature and is the author of Botanical Body Care: Herbs and Natural Healing for Your Whole body, a book that combines basic physiology with herbal healing, cleansing and nutrition. Karin is co-host of the bi-monthly radio show Holistic Health Perspectives on kzyx.org and is passionate about empowering others through partnership with the natural world. She is an advocate of community health and is part of Corners of the Mouth, a worker-owned collective health food store, where she serves as a nutritional consultant. Her professional affiliations include the American Herbalist Association, American Herbalist Guild, United Plant Savers and the American Botanical Council. She enjoys exploring the outdoors, gardening, singing, dancing, writing poetry and helping to organize events like the Mendocino Women’s Retreat.
As a general philosophy, everything I know I learned from nature – whether the nature of the outdoors, or my own inner nature and body, or the natural world of the unseen. Plants (and animals) have voices, and I was fortunate enough to recognize them from a young age. I have had many special experiences in nature that continue to strengthen my awe and faith in it.
Most important to this book, Botanical Body Care, is that I have had many key experiences in learning about healing through my own body and the experiences of those I assist, whether clients, customers, or family members – the partnership between plants and people is amazing and sometimes unpredictable, and it is the mystery of the unpredictable that science has difficulty with.
My special interests/hobbies include (but are not limited to!); travel (learning and writing about other cultures), languages, hiking, crafts (papermaking, card making, knitting, watercolor), poetry, music (penny whistle and guitar when I have time), gardening, cooking, singing and dancing.
I grew up with a deep appreciation for plants because I have always spent time in nature – as I grew up in it, it grew through me and helped be connect with my own nature. My parents always cared for plants, grew flowers, trees and a vegetable garden and they taught me how to care for plants too. My German grandmother, who regularly used common herbs to treat her aches and pains and our colds and scrapes, was a strong influence on me and I became curious about the property of herbs.
Later in high school, I teamed up with a friend who grew some medicinal herbs and we made teas and bath sachets for our track and cross-country teams. As a competitive runner, I was very interested in nutrition, became a vegetarian and stopped using any pharmaceutical medication to treat common illness. Recovering from a few injuries taught me much about the power of the body to heal and natural ways we can support it.
In college, my housemate (who was a botany major) and I spent time in the countryside of Corvallis Oregon gathering wild foods and herbs from which we made teas. Working at a coop, steeped me in the world of organics and health food stores, which in this country, serve as an interface for herbal education.
During this time and later, I earned a bachelor degree in science (zoology/animal behavior) and a minor in cultural anthropology (Native American emphasis), which gave me a strong background in physiology and ecology.
After a couple of years as an interning animal behaviorist, I went to graduate school at Arizona State University and earned a master of science (zoology/animal behavior). While there, I taught physiology and biology labs, where I gained experience explaining how the body works and the intricacies of biological systems to students.
My graduate research involved plant-animal relationships (ecology of red squirrels on the Mogollon Rim in Arizona) and I presented breakthrough information on the nutritional ecology of squirrels at the ABS (Animal Behavioral Society) meetings in New York 1990.
University in England
Shortly after graduation, I lost all my belongings in a fire and such big life changes kept me in Santa Barbara California working as a naturalist and wildlife biologist, as I pursued classes in massage and advanced healing arts. I went on to teach massage and energy skills and set up my own massage practice.
My clients began to ask me for herbal advice, so I felt it was time to learn more. I moved to the UK to earn a diploma in herbal medicine and iridology from the Selfheal School – a Dr. Christopher based school of natural healing. When I returned to the US, I worked with one of my teachers, Dr. Schulze for one of his herbal crusades, then I set up my own massage and herbal practice in Santa Barbara.
While in Santa Barbara I began teaching the first western herb classes offered by the Santa Barbara City College adult education program, and one of those classes, Botanical Body Care, eventually inspired this book. My handouts were thorough but students still took copious notes, saying; “this could make a handbook”.
By the time I taught classes for the fifth year – I was getting tired of the annual update of handouts and making copies, so I sat down and put them together, further adding information, researching, compiling and organizing my materials into a book form. I continue to offer the Botanical Body Care class series each spring in Mendocino where I live and hold a private practice.
I am a member of Corners of the Mouth – a worker-owned health-food store in the village, where I serve as a nutritional consultant.
Mendocino County Herb Guild after the American Botanical Council