Homeless Services Clinics

East West Free Herb Clinic at                          Homeless Services Center

This was a busy and fantastic clinic in December. Shelley Swapp’s Neighbor was kind enough to donate many warm blankets for us to give out to those in need at the HSC. Clients received Acupuncture, Herbs, Nutritional Consults and Body Therapy.


East West Free Herb Clinic at HSC

DSCN2721 Acupuncture, compliments of Ahuti Ferid, LAc



In the above photo, Nutritionist and Herbalist Michael McEvoy is in a consult with a client at HSC.


At right, Herbalist Renee Rosky does an herbal intake with a very grateful client.

Below, Herbalist Erin Massengale (seated) is in an herbal consult and standing is Herbalist Morning Flash speaking with an herbal client.


DSCN2731 Dr. Michael Tierra, LAc, demonstrates scraping therapy (gua sha) to Herbalist Renee Rosky. This may look painful, but as you can see in the next photo, the client is relaxed and enjoying this therapy. Gua sha is a traditional healing Chinese therapy used for both acute and chronic pain relief. A warm oil is applied to the area first and then a smooth-edged tool is used to scrape the area. This increases the blood circulation by releasing blood and qi stagnation (which is often the cause of neck and shoulder pain).


Herbalist Melody Overstreet is getting a gua sha facial, neck and shoulder pain relief treatment. Gua sha can be used for facial skin restoration as well as pain relief. Herbalist Renee Rosky demonstrates the scraping technique.


This was a really busy clinic today at Homeless Services Center in Santa Cruz. Have a look at what a typical day at the clinic looks like on an early Saturday morning…… The apparatus that you see in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th photos is known as a Shirodhara unit. Shirodhara is an Ayurvedic therapy that involves pouring a slightly warm liquid on the forehead to balance and calm the mind. This therapy is often used for PTSD, anxiety, abuse, etc.

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In February, our clinic was staffed with 3 acupuncturists – Darren Huckle, L.Ac.,  Lesley Tierra, L.Ac. and Ahuti Ferid, L.Ac., 1 Foot Care Specialist RN Laura Roehrick, RN and EMT Mark Agnello taking vital signs, and Herbalists Shelley Swapp, Larry Nakanishi, Michael McEvoy who is also a CNC, Erin Massengale, Morning Flash, Beverly Jennings and Melody Overstreet. Here are some photos of this clinic.

RN Laura Roehrick, a foot care specialist removed a large corn from one client’s foot and underneath it there may be an ulcer (she wasn’t positive). Now this client can go to get a proper diagnosis because he was unaware of the possible diabetic ulcer underneath the corn and was in a lot of pain.

Michael McEvoy, Herbalist, CNC, speaking with client

DSCN2153 Darren Huckle, LAc needling and gliding cuppingAhuti Ferid, Lac showing Brett acupuncture points on clientDSCN2158



Michael McEvoy, Herbalist and CNC, demonstrates shoulder mobilization techniques to a client at Rebele Family Shelter.

Shoulder Mobilization TechniquesShoulder mobs 2   2015-10-24 11.00.55

 Michael Tierra, L.Ac. demonstrating acupuncture to excited herbal student, Erin.

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2015-10-24 11.01.202015-10-24 12.10.59      Rebele - MT teeaching cupping method                                    Dr. Tierra, L.Ac. demonstrating cupping and bleeding method to relieve blood stagnation, which is causing severe back pain. Rebele - "back pain is gone."

 A very grateful client experiencing great pain relief. “This is the first time in many months that I have no back pain.”


Acupuncture at E/W Free ClinicMichael teaching how to moxa  Michael doing acupuncture at clinic

Dee learning to moxa

Dee doing moxa

On May 30th, AHG members and students of Planetary East West School of Herbology teamed up to work at the Rebele Family Shelter. Michael Tierra, L.Ac. is  giving acupuncture and also demonstrating how to use moxa.  Dee begins using moxa. The art of moxabustion is used to move stagnant blood, dispel dampness and support the body’s natural healing abilities.


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Morning organizing herbal pharmacy

CA Greater Bay Area  Chapter joins East West Free Herb Clinic one day a month at the Rebele Family Shelter in Santa Cruz, CA. The peoople at the shelter were very grateful and welcoming. People who were seen last month are doing really well from the herbal, body work and ear seeding therapies. Here are some photos of the event.


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My experience as an herbalist at Rebele Family Shelter in Santa Cruz

In August of 2014, I had an opportunity to attend a workshop with Lorna Mauney-Brodek of www.herbalista.org. I knew she had won an award at the AHG herbal seminar and had read about her traveling Herbalista Free Clinic Bus. I was excited to learn how to do this, even though, I didn’t have a bus, just yet. Lorna showed us how to make herbal tincture chests out of cardboard boxes, old suitcases, whatever we could find and how to organize tinctures, patents, supplements, etc. Since all of this information is free for anyone to take on her website, we downloaded her service manual, which is, in short, how to organize a business model exactly like hers, with everything you will possibly need to do this, including supplies, business forms, etc.

In September, Michael and Lesley Tierra, my herbal teachers from the East West Planetary School of Herbology, were offering one free day a month for local herbalists and herb students to get together and review tongue and pulse, 10 questions, and to learn ear seeding, moxa, etc. When Michael said he was thinking of having us work as a team, in an herbal free clinic at different venues in the community, such as the homeless shelter, I think all of us were really stoked. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but just didn’t know how or where to begin. The energy level became palpable as the weeks went on, and as we got closer to opening, the students were on fire – and so were the teachers.

Everything from that moment on became one huge synchronicity.People donated herbs from out of the blue. Others bought and donated herbs. My friend, Madhu offered to cook food for more than 20 people and taught me how to make an ayurvedic kitcheree at her home (which was really delicious and is very healing food). She did not want any money for this AND she offered to do this from time to time.

Morning Flash organizing the herbal pharmacy and Michael McEvoy labeling herbs.

Morning Flash organizing the herbal pharmacy and  Michael McEvoy labeling herbs along with Michelle.

My friend Madhu with fresh kitcheree

My friend Madhu with fresh kitcheree

 Emails flew back and forth from the team. Morning Flash  organized all of the herbs. (I was awe-inspired by the amount of work she took on.) Dee and I put together tincture chests. Intake forms and follow up forms were printed. We all made organic tinctures, capsules, formulas, powders.

When we walked into the Page Smith Community Center, that first morning, I really noticed the floors were very dirty, and there were yellow tulips (half dead) on the table. Within one hour, the floors were cleaner, there was a really calming tea in the tea urn. I trimmed up the tulips and threw away the dead leaves and watered the plant – and I swear, the tulips looked like someone had just delivered them. To my amazement, they came right back to life. Larry set up a chair massage. There was spa/reiki type massage music in background. Kathryn brought amazing Bone Broth Soup, we had the kitcheree and tea station. The herbal pharmacy was in place, we had all been briefed. We opened the doors and the patients signed in.

Then it was just truly focused care – from every one of us. We were all seeing tongues and pulses you don’t ordinarily get to see. It was a great relief to be able to consult very quickly with Michael and/or Lesley, with questions, analyses, etc. I listened quietly to the three people I saw that morning. In America, for me to hear that someone was having headaches because they only eat one time a day and the headaches are from hunger – was unfathomable. I’ve heard of this – we all have heard of this, but when you encounter it – it opens your heart. It grounds you and you listen with a powerful focus. This young person was not on drugs or alcohol, was working part time and would gladly work full time if he could find work. He had just lost his home a few months ago. He was extremely stressed AND he had just been bitten by a spider, with a nasty swollen bite on his arm. After some healing salve on his wound, a calming nervine tea blend, an herbal antibiotic and some chair massage and body work, we packed him up with 3 heaping bowls of kitcheree, as he was planning on going to the hospital afterwards to make sure it wasn’t a brown recluse spider bite. He was much calmer and very grateful. None of the people I worked with were on any drugs or alcohol. I was surprised and relieved at this.

We’ve completed two clinics now, and this is the ultimate “express lane” learning opportunity, which I am deeply grateful for. I am inspired by everyone’s high energy, especially our teachers. When I see what a difference it can make in our community to be able to contribute as an herbalist/body worker, to be able to give comfort, care, pain or stress relief in any way, it makes me want to take advantage of every invaluable learning opportunity that is offered so freely, to kick it up a notch, to shake off any hesitations. Walking out of the clinic, I realized it is all of us who are receiving so much more than words can say.

Beverly Jennings, RH (AHG), MT



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