Transitions at SGCHA…..

imageDear Friends of St. George Community Healing Arts,

As many of you know, we’ll be giving our last treatments in SG this coming Friday, August 22nd. FORTUNATELY!!! we’ll be treating with Kristen Phipps, a wonderful colleague and friend from SLC who will be taking over the clinic, starting next week…So Community Acupuncture will continue in St. George!!!

Kristen is a wonderful practitioner and person, and we hope you’ll all get to know her and support her in her mission to continue to provide affordable acupuncture to this community.

Any questions or comments, of course feel free to give Kristen or us a call at the clinic…628-7288.

We thank all of you for your support over the past 11 years. It has been an incredible pleasure, honor and privilege to work and play with you all in this incredible location that is southern Utah. We’ll miss you all.


Mark, Mary & Gina


Q: So, Gina, what do you like about yoga?

Gina:     Yoga is a way of finding our essence, finding a connection to movement, the body, the heart, and the breath; it’s about finding the grace and elegance of the human being, who we really can be.

That then can be expressed not only through physical movement but on the inner planes through the journey to our truth or true being.

Q: And what attracted you to teaching yoga?

Gina:    What I deeply love is to be able to help people connect, to help them to experience who they really are so they walk away able to connect with something other than pain.

So yoga is really about remembering essence, remembering who we really are, away from traumas, false beliefs, twisted conceptions and coming back to that flow that connects everything.

Yoga is not just about being in a class and following some instructions; it’s also about walking the dog in the morning and feeling into that universal oneness, stopping at a cliffrose and letting that scent come into the body.  That, too, is yoga.

Q: Do you think of yoga as belonging to a particular spiritual tradition?

Gina: Yoga embodies the awareness that all spiritual traditions are longing to experience, remember and connect to the same thing. They’re all looking for the same truth. And truth can be the universe, God, Allah, Higher Power, whatever reminds us of other-than-the heaviness of the physical domain.

I guess because it involves the body, as well as the heart and mind it becomes a fun journey, a fun adventure to find out all the pieces of these three things, like a puzzle that we get to put together.

It’s really finding the potential that a human has—the full potential. The full potential in the physical, mental and spiritual realms, and that makes it a very complete experience.

Q: What is it in your past that brought you to want to teach yoga?

Gina:    Pain. The pain of twisted memories in my body—physical and emotional memories. And athletic training that really reinforced that pain, instead of releasing it. Yoga has the potential to unwind those memories, to realign the inner works of my being.

I’ve always loved teaching since I was a teenager, to pass on creative ideas and see how much fun people have using those ideas. When I teach someone and suddenly they have an experience of success and release and can put their own ideas into it it’s a lot of fun!

It’s almost like the classroom is a blank canvas that’s waiting to be created with the people who show up, with their energies and their gifts.

Q: And finally, what is important for you to remember as a teacher?

Gina:    I guess that as a teacher I never want to forget that students are a gift and that it’s an honor to have people show up for what I would like to give. It’s definitely an honor. Every student who walks in the door becomes my teacher, for sure, every single time. That’s fun!


Secrets of Self-Healing

Almost all medical traditions of the world emphasize simple tools we can use to promote our own self-healing. Unfortunately in this fast-paced society many of us forget about these simple ideas and end up relying on doctors, pills, surgery—even on acupuncture—to help us heal from things we might have been able to avoid if we had been paying more attention. One of the benefits of acupuncture is that it will help you to tune in to your body to feel what’s happening and to be more pro-active in maintaining your health. But here’s a list of tried and true ideas to experiment with in your life, both after you get sick or injured or—better still—on a day-to-day basis to prevent illness and injury in the first place.

SLEEP: In Chinese medicine it’s believed that sleep is the body’s main way of repairing itself. And because our bodies tend to follow the cycles of nature it’s also believed that getting to sleep early enough is almost as important as getting enough sleep. In fact it’s said that every hour of sleep before midnight is worth three hours of sleep after midnight. So eight hours of sleep between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. are usually better than eight hours between midnight and 8. Please make sure you give yourself enough sleep. Most of us tend to shortchange our sleep but, as a sleep expert recently wrote in Time magazine, ”The percentage of people who can do well on less than six hours of sleep per night, rounded off to whole figures, is about zero.”

WATER: The rule of thumb for water intake is ½ your body weight in liquid ounces per day. So someone weighing 200 pounds should be drinking a minimum of 100 ounces (almost a gallon) of water each day. For physically active people it’s even higher. Water helps flush toxins out of our systems and is a vital component in all the billions of bio-chemical processes that occur each moment in our bodies. And without water we can’t generate the qi (energy) that our bodies need to maintain health. Try keeping a large glass or bottle of water handy and sipping on it throughout the day. For the 200-pound person we mentioned, draining a 10 oz. glass 10 times each day might sound like a lot, but if you teach yourself to keep sipping you’ll notice a big difference in how you feel.

BREATH: Our breathing is another essential component in creating the qi or energy we need. And unfortunately most of us Americans are pretty shallow breathers. Take time every day to give yourself the treat of gentle deep breaths—even if only for a few minutes. You’ll notice a difference, both in the immediate moment and over the course of your day.

MOVEMENT: “A door hinge that’s used doesn’t rust; moving water doesn’t stagnate.” These are some of the sayings in Chinese medicine that show the importance of our moving gently every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s walking, bicycling, swimming, yoga, tai ch’i or qi gong. Anything that gets your blood moving will help to break down blockages and increase your vitality and energy reserves.

FOOD: In addition to eating good quality food it’s important to eat at regular times. And it’s also important to learn when to stop eating. One of my teachers says: ”You should fill your stomach 1/3 with food, 1/3 with water and leave 1/3 for air.” Different traditions emphasize different diets, but almost everyone agrees that paying attention to what food you put into your body and paying attention to the process of eating are extremely important for your digestion. Try to create a calm, relaxing, non-distracting environment which allows you to put your attention on your food while you eat.

EMOTIONS: Many of us are so busy working and tending to obligations that we rarely find time to sit down and check in with what we are feeling. This can lead to us holding onto upsets that, over time, can cause stagnation, blockage, illness and injury. Try to take time every day to tune into your heart and notice what emotions are there. If you notice painful feelings, try to bring mercy and compassion to yourself and allow yourself to really feel them, rather than pushing them down and having to deal with them—or the physical problems they can create—at a later time.

By practicing these simple ideas you’ll not only feel better in the moment but you’ll also be setting the foundation for improved health in the future. At St. George Community Healing Arts we offer a qi gong class Wednesday afternoons at 1:00 and a meditative stretch class on Saturday mornings that teach and support you in practicing some of these tools. Feel free call us for more information at 435-628-7288.

What is Community Acupuncture?

A few people have asked me lately what the difference is between Community Acupuncture and other styles practiced by acupuncturists in the U.S. Here’s a brief explanation based on what I’ve learned from teachers in the U.S. and China in the last fifteen years.

Over the last few millenia in China there generally has been a division in how medicine was practiced: since the 7th century an imperial medical academy trained physicians for the Emperor and aristocracy; meanwhile in the thousands of villages throughout China a separate “grassroots” medical tradition existed; knowledge, skill and “secret” herbal formulas and treatment protocols were passed on from father to son over dozens of generations.

Strangely enough, this dichotomy still exists in acupuncture in the U.S. today. What many of us call “boutique acupuncture” tries to offer acupuncture as an exotic and expensive treatment modality which most people can’t afford—at least frequently enough to help them the most. Other practitioners, led by Lisa Rohleder and Skip van Meter who founded the Community Acupuncture Network in Portland, Oregon, insist that acupuncture can be stripped down to its essentials so that everyone can afford it and the greatest possible number of people can benefit—similar to what Henry Ford did with automobiles with his “Model T.”

Most people believe that there is no “one size fits all” style of acupuncture—different people have different needs. And even the same person can have different needs over the course of his or her lifetime.

What is undeniable is that our country is in the midst of a healthcare crisis; the “healthcare pie” is shrinking and ever larger numbers of people can’t afford to buy insurance or the high tech care that has come to be a hallmark of western medicine in the last 20 years.

In this context acupuncture and Chinese medicine with their emphasis on prevention, awareness, lifestyle, and the connection between physical, emotional and spiritual health and illness can fill a need that traditional western medicine is just starting to explore. And Community Acupuncture, by making this type of care available to people who couldn’t otherwise afford it, (and by educating people to learn about and tend to their own health) is a huge step in the direction of solving that healthcare crisis.

If you’d like to learn more about Community Acupuncture I highly recommend the website of the Community Acupuncture Network: Lisa Rohleder, one of the founders of the network has also written a wonderful, more in-depth book on the subject of how acupuncture and Community Acupuncture work called “Acupuncture is Like Noodles.” You can get it for $25 on Amazon or we have copies at SGCHA.



The two of us founded St. George Community Healing Arts with the mission of educating, empowering and supporting people to take charge of their own health. To us this means helping people to truly experience the connection between body, mind and spirit.

Both of us, in addition to our initial training in acupuncture, massage, Zero Balancing, and Craniosacral therapy, are trained in spiritual healing in the Sufi tradition, which allows us to guide people to deeper connection with their spiritual being. From the sufi perspective this connection between physical health and emotional/spiritual health is indispensable to complete healing.

Our commitment is to serve our clients as deeply as possible, supporting you in your individual healing journey.

We look forward to working with you!

Gina & Mark Montgomery