Some years back, in 1993, we returned to the US from London.  I had just finished my advanced course of Zen Shiatsu at the Shiatsu College of London.  Then, for a whole year, I flew back and forth from Boston, MA to England to complete my Post Graduate degree at the College.

I worked with people who were referred to me for Shiatsu, Vegan/Macrobiotic cooking classes or Dietary Consultations. In those days, the internet and websites hadn’t become popular yet, so, I used the yellow pages to advertise.  On a rainy Sunday, I got a phone call from a lady who had been suffering for years with migraine headaches. She was so desperate and in such discomfort, she opened the phone book hoping to find someone working on Sunday that could relieve her from her excruciating pain and discomfort. I saw her that day, and it was quite a visit. She had a great sense of humor.  We enjoyed each other’s company after that initial treatment, and she became a long-term client, plus she referred to me her cousin and many friends.

I don’t usually like working on Sunday, but T.H. knew how to charm me with her Southern accent, and I could feel how desperate she was.  She arrived and I gave her a Shiatsu treatment.  During the treatment, she started feeling better, and her pain started to dissipate.  She was curious about the whole procedure.  She had never had or heard about Shiatsu.  But, she knew about Acupuncture and the way it worked.

Usually, when I start a Zen Shiatsu treatment, I take an assessment on the receiver’s abdomen where all the organs of the body are located.  Though I don’t deal with the organs themselves but rather with the energy lines or meridians, the assessment takes me in the direction of where I need to treat.   I palpate gently around the abdomen.  I look for the tightest and most depleted areas there.  Then, I pick two or three areas that I feel drawn to.  I test two meridians at once together, looking for a reaction.  I usually test a depleted or yin area, and a yang or tight/stuck area.  Often the most depleted one does not react, but the third, less weak location reacts with the yang.  By addressing that specific meridian, it works wonders by boosting the weaker one. It makes perfect sense, because it is so depleted, that it doesn’t even have enough chi to react.

I usually work quietly, focusing on the plan I create to treat the client. But, if I feel the person needs to talk, I listen and let them say what they have to say, as long as it is related to their own health symptoms.   Sometimes, it is part of the treatment when the receiver needs to discharge what is on their mind, or share something that is bothering them.

As I was working with T.H., I kept seeing this image of chocolate.  It was very strange.  My assessment was Gall Bladder and Kidney Meridians. She asked me after I was done treating her if I had any advice or recommendation for her.  I explained the assessment I had, noting that Liver and Gall Bladder work as a couple.  Liver deals with stress, and detoxifies the blood at night, among many other jobs.  Excess fat such as sugar, nuts, nut butter, chocolate, excess dairy and alcohol can affect the Liver and Gall Bladder, and create stagnation in the meridians.

Before I finished my sentence, she interrupted me and explained to me that every Sunday, after a long stressful week at Harvard, she would treat herself with a jumbo-sized bag of M&Ms.  She had never ever made the connection between the binge or her Sunday treat and her headaches.  We talked about sugar and its effect on mood, health, and our organs, especially the Liver and Kidneys, and our bones.  I explained how in Macrobiotics, I learned that sugar is a yin ingredient, as well as chocolate.  They affect the upper part of our body, mostly the head.  My advice was to notice if she eats chocolate again, especially poor quality kinds, to notice if her migraine headaches came back.  If she craved chocolate, she should buy better quality one.  I eat chocolate once in a while, but I will only eat the organic ones with very few ingredients.  It made sense to her and she was relieved to have found part of the cause of her chronic migraine headaches.  She was tired of taking pills to get rid of her pain.

She left with a big smile on her face, and pain free.  She booked another appointment and I have to say it was such a joy to work with her.  We used to laugh a lot, and she came on a regular basis for shiatsu to help her deal with her stress at work, and to learn more about personal self-care.  T.H. became more and more aware of her diet; she also started exercising, walking, and binging less on M&Ms.

I suffered from degenerative cervical discs, musculoskeletal injuries, and migraine headaches for years.  I had tried everything.  The Shiatsu treatments relieved 75% of my pain and enabled me to regain a quality of life I have not had in decades.

T.H. Secretary, Harvard Business School,
Cambridge, MA


Being 55 now, I am very interested in what women my age go through when reaching their pre-menopausal, menopausal, or post-menopausal stage.  Around this age, or even earlier for some, a lot of women go through major body changes as well as life changes.  It starts affecting their work, relationships and their life in general.  Each case differs tremendously from the other, but the treatments basically focus on balancing all systems, especially the endocrine system as it relates mainly to hormones.  I find it fascinating.  Reflexology helps nature achieve homeostasis.  Overactive or underactive glands or organs can be supported with treatments to return to normal or more natural functioning.

Growing up with the many women in my family and all my friends, hot flashes and mood swings were confusing for me. It was hard to understand why these women were so volatile, temperature and mood wise.  They would open and close windows, put sweaters on and take them off. The weirdest thing was when they would ask each other, “Is it just me or it is suddenly very hot in this room?”  I was still young.  I hadn’t started experiencing body temperature changes, or spending long nights awake, and hadn’t gone through the issues grownups were having.

When I started practicing Shiatsu and Reflexology, women would come with different symptoms.  Some complained of headaches, others of back pain, hot flashes, insomnia, dryness, or mood swings.  These were issues or concerns women of a certain age (usually past 45) had when coming for treatments, and asking for help or solutions.  Of course, there were many more symptoms women had, depending on their age, diet, jobs or lifestyle.

In my previous blog about Reflexology, I wrote how Reflexology helps relieve stress and tension.  This therapeutic science is known to be very beneficial for all systems such as digestive, urinary, lymphatic, respiratory, reproductive, the circulatory system and others.  Importantly, Reflexology improves the nervous system and blood supply.  It works wonders in balancing our endocrine system.  The endocrine system plays a major role in regulating homeostasis or the state of equilibrium and balance to our bodies.  The endocrine system consists of glands and tissues that release hormones.  Women tend to be more aware of these hormones during important periods in life when major changes are occurring, such as puberty and their adult age.

There are 8 endocrine glands: the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenals, pancreas, and reproductive (the ovaries).  During a Reflexology treatment, we don’t only address the endocrine system to bring balance on the hormonal level, but we give a general treatment to kind of tune up all the systems in the whole body, and allow it to work harmoniously.  Our bodies are like electrical circuits.   All our bodily systems work synergistically.

When one area in our body gets affected by building calcification, or blockages, or gets depleted, it starts affecting one area after the other.  Addressing or working only the location of the glands or the origin of discomfort in the feet would be quite a painful treatment, and the receiver would not be able to tolerate the pain, relax or enjoy the session.  Therefore, the work should be balanced, treating all the systems to bring an overall feeling of balance and harmony.  That is the principle of Reflexology.  We don’t treat or diagnose, we never tell the client that their heart is weak, or the kidneys are not functioning.  We are not doctors.  We act like a tool that helps stimulate reflexes in the feet connected to our entire body’s Zone vertical lines that travel from the toes to the top of the head.  By pressing on the different reflexes in the feet, we help the body’s energy or Chi, lymphatic and circulatory system, as well as the other systems flow harmoniously and do their tasks the way they were designed to function, through these lines.

It is so rewarding to work with women who are open to trying new therapies, dietary and lifestyle changes to bring change and improvement to their health and well-being. When clients or family members thank me for helping them, I make it clear that I was just a tool guiding them, that they did all the work by following instructions towards improving their health and lives.  One hand does not clap on its own.  Here is an example of a client who came for reflexology treatments, but went home and diligently adjusted her diet, lifestyle and exercise program in order to gain her health back.

“I am starting to go through menopause. I had been having hot flashes about 5 times per day.  I sought out Margo and after two reflexology treatments, the hot flashes stopped all together.  I also find that when I am feeling heavy from hormonal imbalance, reflexology helps to lift my mood and make me feel lighter.  I am also back to running thanks to Margo.  My right knee and back have been stiff and sore for about two years and since beginning my reflexology sessions with her, I am almost pain free in those areas.  I feel that my body has “opened up” and is now able to heal old injuries.  Thank you so much, Margo.”

Patty Baker, RN, BSN
Portland, OR

I am also an avid believer in natural lifestyles, diet and exercise.  In my practice, I like to share with clients the importance of listening to our bodies and learning to have a more natural approach to healing and well-being.  For instance, I explain the importance of eating at regular hours, sitting and eating while chewing our foods and focusing on the nutritious aspect of it.   I explain about the body’s internal organs that need to be respected and not have a chaotic way of eating, living and sleeping.  When we live harmoniously, our bodies work the same way.

Margo Marver
Wellness Studio

In my last blog, I focused on one side of my work that I am passionate about – Bodywork, especially Reflexology or Footwork Therapy.  I explained a little bit about Reflexology, the way it is done, and some benefits.  Zen Shiatsu is my other interest in my life work along with Reflexology.  But the very first thing that I addressed in the late seventies when my health was suffering was diet and especially cooking.

Growing up, I never liked the kitchen or cooking.  Food did not mean anything to me. I could just live on sandwiches and simple food.  I actually only ate when I was hungry and would grab anything to satisfy my hunger.  I was too busy focusing on starting a career after earning my Interior Design degree.  That is all I was obsessed with – art shows, furniture, fabrics, painting, and the like.  Who had time to cook, or talk about food?  When my parents would ask me to go help in the kitchen to learn how to cook, my answer was always, “I hate cooking; I am going to be very rich and hire a cook.  This way I don’t have to be a slave in the kitchen.”  Well, that was not the Universe’s plan for me.  My health started deteriorating and that took me in a whole different path.  I met a woman who introduced me to the benefit of eating well and the importance of it in staying healthy and fit.  I had to slow down, put my career on hold and get in the room that I liked the least in the house – the kitchen.  I learned to become the cook I was going to hire as my wealth was not yet in my reach!

Now, after many years of studying with great cooking teachers and chefs, I love spending time in the kitchen, cooking, reading about food and the benefit of organic ingredients and healthy cooking for stronger health.  I even now teach Vegan Cooking for Health, and for several years in Boston, I had a catering company for ill people, for busy people, for friends who wanted to use food as preventive medicine, and for people who worked hard and had no time to cook.   I sincerely enjoy food, cooking, creating new recipes, and sharing recipes with others.  All these efforts paid off and I feel healthier than when I was in my mid-20s, happier, and stronger.

Two weeks ago, I was part of the SE Works “Recipe for Success” auction and evening.  A few members from the East Portland Chamber of Commerce took part in this fund-raising event.  Some of us collected gifts to be auctioned, others sold tickets, and a few of us volunteered to be chefs for one night and cook a soup and be part of the “Recipe for Success” contest.  It was so much fun.

I spent several days trying my recipe and giving portions to friends and neighbors to taste it and share with me their opinions.  The third batch finally was to everyone’s satisfaction.  It was quite a week.  The best part of it all is that my husband and I ate just my soup every night for 4 consecutive evenings, improving the recipe every evening.  I can’t wait to do it again next year.

The basic idea while preparing my “Soup for Success or Recipe for Success” was to prepare a Sweet and Sour recipe with vegetables of the fall season.  I chose buttercup squash, cabbage, and onions.  They are sweet and known to be beneficial for our body’s middle organs such as the Spleen, Pancreas, Liver, and Stomach.  Then I added some lotus root, known in Asia to help our lungs.  The natural mucus in it is meant to replace the phlegm we develop in our lungs by overeating refined flour, sugar and dairy foods.  For a sour taste, I added sauerkraut at the end to give a nice touch of sour after taste. Sour taste is known to benefit our Liver.  Finally, instead of using salt, I replaced the salty taste by garnishing the soup at the end with natural aged miso.  Miso is a Japanese fermented, aged soybean and rice or barley puree.  It contains living enzymes which aid digestion, and provide a nutritious balance of natural carbohydrates, essential oils, vitamins, and proteins.  It is one of the best products the ancient Japanese people ever invented.  Legend tells us that miso originated at the time of the birth of the Japanese nation.  It is the oldest staple in Japan and is considered medicinal.

Finally the big night arrived, to my relief, because I did not have to cook the same soup anymore. On Friday, October 17th, 2008.  We drove to the Melody Ballroom where the Fundraising party was taking place.  Soup chefs were vying for the coveted Golden Ladle Award. Guests selected the Golden Ladle award winner by voting with their dollars.  In addition, we could win one of the Celebrities’ Choice Awards!  The room looked so beautiful with all the decoration, the table settings, the Chef’s tables with all the soup warmers, our names, and the name of our soups.  There was quite a set of creative soup chefs.  I was very impressed.

The guests came in and tasted each soup of the 20 chefs that took part in the contest.  If people liked our soup, they would drop a dollar in our money bowl.  After an hour, just before the dinner was served and before the beginning of the auction, the money was counted out of each bowl.  That represented the voting of the guests.  There was also a jury made up of a group of well-known chefs from the Portland area that had gone around and tasted the soups and made their votes.  It was hard to decide on the best soup.  There were some delicious recipes.  But the jury had its own way of choosing the winner for the best soup.

It was enjoyable getting to chat with all the different restaurateurs and chefs who stopped by to taste the soup and discuss the ingredients and the choice of the recipe.  I enjoyed interesting discussions with the chef from Vindalho. My husband, some friends and I love going for dinners there – delicious and unusual gourmet Indian food.  I also enjoyed our discussions with the “Salvador Molly’s” owner and chef, a very interesting person.  We love their Tamales at their downtown stand at the Saturday Farmer’s market.

There were 3 different categories of winners.  I won one of the categories.  My soup

“Spanish Fall Fantasy” will be featured in December on the menu at “Salvador Molly’s.”  I was quite pleased.  All the cooking did not go to waste.  How exciting!

My goal was to support the SE Works.  I wanted to prepare my soup with local produce from the farmer’s market, to make a simple warming winter soup and have fun.  I was very proud of that.  All the ingredients I used were local, even the tofu and salmon.  These days, with all the uncertainty of the origin and produce, so many people are having health issues.  My husband and I are very careful in which restaurants we eat.  I shop weekly from the local Farmer’s Market.  When the season is over in December, I shop as much as possible from stores that support and carry local produce.

In my Shiatsu and Reflexology practice, as well as my Cooking classes for Health, I am always encouraging clients and friends to buy locally grown produce, to eat seasonal products to support the farmers and the environment.   This way, we are a step forward to staying healthier and have stronger energy.

Of course, our lifestyle plays a major role in our physical, spiritual, and mental health.

For instance, chewing our food well, exercising, wearing the right supportive and fitted shoes to keep our feet in good health, getting regular bodywork treatments like Acupuncture, Acupressure or Shiatsu, Reflexology, massage, praying, meditating, etc are all ways of accomplishing improved health.  Also, sleeping is very crucial for our daily functioning and good health – sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night is said to be the right amount, and if possible, taking short naps daily to de-stress and recharge the energy in our kidneys (our body’s batteries).  I once read about a study done in England regarding this subject.  They found out that people who took ten to fifteen minute naps daily, after or before lunch, performed better at work, and in their lives the rest of the day, and were more cheerful.

So, many factors and simple ways that we can apply daily in our lives can play a big role in our well being, in our health, and in the way we feel daily.  So, I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to participate in this charitable event at the SE Works.

Margo Marver
Wellness Studio

Reflexology, the Alternative Approach for Years of Better Health

Indian Foot massage

Foot Soak before the Foot massage

In the mid-nineties, while living in Boston, my back hurt so badly that I had to lie down without moving for weeks. I just couldn’t move because of the pain.  I was advised to try Reflexology after other alternatives had failed.  The first two Reflexology practitioners could not help.  But the third person drove 45 minutes to our house in Cambridge, treated me for 50 minutes, and the next day I was back on my feet working.  Two more treatments and my back was feeling much better.  I was able to go back to yoga, gardening, working, to my normal life.  I was amazed, and decided to sign up for a Reflexology course.

I learned about Reflexology – the art and science of working on people’s feet – in the 1990s.  In Japan and Hawaii, therapists work on the abdomen for an entire session.  In China and France, alternative doctors work on the ear the whole session.  It is likely that Reflexology began in ancient Egypt, where a wall painting from 2330 B.C. shows a physician working on the Pharaoh’s foot.  And in ancient India, work on the feet was quite popular.  In 1938, Eunice Ingham published her first book “Stories the Feet Can Tell Through Reflexology,” and that was the beginning of this new therapy in the US and in Europe, later in Australia.

What is Zone Therapy?  We all know that we have ten toes and of course ten fingers, five on the right and five on the left side of the body.  Number the big toes “zone line one.”  These zones relate to various parts of the body.  For discomfort in the shoulder, for instance, we work the area below the small toe, and the pelvic area, which is the lower parallel side of the shoulders and that part is located below the ankle.

Here’s a concrete example.  Recently, I was working on a client’s right foot in the area of the foot that mirrors the large intestine ascendant colon.  She was quiet, lying down and breathing deeply.  Suddenly, she pointed to her right abdomen, and told me that she was feeling some movement upward in her intestines.  I acknowledged that indeed I was working on that area on her foot.  I was surprised, because I don’t always get clients who are that sensitive and precise.  When I start working on the lung area below the toes, people begin to take deep sighs, and they comment that they start feeling their lungs opening.  Often, clients say their head feels clear after a Reflexology session.  I find that kind of result fascinating.

What is Foot Reflexology?  Dwight Byers – founder of the International Institute of Reflexology where I studied – comments: “Reflexology is a science which deals with the principle that there are reflexes in the feet relative to each and every organ and all parts of the body.  Stimulating these reflexes properly can help many health problems in a natural way, a type of preventative maintenance.”

When I started studying and practicing Reflexology in 1998, relieving stress and tension were the first tasks we learned.  Apparently, most health issues are caused by stress.  I always start my sessions with relaxation movements or techniques on the feet, allowing the body to relax and let go of all the tension that the client brings with them.  That allows the person we are working on to begin relaxing and breathing properly.  My next step is to start working on the diaphragm, where all the tension and the stress get stuck.  When we are under stress and pressure, we tend to forget to breathe.  Our breath moves the diaphragm up and down, in and out.  When we hold our breath, that specific area in our body gets stuck and tight, thereby slowing the circulation between our upper and lower body.  Working on the diaphragm area allows the body to relax, to allow the flow of energy, and the blood and lymphatic circulation to go back to its natural rhythm.  When we ease tension and stress, the pressure on the nerves and vessels diminishes.  Underactive or overactive glands and organs will return to normal functioning, helping nature to normalize the body’s function.

In Reflexology, we don’t diagnose, prescribe, or treat a specific condition.  We just work the map of the feet.  The whole body is mapped out on the foot.  The toes represent the head, sinuses, brain, etc.  Below the toes, we have the chest, breasts, and lungs.  Heart location is on the left foot only as it is in the body. So on and so forth.  Some people have discharges, or have some slight reactions after the sessions.  These are the result of the body trying to detoxify and getting back into balance.

I like to encourage my clients to take total responsibility for their own health by exercising, acting in moderation, doing stress management as much as possible, and not to depend on therapists and doctors to keep their health in harmony.

We abuse our feet so much during our busy lives day in and day out.  In Asia, feet are very important.  Notice the Feet of the Buddha everywhere on drawings, engraved on stones or other materials.  In Tibet, it is the same.  When I was in Egypt, vendors at every tourist site would be selling a foot of black granite covered with the ancient hieroglyph drawings (their ancient language that used pictures rather than our modern alphabet).  In the New Testament, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet in the temple, which must have been a ritual in those days.  In Japan, people never go to bed – at least in the old days, my teacher Kiiko Matsumoto (Japanese-born world famous acupuncturist) used to tell me – without scrubbing their feet.  You never, she said, take the tension of the whole day with you to bed.  Wipe your feet with a hot wet towel, massage them or roll them on a ball or foot roller and you will see how deeply you will sleep.

Take good care of your feet, and your feet will serve you for a long time. That is my mantra.  Wipe them before going to bed. It takes only 3 seconds.  Roll them on a small golf ball, or foot roller.  Lately, I read an article about a pebble walk created especially to use at home – we can have the beach at home, an amazing idea.  We can benefit our health so much by massaging our feet ourselves with a natural, good quality cream.  Avoid products and creams with mineral oil or petroleum.  My favorite product to use is Arbonne International’s Swiss-formulated “Intelligence Foot Cream” or their Holiday Pampermint scrub and foot cream.  It is soothing and relaxing, and easily absorbed by the feet.  Eat well, drink water, exercise, take walks daily, treat your feet with good natural products and Reflexology, and notice the return and feedback from your feet and body to your body, mind and spirit.  Good luck and good health with happy feet.

Margo Marver

I started this blog a few weeks ago.  The original intent was that it was supposed to be all about my business.  Today, I had a very interesting experience that I would like to share with others who might be reading.

I am a member of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce.  I have been attending their meetings for over a year every Wednesday morning at 7:30 AM.  Lately, members have been signing up as Ambassadors, a volunteer position.  I signed up, trying to give back to a community that is there to help us with our businesses.  Ambassadors help in specific events – Ribbon cuttings, welcoming in AM or PM events, etc. This morning, Saturday, September 27th, I went with Norm, Pam, Dave from East Portland News, and Liz from SE Works to the Warner Pacific College.  They had just completed the renovation of their grounds, adding great facilities such as a small theater, many piano rooms for the students to practice, recording space, conference room, a nice dining space that is open to the public in the area, as well as the students, and it goes on and on.  They did an excellent job.  We had a tour around the new building.  In just a few months – April to August — they did all the work, and it looks great.  The East Portland Chamber of Commerce had its Christmas party there last season. I had a table then, and it looks totally different and much nicer.  I couldn’t believe how different and beautiful it all was.

But, what I enjoyed and appreciated most was the art exhibition they had for the homeless people from the “Julia West House.”  It was quite touching.  The College had most of the art that the homeless people did on the walls of the conference or meeting room.  I was amazed with the beautiful work that had been done.  At the entrance, they had a sleeping bed on the floor, with a bike and most of what a homeless person would have for daily use on the bike – blanket, pillow, some clothes, and other miscellaneous items.  Instead of showing the head of a person popping out of the sleeping bag on the floor, they had a computer screen showing most of the people who did the art work telling their stories.  It was beyond belief.

Then I walked around the room to look at their painting and creations.  Every piece of art had a little framed story about the artist and what the art meant.  It brought tears to my eyes.  Every homeless artist had quite a bit to tell in one small piece of art, sort of describing the past, and the future – what they liked or didn’t like about most of their childhood, what they missed, what they would like to happen, all done with a collage of papers, glass, metal, fabric, ropes, buttons, mirrors, masks.  I translated the mask like the person behind the face watching back and forward.  It was fascinating.  I enjoyed reading every story.  I managed to meet some of them, and after reading their art, I could feel compassion for each.  There was so much joy and hope in their eyes and manners.  Most of the pieces were sold.  I liked one done by a man named Larry.  I asked if I could buy it, but it was “NFS,” not for sale.  He did not want to sell it as the piece meant a lot to him.  I asked if I could meet him and to see if I could order a copy.  I was able to meet him, complimented him on his beautiful work, and told him that he should keep doing it because who knows, he could become famous.  He gave me a beautiful smile, and had tears in his eyes.  Also, he agreed to make a copy for me.  The sale of the art was very reasonable – $25.00.  Sharon Agnor is there to help them deal with the checks and profit from the sales, and all the little details involved.  She helped them organize their show and directed them in the right direction, a great lady.

The following is from a statement by the Julia West House organization:

Julia West House is a refuge from the street where guests find a welcoming smile, a hot cup of coffee, and someone who will listen.  Some guests drop in for 15 minutes, some stay all day.  Some come daily, others drop in only once in a while.  The services they provide are unique services not available anywhere else.  The important outcomes of their programs are the relationships they develop with the guests.  Social isolation is a major problem for many people living on the streets or in low income housing.  At Julia West House, many of the guests often feel invisible, except when they are at the JWH.

They care about each person.  The guests feel trusted enough to tell their stories. And what stories!!!  Meals and clothing are not provided there.  It is a small space, so they can offer restrooms, private showers, backpack storage, and most importantly, a place to be.  It is a place to learn new skills, to get help in connecting with social service providers, filling out applications and finding work.  Mostly it is a place to build trusting relationships.

All the staff and volunteers work together to provide seamless support for the guests.

The Julia West House is owned and operated by First Presbyterian Church, in Portland, Oregon.

Their website is .  They welcome volunteering and donations.

I used to help and volunteer at a women’s shelter in Boston, MA called “Rosie’s Place” that had some similarities.  I am very pleased to have found the Julia West House.

Julia West House is located on 522 SW 13th Avenue, Portland, OR.  It is a place where low-income and homeless residents of downtown areas become part of a community, a place where they are accorded dignity and recognized as individuals.  It is a place where opportunities are offered to guests to learn, become self-sufficient, and improve their futures by gaining new skills.

Margo Marver
Wellness Studio
East Portland Chamber of Commerce Ambassador

My name is Margo Massoud Marver.  I was born in the outskirts of the capital of Lebanon, Beirut.  I had a very happy childhood in boarding schools and at home with my parents, my five siblings and many cousins until the Lebanese Civil War commenced in 1975.  It started two weeks before I finished my Interior Design degree.  I remember going to school to get ready for my graduation with no fear about the bombs or barricades because they didn’t yet exist.  The war started as political group conflicts.  We had no idea that it was going to get worse and worse and mess up the country emotionally, physically and economically.

By the time I successfully passed exams for my degree and became a very ambitious Interior Designer, the war started warming up.  Still, I managed to find work and started using my expertise, and getting busier and busier.  Stress started mingling into my life.  I was trying to juggle work, personal life, tennis, yoga classes, eating on the road, making some time to date, going dancing and having fun with my friends.  While doing all this business and having fun, I was also taking English and Italian classes.  That is how we are when we are young.  We think we are unbeatable, we can do it all, and that we can fit activities into every minute of our life.  I was a young person full of life and ambitious, with all sorts of big dreams for the future, beautiful plans …I wanted to work, work, work, and travel around the world.  Getting married and having kids were not in my future plans.  The world was so big – it would take a lifetime to work, save the money and travel.

It took a few years of this intense life before all the above took a big toll on my body.  I started having pain and discomfort here and there.  My asthma attacks started resurfacing again, as well as my eczema.  The stress, plus missing meals or eating sandwiches on the run, eating the wrong foods, all contributed in developing a pain in my right side.  Of course, I ignored it until the pain became intolerable.  It happened when I was getting ready to go on a trip to Jordan to visit my cousins who were working there at the time.  After having an ultrasound, it was decided that I will need surgery.  Yes, I had developed an ovarian cyst.  The pain would get strong during the ovulation season or when my bladder was full.  After my return from my trip, I met a Macrobiotic Counselor during a dinner with some friends.  She asked me to follow her diet for a few weeks, and she gave me Barefoot Shiatsu treatments every week.  She helped me change my hectic lifestyle – eating on time, eating more whole foods, fewer sandwiches. I learned to sit and eat listening to music instead of watching TV, reading or drawing my next house plan or boutique or restaurant.  That was new for me.  I had forgotten the importance of having a three square meal regimen a day, consuming fresh cooked food instead of cold and canned food.  Most importantly, I was reminded of the benefit of chewing my food well in order to feel more nourished and satisfied.

Applying all this common sense advice got my life back on track.  It helped me slow down my hectic and loaded schedule, and I started feeling better.  I had more energy, and was pain free.  My coughing and eczema got better.  I was feeling happier and less stressed out.  After taking another ultrasound, I was told that I did not need surgery.  This whole process of new changes and reeducating myself to living a more natural lifestyle took two whole months.  One reason I was able to do it is that the center I was attending was a few meters away from my parents’ house and because the war was exploding and I couldn’t go anywhere, I was forced to stay put in my neighborhood and work with the Macrobiotic Counselor.  Because of the intensity of the war, my boyfriend had to move back to France, and it wasn’t easy to reach my friends to go dancing and have fun.  All I did was take care of my health and well being.

After this whole natural experience, this is what I learned and continued to apply into my daily life.
Nine Daily Easy Ways for Better and Stronger Health.

Margo Marver
Wellness Studio


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