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February 2017 Health

February, 2017 Issue


Love is in the Air

Allison Stillman is a teacher, author and acclaimed aromatic alchemist based in Santa Rosa. “My love for aromatic alchemy began when I was young,” she says. “I spent time with my grandmother in her garden and delighted at her fragrant roses. My sense of smell has always been very tantalizing to me, and has brought me delight my entire life.”

In studying aromatherapy, Stillman witnessed how anointing with essential oils can clear the mind and allow an awakening of consciousness. “Over the years, I have watched many miraculous things happen for myself and others though the power of aromatic alchemy,” says Stillman. “I have worked with people in recovery, the elderly with memory issues, the dying, birth, marriage and all manner of rites of passage with enormous positive results.”

“My mission in life, is to help people transform their lives through the power of aromatic alchemy and create more love, abundance and delight in their lives,” says Stillman.

Offering oils with names like Passion, Connection and Abundance, Stillman creates her oils from natural scents and ingredients, such as rose, cardamom, sandalwood, rosewood, jasmine, ginger, patchouli, cinnamon, frankincense and orange among others, in a jojoba base. 

Siren Salon Goes Green

Siren Salon and Apothecary, a beauty salon based in San Anselmo, works to spread the message of healthy, sustainable hair, beauty and body care, by practicing what they preach. Says owner Nicole Giannini, “It has always been a mission of mine to provide the most naturally nurturing options available that would meet a certain level of performance, luxury and efficacy. Over the last four to five years, there has been a revolution in the beauty marketplace, which I believe has been driven by consumer and professional demand as chemical consciousness reaches new heights.”

Personal events, including a family member becoming disabled due to a bad reaction to a pharmaceutical acne treatment and witnessing stylists leaving the industry due to negative chemical reactions, also steered Giannini to maintain a clean environment at home and work.

Since doing so, Giannini has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from clients, coworkers and friends, as well as people in the community. “Most people are generally aware that organic is good and naturally sourced is a positive thing, but the search for new products that work can be time consuming and overwhelming,” she says. “Having a highly curated selection of products available under one roof—where someone has personally researched every item and maker, and experienced the results, is greatly appreciated.”

Giannini hopes Siren Salon and Apothecary will become a trusted resource for natural beauty in the community.  “I’d like to think my clients feel choosing Siren gives some piece of mind,” she says. “Knowing that they are taking meaningful steps to keeping themselves, our communities and environment healthy.”

Rise of the Machines

A surgeon’s hand may be the steadiest in the world out of necessity, but sometimes technology steps in to offer assistance. Enter the da Vinci X Surgical System, an upgrade to an older model surgical robot currently in use at St. Joseph Health’s Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa. Qualified as a minimal invasive technology, surgeons benefit from a wider range of motion, improved vision through optical cameras and more efficient suturing and reinforcement due to the robot’s nimble frame, which is mounted above the patient.

While the system improves a doctor’s ability to perform operations, the device itself cannot make a move without a human’s intervention. Technology continues to improve, but we’re a long way from getting prescription hugs from Baymax-style AIs like in Big Hero 6.

At Marin General Hospital and Sonoma Valley Hospital, another robot is working hard to keep the medical centers pristine. The Xenex LightStike Germ Zapping Robot looks like a walking trashcan, but what it lacks in appearance, it makes up for in efficiency. The little robot emits ultraviolet light in a 14-foot bubble, killing 99.9 percent of all bacteria it touches and cutting hours of manual. Environmental services personnel still change linens, take out trash and operate the robot, but the new technology provides greater protection against hospital-sourced infections, saving lives and money in operational costs. Most hospitals see a return on the $100,000 investment in as little as four months.



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