Santa Barbara Wellness Directory
Prenatal & Postpartum the Ayurvedic Way

by Gina Tolleson, originally printed in The Santa Barbara News-Press July 31, 2006

pregnant woman and fatherAnd baby makes three for me. Three boys, that is . . . Yes, I am expecting another bundle of male joy this coming December, so please accept this surprising news as "Christmas in July": your holiday card, present and Happy New Year all wrapped into one! No time, rest, mass mailing or champagne cheer for this weary mother of three boys this year.Since I've been off the couture market for two years running now (thank goodness I made that quick trip across the pond to Paris back in January to get my fix), pregnancy is my free pass to indulge in body, mind and spirit.

There is no better time to spa yourself into oblivion than those 40 weeks of miracle baby-making. I always tell expectant mommies that their prenatal budgets are best spent on massages, facials and body treatments at this delicate time rather than on pink or blue blankets and pricey maternity dresses with bows (those can be for your generous friends to bestow at your gifty showers).

I say, just relax, take care of yourself and your growing belly, and you will have happy, healthy, blissful babies.

Both of my calm newborn boys arrived in this world with an affinity for ylang-ylang massage oil and plush, Egyptian cotton robes. Hmmm . . . wonder where that came from?

Preggie pampering has a wide range of options (and, trust me, you will be hearing about all of my A-List adventures in the next few months to come) -- from the holistic to the 0x9fber-luxe.

My first call, after the test turned blue and I picked my husband up off the floor, was to my healing honeys -- Ayurvedic practitioners Claudia Brachtl and Corinna Maharani of the Prana Center.

You see, for moi, from the minute I conceive, the nausea, headaches, acute sense of smell and extreme fatigue set in faster than I can say "holy epidural."

Claudia and Corinna, both stunners from Germany, offer prenatal and postpartum drug-free relief by using acupuncture and Ayurvedic massage techniques. On my first

visit, I enjoyed an Ayurvedic foot massage as well as an abhyanga body massage. This calmed my morning sickness quite a bit. On subsequent visits (I suggest twice a week or weekly if you can), they used specially formulated oils to strengthen the tissues and support the elasticity of my stretching skin, followed by warm, wet towel presses soaked in holy basil.

"Basil and other aromas are selected based on their effectiveness to reduce morning sickness," says Corinna, who also uses medicinal oils and herbs from India to help balance stressed pregnant women.

Claudia helps ladies with babies with her acupuncture, as well. Using meridian points along the body, her needles can soothe digestive, emotional and hormonal imbalances -- even those late-night cravings. Certain points in the ears help to control those sugary-sweet longings while foraging for two. While I occasionally still desire In-N-Out Burger and Trader Joe's green tea ice cream by the gallon, lately, I reach for much healthier fare such as farmers market blueberries, figs and organic bing cherries.

She even has a "happy pregnancy" point near the shoulder blades in the upper back.

This calms the emotional effects from cooking a bun in the oven. Ever heard of uncontrollable sobbing, huffy-puffy stomping and wild mood swings the likes of Tarzan? My husband is petitioning Claudia for permanent needle placement if possible.

"I've also had great success inducing labor for women who were overdue," says Claudia, who had an acupuncture appointment scheduled with me the day I gave birth last year.

Needless to say, I canceled. "Acupuncture for inducing labor is not only very effective, but it also relaxes the mother-to-be and sets the stage for a more relaxed birth experience."

We are trying to schedule this a little better next time.

(by Gina Tolleson, originally printed in The Santa Barbara News-Press July 31, 2006)

About Claudia Ward (Brachtl)

Santa Barbara Ayurveda and Chinese MedicineClaudia Ward (Brachtl), L.Ac. is cofounder of The Prana Center, Santa Barbara's exclusive healing center for Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine, offering authentic Ayurvedic bodywork, marma therapy, consultations, nutrition, acupuncture and Pancha Karma cleanses. She is a Licensed Acupuncturist, Diplomate of Acupuncture, Diplomate of Chinese Herbology and an Ayurvedic practitioner.

Claudia may be contacted at:

Santa Barbara, CA 93101
USA Phone and Fax: 805-560-9727
email: [email protected]
web site:

See Claudia's page in this Wellness Directory

About Corinna Maharani

Santa Barbara Ayurveda and Chinese MedicineCorinna Maharani is a graduate of the Ayurvedic Program at the Maharishi International University, Fairfield, Iowa. She is well educated in the field of Ayurveda and has studied Ayurvedic medicine for over 12 years. She has worked with renowned Ayurvedic Physicians in both the US and Germany and has 10 years of clinical experience.

Corinna may be contacted at:

Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone: 805-452-2526
email: [email protected]
web site:

See Corinna's page in this Wellness Directory

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