Back Injury in Switzerland – Part Three: Ayurvedic treatment –Dr. Yogeet Kapoor– English-speaking

(This is part of a 3-post series regarding a back and neck injury I had in Switzerland from 2014-2015. I have been asked by many people how I got “better” so quickly and miraculously. I hope my information is helpful.)

At the beginning of the process, I heard about an amazing Indian healer in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. I was cautious because I knew little to nothing of such things.

Dr. Yogeet Kapoor changed everything about this process for me.

He is a qualified doctor of Ayurveda and Naturopathy, and also a pharmacist. Yogeet sparingly recommends certain herbal supplements, one of which has been particularly helpful to me. He is the founder of L’essencce Holistic Center (, which I would happily scrub the floors of because that is how much goodness there is around true Ayuverda.

It is hard for me to describe what Yogeet does, but I can say this. Whatever Yogeet does, I walk out of his studio feeling stronger in body, spirit, and mind. There is no chanting. There are no cinnamon or lavender-flavored candles. There is also no painful pushing and pulling of the muscles or manipulation of the body that feels uncomfortable. None of that. Just healing.

I began my sessions with Yogeet shortly after I started Pilates (my physical therapy was going on, as well). My muscles were in severe pain because it was quite difficult to pull them from the “turtle” posture that had set in during the six months of immobility. I remember getting on the train (I travel 3 hours and 15 minutes one-way to see Yogeet) at the beginning and having to find a four-seat compartment. I had to stretch out because I was in so much pain.

Yogeet is a no-nonsense Indian healer. I’m not being hyperbolic. He is currently in India teaching and he teaches in Switzerland. Why? Because he knows what he’s doing. The other wonderful thing about Yogeet is that he firmly believes, ask him yourself, it’s not him. He thinks he is a vessel for healing.

And he is.

A normal session for me with Yogeet lasts around 90 minutes. He uses a hot oil concoction from Indian and this is incorporated into the muscles via a large pouch that is filled with rice. When Yogeet realized my muscles were not getting stronger, he moved into this method, having tried treatments without the rice pouch first.

I wasn’t the first one to notice the difference in my muscles after he found the perfect treatment for me. Caroline was and then Lorraine noticed. I went to Yogeet two weeks after this treatment and he said, “Yes, I know.” That’s all.

And, “all” this is being done naturally, instead of with a pill or surgery.

Yogeet’s clients run the gamut: normal folks, couples wishing for parenthood, people needing a body/mind detox, females going through hormonal changes, people who are battling addictions, folks with injuries. If there is something broken or left wanting and waiting in you? Yogeet will help you to find your solution.

Back Injury in Switzerland – Part Two: Personal Trainer – Lorraine Jenkins – English speaking

(This is part of a 3-post series regarding a back and neck injury I had in Switzerland from 2014-2015. I have been asked by many people how I got “better” so quickly and miraculously. I hope my information is helpful.)

Lorraine works at Booster Pilates with the Lagree Fitness Method ( and has a great deal of expertise in physical fitness, overall health, and nutrition. She speaks English (from the UK), Italian, and a bit of German.

Today, we joke about my first day in May of 2014 with Lorraine. My shoulders were completely caved in, I looked like a turtle. I had major balance problems because there was no core anymore, no real center of gravity – only mental fear and physical pain in my neck and back. But, I could walk and that’s what she worked with. My legs were strong…and that was it.

Lorraine is an excellent diagnostician. She knows the body so well. Lorraine’s trinity is that she intrinsically knows how much is too much, how much is reparative, and how much is therapeutic. Finding a trainer who will quickly discern what keeps you plateaued on days when your body is aching (especially during the first few months of physical therapy), what gets you loose on days when your muscles are tight, and what builds your strength and endurance. That’s her special recipe and here are specific examples of how she does it, using Lagree terminology.

The Catfish- This is an exercise that Lorraine used to build my confidence. She told me from the second week, “you’re The Catfish Queen.” This has variations and the “normal” version is all we did for three months. Why? Because I simply could not handle more and she knew it. The first time we tried the 2nd variation, she said, “this will be easy for The Catfish Queen” and it was.

The Wheelbarrow- Lorraine almost always starts with this and reminds me to feel in my abs. But, I couldn’t at first. I felt it in my back because I didn’t really have “an ab.” I could only do it for about 30 seconds. I think she used The Wheelbarrow as a litmus test to know, each workout, how my body was doing that day. It is the best way to start a Lagree workout (in my opinion) because of that reason. If something is off, somewhere in the body, you know it when you do The Wheelbarrow.

Plank to Pike- Both of us felt it the day I did this. This is a freaking tough thing to do. In March, I was told I would probably be in a wheelchair by June. One morning in October, Lorraine and I attempted The Plank to Pike. It’s December now and we do 4 of the 5 variations. Truly a miracle.

Lorraine Jenkins “Lo-J”. Wherever she is in Switzerland, find her. Lorraine has the patience of a saint. Twice, I came into the studio crying and I cried during the entire workout. Once, I was so frustrated with myself, I screamed (I never scream) at her. As I said, there is something inherent in her that just “gets” it. The woman works with pregnant women, injured women, other Pilates instructors, anyone. She “gets” it.

Back Injury in Switzerland – Part One: Physical Therapist – Caroline Wolfsberger – English-speaking

(This is part of a 3-post series regarding a back and neck injury I had in Switzerland from 2014-2015. I have been asked by many people how I got “better” so quickly and miraculously. I hope my information is helpful.)

It was crucial in the early days to locate a good physical therapist, which is referred to as “physio” here. I found Caroline Wolfsberger by happenstance ( She is the first part of the Trinity that I believe saved me from a wheelchair.

From our first meeting, I knew she was committed to getting me to a place of wellness. I remember very clearly she kept using the word “we.” She never said “you” when she spoke of what needed to be done for me in the upcoming months. This was a key part of what allowed me to have hope.

Caroline is not an “average” physical therapist. Naturally, her primary focus involves therapeutic strengthening of the muscles and joints; however, she utilizes not only traditional Western methods (ie: what we imagine when we say “physical therapy”), but also alternative practices like cupping, pressure points, etc. Early on, Caroline used kinesiologic tape placed on my back in the shape of an “X” to pull my shoulders back.

In her words, “the treatment I am specialized in is Brügger-Therapie. He was a Swiss doctor, a genius actually! And I combine this with lots of other treatments: osteopathy, manual therapy, fascia technic, etc.” Caroline studied motivational psychology and focuses on treating the person – not only the body. “I am helping the people to help themselves by improving their Körpergefühl,” she adds. As she notes, there is no translation for this word. It’s more than a physical feeling; it’s a body-mind-spirit feeling.

As you have read, she is unique. She is at the top of her field professionally. She is the only physical therapist in this country I would trust.

I have already recommended her to many people with my strongest possible praise.

Climb every mountain…or not – One year ago, I went to Grand St. Bernard

Today will be a “good luck getting off the couch day.” Last night, InterNations successfully hosted hundreds of people at a gorgeous venue in the middle of Zürich. As usual, I was smiling and semi-suffering at the door. In spite of the chronic back pain, it’s hard to help myself. See, it’s the people that have sucked me in. I really care about a lot of them. When I ask “How was your week?” I’m listening to that answer.

But, this morning, I woke up and felt the effects of my “care and concern.”  Major back pain lighting my back and neck up like a Christmas tree. Whatever. No biggie.

Then iCalendar and Timehop popped onto my computer screen and reminded me what I was doing 12 months ago: “St. Bernard w-” (I took away his initial).

it was one year ago that I went to the Hospice of Grand St. Bernard for the first time.

That kills me more than the back pain. I was climbing a mountain a year ago and today I can barely carry a purse. I won’t be climbing a mountain any time soon, okay. I get that. So, I can cry about it and feel sorry for myself OR I can smile and pay homage to what made the Hospice of Grand St. Bernard weekend truly exceptional.

Duh. I always do the smiling thing. Here goes.

1) I snowshoe’d for the first time and 2) I climbed a mountain over 2400m for the first time.
(BTWthose things happened simultaneously, which was not easy, AND I did it in 2 1/2 hours.)

3) I visited the Valais for the first time.

4) I drank the addictive Hospice GSB tea for the first time.

5) I kept Canonical hours for the first time.

6) I attended Mass IN FRENCH for the first time.

7) I felt truly at peace for the first time in my life (it was an amazing 2 hours).

8) I had a birthday party with plastic utensils on a wooden floor for the first time.

9) I read “Swiss Watching” for the first time.

10) I stopped a man from having a commitment phobic tirade for the first time because…

11) I told him “I love you” for the first time.

12) I literally saw and heard multiple avalanches for the first time.

13) I took a car ride with complete strangers for the first time.

14) I got frostbite for the first time.

There’s something in both of my books. Emily and Daniel are on a mountain climbing when Emily loses her footing and starts to fall. He tells her to stop, plant her feet, stand up, and move forward.

That was real.

15) I learned how to stop myself from being overcome by fear for the first time.

It was an amazing retreat from this life. I’ll happily revisit it a lot today as I am clutching my heating pad and Ibuprofen.

I was winning today, last year. That means there’s hope to win again.


I am not Maria Callas, I am Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote

I learned a tough lesson yesterday, really tough: sometimes my “best” is simply not possible. Especially after I’ve neglected my health, my well-being, and, well, myself.

I was this but now I’m someone that has to wear a back brace to sing simple songs.

Listen, don’t cry for me Argentina. I have no doubt that Mimi, Contessa, Pamina, Fiordiligi, Euridice, a wicked Callas impression, etc. are all still hidden in my body somewhere. I know I can find them again someday, if I want to.

But it sure as hell won’t happen Sunday. My best for Sunday was really broken down yesterday by my amazing collaborator, Iryna. Where am I now? What is my best today, not in 2007 or 2009 or even 2012?

That was a hard moment for me. My best today looks nothing like my best from just one year ago. Before, it was just stress. Now? I can’t walk sometimes.

Bach wrote SDG at the end of a many of his works – Soli Deo Gloria – “to God alone be the glory.” That’s part of my “best” and my best because both the inflated version of what I can do and the ground-level-getting-real version purpose together to meet that goal: give it to God.

My best for Sunday will be singing a nice concert. It won’t be singing my beloved arias because my body simply cannot do it. It won’t be looking super glamorous because I look exactly how I feel, which is hopeful but tired. The hardest “it won’t be” is that this concert won’t be what I want.

But the event will be exactly what I want. My friends, the good ones that don’t say “uh, I’m just, uh, not feeling, uh”…they will be there. Probably one or two strangers will be there. Iryna will be there. God bless him, Canon José Mittaz of Grand St. Bernard will come down from a mountain, take a 4-hour journey…and be there. Everyone will be talking about the place I love: the Hospice du Grand St. Bernard.

So, it was enough of a reason to drag my body out of bed, to the couch, turn on the heating pad (my boyfriend), and type these words. I see my phone and want to SMS Jackson (“Snow” will be amazing) and also get a cup of coffee, but Jessica Fletcher needs to stay on her heating pad.