Nutrition Response Testing on Midday Makeover WENY TV

Donna Burdick is the owner of Finger Lakes Nutrition. This is a business that offers Nutrition Response Testing as their primary modality for nutritional healing. She is also a classically trained, board certified, registered dietician with over 20 years’ experience in medical model nutrition.  Donna is located at 911 Pennsylvania Ave. in Elmira, NY  14903. She can be reached at (607) 229-6079 or by email at Her website is and she is on Facebook and LinkedIn.

 What is Medical Model Nutrition?

Medical Model is “after the fact”. It is not prescribing herbals; not looking for other answers. In my mind, I have been treating medical diagnoses with ineffective dietary prescription for the last 20 years.  Unfortunately, most people don’t understand how important nutrition is for overall well-being and disease prevention.  What I am seeing are patients that have become medical wreckage.  Which means people have several diagnoses and are being treated with too many medications that, in most cases, just mask the symptoms.  No real answers are provided as to why they are sick.  With my clinical background and my training in Nutrition Response Testing, I believe there is always something I can do to help a person feel better.  For example, I can help you relieve headaches, digestive issues and many other common symptoms of a poor diet.  I do that through teaching you what healthy foods are and planning menus so that you are eating more nutritious foods that will help your body heal.

Part of what I do, is to identify the underlying stressors that are making you NOT feel well.  These stressors may include heavy metals, chemicals, food sensitivities, immune challenges and scars.  With that information I then create an individualized nutrition and supplement program to implement at a pace you can live with.

How long have you been in business?

Finger Lakes Nutrition has been in business for about 6 years.

How did all this start for you?

It started with a chiropractor visit in Ithaca. I am a runner and I was experiencing pain while running. So, I went in to find out why it hurt to run. During the treatment visits I was muscle-tested for the first time ever. The doctor explained that what he was doing was muscle testing, Nutrition Response Testing. I left with helpful nutrition advice and a need to know more about Nutrition Response Testing.  Every time I went back, my chiropractor would tell me more and I would leave with my head spinning with excitement realizing this is what nutrition work is supposed to be.  That was February or March of 2010 and by August I was sitting in an introductory course on Nutrition Response Testing in Albany.

When I left that training, I realized I had found my purpose in my career. I didn’t know how I was going to make I happen but I could not rationalize how I would practice nutrition any other way.

What were you doing before that?

I had worked in food service for years; I worked as a nutrition clerk at a hospital in Oneonta while going to school in my late 20’s. This is where I got my introduction to food consistencies and practice talking with patients. While going to school, I volunteered at Upstate Home for Children and Adults and worked in the kitchen.

I currently practice as a Registered Dietician for NY State working with developmentally disabled individuals. I have 20 years of experience in this field and feel very fortunate to work with a clinical team that includes occupational therapists, speech pathologists, behavioral specialists, nurses, doctors and more.  Working with these disciplines over the years, I have learned to look at all of the influences in a person’s life and treat them as a whole person.

Where were you educated?

I have earned two Associates degrees from Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3).  My first degree was in business/accounting, followed by a degree in math/science which lead me to a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics from SUNY Oneonta. Following completion of my degree program I completed a 10-month internship at Wilson Hospital in Johnson City, NY and then took the exam to be a Registered Dietitian.

Shortly thereafter, I started my position with NYS and returned to school at Ithaca College to earn a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology.  I wanted to be able to safely prescribe exercise programs in addition to the nutrition piece.

I do believe that when you find your purpose and decide to move in that direction it is as if someone hands you the tickets to get there.  Divine intervention I believe.  That’s how life has felt for the last 20 years.

Where did you get your training for Nutrition Response Testing?

ULAN Nutritional Services in Clearwater, FL. That has been a 6-year process since I work full-time. To complete the training, I flew to Clearwater, FL 4-5 times a year. The training is thorough and very intense including both practice management courses and clinical courses.  Each clinical module, a total of 9, was composed of three full days of training.  Before moving on to the next module we had both written and practical testing to ensure our competency in all the previous teaching.  Exhausting, but so worth it.

I graduated in September 2016.  My goal is to retire this year from New York State and focus on Nutrition Response Testing full-time.  Working full-time in addition to my practice has definitely limited my success.  It is hard to move forward when you are being pulled in different directions.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

Communication is key in having patients understand what Nutrition Response Testing is.  My goal is to have patients understand that this is about lifestyle change and not a quick fix.  It is about getting at the root cause of illness or non-optimum health and not masking symptoms as with medication therapy.  There is no easy way out.  It takes time and commitment, often months or years to heal poor health.  There is hope.  The body will heal if given the right tools.

What are your greatest achievements?

Graduating the Nutrition Response Testing training and trusting the skills I have learned to help people.

After that, it’s all the success stories I have created with my patients. The healing is real

 Are there any stumbling blocks?

Me! I get in my own way. Not putting myself out there enough for fear I can’t handle it all physically and personally. I work full-time and there is some fear of letting go of secure income when you still have a child to help through college. However, when I do put the effort forth, the business does grow.

When I walk into this office after a day of stress, I become invigorated and clear minded almost immediately. So on-purpose. I just have to trust

If you could have a /do-Over, what would that be?

I would begin with Nutrition Response Testing 20 years ago.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Successful in healing with a steady patient flow.  Doing speaking events.  Expanding my practice to focus on detoxification which will help in the prevention and treatment of so many conditions including cancer and Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Patients are an inspiration to me. Each patient, with their unique situation pushes me to learn more and to be more effective in helping others.


Sticking To New Year Resolutions Midday Makeover WENY TV

Helene Chaika Faulsold is the owner of Chaika Unlimited, a consulting business that works with businesses, organizations and individuals to help them implement their plan. Helene works especially for businesses and business owners who can relate to the idea of having a business plan written out. I have worked with organizations that have spent a lot of time with strategic planning. I see individuals map out a plan and map out goals for what they want to achieve in a short or long term timeframe. Helene is located at 6171 Camp Meeting Pt., Hector, NY  14841. She may be reached at (607) 351-8024. Her email address is and the website is She is also on Facebook and LinkedIn.

How long have you been in business?

Officially I have been doing this off and on for about 10 years in different ways doing workshops and consulting.

What has been the evolution of you as a business owner. How did you get from there to here?

I have a Master’s Degree in Human Development. I have worked in a variety of settings – research and academic settings working with organizations that support the development of children. In that time period I had also done some consulting with an emphasis in Strategic Planning. We have all been there where we have been in groups and spent a day or two or three mapping out a big strategic plan. A lot of time and effort goes in to ending up with a big document. What I found out was the steps in the document do not get effectively implemented. It dawned on me one day that it is not so much about the planning process but how it goes ahead to strategically implement the plan.

That led me to looking back at the topics I had focused on, particularly in the area of workshops on Establishing Your Vision, Leadership, Communication, Managing Change, Time Management and others. I realized that if everyone was paying attention to my list of 10 items perhaps they would be more able to successfully make their plan happen.

About 10 years ago and moving forward, I began writing individual white papers on each of the 10 items on my list. Once I developed this framework, it was always in the forefront of my mind. At the time, I was also working full-time at other jobs. I also volunteered and was on Boards of Directors. I knew people in the community who were developing businesses. I gained a lot of insight into what was working for people and organizations and what was not.

Some people were more receptive than others. You have to be open to input from other people. You have to observe. You have to listen.  Write it down. It does not mean someone is right or wrong, but take it a face value that someone else might have some insight. I have seen people taking a path with their business that breaks my heart. If they only did this, or changed that things would work out better.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

I struggle with what to call myself. I believe that if I use the word ‘consultant’ people get very turned off. I believe they think I am going to try to sell them something that is going to cost them a lot of money and not have successful results. I find that being involved in the community so people can get to know me better gives people the idea that I am not out to charge them large sums of money for consulting.

I want to help people. I want to work with people and offer them support. I want to offer them my point of view and hope it makes at least some difference.

Has that been working for you?

I find it has. It is better than going out to do the hard sell of everything from advertising or pitches or the other heavy duty marketing strategies. The networking is working best for me.

I’m hearing you work business to business. Do you work with individuals?

Many small businesses are run by individuals. In some cases it may be individuals who are struggling with what they want to do or how they might do it. For example, someone might want to start a jewelry business but are not sure how to incorporate the many skills and talents they have. Also, the line between a business owner and their personal lives is becoming blurred. They might work from home and balancing running a business with operating a household. That may factor into how I might help them.

What has been your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is getting my book wrapped up. I felt it always got put on the back burner. We moved a couple years ago into the family home. That involved downsizing our current home at the time as well as clearing out the current home we are in along with renovations. My husband also very recently retired. All of this comes with disruptions and distractions.

I am looking forward to this year. It is going to be exciting. Finishing this book during all of that was a great achievement.

If you could have a Do-over in anything, what would that be?

There are some things I would do differently. I would not try to do everything myself. One of the biggest things I did was to bring somebody on who helped me with the formatting of the book. That would have been technically challenging for me. I am not up to speed with what seems to be the ever-changing world of technology. Investing in somebody to help me take care of some of that has moved things forward in a much faster way that puts me here now.

I would not take things personally. When you are doing things that are creative and different, that someone has not done before, not everyone thinks it is a brilliant idea! Some people balk at the idea. They might say “Oh, someone already did that”. I would not take that information personally and I deliberately would not surround myself with those people anymore.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to see the book and the workbook (this will be a download) get some recognition. I would want to have the workbook published in a hardcover format. I would like to have something nice for people to write in. A nice touch would be some traveling related to the business, although I don’t foresee that now.

There is also the potential that this book will evolve in a way I cannot predict. That is why I felt the urgency to get this done. Unless you get it done, it is difficult to move on to the next step. I don’t know what part 2 could be at this point.

Medical Reiki Midday Makeover WENY TV

Annah Elizabeth recently completed her certification in Medical Reiki. Here is an update.

What is Medical Reiki™?

Medical Reiki is a modern-day approach to medical needs that incorporates the age-old energy therapy modality, Reiki. It is a program designed for Reiki Masters, one that prepares practitioners in how to safely support clients with Reiki during pre-and-post op procedures, in the operating room, during other medical procedures like chemotherapy and childbirth, and as assistance for the seriously ill or those under hospice care.

Dr. Mehmet Oz named Reiki “energy medicine” while a full-time surgeon at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC. Medical Reiki is considered a form of Integrative medicine that treats the body, mind, spirit, and lifestyle aspects.

What is the history of Medical Reiki™?

Raven Keyes first began her foray into the operating room in 2000, when one of her Reiki clients obtained permission from Dr. Mehmet Oz to have Raven accompany her during open heart surgery. Following 9/11, Raven spent eight-and-a-half months offering volunteer Reiki services to the emergency personnel and crews who worked tirelessly to find survivors, remains, and to rebuild the broken city. Keyes later began working with renowned breast cancer surgeon, Dr. Sheldon Mark Feldman who is the current Director of Breast Cancer Services at Montefiore and Einstein. Though many benefits of the energy therapy during surgery were noted, one standout is a plastic surgeon’s discussion on how the tissue remained warm during the hours-long breast cancer surgery, thus making his work much more effective and efficient. Raven and Dr. Feldman are pioneering a research study of how Reiki therapy helps surgeries run more smoothly and patients to recover more fully and quickly.

How did you come to do this work?

As a Healing Specialist™, my goal is to provide academic and alternative based programs and services that will allow me to meet the unique needs of each of my clients and I always have my eyes and ears open for fresh programs I can bring to our area. While volunteering as an Integrated energy Therapy practitioner at the 2017 Compassionate Friends conference in Orlando, I met Reiki Master volunteer, Carolyn Fowler. An instant bond was formed over dinner. When Carolyn began talking about this class that she was hosting in Sarasota, FL, I knew this would be a great service to bring to the Southern Tier.

What’s next for you?

I am in the process of introducing this new service to our regional medical institutions and support programs. There are so many areas where our program can be of value, from those who have fears of going to a dentist to providing support to anyone suffering anxiety over any medically-related procedure. I’m excited about the potential of collaborating with local surgeons, doctors and nurses to bring this cutting edge support practice to our area. As one of the program’s certified Medical Reiki Masters™, I may also have the opportunity to participate in the Feldman-Keyes research project, currently based in Manhattan, in various ways.

As we speak I’m working on my second book and hope to begin the submission process next spring. I will continue to offer personal coaching, Reiki and IET energy therapy sessions and training certificate classes, and am increasing the specialized workshops for individuals, community organizations and corporations who want to bring conflict and grief management services to their people. I have recently located to a larger office in the Strathmont building, which will allow me to better serve my clients. I am now in suite 416.

Annah Elizabeth may be reached at (607) 288-3483, through email at, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. You may also visit the website at


Five Facets of Healing Midday Makeover WENY TV

Posted on June 2, 2017 by admin

Annah Elizabeth and The Five Facets of Healing was birthed in personal tragedy. It is the result of a calling by Annah Elizabeth to help people heal from grief and that grief may have many different faces – grief from the loss of a loved one, a dream, a personal injury. The Five Facets of Healing may be found at 100 N. Main St., Elmira, NY  14901. Annah Elizabeth may be reached at (607) 288-3483, through email at, on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You may also visit the website at

How long have you been in business and what do you do?

I began by speaking around the country. I did a TedX event in Nacogdoches, Texas in 2014 and a North Carolina Social Work conference in 2015. I will be one of the featured speakers at the Navigating Through Grief conference in Albany in June. The Newly Bereaved Moms Retreat in August will feature me and the work I have been doing as a workshop presenter.

How has your business evolved?

In order to establish a foundation, it was necessary to do events at no charge in the beginning. However, as it grows and as I become more experienced, I have been able to ask for a fee.  As the business evolved, I had more and more ideas and needed more time to develop them.  I also realized if I truly wanted to make this my living, I needed to offer services.

One year ago, I became an energy practitioner. This is a local service and I needed a space to do this. I opened this office (100 N. Main St. Suite 313). I have also reached out to people on a global scale through social media platforms. I am able to provide energy work locally but also through distance work through an open phone line.

To summarize : my business has 2 aspects to it – The Five Facets of Healing work (workshops, books, talks) and  the energy work I do that is Reiki and Integrated Energy Therapy. In my experience, most people need IET but Reiki has its purpose too in balancing

You have previous business experience. Has that given you any skills you use now?

I was an office manager for a local business for over 7 years. I gained a tremendous amount of skills doing that. I left that to open Apple A Day Farms with my husband. Also, I have always worked with children. Currently, I maintain a part-time position in the school district in order to provide an income and benefits for my family. In the beginning, my present job afforded me time during the day to launch this business and take care of a very active family at night. Also, experience in other businesses helps me with needed skills. I know what questions to ask to get up and running in this business (i.e. Tax questions).

You operate The Five Facets of healing under a different name. What was your reasoning for that?

I don’t want to be known as “the grief lady”.  I want to be able to do different types of literary work and the pseudonym affords me a better opportunity to do that.

Mark Twain is a model for having 2 personas. I spoke at the Clarity event 2 years ago. The first one had no one there I knew. The second event had people in the audience who knew me as a local personality. I was guided to managing this by using the Mark Twain example. People get that.

Do you have any certifications, licenses, degrees?

I used my personal experiences to begin this work with a tremendous amount of research. I also have the training from my past business management work and the skills acquired by anyone who owns a business like Apple A Day Farm. You could say I was self-taught for much of what I did to begin.

I earned my level 2 Reiki here in Elmira from Christy Forsyth and am in the process of completing my Reiki Master certification, which will be done by the end of summer. I obtained my Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced IET training here in Elmira from Joy Storch. I obtained my Master Instructor training in Philadelphia from an IET Trainer out of Florida. This past spring I had the privilege of training under the Integrated Energy Therapy founder, Steven Thayer, solidifying my mastery skills and instructor abilities even more.

I offer 2 approaches to my programming. One uses the Five Facets Philosophy on Healing model and the other incorporates alternative elements. I give the individual what they need based on where they are. Some people are open to energy work and some prefer to keep it academic based. You could call it Life Coaching and Life Coaching PLUS for those who are open to the intuitive element

What are your greatest achievements?

In bringing peace to people. One client came in a back brace for an IET session and left without it. They remained pain free for days afterward. And then there are those people who I’m able to help find peace and resolution in their grief. Those are the most profound experiences for me.

What have been your greatest stumbling blocks?

My lack of credentials. There have been opportunities that I have missed out on because some institutions require formal degrees in order to have you participate in their programs and/or events. I struggle with the idea of going back to school for the formal education. My research demonstrates many top people in this field are self-taught.

I am self-employed and work another job which provides insurance and income. This takes time away from me developing my business and slows the growth. I have to navigate around this. There are times when this is very challenging. One of my mottos is “Slow and steady wins the race,” so I embrace each challenge and accept that it brings its own gifts to the table.

Do people have misconceptions about you or your business?

Just me trying to figure out what I offer. The misconception by others is that I have been dealing with grief work.  In my mind I am focusing on healing. As I develop, this will sort itself out, but it’s in my mind and not the client.

If you could have a Do Over, is there anything you would want to change?


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see programs offered on worldwide scale with me training and certifying others in The Five Facets of Healing.

What is a Medium Midday Makeover WENY TV

Lisa Rahilly is the owner of Mindful Inspirations. Lisa is a Psychic Medium. She also has a small retail space in Burdette with all your metaphysical needs: jewelry, crystals and essential oils.

How long have you been in business?

Mindful Inspirations is one year old.

What has been the evolution of you as a business owner?

I started out as a baker and created Dessert Shack, a custom order bakery business – cakes, cupcakes, bagels etc.. I was a “Baking Medium”. I recently closed that business to focus my attention on Mindful Inspirations.

I have always had spiritual experiences since I was a child but brushed them aside. Two years ago I was introduced to Reiki by a friend which triggered a deep opening of my gift. This ultimately led me to mediumship. It is a journey that involves a lot of education, self-reflection and fine tuning one’s spiritual side.

When you were introduced to Reiki, how did that come about?

The person who trained me in Reiki used to come in to my bakery in Montour Falls. We began talking and I was intrigued with the idea of Reiki. I worked with her to achieve the different levels of Reiki and obtain attunements. It has been one thing after the next from there.

Tell me more about being a Medium.

Being a medium is about validating that there is life after death. It is about bringing messages of hope; bringing peace and healing to those who have crossed over and to those that are here. Being a medium should always be about serving others for their greatest and highest good.

Do you go anywhere to develop your psychic mediumship abilities?

I have studied/certified under James Van Praague, a nationally known medium. I have had some local teachers and have been self-taught. I have taken classes at Omega Institute, Lillydale, Kripalu and various seminars. This is an ongoing, constant learning adventure. It is a huge commitment with a lot of responsibility. You are connecting with and affecting people’s emotions and their life.

What is your background?

I spent the last 22 years working with my husband. We built a construction business together. I have been self-employed almost my entire life. I love the challenge of it.

I am also an LPN. I love taking care of people and thought that was the direction I wanted to go once I left construction. After graduating, getting my license and working for a little bit, I realized that was not quite where I needed to be.

The baking led me to the mediumship. In that respect I get to feed the soul in both ways.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

There are always misconceptions about anything having to do with the spiritual world. Without bringing religion in to it at all you always have misconceptions. I believe it is due to lack of education. It has to do with the belief systems people have been raised with and been ingrained with their whole entire lives.

However, in the last 20 years James Van Praague and John Edwards are my heroes in a sense they were the pioneers for opening this world up publicly with their TV shows. I believe people’s minds are much more open. They are looking for hope and to know that there is life after death. This is not the end. That is what mediumship is all about – validating that there is life after death.

What are your greatest achievements?

Bringing my 3 sons into this world.

My ability to develop a gift that allows me to serve humanity.

Have you had any stumbling blocks?

There are always stumbling blocks. I would say my biggest one is fear. Fear of failure – of putting yourself out there. Fear of judgement.

If you could have a ‘Do-Over’, what would it be?

I believe people have a time for things in their lives, but I would have liked to begin this work a lot sooner. I would be a medium at 20. Some mediums are meant to start at a young age and some are not. My time is now.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In the spring of 2018 I will be transforming Mindful Inspirations into a full service health and wellness shop – teaching and educating in a practical manner. I want people to walk out the door with practical tools they can use and work with every single day. I like to be spontaneous and go with whatever opens up.

Animal Communication on Midday Makeover WENY TV

Hounds Horses and Hearts: Working Animals Tell Their Stories

UPDATE: Shari Koval has recently published a new book titled Hounds, Horses and Hearts: Working Animals Tell Their Stories. This book is a series of true stories about animals with jobs from the animal’s point of view, communicating through Shari. There are stories from service animals, therapy animals, police dogs, healer animals, and athletes. Shari came up with a list of questions asking what the animals think about being in the working world. The owners/handlers provided Shari with the background of the animals and she put their stories together. Each animal has very interesting advice for the world to live better lives.

What has been your process?

Lots of time sitting in my treatment room talking to animals from photos. I attempt to meet as many animals as I can. I received the names of the animals from a friend of a friend of a friend. A lot of the animals in the book are my clients. They have a therapy job or have made themselves a self-proclaimed protector. A friend would say “Oh, I know this type of animal”. That is how the big list began. For the police dogs, we went to the local police departments that my husband retired from. I was able to talk to those animals.

How many animals are there?

There are 21 chapters in the book and there are 18 different animals or groups of animals. There is a chapter about Tammy Marsh’s work that she does with Equine Assisted Learning. I interviewed each animal in that program and this group is one chapter in the book.

Your long list becomes you short list. You decide who you are going to use and you begin talking to them in person and through pictures?


How many did you actually meet in person?

I met about three quarter of the animals in person. A service dog and 2 therapy horses near Albany I have not met. There is one dog in Texas I have not met and then a service PTSD dog in the south I have not met.

Now that you have your interview, what is next?

I did all the interviews first and then I tackled writing each one of those chapters. Being from a scientific background, I had to decide whether to just give the facts. The more I talked to these animals, I realized they are more than just facts. They are scentient beings. I tried to do my best to tell their stories, represent the work they do, how they affect their people and what advice they have for the world.

As a former co-publisher, did you go back to that publisher and tell them you had something new?

I self-published this book and Tammy self-published the last book. I had my sister do my editing for me. She did a great job and it went pretty quickly once they had the manuscript. I work with Balboa Press, a division of Hay House.

If you self-publish, why do you need them?

Balboa does all the ‘real’ work. In reality, I have paid for my publishing. Once I make my money back that I have paid to publish, I will begin to receive royalties. I do the writing and Balboa distributes. When you publish through them, the book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Balboa Press, etc.. I can also sell them myself. You can opt for Balboa to set up book signings, and you can do that yourself. You can also buy marketing services from them too. They will do a video for you to use on YouTube and elsewhere. Each stage of the process, this company provides you with a different expert to help you. They offer a variety of packages. They are very versatile.

To see all this promotional material must be very exciting!


Shari Koval has been part of the Wellness Arts Network for many years and is the owner of SKEnergy Healing LLC in Beaver Dams, NY. She can be reached at (607) 279-5749 and by email at Her website is

(Previous Interview)

Natural Healthcare for Pets

Shari Koval has been part of the Wellness Arts Network for many years and is the owner of SK Energy Healing LLC in Beaver Dams, NY. She can be reached at (607) 279-5749 and by email at Her website is

How long have you been in business?

Since 2009, so 7 years.

How do you describe your business and what you do?

I do a lot of different modalities. I started out using Reiki. From there I became a Reiki Tibetan Usui Master (the basic Reiki) in 2009. I joined IARP (International Association of Reiki Professionals) and have been a member since then. In 2011, I became a Karuna™ Reiki Master. This is a bit higher vibration and includes adding 8 more symbols. In 2011, I became certified from Level One to Level 6 in Tuning Fork Therapy. In 2012, I became certified in Color and Crystal Therapy using the tuning forks. In 2014, I became certified in Natural Healthcare for Pets.

Where do you get all these certifications?

My Usui/Tibetan Reiki Master is in England. The Tuning Fork Therapy™ training was distance learning. It was an intense training program that involved many exams and practicums to be sent in and graded. Francine Milford from Florida developed Tuning Fork Therapy™ along with the color and crystal therapy that I work with. My Karuna™ Reiki Master is in the Ithaca area. The Natural Healthcare for Pets was distance learning as well through Penn Foster.  It was in intense program with many home work assignments and exams. I did all this while I was working full time.

What inspired you to begin all that?

I have always liked anything medical. If I had it to do all over again, I probably would have become a veterinarian. However, I wanted to go out and make money so I obtained an AAS degree in hatcheries Biology. I have had many surgeries and I never wanted to rely on Western Medicine. The Reiki interested me as a support system. The western and the eastern medicines work very well together.

Once you begin something, the other things usually come in. I have always been very musical so the tuning forks were a good fit for me. They are a more scientific approach to energy healing. Each of the body organs and each of our systems has its perfect vibration. If you get out of sync, you can use the forks to get it back in. From there I began playing with singing bowls.

I originally began the Reiki to work on animals, but then the people came. I continued to build up the animal work skills with the Natural Healthcare for Pets.

What have been your greatest stumbling blocks?

I believe it has been a matter of finding the time to focus on it. I worked full time, I have a household, I was building a business, I have a parent to care for. Now that I have retired, I have more time to dedicate to this.

Do people have any misconceptions about you or your business?

I think people wonder about what this Reiki thing is. (Is it a religion? Is it from the ‘devil’?). I tell people this is a gift from God. It is something everyone can do because we are just the conduits – it is not our energy. I teach my students that way too. If they are not comfortable with me saying this is a gift from God, they probably won’t be one of my students.

People will think I have certain mindsets because I do this work. Lots of people had a hard time believing I spent most of my time as a scientist. I got to use both halves of my brain.

What did you do for your work?

I worked at Corning Inc. for 31+ years. I retired as a Senior Scientist in Research, doing glass surface research.

If you could have a Do-Over, is there anything you would do differently?

I may have looked into this work sooner, because I really believe doing this kind of work is my calling. However, I believe everything is going to progress the way it is supposed to.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I see this business continuing to grow. It has been a steady growth for 7 years. I have about half and half human to animal clients. I love that mix. I would like to do more distance work because I can do that wherever I go. I plan to have a book published.

I co-wrote a book called Talk To Me: Round Pen Work from the Horse’s Point of View. I was the Animal Communicator on the book and Tammy Marsh authored it. (Available online at, Barnes & Nobles, etc.). The next book will be Animals With Jobs From Their Point of View. I work with Therapy Animals, Police dogs and horses, Service Animals, and Athletes (and some animals who have given themselves jobs). I think this book will write itself. The animal owner will fill out a questionnaire and I have a list of questions I ask the animal – Why do you do the work? What makes you do this work every day? Do you LIKE to do this work?

I’m sure you get asked this all the time, but how do you know what the animal is telling you?

It’s just like dealing with a person. It is not an exact science. You can only pick up what you can pick up. You make a heart to heart connection with them. You telepathically ask them a question and then the answer will come in. When I first started, I’d get single words. I have been doing this long enough now that I can get full sentences, they can show me things through their eyes, they can let me join up with them to feel how they feel in their bodies. I do a lot of that for the diagnostic part of my work to see where their pain is. Then you have to trust it.

How do you verify what you are doing?

I will send the answers to the owner and ask if this makes sense to them. Sometimes yes and sometimes no. you can only pick up what the animal is willing to share. Like people, animals may not want to share with you and that is their prerogative. However, I always check with the animal first to see if they are willing to talk with me

SHRUB on Midday Makeover WENY TV

Dorothy Poppleton and Andri Goncarovs are the owners of Finger Lakes Harvest in Ithaca, NY. Their product is SHRUB, a process of fermenting fruit that dates back to colonial days. It includes 3 ingredients: whole fruit, organic apple cider vinegar and organic cane sugar. They can be reached at (607) 346-3849 and SHRUB can be purchased at a variety of Farm Markets and online at www.etsy.comshop/FingerLakesHarvest.

The whole umbrella picture of Finger Lakes Harvest originally was to bring products that were made in the Finger Lakes under one site and sell them. We veered off from that when we discovered this one product, SHRUB that we could produce. We have taken that Finger Lakes Harvest and turned it a little bit. The Harvest part is the fruit is harvested from farmers in the Finger Lakes region. The brand represents what we intended on doing originally. We found that there were very few direct ‘farmer to producer’ connections especially for the small farmers who cannot participate in the large wholesale markets. We can source out markets (even by knocking on doors) from small producers who might have half an acre of rhubarb. We will harvest that and put it in freezers that we rent. We produce SHRUB from that.

The nice thing about what we do is this: we can use ‘ugly’ fruit. The farmer might not be able to sell this at the market because it is not ‘pretty’. We don’t need pretty fruit. We are going to transform the fruit into a wonderful liquid.

How is this different from fruit that has been dropped to the ground and considered unusable?

 There are 2 things going on there. NY State passed some legislation about 10-12 years ago based on several incidents, but one in particular. Tainted fruit ended up in a product that caused some health problems in individuals and then on top of that, there was a contaminated water source that was used to wash fruit. The legislation was a reaction to clamp down on potential contaminated sources of fruit. Farmers in particular when you are trying to process apples, and other foods (in particular ‘drops’), which they may have done in the past, they may not have been cleaned well enough.

Our approach is if it’s really dirty or moldy, we cannot use that fruit. However, we go through a cleaning process just like any food processor. The FDA and USDA have certain rules about how much other contaminates can be in there. Even a small percentage is not good but in the big food processing world up to 5% is allowed.  What we do is establish a DIRECT connection with the farmer. We know them intimately. Farm to Table is a movement that is happening right now. What it’s doing is bringing the farmer and the consumer closer together. What we are doing is basically the same thing – making a product where we know that the product that we are getting is clean, not damaged, we know who it comes from and the conditions under which it was grown. If it’s organic and certified as such, we can label it organic. If it’s not certified organic we can’t label it organic. However, we can certainly let our consumers know under what conditions it was grown.

How long have you been doing this?

We were FDA Certified back in November, 2016. How we started the process is an interesting story. Andri closed a business. I had just left a job. We needed a vacation so we went up to New England. On the trip we ran into some friends and talked about our concept of Finger Lakes Harvest. The conversation brought us around to talking about shrub. They knew someone who made it. We had never heard of it. We went to a colonial village and in their refrigerator was a bottle of shrub! We decided to buy this and see what it was all about. We bought it, tasted it, put it on everything and on the way home we began talking about it. We researched it when we got home. I started working with it in the kitchen with small amounts of fruits and vinegar. I tried different kinds of vinegar. We discovered Apple Cider Vinegar was the way to go. Over time we developed this really great product.

I am curious about the sugar. Why do you have to put sugar in it?

It is part of the process. When you put sugar on berries and all that wonderful juice comes out, it’s the same type of thing.

There is this idea that all sugar has negative effects. Unfortunately, that’s a great generalization that is not necessarily true. For certain people with certain medical issues even a little bit of sugar can be a problem. For the most part in the shrubbing process it has extreme value.

  1. It acts as an extractor. It helps pull the fluids and helps loosen up the flavor esthers which are the things where the colors and flavors are.
  2. It also acts as a preservative and so does the vinegar. The vinegar is also an extractor. It’s called a vector. Vectoring is how you extract and do it at a LOWER temperature than most of your juices that are extracted.

Most of the juices in this country that are bottled by FDA law are extracted by a heating process which, unfortunately, destroys most of the A’s, a lot of the B’s, and all of the C’s or ascorbics. This process is different and the extraction process is at a much lower temperature over time. Sugar is part of that. Sugar helps create a stability. Sugar is the food for the lactobacters to continue to do their work in the conversion of fibers and esthers that live in the fruit to the liquid. You could do this with just the fruit but there would probably not be enough to pull out all the nutrients.

You are using organic cane sugar? Is that different than the white, processed cane sugar you buy at the store?

Organic Cane sugar is unbleached. It is coarser and has more of the micronutrients in it. It is a certified organic sugar which feels different, has more flavor and works differently. It is hard to explain but the lactobacters like it too. It is also twice the cost of bleached, processed cane sugar.

What has been your evolution as a business owner?

Dorothy Poppleton: Throughout my entire life I have always loved to cook –specifically BAKE! As a kid coming out of High School I thought about going to culinary school but loved to cook so much that I was afraid that if I did it for a living, I would hate it. I was very pragmatic and I got a degree in Radiology and X-ray. I did that for the first 15 years of my young adult life. I was in healthcare and specialized in mammography; I did family practice, urgent care etc. I did most of that in Boston and the Adirondac region.

I am from this area and when I had my first child, I wanted to come back to Elmira. One night I was working the 3-11 shift and I had a patient that I wasn’t sure what they had.  I was holding them for a procedure and thought, “What am I bringing home to my kids”. I reevaluated after that what I wanted to do with my life. My husband was in landscaping and I opened a retail garden center. We did that for awhile and relocated to a place where I could have a kitchen. It was called Westside Marketplace (café) at the Point. I closed the shop in West Elmira and worked for a caterer for a time and then Cornell for a time. I had an opportunity to open Sophie’s Cafe in Big Flats.

My business partner and I had an opportunity to open a bakery/café with food on Market St. in Corning. I did that for awhile and as life happens it was not a good fit for 2 single women raising families so we sold it. I began working for Corning, Inc.. I discovered that working in a corporate setting was not my ideal place. Around that time, Andre and I met. I left Corning and began helping Andri at his Antique Center for about a year. He closed that and we went on our New England vacation.

Andre Goncarovs: I was in the wholesale sourdough bread business for 20+ years. We were self-taught. We created our own cultures, we grew them and inoculated our doughs. We sold bread throughout New York State. We learned how to create great natural sourdoughs. Some were sweeter than others and some were more sour than others. We learned branding and shaping packaging.

Somewhere in the middle of there I also ended up in the consulting world. I did a lot of re-engineering consulting work with manufacturers in the US. We also did things like competitive intelligence, product positioning, new product development and due diligence acquisition. It was a one stop shop consulting firm.

There was the wholesale, family bakery business partnership and the consulting work. They coexisted for awhile. Then there were some life changes and it was time for me to make some changes on the baking side. Portions of it were sold.

I also earned a couple degrees from Cornell and was President of Ithaca Farmer’s Market for years. This laid the foundation for a lot of what we are doing now. At Ithaca Farmer’s Market we did a lot of local development. I wrote papers on marketscape development and presented at different educational groups and institutions. We were very involved in Cooperative Extension. There were a few other stops along the way. I worked overseas with an NGO doing agri-tourism and small business development. I taught courses in the Wisconsin Dells to former Soviet Union regional economic development ministers about the basics of starting an economy from the ground zero for several summers.

About 10-12 years ago I got into the antiques business. I ended up buying out the partners in the Antique Center north of Ithaca and ran that. It was the old Babcock Industries building. It was a big footprint retail business so I learned about customer acquisition, antiques and the history that goes along with it. Dorothy and I would have liked to purchase the building, but the negotiations did not go well. We decided to leave that and go find something else to do but enjoy life for awhile. That lasted about 2 weeks and we bumped into shrub. We are serial entrepreneurs.

I appreciate you are able to pick something up, play with it for awhile and put it down. Some people can’t do that. They ‘beat it to death’. They don’t ever want to put it down.

You have to be listening – to what your body is saying, the things that are around you (the conversations of people and the). It’s not easy when you are neck deep in all the crisis that a small business can create. In taking on something completely new, I had some background in helping manufacturers; I am comfortable around machinery. We have designed some of our own equipment that we use specifically for SHRUB.

We did the research on the shrub market and felt the timing was right. We were seeing all the right things that you would want. As a consultant to myself, I would be saying if you have the time, energy and money to do it, jump in now. We convinced ourselves this was the right time to do this. Dorothy worked diligently every night working up different processes on a small scale. In the meantime, I am figuring out how we are going to go from making a 2 gallon batch to a 200 gallon batch while keeping it all financially moving. This is not something a bank is going to throw money at unless you have lots of collateral. We didn’t. I had some retirement assets and other monies. I was Antique Rich at the time and sold that off. We made some good decisions along the way – it was a challenge. We made some not so good decisions, but not ones that would sink the ship.

With our baking experience, food is in our blood. Bottling is a whole different thing. Bottling, labeling, figuring out the size of the bottle, the shape of the bottle. But we love learning and figuring out another way to go about it.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

I think we are moving fast enough that people can’t catch up to it. Some people have one career in 30 years where we have done 3 careers in 30 years and that’s pretty normal now.

The other thing is that when people say what are you doing? Why are you doing that? Why CAN you do that? Why should you be doing that? It didn’t cross us as a stumbling block. We went for it. We have regular business meetings. We plan our strategy just like a big business but we are a small business. (You have wonderful backgrounds for this. Lots of people don’t).

I think there was one minute when we talked about it and we thought maybe we should go out and get traditional jobs. And then it was like “No. That’s not us”.

Are there misconceptions about your Product?

Some people will walk up to our booth and ask, “Is this a skin product”? We tell them it’s not SCRUB, it’s SHRUB. Other people will know what this is when they come up to the booth and say, “Oh. This is juice”. No, it’s not juice and we have to educate.

The learning curve on knowing what this product is, is HUGE and very steep. We accept that as part of our mission to be the industry leader in this country. We recognize that people are just learning about what shrub is but also this whole concept of making a simple wholesome ingredient from a few ingredients that is stable and can be used in so many different ways like they did 250 years ago. They were smart back then. They didn’t have commercial refrigeration. They didn’t even have bottling really. They learned that through simple processing you could end up with a product that is stable and nutritious and last for a little bit longer than a day or two.

What have been your greatest achievements?

(Dorothy) I think the fact that we could take something from nothing and make it into a successful business in a very short period of time. We have a ways to go but we look at this as very much a success.

I feel that in my life – having the courage to do things on my own. Many people have looked at me as if I am crazy thinking I could have stayed in medicine and be retired by now. I would not have been happy. As much angst as being in a small business can cause you wouldn’t want it any other way. I think that in and of itself is an achievement.

(Andri) In reality, the best is yet to come. We have something here that is uniquely different and interesting. We are bringing a lot of people along with us. It’s not just a few customers. Farmers are starting to see there may be something interesting here and maybe they could make a value added product. (Of course, that will be on them to make it happen for them). But once we are in this for another 2-3 years, there is going to be a pathway that we will have cleared to make a difference for many other people that want to get started.

We have intentionally gone to Farmer’s Markets and Wine and Food Shows. Some things are under development but we have met a lot of people in the process. In doing so we learned a lot about ourselves and what it takes to make a product that everyone is comfortable with in general. In doing so, we gain a confidence in ourselves. Smaller businesses are beginning to notice it and asking us questions. They see how far we have come in a short amount of time.

Of course, we are very dedicated. We work well together too. I have a partner that I can fully trust. When something has to happen, it happens. Every Monday morning we have a business meeting and we talk through every issue that is related. We clear the table a lot. In a family business that can be hard to do because it becomes personal. Then you become stuck and goals are not being reached. We have gone from zero to some great numbers in year one. We are profitable NOW!

I keep thinking Shark Tank.

We talked about this the other day. Someone did bring shrub to Shark Tank about 2 – 3 years ago. The woman had a great idea but she was very unclear about her market segments and where to go and how to present her products. We learned from that. We are humble enough to know that we don’t know everything. As smart as we are and with the backgrounds we have, we still don’t know everything. We are willing to ask anyone for help.

We learn a lot from our customers – how they are using the product, how they are perceiving what we are telling them. We had this whole thing in the beginning about all the wonderful ways you can use this but it became as simple as saying it is 3 basic ingredients. We had a 3 minute elevator speech and now we are 30 seconds. We didn’t think that was important. We thought people would listen to us forever. They would walk away. The market is relentless in that way.

We re-watch some of the Shark Tank segments, but the one about the shrub teaches us something new every single time. The shark’s language is finely honed. The first time we heard a question it may have gone over our heads. The next time we heard it we understood what they wanted.

Do you have any stumbling blocks?

Lack of capital to start. We grew faster than we had finances for. It’ been a balancing act getting into things slowly. We realized that if you put everything on the shelf and you’re not getting immediate money back that is money you can’t reinvest in the company. We have also begun to grow out of our present space. Finding a new one is a challenge.

However, some of these challenges have been valuable lessons for us. They have taught us to look for efficiencies in our processes. There are times when we ask experts for ideas and may look around for common household items to build things. Stumbling Blocks are great lessons.

Would you take a Do-Over in anything?

No. I am a believer in lessons learned.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

We know where we want to be in 2 years. We will be a million dollar business. We have an opportunity to grow.

Are you developing this business to sell it?

I don’t believe any of our 6 children are interested in what we do. Our children have their own directions they are going in.

We are in this for the long haul. This business requires a lot of intention. It’s not just money and hardware. It requires a lot of attention to details that could come back to bite you. We are pretty aware of that. We want to build a clientele that is happy with a great product that are willing to pay a little extra for it while keeping our margins happy. We know our business will remain here. We will not be moving to Michigan or Ohio or Florida.

We plan to expand a SHRUB based product line. We have some of those developed for now (Bloody Mary Mix). We have brand extension product plans as well. If someone made a significant offer for a business that we have built, yes we would sell it. I don’t plan to be working in my 80’s. I am doing this as a way to retire eventually.

Dry Brush on Midday Makeover WENY TV

Rasa Spa’s mission is to serve the well-being of the whole person through healing, client empowerment, fostering a mindful community, and cultivating a tranquil, beautiful atmosphere. It is owned by Rachel Hogancamp and has a number of locations: 310 Taughannock Blvd., Ithaca, In Island Health & Fitness at Community Corners and at the Cayuga Medical Center on the first floor, just outside the birthing unit in Ithaca, NY. They are attempting to wrap around the whole being by offering a variety of bodywork (waxing and skincare, massage, a scrub or wrap, an energy work session, or acupuncture), skincare, yoga classes and meditation. They are the host to a lovely tranquility room, changing rooms, saunas and showers, Community Space classroom, and treatment rooms. For an appointment you may call (607) 273-1740. You can visit the website for a full list of treatments at or email them at . They are also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Founded by Rachel Hogancamp, a former massage therapist herself, the spa is very careful in its hiring process and can confidently say that only great service providers are hired. It’s an important aspect of who Rasa is in the Ithaca and surrounding community, and allows the spa to truly offer a unique session to every client. The intent is as if you are in a private practice and you are going to see your therapist. We want that same experience with bodywork and skincare. We offer different facials, but within that service we allow the esthetician and the massage therapist to do their best to tailor that session to whatever that person’s needs are. We don’t “upsell” a relaxation massage to deep-tissue. We prefer to accommodate the client’s needs on that day.

Interview with Rachel Hogancamp, Managing Partner

How is the Medical Massage service that you offer different from other massage sessions?

It is only different in the sense that we want clients to feel that they can book the session they need that day. For example, if I had whiplash and looked at the website, I might choose a medical massage. The reality is that if that same person came in and just booked a regular massage, our therapists would still treat it as a medical massage. Some people think “spa” is a place to go sit in a sauna, hang out with a girlfriend, and have a glass of wine. Rasa is different. We are very much about therapeutic bodywork and skincare.

Does medical Massage get covered by insurance?

Sometimes. You have to know your own insurance. With advance notice, we can provide an invoice and session notes for anyone who requests it and then you can submit that to your insurance company for reimbursement. Often people don’t know if their treatment is covered by insurance and we have begun suggesting that they ask. It may be covered in full or partially, but it is dependent on each insurance plan.

What are your offerings at Rasa Spa?

Besides many different types of massage, we offer a wide range of body treatments like wraps and scrubs. We offer an Ananda scalp treatment based off the shirodhara service. We offer Reflexology and Reiki. In our skincare department, we offer facials, including microdermabrasion, waxing, and eyelash extensions. To round things out, we also have yoga and meditation classes.

How long have you been in business?

I opened Rasa Spa 11 years ago (November, 2006). I personally have been doing bodywork since 1994.

What has been the evolution of that?

I graduated in 1991 from Ithaca College (which got me to Ithaca) with a degree in Arts Administration – music, theater, art history, and the business management of that. When I left college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was offered a job to work at a production house on Broadway (in theory what I wanted to do) and turned it down. I stayed in Ithaca, took some photography classes and began doing some photography at the Ithaca Times and with theaters at Cornell and Ithaca College, as well as some freelance work. I had always been interested in law and thought I wanted to go to law school for entertainment law or some sort of advocacy work.

A friend of mine was a graduate of the Cornell Hotel School working at the New Age Health Spa in the Catskills. She discovered they were opening a massage school in Ithaca and suggested I attend as a better way to pay my way through law school. I thought that was brilliant. I had maybe experienced two massages before and some Trager work.

I was in the first class at the Finger Lakes School or Massage in 1994. When I graduated I still didn’t know what I wanted to do but decided to stay in Ithaca a little longer. My friend and I opened up Bodyworks in Ithaca. I had various partners over the years, but ended up owning it on my own. I did the business management of it along with bodywork. I was also teaching at the massage school during this time. From 1995 to 2006 my work life was a mix of doing massage myself (10-16 clients/week), teaching at the massage school in the major modalities a lot, and doing some photography on the side.

Around 1999, a teaching colleague and fellow bodyworker, Sondra Hartmann, and I talked about opening up a spa. We got as far as doing all the designs and drawings with someone who was a client of hers and owned a lot of property in town. The pricetag on it was about $2-3 million. We immediately thought, “can’t do that!” However, what was interesting in doing that exercise was that I met Mary Tabacchi, a professor at Cornell, through my friend from massage school and Bodyworks partner Brenda.

In 2004 I got a call from Terry Ciaschi. He said, “we are opening up this wellness center and I got your name from Mary Tabacchi, a professor at Cornell in the Hotel School.”

Mary is one of the main founders of the Spa industry in this country. That is no exaggeration. Susie Ellis, Mary Tabacchi, and a few other folks sat in a room where the New Age Health Spa is, decided we needed to make the spa industry happen here in this country, and they did. So thankfully, I knew Mary. The hospital and the Ciaschis called Cornell and asked who should we talk to and Mary said you need to talk to Rachel.

The last major funny piece of this is, I got the call and two days later I was getting on the road for a month to manage a music tour that a friend of mine was doing to raise money for cervical cancer awareness. I met with the spa group the next day and over the course of a month on the road, I thought and dreamed about what I would want to do. We had conversations and negotiations. We landed on 50/50 ownership and chose where we were to be in the building. At the time, the Cayuga Wellness Center was a shell. Island Health was the only part of the building with a solid footprint of where it would be. They thought Rasa Spa would be on the first floor in the beginning for visibility. As we talked, we realized there was nowhere to grow. We would be in the confines of a smaller space. So we went to the second floor and worked with architects to develop the design. It was fabulous to be a part of the entire creation process including what sheets to buy and where the walls would go.

That’s how it all happened!

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

When people don’t know us, they assume one of 4 things:

  1. They hear the word ‘SPA’ and assume the beauty industry.
  2. Because we are in a medical building, people are surprised when they see this space. People assume it might be smaller or that it might be sterile. They think the spa might not have the warmth that we imbibe here.
  3. They hear the word ‘Hospital’ and think you have to be part of the hospital to participate.
  4. We LOVE it when people linger here. Nap. Meditate.

If there is a misconception it is that people do not understand we are a stand-alone business that is in partnership with the hospital and the health club AND that our mission is Whole Healthcare.

What are your greatest achievements?

Staying in business for 11 years is one of them. We just keep growing thanks to this amazing community we live in and the wonderful staff at Rasa.

We also opened up a treatment room at the hospital over a year ago. This was something I wanted to do when Rasa began and it took 10 years to get there. We are just seeing patients in the last six or so months. We began with a very makeshift thing – setting up a massage chair in the hallway to service staff. After a few years, I backed out because it wasn’t feeling right to have massage only in the hallway. A couple of months later, I got a call saying CMC had a space for us. The hospital took care of setting up the room and it’s been great to be able to staff three therapists there, four days a week.

Do you have any Stumbling blocks?

Hindsight is an interesting thing.  I would have to say that as an individual, going into partnership with two corporations has its challenges. Technically, I am in business with three companies if you include the health club, CMC, and the building owners.  Due to the nature of how these things work they are really more investors and good neighborly partners even though we collaborate.

I work as the Managing Partner with a salary, which is different than if I were just an owner. It’s not a comment on the financial aspects so much as it is about what it takes to run a business this size. I would have done that differently so that I’d feel as though I had more support at the ownership level. As it stands, given the way things go, we all work well together it’s just that at times it would be wonderful to have another “person partner” instead of a large corporation partner.

On the list of things we do in collaboration includes offering a free 30 minute massage to any new member to the health club. The health reimburses the spa for a portion of the retail rate of that service to help offset our expenses. Also, the hospital subsidizes all of our time at the hospital which is great. I just think it’s a lot for anyone to run a business with 50 employees. I can’t ever really take my “owner” hat off at Rasa which can be tricky as another manager in the business.

I would also have loved to figure out a way to have water in the spa for hydrotherapy. I believe the only way to have achieved that was to have taken the first floor of the building. It’s something that we miss. We all thought that because the club has a pool and a hot tub, we could have figured out a way to utilize that. People here are in “spa” mode. Most don’t want to walk through the gym in their bathrobe to swim in the pool or sit in the hot tub.

Are people here employees?

Everybody is an employee. When you ask someone to come in at a particular time, they are an employee. It has all the other implications of taxes and insurances and disability. We have 50 employees here. Of the 50, maybe five of them do not want to have their own practice. It creates an interesting dynamic because we don’t have a non-compete here and allow anyone to work where they would like to in order to piece together a schedule that works for them. Many folks don’t want to be full-time at a spa.

An interesting fact about Rasa’s sessions is that most other spas do a 50 minute hour with a 10 minute turnover for the practitioner. We do a 60 minute hour with a 15 minute turnover. Not only are we charging the same rates as other local spas doing 50 minutes, we give our staff an extra five minutes for turnover. That’s money we are sacrificing from the business for that commitment.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, when you enter the website, I envision you doing the “Which Rasa Do I Want To Visit Today?” question. You could be at the hospital, at the Cayuga Wellness Center, in Community Corners, or at our destination spa location up at the Inns of Aurora. Clients can have lots of different experiences under the Rasa umbrella.

Float Tank (REST) on Midday Makeover WENY TV

Seamus Kennedy is the owner of Live Well Upstate in Elmira, NY. They are a drug-free, medical clinic offering the full gamut of Chinese medicine which includes Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and supplementation, medical massage therapy, nutritional consultation and guidance, and personal cultivation particularly in meditation and qigong practice. This also includes a Float Tank. They have been in business for 5 ½ years and may be found at 408 W. Church St, Elmira, NY  14901. They may be reached at (607) 733-3373, by email at or info@LiveWellUpstate. Their website is and they also have an active Facebook page. They are also on Twitter.

What has been the evolution of your business?

When I graduated from SUNY Albany I had a BA in Linguistics and had secured a job in Japan teaching English as a second language. I was leaving in a few months when I realized it was not going to be enough to satisfy me long-term. I was living in Philadelphia at the time and started going to my friends’ medical school classes. I shadowed her doing rounds at the hospital – getting my feet wet without having to commit. I had always been excited about the option of being a doctor. I came to the conclusion that if I went into medicine, I would not be able to do the conventional route.

I decided to go the Naturopathic Medical route. I enrolled at what now is the National University of Natural Medicine ( in Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon. When I was there, I found myself skipping histology class to go listen to the Dean of the Chinese Medicine program talk about Chinese Cosmology. I was hooked! I changed my track from Naturopathic Medicine to Classical Chinese medicine and I never looked back.

I moved back to the east coast fully intending to settle in Ithaca. I had a classmate living in Spencer and she said, “Let’s look in Elmira. There is nothing like this going on in Elmira”. I remember when we looked at properties in Ithaca nothing was moving smoothly. I was getting parking tickets. People were rude. I was feeling frustrated with Ithaca. I went to Elmira to look for properties and it was like the heavens opened up. People were incredibly helpful, kind, very interested and going out of their way to help. We found the building that we practice in now through a person who did the landscaping here.

At the end of this one day I was feeling excited. We went to the Elbow Room and sat next to a fellow who did the landscaping for this property. He mentioned there was this building for sale. He thought it was tiny – probably 700 square feet – it had been empty for awhile – probably get it for a ‘song’. We went to look at it and discovered it was 2600 square feet and did need a lot of work. We did get it for a ‘song’.

It took us the better part of a year to get the financing together for the renovations. It took a village. The whole neighborhood, friends, especially family helping out and we created this beautiful little oasis in the middle of Elmira.

Do you have investors here or is this all yours?

All of my debts were consolidated into a mortgage that I am continuing to pay off.

 Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

That is hard to know. I am told that people speak kindly of what we do here with some enthusiasm. Our business is almost completely word of mouth, based on the good work we do here. That is how we have built up business over the last few years.

Do you have employees or contractors?

Everyone here is an employee including myself.  We are moving in the direction of self-management, otherwise known as Teal organizational model (based on Reinventing Organizations by Frederic LaLoux). It takes me out of the position of ‘Benevolent Dictator’. One of the reasons we want to do the self-management, it gives people the freedom to develop what they want to develop within the supportive environments of Live Well Upstate. It’s not just “This is what we are doing next. Everyone fall in line”. It’s more like how do you see this place growing; what do you want to contribute; how are you going to do it”? Suddenly all the enthusiasm in the world is there.

Is acupuncture covered by insurance?

Acupuncture is covered by several insurance policies but not by everyone. We here at Live Well Upstate do not bill insurance directly. There are a couple of reasons:

  1. It keeps our costs down because it’s a pain in the butt to do it. (That may change as we expand and have MDs and Chiropractors on staff here. They may insist on a billing department, which I would support if it made sense).
  2. Most people who have some benefit for acupuncture can get reimbursed if they do that work for themselves. It does a service to a patient’s healing if they are actually participating in how their care gets paid.

What are your greatest achievements?

Surviving 5 years in Elmira, NY? (hahaha) That’s one.

Also, doing a lot of public education about what Chinese Medicine is and what it is not.  I practice rather classical old school Chinese style of acupuncture. Getting people to understand that the provocation is necessary to stir the system to self-healing is kind of a big deal.

Another accomplishment is getting folks to understand that they have more control over their health destiny than they believe. We are working to undo some of the programming that the culture has created of doctor as minor diety who knows all and we are simply to toe the line. We want to give people real tools to promote confidence. Checking into their own body and their own health is really important for them in the long term.

Have you had any stumbling blocks?

The main stumbling blocks are with people who have come into our organization who have tried to take over by force of their personality and what they think their skills are. Then having to basically school them in transparent management that doesn’t have ego behind it, which is a very difficult thing to have to do to someone who is really accomplished.

How has that worked out?

They have left. It is perfectly appropriate. We have all learned from those experiences. I have particularly learned what to look for when bringing new people on.

Also, we have had financial difficulties in the beginning. The whole neighborhood and family system pulls together for you and you are still not quite paying your bills – having to do those reorganizational things that are painful and a little embarrassing. It happened. We all pulled together. We are consolidated and very stable now.

If you had a Do-Over, would you?

From a certain point of view, everything unfolds as it is supposed to. In retrospect, the main thing I would do is be more confident in what it is that I already knew and not cow tow to strong personalities that thought they knew better.

Where do you see yourself in 5 Years?

In 5 years we expect to have a larger facility and that may mean expanding into the other 2 buildings that are here on the property. We want to be able to offer integrated, conventional and drug-free care in one place. We would want it to be very strongly community based and not just boutique medicine. We do heavily rely now on the people who can afford to come here to keep everything going. But the long term is to expand and add services to people who would not otherwise be able to afford drug-free care and instruction in self-care, nutrition, exercise, personal cultivation, and all of these things that keep you healthy to begin with. It is really important in a community like Elmira.

Project Grow on Midday Makeover WENY TV

Many years ago when I lived in the counter cultural world, a group of people noticed that we have had  – as a species – special relationships with our watershed homelands. Weather, plants, foods, etc., characterize that specific ‘place’. In France they call it pays. You may have heard it referred to as terroir.

Colonial powers did not recognize the organizing principle of watershed when they came to this continent. In the mid-70-‘s, bioregionalists called that to everyone’s attention. Within a short time, bioregional watershed organizations began to spring up around the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe. Destiny Kinal is a co-founder of Reinhabitory Institute, a not for profit based on bioregional principles working in three parts of our country, New York and Pennsylvania –Penn York Valley south of Ithaca– and northern California. Reinhabitory Institute deals with products and services that interest us, specifically in what characterizes our watershed – where we live, where we operate and where we do business. Destiny is also the author of the award-winning Textile Trilogy. She may be reached at 738 Douglas Drive, Waverly NY 14892, by phone at (510) 701-8909 or by email at Her websites are,, and She is also available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

What has been the evolution of your business?

The older I get the more I realize how important my countercultural experience was back in the 1960’s. It began with a core group of people on a variety of farms doing bio-regional work. Bio-regional work is establishing a relationship with your own watershed through education, restoration and training. We focus our education mainly on kids. This core group later dispersed all over the country to continue doing the work in their new locations that we had begun in California.

I have always been against the use of chemicals. In the late 70’s up to the mid 80’s, I wanted to know if the corporate world in food and beverage was as wedded to the use of chemicals as I suspected. I got a job in the corporate world in multinational food and beverages, health and beauty aids. They smoked me out pretty quickly. However, when you are a consultant in that corporate world, you get to say the dangerous things that someone in the corporate world can’t say AND they hire you to say.

Also in that time, something happened that was so important in my life. The mass market was still very much THE thing in marketing in the late 70’s. I was part of a small group that was able to point out to the large consumer goods corporations there was a new market arising (let’s call it the post 50’s early 60’s market). These were people who were really paying close attention to ingredients and the integrity of products. We were able to persuade the big corporation through DATA, that in fact this was a coming market; that it was extremely important for them to position themselves there and create new products for these new consumers.

The results were astonishing. From the early to mid 80’s, all of the categories on the supermarket shelves transformed: unit pricing, ingredients and the integrity of those ingredients. nutritional product on the back of the packaging, and new products that stood up to scrutiny and gave benefits that were mostly real (not empty claims). At the same time, the chemicals industry hung on to their corporate giant clients with tooth and nail.

Then we started Project Grow both in the west and the east. Project Grow grew out of the Reinhabitory Institute. The East did so well, we spun them off into their own 501c3. In the west we have focused on fibers. We began to grow Indigo on our plantation. We teach kids in both locations how to grow the 3 sisters. They are mounds of soil. Corn grows up the middle, beans grow up the side of the corn, squash grows in between – shading the roots and holding the water.

What else have you been doing?

In the late 90’s, we started a publishing arm to the Reinhabitory Institute. We have this little collective publishing house, sitio tiempo press. We noticed at the point when some of us had books we wanted to publish that it was very difficult to get the attention of the big presses. It’s the luck of the draw if you get an agent, if a big publisher finds your market worthy. We didn’t like what happened to authors in that gigantic corporate publishing world. Authors had nothing to say about what their covers looked like, about the positioning of their book. That seemed wrong. Since that time, a number of small independent publishers have risen up to make a success out of independent publishing. When we started, it made you wince to think about self-publishing. Now it is a very respectable way to go. But we are not self-publishers; we are a small independent press. Both Judith Thomas, my business partner, and I are book artists.  I spent years in advertising.  We hold to a high aesthetic standard when it comes to the books we publish. And, everything we publish has to do with bioregionalism.

Is that where the trilogy came from?

Yes. This has become my life work in the last third of my life. My mother asked me before she died if I would take her genealogical research into her mother’s line. That is not how genealogical research is usually done. Usually through the male because that’s how records are kept.

When we moved to the Twin Tiers about 30 years ago from NYC, I tried to keep up my marketing consulting business for a few years. However, it was not very successful. I realized that I had reached the point where I needed to begin to write creatively. I got my MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) from Bennington. They asked me to stop working on this series of novels that were evolving from my genealogical research. I learned to write better. As soon as I finished my MFA, I started on the textile trilogy. That was over 20 years ago.

The third book was the first one I worked on. Oil and Water takes place in the early oil frontiers (Bolivar, Oil City, Titusville). My great grandmother and grandfather had lived there. Then I wondered if I could go back a couple of generations. I went to the place where my great great grandmother first set foot on this continent, Bucks County PA, and learned they had raised silk there. That lit up all my lights and I began to research silk., giving me the fabulous metaphor of metamorphosis to build my female protagonist, the leader or maitresse de la soie of her Huguenot family’s venture on this continent.

I began to research in the US and continued it in the Cevennes Mountains in France where the French Huguenots produced silk. At the same time I discovered linen. I am part of a Flax-to-Linen working group, to see if we can restore the flax-to-linen culture that was an important fiber for householders as well as wool, hemp, and where it could be grown cotton.  I have heard it estimated that we have been raising linen as a people for over 30,000 years! At the same time I worked on silk, I researched linen.

Then I went to work writing. It takes me about a decade to write a book. I learned I am in the same company as Toni Morrison who takes that long for each of her books. It is not an easy task to get characters to come alive on the page. For me, writing a book is a process of discovery. Others have an outline that shows the beginning, middle and end. I don’t really know where the book is going to go. The real novel gets written in the process of revision.

I have just finished my second book, Linen Shroud. It takes place around the middle of the 19th Century and the Civil War. The Montour Sisters, Queen Esther and Queen Catherine, were interesting people to me and I incorporated their families into the story line from when Sullivan came through the valley, burned everything and cut down all their crops, driving them up to Canada. I moved them on a couple generations from there, to Queen Esther’s descendants in the 19th century. Part of the story talks about the huge cultural differences that separate the two Peoples, French Huguenot silkmakers and the Montour Metis. It is super interesting to see how they meet.  And the differences in their ways of life and values as they move toward becoming a single family.  Why?  Largely because the western native People are mostly matrilineal while Europeans are largely patrilineal, making huge differences between genders, yes that magnifies as we look at attitudes toward the earth, roles of men and women, rights and duties of each gender, war.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your businesses?

People seem to have expectations of me because my name is Destiny. My parents gave that to me 73 years ago and I have lived with it pretty well. Some people think I am pretentious or a ‘poser’ or something like that. It is hurtful when people seem to not like me or reject me for no apparent reason. I try to be as natural as I can – not get above myself in any way because that is how I like to live my life. I don’t think I am perceived by most people as pretentious.

As far as my businesses go – sure. When I was a young woman and decided to be an existentialist, not have any regrets, make my decisions and live by them, that’s easy to say when you are in your 20’s and 30’s. At 70 you do have some regrets. As an entrepreneur – we had a down vest company. In Aspen CO when I was in my early 30’s, I liquidated the family silver, oriental rugs. An undercapitalized business is going to have a hard time of it.

What are your greatest achievements?

My daughters!

Quitting smoking!

In business that moment of transformation when I look down the supermarket aisles and realize I really made a contribution to that.

What have been your greatest stumbling blocks?

I have an ability to analyze a lot of data at once and project trends. You can’t be out in front of a trend too far or people think you are insane.

If you could have a Do Over, is there anything you would want to change?

I like my life the way it has turned out. So “no”.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I hope I am alive. I will be 78. By then I hope to have the third novel in the textile trilogy completed. I hope to be living in CA near my family and grandchildren but spending my summers here where I grew up. This is where I feel most like myself.

Soul Therapy on Midday Makeover WENY TV

Christy Forsyth and Nichole Eaton are the owners of Clarity in Elmira, NY. They offer a variety of unique spiritually-based intuitive services. Both Christy and Nichole have a background in Licensed Mental Health Counseling and both are Psychic Mediums. They bring the 2 together to provide Soul Therapy, an intuitively driven coaching process connecting people to the best version of themselves. Christy and Nichole may be reached at Clarity, Suite 201, 100 N. Main St., Elmira, NY 14901. You can call them at (607) 438-2939, email them at and visit their website at Christy and Nichole are also on Instagram and Facebook.

How long have you been in business?

We just celebrated our 3 year anniversary. We are still new but we have grown a lot in 3 years. We have been full-time at this not even 2 years.

What is your business about?

We are the bridge to starting the process of connecting people with their faith, spirituality, highest potential, and their own intuitive guidance system. Sometimes that is teaching people about how to manage their energy. We do energy balancing, hypnosis, incorporating crystals – whatever that person needs to get them from point A to point B and making positive change usually pretty quickly in their lives.

We do Soul Therapy and incorporate lots of services within that depending on what a person needs. Soul Therapy is usually the recommended service to start with at Clarity.  It is the gateway in to all we offer.  It could incorporate life coaching, hypnotherapy, resetting and rejuvenating your energy, Law of Attraction coaching, Energy management, meditation, and whatever else is needed. We also use our psychology training to assist people to learn how to manage their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. We also help people strengthen their spiritual or religious connection. Our Work revolves around FAITH.

What has been the evolution of your business?

It all began with an idea. We were being called to open a business. Immediately doors began to open. Before that I (Christy) ran a general counseling business program in Corning for about 10 years. Nichole worked there with me for about 6 years. We both came into connecting with our intuition about the same time to the point where it became difficult to do traditional counseling any more. That had us asking questions like “What do we do next? Where do we go”? That’s where the idea of Clarity came to be.

Did you always know that you were mediums?

Nichole: I believe that when you are mediums, you have a lot of scary experiences so you shut it off and then you connect with it and then you shut it off. I grew up across from a funeral home and would not be in a room by myself. It terrified me so much that I disconnected from it.

I slowly began to open back up. The thing about mediumship is that even if it’s natural, there is still a skill set involved. I would come in to Christy’s office and say, “I could feel the people who are there when someone is coming in for grief counseling. What do you want me to do with that”? or “I know this about this person and I have a really strong feeling about this. What do we do with that?” In general counseling, you can’t say a word. That is not an acceptable thing.

I feel better when I pour ‘light’ on me or when I’m meeting with a client pouring light on them. We found that when we were doing that people would come in for a session and come in again to thank us. Just to thank us. We were cutting our counseling time in half by using the invisible – welcoming an angel, or positive light or positive intention for the session.

We began to develop our skill sets and realized we could not do that any longer where we were, in the way that felt best and in the way we were seeing people respond. Now that we were aware we could help people in a faster (what we would say a BETTER) way. We are being called to do it and we just needed to DO IT.

We opened Clarity with a tiny “hole in the wall” office over the Mark Twain building. It had no windows so we never even knew what the weather was like or whether it was sunny or dark out. We shared the office. We each had a day. Then we slowly transitioned out of our other full time jobs and into work at Clarity full time.

We grow our whole marketing program around intuition and Law of Attraction. We would get together and decide what we want our business to look like. We would write it down and invite the angels. One of the biggest ways that Clarity has grown is word of mouth. The universe is always backing us up through Law of Attraction; also by getting people to where they need to be.

Where did you get your credentials to do this work?

Christy earned a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Loyola College in Maryland. She is a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist through the ICBCH. She did a certificate training program for mediumship and psychic development with a mentor.

Nichole earned her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from Alfred University and also studied and worked with a mentor to become a certified psychic medium.

Christy and Nichole are IET (Integrated Energy Therapy) Therapists at an Advanced level.

 You have an event each year.

We have Clarity Connects, a community motivational speaking event. It brings together local and national speakers to share their personal stories in the form of short talks about the things they have learned in their experiences to help motivate people to connect with the best version of themselves. We take a portion of the proceeds from that event to do random acts of connection around the communities. Last year we gave away little flower bouquets. We created little laundry and soap bags and left them on all the laundry machines at the laundromats. We buy breakfasts and do anything that will encourage spreading continued kindness.

Are there any misconceptions about you or your business?

The biggest hesitation for people is their concern about meeting with someone who is a psychic medium. They are afraid of us reading their energy. Sometimes that makes people nervous.

Also people come in very fearful of what we are going to say to them. I always try to put people at ease by explaining to them that we always set the intention with our work that we are connected with Energy that is only of the light, only with information that is of a helpful, healing or preventative nature.  We are not interested in connecting with any other types of energy. We don’t believe that people who are coming to see us are interested in information that is out of that either.

 What are your greatest achievements?

Christy: Nothing stands out for me specifically. The greatest thing we do with Clarity is watching every single person make the progress and the changes they make. There is something so special about being able to walk with people on their journey and to watch them make progress. Hard to choose just one achievement because I am so proud of every one.

Also, watching our event grow. Clarity Connect went from 100 people to 320. It’s new! People don’t even know what it is. The way it came together and the people who were asked to speak. We are not searching for people anymore. People are applying, even at a national level!

Nichole: I just finished my first book. I am still in the process of editing and over the moon that the big part is done. I plan to self-publish. There is so much freedom in that and it makes sense to me.

Have you had any stumbling blocks?

Our biggest challenge has been to find the things that are in most alignment without shifting what we do for the expectations or the nervousness of other people.  Our authenticity and merging fully in to that is reflected in how we tell people what we do. Naming our services to reflect authenticity and making sure we are always reflecting that. At first, it was not always the case. But coming to ‘own’ what we do and who we are has been good.

On the other side of that too – people hear we are psychic mediums and they have had their experiences and readings and they come in expecting this to be exactly that. We have our own style. Our backgrounds as therapists really play a role in our readings. They are focused way more around who you are, where are you going and how do we help you to be the best you.

If you had a Do-Over, would you?

We have learned so much through the process. I feel good about how we have approached things too. No

Where do you see yourself in 5 Years?

Huge. Big. Christy and I don’t really limit ourselves in dreaming. We intend to continue expanding our online presence to continue offering courses and services nationally and internationally. The tough part about the international piece is timing with services. We may do email back and forth.  Christy does hypnosis over facetime or skype. I do a lot of videos and send them out. You can create private Youtube links and forward the link to the individual it is going to. You can do live video chats and pre-record with providing the password to the group who may be in different time zones.

Christy is working on a book and I just finished mine. Books, courses, and services that are widespread.