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“We are seeing such a huge increase in stress-related disease, I wanted more knowledge so that could help people handle their stress better.”

Dr. Kathy Gruver is an award-winning author and the host of the national TV show based on her first book, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet.

She has earned her PhD in Natural Health and has just authored her second book entitled Body/Mind Therapies for the Bodyworker. Her third book, Conquer Your Stress with Mind/Body Therapies will be released shortly.

Kathy has studied mind/body medicine at the famed Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Harvard Medical School and pursued further education at The National Institutes of Health. She has been featured as an expert in countless publications including Yahoo.com, Ladies Home Journal, Massage and Bodyworks Magazine and Massage Magazine.

MO: What initially attracted you to mind/body medicine?

Kathy: It came out of my experience doing massage. I started to see really clear patterns of how my clients talked about themselves and their pain/illness and how it was manifesting in their bodies. We all use phrases like “a pain in the neck”, “getting under my skin”, “stabbed in the back”, and “weight of the world on my shoulders”; after a while, there was no denying the connection. I had always been a fan of Louise Hay and Caroline Myss and their philosophies, and in my Masters program we used their books as texts. It reintroduced me to some of the theories of mind/body and how our words and emotions affect us physically. When it came time to write my dissertation for my PhD, I knew I had to do something on mind/body, it had become such a huge part of my practice and my life. The research I did for that paper was incredibly eye-opening and I couldn’t do enough studying of the theories. That’s what lead me to the program at Harvard. And we are seeing such a huge increase in stress-related disease, I wanted more knowledge so that could help people handle their stress better.

MO: What inspired your most recent book, “Conquer Your Stress with Mind/Body Therapies” and what do you hope that the average reader walks away with?

Kathy: Because my first experience with the mind/body connection came out of my massage practice, I wanted to teach other therapists what I learned and how they could incorporate techniques and theories into their practice. So, this will not only help them, but also their clients as they learn to look at more than just the person’s body. Most people who go for massage are dealing with a certain amount of stress and this book will help the therapist help them. Of course, this book is for anyone who wants to learn about mind/body and stress, not just massage folks.

MO: Your very first book not only won a big award but was also turned into a TV series, which you host. Can you expand on the development process of taking concepts and ideas from your books and making them viewer friendly?

Kathy: It’s funny, I was an actress for many years and always dreamed of having my own show, and little did I know it would be years after I left Hollywood. I started doing YouTube videos, mainly to pass on health info and then sell my book. I landed a guest spot on the talk show The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television and people kept telling me that I was a natural and should have my own show. I finally put together a pitch, a show bible (list of over 50 episodes/topics), a sample outline of an episode and photos. I sat with old producer friends of mine in LA who gave me about 30 reasons the show wouldn’t go and the challenges I would face. I was discouraged and pretty much decided that it must not be the time.

A few weeks later an old friend emailed me asking about my show, he wanted to pitch it to a network. And they liked it. And they produced it. Because my book is already broken down into small chapters packed with information, it was actually really easy to make it individual episodes. Of course, I had to add a lot of content as well, but I had learned so much more since I wrote the first book. And we used the format I had on my YouTube channel, which was quick and easy segments. Though I initially pitched an hour talk show format, we decided on the flexibility and versatility of 3-minute segments that could be stand alone or combined for a larger program. Because of my background as a performer, we put a lot of humor and lightheartedness into the show. It’s fast, fun and educational and covers so many broad topics. I even did 10 episodes with guests just to get a versatility of voice and mix it up. I’m so excited to be able to spread the word of health on a broad scale.

MO: What are some trends in mind/body wellness that you’re excited about?

Kathy: I’m most excited that it’s starting to get mainstream attention. Major hospitals and universities are doing research and incorporating stress-relieving techniques to help patients heal. More folks are turning to meditation, visualization, affirmations, reiki, EFT, all these things that I mention in my books. It’s no longer this fringe thing that you hide from your friends. I see it as the next stage in our health and wellness communities. And I think it has to be, with so many people suffering and modern medicine at standstill in dealing with so many of the issues we’re facing. We are more stressed than ever so to be able to add more tools to people’s tool box is incredibly exciting to me.

MO: What tips would you give to someone launching a company and is having trouble coping with the stress of doing everything themselves?

Kathy: Do as much delegating as possible. Stress is the feeling that we are going to be met with more than we can handle, it’s feeling out of control. So, anything you can do to take control back, the better off you’ll be. Maybe it’s list making, having a spouse or friend handle just one task for you, getting an intern from a university near you. Learning to say “No” is the best thing you can do. Especially women, we have now been told we can do it all, and we just can’t. There are limits to how many activities we can do at once and how many hours there are in the day. Learning to ask for help when we need it is key to keeping our stress response under control. But having said that, is starting a business stressful? Yes, it just is. So then, handling the stress response will be very important; maybe it’s upping your exercise, adding in a short meditation everyday, getting a weekly massage, walking at lunch, the beach on the weekends, you have to find a way to put yourself back on the to do list and identify what will help YOU handle YOUR stress response. Everyone has a different method. I dance five days a week and do flying trapeze. I also do mini meditations frequently throughout the day. Someone else may run, take a yoga class or garden. It’s important to find what works for you and your situation.

MO: What’s been some of your favorite feedback from fans who have read your book, “The Alternative Medicine Cabinet?”

Kathy: I’ve had people with no natural health experience at all say it changed their lives and I’ve had seasoned professionals tell me they learned something new. Those things are amazing. A radio show host whose show I was on described it as the perfect bathroom book because no matter how much time you had or which page you turned to there was a pearl of wisdom. I love that! And it won The Beverly Hills Book Awards in the alternative medicine category, that is so exciting to me and such an honor!


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