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Here are my favorite finds in the Houston metro area.
Click on a link below to jump directly to that section:
- Beauty & Body Care
- Enrichment — Arts, Culture & Personal Development
- Health & Wellness Practitioners
- Mom & Baby Resources
Beauty & Body Care
Color My Closet
Personal color analysis by Lauren Battistini, using the 12 season Sci/Art system. I was blown away by the results! While pricey up front, this consultation will save me thousands of dollars in the long run.
Enrichment — Arts, Culture & Personal Development
Miller Outdoor Theater (milleroutdoortheatre.com)
For 90 years, Miller has given 100% free performances to Houston residents at Hermann Park. We’ve seen the Houston Ballet, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, professional Broadway musicals, high school musicals like Hairspray! (of astonishingly good quality–wow, were we impressed!), the Houston Symphony, a dance company from India, and so much more. You can get covered, fan-cooled seating or just claim a spot on the lawn. We prefer the latter because we love picnicking.
Artshound.com Website & Newsletter (www.artshound.com)
Confused because you never know what’s happening in Houston? You’re not the only one. Artshound is out to change that. We’ve benefited tremendously by their weekly email newsletter that highlights everything happening in theatre, comedy, music, dance, visual arts, film, literature, lectures, festivals, kids & family stuff, and more. You can use the website to search for future events too. Woo hoo! Go, Houston.
The Jung Center of Houston (www.junghouston.org)
In the museum district, the Jung Center specializes in self-development, offering everything from lectures on creativity to writing or meditation workshops to weeks-long courses on psychology.You’d be amazed by the variety of offerings and the kinds of people here. I just love it. I attended a 4-hour poetry workshop alongside a retired teacher, an office supply store clerk, an oil and gas executive, a painter, a medical trials director, a homemaker, and a psychotherapist. What a fabulous mix!
Micki Fine’s Mindfulness & Meditation Courses (livingmindfully.org)
This is some of the best money my husband and I have ever spent. No joke. The 8-week course changed our lives forever, improving our relationships, health, well-being, and spiritual lives–and 2 years of practice later, made my baby’s birth astonishingly peaceful and quiet. I also have done a silent retreat with Micki. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Ruah Center at Villa de Matel
Did you know that there are convents in Houston, inside the Loop? Say what? If you’re seeking a silent retreat for a few hours or a week, you might explore Ruah Center at the Villa de Matel convent, home of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. In their own words, Ruah is “a place created for anyone who wishes to deepen their connection with God through a time of quiet prayer and reflection. We offer a beautiful, tranquil environment where seekers can escape the distractions of their day to day lives and focus on re-creating their spirits through centering prayer.” I have completed 4 multi-night silent retreats there, one in a group (Micki’s retreat) and three on my own, with guidance from their spiritual director. If it’s your first time, you can only schedule a daytime retreat, but after that, you may be able to stay for multiple nights. I love Villa de Matel. It’s a beautiful, lovingly designed and maintained facility, a spectacular gift to the Houston community and beyond. 100% donation-based. Someday I’ll write about my experiences there, but for now, I’ll only say that practicing silence and stillness within and without for days at a time is excruciating and freeing and restorative and, I think, wholly essential for well-being.
Health & Wellness Practitioners
Micki Fine – Upper Kirby
Mindfulness and meditation instructor, as well as a mindfulness-based counselor. Her 8-week course changed our lives. It’s some of the best money we’ve spent. Ever.
Victoria Harrison – Houston Heights
Teacher and therapist specializing in Bowen Family Systems Theory. I have greatly improved my life and health through working with Ms. Harrison. She describes her brand of therapy as a resource for anyone who wants “to be realistic about the range of factors that impact health, reproduction, mental health, and problems in life and relationships; to see and set in motion changes that they can make; to become more responsible, creative and effective; to contribute toward improved health and functioning in the family or organization.” Ms. Harrison uses biofeedback and neurofeedback training as part of her coaching. If you’ve never explored Bowen theory, I guarantee you’ve never had a counseling session like these! I can’t recommend it enough for those ready to take personal responsibility for their lives and health. You can read more at Ms. Harrison’s website here, and at her Center for the Study of Natural Systems and the Family here, and more about Bowen theory in general here.
NAET and Acpuncture by Rachel Guinn at Natural Health & Allergy — Woodway & Voss
I can’t say enough great things about Rachel Guinn. She’s well-trained, experienced, and highly skilled in her application of NAET. She’s also extremely compassionate. You can read more about my experiences with NAET here and here.
Homeopathy by Patrick Massie, D.C. – Friendswood
Dr. Massie and his wife, Miriam, have changed my life with their homeopathic treatments, healing me over the course of several years from severe hypoglycemia, candida, frequent bladder infections, poor wound healing, seasonal allergies, severe digestive disturbances (though I still suffer at a low level), and more. Homeopathic remedies supported my healthy pregnancy, and now they’re changing my son’s life too. Various other family members and friends have seen dramatic healing, particularly in the areas of hormone balancing, allergies, and stomach/GI.. Phone: 281-482-3111 (Other people in Houston, including at least one M.D., use the Meridian Stress Assessment [MSA] machine also, but my results with these practitioners have not been the same.)
Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) by Jim Guillory – Upper Kirby (W. Alabama & Hazard)
If you have joint pain and/or a history of injuries, Jim just might be your man! He’s done my body a world of good, curing a non-firing glute and healing a pain in my hip that no one else could fix. Read about the technique and see a video on Jim’s website. He’s not cheap, but most people will only see him 2 or 3 times. As someone with chronic inflammation and autoimmune issues, I confess I see him regularly, but I am not the norm here. Located on West Alabama east of N. Shepherd. (Note: Not all MAT practitioners are created equal. I haven’t tried the other Houston MAT experts, but I had a highly disappointing experience in Oklahoma City recently. If you’re going to give it a try, go to the best. Jim is the best in Houston.)
Jackie Doval, D.C. — Montrose (Westheimer & Taft)
Dr. Doval specializes in both human and animal chiropractic care, which makes her quite intuitive, I think. She favors manual adjustments and works on the whole body (all extremities included) every time. She cured a neck pain for me that three previous chiropractors and a physical therapist had failed to correct. She can be difficult to see at the last minute, so I recommend having a back-up chiropractor you can call in an emergency. No insurance.
Harper Wellness & Rehab Center – Galleria Area
I think this is a great place to seek chiropractic care if you’re also interested in integrating it with substantial physical therapy work. You can get both here with insurance coverage.
Pelvic Health & Physical Therapy Center – Medical Center
A multidisciplinary staff dedicated to helping men and women with all kinds of pelvic trauma and pain. Surgery is not your only option! If things are not right down there, whether it’s incontinence or painful intercourse or anything in between, at least see these people for an evaluation. My treatment there has been hugely successful.
Debbie Beane of Positively Aligned — Woodlands
Debbie teaches biomechanics based on the work of Katy Bowman. I’m seeing improvement in my lingering SI pain and am super excited about biomechanics right now!
Rajamma Kalia, M.D., of Nassau Bay Pediatrics
Our pediatrician, who is very supportive of breastfeeding, tolerant of delayed/no vac, and slow to prescribe antibiotics. In Webster (I-45 South)
For Mom & Baby
Nursing & Baby Wearing
Bay Area Breastfeeding & Education (BABE)
These ladies are wonderful lactation consultants who make affordable home visits on short notice. I can’t recommend their service highly enough. They are priceless! I worked with Leah Jolly and loved her, but I hear nothing but great things about Misti as well. My doula has worked with them over and over with rave reviews. Also, a friend of mine took one of their breastfeeding classes while she was pregnant, and she says that it was excellent preparation for her and her husband, without any cheesy videos from the 80s. I notice that their website has lots of useful breastfeeding resources too.
A Woman’s Work
An inner-loop store dedicated to nursing mothers. They carry nursing bras and attire, pumps, various accessories, and baby carriers like the Hava Sling, Ergo, and Beco. These ladies know nursing bras. I’ve had three bra fittings at this store, and what a blessing they were! I had tried shopping on my own without great results. They also have at least one lactation consultant here, though I haven’t used her services. Located on Shepherd just south of 59.
Nurtured Family — Family-owned NW Houston baby supply store that’s primarily known for their expertise in baby wearing. They stock a variety of superior carriers (Maya, Hava, Ergo, Beco…and on and on) and help you try them out with your baby to choose ones that both you and your baby love. Several people recommended the store, but I was skeptical, especially given the long drive–until I finally made the trip. It was worth it!
Care for Mom and/or Baby
Meridian Family Chiropractic
Dr. Denise Smith is a Webster-trained chiropractor specializing in pregnancy and pediatric chiropractic. Her pelvic adjustments did wonders for me during pregnancy, and she is currently treating my son’s plagiocephaly, i.e., Flat Head Syndrom, with gentle neck adjustments (baby was born with restrictions on one side of his neck) and cranial work with impressive results. After just one neck adjustment, he was able to lay his head down fully on the right side for the first time. In Katy on Fry Rd south of I-10. Worth the drive!
Rajamma Kalia, M.D., of Nassau Bay Pediatrics – Our pediatrician, who is very supportive of breastfeeding, tolerant of delayed/no vac, and slow to prescribe antibiotics. In Webster (I-45 South)
Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) by Jim Guillory
If back or joint pains appear, you take a spill, or you have chronic back or joint pain, especially around the time your belly really pops out, see this fellow! As your belly expands, it can stress your abdominal muscles, including the absolutely essential transversus abdominis, causing back pain, sacro-iliac pain, hip pain and other pain, and increasing your chances of developing diastasis recti (splitting of the rectus abdominus). Read about the technique and see a video on Jim’s website. He’s not cheap, but most people will only see him 2 or 3 times. As someone with chronic inflammation and autoimmune issues, I confess I see him regularly, but I am not the norm here. Located on West Alabama east of N. Shepherd. (Note: Not all MAT practitioners are created equal. I haven’t tried the other Houston MAT experts, but I had a highly disappointing experience in Oklahoma City recently. If you’re going to give it a try, go to the best. Jim is the best.)
Homeopathy by Patrick Massie, D.C.
Dr. Massie and his wife, Miriam, have changed my life with their homeopathic treatments, healing me over the course of several years from severe hypoglycemia, candida, frequent bladder infections, poor wound healing, seasonal allergies, severe digestive disturbances (though I still suffer at a low level), and more. Homeopathic remedies supported my healthy pregnancy, and now they’re changing my son’s life too. The Massies have oodles of experience with pregnancy, postpartum, babies, and children. Located in Friendswood. Phone: 281-482-3111 (Other people in Houston, including at least one M.D., use the Meridian Stress Assessment [MSA] machine also, but my results with these practitioners have not been the same. Again, why mess around? Go to the best the first time.)
Rowan TwoSisters – Massage therapist, doula, and midwife-in-training who offers scar reduction and well belly massage for both vaginal and c-section mamas. She strikes me as a true healer and is very compassionate. Located north of downtown.
Pelvic Health & Physical Therapy Center – A multidisciplinary staff dedicated to helping women with all kinds of postpartum pelvic trauma and pain. Surgery is not your only option! If things are not right down there, whether it’s incontinence or painful intercourse or anything in between, at least see these people for an evaluation. My treatment there has been hugely successful.
Debbie Beane of Positively Aligned — Debbie teaches biomechanics and understands the special concerns and needs of moms and moms-to-be.
Midwives & Doulas
Holly Shearman, CPM — My experienced, caring midwife with whom I hope to work again someday
West Houston Birth Center — Holly’s new birth center, located just 1 mile from the West Houston Medical Center; easily accessible for inner loopers via Westpark
Women’s Specialists of Houston Midwives — Now at the new, luxurious Texas Children’s birth center. While we chose a home birth, this hospital-based midwife practice was a real contender, and if you’re looking for a more natural experience in the hospital, this might be a good option.
Greater Houston Midwives Alliance — A website listing 24 (!) Houston area midwives. I hear great things about Sandra MacDonald, and of course, Pat Jones is a Houston midwife legend.
Cole Deelah — My fabulous doula, Katherine Stanglin, has relocated to East Texas, but before she left, she introduced me to Cole as a potential backup (Katherine’s move date was set for one week past my baby’s guess date). Cole will be first on my t0-call list if I’m in Houston for a second baby. My midwife calls Cole a “famous doula,” as she has a popular blog, a website, and her own birth curriculum. If you choose the HypnoBabies route, Cole supports that method.
Doula Match — Find a doula for your due date and location; read doula reviews
I hesitate to create this section at all, but since I go out of my way to try many different things in my explorations to find the best, I inevitably find some not-so-greats as well. I offer this merely as one person’s experience.
Houston Pregnancy Massage & Doula Care
I don’t recommend them for doula or massage services, and definitely not for HypnoBabies training. Here’s why. I interviewed one of their most experienced doulas early in my pregnancy. She expressed shock over my considering a home birth: “But you won’t have options for the pain!” Now, I don’t think home birth is for everyone or every pregnancy, but part of a doula’s job inside or outside of the hospital, and with or without meds, is to empower the mother by giving her education, tools, and support–not tell her she won’t be able to handle birth. I later tried two other massage doulas from this practice for prenatal massages, labor prep, and a postpartum massage. The first of these was clearly inexperienced in massage and told me, “You know your sacrum’s going to be a problem in birth,” and went on to describe the pain and possible scenarios. (For the record, I had zero back pain during birth.) The second, Sasha, was sweet and supportive and gave a lovely basic prenatal massage, but I got no results from the labor preparation or the postpartum massage. Next time, I’ll save my money and go with someone who gives plain ol’ great massages and forget about this practice’s claims about their “special” massages. I don’t recommend this practice for HypnoBabies training because of their overall preoccupation with pain and needing massage or modern medicine to save us from normal, healthy birth. Finally, communicating with the owner, Patti, to try to get an interview with a doula or schedule a massage is difficult, to put it mildly.