Laura Matthews is a Certified Clinical Herbalist specializing in women’s health, pediatric care and cancer. A Licensed Massage Therapist, Teacher of Maya Abdominal Massage and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher, Laura’s approach towards optimal health is holistic and integrative, by combining plants, healing touch and correct posture. Born and raised in colorful Colorado, Laura graduated from Fort Lewis College (2002) in Durango, with a degree in Psychology. During this time, Laura studied as an apprentice to herbalists’ and naturopathic physicians and began practicing as an herbalist in the community.
After years of working with plants and in herbal apothecaries, Laura went on to attend the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine (2004) (www.swsbm.com), in Bisbee, Arizona; taught by the legendary Michael Moore. Laura is currently studying the Herbal Medicine for Women program, taught by Aviva Romm (www.avivaromm.com), which certifies graduates as a Women’s Herbal Medicine Educator. Laura attended the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado (2003) (www.mtic.edu) and has studied with Dr. Rosita Arvigo on the Maya Abdominal Massage (MAM) techniques (www.arvigotherapy.com).
Laura is a Certified MAM Self-Care Massage Teacher (2006) and offers workshops regularly around the country. From the age of 16 years old, Laura began studying Iyengar yoga. In 2007 Laura travelled to Pune, India to study at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (www.bksiyengar.com). She lived there for over two months and attended classes taught by B.K.S Iyengar, Sri Prashant and Smt. Geeta Iyengar. Laura became certified as an Introductory Level 2 teacher in 2010. The Iyengar family embody ancient wisdom and their work has healed millions of people the world over.
Laura’s regular yoga classes and workshops can be found at The Iyengar Yoga Center of Denver (www.iyengaryogacenter.com) and Belly Bliss (www.bellybliss.org). Laura has traveled around the world to live, study, learn and teach the natural lifestyle of ancient healers.
I have always been intrigued by plant medicine and the simplicity of gathering herbs from ones surroundings to create useful remedies and food. Although I grew up in New York City, I had an innate connection to the plant world. As early as my childhood I became fascinated with medicinal herbs and had a deep appreciation for nature well beyond my years. I come from a long line of Herbalist from both sides of my family. My Grandfather was a respected and loved community Herbalist in Venezuela and my Grandmother was a traditional Herbalist in Dominican Republic. I grew up loving the tasty teas my mother and father made for my siblings and me when we where were sick. Both my parents had basic knowledge about the use of common herbs for common ailments. My dad often reminisced about gathering herbs with his mother when he was a little boy and taking them to the market to sell them. It was this appreciation that became the basis for my quest in an Herbal education. As long as I can remember I have been passionate about social and environmental justice. In my youth I rebelled against the system and traveled far and wide trying to make meaning of the state of the world. I wanted to make the world a better place for everyone. As my longing and vision to change the world matured and evolved I decide I would focus my need for change into looking inward and healing myself and helping others on their path to health. Herbal medicine became a tangible way in which I could channel my gifts and experiences into something meaningful that would have a profound impact. I realized that a healthy society starts with the individual and if I could assist people on their path to wellness it could lead to healthier communities and thus a healthier world. I drew from the experiences I encountered in my travels. I observed many types of people and experienced the myriad of ways dis-ease presented itself along the spectrum of acute to chronic to psycho-spiritual. From the remote villages in India to New Orleans, La to California to Rural Canada to London, the Andes Mountains and everywhere in between I observed people and read everything I could get my hands on that had to do with health. I loved visiting local herbalist and shamans and asking them questions. In my quest I became interested with the connection of diet and mental health in this country. I explored the world of addiction and mental illness very intimately and developed first hand experience and decided to channel the suffering and pain I was exposed to into educating myself on the root causes of addiction and mental illness and thus being able to incorporate it into my practice. This connection became the basis for passion of Holistic Nutrition, and orthomolecular therapies for addiction.
I have attended three formal Herbal Medicine Programs. I studied under Kathleen Maier at a beautiful herbal sanctuary called Sacred Plant Traditions in Charlottesville, VA. This was my first formal training in which I was introduced to the western “Wise Woman” tradition and plant spirit medicine. This program would lay a strong foundation for me and had long lasting effect. I also attended Green Comfort School of Herbal Medicine. Under the guidance of Teresa Boardwine, it was here that I became very familiar with plant medicine and learned about practical applications and apothecary studies. The last place I attended was, the North American institute of Medical Herbalism. It was at the North American institute of Medical Herbalism where I truly became a Clinical Herbalist and Clinical Nutritionist. It was also there where I met and studied under my mentor and teacher Paul Bergner. Paul Bergner had a profound life changing impact on me. He is a world-renowned Herbalist that founded the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. It was at this school that I was introduced to the concept of Vitalism and identified as a Vitalist Herbalist. Vitalism is a system that asserts that life cannot be explained and thus reduced by chemical and physical reactions alone. It is the opposite of mechanistic theories (allopathic medicine) which view life as a sum of individual parts that have little relation to one another and have there own task. Vitalism believes that the same vital spark or force that is within all that is physical can permeate all planes of existence and give life to them. This life force gives unity to all matter and beyond, and is the source of healing. Being a vitalist student and herbalist, I adhere to natural laws and assist nature in removing obstacle to allow your body to bring itself back into balance. By using vitalist Practices, Our bodies are able to tap into their own innate healing abilities. I believe the body can be quickly brought into balance thru a protocol that uses the four pillars of health. Nutrition, Herbal therapeutics, Movement and Spiritual alignment are the pillars I am referring to. In my practice I assist my clients by educating and empowering them to unlock their own healing abilities using these four pillars. Whether it is assisting them thru a dis-ease process or just nutrition advice, I adhere to the philosophy of Vitalism and work with the client in a holistic manner to achieve optimal wellness. I like to tell clients that I am only there to facilitate what they are already able to do. Client education is vital to empowerment and my intention is to help people reclaim there right to living wonderful, vibrant healthy lives and being the best copy of themselves.
Scope Of Practice:
Addiction Support: Natural therapeutics for post acute withdrawal of Heroin, Alcohol, Tobacco and Benzodiazepines.
Metal Wellness support (Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, Schizophrenia)
Diabetes, Insulin resistance, Metabolic Syndrome and Hyperlipidemia
Skin disorder i.e. Eczema, Psoriasis &Acne
Gastrointestinal disorders i.e. Intestinal Dysbiosis , IBS, Leaky Gut, and Colitis
High Blood Pressure
Initial consultations are $120 for a combined Herbal and Nutritional Consult.
Sliding Scale Available for Addiction and Mental Health Services. Must be working in conjunction with a qualified mental health/substance abuse worker.
Follow Up: $65
Call Holistic Pathways to set up an appointment today!