by Jim Buckley, Montecito Journal
March 24, 2005
“The problem with the work that I do,” Dr. Gloria Kaye explains during a conversation at her small downtown east side Santa Barbara office, “is that therapists can no longer touch and talk.” She says the California legislature passed a bill in the 1990s forbidding them to touch clients if “talking” was their main therapeutic tool. “If I were an M.D. or an R.N.,” she says, “I could touch, but a PhD cannot touch.” So, Gloria switched emphases. “It used to be I’d do a little of both,” she says, but made the switch from psychotherapist to massage therapist.
Dr. Kaye has been in Santa Barbara since 1984, having moved from Philadelphia to San Diego, where she stayed for two years, before coming here. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University Without Walls. She’d done all her course work at Temple University, and her 1976 dissertation was on the effects of yoga on a depressed and institutionalized geriatric sample. She earned her doctorate in 1983, and was licensed as a Marriage Family Therapist in ’85.
“I’ve always been a healer,” Gloria says, “but, I haven’t always practiced as a healer,” she admits, saying though that she “always seemed to know what to do with people, to help them get more comfortable.” Her earliest recollection was at the age of sixteen. “I was with a friend and we were together,” Gloria recalls. “She had been in a lot of pain and it just vanished after I touched her briefly. I just have always known what to do.”
Later, while still a teenager, a dancer friend hurt her foot and Gloria worked with it; afterwards, it didn’t hurt anymore.
“In the ‘eighties, when I was still able to touch and talk,” she recounts, “I would spend half the session touching, and the other half talking. I worked with people that had real psychological problems, but also people came to me with injuries, depression, and anxiety. Those psychological disorders lend themselves very well to this healing touch.”
Locally, clients include Andy & Dolly Granatelli, former actress and now cookbook author Pam Vincent, hairdresser Ron Margolis (she worked with him about twenty years ago, and has recently worked on him again), KEYT owner Anne Smith, Here’s The Scoop owner Ellie Patterson, Re/MAX owner Dianna Bull, Satya Kirsch, and scores of others.
Many of the people she has worked with, some of whose experiences are related in the following paragraphs, are not the kind of people that would ordinarily call upon a “healer.” In fact, most were and are skeptics.
Andy & Dolly Granatelli.
Although Dr. Kaye has been working her healing powers on Andy Granatelli since December 2003, he admits he no longer sees her as often as he once did. “I don’t need to,” he says, boasting that Dr. Kaye has caused most of the aches and pains to vanish. “She performs miracles as far as I am concerned,” Andy says. “There’s something magic about her hands; she can take pain away” he marvels.
Andy “had a knee problem, lower back pain, shoulder pain… any pain, anywhere I had it, and she was able to alleviate it.” Andy’s wife, Dolly, has also worked with Gloria. “Dolly came down one day crying, saying she couldn’t put makeup on,” Andy relates. “Her right hand was completely cramped. I said, ‘Don’t worry, honey; Gloria is downstairs.’ Dr. Kaye put her hand on Dolly’s and in five or ten minutes the cramp was gone and she hasn’t had the problems since.” Andy figures he has sent as many as fifty people over the years to Dr. Kaye. “Migraine headaches?” Andy asks. “She takes care of that too,” he says.
Satya has lived in Montecito for four years, five in Santa Barbara. “When I first moved to town, I saw an ad in the paper for Gloria, saying she was both a psychologist and an energy healer. Because it is an unusual combination, I called,” she says. At the time, Ms Kirsch did less “energy work” and more regular therapy. “My father had passed away,” she continues, “and I didn’t have a support system here, so I was looking for someone with some talk energy and move through some feelings of grief as well as some unfinished business with my father. For me, just being in [Gloria’s] presence was a healing experience,” she says, adding that she had “done healing and have done talk therapy along the way, and I have to say that Gloria is one of the people that have helped me the most.”
Dr. Lois Jovanovic
Dr. Jovanovic has been Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in Santa Barbara for the past eight years. She met Gloria about five years ago. “Doctor Stuart Soeldner, a scholar and scientist at the Joslin Clinic in Boston,” Lois explains (he is now a full professor of Endocrinology at UC Davis), “called me and said there was a woman I had to meet, someone he’d discovered when he experienced some back problems.”
When the two met, Gloria explained to Lois that she believed the healing touch could improve pain and wanted to prove it scientifically. They did a research project together and published it in a scientific journal (“Diabetes Care”) and the two have continued on the mission to try and show the healing touch would improve many pain syndromes.”
Dr. Jovanovic has so far determined that “alternative medicine… really does help through relaxation, and helps people take the stress off their bones and off their muscles. It’s probably mediated through a lot of pathways we don’t understand,” she continues, “and, there is no question that the patients who went to Gloria had improved outcomes versus the patients who just went to me and just got my medical advice.”
Pam Vincent, Cookbook Author
Pam, who lives near the upper village, met Gloria in January 2004. “A girlfriend recommended Gloria to me because I had heel spurs that, on a scale of pain from one to ten were probably a nine-and-a-half. I was in debilitating pain,” Pam recalls. She also had “a patella tracking problem” with her right knee, and bursitis in her shoulders. “This all began about a year and a half ago,” Pam, who really is the picture of health, says. She had been bicycling and injured her knee, and went to a trainer “who didn’t do me much good.”
Pam says she visited a number of places, including Century City Hospital in Los Angeles, saw “a couple of very fine orthopedic doctors here in Santa Barbara,” and also went to a rehab center. None of it helped. “They said if it got really bad they could do surgery,” she says, “but the reality is, for me, being cut on is not an option. There are people who’ve had heel spur surgery that are not only not better, they are actually worse, so I didn’t want to do that. I just thought it was something I’d had to live with.”
Pam says that after seeing Gloria, “within a three-week period of time, without my being conscious of what was happening, I found myself able to do things I hadn’t been able to do.” She says she is now “back on the map,” doing all the things she was always able to do. “I power-walk forty-five minutes a day; I swim; the pain in the shoulders is gone; the knee is fine; the heel spurs don’t feel like they’re there anymore, which is really weird.”
Pam says she is “skeptical; always have been. It was not within my ken to buy into this kind of thing.” Because nothing else had worked, she called Dr. Kaye at the urging of a friend. “I thought to myself, ‘Well, I’ll go see Gloria one time,’ just so my friend wouldn’t feel bad. ‘I’ll see her one time and I will have done my duty to God and country.’ After that first time, I didn’t feel any differently, but I noticed a couple of days later that I ran after my little pug and I hadn’t been able to run for quite some time. It stopped me in my tracks. I don’t know what Gloria does, but I know it works.”
“What did she do?” I asked.
“She simply placed her hands on my shoulders, on my knee, on my heels… Whatever it is – electrical energy or whatever – it does its thing. There is no feeling or sensation whatsoever. All I know is that the result is extraordinary. Extraordinary. If you had told me this, I wouldn’t have bought it. I would not have believed it. But all I know is that it worked for me. I’m not out there. I’m not into esoteric stuff. It’s just quite an amazing gift that she has and I think it’s something that is very untapped.”
Gloria theorizes that the electrical energy she puts out “disperses unwanted cells,” and suggests it might reduce tumors, cancers, lipomas. She notes that she was able to reduce a large fatty deposit on a Rhodesian Ridgeback “by at least a third… and if that can happen externally,” she suggests, “I think it would be fair to make the assumption it could happen internally.”
Patty has lived in Montecito for nearly twenty years.
“A million years ago, I took a yoga class from Gloria at a private home in Montecito,” Patty recounts. “I knew she (Gloria) was a healer, but I never thought about going for a session at that time. My mother was out visiting from Nebraska,” Patty continues, explaining that words like “healer” draw stares and question marks from Nebraskans. “My mom was teasing Dr. Kaye, who suggested giving my mom ‘a weird California experience,’ and I said, ‘Sure.’ Jeanette, my mom, was asked if she had any aches or pains and at first she said, ‘No,’ so I said, ‘Mom, what about that hip that’s been hurting you ever since you were in college?’
“‘Oh, yeah,’ she said.
“Gloria worked with her for five minutes or less and my mother, to this day, and that was a long, long time ago, says it has never bothered her again.”
That was Patty’s first experience with Gloria.
“I have a mild scoliosis, and when I moved here from Las Vegas, it had gotten to the point of discomfort where I wore a little lift in one of my shoes and after my mom had that experience, Gloria says, ‘Well, I don’t like that you [wear lifts in your shoes].’ She just didn’t like the whole chiropractic approach I was doing” to deal with it.
“It was uncomfortable, even to look behind me when I was driving, so Gloria worked with me for several sessions and still if my back is uncomfortable, I go to Gloria before I go to anyone else. I no longer see a chiropractor.”
So, what does she do exactly?
“She puts her hand places, and it’s usually not where it actually hurts. There’s no cracking or anything dramatic; she just puts her hands here or there. I’ve taken a class from Gloria to try to learn what she does and I think it is so instinctual that she has trouble teaching it. She also has this keen observation, so if you ask her to look at you, she’ll say, ‘Hmm, I don’t like the way your shoulder’s up,’ or ‘one eyebrow is higher than another.’ She has a really keen eye that can check on your imbalances or how you’re standing.” She has both the training and the intuition.”
Patty says she now “might go a year and not see [Gloria].” I’m perfectly fine, but if something comes up, I’ll go see her.”
Patty recounts another experience with Dr. Kaye, when her youngest was an infant and developed a rash all over her body. “I went to all kinds of doctors; they asked if this was because of the laundry detergent I was using, or is it this, is it that? Nothing and nobody could get rid of the rash, so I took the baby to see Gloria.”
Gloria put some ferr-phos on Ms Teel’s baby, a homeopathic paste available at the natural food store, and then put it on a circle on the baby’s belly. Gloria told Patty that if it worked, to put it all over her baby’s body.
“The next day,” Patty recalls, “the rash was gone, but only in the circle that Gloria had made. I rushed to the health food store and bought some ferr-phos. I made the paste and lathered all over my baby’s body… and it did nothing.
“I went back to Gloria and said, ‘Gloria, it wasn’t the ferr-phos. It was you. She was surprised herself, and I think at times even she doesn’t realize how well her energy works.”
Gloria went back to work on the baby and the rash eventually went away.
“Another time,” Patty continues, “my son was in a bicycle accident; the one time he went without a helmet and, of course, his front wheel fell off. It was really terrible. They said his front tooth was dead and that he’d have to go in and do the whole root canal thing. He was about ten years old at the time. I had Gloria work on him, however, and he’s never needed anything.”
Patty says Dr. Kaye is like her family doctor. “We’ve become very dear friends,” she says, “and I actually consider her a spiritual teacher to me… I always tell everybody, ‘Don’t have surgery until you’ve seen Gloria!’
Ms Patterson, owner of Here’s The Scoop gelato on Coast Village Road, attends Gloria’s “Gentle Yoga” class every Wednesday morning at 9:15 for an hour at the Santa Barbara Athletic Club. Gloria has a very loyal following and Ellie has been going for “about four years.”
Ellie says it is “the attention she pays to detail” that impresses her most. “The first thing she does is go around the classroom and has us all introduce ourselves. She asks if anything physical is bothering us and. She worries and helps each one of us,” Ellie says, noting that she feels like she comes “out of the class at my normal height and went in two inches shorter.”
Anne has known Dr. Kaye since last summer. “Gloria has done two major things for me,” Anne reveals.
“First, I was having a real problem walking – my right knee was inflamed – and I was going to Europe on a trip in memory of [recently deceased husband Bob Smith’s] 60th birthday and wanted to walk all over. She gave me two or three treatments and sure enough, I got the flexibility and I had no problems. In fact, I still have that flexibility.
“Second, I had a cancerous growth removed from my shin and I’m a little embarrassed with the groove that was left. Gloria has worked on it twice and it has been raised and the groove isn’t nearly as big. The color was black and blue, but it is now closer to my normal skin color. For a while, I wasn’t wearing skirts, but now I do. It just looks like a smaller bruise.
“She’s Good. She’s got a real gift, and she’s going to do some long distance work with my sister, who has cancer. I can’t say that will work yet, but it’s in the works.”
Note From The Publisher
Dr. Kaye, while acknowledging she has “a gift,” makes no claims beyond that. However, with so many people singing her praises, my wife, Helen, who is plagued with carpal tunnel syndrome in her wrists, had begun wearing braces on both hands, and was considering surgery, made an appointment with Gloria. After two sessions, Helen removed the braces and has discontinued thoughts of surgery. She is not “cured,” but is confident that by working with Dr. Kaye regularly her condition will not worsen and will likely improve.
Letter from April 20, 2005
Thank you for the lovely article that you published (“Montecito’s Healer” MJ #11/6); you have touched the lives of many people. I’m so pleased to be available to the many in our community who need my service. As a result of the article, I have already met many wonderful people that I have been able to help.
I would, however, like to note an error that appeared in the beginning of the article, stating that I am a physical therapist. In fact, I am a licensed massage therapist, and I do my work under the umbrella of this license.