Article by Kelly Remmer

I can’t believe I haven’t seen this article before.  I want to talk to this lady!!!

Does anybody know her?


Here’s the content in case the link ever changes.

Article by Kelly Remmer

A whispered promise leads a mother off the beaten path and towards a reliable source to treat her daughter’s condition.

About three years ago I began to feel uneasy with the conventional methods that were being offered by the medical community to treat my seven-year-old daughter Jessie’s spina-bifida related needs. I was especially concerned with traditional options for bowel and bladder management, such as synthetic stool softeners and the daily doses of antibiotics, whose side -effects I found unacceptable.

I began to investigate alternative methods to assist in Jessie’s well-being, off the beaten path of traditional care and treatment, and my conversion was such that after 15 years in banking I decided to study herbology and aromatherapy full time. I learned that approximately 40 per cent of all drugs and medications originate from plant sources. Whereas pharmaceutical medications treat symptoms, assistance through herbal use targets the source of the disorder. Medications often create an array of side-effects due to their inorganic, synthetic properties. Herbs are used in their whole state, untampered with biologically, and as a result have a tempered, balanced and harmonious effect on the whole human body. An efficient herbal blend will bring more than one benefit to the body so the side-effects of herbal use are the side-benefits.

To assist Jessie in maintaining correct bowel transit time, I use an herbal blend that targets renal and urinary health, as well as other herbs that enhance her immune system to provide strength in energy and rebuilding bodily functions. For the bowel, a blend of 29 different herbs help nourish the colon and promote peristaltic action while the main ingredient, psyllium husk, promotes good stool formation. The bladder aid consists of cranberry extract as well as juniper berry.

Jessie has gone from zero bowel and bladder continence two years ago to being independent in her toileting needs at home. The need for catheterization ceased a year ago. Her legs, which had grown an insignificant amount until then, have not only gained substantial muscle mass but have grown five inches in the last year. She had no voluntary movement from the waist down until one year ago but is now on her hands and knees crawling in perfect symmetry. Jessie experiences no bowel impaction episodes (or constipation) and has not had a bladder or urinary tract infection in over two years. Her health is robust and her vitality sparkles for all to see.

Jessie also receives aromatherapy massage twice weekly at home. This involves the use of essential plant oils blended specifically in a carrier oil and massaged onto the body. These essential oils, including those derived from rosemary, castor and peanut as well as camomile and myrrh, are of great therapeutic value. Massage is an ancient form of healing and coupled with the benefits of essential oils has a dramatic effect on the mind, body and spirit of the individual receiving the treatment. Essential oils, applied in the manner of gentle massage, enter the bloodstream in 20 to 30 minutes, but the effects of aromatherapy are also witnessed by our olfactory sense.

Our sense of smell is directly related to our emotions, and emotions have a tremendous effect on our well-being. Recent research shows that high levels of stress and anxiety initiates the flight-or-fight response or hormone adrenaline, which when in continuous circulation lowers our immune system and makes us more susceptible to disease. Aromatherapy is a tool in which by way of touch, absorption and aroma, assistance is offered to an individual to allow the body’s own healing abilities to combine with the therapeutic effects of the properties of the oils.

Jessie continues to progress in spite of what I was told she would not be able to do. I was given information upon her birth that generalized the condition of the human spirit. That’s a big mistake, especially to a mother who rocked her newborn daughter, whispering softly in her tiny ear a solemn promise: “I will do all I can for you, Jessie, I will help you be all you can be.” I look back to seven years ago, not realizing until now that I am fulfilling my promise to her, one that I forgot I had made until just this moment.


  • Very interesting–you should message her. 🙂

  • How would I message her?

    I searched for her on Google & Facebook, but no luck.

  • So this is the part I found the most interesting:

    “Her legs, which had grown an insignificant amount until then, have not only gained substantial muscle mass but have grown five inches in the last year. She had no voluntary movement from the waist down until one year ago but is now on her hands and knees crawling in perfect symmetry.”

    Bladder and bowel improvement doesn’t surprise me, though it is very encouraging. But leg growth and muscle mass and going from no movement to crawling. That sounds too good to be true. I want to know what she attributes it to.

    • Hi there,
      I attribute those changes to daily aromatherapy massage using essential oil blends as cited in response below. Jess seemed to gain quad strength which prior to had been none according to her PT at the time monitoring her range of motion/movements/abilities. Massage including essential oils improves circulation, overall range of motion, strengthens well being and pure essential oils used in a carrier oil have therapeutic attributable effects.


  • Umm…is there a contact for the SB association website? You could send a message saying the testimonial was of interest to you and you would like to learn more and just ask your info to be forwarded to her.

  • I would love for her to do a guest post here! I was very fascinated by this article. I also would like to know if she does limb massage on her daughter. We do paraffin leg treatments and AromaTouch massages and can tell a difference in strength and circulation/healing of sores when we are consistent.

    • Do you do the paraffin leg treatments yourself or do you take her to a practitioner?

      • We have a local gal who does them. It is at a day spa. The lady who does the paraffin treatments has a medical background and comes from a whole family of physicians and therapists, so when she suggested the treatments I took notice. Lauren definitely benefits from them and also just loves feeling really pampered. It is probably something you could do yourself if you had the materials.

  • So they forwarded my email to Kelly and she contacted me this morning. Yeah! Her daughter is now 25 and she has graciously offered to answer our questions. I told her I would post my list here. So here goes:

    1) Did you ever try Belladonna as a bladder treatment?
    2) I posted a quote from your article in my comment above, what do you attribute her increased growth and mobility to?
    3) What are the things that you found most successful in helping Jessie achieve bowel and bladder continence?

    That’s all I can think of for now, but I’m sure I will have more as the conversation continues.

    Thanks Kelly!


  • Greetings 🙂

    1. I did not use Belladonna in Jessie’s care. That is a very potent/potentially dangerous herb/plant to use & I would not suggest it’s use unless homeopathic only.
    2. I attribute the enhanced growth to daily massage using essential oils. Too many benefits to list – rosemary, lavender, citrus and myrrh in a carrier oil such as olive oil or avacado oil – only 2 drops each essential oil into 4-5 oz of carrier oil. It was a bedtime ritual during storytime – fairytales in fact.
    3. One of the most important things I started for bowel management was when Jessie was introduced to bread products, it became mandatory that our household went whole wheat only. Avoid white flour products. It’s crucial to keep bowel transit time to a minimum – constipation must be avoided always… around the age of normal toilet training time I began to notice Jessie would complain of ‘tummyaches’ this was to be her discription or forewarning signal of an impending bm. We cashed in on that warning – right to washroom people! Kids with spina bifida will/can have ‘patchy’ senses of feeling in lower extrems – listen to their verbal cues. Avoiding constipation is crucial. Push H20. Always offer H20 instead of juice – water down the juice too – this will also keep VP shunt emptying correctly & avoid shunt drainage issues – constipation equals shunt troubles.

    Bladder continence prior to Jess turning 6 yrs old was a non issue. Jess used cranberry, D-Mannose and some bladder herbal strengthening blends to avoid UTI’s and calcium/magnesium also for it’s smooth muscle relaxing effects. The time came where she did have her begin to use Ditropan in addition to self catheterization for obvious social age important reasons. She has been bladder continent/managed successfully to this day and has been independent in her self care in that manner since, As explained in my email with you – certain allopathic medications are lifesaving – obviously.


  • Thanks Kelly. So much great information to look into further!

    I thought of a few more questions:

    1) How is your daughter’s mobility? Did you do traditional PT or alternatives?
    2) In your email you mentioned reiki. My craniosacral therapist is also trained in reiki. I know nothing about it. How did you use it and how do you think it helped?
    3) You said you left banking to study herbology & aromatherapy, do you have a private practice? If so, may we list you as a reference in the Physicians & Therapists page?

  • Hi,

    1. Jess had a T10 Myelomeningocele repaired surgically within hrs of her birth. She was delivered by my choice by c-section to make things easier on her. A VP shunt was called for 10 days after her birth. Her mobility as a young adult now at 25 is manual w/c, she tends to the horses, drives a 4-wheeler, a golf cart, lawn tractor and has her own vehicle with hand controls and from the very get go – her 1st w/c was/we insisted ordered without push handles…. she did not need pushed around & we politely discouraged that pattern. She is a very independent well adjusted young lady.

    We had the usual physiotherapy routines as provided by the children’s center in Toronto when she was a child to help us monitor her. Keep what other holistic modalities you provide to your child to yourselves I suggest when it comes to physiotherapists… use the services as an extra set of eyes on the developments of your child’s needs.

    2. Reiki is technically considered energy work. It is valuable – I understand premise of cranialsacral therapy as well they are two different things but each time honoured in there own way. Hands of Light by Barbara Brennan is a good introduction to understand energy work a little more. It’s real. Balancing. Effective. Non-invasive.

    3. I had a very busy practice in Toronto from the early 90’s to 2000 but then I fulfilled a dream & moved to the country with hubby to raise our family of 4 kids, I still see selected clients dependent on the situation. I’m about 1.5 N/E of Toronto. If you would like to list me please do so as a Master Herbalist. Contact by this forum or email address. I would like to be of assistance to families b/c I had to become the Herbalist I could not find.


  • Sounds like we utilize traditional PT, just like you did. And yes, sometimes I have to smile and nod and keep the rest to myself.

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I’m a big reader; I look forward to reading it.

    We live out in the country too. Do you have a little hobby farm? I will contact you via email to get your info for the listing on the site. Thanks for your willingness to help. You are the herbalist we could not find (until now)! 🙂

  • Kelly,

    A Naturopathic Urologist at Bastyr suggested using Belladonna in lieu of Ditropan. He said Ditropan is based on the herbal use of the Belladonna plant.

    He said that Belladonna is an antispasmodic that blocks the parasympathetic muscle receptors which prevents detrusor contractions (or something like that, ha!). Isn’t that the same thing Ditropan does?

    I am very interested in the idea of it. From my research it appears to have the same properties or effects as Ditropan. In fact, they are listed as interactions on

    He said he would start with the tiniest dose and slowly increase the dosages. After talking to him and my own small town ND, I would totally be willing to try it with my daughter, should she ever need it.

    I know you said it is potent and potentially dangerous. Do you have any thoughts on its similarity to Ditropan.

    I’m SO interested in this.


    UPDATE: Kelly, If you think that your answer could launch a new discussion about Belladonna & Ditropan, perhaps we should start a new post about this too? It’s totally up to you.

    • Hi there,

      Under the care of a Naturopathic Urologist. That’s a whole different answer to the belladonna earlier question in that case. I do not suggest the use of belladonna UNLESS under the guidance of a health care practitioner – it’s not for lay people to use willy nilly. . Wow. How I would have loved a ND urologist. It sounds promising.


      • I know. I jumped up and down and did a little jig when I found him! Did I read that right??? Naturopathic Urologist??? N….D??? Not M….D???

        He is on staff at Bastyr Naturopathic College & Clinic. I really really liked him. I would feel very comfortable with him overseeing our care with belladonna.

        (FYI, he also recommended gota kola for nerve growth. Thoughts on that one?)

        I almost wish Pooka needed it, so that we could “take one for the team”. I obviously don’t really wish she had spastic bladder or high pressures. I just really want to see someone try it. If it were to work, that would be SO AMAZING!!!

        • Hi,

          LOVE Gotu Kola. It’s nervine herb. So may applications. Gotu kola tea is can be drank warm or cooled and used topically – excellent for wounds scrapes or you could use it in powdered form & combine with coconut oil to apply… one of the most revered herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. There may even be a homeopathic form…


          • For interest sake:

            Taken from

            Gotu Kola
            Gotu kola, an herb in the ayurvedic tradition, may stimulate nerve regeneration, according to researchers in the Department of Neurology at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. An extract of the herb caused measurable growth in a tissue culture of human nerve cells. Researchers determined that gotu kola contains more than one active component. In a laboratory animal portion of the study, doses of 300 mg per kilogram of body weight per day of gotu kola resulted in more rapid nerve regrowth and function recovery compared to a control group that did not receive the herb. The study appeared in the September 2005 issue of the “Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.” Consult your doctor about using gotu kola to treat a medical condition

          • Above article written by: Tracey Roizman, D.C.

    • I just wish Pooka was older than Claire so you could try belladonna first. 🙂

  • So I’m trying to get my head around this whole therapeutic massage thing. So the increased circulation causes healing and growth? I guess that makes sense. Sorry talking to myself. Ha!

    WellspringHope, can you talk more about AromaTouch massage and paraffin wax treatments? Is AromaTouch the same thing that Kelly describes?

    This post is getting so long. I’m wondering if we should start a new post for this leg massage discussion. WellspringHope, do you want to address my question in a new post? It’s up to you, whatever you think.

  • Tspar,

    Did your ND give you some idea of a dose and methodology for the Goto Kola? Did you say that somewhere and I missed it?

  • No, and she is out of the country for a month. And Dr. Yarnell hasn’t responded to my last email yet either. I will ask him then and report back, for sure.

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