Previously Featured Practitioners


Shawna Snyder, L.Ac.

Acupuncturist, Chinese Medicine Practitioner







A Comprehensive Treatment Approach

Shawna takes great care in making sure that her patients are comfortable with the treatment plan. To foster your acupuncture treatment, she will outline a custom tailored treatment strategy including estimated number of visits, specific exercises or stretching techniques, Chinese dietary therapy including recipes and stress relief practices. Shawna encourages patients to take action in their healing process as this is a key component toward faster recovery.

Shawna has been in practice for 12 years. She is licensed by the Vermont department of health and a certified Diplomate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

In 2002, she graduated from the University of Vermont in Burlington with a pre-med degree, Women’s Health and Botanical Medicine, and a minor in Art History.

In 2006, she graduated from the New England School of Acupuncture located near Boston. There she studied and contributed 1,200+ hours of hands on clinical instruction with the NESA student clinic, Pathways to Wellness, Dimock Community Hospital and Malden Family Health Center.

Shawna believes in a ladder of intervention when it comes to non-emergent health care: first allow your body a chance to heal on its own by improving diet, exercising regularly, practice stress relief, and sleep at least 8 hours nightly. If your body needs further help or you need guidance then pursue practices such as acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, nutritionist, counseling, etc. If, still, this is not enough then seek out conventional western treatment such as pharmaceuticals and/or surgery. Or integrate a combination of these modalities that work best for your mind, body and spirit.

Shawna can be contacted by email at or by phone at (401) 297-1642





Laurie Freeman-Jesseman

Health Coach & Owner of Jophiel’s at the Wellness Loft








Beauty Inside & Out

written by Shawna E.M. Snyder

Laurie Freeman-Jesseman, owner and Certified Health Coach of Jophiel’s at the Wellness Loft in Bennington, is devoted to her clientele. Laurie sums up her practice when she says that, “the Wellness Loft is committed to nurturing your spirit and helping you find your zen and beauty.” She recognizes that one’s radiance of both health and beauty shine mutually when the two are in balance. Looking great means feeling great and vice versa! Laurie has worked in the salon industry for as long as she can remember but it’s her passion and persistence to understand health and wellness from the lens of a healing practitioner that keeps her focused. This healing path began in 1996 when she was introduced to Mindful Based Stress Reduction by Deb Lewis (who happened to be a featured practitioner a couple months ago!) Deb’s program had a profound impact which shifted the direction of Laurie’s life. At the time, life was challenging for Laurie but she took initiative and began taking complimentary therapy training while working as a Cosmetologist and raising her three sons.

As a stylist, she has been able to connect with a broad group of people, educating her clients and for whom some may not have previously known about the multitudinous healing options available in the Bennington County. In addition to being a Health Coach, she is trained in foot, face and ear reflexology, massage therapy, zero balancing, angelic essence and recently became an ordained minister. She listens to her clients and wants the best for them on all matters—mind, body and soul. Despite all the comings and goings of Laurie’s life, she stays on track guiding her clients about the therapeutic options available and if they need help that she’s not already certified in then she’ll refer out to her trusted group of local practitioners.

In addition to her busy career, she has been one of the driving forces of BennHHP as she believes strongly that there are numerous, highly qualified, and empathetic healing practitioners in Bennington County that have the potential to offer members of our community a transformative meaningful perspective in their health and wellness as she experienced 20 years ago.

Contact Information:

(802) 442-9404


Deborah Lewis


Licensed Professional Counselor; Yoga, Stress Management & Mindfulness Teacher








A Mindful Approach To Stress

written by Shawna E.M. Snyder

Stress is no stranger to Deborah Lewis yet when she recalls the journey that led her to become a counselor, mindfulness based meditation and yoga teacher, she tells her story without resentment, regret, sarcasm or anger. In fact, she embodies a state of freedom from stress that captures my attention.

Since 1995, Deb has been teaching people to live life without the judgmental preconceptions, self-doubt and bottled up hurt that consequently causes disease when left unchecked. Deb helps her students recover, or in many cases, discover that they can be significant entities in their community and they have tremendous potential if only they accessed their positive energy rather than dwell on the depressive stagnation and despondency of living that negative thoughts create.

In her 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class, she has developed a comprehensive curriculum to enlighten students on how to have the presence of mind to change their negative patterns of reacting to stress so they can be more productive, creative and with mental clarity be the person they wish to be and thereby enjoy life. Other perks to mindfulness is that if consistently practiced it lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system, relieves depression, reduces pain and prevents chronic diseases.

One aspect of her class is a discussion of the “7 attitudes”. These determine whether we react or respond to stress. The 7 attitudes build a foundation upon which we can stand strong. These, together, allow an individual to convert the anxiety, stress and worry to compassion and then to do something about it. With the broad reaching tragedies of terrorism, natural disasters, let alone our own personal stressors, the 7 attitudes is a game changer. The 7 attitudes are: non-judgment, acceptance, patience, beginners mind, non-striving, trust and letting go. I think all but two are straight forward and easily identified. The two that may be unfamiliar to us is “beginners mind” and “non-striving”.

Beginners mind is to learn to take a moment and notice what the craziness of our stressors are doing to our mind, body and spirit. Just stop and be. The non-striving principle teaches us to be in the moment and not regret the past or strive for the future. Simply, don’t waste your energy on things of the past or those yet to be determined. Rather, enjoy the journey of life and seize the opportunities that are here and now.

When you commit to practice all 7 attitudes along with the rest of the techniques of mindfulness Deb teaches, you’ll have the means to stop your emotional volatility to a situation. And by acknowledging the lessons that could be learned when confronted with this challenge, you can then move with a sense of accomplishment.

Essentially, it’s a change of reality. We all have the attributes of the 7 attitudes though many of us spend a lot of negative mental energy allowing the “monkey mind” to wreak havoc. It’s a matter of disabling that negativity which causes mental, emotional and spiritual sabotages and replacing it with an empowered sense of being. Deb explains that our internal soul is connected to the external world. By supporting ourselves with love and kindness, we can, in turn, help others.

Deb’s story of resolve and perseverance while emanating kindness with an open heart reflects that she walks the talk. Sign me up!

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Workshops

-Weekly classes on Tuesdays 6-8 pm (now until November 7th)

-Drop in for one session, or take them all! Different themes each week about mindfulness & cognitive behavioral therapy

-$25 per session

Ongoing Anusara (Gentle) Yoga Class

-Weekly classes on Thursdays 6-7:15 pm

-Includes deep relaxation and guided imagery

-$15 per class

Private sessions for counseling, mindfulness and yoga are available Monday-Friday, 1-2 hours duration $60-$90.

Registration appreciated for all classes if possible. Sliding scale is available.

Deb is available to present mindfulness to schools, companies, hospital, assisted living and any other institutional setting. Hands on techniques coupled with her power point presentation provides a structured seminar. Deb has her Masters of Arts in Counseling; Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Yoga Teacher.


Phone: (802) 558-1315


532 Main Street, Suite 3 (Above the Bennington DMV and next to The Yoga Place)



Janet Sleigh

Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapist, Martial Arts Master of Movement, Kriya Yoga Teacher





Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapy

written by Shawna E.M. Snyder & Janet Sleigh


Healing comes in many ways and when used in a complementary fashion, people can benefit from all health systems. Western medicine has a significant role to play when dealing with emergency situations whereas, complementary and alternative medicine has the potential to promote health in a less invasive, gentle yet effective way especially when thinking of long term solutions or recalcitrant patterns that have developed and are difficult to break.

Janet Sleigh has been utilizing several forms of alternative medicine throughout her lifetime. Janet understands that the body is a phenomenal healing machine and if given the proper attention and care, then optimum health can be achieved. She began by learning the fundamentals of homeopathy, herbology, nutrition and flower essence therapy for treating her family. She is a Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapist, Metaphysical Minister, Martial Arts Master of Movement, Flower Essence Practitioner and Kriya Yoga Teacher. She says that working in a Biodynamic CranioSacral model of health and healing is the pinnacle of her carrier.

One of Janet’s many strengths is her intuition – as she is quite receptive to energetic patterns and can help restore imbalances to encourage healing. At her office at 160 Benmont Avenue in Bennington, she practices Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapy which is a form of mind/body/energy work that engages the body along many avenues including energetic pathways, tissue, fluids and organ systems. Janet uses this therapy to break patterns both emotional and physical. Ultimately, through her work, she encourages the body to come back to balance through its own natural healing mechanism. “I look for the health that is there in the system, for energy blockages and I help the body renegotiate patterns”, she explains.

Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapy (BCS) has a long history whose roots are in osteopathic medicine. There is a difference between CranioSacral Therapy and BCS Therapy. CranioSacral Therapy is based in the biomechanics of the body while BCS Therapy is based on the energy matrix that precedes the physical matrix of our bodies.

“In BCS we work with the deeper levels of energy that drive cerebrospinal fluid as we tap into the inherent health of the body. Cerebrospinal fluid is the fluid that moves within a contained structure and bathes and nourishes our brain and nervous system. It gently pulses from cranium to sacrum in a rhythm that all CranioSacral and BCS therapists can palpate. Within this model of healing the therapist is able to work on any level of imbalance including physical tissue, muscles and organs, the fluid system, the nervous system and emotional matrix and the energetic matrix that is the blueprint for the entire system. BCS drops the volume of the nervous system calming the body and mind and allowing healing to happen.”

Janet is developing an expertise in working with the autonomic nervous system through the Vagal nerve. This work resets the nervous system and restores a sense of safety, peace and connection. The high anxiety and stress in our families and communities today have caused an increase in nervous system overload leading to all manner of imbalance and illness. The nervous system is not only influenced by emotion, it is also impacted by the level of toxic material that we are finding in our food, water and environment. Re-regulating the autonomic nervous system helps to re-establish a baseline of health in our system.

Flower Essence Therapy is another service that Janet offers in her practice. Flower essences are based on a homeopathy model. They are vibrationally infused solutions made from plants and trees which can be used to positively influence imbalances within the mind/body/spirit continuum. Janet explains that she uses flower essences to help dissolve the emotional issues that bind to our nervous system, muscles and organs. Releasing emotion frees the system to re-regulate and rebalance. She uses flower essences as a complement to her BCS work.

Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapy is a useful complement to health and the healing of any ailment. Its application is wide and some of these health issues include;

  • Pain and injury to muscle, tendon, tissue
  • Head Injuries (concussion, stroke)
  • Mental Illness
  • Cancer
  • Fibromyalgia
  • TMJ
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Birth Trauma
  • Headache/Migraine
  • Organ Imbalance
  • Asthma

In essence, BCS may be helpful with whatever is creating imbalance and illness.

An initial visit is 2 hours and costs $70. Subsequent sessions run 60 to 75 minutes. There is a sliding fee scale which allows for individual scheduling depending upon the imbalance and its severity.

You can reach Janet at