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cist Moshe Feldenkrais). Rabke says the many benefits of Feldenkrais, which uses body awareness to im- prove one’s mobility and promote well-being, include increased vitality, greater balance and coordination, eas- ier breathing, freer hip joints, and bet- ter sleep. People of any age or physical ability can benefit from the method, according to the Feldenkrais Guild of North America—including those with “chronic or acute pain of the back, neck, shoulder, hip, leg, or knee.” “Learning to be in your body is the greatest gift you can offer yourself,” Rabke says. “We all sit too much, have most of our attention in our heads or on the screens in front of us, and miss out on a huge part of our experience that can come from being present in our bodies. What often prevents us from continuously improving and re- fining what we do is our network of habits”—which we may not even be aware of.

“Then, since I loved to cook, I went to culinary school, which opened a new world,” she says. With that train- ing, she became a pastry chef in San Francisco before launching a catering and event-planning business in New- port Beach, Calif. “I loved ‘throwing parties,’” she recalls, but she soon de- cided to combine food with nursing. She returned to New York City and became a registered dietitian, then earned a master’s in nutrition. As part of the master’s program, she complet- ed a clinical internship at New York University Medical Center—exactly where she had studied as a Skidmore student. “Talk about déjà vu,” she muses.


Rabke, a licensed massage therapist and somatic educator, has been practicing Feldenkrais since 2005. He offers hands-on sessions for individuals and also teaches group classes. His clients range in age from toddlers to seniors. Often the people who come to him are in distress, and he delights in seeing them find relief and experience greater ease in their bodies. Among his success stories are two clients with debilitating back pain who were told their condition was untreatable and they should simply look to pain management. Within two months of coming to him, Rabke says, “one was able to bike pain-free across Iowa, and the other was able to play cello in the Utah Symphony for the first time in years without pain.” While therapies such as Feldenkrais are considered “alterna- tive” by mainstream medicine, Rabke believes bodywork is gaining wider credibility. “There is a good deal of ‘woo-woo’ stuff out there,” he acknowledges, but he appreciates that Rolf and Feldenkrais “were both hard-core scientists and made sure their findings could hold up to empirical scrutiny from their peers.” Rabke’s Web site is —MTS

NURSE OF ALL TRADES Susan Gross Underwood ’69 has never let a road go untraveled. She was “restless, but practical,” she says, when she was drawn to Skidmore’s nursing program, which featured two years of clinical training at a medical center in New York City. She fore- saw as bonuses of the degree both professional opportunity and freedom of movement. Sure enough, after graduation Un- derwood worked in Honolulu and on a Navajo Indian reserva- tion, and earned an MSN in psychiatric nursing.

Underwood practiced as a nutri- tionist, and then more than a decade ago she accepted an administrative job with the New York City-based VNSNY Choice health plan, where she is associate director of quality man-

agement. The plan is a subsidiary of Visiting Nurse Service of New York, the largest nonprofit home-care agency in the Unit- ed States. Serving people on Medicare and those with special needs under long-term and at-home care, Underwood devel- ops methods and criteria for evaluating the quality of the care and of care-management services and oversees compliance with regulations. Underwood predicts that the need for high-quality home

services, especially long-term care, will continue to burgeon as more aging, ill, or disabled people—who may require personal care, medication management, physical therapy, and other servic- es both medical and social— choose to live in the community rather than an institution. Case in point: Under- wood’s current roommate is her recently retired 91-year-old mother. Medicaid redesign should expand long- term care services affordably, she argues, because


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