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Community Highlights: Meet Hillary Branoff of Four Pillars Ayurveda

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hillary Branoff. 

Hi Hillary, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
At age 13 I began to correlate how food affects the body and started to alter my diet intuitively for the next 4 years. Once moving out of my parents’ home at age 18, I was introduced to Iyengar Yoga and chiropractic care. I was amazed with how alignment made such a difference in one’s health and mindset. This led me to becoming a Classical Hatha Yoga Teacher in 2006, Thai Massage Practitioner 2007, and then Registered Holistic Nutritionist in 2008. All the while dabbling in every different ‘diet’ and cleanse I could get my hands on. From Raw Veganism to Weston A Price Diet to the Master Cleanse and everything in between! In 2009 I fell ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which was surprising since I was such a ‘healthy’ person! Nothing seemed to help me until I found Ayurveda. I applied what the Ayurvedic Practitioner taught me and did a series of Ayurvedic body therapies and quickly I began to feel like myself again. I knew I had found a balanced and powerful modality and from that point began to study Ayurveda as well as work in the field almost immediately. Since 2010, I have continued to study as there are lifetimes of knowledge in this Eastern Science to learn. I have been working in the field since 2010 and have had my own clinical practice since 2015.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Ayurveda is not an easy career per se, especially if you want to utilize the body therapies in your practice. There is A LOT of oil, linens to wash, herbs, flours – essentially a big mess! It’s physically demanding and takes a great deal of organization to create a clinic that offers the many treatments that are available for almost any ailment. In India where Ayurveda comes from there is a team of people who do many different jobs whereas here and at my clinic there is only one employee: me! Ayurveda is a fairly new modality in the West when compared to Acupuncture so not as many know what it is and how effective it can be. It’s slowly growing and I believe one day it will be as common to go to an Ayurvedic Practitioner as it is to go to an Acupuncturist.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I offer traditional Ayurvedic (an ancient healing modality originally from India) services in a clinic setting in Topanga Canyon. Health consultations are a large part of my practice where I look at any imbalance a person might have and address the root cause rather than symptom relief. With a consultation, a person will learn what their constitution is, what their current imbalances are and the session will be individualized from that information. More common health challenges that I work with are insomnia, anxiety, digestive complaints, menstrual issues, and fatigue. I specialize in Panchakarma which is a detoxification and rejuvenation protocol that rebalances all of the systems of the body. It’s a 4–8-week program depending on the person and entails a specific diet, herbs, lifestyle adjustments, and Ayurvedic body therapies. What sets me apart from others as far as Panchakarma is concerned is that I practice based on the ancient texts. Nothing has been adjusted for convenience or for profit. Some Ayurvedic spas offer Panchakarma and don’t include the correct detoxification protocol prior or the rejuvenation portion afterwards which can harm a person’s health in the long term and possibly short term.

I also do all of the body therapies myself and have had extensive training and experience whereas other centers might train massage therapists to do the work with no real knowledge of Ayurveda. The deep understanding of the nuances create amazing results, time after time.

We love surprises, fun facts, and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
Something that might surprise people is that in my twenties I was a Master SCUBA Diver Trainer. In British Columbia where I lived for 15 years, I taught SCUBA in the very chilly Pacific Ocean for several years. I have always loved the sea and the creatures in it. After getting my Open Water Diver certification in a high altitude lake in Malawi, Africa, where we had to handwrite our entire textbook, LOL, I was hooked on diving and traveled anywhere in the world that was known for its underwater beauty. Teaching cold water diving took a toll on my small framed body and so I let that career go. Diving and the sea will always be part of my heart.

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