“Building Your Toolbox” videoconference series

Each meeting in this monthly series will focus on discussing a different pain modality with an expert. The series will be done as a videoconference using the Zoom platform, so participants can see and hear one another and interact directly with an expert speaker.

This series is typically held on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 pm ET, and is led by a U.S. Pain staff member with  Bobbi Blades, a long-time chronic pain support group leader.

The calls will generally follow this format:

  • Welcome 
  • Brief presentation from a speaker about a particular pain modality
  • Open Q&A and discussion with participants

Participants will be muted for the first portion of the event and then will be able to speak to ask questions. We encourage you to join via video, but if you’re not feeling up to it and want to participate without video, that’s fine.

NOTE: By registering for all or part of this series, you acknowledge and agree to the terms of our waiver.

Building Your Toolbox

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Days: First Tuesdays of the month
Time: 7:30pm ET
Contact: Nicole Hemmenway at contact@uspainfoundation.org

Waiver and Release*
Please scroll through entire waiver and read before confirming you are over the age of 18 and accept its terms.

By registering for Building Your Toolbox (“BYT”), I acknowledge that I have agreed to participate in a BYT interactive webinar organized by Pain Connection, a program of U.S. Pain Foundation, Inc. I understand that the webinar will include discussion of healthcare, work and family issues and the management of chronic pain and that the level of my participation in this webinar and any related activities must be determined by me, in consultation with my physician or other qualified healthcare provider. I further understand that the BYT webinar leaders are volunteers and people with pain who have undergone training with U.S Pain Foundation, Inc. and that they may not be physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists or other trained healthcare professionals. The webinars are provided for information, education and support - they are not therapy groups. U.S. Pain Foundation, Inc. is dedicated to serving those who live with pain conditions and their care providers, but does not advocate any one particular treatment for any one type of pain.

I acknowledge that the webinar leaders and/or U.S. Pain Foundation, Inc., by making this webinar available, are not undertaking any responsibility regarding my medical condition(s). If I feel that my medical condition(s) are adversely affected by my participation in the webinar, l understand that it is my responsibility to discontinue participation and to immediately consult with my healthcare provider about continuing or resuming participation.

I agree that all information obtained in the webinar is to be considered confidential and I shall hold the same in confidence, shall not disclose, publish or otherwise reveal any of the confidential information received from any participants in the webinar and/or U.S. Pain Foundation, Inc. to any other party whatsoever.

I acknowledge that a webinar conducted by video and/or telephone-conferencing (including Zoom) may be less secure than in-person support groups, and I fully understand the nature and extent of the potential risks involved with participation in the webinar using these forms of electronic media. I agree not to make any type of recording (audio and/or video) of the webinar.

I hereby, on behalf of myself, my heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, assume the risks associated with participation in the webinar and release, indemnify and hold harmless the webinar leaders, U.S. Pain Foundation, Inc. and it’s agents, officers, members, volunteers and employees from any and all claims, demands, for personal injuries, costs, expenses, and any other loss to person or property arising out of or resulting from my participation in the support group.

I have read this waiver and release and confirm that I am aged eighteen or over. I have been given the opportunity to ask any questions and I fully understand and agree to the above.

Do you want to join the Pain Connection mailing list?*
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March 7, 2023


March 7, 2023

The Feldenkrais Method®

Learn to move with more ease.


Robert M. Valdez, Jr. 

Robert M. Valdez, Jr., affectionately known as “Buddy,” is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practioner(cm), and has been a life-long mover. Valdez is a Juilliard graduate, professional dancer, yogi, martial arts enthusiast, and all-around movement junkie. The Feldenkrais Method® has continued to inform, build, and enhance his passion for movement. He is honored to join people on their self-improvement and movement journeys.




Future Events

Check back soon!



Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email with the link for attending via Zoom. If you do not receive this email or have questions about registration, please email contact@uspainfoundation.org.

Past topics and speakers

John White: Gentle movement

John White is a recognized leader in the renaissance of Pilates and the integration of movement education and health. A former Martha Graham dancer, John was the Director of Movement and Aquatic Therapy at Canyon Ranch and now owns John White Movement – a progressive movement studio and teacher-training program in Tucson, Arizona. John began his study of the Pilates method 36 years ago and is a Master Teacher, having taught for the past 25 years. His students have included Olympic gold medalists, Wimbledon champs, Oscar-winning actors and actresses and members of several royal families. More often, however John is sought out for his ability to work with challenging physical conditions, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, spondylitis, scoliosis, chronic pain, and rehabilitation.

Gloria Mathiesen, MA, LMT: Aromatherapy

Gloria C. Mathiesen, MA, LMT, LAC, RYT-200, Certified Aromatherapist, Usui Reiki Master/Teacher graduated in 1997 from Irene Gauthier’s Myomassology Institute located in her home state of Michigan. She has been providing therapeutic massage services ever since.

Gloria received her MA in Mental Health Counseling and is licensed in Ohio and Arizona.  All of her modalities and trainings interweave the connection between the mind and body and how to build resilience.  She focuses on courses and workshops addressing topics including PTSD, eating disorders, addiction, chronic pain and trauma.

Rick Dyer, MSK: Core strengthening

Core Strengthening Handout

Sept 2020: Rick Dyer, MSK, is director of CrossFit Los Altos and a personal trainer. As a collegiate baseball player, Rick was named the Conference Player of the Year in 2004. For nearly twenty years, he has been helping individuals improve their strength, mobility and overall physical function and health.

He is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and certified personal trainer (CPT). In his free time, Rick loves to cook, eat and spend time with his three young sons and wife.

Millie Quinones-Dunlap: Expressive Writing

August 2021 Millie discussed using writing to manage pain.

Adrienne F. Asta: Self-Care Strategies for Chronic Pain


Feb 2022

Adrienne discussed using selfcare strategies to manage pain.

Kate Benson: Stained Glass Painting


October 2022

We learned how to create beautiful stained glass designs at home.

Mara Gerke: Supplements

July 2021 Mara Gerke discussed using supplements to manage pain.

Lucy Dunning, Ed.S: Virtual Reality

March 2021: Lucy Dunning, Ed.S, discussed how virtual reality can decrease pain.

Ryan Drozd: Nutrition

April 2021: Ryan Drozd discussed the challenges of changing dietary habits and ways to overcome them.

Cindy Steinburg: Pain Advocacy and You

Sept. 2021 Cindy educated the group on advocacy.

Marcia Henry: The Power of Music

May 2022 Marcia showed the power of music to improve quality of life.

Linda Shaw: Making a Gratitude Board

June 2022 Linda taught us the healing power of gratitude and we learned how to make a gratitude board.

Malcolm Herman: Laughter - The Ultimate Pain Cure

December 2022

We learned how sit-down comedy can cure all life’s ailments and lead to the path to eternal bliss.

Helen Hess, NP, CHT: Medical hypnosis

Helen has been a certified hypnotist and hypnotherapist since 2005. She trained at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America located in New Mexico. Helen’s specialty is health hypnosis. She utilizes hypnosis to decrease pain; decrease stress, fear and worry; improve sleep and energy; enhance relationships; and change lifestyle choices for better health. Helen is a Certified Medical Support Hypnotherapist and Fellow of the International Board of Hypnotherapy. She is a member of the National Guild of Hypnotists, the Arizona Nurses Association, and is a Board Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Lee Blank, LMT: Self-massage

Download the Self Massage Routine Handout >>

Oct. 2020: Lee Blank, LMT, RYT200 is a licensed massage therapist specializing in chronic pain and oncology massage. Her company, Massuage Associates, LLC offers full-body table massage, and massage for patients and families struggling with chronic illnesses. She is a registered yoga teacher as well.

Lee is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park with a BS in Applied Sciences. She was recently honored by the Rockville Chamber of Commerce with their Citizen of the Year award for her volunteer work with hospice patients.

Kent Mason: Photography

Dec 2020: Kent Mason is a landscape and nature photographer and conservationist who is currently creating a photographic environmental study of the highlands of West Virginia. This is a collaborative effort with The Nature Conservancy which will result in a book.

He has been involved in photography for over 30 years and has been teaching visual design classes for the past 15 years. He sells fine art landscape photography in galleries, and has displayed his work in The Nature Conservancy headquarters.

Kent has learned strategies for functioning in his career while having chronic pain.

Gwen Minton: Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Oct. 2021 Gwen taught the group how to use CBT.

Mari Hodges: Alexander Technique - Embodied Mindfulness

July 2022 Mari taught how to quiet body and mind to reduce stress, tension and pain.

Rick Dyer: Core Strengthening

November 2022

We learned the true meaning of core strength and how to properly move to make daily tasks and living easier.

Lisa Marie Price, LAc, DiplAc: Acupressure

Lisa Marie has completed extensive studies in dietary therapy, Qi Gong, and a variety of acupuncture techniques. Her remarkable healing experiences as a patient led Lisa Marie to the study of Chinese Medicine, rather than Western Medicine. Lisa Marie advocates both locally and nationally for improved services and treatment options for chronic pain patients.

In private practice in Chinese Medicine for 25 years, Lisa Marie Price is a national board-certified acupuncturist (NCCAOM) and received her Master’s degree in Acupuncture. She received her B.A. degree from Stanford University.

Rachel Zoffness, PhD: Neuroplasticity

Nov. 2020: Dr. Rachel Zoffness is a pain psychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor at the UCSF School of Medicine, where she teaches pain education for medical residents. She is an international speaker on effective treatments for chronic pain.

Dr. Zoffness serves on the boards of the American Association of Pain Psychology and the Society of Pediatric Pain Medicine. She is the author of The Pain Management Workbook, an integrative workbook rooted in science and research. Dr. Zoffness consults on integrative pain programs, runs a private practice, and leads multidisciplinary pain workshops for health providers.

Malcolm Herman: Laughter
Feb. 2021: Malcolm Herman’s “Laughter is bad for your health” explored the ways humor can improve your mood and boost your outlook on life.
Malcolm is an attorney and long-time caregiver who has relied on his wicked sense of humor to confront (some would say evade) the difficulties of raising a family and being unable to cure his spouse’s chronic pain.
Jake Benson: Easy Healthy Cooking

Nov. 2021 Jake and Kate taught easy healthy cooking, including crockpot lasagna.

Janet Jay: Poi Spinning

March 2022

Janet taught the art of Poi Spinning for mental, physical and emotional health

Christie Cox: Mindfulness
Sept. 2022
Christie taught Mindfulness 101. 3 Steps to Train Your Brain. How to train your brain to reduce pain and to calm the chaos.
Gwenn Herman, LCSW: Chakras

Jan. 2021: Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW, discussed chakras and breathing techniques.

Paula Mintzies, Daily Energy Routine

May 2021: Paula Mintzies discussed a daily energy routine and Qi Gong.

David Hall: Sleep Hygiene

June 2021: David Hall discussed ways to improve sleep.

Anne Smith: Easy Traveling

Dec. 2021 Anne shared useful tips for traveling with chronic pain and overcoming barriers.

Debbie Hall: Pet Therapy

Jan. 2022 Debbie  taught about pet therapy and the magical power of pets.

David Hall: The Wonder of HAM Radio
August 2022 David taught how to join a worldwide community, how to get a license and establish connection with like-minded people around the world.
Christine Sotmary: Qi Gong

January 2023: Christine taught us the art of Qi Gong, with easy routines for relaxing muscles, improving mood, enouraging rest and digestion and managing pain.