Growing up on an idyllic sheep and pony-strewn Putnam Valley gentleman’s farm with a “health nut” dad, it is only fitting Cathy Stubbs would have a precocious understanding of the word compassion. Married at 17, with three kids following soon after, the nurturing Stubbs naturally turned her attention to nursing when it was time to launch a career. “I saw so much suffering around me and naively thought I could heal them all this way,” she reflects. “But whether you show up for one person or a thousand, it’s about connecting on a human level.”
For more than 30 years the LaGrangeville resident worked in the oncology and ICU units of Peekskill Hospital, then for osteopathic physician Valerie Zarcone. Inspired by their mother’s devotion to wellness, her children have pursued likeminded professions: one is a surgical tech, another owns Poughkeepsie’s Inner Beauty Salon & Spa, and the other is studying to become an RN.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, in 2005, Stubbs spent a month in Newtown, Texas, working as a Red Cross volunteer at a makeshift health center, where she came to the rescue of locals suffering from the likes of asthma, high blood pressure, burns, and, more commonly, anxiety and stress. She plied them with cool drinks in the shade, worked with a local pharmacy devoid of electricity to ensure they received their proper medicines and even assessed the mold overtaking their destroyed homes.
Amid the inevitable nursing grind, Stubbs sought out regular massages. The treatments made such an impact on her mind-body connection, she began to study and practice it herself, successfully shutting down several illegal massage parlors in the area along the way. Her next organic move: yoga training.
Often, those suffering from illnesses like fibromyalgia are sent to Stubbs’ private studio, which, in a poignant “full-circle” move, she balances with finishing up her Bachelor of Science in nursing. Whether it’s encouraging a stroke victim to find new hope through the power of visualization — she deems guided meditation, which she studied at Kripalu in the Berkshires, “a beautiful way for people to recalibrate” — or nurturing victims of domestic abuse with gratis chair massages, Stubbs’ three-pronged approach to wellbeing undoubtedly makes a salient impression on all those she literally touches.
“The nursing, yoga, and massage have all evolved to make my practice what it is,” she says, “holistic therapy.”
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