Elaine Foster, Our Owner
I'm Elaine Foster, co-owner of Desert Botanicals and a retired Air Force Lt. Col. I like to work hard and over the years, I've learned that my work can be play. I think all my time in the military, doing the work I love, turned me into a work-aholic. There's a joke that goes around the military, it says, we aren't collecting retirement, we're finally getting paid for the overtime.
I got to do some pretty awesome things as a military psychologist. In 1992 the DoD created a program that sent 12 psychologists to medical school in Bethesda, MD. I was selected to be in that program. Eventually I worked with other psychologists to help the States adopt training and licensure for civilian psychologists to be able to prescribe antidepressants, and other psychiatric drugs, including here in New Mexico. My military career took me to some wonderful places and to some pretty grueling places... like Homestead Air Force Base when Hurricane Andrew struck and wiped out the base. But I learned from all of the hard times, like a gift that's hard to unwrap.
I've worked with a lot of PTSD sufferers but, I'm always surprised by how many MORE people have it and are never treated I have tried to teach more broadly by writing about anxiety and a new treatment called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). At its core, ACT is about learning Radical Acceptance. If you would like to know more about how I understand the principles of ACT, take a look at our books. One is about the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage through northern Spain. If you've walked it, come and tell us about your journey. The other book is about Radical Acceptance during marital separation. Both audible versions reached best-seller ranking in their category.
In Movement There Is Peace: Stumbling 500 Miles Along the Way to the Spirit
I Wish I Knew This Before My Divorce: Ending the Battle Between Holding On and Letting Go
Although I've lived everywhere, I've made Las Cruces my permanent home. Mesilla was a perfect fit because the community is so supportive of alternative healing practices. I'll admit, not all alternative medicine resonates with my western-based training, but I've loved learning about plant medicines, and food as medicine. I'm on my way to an herbalist certificate. It's easy to see how using medicines made from plant sources can be healthy; after all, they're closer to our human DNA (than designer drugs) and they've been around for millennia!
My vision for the Desert Botanicals Day Spa is to establish a healing place for fellow travelers who appreciate the power of complementary and alternative medicine, especially healing massage. I want everyone who walks in our spa doors to feel valued for your unique self and remembered every time you walk in our doors. Kind of like "Cheers" where everybody knows your name, except with herbal tea instead of beer.
Looking forward to meeting you!
Tana Samuels-Fair, Our Manager
We can't believe our luck in landing Tana Samuels-Fair as our spa manager! Because she lives a life of love and compassion, you'll notice an immediately calming effect from the moment Tana greets you.
She is a licensed massage therapist and recent transplant from Asheville, North Carolina, where she served as one of the most valued members of a luxury spa. Tana has worked as a massage therapist for over 12 years with experience ranging from chiropractic, to high end spas, to private practice. Passionate about the healing arts, Tana has established herself as a master massage therapist teaching her healing arts in Alabama and North Carolina for the past 7 years.
Tana describes herself as a “healing facilitator”, listening closely to each client to relieve pain and discomfort, activate the healing process, and inspire a peaceful and healthy mind/body connection.
Swedish and deep tissue massage, neuromuscular therapy, Thai yoga massage, and hot stone are some of the techniques Tana implements to address chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, scoliosis, TMJ, sciatica, and frozen shoulder. Tana strives to help each client live more comfortably in their body.
Jacquelyn Jaques, Licensed Massage Therapist
Jacquelyn is a woman of many talents and one of our most prized massage therapists. Born in the southeastern region of New Mexico, she came to Desert Botanicals with a wealth of knowledge. After graduating from New Mexico State University in December of 2001 with a B.S. in Biology, she decided that Las Cruces would be her home. The community and scenery were a huge draw for her.
Jacquelyn began her first career in retail pharmacy. She stayed with the career, which included working as a pharmacy technician for more than 16 years. By the time she left, her professionalism ensured her rise to store manager. But that wasn’t enough. She knew she could do more good for others by using the expertise she had gained in science and medicine to build on her natural capacity as an empath.
Jacquelyn began her second career as a licensed massage therapist in September of 2018 and fell in love; she had found her calling. Jacquelyn had a new mission: to assist others in finding comfort and peace in their body, mind, and soul. Jacquelyn offers services in massage therapy, reiki, chakra balancing, and auriculotherapy (ear seeding).
Nancy Garcia Tafoya, Certified Hatha & Kundalini Yoga Instructor
Nancy has a doctorate in Education. She is bi-lingual (English/Spanish) and is certified in both Hatha & Kundalini Yoga. Her Kundalini Level 1 Certification was received at the Kundalini Research Institute (KRI) in Espanola, NM. She continues to take Level 2 training at KRI, in addition to keeping current with professional development courses in the fields of yoga & herbalism.
Deborah Winters, Certified Hatha & Kundalini Yoga Instructor
Deborah has a doctorate in Cognitive Psychology, plus a bachelor's degree in Philosophy & Psychology. She began practicing yoga as a child and is certified in both Hatha & Kundalini Yoga. Her Kundalini Level 1 Certification was received at the Kundalini Research Institute (KRI) in Espanola, NM. She continues to take Level 2 training at KRI.
Valerie, Licensed Esthetician
Valerie is our full-time esthetician. She’s beautiful inside and out. Born and raised in the Land of Enchantment, she continues to make New Mexico her home. One thing you may not know about her is that her passion for skin care inspired her to become a dermatologist. But Valerie decided she could start sooner, be more creative and avoid insurance hassles by leaping into the dynamic world of esthetics. In her previous life, she worked as a medical coding specialist at La Clinica de la Familia in Las Cruces.
Valerie understands the importance of health and prevention for creating radiant skin. Her favorite way to approach her craft is by conducting a skin analysis, then offering procedures that are tailored to each individual’s need.
What makes Valerie happy? Spending time with her son, especially cheering him on at his baseball games. She likes making each and every one of her clients smile and works hard to ensure this happens with every appointment.