Margaret Kinnevy of Chestnut Hill donated one of her kidneys to save her sister’s life.

by JB Hyppolite

Chestnut Hill resident Margaret Kinnevy, Registered Nurse (who makes home visits for those too sick to come out of their homes) as well as a Licensed Acupuncturist, will be teaching the class “Fresh, Fast, Easy Meals for Health” on Oct. 8 and Nov. 19 at the Unitarian Society of Germantown for the Mt. Airy Learning Tree. Kinnevy, 55, whose mantra is “self-care is sustainable health care,” insists that no matter how many people you are cooking for, you can stock your refrigerator with nutrient-rich, affordable plant-based foods.

The class involves preparing several healthy meals once a week. “It’s a class to learn how to prepare at least 10 different affordable dishes people can have over a three-day period,” said Margaret. “Having nutrients and foods which are plants, vegetables in particular, is really a critical piece of preventing illness and also reversing illness.”

Margaret believes the health system places more emphasis on repairing people who have already succumbed to illness rather than preventing disease by establishing the fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle; eating, being physically active and sleeping well. Her passion for healthful plant-based foods came from being a mother and from reading the book, “Let’s Have Healthy Children,” by Adele Davis, which led Margaret to prepare and cook fresh vegetables and other non-meat recipes in a quick, efficient manner.

“I’ve always been interested in promoting health,” said Margaret, whose acupuncture license is an extension of being a Chinese Medicine Practitioner. Margaret got into Chinese medicine after a string of personal and family experiences, starting with having to watch her father suffer from asthma when she was a child. “I could see the limits of the therapies that his doctors offered him,” said Margaret.

She also donated one of her kidneys to her sister in 1981 at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. Her sister, Jennie Kinnevy, 49, who is married, has two daughters and lives in Wellesley, MA, suffered with an auto-immune disease all four years of high school and was on kidney dialysis for one year until she got healthy enough to survive surgery. “I went on to have two more children,” said Margaret, “and the joke I tell her is that she went on to get the business degree I had my sights on earlier in life. Well, at least one of my kidneys graduated from the Wharton School!

“Both my sister and I are in good health today despite each having 50 percent kidney function. We follow nutrient-dense diets and work at caring for ourselves: good food, family and fun. We get together with our families each year on Cape Cod, which feels like the Jersey shore area we grew up in with scrubby pines, wide ocean vistas and breezes.”

Margaret’s belief about the medical establishment’s over-reliance on pharmaceuticals was confirmed by an experience with her son, Daniel, who suffered from a serious respiratory episode. Margaret knew what medications were not needed after seeing the medications that were sent home with them after a visit to the ICU.

“I place a strong value in non-pharmaceutical remedies,” she said, “because as a nurse I could see the limits of what the pharmaceuticals could do when they’re relied on as a primary strategy. I could also see the harm that the pharmaceuticals did. I knew that wasn’t a route I wanted to take.”

A friend of Margaret’s recommended taking Daniel to an acupuncturist to try and lessen his respiratory condition, and the treatments worked. She also had a very favorable experience with an acupuncturist during a pregnancy. She eventually opened Acupuncture Philadelphia in 2008 in Chestnut Hill. “The Chestnut Hill community knows me as the holistic nurse-acupuncturist and owner of Acupuncture Philadelphia,” she said, “but the services I provide encompass far more than acupuncture, so I changed the name effective Oct. 1 to Alma Healing Arts.”

Margaret has Chestnut Hill’s only sliding-scale center offering holistic counseling, acupuncture and bodywork. “The scale is determined by exactly what the person’s financial needs are in addition to how much time they want.”

Margaret will be teaching another course called PreConceived Notions for Mt. Airy Learning Tree on Oct. 6, Nov. 10 and Dec. 1. It will be a three-session course that focuses on preventing infertility and reversing infertility for women in their 30s and 40s.

Margaret grew up in Brick Township, New Jersey. She moved to Philadelphia in 1987 and has been here ever since. She and husband Mark have four sons: Richard, Courtney, Axel and Daniel. She graduated from the Tai Sophia Institute (now called Maryland University of Integrative Health) in Maryland and from the Won Institute in Glenside. She also has a B.S. in Nursing from Stockton State College of NJ .

For more information about Margaret’s courses or Acupuncture Philadelphia, call 267-934-4682 or visit acupuncture-philadelphia.com or mtairylearningtree.org.