Stress Solutions – Where’s Your Tiger?

By Meg Deak MCAT, LPC

Stress is a just fact of life, right? Just muscle through it and keep going, because you’re too busy and don’t have time to relax, right?  Well, stress can make us feel like there’s a tiger in the room. You may even be so used to the tiger, that feeling becomes normal. It’s really important to take the time to activate your relaxation response – send that tiger packing.

It’s easy to forget or ignore the damage the tiger can do. Remember stress brings hormones, like cortisol and adrenalin – these are for short term use, and not supposed to be constant. You owe it to yourself and your family to deal with the tiger.

About Stress

Let’s talk about your nervous system. You’ve got a

  • central nervous system
  • brain
  • spinal cord
  • peripheral system − all the nerve connections from everywhere else that create pathways to communicate with your brain

Breaking it down further, you have an autonomic nervous system (think automatic) that keeps the show running, things like:

  • breathing
  • heart rate
  • digestion

One part of the autonomic system, called sympathetic, is switched on under pressure – the tiger is in the room; the other part, parasympathetic, switches on when we feel safe and calm – the tiger has left the building.

When the tiger is in the room, heart rate and blood pressure sore, muscles contract and we consume a lot of oxygen – stress for sure!

Once safe, the switch is flipped, and the system:

  • lowers heart rate and blood pressure
  • relaxes muscles
  • decreases oxygen consumption (the heart becomes more efficient)

Thinking becomes clearer; productivity and creativity increase – in a big way.

Our tigers can take the form of work and family stress, financial worry and chronic, troublesome thoughts, which often make us angry, anxious and reactive. Some tigers don’t leave the building – ever.  The switch can’t flip…unless we actively flip it.  Sometimes, we need to learn or relearn how to flip the switch – to activate the relaxation response.

Activate Your Relaxation Response

One really pleasant way to retrain your brain and autonomic nervous system to activate the relaxation response is through Vibroacoustic Therapy (VAT) & Brainwave Entrainment, which uses the vibrations of sound to lull your body into a state of deep relaxation.  Over time, you can “remember” the feeling and recreate it – you can flip the switch.

With VAT and Brainwave Entrainment you can feel your muscles relax as you sit on a zero-gravity chair. As a special CD plays, you feel the vibrations from the chair, hear the sounds from ear phones, and see the vibrations as special glasses transform the sounds into mandala-like patterns of light. Your mind begins to quiet, as this whole experience takes your brain and nervous system into a deeply-relaxed, healing state.

Stress is a fact of life, yes, but to muscle through causes dis-ease and reduces productivity.  Are you really too busy to manage your tiger?

Meg Deak,  MCAT, LPC specializes in the management of stress, anxiety and emotional overwhelm.

For a free 20 minute complementary consultation including a vibroacoustic experience, Call us at 610-395-3355, today!

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Heart Attacks & Strokes Cut in Half

American Heart Association Says Meditation Helps

New research, funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), found that people with heart disease who regularly meditate may be able to reduce their risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke nearly by half.

For the study, which was published in the journal of the American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease patients were enrolled in a stress-reducing program based on Transcendental Meditation (compare Effortless Meditation). The participants were required to meditate for about 20 minutes twice a day, practicing specific techniques that allowed their bodies and minds to experience a sense of deep rest and relaxation.

Meditation has been practiced in various forms for thousands of years all around the globe. Transcendental Meditation / Effortless Meditation are simple, effortless and natural ways to settle down to a quiet state of mind.

Benefits may be::

  • Tranquility and inner peace
  • Awareness
  • Calmness & emotional balance
  • Helps with treatment of medical conditions (those aggravated by stress and anxiety)
  • Lowered blood pressure (an important role in the treatment or prevention of cardiovascular disease)

“Those who meditate can choose among a wide range of practices, both religious and secular,” said Dr. Charles L. Raison, clinical director of the Mind-Body Program at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, who participated in a study on the healing effects of meditation on both body and mind. “What they have in common is a narrowing of focus that shuts out the external world, which usually [also] stills the body.”

Effortless Meditation does not require any particular education and does not conflict with lifestyle, philosophy or beliefs. It’s a straight forward technique that is easily learned and effortless to practice.  Everyone can do it.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay, has been teaching meditation programs for 35+ years and has trained with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation program.  He taught TM® for 17 years and worked with best-selling author, Deepak Chopra, M.D.  For the past 20 years, Greg has been teaching his brand of meditation known as Effortless Meditation™.  

For more information on Effortless Meditation, please call 610-395-3355.

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One Day at a Time with Meditation

By Greg Schweitzer, MBA

As I approach the anniversary of the day in 1974 that I embarked on this journey of meditation practice, I am gratified that I have stuck with it. What’s kept me going for these 39 years?

A big part of my perseverance was that I felt happier, more joyful and purposeful from the very beginning. There were still contrasts, some days were better than others, but there was a definite trend toward progress.

And there were, still are, times when I didn’t feel like sitting down to meditate because I had so much that I wanted to do. I realize that I’m not alone. Having taught meditation for the past 36 years, it seems the biggest challenge people face is making the time to sit down to do it.

Here’s a tip. When you are in a mood that says “I don’t want to do this now.” Do it anyway. My first teacher, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, told us that we need to learn to ignore or go beyond our moods and circumstances in order to maximize our success with meditation.

A mood will pass while the benefits of meditation last.

Last evening, a new client commented that she’s noticed that if she ignores her desire to skip a meditation and does it anyway, she’s always grateful that she meditated. In his classic, Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill said that successful people do what unsuccessful people will not do!

Here’s another tip. Take it one day at a time. You may be traveling or you may feel irritable and have no desire to do anything positive. Try to find a way to spend 5 – 10 minutes in meditation rather than blowing it off. Then later that day or the next day, do it again whether you want to or not.

Putting one foot in front of the other, in this simple way, the days turn into weeks, months and years. Before you know it, you’ll have a life built upon the foundation of a stable nervous system and a quiet, resilient mind. All are the natural outcomes of meditating, one day at a time.

The number of research studies on the positive effects of meditation practice is becoming increasingly abundant as reported in the mainstream media.

Here are a few of the benefits reported by our meditation clients:
• Deep healing and rejuvenating zest
• Release of stress and fatigue, more energy
• Lower blood pressure
• Relief from anxiety and depression
• Improved memory, creativity and focus
• Relief from headaches and pain
• Stronger immune system, less illness and better sleep
• Better moods and increased happiness
• Mental clarity and peace of mind
• Enhanced self-esteem and emotional stability

Greg Schweitzer, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years


The Trager Approach

Rocking to Health  

Movement Education & Mind/Body Integration 

Have you ever been in an accident? Do you have weak posture? Are you fearful?  Perhaps you have developed emotional blockages or experiencing daily stress.

Dr. Milton Trager developed The Trager Approach, a psychophysical integration therapy, to treat his own chronic back pain. He became fascinated by how the body coordinated its patterns of movement in response to chronic pain or injury.

A Trager treatment consists of gentle, rhythmic rocking, and lengthening movements creating a state of deep relaxation and flexibility, which can allow the body and mind to achieve a state of balance and integration.

As the rhythmic motions progress, it is thought that deeper states of relaxation can facilitate the release of unhealthy patterns of tension between mind and body at an unconscious level.

By teaching the mind to unlearn these patterns of “blockage,” the body can also release chronic states of tension and become more flexible with less pain.

Conditions treated with the Trager Approach:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Joint irritation
  • Soft tissue discomfort
  • Improving athletic performance
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Physical injuries
  • Neurological events (limited or restricted movement like stroke)
  • Tension headaches
  • Stress-related disorders
  • Emotional imbalances
  • Postural problems
  • Mobility issues
  • Pain relief
  • Increase physical mobility
  • Mental clarity
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome 
  • Sports injuries
  • Back and leg problems (sciatica)
  • Breathing issues (asthma and emphysema)

Two aspects of Trager Therapy:

Table Work: The client lies on a well-padded table in a safe, comfortable environment while your body is supported and gently moved within its pain-free range of movement and natural rhythm. You may choose to be fully clothed, or partially clothed and appropriately draped.

Mentastics: Dr. Trager developed simple, effortless movements to encourage playful exploration of “what could be freer” for your body. Integrating Mentastics into your daily life will allow you to enhance and recall feelings of ease, freedom, flexibility and joy. Mentastics can become part of the way you take care of yourself by relieving stress and tension. Instruction is offered in private sessions or class.

Bonita Cassel is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and has been practicing the Trager Approach since 1985.

For Table Work or Mentastics instruction, please call 610.395.3355






Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired?

In the busyness of the day, it’s amazing that we can consistently ignore our highest good. Under chronic stress, life becomes very complex. In the state of overwhelm, our brain’s rational thinking gets short circuited. Stress makes us stupid!

And yet life does not have to be so difficult. To turn things around, pay attention to your most basic needs. And then take action on those needs. Corrective action, however, can only come if we are AWARE of our needs.

As an example, how many of us have found ourselves pressing to finish tasks when we are very hungry? This is not healthy, we are building stress. When I’m really hungry, I can’t focus on the task at hand because my hunger is shouting for attention.

And how many of you keep pushing on in the face of anger? Anger clouds perception and judgment. Rather than ignoring or denying its presence, why not take a break, get some exercise, relax, meditate, or just take some mindful breaths.

Arguably, our most serious limiting issue is fatigue. There seems to be little understanding of how seriously fatigue is affecting our performance, enjoyment, and health. Rest is an enzyme of life as necessary as air. We need it to keep going and to heal. If you’re tired, get more sleep. If you are not sleeping well, learn how to quiet your mind. Regular meditation practice will work wonders to reduce fatigue and enhance the quality of your life.

The bottom line is that we need to set healthy boundaries for ourselves. When you cross the boundary, take corrective action. If we don’t, life will catch up with us. Accidents and illness are two examples of ways that nature gets our attention. While unplanned and unpleasant, these interruptions can provide us with an opportunity to take stock of our life and create a better future.

Let’s take a proactive approach and create a healthy lifestyle. Pay attention to your needs and take action on them. Let me know if I can help.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay., Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years

Improving Sleep & More

With State-of-the-Art Vibroacoustic Chair  

What a drag it was to get up in the morning to go to work. When the alarm went off, I just wanted to throw it out the window. I felt like my eyes didn’t want to open and my body felt like a load of bricks.  I finally had enough of this tossing and turning every night and decided to search for some way to get my nerves under control to enjoy a restful night of sleep.  With a stressful and demanding job, I couldn’t afford to work in a fog all day long.

 Then I saw an ad in a magazine about a state-of-the-art vibroacoustic chair at a health center that helps people with sleeping problems, among other things. I wanted to learn about this chair and experience it so I made an appointment with the counselor who is certified in this type of therapy.

I was fascinated that the process of hearing “sound vibration” through the body’s nerves, skin, and bones heals so many physical and mental problems.

Wow!  Just sitting on the o-gravity chair was incredibly comfortable.  I felt like I was floating as my muscles got more and more relaxed. The chair acted like electronic tuning forks that vibrated my whole body.  I was hearing multi-layered sounds from the ear phones and wearing glasses that transformed what I was hearing into mandala-like patterns of light while feeling the chair vibrate. The whole experience took my brain and central nervous system into a deeply relaxed-healing state – my brain was in balanced harmony!

Now that I had a session with the counselor and knew how to work the chair, I can visit the chair at my convenience and go home relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep. This vibroacoustic chair has done wonders for my health–and it’s easy on my pocketbook.

 Meg Deak, MCAT, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Vibroacoustic Sound Practitioner, Certified Emotional Freedom Techniques Practitioner, and Music Therapist

Meditation is Personal Hygiene

Who among us would start our day without making time for personal hygiene? At the minimum, we clean our teeth, wash our body, and brush our hair. Why do we take the time? We feel better, we’re healthier and we receive good feedback from those we personally contact!

Meditation is a personal hygiene practice.  It prepares us for the day in front of us.  The day goes more smoothly; it is more enjoyable and meaningful as a result of making the time to meditate.

A few weeks after Mary and John learned to meditate; Mary said that John had changed. He’s much happier when he comes home from work, she said. 

John has a stressful one-hour drive to get to work each day. Add to the stress of the drive a long pressure-filled workday and the same return drive home, and you realize what many of us face every day. We then carry the fatigue and pressure of our workday into the evening hours with our family. Now, since taking the Effortless Meditation™ course, John sits in his car to meditate in the garage for 15 – 20 minutes following the ride home. The deep rest of his meditation releases his tension and stress. He then walks into the house with more energy and he’s happier, he’s feeling lighter.

After 38 years of meditation practice, my most obvious benefit from meditation is the increased mental and physical energy and happiness that I feel. Fatigue and stress wear us down; they dull our nervous system and brain. I’ll never forget watching a busy friend, a small business owner, fall asleep as he was talking! When the brain is compromised by stress and fatigue, it’s impossible to be at the top of our game, and it’s hard to find much to enjoy and appreciate in life.

Effortless Meditation™ practice is an antidote. During the practice, we experience levels of rest that are deeper than sleep. The stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol decrease as we experience a deeply relaxed state of inner wakefulness. Similar to recharging the battery of your phone, this is a preparation for a higher degree of satisfaction and success in life.  

For maximum benefits, all it takes is fifteen to twenty minutes twice a day. For many, this is as essential as any daily personal hygiene practice.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years




Do Less

Accomplish More

The day flies by and at the end, there’s something missing.  You’ve checked many things off your “to do” list and yet that seems like a hollow victory.  You’re not satisfied with the day and what you’ve accomplished.

While many may feel this way from time to time, in my early years, this nagging feeling was always present.  At the age of 26, I was an industrial engineer working for a Fortune 100 company in the Lehigh Valley.  My friends and family thought I had it made. I was young, drove a hot sports car, had a good income and was upwardly mobile in a major corporation.   And yet every workday I was counting the hours till I could leave work and begin my life.

The inner me was sick, maybe dying.  Then one evening, with nothing else to do, I accompanied a friend to a lecture about meditation.  The teacher presenting the talk told us that there’s something missing in most people’s lives.  He said what’s missing isn’t “out there” in the world, it’s inside!

Was I looking for contentment and satisfaction in the wrong places?  I was climbing the ladder of success at work, but was it against the wrong wall?  I was trying to be a good engineer, a good employee, a good son and a good friend.  There was lots of pressure and it was tiring.  My employer, for example, told me that I needed to spend a minimum of 10 hours a day at work if I wanted to get ahead. 

In desperation and with hope, I followed up on my gut instinct that night and enrolled in the meditation course. Almost immediately, I experienced a significant shift toward greater happiness and well-being. Two years later, I found myself enrolling in a year-long training program to become a meditation teacher.   

In training, our teacher frequently told us that we were learning to “do less and accomplish more.” Just sit, close your eyes and be still.  Inside you will find the peace and contentment that you have always desired.  It’s our essence, pure awareness, and it’s found at the source of thought.  Life is not meant to be a struggle. Make a practice of returning to the quiet mind every day. The positive influence on the quality of your life will be magical. 

Let me know if I can help.   

Greg Schweitzer, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years


How Could This Pain Have Anything to do With Stress?

Sarah took the Effortless Meditation™ course because she was intrigued by what she heard in the introduction session; however, her primary motivation was to support her sister who enrolled in the course. She knew her sister was in distress and she felt that her sister would be more comfortable taking the course if she participated with her.

The first four classes proceeded smoothly, and when they returned in two weeks for their fifth session, Sarah remarked that she hadn’t had any stomach pain in two weeks.  Since she hadn’t mentioned stomach pain as a concern, I inquired about it.  She explained that during the preceding two years, “I’ve had every test in the book to determine why I have pain every time I eat. It’s gotten so bad, I hardly eat at all.”  None of the tests have found anything abnormal and just last week, her doctor explained that he thought stress could be the culprit.

How could this pain be due to stress, she asked.  Sarah said she thought her doctor was crazy, but now she’s seeing that he was correct.  Her pain is real, it’s not in her mind.  Stress causes tension and muscle contraction.  Hold a tight fist for a couple hours and tell me it doesn’t hurt!  Under chronic stress, muscle tension cause headaches or pain may show up in our jaw, arms, abdominal area, anywhere in the body.

The deep rest and relaxation of Effortless Meditation was relieving the tension in Sarah’s muscles.  Deep rest is an antidote for stress, it relieves the stress response.  The proof, Sarah was without pain that had been plaguing her for years, and she was able to eat again incomfort!

Deepak Chopra, M.D. would explain that this wasn’t magic, it’s based in science.  Sarah was meditating every day as prescribed.  Her smile said she couldn’t be happier.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay., Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years

There is never enough food for a hungry soul!

Many of us realize that we are overweight and/or recognize that we are driven by food cravings that lead to unhealthy food choices. And most of us are aware of the impact of being over weight or obese – lethargy, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and gastrointestinal problems are just a few of the major complications. So, why do we continue to overeat and make unhealthy choices about food?

Ultimately, it’s not about the food, it’s about the lack of fulfillment (the hungry soul) inside us. It drives us to eat to satisfy an emotional not physical need.

How do we bring greater fulfillment to our lives and make healthier food choices? A good place to start is with positive lifestyle habits such as exercise and meditation.
Effortless Meditation™ changes our brain and improves our thinking; brain waves
become more coherent and orderly during our meditation.  The state of restful alertness in our meditation brings peace and serenity to our lives. Adding this revitalizing experience, ideally as a daily practice, works wonders.

Try one month of feeding your soul daily by quieting your mind with meditation. I suspect you will quickly notice that you are developing a growing awareness and sensitivity about your need or lack of need for food. Making healthier and smart food
choices comes more easily, almost automatically with growing awareness.

With greater mental clarity and awareness, you will be better prepared to improve the quality of the food that you are consuming. Just as a high performance engine does best on high octane fuel, we thrive when our food is packed densely with nutrients. In
contrast, if we eat foods that are mostly “empty calories” (e.g. soda, white flour and highly processed nutrient sparse foods) we will continue eating and consuming excessive calories in order to get the nutrients that your body needs. Nutrient dense foods energize us and satisfy our hunger with fewer calories.

Be gentle with yourself, meditate, get some exercise, and eat well.

Greg Schweitzer, Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years