Reducing Holiday Stress – by Greg Schweitzer

Reducing Holiday Stress – by Greg Schweitzer

Reducing Holiday Stress

The holidays are here and for many of us it is a time of celebration and some sadness. For example, I have a great life, and I miss my deceased parents. They loved the holidays and provided me with my first tastes of Christmas magic. For me, the season accentuates their absence.

Many share bittersweet experiences at the holidays.  Perhaps your family is still intact, but your relationship with them is less that you would like.  At the holidays, we often remember the better times and regret the situation as it is today.  For others, holidays remind us of economic uncertainties.  Job security and unemployment are issues that haunt many.  For those trying to lose weight or battling an addiction, the holidays can present an especially challenging time.  For others, the winter climate in the Northeast can throw us off center.  As the daylight hours shorten, seasonal affective disorder brings on moods of sadness even depression.

Here are a few ideas to lighten our experiences at this time of year. 

  • First, take stock of the situation. What is in your control and what is not?  If you get depressed in the cold cloudy days of winter, you can’t change the weather however you could buy a “light box.”  Light therapy can help.
  • If you’re concerned about your weight or addictions ramping up over the holidays, find a support group or friend with whom you can discuss your concerns.  Enroll in a cooking class and learn how to make tasty healthy treats vs. high calorie low nutrient fare.
  • As for the family, having realistic expectations of their behavior always helps to keep us grounded during reunions.
  • Most importantly, practice self care.  If possible, spend time outdoors in nature – in the sunlight would be ideal.  Go for walks, exercise, meditate, eat nutrient dense food, and spend time with people who bring joy to your life.
  • Laughter is great medicine anytime of the year. And take a few conscious breaths when you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Finally, there is nothing more important for our health than regular periods of rest.  Do not short change sleep in order to do more. If you feel tempted to answer some email or watch another TV program at night when you’re exhausted, ask yourself, “how important is it?”  Get some rest, go to bed.  You’ll wake up with more energy and be happier because you listened to your body and gave it rest.

How You Can Live A Healthy Lifestyle

We are asked constantly “How can I live a healthy lifestyle?”

It’s about choosing new, healthy habits in your daily routine. I know, easier said than done.  Don’t be hard on yourself.  Start with taking small steps to change patterns. Most importantly, if you fall off track, which we all do once in awhile, just get back into it.

With the daily stresses most of us find ourselves dealing with, fast foods on every corner, the constantly pushing of fattening and tempting comfort foods, it’s no wonder we’re gaining so much weight and having health issues.

“How can I mentally and physically get on the right track?”

  1. Understand how you can benefit from a healthy lifestyle.
  2. Breaking bad habits can lead you to a better quality of life.
  3. Making healthy changes will reduce the risks of many health problems like heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
  4. Get up and move!

Reasons why people find it hard to live a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Stress:  How many times have you heard “stress eater”?  Well it exists. Most people gain weight and don’t exercise due to the stresses in their life. Some great stress reducers: Yoga and Meditation
  2. Too Busy: Rushing around, never the time? That quick meal at a chain seems an easier solution. You’ll have to find the time to do this! You will need to create a plan and do your best to stick with it. Use a calendar or journal to help you. Go to the grocery store once a week with a well planned out list.
  3. Difficulty already with movement: Most individuals that are already overweight don’t think they are able to exercise enough to make a difference, so they just give up. Start slow.Starting off with a nice walk in the morning or early evening is a great way to start the body moving.
  4. The “I can’t do it” mentality:  There will be ups and downs, but don’t give up. You have what it takes and just because you attempted a diet or exercise program in the past determines your success this time around.Read a daily quote or find your inspiration from a friend or someone you know who has been there.  Ask them questions on how they did it!  Also, the practitioners at Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center are available to support, motivate, and guide you.

People make changes every day,today should be your day! Learn more at our website www.twinpondscenter.com

 

The Benefits of Cold Laser Therapy

People all over the world are discovering the benefits of relieving pain, inflammation, effects of injuries and tension through non-invasive as well as medication-free methods that are available today.

Cold laser therapy, also referred to as low level laser therapy and low power laser therapy, is one such method that is being employed to provide relief from pain for people who are suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic and acute neck pain, etc. This supplemental treatment provides several healing as well as soothing effects to pain sufferers. The surface administered treatment makes use of specialized low-level light waves of the near-infrared spectrum so as to penetrate the body’s soft tissue layers. The light energy is directed to the affected area with the help of a handheld wand. The light energy acts to stimulate the internal cells and improve the circulation of blood. This in turn relieves inflammation, eases tension and removes internal blockages.

Cold laser therapy works on the principle of absorption of light into your body’s cells. Light stimulates synthesis of protein and cell metabolism. This serves to improve the health of the cells and restores their functionality. The light used in cold laser therapy is of a much lower intensity compared to that used in other laser treatments.

For most individuals, the versatile as well as safe cold laser therapy provides beneficial effects.

However, this therapy is more effective in treating some specific problems than others and the only way you can find out whether it suits your needs is to try it. It is, therefore, important to understand as to which of the issues it can provide relief for:

  • Easing pain caused because of acute injury or chronic conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and carpel tunnel syndrome. This therapy can also be used by targeting the application of low-level light waves on the affected area in case the pain you experience is local to a specific part of your body. In such cases, the therapy provides prompt relief.
  • Pain in the neck and back areas can be relieved in this manner. It is also helpful in treating extremity pain that occurs in the shoulders, knee joints, elbows and wrists.
  • It is possible to relieve inflammation as well as edema caused because of inflammation and minimize and dispel swelling as well as lymphatic blockages with the help of cold laser light waves. The therapy helps to stimulate lymph vessels and arteries throughout your body and improve the blood circulation in the affected areas and naturally enhance your body’s healing process and anti-inflammatory response.
  • Internal strain, muscle spasms and scar tissue that are likely to occur because of injuries can be treated and minimized with the help of cold laser therapy. The light waves promote faster regeneration of tissues and optimizes the internal healing process of your body in order to prevent irregular healing which is responsible for the development of scar tissues. If you are suffering from traumatic scarring, sports injuries and other issues, regular sessions of cold laser therapy will be greatly helpful in reducing rigidity and tissue pain.

Most of the patients experience the soothing effects of the low level laser therapy immediately as they go through the treatment session. However, you must consider this treatment method as part of your ongoing rehabilitation and wellness plan instead of viewing it as an isolated treatment effort. You may have to go through multiple sessions in order to experience significant as well as long-lasting results. Moreover, it is possible to integrate cold laser therapy into the chiropractic therapy, employing manipulations and other techniques, which you are currently undergoing. As the cold laser therapy is noninvasive as well as gentle, the risk of over treatment does not arise at all. Further, as far as the side effects of this therapy are concerned, it ranges from little to none at all. However, you must be aware that even in the case of most versatile treatments cold laser therapy is not a one-stop solution for all your problems. It is, therefore, important that you fix up an appointment and ask questions and develop a clear understanding as to how it can be effective in meeting your specific needs.

Treatments are non-invasive, pain-free, and easy.  Call 610.395.3355 today to schedule your appointment.

 

What to expect during a Carotid Ultrasound

What to expect during a Carotid Ultrasound and the beneifts of the test.

Carotid ultrasound is a painless and safe procedure that tests the structure and functioning of the carotid arteries in your neck and cardiovascular system.

Every person has two carotid arteries that are located on each side of the neck and they help to deliver blood from the heart to the brain. During a carotid ultrasound, sound waves are used to test if these arteries are blocked or narrowed since that can determine your risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack.  Results from a carotid ultrasound essentially, help you decide your course of treatment action to reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack.

The need for Carotid Ultrasound

If you fear an increased risk of stroke or heart attack, you must undergo a carotid ultrasound to test for narrowed or blocked carotid arteries. Carotid arteries may be narrowed or blocked by plaque, calcium, fat or cholesterol buildup if these substances exist in excess in your bloodstream. It is highly recommended that you have a carotid ultrasound if you have certain conditions that heighten the risk of stroke or heart attack. These conditions include:

· Diabetes

· High blood pressure

· High cholesterol

· Recent stroke or transient ischemic attack

· Family history of heart disease or stroke

· Abnormal sound in bruit or carotid arteries

Carotid ultrasound, also known as Doppler ultrasound, can be combined with other tests to check for blocked or narrowed blood vessels in other parts of the body.

What to expect from a Carotid Ultrasound

When you go for your carotid ultrasound, a sonographer will use a transducer (a small, hand-held device) that produces sound waves and records the echo when the waves bounce off blood cells, organs and tissues. Thereafter, these echoed sound waves will be translated into a live action image or a graph by a computer. The procedure is painless and safe and takes about thirty minutes to complete.

Before the procedure begins, the sonographer will apply a warm gel on your skin that will eliminate the formation of air pockets between the transducer and your skin. Finally, the sonographer will press his transducer on the side of your neck to emit sound waves and record the echo.

The results of Carotid Ultrasound

After you undergo the carotid ultrasound, a radiologist will examine and interpret the results if there is a risk. The test will surely explain everything you need to know, including the different ways in which your condition can affect your health. If the test shows that you are at high risk of a stroke,  recommendations such as the following will be made:

· Eat a healthy diet that has a balanced quantity of whole grain breads, cereals, fruits and vegetables

· Limit your intake of saturated fat

· Incorporate exercise in your daily routine

· Maintain a healthy weight

· Avoid smoking

· Take medicines to lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol and prevent blood clots

· Undergo carotid endarterectomy, a surgical procedure to remove plaques in your carotid arteries

· Undergo stenting or carotid angioplasty, a surgical procedure to open up your carotid arteries so that they can be supported


Contact us
to learn more on how you can get yours today!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

What is Reflexology?

A Form of Bodywork that Focuses on the Feet

Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the feet, hands and ears.  The theory behind reflexology is that these areas correspond to organs and systems of the body and applying pressure to these reflex areas can promote health in the corresponding organs through energetic pathways.  The results may include reduced pain, anxiety, stress, and depression; and enhanced relaxation and sleep.

A study in the American Cancer Society journal found that one-third of cancer patients used reflexology as a complementary therapy.  Reflexology is also used for post-operative or palliative care.  Several studies funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health indicate that reflexology may have many health benefits.

Reflexology should not be painful; however, some areas may be tender or sore, and the reflexologist may spend extra time on these points.  The soreness should decrease with pressure.

Reflexology may help with:

  • Stress and stress-related conditions
  • Tension headaches
  • Digestive disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Insomnia
  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Sports injuries
  • Menstrual disorders, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Digestive problems (constipation)
  • Reduced pain
  • Improved circulation
  • Soothed tired feet
  • Overall better healing

Most people feel calm and relaxed and even sleepy after a treatment. As part of the healing process, one may feel nauseous, anxious, or tearful, but this is temporary and considered part of the healing process.

Although reflexology is not used to diagnose or cure health disorders, millions of people around the world use it to complement other treatments when addressing conditions like anxiety, asthma, cancer treatment, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, headaches, kidney function, PMS, and sinusitis.

Reflexology is growing increasingly popular across Europe and Asia as both a complement to other treatments and as a preventive measure.  One example is Denmark, where various municipalities and companies have employed reflexologists since the early ‘90’s.

According to several studies, this practice in Denmark has resulted in reduced leave and absenteeism (and significant economic savings for the employers).  Employees have consistently reported complete or partial improvement in conditions where they sought reflexologists’ help and even relief for additional problems related to stress. In one municipal district, almost one-third of the employees reported greater satisfaction with their jobs after completing six sessions with the reflexologist.

If you are pregnant, consult your doctor. Reflexology is a complementary therapy and should not replace medical treatment.

 

The Feldenkrais Method ®


Reconnect with Your Natural Abilities to Move, Think, and Feel

Experiencing back, neck, shoulder, or knee pain? Having trouble focusing your attention? Not enjoying activities anymore? Gentle Feldenkrais lessons can help you reconnect with your overall well being.

Learning to move with less effort makes daily life easier. The Feldenkrais Method focuses on the relationship between movement and thought allowing Increased mental awareness and creativity to accompany the physical improvements. Everyone can benefit from the Feldenkrais Method because you will learn to fully use yourself and this self learning leads to full, dynamic living.

The Feldenkrais Method is a gentle and effective approach that helps with:
• Pain reduction and relief from chronic muscle, joint or headaches
• Recovery of lost movement abilities
• Recovery from surgery
• Neurological conditions such as MS or stroke, neuropathy, etc.
• Improved breathing and sleep
• The ability to shift habits of movement and holding – which may have begun as a response to your injury or condition and are now a source of pain or restriction in themselves
• A range of skills to help yourself recover function in your daily life

After attending Feldenkrais classes, one has the experience of the body feeling completely different – much more free and pleasant.

Positive change doesn’t come from using willpower, strength, or holding the body in certain ways to move. These behaviors and attitudes caused the problem in the first place.

The Feldenkrais Method teaches how to allow the body to do its own thing according to a natural flow principle. It is all about slowly repeating simple moves while intuitively searching for an easier way. This method of rehabilitation is designed to change movements of the body by re-training the nervous system.

Feldenkrais offers particular benefits for all kinds of people who move for a living or enjoyment: entertainers, athletes, movement teachers, & health care providers, etc.

Carol Siddiqi, a Guild Certified Feldenkrais practitioner has been teaching Feldenkrais since 1999 following a 4 year training program. Carol is also a certified instructor of Kripalu Yoga and Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga.

Staying on Track for Life

Mehmet Oz, M.D., in his talk at the 2013 Integrative Healthcare Symposium held in New York City, declared that health care in America will bankrupt our nation unless we make changes to our lifestyles.  We need to eat better food, move more and decrease stress, he said.

Many clients say it is difficult for them to stay on track.  The fast pace and pressures of daily life overwhelm them.  Over years, such a life negatively impacts us mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. How to stay on track? 

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, Michael Pollan’s excellent book, gives a candid assessment of the complex web of scientific, economic and industrial forces shaping our unhealthy food choices.  Importantly, he also provides simple methods that will help us all choose better food.  One example, check labels; if it has more than five ingredients, it’s heavily processed and nutritionally suspect.  He discusses Sarah Lee’s “whole grain white bread.”  It has over 40 ingredients, many unrecognizable to anyone other than chemists and food scientists.  Is it really food?  In contrast, his grandmother’s bread had 4 ingredients – flour, water, yeast and salt.

And what about stress?  How do we make wise and healthy choices in the face of pressure to do what is expedient.

Three important stress relievers are exercise, meditation and sleep.  Stress wears us down while these strengthen us.  Meditation and sleep provide vital rest that restores us for the activity ahead.  Meditation also quiets the mind and enhances awareness.

Movement and exercise release pent up tension in the body.  At the same time, our body grows stronger so that the challenges of the day are less taxing.

A healthier life is achievable for everyone.  It does require change, developing new habits.   The rewards are well worth it.  What would you pay for extra years of quality life?  It’s all available for a minimal financial investment.

A good place to start is with meditation.  After 15 minutes of meditation, your mind will be quieter.  You will perceive your needs more clearly, make better choices, and be happier.  Quieting the mind is fundamental for staying on track in life.  Effortless Meditation is part of my personal daily hygiene.

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

 

 

 

Myofascial Release, Structural Integration (Rolf Method)

FASCIA  IS WHAT?

Do you know what’s holding your body together!  Think again, it’s not your muscles or skin.  They weren’t made to do that job, but the “fascia” within your body was.  By now you’re thinking, “What in the world is the fascia?”

Well, the fascia is a structure of fibrous connective tissue distributed throughout the body that surrounds our muscles, organs, blood vessels, bones, and nerves.  Together, muscle and fascia make up what is called the myofascia system. The function of muscle fasciae is to reduce friction to minimize the reduction of muscular force.

Does it sound like a well tuned state-of-the-art mechanism to you? It is, but it can go wrong!  For various reasons, including disuse, not enough stretching, or injuries, the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue can become stuck together resulting in restricted muscle movement along with pain, soreness and reduced flexibility or range of motion.

Symptoms may be:

  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Pelvic
  • Pelvic pain
  • Neck pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Chronic pain
  • Disc problems
  • Neurological dysfunction
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Adhesions
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Jaw pain (TMJ)
  • Painful scars
  • Scoliosis
  • Sciatica
  • Women’s health issues
  • …and more

Fascia Care:       

Move it: First thing in the morning roll around in bed and really stretch out

Stay lubricated: Drink, drink, drink! It works better, moves better and feels better when it’s wet.

Stretch your muscles: Keep the muscles from getting chronically tight.

Stretch your fascia: To stretch the fascia, hold gentle stretches for three to five minutes – relaxing into a hold.

Relax: Fifteen to 20 minutes in a warm Epsom Salt bath can coax tight fascia to loosen up – follow up with 10 minutes of light activity.

Use a foam roller: Be gentle and slow in your movements, and when you find an area of tension, hold sustained pressure for three to five minutes.

Respect your body: Even after your injury is gone, you may maintain that same movement pattern. That’s a recipe for an injury cycle. It’s better to take some extra time, see a fascial specialist, and join a movement class.  Don’t set yourself up for long-term trouble.

See a fascial specialist: Myofascial Release or Structural Integration (Rolf Method) practitioner.

Join a movement education class: The Feldenkrais Method®, Coordination Pattern™ Training, Tai Chi, Pilates, and Yoga are highly recommended.

Immune System Boost

Protection
From Foreign Invaders!

We depend on our national military to protect our country from foreign invaders, but do you realize that YOU NEED TO PROTECT YOUR BODY from its foreign invaders?

Your personal military is your immune system.  How successful is it?  Is it supported and well trained by you?  Are you confident that you are well protected?

Your immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to defend your body against attacks by “foreign” invaders. These are tiny organisms such as bacteria, parasites, and fungi that can cause infections. Your body provides an ideal environment for many of these invaders and it is the immune system’s job to keep them out or, failing that, to seek out and destroy them.

When the immune system hits the wrong target, however, it can unleash a torrent of disorders, including allergic diseases, arthritis, and a form of diabetes. If the immune system is crippled, other kinds of diseases result and an immune system boost is necessary.

The immune system is amazingly complex. It can recognize and remember millions of different enemies, and it can produce secretions (release of fluids) and cells to match up with and wipe out nearly all of them.

The secret to its success is an elaborate and dynamic communications network. Millions and millions of cells, organized into sets and subsets, gather like clouds of bees swarming around a hive and pass information back and forth in response to an infection. Once immune cells receive the alarm, they become activated and begin to produce powerful chemicals. These substances allow the cells to regulate their own growth and behavior, enlist other immune cells, and direct the new recruits to trouble spots.

Sound like a war zone? Don’t wait until war breaks out. Get an immune system boost with a healthy lifestyle of eating well, exercising, and managing stress, and your immune system will support you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Carrie Lowry, Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center

                                                                                                                        

 

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