healing

We’ve Lost our Way – Here’s Hope: Meditation

For years we have seen statistics saying, despite our wealth and material abundance, Americans are far from the healthiest people on the planet. If you need evidence, look at the devastating influence of COVID-19 on our nation.

Check out the news today and it’s obvious something is wrong. While this is a big health topic, I will address just one foundational concern. If we address just this issue, we will see a transformation in the quality of our lives.

Rest and Balance, the Missing Ingredients

The critical need I am referring to is BALANCE, and the place to start is: get more rest! Without adequate rest, we place our lives in danger.

In his classic, SABBATH: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in our Busy Lives, author Wayne Muller analyzes this problem superbly. In our culture, we prize activity and accomplishment above all else. “Don’t just sit there, do something. Go, go, hurry, hurry. Doing something, anything is better than doing nothing.” We’ve all heard it.

Yet, all life is dependent upon a rhythm of rest for its survival. The importance of this most essential rhythm – rest and activity – is lost on us today. Take a look around. How many times have you seen a group of friends, sitting at a table in a restaurant, glued to their phone’s display.

In our world, “I am so busy” is a common refrain. Meanwhile, our blood pressure and anxiety level is rising, and sleepless nights are commonplace.  These are all classic signs of the stress response. The bad news is that stress accumulates over time, and this is a driver of our poor health mentioned above.

Life hasn’t always been this way. When I was a child, life was very different. Personal computers and smartphones didn’t exist. Life was slower and simpler. Sure, there was stress as there will always be, however there was more balance in our lives. Sunday’s were a day of rest, a time to gather with family. Shopping was minimal due to the laws that required most stores to be closed on Sunday.

The Way Back Home

So what can we do to create balance and more satisfaction in our lives? The pace of life is most likely not going to slow down. Fortunately, the solutions are right before our eyes. All we need to do is look to nature for clues as how to live in balance.

For starters, there are cycles or rhythms in nature. All life requires a rhythm of rest. The bustling activity of each day turns into the stillness and rest of the night. The growth in spring and summer turns into the nourishing decay of leaves in the fall and the rest/dormancy of winter. Each beat of our heart and inhalation of breath is followed by a brief pause, a period of rest.

To restore balance, a good place to start is to set up a daily routine that includes adequate sleep. Most experts tell us getting to bed at a consistent hour and waking at a routine hour in the morning are very helpful. Our bodies adjust well to routines especially ones in alignment with nature.

A practice that ties all this together is meditation. Effortless Meditation, in particular, is a simple mental technique that when practiced regularly for 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes, restores nature’s rhythm of rest to our lives.

The restorative power of deep rest is truly transformative. New meditation clients have said they feel like they are coming home during the practice. Rest heals and revitalizes our mind, body, and spirit. That’s why many meditate early in the morning before work and then after work. After a short meditation, we are good to go!

Everyone is happier, healthier, and at their best when their energy level is high. Meditation anyone?

Greg Schweitzer, Director, Stress Reduction Resources

Your Part in Our Recovery

by Cathy Abreau, RN, BSN

As the weeks have turned into months, have turned into the foreseeable future, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect us all on increasingly deeper levels. Along with its high infectivity and fatality rates, this virus has caused mass hysteria, tremendous economic burden and catastrophic financial losses.

I don’t know about you, but every so often, I’m overcome by a wave of helplessness. I feel like a drop of water in an ocean of heartache and loss – Powerless to effect positive change to help all  who are suffering. Recently, however, I’ve felt a glimmer of hope about my role during this challenging time. This is what I’d like to share with you now, and invite you to consider for yourself as your part in our recovery.

When reflecting on what will surely be an unforgettable era of our human history, there’s a part of me that’s grateful and humbled to be alive during this time. We, you and I, are alive here and now for a reason. With this calling comes responsibility. Responsibility to ourselves, to our loved-ones and to our fellow human beings.

It’s really quite simple: My responsibility, and yours, is to do all we can to come out whole at the other end of this pandemic. And to help everyone we can do the same. We all have unique and special talents to apply to this work – whether you’re back at work, working from home, unemployed or just plain stuck at home – your actions, thoughts and intentions matter.

So, I urge you to hang in there. Call a friend, write a letter, say a prayer, help a neighbor, make responsible choices, and stay as hopeful and positive as possible in your interactions with others. Do your personal best to contribute to the new beginning we need to create – New ways of connecting, doing business and creating meaningful lives. I look forward to seeing you all at the other end.

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”     – Mother Teresa 

For more information on how to empower yourself, contact Cathy Abreu at 908-528-3977 or Cathy@NavitaHealth.com    Visit her website at NavitaHealth.com

Be Your Best Self

Business-Clients-e1465417507182by Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay

We’re all born geniuses, life degeniuses us.
– Buckminster Fuller

For most of her life, Mary said she felt like a “human doing.” She was constantly striving for greater satisfaction by doing more. The pace of her life was rapid fire and relentless. Now, recognizing that stress was taking its toll, she was looking for relief.

Most everyone wants more in life – more happiness, satisfaction, love, and success. But is it possible to have success without being overwhelmed? The answer is YES, however to avoid burnout, we must be at our best.

How to Become Your Best Self

I recall a provocative statement made by a teacher in 1974. He said that there’s something missing in most people’s lives. The good news was that the missing element is inside us. Explore and nurture it, and everything will get better, he promised.

He was right on. My life significantly improved when I acted on his proclamation. He said that we didn’t have to change our behaviors or beliefs, we just needed to develop our potential for success. The approach that he promoted was meditation.

Although I knew little about meditation, it made sense. If our nervous system is depleted by overwhelm and stress, our ability to perform will be compromised. Also, everything that we achieve will be colored by the tension that we’re experiencing. This should not be the price that we pay for success.

While the stress response hijacks the brain, the teacher explained that the deep rest experienced during meditation heals it. The practice of Effortless Meditation allows our mind to settle down, becoming quieter and quieter, and bringing a level of healing rest to the central nervous system and its control tower – the brain.

People routinely report after beginning an Effortless Meditation practice that they are happier, sleeping better, and thinking more clearly. They’re less anxious and all aspects of their health improve – mental, physical, and emotional. One man said that since starting a daily meditation practice, he was falling in love with life again. A woman was delighted because her brain fog was lifting and her memory improving after just a two weeks.

A Key

A key to being our best self is to bring balance into our lives. Adding two short periods of Effortless Meditation™ each day is a formula to do just that. The practice restores energy, vitality, and well-being.

This is an inside job. Start by healing your nervous system and brain. It can be an effortless and enjoyable process. A daily meditation practice is one simple step that will set in motion a cascade of positive changes. In short order, subtle and powerful benefits will be showing up in your life.

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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Massage, the Ultimate Mind Body Medicine

Massage, the ultimate mind body medicine isn’t just for the wealthy any more. . . and it isn’t a rare occasion when someone enjoys a massage.  Now-a-days, many people are taking regular trips for a massage to a spa, chiropractic office, alternative health centers, and even a hospital. Is this a sign that people are becoming proactive with their health?  Let’s hope so!

People of all ages are scheduling a massage on a regular basis because they have learned that it isn’t just a mental sensation that makes them feel better, but a very deep healing process. Something many of us don’t realize is that a massage also involves giving us a sense of being cared for, comfort, empowerment, and adds to the healing process by creating a deep connection with another human being, the massage therapist.  These are all so important for our over-all health.

          We have all heard that newborns need touching or they will die.  It seems that we humans never stop needing to be touched and a massage is the “ultimate touch.”

        Physical contact is more precious than ever in our world where so much of our interaction is virtual (Facebook, e-mails, and texts).

Most people don’t realize that our skin is our body’s largest organ, and when its sensory receptors are stimulated, the hormone oxytocin, the one that makes you feel good, is released. At the same time, cortisol, the stress hormone, is reduced.

We just don’t realize how stressed we are until we have relaxed enough to feel the difference.  That gives us a clue as to how deeply a massage can affect us. Since the skin is the largest “organ” in the body, it is amazing what benefits we experience when it is massaged or even when we are touched.

Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine and is increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations. Check the website, TwinPondsCenter.com, one of the largest complementary and alternative health centers in the country, to learn the many types of massages available.

It is the touch of massage that has become the ultimate mind-body medicine. If you’re into “preventative medicine,” this is a great avenue to take; however, once the body has gotten off balance, some studies have found massage to be helpful for:

  • Digestive disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Paresthesias and nerve pain
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain
  • Happiness
  • Lowered blood pressure & heart rate
  • Boosted immune function
  • Relief from pain
  • Stress release  (cortisol hormone level drops)
  • Release of muscle tightness

Because there are many different types of massage for specific conditions or diseases, it is recommended that you talk with a few experienced practitioners to be confident the one you choose is the right one for you. 

Despite the fact that massage is called the Ultimate Mind Body Medicine, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care.  Let your doctor know you’re trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.

For more information and help in finding the right practitioner for you, please call 610-395-3355.

 

 

Acupressure: Holiday Health Is In Your Hands!

Ready or not, the holidays are coming! Along with the hustle and bustle, stress slowly builds. Who wants to waste time running to the doctor and spending money on pills? There are gifts to be bought and wrapped, decorations to be placed, cards to be sent, parties to attend, cookies to be baked, food to prepare, and on and on! Just thinking about it, creates stress. Save your precious time for the joys of the season. Don’t let stress take control of you.

There’s no better time than right now to learn how to take charge of your health with the healing touch of your own hands.

How can this be done? The ancient Chinese practice of acupressure brings balance to the body using the power and sensitivity of the fingers and hand. Through the use of gentle finger pressure, tapping, gentle pounding, and pressing meridians at acupoints to even the flow of energy, health and wellness is restored.

The body has twelve healing energy pathways (meridians) as identified by traditional Chinese Medicine. Energy (chi) flows through these meridians and your holiday stress and tension can cause them to get blocked at the acupressure points. By effectively using acupressure techniques, energy begins to flow through the meridians reducing muscular tension, increasing circulation, and enabling deep relaxation. Stress is relieved and harmony is restored to all body functions.

Let this holiday motivate you to relieve the stress that is stored in your body now (and even more so as the holidays approach), strengthen your resistance to disease, and ultimately maintain your health. Join us to learn self-care applications and pressure points for not only holiday stress but many other specific conditions.

Give yourself the gift of stress relief this holiday. You don’t have to shop for it, wrap it, or return it!  You’ll have it for the rest of your life to use at any time you feel the need.