Be Present and Treat Yourself Tenderly

Posted by on Nov 19, 2015 in Wellness Ideas | 2 comments

Barbara and StasjaIt’s been over a month since I’ve been here to write a blog. My life has been turned upside down, and I just haven’t been able to focus on writing this type of content. I’ve missed being here—researching and writing on chronic pain. But life is what it is.

The short version of the story is that our granddaughter, an 18-year old fabulous firecracker of a young woman, died in a automobile accident on October 18. In the last four weeks, our family has cried many tears. We have pulled out old pictures, and told a stream of funny and poignant stories. We’ve come together with her community of friends and family to mourn our collective loss. The grieving and healing process goes in waves, and we have what feels like an eternity of waves to ride.

Cris and I are also dealing with another significant downturn in my mother’s health. That’s a different kind of grieving, but grieving just the same.

The world also joins us in grief and shock after the terrorist bombings and activity of the last few weeks—the Russian airliner, the Beirut and Paris attacks.

There’s just so much sadness in these weeks and days and moments. Sometimes it just feels overwhelming, doesn’t it?

In the midst of a month like this, it’s hard to remember to take care of myself. Here are some of the issues I’ve faced:

  • Should I keep the physical therapy or massage appointments I have scheduled?
  • How can I be sure to get enough sleep?
  • Are there food choices that will keep my relatively pain free, while accommodating my reduced desire to eat?
  • What are the other activities that will feel nourishing to me?

Perhaps you can relate to this list. No matter what the challenges are in our lives, it’s a delicate balance to manage the urgent needs of our family (or business or the world) with the ongoing needs of our own body and soul.

I’ve been reading a book this month by one of my favorite authors, Toni Bernhard. Last year she published a blog called “13 Tips from 13 Years Sick.”

From the seventh tip, this helped me remember to treat myself tenderly during our time of crisis:

“I used to think it would be a “one-time-through-the-stages” of grief process (the stages usually broken down into denial, anger, sadness or even depression, and then…acceptance). I thought that once I passed through a stage, it wouldn’t return. But now I see that acceptance can give way at any moment to a new round of grieving, maybe with just one of those “stages” popping in for a visit, such as anger or sadness. When this happens, I’ve learned not to push the grief away in aversion because that just strengthens it. Instead, I allow it to be present, treating myself as tenderly as I can until it passes.”

So no matter your challenge or crisis, be present and treat yourself tenderly. And I promise to do the same.

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Are You Ready to Do a Reset
So You Can THRIVE This Fall?

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Gluten Free, Wellness Ideas | 0 comments

Reset & Thrive Library Logo_MOD-Reset and ThriveIf you’re anything like me, summer is all about relaxation with flexed schedules, vacations with delicious indulgences, and a lighter list of to-do’s and to-don’ts. Don’t you savor every second of summer, and feel startled when autumn approaches? All too soon come the early morning alarms, lunches to pack, heavy project lists in the office, seemingly endless after school activities, and so very much more that seems to snowball so quickly!

I get it, the arrival of fall can feel like a fall into chaos!

This year it doesn’t have to! Perhaps it’s time to do a reset so you can thrive going into this new season?

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Introducing the Reset & Thrive Library:

Comprised of over 40 electronic resources specifically selected to help individuals and families get organized, create balance and improve their health for fall and a new academic season!

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No need to sort through thousands of recipes from the cookbooks included, we’ve given you two weeks of a get-started meal plan so that you can start without much planning or thought on your own – giving you precious time back to focus on reading the resources and thriving from the onset of this autumnal new year!

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The organizers of this Library, the Paleo Parents, have learned from over 5 years of healthy living, what tools people need for success. This bundle is sized just right to not overwhelm. It is broken into separate categories so that you can determine how to prioritize where you want to start.

For the Kitchen: The Cookbooks (a $201 value)

Section Graphics, For in the Kitchen, The Cookbooks-Reset and Thrive Fearless Sauerkraut Recipes, Sarah Ramsden

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Of course, I’m especially excited that my book, Kick Pain in the Kitchen was chosen to be included in this Library. But, omigosh, it’s also amazing to be in the company of some of my health and wellness heroes like Dr. Loren Cordain and Sarah Ballantyne.

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Bowenwork: A Unique Approach to Healing and Pain Relief

Posted by on Jul 16, 2013 in Massage Topics, Questions Clients Ask, Wellness Ideas | 2 comments

BowenworkI first heard of Bowenwork from a friend who lives with multiple sclerosis. She raved about it’s gentle ability to make real change in her pain levels. And now I’m excited to offer a new type of healing work for you!  

This week’s blog is a guest post by my Bodyworks colleague, Lorelei Nissly, LMT who is a certified Bowenwork practitioner. Look for our ad in the Lancaster-Berks Natural Awakenings print magazine, including a special offer for 50% off your second Bowenwork session.

Bowenwork is a unique and exciting approach to healing and pain relief. A gentle, soft tissue relaxation technique, Bowenwork is an unusual form of bodywork because the moves are performed, without oil, in specific locations on the body, followed by pauses of several minutes, to allow the body to integrate the effects of the work.

You are thinking, “But what can it do for me?” Bowenwork can be beneficial in a wide range of situations. It can assist in recovery from traumatic injury to chronic illness, depending upon each individual’s capacity to heal. Also, many clients report that Bowenwork is the most relaxing bodywork they have ever experienced.

Some of the conditions that often respond favorably to Bowenwork are:

  • Back pain and sciatica
  • Neck and shoulder problems
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow
  • Sports injury and most traumatic injuries
  • Migraines and other types of headaches
  • Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Hip, knee, ankle and foot problems
  • Anxiety, shock and grief
  • Digestive and bowel problems
  • Earache and TMJ problems
  • Menstrual and hormonal irregularities
  • Groin pain, pelvic tilt and uneven leg length
  • Respiratory problems and hay fever

So that’s an impressive list. Now, how does it work? A Bowenwork practitioner acknowledges the body’s innate intelligence and intrinsic ability to heal itself. Light pressure stimulation to muscles, tendons and fascia, as well as gentle rolling actions over the tissues, send nerve reflex signals, triggering responses not only at the site of the moves, but throughout the whole body. The inputs are received by the body on many levels. More specifically, Bowenwork resets dysfunctional tissue tension patterns in muscles, tendons, fascia and joints. This results in changes in the stretch-length of muscle fibers and joint realignment, via spinal reflexes and the central nervous system.

The concept of minimal touch is central to Bowenwork. Often only a few sets of “moves”, along with several pauses for the work to integrate, will produce noticeable benefits. Heart and breathing rates have been observed to slow down as Bowenwork signals the central nervous system, encouraging the resetting of abnormal tension patterns and postural imbalances, restoring optimal organ function, detoxification and elimination of waste products and improved lymph drainage, oxygenation and blood circulation to tissues.

The Bowen practitioner facilitates a deep internal process within the client’s body, which creates a state of relaxation. This can occur rapidly or over a number of days after the session depending on severity, chronicity and the body’s individual ability to heal.

Well then, what’s it like to receive this work? Sessions of Bowenwork differ from massage in their application technique. While massage is generally a hands-on method with the therapist applying oil or lotion and being in constant touch with the client, Bowenwork uses no oil and combines minimal light moves, often over clothing, interspersed with hands-off periods to allow the client’s body to relax and respond. The practitioner usually leaves the room during these periods.

Bowenwork is best performed as a stand alone procedure, not incorporated with any other bodywork. This keeps the subtle work clear from other influences, input and over-stimulation to allow client and practitioner to assess true progress. We start by scheduling two sessions, one week apart to set the basic foundation of the work. A week after the second appointment, we know more about how your body is responding. At that point, client and practitioner decide together how to proceed.

Because this technique is so effective, it has been widely embraced by a broad spectrum of health professionals who are impressed by the diversity of problems it can address. Bowenwork is now supported throughout the world by the Bowenwork Academy and a large faculty of dedicated, accredited instructors.

The name “Bowenwork” honors Tom Bowen who pioneered and perfected the work from 1950 until his passing in 1982. Mr. Bowen was extremely busy in his Geelong, Australia clinic, performing about 13,000 treatments a year on the clients who traveled to him and benefited from his gifts. Toward the end of his life, he entrusted a very few people with documenting his techniques and teaching the work to others.

Bowenwork is being taught and practiced all over the world. Now that I am trained to do this highly effective work, I can offer it right here in our local community. I invite you to make your appointments with me at Bodyworks Integrative Health soon so that we can see how your body can be “Better with Bowen.” Look for our ad in the Lancaster-Berks New Awakenings print magazine, including a special offer of 50% off your second Bowenwork session.

I look forward to helping you with this amazing technique, to reduce your pain and increase your function, energy and ease.

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Home Cooking for Your Health

Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 in Cooking at Home, On My Soapbox, Wellness Ideas | 0 comments

I recently read an article in the New York Times where two of my favorite writers covered one of my favorite topics: cooking. Not a celebrity chef cooking but US cooking in our homes.

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the article … “[Michael Pollan] says: “Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet. What matters most is not any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it’s the act of cooking itself. People who cook eat a healthier diet without giving it a thought. It’s the collapse of home cooking that led directly to the obesity epidemic.”

In my house the main cook is my husband. His grandfather was a chef / short order cook /restaurant owner. He learned to cook because that’s how the division of labor worked when he was growing up. He was bad at waking everyone up in the morning, so his sister took over those duties. And he took over her duties in the kitchen. And thus … he loves to cook. Early in our marriage I did some regular cooking, but after a year or two we discovered that everyone was happier when he cooked most of the time. I know I am super lucky! Not only does Cris like to cook … he makes delicious, interesting meals!

Cris especially loves to cook for a crowd!

Cris especially loves to cook for a crowd!

Given this situation, I especially thought it was interesting when the article quotes Pollan saying, “We need to complete that uncomfortable conversation about the division of domestic labor, which the food industry deftly exploited to sell us processed food,” he says. “But if we’re going to rebuild a culture of cooking, it can’t mean returning women to the kitchen. We all need to go back to the kitchen.”

Although Cris and I are invested in being healthy, we don’t count calories or obsessively exercise. And most of our health-indicating blood tests come back in the “healthy” range most of the time. We believe it’s because we rarely eat food just from boxes or drive-up windows. In fact, I’d estimate that 90% of our food is home-cooked.

Contrast this lifestyle with some folks I know. For example, I have a massage client who has never used her stove in the 7 years since she bought it. One day I was talking to the friend who helps us keep our house clean (super grateful for her help too!) about how much work it can be to clean our kitchen. I happened to ask her if this was pretty common among her clients. She said that as many of her clients don’t cook as do cook. Wow!

One of my favorite wellness authors, Marc David, says this in his Eater’s Agreement:

“I recognize that at its deepest level eating is an affirmation of life. Each time I eat I agree somewhere inside to continue life on earth. I acknowledge that this choice to eat is a fundamental act of love and nourishment, a true celebration of my existence.”

Don’t you love that idea? Our fridge has an important sticker on it … too important for the car bumper. It says, “Love People. Cook Them Tasty Food.” Even if you are just cooking for yourself today, aren’t you worth that love??

 

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Health Coach or Fitness App?

Posted by on Apr 3, 2013 in On My Soapbox, Questions Clients Ask, Wellness Ideas | 0 comments

Someone recently asked me, “Why would I hire a health coach when I can download a free fitness app to keep me on track?” And, you guessed it, I have an answer to share with all of you!

Don’t get me wrong—I love fitness apps like LoseIt and MyFitnessPal. In fact I think that these apps are the food diary of the twenty-first century. I remember my first venture into Weight Watchers back in 1990. We received a small paper booklet every week and were told to write everything we ate in the booklet. Then a few years later a calculator-type tracker was available—for about $75 I think.How things have changed! Now these FREE apps have millions of entries in a database that users can continually add to. The apps can tell you all kinds of different nutrition information about that snack or restaurant meal. They approximate your home-cooked meal’s nutrition value with ease. Lots of advantages … including all the things an app will tell you about calories burned during your day. You can even count the calories involved in cooking your dinner!

App or Coach

So what does a health coach offer that’s different? I can only speak for my approach, but one thing a health coach does is consider each client as a wholly individual being. The health coach does so much more than focus on calories in and calories out. Even the prevailing health wisdom is calling that an outdated approach.

While every health coach has an area of expertise or specialization, they know how to incorporate that knowledge into the reality of a client’s day. For example, I work primarily with people who are interested in addressing chronic pain and inflammation through holistic and nutritional means. There are some very specific steps towards this goal, but based on my experience I can determine whether or not those steps apply to you.

A few days ago, I was working with a young woman who contacted me because food shopping and knowing healthy from unhealthy was very difficult for her. After four sessions, including a grocery store tour together, we reached a really important moment. It started innocently enough with a conversation about how great the grocery store tour was for her confidence. And all of a sudden, my client was making connections about her food-related childhood experiences and the fear she feels today. It was a tissue and tears moment, and it cleared away a lot of her tension about food.

This story is a perfect example of what health coaching offers that ISN’T available in a free app. Health coaching offers recognition that each client’s needs are individual. It offers a place to discuss not just what to eat but why to make adjustments. Together clients and health coaches create sacred space where big emotional connections happen. The coach shares practical tips like recipes and lessons in label reading—in a way that’s easy to absorb.

Most importantly the health coaching relationship offers trust, hugs and love—invaluable encouragement!

 

Ready to get started feeling less pain and more energy? The best way to determine what program is right for you is scheduling a FREE 45-minute get acquainted call. Simply call or email me today to get started!

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Now Offering Reflexology!

Posted by on Feb 17, 2013 in Massage Topics, Wellness Ideas | 0 comments

I am thrilled to announce that our fantastic massage therapist Lorelei Nissly is offering Reflexology treatments! She has been practicing reflexology for some time, and we are officially adding it to our menu of services as of this week.

Reflexology is a therapeutic foot massage that helps rejuvenate your mental, emotional and physical well being. It improves health by stimulating the circulatory and nervous systems. All of the reflex points in our feet connect, via nerves and meridians to particular organs and body areas, promoting healing, releasing tension and increasing stress resilience. Foot reflexology will leave you feeling peaceful, relaxed, and like you’re walking on clouds.

You may book a separate reflexology session or add it on to your massage treatment. Give us a shout to try it!

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