Letter from the Publisher, February 2017


Beautiful young people are acts of nature;
Beautiful old people are works of art.
                ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Karen_LFP_0516Many of us are enjoying longer, fuller lives. Our population will soon include 75 million people over the age of 60, and recent reports by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development show the average life expectancy for U.S. men is 76. For U.S. women, it’s 81.Certainly our extended lifespan is cause for celebration. But it also poses important questions: How can we live longer, better with improved physical and emotional vitality? How can we work against a cultural bias that favors youth and stigmatizes older age? How can we treat death with candor and compassion?

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Powering Down: Finding Presence in Our Family Life

42109255 - mixed race family playing solitaire

by Delia Nessim

It’s fascinating to observe how family life has evolved over time. Families in the 1950s and ‘60s were quite conservative with rules and limits. A teenage boy with long hair was considered radical. The ‘70s was the era of rebellion—teens wore long hair, attended protests and used mind-altering drugs. Each of these eras posed unique challenges to the parent-child dynamic.

The excessive use of electronic devices is the parental complaint of our times. It affects kids of all ages; even toddlers seem to intrinsically know how to use many devices. Video screens do a great job of keeping kids quiet and happy for many hours. What parent doesn’t want to make their kids happy?

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Making Businesses Social

michellearboreMichelle Arbore, of Savvy Social Media, helps entrepreneurs and businesses through the process of creating a social media presence, maintaining it and getting the most out of the various online tools. “We all need help and support,” she says. “Our job is to take your frustrations away by creating customized training to fit your needs, no matter what level your business is at or what industry you are in.”

With customized social media training, she helps businesses of all kinds find the right type of social media they should be using. “With our help, we discover what your social media goals are and who your target market is. By doing this, you will know which platforms to focus your time on,” says Arbore.

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Here I Go… Again… How Past Life Regression Therapy Sets Us Free

40505846 - a woman embraces her image in the mirror

by Elaine Berk

To many in our Western culture, Past Life Regression Therapy (PLRT) may seem like a far-fetched solution to achieving one’s best self, but more than 25 percent of Americans report believing in reincarnation. Many more are open to the possibility of believing… because they just “don’t know.”

The growing popularity of PLRT is not hard to understand. Many who undergo this therapeutic process experience profound emotional and physical healing around present life experiences and relationships, and leave the sessions feeling a deeper understanding of themselves, both as individuals and in relation to others. The result is often a shift in perspective that enables them to live out their current lives more meaningfully, with greater freedom and deeper peace. For those that do believe in reincarnation, PLRT provides a sense of oneself as an eternal being. For those that don’t believe, the result is still overwhelmingly positive.

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Muhamad A. Rifai, MD: Medical Director, New Vitae Wellness and Recovery

Discovery CMEAs the Medical Director for New Vitae Wellness and Recovery, Muhamad A. Rifai, MD, FACP, FAPA, FAPM brings to the center more than 15 years of experience and progressive training in clinical medicine and psychiatry. He received his Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry degree from Geisinger Commonwealth Medical College and is President-Elect of the Lehigh Valley Psychiatric Society. Throughout his career, Rifai has advocated for the expansion of progressive treatment options, such as deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS), in an effort to reach more people in need of psychiatric care.

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The Art of Dying Well Bringing Awareness and Meaning to Transition


by Sheri Hatfield

Death is not simply the end of living; it is part of living. Whether it is coming to terms with one’s own death or processing a loved one’s end of life, all humans encounter death. Yet in many places, especially in the United States, death continues to be a relatively taboo subject for most people. We do not speak openly about our own death, and tend to avoid the subject even when someone we know is sick and likely dying. We will talk about everything but death. Yet it is as death approaches that some people do most of their most conscious living. When a person realizes their death is near, they begin to reflect on their lives, the legacy they will or will not leave behind, making things right with friends and loved ones, and working through the spiritual and emotional aspects of death.

When faced with the imminent death of a loved one—especially after a long illness—family members also begin to process what is next. They may have spent days, weeks or even years caring for the sick and dying; being so focused on the now, they have not thought about what is next. Having a conversation about a loved one’s death before it happens allows them to begin to process their future. Having an open conversation about what their loved one wants, may help to lessen stress, relieve guilt and allow them to create their own plan for living after the death.

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Winter-Ready Skin and Hair: Tips to Take Us Through the Season


by Candy St. Martine-Pack

With colder temperatures and abrasive wind, the winter months can be especially harmful to the skin. For treating chronic skin conditions or just trying to maintain overall health, organic and holistic treatments will leave the skin healthy and nourished.

1. Go organic.
Many over-the-counter products contain harsh chemicals, such as parabens, petroleum, sulfates and fragrances that can damage the skin and overall health. These products, when applied to the skin, are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Using soaps and lotions containing natural and organic ingredients keeps the whole body healthier.

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Change Maker: How My Brother’s Death Woke Up My Life

by Rebecca Antsis

There are two types of books in the New Age literary genre: those that speak down to you from high on the mountain, and those that make the journey with you.

br_changemaker_complementaryhealthworks_0217Rebecca Austill-Clausen’s inspirational memoir, Change Maker: How My Brother’s Death Woke Up My Life, belongs firmly in the latter. Austill-Clausen takes readers with her through the series of unlikely events that catalyze her unexpected spiritual blossoming.

Originating from the tragic passing of her younger brother, Austill-Clausen’s grief catapults her onto a path of transformation. Over the course of less than a year, she goes from “Type Triple A” workaholic to profound seeker and spiritual adept, splitting her time between managing a thriving occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language pathology practice and exploring her quickly evolving spiritual life, rich with fantastic meditations, visualizations and encounters with spirits, shamans and guides.

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Support and Sustenance: The Alzheimer’s Association Offers Resources for the Delaware Valley

by Carrie Jackson

womanmatureprofile_9226717_lWith more than five million people in the United States suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and another 15 million people acting as caregivers, the need for resources and support is growing. The Alzheimer’s Association is the largest nonprofit voluntary health organization in the country dedicated to research, education and support for the disease. The Delaware Valley Chapter, headquartered in Philadelphia, with a new suburban regional office located in Montgomery County, offers a wide range of programs and services to local people living with Alzheimer’s, as well as their family members, caregivers and loved ones.

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Gone but Not Lost

17530030 - hearts drawn on the sand of a beach

by Kimara

2016 marked the loss of many talented and influential people. Legends like David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and her mother, iconic star of Singin’ in the Rain, Debbie Reynolds, are but a few of those gone too soon. Although most have never met nor had personal interactions with any of these celebrities, hearts were no less broken at their passing. In April of last year, the world was awash in purple lights to mourn the death of legendary singer, Prince. Why do hearts ache for the loss of those in the spotlight, and how can strangers evoke such emotion with their passing?

Film, music, literature and art spark the collective consciousness and provide the framework upon which our most personal and precious memories rest. Artists profoundly affect the world and their deaths leave it somehow less bright.

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Energy Work at End-of-Life: One Volunteer’s Experience

ed_barbettebieber_0217What is your name and where do you live?
Barbette Bieber, Lansdale.

How long have you been working with hospice patients?
I have been volunteering at Ascend Hospice since 2005.

How many times a week/month do you volunteer?
I try to volunteer at least once a month or more. It can vary.

Why did you decide to enroll in the program?
When my parents and grandparents were alive I loved spending time with them. Once they passed, I felt a void. I saw an advertisement for volunteer training at the Lansdale Library. Since it was so close, I decided to go, especially since they were looking for people with reiki experience, and I have that skill. I love to visit nursing homes and enjoy visiting the elderly, so I thought this would be a great fit for me, and I thought this would be a way to help me feel needed.

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REMINISCING to Breath & Beat: Natasha Goldstein-Levitas Moves Seniors Toward Center


Natasha Goldstein-Levitas is a Philadelphia-based dance/movement therapist with over 16 years of experience working with older adults across various cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. She facilitates groups at several area senior centers, residential case- and outpatient-based programs that are specifically tailored to the needs of high-functioning seniors, as well as those suffering from degenerative conditions such as dementia. Goldstein-Levitas has presented at conferences hosted by the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and her research article, “Dance/Movement Therapy and Sensory Stimulation: A Holistic Approach to Dementia Care”, was recently published in the American Journal of Dance Therapy.

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An Evening in The Cave: Visiting with Anita Heft, Owner of Himalayan Salt & Wellness Cave

crg_himalayansaltnwellnesscave_0816It’s a rainy winter weeknight, and yet the waiting room of the Himalayan Salt Cave and Wellness Center, in Pottstown, is packed with people. Men and women, children and senior citizens fill the lobby, busily checking in on their reservations. The monthly sound bowl meditation event starts soon; both the 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. sessions are sold out.

Natural Awakenings: Wow, there are a lot of people here!
Anita Heft: We take reservations weeks in advance. These events are very popular, as are our crystal healing and guided meditation events. We do all sorts of events in the caves, from bridal parties to yoga classes, reflexology and reiki. There are options for socializing—you can rent the cave or family room and just come in and hang out or be quiet and peaceful. There’s also a salt bed that delivers a more concentrated experience. All of these options offer the benefit of breathing in the salt air and taking some time to rest and relax.

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