About Healthy Living Bucks and Montgomery Counties

Natural Awakenings magazine is the nation's largest and most established healthy living publication. This is the website for the Bucks/Montgomery area of PA. We have had a presence in Bucks and Montgomery Counties since January 2010. Readers use Natural Awakenings as the local educational resource for enhancing their lives through healthy living choices and the protection of our environment. Each month we publish informative and educational articles on a variety of ways people can safeguard or improve their family’s personal health while we also address the larger issue of planetary health. We have approximately 50,000 readers each month who are: - Overwhelmingly female (70%) - Over 51% have a household income of over 50K - 72% are between the ages of 25-54 - 80% purchase products or services from ads seen in Natural Awakenings - Natural Awakenings magazine rated higher over TV, radio, internet and other print publications as the #1 source for health-related information

Social Media Tips for Small Businesses

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by Michelle Arbore

In order for small businesses to succeed with social media, they need to have a consistent presence and accept that it is here to stay. Social media is not going away anytime soon, and it will only get better.

The first thing anyone must understand about social media is that it is about building the “know”, “like” and “trust” of followers. The idea is to let people know there is a human being behind the brand.

The other thing to understand is that people are talking about businesses, products and services on social media. Rather than ignoring these conversations, business owners should jump in and have a say in where that conversation goes. If someone complains about products and services, owners can find out why and learn from it in order to better serve current and potential customers.

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Holistic Alternatives to Pain—Local Voices: LAURIE VAN VALKENBURGH, Massage and Bodywork

LV_ShiatsuShinTai-LaurieVanValkenburgh_0617How do massage and bodywork work to address pain?

Pain starts in the brain, and clinicians have had to get creative with how to reframe pain in the body.

I work on the acupuncture meridians that calm the nervous system and the organs in the body that deal with detoxification: kidney, liver and lung. Helping these organs do their job, whether they are underactive, overactive or stagnant, can take a lot of pressure off how we process our environment and our pain.

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Holistic Alternatives to Pain—Local Voices: KATIE SAMSEL, Chiropractic

CRG_SamselIntegrativeHealth_KatieSamsel_1216How does chiropractic work to address pain?

Pain is the number one reason why people come in to see chiropractors. Thankfully, chiropractic is very effective at treating both acute and chronic pain. But how? Well, first, we need to find out why you are in pain. Pain is one of the ways the body communicates that something is wrong. It may be from a slip and fall, which could result in obvious tissue injury, but sometimes pain starts without provocation. In either case, we need to do some investigating. This includes getting to know your history, followed by an exam, imaging, blood work or muscle testing. Once the cause is determined, chiropractors usually recommend a series of adjustments to correct the dysfunction in the joints and remove the nerve interference. This can help relieve muscle tension as well as correct and stabilize the affected joints.

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Opening Emotional Doorways to Pain: Hypnosis and Healing

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by Beth Allyn Herman

When pain arises, the assumption is that it’s a true medical issue, injury or disease. If we visit the doctor and a medical cause cannot be identified, it might receive a diagnosis like fibromyalgia or an autoimmune disorder, which can be treated symptomatically, but often not with full relief. The experience of not being able to identify or treat the reason for our pain can lead to disappointment and frustration.

New research confirms a breakthrough in thinking on pain that could put an end to this predicament, and could mean relief for so many living with unexplained pain. Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD, in his book titled The Body Keeps the Score, presents a theory predicated on the realization that physical pain can in fact stem from an emotional nature. He describes how traumatic and other emotionally charged experiences store themselves in the cells of our bodies. “Our bodies record every single emotion we experience and oftentimes the pain we have in our bodies is related to an unresolved and perhaps even unremembered earlier experience,” he says.

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Holistic Alternatives to Pain—Local Voices: JOHN MURACO, Expressive Therapies

LV_HeartwellHouse_JohnMuraco_0617How does expressive therapy work to address pain?

Instrumental sound therapies and meditation exercises awaken the parasympathetic nervous system and can decrease stress hormones, calm the body and bring openness to lessen tension from personal histories and physical distress. Art therapy, a powerful relaxant, provides a platform with which to externalize the physical and emotional pain of life transitions; in a feeling of emptiness, it can spark insights and self-knowledge. The practice of yoga, with its heritage of healing and supportive technologies, can empower a broken heart, impassion our lives and goals and grace a wounded body with fluidity and flexibility.

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Holistic Alternatives to Pain—Local Voices: TRACY MCGOVERN, Reflexology

LV_EssentialConnections-TracyMcGovern_0617How does reflexology work to address pain?

Reflexology works with the nervous system. The action of a reflexology session directly addresses the more than 8,000 nerve endings in the feet. Through the alternating pressure of reflexology technique, your nerves become relaxed, and a few wonderful outcomes occur.

As your nerves relax, pain naturally subsides. Sometimes this is temporary symptom relief. Depending on the situation this can be enough to allow the body to create more permanent relief. In this state, your body is triggered to move into physiological relaxation, which is essentially “maintenance mode”. While in this mode, your body kicks into self-repair, and that is the real magic. General inflammation is reduced and your body is allowed the time and energy to work to heal itself.

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Holistic Alternatives to Pain—Local Voices: PAOLO PROPATO, Acupuncture

LV_BridgeAcu_PaoloPropato_0617How does acupuncture work to address pain?

From a scientific point of view there are many studies that show the efficacy of acupuncture for pain, as well as for other symptoms. New theories and observations are frequently coming to light, backing up acupuncture’s time-tested, 2,500-year-old reputation. For example, acupuncture has the ability to reduce inflammatory chemical messengers like TNF-α and increase levels of natural painkillers called endorphins.

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Holistic Alternatives to Pain—Local Voices: KATHY FENNELLY, Energy Healing

LV_HealingTouchByKathy-KathyFennelly_0617How does energy healing work to address pain?

Energy healing works well for both chronic and acute pain. Among the most popular are reiki and Healing Touch. As a Healing Touch practitioner, I look at pain from a holistic standpoint and understand that some physical pain might not have solely physical roots, but roots in the subconscious, or stored at the cellular level, where energetic disruptions occur. Some potential causes may include challenging life circumstances, ruminating thoughts, unpleasant memories, emotional perturbations or unsettling past experiences.

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The Soul Alchemy of Cleaning House

by Rebecca Antsis

SparkJoySpace_LogoIt starts and ends with a simple exercise: hold it in your hands and ask, “Does this bring me joy?” If “yes”, it stays. If “no”, bye-bye.

This is the Spark Joy process, the powerful method that starts with tidying one’s surroundings and ends with transforming one’s life. The concept of Spark Joy is based on the KonMari Method by author Marie Kondo and outlined in her runaway bestseller, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. What began as a modest book has spawned an entire movement.

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Preventing Digestion Problems at the Source: Jeff Griffin, DC, Prescribes Nutritional Enzymes for Stress, Pain

by Gisele M. Siebold

crg_centerfornaturalhealing_griffin_0915.jpgJeffrey Griffin, founder of the Center for Natural Healing, in Doylestown, was a practicing doctor of chiropractic with over 15 years of clinical experience when, in 2003, he was introduced to the work of influential chiropractor and nutritional scientist, Howard F. Loomis. Loomis’ approach focuses on the importance of digestion and, specifically, the assimilation, absorption and elimination systems of the body and their relationship to overall health and wellbeing. The encounter opened Griffin’s mind and made a profound impact on how he approaches healing. Since then, he has successfully used the Loomis System in combination with chiropractic techniques to ease pain and achieve optimal health for patients at his busy Doylestown office.

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Hope in a Time of Crisis: Communities Organize to Fight Opioid Addiction

by Jack Firneno

Girl comforting her friendIt’s impossible to talk about pain management in 2017, and in Southeastern Pennsylvania, without also exploring the opioid crisis.

The Drug Enforcement Agency’s analysis of drug-related deaths in 2015 shows a continued rise in overdoses statewide, especially from opioids. Published last July, it documents 3,383 drug-related deaths across Pennsylvania that year. Heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid often mixed with heroin, were present in 54.6 and 27 percent, respectively, of all overdose deaths.

That means, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, that opioid overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death—not just drug-related fatalities—in the state. Bucks and Montgomery counties, with their mix of densely populated and rural areas, ranked in about the middle of the list, with 117 deaths in Bucks and 136 in Montgomery.

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Looking Deeper into Pain: Andrew Persky, DC, Discusses Craniocervical Syndrome

by Julie Vitto

LifeAligned-AndrewPersky_0416Dr. Andrew Persky, DC, is advancing the science of upper cervical realignment and whole-body health through his work approaching pain relief holistically. Persky, whose research has been submitted for peer-reviewed publication, received a U.S. patent for his work in three-dimensional image analysis and developed the LifeAligned treatment protocol. He assures all who will listen that relief from many forms of chronic pain is possible without drugs or surgery.

In your practice, is there a typical pain patient?
No, there isn’t. Every day, I see patients that have been living with chronic pain. There are those that have suffered with headaches for decades. Other patients arrive with pain, numbness or tingling in their face, arm, leg, neck, ear or shoulder blade. There are also “non-pain” patients: the ones with neurologic issues such as dizziness, seizures or brain fog. Many have spent months or years going through the standard pipeline of doctors, specialists, imaging and treatments.

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