Sleeping Our Way to a Healthier Neck

Neck pain ranges from minor irritation to debilitating, life-altering intensities. It can originate from various anatomical components, including sore muscles, torn ligaments, degenerative joints and disc herniation. Severe cases may require long-term use of pain medication or invasive procedures such as nerve blocks or spinal fusion.

A recent article published by Harvard Medical School offers simple guidelines that help avoid future neck problems and, in some cases, reduce, relieve or alleviate neck pain.  Continue reading

Shirodhara Stress-Relieving Treatments: An Ayurvedic Approach

Neilson Company audience report that surveyed media usage during the first quarter of 2016 found that the average American spent nearly 75 hours per week in front of a screen. Experts are confident that the number is even higher as we head into 2018. The rapid pace of life overloads us constantly and shows up as heartburn, insomnia, anxiousness and forgetfulness. In light of widespread stress and anxiety, it is no wonder that the ancient mind-body healing system, ayurveda, has become so popular. Continue reading

Moving from the Head to the Heart: Beth Herman’s Integrative Psychotherapy

What is your experience as a mental health professional?

I began my career in community mental health while I was still a graduate student, working with chronically and seriously mentally ill populations, doing both individual psychotherapy and co-facilitating groups.

In 2007, I opened my practice in Doylestown where I continue to practice today. My clients range from folks I refer to as from the “worried well”, to people struggling with mental illnesses, including Employee Assistance Program work.

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Ancient Ear Therapy Gains Modern Technology

Although auricular medicine originally focused on withdrawing addicts from narcotic drugs, alcohol and nicotine, it is now used for treatment in an array of more than 300 disorders, including: anxiety, insomnia, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, psychological and compulsive disorders, irritability, ADD/ADHD, asthma, allergies, menstrual cramps, high blood pressure, TMJ, decreased libido, eczema, depression, irritable bowel syndrome and many more.

Rooted in the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture, auricular medicine was developed in the 1950s by Dr. Paul Nogier, a physician from Lyon, France. Nogier observed that many of his Middle Eastern patients had been successfully treated for sciatica pain through the cauterization of a certain area of their ear. This finding prompted him to further study the connection between the ear and the body. Continue reading

HeartSpeak: Unwind the Mind and Set the Heart Free


by Julie Vitto

Emotional stress can be related to all kinds of symptoms, including physical pain, digestive disorders, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and falling short of one’s potential. It can make life feel like a series of repeated mistakes, where longstanding issues make change feel nearly impossible to achieve. These roadblocks to understanding the mind-body continuum can widen the chasm between the “real” self and the self that’s on display.

Thankfully, Anne Jensen, Ph.D., developer of the new emotional healing and stress reduction tool known as HeartSpeak, has tapped into a solution for these issues and is excited to share results with the world. Jensen’s groundbreaking research at the University of Oxford shows that the non-invasive technique known as muscle response testing has the ability to help reveal what stresses the body and triggers the mind. Thus, finding the truth of an individual’s mind-body experience is well within reach.

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Treating Lyme Disease with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy


by Julie Vitto

The late Dr. William Fife of Texas A&M University pioneered groundbreaking research into the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to treat a wide spectrum of conditions, including Lyme disease. His extensive research revealed that, in many cases, patients with Lyme disease were able to stop using antibiotics and other medications after HBOT resulted in dramatic improvements to their overall health.

HBOT works to promote healing by increasing the oxygen concentration in the body at the cellular level and is often used in conjunction with antibiotics. Each patient receives an individualized evaluation before starting what is typically a protocol of 40 treatments. As a result, body functions are restored and the immune system receives a massive boost.

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Opening Emotional Doorways to Pain: Hypnosis and Healing


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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Cranial Osteopathy: A Medical Approach to Craniosacral Manipulation

by Julia Helstrom

sb_juliahelstromMany people seeking alternatives to modern prescriptions have discovered the benefits of craniosacral therapy (CST). However, what many people don’t know is that CST is an adaptation of osteopathic cranial manipulative medicine (OCMM).

OCMM was first revealed to the osteopathic medical community in the 1930s by William Garner Sutherland, DO. He founded his discovery upon the theory that the central nervous system has its own inherent motion, which drives the movement of the fluid around the brain and spinal cord as well as around the expansion and contraction of the skull. When this system moves freely, our nervous system is able to adapt to our environment and our daily life. However, when there is restriction in this motion, we are met with varying degrees of discomfort: pain in our muscles, chronic ear infections and colic in children, headaches and TMJ, to name a few.

Osteopathic physicians have been trained and tested in diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions, with an emphasis on the musculoskeletal system. During osteopathic medical school, physicians are required to complete 400 hours of specialty training in osteopathic manipulative medicine. Those physicians choosing to continue with specialty training in OCMM begin with a 40-hour introductory course in which they learn to diagnose and treat the head (cranium) and tailbone (sacrum) within their context in the rest of the body.

OCMM is seen as one treatment modality within a comprehensive treatment plan. Each individual’s tissue patterns are as different as their personalities, and hence each treatment will differ to meet the individual’s needs.

Julia Helstrom, DO, is an osteopathic physician and founder of Bucks County Center for Integrative Medicine. For more information about OCMM, visit To learn more about Dr. Helstrom, visit October 2016.

Shin Tai: Chinese Medicine to Restore Chi

by Laurie Van Valkenburgh

leaves-fwWhen people hear the word “massage”, they often think of what most people associate with Swedish, deep muscle or other specialties that focus on the muscles. Although those forms of massage offer a number of benefits stemming from relaxation and release of muscle tension, shin tai shiatsu is unique in that it incorporates a wide range of techniques and skills from Chinese Medicine that work together to restore the life force, or chi, to the body.

Shin tai shiatsu practitioners receive years of training and are required to maintain continuing education within the field to enhance their specialty and continue to evolve their skill set. Similar to acupuncture, shin tai shiatsu incorporates the benefits of meridian opening with use of acupressure, with and without joint rotation. Meridian opening assists in the flow of life within the body. The practice involves central channel (along the spine) opening, as well as stretches, pulls and rotations. Structural (aligning the spine) work can assist in healing trauma, arthritis, degeneration and overuse.

Additionally, shin tai brings the value of myofascial release to the client, providing enhanced fascial relaxation, reduced compression and soft tissue health. Incorporating cranial-sacral work with shin tai enhances the experience and can help with chronic headaches, migraines and memory issues, as well as lower back pain, balance issues and dizziness.

Shin tai shiatsu is performed fully clothed on a gravity-reducing cushion, providing the client optimal comfort. A shin tai practitioner is well trained to identify areas of focus—both the good and the problematic areas—to open space within both to restore balance. As a result, each session can be uniquely different. Shin tai practitioners are trained to identify trauma and emotional blockages within the body and bring healing to a level beyond just the body, encompassing emotional and spiritual health. Bringing back the life force allows the client to have full access to their unique source within.

crg_shiatsushintai-laurievanvalkenburgh_0816Laurie Van Valkenburgh is a licensed massage therapist, certified bodywork therapist and founder of Shiatsu Shin Tai Bodywork Therapies, in New Hope. She also provides shiatsu shin tai services every Wednesday at Medicine in Balance, 940 Town Center Dr., Ste. F-9, in Langhorne. For more information, call 267-566-6056 or visit October 2016.