The Room at Meadowbrook Opens Its Doors with a Summer Event

TheRoomThe Room at Meadowbrook will host an open house from 5 to 8 p.m. on June 25 to celebrate its new facility, located on the grounds of its partner organization, Meadowbrook Animal Healing, in Ottsville.

This family-friendly event is open to the community. Locals are encouraged to drop by, rain or shine, to enjoy food and music, enter the raffle, pick up free class passes and walk through the flower gardens to visit with the horse, PJ goats and other animals who live onsite. Resident “Room” instructors Diane Alex, Erin Range, Tracy McGovern, Joanna Chodorowska, Sharon Cristofalo, Lisa Potts and Michelle McInnis will be onsite to meet prospective and current students.

EB_Meadowbrook-TheRoom-2_0616The Room was developed by Sue Walski and Lyn Hicks as a place for the healing and expressive arts for both people and animals in a peaceful, inspired setting. The program calendar includes classes and workshops elaborating on the benefits of movement and creativity, and features healing modalities such as aharaj yoga, dance, yoga, tai chi, feminine health workshops, reflexology, qigong, reiki and jin shin jyutsu for all levels of awareness.

“We see this as a healing space. It’s a place for people to come and take classes, and hopefully be inspired to use the space to hold their own programs and workshops as time goes on,” says Walski, a veterinarian and animal holistic healing practitioner who will teach classes on holistic pet care.

EB_Meadowbrook-TheRoom-1_0616Hicks, a women’s empowerment educator and author, describes The Room this way: “Our goal is to educate the path to personal power and freedom through the healing and expressive arts for people and animals, so they may find more health, vitality and well-being for themselves and their families.” The Room is available to all that are inspired to educate and share about their art of healing.

Location: 4089 Durham Rd., Ottsville. For more information, call Lyn Hicks at 215-813-4073 or visit TheRooomAtMeadowbrook.com.

June 2016

Getting Your Head on Straight: More than a Metaphor

by Andrew Persky

ManFaceAsianProfile_31429764_lGet your head on straight!” To most of us, this sounds like something parents tell their children in moments of desperation, but new research and modern imaging technologies are shedding light on the importance of proper alignment of the head and neck. Here are just a few reasons why it’s more than just a manner of speaking.

It’s about balance.
Although it might not feel like it, the average human head weighs nine to 17 pounds—roughly the weight of a bowling ball. Balancing our heads on top of our spines is comparable to balancing a bowling ball on top of a stick, yet our brains gracefully perform this task without any conscious effort. Two primary mechanisms are involved in this balance. First, the brain has a desire to maintain the eyes level with the horizon, a phenomenon known as the “righting reflex”. Second, physics requires that the body stay underneath the center of gravity of the head so that we don’t fall over. If the head is slightly off balance, the brain can distort the spine in order to bring the rest of the body underneath it. Maintaining this distorted posture can be an underlying cause of chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, lower back or hips.

It’s about flow.
A recent study published in the journal Neurology Research International highlights the importance of proper flow of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the head and spinal cord, and how a misalignment between the base of the skull and the first bone in the neck (the upper cervical region) can impact that flow. Using fMRI imaging, doctors observed abnormal flow of CSF when upper cervical misalignments were present, and improvements in CSF flow following upper cervical treatment. The study also makes a connection between abnormal CSF flow and numerous neurological conditions.

It’s about optimal health.
Hippocrates was right when he said, “Look well to the spine for the cause of disease.” The spinal cord enables the brain to monitor and control virtually every bodily function. Burdened by the weight of the head, the spine is especially vulnerable at the top of the neck, close to the brain stem.

We are all well aware of how a major spinal cord injury can dramatically impact a person’s life, but only recently are we learning that more subtle misalignments of the head are also impacting health in myriad ways. Patient results and the experiences of public figures like former quarterback Jim McMahon and talk show host Montel Williams are showing that patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain or neurological conditions often experience profound improvements from upper cervical treatment.

ED_LifeAligned-AndrewPersky_0616Dr. Andrew Persky, DC, is founder of LifeAligned Upper Cervical Treatment Center, in Warrington. For more information, call 215-491-4200 or visit LifeAlignedHealth.com.

June 2016

Epigenetics: Experience Creating Inheritance

by Art Gutkin

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What is epigenetics?

Epigenetics centers on the inheritable changes in gene expression, not encompassing changes to the underlying DNA sequence (phenotype), arising from environmental influences—i.e., a change in observable characteristics of an organism through environmental influences, without changing the geneticmakeup of the cell (genotype). Environment affects how cells react to the genes. Phenotype defines the specific characteristic of a cell, such as blood type, based both on genetic and its environmental influences. Genotype is that specific structure of the cell, as contained in the DNA, that determines specific characteristics of that cell/organism/individual, excluding all environmental influences.

Environmental influences that create change define the differences between the phenotype and the genotype. This is best exemplified by observable differences in sets of identical twins, triplets and the like.

Dismissing environmental issues, it is reasonable to assume that all identical twins would evolve throughout their lives in the exact same manner and exhibit the same behavioral characteristics and illnesses throughout their lives. Carrying this thought forward, all twins or triplets should die on the same day.

What causes differences between twins and triplets?

Environment does. But… what environmental factors create changes to the cells responsible for the differences in twins as they grow? And, in turn, what materializes during a lifetime causing each individual to change into a unique individual?

Cells contain “on” and “off” switches/triggers.

Studies demonstrate that early childhood trauma or PTSD may alter genes, which may be transmitted from one generation to the next.

These findings reveal that each and every experience in life may change that individual and succeeding generations. Imagine watching a movie creating fear. The effect of that fear over a prolonged period can become an inheritable trait. One event may not create a specific change affecting the child, but the continued revisiting of that experience just may do so. If cells are a product of the fixed DNA, prolonged exposure to a particular event would be incapable of creating change.

Like sediment repeatedly deposited on a finely tuned machine, our experiences, and those of our forebears, are never erased, even if they have been forgotten on the surface or in the deep recesses of the mind. They are always a part of us. The DNA may remain the same, but the psychological and behavioral tendencies can be inherited. You might have inherited not just your grandfather’s weak back, but also his predisposition toward depression created by a lack of childhood love. Analogous is Carl Jung’s belief in the collective unconscious.

Consider a child feeling unloved and isolated, whether actually unloved or just perceiving it as such. As a result, the child begins to move inward and withdraws, but after years of therapy or moving past those childhood experiences, the individual comes out of the shell. The “on” switch has been effectively switched “off”. Now consider that individual, at a later time in life, observes or experiences an event revisiting childhood memories. The switch then turns “on”, causing the individual to re-experience the childhood withdrawal pattern.

The subsequent event, though many years later and long “forgotten”, switched “on” that trigger.

As switches come into play, our emotions become involved. Our emotions touch each of the five senses. Creating change in one or more of the senses alters the emotion/mood.

Consider when anger overpowers us. The anger creates changes in the senses of hearing, touch, smell, taste and/or sight. Each and every emotion, each and every conversation, each and every television show creates a unique combination of these senses within an individual. Alter one of these senses and the mood modifies. After doing this often enough, the response to the event creating the anger may extinguish.

A clear understanding of the client’s issue, its cause and remedy need be considered in the total context before a remedy can be obtained.

ED_Medintuitive-ArthurGutkin_0616Art Gutkin is a certified NGH hypnotherapist, medical intuitive and professional member of the National Institute of Counselors and Therapists. For more information, call 215-740-0766, email ArtGutkin@gmail.com or visit MedIntuitive.com.

June 2016

No Restrictions: Massage to Restore, Enhance and Prevent

by Mandy Francis

FB_BackInBalance-NitaKeesler-2_0616The popularity of massage continues to rise as studies confirm the value of massage for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. The Mayo Clinic even recently opened a spa to offer massage and acupuncture. Nita Keesler, massage therapist, talks about the importance of massage for men.

In your practice, what kinds of issues do you see that are specific to men? Typically, male clients have tight shoulders, low back/hips and hamstrings. Sciatic pain, rotator cuff issues and carpal tunnel syndrome also tend to be common. Restricted movement can affect posture, and sitting can exacerbate pain, which is especially problematic if someone works at a computer or drives for a living.

Weight training and running are popular forms of exercise for many guys. How does that impact their flexibility, and how can massage help support them in those practices? Massage therapy is very beneficial to men that lift weights, run or participate in other cardiovascular exercise because it prevents and alleviates restrictions in the muscles. “Restrictions” can originate from various injuries, improper posture or repetitive motions, as in the case of weightlifting. Massage also helps to prevent what’s called delayed onset muscle soreness, so the body can heal faster with massage than with rest alone.

What benefits can men expect from greater flexibility? Men can gain improved range of motion and better posture, which affect health on many levels, including digestion, mood and, of course, appearance. Massage helps make the muscles more supple by helping to oxygenate with fresh blood. Think of tight muscles as a kink in a hose—when tight, the muscles can entrap blood vessels and nerves, creating pain. Massage helps to alleviate that. Massage combined with assisted stretching, whether it is sports stretching or Thai massage—which is what I incorporate into my practice—is even more beneficial. When someone else is stretching our bodies, we are able to stretch a bit further because our muscles are relaxed. With Thai massage we are also being massaged while being stretched, so the results are even more profound.

FB_BackInBalance-NitaKeesler_0616How many sessions do men need to attend before experiencing a noticeable difference? Everyone is unique. Results will depend on how long they have had their physical issues, whether they have any scar tissue, the amount of stress they typically have and their compliance to self-care, particularly stretching and body awareness. But many have felt relief in one to two sessions. With weekly or biweekly sessions, many have had significant results within six to 10 sessions and continue with monthly or bimonthly maintenance.

What else do you want people to know? Our bodies are meant to move in several planes of movement. Many exercises, including walking, running, cycling and the elliptical, have us in only one repetitive plane of movement. These are all great ways to work out, but it is imperative to supplement with other modalities such as weight training, which by design, if done correctly, requires us to use our muscles in a balanced way. Stretching is the most important thing we can do to help prevent injuries. Massage and assisted stretching are exceptional in that they help us get to that place of flexibility so that we are able to more easily do it on our own.

Also important is an understanding of “how and why” our bodies have reached their current states. I offer posture and flexibility workshops for individuals and for workplaces to help bring this understanding in a simple way, along with techniques that participants can use throughout their busy day.

Nita Keesler is a licensed and board-certified massage and bodywork therapist with over 20 years of experience. For more information, call 267-980-1727, email iNitaUnwind@gmail.com or visit Back-In-Balance.MassageTherapy.com. Check for discount package pricing, current specials and new client specials.

June 2016

Reflexology Practitioner Program Hosts Monthly Open Houses

EB_EssentialConnections-2_0616Tracy McGovern, owner, practitioner and instructor at Essential Connections Reflexology & Reiki, will offer a Reflexology Practitioner Program (150-hour foundations course), with both weekend and evening options, beginning in fall, 2016. To educate those interested in the program, she will host open houses to offer time to meet the instructors, chat with graduates of the programs, get details and ask questions, at 7 p.m., June 29; 7 p.m., July 28; and 11 a.m., August 20, in Ottsville. The open houses are free, but require registration.

The practitioner program is designed in two parts to allow students to begin working in the field as soon as possible, while also having the chance to complete a full, 300-hour program—the national standard. The program is dedicated to facilitating practitioners with a firm foundation and knowledge that will empower them to welcome the intuitive side of holistic practice. It is about producing practitioners with the critical thinking and openness to be able to grow into their own abilities.

Discussion and information regarding the business side of a holistic practice will be part of the program, useful to those planning to create their own practice, work for others or even apply their skills to friends and family.

“Truly, reflexology is a tool of empowerment—empowering the human body to seek its full potential and empowering people to reconnect, understand and participate in their own healing and wellness potential,” says McGovern. “The simplicity of reflexology shrouds the near-magical effectiveness of its function. The awareness and growth that comes from learning or receiving reflexology always seems to exceed all beginning expectations.”

Essential Connections Reflexology & Reiki serves the local area to help people reach their full potential of health, utilizing traditional foot reflexology and intuitive reiki as well as a few new additions: Tibetan healing modalities, head and neck, reflex therapy and neuro-foot reflex therapy.

Locations: The Room at Meadowbrook, 4089 Durham Rd., Ottsville, and Quakertown Integrated Health Center, 600 W. Broad St., Quakertown. For more information, call 215-858-8195, email Tracy@EssentialConnections.biz or visit EssentialConnections.biz.

June 2016

The Green Way to Safely Control Pests

by Elisa Smith

InsectFirebugIt may at first seem unlikely that organic gardening and pest control could be related, but the link is obvious to Daniel Owusuh. The founder of Greenway Pest Control, Owusuh began his career in organic agriculture, studying agriculture in Israel before returning to the U.S. as a research fellow at the renowned Rodale Institute Research Center in Kutztown.

With a focus on the soil/plant/human relationship, he was dismayed to learn that a traditional pest control company had been contracted to treat his apartment with toxic pesticides, and he realized that the same principles and methods that allow crops to thrive without harmful chemicals could be utilized to keep homes and businesses pest-free, as well. When he learned that an environmentally friendly option did not exist, he obtained his pesticide license and studied the business from the inside, learning the methodology that would allow him to apply the principles of organic agriculture to structural pest control, ultimately opening his own business in 2007.

InsectAnt“Similar to holistic medicine, where patients agree to healthy diet and lifestyle choices, green pest control works best when the customer is willing to follow simple common sense guidelines in addition to incorporating non-toxic products proven to repel or control common household and office pests,” says Owusuh. “Simply making a space less hospitable to pests goes a long way toward solving the problem and reduces the toxic load to our planet and to us, its inhabitants.”

Of course, knowing what changes to make is the key, and with more than 20 years of experience, Owusuh is able to assess the problem and offer environmentally friendly solutions, using only natural insecticides, pesticides and repellents safe for use around humans and pets. Simple strategies might include structural modification—sealing gaps between walls and around pipes and doors—and otherwise blocking interior access. Other methods call upon Owusuh’s knowledge of insect behavior, like understanding that eliminating visible ants is ineffective unless the colony’s queen is also eliminated. Setting up a bait system that targets the colony and its queen, along with the use of natural deterrents, will eradicate the problem while preventing re-infestation.

CS_GreenwayPestControl_0616Greenway Pest Control uses inspection, observation and intervention, the three-stage Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency, to develop comprehensive customized programs that address the unique needs of each client, both affordably and effectively. Using botanical extracts, special soaps, herbs and other natural treatments that are toxic to pests, but not to humans, pets or the planet, Owusuh’s team can safely eliminate virtually any pests, including spiders, roaches, millipedes/centipedes, ants, silverfish, fleas and bees. They can even address rodent, termite and bedbug issues. The company also offers a home inspection program for real estate buyers and sellers.

“Living healthy today is about more than just eating right and exercising. We help maintain a healthy, pest-free living and working space for families and pets, customers and staff, while also protecting ourselves and the environment from toxicity,” says Owusuh. “Always remember that healthy soil produces healthy plants, leading to human health.”

Greenway Pest Control is licensed to serve all of Pennsylvania. For more information, call 610-395-4941 (office) or 610-703-8031 (cell), or visit TheGreenwayPestControl.com.

June 2016

John of God Crystal Bed Healing at Greenshire

EB_Greenshire-Berk_0616Greenshire Arts Consortium will host a free introduction describing the work of John of God, a world-renowned spiritual healer from Brazil, at 7 p.m., June 9. Elaine Berk, psychotherapist, will present a detailed description of her healing experiences with him, and will also describe his Crystal Bed therapy, which was developed to aid people in their healing journeys. Berk will be offering individual, 90-minute Crystal Bed healings from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., June 20.

Crystal Bed therapy opens, clears and balances the energy system, promoting emotional, physical and spiritual healing. Individuals lie underneath seven precision crystals that radiate light, color and energy over each chakra. Many people report an enhanced sense of peace, health and well-being. Sessions include: support to set healing intentions; 60 minutes on the Crystal Bed; high -vibration water and ceremonial music used for release and transformation; and prayers used by John of God.

“Those interested in John of God’s work, but unable to travel to Brazil, will experience some of the unique opportunities through my talk and from healing on the Crystal Bed,” emphasizes Berk. “Helping others has been a connecting thread throughout my career, bringing the most significant healing to individuals. Through my outreach to others, I endeavor to make a difference in the world. That is why sharing John of God’s work is very special.”

Location: 3620 Sterner Mill Rd., Quakertown. Call 215-538-0976 or email Info@GreenshireArts.org to reserve your place at the free introduction or to make an appointment for Crystal Bed Healing.

June 2016

Solstice Expo & Holistic Fair in New Hope

EB_SolsticeExpo_Logo-01The Society for Metaphysical Enlightenment invites participants to tune up their bodies, minds and spirits and experience the love of higher consciousness at the Eighth Annual Solstice Expo and Holistic Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 18 and 19, at the New Hope Eagle Firehouse.

Special guest presentations will be made by Kimberly Uhl and Arthur Gutkin. Uhl, an intuitive counselor who facilitates healing of the mind, body and spirit, will present an interactive demonstration lecture on a Matrix Energetics healing/releasing technique. Gutkin, a certified NGH hypnotherapist, will present a seminar, “How Our Past Lives Can Resolve Our Present-Day Issues.” Other guest speakers are scheduled every hour.

“This is our eighth year, and each time we do it, it gets richer and more diverse. If you haven’t yet experienced one of our shows, we hope this year will be the year,” states organizer Tony Kenton. “This is a happy, joyful, festive, fun event of like-minded people of a high consciousness. Feel the energy similar to an adult version of the flower-power sixties.”

Area energy healers and practitioners, along with mind/body therapists and holistic practitioners, will offer massage and stress management techniques and many more healing modalities. Artwork, jewelry and crystals will also be displayed for purchase, along with a natural food court.

Cost: $7. Location: 46 N. Sugan Rd., New Hope. For more information, call 267-261-2768 or visit WeAreSME.com.

June 2016

38 Million Reasons to Give Up Bottled Water

by Lisa White

BottlePlasticTrashRecycle_12226117_lThe statistics are disappointing: 38 billion plastic water bottles aren’t recycled each year. But there’s no need to lose out on the health benefits of on-the-go agua. Switch to reusable bottles—and for all of the right reasons.

Create a fashion statement.
There are so many to chose from. At a local store or online from sites such as LifeFactory.com, WaterBobble.com, Camelbak.com, Sigg.com and Nalgene.com, reusable bottles can be stainless steel, aluminum, glass, polycarbonate or other plastics. Be certain the plastics or liners do not contain BPA, an endocrine-disrupting chemical linked to numerous health concerns.

Save money for important stuff.
Depending on materials and insulating properties, a high-quality reusable bottle generally retails from $5 to $30. Greeniacs.com reports that bottled water can cost up to 10,000 times more per gallon than tap water. The average American currently spends more than $5 per week ($260/year) supporting this $100 billion a year industry. Thirty dollars versus $260 is an impressive return on investment.

Stay healthy.
Bottled water is not necessarily healthier or cleaner than tap water. Bottled water, often stored for long periods of time, may eventually contain more microorganisms than tap water. A lot of bottled water is “purified”, actually originating as drinking water from a municipal water system. Skip the pricey word games and drink the tap water that is rigorously tested by local, state and federal environmental agencies. If taste and purity are issues, invest in a water filter. Both PUR and Brita offer filtering products that effectively eliminate lead, chlorine, mercury and copper from tap water.

Be a hero to our land and seas.
Discarded bottles litter highways, clog waterways or end up in incinerators and landfills. Plastic in landfills can take up to 700 years to decompose. Microplastics fill patches of our ocean, as evidenced by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch we see in the news.

Save the dinosaurs.
OK, not the actual dinosaurs. Fossil fuels were created from organisms that lived long before the dinosaurs. But none of them are coming back any time soon. The Earth Policy Institute estimates that energy used to pump,process, transport and refrigerate bottled water consumes over 50 million barrels of oil annually, more fuel than is required for 100,000 cars in a year. Recycling those bottles uses additional energy and other resources.

Stand up for communities.
Bottled water is often diverted from communities that rely on that water for their livelihood or future. The bottling companies make profits, and the citizens of these areas are negatively impacted, sometimes even having to buy bottled water themselves when the non-diverted water from their taps is not safe.

Feel good.
Making the switch makes us part of the solution.

Lisa White is a board member and one of more than 550 households owning the Doylestown Food Market, in Doylestown. Check out their Lifefactory silicone-wrapped glass bottles, and don’t miss TAPPED on June 9, part of the Market’s Farm Fresh Film Series. For more information, call 215-348-4548 or visit Doylestown.coop.

June 2016

Anahata Yoga Offers Expanded Trainings

EB_AnahataYoga_AYTTGroupPicAnahata Yoga and Wellness Center is currently accepting students for two different programs: a Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) program, to be held August 12 to 15, and a 200-hour YTT program, beginning September 10. The 200-hour YTT will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, every second weekend of the month, through May 2017.

In the Prenatal YTT program, students will learn the anatomy and physiology of the growing fetus and the resulting changes in the mother’s body during each trimester. Topics covered include fetal development, physiological and hormonal changes in the mother’s body, as well as possible body responses to these changes.  Appropriate asana, assisting, pranayama, sounding and meditation will be covered for each trimester, including postnatal. Pregnancy discomforts during each stage will be explored along with ways to use yoga, non-traditional methods and traditional techniques to help alleviate these situations. Students will leave confident, qualified and comfortable to teach prenatal yoga in a variety of settings. Early-bird pricing of $600 is available until July 10.

The 200-hour YTT program trainees will learn everything needed to teach all levels of Hatha Yoga in accordance with Yoga Alliance standards, but with Anahata’s unique emphasis on the self-inquiry-based approach to yoga. As one of only 16 Kripalu-Affiliated yoga studios worldwide, Anahata teaches an introspective, Kripalu-influenced, exploration-based approach to yoga. The YTT will feature electives on the teaching team’s specialties: Teaching Beginner’s Yoga, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Trauma-Sensitive Yoga, Ayurveda, the Chakra system and finding your voice as a teacher.

Applicants for the 200-hour YTT are suggested to have at least one year of yoga experience with a commitment to a personal yoga practice, a compassionate heart and a genuine desire to take this transformational journey. Pricing ranges between $2,100 and $2,300, and a variety of payment options are available.

“Our trainings continue to evolve and expand as our community grows. But we are still, and always will be, a small studio at heart. The personal relationship we have with our students is very important, and will remain so, even as we broaden our offerings,” says Kathleen Tooley, Anahata’s founder and lead teacher.

Location: 703 Harleysville Pk., Harleysville. For more information and to register, call 215-740-1354 or visit AnahataYogaWellness.com.

June 2016 Issue

Letter from the Publisher, June 2016

Karen_LFP_0516This month’s issue, Balanced Man and Cultivating Compassion, aims to bring us closer to the men in our lives: their ailments and issues, hopes and fears, celebrations and secrets. We hope to expand the cultural conversation to include more of the personal experiences of our husbands, brothers, fathers and sons.

The recent, critically acclaimed book Remaking Manhood, The Modern Masculinity Movement: Stories from the Front Lines of Change, written by Mark Greene, talks about  how men have been raised to disconnect with their vulnerability, leaving them feeling socially isolated and shut off from their emotions. The personal essays in the book describe how this damages the psyches of boys and men and is detrimental to families and communities. Greene’s nonprofit organization, the Good Men Project, gives voice to the modern masculinity movement, which suggests that the archetype of manhood be reconstructed to eradicate notions like “boys don’t cry” and replace them with models of expression and emotional empowerment for men and women alike.

Watching my husband and my friends’ husbands with their kids is a testament to the progress being made. Unlike many fathers and grandfathers in generations past, for whom changing dirty diapers was beyond the pale, in many modern families the guys are just as likely to be cuddling, coddling and coaching their children—in the process smudging out outmoded stereotypes about what’s “natural” to one particular gender.

As usual, Natural Awakenings is on the cutting edge of the conversation, nationally and here in the Philadelphia suburbs. Our feature pieces delve into “new” fatherhood, ways to improve emotional intelligence, and communication strategies for long-lasting relationships by renowned relationship gurus Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks. Our local subject matter experts address massage for decreasing stress and pain, as well as compassionate divorce. We’ll hear also from the “leading men” creating innovations in green pest control and green burial, where compassion for people and planet are the motivating ideals.

With you in Awakening,

Karen G. Meshkov