Deeper Connection to Self and Community at Empowered Light Holistic Expo

This fall’s Empowered Light Holistic Expo is just around the corner, running from 5 to 9 p.m., October 27, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., October 28 and 29, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 100 Station Avenue, in Oaks. Plenty of free parking is available.

The expo’s focus is on holistic lifestyles, spiritual classes and personal development. “Most people feel stressed and distracted, and are looking for more connection and answers,” says the expo’s founder, Sue Greenwald. “They need healthier ways to handle the increasing stress they’re facing. The expo offers connection with new friends, new ideas and, most of all, a community where people feel supported in a fun way.”

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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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Letter from the Publisher, June 2017

PAIN has an element of blank; / It cannot recollect

When it began, or if there were / A day when it was not.

It has no future but itself, / Its infinite realms contain

Its past, enlightened to perceive / New periods of pain.

~Emily Dickenson

Karen Meshkov, Natural Awakenings BuxMontPain is a chronic condition shared by 100 million Americans; it’s the leading reason people go to doctors in the U.S., costing the nation upwards of $635 billion a year—more than cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

WebMD explains how vast and amorphous the condition can be, saying, “Chronic pain can be mild or excruciating, episodic or continuous, merely inconvenient or totally incapacitating…the signals of pain remain active in the nervous system for months or even years.” Sometimes the cause is known, or eventually discovered; sometimes the source remains a mystery.

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Letter from the Publisher, October 2016

Karen_LFP_0516Fall is a time for learning, and this October, our curriculum includes current trends in energy medicine, energy healing and energy psychology (EP). Within the umbrella of “energy work” there exists a wide range of treatment options, from the ancient to the innovative, all with the purpose of balancing the body’s energetic flow, and achieving an optimal state of physical, emotional and spiritual health. Well-known body-centered practices like yoga, massage, reiki, acupuncture, reflexology and osteopathic manipulation; EP techniques including Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or “tapping”; Eric Pearl’s reconnective therapy; and Donna Eden’s energy medicine curriculum are only a sampling of the modalities that make up this growing body of practices.

We’re also celebrating the sea change in popular culture, as energy healing as a whole becomes more widely recognized by the mainstream. The National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s 2012 survey reports that approximately 38 percent of U.S. adults and approximately 12 percent of children used some form of complementary health treatment, and that they collectively spent $30 billion in out-of-pocket costs on those services. Nearly 30 percent of that spending was for practices classified as energy medicine. The office’s 2016 strategic plan allocates considerable federal money to continued clinical trials to identify the safety and usefulness of these practices in disease prevention and treatment. Surely, this is a sign of a turning tide.

Examples of this shift abound in healthcare, educational and correctional settings. Yoga, after proving its efficacy as a form of physical fitness and stress relief, is currently being mined for its usefulness in managing more subtle, energetic aspects of mind and emotional regulation in schools, rehabilitation and prison settings.

Major medical centers are now offering a range of complementary and mind-body approaches, such as acupuncture, tai chi and massage, in combination with conventional, allopathic medical treatment, and they are measuring their results in respected, peer-reviewed journals. Nurses are training in reiki and Healing Touch and are offering those services to patients in oncology, surgical and palliative settings. According to the American Hospital Association, in 2007, over 800 American hospitals offered reiki as part of their hospital services.

Whereas EP evidence was mostly anecdotal ten years ago, The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP) now cites over 80 research studies, including multiple randomized controlled trials published in professional and refereed journals, that confirm the treatment value of energy psychology when applied to many different problems, such as post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, stress management and performance enhancement. In 2012, ACEP became the first organization to be approved by the APA to give psychologists continuing education for energy psychology.

The research investigating the benefits of these modalities continues to increase as the interest from the public demands it.

It’s exciting to think about how these developments could impact the way we approach physical and mental health in our near and distant futures. Imagine teachers that can help children with ADHD into yoga poses, nurses trained to use hands-on healing after chemotherapy sessions, test proctors teaching EFT to a room of nervous students, and law enforcement officers skilled at guided mindful meditation, bringing presence and peace to the carceral environment.

Come, open your mind with us, and consider the possibilities for wellness in a more “energetic” tomorrow.

Together, we are “Making the Awakening” in Bucks and Montgomery Counties.

Karen G. Meshkov

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

MAY 2014: WOMEN’S WELLNESS, Table of Contents

Click on image to read issue
or see Table of Contents below

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Bellabaci Method of Modern Cupping Workshop

bellabacciCarrie Wiedemann hosts a workshop on the Bellabaci Method of Modern Cupping, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., February 1, at LaSalle University Bucks County Center, in Newtown. Participants will learn the cupping method, which is used to relieve sore muscles and provides a method for facials and cellulite treatment.
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