Category Archives: healing inspiration

Staying Healthy & Healing Illness In Winter

We’ve already had a lot of cold weather as we head into Winter. And the wind has been pretty penetrating. I’ve taken to calling it’s effects “deranged vata”….sort of an acupuncture/ayurveda shorthand for having your groundedness blown away by the winds.

We are mammals. Mammals slow down and sleep a lot more during the short, cold days of Winter. This means us!

The holidays are often an emotional time, and they can run our reserves down in many ways. In this post I share ways you can slow down, take care of yourself, and savor just being. This is followed by a section on how to be more comfortable during a cold or flu, and how to speed recovery.

Simple Ways to Stay Healthy During Winter

Here are some suggestions to help keep your immune system healthy this holiday season.

Go for a walk. 20 minutes will do. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins and promotes healthy blood & lymphatic circulation helping the immune system function well. You’ll be generating much needed Vitamin D, so make sure your eyes are not covered with sunglasses for at least 10 minutes, even if it’s cloudy.

When you have time, make sure to get out somewhere more wild from time to time. Leaving civilization behind and letting the sights, smells, and sounds of the forest wash over you, will refresh your body, mind and spirit in unexpected ways.

Find time for mindful moments. It is important to carve out a few minutes each day just for you. Research shows that people who practice mindfulness are less stressed, more focused, and better able to regulate their emotions. Try the “Insight Timer” app on your phone. Not only does it have varying lengths and focuses of meditations, but also ambient & binaural music/sounds to enhance various states of being.

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy.
Then you should sit for an hour.”
                                                  -Zen proverb 

Wash your hands often. I’m sure you have heard this advice hundreds of times, especially in public spaces, or if someone in your household isn’t well. Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

Drink lots of water. No matter the time of year staying hydrated is a healthy habit, and supports the body during times of occasional stress. Drinking fluids flushes out toxins and helps with temperature regulation.

I recently noticed I wasn’t drinking as much water as I normally do since the temperatures have dropped. Consequently I’ve developed a new habit of heating up water in a kettle, pouring a cup and adding ginger juice to it, throughout the day. This simple habit has helped me not only stay hydrated, but digest well and stay warm too. Ginger is a digestive aid, relieves nausea, is warming. and it lowers blood pressure too! I love plants! And this is how they love us!

Make sleep a priority. Lack of sleep can affect your immune system as studies show that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick.

Try these tricks for getting to bed early, and falling asleep more easily: 

  • Buy safety glasses with orange lenses to wear after the sun goes down. This will block the blue light from screens and light fixtures, allowing our bodies natural sleep cycle to kick in.
  • Keep a tincture of the herb Valerian root near your bed for those times when sleep is not coming easily. A dropperful or two will help you sleep through the night without any side-effects. Melatonin is a supplement the some people use too, for the same purpose.
  • Lower the temperature of your thermostat to 60 degrees at night. A cold-air humidifier in your room while you are sleeping will keep you hydrated while heat from the furnace is keeping you warm. I found a good, inexpensive model at Target with a silver filter in the tank to fight mildew, and a aromatherapy pad where you can add lavender oil to help you sleep, and/or rosemary and eucalyptus oil to help you breathe if you have a cold.

Herbs & Home Therapies to Soothe & Heal the Nasties

When my office was separate from my home I’d carry around NAC, olive leaf extract & oregano oil capsules in my bag during the late fall through winter. At the first sign of any inkling of a cold I’ll take NAC (N-acetyl cystisine), a potent anti-oxidant that also thins mucus. This is important to me as I have been prone to sinus infections. Cutting dairy out has helped immensely too. Particularly in the winter.

If the cold isn’t nipped in the bud by NAC, I’ll take an olive leaf capsule. And if I’m already ill, oregano oil capsules improve my symptoms within 20 minutes and will begin overpowering whatever it is that has me down.

A great way to stay nourished if you have a fever and no appetite is to sip Bone Broth, as you can. If you have a cold without fever, Bone Broth soup or vegetarian equivalent will give you a lot of the nutrients you need to speed healing.

Teas that are useful when you’re sick are Throat Comfort, Breathe Deep, & Cold Season by Yogi Teas, and Breathe Easy, Throat Coat, & Gypsy Cold Care by Traditional Medicinals. These can be found at the locally owned stores, My Organic Market.  Horehound tea and cough drops are helpful for managing coughing and bronchitis.

That humidifier I spoke about above will come in handy if you get sick: Use the aromatherapy pad and add any combination of the following essential oils to help you breathe more easily: eucalyptus, rosemary; and use lavender to help you sleep.

Photo by Steven Diaz on Unsplash

Heat packs for aches and sore throats are so helpful. Here is a yummy neck and shoulder wrap that I have my eye on. I use a microwave to warm my heat packs up. It’s the only reason I use a microwave, as microwaving food destroys nutrients.

A hot bath is helpful if you have enough energy to prepare one, or someone can prepare it for you. Use a cup of epsom salts and a cup or two of apple cider vinegar with lavender and rosemary essential oils in the bath. Don’t use eucalyptus in a bath as it is too strong for your tender nether region.

Be sure to contact me if you are interested in exploring ways to work with me. To your health! ~Warmly, Angela

 

 

 

Are you overwhelmed by the process of restoring health?

Let’s see what the fairytale, Rumplestiltskin
has to teach about this process:

Damsel: Oh dear! I don’t know how to turn this room full of straw into gold!
What ever shall I do???
Rumplestiltskin: Never fear! I know how to help you!
But, I’ll need you to provide me something of value for my help.
Damsel: Of course! Here is my necklace in return for your help!

Damsel: Oh no! I have to turn a bigger room full of straw into gold! Will you help me????
Rumplestiltskin: Of course. But again, I will need you to provide me with something you value in exchange for my help.
Damsel: Yes, of course. Here is my ring.

Damsel: I’m so distraught! I have to turn an even bigger room full of straw into gold. Alas, I have nothing to give you in return for your help.

The little imp gets to work on the huge room of straw turning it into gold. When finished he notifies our heroine that he requires her first born child in payment. Horrors!

Our damsel is beside herself, learning of the horrible bargain. Rumplestiltskin offers: If you can guess my name, you will be released from the bargain. Our damsel employs the help of her community to learn the name of the strange little man. One of her allies hears Rumplestiltskin, as he dances around his fire, singing out his own name! Her ally returns with the news, and shares his name with the damsel.

When the little man returns for his due, after the birth of the damsel’s child, he is furious when she guesses his name. For in doing so, she breaks the horrible spell. At that moment Rumplestiltskin stomps his foot, and instantly splits in two.

Unfortunately, the process of restoring health can feel as impossible as turning straw into gold, and as harrowing as this story. And as in any house, all rooms need to be tended to.

  • The first room of straw, tending to the body, is most easily accepted as part of the process of healing. In order to make progress on the way to optimal health, payment of some form is needed. The most obvious is paying a professional for their guidance/talents. But ultimately it requires giving up the way you used to treat your body, in exchange for a new, healthier way to nourish and care for your body.
  • The second room of straw could be seen as restoration of emotional health. So often people are stressed because of difficulties in their relationships with others, whether professional, familial, or personal. These conlficts take a great toll on a persons health. At the same time, looking more deeply, you see that relational challenges begin within. Problematic relating is learned, or imprinted, in our family of origin before we had any say.

    The price to be paid here, to have assistance with transforming our relationships, again may be paying a professional for their guidance/talents. On a deeper level, it is the payment of relinquishing a way of being with others and ourselves that was uncomfortable at best, and dysfunctional to varying degrees. The former way of being is traded for new awareness and new behavior that can generate “golden” relationships and emotional health, which also contributes to improved physical health.

  • The third room requires deep trust in the process. You can see how changing your physical habits create more health. And then you’ve seen how interpersonal relationships improve your well-being. What more could there be? This is where external authority is ultimately relinquished. Here is the most challenging bargain of all, as what needs to be given up is what your family, your culture, your country has told you is TRUE.

    The “spell” of the bargain is broken. Rumplestiltskin, the mysterious little imp, stomps his foot in anger and is split in two. The illusion of power over our damsel is broken. The veil of illusion split in two. You have earned the right to keep your own new life: no one else ultimately has authority over you.

Try this exercise when you have a few minutes,
to explore how it feels when things begin to transform:

  • Bring your attention within. How are you feeling? Disheartened? Anxious? Suspicious? Let yourself take a few moments to notice how your body feels. Notice any emotions you are feeling. Don’t try to change your emotions…if you are anxious, be anxious! Notice how ‘anxious’ feels, and make space for it. And breathe.

    After you’ve taken a few deep breaths, close your eyes and gently revisit a time of moderate challenge for you. What feelings do you remember? Sadness? Fear? Loneliness? What ever those feelings were, notice what happens in your body, being with the memory.

    What happens? Does your breath become more shallow? Do your chest and shoulders constrict? Whatever it is just notice what affects it has on your body…your breathing. Now gently let that memory go.

  • Now, take a few slow, deep breaths. Travel in memory to a time when you experienced a breakthrough in your life. What feelings do you remember? Elation? Inspiration? Joy? Whatever they were, let your body feel all those feelings from that time. Feel them fully.

    What do you notice in your body? Does your spine begin to straighten? Do you feel your heart in your chest expanding? Do you feel your energy rising? Does a smile come to your face? Enjoy the memory, then gently let this one fade too.

Example: Not too long ago, one of my clients was lying on the table telling me how afraid she was of injuring herself again. Yet, she didn’t want to give up on the activities she loves. Who could blame her? In that moment I was reminded of the teachers who encouraged me to listen to my intuition…”it’s going to rain, bring your umbrella” ……”slow down, you don’t know what’s around that corner”…You know, that still, small voice within that is constantly looking out for you?

I wondered if my client was consciously aware of the value of listening for that inner knowing? We explored this during her time on the table, and I could sense she hadn’t really tuned in this way previously, even though she is quite a conscious person. She later reported that the shift in her attention toward listening to that still, small voice is helping her honor her limits. It’s keeping her safe.

My client had come to resolve the effects of a previous injury to her body, which was being tended to, during our session. During the treatment, fear arose, which she gave voice to…there was a lack of trust in herself, physically and relationally, because of the accident she had experienced. Through my sharing of the importance in bringing more attention to the “still, small voice” as trusted inner guidance, she later saw that was able to trust that she knew how to keep herself safe. She became more empowered.

Healing is a multidimensional process. The process of restoring health naturally takes committed tending to body, emotions, relationships and spirit. Through the process you are likely to become adept at transforming any “straw” in your life into a golden opportunity!

This is the way it works…

Earlier in the week the temperature reached seventy degrees. Cycling along the C&O Canal, the shadows of trees and saplings fell east across the tow-path. My tires bumped over a camouflaged black snake lying parallel to the shadows. Adrenaline pumping as my bike halted and prayers began for the wellbeing of the snake. It’s head held up, dusty tire marks left midway through its four-foot length. Toward the head, graceful curves of its body remained, while the length of the tail expressed shock. Prayers continued for the well-being of the snake.

Since it was a weekday, there weren’t many folks on the trail. Still, my intention was to protect itautumn stream 2 from any other mishap, not knowing if it could move itself to safety. Gathering fallen branches and praying, barriers were built parallel to the snake on either side. It’s head raised and aware of my movements the entire time. Just as awareness came to me that there was nothing more to do, the snake slithered off down the bank toward the river, with all parts moving smoothly, though probably sorely, to safely. Overjoyed, my prayers stayed with this symbol of transformation for much of the ride.


Praying for the snake, was praying for myself. The moment the incident happened, awareness that my action had perhaps adversely affected a manifest symbol of transformation put directly in my path. It came to awareness that my actions were adversely affecting my transformation: so prayers for the snake were prayers for me.


On Friday morning, a business coach emailed a consulting offer that was appealing. As the day went on my resolve to take her up on the offer wavered: the cost. Before bed that night my experience with the snake on the canal flashed into my mind. Certainty that taking her up on her offer would be of benefit became clear. Still; finances had me frozen. Checking the mailbox the following day, there appeared an envelope from Toyota. A class action law suit had been settled. Attached was a check that would cover the amount for the business consulting fee. Pay attention.

There was a girl born with many talents…… 

Crying in Restaurants While Slawing Cabbage

This is such an amazing, poignant article. Well worth taking the time to read. Sharing perspective such as this, and the work it takes to embody it will truly heal our hearts.

Crying in Restaurants While Slawing Cabbage.

Thank you Mark!

Prenatal Massage, Perinatal Care and the Future

When I was asked to write about prenatal massage, I could only think of all the things I am learning about how pre and perinatal birth experiences may imprint us for life, and have the potential to affect generations!. Common prenatal massage benefits are the mother-to-be’s physical and emotional well-being. Sometimes it is mentioned that the unborn little ones receive benefits from endorphin release as well. All true. But it’s only the tip of the iceberg!

The latest in neuroscience and the new field of epigenetics have shown researchers that there is so much more to this. As I am in a Pre and Perinatal Trauma Resolution training I’ll be able to explain it all better soon. But for now, since it is transforming the way I language things. And is permeating all aspects of my practice. In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll share resources I believe will support any child at any stage of life, whether in utero, childhood or adulthood.

pregnancy imageSome of you may already know that we are present in our mothers, when our mothers are in our grandmothers womb. Yes, a four month old fetus already contains all the eggs she will carry forth into her maturity. Epigenetics tells us that the emotions, thoughts and experiences of our grandparents effect the expression of genes (which genes are turned on or off) in their grandchildren. Consequently, the greater the endorphin enriched environment a little one is exposed to, the more resiliency the child will express, as will their children!

Science finally supports the instinctual bonds that exist between generations. It it no longer a question of nature vs. nurture: it is nature AND nurture. If your are interested in learning more about this refer to the research eloquently and exuberantly demonstrated in the youtube lecture, The Biology of Belief  by Bruce Lipton, PhD;  The Neurobiology of We by Daniel Seigel, MD; and The Neurobiology of Secure Attachment a youtube interview with Allan Schore, MD. Enjoy!

Loving prenatal care in all forms will positively affect mother, father, family system, newborn, and their little ones; rippling out into the future. Prenatal massage and bodywork is certainly supportive of resiliency. Prenatal care that supports the empowerment of the family is essential. As is the environment surrounding birth and infant development, as mentioned earlier. One of many wonderful resources supportive of empowered birth is Spiritual Midwifery, a very readable classic by Ina May Gaskin. I highly recommend it to anyone planning on parenthood.

So, this wasn’t exactly an article on the benefits of prenatal massage. But I hope it offers compelling resources that are empowering to mothers and families for generations!.  With love…..Angela

Attachment & Perinatal Resiliency

Entwining treesMy healing arts practice has supported women and men of all stripes quite intensively for more than twelve years, through Maya Abdominal Therapy sessions. My work always challenges me to grow personally and professionally.  And sometimes my own challenges lead me to study certain disciplines, as is the case with pursuing Biodynmic Craniosacral Training. After a head injury in Guatemala from falling off a horse, it was the modality that helped me thrive again in so many ways!

Through the Biodynamic Craniosacral Training I completed last June, I was exposed to pre and peri natal psychology and health. This sounds like it relates solely to infant health. Not so. This work supports healing for anyone, at anytime, who has undergone challenges in utero, through the process of birthing and post partum as a wee one, prior to the age of three. I offer a quote from the Association for Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health website:

“We find that prenatal and perinatal experiences have a profound impact on the subsequent quality of health and human behavior; we see that life is a continuum which starts before conception, not after birth. During this formative period, parents and babies are not isolated from each other but fundamentally interconnected. A loving prenatal and perinatal experience inspires such things as bonding and sensitivity to others which have long-term consequences for both individual relationships and for society. Ultimately, womb ecology reveals itself in world ecology as the seeds of peace or violence are sown by parents, their models, teachers, and caregivers during pregnancy and birth.”
My perinatal period was challenging, and through receiving and training in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, and especially experiencing a “Birthing Your Self Process Workshop”with Myrna Martin I have been able to heal up a primal wound with my mother that eluded all other attempts at healing! Profound.

This month I began a two-year training with Myrna, with the intent of bringing this work to my clients, and making it available to more communities.  I am so looking forward to being able to offer this work in the future! Stay tuned!