Wild yam

Wild yam

At last!  Winter has softened into Spring!  Persephone, the Goddess who spends half the year in darkness with Hades, God of the underworld, has returned to us. Spring Beauties, Violets, Bluets and and Toothwort are blossoming on the forest floor, Welcome dear friends, our plant allies! You have been missed! What I have learned this Winter, and what I will share in this newsletter, affects the reproductive system, energy levels, weight concerns, menopause, aging, and more.

The winter months have been a time of deep realizations and processing, rather than outward expression. I became aware of being hypothyroid, and the knowledge of this has helped me tailor the ways I care for myself.  I’d been witnessing thyroid challenges my sister has been facing these past months, and through our conversations became aware that I have been managing symptoms of being hypothyroid for quite some time, using herbs, diet and supplements. 

Because diabetes runs in both sides of my lineage, I thought I was staving off that disease. I have been successful in that. However I had been frustrated with lingering symptoms such as weight gain, dry skin, fluctuating energy levels and brittle hair. In my research I have found that hypothyroidism is epidemic, particularly among women. Symptoms include fertility issues, menstrual challenges, overweight or weight gain, menopause challenges, fatigue, brittle hair, dry skin and moodiness, exhaustion, brain fog, and so many more.My Earth Day

Many of the symptoms I have mentioned above often show up in my clients, as they are mostly women coming to me for therapeutic massage, herbal consultations, Maya Abdominal Therapy, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy and/or Pre and Perinatal Trauma Resolution. While hypothyroidism is a challenge for me, I am happy to now, through this experience, to have a much deeper understanding of the issues facing my clients, and many more tools to support them, not only in achieving relief from these challenging symptoms, but in gaining optimal health at any age!

You may see yourself, or someone you love, in the abbreviated symptom picture I have described. My intention in this newsletter, is to empower you to regain vibrant health by helping you discover likely, greatly variable causes for the disease; share information essential to your getting an accurate diagnosis; and offer resources for resolving symptoms.

CAUSES

The causes of hypothyroidism, and other thyroid diseases, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are many, and often genetic predisposition is present, but can
also be caused by other factors. Genetic expression may be turned on through prolonged periods of intense stress, pregnancy, menopause, aging, and head and neck injuries. Other contributing factors include over-treatment for Graves disease, or Hashimoto’s; bromide (in seafood and some baked goods) and/or fluoride (an added chemical to our drinking water) toxicity; iodine insufficiency, selenium and/or iron deficiency; B12 utilization; thyroidectomy; pituitary gland failure and more. 

For a more complete list and explanation you might be interested in purchasing the book Stop the Thyroid Madness, by Janie Bowthorpe, M.Ed. It is a compilation of the experiences of thousand of thyroid patients. Though I find that writing and editing are not top notch, the10755 information is incredibly useful. And to be fair, I’m sure expediency of delivery was the objective, in order to help as many as possible.

SYMPTOMS

As mentioned above, the symptoms of hypothyroidism are many and varied, including fertility and/or menstrual challenges, overweight or weight gain, menopause challenges, fatigue, brittle hair, dry skin and moodiness, heart palpitations, exhaustion, brain fog, psychiatric diagnoses, and so many more. Symptoms can begin slowly. A person may go from being hyperthyroid when younger to hypothyroid over time, with fluctuations along the way. And for some, hypothyroidism may turn into an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

I have been focusing on supporting my thyroid, based on the research I, and so many others have done, again, through herbs, supplements and diet. And I am very happy with the results so far. My feeling, is that this autoimmune disease, like type II diabetes, may be cured and at the very least managed. Success is possible through developing a supportive community for managing stress that includes family, friends and professionals, through dietary choices, and by using supportive supplements.

UNDERLYING ADRENAL FACTORS

It is essential not to ignore the adrenal glands when determining the causes of  symptoms. The adrenal glands are walnut sized glands that sit above and adjacent to the kidneys. Like the thyroid, they are cued by the pituitary, the master gland of the body. The adrenal glands play a powerful role in managing stress, whether physical, emotional or mental. They are the glands that produce aldosterone and cortisol. 

Cortisol stimulates blood sugar levels. You can see that if under chronic stress, blood sugar levels remain high, causing chronic inflammation, which in turn causes weight gain and oxidative stress on all systems of the body.  The adrenals also produce aldosterone which regulates internal fluid balance and blood pressure, as well as sex hormones testosterone and estrogen, among others. When seeking treatment for thyroid issues, it is essential to test for adrenal function, as adrenal fatigue may be the underlying cause a cascade of symptoms, resulting in thyroid dysfunction.

BLOOD and SA16636-1LIVA TESTING

The place to begin is to have relevant blood tests and a saliva test done to determine where your body needs support. Thyroid issues do not respond to a one-size-fits-all approach. Relevant blood tests are Iron and TIBC panel (Total Iron Binding Capacity), Thyroid antibody panel, anemia panel (including B12 levels), and a Weight Loss Panel which includes TSH, free T3 + Free T4, hormone levels, cholesterol and more. Adrenal testing is done through a saliva test, resources for this can be found on http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ site. The book, by the same name, provides detailed information on why these tests are needed for proper diagnosis and treatment.

HERBS, SUPPLEMENTS AND DIET

There are many plant allies that support adrenal and thyroid health. In the case of thyroid issues, it is helpful to consult a practitioner to find which herbs are right for your situation. Herbs supportive of adrenal health are schizandra, ashwagandha, licorice and ginseng (panax). Herbs that are supportive of the thyroid include bladderwrack, hops, passionflower and sage. 

It is also useful to know that thyroid imbalances have been found to be aggravated by gluten. So, step one might be just to remove gluten (wheat, rye, barley) from your diet. It’s much easier to do than you think. I did, and my I soon had no discomfort in my abdomen, and I dropped about seven pounds!

Supplements that are supportive of thyroid health specifically include iodine and l-tyrosine. Patients have found that raw dessicated porcine thyroid works much better than Synthroid, and even the newly reformulated Armour. I offer this information as a beginning point, and recommend seeking supportive health care providers to assist you on your journey.

FINDING SUPPORTIVE HEALTH CARE PROVIDERSfoot work

It is important to work with a doctor, or other health care provider who understands and supports thyroid and adrenal health. Again, the website http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/ is a valuable resource in helping you find a suitable doctor. Another resource is http://www.brodabarnes.org/, though you may need to pay to receive a listing of doctor’s in your area.  I am an advocate for health professionals that will support your return to optimal health. 

Remember, our genetics are a factor: Experiences that have been passed down to us through our lineage, such as famine, war, surviving holocaust and more, influence genetic expression. There are countless people who would benefit from this knowledge, yet they are unable to use it, as they have no support from family, friends, nor the society around them.  I welcome the opportunity to support you in finding your way on your journey, through the challenges discussed here, or another.

It is through educating ourselves, and making empowered choices, that we will change our own lives to reflect our true values. By living these values we shape our communities, influencing the directions of institutions designed to support us. If established institutions will not support our values, our empowerment will be the catalyst in creating structures that do. 

May we all flourish in the gentle sunlight and warmth she brings!

Yours in health, 

Angela,
Body and Soul Healing Arts

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

Prolapses of the uterus, and attending other lower abdominal organs, i.e. the bladder and rectum sometimes occurs after childbirth with some women. For other women, most of whom have had children, these challenges often appear in our 50’s or later. And for women who have never had children, as well as for those who have, posture plays a huge role! This was a recent epiphany for me.
The following resources support prevention and rehabilitation of these challenges:
  • Maya Abdominal Therapy is very supportive in rehabilitating prolapse/cystocele/rectocele. The self-care massage, which is taught during the session, is done with a pillow under the glutes, tilting the lower abdominal organs back into the body and allowing for greater access to them manually.
  • Postural corrections are essential for rehabilitating the condition and to prevent these challenges from happening at all. It is important to realize that we, as women, are supposed to have a curve in our lower back. Our behinds are not supposed to be tucked under us. Enculturalization, whereby anything remotely provocative of sexuality is suppressed is the basis for requiring denial of healthful posture, and by extension, healthful expression of sexuality. By healing your posture you can heal your sexuality.To remedy the physical aspect of these challenges, strengthening the gluteal muscles and the lateral (outside) aspect of the hips is suggested. Great resources in supporting you to heal your self  (imagine that!), are found at the following websitesWhole Woman, Inc.Aligned and Well, and Hab-it Pelvic Floor Exercises.
  • My experiences have taught me that most dis-ease begins at the psycho/spiritual/soul/emotional level: To support your self in preventing or healing prolapses, I highly recommend reading and following the suggestions in my colleague, Tami Lynn Kent’s book, Wild Feminine. It will empower you in ways that you hadn’t imagined.
  • And finally, the latest yummy oil I have been exposed to is Ashwaganda/Bala Oil, made with a sesame oil base. Soaking a tampon in the oil and inserting in brings it’s tissue tonifying properties to where they are needed. It can also be used as a topical over the abdomen, or anywhere  muscle or fascia may be damaged, debilitated, or in need of restoration. You can purchase this oil at Banyan Botanicals.

Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who might benefit from this information. Share the love and help create a wider and wider circle of empowered women!

The following is something that is not well edited, nor complete in it’s aim. I just had to get this out, as my heart and brain were screaming. I will begin with the caveat that I do appreciate western medicine in times of crises, so I am not bashing allopathic medicine….but critiquing inappropriate and corrupt application. Comments are welcome.

My mind these days keeps wandering back to the book “Woman as Healer”, by Jeanne Achterberg. As well-researched, well-funded interests spin the mass-media they own to be champions of the very few, while less well financially resourced communities are forced to their knees, circumspect reflection raises questions. The fundamental question is what is driving this distortion of what is Real? Fear of being annihilated, of course. Annihilation of wealth and lifestyle, and of their very existence. Ironically, this very fear that is motivating the most unscrupulous, heartless behavior on massive scale, is the unhealed wound that will ultimately topple them. History has shown again and again and again, that actions by a privileged class motivated by fear of the populations their wealth is generated from ultimately destroys the privileged class. It is tragic, to say the least, that the vast amounts of soul healing resources and good will available to heal this fear, is, itself demonized.

This fear of lack, ironically, seeks to ensure a lavish lifestyle for the very few, devoid of a sense of collective responsibility, at ultimate cost to countless others and the very earth that supports humanities, and indeed, many other creatures’ ability to exist. Well-researched and well-funded interests have created what is known in our times as Spin Doctors. Spin Doctors are paid to pit one segment of society against the other to benefit the interests of their Multinational Corporate Financiers.  These individuals and corporate “personhoods“, otherwise, and in other circles, known as hoodlums , without conscience, construct scenarios, manipulate language to create mistrust, fear of other, and foster strife for profit.

I’ve just returned from a meeting in Baltimore of Maryland for Midwives. Now, some of you might think at this point: oh, this doesn’t concern me. Think again. Suppose you had an emergency at home and an EMT were called. They came, tended to you, and advised you that in their estimation, you should allow them to take you to the hospital. You feel the situation has been resolved, and refuse to go. If at this point they were to cart you off to the hospital anyway, against your wishes, that would be kidnapping.

Now, suppose you are a woman about to give birth. You chose to give birth at home.  All the medical/insurance personnel insist you give birth at hospital or you won’t be covered by your insurance, or they will refuse to treat you, against your free will.  After all, women since the beginning of time, have always given birth at home, or in the field, or wherever. What’s the difference?

Some of you may know of the home birth midwife who was charged with and convicted of a felony earlier this year? She was put in jail for a week, without being tried. She was brought into the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit and shackles on her wrists and ankles. Doctors have had many babies and mothers die. Does this ever happen to them? The numbers show that hospital mortality rates for infants and mothers are way above those for home birth midwives.

Last week I heard through a doula client of mine that another beloved veteran, home birth midwife has had her license revoked. Today I have heard of a third. All in practice for many, many years. All the student home birth midwives I know are terrified to practice now, as things stand. Make no  mistake, there is a “witch hunt” going on, designed to take this option off the table for families who want it. It is the single most empowering right of passage a woman goes through. Back to my first sentence, where I mention the book “Woman as Healer”. History shows that in desperate economic times women are persecuted, excluded and prosecuted for sharing what they know, for supporting those who value their knowledge and wisdom. We are in those times again. It is time to look at your choices people. Who and what are you supporting by where you choose to spend your dollars? Are you aware that you pay for “health insurance”. It comes out of your pay. Where does it go? Does it support the people with whom you trust your health, your child’s health?

You are cordially invited to

attend an Open House

at Body & Soul Healing Arts

15127 Comus Road, Clarksburg, Maryland

at your convenience, on either

Thursday evening, September 29th, from 6pm until 8:30pm,

or on Saturday afternoon, October 1st from 1pm until 4pm.

Light refreshments will be served.

Children, significant others and friends are welcome!

I will be available to answer any questions you may have about my practice,
and my new offerings;Workshops for Women’s Health,
Wild Feminine Study Groups
and Sustainable Wellness Day Retreats.

Please click on the links in red, for more detailed information.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
~Angela

Please continue to check in or subscribe for updates. I will be adding updates frequently on these offerings over the next few weeks….

Over the years, my experience as a massage therapist, herbalist and Maya abdominal practitioner, has shown me a great need among those who come to me: the majority are starving for a way to nurture feminine spirituality. The spirituality of Being; the balance to the spirituality of Doing. Feminine spirituality is not the sole domain of women. It is an aspect of human spirituality that has been devalued over millenia, creating imbalance in our relationships and consequently on the planet. You may be interested in arranging a mini retreat for yourself if the following narrative resonates with your experience: Plant Spirit Healing.

My own journey has led me from a traditional judeo/christian odessy to an embodied, responsive, direct relationship with the Earth, our Source. The journey has been long and arduous, and it continues. There are many tools I have come to know that have enabled me to walk many dark nights of the soul with a modicum of grace. As I continue to witness those who come to me in my practice, I am called to offer the fullness of what has sustained me through many a dark night, with those who are seeking the way back to them-Selves; back to inner peace, to their authentic gifts and life purpose. And so I offer these quiet, conveniently local, mini retreats in response to this calling. The structure of the retreats are the result of a co-creative process between your goals and my skills. The mini retreats may focus on fertility issues, sustainable wellness or deep soul work. They may be private, semi-private or small groups. And they are local, so there is no need to make elaborate travel plans, arrangements for pet sitting, nor pack and unpack. Just come with what you need for the day, and go home to sleep in your own bed, rested and refreshed.

I have found that my work primarily supports four types of seekers:

  1. Men and women leading busy lives, who are seeking deeper meaning and more balanced living: Angela works with people from all walks of life and spiritual orientations, who respect the deeper spiritual longings of life; who realize there is “no one right path to God”; and who seek to have more health, balance, meaning and authenticity in their lives. They are ready to invest in and take responsibility for their journey.
  2. Those who are at a cross-roads, or facing a significant life transition: For those who feel lost or out of balance in their lives, and are seeking greater health, clarity, meaning and purpose. This may manifest as a health issue, mid-life crisis, change in career or relationship, or feelings of emptiness, depression, anxiety or loss of meaning. Many are professional, well-educated women and men at mid-life (45+) who have entered a rite of passage, though it is often not recognized as such. Feeling disconnection and disheartened, they are searching for renewal, restored health and well-being, and a way to live an authentic, purposeful contribution to the world. Apprenticing clients, many of whom have become frustrated with the limitations of traditional psychotherapy, feel something essential missing from formalized religion, or are tired of the “spiritual group seminar/retreat circuit”, or just at the end of their rope, and who know they need a breakthrough, may quickly and deeply access their own inner guidance and wisdom trough these personalized retreat intensives.
  3. Healthcare professionals expanding the tools of their practice: i.e. psychologists, alternative health practitioners, nurses, and life coaches aware of a growing inner intuitive or psychic availability and who want to deepen their practice and career by deepening their own inner capacities of spiritual awareness.
  4. Seekers in the midst of spiritual initiation: Those who have been life-long students of spiritual awakening and enlightenment and/or who have been on the “spiritual workshop/teacher circuit: and are experiencing a dark night of the soul spiritual crisis, feel stuck in their search, and who know (or suspect) that the answer lies within and that new Seeing is required. For those who know “they can’t get it with the ego/mind”, but cannot find “that other way of knowing”, often called grace.

This is a link that tells you how to order this test and how to calculate whether or not your estrogen levels are problematic and how to improve them if so.

Estrogen Dominance Test