Category - Holistic Health

1
Cesarean Awareness Month Shines Light on State of Birth in Northern Virginia
2
Eat-Sleep-Love Hosts 2015 DC Birth & Babies Fair
3
Trace Amounts about mercury poisoning screens on Hill
4
Grow Your Health festival to screen GMO OMG
5
How clean is our air? Virginia Mama Summit wants it cleaner!
6
Why drinking water is essential to improve health, well-being & athletic performance
7
Holistic Moms Network to host Natural Living Conference
8
How to find balance during fall, the Ayurvedic vata season
9
First Kids Yoga Conference Comes to DC September 27
10
Four easy strategies for de-stressing and filling your cup

Cesarean Awareness Month Shines Light on State of Birth in Northern Virginia

Every April, the International Cesarean Awareness Network, or ICAN, celebrates Cesarean Awareness Month to bring awareness to its work. ICAN is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).

The organization’s vision statement is: “A reduction in the cesarean rate driven by women assuming responsibility for their healthcare by making evidence-based, risk appropriate childbirth decisions.” Read the full statement of beliefs on ICAN’s website.

As April draws to a close, Lisa Keyser, co-leader of the Northern Virginia Chapter of ICAN, shares the state of birth and VBAC in Northern Virginia in this guest post. Read More

Eat-Sleep-Love Hosts 2015 DC Birth & Babies Fair

This year’s Birth & Babies Fair returns to The Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital in Eastern Market on Sunday, April 26, 12-5 p.m. The event is being put on by Bethesda-based Eat-Sleep-Love Maternity and Pregnancy Center and is sponsored by the Midwives of MedStar Washington Hospital Center with several additional supporters.
I asked fair organizer Jessica Brodey, founder of Eat-Sleep-Love, if she would share with us more about her work and provide some insights on what to expect at this year’s fair.

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Trace Amounts about mercury poisoning screens on Hill

Trace Amounts, a new film about mercury poisoning, screened on the Hill Wednesday night at an event hosted by environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., author of Thimerosol: Let the Science Speak. The documentary was also shown in Arlington on Thursday with a post-film discussion with director Eric Gladen, who got mercury poisoning after a tetanus shot in 2004 at the age of 29. That incident led Gladen on an unexpected journey to get to the truth about the history of mercury in vaccines and the autism-mercury links that, the film argues, the CDC has tried to deny for years despite evidence to the contrary.

The film does not take up the question of the efficacy or necessity of vaccinations but rather focuses solely on the use of Thimerosol as a preservative and on its effects, which, the film shows, have not been presented to the public accurately. Read More

Grow Your Health festival to screen GMO OMG

The Grow Your Health gardening, food & wellness festival seemed so important when it first launched in 2013, I left a yoga retreat early to make it back in time! I learned a ton that year and the following and am excited to return for next Saturday, March 28, for a third year. The featured film this year is GMO OMG.

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In addition to all the great hour-long classes that parents might enjoy at 11:00 and 1:30, families can enjoy a “Gardening with Kids” class given by national volunteer organization FoodCorps during both sessions.

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How clean is our air? Virginia Mama Summit wants it cleaner!

It’s probably no surprise to anyone living here that the air quality in the Washington DC area is poor; it gets a grade of F in ground-level ozone (smog) from the American Lung Association, putting the Metro DC among the top 10 most polluted U.S. cities in the ozone category. This matters to every living being, but especially to small children whose bodies are more acutely affected by inhaled toxins. Organizations like the American Lung Association and others advocating for healthy air quality describe breathing smog-filled air as “getting a sunburn on your lungs.”

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Why drinking water is essential to improve health, well-being & athletic performance

Chances are good that if someone is holding a health- or wellness-related event in Northern Virginia, cellular hydration specialist Julianne O’Dwyer will be there or was involved in organizing it. Julianne, whose business is Vital Healthy Life, healed several chronic conditions with the help of proper hydration.

In today’s guest post, Julianne explains why hydration is crucial to health. In future posts, Julianne will delve into further detail about the health benefits of drinking water, particularly alkaline water.

“While a political prisoner in Iran in 1979, Dr. Freydoon Batmanghelidj was approached by a fellow prisoner who was struggling with crippling peptic ulcer pain. With no medications at his disposal, Dr. Batmanghelidj gave the ill man two glasses of water. Within minutes, the pain started to disappear. After drinking two glasses of water every three hours for several days, the prisoner became absolutely pain free for his four remaining months in prison. It was in this Iranian prison that Dr. Batmanghelidj discovered the healing power of water.

In his book, You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty , Dr . Batmanghelidj explains that dehydration can contribute to numerous health issues including angina, acid reflux, ADD/ADHD, allergies, Alzheimers, arthritis, asthma, Autism, colitis, constipation, dementia, depression, Diabetes, Dyslexia, fatigue, food cravings, fuzzy thinking, headaches, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint stiffness, kidney stones, low energy, Lyme disease, menopause, migraines, obesity, pain, Parkinson’s, sleep issues, Sinusitis, and skin disorders. Read More

Holistic Moms Network to host Natural Living Conference

Holistic Moms Network is a cool enough group for local and online support for living holistically, but it’s even more fun when you get to meet people in person from different chapters around the country. The non-profit organization is holding its annual Natural Living Conference on Saturday, October 25 in New Jersey at Montclair State University just outside of New York City.

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Okay, it’s not in DC, Maryland or Virginia, but it’s only about four hours away. By car. Last year I got to meet some of the leaders from California chapters. They had to be on a plane for more than four hours!

This year’s event is featuring a keynote with Dr. Laura Markham of Aha! Parenting and a screening of the documentary Unacceptable Levels and a Q&A with the film’s director, Ed BrownUnacceptableLevels

 

Breakout sessions include:

At just $55 for the whole day or $40 for a half, the event is a great deal for all the information it will impart as well as the goodie bag treats and all the other samples you’re likely to find in the exhibit hall.  There, parents can learn about wonderful products — food, skin care, and more – and services like Well Amy. One could really spend the entire day in the exhibit hall (and you can do just that for a reduced rate of $20).

The conference is an adult-focused event where babes in arms are welcome. Children may come into the exhibit hall for a reduced price ticket ($10) but need to pay the full rate if they require a seat in the sessions and workshops. The keynote is in the morning and the film screening and Q&A is in the afternoon. Lunch can be purchased separately.

For more information, see annualconference.holisticmoms.organd register at register.holisticmoms.org/

And if you’re looking to make a trip of it, I’m told there is plenty of fall fun to be had in New Jersey, including pumpkin and apple picking. Budding artists might enjoy the Montclair Art Museum, future naturalists will want to explore Brookdale Park and Verona Park, and animal lovers will get a kick out of Turtle Back ZooTripBuzz has a list of Things to Do With Kids in Montclair, NJ, and the New Jersey Mommy Poppins site also has a list of 15 Fun Things to do in Montclair, NJ along with plenty of additional ideas for exploring the area and for weekend happenings.

So take the family up with you if you have a partner, friend or family member who can treat the kiddos to some New Jersey (or even New York City) adventures while you learn lots of wellness tips to nourish your family and connect with other like-minded parents.

Holistic Moms Network has over 100 chapters around the country. In the DC area, there are HMN chapters in Arlington/Alexandria, Northern Virginia (Fairfax) and Loudoun County. The Burke/Springfield chapter will be relaunched soon. Anyone can start a chapter, too. There’s an awesome leader meeting on Sunday, October 26, the day after the conference, so if you’ve been thinking about starting a chapter, now might be a great time to see what that’s like!

 

How to find balance during fall, the Ayurvedic vata season

If you’ve noticed a challenge feeling balanced during these busy back-to-school fall months, the wisdom of the ancient healing science of Ayurveda might shed some light on the cause.

Today’s guest post about fall, the vata season, comes from Ileana Gonzalez of Apurva Ayurveda Healing in Vienna, Virginia.

Although the seasonal change is subtle, it can have a big impact on the mind and body.

As the seasons transition, our mind and our body also experience a transition, as they adjust to the inevitable changes that nature brings with it. This adjustment period is normal, and vital, but it can also lead to certain imbalances if we don’t manage and ease into the transition.

Autumn is known for the decreasing temperatures, the increasing winds, and the overall instability of the weather. Vata, the air and space energy (or dosha), intensifies during this time, leaving our mind and body dry, cold, and unstable.

In our culture, it is normal to start the bulk of our activities during these months. The kids go back to school, they have more activities (sports, schoolwork, and hobbies).

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Your job becomes more demanding with deadlines and objectives. But if you observe nature, you will see that animals actually prepare to wind down and hibernate during the cold months. This anti-nature behavior we adopt actually leads to a lot of imbalances in our mind and body.

Perhaps you have the beginnings of a cold, or maybe you get more frequent headaches and are more moody during this time. Your skin becomes drier, your hand and toes are more sensitive to the cold. All of these things are just a way for your mind/body to adjust to the changing season. Even our cravings change. We crave “comfort” foods like soups, stews, and sweets.

The good news is that our mind and body were designed to adjust to these changes. We just need to “tune in” and manage the adjustment so that it is easy, smooth and hot tealeads to balance. In ayurveda, this management is easy if you apply the simple rule of “like increases like.”

Because vata is cold, dry, light and mobile (unpredictable, unstable), we have to add warmth/heat, oily/unctuous, and predictable/stability to our lifestyles and diets. If you master this principle, your transition from one season to the next will be a lot easier!

Keep this principle in mind when you prepare the kids’ meals/snacks. Choose grounding foods that are heavy, warm, and sweet like rice, sweet potato, and dairy; avoid raw, cold and dry foods. Download this great vata shopping list.

A great way to cut down/prevent on the colds and sniffles kids get this time of year: dab a Q-tip in warm sesame oil and place in the ears and nostrils daily after their bath. This will not only help to keep the area germ-free, it will also lubricate and nourish the area. If your child is prone to vata-like imbalances (dry cough, change in sleep pattern, constipation), try giving him an oil massage using warm sesame oil; the more often you do this, the better. A few minutes before a bath is best, but you can also do it at bedtime.

Something the whole family can practice during this time of year is savasana, or corpse or dead man’s pose. Lie flat on your back, legs and feet apart, palms up at your side. Breathe and surrender for at least 5 minutes. Guaranteed calm! Drink warm milk with a sprinkle of nutmeg, and enjoy a little quiet time before bed. This will help everyone get a good night’s sleep.

As for the grownups in the house, it is normal to feel less concentration, insomnia, and chronic fatigue with the increase in vata energy. For them, I recommend a wonderful vata-pacifying therapy called shirodhara. It is designed to directly activate the ajna chakra, thereby affecting the mind in a profound way. It provides mental clarity, decreases heart rate, decreases blood pressure, and an overall sense of calm and rest. Most people fall asleep during the treatment!

shirodhara

This treatment, as well as other vata-pacifying techniques, is available at Apurva Ayurveda Healing in Vienna, Virginia.

Lastly, don’t forget to increase seasonal fruits veggies—nature’s way of helping us through this transition. Look to squash and root veggies such as sweet potato. Mmmmm. So grounding and nourishing. Try Monica B.’s recipe from Hey Monica B: A Blooming Resource on Ayurveda for Roasted Root Veggies with Garlic & Rosemary.

  • Any mix of root vegetables like butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Rosemary sprigs
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Chop the root veggies into bite size chunks and place in a pan.
  • Drizzle with plenty of olive oil because when cooked it will caramelize and turn extra yummy.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes uncovered

Thanks to Ileana for this guest post!

Updated in October 2017 with Apurva’s new location

For more tips on balancing during vata season, check out these articles at Chopra Centered Lifestyle or Yoganonymous.

First Kids Yoga Conference Comes to DC September 27

The organizers of the first National Kids Yoga Conference are moms who putting their mindfulness skills in practice with every step of planning toward the Saturday, September 27 event at George Washington University’s School of Public Health.

I’ve long admired the work and commitment of lil omm yoga studio owner Pleasance Silicki and Michelle Kelsey Mitchell, co-founder of the Alexandria-based non-profit organization YoKid. When I spoke with them about how they’ve managed to pull off such a huge endeavor, I got even more inspired.

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Four easy strategies for de-stressing and filling your cup

What mom couldn’t use some suggestions on how to feel more grounded, calm and peaceful? Craniosacral therapist Sally DiCesare of Your Blissful Journey recently presented a “Create Your Own Personal Oasis” talk to the Arlington/Alexandria Chapter of Holistic Moms Network, and this Thursday, August 21, she’ll be at the group’s August meeting on a panel about Supporting Children’s Emotional Health. Sally will share how craniosacral therapy can be used with children. But she also wants to remind moms that taking care of their own health is paramount in paving the way for family health.

Here’s a guest post by Sally:

“As Moms, we don’t often ask for help. Many times when we do it’s because we are drowning in overwhelm.

But who has time for a break. And kids’ camps, enrichment and sports aren’t getting any cheaper.

How do you get what you need? Because remember, if the well is empty there is nothing to give.

How do you fill yourself, support yourself, so you have something left to give your family?

HELP!

Fortunately, I’m here with some simple tips to squeeze into your day. Oh, and have your kids join you. They are stressed, too!

Simple Tips from Your Blissful Journey

1. Feeling overwhelmed? Give yourself a hug; an occipital hug.

Remember in the old movies when the man is sitting with his feet propped up on his desk and hands clasped behind his head? Gently place your hands, with fingers intertwined, behind the base of your head, behind your ears, at your occiput. Now just hold your head.

Notice anything? You may feel a pulse. Or take a deep breath or sigh.

This balances your Central Nervous System and is calming and centering.

If I wake in the middle of the night and my mind is working on something so I can’t fall back to sleep, this is my go-to exercise.

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2. Home Reflexology while you multitask

Why does a foot massage feel so good? It is known that certain areas of the foot can stimulate organs of the body. So massaging the foot can actually massage and support the organs and systems in the body. When done in a systematic way, this is called Reflexology. How do you multitask while massaging your feet? Use a tennis or racket ball. When you sit down for dinner, take off your shoes and roll the ball under your foot. If an area is tender, continue there till it feels better. Within a few weeks you will notice subtle improvements in the way you feel as your organs and systems respond to the stimulation and support.

reflexology

3. Bridge to calm

Wake up your internal organs by massaging all the nerves along the spine. This supports all of your body as the nerves innervate all of your organs. Lay on your back on a hard surface such as the floor. Bend your knees so your feet are comfortably close to your buttocks. Slowly curl your back off the floor starting with a pelvic tilt and curl your back off the ground from your pelvis up to your shoulders, one vertebra at a time. Slowly lower your spine from your shoulders to your tailbone. Repeat as often as is comfortable.

 

4. Instant mood lifter: SMILE.woman smiling

Yes, I mean it. Just smile. For better results, try laughing.

I took a Laughing Yoga class at Yogaville. What fun! I never knew there were so many ways to laugh or ways laughter expresses emotion.

Like the laughter of surprise at seeing a friend you haven’t seen in years on the street. Or the chuckle over seeing puppies play.

Practice belly laughs will your kids. See if you can come up with a secret family laugh. Imagine how a giraffe would laugh.

Whatever, have fun with it.

 

Bonus: Close your eyes!

Recover more quickly from illness by resting your eyes as often as possible. Seventy percent of our energy is used by our eyes. Conserve your energy for healing by resting your eyes when home sick by listening to books on tape instead of reading or watching TV.”

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Copyright © 2015 Mindful Healthy Life. Created by MtoM Consulting.

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