Mind-Body Connection

Mind-Body Connection

He walked into my office and immediately I could tell.  He was holding his whole week’s worth of issues and challenges all over his body.  He was running late for our session.  Work was crazy, the traffic was horrendous and his youngest child did not want him to leave the house where he had been working.  Yet, I am fairly certain that he was unaware of exactly how much his hectic life was showing up in more than his head.  This is the mind-body connection.

We took a moment to do a simple meditation.  At first, his body did not want to let it go.  The tension remained.  And it almost seemed as if his mind was still seeking to find all of the answers or maybe it’s one cure-all to life’s hectic pace.  Soon though, he settled and listened to my voice guiding him through the meditation.  Like clock work, he transpires.  I can see his shoulders released, his jaw dropped, the wrinkled forehead softened, the hands and fists loosen, and the breath becomes deeper, more relaxed.  He slowly let go.

Mind-Body Connection: Releasing Your Stress

It’s true for almost every client that I have.  They look forward to  the scheduled appointment, one dedicated hour, to release, let go, and have opportunities to gain new body-mind-spirit perspectives.  Each time together offers learning techniques to trust the “whole” of you, that part that wants to be heard through the hustle and bustle of life.  It is a true honor for me to collaborate with others on this important healing journey.   A simple meditation can begin an incredible journey to the vast world located behind your eyes.

So what exactly is stress?  Merriam-Webster defines “stress” as:
“constraining force or influence such as:.. a) the deformation caused in a body by such a force; b) a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation; and c) a state results from a stress; especially:  one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.”

As a society, it seems we have largely forgotten how all aspects of our person are working together.  When we are experiencing tension in the shoulders, or clenching our jaws, or other physical symptoms, we often assume it is just physical.  We do not pause to reflect if it is related to something else happening in our lives.  The same tension being held over long periods of time may also show up as an illness or disease.  More and more our healthcare system is also recognizing the connection between the “whole” of us, and understanding how people can reduce stress through tools such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga, qigong, Reiki and other techniques.

Even our federal government has begun a campaign.  For instance, April has been designated as “National Stress Awareness Month.” I congratulate this initiative and its efforts to begin an important dialog on the body-mind implications.  To support the month, the Department of Health and Human Services’s Federal Occupational Health has offered tips and techniques to begin a personal stress reduction plan.

I too want to support individuals connecting the dots on their personal body-mind messaging.  If you follow us on Facebook, you know that I re-posted the Autumn 30-day challenge on the Four Directions Wellness Facebook page.  Quick, simple daily techniques to begin to bring mindfulness and meditation into our lives, helping to begin the process of reducing stress and bringing awareness back to each person.

Take time today to learn more about the mind-body techniques and which you would like to incorporate into your life.  Here’s to your health and wholeness!

Follow Your Passion: My First Year Reflection

Follow Your Passion:  My First Year Reflection

“Do what you love,” was the simple message of USA Today’s Heidi Przybyia.  She was presenting at the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Leadership Forum, an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to hear from others and become re-energized with their passions.  Her message kept repeating in my head.

Last year, as I turned 50 years old, I decided to try something new – start my own small business.  The decision to start something new was its own challenge.  Yet, here I was a year later, having learned so much.  Heidi’s message had me reflecting on the past year and its challenges but also the twists and turns of living your passion.

Two years previously, I had worked my way up the business ladder with over 30 years in healthcare by working on the Hill; running state and national associations, and finally landing as a VP to a national home health and hospice company.  For the first 25 years, I loved it all but it was the last 5 years that got me.  I didn’t realize the passion was gone or at least, not at first.

One day I walked into a Congressional office for a meeting to see an energetic 23-year old smiling from ear to ear because he had landed a job with the Congressman. I remembered that feeling of being a new Congressional staffer – young, ambition and ready for the world. That’s when I realized it.  For the first time in my life, I had no excitement.  It had completely alluded me.  All I felt was a pit in my stomach as he continued to grin broadly.  Here I was at the top of my game.  I had gotten to a position that had a great title, great paycheck, amazing benefits but I was no longer passionate about what I did.

It took awhile but in January 2016, I began the process of figuring out how to start a business.  I jumped in without a paycheck, benefits or the title and without completely knowing what I was doing.  I learned about QuickBooks, business licenses, social media, marketing and luckily found the Alexandria Small Business Development Center for the go-to resource on anything for new businesses.

I slowly saw that passion return to my life.  What I noticed was that I would wake up excited to start my day and I enjoyed working the long hours once again!  I loved meeting new people and am so grateful to many for their support.  Two people, in particular, were Pat Miller and Gayle Reuter with the Del Ray Business Association.  One of the first things they suggested was that I have a ribbon cutting ceremony.  To think, the ceremony was almost year ago!

Four DIrections Wellness Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - Follow Your Passion

There were certainly your usual ups and downs of any new business.  It didn’t take me long though to realize that I was back “loving what I do.”  In the process, I learned a few lessons that might be of benefit to anyone thinking about pursuing their passion.  Here’s what I have learned:

1)  Learn & Explore:  Life is about constantly learning and challenging yourself with new ideas or explorations.  When you don’t know where to start, begin with those subjects that bring a smile to your face or get your heart pumping.

2) Midlife Nonsense:  Simply put, you are never too old to do anything!  I was amazed at how many people warned me that I was getting to an age where I needed to stay with the safe job/position. That’s complete nonsense!  Go for your passion, at any age.

3)  Take the Plunge:  You have learned, explored and researched, now take the plunge. As my mentor, Luann Jacobs with the GW Center for Integrative Medicine, said to me, “Just go for it, Mara. What are you waiting for?”

4)  Let Go of Perfection:  This was a hard lesson for me but one that the Universe continues to provide on a daily basis.  It’s not going to be perfect and who really cares? Seriously.  Mistakes will be made.  Some will be small while others will be bigger.  It’s a certainty.  It’s going to happen.  For instance, just last month, I realized that I had never received any messages from people who had written to me via my website.  Oops!  Somewhere in the website analysis, it shows that people were reaching out to me but I was not responding.  (It’s fixed!  You can now contact me by the website — just FYI.)

5) Panic Attacks Welcome:  Needless to say, I have had a few panic attacks.  For instance, when I opened my doors on April 1, I was surprised that I had no clients.  (Go figure!)  I panicked.  There were many, many other times and usually my panic attacks happened at 3 am when I would wake my husband up to say, “What the hell am I doing?!?!”  After getting that off of my chest, I would go back to sleep….he though would often remain wide awake.  (I would not be where I am today without him.  Thank you, honey!)

6) My Favorite Lesson Learned – Coincidences:  When I look back now, there were so many coincidences that happened that I never expected but that led me in a wonderful direction.  So many!  One was when I realized that my rented office space was not sound proof for clients to have confidential discussions — a big problem.  My wonderful landlord, Dennis Reeder, just happened to be fixing the heating and cooling system and turned on the fan. Bingo!  I had white noise that worked perfectly.  Bottom line:  the Universe conspires to make your dream come true so pay attention.

7)  Stick with It:  Every month, I have a wonderful spiritual counselor, Rev. Joseph Hambor with One Spirit Learning Alliance, who helps guide and support me.  One of his many offerings of wisdom to me was simply to “stick with it.”  It’s so true.  One day will be good, the next day not-so-good but those that succeed, stick with it.

Disclosure:  Joseph has to say that to me every month but the good news is I am still here and happy to be celebrating my first year anniversary!

Hope you are or will be taking the plunge too — it’s totally worth it.

The Autonomic Nervous System - Parent and Kid Stress

Let’s Talk Stress: On You and On Kids

Let’s Talk Stress:  On You and On Kids

When you hear the word “stress,” what impact does it have on you? Do you notice your nerves begin to feel frazzled? Does your heart begin to beat faster? Or maybe it has little to no impact on you.  Yet most of us are experiencing various levels of stress throughout our day that can often go unnoticed.

Stress can show up in our lives as tension held in our body, anxiety, depression, anger, headaches, back pain, a feeling of electrical currents running through us – there are numerous ways that it can impact our physical, mental and emotional states.

The American Psychological Association (APA) states that acute stress can manifest physically with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Emotional distress — some combination of anger or irritability, anxiety and depression, the three stress emotions.
  • Muscular problems including tension headache, back pain, jaw pain and the muscular tensions that lead to pulled muscles and tendon and ligament problems.
  • Stomach, gut and bowel problems such as heartburn, acid stomach, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Transient overarousal leads to elevation in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, heart palpitations, dizziness, migraine headaches, cold hands or feet, shortness of breath and chest pain.

Therefore, when you are stressed about the traffic, deadlines, relationship issues, or even world events, it is important to note that it impacts your physical health and wellness. More and more research is supporting the notion that the stress in our lives has physical implications. So why is this?

Think back about when you were in school and learned about the Autonomic Nervous Sytem (ANS). If you recall, the ANS includes the parasympathetic and the sympathetic. For most of us, we seem to get stuck in the parasympathetic or “fight or flight” mode. Yet, it is just as important to allow the body to connect with the sympathetic or “rest and digest.” This Biological Sciences graphic is excellent at showing the exact impact of both the parasympathetic and the sympathetic on our physical body. And for further clarity, tap here for a video explanation!

The Autonomic Nervous System

The Autonomic Nervous System - Let's talk stress on you and on kids

Stress and Our Kids:

Recent studies by the APA also indicate that our kids are experiencing more stress too. The APA found that each generation is experiencing more stress than the one before it. Therefore, the Millenials are experiencing more stress than that experienced by either the Xers or the Baby Boomer generations.

And from a recent APA survey, kids are reporting more stress than what is perceived by their parents. In one finding, the APA survey found that “nearly half (45 percent) of teens ages 13-17 said that they worried more this year, but only 28 percent of parents think their teen’s stress increased.” The kids reported that their stress appeared as headaches, difficulty sleeping or too much/too little eating.

Stress Reduction Recommendations:

As a parent, you can incorporate stress reduction techniques for you and your kids. For instance, you might wish to make it a family activity. The activities might include: 1) taking a class together on meditation, yoga or Qigong; 2) meditating together at home through an Itunes meditation; and/or 3) checking in with your child to gauge their stress level. If your child continues to express signs or symptoms of stress, you may wish to consider seeking professional help.

Learn more at the upcoming Four Directions Wellness week-long series on parent-child mindfulness and meditation techniques.  “Like” Four Directions Wellness Facebook for the March 3 start of the parent-child videos.

Groundhog Day: Are You Repeating the Same Patterns?

Groundhog Day: Are You Repeating the Same Patterns?

Remember the 1960’s Sonny and Cher song “I Got You, Babe?” In the wonderful movie “Groundhog Day,” that song is the one that Bill Murray’s character, Phil, wakes up to every morning. The first time it happens, he continues on with his day, not sensing any oddities with how his day will unfold. Each subsequent day, however, the song is his indicator that he will be repeating the same day over again. Throughout the movie, Phil runs through an array of emotions. His first is becoming aware that it is happening. He then enters into disbelief, then dread and despair and ultimately he learns from the repetitiveness. He transforms his life in the process.

“Groundhog Day” is the perfect movie to support our own review of cyclical patterns that we repeat in our lives. What then is your Sonny and Cher song? What keeps popping up in your life asking to be noticed?

 

If you think you know, but still want to understand where to begin. The first step is similar to Phil when he noticed he was repeating the same day — it is awareness. You can begin by considering the big themes in your life. For instance, do you:

Date or marry the same type of person?
Find the same controlling boss shows up in every job?
Feel high expectations are required of you by family or friends?
Feel like an outsider at home, work or community?
Recognize an addiction to work, alcohol, drugs, food, sex, exercise, etc?
Lose your job over and over again?
Find you are in frequent accidents?

Sometimes the easiest way to begin to consider your patterns is by looking at “triggering” issues. What situations do you find trigger a strong emotional response from you?

Don’t forget the beneficial patterns too! Maybe you have a knack for starting new projects that are successful. Or maybe you are the family and friend social planner. What and how have your positive patterns influenced your life too?

Patterns are of course a combination of those cyclical experiences that have been beneficial to our lives and those experiences that are worth reducing or eliminating from our lives. In “Groundhog Day,” Phil has the wonderful opportunity to learn and transform his experience – and so do you.

By taking a look at the patterns that we have in our lives, we have an opportunity like Bill Murray’s character to remake, to re-do to rearrange our lives. In investigating those patterns, being aware of them and seeking to change those that block us from greater success, we have an opportunity to change the dynamics in our lives.

Happy Groundhog Day!  Read more articles at http://www.fourdirectionswellness.com.

New Year, New Beginnings

New Year, New Beginnings

It’s still the holiday season with the hustle and bustle as people scurry around for work events, personal engagements and the typical holiday “to-do” list. Soon, however, the holiday season will come to its end as we say good-bye to 2016 and welcome in 2017.On New Year’s Day, we wake to all of the possibilities of a new year. One of our first objectives is likely to seek a rebalancing of our physical body from the holiday overexersions.  So on January 1, we will state our resolution to loss 10 pounds or quit smoking or get more sleep or exercise. And as we all know, our resolution is usually forgotten by February.  That’s what happens on a typical change from one year to the next.

But did you notice?  There is something much more subtle happening with this New Year’s celebration. This New Year’s Day is different.  2017 is a year of new ideas, new beginnings, new leaders and new paradigms.  Each of us is being called to grab hold of the future and do our part to influence and support positive changes.

This is BIG stuff.

Sun peaking out from behind Earth - new year, new beginnings

Take a moment to think about the implications.  Seriously.  Really take a moment to think about the year ahead.  More importantly, think about YOUR engagement going forward.It all begins with us.  Hope.  Contentment.  Happiness.  Unity.  It is all possible with each of us taking a moment every day in 2017 to do our part.  As a society, we can no longer feel it is at the discreation of someone else to fix the “wrongs.”  It calls on each of us to take responsibility for our own actions, to take positive steps forward (including our own internal personal journey) and to make BIG changes through our own “small” actions.  It’s the ripple effect.  One small ripple grows larger and larger, having a profound impact for all.

So before the New Year begins, take a moment now to decide how you wish 2017 to unfold.  What do you want to see in the world?  What do you want to see for the next generation – your kids?  Your grandkids?  Remember it does not have to be grandiose.  Rather, start small.  Here are just a few examples to get you started but the list is endless.
  • Open a door for someone;
  • Pay for the person’s coffee who is standing behind you in line;
  • Volunteer for your favorite charity, school, hospice, etc;
  • Smile at a stranger;
  • Let someone else “in” while driving;
  • Forgive a past transgression;
  • Seek out help or support if depressed, anxious or sad;
  • Call someone you haven’t spoken to for awhile and say “hello”;
  • Take your neighbor’s mail to them or put their garbage can near their house:
  • Take a few deep breaths prior to entering into a disagreement;
  • Listen, rather than talking, to another’s perspective;
  • Step in with resilence and compassion if someone is being bullied or harrassed;
  • Let go of your perfectionism, fear, judgements and other feelings that do not serve you;
  • Begin the hard work of your own personal journey through joining a spiritual community, practicing meditation or yoga or seeking spiritual coaching;
  • Determine your own act of kindness; and
  • Seek every opportunity to make this world a better place.
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
Malala Yousafzai           
It all begins with YOU.  What will you do in 2017?

Interested to learn more?  Please visit Four Directions Wellness upcoming classes at http://www.fourdirectionswellness.com/classes

 

Sabbatical Time

Sabbatical Time

The other day my husband, Steve, declared that he was officially taking a break from TV reports, radio news and social media platforms.  He needed a break, an opportunity to tune it all out for a while. He officially declared a sabbatical from all news outlets.

I liked his approach to a sabbatical.  For centuries people and religions have encouraged a day of rest, an opportunity to stop working and reconnect with our higher purpose or spiritual belief.  More recently, we know that people have utilized sabbaticals to take a break from years of employment.  Their sabbaticals might be to travel the world, undergo new educational opportunities or to reinvent themselves.

You might take a sabbatical to go explore the world.

It always strikes me that when a person has taken that leap, they seem to have gained a broader perspective and renewed energy for their lives.  I know that I personally was able to enjoy a nine month sabbatical last year.  I enjoyed delving very deeply into various healing modalities and took the leap to change my career.  The whole experience was simply amazing!

Having said that, we also know that many people do not have the luxury to leave their jobs or take an extended sabbatical from family, loved ones and commitments.  Yet there is wisdom in recognizing and incorporating “sabbaticals” into our lives.  Maybe like my husband it is a sabbatical defined as eliminating news outlets.  Or maybe instead it is a sabbatical from our outer world to explore our inner world through meditation, guided imagery or other relaxation technique.  There are so many approaches to incorporating a sabbatical into your life.

Sabbatical Challenge:

So, I challenge you.  How would you like to take a sabbatical?  What would you eliminate?  What would you include and for what timeframe?

Here are a few suggestions to help get you started:

  • Eliminate TV, social media and/or technology for a period of time (a week, a month, etc);
  • Recognize an hour every morning for your personal centering by meditating, practicing Yoga or reading;
  • Dedicate a day to refrain from work and focus on yourself, and/or
  • Take a week off from your usual day-to-day life to explore a new hobby, go on an adventure or spend quality time with a loved one.

To help continue your journey, visit Four Directions Wellness on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fourdirectionswellness/.

 

Four Directions Wellness e-book Released

Four Directions Wellness e-book Released

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Four Directions Wellness (FDW) releases Inner Awakenings:  30-Day Challenge for Self-Care and Inner Awareness ebook.  Adopted from the FDW Autumn Awakenings videos that began on October 1, 2016, this is a compilation of the 30-days of videos into the first FDW e-book.

Inner Awakenings: 30 Day Challenge ebook

The ebook includes each of the 30-day videos offered in October.  Each daily practice allows you to personally explore your inner self.

Daily practices include a variety of techniques including:

  • Meditation;
  • Journaling;
  • Qigong Exercises;
  • Thought Provoking Considerations, and
  • So Much More….

Enjoy at your leisure.  Each daily practice is approximately 5 minutes.

A special thank you to Soar Community Network for development of Inner Awakenings: 30-Day Challenge for Self-Care and Inner Awareness ebook.

 

 

Entering into the Silence…

“He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others.”  

Thomas Merton, Contemplation in a World of Action

Entering into Silence - Meditation Group

The other day I held a meditation group at the office. In advance of the group meeting, I planned a simple guided meditation to help those (like myself) who can’t stop the busy mind.  I was a bit surprised to find that the majority of people wanted to simply be in silence.  No guided imagery.  No breathing exercises.  No music….silence.

Entering into the silence is likely one of the hardest meditative practices.  It conjures up all kinds of thoughts and questions.  What will the mind bring up if it is allowed to stop for just a moment?  What might I discover by dropping all of my “to-do’s” and thoughts of the busy-ness? Because I was not needed to facilitate the meditation, I was able to join. Did I want to though?

I closed my eyes, relaxed into my chair, took the customary deep breaths and joined the group in silence.  I chased my thoughts — what about my latest deadline?  Did I follow-up with my new client?  Had I called my Dad today?  How would I end this session?

As I gave myself permission to simply be in the moment for only 20 minutes, I began to observe my thoughts as a witness — no longer the manufacturer.  I deepened into the chair and into me.  At some point, it was as if I had melded into the others joining in the silent meditation.  It felt so peaceful.

In the void, there is an opportunity to know yourself without the projections, without the labels, without the busy-ness.  It opens you to an inner world full of opportunities to explore and invites you to tap into a world of creativity.  It’s right there for you.

You have to first though be willing to enter into the silence….

If you are interested in entering into the silence with others, please join us for Mindfulness Mondays, a complimentary meditation on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month.  See more by visiting http://www.fourdirectionswellness.com/community-outreach/

 

The Autonomic Nervous System - Parent and Kid Stress

How Do Healing Modalities Work? Your Autonomic Nervous System Explained

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Why do the various healing modalities such as Reiki, Acupuncture, Yoga, Meditation, Guided Imagery and others work with a person’s healing process? It is best understood through the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).

Remember your Autonomic Nervous System? If you do, then you know that your ANS is comprised of two specific systems: the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) and the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS).

SNS is the part of your body tied to your “flight or fight” response. The PNS is the part that is focused on the relaxed and restorative aspects of your body. Both are very important and both control or support aspects of our bodies ability to function.

For instance, I live in the greater Washington metropolitan area where people live extremely hectic lives. They are constantly on the go, running to their jobs, to their families, to their commitments and deadlines. Simply put, their whole body is almost constantly in a “flight or fight” mode. There Sympathetic Nervous System is on overdrive.

I am always surprised by how often a client does not realize that he or she is predominantly stuck in the “flight or fight” mode. Once we have done a relaxation technique, usually the person realizes the difference. The body finally relaxes, tension or aches are released and the person can begin to think more clearly and calmly about life and various issues or concerns.  This is when the person’s Parasympathetic Nervous System has taken over from the Sympathetic Nervous System.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System is known as “the rest and digest” state. It is the connection to a calmer, peaceful and more relaxed you. Most people relate it to how they feel after a great massage. You might also feel this after a meditation, a yoga session, being out in nature or even after a moment of silence or prayer.

Both the SNS and PNS are needed in our daily lives. One protects us and gets us going while the other allows our body & mind to rest and restore. If one system is working more than the other, the body begins to express it through physical signs and symptoms.

Let’s take a look at the overview provided below of the two systems and their impact on our physical bodies.

From the above diagram, you can see how both the PNS and SNS have specific roles to play within our bodies. Here are the specific physical signs, symptoms or conditions that you might experience if one system is out of balance.

When you are in your PNS state, you are able to release tension in your muscles (less headaches or body aches), able to have your digestion working properly and your elimination system works better for both urination and bowel movements.

Conversely, when you are in your SNS state, your body is able to have the energy and stamina to get going with the day’s activities. The SNS also gets our body moving internally too.

Both PNS and SNS are critical to our overall health. The trick is in learning how to balance them, ensuring that we are including both into our daily lives.

As mentioned previously, many people know how to incorporate the SNS into their lives. It seems as if our society, in general, needs help with incorporating the PNS equation to find balance.

What Helps Connect with the PNS?

  • Meditation
  • Guided Imagery
  • Yoga
  • Acupuncture
  • Tai Chi/QiGong
  • Being in Nature
  • Reiki
  • Chakra Balancing
  • Exercise (In most cases)
  • Massage
  • Prayer
  • Energy Work
  • Shamanic Work
  • Contemplative Exercises
  • Spiritual Coaching
  • Breath Work
  • Journaling

There are so many ways to connect with the PNS. The above listing is meant as a sampling of possibilities but take time to see what fits you best. What is it that allows you to tap into your relaxation and restorative state?

Enjoy!

Interested in exploring further?  Please schedule a session with Mara in person, by phone or by web at http://www.fourdirectionswellness.com/sessions/

 

Healthcare Paradigm Shift: Use of Ancient Healing Techniques

A few years ago when I asked an audience how many people did a meditation practice on a daily basis or knew what Reiki was – very few would raise their hands. I am pleasantly surprised now when I speak before groups to see more hands rise for meditation, or other ancient healing techniques (like Reiki), more people are becoming aware.

ancient healing techniques

Healthcare Changes:

How does the song go? You know the one by Bob Dylan that says “the times they are a changing..” There is a slow but quickening interest in ancient healing modalities. Our current healthcare system is excellent. We are so lucky to have expert physicians, physician assistants, nurses, therapists, nurse’s aides and others supporting our healthcare system. As our healthcare system continually evolves, there is an interest to combine the best of all practices. Combining the best of western medicine with eastern medicine. Combining the best of physical health with mental health. Combining the best of ancient healing modalities, including spiritual components, with our current healthcare structure…these changes will mean a new healthcare paradigm.

What are some of the reasons that we are exploring alternative approaches?

I will mention that, in part, this is happening because of concerns for opioid addiction and other prescription drugs. This is certainly not the whole story but people are seeking natural alternatives to a lifetime of medications.

There are other reasons too. In our hectic lives, we are finding that people have higher levels of anxiety, depression and other symptoms impacting their ability to be content and happy. The ancient healing modalities – for the most part – help slow us down. Help us to breath more deeply, to relax, to find peace and calmness and to allow our bodies to innately heal when connecting to that more centering approach.

There are many other reasons as well including care coordination, higher healthcare costs, lower U.S. life expectancy, patient’s personal interest for alternatives and many more. Too many to articulate here.

What changes when the healthcare system adopts ancient healing modalities?

The best part of working with the ancient healing modalities is the opportunity to get back to individualized care. Working with the patient or client in a partnership for their health and wholeness. The practitioner is no longer dictating the next steps but rather it is a joint process with the patient actively involved in their healing too.

With each individual person, healthcare practitioners and providers will be responsible for working with the entirety of the individual. That will require a more complete picture of the person – evaluating the body-mind-emotion-spiritual considerations. The person will no longer be evaluated for just the physical symptom, but rather in a larger context of their overall health and wellness.

This approach has been known for years as the holistic approach or integrative healthcare.

What type of healing modalities is available?

There are many different types of healing modalities available. It’s fascinating to research various cultures to see what their ancient healing remedy might have been. Once you begin to review various cultures, it becomes apparent that most have similar objectives and goals.

Here are some popular examples: 

China:                                    Acupuncture, Qigong and Tai Chi

Japan:                                      Reiki

Roman/Greek:                   Meditation and Guided Imagery

India:                                       Chakras and Yoga

Native American:              Shamanism

There are so many more. This is far from an exhaustive list. If you have a strong association with your particular lineage or another culture, I would encourage you to investigate to find the culture’s healing perspectives.

Each individual has an opportunity to try one or better yet, work with the practitioner to explore various approaches.

You might find that you like doing a Yoga routine but later want to incorporate Reiki into your daily routine. You can use just one technique or have fun exploring several of them at one time.

I personally have found that I could spend decades learning, training and using each technique. There is so much to explore and to incorporate into our lives for better health and awareness.

What should you consider when choosing a practitioner?

Healthcare providers are currently considering approaches for inclusion into our medical care for health and wholeness. As they do, they are establishing credentials required for the practitioners – not accepting only weekend certifications. It is important to carefully evaluate your practitioner.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your Gut Feeling: Check in with your gut. If the practitioner does not seem sincere, honest or able to listen to you, its time to find another practitioner. Trust your gut. If you sense any significant emotional issues or concerns with your practitioner, time to move on. If you feel unsafe or the practitioner is inappropriate, it is absolutely time to move on.
  • Certifications/Training: Evaluate them. If they only have one weekend training and that’s it, find another practitioner. This is important because the success of the ancient healing modality is contingent on the practitioner doing his or her personal work. (They need to practice walking the walk before talking the talk.) You want to know that they are committed to both their own inner work and that of yours. More importantly, that they have really spent time working on fully encompassing the healing modality. 
  • Integrated with Others: Helpful but not necessarily required. If the practitioner is tied to a recognized group such as a healthcare system or well-known mental health group, that is very good. This is a trend that is just beginning to happen so your practitioner may still be excellent but not integrated with anyone.
  • How do you feel? The practitioner’s hands should feel better not worse when they are working on you. There are some exceptions to this rule but in general, if it does not then you may want to see someone else. (One caveat: If your session was intense, you may not feel very good following the session. These sessions, however, should have you feeling better over time.)
  • Finally – Your Commitment: The healing modalities have been known to help a person right after the session. Usually, however, the healing modalities are a longer-term approach to helping you connect with the body-mind-emotion-spirit messaging. Don’t be surprised that it may not be accomplished in one session.

Interested in exploring further?  Please schedule your session with Mara by visiting http://www.fourdirectionswellness.com/sessions/.  Sessions may be done in person, by phone or by web.