Wellness Articles

November 2020: Welcome to Ayurveda -Traditional Indian Medicine  – By Catherine Warner, A.P., C.M.T

Traditional Indian Medicine offers a comprehensive approach to total wellbeing. 
First, let’s start with the word… 
The word “Ayurveda” (“eye-”your”-veda”) is an ancient Hindi word. Some experts agree that Hindi language and culture is over 4,000 years old, some sources cite it could be as old as 6,000 years. Hindi, by nature, is a phonetic language while the written scripture is called Sanskrit. 
“Ayur” means life.
“Veda” means knowledge or science.
Put them together, and you have Ayurveda – the Science of Life
Let’s now learn about this holistic, ancient system of Indian Medicine…
What is Ayurveda? The answer can be incredibly long and complex. One simple explanation is Ayurveda is the sister science to Yoga. However, it is thought that Ayurveda actually predates Yoga.Together they incorporate the multitude of healing Yogic philosophies. 
Ayurveda is deeply-rooted in the Indian medicine system, using different philosophies of wellnessto maintain our natural state of health. Our natural state will depend on us as an individual, our inherited traits as well as our lifestyle, as this is not a general science with blanket advice for health or medicinal benefits. 
Ayurveda is a holistic practice, which means it incorporates different aspects of the mind – body – soul, and how they are ultimately interconnected and affecting each other. Ayurveda not only treats the whole person and their specific health challenges, it is also used to prevent disease. 
In Ayurveda, our natural state is what is referred to most commonly as our “Dosha.” 
When we are living in appropriate nature to our personal Dosha, our holistic health will be in balance. When we are out of balance with our inherent nature, this is what will breed disease. 
Okay, so what are the Doshas? 
Part of Ayurvedic philosophy is that we are all one with nature – our bodies are made up of the same matter that our Planet is made from. It’s the same reason our bodies are pulled towards the Full Moon just as the tide is – we are also of water! The elements are Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Space. Everyone has all 5 elements in their body, they just show up in different proportions. 
There are three different Doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
A Vata person will be made from mostly Air/Space.
A Pitta person will be made from mostly Fire/Water.
A Kapha person will be made from mostly Water/Earth. 
Most people are combinations of two Doshas, and in the U.S., it is mostly Vata and Pitta people. But to reiterate, we have all the elements in our bodies. 
How do these Doshas relate to our health? 
In Ayurveda, we believe that ‘similar increases similar’, so we treat with opposites. 
For example, say, there is a fiery Pitta (Fire/Water) woman who has an excess of Pitta due to her food and/or lifestyle choices. This can show up as red skin with rashes, acidity in the stomach, irritable and quick to lose her temper, and many other ways. How do we find balance with her nature? We balance with proper foods, changes in lifestyle, yoga and breathing techniques, and even herbal medicine. Through these changes, we cool her down… we find ways to soothe… we bring her to holistic harmony.
This is where an Ayurvedic Practitioner comes in… 
In an Ayurvedic consult, we will go over all of these concepts together – we will discover your Dosha, go over any current imbalances and health concerns, and we will find a way to adjust food and lifestyle choices that will bring you to a better state of balance. Towards your true, peaceful nature. 
It has been proven in science that your body will naturally always try to heal itself. It is always, always trying to move towards health and prevent disease. This is called “homeostasis.”
Therefore, your body already holds all the answers. You may just need someone to ask you the right questions, so that we can start listening and moving forward in the right direction. All the cells in your body hear every single thought that runs through your mind. Perspective is everything. So let’s start there, together. 
In my personal journey, Ayurveda is hope, and sometimes hope is all we need. Sending health, happiness, and healing to you all! I look forward to working with you at Zen Wellness. 

 

OCTOBER 2020: The Benefits of Chiropractic – Dr. Mary J Ames Brown, DC, NCPT

Doctors of Chiropractic use their hands and special tools to deliver Spinal Manipulation Therapy, or SMT, and manipulation of the peripheral joints, such as those of the hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, hands, and feet. Manipulation, also known as an adjustment, mobilizes, or moves, the joints and muscles that are too tight and don’t function the way they’ve evolved to.  

All the joints in your body have something called nerve receptors; specialized cells that tell your brain where each part of your body is located in space.  This ability, called proprioception, can be lost or diminished due to inactivity, inflammation, or injury. Adjustments will restore proper joint motion, so the nerve receptors can tell your brain where your body is in space.  This helps your brain to make better decisions about which muscles to activate and which ones to keep quiet, keeping your reflexes active, helping you stay safe in your environment.

Chiropractic adjustments normalize, or, balance, your nervous system, especially the unconscious part known as the Autonomic Nervous System.  Your entire body is controlled by your nervous system, and adjustments speed up the nerve impulses, which is how your brain talks to your muscles and organs. This can help calm your stress, positively influence your digestion, your elimination, your general organ function, and boost your immune system.

Often times a “popping” or “cracking” sound is heard during an adjustment. This is the release of toxic gas, the same gas we exhale, CO2. When this gas is released from a joint space, fluid can then enter the space and lubricate the cartilage, bones, and joint membrane, providing more mobility, reducing pain, and enhancing nerve function. This helps prevent degeneration of your joints and connective tissues. All this equates to decreased pain and increased function. 

Chiropractic helps to re-align your bones and joints and enhances function in tight, overactive, weak, and underactive muscles. This allows your body to move in all the ways you are meant to, without limitations or pain.  This will improve every aspect of your life, allowing you to enjoy anything you want to do, and to fulfill your life’s ambitions.  This means more fun in life!

Chiropractic is good for your body in so many other ways as well.  It helps you to unconsciously tap into your body’s own innate healing capabilities, such as decreasing inflammation, boosting circulation and heart function, increasing your energy and vitality, and enhancing athletic performance.

It is important to note, Chiropractic treatments are highly conservative  and non-invasive.  Adjustments are holistic, specific, use no medicine, and are gentle enough for babies and children.  They can also be great to alleviate the experiences associated with pregnancy, labor and postpartum. 

Here at Zen Wellness we invite you to enjoy all that Chiropractic has to offer!

Recap of the benefits of Chiropractic:  

  • Restores proper joint motion, preventing degeneration of joints and connective tissue
  • Improves the body’s ability to know where it is in space, called proprioception
  • Refines muscle biomechanics, leading to movement that is full of ease and fluidity
  • Normalizes the nervous system, calms stress, improves symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Positively influences digestion, elimination, and organ function
  • Strengthens the immune system and helps your body tap into innate healing capabilities  
  • Decreases inflammation and alleviates pain
  • Boosts heart function and circulation
  • Increases energy, vitality and athletic performance
  • Eases the changes associated with pregnancy. labor and postpartum

 

SEPTEMBER 2020: The Benefits of Massage Therapy – Dr. Mary J Ames Brown, DC, NCPT

A soft tissue massage can offer many benefits for the human body.  Although you may already be aware of the main benefits; there are some others that are also important to mention.

Everyone knows that getting a great massage can soften and stretch knots and tight, tender or hard spots in muscle tissue and fascia, helping to release these areas of tension and adhesion. Most people are also aware that massage increases one’s blood circulation.  Your tissues require a constant supply of blood to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells in your body.  These products support cellular metabolism. Metabolic processes include the cell using nutrients to build an energy molecule called ATP, and your cell’s DNA producing proteins that support the body’s shape and function. Massage helps these processes by increasing blood flow to tissues and allowing the tissues to remove waste products more quickly. 

Another, lessor known benefit of massage is improved lymph fluid drainage.  Lymph fluid requires muscular contraction to circulate back into your blood stream, known as the cardiovascular system.  Massage helps by pushing and moving lymph out of your limbs and towards the heart where it re-joins your blood through venous return in the upper thorax.  This heightened lymph flow helps white blood cells to circulate through your body more quickly and efficiently, thereby enhancing your immune system’s response to any virus or bacteria entering your body. 

Massage can also improve the way different layers of your tissue, such as muscle, tendon and fascia, glide and move over each other.  This gliding of one layer upon another is important for proper biomechanics of muscle contraction.  When the tendons, ligaments and sheaths that surround your nerves are able to slide freely, this allows movement that is smooth and full of ease. 

Another little-known benefit of massage is increased awareness of your body.  A strong mind-body connection can enhance the way you relate to body regions, and will improve muscle recruitment and movement by helping your proprioception; that is your ability to know where your body parts are positioned in space, and in relation to one another. Lastly, during these stressful and “physically distanced” times we are currently living through, massage can offer you a connection to the caring human touch that our bodies crave for diminishing the stress response, improving psychological health, and creating a feeling of well-being.     

To recap the benefits of soft tissue massage:

*Works out knots, tight spots and adhesions in muscles

*Increases blood, oxygen and nutrient circulation to your tissues

*Enhances lymph flow, boosting your body’s immune response

*Improves the glide of different layers of tissue over one another

*Increases body awareness, mind-body connection and proprioception

*Allows you to experience caring human touch, alleviating stress and creating feelings of psychological well-being