Blue Heron Holistic Health Shaping Healthy Bodies, Minds, And Hearts Through Chinese Medicine

Tag Archives: Alternative Health

The Cost of Health Care

“I believe that the medical system is the number 1 risk to human health today on the planet outside of war.” –Sayer Ji (author, researcher and founder of GreenMedInfo)

Most of you who have found me and work with me understand the value of holistic care and want to receive something that addresses the body, mind and spirit. My approach with Amma and Coaching is to continue to meet people’s health needs in a natural way. One reason I found Eastern medicine is because of seeing my granddad suffering for years on medications. He knew the interactions from the medications were giving him new symptoms, but he felt that he had to take the prescriptions to stay alive. You can imagine the disempowerment this brought. Prior to his retirement, he had a career that he loved, but once he was supposed to be living his golden years, he was in chronic pain. He would tell me when I visited, “I’m not worth a darn.” It hurt to know he felt hopeless, helpless and was only getting some small benefits from using Western medicine. His life was prolonged, but there was no quality. What makes me the saddest is that he wasn’t able to develop a deep relationship with me and my family because of it. Now I know that he had dreams and hopes and ideas just like you and I. And he is part of the reason I have dedicated my life to helping others be free from chronic pain.

I don’t believe that medications are needed forever, or that they should even be a first go to. Now you all know I believe in a time and place for medication, but what has hit home for me again recently are how many people are suffering on medications and the risks involved from long-term use. As I have moved into working with more chronic illness, I see the ramifications on a weekly basis of long-term medication usage, as well as surgeries that may have been unnecessary, and that have continued to do more harm than good. When faced with a choice between the cost of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) and Allopathic (Western) medicine, consider these statistics: The American Pain Foundation found that in 2006 only 23% of clients felt their treatment with the use of opioid medications was “very effective”. And according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, deaths from opioid overdose went from 4,030 in 1999 to 16,651 in 2010. In that same year, prescription painkiller overdoses killed 15,000 people. These are huge numbers that we should be scared about. Surgeries don’t get much better results. Surgeries for sciatica and low back pain cost up to $50 billion in health care costs annually. One of the studies that looked at surgeries vs. non-surgery techniques including acupuncture, physical therapy and massage showed the outcomes to be the same within two years. In a study of those with arthritis and two groups: one using standard medicine and the other using acupuncture found those who used the acupuncture or herbs got the same or better results. The Institute of Medicine put a cost for the management of chronic pain of $261 to $300 billion for medical treatment in the U.S. With all of that said, we have more reason to believe in the efficacy of alternative therapy. I continue to work with those in chronic pain, those with autoimmune diseases, adrenal fatigue, hormonal and menstrual imbalances. And I believe food is medicine. The right supplements and herbs can help carry us along until we find homeostasis. I created Blue Heron Holistic Health because I want to uplift people and get them to a place where they are healthy. When people become healthy, they have quality relationships; they serve their friends and families, their communities, and this precious planet.

Cheers to Holistic Health!

~Tanya

9 Ways to Get Through the Winter & Holidays with Sanity

  1. Get outside and get sunshine when you can! When you can’t take a D3. Many people will want to take a D3 even if they are getting some sunshine because of the cloud covers, it can be hard to get enough. 5000 IU’s daily is recommended.
  2. Get physical every day! Find a way to move that brings you enjoyment. Don’t forget to include your family! Teaching children to be active will help them to stay healthy through life and will create fun bonds especially when you are enjoying nature together. All of the chores or playing with kids or family members counts. If you don’t have kids, grab your partner or a friend. I highly recommend walking or hikes, but gym time or classes can be fun too. Get playful! Sacred sex with your beloved is exercise too.
  3. Drink more water! Water is life and many of our issues stem from dehydration! Warm or room temperature water is best so your digestion is not impaired from the cold. Herbal tea is even better since you can enjoy many flavors and get the herbal benefits. Be sure and warm the digestive fire in the morning with something warm.
  4. Sleep. Winter is a time of building yin. This means going inward and resting more. We need to get extra sleep and allow our bodies to rejuvenate. Think hibernation.
  5. Learn to say no. Some social time builds our immunity too, but we must strive for a strict balance in this season. We may need less time with parties, obligations and gatherings. Be okay with saying no.
  6. Find ways to get positive touch and bodywork! If you are having a craving or addiction issue, it may actually be touch you need. Pets are great ways to get that need met as well. Schedule each month an Amma treatment to build immunity.
  7. Watch less TV, and spend less time on social media. The less time you spend being subjected to commercials, the media, and feeling the “need” to be engaged constantly (this includes your phone), the better you will feel about yourself (and get to know yourself). Also, you will be less likely to unnecessarily consume. The less you expose yourself to EMF’s the healthier your mind and body will be.
  8. Look at your emotions and feel into them. Perhaps more emotions and stress come up around the holidays for you. Be present with yourself. Learn that you are okay to have feelings and that you are allowed to express. Find ways to let out the emotions without taking them out on someone else. Take the time to sit with those uncomfortable emotions and cry. The release will bring healing on many levels.
  9. Keep the Gratitude Attitude. When we are thankful and we see all of our abundance, we are in tune with who and what we truly are~ a part of Spirit, God, of Universe. We will always be taken care of. We only need to see the perspective of how much we do and always have and with that focus, more will come to us. Breathe.

Many Holiday Blessings of Warmth & Abundance,

Tanya

Body Psychology: A Holistic Approach and the Modern Day Experiment

There is so much information out there on how to be healthy and what to eat. A big focus with my clients in guiding them to health in treatment is with Holistic Nutrition. But, as I often tell clients, it’s not just what  you eat, but how  you eat that makes a difference.  We are living in a time where people are having record weight gain, including children. Many people are sending their body mixed signals with not knowing what to eat, eating when they shouldn’t and feeling bad about their choices. There are challenges for each of us in keeping up on science research and sorting it from the trends.

We humans will always be evolving in our knowledge and even our body’s nutritional needs will continue to evolve. This particular time in history is especially interesting though, because in no other time in human evolution have we been exposed to as many environmental toxins, and in no other time have we eaten “foods” that do not exist in nature. Couple that with how our lives are taken over by media and electronics and we live more sedentary lives. In addition we are increasingly spending less time out in nature than in past generations. Our lives are full of stress and as we expose ourselves to more anger and violence through the media, our bodies respond by raising our insulin and cortisol. This constant stress makes our bodies weak and we are prone to illness and autoimmune conditions.  We are the Great Experiment.

You may have heard “Food is Love” and “You are What You Eat”. Perhaps you have heard the expression there are two types of people: Those who ‘eat to live’ and those who ‘live to eat’.  If we want to find health, then it is imperative to think of health in a holistic concept of nourishing the body, mind and spirit.

My recommendations to make this happen include making a commitment to create the healthiest gut ecosystem possible. We can do this by consuming whole foods which are foods that are grown in nature in their original form, unprocessed and unrefined. Processed foods and especially sugar are what we want to limit, as these are what create inflammation and stifle healthy gut flora.

This does not mean being perfect or never eating desserts or giving up an entire food group. There are do’s and don’ts, but these are for each individual based on their metabolic and biochemical needs. What is important is that most of the time we eat foods that are full of nutrition, that we enjoy them, and eat mindfully.  We all can help this process by becoming curious about our connection to foods, to our body’s needs, and learning when we are eating out of distraction, being tired, or to cover up an emotion.

Part of this curiosity can be channeled into each of us being our own best doctor. This may sound like an oxymoron, but it takes educating ourselves with reputable research which often entails seeking out a mentor who is knowledgeable about Holistic Nutrition.  This can be in the form of reading things from sources outside of media that may have an agenda. Once we have solid information, we can make informed decisions. We can and must also listen to our bodies. You are the only authority on your body! We each get to make decisions and learn through them. We can see what our intuition says. And when the body detects something foreign such as a chemical toxin that ends up in our foods, our bodies will reject these foods through pain and discomfort. When we continue to not listen, it will ‘up the ante’ and give us issues with these foods through food sensitivities, intolerances, allergies, or illness.  As these things come up in our lives we can see what changes we need to make and seek out help when it’s appropriate.

We get to be scientists as we get curious, seeing how our bodies react each time we eat. And also it means not beating ourselves up when we make a mistake or eating something we know is “bad”. When we constantly bombard ourselves with body judgment and criticism, we are not sending our body love. Our relationship to ourselves is modeled to our children as well. If we want them to be healthy and live long lives, then we must show them how to do this. Here’s an example. Sugar isn’t bad but how we use it can be. (It is arguably a drug that we as a society deem acceptable and overuse.) So talking to the young people in our lives about their choices is imperative. Having conversations with ourselves and our loved ones such as, “How does your body feel after you eat the sugar coated cereal?” is a strategy to empower us. By listening to how our bodies interpret what we put into it, we gain control and are able to make healthy choices through knowing the consequences.

Our body sends signals to us about our health all day long. We need to listen to our bodies telling us when we aren’t getting enough down time, or when we are pushing ourselves too hard during exercise, or not moving our body when it is begging us to! Being aware of adrenaline coming up after listening to loud and chaotic music, or to the stress response in our body after watching an action movie is important if we want to calm down the nervous system. Looking at our environment and assessing how it is impacting our health is necessary too. Living in areas where there is a lot of noise, air or light pollution can be a drain on your health. Last of all we need to spend time with ourselves and figure out the input we are receiving from body signals. We may have so many bombardments with physical, spiritual, emotional and mental needs that it may take some time to sort and process it all.

While we live in a world that seems to be accepting of denying body wisdom, we each have the responsibility to choose differently. When we don’t listen to our bodies they become sick. As someone who had a chronic autoimmune condition and suffered for years, I choose to be proactive in continuing learning to take preventative care of my body. I encourage you and support you to do the same!

Wishes for Optimal Health,

Tanya

 

Traditions

Those of you who have been coming to see me for a while know that I love to share lifestyle antidotes to assist in the healing process. Amma is holistic and because of my education I am emphatic about how a holistic approach to health is the best way to achieve optimal health. You have probably heard me share the importance of using affirmations, of incorporating mindful movement into one’s life, and I often suggest journaling and seeking other forms of therapy. I am on a mission to share my research and ways in which one can achieve more health and happiness.

 
At this time of year as the days shorten and we come inside more, we find our focus on family and loved ones. At this time we can reflect on tradition and dream up what new ones you want to bring to fruition. I bring up tradition because research shows that the families that have traditions are the ones with children (and adults) who have the highest levels of self-confidence and emotional well-being. The rate of teens and young adults with depression continues to be the highest and the holidays are known to be a trigger of grief and anxiety for some. Without a sense of who one is and where they came from, we can feel lost in a society that emphasizes consumerism and media as a way to boost ones’ happiness. So today I want to talk about the ways in which you can add in family ritual to become a healthier individual.

 
I think most of my readers strive to be healthy. And since our rituals often surround food, we need to find a way to incorporate ones with holidays that are delicious and also not filled with sugar. There is a time and place for sugar, and a small amount can go a long way. There are also many alternatives available now and so we have an opportunity to explore and find ways to make a meal or dessert that everyone loves and isn’t going to leave us stuck to the coach immobile the rest of the evening. A favorite tradition we had at our Halloween parties as kids was bobbing for apples. No kid ever thought, “Oh no! It’s just an apple!” We loved the sweet fruit! It can be easy to find ways to make healthy choices fun too! Here are some ideas I have for rituals that can assist your family being healthier this year:

 
• Have a weekly tradition (maybe Tuesday nights) where you go for walks as a family. In the fall make it a tradition to kick the leaves or rake up a pile for the kids or (adults) to jump in!
• Have a weekend morning be one in which you make your favorite breakfast food. (Mine is a big veggie stir fry with an egg scramble and gluten-free banana pancakes & real maple syrup. Yum!)
• Have a weekly family night where you do an indoor activity such as board games or movies. You can make homemade popcorn, kale chips or roasted pumpkin seeds for nights like these.
• Have your spouse or kids help you make a meal one day a week. Making food together brings in teaching moments and can help you to experiment with new dishes!
• Volunteer with a group that the family decides on and can be passionate together with. This is a great way to meet and make new friends too!
• Break traditions that don’t serve you. That’s right, if you hate Christmas and don’t want to participate, take a vacation at that time. Or let your family know how you would like to celebrate it with them (or not celebrate at all). And let them know it’s not about them!

 

Here’s to creating new memories and health!
Tanya

Winter’s Energetics

Winter is a time to go within, to recharge and to prepare for the coming time of growth in the spring. It is a time of introspection and yin building, where the focus is on stillness, listening and reflection.

The water element rules the winter. Water is our life blood, and it also circulates all of the body’s fluids. Therefore, water is able to move out waste, help nourish the body, and carries heat to warm us. The kidneys and the bladder are the associated organs and assist the body in cleansing and moving water through the body. The kidneys also help heat the body. When the water energies are in balance in the body, circulation will be present and will help us to maintain warmth.

Fear is the primary emotion that is associated with the kidneys. When there is an imbalance or stuck energy of the water element, we can become overly emotional and fear can easily rise up.  Being overly negative or constantly anxious will also affect the bladder and kidney. Resentment that is held over a long period of time will strain the bladder, and can cause bladder infections.

The ears, teeth, bones, the spine and knees are additionally associated with the kidneys. If you have any issues with these areas, your kidney energy needs attention. The kidneys are responsible for our overall life force, our growth, development and sexuality. If you suffer from fatigue, overuse stimulants or any kind of drugs, or have sexual dysfunction, this also points to a tax on the kidneys. Inappropriate rest or exercise, and not nourishing the self with high quality foods will deplete the kidneys too. A person’s will is related to the kidney energy. If you lack willpower to make the changes in your life that you wish to, the kidney energy is deficient.

Amma Therapy will address all of these issues by balancing the kidney energies, as well as the other organs that have become stuck and are contributing to the dis-ease. It is always nice to see how much people are able to resolve emotional build up, unhealthy mental habits and physical stress during an Amma session.

The Metal Element, Lungs and The Large Intestine

Here we are in the beautiful autumn season ruled by the element of metal. The eliminating organs of the skin, large intestine, sinuses and lungs are governed by the metal element, and need to have extra attention during this time. This time of year is also referred to as “cold and flu” season, which runs through the winter months. The reality is that this can be a time of health and wellness for you and your family, if you are vigilant with good hygiene, healthy food and preventative measures. There are various ways to care for these delicate organs of the lungs and sinuses, as well as the large intestine, to keep them at their optimum. Traditional Chinese Medicine always looks at things holistically and I will identify ways to care for your emotions, mind and spirit as well as body.

We know that sugar causes inflammation in the body. With the holidays, we tend to over-indulge and have more desserts. Some indulging can be okay in moderation, but this is a time to also honor your body by eating more whole foods. An accumulation of mucus forming foods and processed foods will lead to sluggish digestion. This improper elimination leads to toxins building up that eventually come out of your sinuses, and respiratory system. This is how you get sick.

Begin to care for your body by cutting back on the sugar, dairy, fried foods, noodles and bread. Start drinking warm lemon water daily to alkalize the body. Eating lots of steamed organic veggies will add lots of vitamins and minerals into your system, which will prevent disease and support the nervous system, which will decrease stress.

If you are “uptight” or nervous, it may be because you aren’t expressing yourself creatively or not expressing your feelings. With all of the family and holiday requirements, this can come up more often. By not expressing one’s self, the intestines will slow down and this will again affect the lungs and sinuses.

Breathe in with the new and out with the old with consciousness. As the days get darker, it is easier to go inward more, and meditation and breathing practices will assist your health. Breathing and awareness of this helps us to be in tune with our emotional state. The ruling emotion of the autumn season is grief and sadness. When we hold on to melancholy, we are not allowing the large intestine to move things through and out. We also sometimes become stuffed up in our sinuses, holding those feelings in. Journaling and working through these emotions, not stuffing them away, is necessary.

Any kind of mindful movement practices will additionally assist the body in releasing these emotions. Getting in enough sleep and proper exercise- a good half hour a day will also move the emotions and stress through, as well as keep the lymph moving, which is the body’s defense system. Amma or other bodywork is great for tuning up the body, releasing blocks, and moving the lymph. This increases one’s immunity to the pathogens that always surround us.

Wishing you all the best in health & joy!

Tanya

Transitioning to Winter: The Season of Rest and Sleep

Seasonal Imbalance and Amma Therapy

Here we are in the transition season from fall into winter. The transition periods between seasons are governed by the Earth element. During these transition times we may feel out of sorts and it is important to get 7-9 hours of sleep, rest and exercise. You may find yourself in disharmony if you are feeling resistive to change, are overindulging, overly ingratiating, extremely fatigued, worried, and foggy-brained. If you are especially drawn to the color yellow and/or have a yellow colored complexion you additionally may have a propensity towards having too much of the Earth element.  By getting an Amma bodywork treatment you can have this imbalance shift and your body will get back into its natural rhythm.

Sleep, TCM, the Heart and Kidneys

Sleep in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is often related to the heart, as it is the organ that is responsible for governing thought, memory and sleep. The acupoints correlating to heart imbalances such as insomnia are stimulated in treatment and the stuck energy is then released allowing the organs to work together in unison and the symptoms to dissipate. The heart also houses the shen, which is the name of the emotional component of the heart, and also referred to as the spirit. Acupressure points can assist the shen when it is disturbed, as there will be either excessive or dream-disturbed sleep, an inability to feel adequately rested, or insomnia. There is also a heart and kidney balance that must be maintained as the heart gives blood to the kidneys, and the kidney raises heat for the fire needed in the heart. Pathogens and a blood deficient diet, heavy menstrual periods and other issues can also affect the heart and therefore sleep. The kidneys not only need to assist the heart, but they store our essence and life energy. They are the organ that predominantly presents with a chronic neglect of rest. As with any chronic condition, continued treatments will assist in building the body back up, along with self-care recommendations and Chinese herbs.

Seasonal Cycles, Stress and Sleep Deprivation

Although we are not taught to slow down this time of year in our culture, our bodies need to be in rhythm with the seasonal cycles. This is the season of hibernation. We require adequate sleep for rebuilding our bodies and processing the day.  Often times with the holidays we feel obligated and excited to be active and social. And there are many positive aspects to doing so when balanced with rest and good sleep. However, since improper rest and nutritional deficiencies are often present, stress-related disorders are high this time of year.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and depression around the holidays are all too common. And depression is linked to not having proper sleep and rest. Another result from deficient sleep is higher anxiety levels, which are exacerbated by being overly busy and over thinking. Without getting proper sleep, your ability to think, process information and your memory become impaired. Sleep is so essential that when our circadian rhythms are disrupted, our white blood cell count goes down, and our ability to physically respond to stress and pathogens is limited. To top it all off, when you don’t sleep enough, you crave foods and eat things you shouldn’t. This negative cycle takes you down the path to sickness and disharmony.

Insomnia and Sleep Deprivation Prevention

A good way to disrupt this vicious cycle is to create a plan that builds in adequate rest and sleep. If you suffer from insomnia, there are things that can be done at home. Scheduling the TV and the computer to go off an hour or two before bedtime will allow your body to produce melatonin and your body will not be tricked by the artificial lighting into thinking it should stay up late. Too much socializing can lead to late nights and inadequate rest. Challenge yourself to say ‘no’ or answer with ‘let me get back to you’ when you know you could be over-committing. When you find yourself over-committed, sometimes you can gracefully back out. Remember the reason for the season is to spend quality time with loved ones, but you can’t be everyone to everybody.

Here’s to sleep!
Tanya

Tanya Kutterer
Amma Therapist
Blue Heron Holistic Health
tanyabhhh@gmail.com