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

Tag Archives: Emotional Well-being

Let Go of Stress

Were you rushing out the door to work this morning or to your last appointment? We often feel stress in our busy lives… When you’ve come home and you hear that reminder ding on your phone one more time. When you are driving along and you are startled by someone blaring on their horn. When you feel the construction from the nearby street vibrating through your house and you spill your tea down your shirt. When we are told from our supervisor we need to make an improvement at work, but we’ve been doing the best we could every day. When we feel like we give and give and our partner tells us we aren’t doing something enough and they need more help. How many stressors are you bombarded with on a daily basis? While these are all things that we at times deal with, I’m going to share ways to bust through stress and especially emotional, nutritional, environmental and spiritual stress. We all know that we live in a society that doesn’t honor the body and soul or its needs. But, we all live in it and have to navigate it.

Nutritional stress is one that you hear a lot about from me. The soil, air and water are all full of toxins, so even when we are doing our best in terms of eating whole foods and organic, we are not always able to get the nutrients we need. Of course we are all on a spectrum on our eating and healing journey and some of us are still eating foods that are not so nutritionally dense, or lacking in nutrition. Yes, these foods are processed. But remember, we aren’t aiming for perfection, only working to get better. And when we don’t get the nutrients we need for our body, there are break downs that happen. You have heard from me about some of the vitamins that are synergists, such as calcium and magnesium. These are ones that work together as a team. In the body, there are many of these that need to be in play to get the body into full alignment and orchestration. Some of us are putting things into our body that are drawing minerals and vitamins out such as coffee, birth control pills and medications. While there may be a need for some of these, there is a causal effect in the body. These things and others can deplete the body and we can experience nutritional stress that will manifest in ways such as fatigue, cravings, mood swings, muscle tension, insomnia and sometimes even more chronic issues. When you come in to see me, I can tell you what foods and supplements you will need according to your patterns and symptoms to get the body synergizing.

Emotional stress has a role from the nutritional stressors as you can see. When we are already having a lack of nutrition, it can affect the mood. I studied Cultural Anthropology in college initially and indigenous people work maybe 4 hours out of the day. The mere fact that we have to produce often is probably the largest modern day stressor. The importance of feeling our emotions and finding a way to express it in a healthy way is imperative to healing. We are leaving an old way of being where we had to stuff our emotions or were told to suck it up and keep going. But we know those ways never helped any of us and now we are learning to undo this programming. Finding a healthy way to express yourself is of vital importance to healing the body. And deep listening to our issues is also needed. We need to set aside our judgments of how we “need” to be, “should” be, or “could” be. Our body and soul have the wisdom to teach us when we stop and listen. And using Emotional Freedom Technique can help you feel and release these emotions. Let me teach you how to do this, and you will have this tool for life!

The other stressors we experience today are from technology, noise and light pollution and environmental malaise. What do I mean by that? In Chinese Medicine they have something called Geomancy. This is how we are in relation to where we live, the landscape around us, both in our home and outside of it. If there is a noisy freeway outside of our home, this will be a stressor. Our health is directly influenced by our environment. This is why the practice of feng shui has been helpful to people and we are rediscovering its value to our overall health. And remember, cell phones are a new phenomenon and the EMF’s emitting are being proven to have detrimental effects to us. I recommend at least one day a week to not go on your social media or email. Keeping notifications off of emails and app alerts unless absolutely necessary will help you find more peace in your day to day being. Be sure and turn your phone on to vibrate when you want your family time in the evenings and weekends, and also put your phone in airplane mode if it’s in your bedroom while you sleep. Finding a way to bring beauty and balance to your home will greatly assist your health. And if you aren’t happy where you are living, begin steps to make that move so you can have the peace and happiness you deserve!

We all know that spending time in nature is healing and I recommend finding more ways to incorporate this into your spiritual practice. Spiritual stress is a common one today. This is why the self-help movement has become so large. A practice or ritual is important. When you take time for meditation, yoga, walking, journaling, and resting, you are honoring your body and soul and you will often arrive at answers that you didn’t have before. There is no right way to get in touch with the divine, but practicing it will bring inner peace. Finding a community that supports and is in alignment with your values is also a way to meet your spiritual needs. Lastly, when we are of service, we feel our best. This boosts our immune system and feeds our feel good hormones in our body. Remember though that volunteering should be something you love and feel great about during and after you leave.

Stress builds in us and it erupts in many ways. For some of us it’s anxiety, some a back ache, for others it will develop into premenstrual issues, digestive issues for others and the list goes on. When you come in, I can help you to understand the ways in which stress is affecting you in your body and mind and I will coach you through that while you get the energy moving. I am always pleasantly surprised to see what Amma can do to assist in healing the mind, body and soul.

Here’s to letting it all go! 

Many Blessings,

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

Late Summer Energetics

The season of late summer is upon us. The weather is changing and the season is in transition towards fall. The element of Earth is the overarching one for late summer as well as each change of season and is associated with the organs of the stomach and spleen. The changing of the season can be difficult for some, but it doesn’t have to be. Are you in balance? This season has to do with nourishing ourselves and feeling the abundance in our lives. Are you satisfied? Do you have enough and are you able to share your abundance? If you find yourself feeling resistive to change, are overindulging, overly ingratiating, forgetful, extremely fatigued, worried, foggy-brained or needy of attention, then you are experiencing Earth out of balance. If you are able to be accepting of the opinions of others, life changes (and cycles) and new ideas, you are in balance. If you are especially drawn to the color yellow and/or have a yellow colored complexion you may have a propensity towards having too much of the earth element. Amma bodywork therapy can re-balance you if your body, mind and emotions.

 
Often times in this season we see the body present itself with ailments related to the digestion. Physically the body can be affected by nervousness or hurried eating, and the food will not be assimilated if this is the case. If you are “holding on” to emotions and thoughts, you may experience constipation. An inability to “stomach” ideas of others or resisting the end of summer may cause indigestion for some. An inability to nourish the body or mind is imbalance as well. Eating whole foods deliberately and without other distractions is important to the absorption of nutrients. If there are problems with the skin or muscles there is an imbalance with the Earth element. This may come in the form of tension (inflexibility), stiffness, edema, loose or flabby skin or muscles and cracking or peeling of the skin.

 
By getting Amma bodywork, you can have your imbalance shift and your body will get back into its natural rhythm. An increase in your immunity, increased energy, improved digestion, and heightened willpower will happen as the result of a session. Let go into the coming fall by nourishing your body and getting things flowing!

 

Many Blessings,
Tanya

Breast Health

It was a little over two years ago that I had an annual exam and my doctor felt lumps in my breast. She told me very seriously that I needed to have the lumps checked out, in a firm and urgent tone. I left there feeling anxiety welling in me, and later, panic formed. I was frightened, and facing what many women in our society must: to reconcile that I may have breast cancer. My great grandmother passed from breast cancer and I never got to know her, so I took this information even more seriously. I also knew the possibility that I may be totally safe and the lumps could be benign. However, after leaving there, I developed a fear of my breast tissue that had the lumps. I couldn’t touch them without being thrown into a panic. I knew that this was something I needed to overcome, but the thought of cancerous tissue was more than my mind could handle.

Luckily by this time I was graduating from the Amma Therapy program and was on my way to becoming a holistic practitioner. There was more than the physical going on here I knew, and there were alternatives for me to seek out to help resolve this no matter the outcome. I was armed with knowledge, but nothing trumps an experience of an invitation of death on your doorstep.

I also had a great resource on my shelf, a book: “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” written by an MD. This doctor had been in practice a long time and seen many patients with lumps in their breasts. Her words calmed me. I learned that fear in my body would only create more of a problem. It didn’t mean that everything was going to be okay. I was not yet in the clear. It meant that I needed to change my mind about the way that I viewed lumps in my breasts.

These lumps are commonly benign and are either fibroadenoma or cysts, and sometimes still referred to as fibrocystic disease. Disease is a strong word and I prefer to state that we can be in dis-ease, or I refer to our health issues as disharmonies. Lumps are a common phenomenon and you do not have to be in fear when you find them. There are many reasons they can occur and be there even for some time. After all, 90% of lumps are benign. And if you do have cancerous tissue, there are often ways to work to remove the cancer from the body without having to use chemotherapy, radiation, or remove a breast, especially if it is caught early on.

Over time if the blood, qi and lymph of the breast tissues aren’t moved and become stuck in the chest, lumps can form. This can happen from improper diet, from emotional issues and being exposed to too much radiation, as well as other toxins in our environment. Wire bras constrict the flow of blood, lymph and qi, and can also be a factor in this energy restriction.

The liver meridian is linked to the breasts and the associated emotions with the liver are anger, frustration and resentment. Having any of these emotional issues can block the flow of energy in this area. It is good to keep in mind that many illnesses come about due to blocked emotions. This can be highly unconscious and if you have sent unloving thoughts to your breasts because of size or other body image issues, it will be important to forgive yourself and to love yourself as you are now.

Most people in our society are pretty well educated on the importance of doing regular breast exams. This is good self-care that I highly encourage. Massaging the tissue around the breasts regularly (especially where the bra lines are) to move the energy is important. Taking your bra off when you come home from work in the evening, or at least an hour or two before bedtime assists the energy to flow properly.

Diet, exercise and reducing stress are also huge factors in maintaining healthy breast tissue. Reducing dairy products is known to benefit breast tissue. And if you are consuming any dairy whatsoever, be sure it is organic so you are not adding additional hormones to your body, which may contribute to breast swelling, tenderness and pain. Reducing caffeine (and yes this includes chocolate), sugar and refined carbohydrates will help decrease the overstimulation of breast tissue. Alcohol, caffeine and tobacco are all very hard on the liver, and therefore stagnate the energy in and around the breasts.

Exercise is also essential because you have to move your body to move your lymph (or get bodywork). Working out four hours a week is recommended. Expressing all of your emotions in a positive and balanced way through journaling, meditation, counseling and mindful movement are also important in dealing with stress.

Amma therapy, a form of acupressure and massage, is very effective in helping move lymph, blood and especially the liver qi in the body. An entire treatment is focused on moving energy through all of the body, and getting regular treatments is great preventative health care. Specific points can be done during a session around the breasts and over other areas of the body to help coordinate the flow so that all organs are networked and in proper alignment. Sessions can assist in reducing lumps, pain and treating other women’s issues.

It is my desire to bring peace, clarity of mind, and to assist you in your health so you may go out and do good things in the world!

Blessings,
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