A little over a year ago, HHA’s resident counselor Andrea Inauen shared her best tips for coping with the pandemic that turned our entire world upside down. At the time, when shut-downs made a single day feel eternal, the focus was on survival more than anything.
While COVID-19 still looms large over our lives, it’s no secret that we’re fatigued from living in crisis mode. The current struggle is more about trying to process the enormity of what we experienced while also being expected to return to work, school, and many pre-pandemic activities (which can come with a lot of anxiety). After such a significant slowdown, returning to our old levels of business and productivity may feel like a shock to the system.
To help you navigate yet another period of transition, Andrea generously shared some simple and effective strength-based tools you can call on to feel more grounded, resilient, and mindful.
Q: Is there a common theme or sentiment you’ve been hearing people struggle with lately?
Andrea: The biggest thing is a locus of control, because there's so much going on right now that we don't have control over. The question I ask my clients is, “What is within your control?” This pandemic is still a threat with many moving parts, but we all want a quality of life that’s more than just existing in survival mode.
So while we’re aware of what’s happening in the world, we have to remind ourselves that the locus of control is within us. It’s up to us to create a sense of joy and purpose and grounding. This means asking questions like, “What’s important to me? What feels good?” There are different areas to explore in this question, from work life to family life. Those muscles went dormant for a while, but we can stretch them a little more — but not to the point where we’re tearing them by trying to do too much too fast.
Q: Are there any other common struggles you’re seeing during this time?
Andrea: A lot of people are waiting for the other shoe to drop. Life is generally filled with peaks and valleys, moments that are both somber and joyful. But when we actually soak in those high points, we gain tools and resilience to help us manage the lows; it replenishes our sense of self. Give yourself permission to enjoy the good, knowing it will help the valleys to be less dark.
I also hear from people who feel guilty about being happy and healthy when bad things are happening all over the world. In essence, we certainly can have feelings, awareness, and compassion, and even get involved in some cases. But to entirely absorb guilt and responsibility is unfair to self and not an accurate reflection of these larger issues.
The key is to change the conjunction from “but” to “and.” So if your normal mindset is, “I want to have a birthday party for my child, but how can I do that when so many kids are suffering?” then consider this slight tweak: “I am aware of this tragedy and my heart breaks for the people involved and I know that celebrating my child doesn’t take away from that.”
By continuing to live your life, it’s fuel so that you can be more of a support system for someone in pain. It truly doesn’t help for you to be guilty. The answer to guilt is to not deny yourself, but instead to live with gratitude.
Q: Do you have any advice for those experiencing anxiety about returning to pre-pandemic activities?
Andrea: If you haven't exercised a muscle in a year, you can't run a marathon. It’s the same with your social life — recognize that it’s a muscle that needs a little stretching and nurturing. If you haven’t been out in a year, jumping into a trip to Disney World is going to feel overwhelming.
Ease in and listen to yourself instead of overdoing it. You don’t want to pull yourself back and let fear run the show, so just check in with yourself and see what your energy levels are feeling like. Maybe instead of committing to an all-day affair, you meet a friend for an hour. If you find that you’re feeling energized instead of drained, you might choose to extend your outing. Either way, listen to yourself!
Q: How can you differentiate between the real need for rest and self-sabotage?
Andrea: It can help to do a checklist to see how you’re really feeling. You can even put this on an index card as sort of a rule-out diagnosis. You might ask: Is my body fatigued? Is there a physical sense of exhaustion? Is there something else I'd really rather be doing?
If you answer yes to all of the above, maybe you really will benefit most from rest. But if not, it’s possible you’re sabotaging yourself out of fear. Again, if you’re feeling anxious, you don’t want to overcommit yourself. Give yourself an out if you need it. It’s like an arcade game — do you want to add more coins, add another hour? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Sometimes it’s important for you to see that person you have plans with, and even if you’re not feeling super enthused, you’ll stretch yourself more for your friend. Sometimes, it’s not super important and it’s going above your threshold. Find a middle ground and try not to stretch yourself too thin.
Q: Are there any personal lessons you learned during 2020 that you’d like to carry forward?
Andrea: I learned to do what’s important to me with more intention and less speed. Things that would have been put on the back burner — like painting for no purpose, or watching a movie — got moved higher up on the list. Pre-pandemic, I was always trying to be fast and productive. Especially being from the northeast, sometimes I struggle with is not going 90 mph at all times. But if you run a marathon every day, you’ll burn out. These days I’m more realistic and unapologetic about slowing down. I can still say yes to things, but I can space it out to be more connected to myself during the day. There are beautiful things that can come out of speed and passion, but sometimes doing it slower is actually doing it better.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the HHA community?
Andrea: We're all human and it's so, so important to be kind to yourself. Whether you're in a crisis or in a joyful mood, be kind and gentle to yourself!
Q: If people are interested in seeing you for counseling, what are the next steps?
Andrea: I welcome the opportunity to talk with you! I can be reached at 973-886-0941 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide more information, share about what a session might look like, or to schedule an appointment.
At Hudson Healing Arts, our blog is a place where we hope to address the topics that are on your hearts and minds, as well as those that affect your health. This month, we’re shining the spotlight on a hot topic we’ve been hearing a lot about lately — inflammation.
There’s no one better to help us understand inflammation than Joe DelGiodice, a long-time member of the HHA family (since 1999!). As a board-certified acupuncturist, Chinese and Western herbalist, and naturopath, Joe is uniquely qualified to explain how healthy lifestyle practices can help reduce chronic inflammation and improve your overall wellbeing.
What Is Inflammation?
First things first: All inflammation actually starts in the body for a good reason. According to Joe, this natural chemical process is vital to defending our bodies from harmful agents. For example, the redness and swelling you experience after an injury is the “good kind” of inflammation — that’s your white blood cells rushing in for protection.
However, it becomes problematic when the process goes unchecked and doesn’t turn off the way it should. It can also become a concern when the re-injury or assault process doesn't stop (i.e. stress that keeps spiraling, or eating the same inflammatory foods repeatedly).
“This traps us in a repetitive cycle where the inflammatory process becomes an emergency process, rather than one that supports everyday living,” Joe says. “Chronic inflammation can manifest as a wide range of issues, from diabetes to arthritis to heart disease.”
Typically, this “bad kind” of inflammation stems from something happening in excess somewhere in the body. The usual suspects? Insufficient sleep or hydration, unhealthy eating, ineffective stress management, or a sedentary lifestyle. Joe points out that the last one doesn’t necessarily equate to laziness — it often means working so hard that you don’t have the opportunity to be active.
Thankfully, it’s possible to manage and reverse inflammation through practices that support your wellbeing, and it’s something Joe sees happen all the time.
“While some chronic inflammation can be genetic, healthy eating, exercise, quality sleep, and taking care of yourself all truly matter,” Joe says. “They help halt the toxicity of your inflammatory response and return to your natural state of being with regular body chemistry.”
One major thing you can do is find an effective way to manage stress. While there’s always a level of inflammation that exists in the body, stress plays a big role in triggering and exacerbating the inflammatory process. Scheduling regular holistic healing sessions (whether that’s acupuncture, Reiki, bodywork, or energy balancing) is a great way to be proactive about taming stress, rather than waiting to crash and burn first.
Wondering what else you can do to help with inflammation? Here are some of Joe’s top tips:
Come Visit Us At HHA
At Hudson Healing Arts, we offer a number of services - both in-person and remote - to encourage relaxation and a greater sense of balance, which helps to alleviate chronic inflammation. Check out our full list of healing modalities here: hudsonhealingarts.com/our-services.html.
As always, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section — or feel free to connect with us on Facebook. Wishing you a wonderful, happy, and healthy end of summer!
Over the past decade, there’s no doubt that complementary and alternative care has become more common in the mainstream and recognized by traditional medicine. Still, when it comes to some of the services offered here at Hudson Healing Arts — from energy work to acupuncture — we often hear the same misconceptions.
That’s why we thought it was high time to separate fact from fiction with our very own “MythBusters” edition! Whether it’s helping you understand how remote sessions work or what acupuncture really feels like, our goal is to shine some light on how our holistic healing modalities truly bring balance to your mind, body, and spirit.
So, without further ado...
Myth: Holistic healing is “woo-woo.”
Truth: Most of us understand on an intuitive level that the mind, body, emotions, and spirit are interconnected. Just think of the heart-racing effects of anger, or the deep fatigue that accompanies sadness. However, this concept can often get lost when issues arise — we may try to “fix” individual body parts or conditions. Our practitioners recognize that when there’s an imbalance in one area, it can impact the others, which is why we aim to restore a sense of harmony among all aspects of the self. It’s pretty amazing to see how physical symptoms tend to fall in line once the mind, emotions, and spirit receive some TLC (and vice-versa).
Myth: Remote energy sessions aren’t as effective as in-person sessions.
Truth: Energy has no geographic boundaries; it’s all about intention. We actually send and transmit energy all the time, and Reiki and AshWork are just as effective conducted remotely. In fact, even before the pandemic, 99% of AshWork sessions were done over the phone. Being in a different energy field than the client can even give the practitioner an edge, helping them to be as “clear” as possible and immerse themselves in the flow of a certain energy vibration.
Myth: I didn’t feel any different after my energy work session, so it didn’t work.
Truth: While many people feel deeply relaxed after an energy work session, there are some people who don’t feel an immediate change, and it’s nothing to worry about. It doesn't mean that it hasn't “worked,” just that it's taking longer for energy to settle in. Ideally, you want to give yourself a little space after a session to let it integrate: take this time to drink some water, stretch, walk, or nap if you want. Often clients notice that they feel better later on in the day or when they wake the next morning.
Myth: Adults are the only ones who can benefit from HHA’s services.
Truth: Reiki, AshWork, and Bach Flower Remedies can help restore emotional balance for teens, kids and even pets (their “humans” can act as surrogates). AshWork can also help restore the flow and fluidity in environments that feel unsettled or heavy, because energy gets stuck in spaces.
Myth: Acupuncture hurts.
Truth: Acupuncture is a deeply healing, rejuvenating practice — it’s not at all the same feeling you get at the doctor’s office when you’re being pricked by a needle. It’s also important to understand that the needles used are generally no wider than a strand of hair. As the needles are inserted, you may feel a tiny sensation, or perhaps nothing at all. Once they’re in, your only job is to lie back and relax. It’s super common to actually fall asleep and to leave feeling extremely relaxed from the release of so much stored tension.
Myth: Nutritional counseling is only for people struggling with their weight.
Truth: While nutritional counseling is wonderful for those hoping to achieve a healthier weight, it’s also beneficial for those who are naturally slim. Our resident nutritionist Joe DelGiodice has worked with people from all walks of life, ranging from three months to 102 years old. The first thing Joe asks clients is their purpose: Are you looking to gain a bit of an edge, to become substantially healthier, or even to obtain supernatural health? The food you eat has a direct impact on your mood, cognition and energy levels, so everyone can stand to gain the benefits of a balanced, nutrient-dense diet.
Myth: Hypnosis is scary. I don’t want to lose control.
Truth: Hypnosis is a totally natural state of mind. In fact, you’ve been in this state countless times! When you’re daydreaming, wrapped up in a movie, or just super engrossed in an activity, it’s not the work of mind control or some outside force. It’s simply you allowing yourself to drop into this altered state of awareness. Hypnosis at its core is direct, deliberate, and deeply relaxed focus. Your mind naturally knows how to get there, but with the help of a professional guiding you, you can harness the power that already exists within you to solve everyday problems. It couldn’t be further from “mind control”; rather, it’s an empowering tool that puts you in the driver’s seat.
Myth: Essential oils may smell good, but that’s about it as far as their benefits.
Truth: Aromatherapy is actually considered mankind’s first medicine! There are endless ways to use essential oils to boost your emotional state and heal a number of ailments, from nausea to congestion. However, it is important to note that all essential oils are not created equally. At Hudson Healing Arts, we only use Young Living, which is considered the gold standard for essential oils. With Young Living oils, you receive 100% pure, highly-concentrated, therapeutic-grade oils (a step beyond food quality standards). P.S. If you’re interested in ordering any of Young Living’s products, visit youngliving.com and use #220708 as the referral number. Or call us– we’re glad to be of help!
Myth: You need a specific physical issue to take Feldenkrais lessons.
Truth: Feldenkrais can help anyone and everyone move better because we all have habits of movement that we’re unaware of that can cause us pain and restriction. Plus, we all hold stress in our bodies. This makes even more sense when you consider our sedentary culture and tech habits. The goal is to become aware of the ways that we move that may not serve us well, and find better options personalized to you as a unique individual.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read our blog — we hope you found it useful. Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook for regular wellness updates and inspiration. Here’s to a happy and healthy rest of the summer!
“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.” -Lucy Maud Montgomery
Sweet summer is officially on the horizon, with the solstice arriving this Sunday, June 20th. After the past year and a half, the promise of sunny, carefree days feels more significant than ever. Finally, it feels safe to exhale and embrace a sense of optimism about the future.
While so many of us are eager to jump back into our old lives, we at HHA believe there’s a potent opportunity on our hands during this “in-between” transition we find ourselves in. The light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t mean we have to go back to our old ways and rushed pace of living. Now is the time to mindfully integrate the lessons learned in 2020 to create the life we want to be living — one marked by balance and well-being.
Embracing the summer solstice
The summer solstice, which marks the longest day of the year, is perfect for reflection and intention-setting. Since ancient times, this solar occasion has been celebrated by cultures all over the world. In ancient China, it was a time to honor yin qualities, which meant finding ways to slow down and cool off to maintain balance in the heat.
This year, solstice rituals take on a deeper meaning as we carve out our intentions for not just summer, but “a new normal.” As much as we want to put the dark times behind us, there’s also an unprecedented opportunity to focus more on what matters and to move forward with these principles front and center. Maybe you realized how much joy it brings you to eat at home as a family, the importance of your relationships and community, or just how much beauty there is in your own backyard. Maybe you experienced a shift in perspective or a new appreciation for slowing down.
One simple way to honor the energy you want to bring forth on the solstice is to create a summer altar. An altar is a sacred space for you to draw inward and tend to your spirit, whatever that means to you. You can set up your altar with anything you’d like, such as flowers, candles, photos, or other natural elements that have meaning for you. Perhaps you begin or end the day with a gratitude practice at your altar, setting an intention, or meditating on a mantra (such as, “I am enough” or “I am present in this moment”). Perhaps you just admire the beauty and reminder of abundance you have created!
Reconnecting with simple summer joys
Pre-pandemic, it’s safe to say that our culture embraced a “go big or go home” mentality. But, when we had no choice but to stay home, we found joy in the little things, whether it was baking bread or planting veggies. While our world is always filled with simple wonders, they seem to be more abundant than ever in the summertime.
This summer, we can continue to bloom where we’re planted and find peace in the moment. Here are just a few simple pleasures to inspire you!
*Flowers are at their most plentiful and inexpensive during the summer - so don’t forget to grab a fresh bouquet! If there’s one thing we learned during the pandemic, it’s the power of putting yourself in the way of beauty, no matter what.
*There are few problems that a frosty treat on a hot day can’t solve. Savor the delight of an ice cream cone, lemonade, or some mouth-watering watermelon (even better if you can keep it in the fridge for a day).
*Even if you don’t have the space for a garden, nurturing a container or potted plant can do wonders for the soul.
*Enjoy a barefoot picnic with loved ones.
*Treat yourself to a lazy day spent in a hammock.
*Remember that pure joy of catching fireflies or lightning bugs you felt as a child? Bring it back with your own kids...or your own inner child! And don't forget to set them free!
*Summer is the perfect time to turn ripe fruits into jams or jellies that you’ll be thankful for come winter.
*Don your favorite floppy hat, flowiest sun dress, or all-around most beloved summer attire. Notice the immediate shift in your energy when you do so!
*There’s nothing better than camping out in your own backyard and sleeping under the stars. Or, simply lay in the grass and make shapes out of clouds.
Happy summer everyone, and thanks so much for reading. Here at HHA, the past year certainly deepened our appreciation for our wonderful community — and that’s something we don’t plan on ever taking for granted! Remember to follow us on Facebook for regular inspiration and special offers.
In a world filled with so much noise, it’s no wonder that listening to our inner voice can feel like a struggle at times. We’re used to being bombarded by outside information, to the point where asking Siri for answers can feel more comfortable than trusting our instincts.
No matter how disconnected you may feel, however, your inner voice is always there to guide you — if only you create the space to turn inwards and hear it. According to Hudson Healing Arts founder Beth O’Boyle, your inner voice is your innate wisdom. When you embrace it as a compass, life tends to feel more peaceful and aligned to what your body and soul truly desire. In this month’s post, Beth shares her best tips for tuning in and heeding the guidance of your inner voice.
Getting In Touch With Your Inner Voice
First things first: What exactly is the inner voice? As Beth explains, “It’s not a great big showman.” It’s that quiet whisper before the mind chatter launches its own campaign. Your inner voice isn’t to be confused with self-talk or mind chatter, which can be quite loud and critical. The mind naturally looks toward what happened in the past, which doesn’t allow us to be open to possibilities.
“Your inner voice is your North Star,” says Beth. “There’s a great quote I love: ‘I’m telling you you’ll be fine if you follow your spirit and travel with your instincts.’ Truly, you’re much more likely to have a happy life if you follow your intuition.”
While your impulse is a knee-jerk reaction, your intuition or inner voice is more of a deep knowing. Tapping into that wisdom requires us to tune into the present. Slowing down and unplugging from tech. Even giving yourself five extra minutes in the morning creates the conditions for your inner voice to be heard.
“It’s so important to listen to that quiet awareness that arises immediately, the seconds before the mind jumps in,” says Beth. “If you have a decision to make, find somewhere quiet to sit. Think of the first option, whether it’s what to eat for lunch or which job to take, and simply notice how you feel. Then, take a breath and let it go. Now consider the other choice. Notice which inner response feels better in your body. Which gives you a lift in your energy, a vitality, or a lightness?”
Reexamine Your Self-Talk
As you get in touch with your inner voice, you’ll naturally be inclined to be gentler to yourself. However, when negative self-talk does arise, don’t beat yourself up for beating yourself up! “It’s all a learned response. After all, young children don’t experience inner criticism unless they’ve heard and learned it from others,” says Beth.
When you say something to yourself that you would never say to a friend, ask yourself, “Where did that come from?” Perhaps it was a careless comment someone made 30 years ago. Often, we get these ideas about ourselves that don’t reflect who we really are. They’re simply reflections of other people immersed in their own stuff...stuff that they too inherited! Letting go of these hurtful beliefs frees us up to be the best, most confident version of ourselves. Here are a few tips for softening that inner critic:
● This is a simple yet transformational practice from author Byron Katie. In response to a negative thought, ask yourself, “Can you absolutely know it’s true? How do you react, what happens, when you believe the thought? Who would you be without the thought?”
● Journaling can be a great source of clarity. Perhaps it means writing down those negative thoughts and untangling where they came from. Or maybe it’s writing a love letter to yourself instead of dwelling on what’s ‘wrong’ with you. Focus on all your good qualities...and don’t spare a thing!
● Embrace affirmations. Write a positive phrase and keep repeating it: post sticky notes, save it on your phone, and remind yourself throughout the day. Getting rid of a negative thought means programming a new one in its place. For instance, instead of “I’ll never be enough,” see how it feels to tell yourself, “I am enough. I do enough. I have enough.”
Accessing the Inner Voice
Despite our best efforts, it can be a challenge to reverse long-held behaviors and beliefs that no longer serve us. That’s why holistic healing can be so transformational. No matter what modality you choose, you’re making a conscious choice to relax. Relaxation is the first step to accessing the subconscious, which is where patterns of behavior and response are stored (rather than in the conscious mind). Here’s a brief look at how some of HHA’s services can help put you in touch with your inner voice.
Hypnosis helps you harness the power that already exists within you to solve everyday problems and make profound change. You’re able to have a powerful conversation with your subconscious, free of distractions and over-thinking, to replace beliefs that aren’t serving you with ones that do!
Our thoughts are incredibly powerful, but it’s easy for our minds to get filled with negative thoughts. Doing deliberate work on what you fill your mind with can have a tremendous ripple effect on all areas of your life. That’s exactly what guided imagery is: directed, deliberate daydreaming! Not a bad way to shift unhealthy patterns…
Bach Flower Remedies
There are countless flower remedies to address various emotions and patterns. Cerato is a remedy for the person who lacks faith in their inner wisdom, asking other people their opinions of what they should do, yet often knowing what it is they truly want. Embracing Cerato is a great idea if you’re more inclined to value other people’s opinion over your own. You can learn more about Cerato on The Bach Centre website. To schedule a Bach consultation, call (201)653-7700 ext. 1 or email: Beth@hudsonhealingarts.com.
Counseling is all about getting to know yourself — and unknowing the limiting stories you’ve held on to for years. Having a safe space to talk without judgment is invaluable to getting in tune with your inner voice.
AshWork Energy Clearing
AshWork calms the parasympathetic nervous system, taking us out of fight-or-flight mode to gently shift patterns. This makes it a wonderful shortcut to change and improvement, releasing stuck patterns while keeping talking to a minimum.
The Feldenkrais Method
Feldenkrais lessons are individualized to help each person uncover their most efficient movement patterns. During this process, you learn to listen to your body in an entirely new way. Not only does movement still the mind, but our bodies often give us powerful clues about what feels right and what doesn’t.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this month’s post. Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook for more regular holistic healing inspiration. Wishing everyone a joyful May!
“The only certainty is uncertainty, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” ~John Allen
For the past 14 or so months, this quote is certainly one we’ve lived by. And while the future may feel brighter than it has for a while, the structure of our days is still largely in limbo. With all of the constant upheavals, it’s no wonder we’re scratching our heads trying to figure out what day it is...and where the past year has gone!
If you’re feeling a bit adrift, rituals are a wonderful way to center yourself amidst the changing tides and create an anchor to mark the passage of time. They don’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate; we at HHA find that just carving out a few minutes each day can be remarkably nourishing to your mind, body, and soul. Best of all, there’s endless room for creativity.
Below, check out some of our favorite ideas!
Wake Up Gently
It’s no secret that our mornings set the tone for the entire day. That’s why it’s so important to begin as you mean to go on. Just waking up five minutes earlier — perhaps to a more pleasant alarm sound — can give you time to think about the energy you want to bring forth. Here’s a few way to start the day with positivity and intention:
❖ Practice gratitude. Whether you write out a list or just take a mental note, starting the day with a grateful heart opens your eyes to the miracles and blessings at play in your life.
❖ Take a few minutes for deep breathing. The quality of your breath is the quality of your life!
❖ Visualize wellbeing. Imagine light in whatever color appeals to you, and guide it down your body to wake you up. Visualize this light bringing health and wellbeing to every part of your body as it flows. Or, picture yourself in a beautiful spot in nature; your energy system still gets the same charge from visualizing it.
“There are always things on the agenda that needs to be done, but we really do have the ability to choose how we go through the day,” says HHA founder Beth O’Boyle. “These rituals can help shift our energy in a powerful way. We can choose to feel empowered and at ease, rather than resentful.”
“Heaven Rushing In” Practice
For those moments you feel disconnected, Beth recommends an uplifting practice called “Heaven Rushing In” from Donna Eden.
Here’s how to do it: Simply stand tall, take a breath in, and on your exhale, bring your hands into a prayer position in front of your heart. With another deep breath, open your hands and arms to the sky and invite in its healing energy. Then, scoop all of that energy from the universe and bring your hands back to heart center.
If you can try this outside, there’s something extra nourishing about opening up your arms to nature and reconnecting with the bigger picture.
In today’s chaotic world, a little grounding goes a long way! Taking the time to regularly ground yourself allows you to be present and feel fully more connected to your body and life. Practices that connect us to nature are inherently grounding, whether it’s walking barefoot in the grass or just reading a book outdoors.
“Touching your feet to the earth actually harmonizes the energy in your body in just 10 minutes,” Beth explains. “The soles of our feet and the earth have magnetic charges, so it’s almost like a magnet for us. When you place your feet on the earth, you’re reconnecting that circuit.”
There are endless ways to use essential oils to support your health and wellbeing. If you work from home, diffusing a scent you love can start the day on a more positive, upbeat note. Certain essential oils have different benefits; for instance, peppermint is well-known for keeping you awake and focused. Lemon, tangerine, vanilla, and spearmint are all great options too. Or, to unwind before bed, consider starting a nightly ritual of rubbing essential oil onto the soles of your feet. Lavender is a popular choice for encouraging relaxation, but feel free to use whatever scent is relaxing to you.
If you’re looking for specific benefits (rather than just a good smell), make sure to use a diffuser that doesn’t rely on heat to preserve the biochemical integrity of the oil. Cool-air diffusion will keep its delicate properties fully intact. For a great selection of cool-air diffusers and high-quality essential oils, we love www.youngliving.com. If you’re new to the site we’re happy to share our number: 220708.
Take Intentional Breaks
It might seem obvious that taking a break should be a daily ritual — but we know it’s easier said than done! Instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media or skipping your break altogether, find a way to nurture your spirit while taking a breather. You can pour a nice cup of tea or a latte, talk a walk, stretch or enjoy some yoga. Whatever you choose, try to take a break from your devices.
It’s also worth a mention that spring is an ideal time to simplify and refresh your work environment. You don’t have to do it all — just pick one area to focus on at a time. Perhaps you create a little altar with fresh flowers, stones or crystals, or cherished photos, add brighter colors, or display a meaningful quote.
Visualization is an incredibly powerful way to release negativity and deliberately direct your energy for the day. Here’s two great ideas from Beth:
❖ For when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed: Find somewhere quiet to sit and close your eyes. Whatever it is that feels burdensome, imagine it as a backpack or weight on your shoulders. Visualize yourself putting it down, taking a breath, and feeling free. Just breathe and notice what arises with a pleasant, slightly detached curiosity (without any praise or blame). Give yourself a judgment-free zone. If you don’t attach to it, it will release of its own accord. You don’t have to feel the emotions connected to it; let the thoughts float away.
❖ For when you’re feeling isolated or disconnected: Find somewhere quiet to sit and close your eyes. Here, we’ll tap into that invisible web that connects us all. Imagine sending out threads or strands of light to all the people you love (pets included!). You can even send it to the earth, or imagine the strands of light connecting everyone. Just that gentle touch with light registers with them, and it’s a nice way to bring them into your little tapestry. If it’s nighttime, you can imagine drifting off to sleep surrounded by the people you love and care for.
We truly hope these ideas inspire your days and give you a stronger sense of meaning and purpose despite the uncertainty of the times. And of course, we’re always here to help you find greater balance with both remote and in-person offerings. Check out our holistic healing modalities here: https://www.hudsonhealingarts.com/our-services.html
After what feels like an eternal hibernation, sweet spring is finally on its way. This year, the promise of renewal and fresh beginnings is more significant than ever — which is why we want to enjoy it in optimal health!
At HHA, we draw from a variety of ancient and modern wellness techniques to help you feel your best in mind, body and spirit. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is just one area we draw from, and we feel incredibly fortunate that Joe DelGiodice, our board-certified acupuncturist, Chinese and Western herbalist and naturopath, specializes in harnessing this ancient wisdom to support clients through the seasons.
Spotlight On… The Liver
If you have seasonal allergies, you’ll need no telling that the body experiences fluctuations just like the earth. In TCM, this “transition” period is eased by focusing on the organ associated with each season. Spring is all about the liver, which makes perfect sense when you consider its role in detoxification.
The liver plays a central role in all the metabolic processes in the body (more than 500!), so it benefits in a major way from a little “spring cleaning.” According to Joe, there are plenty of nutritious options you can easily add to your diet to support the liver. Take a cue from the season and think green; arugula, dandelion, celery, watercress, chard, lettuces and sprouts are all great choices. Liver-friendly foods tend to be naturally a bit sour or bitter, and also include lemons, limes and grapefruit. Shiitake mushrooms are another delicious choice.
“Mushrooms contain amazing compounds called beta-glucans, which are immune-boosting and simultaneously anti-inflammatory,” he said. “This is important because part of the problem we face with COVID-19 is a systemic inflammatory response in the body.”
Abundant hydration is also essential. Now is an ideal time to add mint, lemon, ginger, or goji berries into water or tea, all of which cleanse and nourish the liver. Joe also recommends a hydrating “lemonade” to encourage detoxification, which consists of water mixed with a squeeze of lemon, cayenne pepper, organic extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil, and grade B maple syrup.
Releasing Baggage for New Beginnings
Supporting the liver isn’t just beneficial for your body. In TCM, emotions and physical health are interconnected — it’s truly a mind-body approach.
The liver processes stress, and when functioning smoothly, it prevents pent-up tension and anger from controlling us. It’s also responsible for the smooth delivery of chi throughout the body. As the buds begin to blossom and fresh air revitalizes your home, you too can harness the energy of spring to welcome a new experience of greater wellbeing. Spring is the perfect time to shed the resentments and beliefs that no longer serve you, and nourishing the liver is a great first step.
In TCM, the seasons are also associated with an element. Springtime happens to be wood, since it’s a time of new life and growth (for nature, trees and humans alike). Balancing this element can help you keep your body, mind and spirit in greater harmony as we enter spring.
“Remember, flexible green bamboo is technically stronger than steel,” said Joe. “It can bend and adapt. This is the element that prepares us for the fluctuations and encourages us to be emotionally flexible.”
Wood asks us to look ahead across the horizon, now that we have increased daylight. It invites us to capitalize on the alert, vital energy of spring to refocus our vision. One great way to balance your wood element is to rise earlier in the morning, and take this time to consider the seeds you’d like to sow.
“Spring is the first season of the new year. Those New Year’s resolutions feel more in reach and we get that second chance to usher in a beautiful new beginning and greater wellbeing,” said Joe. “Now is the time to activate new life for 2021.”
Here’s a few final tips to start your “spring cleaning” from within...
● March is a changeable month — be ready for both warm and chilly days alike! Don’t forget to dress in layers to protect yourself from the wind and sudden drops in temperature.
● Schedule an acupuncture session to fine-tune your body for the moods of the coming season and completion of the past season.
● Check out this liver-friendly salad from Joe’s YouTube channel! You can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3eAUxgV2-g
● Avoid heavy or fried foods, which are taxing on the liver.
● Get outdoors as much as possible! Whether it’s getting your hands dirty in the garden or enjoying outdoor exercise, fresh air and increased Vitamin D will help you feel your best.
Thanks so much for reading this month’s post. We hope to see you soon at Hudson Healing Arts. Wishing you a spring season full of hope, health and renewal!
How Holistic Healing Builds Patterns of Self-Love “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” -Buddha Regardless of how you feel about Valentine’s Day, there’s no denying that February is the month of love...which is why we at HHA felt it was apropos to focus this month’s post on self-love! After all, the most important relationship you’ll ever have in your life is the one you have with yourself. Of course, we also understand that self-care can feel downright impossible at times. Yet the more you build patterns of treating yourself with love, the more you’re able to extend that love to others. At HHA, we offer a variety of healing modalities to help you find balance in mind, body and spirit. From this place of relaxation, it becomes far easier to soften that critical gaze and embrace the beauty that lies within, finding greater self-acceptance, peace, and confidence along the way. Read on to learn more about how our healing services can help nurture self-love — because you’re so, so worth it! Bach Flower Remedies There’s no shortage of blocks that can prevent us from prioritizing self-care. The beauty of Bach Flower Remedies is that there’s a remedy for pretty much all of them! You may be surprised just how much a little flower power can balance your emotional state. Below, here’s just a short list of common emotional blocks that these remedies can help address. ● Guilt: While taking care of ourselves enables us to better care for others, guilt often creeps in regardless. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re responsible for everyone else’s happiness first and foremost. Pine is an amazing remedy that helps gently remove that weight from your shoulders so you can treat yourself better. ● Procrastination: Does your to-do list leave you with a sense of inertia or mental weariness? If so, hornbeam is a brilliant remedy. The wood of the hornbeam bush is used to make tool handles, so its essence is great for strength and helping you take on life one step at a time. ● Rigidity: If you’re holding yourself to overly high standards, rockwater can help you be more realistic with the demands you place on yourself. It helps you to deal with perfectionism so you can find the joy and peace you deserve! ● Physical exhaustion: Sometimes, pure exhaustion keeps us from even being able to consider the thought of self-care. Olive is wonderfully restorative, helping to give you a subtle second wind while encouraging balance and mindfulness about your limits. This is particularly great for tired parents. ● Numbness: Putting on a brave face and minimizing your emotions can be an ingrained pattern that’s tough to break. However, your feelings are worth tending to — in fact, acknowledging them is the only way to truly move through them! Acrimony helps nudge you to care for yourself and lean into whatever it is you’re going through so you can move forward. ● Lack of confidence: Sometimes, we stop ourselves before even trying to start something that will bring us comfort (say, a new exercise routine) because we think we’ll never be able to accomplish it. Larch helps give that much-needed boost of self-esteem to try new things with some faith in ourselves. ● Apathy: It’s been an incredibly tough year, and for some of us, it’s led to a feeling of resignation. If your enthusiasm and happiness feels hard to access, or you’ve had a lot of “Why bother?” thoughts as of late, wild rose is great for reigniting that spark of aliveness inside you. ● Stuck: Perhaps you’re simply not feeling the way you’d like to, or you’re stuck in the same pattern of behavior that’s just not working. Chestnut bud can help you connect the dots, learn from life’s lessons and create new patterns of behavior that encourage your desired result. ● Obsessive thoughts: Whether you’re a teen whose self-conscious about a blemish or an adult whose become obsessive about handwashing in the pandemic, crabapple is a remedy that can ease these thought patterns and help you find a sense of balance. As you can see from just this short list, Bach Flower remedies are incredibly versatile tools for everyday support. Our Bach Foundation Registered practitioner, Beth O’Boyle, offers phone consultations to listen to how you’re feeling and where you’re facing challenges, and identify the right mix (of up to seven essences) to help your unique situation. Since each person responds differently to different situations, Beth gets to the root of why you’re feeling a certain way. This helps find the appropriate remedy to help your emotions flow through so that you can experience a greater sense of wellbeing. Acupuncture When we’re dealing with physical issues, such as migraines or insomnia, treating ourselves with kindness is often the last thing on our minds. It’s far more common to beat ourselves up or even berate our bodies for “failing” us. Acupuncture is a wonderful way to activate the body’s selfhealing mechanisms — sans medication and unwanted side effects. The ancient healing art has a long track record of successfully relieving stress, migraines, insomnia, chronic pain, and far more. From a space of feeling good in your body, it becomes so much easier to nurture your mind and spirit as well to truly thrive. AshWork Energy Clearing If you’re hung up on a specific problem or pattern, AshWork offers a way to ease your burden and shed the baggage that’s been wearing on you. This gentle, new paradigm for energy clearing provides a new, broader perspective or resolution and a feeling of lightness and calm. Regardless of the type of issue you’re dealing with, AshWork helps to support greater acceptance of yourself, in turn helping you to accept others too. Counseling Counseling doesn’t have to be a lifelong commitment; in fact, our resident counselor Andrea Inaeun excels in offering short-term support for clients. Counseling is an incredible way to get a framework for what self-care truly looks like for you. Andrea is passionate about helping clients identify things that we can control and work through (whether in-person or via Zoom) in a time where so many of us feel powerless. Emotional toolboxes are just one way she helps clients find ways to tackle their challenges with less injury to self. Guided Imagery It’s only natural that many of us are having a hard time relaxing after the events of the past year. If you’re sabotaging the possibility of happiness by mentally preparing yourself for the worst, guided imagery (offered via Zoom) can deliberately direct your mind to a healthier, more productive path...one that’s open to joyful possibilities! The Feldenkrais Method There’s no doubt that the pandemic has affected us in all areas: mind, body and spirit. If you’re feeling achy, stiff and lethargic from so much time shuttered indoors, Feldenkrais (offered via Zoom and in-person) is a wonderful way to put the pep back in your step and uncover greater ease and pleasure in movement. This method helps better support your body and improve oxygen flow, which then positively affects the way you think and feel. It’s like a tapestry; once you pull at one thread, you realize just how much everything is affected! Hypnosis Counseling How often do we think, “I’ll love myself when...?” If there’s an issue that’s holding you back from reaching your fullest potential, whether it’s quitting an unhealthy habit or starting a new one, hypnosis counseling (offered via Zoom) is a powerful way to harness the power that already exists within yo
Keeping our immune systems in good shape is always a wintertime priority. This year, in the midst of the pandemic, it’s no surprise that it’s even more important than usual.
Thankfully, HHA’s acupuncture extraordinaires — Carla San Diego and Joe Del Giodice — were kind enough to share their expert advice on staying healthy during cold and flu season. They also illuminated just how vital acupuncture is for resetting the nervous system, which is connected to immune system function (it’s all connected!).
Read on for simple tips to feel your best this winter.
The Effects of Fight or Flight Mode
It’s no stretch to say we all experienced a heaping of additional stress in the past 12 months. The beauty of acupuncture lies in its ability to address the recipient of all this extra stress: the nervous system.
While the nervous system is designed to respond to change, the amount we’ve been experiencing has been unprecedented. Our nervous systems have been tasked with processing a global pandemic, political strife, isolation, and so much more. It’s no surprise that this astronomical change has sent most of us into fight or flight mode.
In this state, the body lowers immune function. In fact, it lowers any function that isn’t considered essential to your immediate survival, such as digestion, reproduction, and sleep. As a result, Carla notes that many patients are now reporting new symptoms. She’s seen an increase in dizziness, mental fogginess, fatigue, dryness, back and neck pain, constipation or other GI discomfort, irregular periods, or insomnia, all of which can compromise the immune system.
Finding Your Way To Rest and Digest
The great thing about acupuncture is that it essentially resets the autonomic nervous system, which means you can find your way to rest and digest mode. In this state, we’re able to experience overall wellbeing and a deeper sense of relaxation. Many clients describe experiencing a sense of “letting go” during a session.
Taking care of yourself also means getting back to the basics. Our bodies need basic things to keep going, let alone thrive. Check out Carla’s recommendations below:
1. Juice/fuel/Qi. It’s essential to eat a healthy, balanced, nutrient-rich diet and to stay hydrated. Check out Joe’s organic winter salad recipe on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6P8roR_hn0) for some inspiration!
2. The ability to process this juice/fuel/Qi. Immune function begins in the gut. Are you drinking enough water to process everything? Is your digestion functioning? Are you urinating and moving your bowels daily to get rid of toxins?
3. Rest. Just as your phone rests while charging and your computer goes to sleep, your body charges while you rest in sleep.
4. Movement. It’s important to move regularly to get the juice/qi flowing. This doesn’t just mean sweaty cardio exercise. Your body needs to move inwardly also, which is why meditation, yoga, Qi Gong, relaxing walks, and dancing are all great options.
“When you’re getting enough (not too much or too little) of these four things, your immune system will protect you as it’s supposed to and your nervous system will take care of the rest,” says Carla. “You will feel good, stay well and be happy...or at least, have more joyful moments.”
Safety Precautions at HHA
Because the last thing we want is to add to your stress during your pursuit for stress relief, we want to emphasize that Carla and Joe are taking precautions to create the safest possible environment.
Beyond the precautions you’d expect (wearing masks, taking client temperatures), both practitioners have limited their hours and number of patients, which gives plenty of time for sanitation and proper ventilation in between sessions. Surfaces are disinfected between all client sessions and disposable coverings are used on the massage tables.
“I continually run an air filter/purifier with a medical-grade H13 HEPA filter, and confirm all appointments the day before with an inquiry of symptoms and exposure,” shares Carla. “Hand sanitizer is provided throughout the office. I also get a rapid and PCR test regularly.”
Joe also incorporates immune enhancement and stress relief into every acupuncture session, regardless of the purpose for the treatment.
To learn more or schedule an appointment, Joe can be reached at (201)653-7700 ext.3. “Not everyone gets the same points, but it’s personalized based on their circumstances and evaluation that day,” he said. “I also instruct my patients to be abundantly hydrated and to eat well on the day of treatment. Piggybacking the treatment with proper hydration and nutrition will show the biggest benefits.”
Finally, as a special bonus, Carla is offering a New Year special through the end of March for new patients: Six visits for the price of five (unless you’re using insurance). For pricing details, she can be reached at (917) 830-5877.
Here’s to a healthy, happy winter!
Hygge — pronounced as hoo-gah — is a delightful Danish concept that can’t be translated into a single word. Rather, it’s one of those “you know it when you feel it” situations.
Hygge has been described as a coziness of the soul, a hug without the physical touch, the art of creating intimacy, and even cocoa by candlelight.
The essence of hygge is comfort, coziness, and contentment. Though it’s considered an art by the Danes, it’s only recently gained popularity in the US. And now that we’re all spending more time inside than usual, we at Hudson Healing Arts believe it’s more important than ever to prioritize creating cozy spaces we love.
The beauty of hygge is there’s no one right way to go about it; in fact, there’s infinite ways to impart this quality into your daily life and boost your wellbeing, and it doesn’t require you to spend a dime!
Boosting Your Home’s Hygge Factor
Intuitively, you probably realize why hygge can’t be distilled to a single word. You can get this warm, fuzzy feeling from a variety of sources, whether it’s a warm, crackling fire or bundling up in your favorite robe.
In pre-pandemic times, you may not have thought much about consciously creating hygge — it was likely something you were pleased to stumble upon, like the nourishment of running into an old friend. This winter, however, we’re facing the loss of our normal activities and the traditions we hold dear. To create a greater sense of wellbeing amidst these challenges, being proactive about enjoying the small things and making the season feel special means everything.
Without further ado, here are some of our favorite ways to cozy up and create a soothing atmosphere this holiday season!
Embrace Warm Lights
Lighting has a remarkable impact on our mood — just think of how you feel under the glare of fluorescent lights, versus a soft, candlelight glow. One of the positives of being home so much is the ability to control the lighting we’re exposed to to a much greater degree than usual.
To create ambience and a touch of romance, consider candles, Himalayan salt lamps, twinkling lights, light therapy lamps, and lanterns to be your best allies. If you have a fireplace, this is also a wonderful time to make the most of it.
Tap Into the Power of Scent
Did you know that smells have a stronger tie to memory and emotion than any of the other senses? There’s no better way to nourish yourself with memories of past holiday seasons than with a little nostalgia in the scent-department. Whether it’s with potpourri, essential oil
diffusers, candles, plants, flowers, or perhaps baking a delicious treat, filling your home with a feel-good aroma will also fill your heart with a greater sense of peace. One quick way to create hygge is to pour fresh coffee beans into a decorative bowl, and then nestle a few tea lights into the beans.
P.S. At HHA, Young Living essential oils are our favorite way to embrace the power of aromatherapy. If you’re interested in ordering any of Young Living’s products, visit www.youngliving.com and use #220708 as the referral number. Or feel to call us– we’re glad to be of help.
Create Sensory Delights
Hygge is all about treasuring the simple pleasures, which is why we’re huge advocates for having an abundance of soft, pleasing textures on hand. Velvet blankets, fuzzy socks, comfy robes, fluffy pillows...okay, we think you get the picture! Having these items readily available encourages you to treat yourself to self-soothing on a more regular basis, which in turn gives your nervous system a little TLC.
Indulgence tends to get a bad rep in the US, but the Danish believe that adding some mindfulness to the process is nourishing to the mind, body and soul. This means taking the time to slowly savor the treats you love, instead of completely restricting yourself or eating every treat in sight. It’s even been referred to as “a food hug.” Whether it’s a steamy beverage, a warm bowl of oatmeal, or a hearty, seasonal stew, give yourself the gift of being present to fully enjoy it.
The vibration of sound influences every cell in your body. This probably comes as no surprise when you consider just how good you feel when you hear your favorite song. Playing calming music or instrumentals, or nostalgic music that reminds you of happier times, is an incredibly simple yet effective way to cleanse your energy, relieve stress, and harmonize your emotions.
Refresh Your Home’s Energy
Perhaps you’ve made an effort to bring more coziness into your home, but something still feels unsettled. We’ve all been home much more than usual, so if you’ve noticed the energy in your house getting condensed or heavy as of late, not to worry: It’s common for energy to get stuck in spaces. AshWork energy clearing is an effective way to restore the flow and fluidity in your home and pave the way for greater hygge. Feel free to contact Beth O’Boyle, our advanced AshWork practitioner, at (201) 653-7700 ext.1.
As always, we truly hope at least one of these ideas resonates with you and helps you find greater peace during this difficult time. Here’s to a safe, healthy and joyful holiday season, from the HHA family to your family!
Hannah Chenoweth is a Hoboken-based conference producer and freelance writer who enjoys covering all aspects of health and wellness.