Treating Low Back Pain Holistically

Since I was 13, back pain has been a lingering presence in my life; one I’ve learned to minimize through holistic lifestyle choices. I’ve also worked with countless clients over the past 20 years with similar issues. I have accumulated tons of experience in this area. When this nemesis reappeared with gusto last year, I had a lot of tools at my disposal, but I still frequently experienced sensations that ranged from discomfort to debilitating pain. 

I’ve learned so much on my journey. I can speak to this issue on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual planes. While I sometimes utilize analgesics, I know the cause is not a deficiency of ibuprofen or CBD cream, so I keep investigating. I want to treat the root, not just the symptoms. Tight hip flexors, sitting too much, exercising too aggressively, one’s ability to ask for and receive support, and complex feelings related to sexuality, belonging, safety, or worthiness can all contribute to an imbalance that affects the low back. 

Relieving lumbar pain and its frequent companion, sciatic nerve pain, is my wheelhouse. Yet none of my interventions had any lasting effect. The irritation that arose from being so ineffective only contributed to the problem. Such events are quite humbling for us bodyworkers! Until I remembered… it can be hard to see the forest for the trees.

Finally, I asked for help. I was pointed to a specific, often overlooked, muscle. (Thank you, Laura! <3) The moment I heard the word, bells went off in my head. It’s part of every bodywork session I provide, but I’ve rarely thought of my own sartorius muscles since, well… ever. While I religiously address all the soft tissue that connects to the pelvis when working with clients, I had left it out of my stretching routine. Given my tendency to sit cross- legged, it had shortened and began to tug on the front of my pelvis, creating an imbalance that spread through my lumbar region. 

It took a bit of searching to find a good technique for addressing this bugger. It’s not something that’s easy to get into without intending to do so. Many of the videos and articles I found didn’t really do it justice. I’m sharing the one that really did below, along with the reminder that even though we may be knowledgable about something, it never hurts to get a second opinion from a subjective and trusted advisor.

You can ignore the ”for runners” qualification in the title. I am not, nor ever have been, a runner, and found this stretch to be very helpful. It might be the missing link in your search for freedom from back pain too.

Distance Reiki Treatments: What Should the Client Do?

This question comes up a lot. I get it; it’s an unusual situation. When people come into my office for a treatment, I guide them through a chat and then onto the table where they remain mostly still throughout the session, unless discomfort prompts some type of reconfiguration. It’s structured. 

If you’re receiving a session at your own home, there can be some confusion about what you need to do as that structure is not in place. 

The short answer is: you don’t need to do anything. Well… you need to be willing to receive, but that seems a given if you’ve signed up and provided payment for a treatment. 

Willingness? Check. End of the checklist.

But… what do you DO? Again, you don’t need to do anything. I trade sessions weekly with my Reiki buddy and we don’t schedule the timing. She does my session when it’s convenient for her and I usually don’t know when that is. I go about my day with my Reiki receptors open and my system receives and integrates the healing energy without my conscious awareness. 

If you have an actual appointment time and want to be engaged in the process, you might like to lay down and rest. Some of my clients like to set up a spa-like atmosphere and light candles, diffuse essential oils, pull out the fuzzy blankets, and/or surround themselves with crystals. This can be fun for some people, and the ritual of creating a healing space does speak to the subconscious. It’s like saying, “Hey, look at this environment I’ve created for myself. Obviously some deep healing is about to happen.” It can be very helpful to soothe the inner skeptic. 

Now, if you’re getting a Reiki treatment because of anxiety or trauma, trying to force yourself to relax might not lead to a relaxing experience. If curling up on the couch in the middle of the day sounds excruciatingly painful to you, don’t do it. Perhaps you’d be better served by sitting in your favorite chair looking at the clouds. Or going for a walk. Or painting or gardening or playing with your dog. Restorative yoga might be a good choice if that’s in your repertoire.

Reiki is not a one-size-fits-all modality. There is limitless freedom to find a strategy that suits yourself and your own particular needs at the moment. If you love to meditate, but find it hard to carve out the time, you might like to take advantage of this appointment to do so. If attempting to meditate makes you feel like ants are crawling all over your skin, don’t torture yourself. Torturing yourself is unlikely to lead to healing. When I say it so bluntly, it makes sense, right? There is no “should” when it comes to Reiki. 

Your nervous system is a unique entity that has been wired and rewired, connected, disconnected and rewired again based on your unique constitution and experiences. It will let you know what activities are within the safe and acceptable range for you at any moment. So if doing the laundry or reorganizing your desk helps you to feel at ease, that just might be the right choice for you. You get to decide. It’s YOUR session. Make it work for you.

Star of Bethlehem- a Bach Flower Remedy for Trauma

I’ve mentioned this gem before, but lately it seems it could use a spotlight. Flower essences are a form of plant medicine that affect internal energy patterns and help restore emotional equilibrium. Of all the strategies I suggest to clients for releasing trauma, this is the most popular as it requires very little effort.

For people who are already struggling with bursting schedules, popping a few drops of a homeopathic potion in their mouths is much more appealing that squeezing in a daily meditation, mantra practice, or journaling exercise. It does pair quite nicely with these efforts for those looking for a multi-faceted approach. Reiki and somatic therapies will also be invaluable for those seeking professional support.

Star of Bethlehem is brilliant at preventing fresh upset from getting stored in the system as well as nudging out any pain that has been lodged for decades. The more sensitive of us can be burdened with trauma passed down along ancestral lines as well as from previous lifetimes. I don’t know many people who have managed to dodge trauma entirely and with the information bombarding us from across the globe these days, collateral trauma is practically unavoidable.

Sheesh, this isn’t meant to be a doomsday post! Trauma; it’s natural and common. That’s life. Yet there is hope! There are countless remedies, and here is one of my favorites that is incredibly effective, affordable, and easy to use. If you’re geeking out on the idea of applying a simple, natural therapy to cultivate greater mental and emotional wellness, I’d encourage you to explore flower remedies thoroughly. Star of Bethlehem is but one in a complex system of plant helpers standing by, ready to assist your blossoming well-being. Pun intended. 😉

Online Guided Reiki Practice

Ushering people into the realm of self-empowerment is my calling. Teaching Reiki classes and providing sessions, both distance and in-person, brings me great joy. Yet I’ve recognized a gap in the services I provide. Once initiated into the Reiki world, there’s not a lot of guidance or connection for practitioners.

Becoming actively involved in one’s wellness is not well supported in our culture. For those interested in reclaiming wholeness and worthiness, accessing guidance from the soul level and creating a lifestyle designed to foster optimal health and happiness, the path is often a solitary one.

This has inspired me to build a new tier of services specifically for Reiki folks. The latest installation is Reiki Squares, an online guided self-care practice. We begin on March 4 with a focus on self-compassion, a concept with which many of us struggle. Intellectually we might understand that we can’t really assist anyone when we’re depleted, but we have few role models for applying self-compassion in the real world.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

If you’ve been attuned to level 1 Reiki or beyond, regardless of when that happened or how often you practice or don’t practice, you’re welcome to join us. Whatever issues you’re dealing with, Reiki can help.

This is a trauma-informed event and we will begin every session establishing community agreements to build an emotionally safe container. There will be an opportunity, but no obligation, to share about your experience. Many find that being witnessed by colleagues adds value and often we can learn from the adventures of others.

Find more information on this and other services on my Reiki Tribe page, as well as an opportunity to signup for a monthly newsletter announcing future events.

Practicing in community helps remind us that we’re not alone. Healing doesn’t need to be a solitary practice. Join us for an hour of self-compassion and self-care that will hopefully inspire you to add these elements to your daily life.

Reiki 2 Online in March

Reiki 2 Certification Class

5 Tuesdays. March 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29, 2022. 6-8pm EST.

Attend virtually via Google Meet.

Ready to move to the next level and learn some symbols?! Eager to send healing energy to loved ones who live elsewhere or pave the way for an optimal future? This is the class for you! Students receive individual attention and guidance as well as an attunement to open their energetic channels, class notes and a certificate. Material includes:

  • The power, mental/emotional, and long-distance symbols and how to use them.
  • Methods of applying Reiki for optimal peace, joy, wellness, personal growth, and to enhance goals and develop a healthy lifestyle
  • Practice offering remote/ long-distance treatments
  • Practice using the symbols for treating yourself
  • Guidelines for using the symbols while treating others
  • Plenty of time for your questions

Level 2 training is offered in five sessions lasting two hours each, allowing time in between for practice and integration. All classes are kept small, no more than six students, to promote intimacy and connection.

Investment = $275. (Payment is non-refundable; please be certain you can make it as we will be holding a seat for you.) Registration is required; contact Pamela to apply. Payment by Venmo or credit card. Students must have completed Reiki 1 certification previously (with another teacher is fine) and hopefully have been practicing on themselves and loved ones for at least one month.

Don’t Skimp on the Supplements

I’m a big fan of giving the body support to help it function optimally, especially during trying times. Ideally, we’d get all the nutrition we need from choosing healthy foods, but I don’t know many people who are interested in such an endeavor. Even if you make A+ decisions and build your menus around the concept of “food as medicine” (vs. eating what is convenient or most pleasing to the taste buds), some gaps are difficult to fill.

I’m not a doctor, but have learned a lot from naturopaths and nutritionists, as well as Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine practitioners over the past two decades. I’ve discovered that the quality of supplements and the time of day they are taken can make all the difference.

For some reason, I’ve been thinking of a book on cassette (that’s an archaic form of audio recording for you youngsters!) that I listened to back in the 90’s. Dead Doctors Don’t Lie. I don’t recall how it came into my possession or much about it other than one fascinating story. A man whose job it was to empty porta-johns shared that he continuously noticed a common brand of inexpensive daily vitamins fully intact amongst the contents. Meaning that these pills passed through the digestive tract without being broken down or absorbed at all!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Ever since then I’ve made a point of purchasing top-quality supplements and learning which are best taken before, during, and after meals for optimal assimilation. What sense is there in buying cheap vitamins if your body can’t digest them? None!

While I’m not able to make specific recommendations here, I’ve found health food stores to have knowledgeable employees. The same is obviously not true about superstores or drugstores. As a general rule, it’s probably best to not buy your supplements at the same place you buy socks or gasoline. Just saying!

Better yet, find a trusted holistic health practitioner who can assist you. Even if you don’t have someone available locally, many people are doing telephone consultations these days. A high school friend who is now a physician shared that her med school training included one half-day class on nutrition. What?! Apparently that’s common. So, you might need to pay out of pocket and venture outside of your network to get advice that has merit.

Yes, all of this does take time, energy, and money. I joke around that I’m going to hire a personal assistant to hand me the pills, drops, potions, and teas at the right time of day. (Wouldn’t that be nice? And not a bad job for the right person!) As that isn’t yet in my budget, I’ve got a routine down. While I’m swishing coconut oil around in my mouth first thing in the morning (oil pulling- it’s powerful medicine!), I line up everything on the counter and set myself up for easy consumption. Now that I’ve got it figured out, it just takes a few moments here and there.

If you’re going to bother taking products for the sake of improving your health, do yourself a favor and make it worthwhile! Otherwise you might as well just drop them straight in the toilet and spare yourself the trouble.  

Fire Cider Update

Last month I started my first ever batch of fire cider. It’s an immune-boosting tonic that I’ve been curious about for the past several years. I shredded garlic, onion, ginger, and turmeric and covered the mixture with apple cider vinegar. I shook the jars every day for three and a half weeks before straining out the solids. (Which I later learned could have been saved for making broth. Next time!) The recipe calls for horseradish to clear the sinuses, but I couldn’t find the fresh root. I figure I can always add a pinch of cayenne if necessary.

I’m kicking the new year off with a 21 day reset program, and have committed to a dietary cleanse and a variety of good-health habits that I’m hoping to cement into my normal routine. I’m using fire cider as part of the process. I’ve been taking a tablespoon of the infused vinegar with a teaspoon of honey in hot water every morning. I don’t intend to continue long-term, but I’m glad there will be plenty leftover in case I ever feel like I’m coming down with something.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I shared some with a friend, who texted me last night to say that she’d tried it. “OOF!” was her only comment. I had to laugh. It is quite potent. It’s meant to be medicine after all! The trick that I wanted to share is to add only enough hot water to mix in the honey, but not enough to dilute it too much. You really want to get it down the hatch quickly, not sip and savor. As the acidity of vinegar isn’t great for the enamel of teeth, I’ve been doing a swish of pure water afterwards, but not brushing right away, as per my dentist’s instructions.

I really recommend giving this a try. It’s a particularly good time to bolster the immune system and always a good idea to be prepared for the dreaded moment when you feel the first signs of less-than-wellness. I rarely get sick, but I do remember how I’ve appreciated having potions on hand rather than having to scramble when under the weather.

I’ve seen fire cider for sale in single servings at the health food store, but there really is something special about making your own. It’s certainly much more cost effective. I enhanced mine with a blast of Reiki each day while shaking. You get a whole lot of OOF for minimal effort and a few dollars. Why not?

Coping with Ongoing Pandemic Trauma

As I was trying and failing to concentrate this morning, I realized that I was trying, and again failing, to use my willpower to override an emerging antsy-ness. I recognized the warning signs of my sympathetic nervous system activating and the need to intervene if I wanted to focus.

I have a rich and rewarding spiritual practice that nourishes me daily. My toolbox is overflowing with tools (outlined below) that support me on my wellness journey. Yoda himself would be impressed with all the tricks up my sleeve!

Yet, even with all this support, stress seeps through. Naturally empathic, I’ve learned to ground and shield myself every morning and clear my auric field each evening. Still, the collective fear of death, suffering, and loss occasionally affects me. For those who aren’t actively engaged in mitigated the psychological and physiological consequences of these strange times, the impact is even stronger.

Here’s the kicker: stress dampens the immune system. Immune systems are perhaps our most valuable resource, particularly these days. I don’t think it’s possible to avoid stress, but we can manage it and work towards minimizing its effects. Why this is not being shouted from the rooftops is a mystery to me!

I chose one of my favorite strategies to get energy flowing. Movement. Any form that is pleasurable can help. I have a particular affinity for rebounding coupled with electronic swing music.  While I was dance-bouncing, this blog post began to emerge, a good sign that concentration and creativity were back online, and my efforts were being rewarded after just a few minutes.

A Reiki chaser really cemented in a delightful state of ease and calmness. Anyone can learn Reiki in a short amount of time and gain lifetime access to infinite healing energy. I have an upcoming online class starting in a few days for anyone who wants to begin a journey of transformation.

Star of Bethlehem, a Bach flower remedy for energetic trauma, was the icing on top. I’m thrilled to have learned over the past two years that it is effective for absorbed trauma as well as the real deal. Plant medicine, including essential oils and herbal teas are a popular go-to in my house for all sorts of ailments.

I was back to my usual self in under 30 minutes.

Here’s a peak at what else resides in my toolbox, including links when possible.

Astrology. Knowing what’s happening in the cosmos and how it affects the collective and personal energies is fantastically helpful information.

Lee Harris provides super-useful energy updates every month that share pointers from the energetic realm.  

Nature. Fresh air, trees, and running water are incredibly restorative and great medicine for me and my sanity. This tree-hugger needs to get her boots muddy at least once per week.

Meditation. There are countless forms of this ancient art and something for everybody. In particular, I’ve been enjoying Mindful Self-Compassion practices lately.

Pranayama. An ancient technology for activating body-mind-spirit health. I stumbled upon this gem in yoga classes, which have been a backbone of my wellness routine for almost 30 years.

Mantra. Deva Premal and Krishna Das are a few of my favorite sacred sound vibration purveyors. Simply listening creates a shift in my consciousness. Chanting along is like dynamite for stuck patterns.

Connection with like-minded, open-hearted folks. ‘Nuff said! Even if it’s virtual, the sense of being seen and understood is a tremendous balm.

Laughter. I laugh at myself quite a bit! Sometimes my thoughts are utterly ridiculous. At least I can have some fun while choosing to think differently. Type “funny animal videos” in your search bar if you need to lighten up.

Nutrition. Many, if not most, of those hospitalized with the dreaded virus have similar nutritional deficiencies. I’m aiming to have zero factors in common with these people by using high quality supplements. It’s good to have an expert in your corner, such as a naturopath. Sadly, the medical system is severely lacking in this department.

Understanding trauma’s impact. Peter Levine’s work is relatively accessible to the layperson.

Understanding how the mind works. Rick Hanson’s classes and books are very useful. Thanks to him, I am aware that the mind is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones. Knowing this encourages me to pay extra attention to all the good in my life in order to enhance its effect on my neurochemistry.

Access to inner wisdom and spiritual guidance. Robert Moss and Sonia Choquette each have multiple books and classes that are invaluable for tapping into unseen resources.

Awareness of the power of thoughts and intentions. Louise Hay and Lynn McTaggart. (Forgive me, I’ve run out of patience for adding links! You can easily find all these wonderful people on your own.)

Teachers who have deeply influenced me include Tosha Silver, Caroline Myss, Marianne Williamson, Chameli Ardagh, Sharon Blackie, and Layla Martin. They all have an online presence for easy access.

This is hardly a comprehensive list. I do need to finish my project that got waylaid by the need to counteract the stress response. I really hope something above resonates with you and that you find some ease and calmness in your life by choosing to take action. It’s going to be a long winter, and it doesn’t hurt to have some tricks up your sleeve!

Online Reiki 1 Certification Coming in January!

Who wants to experience more wellness, wholeness, creativity, peace, love, and joy in the new year? Kick 2022 off with a bang by learning an amazing practice for self-care and self-empowerment to optimize your health and support your goals.

Reiki is an ancient healing energy that can easily be used by anyone to boost the body’s innate healing abilities, remove obstacles, and clear the way for that which you desire. Side effects include reduced stress, an improved mood, greater productivity, and access to your inner wisdom.

This online beginners’ course is for anyone interested in taking proactive steps to maximize well-being, happiness, pleasure, and tranquility. Yes, I said tranquility. It’s available, even in today’s world. I live there most of the time and would love to have more company! It does take effort, but the rewards are totally worth it.

Four Wednesday evenings, beginning January 5, from 6-8pm EST, we will gather together to begin a journey into the realm of healing. For an investment of only $225, you can have lifetime access to healing energy at your very fingertips.

Contact me to apply. No experience or mystical powers are necessary.

Reiki for Pets

People are often surprised to hear that Reiki is an effective healing treatment for their beloved pets. All living creatures, including animals of every variety, are imbued with life-force energy. This energy can be imbalanced, blocked, or weakened through less-than-optimal conditions (such as poor-quality food, lack of exercise and fresh air, or inadequate attention) as well as through injuries, stress, and disease. Reiki is a non-invasive, holistic technique for fostering optimal wellness in animals as well as in their human companions.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sometimes a simple one-off treatment is all that is needed to offer assistance through a challenging event such as travel. Other critters benefit from a cluster of sessions to support recovery from a surgery, illness, or disruptive situation such as the addition of a new pet. Some creatures might need consistent support to help balance out end of life issues or chronic illness.

Luckily for us all, Reiki can be administered from afar. There’s no reason to schlep the poor darlings to an office, which would likely further traumatize them and counteract any positive effects. While some practitioners might make house calls, the expense can be prohibitive. Any Reiki provider with a level two certification has been trained to use sacred symbols and the power of intention to deliver healing to wherever it is needed. No matter where your pet is, Reiki can be received with ease.

Caregivers are usually relieved to learn that they need not try to coral their pets or force them to appear in a video meeting! They only need to provide a picture of the animal, along with his/her name, location, and ailment. Reiki does the rest. It’s not necessary to get animals to do anything specific; as most pet people know, it’s nearly impossible and stressful all-around to even try. They are eager recipients who instinctively recognize the value of Reiki.

The most economical approach would be to take a beginners’ level Reiki class. In a short amount of time, anyone can learn to deliver healing energy. There is no special skill or constitution required. A Reiki Master Teacher will perform an attunement which opens the energy channels, allowing the student to access this limitless, universal energy at any time. You can literally have healing available at your very fingertips! If your pet has a serious health condition or is otherwise nervous, anxious, or simply unwell, this approach allows for daily treatments on a minimal budget.

If adding yet another daily task to your to-do list triggers a feeling of overwhelm, you’ll likely prefer to hire a professional to do the job. That’s what we’re here for! While my experience so far lies mostly with dogs and cats, there are no animals that are off-limits. When it comes to remote treatments, we needn’t worry about stings, bites, or scratches. If it slithers, swims, flies, crawls or gallops, Reiki can help support your pets’ optimal wellness.