Welcoming Dr. Page & Introducing... VILLAGE YOGA!

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Welcoming Dr. Page & Introducing... VILLAGE YOGA!

I hope you are keeping cool on this sweltering day!

chinese medicine philadelphia

Did you know that in Chinese Medicine, Watermelon is an herbal remedy for too much heat in the body?! 

It rehydrates, refills electrolytes, cools the system, and promotes urination. Watermelon also calms the spirit and can help with anxiety! PLUS its delicious! Hint: The best watermelons sound hollow when knocked on! 


Read More Holistic Health Tips to Stay Cool.

Version 2

Speaking of cool, we are so happy to welcome our new Holistic Psychotherapist, Dr. Page Buck, to The Village Wellness practice.

Page is now accepting new Holistic Psychotherapy & Wellness Partnering clients on Thursdays and Saturdays. If you know anyone who may benefit from this work, please share. Page is one of the most experienced and deeply caring holistically-minded therapists in Philadelphia. LEARN MORE

best of the mainline acupuncture holistic medicine
Mainline yoga

Page is going to also be part of our spectacular NEW team of Yoga teachers that will be forming VILLAGE YOGA. Page will be joining Stewart SnyderMary Mayer, and Amy Gordon of Amy's Yoga with A Heart to offer yoga classes in Berwyn. Our schedule starts in Mid-August with 5 weekly classes! Our class size will be limited so if you are interested, we are encouraging folks to sign up in advance!  LEARN MORE

Lastly, I want to thank our fans [Seriously!! Thank you guys sooo much!!] for choosing Village Wellness for Best Holistic Medicine on the Mainline 2017. We feel so honored to have been chosen!

Thank you for your continued support!!!
Much love,
Lance

Lance Isakov, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., CYT
Village Wellness. a little healing oasis on the main line.
(610) 203-3747

P.S. Just a gentle reminder to patients booking evening appointments, please feel free to schedule a few weeks ahead as those spots are filling up quickly. Thanks!
 

 

Other announcements: 

  • NEW! Holistic Psychotherapy & Wellness Partnering with the deeply skilled Dr. Page Buck. Wellness is a lifelong journey that often ebbs and flows through the stages and phases of life. The paths we take to sustain wellness evolve as life commitments change, as health needs arise, and as healing practices emerge...Read More.
     
  • NEW! Acupuncture Facials! These mini-cosmetic sessions are aimed at preserving the face, brining color to the face, and brightening the eyes! Perfect for getting reading for a special occasion! Learn More.
     
  • $35 Community Acupuncture happens Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays. Scheduling last minute? call us at 610-203-3747. Don't forget your "frequent flyer" card and get your 11th session for free!

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How Acupuncturists Treat Menopause and Its Symptoms

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How Acupuncturists Treat Menopause and Its Symptoms

How Acupuncturists Treat Menopause and Its Symptoms
By Alicia Shulman, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac

Key Takeaways from this article:

  • East Asian medicine views menopause as a natural part of the aging process
  • Menopause does not have to be symptomatic
  • Acupuncture works to bring the body back in balance, thereby easing symptoms
  • Dietary & lifestyle advice: omega-3 fatty acids, herbal infusions, and energy medicine

Acupuncturists and Doctors of Oriental Medicine view menopause as a woman’s normal physiological transition to a nonreproductive stage—a natural course of aging.(1) In fact, Linda Joy Stone, OMD, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., proposes that menopause slows the aging process by conserving the body’s vital essence that would normally be lost each month.(2)

Rather than considering it as a hormonal deficiency, acupuncturists characterize menopause as a decline in Precious Essence and a corresponding increase in yang energy. Precious Essence is a form of energy that the Chinese call prenatal energy, which is stored in the kidneys, and it bestows elasticity and strength to the tissues, regenerative properties to the body, and enhances fertility and libido.(3) 

If we take care of ourselves, the menopausal years can be a time of great vibrancy, enjoyment, and productivity. Once their cycles have ceased, many women find that they have more energy, have a clearer sense of who they are and what they want, and they find it easier to speak their minds. Lesley Tierra, L.Ac., writes: “This can be a rich time, and deep inward direction can come out of it.”(3)

acupuncture women's health

According to East Asian medical theory: 

  • Kidney yin deficiency is responsible for the most common menopausal symptoms: thinning hair, reduced menstrual periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, dizziness, tinnitus, itchy skin, insomnia, and joint soreness. 
  • Liver qi stagnation produces the symptoms of emotional unease such as nervousness and irritability, as well as constipation, palpitations, and insomnia. 
  • Blood deficiency may present as dizziness, hot flashes, dry skin, insomnia, and also emotional unrest. 
  • Uprising deficient heat is associated with severe symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats, emaciation, and dizziness, nervousness, and irritability. 

How Acupuncture Supports Menopausal Symptoms

Menopause does not have to be symptomatic. The acupuncturist’s goal is always to bring the body and its systems into balance, and thereby reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms. Your practitioner will diagnose your personal imbalances by questioning you about your symptoms and lifestyle, taking your pulses, and examining your tongue. Common treatment strategies for menopausal symptoms include supporting the kidneys, clearing stagnation from the liver, promoting blood flow and volume if necessary, and clearing any signs of excess heat in the body.

Dietary Support

As holistic practitioners, acupuncturists usually make dietary recommendations to support women through their transition. These generally include: 

  • Eliminating stimulants such as caffeine, chocolate, and alcohol, as well as refined foods such as flours and sugars, and processed foods such as fried foods. 
  • Foods that support the body during menopause include whole grains, dark leafy greens, lots of cooked vegetables, seaweeds, and small amounts of fish and animal protein. 
  • It is important at all ages to make sure our intake of essential fatty acids (EFAs) is balanced. Most people who eat a standard American diet are deficient in omega-3 EFAs and consume too much omega-6 and omega-9 EFAs due to the consumption of seed oils and grain-fed animal meat. Flax seed oil is one of the riches sources of omega-3 EFAs and also of lignans, a type of beneficial phytoestrogen. Flaxseed, which is best consumed ground, is one of the best sources of dietary fiber. If you buy flaxseed pre-ground, make sure it is golden flaxseed, as the dark seeds go rancid too quickly to be of value. Fish oil (and particularly krill oil) is another great source of omega-3 EFAs.
  • Herbal infusions are powerhouses of nutrients that support women’s bodies during all stages of life. Two of my favorites for menopausal women are (1) nettles (Urtica dioica) for their ability to support the adrenal glands, increases energy, help prevent night sweats, build blood, and soothe the liver; and (2) oatstraw (Avena sativa) to strengthen the nerves, ease emotional distress, promote sound sleep, and assist libido. (Eating stone-ground oats is another way to benefit from this plant.) For loads of information about herbal infusions and their benefits, read Susun Weed (www.susunweed.com/).
  • Acupuncturists often encourage patients to eat seasonally. This means including more raw, cooling fruits and vegetables in the warmers months and more cooked, warming foods in the cooler seasons.

Another Form of Energy Medicine

Although acupuncture is one form of energy medicine, there are many others. One of the country’s foremost experts on energy medicine is Donna Eden, whose book Energy Medicine for Women contains valuable information and exercises anyone can do to help support their health and energy on a daily basis. A multitude of Donna’s videos can be found on YouTube for free.

Research that Supports the Efficacy of Acupuncture and TCM for Menopausal Symptoms

A mounting body of published literature supports the efficacy of acupuncture and Chinese herbs for managing the symptoms of menopause. A small study conducted in China found that the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine together was as effective as hormone therapy in treating the symptoms of menopause.4 Other studies have suggested that acupuncture alone is more effective at controlling hot flashes than herbal therapies.(5) Furthermore, a qualitative study published in 2009 concluded that women who receive acupuncture treatment for hot flashes may experience many more benefits than reported by the outcome measures in clinical trials.6 Finally, a pilot study of acupuncture versus sham acupuncture found that not only did acupuncture significantly reduce the severity of the subjects’ hot flashes, but it also lowered their levels of LH and raised their levels of estradiol compared to the effects of the sham treatment.(7) 

References 

  1. Maciocia G. Obstetrics & Gynecology in Chinese Medicine. London; Churchill Livingstone. 1999.
  2. Cunningham D. The Moon in Your Life—Being a Lunar Type in a Solar World. Weiser Books; Revised edition (March 1996)
  3. Griffin J. Menopause from the Chinese perspective. The Spirit of Ma’at. http://www.spiritofmaat.com/archive/jun2/chinese.htm. Accessed June 5, 2017. 
  4. Azizi H, Liu YF, Du L, et al. Menopause-related symptoms: Traditional Chinese Medicine versus Hormone therapy. Alt Ther Health Med. Jul/Aug2011;17(4):48-53. 
  5. Nedeljkovic M, Tian L, Ji P, et al. Effects of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine (Zhi Mu 14) on hot flushes and quality of life in postmenopausal women: results of a four-arm randomized controlled pilot trial. Menopause. 2013 May 13. [Epub ahead of print].
  6. Alraek T, Malterud K. Acupuncture for menopausal hot flashes: a qualitative study about patient experiences. J Alt Compl Med. Feb 2009, Vol. 15 Issue 2, p153-158.
  7. Sunay D, Ozdiken M, Arslan H, et al. The effect of acupuncture on postmenopausal symptoms and reproductive hormones: a sham controlled clinical trial. Acupuncture in Medicine. Mar 2011;29:1:27-31.

About the Author

Book an appointment with Alicia:

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FOOD and EATING: AWARENESS & COMPASSION - the most important ingredients on your plate

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FOOD and EATING: AWARENESS & COMPASSION - the most important ingredients on your plate

By Antanas Vainius, Nourishment Coach

As a Nourishment Guide, people come to me looking to change and heal.  By far the most common question I receive is "What do I eat?” 

food awareness

My answer is always the same. There are 2 ingredients that really matter: Awareness and Compassion.  

Initially it may be confusing to have these two 'invisible' ingredients be so central - after all you can't eat them — but you can eat with them. When we bring these two elements into our food, the soul is fed. When the soul is fed, the mind and body will, in time, receive the benefit.

What does it mean to eat with Awareness? It means being aware of where your food comes from, who grew it, and how it was grown or made. Learning about these aspects of our food begins the process of painting a fuller picture of what we are putting into our bodies and how it connects us to the world. 

food compassion

With the ingredient of Awareness, food transforms into nourishment....even a slice of pizza can become a source of goodness and celebration that can feed the soul. 

There are limits to pizza magic though, as you may have suspected.  This is where Compassion comes in to our food choices. Compassion is critical whenever we want to make new and lasting choices. 

If we choose to eat something without Awareness or Compassion, we will likely end up feeling charged in a negative way which can come out sideways. We may blame our spouse, kids, dog, the crazy driver or the red light, but this ultimately becomes an opportunity to explore our relationship to self. 

When it comes to our food choices, Compassion helps us hold ourselves with gentleness, neutrality, and curiosity. These qualities inherently make more awareness possible. When Awareness and Compassion co-arise, vistas of possibility open and our relationship with food can become a playground for pleasure and exploration.

The subject of food, nourishment and eating is so vast. There are spiritual and psychological dimensions, there is individual physiology that impacts our body-mind, not to mention the implications for our planet's body.  

With awareness and compassion we can uncover connections that will allow us to more easily hold the question 'what do I eat?' and find our way toward deep nourishment... without punishment!

The more awareness and compassion we can summon, the greater the potential for true change we can access. 

I want to invite you to join me as we begin to explore....


nourishment coach philly

Antanas Vainius, Nourishment Coach is a deeply gifted wizard of nutrition and nourishment, knowing how to make change and healing easy, delicious and fun. His knowledge extends into somatics, energy psychology and breathwork which he uses to help clients move through blocking beliefs and stuck emotion to return to ease and flow.

Get in touch, email Antanas.

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 A Who's Who of the BEST Acupuncturists this Side of the Mississippi=)

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A Who's Who of the BEST Acupuncturists this Side of the Mississippi=)

Hope you are having an splendid moment. Did you know we now have an amazing team of FIVE extraordinary, fully accredited, and licensed acupuncturists at Village Wellness?

We ALL practice holistic acupuncture, meaning we treat the person who has symptoms rather than just the symptoms themselves. But we each have our specialities too! 

Here is a handy dandy list so you can keep it in mind when you are booking your appointment: 

  • Gabrielle is amazing at treating patients with musculoskeletal upsetslike aches and pains. Gabrielle also manages our Community Acupuncture Program.
  • I (Lance) focus on helping folks with emotional/mental upsets like anxiety, depression, and overwhelm. I also treat lots of patients who have Lyme, and other more challenging to diagnose upsets. 
  • Karin is a seasoned 5 element acupuncturist, who does deep constitutional treatments
  • Megan is our Cosmetic & Facial Acupuncture Guru. She can help with those fine lines & wrinkles, bring color to the face, and a sparkle to the eye.
  • Alicia, the newest member of the acuteam specializes in helping patients through women's health issues, hormonal upsets, and fertility support.

Wow! 5 amazing acupuncturists under 1 roof! I believe the greatest transformation comes from the beautiful healing relationship that develops between you and your practitioner. At Village Wellness, each of us is completely committed to this level of healing and transformation!

If you have any questions about who the right practitioner is for you, drop me a line, and we will figure it out together!!

I hope to see you soon!

Lots of love,

Lance

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Try This Simple 4-Minute Acupressure Routine for Seasonal Allergy Relief (Video)

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Try This Simple 4-Minute Acupressure Routine for Seasonal Allergy Relief (Video)

This year has been an intense one for my patients suffering with Seasonal Allergies. As an acupuncturist, i am always trying to get to the root cause of upsets, and in the case of allergies, I practice a style of acupuncture called NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique). NAET Is a safe and natural approach to detecting and helping to reduce all types of allergies.

When clearing environmental allergies like pollen or hay, it is best to go through the NAET process when those allergens are not around us... ideally in winter. So what can we do in the mean time? 

Well, there are some amazing acupunture points that can help to bring relief to those itchy and watery eyes, sinus pressure, and tickle in the throat. In this short video i go through a 4 minute routine, that should have you feeling much, much better, and making funny faces =)!

Love Lance

Lance Isakov, M.Ac., L.Ac., DIpl. Ac., 
Village Wellness

I cover 3 main acupuncture points:

Welcome Fragrance: (next to the nostril)
- Opens the nasal passages
- eases itching & sneezing
- Reduces inflammation 

Gathered Bamboo (on medial end of the eyebrow)
- eases itchy & watery eyes
- stops twitching of eyes
- reduces inflammation
- clears sinus pressure

Between the Valley (on the mound between thumb and index finger)
- regulates the face, nose, mouth, & ears
- eases sinus pressure and headaches
- relaxes the face & jaw
- stops sneezing
- reduces inflammation

Enjoy the demonstration!

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Acupuncture for Women's Health & Fertility Support. An Interview with Alicia Shulman, L.Ac.

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Acupuncture for Women's Health & Fertility Support. An Interview with Alicia Shulman, L.Ac.

This is part of a series of interviews I am conducting with practitioners of holistic medicine with the aim of answering this question: "How can we increase our quality of life?” 

I find that people who are drawn to help others tend to be ignited with a deep passion and purpose. These interviews delve into that drive and aim to discover insight and supply tips for living life to its fullest. 

Alicia Shulman is an Acupuncturist with a specialty in Women's Health & Fertility Support. She is currently practicing acupuncture in both Philadelphia and on the Main Line

Enjoy the interview!
Love,
Lance

Q: Alicia, thank you so much for taking some time to answer these questions! Where did you are you from originally?
ALICIA: I’m a local girl! Grew up in Media, PA

Q: What inspired you to become an acupuncturist?
ALICIA: I've always had a deep interest in natural health. I believe in the body's innate ability to heal itself when we give it the right conditions. When I sought acupuncture for my own healing, I discovered that I could feel the energy moving through my body. It made a powerful impression on me, and at the subtle prompting of my acupuncturist, I finally decided to study it.

Q: What did you do before you studied acupuncture?
ALICIA: I worked as a medical editor for 15 years on a magazine for ophthalmologists. Working with doctors—interviewing them for articles about the latest medical innovations, and attending scientific symposia—gave me a unique view into the world of Western medicine. It is undeniable that Western medicine continues to make brilliant advances in all specialties. However, the very model of specialties, coupled with a lack of integration in the delivery of care in this country, results in a piecemeal approach to health/healing that ignores the entirety of a person. This is where East Asian medicine excels: at considering the individual’s needs as a whole person. That is why nutritional and lifestyle counseling is included in acupuncture treatments.

Q: Why do you love being offering holistic medicine to your patients? 
ALICIA: I want people to know that they have effective alternatives to drugs and surgery when they are unwell. Acupuncture is the original "do no harm" medicine, because it does not have the negative side effects that surgery and pharmaceuticals often entail. Sometimes, pharmaceuticals and surgery offer what may seem like a quicker fix to a health issue, but these treatments often have lasting side effects that patients must then manage the rest of their lives. Acupuncture and East Asian herbal medicine may offer an equally effective remedy for a given condition, plus a much better quality of life for the patient long-term. It is certainly worth trying!

Q: What is your primary mission as an acupuncturist?
ALICIA: To help people understand their bodies better so they can take better care of themselves. To help people experience firsthand that everything they eat, every thought they think, and every emotion they feel has either a negative or positive consequence, and that we have the power to make better choices for ourselves. Again, we can choose a better quality of life for ourselves by making healthy, informed choices!

mainline fertility

Q: I know you focus on acupuncture for women’s health and fertility. Can you tell us about that?
ALICiA: Acupuncture is amazing for women. Multiple women I know claim that acupuncture is the only treatment that worked for them after they’d tried everything else. I have known women who haven’t slept well in years finally get a good night’s rest after one treatment. I have seen monthly cycles find their natural rhythm after acupuncture. I have seen countless conditions—stress, anxiety, menopausal symptoms, adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, hair loss—all managed safely and effectively with acupuncture. 

The needles stimulate a positive interaction between the body’s endocrine, immune, and nervous systems. In the simplest terms, needle stimulation moves qi and blood, and that increased circulation enables all of the body’s tissues to receive nourishment. In Western terminology, studies have shown that acupuncture increases the count of white blood cells and antibodies (boosting the immune system), lowers cortisol (calms the fight-or-flight response), and boosts the secretion of endorphins and the activity of neurotransmitters in the body (thus energizing myriad bodily functions). 

Q: What is your ultimate goal when you are working with your clients?

ALICIA: For them to feel listened to and cared for. I have heard too many horror stories of people being shuffled around the expensive, inefficient, and impersonal American healthcare system. I think people are looking for quality healthcare that is simple, easily accessible, and has something more to offer than pharmaceuticals and/or surgery.

Q: What are 5 healthy lifestyle recommendations you think will help people lead healthier lives?ALICIA: My answers to this are the boring old standards, but there are no substitutes! We must all be responsible for ourselves!

  • Half the battle is avoiding things that harm us! Be mindful of the water you drink, the food you eat, and the products you use on your skin and around your house. 
  • Exercise. This is not optional; it is the best way to prevent aging. Choose something you enjoy, but move your body every day.
  • Get outside. Sunshine and fresh air are necessities.
  • Sleep. Your body needs it. Figure out what works for you so that you get enough sleep of good quality.
  • Work on your relationships. People with healthy relationships live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Along with this: forgive and let go of past hurts. Holding on is only hurting you.

Q: What book do you recommend the most?
ALICIA: Right now, I have three, all of which are valuable tools in today's world.  

  • "Lessons From the Miracle Doctors" by Jon Barron;
  • "The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution" by Aviva Romm, MD; and
  • "Anatomy of the Spirit" by Caroline Myss.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? what do you like to do for fun?
ALICIA: I love to get outside! Hiking, walking, gardening, exploring new places. I also love to dance. A few times per month I attend a drumming circle, which I love.
 
Q: Do you have a favorite quote?

ALICIA:  I have too many to count! But Perhaps the one I refer to most is from Pema Chodron: "May you be filled with lovingkindness. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be happy."


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Bhakti CranioSacral: An Interview with Stewart Snyder

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Bhakti CranioSacral: An Interview with Stewart Snyder

This is part of a series of interviews I am conducting with practitioners of holistic medicine with the aim of answering this question: "How can we increase our quality of life?” 

I find that people who are drawn to help others tend to be ignited with a deep passion and purpose. These interviews delve into that drive and aim to discover insight and supply tips for living life to its fullest. 

Stewart Snyder is a Craniosacral Therapist practicing on the Main Line, Philadelphia. He has developed a unique style of Craniosacral called Bhakti CranioSacral Therapy

Enjoy the interview!
Love,
Lance

Q: Stewart, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Its sounds like you have had an interesting journey. How did you end up practicing holistic medicine?

STEWART: "End up" is an appropriate phrase. It's been a bit of journey. Five years ago, I quit a really successful corporate career to be a writer. One of the first things I did was take Yoga Teacher Training. While everyone was blown away by the deeper teachings, I just sat thinking "Huh, someone took the way I've been living my life, wrote it down and called it Yoga." I learned about Craniosacral Therapy (CST) there and began that piece of the journey shortly after Teacher Training ended. It's the most fulfilling work I've ever done. Being of service to others and helping them feel happier feels like I've won the job lottery.

Q: Why did you make the switch from a successful Corporate job to working for yourself as a writer?  Can you tell us about the challenges and gifts that came with that switch?

STEWART: This is a can of worms, really. I was always the guy everyone looked up to. I've had a strong "successful" career since my early twenties. I'd learn something on the job that would cause someone would offer me a job with more money or a better title. It was that way for 15 years. It worked... until I realized "success" was not more money. True success is about a fulfilling life... and what I was doing wasn't fulfilling anyone really. 

It was really hard. We're raised to get an education, then get a job, then work for the weekend until you can retire, then try to enjoy your life while you're struggling through everything your life did to your health. Getting out of that mindset was the biggest challenge. Handing in a two-weeks notice with no other job lined up was the hardest thing I've ever done. It shouldn't have been, but when our head is wrapped into one way of thinking, our mind doesn't want to change it. Our brain just isn't designed to do that.

Honestly, the best part - the gift - started with failing at being a writer and finding sustenance doing a hobby. The realization that we don't really know what's going to make us happy, until we experience it, is true freedom. It gives you the permission to just try things that look cool... like teaching yoga... or CranioSacral Therapy... for example.

Q: Now, you developed your own style of CranioSacral Therapy. How did that come to be? 

STEWART: Totally organically, really. I don't even really like to promote that it's my own creation. When I first started doing the CranioSacral work, I found that the biggest feedback came in the spaces where I was stalling, trying to remember the next step in the official protocol. In those spaces, what was really happening was that the body was accepting all the energy without me trying to control what was happening - without me trying to dictate the healing. The body knows what it needs.

I began to create places of stillness within the protocol whenever my intuition (their body, really) seemed to dictate it. It has been natural to draw on the concept that love and compassion can heal and transcend all things (Bhakti Yoga). So, that energy gets folded in.

Q: So, what is your mission with your healing work?

STEWART: You know, some people are trying to change the world. I just want to help our neighbors. What I mean by that is essentially, "doing good" in the world doesn't just come from large sweeping changes. It's in the little daily acts, too. I want to get Linda to the airport on time, help Eunice get her car out of the snow, let Tom out of the parking lot and into traffic. Those "little" things make someone's day and can do even more. Linda's flying to see her mom for the last time. Eunice is a nurse; getting to work to save someone's life. Tom is just trying to get home to raise his kids... to be the type of adult that lets someone into traffic. Showing up in the world isn't just about grandiose change; it's about contributing to the experience of someone else's life. Ultimately,  I love helping people experience bliss in the human experience. This machine - the body & soul - is truly amazing and beautiful. 

Q: What are 3 healthy habits or lifestyle recommendations you want to share with our audience?

STEWART:

  •  Sleep! Work, then rest. We need that rest part.
  • Love this body. Use good fuel and make sure it all moves correctly.
  • Some type of waking time absent from the world. Of course, I'm going to say meditation, but a walk in the woods works, too.

Q: Do you have a spiritual practice? If so what is it?*

STEWART: Ha ha ha. Yeah! It's called yoga. Every minute of every day.

Q: Can you describe what it means to live life like a yogi?

STEWART:  Faith and Ethics. It's that simple. The core teachings of Yoga describe everything as being one - that we are to treat one another, the world around us, and all things as if they are ourselves. Looking at the world from the view that all things are divine is Yoga. Whether it's done through love, action, wisdom, or union doesn't matter as long as it's for the good of all things. Yoga was designed to be practiced in the real world, not shapes confined to a sacred space.

Q: What book do you or would you like to give away most?

STEWART: I always have a copy of the Dhammapada that can be given to someone who feels lost. It's a good place to start.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote?

STEWART: "Trust what you find in yourself to succeed." - L. Kilmister

Q: What are you currently most passionate about?

STEWART: The energy cycle of the soul... and good beer.

Q: Can you tell us what you mean by "energy cycle of the soul"?

STEWART: As the CST work moves forward for me, more and more subtle pieces become visible. Everything is energy. Energy moves in waves. The human body has an energy to it and thus a wave to that energy. Imagine sine and cosine graphs back in Math. Those waves can be all sorts of shapes, but the equation creates a pattern - length, height, amplitude. So, too, the human's wave can, and is, unique to the individual. Some high/low and excited. Some smooth an easy.

A wave of energy that encompasses all pieces of you - the body, the breath, the consciousness, the experience you give others. Sounds like a pretty good definition of the soul, doesn't it?

The way two waves overlay - interact - is how we resonate with others. It's why we feel like home with some people and why others feel like bad ju-ju.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? What do you like to do for fun?*

STEWART : I think "good beer" answers this question, too.


Stewart is best described as having one foot in the modern world - and one squarely in the old world of mystical healers. The first half of his professional life was in front of a computer supporting systems and infrastructure in what we “typically” define as a great career. This gave him a deep and personal understanding of the health sacrifices our “typical” path requires of us. The second half of his professional life has been devoted to helping you counter those lifestyle demands by decoding old-world magic into contemporary methods.

He first dug into CranioSacral work studying Hugh Milne’s visionary approach. Milne considers the work a spiritual art paired with a sense of awe for the individual. Stewart continued his education with certified training by the Upledger Institute which has a strong focus on the mechanical aspects of the craniosacral system and rhythm. 

You may also find Stewart offering yoga classes teaching the aspects of yoga that shine beyond Instagram and the covers of magazines. His yoga wisdom stems from far more than 200 hours of training and even more than the 1,000 hours of teaching required for the e-RYT designation - it is informed by years of deep inquiry into the history, theory and practice of yoga through svadhyaya, travel and discovery. It turns out, if you immerse yourself, physically, mentally and spiritually in study, you find (almost) all the pearls hidden within.

Drawing on an intimate understanding of what the mystics could never quite write down, Stewart has built his practice into a fully adaptable system designed to couple the mechanical art and spiritual essence of the craniosacral system giving people a more positive experience in the human body.

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Gate of Hope - An Acupuncture Point for Possibility & Perspective

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Gate of Hope - An Acupuncture Point for Possibility & Perspective

This time of year feels like one of my favorite Acupuncture points — Gate of Hope. It's the spirit of renewal, hope & possibility. Where is this gate on your body, you wonder? On the belly just under the diaphragm!

Gate of Hope is the last point on the Liver Meridian. If this gate is shut, you will be unable to lift your eyes towards the future with optimism. Resignation falls away when this gate is open! I use it for many reasons including, depression, distention and pain of the middle torso, hiccups, and reflux. But I most often use it on the level of spirit. When we are feeling utterly hopeless, frustrated or stuck in cynicism and negativity, we must open the Gate of Hope. It's the antidote to "I give up...". We can feel a powerful surge of hope with new perspective when we're stuck in a narrow-minded outlook.

If you are drawn to this point come on in for a spring tune-up! Simply Book Online.

Lots of love,
Lance

Lance Isakov, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., CYT
Village Wellness. a little healing oasis on the main line.

P.S. Learn more about how to harness the powerful energetics of Springtime! Join for our speaker series with Gabrielle Geib, Acupuncturist & Rachel Hershberger, Functional Nutritionist.
 
Other announcements: 

  • COMING (very) SOON to Village Wellness!  We are bringing on a Fertility & Women's Health Acupuncture Specialist!  Stay tuned for more info! For now, If you are interested in this kind of session please let us know.
     
  • $35 Community Acupuncture happens Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays. Scheduling last minute? call us at 610-203-3747
     
  • Sign up for a Cosmetic Acupuncture Series with Megan. Introductory Special...Learn More

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Have Spring Allergies? Here are 10 'feel better' tips!

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Have Spring Allergies? Here are 10 'feel better' tips!

I LOVE this time of year but for my patients with allergies its hard! Along with Holistic Acupuncture,  I practice a style of acupuncture called Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique - we call it NAET for short. It can help to reprogram the body's relationship to allergies, whether they are animal, food, or environmental. We use Kinesiology (muscle testing) along with acupressure and acupuncture points during our session to help relieve allergies and the issues that arise from allergens.

If you know someone who could use NAET, they can simply book an acupuncture session with me via our Online Booking System.

Here are 10 suggestions I give to my patients to help relieve their allergies. If you are suffering, try them out and let me know if they help! Also if you have any other suggestions let me know and I will add to this list for everyone!

  • Vacuum weekly with a HEPA Filtered Vacuum cleaner
  • Use a dehumidifier programmed to 50%. Mold cant grow under 60% humidity. 
  • Regularly switch out filters in your ac/heater unit. This will help keep your home's air clean!
  • Close windows during peak allergy season.
  • Use the re-circulate air button in your car on heavy pollen count days
  • Don't track the outside in. Be barefoot at home.
  • Use raw local honey: try 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar in warm water!
  • Avoid eating dairy, melon, banana, cucumber, sunflower seeds, and chamomile.These can make allergies worse
  • Use a Neti pot or Saline Spray
  • Use Eucalyptus oil. Create a steam, add 1 drop of oil and inhale.
  • BONUS #11 - get acupuncture! 

Have a beautiful day!

Lots of love,
Lance


Lance Isakov, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., CYT
Village Wellness. a little healing oasis on the main line.

P.S. We also have a speaker's series all about Allergies, coming up on the 28th with Rachel and Gabrielle. They will give the acupuncture and functional nutrition perspectives in more detail! It will be well worth it if you know allergy sufferers or are one yourself!
 
Other announcements: 

  • COMING (very) SOON to Village Wellness!  We are bringing on a Fertility & Women's Health Acupuncture Specialist!  Stay tuned for more info! For now, If you are interested in this kind of session please let us know.
     
  • $35 Community Acupuncture happens Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays. Scheduling last minute? call us at 610-203-3747

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Lance's Spring Letter #17: The Art of Patience

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Lance's Spring Letter #17: The Art of Patience

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart...live in the question.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

To my patients, colleagues, and friends,

It's been a weird beginning to spring hasn't it?

My friend, Patty, owner of Philly's own City Plants, said for the first time ever, the tulips came up 3 weeks early. She had no idea whether they would survive into the Spring. Patty has planted thousands of tulips for every spring for the last 20 years and THIS spring, she realized she can't count on the historic timing of the natural cycle. The rhythms are changing.

Have you ever felt like you had to explode, break through, create the new — but the timing wasn't quite right, or you rushed into it and your plan didn't end up blossoming?

That's why Patience is one of the aspects of the Wood Element or Springtime Energy — the powerful upward, exploding energy. Like we see in a sprouting tulip, 5 Element Theory understands that brining a vision into fruition requires patience. We must hold the vision and let it ripen before it's ready.

(To understand the Five Elements in context, check out a complimentary copy of the e-Book, Five Element Acupuncture & You. [use code: 'ancientwisdom'])

Patience is a powerful tool.

With patience, we can allow our ideas to percolate to the perfect moment of creation.

We can sit and get to know a stranger, someone different than us, erasing fear and prejudices. With patience comes wisdom, inner strength, and focus. Patience brings better mental and emotional endurance. We all know what it can be like to feel quick to anger. Especially if you're a parent - kids test patience like it's their sole purpose in life. If we actively cultivate patience with tools like breath, curiosity, and choice — we become happier, calmer, and more at home, feeling connected to life!

Now, more than ever, we need to Practice the Art of Patience! We are practiced at never having to wait for anything. We are physically habituated towards instant gratification. Think about it. Any information is available in seconds from our phone. We can purchase almost anything online and have it delivered to us that same day. There's no more going out untethered to everyone you know and love. Our nervous systems wire themselves according to what we repeat most often.  This is where we have power.

3 ways to Practice Patience

1. Shift your perspective on a problem (How To): When we shift our perspective, we can unhook ourselves from the well worn grooves and patterns of our nervous system and try on something else.
     a. Think of a challenging situation or problem in your life.
     b. 'Open your mind' by saying "This could mean anything!"
     c. Release any judgements you may already have about the problem.
     d. Be curious and ask yourself, "What is a new way I could look at this problem?" or "What haven't I thought of yet?"

2. Grow Strawberries. Or any other fruits or veggies you enjoy! When you nurture a plant, it  brings you into nature's rhythms. PLUS you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Here's the How-To.

3. Be Creative. Paint. Cook. Knit. Draw. Sing. Write Poetry.  To make good art, we must be patient. Fortunately, creativity has a way of inspiring it.

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it. 
- Kurt Vonnegut

I hope you create a fantastic Springtime!!! Filled with abundant patience, possibility, creativity, and growth! See you around the village!

Village Wellness 6 Waterloo Ave Berwyn, PA 19312

Village Wellness
6 Waterloo Ave
Berwyn, PA 19312

 

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Upcoming Holistic Happenings! Yoga, Journeying, Sound, Speaker Series

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Upcoming Holistic Happenings! Yoga, Journeying, Sound, Speaker Series

Hi Everyone! Happy sunny day!! Our Spring events calendar is full of unique opportunities to learn, relax, bliss out, and be with like minded individuals. Heres whats happening:

See you around the Village!
Love,
Lance & the whole Village Wellness crew
Lance Isakov, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., CYT
Village Wellness. a little healing oasis on the main line.

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Introduction To Shamanic Jouneying

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Introduction To Shamanic Jouneying

Im not sure if I have expressed how much I love the people I am lucky enough to get to work with at Village Wellness. I am just so grateful to be surrounded by such heart centered practitioners. 

About a year ago, a woman named Stephanie walked into Village Wellness, and said "I just came back from Peru after studying shamanism and I am really attracted to your center and would love to offer my work here. By the way I am also an EMT and Veterinary Nurse."

I had a session with her and was totally wowed - just like pretty much ALL of her clients report! I have witnessed people sitting with her for just 5 minutes, with tears streaming down their face after being touched by her words. A year later Stephanie has a beautiful practice. 

Stephanie is now offering a workshop called An Introduction to Shamanic Journeying and it's guaranteed to be amazing! It will be held on Friday, April 7th from 7:00-9:00 PM. Class will answer the 'What is' and 'How to' of Shamanic Journeying and give you an experience as well. 

This workshop is designed for those brand new to shamanic journeying and will also be suitable for the advanced journeyer. There is always wisdom to be gained as we revisit these ceremonies together. Space will be limited so Stephanie an give each participant the highest level of attention. Please reserve your spot here.

Hope to see you there!

Lots of love,

 Lance & the whole Village Wellness crew

Village Wellness. a little healing oasis on the main line.

P.S. Please check out all of our upcoming event below. thanks <3
Other quick announcements: 

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2 feet of Snow?

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2 feet of Snow?

So, what do you think? I've heard 6 inches, I've heard a foot.... How much snow do you think we'll get this week? I'm staying a head of the weather this time and have already started rescheduling my Tuesday patients. I have opened up more hours on Friday and Gabrielle & Karin have availability  tomorrow (Monday). Feel free to access our online schedule to book at your convenience.

Do you think we will get 2 feet of snow? 

get it? hahahaha!

Please stay safe and warm and I hope you have fun too. If you're home with the kiddos, here's 101 Snow Day Activities (for kids of all ages)!

Oh, we have just added some really great workshops to our schedule! Please take a sec to check them out!

See you around the Village! 

Lots of love,
Lance & the whole Village Wellness crew

Lance Isakov, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., CYT
Village Wellness. a little healing oasis on the main line.

P.S. For a limited time Megan is offering an Introductory special for our new Holistic Beauty Cosmetic Acupuncture offering. Save $250 on a series of treatments!

Other quick announcements: 

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Holistic Beauty. The Art of Cosmetic Acupuncture

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Holistic Beauty. The Art of Cosmetic Acupuncture

I hope you're having/had a beautiful weekend! Wow — it was cold! All these temperature fluctuations can be challenging for the immune system so make sure you are getting rest, drinking enough water and keeping your neck covered

We have some awesome community offerings in March: Rest and Restore Yoga & Laughter Yoga with Mary, a Spring Equinox Event with Amy, and Cosmetic Acupuncture with Megan.  

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture Mainline Philadelphia

I'm so excited to introduce Megan Conover, M.Ac., the latest addition to our amazing team of practitioners. Megan is a licensed acupuncturist who specializes Holistic Cosmetic Acupuncture. I did a short interview with Megan recently, where she goes into a bit of her history and shares some helpful tips. I hope you enjoy it! Megan is one of those inspirational people — just being around her makes you feel good! =)

Why Cosmetic Acupuncture?

When I had my practice in Manayunk circa 2004, I had a lot of people coming fora Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture. This style of cosmetic acupuncture was developed in the Forbidden Kingdom and often used by the ladies of the palace, to enhance their beauty. On a practical level, cosmetic acupuncture helps to bring energy and color to the face and a sparkle to the eye. It can help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and more.  My patients would leave the treatments feeling a beautiful glow from the inside out. Even Oprah has an article about it!

As I began to specialize more and more in emotional/mental/spiritual acupuncture, I slowly gave up my practice of cosmetic acupuncture. But I still get requests so I asked the amazing Megan to join our practice. If you would like to meet her and ask any questions about the services she offers, book a free 30 minute tea-time chat, just schedule online

I asked her if she can help me grow my hair...I'll let you know how it goes =)

Have a beautiful evening day - whenever this finds you!

Lots of love,
Lance & the whole Village Wellness crew

Lance Isakov, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., CYT
Village Wellness. a little healing oasis on the main line.

Other quick announcements: 

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Holistic Beauty. An interview with Megan Conover

I think that we are all heroes in our own way. I have tremendous respect for those that live in silent pain, those that activate change, those that create beauty, and those that show love to all. 
— Megan Conover

This is part of a series of interviews I am conducting with practitioners of holistic medicine with the aim of answering this question: "How can we increase our quality of life?” 

I find that people who are drawn to help others tend to be ignited with a deep passion and purpose. These interviews delve into that drive and aim to discover insight and supply tips for living life to its fullest. 

Megan Conover is an Acupuncturist practicing on the Mainline in Philadelphia. She specializes in a Holistic Style of Cosmetic Acupuncture.

Enjoy the interview!
Love,
Lance

Q: Megan, thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions. Where are you from originally?

MEGAN: I grew up in both Florida and Southeastern Pennsylvania. Siesta Key Beach is where most of my free time was spent in high school and college. I feel very fortunate to have had that sublime experience! 

Q: Can you tell us a little about the work you offer?

MEGAN: I have varied interests in treatments but the ultimate goal is for the patient to look and feel good so that they are able to radiate their best selves in their everyday lives. I specialize in cosmetic acupuncture, pain, and women's healthcare which is inclusive of fertility, gynecological disorders, digestive issues, and auto-immune conditions. 

Q: What initially inspired your interest in this area?

MEGAN: I left my corporate job because I would often find myself saying “we are not saving lives here." I never knew what that would mean to me because I had considered a trauma surgeon to be the one saving a life. I think I watched too many episodes of Grey's Anatomy one snowy winter! 

After looking for answers to my own healthcare scare, I found acupuncture. I had such profound results that I enrolled in acupuncture school that same year. It was everything I had been working towards in life and hoping for in a career. I now understand that health starts long before a surgeon is needed and I am proud to be a small part of the journey for so many people. Every smile I see at the conclusion of a treatment makes my heart swell and further confirms I am on the right path. I am also eternally grateful for finding my tribe of like-minded people along the way.

Q: How did you manage the transition from corporate to being an acupuncturist?  Was it challenging? scary? 

MEGAN: I would love to say that this was a well thought out decision but sometimes life yanks you in another direction and you just have to roll with it! I fell ill and was prescribed a medication that had side effects worse than my illness. Google told me to try acupuncture and it ended up being the only thing that helped the side effects.

When I  was recovering from surgery, I kept myself busy with yoga and visits to The Won Institute of Graduate Studies to listen in on acupuncture theory lectures. At the time I had a "perfect plan" but then life happened again, and again, and again. At times challenging is a fitting word, and on other days it was downright agonizing to get through a full time school program with very little income or family support.

There were a few tears along the way. I often wondered what I was doing and why I gave up my company 401 match, healthcare and very generous PTO package, as well as a steady salary that so nicely landed in my bank twice a month. I worked for a company continuously voted as one the best places to work on the mainline. I questioned my sanity more than once for leaving. 

Many things have changed in my life since that first day of school but I would not change a single thing. This has been an incredible journey and I feel so grateful when I wake up every morning knowing that this is now my life and I played a part in making this life happen. The personal growth and new friendships  I have been fortunate enough to develop is exponentially more rewarding than my Vanguard account could ever be. I am exactly where I was meant to be and I am excited to see where this journey leads next. 

Q: What is your mission as an Acupuncturist?

MEGAN: My mission is to facilitate the healing that is within each person that walks through the door. I like to incorporate diet, emotion, and goals into my treatment plans so that each person walks away with something special that they can take with them for the rest of their life.  

Q: One of your specialties is cosmetic style Acupuncture, can you tell us a little about it?

In my corporate days, the water cooler talk was of the new shoes that were just delivered to Nordstrom Rack, a new product line at Sephora, how their newborn was not sleeping, or which skincare was working and what was not. Most of my friends were either thinking about Botox or they were looking for Botox alternatives. When I heard about cosmetic acupuncture, I was immediately intrigued! I signed up for the course while I was still in acupuncture school. The results have been amazing and I am so happy I took made the choice to learn about this added benefit of acupuncture!

A client receives a balancing treatment like their normal acupuncture session and we do a face treatment in the same session. Basically, several tiny needles are inserted into the skin which signals the body to send fresh blood and energy to the area. Just like in using acupuncture to treat a local injury or a scar, we are using acupuncture to stimulate the body's natural process of promoting collagen and elastin production in the face. Chinese Medicine is also good for things like prolapses in the body. I view loose skin on the face and wrinkles as a prolapse as well. Chinese Medicine is exceptional at lifting things back up, therefore, jowls and sagging skin are lifted and tightened. 

Q Who is your ideal client for cosmetic style acupuncture? 

MEGAN: My ideal client is someone who is willing to implement the dietary changes that I outline as part of the program, someone who can commit to the treatment plan, and someone who is looking for an alternative to Botox or other fillers. When clients walk out of a session they not only feel amazing on the inside but they are working on a beauty enhancement on the outside as well! 

Q: What is your ultimate goal for your patients?

MEGAN: I find that so many people are focused on what is not working in life instead of what is working. I try to shed light on the positives in a person's life… it's my goal to have everyone I encounter walk away with just a bit more light in their day, even if just for a minute. 

Q: What are 5 healthy habits/ lifestyle recommendations you want to offer the world?

MEGAN: There are so many changes we can make that do not require an Amazon Prime delivery or a trip to the grocery store. 

1. Drink water! It's free and your body will thank you in countless ways! 

2. Meditate! This could be sitting quietly, using a guided meditation app, gardening, walking in nature, or simply paying attention to your breathing. Everyone can do it and there is a style for every personality! 

3. Grow a garden, or just one edible plant. When you have a connection to your food, however big or small, it nourishes your soul. 

4. Stretch. We are often in pain - physically, emotionally, and spiritually- when we have not moved. Stretching activates all three of these levels. 

5. Hug! it is scientifically proven to make you happier and healthier and you are doing a good deed for the recipient as well! Click here to read more about hugs!

Q: Do you have a spiritual practice? If so, what is it?

MEGAN: I once took a religion test and it told me I was 99.9% Universal Unitarian and 99% Buddhist. As cliché as it sounds, Love is my religion. I use mantra meditation to focus myself and my goals on a more personal level. I really enjoy feeling the energy of a group which is why I seek out group meditations. I try to engage in activities that spread joy, within myself and in my community. 

Q: What does your morning routine look like?

MEGAN: Ok, not all Acupuncturists are perfect. I am more of a night person! I rustle around and have created a "bed yoga routine" for myself. I have trained myself to eat a larger breakfast and I take pride in my colorful morning meals, as my friends know who receive pictures of my “masterpieces." These usually include a green, like arugula, polenta, eggs, fruit, and the dreaded cup of half-caff coffee with coconut cream. I try to read an article related to a case I am working on, write a blog, or update social media about acupuncture. I tend to keep my early mornings open so that my patients get the best me in the afternoon! 

Q: Do you have a favorite quote?

MEGAN: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ― Albert Einstein

Q: What are you currently most passionate about?

MEGAN: Educating others on the benefits of acupuncture. I truly believe that between acupuncture, yoga, and mediation, the world could be such a peaceful and beautiful place! 

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? What do you like to do for fun?

MEGAN: Honestly, I am kind of nerdy. I have board game nights with some of my dear friends on the weekends. I love to eat, so cooking or going out to new restaurants is always a favorite, I love live music so I can often be found at places like Johnny Brenda's or The Mann. I always have a vacation on my calendar - big or small, they are all adventures in my mind, I really love group meditations, museums, theatre, and I love learning!  

Q: Who is/are your hero/s?

MEGAN: I think that we are all heroes in our own way. I have tremendous respect for those that live in silent pain, those that activate change, those that create beauty, and those that show love to all.      

Meg Headshot .jpg

Megan Conover, M.Ac., L.Ac.

Cosmetic Acupuncture

Megan holds an Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and a Master’s degree in Acupuncture from The WON Institute of Graduate Studies. Megan is continuing her path in Oriental medicine and is currently enrolled in the Chinese Herbal Medicine program at the Won Institute. In addition to the herbal clinic program, Megan is also continuing an intensive study of 5 Element Acupuncture with a local Master. She has also completed her Reiki master level training. 

Megan was led to acupuncture after Chinese medicine changed her life during a health scare. This has provided a basis for Megan’s passion and drive to continue learning.  Megan is interested in treating the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. She assists her patients in taking their health to the next level by healing from the inside to the outside. She specializes in cosmetic acupuncture, pain relief, and autoimmune conditions. Additionally, Megan has a passion for  esoteric style acupuncture using guided intuition while incorporating  crystals, oils, and Reiki energy work in her treatments. 

 In her free time, Megan enjoys practicing yoga, meditating, reading, traveling, skiing, hiking, cooking, live music and spending time with friends and family.

Book an Appointment with Megan:

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The Holistic Healing Power of Biodynamic Cranialsacral Therapy. An Interview with Toby Calandra.

Photo by Matthew Hamilton

Photo by Matthew Hamilton

My mission with biodynamic craniosacral therapy is to let people know that they have more power and wisdom within themselves than they know.  Even in the darkest places there is light and health.
— TOBY CALANDRA

This is part of a series of interviews I am conducting with practitioners of holistic medicine with the aim of answering the question: "How can we increase our quality of life?" I also find folks drawn to help others in an integrative way tend to be ignited with a deep passion and purpose. These interviews were created to delve into that drive and to discover their tips and insight into living life to its fullest. 

Toby is a biodynamic craniosacral therapist with a practice in NorthWest Philadelphia. She was kind enough to answer my questions about her passions and the unique style of bodywork that she offers called Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy,

Enjoy the interview!
Love,
Lance


Q: Toby, thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions. Where are you from originally? 

TOBY: I was born in Rochester, New York, lived in Elizabeth, NJ until I was 5, and then settled in Hillsborough, NJ through high school. 

Q: What are you most passionate about right now?

TOBY: I am passionate about practicing craniosacral therapy, progressive practices in education, and investigating the root causes of illness and behavior challenges with children.

Q: Can you tell us what Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is and what kind of issues it can help with?

TOBY: Biodynamic craniosacral therapy (BCST) is a gentle-touch therapy that works with the whole body.  With BCST, the body will heal and nourish itself thereby creating an individualized solution to any problem that is causing discomfort emotionally or physically.  My role as the therapist is to support the body both physically and energetically so that it can make whatever shifts it needs to make.  My hands follow change as it occurs in my client's body rather than moving his/her body in a specific direction.  

Q: What is the difference between traditional (Biomechanical) Craniosacral Therapy (CST) and Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (BCST)?

TOBY: The biomechanical approach addresses imbalances in the client’s system by using gentle touch techniques to release resistance.  The primary focus is on the relationship of the bones of the head, the movement of the sacrum, and the movement of fluid around the brain and spinal cord.  

The biodynamic approach is a whole-body approach that involves helping clients reestablish their own balanced rhythm.  This allows the body's own regenerative powers to heal and support on-going maintenance of health.  Healing comes from within the client, rather than from the practitioner.  BCST allows space and stillness for issues to simply be and have room to reorganize and shift naturally.

There is one more approach called Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, which is a compassion based application of biodynamic craniosacral therapy principals to the cardiovascular system.  The intention of this work is to support the healing of metabolic syndromes (e.g., heart disease, obesity, diabetes), which are impacting the majority of people in Western countries.  I have had training in both BCST and Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy.

Q: What initially inspired you to study and offer this type of therapy?

TOBY: I first learned about craniosacral therapy when I took my son to a D.O. who did osteopathic manipulative therapy.  Each week I would watch her work with him until one day I decided to try it myself.  When I came back to her and reported what I was feeling, she told me that I was feeling the cranial wave.  That started me on a journey of learning this work.  The more I practiced, the more connected I felt to the work and the power of the healing possibilities with gentle touch. I love that this work is about honoring the wisdom of the body in discomfort, seeing the client as whole, and listening for the health. I am honored to participate in the practice of providing space for my clients to work out their dis-ease and nourish themselves. 

Q: What is the cranial wave?

TOBY: The cranial wave is a subtle body pulse that is variable and moves at a rate of about 8-12 cycles per minute.  The cranial wave responds to stress levels - it speeds up when stress is experienced and slows down when the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged.

Q: What is your goal when working with your clients?

TOBY: My goal is to provide a nourishing space where my clients' bodies can get to work on what they need to do.  I hope to offer people an opportunity to slow down, connect with their inner wisdom, and offer a space to nourish and heal their own body.  My clients (children and adults) come to me for various reasons (e.g., body pains, anxiety, stress, curiosity).  My hope is that they walk away feeling nourished and settled.  I am taking a series of classes on BCST and concussions beginning in March, and I am excited to see the impact that this work has for individuals who have had concussions.

Q: What is some advise that you offer your clients, that you think would benefit everyone?

TOBY: I think it is important that people listen to themselves and act from their own intuition.  Too often, people know they are not well, but do not change their situation to remedy things.  If you want to run, run.  It you want to meditate, meditate.  If you think you "should" do something, ask yourself if you really want to do it.  If no, maybe it's not the thing that will really sustain and nourish you.

Q: Toby, what does your morning routine look like?

TOBY: My son is the family alarm clock, and he starts our morning typically around 6:15am.  He snuggles with my husband and I in our bed until 6:30 when he shouts, "It's time to get up!"  Then I walk the dog, feed the dog, make my son's lunch, kiss my husband goodbye, play "amazing catches" (football) with my son, and bring him to school.  It's a full morning!

Q: What do you like to do in your free time? What do you like to do for fun?

TOBY: Ahhhh, free time!  I love to move my body: run in the woods, parkour, and play with my family (which often looks like football at the Penn Charter football field or baseball at Daisy field).  When I want to have fun in a less active way I love reading, knitting, food shopping, cooking and BOARD GAMES!!!

Q: What book do you absolutely love and would recommend to our readers? 

TOBY: There is a terrific book called, "Thanks for the Feedback."  Giving and receiving feedback sometimes feels scary, but I think it is a way for us to grow and understand each other.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote that helps or inspires you?

TOBY: I have two favorite quotes:
The first is from Brene Brown:  "Blame is a way of discharging pain and discomfort."  

The second is from Harry Palmer: 
"Practicing compassion:
1.  Just like me, this person is looking for happiness in his or her life.
2.  Just like me, this person tries to avoid suffering in his or her life.
3.  Just like me, this person experiences sorrow, loneliness, and despair.
4.  Just like me, this person is trying to satisfy his or her own needs.
5.  Just like me, this person is learning about life."

Q: Toby, thank you so much for your time and sharing your passions and advice. Where would folks find out more about you or set up an appointment? 

TOBY: My office space is in the Germantown section of Philadelphia.  I can be reached via email at tobycalandra(at)gmail.com or by phone at 215-882-2790.


About Toby Calandra

Toby's interest in Biodynamic Cranioasacral Therapy (BCST) began on her journey to support her son with healing his multiple allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances to food and the environment.  She is constantly humbled and intrigued by what she experiences on a daily basis related to health, nourishment, and being in this world.  In addition to practicing BCST, Toby is a speech-language pathologist with her Master of the Arts in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) from Indiana University.  She has been exploring how her knowledge of BCST and SLP can be uniquely intertwined, especially when working with children with expressive, receptive, and/or social language disorders.  Toby lives in the Germantown section of Philadelphia with her husband, their son, and their dog.

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The American College of Physician's new take on treating back pain

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The American College of Physician's new take on treating back pain

When I first started practicing acupuncture in Pennsylvania in 2003, each patient had to get a referral from their physician to even receive acupuncture and many docs did not give permission.

Well, times have changed, especially with the opioid addiction crisis and over prescribed pharmaceuticals. A few days ago the American College of Physicians recommended in the Annals of Internal Medicine that physicians and patients should treat acute or subacute low back pain with non-drug therapies such acupuncture.

This is a step in the right direction!

If you are experience pain of any kind, physical, emotional, mental or spiritual we are all here in service.

If you have back pain, I recommend booking an appointment with our in-house musculoskeletal acupuncture expert, Gabrielle

With Gratitude,

Lance & the whole Village Wellness crew
Lance Isakov, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., CYT
Village Wellness. a little healing oasis on the main line.

P.S. We are going to be bringing back Cosmetic/Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture in the very near future. If you think you may be interested in learning more or scheduling an appointment please email me and let me know. I need to see how much time to dedicate for this service in the Village Wellness schedule. Thanks!

Other quick announcements: 

  • Weekly Kundalini Yoga Classes with Ashleigh continue on Mondays at 7:30 pm. Please register if you are interested.
  • $35 Community Acupuncture now on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays.
  • Please help nominate us and create a category for acupuncture in Mainline Today's 'best of' edition. Please, enter village wellness as a wildcard and write in ACUPUNCTURE as the category. Thank you sooooo much! It makes a huge impact for us & all of the holistic practitioners on the Main Line.

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eat better, feel better

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eat better, feel better

Hi folks,

I have always loved food, found comfort in food, and have had what I'll lovingly refer to as "teddy bear body".  Like so many of us, over the years I have experimented with various eating habits and diets in order to lose weight and feel more healthy. 

About 7 years ago I discovered the paleo diet which is an ancestral way of eating. It's free of grains, sugar, and highly processed, chemical laden foods.

When I eat this way I feel amazing! I have more energy, experience more happiness, lose excess weight and get stronger. My problem is, like I said — I love food. My brain is sad that I won't get to eat a donut or have ice cream again. When that happens for too long, I indulge the side of me that really really really loves ice cream. I go off my "Lance 'feel amazing' Diet." Then I am bloated, more tired, have more anxiety, and get heavier - physically and emotionally.

Well you can imagine that's a bit of a roller coaster so I have modified my goals and found something that is sustainable for me to maintain for a long time. For me, that's eating really well, but also allowing for occasional indulgences.

And I know I'm not alone. I see patients every day in the treatment room with a similar story. As we continue on the road of really knowing ourselves, we have more and more to inform our choices. I know that changing a habit is one of the hardest things to do and it's exponentially more successful when done with a group.

Together we can create a huge shift in how we eat and how we feel.

••••• Village Wellness Takes a Village ••••• 

Over the next few months, the extraordinary Functional Nutritionist, Rachel Hershberger, the fantastic BodyMind Nourishment Coach Antanas Vainius and myself, are going to launch 3 empowering workshops and individual session opportunities specifically designed to assist you to eat better and feel better, now and for the long term in your body, mind, and spirit! 

There has never been a better time to take care of yourself than now.

We are going to be offering some special programs in the coming months to keep all of us feeling strong and light. If you see something that calls you, now is the time to jump in!

Acupuncture & Ancestral Nutrition ProgramTry out something new for 30 days ONLY and see if this way of eating is right for you. We will be like scientists observing what happens when we follow the Ancestral Nutrition Program. WARNING: you may feel better, have more energy, and lose excess weight. The group support and acupuncture are all there to make the transition and detox from sugar, etc much smoother. This program starts March 1st. Learn More & Register

The Science of You and Food: Find out how your body's needs are supported by food over time. This is the best way to integrate a new way of eating into your lifestyle. Individualized support with Functional Nutritionist Rachel Hershberger works holistically to fine tune YOUR nutritional needs and will help design a long term plan that you love. These are individual session. Learn more & Book your appointment.

Skill Development: Learn what it means to be truly nourished, not only in body, but in mind and spirit as well with  Body/Mind Nourishment Coaching with Antanas Vainius. COMING SOON: This workshop will give hands on demonstrations on healthy ways of preparing food while also accounting for the emotional and spiritual aspects of what it means to eat. 

I am so excited about these offerings and I hope you can take advantage of them! 

To healthier, happier, stronger, shinier Us's

Lots of love,

Lance  & the whole Village Wellness crew

Lance Isakov, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., CYT
Village Wellness. a little healing oasis on the main line.


Other quick announcements: 

  • Our Weekly Kundalini Yoga Classes with Ashleigh start on Monday at 7:30 pm. Class is filling up so please register if you are interested.
  • Please help nominate us and create a category for acupuncture in Mainline Today's 'best of' edition. Please, enter village wellness as a wildcard and write in ACUPUNCTURE as the category. Thank you sooooo much! It makes a huge impact for us & all of the holistic practitioners on the Main Line.

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When we need Joy. Abundance. Peace. Courage. Hope...

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When we need Joy. Abundance. Peace. Courage. Hope...

So many of our patients (and us practitioners too) have been coming in this week feeling overwhelmed, defeated, stressed, and anxious. Its seems to be so easy for some of us to fall into a downward spiral right now, and I wanted to share some wisdom i was recently reminded of. 

Amy and I went to a Kirtan at the amazing Prana House Yoga in Haverford with musician David Newman during the inauguration. We sang to help spread our prayers of love and peace, and to foster the potency of our commitment to those values.

David reminded me of a Zen Story with the basic teaching of: if you need something give it away. If you need love, give love, if you need hope, give hope, if you need peace, give peace.

Pena Chodrin, in her book, “When things fall apart” shares a similar principle. She says “Share the wealth. Be generous with your joy. Give away what you most want. Be generous with your insights and delights." 

So here is our homework, you guys:

For those of us who are feeling sadness, lets practice giving joy.

For those feeling poor, practice sharing your abundance.  

For those in grief, practice giving praise.

For those in fear, practice giving courage.

For those feeling angry, practice give hope. 

When we give away the need, the want, the desire, We often reconnect to the exact thing we were so disconnected from. 

AND If you find this practice helpful, please share it with those in your life that may find benefit from it!

With so much love and gratitude,

Lance

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Do you know 2 people that can benefit from Holistic Medicine?

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Do you know 2 people that can benefit from Holistic Medicine?

I hope you had a wonderful snowy weekend! I've been practicing some origami while keeping toasty. I posted some pics on our Instagram Page if you want to check them out. Origami is a great way to drop into the present and let the world go. It got me thinking that our world would be better if more people could make space for peaceful endeavors and in that spirit, I have a favor to ask.

I find that, though holistic medicine is making it's way towards the mainstream it's often still viewed as fringe, unconventional and sometimes scary to many people. I would LOVE your help in changing that. 

The Favor: If you know anyone who might benefit from acupuncture or our other holistic medicine services, would you 1. Share your experience. Talking about acupuncture and what's possible with holistic medicine normalizes it for people who may be too timid to try it themselves. 2. Invite them to do a free tea time chat to ask their questions and see if the Village Wellness approach is the right fit for them.

If you don't know whether your community would be interested in Acupuncture or holistic medicine, simply share our website with them or invite them to our Facebook page

If your peeps live elsewhere and are interested in trying holistic medicine, I am connected to great practitioners all over the country and would be happy to supply a referral. Just ask by replying to this email.

As the world heads into divisive times, anything that fosters connection and well-being ought to be shared, don't ya think?

Also, please let us know if there's anything you wish we offered that we don't — yet.

Thanks so much!

Lance & the whole Village Wellness crew

Lance Isakov, M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., CYT

Other quick announcements: 

  • Take the Private Acupuncture Membership Program for a test spin - instantly save at least $60/month
  • Test the Community Acupuncture Membership Program - special earlybird pricing for January.
  • Ready to make meditation a priority in 2017? Check out our upcoming series. They start over the next couple weeks
  • Stephanie Moore, Shamanic Practitioner Extraordiare is extending her discounted sessions through the end of January. Read more
  • Is losing weight and/or eating healing part of your new year's resolution? Lets set up a functional nutrition plan so you know exactly what to eat for your own best results. Ask Rachel about her January Special! Learn more

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