Healing Solutions For You - Alternative and Integrative Healing Practices

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Relief for Chronic Pain with Arthrossage

Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lupus. Frustating, painful conditions. Until now, the main treatments for these conditions have been medications. Unfortunately, medications can have side effects, have dosage restrictions and only work so well.

A great alternative is massage. In a 1996 study, fibromyalgia sufferers reported a 38% decrease in pain symptoms after receiving just ten, 30 minute massage sessions. They also reported a significant decrease in their sleep difficulties (1). Traditional massage can soothe muscles but can be too intense sometimes for RA, fibromyalgia, lupus or chronic fatigue patients.
Now there’s arthrossage, a massage style specifically designed to gently (though effectively) soothe these conditions. Regular arthrossage, combined with simple lifestyle changes, can significantly decrease the pain frequency/severity for people suffering from these conditions. This results in improved sleep and quality of life. Massage turns on genes that promote recovery and healing while keeping inflammation at bay (2).

Arthrossage is performed with the client clothed. It reduces stiffness and improves joint range of motion through a series of gentle joint rotations and positioning. It also involves gentle, soothing compressions of the limbs. One cause of arthritis pain is from tight muscles pulling around and constricting joints. Arthrossage techniques lengthen the muscles easing that strain and pain in the joints. Arthrossage releases synovial fluid to help lubricate the interior of the joints. Arthrossage is at once relaxing and soothing while powerful and effective. It can help calm the nervous system and reduce flare-ups.

1 in 5 American adults have arthritis (3). 5 million Americans have fibromyalgia (4). Yet very few massage therapists are trained in arthrossage. Serenity Dylan (NC License #6352) of Healing Solutions is a certified arthrossage provider in the Asheville area. She may be reached at (828) 808-8955.

1 Sunshine, W., Field, T. Schanberg, S., Quintino, O., Kilmer, T., Fierro, K., Burman, I., Hashimoto, M., McBride, C., & Henteleff, T. (1996). Massage therapy and transcutaneous electrical stimulation effects on fibromyalgia. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 2, 18-22.

2 Gisela Telis. “Massage's Mystery Mechanism Unmasked.” Science Now. Highwire Press. 1 February 2012. Web. 26 April 2012.

3 “Arthritis: Meeting the Challenge of Living Well. At a Glance 2012.” CDC Home. Web. 13 May 2012.

4 Reva C. Lawrence, David T. Felson, Charles G. Helmick, Lesley M. Arnold, Hyon Choi, Richard A. Deyo, Sherine Gabriel, Rosemarie Hirsch, Marc C. Hochberg, Gene G. Hunder, Joanne M. Jordan, Hilal Maradit Kremers & Frederick Wolfe for the National Arthritis Data Workgroup.(2008). Estimates of the Prevalence of Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Conditions in the United States. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 26, 26-35.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pain: Pros and Cons

Every sensation and function of the body has a purpose. This includes pain. Pain is the body's protective mechanism to signal that something is amiss. If you feel pain, your body's withdrawal reflex will cause you to recoil from the pain's source whether a hot stove or pressure on a broken toe. This is why I believe it is best to minimize the use of pain killers or anti-inflammatories for acute pain (only enough to keep you out of extreme pain). Too much medication can mask the pain so well that one may use an injured part before it is healed well enough. Acute pain may not be fun but it will go away as you heal. It has an important and valuable function. Where pain becomes bad is if it is chronic (ongoing). The good news is that there are many therapies to reduce extreme or chronic pain.

Pain can be necessary during certain therapies and undesirable during others. For example, while most chiropractic adjustments feel good or neutral, sometimes it can hurt if the joint space is jammed and the adjustment is difficult to achieve. In physical therapy or scar massage, necessary techniques to break up scarred or immobile tissue may cause pain. In general, with massage though, pain is not good. Some areas of tension may be sore when getting loosened. Sore is OK if you are still able to relax. If you tried to breathe deeply, you should still be able to. Cringing, flailing or having trouble breathing deeply indicate pain, and that the pressure needs to be reduced. It may just take a little longer or a more gradual approach to loosen the tissue but it usually will still release at a lighter pressure. Find a massage therapist who will work within your boundaries.

Pain does detrimental things to the body. Pain activates the sympathetic nervous system, our fight or flight response. In this state, the body produces adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol[1]. While these hormones help us in fight or flight, in the case of extreme or chronic pain they can cause hypertension, lowered immunity, weight gain, insulin resistance, anxiety, etc[2]. Working within a comfortable level during massage, however, is beneficial. The body relaxes and the tissue releases with the work. Touch releases endorphins, a biochemical which reduces pain and increases the feeling of well-being. Tissue healing increases when the body is relaxed. Stress hormones decrease[3]. This is why extreme and chronic pain are best avoided.

Among the most popular and effective therapies are therapeutic massage, chiropractic care, acupuncture, etc. Different bodies/conditions may respond better to certain approaches than others. Ask professionals in these fields for their recommendations or success with your condition(s).

[1] Tennant, Forest, MD. “Using Objective Signs of Severe Pain to Guide Opioid Prescription.” Pain Topics. Ed. Stewart B. Leavitt, MA, PhD. June 2008. Web. June 20, 2011. .

[2] Lam, Michael, MD, MPH. “Stage 3 Adrenal Fatigue
(Adrenal Exhaustion).” Adrenal Fatigue Center. 2010. Web. June 20, 2011.

[3] Montagu, Ashley. Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin. New York: Columbia University Press, 1971. Print.

Serenity Dylan, LMBT, NC License #6352 is a therapeutic massage therapist with nine years of experience. She lives and work in Asheville, NC (828) 808-8955 www.healingsolutionsforyou.com

Friday, April 1, 2011


Everyone experiences emotional pain in life. Some of us experience horrific traumas at the hand of another. The result is fear, guilt, anger, even rage.

Experiences can haunt us for years or a lifetime. When humans experience traumatic pain we form some sort of coping mechanism to deal with it. It could be denial, a stiff upper lip, avoidance, being aloof, aggression. These can be temporary coping mechanisms. If the pain that caused them isn't dealt with the pain and patterns will affect our lives. We will continue to use these patterns for other situations, even if they aren't traumatic. The patterns will interfere with feeling our emotions and our emotional growth.

When we have a lot of pain and anger because of what someone has done to us it is easy to hate them and be unable to forgive. They did this to us. They owe us an apology or a lifetime of apologies. They deserve our rage, our bitterness, perhaps even a lifetime of misery. Why should we give them something like forgiveness when they don't deserve it? As Seane Corn, renowned yoga teacher, put it ”the inability to forgive is the poison you take hoping someone else will die.”

This is exactly what the lack of forgiveness does to us, it poisons us. Why? Even if we don't recognize it, the pain and anger eat away at us. They often cause depression. Depression is pain and anger turned inwards upon ourselves. Isn't it ironic that when someone does something to us, we end up hating...ourselves? A traumatic experience can erode our self-esteem, cause us to question ourselves, cause us to feel guilty. We wonder why we didn't or couldn't defend ourselves. What did we do to cause it? How did we deserve it? The experience can cause us to question our ability to love, the likelihood of others loving us, cause us to question our worth.

The inability to forgive is also a coping mechanism. We are trying to protect ourselves from further hurt. We believe that if we show gentleness, forgiveness, it will open us to the possibility of being hurt again. The Truth, however, is that we are continuing to be hurt because we are holding onto the pain and anger. And we are holding ourselves back. We are preventing ourselves from getting on with our lives, truly enjoying or experiencing it now. When you hold on to anger towards someone or towards life, you are looking through a clouded lens. You always will be looking at this person as Person X, the person who did this to me, is calling, is the person in this photograph, is the person sitting near me. Unless you forgive, you will never allow the opportunity for you to have a positive or neutral interaction with this person. And you won't be able to be in the moment. Forgiveness does not erase the past or change the person who caused that past. It changes the way you look at them and frees you.

I had a difficult, painful childhood. Everyone in my life, save two, disappointed me, hurt me and or betrayed me. I was very shut down, angry and depressed. I enjoyed the powerful sensation of that anger and I didn't want to forgive. I knew, however, that it was destroying me one piece at a time. I went to a chiropractor who used flower essence therapy for me. It was completely life altering. I woke up one day and realized that I had forgiven everyone, even the family member who had molested me. I cannot describe what a weight was lifted off my shoulders. (This is why I am now a flower essence therapist). I discovered happiness. And I had been a child who didn't like to smile for photographs because smiling would have been a lie!

Now, when I interact with someone who has previously hurt me, I don't think about that so much. I think about the situation at hand. And I can enjoy the moment with them now. If they say or do something that I don't agree with, I express my boundaries to them or finish the interaction. I am able to do this without overreacting to the moment or feeling retraumatized. And if I chose to have a relationship with this person, I can have a positive or neutral relationship with them. That is what forgiveness gives to you. PEACE. This does not mean you need to have a relationship with someone who is actually dangerous or continues to violate your boundaries even when you voice them. You can chose how and how much interaction you have with them, if any. You are under no obligation to be in contact with someone, even if they are a family member. It is for you to choose. Forgiveness is simply for yourself, to heal.

So forgiving others is healing to yourself. Did you know most of us also need to forgive ourselves? If you felt victimized by something or someone, you have probably retained resentment or anger against yourself for allowing it to happen. Perhaps you feel guilty. Perhaps you believe in some way that you deserved it or were asking for it. Most of us also have nontraumatic instances in our lives for which we are still mentally abusing ourselves. This could be for mistakes we've made, opportunities we've missed, times we haven't stood up for others or our values. It could be for the things we should have or haven't done, paths we should have taken, ways in which we've fallen short. I'd be surprised to find someone who has nothing or no one to forgive. Yet it is so necessary to our mental health and our happiness.

So how do you go about forgiveness? There are various ways. Pray, meditate, take flower essences, write a letter that you don't send. Hold a ceremony in which you declare your forgiveness (by yourself or with someone who completely supports you). You do not need to tell someone that you have forgiven them. It is for you to know for yourself.

I recently read something very powerful in the Dear Abby column. “To forgive someone [or yourself, I would add] is a decision to let go of the hatred, hurt and resentment even when the other person [or you] doesn't deserve it or ask for it. When we can do this, the terrible deed loses its hold on our lives. Forgiveness is an act of strength, not weakness. It is healthy for us.” -- A.Q. IN MOBILE, ALA.

So please, consider forgiveness. You don't have to do it for someone else's sake. Do it for yourself, for your own sake. Your life is waiting.

(Suggested reading: Energy Anatomy by Caroline Myss. Read about Tribal Consciousness and "An Eye for an Eye" mentality under the 1st and 2nd Chakras)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

When the Relationship is Over

Intimate relationships are a very important part of our lives. They bring out our qualities and our shadows, they help us in our growth. They can be a safe place to fall.
Relationships have their purpose. The end of relationships have a purpose as well.

Reasons we fall in love

1) Karma Sutra. We can fall in love with someone we have known in another life in order to resolve karma with them. Karma is the universe law of cause and effect. We reap what we sow. If we do something that harms someone or something, at some point, we will experience an (or multiple) difficult event(s) relevant to what we did. This is the universe giving us an opportunity to understand, learn and evolve. To be in harmony with the universe we must learn honesty, integrity, compassion, forgiveness, love, etc. The universe law of cause and effect, karma, helps us to learn these over time. We will meet the people we have known in lives past time and time again until we have made amends for what we did and learned the lessons karma has brought us. Perhaps in one life we were a cold, slave-driving boss who was too hard on an employee. In this life perhaps we are the ever suffering spouse of a tyrannical person (our former employee). This is a more extreme example of how our lives can be karmically intertwined.

2) Lessons to be learned, plans to be followed. Karma is not the only reason that people come into our lives. Their particular talents or spirit may be a perfect fit to help us along our life plan. Before we incarnate into a life, we decide what the purpose of our life shall be and whom we will encounter. Let's say we decide to come into this life to bring the beauty of music to others. We end up falling in love with a music producer who teaches us about the industry and helps advance our career. As Caroline Myss says, they have a contract with us to be in our lives. Someone's contract with us can require them to be helpful, to be difficult (so that we can learn to stand up for ourselves or to follow our path despite opposition, etc.) or a mixed bag (like a loving spouse who nonetheless opposes our calling). Any of these can help us follow our path. And a contract with someone is not necessarily based from karma but instead from an agreement with that individual to help you on your path.

3) Friends forever. People may be in our lives simply because we enjoy them. They make our lives wonderful. Karma or none, we just want them in our lives. These are probably people from our soul group with whom we reincarnate again and again. A soul group is a group of souls created together. We will continue to share that bond throughout lifetimes.

Why Relationships End

1) The karma has been resolved.

2) The (spirit) reason the two came together has been fulfilled.

3) There still remains something unfulfilled or unresolved but one or both parties chooses not to continue working through it.

In the case of the first two, the contract has been fulfilled. Many of us will have multiple partners in our lifetimes. This is because each relationship and person will bring us something: steps in our growth, a possibility to resolve karma, etc. In the third situation, the person(s) has(ve) decided it's too hard to work through their karma, to take responsibility or face their weaknesses, fears, false beliefs. They will continue to reencounter opportunities to learn the lessons, resolve the karmas. They will probably reincarnate in another life with this person. The difficulty of the classroom setting or situation in which to learn these lessons will over time become more and more difficult or intense until the person has to understand it. The universe gently taps, then nudges, then shoves, then kicks butt, then will cause you to fall on your face until you get it! Evolution is a spiritual law. There is no getting around it.

How to Know that the Contract is Over

1) In the case of a difficult relationship: There is a peace in your heart in regards to that person and your experiences you've had with them. This is a peace that has not previously existed. This doesn't necessarily mean that they are now your buddy. It does mean that the other person no longer pushes your buttons and you can treat them with civility. You can look at your experiences you've had with them in an objective way and recognize the value in having had those interactions. This view is no longer clouded by anger or bitterness. You have forgiven them their transgressions. (If the relationship ends and you have not come to that peaceful or forgiving space, you can still work to get there and resolve it posthumously.)

2) In the case of a positive relationship: If you try to continue the relationship, it doesn't work. Perhaps the chemistry between you has evaporated. There is no anger that prevents the chemistry, simply that it has evaporated because the energy has shifted. Your direction in life is no longer in alignment and your paths have diverged. Obstacles keep coming up that prevent the relationship from being. There is a feeling that this is time to move on. These are signs that the contract and karmas are finished. In this situation, you will still have positive feelings towards the other but your time together, in an intimate relationship, is finished.

The Hard Part

Naturally, the end of a relationship can bring up pain, fear, anger, self-doubt. These are normal to any transition. Take time to heal, ponder and meditate. Journal. Reflect upon what you have learned or could learn about yourself and life from that relationship. Take time to reconnect with yourself through nurturing yourself, relaxing. It is important to get back to a recentered, whole, balanced state before entering another relationship. This will prevent rebound relationships and instead allow you to make wise, careful and clear-minded decisions. Finally, if you are struggling with pain, fear, anger, or self-doubt, flower essence therapy can be a valuable instrument to help you heal and shift out of these states. I would be honored to work with you. Just call to set up a consultation. (828) 808 - 8955 or (877) FLWR - PWR

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


It’s February, the perfect time to discuss romantic love. Love is a treasured and feared emotion. It is also not well understood. Here’s some chocolate for thought.

1) Love is energy. That tremendous physical feeling, the warmth that one experiences pouring from their heart is energy.

2) Love is a feeling, not a thought. Love results from the opening up of the heart chakra. It is not a mental process although we can make mental rationalizations for why we love a person. This is why we hear the tired, old adage “Love is blind”. Since love is not a mental process it is possible to fall in love with someone who doesn’t necessarily seem kind or wonderful to other people.

3) Building our love muscles. Love opens us up to be more loving. Love teaches us to open our hearts and expand our capacity to express love. Love is one of the most important if not the most important universe law we need to learn. Our intimate relationships are so close that they create the perfect environment to develop this quality.

4) Being ONE. Evolution is a must. We all evolve, grow and learn in our own time. Evolution is universe law. We are all evolving toward being a purer and purer reflection of the universe. The universe is energy. This energy is composed of many qualities, individual energies such as truth, faith, compassion, forgiveness, love, etc. The intensity of intimate relationships crystalize and magnify our faults, qualities, fears and strengths. They can be our greatest aide in evolution if we chose to learn from them. As we develop those universe energies within us, we come back full circle. We get more and more connected, reconnected, with the universe and to the Truth that We Are One with all.

5) Being a mirror. Contained within each of us, to varying degrees, are all universe energies/qualities. We all have character shortcomings, fears and hangups as well. We forget or become ignorant of our qualities and shortcomings. Our romantic partners become our mirrors to help remember or recognize these things within ourselves since they also have these aspects within them. What drives us crazy about them, whether in a good or bad way, is also found within ourselves. When we chose to recognize that, the partnership becomes a tool for our growth. It also can help us recognize the beauty of our spirits and understand our value. We are mirrors for each other.

6) Reflection of divine love. The beings we share our lives with in this physical world are here to reflect back that love the Creator has for us (Universe, Source, God/Goddess whatever your name for the divine). We humans forget that we are constantly surrounded and supported by the divine, angels and guides. Most of us don't see or pay attention to feel it. So our partner serves as a mirror to remind us that we are loved.

7) Love opens us up to positive things. Love creates a happy, optimistic state of mind. When we are in a positive mindframe we react to and interact with our world and others in a positive way. The way we act affects how others act. Therefore, it can create more harmony in other relationships in our lives. Better interactions can result in better opportunities. Our positive attitude can allow us to notice opportunities or be more creative than a pessimistic mindset. These are all examples of how love works on our physical plane. However, on an energetic level we are also cocreators in the state of our lives. Having a positive or pessimistic mindframe creates a positive or negative energy field. We will attract things into our lives that match that forcefield we have created, be they positive or negative.

We do not have to be in a partnership to experience the benefits of love. These benefits can be experienced in the love between family, friends, animals, humanity or the earth. So enjoy all that love has to bring. Love is all there is!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Thoughts, Emotions, Energy

Energy is all around us. It is the stuff that makes up the universe. Although invisible to the physical eye, energy is within and around us and every thing. Energy is lifeforce: it powers our cells, makes a seed sprout, helps an egg to hatch. Our physical bodies are a dense form of energy. However, everything we say, think and do are also energy. Our thoughts and words are simply a more subtle, higher vibration form of energy. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

The dimensions are made of energy starting from the lowest vibration with the first dimension and progressively higher vibration with each higher dimension. Vibration refers to how fast the molecules vibrate. Humans supposedly live in the third dimension, the physical plane. Some believe we actually live in the fourth dimension. The fourth dimension is a higher physical plane without the normal constraints of time. As Einstein put it, “Time is relative.” Humans are able to affect and bend time with their minds because the mind is that powerful.

The mind is powerful because it creates energy, both positive and negative. Close your eyes and think of someone you love very much. Let that emotion overtake your body. Now imagine a time when you were furious. Remember that feeling of your blood boiling or the feeling like you were about to explode. Love and anger are emotions but the sensations are the result of the energy. Emotion is energy. Thoughts are energy too. So when you think, “I’m going to fail this test!” or “I’ll just freeze up during that presentation.” You are creating energy. Your actions also create energy.

Let’s put this together. Your body is energy. So are your thoughts, words and actions. They are the same substance so they affect each other. This means your mental/emotional state affect your physical and spiritual state and, therefore, your health. They affect your life too because the entire universe and everything in it are made of energy. Your thoughts, words and actions affect what happens in your life. Have you heard of people who are always complaining of everything bad happening to them, that their health is always going bad or that people always mistreat them? The consequence: everything goes wrong just like they said it would. Their mind/words are generating the result. The reverse can be true, however. You can generate good results and wonderful things in your life by having a positive attitude. I have seen this manifested in hundreds of ways in my life, my clients’ lives and many others’ lives.

Let’s take this one step further. If everything we say, think and do affects the universe then we also affect other people, all living things and the earth itself. We can affect them in a positive or negative way. It is our choice. Think about a time when you knew someone was mad but there were no outward signs to prove it. They didn’t say or do anything to show they were mad. You couldn’t think of a reason they could be mad. Their body language was neutral because they were busy doing something but you knew that they were angry. Or perhaps you knew someone was thinking about you and they called that moment. In each instance, you were feeling the energy they were generating. Some people who are more sensitive can feel or hear others emotions or thoughts. We are all capable of tuning in and feeling energy in this way. However, it doesn’t matter whether it is positive, negative or neutral or whether or not we feel it; their energy affects us and our energy affects them. Imagine billions of minds at work creating thought patterns that affect the entire universe. If we put our minds to positive use, visualizing the possibilities of life, imagining good outcomes in difficult situations and choosing to see the positive potential in every person we could do so much good not only in our lives but in the world. The reverse is true as well. Therefore, I believe we have a responsibility to work through our own issues and be careful stewards of our own minds.

Flower essence therapy can be a wonderful tool to help us heal our issues and create positive thought patterns. Flower essences are energy medicine. The essences are the concentrated energy from the flowers or substances they are made from. Flowers are in tune with and absorb universe energy. Each flower or essence substance takes this energy and makes it their own, their own personality if you will. Each of these ‘personalities’ has a particular energy which can help to shift us out of certain negative or unbalanced mental/emotional states. Our bodies recognize this energy and utilize it as a balancing and healing agent because they too are a part of the universe.

We are all connected, we are all powerful and we are all-powerful. What will you choose to do about it?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Thoughts and Feelings: What’s the Difference?

Through my work as a flower essence therapist I have noticed how often emotions and thoughts are confused. Certainly, if one doesn’t understand the difference they may be unsure how to surmount issues, how to change their thoughts or believe they are incapable to change how they feel. Our basic emotions are: happiness, sadness, love, anger, jealousy, fear. It is normal and healthy for humans to experience all these emotions at times. Compare these two statements. “I feel sad” and “I feel like no one loves me.” The first expresses an emotion but the second is a thought not an emotion although sadness is the emotion behind it. Emotions are the result of our thoughts. They are reactions. A common misperception is that emotions are spontaneous and are not under our control. If emotions were not under our control then we would all experience the same emotion in the same situation. Take getting cut off on the highway. Bob gets scared, Suzy gets mad and Brian gets roadrage even though they were all in the same car. Situations can be a catalyst but it is us who decide how to react. The suffering is within our own minds. It is our thoughts, thought patterns and issues that cause us pain and hold us back. Our emotions are just the symptom. Yogis and Buddhist monks can train themselves to not feel emotional pain without suppressing their emotions. They can still feel compassion for someone in a terrible situation yet not feel pain for having witnessed the situation. They can look at a very scary thing such a cobra in the eye and not be afraid of it. They can be taunted and not feel angry. They achieve this through meditation, self-observation and thought/behavior modification (ie emotional/spiritual growth). This proves that the mind is the maker of our joys and our sorrows. As Aristotle put it, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

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