The Facts about Vitamin D at Natural Awakenings Night with Dr. Robert Silverman on June 10, 2010

Dr. Robert Silverman of NY ChiroCare in White Plains, NY

All are invited to the next Natural Awakenings Night on Thursday, June 10, when Dr. Robert Silverman presents “Vitamin D.”  The “D” stands for “definitely” important!  Learn about the positive health effects of vitamin D, the proper levels to consume, the most active form of the vitamin and more.  Dr. Silverman seeks to dispel any and all myths about vitamin D as he hosts this free event from 7 to 9 p.m. in White Plains. There will also be a 10-minute demonstration of kettlebell exercises.

Dr. Robert Silverman has served the community for 10 years as a specialist in the diagnosis of joint pain and soft-tissue management. His treatments involve an innovative, established and well-researched approach to non-surgical care, while incorporating proper nutrition protocols. He is also a nationally known speaker who has published numerous articles on nutrition and treating and preventing sports injuries and joint pain.  For more information, visit DrRobertSilverman.com.

Dr. Silverman’s office is located at 280 Dobbs Ferry Rd., Suite 204, in White Plains, NY. RSVP is appreciated but last minute guests are always welcome. Call Natural Awakenings at 914.617.8750, or email Danab@naturalawakeningsmag.com.

Eco-Friendly House Painting Ideas from Westchester-based CertaPro Painters

CertaPro Painter Peter Buttenwieser

Westchester-based CertaPro Painters want homeowners to know more about green painting options. Those planning to paint their homes should look for paints designated as “eco-friendly” or “green,” most often by containing low amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).  To be considered Low VOC, paint must contain less than 250 grams of VOC per liter.  Paints sold as No VOC are limited to 5 grams per liter. Painters should also use a Low/No VOC primer and appropriate surface preparation techniques.

The most immediate benefits to using Low/No VOC products include no or little odor once the paint is dry, and a shorter waiting period before it’s safe and comfortable to occupy a room.  Longer term benefits include the reduction of toxins released into the air.

Potential downsides to the Low/No VOC products is that they can cost more than traditional acrylic paints and the range of colors may be limited, depending on the manufacturer.  Additionally, labeling standards are not uniform. Some paints may be labeled low odor, for example, while they are not Low VOC.

Several popular “green” paints recommended by CertaPro Painters include Harmony and Duration Home from Sherwin Williams (look for the Green Sure logo) and Natura from Benjamin Moore (look for the Green Promise designation).

To learn more about eco-friendly painting, contact Peter Buttenwieser of CertaPro Painters at 914.245.2260 or PButtenwieser@CertaPro.com.

Erectile Dysfunction – It’s Not in Your Head

by Minerva Santos, MD
Almost every man experiences an erectile problem at one time or another in his life. An estimated fifty percent of men over the age of forty are affected to some degree by Erectile Dysfunction (ED). ED is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection to complete sexual activity, and it can have devastating effects on relationships. Many couples feel uncomfortable talking about ED, which can become worse as performance anxiety increases.

Diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol are the three most significant causes of ED. Fatigue, stress or too much alcohol may also contribute to ED, as will anti-inflammatory drugs, “water pills,” some blood pressure medications, antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills and even some lipid lowering medications.

ED may also be nature’s way of telling a man that something more serious is going on. It’s a good predictor of coronary artery disease, for example, because restricted blood flow in the penis can indicate a narrowing of the arteries in the heart. Studies found that, among men developing ED, 2% had a significant heart event within one year, and 11% experienced such an event within five years. Those who are struggling with ED should therefore discuss it with their physician and undergo a complete cardiac evaluation.

While there medications on the market to treat ED, supplements like Zinc, flaxseed meal, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and L-Arginine have also been used to relieve the problem. Additionally, the herbs Asian ginseng and Ginkgo biloba can reduce ED in some men, especially those on antidepressants. Acupuncture, yoga and relaxation techniques have also been successful for some men experiencing this problem.

Dr. Minerva Santos practices Integrative Medicine in Yorktown Heights, NY. To contact her office, call 914.245.6800 or visit MinervaSantosMD.com.

Improve Your Golf Game: Play Smarter, Not Harder, with Pilates

by Melody F. Lin

Pilates Mat Class at The Art of Control Pilates Studio in Purchase College

Pilates Mat Class at The Art of Control Pilates Studio in Purchase College

Watching professional athletes, it’s easy to marvel at their strength and grace, and wonder about the key to their success. That key, it often turns out, is Pilates.

Professional Golfer Rich Beem credits his Pilates training as one of the main reasons  he was able to win the 2002 PGA Championship. “I really just focused in on tightening up my abdominal muscles,” Beem notes. “I know it sounds kind of crazy, but when I did that, I was able to take the pressure out of my arms and shoulders, and I was able to make a pretty free stroke.” Beem also credits Pilates with helping him to become “much better looking” and seem taller. “I’m now so stretched out and have such great posture that I look and feel like a different person,” says Beem.

Echoing Beem’s enthusiasm, Pro Golfer Rocco Mediate says “[Pilates] keeps me loose, keeps me fresh, keeps me strong.” Athletes from several other sports also report using Pilates to improve their games, including MLB pitcher Curt Schilling, NBA point guard Jason Kidd, NHL defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo and NFL offensive guard Ruben Brown.

Why Pilates?
This unique conditioning system was created by Joseph Pilates, who originally named his method the Art of Contrology. Pilates strengthens all muscles of the body, with a special focus on the core musculature. Pilates begins by strengthening the abdomen, lower back and hips, making the torso the power center of the body and allowing the rest of the body to move more freely. Pilates balances out strengthening with stretching, while also integrating mind-body awareness.

Unlike some other exercise trends, Pilates is here to stay. As of January 2007, more than 12 million Americans were reportedly practicing Pilates—a 605% increase since 2001. One reason for its popularity is that Pilates produces fast results, lengthening and strengthening muscles without adding bulk. As Joseph Pilates always said, “In 10 sessions, you feel a difference. In 20 sessions, you will see a difference. In 30 sessions, you will have a whole new body.”

Greater Strength from the Inside Out
Generally speaking, many people tend to work on strengthening their bodies through weight training, thus conditioning the body from the outside in. As a result, men especially can have limited flexibility, weak core musculature and poor postural strength. The remedy can be found in the six basic principles of the Pilates Method: Precision, Centering, Breathing, Concentration, Fluid Movement and Control.

For example, cross-training golf with Pilates is a better match than one might initially believe. Every golfer knows that the key to a successful golf swing is balance.  Unfortunately, golfers constantly torque their bodies throughout the game as they twist for a drive, lean for a ball or squat to measure out a putt. As these motions are repeated throughout a course of 18 holes, the same group of muscles is in constant use, thus wearing them out and causing overall imbalance. Such imbalance in the body can easily cause myriad health issues, including knee, hip and back pain—issues that could seriously affect one’s golf game.

Many pro golfers therefore use Pilates to strengthen their core muscles and increase their overall range of motion. In addition, greater back strength through Pilates training creates symmetry in the body and improves balance, reducing the risk of strain and injury and improving performance.

Power Up Your Game
Those looking to hit the golf course, tennis court, soccer field or basketball court this summer might try Pilates to improve physical conditioning and bring out their best. The Art of Control Pilates Studio in Purchase College, New York, offers instruction under Master Trainer Simona Cipriani, who trained directly with a disciple of Joseph Pilates. Cipriani, who has taught Pilates for the last 15 years, says she always welcomes new students.

To learn more about Pilates, visit artofcontrol.com or call 914.251.7842. Gift certificates available for Father’s Day.

Infinite Yoga Center in Larchmont, NY, New Name

The studio at Infinite Yoga Center

Athina Pride has changed the name of her wellness business to Infinite Yoga Center. A long-time resident of Westchester, Athina was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt to a Greek family. She has been teaching Kripalu yoga in the U.S. for 12 years, and says her mission is to offer the community a set of tools that aid in the exploration of the body, mind and spirit for a more joyful and conscious life.

Infinite Yoga Center features 29 classes a week, seven days a week, with certified and insured teachers who meet the credentials of the Yoga Alliance, a national registry of teachers. Class cards allow students flexibility and the chance to share cards with family. Seniors and students receive a 10% discount on all cards.

The center offers morning meditation, Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) and Integrative Yoga, which includes centering, breathing, strength-building, flexibility, restoration and relaxation. Other services at Infinite Yoga include massage, workshops, classes for kids and teens, yoga for flexibility, gentle yoga, yoga for core strength, and more.

Infinite Yoga Center is located at 2 East Avenue (Suite 205) in Larchmont, NY. For more information call 914.833.1210, email info@InfiniteYogaCenter.net or visit InfiniteYogaCenter.net.

Yoga and Hiking in the Alps with Hasita Nadai this Summer

The Matterhorn, Yoginis and the Program leaders: Hasita and David

This July, yoga teachers Hasita Nadai and David Lurey will lead an exploration of body, mind and spirit in the dramatic setting of Cheneil, a small mountain village in the Alps. Hasita is a Kripalu yoga teacher and the creator of Yogagaia, a practice that fuses movement, music and story. She has roamed the Alps for 55 years and organized many trips and hikes in the Cheneil area. David teaches Mindful Spirited Vinyasa Yoga, bringing postural integrity, fluid movement and an open heart to the practice. He leads workshops and retreats worldwide.

Their summer program in the Alps runs from July 16 to 25 and includes morning yoga practice, followed by a hike with breathing techniques to energize and clear the mind. Afternoons will feature Yogagaia. Participants will also be able to enjoy partner yoga, music, special trips and free time. The package includes ten nights lodging, three meals a day, yoga, Yogagaia, and ground transportation to and from Milan Malpensa Airport.

For more information and to reserve your space on the trip, call Hasita at 914.723.2477, email agathenadai@earthlink.net or  visit yogagaia.com. Learn more about David’s work at findbalance.net.

Get Pampered at Le Petite Spa in Croton-on-Hudson to Benefit the SPCA of Westchester

Spring is a great time to visit to the SPCA of Westchester in Briarcliff Manor and bring home a furry new companion. However, if your home has already reached its pet-capacity, there’s still a way to support this wonderful organization and pamper yourself in the process. Visit the SPCA’s website at spca914.org and look for the “Pampering for Paws” coupon, which offers $10 off any spa service at Le Petite Spa in Croton-on-Hudson. Print out the coupon and bring it to the spa when you make your appointment. For each coupon redeemed, Le Petite Spa will donate $10 to the SPCA of Westchester.

Le Petite Spa specializes in organic facials and offers the Yum Gourmet skincare line that is certified organic, certified vegan, and never tested on animals. It features naturally-harvested exotic botanical products, organic source vitamins, minerals, and phyto-nutrients to deliver the most beneficial skin care possible. Le Petite Spa also offers massage therapy and reflexology.

The SPCA of Westchester provides shelter for hundreds of dogs and cats every year. It’s also the only humane society in Westchester County that’s empowered to enforce animal cruelty laws. Despite this, the organization gets no federal, state, or county funds and relies solely on donations. The SPCA is comprised of several acres and housed in the same Westchester location where it was founded in 1883. There are four separate kennel areas for dogs, a cattery and feline pavilion for cats, and the Simpson Spay/Neuter Clinic. Le Petite Spa and the SPCA invite all animal lovers to get pampered and support their furry friends during this special promotion.

Info: spca914.org and LePetiteSpaNY.com.

The Evolution of Massage: Hands-On Healing Power Gains Momentum

by Lee Walker

The ancient healing practice of massage therapy is playing an important role today in the emerging golden age of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Surprisingly, it remains comparatively underrepresented in U.S. medical school curricula, while Massage Today reports that “Insurance reimbursement for massage therapy is at an all-time high.”

From the time that Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, introduced the idea that a physician should be experienced in rubbing, massage therapy has moved in and out of the traditional medical models of various cultures. Current practitioners attribute its staying power to continued awareness of the inherent healing and therapeutic value of massage, now the leading form of bodywork in the United States, according to the American Massage Association.

Kneading, tapping and stroking, the common ancestors of the 100-plus techniques used by today’s massage therapists, have survived two evolutionary spirals, but acceptance of massage as a prominent healing tool has not followed an uninterrupted ascent.

Starting in 1800 B.C., when East Indian ayurvedic massage techniques were used to maintain mental health and prevent disease, the development of related healing modalities, such as Reiki, acupressure, Shiatsu, Canadian deep muscle massage, lomilomi and Swedish massage, generally gained in acceptance. When, in 1884, skeptical British physicians alleged that its practitioners were stealing patients, the Incorporated Society of Trained Masseuses formed to legitimize their approach. They set about creating regulations and establishing a clear practice model for physical rehabilitation; today the organization exists as the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Many of the techniques used by its members still reflect treatment practices invented prior to the society’s inception.

Since the 1970s, renewed interest in hands-on methods of manipulating muscles and other soft tissues has propelled the therapeutic use of touch into its latest upward growth spiral, freeing it from the gravitational pull of another bout of opposition from mainstream medicine in the early 1930s. Now on an accelerated course, massage again has the opportunity to assume a celebrated place in the annals of medicine, just as it did in 1936, when Dr. Thomas Lathrop Stedman included it as a “scientific method” among therapeutics in his Practical Medical Dictionary.

In Westchester, NY, massage therapist Meredith Gilbert has seen an increase in the number of new moms signing up for her infant massage classes. “Moms are seeking out more holistic and natural approaches to enhance their baby’s well being,” says Gilbert, creator of the mobile spa company Tranquility Has No Boundaries, “and massage is one of them.” Gilbert has also seen a new type of repetitive stress injury on the rise. “I’ve treated injuries and tendonitis due to playing the Nintendo Wii gaming system,” she says, “and I’ve treated symptoms associated with ‘Blackberry Thumb’—an overuse condition associated with many of today’s handheld devices.”

Marcus Feighery, a co-owner at Synchronicity Healing Center in Pawling, NY, says people now realize that massage is no longer a luxury, but a necessity to maintain good health, especially in difficult and stressful economic times. “Stress can cause strokes, cancer, heart disease and all manor of illness relating to the immune system,” says Feighery. He reports that many of his clients have experienced improved joint range of motion and flexibility, relief from depression (due to the release of endorphins) and a significant increase in circulation after massage therapy. Like many of the estimated 265,000 to 300,000 licensed massage therapists in the United States,Feighery’s repertoire includes Swedish, Deep Tissue, Hot Stone, Pre-natal and Sports massage, with Deep Tissue being the most requested technique for stress relief.

For those considering a career in massage therapy, Westchester has its very own fully accredited training institution, the Finger Lakes School of Massage in Mount Kisco, NY. Campus Director Amy Vona says students hone their craft in the school’s large massage clinic classroom. “The primary goal of the school is to promote personal awareness through touch, inviting students to learn massage in a context of inquiry and empowerment,” says Vona. “Students [here] learn a wide variety of techniques as they progress through our certification program, including Swedish Massage, Reflexology, Energy Work, Connective Tissue Therapy, Neuro-Muscular Therapy, Shiatsu, Aromatherapy, and Sports Massage.” And for those seeking massage at a great price, the Finger Lakes School offers professional sixty to seventy-five minute student massages for just $35.

While more research is needed to support specific health benefits of massage, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) continues to sponsor studies. The effort is to determine if and how the changes that occur in the body during massage influence health, and to identify the conditions for which massage may be most helpful.

Unwilling to wait for such statistical evidence, ever-growing numbers of American adults—18 million per a 2007 NCCAM study—have chosen to make use of massage. Their testimonials regularly attest to its therapeutic benefits and recognize its worth as an aid to general wellness—a positive sign that the current positive trend will continue.

Contact Meredith Gilbert of Tranquility Has No Boundaries, 434 White Plains Road in Eastchester, NY, at 914.497.9917 or visit TranquilityHasNoBoundaries.com.

Contact Marcus Feighery of Synchronicity Healing Center in Pawling at 845.855.1172 or 347.728.2100 or visit MassagebyMarcus.net.

Contact Finger Lakes School of Massage in Mount Kisco at 914.241.7363 or visit flsm.com. To book a student massage, call 914.241.7363 ext. 18.

Estrogen & Progesterone: Prevailing Wisdom on Hormone Replacement Therapy

by Michael Doyle, MD

Dr. Michael Doyle

More than 20 years ago, Belgian physician Jacques Hertoghe lectured to American doctors about the benefits of estrogen and progesterone supplementation for menopausal women. At the time, millions of American women were already being treated with these hormones in order to reduce hot flashes and prevent a variety of illnesses. But a large- scale study in 2002 called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) said that doctors had it wrong. The WHI reported that female hormone treatment actually appeared to cause a variety of illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.

How did Hertoghe and thousands of American doctors get it so wrong? Actually, Hertoghe had it right because he recommended that only human hormones be given, at the right dose and in the right form. Two decades ago, most American doctors were prescribing a combination of synthetic progesterone and horse estrogen (literally, estrogen derived from horse urine), and they were giving it out in pill form. In fact, Hertoghe had specifically cautioned against using female hormones that were not “bio-identical” (natural to the human body). He also pointed out that estrogen should be given only through the skin, not as a pill.

Subsequent studies have supported Dr. Hertoghe, repeatedly showing that real human hormones are much safer than their synthetic counterparts. For example, a 2005 study of 54,000 women in Europe (E3N-EPIC) showed that bio-identical estrogen applied to the skin, combined with bio-identical progesterone, actually reduced the rate of breast cancer. Women taking this combination of human hormones were actually 10% less likely to get breast cancer than women who took no hormones at all. But when the natural progesterone was replaced with synthetic progesterone, the rate of breast cancer went up by 50%. In 2008, another review in the British Medical Journal noted that estrogen given through the skin was much less likely to cause blood clots than supplements given in pill form. Following many similar studies, researchers recently stated that, “bioidentical hormones are associated with lower risks, including the risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, and are more efficacious than their synthetic and animal-derived counterparts” (Postgraduate Medicine 2009).

While no medical treatment is 100% safe, real female hormones have been shown to improve health and restore quality of life. They can help control menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, bone thinning, sexual dysfunction and poor sleep and may actually be good for the heart. On the other hand, synthetic hormones appear to pose unnecessary risk and should generally be avoided.

Dr. Michael Doyle has a private practice in Stamford, CT. To contact Dr. Doyle, call 203.324.4747 or visit gotodrdoyle.com.

Business Profile with Carmelina Adornetto, Financial Services Professional with New York Life Insurance Company

Carmelina’s Philosophy: Listen, educate and keep it simple. It’s important to design a financial/insurance strategy that allows people to make educated choices, achieve their financial goals and feel protected.

Passion: A daughter of immigrant parents, Carmelina was the interpreter who took it upon herself to help her family learn and understand both legal and every day business/personal documents. She now enjoys educating and explaining the ins and outs of insurance and alternative investment strategies to her clients, to help them feel comfortable with their financial choices and make good, solid decisions for their future.

“I believe we all have financial goals and dreams to achieve and protect. With the right strategy, the right company and commitment, designing the road map is the easy part.”

Financial Tip: Keep in mind that each financial plan should always be accompanied by the right insurance portfolio to protect it.  They go hand in hand.

For more information, contact Carmelina at ccaioadorne@ft.newyorklife.com or 914.934.5690.

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