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  • September 22, 2021 8:43 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    It's said the cobblers'children have no shoes. That can happen to healthcare workers also, especially now. But not for this newly transferred military spouse who took a break from being a registered nurse to focus on raising her 5 1/2 year-old son. As she’s done with many previous moves, she wasted no time searching for her support system in the DC area. Fate happened to bring her to my doorstep and she came in with what she called an “angry neck”. As people that have seen me know, I check everything I can including areas that may not initially seem connected to the primary complaint. So when she mentioned having 85% hearing loss in her right ear, I got very excited, knowing I had good results in another patient with the same condition three years earlier. Her doctors told her it was because of the fusion of the three bones that are meant to vibrate in the ear. After some tissue work, and a bilateral down and back tug on her earlobes, I was able to get the movement back, and her hearing returned.

    On a separate appointment, she brought in her son, who months earlier fell down and cut open his forehead on a curb.  She told me he hasn't been the same since.  Just looking at him, I could tell his C1 in the cervicals was translated to the left/posterior.  His symptoms: diminished speech and a shoulder/wrist issue from the fall, which were being treated by a speech therapist and an occupational therapist.  After putting the bones back in place, he immediately started talking non-stop.  On her next visit, she reported that he is now an extrovert.  The nurse comes in more often than she needs to, sometimes bringing her little assistant with her.  The best part for me is... we feel like family. 

    Dr. Paul Caffrey’s method focuses on a whole body chiropractic approach, utilizing advanced chiropractic techniques and massage.  Learn more at  delraychiropractic.com

  • September 15, 2021 6:24 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    I love summer.  It’s my favorite season! And, there is something special about fall.  As we return from our travels, our Pilates practice beckons us.  Studio Body Logic welcomes our community to re-establish their Pilates routine with us.  We are family. Whether you have been exercising with us for the last twenty five years or just walked through our doors, you are welcome.

    Our Pilates routine grounds us to engage the foundational essentials – to fully breathe, stabilize and balance.  The fluidity of Pilates frees us to move in a pain free manner as we build strength and improve our flexibility.

    Presently, due to temporary local restrictions, we are offering Pilates apparatus clients in-studio sessions and Pilates mat classes on Zoom.  The intimacy of our small class sizes works well in both formats.  It allows our instructors to observe everyone and make appropriate corrections.

    Please join us at our new location – 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue.  Our goal is to help you feel better and gain full body strength through Pilates. Apparatus (our equipment) sessions are available for privates and small groups (2-4 students) as well as our Zoom mat (6-10 students).  Each offering is leveled for safe and challenging workouts.  We look forward to continued and new collaborations with you on your Pilates journey. 

    See you at the studio!

     Studio Body Logic is Northern Virginia's first Authentic Pilates studio, with locations in Alexandria and Arlington. SBL offers Pilates mat and apparatus, Barre Body℠, and stretch classes.  Learn more at studiobodylogic.com.

  • September 15, 2021 6:14 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)
    For some families, summertime often means new routines (or lack thereof), hours at the pool, new adventures or vacations, and a later bedtime, all of which are so fun! They can also lead to quite a rude awakening when daycare or school start back up again at the end of the summer. 

    As a former elementary teacher and now sleep consultant I know parents of school-aged children often struggle to re-establish routines as the school year begins, as do parents sending their babies or toddlers back to or to daycare for the first time.  

    A large part of re-establishing those routines is connected to sleep. So let’s walk through three tips for getting your little one not only back into routine at the beginning of the school year, but also ensuring those routines will support their sleep.

    1. Set an Age-Appropriate Bedtime.  Determining your baby or child’s bedtime once daycare or school starts can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! 

    To determine an age-appropriate bedtime for your child first figure out what time your child has to be out the door each morning and what time they have to wake up in order to make that happen.

    Once you’ve figured out what time your child has to be awake it’s time to think about how much nighttime sleep your child needs. Checkout this article from the National Sleep Foundation to see how much nighttime sleep your baby or child needs based on their age. 

    Now take what time they need to be awake each morning and backtrack the hours of sleep they should ideally get each night - there's bedtime! For example, most school-aged kiddos need around 9-11 hours of nighttime sleep. If a second grader needs to be up every day at 6:30 am, 8:30 pm is the latest that child should be going to bed. Likewise, a nine month old should be getting 11-12 hours of sleep each night, so if he/she has to be awake by 7 am each morning, bedtime should be around 7 or 7:30 pm!

    If you’re having a tough time figuring out how to structure your baby or toddler’s day around naps and bedtime, go snag this free Ultimate Guide to Sleep Schedules!

    We want our kiddos to wake up refreshed and ready for the day.  The goal is that your baby or child will wake naturally most mornings rather than you having to wake them up. This often starts with having an appropriate bedtime.

    2. Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine.  Not only is ensuring your baby or child has an appropriate bedtime important, but also having a consistent bedtime routine is helpful in preparing kids’ bodies and minds for sleep. 

    If your family's bedtime routines were inconsistent this summer, or you’ve never really established a bedtime routine for your child, checkout this blog post for examples of bedtime routines for babies, toddlers, and school-aged children. 

    It’s important to turn screens off at least one hour before your child’s bedtime (two hours is ideal) to ensure their natural sleepy hormone, melatonin, can release on time and in turn help them get to sleep. A good rule of thumb is to turn screens off once it’s time for dinner and keep them off the rest of the night.

    3. Establish a Morning Routine. We don’t usually think about morning routines as helpful when it comes to sleep, but they are. 

    What is an ideal morning routine for babies and kids before school or daycare? First, let's start with what's NOT an ideal way to start the day. Within the first 10-15 minutes of your child waking up, try to avoid:
    • Pulling your little one into bed with you for some extra cuddles. 
    • Feeding them milk or breakfast right away. 
    • Giving your child screen time.
    I call the above activities "unintentional rewards." Doing any of those things within the first 10-15 minutes of waking up can cause kids to regularly start their day extra early because they're excited for the "reward" that awaits them. No one loves an unnecessarily early morning, am I right?

    So here's an example of what your child’s morning routine could look like:
    • Wake up
    • Change diaper or go to the bathroom
    • Brush teeth and hair
    • Get dressed
    • Milk or breakfast
    • Clean up, play time, reading time, or screen time
    Having a morning routine will be helpful for both you and your little one to start your day off on the right foot!

    Back to school season does not have to mean frantic evenings and rushed mornings.  There can be predictability and consistency. If you’re struggling to find sleep patterns and habits that work well for your baby, toddler, or school-aged child, know that you don’t have to navigate this alone. Don’t hesitate to set up a free discovery call with me to share more about what sleep currently looks like in your house and what your goals are.  I would love to share more about how I can help. 

     Lauren Engler is a certified pediatric sleep consultant who works one-on-one with families to help them teach their little ones independent sleep skills. Whether babies, toddlers, or school-aged kids, it is absolutely possible to teach your child to fall asleep with confidence and for the whole family to rest well. Learn more at viagraces.com.

  • September 08, 2021 3:53 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    With the summer coming to an end, getting back into the swing of things can be hard.  As a mom and a therapist, I know that our house will be in complete flux attempting to transition back to a daily routine. Here are five tips to getting back into a routine for a successful fall:

    1.   REFLECTION ~ Reflect on your summer and discuss what went well and what didn’t.  This may include making a list of things to make sure to do next summer.  The list can include the first few weekends of the school year with activities you still wish to do.  Have your kids decide what they liked most/least and why.  Reflection is important for kids

    2.  CHORES ~ Decide what chores your kids are going to do this year and start NOW!  Age appropriate chores are important for positive family dynamics, easing the burden on parents and helping with a kid's self-confidence.  What can your child learn to do consistently?  Folding their laundry, cleaning up their room, setting the table?  Studies show that successful college students learn to do self-sufficient activities in middle school (making food for meals, laundry, cleaning up, small "fix it" activities).

    3.  LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION ~ Organize your home so everyone knows where things “live.”  In our house, socks “live” by the front door next to the shoes.  Each child has their own sock bin and they are responsible for keeping socks in pairs.  No one asks me where their socks are!  Take a few minutes and organize a location for book bags, library books, lunch supplies, school projects and extra school supplies

    4.  FAMILY CALENDAR ~ Utilize a color-coded calendar for yourself, your spouse, and your children.  Each person gets their own color (we also have colors for our dogs)!  Input appointments as soon as you receive them, including sports or music practices, back-to-school nights, birthday parties, etc.  In our house I record the doctor’s appointments and school events and my husband records all the sporting events.  The calendar is shared so we can both see everything

    5.  SELF-CARE ~ Remember to take care of yourself.  September is always the hardest month for me personally.  SO.MUCH.CHANGING.  As parents we need to put on our OWN oxygen mask first.  Teach your kids how to make spaghetti and take the night off from cooking.  Go on a much needed date night.  Make plans with friends. Take a long walk.  Treat yourself to a lavender cookie from Dairy Godmother or a milkshake from Holy Cow!  Do 20 minutes of yoga or Pilates to clear your head and strengthen your body.

    It's hard to remember that soon these kiddos will be grown up and our hectic days will wind down.  My mom’s favorite reminder to me was “long days, short years.”  Take a few deep breaths, reflect on summertime, set yourself up for success this fall, and take care of yourself.  If things with your children seem a little off, check in with a local therapist to see if your kids could benefit from some support.  The Del Ray Wellness District is chock full of wonderful therapists who would love to help your family.  I host two groups on a consistent basis; confidence for girls ages 8-12 and worried kids ages 7-9.  More information can be found here: www.wonderologie.com/groups 

     wonderologie offers child and family counseling services in Del Ray and virtually. Their mission is to serve children of all ages who struggle with emotional regulation, anger, anxiety, depression, chronic health challenges and/or extended hospitalizations. They also offer robust group therapy programs for children and adults.  Learn more at www.wonderologie.com 

  • September 08, 2021 3:33 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    What if I told you that exercise is actually stressful? What if I told you that understanding this is one of the most productive ways to make your exercise routine stick? 

    ‘Eustress’ is a very useful word to know in this context. It is defined as ‘beneficial stress, a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance and emotional well-being.” 

    We can’t always avoid stress, and I believe that we shouldn’t need to avoid it. If we change our mindset about the challenges we face, it can change our outlook and our strength; inside and out. My knees have been injured several times and I was sad because I thought I would never run again. Some information out there regarding healing teaches us to coddle our joints, while other information emphasizes putting unneeded pressure on joints and acting like an injury wasn’t there in the first place. Our philosophy is different. We take the road less traveled. I am now fulfilled in my body’s strength and taking on challenges regularly. I've integrated the positive benefits of stress that exercise brings me and it has been an effective, long-lasting way to heal and transform my health.  

    At Impact Your Fitness we teach our clients to embrace a revolutionary mindset for strengthening weakened and painful joints. Our speciality is neuromuscular therapy and sports performance. We completely understand that chronic injury, tightness and reoccurring injury take a toll on your energy and overall enjoyment of exercise, and we work smarter and harder at making that a reality of the past for you. Part of the process to a full recovery and having more freedom with movement is increasing your body’s tolerance to stress with graded exposure to it. The key to balancing this equation is making the stress an acute event. The second key is knowing that keeping hope and putting energy into your betterment are virtues. With exercise these virtues can be cultivated over time and according to psychological research* they are vital for living a happy, healthy life.

    When we exercise there are at least 9,815 molecules being affected (New York Times, 2020). This is the amount that has been identified thus far though the authors of a 2020 paper in the journal Cell suspect that there are even more to measure.  Exercise has also been implicated by the Royal Academy of Medicine as being 30% more effective at treating chronic disease than most pharmaceuticals. One of the things I continually tell my clients is that we can see through the neurobiology of how exercise supports mental well-being and physical health. We are born to move and exercise is a portal for our best self. The fine line of making exercise beneficial or harmful lies within fine-tuning our body’s ability to recover and adapt to acute stress by recognizing that stress can enhance us when used with this approach. 

    This new mindset is an integral part of our innovative neuromuscular treatments, however you don’t need to have these treatments to benefit from it. We use the mindset of Resilience and understanding Hormetic Stress is the future of fitness, Lifestyle Medicine and sports medicine because it supports the human body's capacity to regenerate and govern our body with love.

    Resilience as a concept was made popular by authors like Carol Dweck and Angela Duckworth. Personally, my favorite author in this space is Kelly McGonigal. She advocates that stress is something we can work with and in fact has taken this idea into scientific rigor in her research at Stanford. Her books advocate that the way we view stress determines its biological effect in our body. This innovative idea, that stress is enhancing us instead of harming us, comes down to mindset and the logical application that we are demanding a lot of the ‘flight or fight’ system.

    The truth of the matter is that we need a new attitude about our stress. It’s never going away and in our modern society it begs for a fresh new look. A heavy load is left on our system if we are stuck in the hustle and bustle. A majority of our society is under-healthy and under a perpetual state of stress as a result of this conditioning. We cannot stress a system that is already under a high load and we cannot learn to bounce back without the knowledge that our body is capable of regenerating itself. Being able to exercise and actually reap the benefits means we have to start with a tuned-up engine before revving it up with the stress of exercise.  

    By participating in a resilient fitness mindset you are being asked to find deeper levels of trust and acceptance within yourself. With this as your power new levels of strength will arise. YOUR body has a preference for acute stress because it provides a biological stimulus for living life. This reset is the greatest portal you'll ever find to the lasting health benefits of exercise. It seems to me, after years of working with the nervous system in injured populations, that if we change our state of being, our nervous system changes, and our thoughts and biology change. 

    Here are some ways you can empower your body and mind with stress:

    • Strength training that emphasizes good technique, skill and rest
    • If you are just getting started or returning to exercise, we recommend using the World Health Organization’s guidelines of 75 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week plus 150 minutes of light to moderate intensity exercise per week. We also recommend that this include activity that's fun and motivating.
    • Using breathing exercises that emphasize increasing lung capacity like Wim Hoff technique and deep diaphragm breathing exercises
    • Sauna and cold thermogenesis are great ways to get some benefits of exercise and build resilience without moving that much! This is also a proven way to help with depression, anxiety and chronic pain which are all huge detrimental factors in physical inactivity
    • Isometric-based exercise improves neuromuscular communication and coordination. It is our go-to exercise prescription for those recovering from sports injury and chronic injury 
    • Engage in community-building exercise groups or classes

    By coming back to your body in this way, taking full advantage of your biology to reset through stress and exercise has the potential for tremendous psychological and physiological benefits. 

     A group of Stanford students were in a 90’s study observed their value system in relation to health during one of their breaks. One group was asked to track good or interesting things happening in their day. Another group was asked to track their values and to evaluate them day to day. The group that journaled about their values had been relating their stress to meaning in their life and were found to be healthier and more motivated for the upcoming semester. They were framing stress in a productive way and I’m asking you to do the same if you want a consistent exercise routine rooted in self-love and trust rather than shame and guilt. 

    Resilience is built from partnering with your body. With using your body’s natural intuition response, tracking your activity or with technology we can see the internal state of your body that are responsible for responding to stress.  

    Resilience is not simply being a bulldog and "toughening up." It has nothing to do with aggression and the "do-more" culture of high intensity exercise or sports. Resilience is about accepting what is within our control. We must tune the body back into itself and understand that the human body actually loves acute stressors. 

    For more resources on this topic:

    NOTE: This is NOT medical advice. If you are experiencing pain and have chronic disease please consult with your physician before beginning an exercise program.

     Impact Your Fitness provides strategic consultation services to individuals recovering from chronic injuries, sports injury prevention, and programming for specific athletic/life events.  Schwartz is the only Master level Muscle Activation Technique specialist in Alexandria.  Learn more at impactyourfitness.net.

  • September 05, 2021 11:00 PM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

      The  Del Ray Business Association presents the Wellness District blog, a collaborative effort by wellness experts to bring together the wellness community in Del Ray and educate the surrounding community about life-enhancing health and wellness services.  Here you'll get to know wellness experts through their weekly blog posts.  These experts are dedicated to keeping our community updated and knowledgable about the array of opportunities available for optimal wellbeing that are right at your finger tips.  Keep reading to get to know the experts that are right next door to you -- and click here to subscribe for future updates!

    Lisa Borg Anderson, Acupuncture in Del Ray 
     Acupuncture in Del Ray provides holistic care for the whole family. They offer acupuncture & traditional Chinese medicine to people of all ages, customizing treatments to address not only symptoms that are occurring but true root of the problem.

    Alycia Burant, Healthy Minds Therapy  
    Healthy Minds Therapy thrives on evidence-based psychotherapy interventions to promote the success of clients. We specialize in psychotherapy with individuals (children, adolescents, adults) and couples with presenting issues – including those with depression, anxiety, behavioral concerns and/or difficulties relating to challenging life events.

    Dr. Paul Caffrey, Del Ray Chiropractic & Massage
    Dr. Paul Caffrey’s method focuses on a whole body chiropractic approach, utilizing advanced chiropractic techniques and massage.

    Tara Casagrande, Tara Casagrande Yoga & Mindfulness 
    Tara Casagrande yoga & mindfulness provides yoga, mindfulness and meditation classes as well as a Women's Wisdom Circle and Embracing UnEase, racial discussions through the lens of yoga.

    Dr. Lola Capps, Chrysalis Chiropractic 
    At Chrysalis Chiropractic, patients have the opportunity to choose chiropractic or nutrition (or both!) to help restore and maintain health using natural solutions.

    Dr. Patricia Diefenbach,  Natural Integrative Healthcare
    Health, nutrition and physical fitness are Dr. Diefenbach’s lifelong passions. She believes that every person’s physiology and biochemistry is unique and that one size does not fit all and that taking an individual’s entire and unique biochemistry into consideration is the foundation to all healing. She enjoys motivating others to incorporate natural healthcare choices into their lifestyles in order to prevent disease, and promote healing and wellness.

    Joi Dreams, Joi Dreams Salon
    Joi Dreams Salon is a wonderful full service salon in the heart of Alexandria, Virginia. We offer our expertise with personal touch. Joi Dreams Salon is a place where no one is a stranger.

    Dr. Cynthia Durakis, The Healing Tree  
     The Healing Tree is dedicated to providing the best in chiropractic care, therapeutic massage, and acupuncture in a professional healing environment. They approach every client/patient with respect, compassion and integrity and make every effort to listen to, and treat the person and not simply the condition, ache or pain.

    Lauren Engler, Via Graces 
    Lauren is a certified pediatric sleep consultant who works one-on-one with families to help them teach their little ones independent sleep skills. Whether babies, toddlers, or school-aged kids, it is absolutely possible to teach your child to fall asleep with confidence and for the whole family to rest well.

    Dr. Lauren Fisher, Del Ray Psych & Wellness 
     Del Ray Psych & Wellness is comprised of a vibrant and energetic group of clinical psychologists, therapists, and wellness professionals that are passionate about guiding adults on their personal journeys of growth and transformation. They believe that each individual has the capacity to reach personal fulfillment, authenticity, and optimal well-being, and that a holistic approach of addressing the mind, body, and spirit is essential for growth, healing, and transformation.

    Karen Garcia, Studio Body Logic  
    Studio Body Logic is Northern Virginia's first Authentic Pilates studio, with locations in Alexandria and Arlington. SBL offers Pilates mat and apparatus, Barre Body℠, and stretch classes.

    Sarah Hung, Acupuncture Alexandria 
    Acupuncture Alexandria offers acupuncture and herbal medicine, specializing in women's health, pain management, emotional health, and preventative medicine.

    Melissa McGlone, VITAL Body & Mind 
    VITAL Body & Mind offers unique holistic health and wellness skills to strengthen, heal, and transform.  VITAL's highly skilled Colon Hydrotherapist, Melissa McGlone, specializes in Colon Hydrotherapy, Oxygen Sauna, Nutritional Counseling, and Raw/Living Foods Nutritional Cleansing/Consulting.

    Sonia Palmieri, Tranquil Healthcare
    Tranquil Healthcare: an Integrative Mental Health & Wellness practice focusing on anxiety and depression disorders as well as improving over all health and wellness. Tranquil Healthcare is the only board certified female run solo Nurse Practitioner practice in the heart of DC focusing on mental health and wellness. 

    Dr. Amy F. Parks, The Wise Family   thewisefamily.com 
     The Wise Family is a Northern Virginia-based counseling and assessment practice with over 30 years of training and experience in the field of child and adolescent development. Through individual and group counseling, strategic psychoeducation with families, and educational assessment, The Wise Family works to encourage the growth of emotional intelligence, flexibility, resilience and family connection in order to ensure success both at home and in life.

    Karin Purugganan, wonderologie   
    wonderologie offers child and family counseling services in Del Ray and virtually. Their mission is to serve children of all ages who struggle with emotional regulation, anger, anxiety, depression, chronic health challenges and/or extended hospitalizations. They also offer robust group therapy programs for children and adults.

    Mellenie Runion, Truly-Life 
    Truly-Life is the ultimate urban garden with loofahs, herbs, and flowers grown in Del Ray and used in eco-friendly skin care products.

    Dr. Sheri Salartash, Dental Excellence
    Dental Excellence is proud to offer advanced, custom smile design techniques, expert and caring advice, and preventive care plans with a whole health and naturalistic approach. Dental Excellence utilizes state-of-the-art equipment, provides the latest in dental procedures and upholds the strictest sterilization techniques. Their mission is to educate patients about all possible oral healthcare options and to help patients choose a treatment plan most suitable for them.

    Jennifer Schwartz, Impact Your Fitness   
    Impact Sport Science Group provides strategic consultation services to individuals recovering from chronic injuries, sports injury prevention, and programming for specific athletic/life events.  Schwartz is the only Master level Muscle Activation Technique specialist in Alexandria.

    Cassie Stover, Potomac Kempo 
    Kempo is a well-rounded Martial Art that trains both the body and the mind to improve the quality of life.  Potomac Kempo teaches self defense while improving physical condition, relieving stress, and increasing self-discipline.

    Julie Tran, Del Ray Smiles 
    At Del Ray Smiles, your smile is our top priority. The entire team is dedicated to providing you with the personalized, gentle care that you deserve to restore and enhance the natural beauty of your smile using conservative, state-of-the-art procedures that result in beautiful, long-lasting smiles.

    Sara Vandergoot, Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga 
    Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga offers a wide range of classes and workshops -- including Hot Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Therapeutic Pilates & Yoga, Mommy & Me, Pilates Boot Camp, Pilates Barre, and more -- by highly trained and diverse instructors.

    Join to receive informative and inspirational blog posts from wellness experts who are members of the Del Ray Business Association. These experts offer knowledge and services to enhance your health and wellbeing through a variety of modalities. Click here to sign up, and let their care and offerings support your wholistic health journey!

  • August 31, 2021 5:02 AM | Pat Miller (Administrator)

    We are thrilled to announce that the Wellness District of Del Ray is launching a new blog in this space, featuring weekly advice and tools to live your best life from the region's top holistic health and wellness professionals. 

    Click here to have your dose of wellness delivered to your email every Wednesday, or click the button above to add it to your RSS feed. 

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About The Wellness District Blog

The Wellness District is a dynamic group of health, wellness, and fitness professionals offering a comprehensive and broad range of services to the Del Ray community and beyond.

In addition to day-to-day collaborations for best patient care, the group works tirelessly to educate the public on health issues and promote wellness, hosting wellness workshops and events throughout the year, plus this blog, delivered to your inbox every #WellnessWednesday!  

Click here to subscribe!

Meet The Team!

Click here to read about the incredible local wellness providers that regularly contribute to the  blog.

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