Natural Awakenings Richmond, May/June 2023

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2 Greater Richmond Edition

Dear readers,

My name is Regina and as the new publisher of Natural Awakenings magazine here in Richmond, Virginia, I am thrilled for the opportunity to share with you my passion for natural wellness and healthy living. My journey towards this magazine began in 2009, when I was facing fertility issues. It was a difficult time for me and my family, but I was fortunate enough to come across this magazine and it changed my life completely. Through reading its pages, I found a holistic practitioner who helped me in ways that traditional medicine couldn’t. Since then, I have been a firm believer in the power of natural wellness and the benefits it can bring to our lives. I am committed to sharing my knowledge and experiences with you through this magazine, and to providing you with the latest information and resources on how to live a healthier, more fulfilling life. I believe that true wellness encompasses not only physical health, but also mental and emotional well-being.

As you read through the magazine, you will find inspiring stories, expert advice and practical tips to help you on your own wellness journey. Whether you are just starting out or are already well on your way, I hope that this magazine will be a valuable resource for you.

Thank you for joining me on this incredible journey towards a healthier, happier life.

Warm regards, Regina


Publisher Regina Hall Rudolph

Associate Publisher Heather Nygren

Editors Tammie Jones

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Holistic Tips From Lifestyle Doctors



How to Resolve Vaginal Dryness



Nutritional Tips to Support the Delicate Balance


Daily Routines for a Radiant Appearance

22 CAROL PENN on Finding Calm in a Chaotic World



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Treatments for Pets With Mobility Issues DEPARTMENTS 6 news briefs 7 kudos 8 health briefs 9 global briefs 11 eco tip 14 inspiration 15 healing ways 18 conscious eating 21 fit body 22 wise words 24 green living 26 natural pet 28 calendar 30 resource guide
Healing Mind, Body and Spirit in the Yard 26 BRINGING THE
BACK Integrative

Incanto Premiers at Lewis Ginter

TheLewis Ginter

Botanical Garden will host the world premiere of Burning Man artist Kate Raudenbush’s “Incanto: An Oasis of Lyrical Sculpture,” through October 29. Five intricately designed, allegorical sculptures accompanied by poetry invite a journey of self-discovery and connection with others and the natural world. With heights up to 17 feet, they serve as portals to other worlds of thought, meaning and healing.

Gallery 5 will present a series of music, art, wellness and fire dancing events at 6 p.m. on the second Friday of the month through September. Dramatically lit from within, the Incanto sculptures offer multi-sensory experiences inviting further exploration at night. Evening closing time is extended on Wednesday through Saturday until 9 p.m. until October 28. The nonprofit Garden’s mission is connecting people through plants to improve communities.

Location: 1800 Lakeside Ave., Richmond. For more information, call 804-262-9887 or visit

Grassroots Food Justice

Nonprofit Shalom Farms is a farm and food justice organization working for an equitable food system in Richmond. With two production farms, dozens of partners and innovative food access programs, they grow and distribute more than 600,000 servings of Certified Naturally Grown produce.

The produce is distributed to food pantries and ready-made meal programs, and sold for a donation-subsidized affordable price weekly at Shalom Farms Mobile Markets, in Northside, East End and Southside Richmond. Shalom Farms partners with clinics to run a Produce Rx program and works with other nonprofits to offer food skills classes throughout the community.

Donations fund sustainable farm practices and educational opportunities on the farm, in the kitchen and at the Mobile Markets.

For more information or to donate, visit

Climb Out of the Darkness

Healing Circle

Counseling will host Climb Out of the Darkness, the world’s largest regional climb, at 10 a.m., June 24, at Deep Run Park, in Richmond, to raise awareness of pregnancy and postpartum mental health disorders. Onsite registration begins at 9:30 a.m.

Money raised will provide funds to local groups and organizations for low-cost training in perinatal mood disorders to providers in underserved areas, law enforcement, legal experts and primary healthcare providers, and mentor peer supporters and group leaders.

Survivors of postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder and psychosis from all over the world will walk, stroll or climb together to symbolize their collective rise out of the darkness and raise money for Postpartum Support International, a nonprofit organization and online community of support resources for parents around the world. This climb is unique because doctors, therapists, hospital administrators, researchers and other professionals will be walking arm-in-arm.

Register in advance online (required) at Sponsorships from local businesses are also being accepted. For more information, call local climb leader Jasmine Sheffield at 804924-7600 or email

The Great Virginia Greenup Returns Keep

Virginia Beautiful is a statewide nonprofit that began as the Virginia Anti-Litterbug Council in 1953 to address the “menacing litter problem” on our highways. Their mission is to engage and unite Virginians to improve our natural and scenic environment. As they celebrate their 70th anniversary this year, they’re aware that there is still so much to be done.

Every year they host the Great Virginia Greenup, which runs from the first day of spring until the first day of summer— June 21. They’ll be cleaning up roadsides, playgrounds, parks and waterways to continue to tackle the litter problem. And they invite us to do the same.

The public can join existing events or organize their own events with a group. Report your activities and results and be entered to win prizes through the duration of the Great Virginia Greenup.

For more information or to donate, visit our website for more info:

6 Greater Richmond Edition
news briefs

Men’s Wellness Series

Join Natural Awakenings and KnoWEwell for a life-changing series entitled The Healthy Man each Tuesday in June at 5 p.m. PDT/8 p.m. EDT.


n Lifestyle choices that add years to a man’s life and life to his years

n Tips to maintain youthful energy, a desired weight and a healthy libido

n Strategies for optimal eye health

n Good posture techniques for peak human performance and pain-free aging

n Habits that create resilient kids and a lasting legacy


n Ben Greenfield, human performance consultant and author of 17 books including Boundless Parenting

n Dr. Eric Plasker, chiropractor and author of The 100 Year Lifestyle

n Dr. Tracy Gapin, board-certified urologist and author of Male 2.0 and Codes of Longevity

n Dr. Krista Burns, chiropractor, founder of the American Posture Institute and author of The Posture Principles

n Christopher Smith, co-founder of Family Brand and the Campfire Effect, creating leaders at home and in business

n Dr. Bryce Appelbaum, board-certified optometrist and pioneer in neuro-optometry

n Dr. Tarin Forbes, board-certified integrative doctor specializing in anti-aging and metabolic medicine

n Dr. Alan Christianson, naturopathic endocrinologist specializing in thyroid disease and author of The Metabolism Reset Diet and The Thyroid Reset Diet

Admission is $59, which includes all Tuesday evening sessions and a oneyear membership to KnoWEwell. To learn more and register, visit or scan the QR Code.

Thegraduating class from Glenmore Yoga and Wellness Center 200-hour teacher training program on April 16 includes Evelyn Beaumont, Karen Canody, Dorothy Fountaine, Susie Hayden, Sade Johnson, Heather Myer Barker, Kristi Pollard and Karen Whitacre.

The Glenmore ERYT-500 facilitators are Carolyn Hazel, Randi Weiss, Sue Agee and Mary Lou Bean. One of the longest-running programs in Richmond, this was their 18th year. Glenmore will be offering the program again in September, and applications are available at See ad, page 23.

Olayinka Ase has graduated from the Maryland University of Integrative Health with a certificate in herbal studies. She began self-studying herbal medicine more than 10 years ago before studying in a formal program. She offers two comprehensive wellness programs: helping children detox and recover from lead exposure, and supporting brain health after suffering a traumatic brain injury or concussion.

Ase also uses them to cleanse, nourish and fortify feminine spiritual energy. She uses divination to provide intuitive oracle card readings to identify psychological, emotional and energetic stagnation, as well as herbs and other natural medicines to help with spiritual and health journeys. She continues to study all healing modalities to understand how they complement one another and contribute to an individual’s whole health.

For more information, call 804-386-1318 or visit

7 May/June 2023
kudos special event

Benefits of Water Immersion During Birth

Seniors Avoid the Hospital With Nature

New research has found that exposure to natural environments may reduce the risk of hospitalization for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease, related dementias and Parkinson’s disease. The cohort study included approximately 62 million Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years or older that lived in the contiguous United States from 2000 to 2016. Researchers looked at ZIP-Code-level greenness, percentages of park cover and blue space (water) cover, as well as hospitalizations. They found that exposure to greenness, park cover and blue space cover reduced hospitalizations for patients with Parkinson’s. Greenness—but not park or blue space cover—was associated with a lower risk of hospitalization due to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Water immersion during labor is an increasingly popular birthing option for healthy women that experience a straightforward pregnancy, labor spontaneously at full term and plan to give birth in a midwifery-led care setting. The process involves immersion in a birth pool to achieve relaxation and pain relief during the first and possibly part of the second stage of labor. The mother exits the pool for the actual birth, allowing the infant to emerge outside of the water. This method is different from a water birth, during which the woman remains in the pool as the infant emerges into the water and is then brought to the surface to initiate breathing.

In a new systematic review and meta-analysis published in BMJ Open, researchers compared the interventions and outcomes of water immersion, water birth and no-waterimmersion births. After reviewing 36 studies encompassing the experiences of about 150,000 women, researchers found that water immersion significantly reduced the use of epidurals, injected opioids, episiotomy, maternal pain and postpartum hemorrhage. There was also an increase in maternal satisfaction and improved odds of an intact perineum with water immersion. Water births were associated with increased odds of the tearing of the umbilical cord from the placenta, making delivery of the placenta difficult, although the absolute risk remained low (4.3 versus 1.3 per 1,000). There were no differences in any other identified neonatal outcomes.

Ashwagandha May Improve Women’s Sexual Experience

Poor sexual function affects about 40 percent of women and may worsen their quality of life. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a known adaptogenic herb that has been reported to improve sexual satisfaction, sleep and quality of life in women. Researchers in Mumbai set out to evaluate the efficacy and safety of standardized ashwagandha root extract in improving sexual function in healthy females.

A randomized, placebo-controlled study of 80 women between the ages of 18 and 50 with hypoactive sexual desire disorder and no other hormonal imbalances were given either 300 milligrams of ashwagandha root extract twice daily or a placebo for eight weeks. Sexual function, quality of life and safety were assessed. In comparison to the control group, the ashwagandha participants experienced statistically significant improvements in sexual desire, arousal and satisfaction; improved lubrication and orgasm; and less pain.

8 Greater Richmond Edition
Ruslan Huzau/ Ground Picture/
health briefs
Indian Food Images/

Light Therapy for Autoimmune Symptoms

Fatigue is often reported as the most disabling symptom for people with autoimmune disorders, significantly impairing their physical, mental and social quality of life. Autoimmune researchers in Denmark, noting previous studies wherein bright light therapy significantly reduced fatigue related to traumatic brain injury and cancer, devised a study involving multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. The study was conducted as a randomized, sham-controlled trial of 26 people with MS that reported a Fatigue Severity Scale (FSS) score greater than 36. Participants received either bright light therapy or a dim red light sham intervention for 30 minutes each morning for two weeks. The bright light therapy decreased FSS scores over the course of the study. However, this benefit occurred in the sham control group as well, highlighting the need for more research on the effects of light therapy on fatigue.

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes With Diet

A Type 2 diabetes (T2D) diagnosis is often regarded as a lifelong sentence and typically treated as such, requiring an increasing number of drugs. However, sustained remission of T2D is now well established.

In a recent primary care-based cohort study published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, advice on a lower-carbohydrate diet and weight loss protocols was offered routinely to 9,800 patients with T2D between 2013 and 2021. Overall, remission was achieved in 51 percent of the patients that adopted a low-carb lifestyle, with individuals diagnosed with T2D within the previous year more likely to achieve remission (77 percent) than those that had been diagnosed for longer (20 percent for patients with a T2D duration greater than 15 years). Additionally, about 97 percent of the patients experienced improvements in blood glycemic control. Average low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and systolic blood pressure decreased, and there were also significant financial savings on drugs.

A low-carb diet may give hope to those with T2D as a practical, manageable way to achieve remission, as well as substantial health and financial benefits. Even for those with poorly controlled T2D that may not achieve remission, improvements in diabetic control may be within reach.

Fir Trees Die in Record Numbers

According to unpublished research by the U.S. Forest Service reported by Columbia Insight, fir trees in Oregon and Washington died in record-breaking numbers in 2022. Labeled “Firmageddon” by researchers, the event involved more than 1.23 million acres across the two states, with Oregon being hardest hit. In some areas, an estimated 50 percent or more of fir trees died.

Surveys of more than 69 million forest acres (over 100,000 square miles) in Oregon, Washington, and small sections of California and Idaho were conducted using a combination of fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, drones and satellite imagery.

Although fir die-offs have been recorded as far back as 1952, when surveys began, Firmageddon dwarfs all previous accounts. The causes are believed to be drought compounded by insects and fungal diseases working together to weaken and kill trees. Extreme heat, including a record-breaking heat dome, is also being investigated as a possible factor. The dead fir trees pose a major fire risk, especially during the next two years while the trees hold onto their dried-out needles.

Exploring the Doomsday Glacier

Roughly measuring the size of Florida, the Thwaites Glacier is one of the most rapidly melting ice formations in Antarctica, having retreated more than eight miles since the 1990s. Scientists refer to it as the “doomsday glacier” due to concerns about its collapse, which could raise global sea levels by more than a meter, causing devastation along coastal cities and communities.

According to two papers published in the journal Nature, researchers are learning more about the driving forces behind the glacier’s rapid retreat, thanks in part to a robot deployed through a 600-meter-deep borehole in the glacier. Although melting has increased beneath the ice shelf, the current melt rate is slower than many computer models had estimated. A layer of fresh water between the bottom of the ice shelf and the ocean below slows the rate of melting along flat parts of the shelf.

Scientists discovered that the melting had produced a stepped topography across the bottom of the ice shelf, resembling a staircase, as well as cracks in the ice where rapid melting was taking place. “Our results are a surprise, but the glacier is still in trouble,” says Dr. Peter Davis, oceanographer at the British Antarctic Survey and lead author of one of the papers.

9 May/June 2023
global briefs
photo courtesy of Wikipedia
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10 Greater Richmond Edition
Trevor Cates, ND Stress Impact on Skin Jaclyn Chasse, ND Stress and Fertility Carol Penn, DO Aging Gracefully Carrie Jones, MD, FAAP Stress and Your Thyroid Jaquel Patterson, ND, IFMCP Sleep, Cortisol and Its Relation to Stress Anna Cabeca DO, OBGYN, FACOG Stress and Libido Arti Chandra, MD, MPH Healing Your Gut Anne Marie Fine, ND Cracking the Beauty Code Kela Smith, PhD, DNM Stress and Fertility
Join these Top Women in Wellness as they share their expert tips to empower you to reduce your stress and inspire you to achieve WELLthier Living! Scan the QR code to JOIN US LIVE ONLI NE Every Tuesday in May at 8pm EDT
Jyl Steinbeck Women’s Health and Homeopathy

Earth-Friendly Delights for Mom

This year, consider putting an ecological spin on Mother’s Day by showering her with gifts that honor Mother Earth. Here are some sustainable gifting ideas.

Flower Power

Lavish her with an eco-friendly bouquet. Conventional blooms that are flown in from South America can be riddled with fungicides, carcinogen-laden floral foams, sheens and other hazardous chemicals, not to mention the huge carbon footprint required to bring them here. Locally grown, organic flowers at farmers markets, sustainable florists and small-business greenhouses are produced with fewer or no chemicals, support pollinators and require no jet fuel to get to mom’s doorstep.

Choice Chocolates

Satisfy mama’s sweet tooth with organic, fair-trade chocolate that helps cocoa farmers earn a living wage and does not promote deforestation. Opting to buy ethical chocolate prevents child and slave labor and provides women equal pay as well as opportunities to own a business. Look for certified, fair-trade labels as well as nonGMO and organic certifications.

Bling Blessings

Adorn her with ethically sourced and sustainable jewelry created from recycled precious metals, Fairmined Ecological gold and conflict-free gemstones. Beautiful, one-of-a-kind creations can be found at local artisan fairs or online from eco-conscious jewelers. Look for sellers with sustainable jewelry certifications and those that use recycled, upcycled or reclaimed materials.

Climate Café

Fill her cup with bird-friendly, shade-grown, fair-trade coffees and teas that offer a healthier caffeine fix while protecting bird populations and canopy cover. Choosing products labeled Rainforest Alliance Certified or Bird Friendly helps to ensure the habitat for 40 species of migratory songbirds that winter in plantations.

Local Luxuries

There are so many ways to support the local economy while treating mom to an unforgettable experience that makes her feel extra-special. Give her a gift certificate for a massage, aromatherapy session or makeover at an organic salon. Treat her to a fabulous dinner at a vegan restaurant. Subscribe her to receive a monthly produce box from a communitysupported agriculture outlet. Pack a healthy picnic and spend the afternoon together at the park. Create a gift basket of goods made by local artisans, including beeswax candles, pottery or body treats like handmade soaps and lotions.

11 May/June 2023 eco tip



Medicine is changing as a new class of doctors endeavors to treat the whole person rather than the symptoms of disease, helping their patients achieve optimal health with lifestyle changes, medicine, herbs, supplements and modalities tailored to the individual. No longer reaching for a prescription pad as often, these functional and integrative physicians are spending an average of 45 minutes per office visit. Using their sleuthing skills and innovative skillsets, they ask probing questions about a patient’s current lifestyle and history, pinpoint the root cause of a problem and craft customized solutions.

To help someone manage stress, a functional or integrative doctor may suggest a daily dose of herbal tea, nightly entries in a gratitude journal, a visualization practice, brisk walks, gardening, art therapy, mindful meditation, a nutrient-rich diet that reduces food allergies, yoga poses and regular sessions of qigong or tai chi. Armed with an extensive list of better-for-you choices than addictive, prescription sleeping pills or tranquilizers, individuals are empowered to improve their health and eliminate stress. Studies suggest that 75 to 90 percent of illnesses are stress related. Getting


to the root cause before it escalates into cardiovascular disease, depression or diabetes is what curious and compassionate doctors do.

“Because sleep is a great resolution to almost anything, it’s one of the first things I consider,” says Carrie Jones, a functional and naturopathic doctor in Portland, Oregon. “Stress can be physiological, caused by parasites, viruses, bacteria and toxins, as well as blood sugar imbalances. Not getting enough sleep, or poor sleep, is stressful to the body, which is on alert all the time.”

According to Jones, finding ways to coax the body into feeling safe can help people relieve stress and get a good night’s sleep. “People rarely realize that basic things such as joy, play, laughter and a community of supportive people have anything to do with feeling safe enough to sleep deeply. It’s why I inquire about those things,” she explains.


n Turn the thermostat down in the bedroom. A cool temperature combats insomnia.

n Snuggle under a weighted blanket. The gentle pressure signals the autonomic nervous system to go into rest mode.

n Install blackout shades. Light decreases melatonin, the sleep hormone.

n Avoid alcohol before bed, as it can disrupt the sleep cycle.

n Stop using electronics, including social media, television and phones, two hours before getting under the covers. The blue light emitted by screens restrains the production of melatonin.

Connecting and spending quality social time with friends helps to alleviate stress. Anna Cabeca, a triple board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, advises, “Every day, stress causes the stress hormone cortisol to go up and oxytocin, the connecting hormone, to go down, lessening the desire to connect. It’s a double whammy for women in perimenopause and menopause, because hormones are declining, and stress overloads the already overtaxed endocrine system.”

Rebecca Hunton, personalized medicine doctor and founder of Radiantly Healthy MD, in Melbourne, Florida, coaches her patients to modify unhelpful habits. “I’m always looking for that one thing that patients can easily change. Sometimes it’s teaching them the difference between stress resilience and stress avoidance. A stress avoidance activity is spending two hours playing a game on your phone that leaves you beating yourself up and feeling like, ‘Why did I waste all that time?’ If, on the other hand, an activity leaves you feeling energized and wanting to tackle the other things on your to-do list, you just did a stress resilience activity,” says Hunton.


n Meditation

n Prayer

n Chanting a mantra

n Expressing creativity, such as cooking or painting

Carol Penn is a dual board-certified physician and movement coach in New Jersey. While observing her 87-year-old father practicing qigong, a form of meditation in motion, she had an epiphany and saw a powerful life lesson occurring before her eyes. “Moving with strength and grace through his practice so close to the end of his life, it occurred to me that he was role-modeling what it would be like for me to be kind to my future self. I teach my patients from this perspective, visualizing their future selves full of health, vitality, wonder and awe,” says the author of Meditation in a Time of Madness.

Qigong has psychological and physical components, regulating the mind, body movement, breath and posture. “It balances and calms the autonomic, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems so that you feel less stress upon completion of the practice. Movements are designed to build longevity on a cellular level,” Penn explains.

According to Lorraine Maita, a board-certified functional and integrative doctor in New Jersey, “The body sends out hormonal fight-or-flight signals when it’s distressed. In the initial stages, there’s a release of adrenaline, followed by cortisol, keeping your body on high alert. To most people, stress is just worry, and they’re thinking they’re handling it, but stress can be like a viral program running in the background all the time. It’s still there whether you’re reacting to it or not, whether you’re stuffing it under the surface or not. It’s why you go to therapy with mental stress, or why you need someone to talk to for processing it.”

Maita is a proponent of alternative modalities that help people modulate the stress response. “I recommend HeartMath to my patients, which is self-regulation technology based on more than 32 years of scientific research on the psychophysiology of stress, resilience and the interactions between the heart and brain,” says the author of Vibrance for Life: How to Live Younger and Healthier.

Jaquel Patterson, a naturopathic physician and medical director of Fairfield Family Health, in Connecticut, might determine if her patient is suffering from chronic stress by testing their saliva for cortisol levels in the morning and evening. Noting that her favorite teas for sleep and relaxation are chamomile and

13 May/June 2023
Breast and Health imaging to keep you living happily longer. Aren't you worth it? Debbie Troxell, RN, MSNH Thermographer • 804-683-7774

passionflower, she explains that passionflower is for someone that can’t fall asleep because there’s a radio playing in their head. “For dealing with stress, I like adaptogens, such as Siberian ginseng, rhodiola rosea, ashwagandha, holy basil and L-theanine. The stress response requires a lot of B vitamins, along with magnesium and vitamin C,” she says.

Citing Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning, Patterson recommends starting every day with a set of stress-relieving rituals Elrod calls “Life S.A.V.E.R.S.” She explains, “S is for silence, like meditation. A is for affirmations. V is for visualization, so you can visualize how your day is going to be. E is for exercise. R is for reading, and S is for scribing, writing things in a journal.”

Pointing out the differences between stress and anxiety, Patterson notes that anxiety is a continual rumination of thoughts, second-guessing and overthinking. Anxiety can cause stress, but stress can occur without anxiety. People with high anxiety sometimes have heart palpitations. Some stress is good for us. Without any stressors, Patterson cautions, we are unmotivated, lethargic and lacking in enthusiasm.


n Reflect Orb: This handheld biofeedback device can help an individual selfmonitor their body’s physiology and learn to control the involuntary bodymind connection.

n Meditation apps: Insight Timer, Calm and similar apps offer guided meditations, relaxing music videos and meditation instruction for newbies and experienced practitioners.

n YouTube videos: Look for musical compositions with energy frequencies and binaural beats that encourage relaxation, promote positivity and decrease anxiety.

Linda Sechrist has been a contributing writer to Natural Awakenings publications for almost 20 years.

The Divine Messiness of Motherhood

The pitter-patter of little feet is one of life’s most beautiful blessings, but motherhood has always been a challenging role. In today’s world, the calling is more complicated than ever, and the average Mama Bear has a lot on her many plates. Despite support systems, juggling it all is often an obstacle course moms navigate behind closed doors.

It’s okay to not be okay. Society tends to impose unnecessary guilt upon mothers for voicing what most parents feel at one time or another. Feelings are human, and so too is being overwhelmed. Self-care enables us to nurture others, and it begins by being gentle with ourselves as we weave a tapestry of work, soccer games, homework and bedtime baths. Even when the threads are haphazard and tangled, it is healing to surrender to the realization that sometimes we cannot do it all, and it is not a sign of failure. Showing only the good days on social media or going on autopilot can add pressure, instead of peace.

“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and

a million ways to be a good one,” says author Jill Churchill. Being a good mother begins by being good to ourselves, and it doesn’t require a miracle to make it happen. A few minor routine adjustments can renew sanity and energy:

n Take one minute to run comfortably hot water over your hands and relax into the stream. Hot water helps the body release dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for inducing joyful feelings, lessening pain and lifting anxiety.

n Instead of scrolling through social media, take 10 or 15 minutes to do nothing. Lie down on the floor, close your eyes and just breathe. Surrender completely to letting go; begin by relaxing facial muscles and work your way down to your toes.

n Play a favorite song and dance with your kids.

n Avoid overscheduling and “shoulds”.

Marlaina Donato is an author, painter and composer. Connect at

14 Greater Richmond Edition
Beaunitta V W/

First Signs of Menopause


practices functional medicine, has completed continuing-education hours in hormone replacement therapy and nutrition, and has experience in these areas.”

Dr. Meena Malhotra, a double board-certified internist practicing functional and integrative medicine for 27 years, understands that vaginal tissue is hormone-dependent, and dryness left untreated can lead to urinary tract infections that can progress to kidney infections. “Atrophic vaginitis with dryness, itching and burning doesn’t happen overnight; it happens gradually. Many women who are not seeing a gynecologist regularly for checkups are unaware of the gradual decrease of their progesterone and estrogen,” advises the founder of the Heal n Cure Medical Wellness Center, in Glenview, Illinois.

“Women generally self-treat sexual discomfort from dryness first with self-prescribed, over-the-counter gels, suppositories and creams, which are temporary fixes,” Malhotra says. “Functional medicine, which allows for longer appointments, in-depth intake and more intimate conversations, can determine the root cause of vaginal dryness, which can be treated early with FormaV, a non-surgical, painless rejuvenation procedure which tightens loose labia, improves vaginal health and makes sexual intimacy desirable again.”

When The New York Times and National Geographic cover the subject of menopause in the same calendar year, perhaps it’s a sign that the inevitable phase of a woman’s life that ushers in vaginal dryness, irregular periods, hot flashes, brain fog, mood swings, night sweats, sleep problems, decreased sex drive and weight gain is finally getting the attention it deserves.

Solutions for women experiencing perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause are not covered in medical school. Instead, they stem from the work of pioneers like Dr. Pamela Wartian Smith, author of What You Must Know About Women’s Hormones: Your Guide to Natural Hormone Treatments for PMS, Menopause, Osteoporosis, PCOS, and More, and Dr. Christiane Northrup, who wrote Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing.

Today, integrative and functional doctors, researchers and continuing education instructors are leading the charge to provide innovative and customized answers for women experiencing vaginal dryness and other hormone-related symptoms.

The earliest sign of changes occurs between the ages of 40 to 44, during perimenopause, and according to Dr. Lindsey Berkson, author of Safe Hormones, Smart Women, vaginal dryness is the flashing red light. “A sign of insufficient hormone signaling, vaginal dryness is the body’s warning that bones are beginning to thin; the brain’s structure, activity and neuron connectivity are beginning to decline; and the aging process has begun,” she explains. A continuing-education instructor for doctors and pharmacists, Berkson notes, “The vagina doesn’t exist alone. Treating only the vagina is minimized medicine. It’s so important to find a doctor who

Known as “the girlfriend doctor”, triple board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist Anna Cabeca has been in practice for 23 years and is the author of The Hormone Fix: Burn Fat Naturally, Boost Energy, Sleep Better, and Stop Hot Flashes, the Keto-Green Way. Recognizing that many over-the-counter lubricants perpetuate dryness and create damage to the tissue, she formulated her own products. “Inflammation can happen because of a reaction to the ingredients in the lubricant. I tell my patients that they can make their own lubricant using organic coconut oil mixed with aloe vera gel and a few drops of an essential oil that turns their partner on. They can also strengthen the pelvic floor with Kegel exercises and eat a keto-green diet,” Cabeca suggests.

Dr. Rebecca Hunton, the founder of Radiantly Healthy MD, in Melbourne, Florida, believes that treating the changes in a woman’s body is a form of personalized medicine. “Every woman’s journey is different, but generally before vaginal dryness comes progesterone deficiency. Symptoms include trouble falling asleep, anxiousness and moodiness,” she says, adding that not all vaginal dryness is hormone-related, as an autoimmune disorder could also be a cause.

Hunton recommends, “Starting early with a transdermal progesterone cream can mitigate some dryness, but at a certain point, progesterone won’t suffice. There are nonsurgical treatments such as MonaLisa Touch, a laser treatment that brings the tissue in the vagina to a more youthful state. It needs to be repeated every 18 months to two years.”

These doctors all agree that women no longer have to power through the changes. There are answers. As Cabeca asserts, “This is a time that heralds a second spring of our lives and should be a beautiful journey.”

15 May/June 2023
healing ways
Linda Sechrist is a senior writer for Natural Awakenings

Women’s Wellness Series

The following local businesses and practitioners are committed to holistic wellness and offer a variety of products and services specific to women’s health ...

Intimate Wellness For Women

The Orgasm Shot, or O-Shot®, is a patented treatment for increased sexual pleasure, reduction of urinary incontinence and improved vaginal lubrication. For women that suffer from diminished sensitivity, inability to achieve an orgasm or urinary incontinence, the O-Shot® may provide a solution using the body’s natural resources to rejuvenate their most private area.

Sexual Satisfaction

Approximately 43 percent of women have difficulty achieving and orgasm. Another study found that almost 89 percent fake an orgasm. The O-Shot® uses the power of platelet-rich plasma to safely and naturally make genitalia more sensitive to the touch and improve sexual satisfaction.

Urinary Incontinence

It is very common for women to experience urinary incontinence after childbirth and even more so when a woman loses internal vaginal wall collagen support as they age. While some women have extreme symptoms requiring surgery, medications or other treatments, many more have mild to moderate symptoms. These mild to moderate symptoms can be treated with the O-Shot®.

Vaginal Dryness

Vaginal dryness is present when the tissues of the vagina are no longer well-lubricated. This can be related to the hormonal shifts associated with menopause and perimenopause, or can be something women notice after childbirth. When these symptoms are caused by a decreased amount of estrogen in a woman’s body, this problem

is called atrophic vaginitis. Not only does the vaginal tissue feel dry, but it also loses its elasticity, thus resulting in painful intercourse. The O-Shot® increases natural vaginal lubrication.

How it Works

The O-Shot® uses PRP with exosomes (regenerative biologic nanoparticles) to improve orgasm, vaginal lubrication and urinary incontinence. PRP is isolated from the patient’s own blood using a centrifuge. Activation results in release of at least eight different growth factors that would normally be used to heal injured tissue. They work like magic go increase collagen and elastin, promote angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels), improve blood flow and promote formation of new nerve endings.

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy for Women

Women typically start experiencing hormonal changes around the age of 35. They may continue to increase as a woman ages. From loss of interest in sex and vaginal dryness to decreased concentration, poor energy levels, hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia, all are impacted differently. But women no longer need to suffer from these debilitating symptoms. Bioidentical hormone therapy for women refers to hormones that are structurally and chemically identical to our endogenous (natural) hormones.

Bioidentical hormone therapy can help with many of the symptoms of hormonal decline and also reduce and even help reverse many diseases associated with aging. Much published data shows how some hormones reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration and cataracts, improves immune function and lowers cholesterol.

Hormones can be prescribed in the form of traditional FDA-approved and compounded bioidentical hormones; topical creams, injections or pellet therapy. Progesterone, when indicated, is usually given as an oral capsule or sublingually. There are pros and cons to each method.

For more information, call Revive MD Center, located at 5310 Twin Hickory Rd., Ste. B, in Glen Allen, at 1-800-738-1247, email or visit https://ReviveMDCenter/sexual-wellness Rumki Banerjee, M.D., has been trained and certified by Dr. Charles Runnels, founder of the O-Shot for women and P-Shot for men. See ad on back cover.

16 Greater Richmond Edition

RVA Physical Therapy

Dr. Ramky Kavaserry

2620 Gaskins Rd., Henrico • 107 Heaths Way, Midlothian 804-396-6753 •

RVA Physical Therapy, a fullservice physical therapy practice, specializes in orthopedic, pelvic, sports and aquatic physical therapy. Their pelvic health physical therapists are trained to perform in-depth assessments of the musculoskeletal system in order to diagnose and treat issues related to the pelvic floor and associated structures.

After giving birth, many women find that they are not able to resume normal activities because of pelvic floor issues. These issues can affect sexual health, the musculoskeletal system, mobility and digestion. Pelvic health physical therapy offers multiple solutions and treatments for women experiencing leakage of urine, gas or bowel; pelvic or vaginal pressure; pelvic pain or pain with penetrative intimacy; diastasis recti or abdominal separation; constipation; low back and pelvic girdle pain and more.

Dr. Ramky Kavaserry and his staff are passionate about improving their patients’ quality of life, with a focus on customized treatments that help achieve a fully mobile, pain-free life. See ad, page 25.

Debbie Troxell, RN, MSNH Thermographer, Lifestyle Designs

The Wellness Village, 1404 Starling Dr 804-683-7774 • •

Offering safe, noninvasive, radiation-freeimaging, thermography uses an infrared digital camera to observe and record heat and vascular patterns that could indicate physiological issues. Its many applications include breast health, cardiovascular health, musculoskeletal disorders, dental health, sinus and allergies, thyroid health, organ health and fullbody health maintenance. Because the FDA identifies thermography as an adjunct to mammography, anyone who has ever had a mammogram should also have a thermogram. Everyone who values the need to be proactive and stay healthy can benefit from this health discovery tool.

Thermographic images are interpreted by Dr. Matthew Lee, M.D., RPh, MS, of eLEEte Physicians, and clients can gain additional information and insight via the Infrared-Body app. Lifestyle Designs offers additional services that can further enhance women’s overall health and wellness, including IonCleanse foot baths, BHRT assessments, Zyto scans, stress management and brain health assessments. See ads, pages 15 and 35.

Plan Ahead for Motherhood

On Mother’s Day, we honor all mothers—treating them with great kindness and love, and protecting them from anything dangerous or difficult. When we consider mothering, we may think about perinatal mood disorders that impact all genders. One of our most vulnerable populations is people that assist in birthing. We should be mothering them because perinatal mood disorders are the number one medical complication in pregnancy and birth.

Parents spend a lot of time planning for the birth of their baby. They have baby showers, blessingways, baby registries, hire doulas, take classes on how to give birth to their babies and how to care for their newborn. There are a plethora of websites, books, articles and other resources to find information on how to bring a baby Earthside. Where we fail birthing families is talking about what is going to transpire after the birth of their baby.

In preparation for a birth, few people talk about how it impacts the relationship with our partner, how their body would change, that they may cry a lot about the birth not being exactly how they envision it to be, with incubators or perinatal mood disorders. It can be lonely and isolating for birthing families when they don’t talk about and normalize these experiences. A postpartum plan is as essential as a birth plan, including who they can call if they are having a bad day, bring them food, employing a postpartum doula so they can sleep, connecting to resources for medication management or working with their provider if they need medication.

People with a personal or family history of mental health issues, poor support systems, financial issues, partner discord, stress, medical issues, medical complications, birth complications or a baby in the hospital are just a few risk factors. This Mother’s Day, cocoon with birthing families, show up and give them the support they need and deserve. Parenthood should not be lonely or isolating. It should be a time where we are cared for in the way we care for our babies. It really does take a village, and every family should have the support of one.

Linda Zaffram, LCSW, PMH-C, CYT200, PYT, is the founder and owner of Healing Circle Counseling, in Midlothian. For more information, visit

17 May/June 2023

Taking Control of Our Hormones


Think of hormones as the body’s messengers, sending signals that affect a host of functions. Produced by the pancreas, thyroid and other endocrine glands and organs, hormones drive our metabolism, impact mood, regulate blood pressure, manage our sleep cycles, influence sexual function and more. Key players are insulin, cortisol, thyroid and growth hormones, adrenaline, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.

18 Greater Richmond Edition conscious eating
Artem Varnitsin/

Keeping these hormones in proper balance is critical for health, and imbalances can lead to a wide range of effects, including diabetes, thyroid disease, unintended weight fluctuations, skin problems, fatigue, mood swings and infertility. While inactivity, stress, age and genetics impact hormone production, our food choices can significantly tip the scales.

Dr. Ann Lee is a naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. When treating hormonal, thyroid and adrenal imbalances, she says it is important to focus on foods that provide the minerals and vitamins that support those systems. For women of all ages, she recommends blueberries, asparagus, lettuce, celery and papaya. Teens and women in their 20s can also benefit from apples, bananas, mangoes, avocados, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and most lettuce varieties. The nutrients in these vegetables and fruits become even more important as women reach 30 and for those dealing with menopause, so Lee recommends more frequent consumption of these fresh, whole foods to support the adrenal and thyroid glands.

According to Lee, it is equally important to avoid foods that interfere with hormonal nutrition. She advises women over 50 to lower their caffeine intake. Dairy products contain naturally occurring hormones that can impede human hormone balance and should be eaten in moderation. “The less external hormonal exposure you have, the easier it is for your own hormones to balance,” Lee explains.

Despite the popularity of intermittent fasting, Lee believes that the trendy eating pattern can deny the body the vitamins and minerals it needs, causing it to produce more adrenalin and cortisol to make up for the loss. “People do intermittent fasting because it might feel good to have more adrenalin, and thus more energy, but it does come at a price—your hormones,” she says.

Most of the foods Lee recommends are low in calories. “In order to curb hunger, you have to eat them regularly, and that goes against intermittent fasting. People


In this yummy, low-carb taco recipe, cabbage leaves substitute for the tortillas and are filled with a mixture of proteinpacked tempeh, veggies and lots of great spices. Compounds in tempeh called isoflavones serve as a natural remedy for menopausal relief.


1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 oz tempeh, cubed

½ tsp sea salt or more, to taste

½ tsp black pepper or more, to taste

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp chili powder

¼ tsp paprika

¼ tsp cayenne

¼ cup vegetable broth

2 cups stemmed and chopped fresh kale

4 to 6 large, green cabbage leaves, dipped for 30 seconds into hot water to soften

½ avocado, sliced

1 radish, sliced

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ lime, cut into wedges

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and tempeh and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Add the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika and cayenne, stir,

then add the broth and kale. Stir again to combine and cook until the broth thickens and reduces by at least one-half. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed.

Spread the cabbage leaves open on a large plate. Spoon the kale mixture into the center of the leaves. Add some of the avocado, radish slices and cilantro, then fold in the sides like a taco.

Serve with lime wedges.

Adapted from MenuPause. Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Anna Cabeca. Used by permission of Rodale Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

19 May/June 2023 Igisheva Maria/
cabe/Courtesy of Random House

that do intermittent fasting often focus on proteins and fats, so they don’t have to eat for a long time, but that can cause adrenal burnout because the body is not getting what it needs,” she explains, noting that avocados and potatoes tend to help people feel full longer.

Jaclyn Downs is a functional nutrigenomics practitioner in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and author of Enhancing Fertility Through Functional Medicine: Using Nutrigenomics to Solve ‘Unexplained’ Infertility. She notes that for hormones to be produced by the body, nutritional cofactors or “helper nutrients” are required. “Magnesium, zinc and B vitamins are a few of the spark plugs that move these processes and keep the wheels spinning,” she emphasizes. “Grass-fed beef liver or capsules contain all of these.”

According to Downs, menstrual problems can be an indicator of eventual fertility issues. To support female reproductive hormones, she recommends cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. These foods also support liver detoxification pathways due to their high concentrations of vitamins and sulfur. “The liver helps clear used or ‘dirty’ hormones,” she notes. Downs also recommends pomegranates, which are rich in antioxidants and fight inflammation-producing free radicals. Healthy fats from cold-water, wild-caught fish support pregnant women and growing fetuses. “Folate is often emphasized as a nutrient for pregnant women, but choline is just as important for everybody, regardless of life stage or gender,” Downs notes. Choline is found in egg yolks, sunflower lecithin and shiitake mushrooms. For 50-plus women, Downs prescribes fish or high-quality fish oil, which can benefit brain, liver and hormonal health.


A great dessert or breakfast treat, a scone is a baked good usually made with wheat flour and butter. This recipe calls for almond flour instead to reduce the carbs and increase the nutrition. The pastry has been enjoyed in Scotland since 1513, and its name probably derives from the Dutch word for bread. Figs and pistachios sweeten the scones and give them a bit of crunch.


2½ cups almond flour

½ tsp sea salt

½ tsp baking soda

⅓ cup coconut oil, melted

¼ cup honey

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup chopped dried figs, plus some for garnish

½ cup pistachios, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, eggs and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until thoroughly combined. Fold in the ½ cup of figs and the pistachios.

Place the dough on the baking sheet and shape into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Cut into squares and then cut the squares diagonally into triangular wedges. Separate the wedges so they are about 1 inch apart to allow for even cooking. Press a few pieces of fig into the top of each wedge.

Bake for 12 to 17 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in a scone comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes on the baking sheet, then serve.

Adapted from MenuPause. Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Anna Cabeca. Used by permission of Rodale Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

20 Greater Richmond Edition
Photo courtesy of Dr. Anna Cabeca
While inactivity, stress, age and genetics impact hormone production, our food choices can significantly tip the scales.
Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings.

Skin Fitness


While many of us work out to tone our muscles, we may be neglecting the largest organ in the body: our skin. Every day, it is exposed to a variety of irritants, including ultraviolet rays, air pollution, extreme weather and highly processed foods. Stress can also cause skin irritations and conditions. To serve its important functions and look healthy, our skin needs a fitness regimen. With a few daily routines, lifestyle modifications and coping strategies, a radiant appearance is within reach.


ACNE: When we are stressed, our body releases cortisol, a hormone that stimulates the production of pore-clogging oils, which can lead to the formation of acne. Stress also triggers inflammation, which can worsen existing acne.

PREMATURE AGING: Stress can accelerate the aging process by reducing the skin’s elasticity and causing wrinkles and fine lines. It triggers the production of free radicals, precipitating damage to collagen and elastin fibers, which are responsible for keeping the skin firm and supple. When they are damaged, the skin becomes saggy.

CHRONIC CONDITIONS: Stress can trigger or worsen skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea, which are characterized by inflammation, dryness and itching.


GET ENOUGH SLEEP. A good night’s sleep is essential for skin health. It also helps reduce the impact of daily stress. Aim for no less than seven hours of shut-eye each night.

EXERCISE REGULARLY. Getting our bodies moving is essential to reduce stress levels and improve skin health by increasing blood flow, nutrient delivery and oxygenation to the skin.

EAT A HEALTHY DIET. “An anti-inflammatory diet full of fruits, veggies and healthy fats like those from seeds and nuts will help to keep skin healthy,” says Jennifer Scheinman, a registered dietitian and nutrition coach. “Foods rich in omega-3 fats like salmon and walnuts are great for skin health since they have natural antiinflammatory properties, and the fats help to keep skin moisturized.”

PRACTICE STRESS-RELIEVING TECHNIQUES. Engage in activities that help manage stress, such as yoga, meditation or deep-breathing exercises.


TYPE. According to Dr. Trevor Cates, author of Clean Skin From Within and Natural Beauty Reset, “The most important care tip is to find skin care with mild acidity [4.5 to 5.4 pH] and natural actives [plantbased extracts] that support the skin

microbiome. A healthy skin microbiome means less chance for breakouts, blemishes and premature aging.”

According to Dr. Anne Marie Fine, author of Cracking the Beauty Code, “Air pollution has been demonstrated to prematurely age the skin and cause age spots. This is why you want to make sure to consume antioxidants and use antioxidantcontaining, clean skin-care products.”


RED-LIGHT THERAPY DEVICES use infrared light to stimulate collagen production, improve circulation and promote healing. This reduces wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and other signs of aging.

MICROCURRENT FACIAL TOOLS use low-level electrical currents to stimulate facial muscles, helping to tone, reduce puffiness and promote a youthful appearance.

LASERS DESIGNED FOR HOME USE offer a safe way to treat various skin issues such as wrinkles, acne scars, sun damage and pigmentation problems. They can also help even out skin tone by stimulating collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin.

GUA SHA is an ancient Chinese technique that involves gently scraping the surface of the skin with a special tool to increase blood flow, promote healing and reduce puffiness and inflammation.

OXYGEN TREATMENTS infused into pores using a special device can help nourish skin cells, decrease inflammation, reduce wrinkles and improve overall complexion.

FACIAL ACUPUNCTURE involves inserting tiny needles into specific points to stimulate energy flow, which may improve circulation, reduce tension and promote smoother skin.

FACIAL MASSAGE reduces wrinkles by stimulating collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin. It promotes circulation, drainage and toning.

David J. Sautter is a certified personal trainer specializing in fitness nutrition and sports conditioning, as well as a professional fitness writer. Learn more at

21 May/June 2023
fit body N F/


Dr. Carol Penn, double board-certified in family and obesity medicine, is a movement, meditation and mindset coach who teaches people to prioritize self-care to achieve their best and highest selves. She is certified in mind-body medicine, fitness and personal training, yoga and qigong, and draws inspiration and wisdom from a previous career as a dancer and dance educator with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Penn is the author of Meditation in a Time of Madness: A Guidebook for Talented Tweens, Teens, Their Parents and Guardians Who Need to Thrive

22 Greater Richmond Edition wise words

Why did you write your book?

Because I was heartbroken after speaking to an 8-year-old in Parkland, Florida. I asked him, “Are you looking forward to going back to school?” not realizing his older sibling was one of the teenagers murdered in the Stoneman Douglas school shooting. He responded, “I feel like something bad could happen, and no one will be able to help me—not my parents, not my teachers, not even the president.”

An 8-year-old shouldn’t be afraid to go to school, and if that’s what our society is becoming, then children need resiliency skills, a way to self-soothe, and so do their parents. The book is a response to gun violence, but it also applies to the pandemic and other unprecedented events that cause that kind of internal chaos and disorientation that leads to mood disorders, depression, anxiety and suicidality. Whether it’s meditation, yoga, journaling or something else, mind-body skills can get you back to your center so you can function at a higher level from a place of calm and relaxed awareness, versus out of fear and nervousness.

Why do you define meditation as relaxed awareness?

Many people think that you have to sit in a certain posture and have no thoughts to meditate, but that isn’t true. We have 60,000 thoughts a day, and we don’t pay attention to most of them. Meditation allows you to slow your thoughts so they’re not as overwhelming and don’t interfere as much. When thoughts slow down and there’s space between them, your body also begins to slow down. Neurotransmitters like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins are released in the brain, and you feel their downstream effect, which we call relaxation

What is soft belly breathing?

Many times, you get into this rigid kind of breath where you’re holding your belly in and your shoulders are thrown back. People think they look better if they have a flat, tight belly, and that’s how they’re moving in the world, but they’re not get-

ting the full experience of the breath. Soft belly breathing relaxes the torso, particularly that area just below your navel. This type of breathing allows the diaphragm to push down and massage everything beneath it, improving digestion and elimination processes and allowing the lungs to fill out from their bases where you pick up all the oxygen and nutrients that need to be carried throughout the body. As you inhale, say the word “soft” to remind yourself to soften and let go of any muscle tension. As you exhale, say “belly” to be reminded not to hold that part of the body in a rigid way.

Why do you say that movement is medicine?

Motion is synonymous with life. There’s always something moving, even when we’re asleep. Even gentle movement helps the body release endorphins, which elevate our mood, reduce pain and bring us pleasure. We want to bring that flow and fluidity into our lives so that we can tap into it on purpose. Have you ever noticed the less you move, the harder it is to move? Movement needs to be encouraged throughout the lifespan.

What movements do you recommend?

One starts in a standing position. Notice how the rib cage moves as you soft belly breathe. Soften the knees, drop the chin to the chest and as you inhale, lift the arms and feel yourself float away slightly from the body to create a gentle undulation of the spine. This stimulates the “mu” receptors that cause our brain to release

pain-reducing endorphins.

Another is to shake it off, like when a dog is walking along and all of a sudden their back twitches, they shake and then continue along their merry way. If we’re bothering them, dogs will literally shake it off. They don’t let it anchor in the body, in their muscles and in their nervous system the way that humans do. Some people wake up tired. Their jaw hurts because they were clenching their teeth all night. By shaking off that tension for one to three minutes, you loosen the tight ligaments where we habitually hold tension.

What is “taking your seat on your throne,” and how can it help us?

I came up with that when teaching women how to meditate from a seated position. Women wear so many hats that life can feel weary, so asking them to sit down as if they’re taking a seat upon the throne of their own well-being gives them a way of sitting that’s different than just plopping down and collapsing because they’re exhausted. It shifts the energy and mental picture. You are more than the exhausted mother, executive, wife or caretaker. There’s a regal elegance, calm and quiet strength inside, and we’re going to meet her in our time of meditation.

23 May/June 2023
Sandra Yeyati is national editor of Natural Awakenings.
Health InSyncs offers a personalized approach to naturally healing your body-mind-emotion Are YOU ready to reclaim your joy and well-being? 9210 Forest Hill Avenue, B-3 Richmond, VA 23235 804-377-2222
Studio Romantic/

Gardening Therapy


Gardening outdoors adds color and texture to yards and neighborhoods and, with the right plants, attracts pollinators, whose numbers are declining. It also can improve human health. The exercise, sunshine and fresh air promote mental and physical health, and so does our contact with soil microbes and the harmonious patterns of nature.

24 Greater Richmond Edition green living

“Being in the sunlight is a great way to get vitamin D, which is linked to mood and well-being. We spend so much time inside, where our perspective and thoughts can close around us. Getting outdoors can improve mindfulness and the sense of being in the moment, especially when we leave our phones inside,” says Pennsylvania-based psychologist Seth J. Gillihan, author of Mindful Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Simple Path to Healing, Hope and Peace

In a study of the health and well-being benefits of allotment gardening published in the Journal of Public Health, researchers measured the mood, self-esteem and general health markers of people given plots for gardening versus those that didn’t garden at all. The scientists found that the gardeners displayed significantly better self-esteem and experienced less depression and fatigue. The top three reasons participants gave for enjoying their time tinkering in the soil were: being outdoors and having contact with nature (70 percent); feeling a sense of achievement (50 percent); and having the opportunity for restoration and stress relief (35 percent).

Cultivating our outdoor space also gives us a healthy perspective, helping us to accept our limitations and better understand our place in nature. “It’s easy to see in the garden how many things are outside of our control, such as rain, temperature and pests. We can do our best, but at some point, we need to let go,” Gillihan notes, adding that learning to let go is a lesson we can apply to other aspects of our lives. When he faced a long-term illness

coupled with depression, Gillihan built raised garden beds and planted herbs and vegetables. “I knew I needed to get more involved in something that would bring me a sense of reward and engagement. All of that creative effort really helped to bring me back to life,” he recalls. “In a garden, you’re exercising, but it’s not a repetitive thing like running, so that can make it more fun and seem like less of a task.”

“Digging, walking, carrying and squatting circulate our blood and release dopamine and endorphins in our brains,” says Karen Hugg, author of Leaf Your Troubles Behind: How to Destress and Grow Happiness Through Plants. “We feel more energetic and happier. Similarly, puttering in the garden or designing an ornamental bed is really about playing, and playing is integral to mental health.”

By merely observing greenery we can find peace and clarity. “A tree’s subdividing branches or the whorled arrangement of leaves are patterns that can calm the nervous system. If you look at plants during even a five-minute break, either indoors or out, you’re practicing a kind of relaxation therapy,” Hugg affirms.

A little bit of earth under our fingernails is good for us. “When you get your hands dirty, there are beneficial microbes in the soil that improve your health and well-being,” says Charlie Hall, professor of horticultural studies and department chair at Texas A&M University, who has researched the physiological, psychological and social benefits of plants.

According to Hall, horticultural therapy reduces stress and anxiety, enhances memory and attention span and can improve quality of life for those with

physical, mental or cognitive challenges. Citing the example of disabled adults helping to run a garden center and greenhouse at the Brookwood Community in Brookshire, Texas, he notes, “Working together in a garden builds a sense of belonging. Even those who are not physically able to participate in those activities benefit. Just being in the garden can dramatically reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”

Gardening Tips to Improve Human and Planetary Health

n Choose a modest space outdoors or purchase small containers.

n Keep it simple and start small with just a few plants.

n Read books to learn about plant needs by region.

n Talk to nurseries that sell native species.

n Think of the garden as a refuge, a place to smell flowers and watch plants thrive.

n View gardening as a fun exercise.

n Join a community garden to cultivate flowers and vegetables in a social setting.

n Grow houseplants, herbs and lettuces to bring in the outdoors.

n Volunteer at a nonprofit that propagates vegetables for food pantries.

Sheryl DeVore is a frequent contributor to national and regional publications and has authored six books on science, health and nature. Learn more at SherylDeVore.

25 May/June 2023
Begin your journey now to a healthy body and tranquil mind. Classes are tailored to meet your needs. Yoga | Massage | Workshops | Teacher Training 804.741.5267 • 10442 Ridgefield Parkway, Richmond

Bringing the Bounce Back


All pet owners want to see their animals live long, healthy lives filled with activity, but sometimes our furry friends find it difficult to move comfortably due to aging, injuries and other ailments. While vets often suggest surgery for certain debilitating conditions, less invasive treatments might be just as effective with considerably less risk, particularly for animals that cannot tolerate anesthesia.

For example, a 2013 University of Minnesota study focused on large-breed, overweight dogs with torn knee ligaments. Half of the dogs were treated with medical management consisting of weight loss, pain medication and physical therapy, and the other half received surgery to repair the torn ligament, followed by the same medical management. After a year, 75 percent of the dogs treated with surgery and medical management were considered treatment successes, based on leg function, quality of life and gait analysis. Surprisingly, 63.6 percent of the dogs that did not have surgery and received only medical management were also deemed successful cases. Before considering surgery or other

invasive treatments, integrative pet mobility and rehabilitation (IPMR) might be a good way to help a pet regain its vitality without going under the knife. It is a holistic approach to helping pets recover from injuries, manage pain and improve mobility that combines various techniques to provide a comprehensive and personalized plan for each pet.

“It is all about educating pet parents and preserving the best quality of life for my patients,” says Dr. Joyce Gerardi, of Synergy Integrative Veterinary Clinic. “Over time, my special interests have grown to include platelet-rich plasma, bone marrow aspirate, adipose-derived and allogeneic amniotic stem cell therapies, acupuncture, food therapy, cold laser, herbal medicine, tuina massage, ozone and physical rehabilitation services.”

Here is a look at a few such modalities.

LASER THERAPY uses light energy to stimulate tissue repair and reduce pain. The procedure involves the application of laser light to the damaged area using a handheld device. The severity of the ailment and the location being treated determines the

length and frequency of treatments. The patient will feel a gentle, warm sensation as the laser technician or veterinarian moves the device over the affected area. Pets usually relax and take pleasure in the calming warmth of laser therapy, which is painless.

PHYSICAL THERAPY is an essential component of IPMR. It involves exercises and stretches that help pets regain strength and flexibility in their muscles and joints. A trained physical therapist can customize a plan that targets specific areas of concern such as the hips, knees or spine. This can help reduce pain and improve mobility, allowing pets to move around more easily and enjoy their favorite activities.

ACUPUNCTURE involves inserting tiny needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the nervous system and promote healing. Acupuncture can help relieve pain, reduce inflammation and improve circulation, all contributing to improved pet mobility.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE involves manipulating the spine to correct misalignments and improve overall function. This can help pets with hip dysplasia, arthritis or spinal injuries.

MASSAGE involves gentle pressure and strokes to relax muscles, reduce pain and improve circulation. Massage can also help pets with anxiety or stress, which can contribute to muscle tension and pain.

NUTRITION: A well-balanced, nutrientdense diet can help with healing, inflammation reduction and overall health. A qualified veterinarian can recommend a diet plan tailored to each pet’s needs.


Reducing a pet’s discomfort with fullspectrum cannabinoids or, if needed, prescription pain medications offers better comfort and recovery time. Another option is to reduce a pet’s stress by balancing its adrenal stress hormones.

Ruth Roberts is a holistic veterinarian and certified pet health coach with more than 30 years’ experience.

26 Greater Richmond Edition New
natural pet
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calendar of events

NOTE: All calendar events must be received via email by the 10th of the month and adhere to our guidelines. Email for guidelines and to submit entries. No phone calls or faxes, please. Or visit to submit online.


Gallery5 Live Music & Art – 5-10pm. Free admission on First Fridays & Classical Incarnations (3rd Sun). Gallery5 continues to be a catalyst for new creative initiatives & serves as a launching pad for emerging artists & area nonprofits. 200 W Marshall St. 757-773-7618.


Marketing 101 for Yoga Teachers – 11am-1pm. This online workshop is for yoga teachers who want to grow their visibility and impact more students. If you have big ideas but don’t know how to let potential students know about them, this is the workshop for you. Yoga teachers can earn CE credits. Pre-registration is required to get the Zoom link. 804-741-5267. $35.


Yoga for the Pelvic FloorMarketing 101 for Yoga Teachers – 5:30-6:45pm. This is an online class via Zoom with Sandy Axelson, RYT-500. Learn yoga poses and sequences to identify, relax and strengthen the pelvic floor as well as the muscles that support the area. Participants also will enjoy the benefits of a safe practice from the comfort of home via Zoom. Pre-registration is required in order to get the Zoom link. 804-741-5267. $20.


Richmond Moon Market – 12-5pm. The Richmond Moon Market is a curated craft and wellness market featuring live music, food, workshops, and more. We feature vendors of plants and flowers, fortune tellers, jewelry, candles, clothing, art, crystals, magical supplies, art, ceramics, vintage gear, housewares, accessories, handmade botanical products, custom skincare blends and more. Free.

ongoing events


Practicing Presence – 9:30-10:30am. Vinyasa flow class harnesses mindful movement, breath, meditation & relaxation to heal our relationship to the present moment. Recovery & trauma-informed class. All-levels. Donation. Align Yoga, Rocks, & Reiki, 2509 E Broad St.

5Rhythms Movement Meditation – 11am12:30pm. Movement meditation & embodiment practice that celebrates being an awake human in a body. An eclectic mix & variety of soundscapes & beats from all over the planet. All welcome. $20. TurnRVA, 3105 W Moore St. 804-601-8876. AfterBefore.Live.

Gentle Yoga for EveryBODY – 5:30-6:30pm. Release your week! Learn breath work, poses & meditations to help you feel at ease in your own yoga practice. All levels. Donation. Align Yoga, Rocks, & Reiki, 2509 E Broad St.


Level 2 Flow Yoga – 9-10:15am. Start your week right with a yoga class that is beyond a beginner’s level. Participants will incorporate new poses and increasingly challenging options. $70/4 classes/ mo, $20/drop-in.Glenmore Yoga & Wellness Center, 10442 Ridgefield Pkwy, 804-741-5267.

save the date

The Juneteenth Vegan Experience

JUNE 17 • 10am-5pm

This multicultural family event, hosted by Sunnispeaks, welcomes the curious and all who believe in fueling a healthy mind and body. This phenomenal event is loaded with a plant-based doctor panel, farmers, special vendors, fashion showcase, activities, free health assessments, contests kids' zone, raffles, plant-based drippin' and other performances, food demonstration with Shi LaChef and other surprises and guests. Visit and learn more. Suggested donation: adult $19, chuldren $5. Location: Flying Squirrels Stadium.


Sound Healing at Spring Run Vineyard – 6-8pm. Julian Desta uses singing bowls, gongs, drums, didgeridoo and other instruments to lead your body and mind into deep relaxation. Each ticket includes a glass of wine so come early or stay after to enjoy your beverage. Dress comfortably, and bring your mat, pillows and blankets for extra cushioning and comfort. 804-305-2297. $40.

save the date

Climb Out of the Darkness

JUNE 24 • 9:30am

Healing Circle Counseling will host Climb

Out of the Darkness, the world’s largest event raising awareness of pregnancy and postpartum mental health disorders. We invite survivors of postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, and psychosis to walk, stroll or climb together to symbolize a collective rise out of the darkness.

Registration begins at 9:30am and participants must register prior to the event at All are welcome to participate.

Contact 804-924-7600 or for more information.

Prenatal Yoga – 7-8:15pm. Help to prepare your mind and body for the journey of birth, find comfort through pregnancy and build a community of other pregnant people with prenatal yoga. All levels are welcome. $18/class MyBirth Community Studio, 1726 Altamont Ave, Ste 4. Create a “Wellness Home” – 7:30-8pm. Fun 20min demonstration of energy technologies that create a wellness environment for you & your family. Followed by Q&A; sharing of the benefits. Free. Zoom: Meeting ID: 787 5872 3980. Password: nikken. Satterwhite.


Beginner-Level Yoga – 9-10:15am. Balanced practice that incorporates basic yoga postures, breath awareness & relaxation. Postures modified to meet individual needs. Online & in-person. Debbie Stewart. $70/4 classes/mo, $20/drop-in. Glenmore Yoga & Wellness Center, 10442 Ridgefield Pkwy. 804-741-5267.

Yoga for Bone Health – 10-11:15am. Increase bone & muscle thru the use of yoga w/a combination of dynamic & static yoga poses. Chris Riely. $70/4 classes/mo, $20/drop-in. Glenmore Yoga & Wellness Center, 10442 Ridgefield Pkwy. Registration required: 804-741-5267 or

Slow & Gentle Yoga – 10:45am-12pm. Blend of strengthening, balance & range of motion poses in a slow but dynamic style in order to pay close attention to what happens interoceptively. Mary Leffler.

28 Greater Richmond Edition
I believe the choice to become a mother is the choice to become one of the greatest spiritual teachers there is. ~Oprah

In-person & online. $70/4 classes/mo, $20/drop-in. Glenmore Yoga & Wellness Center, 10442 Ridgefield Pkwy. 804-741-5267.


Kundalini Yoga + Meditation – 9:15-10:15am. A fast & effective way to clear the mind, energize the body & uplift the spirit. Dynamic blend of postures, breathwork & sound vibration. All levels. Holly Henty. $10 to $20 (suggested $15). The Innerwork Center, 213 Roseneath Rd. 804-3590384.

Ageless Gentle Yoga – 11am-12:15pm. Gentle yoga stretches, postures, breath awareness & relaxation to improve flexibility, strength, range of motion, balance & energy. For those recovering from injuries, illness, inactivity or other health considerations. Christina Evans. $70/4 classes/mo, $20/drop-in.

Glenmore Yoga & Wellness Center, 10442 Ridgefield Pkwy. 804-741-5267.

Mid-Week Rest and Recharge – 6-7pm. Dynamic, chill hatha flow w/focus on restoration. All levels, all welcome. Donation: $12-$22. Align Yoga, Rocks, & Reiki, 2509 E Broad St.


Vinyasa Flow – 9-10:15am. Incorporates all aspects of a traditional hatha yoga class: postures, breath & meditation, while challenging the coordination through flow. Randi Weiss. In-person & online. $60/4 classes/mo, $17/drop-in. Glenmore Yoga & Wellness Center, 10442 Ridgefield Pkwy. 804-7415267.

Postnatal Yoga – 10-11am. Gently reconnect with your breath, pelvic floor, and abdominal muscles. We recommend that you begin this practice after your care provider has cleared resumption of physical activity. All levels are welcome. yoga. $16/class MyBirth Community Studio, 1726 Altamont Ave, Ste 4.

Beginner Yoga – 6-7:15pm. Balanced practice that incorporates basic yoga postures, breath awareness & relaxation. Postures modified to meet individual needs. Kerry Shultz. $65/4 classes/mo, $19/drop-in. Glenmore Yoga & Wellness Center, 10442 Ridgefield Pkwy. 804-741-5267.

Concerned About the Water You Drink? –7:30pm. An informative demonstration of our water products, with time for Q&A. Afterwards enjoy filtered, alkaline, structured, mineralized water. Free. Zoom # 787 5872 3980, password: nikken.


Better than Coffee/Sunrise Flow – 6:30-7:30am. Press pause on the morning rush! Move the body & mind from stillness to dynamic flow. All levels. Donation. Align Yoga, Rocks, & Reiki, 2509 E Broad St.

Vinyasa Flow Level 3 Yoga – 9-10:15am. Challenging class focused on more advanced postures w/emphasis on alignment & form. Randi Weiss.

In-person & online. $65/4 classes/mo, $19/drop-in. Glenmore Yoga & Wellness Center, 10442 Ridgefield Pkwy. 804-741-5267.


West End Farmers Market – 8am-12pm. 3000 Gayton Rd. at Discovery United Methodist church. St Stephen’s Farmers Market – 9am-12pm. Open every Saturday, rain or shine. Bring the family and join us. 6000 Grove Ave.

Mixed-Level Yoga – 9-10:15am. Start the weekend off right w/a yoga class appropriate for all levels. Guidance given throughout practice, offering individual students a number of appropriate options.

In-person & online. Kerry Shultz. $70/4 classes/ mo, $20/drop-in. Zoom. Register, Glenmore Yoga: 804-741-5267 or

Prenatal Yoga – 9-10:15am (every 3rd Saturday). Help to prepare your mind and body for the journey of birth, find comfort through pregnancy and build a community of other pregnant people with prenatal yoga. All levels are welcome. yoga. $18/class MyBirth Community Studio, 1726 Altamont Ave, Ste 4.

Postnatal Yoga – 10:30-11:15am (every 3rd Saturday). Gently reconnect with your breath, pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. We recommend that you begin this practice after your care provider has cleared resumption of physical activity. All levels are welcome. $16/class MyBirth Community Studio, 1726 Altamont Ave, Ste 4.

Diagnostic Solutions uses latest and most advanced DNA testing to assess.

• Levels of healthy bacteria

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And advanced metabolic testing for:

• Inflammation

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Now, as clinicians are accurately able to assess the gastrointestinal

microbiome and metabolic imbalances, patients are finding solutions to a myriad of chronic illnesses—ranging from intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, to autoimmune diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Talk to your doctor about the GIMAP and begin your journey to achieving optimal health today!

For more information please contact us at 804.717.5000

29 May/June 2023 Phone: 804.717.5000 | Toll Free: 888.384.5470 Virginia’s First Nationally Accredited Compounding Pharmacy
Your Results & Improve your health!
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community resource guide

Connecting you to the leaders in natural health care and green living in our community. To find out how you can be included in the Community Resource Guide, email to request our media kit.



Dr. Brian Herod

1009 Crowder Dr. Midlothian, VA 23113 804-794-8745 |

Dr. Brian Herod centers his holistic dentistry practice on the connection between oral and systemic health. He is a member of the IAOMT, providing an integrative approach to dental care. Safe amalgam removal, metal and BPA-free fillings, ceramic implants, biocompatibility testing, fluoride-free, 3-D cone beam.



Rev. Emily Pels, BFA, CHTP, RScP/Minister, RoHun Doctor 804-740-0509, West End Richmond

Working together to help you to remember what an awesome gift you are to the world. Experience a powerful healing restoring Joy, Balance, Harmony, Pain Release. Offering Healing Touch, Intuitive Energy Medicine, RoHun, Crystal Healing, Past Life Regression, Mandala Art and Soul Portrait therapies.



9210 Forest Hill Ave B-3, Richmond 804-377-2222

Laser therapy can reduce the pain and swelling of strained muscles and tendonitis, irritated discs and inflamed nerves, and can stimulate tissue repair and regeneration from old and new injuries. See our website for more information about laser therapy. See ad, page 23.



Elvetta Wilkins Vasquez, LMT, CNA

2505 Pocoshock Pl, Ste 203 804-518-8450

You deserve to take time out for yourself. You deserve to be happy and healthy as well as pain- and stress-free. Attevlé Massage invites you to schedule your therapeutic massage where the focus is always on you! Online scheduling available.


Far West End Location

10442 Ridgefield Pkwy, Henrico 804-741-5267

Providing Therapeutic Massage for 30+ years. Sessions are tailored to your needs and can include Deep Tissue, Trigger Point, Reflexology, Prenatal/Post-Partum, Therapeutic, Hot Stone, Thai, Swedish, Sports, Chair, Couples and Infant Massage. We also offer Aromatherapy. Gift certificates available. See ad, page 25.



Regina Rudolph


Promoting self-care and disease prevention through the use of our crafted collection of premium wellness teas designed to reduce stress and anxiety, strengthen the immune system, promote weight loss and release harmful toxins. Magnolia Wellness also assists people on their journey to better health and wellness through classes and private sessions. See ads, pages 2 and 4.



12230 Ironbridge Rd, Ste C, Chester 11934 W Broad St, Henrico

Ph: 804-717-5000, Fax: 804-717-8300

RX3, Virginia’s First Nationally Accredited Compounding Pharmacy, has been an industry leader for 23+ years. Specialists in customized compounding, bio-identical hormones, veterinary/equine compounding, traditional pharmacy, palliative care, professional quality supplements, CBD experts, Food Inflammation Testing, and more. See ad, page 29.



Family Practice and Integrative Holistic Medicine


5310 Twin Hickory Rd, Glen Allen 804-273-0010

Trained and certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and Integrative Holistic Medicine. Specialties: Primary care and chronic disease management by integrative holistic approach. Weight loss and medical nutrition counseling, skin care, IV nutrition, Ayurveda, Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). See ad, back cover.


Find local businesses with ease at

30 Greater Richmond Edition


5700 Old Richmond Ave, Ste A-5

(Off Libbie, near St. Mary’s)


Integrative approach to medicine, optimizing a realistic plan for your health/disease management. As a pharmacist, I review your medications to determine which ones are needed. Implement alternative therapies. Web visits available for established patients. See ad, page 2.


River’s Way Healthcare of Virginia

5500 Monument Ave, Ste T


Offering expanded healing services. Providing traditional primary care and alternative approaches to support the body’s ability to heal itself. Extensive study in the mindbody connection to achieve optimal health. Certified by the Board of Family Medicine and by the American Board of Scientific Medical Intuition.




The Wellness Village

1404 Starling Dr, Richmond


Safe, non-invasive, radiation-free imaging. Preserve your breasts, heart health and much more. Live happier and healthier longer! Interpreted by Matthew Lee, MD, RPh. See ad, page 8.



Far West End Location

10442 Ridgefield Pkwy, Henrico


Incorporate yoga into your life at Glenmore with in-person and online student-focused, multi-level classes from Ageless Gentle, Beginner and Yin to Vinyasa Flow, Restorative and Meditation. 200- and 300-Hour Teacher Training. Voted best Richmond Yoga Center. See ad, page 25.

31 May/June 2023
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