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Your Healthy Polk

Publisher Sergio Cruz |

Editor Andrea Cruz |

Art Director Alejandro F. Cruz |

Cover Designer Deborah Coker

Ad Sales Bob Edmondson |

Contributors Dr. Chris Barker Brenda Eggert Brader Sergio Cruz Donna Kelly Jai Maa Elizabeth Morrisey

On the cover A honey bee pollinates a blueberry plant in a local field. Find out why this pollination process and the eventual byproduct of honey are so important. Story page 12. Photo by Sergio Cruz / Your Healthy Polk.

Your Healthy Polk


Letter From Editor / Publisher


elcome to the premier issue of Your Healthy Polk, a quarterly publication and the younger sister to The 863 Magazine. We chose a spring debut because we believe Your Healthy Polk will be a breath of fresh air amid the choices of local health publications. With a focus on mind, body, and spirit — a blend of eastern and western medicine — it will contain different ideas, practices, and disciplines. There isn’t anything like Your Healthy Polk offered in our area, until now. Our first cover story is on local raw honey and the numerous health benefits of it — it’s the bee’s knees. Speaking of honey bees, they are doing us massive favors with their pollinating prowess, and so we have some tips on how everyone can help with their perilous plight. Read that story beginning on page 12. Growth has been an intuitive happening at THE SELF Center in Winter Haven. When they first opened a few years ago, they offered mainly massage and now they have expanded to Reiki healing, life coaching, meditation and more. Find that story on page 6. And just because we think it’s crazy important to protect your noggin while riding a bicycle, there is a good reminder on helmet awareness beginning page 10. A section we are very excited about is called Wellth — because if you are well, then you have wealth; abundance comes in many forms, including good health. Each issue will have a different medical expert’s voice in our Wellth section. This first issue features the good words of Dr. Chris Barker of New City Chiro in Lakeland. Read about his Mix, Fix, Set method on page 9. Jai Maa’s methods are definitely different, but that’s why we love her. Read about how she visualized and prayed herself thin and healthy. Turn to page 18 to read how it really can be mind over matter.

Be healthy. Be happy.

/ Sergio Cruz /

Andrea Cruz

Your Healthy Polk Be healthy. Be happy.

Your Healthy Polk is a product of Polk Media, Inc. A mind, body, soul magazine focused on the local health industry, Your Healthy Polk endeavors to bring the best of Polk’s locally-sourced good news about good health. For more info visit or


Your Healthy Polk


17 03

Welcome letter from Editor and Publisher


Wellness services are on the menu at THE SELF Center


Beneficial Botany: The benefits and uses of Aloe vera are many


WELLth: Dr. Chris Barker of New City Chiropractic in Lakeland


Wearing a helmet can save your life no matter your age.


09 09

Your Healthy Polk


18 Cover: Honey isn’t just a tasty natural treat -- it’s liquid gold


Home Farmacy: Cinnamon goodness and Blueberry Cobbler


Jai Maa shares her journey visualizing herself thin, healthy


Serenity Now: Lavender in bloom and Gandhi’s good words


Community Saturday Markets featuring produce, arts, crafts





Your Healthy Polk


Story by Brenda Eggert Brader Photos by Sergio Cruz

A place of well being for the mind, body and spirit, THE SELF Center offerings have grown beyond massage, to include Reiki, life coaching, meditation, and much more.


The Reiki energy flows wherever it is required as spiritually guided, and can normally be felt as a warm sensation or tingling in the body. - Phyllis Ferguson, THE SELF Center

Your Healthy Polk


Cari MacConnell, left, and her mother, Phyllis Ferguson, own THE SELF Center in Winter Haven. Opposite page: Phyllis Ferguson performs Reiki, an energy treatment, on a client.


ndividuals seem to be paying more attention to their personal well being today. Self-improvement, self-help, relaxation and all things that make the human body function better are part of today’s world of services. Wellness centers that once only featured massages or facials have expanded services and have become tremendously popular, offering a realm of variety. That is the tale of success for THE SELF Center in Winter Haven that opened in 2013 with a menu of mainly massage. “When doing massage, you are really already dealing with health and wellness,” says Phyllis Ferguson, center owner, Reiki healer and life coach. “Then our focus became not just on physical health as a massage therapists, but also on emotional and spiritual health. And as we thought about this more, we wanted to add classes and women’s groups that helped spiritually.”

Reiki Reiki has become an extremely popular healing technique within the last few years. The laying on of hands healing practice is popular at THE SELF Center. Reiki provides an abundant form of healing and relaxation for all involved, including the givers. The center offers a monthly Reiki share on the second Fridays of each month in which participants practice the healing process; there is no cost but rather a love offering or donation is requested. Reiki is practiced when the body relaxes, fully clothed, on a massage table, couch, or seated, while the healer holds his hands on or above the body.

A treatment can last a half hour or longer depending upon the treatment required, according to Reiki definition. There is no pressure on the body, making it ideal for treating all ages and conditions, and sometimes the hands are held away from the body. Used for many ailments, common uses are reducing stress, relieving painful headaches, stomach upsets, back problems and respiratory problems. The Reiki energy flows “wherever it is required as spiritually guided, and can normally be felt as a warm sensation or tingling in the body,” says Ferguson, who coowns the center with her daughter, Cari McConnell. “Anybody can have Reiki performed on them,” says Terry Parman, a customer of THE SELF Center who has been visiting the center for about four years. Parman is also a Reiki giver. “Sometimes I go to Reiki share,” Parman says. “It is very relaxing, set in a dim room and it is very important to the human touch. It is the energy of healing. You are doing a general healing on them. We do Reiki for 20 minutes holding hands above or on the body. If someone has a knee that is bothering them we go there (on the body) to treat it. Wherever you are doing it, it will also go to the part of the body that needs to be healed.” “We are Reiki masters that have practiced for 15 years,” Ferguson says. “We can now teach Reiki and attune new practitioners. Reiki training consists of 3 levels and then the Mastery class. We teach it as a Saturday class once a month for 3 consecutive months and then the Mastery as the students are ready.” Continued pg. 15


Your Healthy Polk

Aloe vera


Beneficial BOTANY

he most commonly known and cultivated species of the Aloe genus is Aloe vera, which contains hundreds of species of flowering succulents. The herbal and medicinal uses for the gooey translucent gel inside Aloe vera are many — with remedies for skin maladies topping the list. Sunburns, heat burns, rashes, acne, frostbite and a host of other topical skin conditions, including psoriasis and cold sores, can be soothed by the gel-like liquid contained in the spiny leaves of the plant. The botanical ingredients from Aloe vera extracts are also used in foods, and in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Wnuk

Antioxidants, vitamins, fatty acids, minerals, and enzymes are just a few of the helpful ingredients found in Aloe vera. Various compounds in

aloes act as analgesics, antibacterials, antiseptics, antivirals, and anti-inflammatories. Aloe vera can also be ingested by mouth to help with digestion, constipation, ulcers, immunity boosting, and balancing of pH levels. Commercially, Aloe vera can be found in some beverages, desserts, and yogurts. Cosmetic companies are also adding it to shampoos, moisturizers, makeup, sunscreens, and more. Sometimes, however, the processing decreases the active ingredients of the plant and health benefits are minimized. As Aloe vera is a succulent, it’s easy grow and hard to kill. It thrives in poor soil and with little water, according to the University of Florida’s Gardening Solutions website. Plant some in pots or in the ground outside and have inexpensive and immediate access to all the benefits of this particular source of beneficial botany.

Your Healthy Polk


New City Chiropractic Dr. Chris Barker, owner of New City Chiropractic in Lakeland, explains the Mix, Fix, Set process of New City’s spinal corrective program.


or years a major concern of the public and myself has been, “Why do I have to keep coming back when I’m pain-free?” Or, “How do I know if I’m getting the proper amount of adjustments?” People want to see and be able to measure their results. With the cutting edge technology of corrective care, you are now not only able to just see your changes but compare before and after testing.

Our Technology

Digital hospital grade x-ray’s provide a window into the spine. Why guess when it comes to your spine and your health? Often problems lay hidden to simple palpation and visualization. X-rays are like a blueprint to a house, they tell us the underlying problems and how to properly correct the issue. By having initial X-rays we are able to see your progress by comparing before and after films.

The Corrective Process Corrective care chiropractic is very similar to braces on your teeth. This is the process patients follow in order to begin to correct their spine back into the proper alignment.


Purpose: Like the warm-up prior to a workout, your spine needs to “warm-up” before adjustments to be most effective. Warm up the spinal structures in your neck, mid and low back to reduce elastic tension built up through the shoulders, neck and back. Patients use a wobble disc, which increases range of motion in the lumbar and thoracic spine with increased lumbar disc mobility and rehydration. Patients also spend time in repetitive cervical traction, relieving stress and Continued pg. 19



Your Healthy Polk

HELMET AWARENESS Story by Elizabeth Morrisey

Statistics show a decrease in the odds of a serious head injury by 50 percent due to helmet use. - U.S. Dept. of Transportation

It’s one of the most important things you can do. It’s a litte insurance policy. - Chris Kinson, owner of The Bike Shop in Winter Haven, about investing in a helmet.

Why risk it? March is national brain injury awareness month. Wearing a helmet could save your life. Adamczyk

Your Healthy Polk


atie Pobjecky knows first hand how important it is to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. As a former competitor racer, she’s cracked three of them and was badly injured with broken bones when she used to mountain bike.

“I can only imagine what it could have done to my head,” says the Bartow resident. “It just takes a split second.” Pobjecky says. “It’s shocking how many people don’t wear helmets.” It’s probably about 50/50 who wear bicycle helmets, says Winter Haven Police Department PIO Jamie Brown. “We are trying to educate the public. It’s not mandatory for adults, but we still see children without them,” she says, stressing that the proper fitting is extremely important. “If it’s not fitted properly, it could inflict more damage to the skull,” Brown says. Florida does not have a law requiring adults to wear helmets, however it’s mandatory for children under 16 years old to wear them. The Winter Haven police department attends back-toschool and similar events to hand out helmets and help with the proper fitting when they have them available. Pobjecky is even more adamant that her 8-year-old daughter, Lilly, wear a helmet, whether on a bike or roller skates.


“It’s just like putting a car seat in a car,” Pobjecky says. “It’s something for their safety.” It could also be argued that a helmet is no different a precaution than a seatbelt in a car. And helmets are very affordable, says Chris Kinson, owner of The Bike Shop in Winter Haven. At his shop, they range from $30 to $300 depending on the level protection you need. “It’s one of the most important things you can do,” Kinson says about investing in a helmet. “It’s a little insurance policy.” In 2015, 818 bicyclists died on roads in the United States – the highest number since 1995, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. During the past few years, no more than 17 percent of fatally injured bicyclists were wearing helmets. Statistics show a decrease in the odds of a serious head injury by 50 percent due to helmet use. So far this year, there have been 23 bicycle crashes but no fatalities, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. Through its initiative Alert Today Alive Tomorrow, FDOT suggests: always wear a helmet, ride in the same direction of the traffic, obey traffic signs and signals, yield to traffic when needed and always stay visible. New strides are being made in the development of helmets. Many helmets offer MIPS technology (MultiContinued pg. 19

Katie Pobjecky, left, and her daughter, Lilly, 8, ride their bikes in the South Lake Howard Nature Park. The pair never go bike riding without their helmets. Photo by Andrea Cruz, Your Healthy Polk.


Your Healthy Polk

A Spoonful of

Raw Honey The Most Delightful Natural Medicine Story by Donna Kelly | Photos by Sergio Cruz


n a recent sunny Saturday afternoon, Jan Allen chatted about the health benefits of honey with a steady stream of customers lingering in front of her booth at the Saturday Market in Winter Haven’s Central Park.

husband, doled out free samples of three varieties of honey and chatted with customers about using the sweet treat to address a variety of health issues from allergies to arthritis.

Allen, who owns and operates Pat’s Apiaries with her

“White sugar is addictive and spikes blood sugar faster,”

Raw honey is also a healthier alternative to white sugar.

Jan Allen explains. “Raw honey keeps blood sugar from spiking because it is absorbed more slowly into the system.” While the health benefits of honey seem to be touted more frequently these days, Dr. Chris Barker, of the Lakeland-based New City Chiropractic, says medicinal use of honey is not a new

practice. “Honey has long been valued for its medicinal properties. This natural sugar was commonly used in ancient Greece and became widely available in the 16th century,” he says. “Today, it’s considered a powerful cure for sore throat, common cold and flu, poor immunity, acne, gum disease, and even cancer.”

Your Healthy Polk

excreted from glands on the bee’s body,” says Allen. According to Allen, honey is left in the cells of the honeycomb until it dehydrates to less than 18 percent moisture content – at which point the bees cap the cells to save food for when it’s needed. The frames on which the bees deposited the honey, as seen in the photo to the left, are removed from the hive, the wax caps are cut off, and the frames are put into the extractor, a large stainless steel container that spins and slings the honey. It pools in the extractor and when the valve is open, the honey goes through a strainer to remove any bees and wax chunks. Finally, it’s poured into bottles. It’s important, says Allen, to distinguish between raw honey – which offers the health benefits – and most of the commercial honey often found in supermarkets, which don’t. Raw honey has never been heated beyond 125 degrees, the point above which honey is pasteurized. Avoiding pasteurization allows pollen to remain in the honey, giving it a healthy boost.

But moderation, Barker says, is the key. “It’s quite high in calories and sugars, so it should be consumed in moderation,” he cautions.

What IS honey, anyway? “Nectar of the Gods,” Jan Allen replies without skipping a beat.

And humankind can thank honey bees for this golden substance used as a sweetener and medicinal relief from a host of health issues – from sore throats to dry skin to side effects of multiple sclerosis. “Honey is a sweet sticky substance made from the nectar of plants and flowers mixed with amino acids, enzymes

“Most of what you get at the grocery store has been heated above 200 degrees – and this removes the pollen,” says Allen. And the pollen is what makes honey a superfood. Allen suggests asking these questions before purchasing honey: • Is it raw? Make sure it is raw and


uncut. “Many companies will cut honey with corn syrup to make it go further,” Allen explains. Use this test to if it is uncut: Pour honey on a spoon. If it stays in a glop, then it’s real raw honey. If the substance runs, then most likely it’s been cut with corn syrup. • Where is it made? “If you take it for allergies, it should be taken within a 30-mile radius from where you live,” she says.

Attacking allergies with liquid gold Rev. Judy Kahler, a hospice chaplain and an ordained priest in the Celtic Christian Church, struggled with pollen allergies – particularly citrus and oak – until she read an article extolling the virtues of regular doses of raw local honey. The Lake Wales resident takes honey daily – one tablespoon in hot tea, a regimen she’s maintained for 10 years. While it took her about two months to build up a natural immunity to the pollen, she says the results are remarkable. “I used to get allergy attacks three or four times a year because of the high pollen counts in Florida. I have not had one for the past 10 years, since using the honey on a daily basis,” says Kahler, 66. Kahler’s daily honey doses enabled her to stop using over-the-counter allergy medication and antibiotics she once required to treat sinus infections resulting from the allergy attacks. Like Barker, Kahler cites the longevity of honey’s history. Continued pg. 14


Your Healthy Polk Honey, from pg. 13

“It’s biblical,” she explains. “It was known as an honored gift, liquid gold. John the Baptist lived on it. And the Promised Land was known to the Hebrew people as the ‘land of milk and honey.’”

Honey: A miracle in managing multiple sclerosis When Winter Haven resident Toni Elliott was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000, she began searching for natural ways to treat the disease. A few years ago, she consulted an acupuncturist and an herbalist – and both recommended a mixture of turmeric, cinnamon, honey, and tea to treat inflammation of her throat and vocal chords. She uses it when pain reaches a high point, as well as several times a week for maintenance. With the exception of Curamed, Elliott hasn’t tried other commercial anti-

inflammatory medications, choosing instead to embrace what is commonly known as alternative medicine.

new twist in her honey regimen – with the growing availability of medical marijuana.

“I do believe in natural, homeopathic, Eastern medicine to supplement Western medicine,” she says. “Plus I know most commercial meds go through the liver or kidney.”

“I was told with the new medicinal cannabis laws bees are being trained to buzz around the different cannabis plants to produce soothing honey for patients with debilitating diseases like MS,” she says.

She believes nature – including bees – is one of our most important resources.

Honey: Not just for tea anymore

“Bees play an important role in our ecosystem. Whatever they buzz around to make honey serves a purpose. And they don’t have lobbyists and greed like pharmaceutical companies,” she says. “Whether honey has antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory properties, or if they work together in general, the taste is great and I believe it has natural benefits.”

Barker recommends raw local honey to his patients because of its varied health benefits.

Elliott sees hope for the future – and a

But there’s a lot more to honey than most folks realize.

“This superfood packs large amounts of vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system and wards off the flu,” he says. “It also contains calcium and iron, leading to stronger bones and improved circulation.”

A study conducted on children has found that those who ate two teaspoons of honey at bedtime coughed less severely and less frequently than those who didn’t consume this food. Barker also points outs the following health-related benefits of honey: • Its antibacterial and antioxidant makeup enhances the body’s ability to fight infections and recover from illness. • Honey’s antioxidants have been shown to lower blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular problems. • Research suggests honey may reduce bad cholesterol and prevent atherosclerosis. • Honey is a safer alternative to sugar for diabetics and can relieve symptoms by improving blood lipid profiles and fighting inflammation.

Above top left, clockwise: Joe Brown, an apprentice with Pat’s Apiaries, examines a frame with a honeycomb and bees; honey is poured into bottles after going through a strainer; a honey bee in mid-flight prepares to land on a blueberry bush to pollinate it; Jan Allen, left, hands a bottle of honey to a customer at the 2nd and 4th Saturday Markets in downtown Winter Haven, where she is a regular vendor.

• Applied to the skin, honey can hasten wound healing as well as treat herpes lesions, hemorrhoids, or psoriasis. Continued pg. 16

Your Healthy Polk


THE SELF Center, from pg. 7

The meditation instructor has taken the mystery out of the meditation. It has really helped a lot of people with stress in their life and also helps people sleep better or focus. - Cari MacConnell “(Reiki) restores the balance and the natural process,” MacConnell says. “It is the connection between the two and most people say it creates a feeling of peace or calmness.” But however popular, that is just one of the featured services offered by THE SELF Center designed for the improvement and education of one’s inner and outer self, say the owners. The center is a place of wellbeing for the body, mind and spirit. It offers a peaceful place to find one’s self or learn new life and spiritual enhancement techniques. The center features massage, Reiki, life coaching, reflexology, meditation and classes in a safe and peaceful environment.

Meditation “Meditation and stress reduction classes were started,” says MacConnell. “The meditation instructor has taken the mystery out of meditation. It has really helped a lot of people with stress in their life and also helps people sleep better or focus. After learning his technique, putting it into practice, students will see the results.” Starting in March 2016, Darek Smith began leading meditation classes at the center. “(Meditation) is something I got into as I have always been involved in personal evolvement,” Smith says. “When I found out professional athletes were into meditation and that it was a performance enhancer, it sort of evolved and completely revolutionized my life.” Meditation, says Smith, can be boring because it is paying attention to something to the exclusion of everything else. “You concentrate on whatever you want and stick with it for five minutes,” Smith says. “I advise thinking of breathing because it is always there. When your mind wanders you can easily get back to thinking of your breathing. For a beginning meditator, use as an anchor of anything that is present in the moment and a sensation in the body, a body part, or the breath. Concentrate for five minutes and don’t go beyond. Five minutes a day is enough for people to get their own personal good from it. Do it for 30 days and look past your life and see what changes you notice.” Those who meditate go to sleep faster, sleep better, and get more rest overall. Additionally, medi-

tation lowers levels of stress, lowers blood pressure, decreases anxiety and raises efficiency when working. In a shorter time, it increases the immune system and it also helps with anger management, Smith says. “One of the things I would like to emphasize is that people think you can’t meditate because you can’t stop thoughts, but you don’t stop your thoughts,” Smith says. “It is about being in a blissful state with everything perfect. It is acting skillfully and beneficially in whatever life you have.”

Life coaching Making occasional conversation while giving massages, Ferguson found that some of her clients were wrestling with problems in their lives and shared that information while on her massage table. Those converContinued pg. 20


Your Healthy Polk Honey, from pg. 14

Addressing the perilous plight of the honey bee

The Allens alone lost 75 of their 150 hives to colony collapse disorder, a topic they began hearing about four years ago.

Jan Allen stands at the edge of a blueberry field and watches bees swarm around a set of hives while her husband inspects the box-like structures. Selling honey is only part of their business. In fact, she describes the honey as a byproduct – or bonus – of their business. The Allens also rent their bees to growers who need them to pollinate their plants.

Colony collapse is attributed to, says Allen, the following factors: global warming causing flowers to bloom earlier or later than usual; pesticide use on farms; loss of habitat due to development, abandoned farms, lack of bee-friendly plants in gardens; parasites (mites).

“These bushes need the bees to pollinate them. There are so many crops that simply have to have bees to pollinate them: blueberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, and squash,” she explains.

According to information supplied by the Allens, more than $15 billion a year in U.S. crops are pollinated by bees, including apples, berries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, alfalfa, and almonds. In addition, honey bees in the United States also produce approximately $150 million in honey annually.

And this is why the declining bee population is wreaking havoc on the world’s food supply and economic stability of the agriculture world with lower crop yields and rising costs.

The Buzz: What You Can Do • Plant bee-friendly plants like moss rose, rosemary, sunflower, and zinnia in the yard. • Install a beehive on your property. For information, visit the University of Florida Polk County Extension Office website at • Donate to the University of Florida’s Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory. Its mission is to improve the health and productivity of honey bee colonies in Florida and globally by investing in research projects focusing on honey bee husbandry, ecology, behavior, biodiversity and conservation. More info at

But fewer bees means the economy takes a hit: The global economic cost of bee decline, including lower crop yields and increased production costs, has been estimated at as high as $5.7 billion per year. Keeping bee populations safe is critical for keeping American tables stocked with high-quality produce and the macro- and micro-agriculture sectors running smoothly. The Allens do their part to save the bees by removing bee swarms from inappropriate areas and rehoming them in a safe environment. They also visit schools, community organizations, and retirement communities to raise awareness of the importance of bees and how to protect them. “Once we’re gone, if we don’t pass it along, the younger generation will suffer,” says Allen. “Every third bite of food you put in your mouth is because a bee pollinated it.” For more info or honey delivery in the local area call 863-6625057.

Cinnamon Goodness Cinnamon is crazy healthy — in fact it’s touted as number one among the spices in terms of its protective antioxidant levels. Essentially the bark or bark powder of the Cinnamomum tree, it’s a spice commonly thought of as something bakers reach for when making sweets. However, it’s time to think beyond the cookie jar and find other uses for cinnamon, such as sprinkled in coffee or tea, on cereal, soups, salads, or even on meats before cooking. Containing iron, calcium, Vitamin K, manganese, fiber, and other vitamins, cinnamon offers the perfect excuse to work its tastiness into your daily diet. Just half of a teaspoon a day can positively effect blood sugar levels (helping diabetes), immunity, digestion, as well as provide cancer and heart disease-protecting benefits. We kind of like the bite of this bark… Tsubin

Left: A coating of cinnamon on top of baked chicken is not only unexpected, it’s delicious. Photo by Andrea Cruz, Your Healthy Polk.


HOME farmacy

Your Healthy Polk

Blueberry Cobbler Mix 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup melted butter and 1 cup self-rising flour in a 9x13 inch pan. Blend well with a fork until flour is thoroughly coated. Mix 2 cups fresh blueberries with 1/4 cup sugar and mash until well blended. Pour blueberry mixture over flour mixture in pan -- do not stir the blueberries into the flour mixture, just dump all over the top and put it in the oven; the crust will rise up to the top during baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown on top. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping.

Recipe courtesy of Jacqueline Whitehead of Whitehead’s Blueberry Farm. See ad opposite page. Brutlag

Your Healthy Polk

Divinely Releasing Weight


had put on a significant amount of weight during a two year relationship that “weighed me down.” When I released the toxic person from my life for good, I wanted my body to reflect how light I felt on the inside. I was honestly too lazy to exercise, and I didn’t want to give up eating yummy food, so I decided to give the power of prayer a chance. With my hands over my food, I began to pray, “Dear God, thank you for my abundance and for the animal and plant life that has sacrificed itself to nourish my body. I bless our food industry and all of those who were a part of getting this meal to me so easily. Thank you for allowing this food to give me the sustenance I need, while also dissolving the fat cells in my body, especially around my stomach and thighs. I joyfully release the excess body weight that no longer serves my highest good. Thank you for connecting my tongue with my belly, so I know when I am satisfied. Amen.” While praying this prayer, I would visualize a loving light blessing the animals, plants, and people who serve in our food industries. No matter what was on my plate, even if it Nukoonrat


Break Through Your Threshold by Jai Maa

was cheesecake, I would visualize my fat cells dissolving and gently flushing out of my body. Most importantly, I imagined what I wanted my body to look like. Every prayer, I chose the same visualization of my body walking down a set of stairs in my tiny red cheerleading shorts, shorts I hadn’t seen in over fifteen years. My legs were svelte and beautiful in my mind’s eye, and I saw myself as healthy and thin again. I lost 50 pounds in less than four months with no diet or exercise! I simply allowed my clear intention and the alchemy of prayer to shift me. The first thing I noticed was that my appetite would curb from feeling “spiritually fed” from praying. I also noticed that my tongue was being guided by my stomach and no longer my mind. Once my stomach was satisfied, I got a clear bodily message to stop eating. Without hesitation, I would wrap up my plate, even if there was just one or two Continued pg. 21

Your Healthy Polk WELLth: New City Chiro, from pg. 9

tension in the neck, and also helping to elongate and decompress the spine rehydrating the discs. Repetitive cervical traction “pumps” nutrients into the discs.


Specific adjustments are then made to the spine using decompressive manual adjustments (no neck twisting) and state of the art adjusting tools. X-rays are used in order to know precisely where and how your spine needs to be adjusted to make lasting changes to your spine and overall health.


Your body has memorized your posture pattern and does not vary from that. That posture pattern must be re-trained. Immediately after your adjustment, specific neuromuscular re-training will be performed in order to hit the “reset” button on your posture. This is done through individualized spinal weighting to mold the spine back into the correct position. Patients stand on the Vibe Plate, the vibration of which amplifies the communication throughout the body. Stimulation of core stabilizers helps maintain structural changes made during your treatment. If the set phase is not done, the changes made will only be temporary. Stabilization is key to regaining youth, vitality, and lasting change. Spinal weighing is also used. The individualized weighting for each patient retrains and resets muscles and ligaments to hold and support the spine back into its proper position.


For more info visit or call 863-940-3444.


Helmet Awareness, from pg. 11

directional Impact Protection System) which was designed to help reduce the likelihood of brain injury by allowing the brain to slide around during impact instead of absorbing the brunt of the force. Pobjecky says she’s seen too many accidents with some ending in major life-changing injuries. “I don’t ride with anyone who isn’t wearing a helmet,” she says.

Editor’s Note Helmet awareness is a topic that’s very important to me personally. In April 2012, my father was in a terrible bicycle accident and was not wearing a helmet. He was life flighted to the nearest hospital and had surgery to remove part of his brain that was hemorrhaging. He was 67 at the time and probably felt he was too old or skilled at riding a bike to need to wear a helmet. Thankfully, he lived. However, he has speech and memory issues. In fact, he cannot remember what caused the accident. Children under 16 aren’t the only ones who should wear bicycle helmets -- adults should, too. Your brain is precious no matter your age and shouldn’t be put at risk for any reason. Please wear a helmet. -Andrea Cruz


Your Healthy Polk THE SELF Center, from pg. 15

sations have led from massage to a life coaching path for Ferguson, a transition that fulfills her greatly. “I found people would tell me the things that they wouldn’t tell a soul,” Ferguson says. “In massage, we create a safe environment. So I thought maybe I should get some training to help them as they open up.” She attended Coaches Training Institute of California, taking their training in Atlanta.

Reiki practitioner classes begin March 18

commit to once a week for two months. That is realistic for most people, Ferguson says. Sessions are confidential and all subjects are allowed. Most clients reach various levels of clarity while branching out to include other topics as well. “They and I take notes during the session and create a ‘to do’ list to be worked on throughout the week,” she continues. “This allows a clear goal for them and an agreement of accountability.”

“My thinking was that at some point I may not want to continue with physical massage,” Ferguson says. “I have increased my life coaching clients over the last year and find it a good blend in the services offered at THE SELF Center.”

As Ferguson has transitioned to life coaching, her daughter has taken up much of the massage clientele, along with MacConnell’s brother, Steven Ferguson, who offers deep tissue massage at the center. Other licensed massage therapists work at the center as well.

And how does that work?

THE SELF Center future

“People come to a life coach with a specific issue in mind. You don’t give answers but help them find answers to their own questions from within. We are really good listeners. They (clients) are often sorting through fears and misconceptions,” she says.

The owners share a couple of goals for their business in the future, including seeing that the Reiki information gets out to the public and offering Reiki practitioner classes beginning March 18.

“When we sit down and start talking about their issue or problem, I pick out questions from what they share,” Ferguson says. “Most issues are not resolved in one session.” The life coaching clients agree to

“When we started giving massages in 1995, it was not recognized as a health benefit,” Ferguson remembers. “But now physicians are comfortable with it and recommend patients to receive a massage. I would like Reiki to become like that for physical and spiritual health.” A second goal for the owners of THE SELF Center is for the information about their various services to reach the younger people of the local communities. They wish for them to see massage not just as one time healing but also as a tool for preventative and health maintenance. Ferguson would like the community to experience the many self-help classes with guest instructors offered at the center. THE SELF Center is located at 2750 N. Highway 17 in Winter Haven. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Weekend classes, evening and morning appointments and special appointments are available. For more information call 863-875-5635 or visit

Your Healthy Polk


Divinely Releasing Weight, from pg. 18

My legs were svelte and beautiful in my mind’s eye, and I saw myself as healthy and thin again. - Jai Maa

Naturally, my body felt inspired to eat less, and I became less attracted to certain foods that may have encouraged weight gain. I did not force myself to stop eating anything in particular, I just listened to what my body wanted. If I wanted pasta, I ate pasta, and with the same joyful trust that pasta would dissolve my fat cells just as easily as broccoli. And if releasing 50 pounds effortlessly from the power of prayer wasn’t enough to blow my mind, would you believe that my tiny red cheerleading shorts came back into my life?!! I had given them

away in a clothing exchange party many years ago, and they came back to me in another clothing exchange once I began visualizing them on my body again! Tired of forcing yourself to lose weight through diet plans? Try giving visualization and the power of prayer a chance. Enlightenment Challenge: Take a few minutes before each meal to bless your food and visualize what you want your body to look like. Ask your stomach to make you aware when you are satisfied, and then immediately wrap up your leftovers for later. Watch the power of prayer shift your being with lightness and grace.

Jai Maa is a touring author and enlightenment facilitator who inspires others to create their visions with no compromise. An interfaith minister and native of Polk County, she travels with her cat companions teaching others how to co-create with God and live their own version of Heaven on Earth. Jai Maa is a regular instructor at THE SELF Center in Winter Haven. More info: Nukoonrat

bites left, and put it in the fridge for later. Not finishing everything on my plate “just because” was an important step for respecting my body.


It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver. - Mahatma Gandhi

Your Healthy Polk - Spring 2017 - Premier Issue  

A Spoonful of Honey: The most delicious natural medicine treats everything from sore throats to allergies; THE SELF Center: Wellness service...

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