Living Well Blog: Saratoga's Holistic Health Forum

June 2009 Archives

Garden for Peace

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We spent the better part of Sunday putting the finishing touches on our garden for this year:  spreading yards of mulch, positioning l.e.d. path lights and moving pines for privacy.

It's a funny thing to tend a garden in the northeast.  In a sense, you have to learn to let go.  In the winter, snow covers your favorite perennials, and you have to have faith that they will return.  In the short days of summer, you learn to appreciate every fleeting moment.  As a new gardener to this area, I've had to adjust my understanding:  the climate is different here and different species grow better than the ones that I had grown accustomed to planting.  Replacement is a fact of life - some plants do not come back.

Gardening is my meditation.  When I'm outside -- bandana, hat and gloves on -- I think of nothing else but the task at hand.  I'm totally in the moment.  I love to watch things grow and take delight in the native plants, especially wildflowers, that crop up here and there.  Just today, I discovered a whole patch of ripe wild strawberries.  Tiny and tart, they tickled my tongue.  I also noticed new ferns that are a very light green and beautifully dainty. 

For me, time stands still in the garden.  So, it's magical.  There is a peace and tranquility that connect me with my inner spirit and a sense of freedom that just allows me to "be."

After my labors of love, I showered, and then sat on the front porch swing, admiring the work we'd done.  In the garden, you get to see, in real time, the fruits of your labor.  What could be better?

Summer Skin Survival

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Helping your skin while you have fun in the sun.

I'd like to thank everyone who attended last night's Holistic Health Forum at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa.

We had a wonderful discussion that touched upon many ideas including the definition of "body, mind, spirit," and agreed that in this context, "spirit" is not a religious concept; it's a part of the self.  We also spoke about the exciting changes in medical care today and our hopes for what will be.

All in all, we had a lovely evening and are looking forward to the next encounter.

For those of us who are always doing something.

For most of us, in our lives, there is one person who stands out from all others.  For me, this is my Dad.

As Kermit the Frog once said, "It's not easy being green."  Perhaps, in some way, he meant that becoming green was accepting the path it took to get there.  In Saratoga Springs, one way to get green  is to have skies of grey.

As I watch my two canine companions, I am struck by the way they behave.  One thing that I've noted is that they don't seem to have expectations, which are things that we humans seem to generate that don't do us much good.

Dogs live in the moment; they enjoy what's going on in real time without comparing it, or over thinking each moment.  I'm taking my cue from them and working to do the same.  Without expectations, I can more thoroughly enjoy whatever it is that I'm doing or receiving.  They love us for who we are, not who we could be.  In fact, it seems ridiculous to contemplate what that would look like.  Life through their eyes is fresh and enjoyable.  No wonder they are so compelling!

Welcome, welcome!

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I am so excited and inpsired to be opening our blog's doors here on saratoga.com.  I'd like to thank Jennifer at Mannix for all of her help, her contagious mirth, and general charm.  I'm looking forward to good writing feng shui on this site and want to invite everyone to feel free to ask questions related to mind, body, spirit wellness.  There are numerous practitioners here who can answer questions; Saratoga county is populated with amazing, skilled professionals, and we are glad to be among them!

I'd also like to announce that our first live event for the Holistic Health Forum is being held on Wednesday, June 24th from 7 - 8:30 pm at Living Well Healing Arts Center and Spa in Ballston Spa, where we will get together for a fun and informative evening.  Hope to see you there!

"I was looking at my face today. Is it possible that my pores have gotten smaller?"

I received this question in email today from one of my dearest, long term clients. It's a question that I get asked relatively frequently. The answer to this question is yes, and no. It's a tricky one. Pore size is determined genetically. So, in essence it does not change. However, the way I explain pores goes like this: Think of your pore as a bag made of a stretchable fabric. When it's filled, it expands. Much like the bags at the supermarket. It opens to accomodate that which is in it. So, if you remove what's in it: i.e., debris, sebum, dirt, etc., it will close, lay flatter and appear smaller. Just like a bag when it's emptied and flat.

Another key factor is this: when you care for your skin and have regular treatments like facials, peels, and microdermabrasion, the pores remain clean and empty longer and they will "learn" to stay flat and tighter. Good home care with good product will influence this as well. According to what I learned at the Aesthetic Science Institute, 40% of your skin's health is dependant upon what you do at home, while 60% rests upon the professional treatment you receive.

So, to sum this up. No, your "genetic" pore size does not change, however it is greatly influenced by the care your skin receives and how filled for how long that pore has been. So, yes, when you look at your skin after having had years of good care and treatment, your pores will appear to be smaller. Hopefully, that sufficiently answers the question! So much for a black and white answer :)

Redefining the phrase: "Reach out and touch someone," but spurring the question: "Where have all the encyclopedia salesmen gone?"

This morning, while feeding my puppies, I was struck by a thought. People will often cite the internet and electronic media as "cold." I disagree. In my opinion, we are, in reality, using this technology specifically to reach out, personalize the world, share, and touch lives.

I am no stranger to the web. I was introduced to the online universe in the early 90's by an artist colleague working for the Massachusetts Cultural Council who described a new horizon where artists were able to get their work seen, heard, read. It was a place that was not fenced in by the arts world gatekeepers; a place to reach audiences with new work. Since I had already experienced the mainstream arts community where I was told that what was wanted was "fresh" and "new," when, in actuality, that meant works which were easily classifiable and sounded like something that had been done before; I was intrigued and gladly found my way into the electronic cosmos as a "newbie." I remember trying, then, to imagine what this "world" - with no corporeality, no physical place - would look like without having a clue as to how to navigate. It was strange, but exciting.

In the years that followed, I was a multimedia artist, fortunate to be on the roster of artists approved by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, creating music, theatre, and television works for children and adults. The internet, though limited, was helpful. Via the internet, I found and participated in what was known as "interactive literature," where writers came together to write side by side, forming story in real time. I worked on a graphic novel. Within these experiences, I learned a great deal about writing (in the genre of science fiction at the time), myself, the world, and the web. The strong desire to find others who shared similar interests and ideas, to meet people of courage, passion and vision with whom I might not otherwise cross paths, to seek out the new, the cutting edge, the unique - all of these things fueled and solidified my love of the "online" world.

In direct contrast to my love was my ex-husband's disdain. To him, this was a place of nonsense that didn't truly exist. As a businessman, he didn't need to connect to a greater audience. Once, in the early 90's - nearly twenty years ago now -- when I suggested investing in internet companies like AOL, Microsoft and Apple, he described the whole thing as "a passing phase." Apparently, not. But he wasn't alone.

In those days, when I described "cyberspace," people glazed over and couldn't understand the appeal. There weren't a whole lot of user friendly applications or services and there was a whole lot of getting "punted," which is what we called being kicked offline without warning. There wasn't widespread DSL, or cable, or wireless, but that didn't stop the wave. Over the next ten years or so, the internet came of age: dating services, email services, online classes, webinars, ebay, amazon, blogging and now youtube, facebook, twitter and a whole lot more. The internet has become the new phone book, the place to find services and directions, to ask questions, the place to read reviews, get products, do research. It summarily single-handedly replaced the paper dictionary and encyclopedia.

But in all of this seemingly endless clutter, we come back to a simple concept: connection. For most of us, living is about our relationship to others. As the world expands, it contracts. We still strive for the human factor, the touching moment; the heart-felt comment, the pat on the back, the rah-rah of a friend. Proof can be found in the boon of social sites like facebook and myspace. We, as humans, crave communication. For me, it's what got me started here in the first place. We find strength and solace in community - whether that's in the flesh or in the flash of electronic transfer. So many times, I've gone to facebook and found comments or ideas that make me smile or broaden my horizons. Our well being is a complex matter made up of jigsaw puzzle pieces that fit together to create who we are and how we feel. Our communication is not limited by physical interaction or phone. Our ability to sense and touch is so much greater. It travels the airwaves, and comes through the wires and the screens. The possibilities for reaching out are infinite.

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Reisa Mehlman

As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.

"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle." Read more...


Dr. Sarah Lobisco

Whether the goal is to lessen pain, find an alternative to pharmaceuticals, or improve your quality of life, Dr. LoBisco's Naturopathic Medicine lets you get the best of both worlds conventional medicine, combined with safe and proven complementary therapies.

Dr. Sarah LoBisco has been involved in wellness for over 8 years. Her experience includes mentoring with holistic practices throughout New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. Read more...