Intentions vs. Resolutions

Did You Know… setting intentions (instead of resolutions) is a wonderful way to ring in the New Year?

It’s true! The tradition of ‘making resolutions’ for the upcoming year can be self-sabotaging… it’s essentially somewhat-randomly setting big goals that make you feel bad if you don’t succeed.

Instead, try developing a small list of ‘intentions’ for the year. These gentle nudges, in the directions you want to go, can actually help put you on the path to progress.

We have a 5-step approach for creating intentions you can mindfully embrace throughout the year.

Setting ‘Intentions’

1. Dig deep. There are two critical questions to ask yourself when setting intentions: What do I want? and How do I want to feel? Feelings provide insight into your true desires. When you craft intentions based on your true desires, you’ll start to align actions with purpose, and the universe may even work with you to achieve these intentions.

2. Write it down. Once you can clearly visualize your intentions, make a list. Make sure what you write is affirmative and empowering. For example, instead of “I want to lose 10 pounds by March,” try something such as, “I want to feel healthy, strong and vibrant by spring (a time of renewal).”

3. Share it. Open up and share your intentions with the world. When you feel supported, you’ll be more balanced, confident and radiant. Plus, you never know… someone you least suspect (or don’t even know yet) may end up playing a role to help you manifest your dreams.

4. Release and trust. Surrender your intentions to the universe. After sharing, let go of the emotion tied to your intentions, especially any anxiety about how to forcefully make intentions come to fruition. Try mind-body relaxation techniques, and trust that the universe has your back.

5. Check in. Remind yourself daily of your intentions. Develop a soul-nurturing ritual. Maybe it’s a morning meditation (using intentions as your mantra) or an evening yoga practice. Use this time to count your blessings and to internally align with your intentions.

Want to learn more about setting intentions and manifesting your dreams of optimal wellness? Lisa is a mindfulness coach and her light-touch therapies help to balance the mind and central nervous system. Glynda’s massages soothe muscles, and the spirit, into a state of restfulness. And Cathy’s Emotion Code sessions release trapped emotions, restoring the natural flow within.

We’re here to support you – and hope your New Year is everything you ‘intend’ for it to be.

Stress Management During & After the Holidays

Did You Know… sometimes, the stress comes after the holidays? It’s true!

Have you ever noticed you’re often able to ‘hold it together’ through holiday gatherings, with seeming ease and grace – only to fall apart after the bustle of season, wondering why you’re so exhausted, depressed, need to lose a few pounds, and/or anxious?

The merry-go-round of holiday preparations and events can be draining, and anxiety-producing for anyone; but women (nurturers all) shoulder the brunt of the stress.

The good news: that post-holiday letdown/meltdown reaction is completely normal, and if you know what’s coming, you can prepare. Acknowledging that an upcoming situation, or series of events, will likely be stressful – and having a game plan for dealing with the stress – is an effective preemptive strategy. Get some holiday stress-management strategies…

Stress management around the holidays is so important to ensure you don’t overdo-it or overeat. Making time for self-care is key!

How to De-Stress

Here are some tips to help yourself make it through the holidays with joy and grace instead of insanity and exhaustion:

  • Make time for exercise. This is especially important during the holidays when exercise can help you stay energized and health.
  • Don’t skip opportunities to rest and sleep. It may seem like there’s no time to ‘not be doing something,’ but rest is essential to your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Staying well-rested can make the difference between a nice family holiday dinner and having a meltdown over the turkey or ham (or latkes!).
  • Spend time alone, away from the crowd. Take a few minutes to breathe and reflect daily. Meditate, read a good book… whatever helps you decompress in a healthy way.
  • Treat yourself to one or more wellness services. Unwind, restore and recover — or prepare for big events, travel and social activity. We recommend the following for stress management and self-care:
    • ONDAMED®
    • Craniosacral Therapy
    • Emotion Code®
    • Laser and Traditional Acupuncture
    • Massage
    • Facial
    • Ionic Foot Detox

The holidays are upon us! Don’t wait until you’re completely depleted to take action. Take care of yourself throughout the season and greet the New Year happy and vibrant!

You can do it. We can help. Wellness is worth it.

Intestinal Health: Calming Your Core

Trusting the Flow of Life & Yin Yoga

By: Glynda Cullen, LMT, LE

School calendars, activities, carpools, shopping lists, phone calls, appointments, emails, events, deadlines, problems, and solutions. It’s the ceaseless barrage of stimulus demanding a response from you day in and day out.

I don’t know about you… but, sometimes I feel like a top spinning and whirling at a dizzying speed, almost creating a hum that’s at times thrilling. I bet you can relate…

What to do? Move faster? Honestly, the high-pace fed by our culture cannot be maintained without a great cost to our wellbeing (especially intestinal health) and relationships – both of which beckon all of us to slow down to a more natural, more receptive and slower speed.

What would happen if we stopped? Would we cease to exist to the world at large? What if we were absent from the vast friend-network connected electronically?! If we cease to belong there, would we reclaim belonging to ourselves and our families?

Let’s start a revolution! Let’s stage a coup: a purposeful slow-down and dedication to that which is true, real and most important in our lives. So, where do we start…? I have tips for creating a calm space, yoga moves, and more!

Setting the Stage

Let’s start that slow-down by calming your core, with a focus on the digestive system, specifically the intestinal tract. The GI tract is similar to a factory that’s always operating to receive, process and ship food, nutrients and waste. When it’s functioning efficiently, health and calmness follow.

To do this, I suggest creating a corner of calm in your home, a quiet space dedicated to just ‘being’ – soft light, pillows and a blanket, plants, or other natural elements that remind you to move slowly, breathe intentionally and observe nature.

Once you’ve created space in your home, think of a time of day you consistently have to yourself. This slice of time is needed to give you a brief reprieve from the noise, chaos and stress of daily life. Having a specific time and a dedicated place (calm corner) allows you to hold your inner work as valuable, as you add relaxation rituals to your daily routine that create ground for yourself to grow.

Inner work’s bounty lies in the expansion and lightness of spirit that can be felt when receptivity is increased – and a beautiful life moment can fully embraced in its multifaceted splendor. It’s about letting go to have more. Create space, focus your intention, stretch, breathe, acknowledge, release, and embrace.

Calming Rituals: About the Benefits of Yin Yoga

Inner work cannot be seen by the naked eye, but neither can the emotions that disrupt our natural ‘calm.’ To be fully human is to experience the full color spectrum of feelings and emotions in our lives and ourselves. Some emotions are considered more favorable and acceptable in our culture; but, what about the abandoned aspects of ourselves? The denied experiences and emotions? Where do they go? Where do they ‘live’ until the lesson each emotion brings is assimilated?

The three Yin Yoga poses I’m going to describe (later in this article) will help you to ‘check-in’ with your intestinal tract and the stress and emotion held there – to facilitate restoration and the release of tension. Some of the emotions thought to be held in the intestines are anger, resentment, anxiety and worry. Control issues may also be addressed with this practice.

Yin Yoga asanas (poses) encourage us to slow down and remember to trust the flow of life and the natural, higher order that seems to govern our lives, despite our best attempts to control outcomes at every turn. Keep the affirmation “I trust the flow of my life and surrender to its natural wisdom” in mind during your practice.

Yin is a beautiful, restful and very nourishing yoga practice that can deeply stretch the fascia and connective tissues of the body, keeping you limber and flexible throughout all phases of your life. As well, Yin encourages creating space within yourself and in your life. You may become aware of a memory, situation or feeling in your gut as you do this clearing work; continue to release.

Yin Yoga Poses to Do at Home

The object when doing Yin is to sink deeply into each pose and hold it for 2-5 minutes, allowing yourself to move into the discomfort and find comfort there; a skill that can prove helpful in the midst of your demanding life.

While doing your pose, gently guide yourself to take a deep and calming breath. On the exhale, release just a little built-up tension; whatever you’re vaguely aware of at the time. Now, gently repeat this step, releasing just a little more (up to 5 minutes) depending on your abilities.

While I’m not a certified yoga instructor, I do study and practice it daily… these are some poses that help me. (Before starting any yoga program it’s always advisable to consult with a certified professional.)

Forward fold/rag doll pose

This compression of the abdomen will allow for increased circulation upon release:

  1. Stand tall with arms by your side.
  2. Raise your arms overhead, while inhaling once, slowly.
  3. Exhale and sweep arms down as you fold your upper body toward the floor.
  4. Let your body be loose and heavy. Comfortably rest your arms and hands around your legs or ankles, or place hands on the floor.
  5. Breathe here for 2-5 minutes.
  6. Gently sweep arms back up – on inhale – as you rise to a standing position.

Winding/relief pose

This pose helps to increase circulation and relieve intestinal discomfort:

  1. Lie on your back, allowing yourself to sink down comfortably on the floor.
  2. Pull one leg into your chest, holding and allowing relaxation to enter the abdomen.
  3. Breathe here for 2-5 minutes.
  4. Switch to the other leg and repeat.

Twist pose

This pose relieves tension held in the stomach and is very relaxing:

  1. Remain on your back and elevate both legs in a bent position above stomach.
  2. Keep the knees, legs and ankles stacked as you bend to the right, twisting your legs to the side while keeping your torso facing up. (For an increased stretch, you can rotate your head to the opposite side as your legs are stacked.)
  3. Hold 2-5 minutes while taking calming deep breaths from your abdomen.
  4. Repeat on the left side and enjoy this new expansive feeling!

Add essential oil to your yoga routine. Before I do yoga, I make an essential oil blend in a 5 ML roller ball vial to apply before stretches, to engage the senses and deepen the effects. I use Young Living’s DiGize featuring tarragon, peppermint, ginger, juniper, fennel and patchouli. Mix 10 drops of oil in the vial with fractionated coconut oil, place the roller ball on top and go!

Glynda is a licensed Massage Therapist and a licensed Esthetician. She offers therapeutic massage and facial treatments (and after-hours appointments). Glynda is also trained in Ionic Foot Detox protocols.

Intestinal Health: Emotions Of the Small and Large Intestine

By: Cathy Logan, CHC, COT, CECP

Everything in the universe is made up of energy: whether it manifests in a physical form (such as lightning) or remains invisible. Not only are you made up of energy, but other forms of energy (we can’t see) pass through your body all of the time, such as radio waves, x-rays, thought waves and emotions.

So what does ‘energy’ have to do with your intestines? You can feel energy in the form of emotions; and, if negative emotions become trapped within your body, this energy can adversely affect your health. Certain emotions can even affect the function of specific organs, such as your intestines.

Are emotions, or other factors, affecting your intestinal health? How do you know? What are the symptoms? And, what can you do to improve balance and function?

Small Intestines

The small intestine’s main responsibility is absorbing nutrients from food. It sorts the food we eat into nutrients to be used by the body and excess to be passed as waste; essentially, separating pure from impure.

Symptoms of a small intestine imbalance may include:

  • Bloating and gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain in the lower back and knees
  • Skin rashes or dryness

In particular, you wouldn’t necessary think intestinal and skin health are related. However, skin problems can occur when the small intestine is imbalanced and less able to absorb nutrients that the body needs. Since the skin is one of the last organs to receive nutrients from the small intestine, it may then show symptoms from this deficiency.

Many times, the underlying cause of small intestine distress is from trapped emotions. Some emotions associated with this organ are: abandonment, betrayal, insecurity, heartache, and love and effort un-received (lack of acknowledgement of your efforts by others).

Restoring health can be as simple as identifying the emotion, through muscle-testing, and then releasing it energetically to balance the small intestine.

Large Intestines

The colon, or large intestine, is very vulnerable to negative energies, especially excesses of melancholic emotions such as: discouragement, grief, self-abuse and rejection. Deep insecurities also have a negative impact on the colon.

These emotional disturbances can produce disorders in your large intestine, including:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • IBS and colitis
  • Diverticulitis and diverticulosis

When trapped emotions manifest in the colon, I help clients using Emotion Code. It’s the same kinesiology-based method I use to identify and release negative energies for small intestinal health.

Emotional hygiene is just as important to small and large intestinal health as proper nutrition, sleep, exercise and meditation. Being aware of and tending to the energies around you, and inside your body (especially emotions), will help you to maintain balance and live a vibrant life.

As always, we at Chesapeake Holistic are here to help you!

Cathy is a Certified Health Coach, and a Certified ONDAMED® Technician and Emotion Code® Practitioner. She is also trained in Ionic Foot Detox.

Intestinal Health: Microbiome & 10 Gut-Health Tips

By: Carol Heckman, RN, CNHP, MH, CNC

Your intestinal tract (both the small and large intestines) is home to a large garden of microbes that are vital for mental and physical health. This garden is called the Gut Microbiome.

In years to come, our microbiome may be considered an organ itself. It’s that powerful. Studies are confirming that we’re actually more microbe cells than human; and, each of us has a unique, personal “cloud” of microbes that interact and keep us healthy.

Recently, our sanitized lifestyle and germ-fear has decreased the variety and viability of the good microbes in our gut gardens. The less helpful microbes, the weeds, are taking over. This is profoundly impacting the mental and physical health of all individuals, young and old through increased problems with: allergies, weight management, anxiety, depression, PTSD, brain fog, fatigue, hormone imbalances, auto immune conditions, and cognitive imbalances, to name a few.

What’s affecting your gut? Get an easy checklist to improve your intestinal health…

Microbiome and your health

The millions of microbes in your gut are integral to digesting, absorbing, creating nutrients and eliminating waste. Science has shown these microbes are important in sustaining a healthy immune system by feeding the GALT system (Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue).

In addition to intestinal health, the microbiome plays a key role in brain and nervous system wellness – through the Vagus Nerve and the Enteric Nervous System that connects the gut and brain.

Have you ever gotten that gut-feeling? Microbes “tickle” nerve endings that communicate with these nerves and send signals to the brain. The gut microbiome is also key in producing chemicals and neurotransmitters that calm your moods and create emotional wellbeing.

Research is showing how negative-impacts may progressively weaken the microbiome and thus profoundly impact mental and physical health. These negative impacts include:

  • Stress and trauma
  • Inflammation
  • Poor food choices/quality of food
  • Lack of sleep
  • Environmental toxins
  • Antibiotics and other medications

Gut health self-care checklist: 10 tips

How are you tending to your garden? Here are the suggestions I give to all of my clients. If you are not doing these now, start with one thing and build from there.

  1. I take time to chew the food in my mouth to pulp for better digestion.
  2. I eat real foods and limit processed and fast foods.
  3. I eat slowly and until I am 80% full.
  4. I make half of my plate vegetables for the fiber to feed my gut microbes.
  5. I eat fermented foods regularly to feed my gut microbes.
  6. I have a bowel movement every day. (If you experience constipation, try eating apples: an apple a day keeps the doctor away!)
  7. I take a probiotic daily to support healthy gut balance.
  8. I am active, moving my body every day.
  9. I am in bed for a good night’s sleep by 10pm.
  10. I have self-care tools and resources that support me mentally and emotionally to adapt to stress.

For individual guidance, schedule a consultation with me.


Carol is a Registered Nurse, as well as a Certified Natural Health Practitioner, a Master Herbalist, and a Certified Nutritional Consultant.

Intestinal Health: The Gift of Instinct

Using your built-in navigation system…

By: Lisa Manning, CST, CHt

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth…
Robert Frost

We’re all faced with ‘roads’ throughout our lives, the sum of these choices charts our life paths. To navigate, you’re born with a deep inner ‘knowing.’

While intellect and rational thought plays an important part in decision-making, you can move through these choice points with greater ease and success if you know how to trust your gift of instinct. At-home mindfulness exercises can help.

Your emotional guidance system

This instinctive gut-brain connection is real: it’s your enteric nervous system (which Carol explained in her intestinal health article this month), which is ‘on’ in the background all of the time. That gut-feeling in your abdomen (stomach and intestines) picks up on information before you even have time to mentally process it and react.

When you’re scared, or not sure what choice to make, the body’s first reaction to this distress is immediate physical ‘guarding.’ The abdomen, chest, throat and/or jaw often respond by clenching. Even mild distress can develop into patterns of habitual guarding, creating chronic tension and pain.

From a mindfulness perspective, those symptoms are simply information! Now that you’re aware of what is happening, you can use the body’s guarding process as a tool for guidance.

Learning to navigate using your gut instinct

Often, our human tendency is to try to emotionally and physically escape discomfort, by either drowning it out or ignoring it. This shuts down your inner compass and leads to a sense of disconnection and disorientation.

It’s challenging to feel self-acceptance, self-trust and self-determination when you’re disconnected from your deep, intuitive knowing. But, learning to metaphorically come ‘into’ the physical body, in quiet reflection and awareness, teaches balance.

Instinctive knowing is sensory not verbal! This is a time to turn down the volume on thoughts and analysis, and tune into sensations, visuals and feelings.

Here is an exercise for tuning into the ‘gut brain’ for guidance:

  1. Find a quiet place to relax where you won’t be disturbed.
  2. Think of a situation or decision that is a current challenge.
  3. As you contemplate the challenge, sink into your body and feel the area around your lower abdomen/intestinal area. Is it tight, uncomfortable? Use it as an emotional barometer.
  4. Identify the choices/paths that could change and improve the situation.
  5. Visualize each factor in rich detail; take your time here, the more sensory input the better. As if you could look into a magic ball, see the desired outcome playing out in full color. You can give it your own musical score, too!
  6. Sense the changes in your abdomen. Look for an aha-moment, in which your abdomen softens, and you might sigh, or feel some other sense of physical calming and release.
  7. The answers are apparent when you’re at peace and feeling a sense of comfort. Your deep physical instinct knows the path to follow.
  8. Thank your body for being such a finely-tuned instrument for interacting with the world.

Have fun with it!

Lisa is a licensed Craniosacral Therapist. She’s also a Master Certified Hypnotherapist, specializing in Somato-Emotional Hypnosis to address chronic pain and anxiety. Lisa’s also a trained Ionic Foot Detox practitioner.