Lots of talk lately about boosting our immune system. Is it a thing? Is it possible?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, immunity is a condition of being able to resist a particular disease especially through preventing development of a pathogenic microorganism or by counteracting the effects of its products. Or their kids’ definition being the power to resist infection whether natural or acquired (as by vaccination.)
It further defines the immune system as the bodily system that protects the body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues by producing the immune response and that includes especially the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, special deposits of lymphoid tissue (as in the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow), macrophages, lymphocytes including the B cells and T cells, and antibodies. Or, again, the kids’ definition as the system of the body that fights infection and disease and that includes especially the white blood cells and antibodies and the organs that produce them.
Blah, blah, blah… boring, boring, boring. Ok, so what do we need to know?
The VERY basics are when a bacteria, virus, fungus or other pathogen (bad guy) invades our body, the military response of our immune system fights for us. We have a couple types of white blood cells (leukocytes) that go to work. Phagocytes destroy invaders on contact and lymphocytes from bone marrow – B-cells and T-cells – do the long term work. The B-cells are like fighter planes. They find, target and lock on to the invaders. They also read the invader plans and keep them on file in our system in case the same or similar antigen comes calling again. We already have a plan in place for this bad guy and can act quickly. The T-cells then hone in on the B-cell targets and destroy the invader.
We have 3 types of immunity – innate, adaptive and passive. Innate being born with a level of immunity to certain things. Adaptive is we have been exposed, environmental or vaccine, and created a response/anti-body production. And passive is considered temporary protection that has been given to us, we didn’t produce them ourselves, like an infant through breast milk or infusion (1).
So, can we help all this along? Do these military grade cells need our assistance? Sure, who would say no to help, but I think the answers you’ve heard before. The key is listening and acting.
Like the treadmill in the corner. It only works if you use it. You can only help yourself if you make the effort. Need a little support? All of us at Complete Wellness can sincerely and honestly help. Reflexology, massage, the biomat and the salt room can help with stress reduction and sleep assistance. We have vitamin supplements, CBD, essential oil creams and magnesium creams for stress, mood and body systems*. Michelle offers many tools to help your mind and emotions get in line with the cause. CJ offers energy work to help regulate hormones and reduce stress. And have you met us? We are the most positive people to share our happy with you. Attitude is everything and we sincerely care about you and your well-being.
* Tracy and I don’t offer anything we haven’t tried and believe can help. Yes, we have tried everything we carry and recommend.
Reading this in June of 2021? Click here for the CW June Special.
Wanna be amused while learning more about your immune system? Click Here
Stacy Ford, ATC, LMT is Co-Founder of Complete Wellness. An athletic trainer and a licensed massage therapist. Her passion is to help people feel and function better. She is available by appointment only Monday-Friday at Complete Wellness, Quakertown.
To schedule with Stacy or any other CW Practitioner Text/Call 267-509-7717
Wow. What a year. We have been saying that for a whole year. And some of us have been dealing with many changes including working or doing school from home, being apart from family and friends for safety precautions, limiting our travel and down time due to safety restrictions, reducing physical contact (I’m a hugger), and being overwhelmed by statistics and concerns. Add those things to the every day stuff we deal with and, whew! We are holding it together. Or are we? Are you? I am not.
May is Mental Health Month. And we all know that doesn’t apply to us. Those poor souls having mental health issues… that friend of mine who lost her job and is depressed, my poor great-aunt stuck in that assisted living and is lonely, that person dealing with addiction again… these people are me, I am having a mental health issue. I have a roof over my head, food in my fridge, my business is still here, wonderful friends and family, a loving dog who idolizes me (ok, he idolizes my husband), and all the creature comforts. What do I have to be depressed about?
Doesn’t matter. Those things don’t matter when it comes to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addictions, PTSD or the genetics we are born with. Mental health can be affected by trauma, family history, a chemical imbalance in the brain, stress, abuse, just about anything. It is how your body and your emotional self deal with the factors. And many times, you need assistance whether it’s counseling, medication, stress reduction, or other therapies. Take the first step, like I have, and call your doctor. Talk with her/him about how you are feeling. They will do a physical, maybe a lab test, and ask you questions about your feelings and anything that could be contributing. Plus, they will help you decide if a mental health professional (counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist) may be necessary.
Friends and family are great and are there and want to be supportive, but have you told them how you are feeling? Have you given them the opportunity to help? Are they qualified or prepared to help? Consider professional help as well. They are trained and educated for this. Do you ask you friend about that weird shaped and colored mole, if it’s cancer, or do you go to the dermatologist, the professional? Yes, I ask my friend, then I call the dermatologist.
But there is such a stigma about mental health. You must be crazy. You must be out of control. You must be handled with kid gloves. You must be talked to in a quiet and concerning voice so you don’t lose it. Right? Is this how your friends talk to you about your possibly cancerous mole – is it contagious, are you going to die from the mole, do we not talk about it because it is so concerning? We don’t need to acknowledge my depression every time we speak. But it is also ok to ask me how I am, just like you always would. I will probably say, “good, how are you?” just like I always do. Don’t treat me differently. Don’t avoid me because you are afraid of upsetting me. Don’t think I am so fragile. It isn’t your job to fix me. It isn’t your job to walk on egg shells. I am getting help and your job is to continue to be my friend or family member or client or neighbor, just like we have been.
One in five Americans experience mental illness. Almost one in 25 has a serious mental illness. Keep in mind, different people deal with issues differently. I am sad. Some have anger. Some turn to drug use or other addictions. Some have eating disorders of overeating, stress eating or anorexia/bulimia. Some are genetic or the chemical imbalance is significant now.
I am dealing with depression, not directly COVID related. I have a lot of loss in my world and am processing it differently this time. Not sure about you, but I ride a simple roller coaster of emotions sometimes for a week or so (sad, frustrated, happy, hopeful, hopeless, etc.) but always come back to being ok. This time it has been 6 months. Time to find some help. The roller coaster has been running too long and way too many dips and turns. Need to level off and regroup. And I am taking this opportunity to share my experience with you. Maybe you know someone dealing with something similar. Maybe they are having a difficult time. Maybe they have been blue for too long. Maybe significant, unhealthy weight gain or loss. Maybe severe mood swings. Talk with them. Tell them you care. Offer to help make the call for a doctor’s appointment. Remind them you love them and this is important to you and for them. They will probably deny it. After all, the stigma is strong. Be stronger for them. But also, don’t get sucked in. You can only offer help, they have to accept it.
If someone you know is having a tough time and has made statements about harming themselves or others, please call their doctor or 911 immediately. Take it seriously. Don’t wait for it to pass. Help them get help.
Some resources I found to share. This month I challenge you to assess your mental health. Take inventory. Be safe, stay well and strive for healthy – mind, body and spirit.
National Council for Behavioral Health - information
Depression and BiPolar Support Alliance – confidential online screening questionnaire for depression and anxiety (No personal information needed. No registration.)
MedLine Plus – general mental illness information
Mayo Clinic – symptoms of mental illness
Stacy Ford ATC, LMT, Co-Founder of Complete Wellness
Birds are chirping, Peepers are peeping, a few buzzing of bees already and an “a-choo.” Ahh, the sounds of spring.
Yellow daffodils, purple crocus, jeweled tulips, red eyes. Ahh, the colors of spring.
Hyacinths, fresh grass, fragrant blooms. Ahh, the scents of spring… wait, if you are like me, about three sniffs in and I can’t smell a thing.
It’s my favorite season of the year! Spring is finally here! I love the smells and the growth and the way nature comes alive. But, with all those wonderful things, I am one of many who suffer, and I mean suffer, with seasonal allergies. Without medication, I can’t smell a thing. And if you can’t smell, you can’t taste. And the itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, running nose… just like the commercials say, I am miserable.
Right, so what is there to appreciate about spring? I love to see the animals and their offspring like the CW ducks and their soon to be ducklings in our back pond. All the blooms warming up the landscape after the cold winter. The way the greenscape comes to life. I love the warm sunshine on my face and how it comforts me. To me, the newness represents hope. Every year, every spring, there is hope for a new beginning - new shoots, new blooms, new life, new growth.
How do I cope with seasonal allergies? How do I appreciate the wonder and splendor of spring’s renewal? Yes, medication. I have tried most everything and on my worst days, I still need some help. But, there are other alternatives I have discovered and use including our salt room. The negative ions help reduce my inflammation and the salt in the air that I breathe helps open my sinuses and airways. (Psst… we have a seasonal allergy salt room special right now. See our page for details.) CBD sublingual drops help my inflammation and I give local honey a try. Also, I have switched many of my personal care products to natural options which has helped reduce my sensitivities.
So my challenge this month is to get out there and find what part of spring inspires you. And if allergies are holding you back, what are you doing to find a way to enjoy this most amazing season ?
Stacy Ford, ATC, LMT is an Athletic Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist and Co-founder of Complete Wellness, LLC. She is available for Therapeutic Massage appointments Monday - Friday. To Schedule Text/Call 267-509-7717
The next zoom class will be Tuesday February 23rd 6:45pm. CLICK HERE for details
An instructor sets a jar on the table. He places chunky rocks in the jar until no more can fit.
He asks the class if the jar is full and they agree it is.
“Really?” He adds small pebbles to the jar, shaking it a bit until they fill the spaces between the rocks.
Again, “Is the jar full?” The class agrees it is.
Next, he adds sand to the jar. The sand fills space between the pebbles and he asks the question again. This time, the class hesitates. Some are feeling the jar is obviously full, but others are wary of another possible alternative.
The instructor then takes a pitcher of water and tops off the jar.
He then says, “If this jar is your life, what does this experiment show you?”
One student answers, “No matter how busy you think you are, you can always take on more.”
“That is one view,” replies the instructor, then says “The rocks represent the BIG things in your life – what you will value at the end of your life – your family, your partner, your health, fulfilling your hopes and dreams. The pebbles are the other things in your life that give it meaning, like your job, your house, your hobbies, your friendships. The sand and water represent the ‘small stuff’ that fills our time, like watching TV or running errands.”
Looking out at the class again, he asks, “Can you see what would happen if I started with the sand or the pebbles?”
This parable is always in the back of my mind. It is an epic visual of what is important, what we perceive as important and what happens when we confuse the two. What I find most interesting is the number one value of the BIG rocks should be YOU. Even in this example the first, most important things in life are listed as family, partner, health and hopes and dreams. I say YOU are most important. For without an emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally healthy and centered YOU, there can’t be a healthy relationship for others and other things in your life.
Are you feeling off? Can’t keep up? Frustrated? Stressed? Others have expectations of you and your abilities for them – family, work, community. What are your expectations for yourself? Are you trying to keep up with the pebbles? What if YOU are the largest of the rocks? YOU come first into the jar. Everything else will follow and flow and have room in your life. If YOU are second or third or many times last, and YOU put those other rocks and pebbles and sand first, YOU won’t fit in the jar. YOU are outside the jar. YOU aren’t a priority and aren’t fulfilled with the others in the jar. Don’t resent or stress. Make YOU the priority and fill the jar accordingly.
What does it mean to put you first? We are all different. For me it means I find time for something I enjoy. Many days I am caught up in phone calls and emails and massages, then walking the dog and laundry and cleaning up, then, then, then… and I don’t feel I have time for something I truly enjoy. I must make time for ME. YOU must make time for YOU. It is YOUR life and YOU have one shot to enjoy it not just get through it.
So it’s February. The month of loooovvve. And though there are many we love, I say we choose ourselves to love first. Show yourself some love. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break. Speak kind words to yourself. Don’t treat yourself, put yourself first. BE THE ROCK. Loooovvve yourself first. I challenge YOU to choose YOU.
Stacy Ford is a Certified Athletic Trainer, Licensed Massage Therapist and Co-Founder of Complete Wellness. Her mission is to help people feel & function better so they can live their very best lives. Stacy is available by appointment Monday - Friday. To schedule text/call 267-509-7717
Oooo. Ahhhh. A hot stone massage automatically conjures the concept of relaxation. Imagine the soothing warmth of the stones, the glide of those warm stones over tense muscles, the comfort of the heat seeping into the body allowing all things stress to melt away.
Having a skilled massage therapist can take your massage to the next level with hot stones adding the benefits of heat and weight. By placing hot stones over tension areas, the heat begins the relaxation process by seeping into the muscles allowing the therapist to use less pressure to dissipate those trigger points. Although the stones are not heavy, the added weight brings comfort and awareness to body areas. Benefits have been touted as better sleep, reduced tension and anxiety and increased circulation.
New to hot stone? Wondering what to expect?
A hot stone massage is exactly that – the use of various sized smooth, stones to perform the massage. Basalt is the stone of choice, a volcanic rock that retains heat well. Most hot stone massages begin with the placement of the heated stones on specific areas of the body. They can be placed on the face, arms, chest, palms of hands, arches of feet, legs, and along the spine.
As in a traditional Swedish massage where the focus is long strokes, kneading of muscles and firm pressures over tense areas, the therapist will use similar techniques alternating using stones and their hands.
Everyone has different sensitivity and tolerance levels. It is very important to communicate with the massage therapist if the stone temperature is too warm and if the pressure is a good level for you. Comfort and relaxation is the intention.
In need of some deep relaxation. A time to totally shut off your mind and let your body release the stress it holds. It is time for you to schedule a hot stone massage today. You deserve it.
Mindy & Lori provide Hot Stone Massage at Complete Wellness
Appointments are available Monday – Saturday.
Text/Call 267-509-7717 to schedule your appointment.
“A relaxing experience that can also prevent illness.“
I recently came across this quote referring to reflexology. “A relaxing experience that can also prevent illness.“
I really wish I knew who to attribute it to, but I do not. But I share it with the deepest gratitude.
Reading this made me think two thoughts…
1. “Eat your veggies first“ popped into my head. That implies that you don’t like your veggies. That you want to eat them first and get them out of the way. Implying that we are not necessarily going to enjoy the things that are good for us.
I have happily discovered that many things we can do that are good for us, are truly enjoyable experiences.
2. The words “prevent illness“, I feel like it sounds like such a simple, maybe not as important as it is statement. Reflexology, as a holistic modality, cannot diagnose, cure, prescribe or treat a specific illness. However, Prevention - yup - that it can do.
Doesn’t that seem like an even more powerful tool? How much better would it be to prevent the things you could rather than have to go about diagnosing them, curing them or prescribing something for them? An added perk for reflexology, it’s reparative. Your reflexologist can’t label what you have, but they can inspire your body into doing some amazing repairative healing work.
Conclusion of two thoughts…
The Magic of Reflexology
*Apologies. Would love to give credit for the quote above. Author of the quote above is unknown.
Tracy McGovern is co-owner of Complete Wellness Quakertown, llc, a Nationally Board Certified Reflexology Practitioner and instructor. She has been a practicing Reflexologist for 20 years.
Appointments with Tracy are available Monday - Friday. To schedule text/call 267-509-7717
Happy New Year to All!!
I’m not sure about you, but I am so very ready for a new year. I love the holidays, but I am super excited to put my focus back where it belongs, back on to the focus of this wonderful “CW” endeavor - on you.
You are the reason Complete Wellness was created. To help you feel better, connect with new information, experiences & community. To find the perfect combination of things to experience and do to unleash the whole, actual, vibrant - you.
Over the holiday season I’ve been blessed to hear a lot of feedback from people of their experiences at Complete Wellness. I’m not usually a weepy person - but that’s where it took me. So many expressing gratitude for this space that helped them reach goals, move better, feel more grounded, connected and experience some pretty profound personal growth. Ahhhmazzzing!!!
It is my intention this year to be focused on you. To share more information & insights about the impact of all the things we offer, more stories of what has helped who and how. To continue to grow this wellness community...and of course to have fun doing it.
I’m excited and so very grateful to have you as part of our community. Please share any of your experiences, what you’d like to know more about, what you’d like to see offered at Complete Wellness - we’re here to help. Let us know what you need.
Here’s to a magical, healthy, joy-filled and prosperous new year. New Decade-wow!
Happy to share the journey with you.
Good Thoughts Always,
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Hello CW Community! 2020 is here!
Where does the time go? We say this all the time. Well, for us the time was spent expanding our offerings of classes, services, events and community interaction. Spent getting to know you, each of you. Sharing in your journey of wellness lifts our hearts. We have grown emotionally, socially, intellectually (no giggling) and have more insight and wisdom, and we thank you for being with us, helping direct us.
We are grateful for the beautiful, talented and exceptional people who work with us, offering diverse classes and services. Hearing how each provider makes a difference in someone’s life always gives me a full cup of happiness. Fortunate to have each one of them for all they share, and thankful for each of you who patronize us.
People who visit say they feel so comfortable in our space. Yay, we worked hard for the feelings of belonging, welcoming, and calm. I tell the story of my friends always wanting to hang at my house when I was young. My parents made our home comfortable and safe for my friends to be welcome. That has been our goal with CW, the place people want to be, want to visit.
So where does the next year take us? Well, we have ideas, but mostly this concept revolves around you. What would you like to see us offer? What do you like best about CW? We have many of our goals but know we have a long journey ahead. And, we look forward to that journey as a way of growth. Thank you, all, for taking the journey with us and seeing what this new year, new decade has in store.
Happy New Year!! Love and Hugs, Sincerely,
Just 5 Words
As the new year approaches and people start talking about those “resolution” things (gave them up years ago-only one I ever kept! lol) I wanted to share something I read yesterday.
It’s a list of “Self-Care Opportunities “. I love how that is phrased - opportunities. Most are free and not exactly what you’d think. Being a fan of Self-care (which you may have figured out by now) I love this. There are 100 items on the list. My plan is to use a couple a week to spark some conversation-and maybe ideas for even more SCO (OH! We’ll have our own special acronym! Can’t have enough of those!! “Self-Care Opportunity”)
An important note. This list I speak of came from the seriously brilliant and soul-nourishing minds at @simplifymagazine If you’ve not checked this out-do it today. They have an amazing offer going till tomorrow (12/31). The Mag is ALL online. Nothing to clutter your house or make trash and it has no ads. Filled with insightful and useful material - this list being a case in point. It is quarterly and I read it all the way through. That in itself is a grab-a-cup-of-tea, relax, me-time SCO!
And after all that - here we go….
#1 Articulate Five Core Values
This is a FREE SCO. And it’s only 5 right? Easy Peezy. Get clear on what means the most to you so that can always be your guide. Simple.
This is asking you to sum up what matters to you most…..in 5 words. Words. Not sentences. Not paragraphs. Not novellas (clearly an issue for me). Wow. You may need more than one cup of tea for this one. But what a worthy task - and one that feels PERFECT to me as we are wrapping up one year and starting the next. Like a nice blank sheet of paper.
I’m going to work on this list. When I’m done I will share.
Will you? What are your 5 words that express your 5 core values best. We'd love to hear…
Author: Tracy McGovern, Co-Founder Complete Wellness
Stacy & Tracy Blog on Complete Wellness Quakertown, llc...
We can't WAIT to do blog posts!!!!