Reflexology Keeps You Happy

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Hormones are chemicals that are produced by glands in our endocrine system. They travel through the bloodstream, to tissues and organs, delivering little message of instruction to tell the organs what to do and when to do it. They are essential for most bodily functions and when out of balance, can be disruptive to our health and well being.

The secret to a happy and energized life is to have our hormones in balance, namely; endorphins, serotonin/melatonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. The great news is that Reflexology is a great way to help our bodies release these ‘happy hormones’.

So, sit back, relax and get HAPPY.

Endorphins: are literally pain blockers in the body and promote a natural ‘high’. You may have experienced an ‘endorhphin rush’ after intense exercise or attending a joyous social celebration. There are our ‘feel good’ hormones and are synthesized in the pituituary gland. The pituitary gland reflex is stimulated in the pads of the big toes and when worked, help make us feel blissful.

Serotonin: is a neurotransmitter that actually gets transformed into melatonin, a hormone that helps us sleep. When these two are in balance, we feel happy and content; getting restful sleep and feeling less irritable. Serotonin is found in the pineal gland which is located on the side of our big toes and in our thumbs.

Dopamine: is known as the ‘pleasure’ hormone and is activated when we want to achieve a goal. Dopamine can be found in the hypothalamus reflex, which is located in the big toe, on the lateral side of the phalangeal joint.

Oxytocin: is the ‘love’ hormone that is secreted when we have physical contact. A good hug releases oxytocin - so get hugging. Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus and released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland. These reflex points are in the big toe and are worked to help produce and release oxytocin during a Reflexology session.

Working these reflexes can help your body to produce these “happy hormones” making you feel good all over! Whenever you need a mood boost, grab your big toes and give these reflex points a work over. Or, schedule your next Reflexology session, sit back, relax and feel HAPPY.

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Charlene Shea is a Reflexologist who studied under Michelle Becz and completed over 200 hours of study in 2018. Having had a strong interest in holistic and complementary therapies her whole life, Reflexology has become a tool she uses to enhance her own health and the health of her clients. Charlene loves working with clients to assist them in feeling their best so they can live their best life.

Charlene is available on Tuesdays + Thursdays + Saturdays.


You are the Ocean

The ocean casts a spell on all of us to some degree or another – as evidenced by the thousands who make pilgrimage year after year to our little corner of the world surrounded by sea.  

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And it need not be surprising!  The human body is comprised of about 70% water and a half percent salt.

We are the ocean.   

Through the lens of Chinese medicine and Five Element Theory the Water Element reflects this very truth –often referred to as our essence or “source qi”, the life force with which we are brought into the world.  And in which depending on how it’s nurtured, informs the ability to sustain us throughout our years.

Although the Water Element as ruled by the season of winter, as our foundation, it is indeed at the forefront of our wellbeing year round– and is represented by the Kidney and Urinary Bladder organs and their corresponding energetic meridians.

The Water Element flows freely when in balance and relative harmony with Earth, Metal, Wood and Fire.  And in this optimal state may manifest physically as strong bones, teeth and hair, optimal brain function and hearing, healthy growth, development, reproduction and overall vitality.   Emotionally it can allow us to access will power, motivation and courage.

Conversely, when the Water Element is depleted or out of harmony, we may feel excessive fear, a sense of hopelessness, or lack ambition and drive.  And may experience physical manifestations such as infertility, low libido, fatigue, vertigo, salt cravings, low back pain and hearing loss – to name a few.

Regardless of season then – your Water Element may indeed be in need of some TLC to restore vitality, promote a sense of consolidation and relieve physical and emotional pain.

Acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas, food therapy and lifestyle counseling can all play a part in nurturing and restoring harmony to the microcosmic sea of our own being~ in the same way we aspire to treat our great mother ocean – with tenderness, respect, and deep care.

It is my honor to ride the wave with you.  

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Karen Hayes holds a Masters Degree from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, CA, is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist in the Commonwealth of MA and a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine nationally. She brings with her 12 years of clinical experience. Meditation and Mindfulness practice, as well as Buddhist study are foundational to her life and inform her approach to patient care. She has a warm, heart-centered and gentle approach to her practice. Her treatments are comprehensive and holistic.  In addition to acupuncture, Karen may use cupping, moxa, gua sha and Chinese herbal medicine as part of her treatment protocol. She works with a full scope of health conditions including but not limited to: Mental Health, Addiction Recovery Support, Sleep Disorders and Insomnia, Asthma/Allergies, Digestive Disorders, Pain Management, Women’s Health, Fertility and Preventative Medicine. .

Book with Karen on Tuesdays, Fridays + Saturdays

Detox with Reflexology

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In the slower, colder, winter months, our bodies tend to store more toxins since our detoxification organs are impacted by inactivity. Spring is the season of reawakening and a perfect time to kick start your detoxification system.

A Spring Detox Reflexology Session focuses on your lymphatic system, kidney, lungs, liver and colon and will jump start your detoxification system, starting you on your way to an internal spring cleaning.

But how does Reflexology, a therapy working on the feet, detoxify the whole body? It's all about the blood flow.

-With over 7,000 nerve endings per foot, Reflexology deeply relaxes our bodies - allowing the blood vessels to dilate, promoting increased blood flow to the whole body. With increased blood flow, the detoxing organs and the lymphatic system are able to function at their peak.

-When the body is in a state of stress, the blood flow is sent to key areas of the body, diverting it away from other areas such as the intestines and gut. While this hardwired body response was intended for short duration, many people are now experiencing a chronic level of stress to some degree. As a result, detoxification is not priority, so these organs are given less blood flow and cannot perform optimally. In a Reflexology session, the cleaning organs and lymphatic system are flushed with the proper amount of blood flow and can perform the job nature intended.

-Each 'relex area' on the foot is a system of nerve endings that correspond to an organ, gland or part of the muscuolskeletal system. Reflexology studies (using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging technology) have shown that when a reflex area is worked, there is increased blood flow in the region of the brain related to the body part the reflex corresponds to. With our Spring Detox, we will focus on your detoxification system (lymphatic system, lungs, kidneys, liver and colon) to bring more blood flow to these organs and jump start your internal cleanse.

We invite you to shake off winter, jump start your detoxification system and see how incredible you feel with a Spring Detox with Reflexology.

Spring Renewal

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Spring is here and nature is coming alive after a long, winter slumber. Maybe you can feel that natural transition from the yin (restful) energy, to one of the yang energy (active) within your own bodies. Maybe you’re feeling a little more energized as you begin to wake up and shake off your own winter slumber.

According to Chinese Medicine, Spring is a time of renewal and an ideal time for creating, cleansing, and moving. It is associated with the Liver and Gallbladder organs, which means it is a great time to release emotions that no longer serve you and help support the function of these two organs. When the liver is out of balance it may show up in symptoms such as; headaches, depression, digestive disorders, menstrual disorders, and high blood pressure, to name a few. With simple lifestyle adjustments, we can harmonize our liver and ensure we are living in sync with nature, which will allow our own health to thrive.

  1. Get Moving: Just like nature, we too should feel the energy of Spring season and get moving! Movement helps support the Liver energy and get blood, lymph and circulation going. Walking, yoga, daily stretches are all excellent ways to support your body this spring.

  2. Detox: Everything we eat and drink is processed by the liver. Thought of as the commanding general in the body, the liver has over 500 responsibilities in the body and is our main organ for detoxification. Support this detoxification process with some epsom salt baths, take to an infrared sauna, soak your feet in epsom salt/baking soda, get a reflexology session to help support the detoxification process.

  3. Get Outside: Let nature rejuvenate you this spring and get outside. Reconnecting with Mother Nature not only soothes the liver energy, but it has been proven to decrease stress. With the warmer temps, Spring is a wonderful time to take in your fair share of fresh air and let nature revitalize you.

  4. Think Green: One of the best ways to support your liver is with green foods. Leafy greens like chard, lettuce, kale, dandelion are all beneficial for detoxification and helping support the liver. Moving away from the heavy, winter foods, Spring is a great time to lighten up your diet by introducing a few raw or lightly cooked meals.

  5. Let Go: In addition to filtering everything we physically consume, our liver is also the filter for our emotions. When the liver is taxed, frustration, anger, resentment, and jealousy, can show up more frequently. Practice letting go of emotions that no longer serve you by meditating, journaling, or any other ritual that resonates with you to practice the release of emotions.

  6. Acupuncture: Regular Acupuncture treatments will help support the smooth flow of Qi and stuck energy and support the function of the Liver/Gallbladder. Acupuncture will help support your body’s natural ability to heal and decrease debilitating symptoms associated with the Spring Season.



Getting To Know You - Karen Hayes Lic. AC., MAOM

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Your background in health and wellness is extensive. Can you tell us a little bit about how you first discovered your passion for wellness?

I think my passion for wellness began as a more general passion for helping people – which showed itself first in the form of teaching, which I did for years.  As far as the wellness side of things, I suspect this began with an exploration into my own health challenges – how and where to look for guidance and healing, both inside the world of western as well as complementary forms of medicine.

And how did this path lead you to a career in Chinese Medicine?

My interest in Asia has been a part of my natural curiosity since I was a child.  This in part led me to live in Japan in my 20’s, and intensified my connection with Eastern culture and sensibilities.  That combined with my own eventual experience receiving Chinese medical care in the form of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine led me to take the plunge into a 4 year masters degree which would allow me to practice myself.

Your Buddhist training in practicing as well as teaching Mindfulness/Meditation are a big part of your life and inform your Acupuncture practice. Can you tell us a little bit about this?

Sure.  One of the ways it informs my practice is in the way I endeavor to be with my patients (a by product of my own personal practice and study): the aspiration to be present, authentic, compassionate, and to listen deeply.  In other ways, I often suggest a meditation or mindfulness practice to patients for whom it seems appropriate– knowing first hand of its contribution to wellbeing. And may suggest a simple tool or technique during their treatment.

Are they any other tools, aside from needles, that you use in your Acupuncture practice?

Yes.  Chinese herbal medicine, cupping, gua sha, moxabustion, food therapy, lifestyle counseling are all parts of my toolbox in the treatment room.

What do you love most about what you do?

Connecting with people, building authentic relationships, and offering a path for building and maintaining a more harmonious sense of health and wellbeing.

If someone is new to Acupuncture, what can they expect at an Initial Session with you?

A lot of things!  First, some paperwork :) As this is a whole system of medicine, it’s very important to know about your health history, as well as where you find yourself presently.  

Secondly we talk about what you’ve taken care and time to write down for me.  And I’ll ask a number of questions.

To further understand your particular pattern diagnosis, I take your pulse, on both wrists –a very important pillar of diagnosis in Chinese medicine.  As well as look at your tongue – another wealth of information.

From there I formulate a treatment plan, and we begin!  After the needles are inserted, you rest. When I return to remove the needles we discuss a treatment plan, and when it’s best for you to return.  

When I feel it’s beneficial I prescribe herbs.  However, I typically do not do this at your first appointment, as I like to see how you respond to the acupuncture alone, first.

Of course, the most common question we get when talking about Acupuncture is 'does it hurt?'

Much of the time there is little to no sensation when the needle is first inserted.  However, it is actually beneficial to feel “qi” on the needle once it’s been inserted - which may be experienced as a dull, achy sensation lasting a few seconds.  If there ever is a needle that is uncomfortable, I ask patients to let me know, and I can make a slight adjustment.

This ancient medicine, which is possibly 3,000-5,000 years old (accounts vary), has been proven to treat a myriad of imbalances in the body. Can you tell us some of the more common disorders you treat?

Yes, Chinese Medicine is a whole system of medicine unto itself – which means that in theory it treats any condition.  The only condition we are not legally able to treat in this country is cancer. However, we are able to treat side effects from cancer treatment, as well as pain management or other associated symptoms of the disease.

Some of the most common conditions I treat are related to:

Digestion

Insomnia

Musculoskeletal pain/injuries

Mental Health (anxiety, depression)

Stress Management

Women’s health (PMS, menopause, IVF, pregnancy wellness, labor induction)

Allergies

Colds

Addiction Recovery Support

Headaches/Migraines

Tell us 2 things we don’t know about you.

1. I spent one month in silent meditation in retreat.

2. I’ve traveled around the world.

How do you nourish yourself so you can keep on giving in all aspects of your life?

Good question!  It is not always easy, but I do my best to eat well, and sleep well. Taking walks has always been a refuge, and sitting meditation is imperative.  Attending to important relationships is also a big part of how I aspire to keep things in perspective.

Karen holds a Masters Degree from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, CA and is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist in the Commonwealth of MA. She holds a Diploma of Oriental Medicine nationally. Karen brings with her 12 years of clinical experience.

*Book with Karen on Tuesdays, Fridays + Saturdays