The Importance of Weight & Metabolic Balance in Female Reproductive Health

By Leigh Lewis NMD, L.Ac., FABORM, RYT

The role of weight in all aspects of female reproduction has been validated by science for several decades with both underweight and overweight body habitus causing problems.  Being underweight has been linked with a relative hormone deficiency what can lead to thin uterine lining and irregular ovulation and menses, therefore interfering with fertility.  Adipose tissue, most notably abdominal fat, has been linked to excess production of estrogen which can also lead to issues with ovulatory and cycle irregularity and decreased fertility.  Once pregnant, body weight should increase for most patients by 25-35 pounds, however, women who are underweight at the time of conception may need to gain more, with overweight women needing to gain less or sometimes, simply maintain their pre-pregnancy weight.  Pregnant women who are underweight are at a higher risk for having a miscarriage, an underweight baby or a preterm birth.  Being overweight confers an increased risk for miscarriage, gestational diabetes and hypertension, preeclampsia, C-section, and an overweight baby. There are also increased risks to the baby born to an overweight mother: diabetes and metabolic syndrome (high cholesterol, blood sugar imbalances, hypertension, overweight) in child- and adulthood. In a recent study, the CDC concluded that 50% of American women gain too much weight in pregnancy.  Oftentimes, excessive weight gain during pregnancy is difficult to lose in the post-partum and can be further compounded by subsequent pregnancies. Finally, many women gain weight during the months or years of hormonal fertility treatments…this weight can be the most difficult to lose.

In general, recommendations are for women to maintain a “normal body weight” as indicated by a body mass index between 18.5-25, although individual variability may dictate otherwise.  This would be a weight between 120-140 for a woman who is 5’6”. However, there are individual issues that might change this recommendation; for example, a female body builder will have a higher muscle to fat ration and since muscle weighs more than fat, she would likely have a higher healthy body weight. Your provider can help determine your ideal weight range.

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Diet and exercise are often the first recommendations made to women and while this is typically good advice, many women are frustrated because usually they have tried it all before.  An important and often neglected first step is to make sure there aren’t any underlying metabolic issues that might predispose one to having weight issues.  Lab analysis of Vitamin D, thyroid function, cholesterol, glucose and insulin can provide insight to underlying factors that could make weight loss or gain more difficult.  Radical diets may help one achieve initial goals, but are difficult to maintain for the long-term and may lead to nutritional deficiency.  In fact, most current research suggests that a sensible, whole-food, Mediterranean-style diet is the best for promoting and maintaining both a healthy weight as well as general health, including fertility and pregnancy.  Some individual variations may be necessary; women with PCOS for instance often fair better with a higher protein/lower carb diet.

In general, one does not have to even achieve a “normal” body weight to see improvement in ovulation, menses and fertility, including improving the success of in vitro fertilization treatments: improvement can be seen with as little as 5-10% weight change.  This is good news, but can seem daunting to many nonetheless, and getting assistance from a team of professionals at least initially may be the best course.  As many of us know, what to eat is only part of the issue for most…we all know less sugar and alcohol and more fruits and vegetables would be beneficial, portion size matters, exercise is important. You likely have heard it all before and could probably tell your best friend or daughter or mom the keys success. The issue isn’t so much how to eat better and exercise more, it is why can’t we implement what we already know we should be doing.  There are several studies that illustrate the positive impact individual or group therapy can have in changing lifestyle behaviors is a way that can have long-lasting health impacts.  In addition, while it may seem like a luxury to have a personal trainer, a series of 4 weekly sessions or joining small group trainings geared for women can set you up to have success with your workouts instead of just grinding out miles on the treadmill.  Some trainers can also help set up individual meal plans.  Finally, stress, both physical and mental can play havoc with the hormones that affect both weight and fertility, adding a mind/body practice to any regimen is a great place to start, whether it be as part of a group or as a home practice.

The bottom line is if you are concerned that your weight may be negatively impacting your reproductive health and fertility or you simply are trying to re-establish your pre-pregnancy weight for general health reasons, consider making an appointment to discuss your individual goals with one of the practitioners here at ilumina and please see resources below for other specialists offering programs to help you meet your goals.


Farrah Hauke, PsyD – offering individual therapy and a 4-week workshop series on psychological strategies to lose weight & keep it off. 480.659.5107; www.arizonapsych.com

Lindsey Cusey & McKenzie Smalley - Personal Trainers/Nutrition Consultants *offers a discount to ilumina patients; www.fithappygirl.com

Donation-based Yoga + Mindfulness classes for women @ Kinfolk Chiropractic, Tuesdays 6:30pm, to RSVP email leighklewis1@gmail.com

The Libido Recharge, Part I

By Dr. Dana Price DOM, Dipl.O.M., L.Ac.

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The #metoo movement has really opened my eyes to how prevalent sexual trauma is for girls and women in our society with incidents ranging to very forceful and overt, to the subtle sprinklings on day to day life. I have my #metoo experiences and have been investigating how these experiences have encouraged me to suppress and shut down my fierce, blossoming and powerful sexual force. I wonder what the fully unhindered and empowered sexual me would look like. I do not have the answers and know that this process will unfold and recreate itself with time- as the feminine does. I encourage you, during this month of the expression of love and coupledom, to look within and investigate your sexual energy and what you would look like to be fully unencumbered and empowered.

I am engrained in Chinese medicine and have spent my adult life viewing the world through the interplay of Yin and Yang. A dark and cold wintry day is an opportunity to go within and nourish the Yin, a day that I want to be outside riding my bike in the wind of a sunny spring day gets my Yang recharged. Mental, physical and emotional health arises out of this interplay and when something is off- your Yin/Yang balance is disrupted.

So what happens when there is the lack of desire to have a fulfilling sexual experience or your body just does not respond? There are reasons related to unresolved trauma that are beyond the scope of this blog, so I am going to address the Yin/Yang imbalance that can arise and manifest as three main patterns. The first and most common is being too stressed and therefore your Qi (part of the Yang system) gets stuck. The second is not feeling from Yin deficiency and a woman can not feel sexy and confident enough for sex, and thirdly being Yang deficient and too tired for sex. In this first part of a series of three we will take a look at the libido being suppressed because of stress.

If you are feeling too stressed for sex you need to get your stuck Qi moving. In particular we call it your Liver Qi. Something I hear from my patients is that the desire for sex is low until they get warmed up and once they get going everything is fine. This is Qi stagnation. The Qi gets moving and you feel better.

Exercise is great for this. Get your blood pumping and do higher intensity endurance exercises like power yoga, running, spin class and the like. Be sure to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day and get your 10,000 steps in per day.

A plant based diet is best; focusing on 70-80% of each meal as vegetable based, while avoiding dairy and refined foods. Good foods to move Qi include: broccoli, cauliflower peppermint, radish, tomato, celery, asparagus, lemon, brown rice and chia seeds. Avoid caffeine, that morning coffee stagnates Qi and is infamous for exacerbating PMS symptoms and fibrocystic breasts. If you need the ritual of coffee I recommend organic cold-brew.

Avoid toxins: skip the plastic bottles, check and see what you are putting on your body- go organic as much as possible on all of your beauty products. To find what is best check out the Skin Dee section of www.ewg.org. Also, change your pads and tampons to organic, if you do nothing else do this.

Meditate and have some downtime. Where is your happy place? A nice bath, reading a book, having sex? Spend some time each day nourishing yourself.

Supplement with some vitamins: calcium and B vitamins get depleted with stress so make sure that in addition to taking your multivitamin you take extra calcium and a B complex.

Acupuncture & Massage: here at ilumina we work with stress and anxiety on a daily basis and we know that our acupuncture and massage really help break the stress cycle and sustain relaxation. Even better is to supplement these therapies with Chinese herbs.

If you find that you fit into this imbalance of Qi stagnation give yourself 3 months to journal on your vision of your full sexual expression, exercise, eat clean, meditate, and follow the other steps and see the change.

In my next two blogs I will write on the other two patterns that are frequently encountered at ilumina. 

Acupuncture and Transfer Day

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By Charlene Hagner M.Ac., Dipl. O.M., LaAc.

       Transfer Day can be full of many different emotions. Women can have a range of emotions from excitement, anxiousness, and even a range of both. Having a moment to breathe and experience some relaxation before and after the transfer is wonderful, and a small benefit compared to the biological benefits of acupuncture on the day of transfer. Acupuncture increases the blood flow to the uterus. Research has been done, by using a Doppler to detect blood flow before and after treatment, showing an improvement of blood flow to the uterus and ovaries after a treatment. Treatments given before and after transfer help to improve patients' response to IVF medications, and the chances of pregnancy.

A two year case study, involving our clinic and a top rated Fertility Clinic in the valley, showed a 10% increase of pregnancy rates when using Acupuncture day of transfer. ilumina Healing Sanctuary has continued a valued reputation with fertility doctors in the valley for two decades, and we support in making the process as easy and comfortable as possible.  All of our practitioners have extensive experience in IVF transfers and supporting with acupuncture in a clinical setting. 

It is important to contact us when you know the date of transfer to reserve the time for transfer day services. We meet with patients 45 minutes ahead of the frozen embryo transfer, so the Acupuncturist has plenty of time for the treatment and the patient stays an extra 30 minutes after the transfer to receive the second acupuncture session. 

Let us know how we can support you through your fertility journey. Call or email us with any questions. 

It’s Thyroid Health Month: What is a “normal” thyroid function?

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By Leigh Lewis ND L.Ac. Naturopathic Doctor

Most patients have had thyroid function testing prior to seeking assistance at ilumina, whether it is for fertility issues, difficulty losing weight, mood and energy issues or simply as part of a general check up.  However, there is much confusion amongst health care providers and patients regarding what constitutes normal function tests. In fact, recent research suggests that patients can be experiencing significant symptoms such as those mentioned above even when the results are normal and may be able to safely take and benefit from thyroid replacement. This is why we often request patients bring in their results or get new testing even if they have been told that all their thyroid testing is within normal range.

The thyroid can be through of as the gas pedal to many bodily functions.  It’s hormones increase heart rate, bone turn-over, basal metabolic rate, cognition, digestion, reproductive function, etc.  When there are not enough thyroid hormones, these processes slow down and when there is too much, they speed up.  The tricky thing is, two individuals can have the same thyroid hormone levels and one feels great and the other feels terrible.  Individual biochemistry dictates these differences and our current lab testing is based on pooled population data, therefore, often missing individual nuances.

A quick explanation on thyroid function testing:

Typically we here at ilumina recommend the following tests:

  • TSH – thyroid stimulating hormone:
    • This is a hormone produced by the brain to stimulate the thyroid to produce its own hormones such that when thyroid hormones levels are low, TSH levels rise and when thyroid hormones levels are high, TSH levels drop.
  • Free T3 and T4 – triiodothyronine and thyroxine
    • These hormones are produced by the thyroid, T4 is viewed as a precursor to T3, which is more biologically active and potent, T4 is converted to T3 via an enzymatic reaction…some people have difficulty making this conversion, necessitating a combination of T3 + T4 for replacement.
  • Thyroid antibodies:
    • These immune cells represent a common cause of thyroid disease; produced by the body, they attack specific mechanisms in the production and function of the thyroid hormones such that activity is either increased (autoimmune hyperthyroidism) or decreased (autoimmune hypothyroidism).  Research suggests that the presence of these antibodies may explain symptoms of thyroid disease despite normal thyroid function tests.

There are several other thyroid tests that may be done other practitioners, but in practice it is our experience these do not lend much more information.

Confused? You should be.

Basically, it is important to remember that, while your thyroid function testing may be within the normal range, it doesn’t mean you would not benefit from a trial of thyroid replacement.  Some patients, like those with mood, weight and energy issues, will be monitoring symptoms to see if the replacement has a positive impact, others, like those with fertility issues, may not notice a day to day improvement in any symptoms, but the hope is that time to conception & risk of miscarriage will decrease.  Replacement can be done safely in those with initially normal labs because repeat labs will  detect over medication or if the dose needs to be increased. If thyroid antibodies are positive, anti-inflammatory supplement and diet measures may be helpful.

Thyroid function affects nearly all of our physical, psychological, and mental processes either directly or indirectly; talk to us today to review yours for a healthier tomorrow.

January is Thyroid Awareness Month

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Photo by {artist}/{collectionName} / Getty Images

This little butterfly shaped gland in your neck has many functions, so when it is malfunctioning the body feels the consequences, as many as 12.5% of Americans suffer with a thyroid disorder, and many people are undiagnosed. Some causes of thyroid disorder include: Autoimmune disease, gluten intolerance, stress, toxins, adrenal fatigue, and iodine deficiency.

The thyroid gland drives the metabolic rate of every single cell in your body, which is 37 trillion cells, so you can imagine symptoms like weight gain, male and women’s infertility, hair loss, depression, and chronic fatigue are some symptoms of a low and hyper functioning thyroid.

At ilumina Healing Sanctuary, we bridge Eastern and Western medicine making it easy to check your thyroid, and get help with any imbalances of your hormones. It’s important to get your thyroid checked regularly. The thyroid plays an important role in getting pregnant and maintaining pregnancy. New research suggests that a slightly underactive thyroid may affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant even when the gland is functioning at the low end of the normal range, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Chinese Medicine has come to the rescue, considering a study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which stated, “Cases of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and their immune function and thyroid function were observed. It was found that Chinese Medicine was able to reduce the thyroid antibodies in the peripheral blood of the patients with hypothyroidism and to recover their thyroid function”. Treating patients with Chinese Medicine can help lower anti-thyroid antibodies and regulate thyroid function

Check your thyroid frequently, maintain a healthy balanced gluten free diet, manage stress, and regular acupuncture treatments are important to keep the thyroid happy.

It is essential to keep the body balanced. Discussing these concerns with your Chinese Medicine practitioner may help you take control of your thyroid health.

Written by Charlene Hagner L.Ac., Dipl.OM

 

Transfer Day Acupuncture helps to increase chance of pregnancy by 10%

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Nearly 1.6% of all infants born in the United States every year are born using Assisted Reproductive Technology. Reproductive Endocrinologists are persistently looking for ways to increase couple’s success for pregnancy. Recently a two-year study was done in the Arizona Valley to determine the success of using acupuncture day of transfer. The total sample size was 396 patients with the minimum age of 23yo and the maximum age of 45yo, and an average age of 35yo. Those who did receive acupuncture before and after transfer improved their chances of pregnancy by 10%; compared to the group that didn’t receive acupuncture.

According to Manca di Villahermosa et al “failure of embryo implantation is considered the biggest challenge of reproductive medicine”.

IVF is a stressful process to the body and finding ways to relax and prepare the body for implantation are crucial. Acupuncture increases the blood flow to the uterus, increases endometrial-lining development, decreases spasms, and calms the patient. Many studies continually support the data that when ART is combined with Chinese Medicine the pregnancy rates are higher. Acupuncture not only improves the pregnancy rates, but also helps ease the anxiety of the patients.  Wherever you are in your fertility journey acupuncture will be helpful, if you are thinking about onsite acupuncture day of transfers, we will go to most doctors in the valley to offer our services.

By Charlene Hagner M.Ac., Dipl. OM. L.Ac.

 

Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy

Pregnancy symptoms differ from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy; however, one of the most significant pregnancy symptoms is a delayed or missed period. Understanding the signs and symptoms of pregnancy is important because each symptom may be related to something other than pregnancy. You may experience signs or symptoms of pregnancy within a week of conception. However, it is possible you may not experience any symptoms for a few weeks.

http://americanpregnancy.org/gettingpregnant/earlypregnancysymptoms.html

Dana Price to Present at The Scottsdale Fertility Forum

The Scottsdale Fertility Forum will be presented on June 15, from 8 to 11 am. Dana Price DOM, L.Ac., FABORM will be presenting as part of a panel of experts in the field. Follow this link for more information and to purchase your tickets. Scottsdale Fertility Forum Event

This is a rare opportunity to join the Valley's top doctors at an exclusive forum specifically about Fertility.

Acupuncture's Positive Effects on Fertility

Did you know that acupuncture's positive effect on fertility is related to:1) influencing hypothalamic function and regulating hormones 2) increasing ovarian and uterine blood flow 3) improving the endometrial environment 4) inhibiting uterine contractitility 5) modulating immune factors 6) reducing stress

Mayan Abdominal Massage and IUI/IVF

We are so fortunate to have a certified practitioner of Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Massage TM. Audrey Blanchard, LMT has had extensive training in this specialized modality. This is an article recently published that http://alignmentmonkey.nurturance.net/2011/maya-abdominal-therapy-and-iui-ivf

Acupuncture and IVF

One question that often arises at ilumina is how often to get acupuncture when going through an IVF cycle. The answer is simple and complex. Here is my general recommendation if you are starting an IVF cycle and the goal is to promote ovarian response, optimize hormones, and increase the quantity and quality of the the uterine lining. Please note that if  pathological hyperstimulation/ OHSS occurs acupuncture is an excellent treatment and can often "save" the cycle.

  • Ovarian Suppression phase- (around 4-6 weeks before egg retrieval) Acupuncture 2x per week
  • Ovarian Stimulation phase- (around 2 weeks before egg retrieval) Acupuncture 2-3x per week
  • One treatment between egg retrieval and embryo transfer
  • Acupuncture 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after embryo transfer (this is performed at the REI office by an ilumina practitioner)
  • One treatment 3-5 days after embryo transfer
  • Then once a week afterwords, if pregnant acupuncture once a week through the first trimester

For advance maternal age, poor ovarian response, elevated FSH, poor embryo quality or male factor infertility I would recommend a much more extensive treatment plan for 3-6 months before IVF which would include: acupuncture, individualized Chinese herbal formulas, vitamins and supplements, diet and exercise and meditation. For more information on how and why Chinese medicine is so effective for IVF preparation please see the book Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month program for Maximum Fertility. If you are looking for an acupuncturist in your area to support your IVF cycle please see the website for the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine's website. This professional organization credentials acupuncturists in reproductive medicine.  If you are interested in the research that shows the efficacy and mechanism of action for acupuncture and IVF please see the comprehensive review  of research put together by my friend and colleague Diane Cridennda L.Ac.For over 10 years ilumina Healing Sanctuary's practitioners have been treating male and female infertility and attending IVF embryo transfers. We have experience and trusted relationships with all of the fertility clinics in the greater Phoenix area. We look forward to working with you on your journey to parenthood.Dana Price DOM, L.Ac., Dipl.OM, FABORMilumina Healing Sanctuary7520 E Camelback RoadScottsdale, Arizona 85251(602)957-2602

Acupuncture in Pregnancy

Acupuncture and its parent medical system, Traditional Chinese Medicine, have a long and rich history in the treatment of women during pregnancy. There is explanation of the treatment of infertility with herbs as early as the Warring States Period (476-221 BC). Many early obstetrical texts have been lost but there is evidence that many existed before the Han dynasty (206 BC-221 AD) one being ‘Series of Herbs for Obstetrics’. Later during the Tang dynasty (618-907) the famous doctor Sun Si Miao wrote the ‘Thousand Golden Ducat Prescription’ which included three volumes dedicated to obstetrics and gynecology. More recently the integration of Western and Chinese medicine has been taking place since 1949 and many innovative treatments in obstetrics have been devised for example, the treatment of pain and nausea and vomiting with acupuncture, and the use of Chinese herbs for postpartum depression. Years of working as a Chinese medicine doctor has proved to me that acupuncture can not only promote the health of the mother and baby, but can effectively treat most of pregnancy aliments as well. Common disorders of pregnancy that we see at ilumina are: nausea & vomiting, fatigue, constipation, digestive disorders, insomnia, anxiety, depression, back pain, rib pain, edema, carpel tunnel syndrome, allergies, sinusitis, elevated blood pressure, gestational diabetes, varicose veins, headaches and migraines.

Sometimes I have patients ask if acupuncture is safe during pregnancy. When performed by a properly educated and experienced Chinese medicine doctor, I strongly believe that it is one of the safest and most effective medical treatments to utilize during pregnancy.

September 10 Lecture: Enhance Fertility with Dr. Dana Price

ilumina Healing Sanctuary Lecture SeriesTopic: Enhance Fertility

Date: September 10, 2012 Time: 6:00 to 7:00 pm Location: ilumina on Camelback

Dr. Dana Price DOM, L.Ac., FABORM will be presenting information on Enhancing Fertility with Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dana has been in practice since 1999 and has been sought after for her experience and expertise.

Please call 602-957-2602, or email office@iluminahealing.com to reserve your space.

Lecture Series Aug 13: Mayan Abdominal Massage

Mayan Abdominal Massage is an external, non-invasive massage modality that specifically addresses the uterine position and other internal organs to support the optimal flow of blood, lymph, and chi throughout the body.Some common symptoms/conditions this type of massage can benefit include displaced or prolapsed uterus or bladder, infertility, endometriosis, ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids, as well as pelvic or abdominal pain from previous surgeries or scar tissue. Join us August 13, at 6:00 pm at ilumina to learn more about this modality and how it can be a benefit to you. Spaces will be limited so please call 602-957-2602 to reserve your spot.

We are very excited to have the lecture series back in action, we are currently putting together a schedule of topics that promise to be informative and promising.

Also heading your way is a Infant Massage Class taught by our amazing massage therapist Audrey Blanchard.

The Lecture Series Returns July 9

Many of you may have been fans of the monthly lecture series here at ilumina.  Our break of information is over and we are now ready to meet and share. July 9, at 6:00 pm

Presenter: Dana Price DOM, L.Ac. FABORM

Topic: Infertility

Please Sign up at 602-957-2602, or office@iluminahealing.com, Space is limited.

On the Second Monday of each month we will be presenting lectures based on specific topics of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  You will need to sign up to attend.  These lectures will be free and will be an amazing opportunity to learn from our healing professionals.

Endometriosis and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Endometriosis is a common disease affecting 10-15 percent of menstruating women between the ages of 24 and 40 years old. It is a hereditary disorder and common symptoms include pelvic pain, infertility, painful menstruation and intercourse. The pain can range from relatively minor to severe which can negatively disrupt daily life and personal relationships. Diagnosis can be tricky and is sometimes given based upon symptoms and a skilled ultrasound reading but the gold standard is laparoscopic surgery. Allopathic medicine treats endometriosis by surgically removing the endometrial ‘plugs’ or with hormonal therapy.

Chinese medicine views endometriosis as a stagnation in the reproductive organs. The stagnation of Qi, Blood, Cold and/or Phlegm arises out of an underlying Kidney organ system deficiency. The tongue can have a purplish tinge especially towards the root and the pulse can have a bowstring quality.

Treatment revolves around correcting the root imbalance and includes acupuncture, Chinese herbs and supplements, abdominal massage, and nutritional recommendations that move the stagnation and restore the Kidney Qi.

Although this in itself will not get rid of endometriosis, Chinese medicine treatment can significantly reduce pain and other symptoms, decrease inflammation, and increase fertility.

Although Chinese herbs are always used in formulas consisting of multiple herbs and I formulate each for the individual, I wanted to share with you one of my favorites for endometriosis.

Yi Mu Cao (Leonuri Herba) the literal translation is ‘benefit mother herb’. It is effective for moving the stagnation caused by endometriosis and effectively treats heavy menstruation which is purple and clotty with pelvic pain. It can regulate menstruation and treat post partum pain. Please do not try this herb without consultation as there are contraindications and this herb is not suited for everyone.

Some nutritional and lifestyle recommendations are:

  • Eat an organic, whole foods, high fiber, plant based diet
  • Use ginger, turmeric, and flaxseeds
  • Avoid alcohol, red meat, caffeine, sugar and chocolate
  • Supplement with Vitamin E and Vitamin C
  • Exercise daily

Healing Through the Emotions

Join Marion on Monday evening for this free event that you do not want to miss! We still have a couple of spaces left so please call to register. (602)957-2602March 8, 2010  (Monday) 6-7:30pmatilumina Healing Sanctuary7520 E. Camelback RoadScottsdale, Arizona 85251Healing through the Emotions with Marion Light M.Ed.Our emotions, both conscious and unconscious play an important role in our learning. It is through the emotions that we gain deeper access to who we really are and what is important to us in our lives.  Living an inner guided life does not ensure an absence of difficulty in your life.  Leaving your emotions and tapping into your intuition will however allow you to move through these transitions with ease and grace without becoming unbalanced.  Come for an evening to learn about the emotional aspects of your physical, financial and relationship issues.

Fertility Healing Circle: Monday, June 15th

Women in Bloom is honored to offer a healing circle at ilumina Healing Sanctuary for women on their road to motherhood. Our intention is to create a safe and nurturing environment for women to receive comfort and support in their journeys. Something magical happens when our stories are witnessed in a neutral, loving and supportive environment. This enables us to listen and hear our own wisdom and to share that wisdom with others on the path of good health and emotional healing. This women's circle will include guided visualizations and will remain small to ensure personal attention.For more information or to sign up for the Fertility Healing Circle please call ilumina Healing Sanctuary at (602)957-2602.Monday, June 15th6:00pm to 7:00pmilumina Healing Sanctuary7520 E. Camelback RoadScottsdale, Arizona 85251(602)957-2602

Forgiveness Is an Act of Self-love

Ghandi wrote, “Forgiveness is choosing to love. It is the first sign of self-giving love.” True healing occurs when we have the courage to be present with all aspects of ourselves and move through the processes required to return to wholeness. In working with a diverse array of clients, I have found that often the most difficult step of the healing process is forgiveness. As difficult as it may be, forgiveness is necessary to free oneself from the painful emotions that have bound our lives and stifled our Spirit. Of course, once we let go and forgive, we become fully responsible for our own feelings and behaviors and can no longer make excuses or stay stuck in our patterns or stagnation. That can be daunting, so it is understandable that some people resist forgiveness and choose to remain comfortably stuck, but in doing so we limit ourselves, and our lives do not open fully to their potential.Many people hang onto anger and blame out of a misplaced sense of justice. A common misperception is that forgiving someone means accepting their behavior, or letting them off the hook. This is simply not so. We can forgive and also choose not to allow people into our lives who hurt or betray us. We can, if we wish, offer the kind of forgiveness that might free the person we are angry at, but the greatest impact is within. Forgiveness frees us from the low vibrational energies of anger, blame and resentment and allows our heart to open to a more joyful and expansive life.Carrying anger, hate or resentment in your heart will weigh heavily on your life, preventing you from truly healing and moving forward. When you have been hurt or betrayed, there is a process you can turn to in order to release the experience and find alignment with yourself again. The key steps are firstly, AWARENESS of what needs healing or what is holding you back. The second step is to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for the feelings that were triggered by the experience without blaming yourself or others. Next, it is essential to find TRUST in a deeper part of yourself, and know that you are more than your pain. Acknowledge the perfection of every experience and what it has brought to your life. It may be hard to imagine a painful experience as a ‘perfect’ experience, but this simply means that the experience ‘is what it is’ in the fabric of your life, and every experience is full of potential. It becomes ‘what you make it’ and that will shape the tapestry of your future. Seeing the greater picture of your being and your life will allow you to FORGIVE AND LET GO. The final step is to experience a RENEWAL or REMEMBERING of who you really are. In this state, all the energy you have bound up in anger, resentment and pain becomes available to you again in a pure and positive way, resulting in increased joy, vitality and enthusiasm. You find yourself more present in your life and trusting that your inner self can not only handle the experiences of life, but can appreciate them –all of them, for the great gifts they are. This is not an intellectual exercise, but an opening of your heart. It is a gift you give to yourself and your world.Love and Light,Marionwww.marionlight.comwww.womeninbloom.orgilumina Healing Sanctuary, located in Scottsdale, is a unique clinic that combines acupuncture, Traditional Chinese medicine, emotional wellness, general and fertility massage, and whole food nutrition. We are the only clinic in Arizona with board certified practitioners of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Our highly trained and experiences specialists provide therapies that support the body, mind and spirit through all phases of a women’s life.ilumina Healing Sanctuary7520 E. Camelback RoadScottsdale, Arizona 85251(602)957-2602

Upcoming Events

Please register early for these special events early as space is limited. (ilumina Healing Sanctuary: 602-957-2602) Unless listed, all special events are complimentary but donations are accepted and will take place at ilumina Healing Sanctuary. All donations received will be used to fund microloans for women starting businesses in developing countries through Kiva www.kiva.org.

Monday, June 8th 6:00pm-7:00pmIntroduction to Polarity Therapy with Marion Light

All living things are intricate arrangements of energy. Your physical body, thoughts, and feelings are all patterns of energy. When your energy fields are aligned in smooth-patterned states, their natural expression is health and happiness. However, when the patterns of your energy fields become chaotic or distorted by stressful life experiences, it can have a negative impact on your well-being. Polarity therapy works to restore the intregity and flow of your energy patterns using touch, toning, breathing and communication techniques. A comprehensive system of Eastern and Western modalities, polarity therapyworks to bring your energy field back into thier natural state of alignment.

Come for an evening with Marion Light and learn about the value of having a balanced energy system and how to connect to your own energy and imbalances. You will learn how to listen to your own body's messages and where you might be blocked in your life, on the physical, mental/emotional, financial or spiritual levels.

About Marion Light

www.marionlight.com

Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Marion Light has lived in the United States for 20 years. She has three adult children, a son, Roscoe and twin daughters, Kelsey and Megan.

As a young adult, Marion was a top athlete, selected to play for the national field hockey team. She earned her bachelors degree, with English and Physical Education as a double Major, and received her teaching credentials in South Africa, where she worked as an educator for five years. After moving to the United States, Marion taught physically and mentally challenged children for five years in Los Angeles while earning a Masters Degree in Education at Cal State.

It was after moving to Phoenix that Marion's own health issues compelled her to explore holistic healthcare and alternative therapies. She was drawn to pursue a life in the healing arts, and from that time on, she has felt her life has been divinely guided. She began to follow her intuition and studied energy medicine, including Master level training in polarity, cranial sacral and massage. She also began teaching classes in cranial sacral unwinding, polarity therapy and communications.

Marion feels her practice is the fulfilling of her life's purpose. For over 10 years, she has successfully helped men, women and children find deep relief from depression and anxiety, physical pain, illness, infertility, grief, childhood and sexual abuse, attention deficit disorder and many other issues. She is honored to guide individuals on a journey of self discovery, helping them achieve a greater state of well-being.

ilumina Healing Sanctuary, located in Scottsdale, is a unique clinic that combines acupuncture, Traditional Chinese medicine, emotional wellness, general and fertility massage, and whole food nutrition. We are the only clinic in Arizona with board certified practitioners of Oriental Reproductive Medicine. Our highly trained and experiences specialists provide therapies that support the body, mind and spirit through all phases of a women’s life.ilumina Healing Sanctuary7520 E. Camelback RoadScottsdale, Arizona 85251(602)957-2602