Thursday, March 21, 2013

Danibad, Ganeshpur (Thank you, Ganeshpur)

By Elizabeth Campbell

              On February 1st, I embarked on a 4 day journey that took me from Philadelphia to New York, New York to Doha, Qatar, Doha to Kathmandu, Nepal, Kathmandu to Dunghadee, and Dunghadee to Ganeshpur.  This journey included several vans and airplanes, as well as some walking once our final bus became stuck in the mud. This walk was accompanied by 3 drum players, 1 horn, multiple dancers, and an entire village.  I traveled with Beyond Asana, a yoga teacher training, as their counseling support on this service trip.  We fundraised thousands of dollars for Build On, an organization that promotes local and global education.  This fundraising resulted in 4 days of travel to break ground for the school being built in Ganeshpur, a rural village in Northwest Nepal.  It also transformed my perspective of the world and taught me true presence in communication.
              Nepal is dichotomous.  There are outstanding mountains and sacred sites, paired with extreme pollution and Third World living conditions.  The power rotates on and off every 6 hours.  Stray dogs run wild.  Toilets are a hole in the ground that flushes (if you are lucky).  The most disparate experience I had in Kathmandu was at Pashupatinath Temple, a temple to the Hindu God Shiva.  It is on the Bagmati River, which is considered the holiest of rivers.  Cremations occur on the banks of this river while hundreds watch.  It is an honor to have your loved one’s funeral there.  The river is clogged with pollution and stray monkeys and dogs feed on this despite funeral proceedings occurring all around.  Holy men painted white and orange meditate perched on sides of temples next to the homeless curled up, sleeping.  The beauty and the poverty intersect one another sharply.

                The dichotomy that I experienced in the village of Ganeshpur reinforced every counseling skill that I have acquired over the years.  We were able to verbally communicate very little with the inhabitants of Ganeshpur.  We had a small book of Tharu, the caste living in the village, expressions and our own creativity to work with.  Despite all of these limitations, I felt intense love from the people of Ganeshpur.  I have never been welcomed and acknowledged in such a manner before.  We were processed into the village and were then welcomed with singing, dancing, and speeches.  Two days later we had a farewell ceremony with even more speeches, dancing, and singing.  The next morning, we were processed out of the village in the same manner that we entered.  The entire village surrounded our bus to send us off.  We received tika, a ground red spice used to honor someone by anointing their forehead, and marigold necklaces 4 times in 4 days.  Our host families had so little to give, but showered us with bracelets and woven baskets.  Content was sparse in our conversations, but the relationship was there.  Our nonverbal communication was sufficient to express the connection, love, and grace that this school melded between us. 

                My travel to Nepal left me with the knowledge that the poorest of US Citizens live extravagantly compared to Third World countries.  Middle class individuals like you and I have more material possessions and luxuries than the villagers of Ganeshpur will ever imagine.   Conversely, the Nepali people are wealthy far beyond what Westerners conceive.  I am honored to have learned how to communicate unconditional love with nothing but a smile, the warmth of my eyes, and intention of my actions. 

                Elizabeth is a Licensed Professional Counselor at The Resiliency Center.  In her practice, she takes a strength-based and empowerment approach to serve children, families, and couples.  She specializes in trauma-informed and specific treatments, family therapy, play therapy, and creative counseling for adolescents.  Elizabeth combines her passions for yoga, service, and counseling through workshops that fuse yoga and emotional healing, the work with Build On described in this article, and with Yoga In Action.  YIA is a group created by Off the Mat and Into the World, a charity that promotes the yogic principle of seva, or service, by moving through the energy systems of the body to enable individuals to better help others by freeing themselves.  For more information, please contact Elizabeth via phone at 610-757-8163 or email at

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Micronutrients in Food and in the Test Tube

by Georgia Tetlow, MD

What we eat, how we eat and whether we can digest and absorb are key to maintaining and recovering health. After years of addressing chronic illnesses from rheumatoid arthritis to autoimmune thyroiditis, I see more clearly that finding balance within is crucial not only to basic wellbeing, but to gastrointestinal health. Well-being in the belly is the foundation for both healing long-standing illness and maintaining health.

How do I know if I’m getting the micronutrients I need? Do I need supplements or is my diet sufficient? I choose my food carefully, and eat well—how can I get more of the essential nutrients from what I eat?
One way to find out is to test for micronutrients. A micronutrient test addresses our unique nutritional status. It also helps individuals save money by eliminating unnecessary supplements.

Micronutrient testing looks at key vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, metabolites, fatty acids, amino acids, as well as carbohydrate metabolism (the latter can reflect an unhealthy diet or insulin insensitivity). Equally important, micronutrient testing examines white blood cells, which will show which micronutrients have made it all the way inside the cell—from the grocery shelf to their final destination where it matters most. Such testing allows a nutritional assessment that covers the last five or more months, that is much more powerful than a spot-check of nutrients and vitamins from a simple blood test. Many of my patients make changes and reductions in their supplements based on testing.

How do I balance my gastrointestinal tract from the inside out? I recommend mindful eating. If we are increasingly aware and present when we eat, we emphasize the “rest and digest” nervous system and can enjoy, digest and absorb to a much greater degree. Slowing down, sitting down, chewing, breathing and tasting our food are great ways to come back to our senses. The GI tract can then receive exponential increases in blood flow, and every aspect of balanced digestion, absorption and elimination is enhanced. Up to 70 percent of immune cells reside in the GI tract, so a healthy gut can translate to a healthier immune system.

Brief Bio
Georgia Tetlow, MD, is integrative physician at The Resiliency Center. She completed an integrative medicine fellowship at the University of Arizona, has a faculty affiliation at Thomas Jefferson and has expertise in mind-body medicine, herbal therapies and diets and energy medicine to address chronic illness, cancer recovery and pain. Visit [Link to:] , call (888) 702-7974 or email [Link to:].

Dancing Qigong This Spring

by Karen Steinbrecher

We dance and practice Qigong to lead us back to balance.  As we flow from winter into the green of Spring, seeds are sprouting to new life. We practice and dance movements that align our bodies to the organs. In TCM ( Traditional Chinese Medicine) that represent the Wood element Spring.  When we practice Qigong we work upon aligning body, mind and spirit, to balance Yin (Earth) and Yang (Heaven). 

The organs associated with the Wood element are the Liver (the Yin organ), and the Gall Bladder (the Yang organ).  Here, at the Resiliency Center, we practice various movements that align with our organs and their functions to help us move towards balance.  For example, the Liver filters and detoxifies the blood, and makes substances soluble for the transportation and excretion process of the kidneys.  This governs the free flow of Qi [energy that animates all life] which in turn ensures a smoother flow of emotions, blood, bile and water.  The Gall Bladder eliminates toxins in the body, emulsifies fats and regulates cholesterol levels.

We dance and practice various movements that align with the above-mentioned organs.  For example, we practice “Turning a Wheel of Light” for the Liver and for the Gall Bladder meridian, we dance “Bird’s Flight” as well as other flowing and stretching movements.

To experience the healing power of QiGong, you need to have in your mind a clear vision of what is happening to you.  In classical Chinese this would be called a vision of Heaven (Yang) and Earth (Yin).  In many ways, it is the same portrait of the cosmos as revealed by contemporary scientists. Following this thought on the balance of Yin and Yang- Heaven and Earth- the Qigong movement and breathing exercises help us to  return this energy to alignment.  When this balance is achieved, stress is reduced, and this helps us to increase the effectiveness of our immune system to ward off illness.  Research indicates that regular Qigong practice can help eliminate some types of chronic pain, reduce the need for medication, shorten postoperative recovery time, and even help to control diabetes.

Practicing Qigong can bring you back in touch with yourself; it enables you to let go of the increasing pressures and fast pace of life.  Think “green” this Spring and let go of stress as you dance QiGong. Here at the Resiliency Center there are several excellent therapists who practice  various types of support and can provide the help you may need to return to balance.  QiGong is led by Karen Steinbrecher who teaches classes on Thursdays @ 2 P.M. and 6:15 P.M. for 55 minutes.  Cost is $10.00