Thursday, January 17, 2013

Free Diabetes Seminar!

Start Reversing High Blood Sugar in 21 Days or Less!

Join Health Coach, Anne Brown, and discover how you can:
* Reduce BMI/weight
* Reduce or eliminate medications
* Reduce or eliminate the complications of diabetes
* Increase energy
* Restore self-healing systems
* Transform your spirit
* Enjoy a happier, healthier life!

Monday, February 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm
Contact Anne Brown for more information
301-712-9015, Ext 1026

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

March Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesdays:  Balancing Life Wellness Series

Topic:  Self Care:  You Deserve It!
When:  Wednesday, March 13 at 7:00 pm
Cost:  $10.00 

Do you often feel depleted and overwhelmed? Is much of your time taken up with caring for others, your job, your home? So often we put ourselves on the back burner, either thinking that we'll get to our needs eventually or convincing ourselves that a little "me" time is selfish.

Join psychotherapists, Pam McDonald and Kristi Hallman, for an evening of rejuvenation. Explore your barriers to self care and leave this workshop with practical strategies to nurture and prioritize yourself. As anyone who has ever flown knows, one of the first rules of safety is to put the oxygen mask on yourself first!

February Wellness Wednesday

Wellness Wednesdays:  Balancing Life Wellness Series

Topic:  Resolving Your Resolutions:  Living 2013 With Intention
When:  Wednesday, February 13 at 7:00 pm
Cost:  $10.00 

It’s been a month since the New Year started and more than likely you made some resolutions for change and growth in your life. How is it going? Many of us start the New Year with great intentions, and then…life has a funny way of getting in the way.

Join Kristi Hallman and Pam McDonald, psychotherapists, as we compassionately “get real” about how to incorporate lasting change in your life. Together, we will get to the heart of your resolutions and identify your key intentions to being your best self. You will leave this workshop with a renewed focus and practical strategies to achieve your goals.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Clinician in the Spotlight

Please Welcome Our New Massage Therapist, 
Tyler Holt, LMT!

Tyler Holt, LMT graduated from The Baltimore School of Massage in 2004 and from Frederick Community College with an A.A in Massage Therapy in 2010. He has been National and State certified since 2005 and in full time practice since that time. Since then he has continued his study in Craniosacral Therapy, Deep Tissue, Myofascial Release, and various forms of Energy Healing. He states that "even after initial training, the real learning continues with each new client you encounter, who are just as unique as the conditions they present."

All levels of training that Tyler has pursued, seek to help the individual in all aspects of their being. Every modality that he offers draws from Indian, Chinese, Native American, and Modern Western theories. Each person can benefit from a combined application of all of these approaches in a way that fits the needs of their daily life.

Tyler's approach to his work is one that allows him to learn and grow with the client. When asked to put his approach to Massage in a few sentences, he says that " My approach to the healing arts is something that fully involves, not only the client, but the practitioner as well. It is a systematic venture into the day to day habits and living requirements of the client thus creating a need to figure out a remedy that best suits them. Once the needs are determined, I seek to put that person in a state of empowerment by helping them become more aware of what must be done to create such a remedy. Regardless of how they feel after a session, if I am not helping them increase that type of necessary awareness, then I am not doing my job." He also says " My biggest goal in life is to help people. I love working with people from all walks of life because as I am helping them, they are simultaneously teaching me in some way." 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Using Reiki to Alleviate Seasonal Affective Disorder

Reiki is a gentle, hands-on energy healing modality that helps the body and mind relax, release and promote healing. A Reiki treatment is usually about 45-60 minutes in length and involves lying on a massage table fully clothed and receiving the healing energy from a Reiki practitioner. The practitioner uses a variety of gentle hand placements on or above the body to promote deep relaxation and stimulate the body’s natural healing capacity.

The Reiki healing approach can be easily taught to clients empowering you with a tool for self-nurturing. Reiki is beneficial to helping you manage depression as the energy is gently soothing and calming to the mind and the body. Within the peace-filled energy of a Reiki session, you may gain insights into your depressive thoughts or learn new information about where you may be resisting feeling certain emotions in your body. Kristi Hallman and Pam McDonald are Reiki Masters at Healing Circles that are available to help you experience and learn this healing system.

Pam McDonald: (301) 712-9015 ext. 1022,
Kristi Hallman:: (301) 712-9015 ext. 1012,

Using Meditation to Alleviate Seasonal Affective Disorder

When you are feeling depressed lots of difficult emotions can emerge—grief, anger, shame, sadness, worthlessness—your mind may feel like everything has slowed down but that you are not in control. It can be difficult to get up in the morning or enjoy activities that used to bring you joy. Often we then judge ourselves for having low energy and depressive thoughts, which only makes the depression worse.  To break this cycle, try introducing a gentle and compassionate mindfulness routine into your day. With mindfulness, we learn to become aware of and know more about our thinking patterns and beliefs. From awareness, we learn that we may have these thoughts, but they are not who we are—the thoughts and feelings, no matter how difficult, come and go. We learn that we can rest in awareness—a restorative spaciousness within each of us. There are many research studies supporting the benefits of a regular meditation practice to holistically reduce depression and increase energy levels.

Here is an example of a practice you can do any time anywhere. Just a few moments practicing this “Heart breathing technique” helps change your mood:

1) Focus on the area around your heart. Imagine that you are breathing in and out through this heart space. Notice, without judgment, what feelings are present as you begin this breathing process.

2) Think of someone or something that you love and care about. (It could be a loved one, family member, friend, pet, or place). Allow that feeling of love to amplify as you breathe it in and out through the heart.

3) As you get a sense of this love feeling, let go of it being about that particular idea and let yourself feel the sense of love flowing from within. Let that feeling expand to fill your body, visualizing the love as warm, gentle flowing energy filled with light. Notice any changes in your sense of well being.

There are lots of ways to meditate and it is easy to learn. Some of the clinicians at Healing Circles integrate mindfulness practices into their work with clients. Pam McDonald, LCSW-C offers a 30-day meditation coaching program to support clients in getting started on a meditation practice that fits their needs. The coaching series and an ongoing drop-in meditation group are offered regularly at Healing Circles.

Pam can be contacted at (301) 712-9015 ext. 1022 or For more information on the services Pam offers visit her website,

Here Comes That Feeling Again; Seasonal Depression

Seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder that occurs at certain times of the year, usually in winter.  Often the symptoms begin in the late autumn or winter months and build up slowly.  The symptoms of SAD are the same symptoms that occur with other forms of depression. You may notice your appetite increases, you require more sleep, you feel sluggish and unmotivated, you have a loss of interest in your normal activities, and you feel unhappy and/or irritable.  For many SAD sufferers the symptoms become more noticeable after the holiday season when daily life returns to a more normal pace. 

Currently there is no medical test for SAD.  Your mental healthcare provider can make a diagnosis by asking about the history of your symptoms.  It is also important to see your primary care provider for a complete physical exam to rule out other disorders that are similar to SAD.

The treatment for SAD is similar to the treatment of other types of depression.  Talk therapy and medication when clinically indicated are two treatment strategies that can be effective.  You can also manage your symptoms by eating a healthy diet, exercising, avoiding alcohol and drugs, spending time with people who are caring and positive, and getting proper rest and relaxation.  Alternative therapies such as massage, Reiki, and acupuncture can also be beneficial in the treatment of SAD. The clinicians at Healing Circles Wellness Center understand the symptoms and management of SAD and encourage you to seek treatment for beating the  “winter blues”.

Lynda Artusio, MS, RN, PMHCNS, is a registered nurse providing counseling to individuals, couples, and families. She can be contacted at (301)712-9015 ext. 1040.

An Herbalist's Approach to Supporting Mood Health in Winter

     Seasonal mood issues can result from many different scenarios, so an herbalist likes to cover all bases to ensure a happy mood throughout the winter.  Many foods, supplements, and herbs can have a profound impact on quality of life through the darker months.  Vitamin D-3, commonly known as the "sunshine vitamin" is often deficient in those with seasonal affective disorder.  We get vitamin D mostly through our skin's exposure to the sun, so body levels can be sub par in the winter and in those who avoid sun exposure.  It acts like a hormone in the body, ensuring calcium absorption and bone health, balancing and supporting the immune system, and impacting mood levels.  I recommend 1,000-2,000 IU of vitamin D per day in the winter to maintain healthy levels.

      Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that help to maintain a functional nervous system and a positive outlook.  They also determine the structure and functioning of every cell in your body, most importantly the heart and brain.  All nerves are coated in a fatty sheath made up of omega-3 fats.  Because of this importance, an absence of these fats can lead to blood sugar imbalances, mood issues, hormonal issues, joint pain, dry skin, heart disease, etc.  Omega-3 fats are found in cold water fatty fish like cod, salmon, sardines, mackerel, and in flaxseed and walnuts.  It is best to get them in your diet, but to address a mood issue you will probably need to supplement for a while.  Look for a fish oil based supplement that is cold-processed, tested for impurities like heavy metals and PCBs, and contains vitamin E to prevent against oxidation.  You will want at least 800-1,000 mg daily of EPA and DHA combined.  For mood issues, you will want to take more EPA than DHA.  

     B vitamins are another group of vitamins that play an essential role in producing neuro-tranmsitters like serotonin or GABA for balanced mood health.  They also help supply energy to the body and combat fatigue.  You can get them from foods like cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage), meat and dairy products, black strap molasses, whole grains, and beans.  

     In addition to ensuring adequate nutrient intakes, an herbalist has many strategies to support a healthy mood with herbs.  These include supporting healthy circulation, supporting liver detox and digestion, and encouraging a healthy nervous system.  In the cold temperatures of winter, blood can stagnate and become viscous, causing a feeling of lethargy and depression.  In addition to engaging in healthy exercise to keep the blood flowing, herbs like cayenne, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and turmeric can encourage circulation of blood to all tissues, especially the brain.  Like unclogging a drain, the herbs help the blood move wastes away from tissues and bring new oxygen to the tissues to be used.  These spicy herbs can also help break up stagnant mucus in the digestive system.  

     Many herbs help support a healthy nervous system by supplying minerals, reducing inflammation, increasing blood flow to the brain, and supporting the health of the nerves.  Depending on your unique constitution and needs, your herbalist will match the herbs to you.  Commonly used herbs for seasonal mood issues are Lemon Balm, Gotu Kola, Mugwort, Lavender, Ginkgo, St. John's Wort, Skullcap, Green Tea, and Oats.  Herbs for mood health are generally stimulating and relaxing at the same time, and help coordinate communication between the tissues and the brain.  They help provide a feeling of alert relaxation and well-being that comes from being balanced.

     And finally, any good herbalist should optimize liver detoxification and digestion.  If food is not being metabolized well to turn into energy, and toxins are not being transformed by the liver, then a feeling of stagnation and blah will develop.  This can manifest as headaches, mental fog, depression, inflammation, constipation, IBS, sleep issues, etc.  An herbalist will make sure your liver is supported with bitter herbs like dandelion, burdock, milk thistle to assist in the removal of toxins and proper fat digestion, and aromatic herbs like chamomile, ginger, and cardamom to ensure the full break down and absorption of foods.

     In addition to diet, herbs, and supplements, a healthy mood comes from a balance of deep rest and healthy movement.  Make sure you engage in some type of regular exercise or activity, and then follow that up with a good 8+ hour sleep.  Deep sleep helps us regenerate our tissues and nervous system for optimal functioning, and exercise circulates the blood regularly and releases endorphins that contribute to a healthy mood.  Tilt the balance slightly towards rest in winter to reflect the activity of nature.  Focus on quiet reflection of the year and planning for the year ahead.  Be gentle with yourself in winter by adjusting expectations and giving yourself permission to do nothing or to feel those emotions you are trying to ignore.  Winter is also a great time to finish grieving processes that got cut short by time constraints.  Sometimes if you relax and allow yourself to sink down to the bottom, you can spring off once you get there and come all of the way back up.  

Susan Hirsch is a Clinical Herbalist and Certified Nutrition Specialist. She can be reached at  (301)-712-9015 ext. 1016 or For more information about Susan's services visit her website