Friday, March 8, 2013

Kids' Meditation Group

If you are between the ages of 9 and 15, and have always had the feeling that you were different, this is the group for you!  You may have feelings of anxiousness and feel that you are “uber-aware” of the feelings of others.   Perhaps you love to be creative and have difficulty focusing in school.  This is the group for you!   Come and learn that your sensitivities and intuition are a actually GIFTS!     

Through meditation, the arts, and your imagination, you will learn tools to set healthy boundaries, build self-confidence, and importantly, meet others who share your creative inspiration. 

When: Every other week. 

Where:  Healing Circles Wellness Center

Who: Kids of all ages! 

Cost:  $110.00 for all 4 classes, or $35.00 per class. 

For information/Reserve a space:
Contact Christy Van Horn:  443-896-3058 Email:

Fibromyalgia Support Group

Living with fibromyalgia creates many challenges both physically and emotionally. This 8 week support group will provide an opportunity for participants to explore the challenges of fibromyalgia in a supportive and safe environment. If you would like to gain support and understanding while learning new strategies to manage symptoms, increase resiliency and improve your quality of life, then this group is for you.

Start date: Monday March 18th 
Registration deadline: March 11th (space is limited)
Cost: $50 per session
For more information or to register contact Kristi Hallman, LCSW-C at 301.712.9015 x 1012 or

An Integrative Approach to Self-Care: Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists are skilled at activity analysis, and coming up with adaptations of activities and environments, so that people can do the things they need to do or want to do, better.  When life gets hard due to illness, disability, or even stress, modifying the expectations for oneself AND the activities one is expected to do every day, becomes essential.  With knowledge of how the brain and body interact to accomplish every day tasks, including self-care and other activities of daily living, occupational therapists have the skills to make recommendations about HOW to do activities, the TYPES of activities to do that will promote recovery & optimal function, and how to change WHERE the activities are being done.  Simple principles of energy conservation, biomechanics, and sensory processing may be applied to every day life to improve a person’s daily experience so they “feel” better.  When people “feel” physically better they may become less anxious and may be more motivated to participate in their every day activities. Occupational Therapy offers practical strategies and can be a way of supporting people of all ages to live their lives to fullest.

Kelly Beins, OTR/L can be contacted at 301.712.9015, ext. 1028, or,

An Integrative Approach to Self-Care: Nutrition

The end of winter is in sight, even if a last snowstorm fights a rearguard battle. Within a couple of weeks, nature will start its annual spectacular rebirth. It will take just two months for it to come out of hibernation and bring new life, colors and a bristling activity into our world.

One can just imagine the black bear coming out of its den with a yawn, stiff legs, blinking eyes, and sniffing left and right to make sure the time has come.

Satisfied, the black bear returns to its lair, sniffs again and says: "Wow, time to let some fresh air in!"
For most of us, winter is a long period of seclusion, with thick layers of clothing, little outdoor activity, heavy food, darkness, closed doors and windows, and the constant humming of the heating system.

Let's get ready to come out of hibernation! Let's take the greatest possible advantage of spring, that blessed season when we can shut off heating and air conditioning, dust off the house, get rid of dispensable junk, and start our annual self care of body and mind.

Here's what I suggest you do and, if you are remotely like me, you will feel happy and energized in no time:

"Spring clean" your body: Give your system a break from rich and heavy foods by cleansing for a short period. Cleansing will tune up your body to "spring and summer" mode. Make green juices and smoothies, drink lots of warm water with lemon, and eat vegetable soups for dinner, hot or raw. Eliminate your alcohol intake for a while, and watch as an easier digestion boosts your energy level.

Open the windows: Literally. The same stale air has been going around in a closed circuit for months. As the black bear says, time to let some fresh air in. Even if your heating system is still working, shut it off, every day; open the windows on every floor, in every room for about 10 minutes to create a draft. Also, keeping your bedroom window open at night will help you breathe better in your sleep and feel decongested as you wake up.

Get out of your den: Stiff limbs? Take a walk every day and you will see how fresh and cold air stimulates your blood circulation and clears your mind. Excellent for your health and essential if you feel down.

Schedule time for You: We are all overwhelmed, except for a few precious moments when we decide not to be. You can't keep running on the same batteries for ever, you need recharging. This means time for you, and no one else, in a secluded place. It could be music, a book, meditation, a hot bath, yoga, crochet or a walk in the woods (watch out for bears!). Shut off your computer, cell phone, IPods, spouse and children for a few moments every day. You deserve it.

Watching nature get back to life is fascinating, even if you live in an urban environment. Birds are busy like never before, they have a lot on their plate. Daffodils are sprouting everywhere. Even if our way of life tends to shield us from seasonal changes, let nature's rebirth enter your home, your body and mind. Open the windows and shake off the dust.

You will be more in harmony with nature.

Anne Brown, HC, AADP, can be contacted at 301.712.9015, ext. 1026 or,

An Integrative Approach to Self-Care: Meditation

Incorporating meditative moments into your life can be as simple as a walk in your neighborhood where you silently observe nature, sitting quietly with a cup of tea or coffee—and savoring every sip, pausing to acknowledge your blessings at the beginning or end of your day, or having a joy-filled laugh with family or friends. You may also want to set aside 10-15 minutes a day to sit quietly with yourself in a more formal meditation practice. It is the quality of your attention that makes these activities a meditation: When you focus on the present moment and bring your full awareness into your everyday acts, you are doing an active meditation. Meditation is the conscious act of bringing your awareness to your senses and thoughts and feelings with acceptance, compassion and non-judgment. It is the experience of being fully present with yourself and your inner world.

Why is meditation important? Researchers are finding that practicing meditation on a regular basis can promote relaxation, increase energy, support the immune system, activate higher brain function, and increase resiliency.

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.

An Integrative Approach to Self- Care: Reiki

Reiki is a gentle, hands-on energy healing modality that helps the body and mind relax, release stress, and promote healing. You may receive a Reiki treatment from a trained Reiki practitioner or learn Reiki through a class and give yourself the healing energy. A Reiki treatment is usually about 45-60 minutes in length and involves receiving the healing energy through your hands or from a Reiki practitioner. The Reiki energy promotes deep relaxation and stimulates the body’s natural healing capacity.

Reiki is a wonderful modality for self-care because it is easy to learn and use for self-healing and relaxation. It is gently soothing and calming to the mind and the body. Kristi Hallman and Pam McDonald are Reiki Masters at Healing Circles. They are available to help you experience and learn this healing system. 

Pam McDonald, LCSW-C can be contacted at 301.712.9015, ext. 1022, or,

Kristi Hallman, LCSW-C can be contacted at 301.712.9015, ext. 1012, or,

An Integrative Approach to Self- Care: Herbs

1) Facial steam. Combine raspberry leaf, calendula blossoms, chamomile blossoms, comfrey leaf, and a bit of lavender. Pour very hot water over 1/2-1 cup of herbs in a small bowl. Put a towel over your head, close your eyes, inhale the steam, and relax. Enjoy until the heat dissipates. Splash with cold water to close the pores.

2) Soak your feet in epsom salts. Add ginger or cayenne powder to the water to really heat things up.

3) Massage your body with oils. Give yourself one or beg one from someone. Use almond or olive oils and add 5 drops of lavender or sandalwood essential oil.

4) Drink Holy basil tea if your spirit needs lifting. This tea is calming, helps balance the body, and gently lifts the spirit.

5) Passionflower, hibiscus, skullcap, valerian, and lemon balm may help relax muscles and lower blood pressure.

6) Nettle tea contains calcium and magnesium, which helps to relax muscles and induce sleep. It also contains minerals to replenish the hair that fell out from stress.

7) If you are so stressed and anxious that you can't sleep, try ashwagandha caps, or passionflower tincture to lull you to sleep.

8) If you have a heavy cloud over your head and can’t see the light, St John’s Wort may be able to bring some sun rays into your life.

9) Hawthorn leaf and flower, rosehips, raspberry leaf, and roses are all in the rose family, and help to support the heart muscle, ease anxiety, and soothe grief.

10) When in dire straits with anxiety and panic, kava kava can step in and totally change the game! It's not for long term use, but can really help when you're in a bind!

Susan Hirsch, LDN, can be contacted at 301.712.9015 ext. 1016 or,

An Integrative Approach to Self- Care: Psychotherapy

Stress - everyone has it.  Whether it is managing the details of happy events, handling day to day tasks, experiencing relationship difficulties or dealing with loss or trauma, stress can have a profound impact on the way people feel and experience life.  Often people tell themselves that stress is a part of life, so they should just be strong and carry on. The reality is that everyone needs support at one time or another and psychotherapy can be a wonderful resource for individuals wanting to reduce the stress in their lives. A psychotherapist offers a safe and confidential place to explore your thoughts and feelings. Through this relationship, you will have the opportunity to identify and understand the stressors in your life, identify negative thinking patterns that may contribute to your stress, develop positive communication skills to improve relationships and reduce conflicts, develop coping skills which can strengthen your resiliency, and learn to prioritize yourself while you develop self-care and stress management techniques

Kristi Hallman, LCSW-C can be contacted at 301.712.9015 x 1012 or

Clinician in the Spotlight

Laura A. Michie, M.Ed. M.A., CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist

Laura Michie is delighted to be with Healing Circles Wellness Center.  Laura is a certified speech language pathologist who treats both children and adults who present with communication disorders due to stroke, head injury, Alzheimer ’s disease, autism, cerebral palsy, speech and language developmental delays, and progressive neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.  Laura strongly believes that communication is vital for a fulfilling life and that speaking, hearing, understanding speech, reading, and writing connect us to what is most important – our families, friends, jobs, schools, and communities.

Laura earned her M.Ed. in speech language pathology in 1984 from the University of Virginia.  As a graduate student, she completed an externship at the Veteran’s Hospital in Richmond, Virginia.  Her Clinical Fellowship Year was completed at the Northern Virginia Easter Seal’s Society.  Laura has 28 years of experience including employment with the INOVA Fairfax Hospital System, Johns Hopkins Home Care and Pediatrics at Home, and the Copper Ridge Institute.  She was a Senior Therapist at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and, while at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, she served as a Faculty Instructor for the Pediatric Series.  In 2006 Laura completed a second Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.

It is Laura’s goal to provide quality, compassionate treatment that is designed to meet the needs of the individual in a safe and nurturing environment.  As a licensed speech language pathologist, her professional services qualify for reimbursement through most insurance plans.  Please visit Laura’s website at  

You may contact Laura with any questions that you may have regarding her practice at, 301-712-9015 (ext 1030) or 301-471-3169.