Nikkis Nature

A Place For Sharing Holistic and Healing Insights


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The Gluten-Free Trap

I am fortunate in that I have not yet had any sort of medical issue that has resulted in having to be tested for gluten sensitivity.  However, I have been a very clean and healthy eater for a long time now and this has caused me to naturally put a severe limit on the amount of wheat I eat.  I have found that when I abstain from eating wheat for a time and then reintroduce it, that I am much more prone to bloating and periods of low energy and low mood than when I stay away from it altogether.  My normal diet is probably what you would call pescatarian-  I do eat fish and I do eat eggs, but I don’t eat meat and I rarely eat wheat and dairy.  Anyway, I had the pleasure of having my brother from the west coast stay at my house for almost a month during this recent holiday season.  I enjoy having him around for many reasons, but one is that we have fun eating and cooking together because he is also a very health conscious eater.  We both eat with a concerted effort to support environmental incentives as well as for optimal nutrition, and we both enjoy a wide range of multicultural flavors and cooking styles.   My poor husband always tries to eat healthy but struggles to enjoy many of the curried and vegetarian dishes I like, so when my brother Ry is around I feel I have a partner in crime.  So Ry arrived, and I discovered he recently found out that he has allergies to wheat and dairy and needs to keep clear of them altogether.  This didn’t bother me as I already was pretty close to eating this way myself, save for the occasional pizza.  We did a great job of cooking and buying a lot of food that satisfied everyone’s requirements and still maintained a festive holiday atmosphere.  What I did realize, though, was this:  the number of processed gluten-free products that are readily available is now so high that you could potentially say that you stuck to a pristine gluten-free diet, but not be eating healthily at all.  It is such an easy trap to fall into the habit of filling up on delicious gluten-free cereals, snacks and rice cakes that you can still eat loads of carb-oriented calories and not be prompted to fill up on hearty, nutritious fruit and vegetable dishes.  I know that even my brother Ry, who cooks and loves to buy organic, whole food can easily get sucked into this buying pattern because it feels so convenient and easy and you are still technically adhering to your medical advice.   Here is my thought on the whole issue:  if you have a gluten intolerance, it is because your immune system has had some sort of breakdown where you can no longer function healthily while that substance is around.  Therefore, you need to work on boosting immune health from the ground up.  If you just replace all of your gluten foods with gluten-free products, you will not feel great and you may be prone to weight gain.  When I eat gluten-free processed foods, I experience the same sensations of bloat and low energy that I do when I eat wheat.  You need to replace your gluten foods with fruit and vegetable dishes, and only use the packaged gluten-free products in a pinch, not as daily staples.  In other words, it seems like people find out what the culprit is that is making them sick and feel that they are all set once they remove it.  I don’t believe this to be the real truth-  having allergies to otherwise normal food items is not a normal functioning state, so we need to remember that when a food allergy becomes a problem, we need to not only remove the allergen, but also greatly increase the richness of our nutritional intake in order to better support overall immune health.  I have found it easiest to do this by eating a lot of smoothies, salads, crockpot stews and baked vegetable dishes.  Fruits are easy enough to just eat on their own for your snacks, but the smoothies, salads, soups and baked dishes ensure that vegetables can be the highlight of each meal.  The same principles hold true for all food intolerances, and for the diets of children as well.  We can’t escape the basic ideas that unprocessed, organic whole foods are our greatest source of health, just like we can’t escape the fact that physical exercise is a necessity.  I think one of the reasons that health is such a huge focus and industry for us is because it so easily crumbles in today’s toxic environment.   I once worked with a nutrition teacher named Joan Palmer who taught “you can pay the grocer now or the doctor later”.  This will always be true, and I say there is no time like the present, so you know which choice I prefer.  Actually, I would say there is no time BUT the present… but that is a topic for another article.  🙂  I wish a peaceful and happy new year to you all, and welcome comments and discussions below to foster greater depth of thought and insight on gluten free products, food allergies, diet trends and healthy eating.  For personal help in meeting your health goals, peruse http://www.nikkisnature.com.


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Learning to Use the Mind to Heal the Body

Upon a friend’s recommendation, I have been reading the book “E-Squared” by Pam Grout.  This book is about energy, and specifically the energy of thoughts.  It is similar to “The Secret” in the sense that it promotes the idea that we can manifest what we’d like to happen in our lives by using the power of our thoughts.  The difference though, is in the format.  Instead of just teaching these truths, this book presents a series of actual exercises, or experiments that the reader is supposed to conduct in a very formatted way.  So you read a chapter, and then take the prescribed time, often 48 hours, to conduct a certain energetic thought experiment and record your results.  It is a very rewarding and inspiring practice!  Now, I did not need this book to convince me that my thoughts are useful in forming my reality, as I already believed this fully.  But this book is worth reading both for the novice as well as the savvy energy practitioner, as it reminds you of the depths of the extent of your influence, and it also serves to keep your awareness coming back to the manifestation abilities of your thoughts more and more often throughout the day, thereby increasing their effectiveness.    So far I have been impressed with the experiments.  In one experiment I had to set the intention to see a butterfly within the next 48 hours… well, what are the chances of seeing a butterfly in Connecticut in October?  Lo and behold, I opened a web page that suddenly fluttered beautifully with colorful butterflies as its opening… shortly thereafter as my children were returned home after a visit to their grandparents’ house, my daughter proudly revealed the new shirt her grandmother gave her-  you guessed it-  it had several pretty butterflies on the front, with the phrase “butterfly kisses” embroidered on it.  In another experiment, I was supposed to ask for something I want, and give the universe 48 hours to provide it.  I asked for 2 new clients to call and book sessions at my practice… this happened within an hour of my asking!  Anyway, re-engaging with the powerful energy of thoughts in this way has also reminded me that our thoughts may be our best medicine.  We can absolutely use our thoughts to have a positive effect on how our bodies will behave, how we respond to different situations, and on how we feel emotionally in tough situations.  We can actually use our thoughts to send healing energy into our own bodies to ease illness and injury.  Now, this is what Reiki practitioners do when they activate healing work, but you do not need to be one in order to have a physical healing influence on your own body using your mind.  The biggest obstacle seems to be that people doubt that they have the ability to do this.  My next thought was that this would be a wonderful concept to have people work on with hypnosis-  strengthening the underlying belief that your mind will be able to send healing energies wherever they need to go in the body, at will.  The session would involve actual practice at doing this while in a deep state of relaxation, bolstered by suggestions that these practices will effectively work for you whenever you wish.  My thought is that getting doubt out of the way could help many people to start using more mindful, mental focus to create a sense of wellness, and a sense of empowerment with respect to health.  I highly recommend reading the book “E-Squared” if only to reignite your experience of how connected to the universe you really are.  Your human mind makes you a beautiful, unique, sensing, creating, interacting, fluid being.  Love and enjoy this, and have a lovely day full of your freshest manifestations!  Feel free to post questions or comments here, or email me anytime at nikki@nikkisnature.com.  Peace!


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Fall is For Honoring the Unseen

For many people that I interact with in person and online, this fall has been an emotional time so far.  The atmosphere has felt somewhat scattered, and people including myself have been having trouble maintaining the normal levels of momentum in their motivation and inspiration.  Things feel difficult, but I think these “things” are only physical.  Just as energy healing can have profound effects on our health, we are also  greatly influenced by the energies that are active and around us at any given time.  This season I’ve found that I have been talking a lot about our need to honor the parts of ourselves as well as the things in our lives that are not physical.  Our culture is currently very focused on the physical:  our bodies, our physical health and capabilities, our material wealth, that which we can see and feel and physically touch, and that which science can prove.  As the trees shed their leaves, it’s a great time for us to shed, to release our attachment to everything we see and physically expect.  If we can loosen our iron grip on our physical lives now and then (preferably now!) we can make space to remember all of the important things about us that are not physical.  The biggest of these is the very essence of ourself-  the part of you that comprises your personality, your uniqueness, your connection to your thoughts and imagination and dreams… your spirit, if you will.  Taking note of who you are regardless of what your body is doing is a very valuable exercise.  It can provide amazing perspective, allowing you to feel a connection to a bigger picture, which lessens the stress we feel about some of our day to day struggles.  Getting in touch with the essence of yourself is a very grand and abstract idea to many, though!  In a smaller, and maybe more approachable way, you could start by taking note of the things that inspire you that are unrelated to your physical capabilities.  What would you do with your day if you suddenly could not walk?  I take pleasure in reminding myself that I love, love love reading, that I love music and philosophy and exploring my dreams and the psychic corners of my mind.  I try to imagine a self that can easily occupy itself in these pursuits and still feel a sense of productivity, value and fulfillment.  Another aspect of identifying the nonphysical in our lives is in noting what might be unseen other than the inner aspects of ourselves.  By this I mean things like the energies and cycles of nature that we sense and feel but can’t fully explain, episodes of thoughts noticeably passing between people without words spoken, or miracles or synchronicities that occur with no scientific explanations.  Taking note of any of these nonphysically explainable things can help us look inward and attune with times and cycles that would otherwise cause us to feel that we are caught in a state of chaos.  It can also help to prepare us for the future, and give us tools that sustain our sense of ourselves through times that are physically trying, such as health issues, or periods of financial loss or instability.  I usually write about health and healing ideas that are more mainstream and familiar to the general public, but I would not be true to my holistic tendencies if I did not also try to shed occasional light on the topic of doing more inner, spiritual work.  The exploration of how one’s essence is connected to the universe, or to something larger that is unseen, is certainly a life’s work.  For me, if I am not doing that, then I am not doing what I know I am here to do.  I feel very comforted knowing that I will always have mysteries to explore, that maybe a key to life is recognizing that we are never meant to know and understand everything, but that life is about experiencing glimpses into a great nonphysical mystery that can never be fully solved.  I hope that this fall that you will be able to feel at least one moment of awe in regarding the mystery that is the beautiful, unseen essence of you.  Once you do, I hope you never want to stop!  Wishing you peace, inspiration, and improved health by connecting to the amazing energies of nature.  www.nikkisnature.com


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Quitting Smoking is Long Overdue

If you are a smoker, you know that this is much more easily said than done.  The thing is, we know a lot more about the effects of smoking on people than we did even ten years ago, and the information is startling.  We have known for a long time that smoking is associated with the development of lung cancers and other respiratory syndromes such as emphysema.  Well, now studies show that it is much worse than that.  I went to a course last year held by a very highly educated professor and nutritionist, and the topic of discussion was longevity.  She stressed over and over again that smoking is the absolute number one worst thing you can do for your health.  Studies have shown that if you smoke, not only are your chances of getting lung cancer and emphysema much higher than they are for the average person, but your chances of getting loads of other types of cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and many others are also astronomically higher!  What it boils down to is that smoking seems to help break down the immune system in such a way that you will succumb to the chronic illnesses that you are most genetically predisposed to far more easily than the average person.  This does not bode well for longevity at all, or for having an energetic, pain-free lifestyle.  Plus, smoking is a huge financial burden-  imagine the pay raise you’d be getting if you no longer needed to buy cigarettes each week!  In any case, what I am saying is that smoking is no light matter.  Today while I was out doing errands, I bumped into a previous hypnosis client who came over and hugged me and relayed that she has been a nonsmoker since our one hypnosis session together.  This totally made my day, reminded me of how thankful I am to do the job that I do, and reminded me that I have not been spreading the word enough about my ability to help people with the daunting task of quitting smoking.  Now, this is not a magic fix, and certainly the person using hypnosis to beat the addiction needs to be ready to quit, but it can be amazingly helpful.  Some people quit right away after a session, some just start decreasing the amount they smoke and then taper until they don’t need it anymore-  everyone is different with their willpower and their clarity of mind when it comes to reaching their goal.  Just as weight loss or managing stress vary greatly from person to person, so does the task of quitting smoking.  But the key is that hypnosis can give a person clarity  of thought and a greater sense of control over their actions.  They come away with new relaxation skills that allow mindful awareness practices to strengthen and become a part of their daily life.  I am feeling wonderful about being able to offer therapeutic hypnosis to my community at an affordable rate, so if you know someone who has been saying they need to quit, please share this page with them.  I am deeply committed to helping create a strong, high integrity practice that supports the ideals and optimal richness of lifestyle for those in my amazing community.  Feel free to leave comments or questions here, or email nikki@nikkisnature.com for more information.  Have a peaceful and healthy day!


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Mindful Awareness May Be the Key to Everything!

Lately I have been more and more aware of the need to include teachings, skills and exercises in mindful awareness when working with my health care clients.  When people come to me wanting help with pain, losing weight, quitting smoking, managing stress or anything else, I’m becoming more acutely aware of how helpful it would be if each of those people could work on being more aware of the present moment more of the time.  Staying more clear and aware of each moment decreases stress astronomically, and there are some health professionals that suggest that stress is the primary root cause for up to 80% of illness.  When you are really enmeshed in the present, you are able to exist within yourself as you are, and realize that you are okay.  It sounds impossible to some, especially when stresses and hardships of life are at the forefront of the mind the majority of the time.  Learning mindful awareness skills means learning how to bring the mind back to focusing only on the present moment, and learning how to do that more and more regularly throughout the day.  Being in the present moment means a clear focus, and an awareness of the body and mind simply as they exist.  In fact, I am able to practice this as I type.  Even though I am producing thoughts, and transferring them onto the screen, I am trying to practice focusing on only myself in this moment as I work on this task.  What this adds up to is a feeling of immersed concentration and an appreciation of what you are doing-  without any active worrying about the future, or ruminating about the past.  This is the key:  reducing worry about the future, or getting stuck in the past.  Eckhart Tolle says “everything that has ever happened to you has happened in the now”, and I love this, I understand it, and I enjoy helping others come to that realization as well.    What I mean when I say that it is the key to everything, is that every single thing in life becomes easier and more approachable, more pleasant, and more infused with gratitude when you learn to step right back into the now regularly.  No matter what problem you are facing, you can assist your ability to perceive it and manage it by stopping throughout the day and scaling your thoughts back only to the moment you are in.  If you can really settle into the sensation of your body wherever you are in space, and start with “I exist”, you can learn to take it from there.  This requires practice and skill, and in today’s hectic pace I’m finding that very few people have these skills or have even contemplated that they are important, or lacking.  Most people go through the tasks of their day disconnected from the body in the present, while the mind wanders and chatters, worrying about things, fabricating ideas of what may or may not happen, and so forth.  The thing is that you don’t have to be a zen person, or knowledgeable in meditation or yoga or anything else in particular to begin to learn to practice mindful awareness.  You just need to have a willingness to be open to changing and improving the way that you experience life.   Mindful awareness, or present moment awareness skills are increased through many of the modalities that I use in my work such as hypnosis, meditation, Reiki, and dream work, but I have found that even in straight up physical therapy, and dealing with chronic pain, that mindful awareness practices are extremely beneficial for people.  This topic is abstract and supported by different types of philosophical thinking, so I welcome your questions and comments here!  Also, if you are interested in learning mindful awareness through my introduction to meditation series class which begins this Thursday evening, or are interested in any other approaches, contact me anytime.  www.nikkisnature.com


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Obesity is Just a Form of Malnutrition

I was listening to a really interesting podcast the other day about childhood obesity and what a terrible problem it is in our country.  The statistics were alarming.  They stated that something like 40 percent of children are overweight or obese, and for adults this number is up to two thirds of the population.  The podcast included a panel of well-respected health experts holding a brainstorming session about possible approaches to this huge issue.  It was highlighted that children eat what they are given, and so it is obvious that adults and especially parents are the ones that need to change what they are doing.  One person said that if you distribute material asking parents if their child is obese, that most will just ignore it, thinking it is not a problem.  So another expert suggested that maybe we should point out that a child being overweight is a glaring form of malnutrition.  

I loved thinking about this problem from this vantage point, because it is completely true, but not often talked about.  When you hear the word malnutrition, you may conjure up images of skinny children in third world countries with bloated bellies and such.  This is certainly malnutrition, but now think of the child that is being raised predominantly on processed foods.  The cheap foods that we have come to rely on as a country for our sustenance contain very little of the nutrients that we need to healthily sustain the body.  When you don’t have adequate nutrients, the body becomes very good at holding onto what it has as a defense mechanism.  The difference between our obese children and the starving kids in Africa is that our kids have a regular influx of lots of calories, but they are empty.  So the child living on processed meat, cheese, carbohydrates and sugars is actually almost as unhealthy as the kid in the starving rural third world community.  

As I take this concept further, we cannot deny that adults need to address this problem for themselves as well as for their children.  People that have trouble losing weight and are in a constant battle to do so may not need to eat less (though this often helps initially), but may really need to just eat better.  We know this on some level, and yet the hectic business of our lives often gets in the way of making that mindful decision about what will be eaten that day.  This is where mindful awareness clear thinking come into play.  The only way to start eating healthier is to break habits of picking up certain items out of convenience… and this won’t happen unless you stay fully aware of your intentions and your actions at important times, such as when shopping and planning/preparing meals.  I believe that people need frequent and easy access to nutrition education, but I also believe that people do know a lot of the basics already.  They know that they should eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed junk, but it isn’t easy to change habits.  This is where I enjoy helping people to have strong intentions and the mental clarity to follow through with them.  This is often worked on through hypnosis or developing meditation skills.  It may sound far-fetched, but meditating can definitely help you to lose weight by helping you to return easily and frequently to a clear, focused state of mind where it is easier to see the big picture over the usual instant gratification.  Please feel free to comment here and add your thoughts on weight loss issues in our country.  They are certainly adding to a growing pile of health issues that is becoming insurmountable.  

If you need help with health issues or would like to attend an upcoming hypnosis session or meditation class, feel free to contact me anytime through http://www.nikkisnature.com.  I am happy to help, and wish you all a healthy and peaceful day!


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Discovering Holistic Physical Therapy

As I set out to build a practice of physical therapy clients in my private office, I realize that I have not really explained to many people what I mean when I say that I practice “holistic physical therapy”.  In fact, as I ponder how to explain it, I wonder if that phrase is an oxymoron in and of itself.  The reason I say this is that the whole point is for this not to be only physical.  My aim in providing holistic physical therapy treatments is to provide physical therapy for a problem that a person would go to any physical therapist for, but to also help them further by incorporating stress management therapies, guided imagery, energy healing, and the teaching of skills that will support the smooth function of the whole being in addition to the painful area in question.  A typical session  includes hands-on work to the area of treatment including some or all of massage, stretching, joint mobilizations, myofascial release, craniosacral work, or positional release to name a few.  Then the client receives a period of energy healing work with guided visualizations for deep relaxation.  This serves to remind and teach the client how to get themselves back into a less stressful physical and mental state to promote their healing process.  The end of the session would be spent advising the client on how to proceed at home with exercises, stretches and life practices that will help them progress.  This may include consultation on diet, natural remedies, stress management approaches, even spiritual work if desired.

The following are the ways in which this type of PT session varies greatly from a session at a typical clinic.  You are the only client in the room.  The therapist does not bounce around between patients, so all of your time at Nikki’s Nature is either hands-on or educational, geared only to you.  You will not do a host of exercises during your session-  you will have hands-on work during your session, and then be given your exercises to do at home.  I would prefer the session be spent on pain management, stress reduction and client education.  If you feel that you need to have the therapist make you go through all of your exercises and you know you won’t do them at home, then you don’t really need PT, because you are not actually in a mindset to allow yourself to heal.  Unless you are going to therapy many times a week, you need to be ready to follow through with recommendations at home on your own if you want actual results.  I will never assess your problem and then say that you should come two times a week for six weeks.  My hope is to make a difference in your pain level during the first session.  If you go home and work on some of the approaches agreed upon, you may need nothing further.  If you go home and do the recommended exercises and approaches and then still feel stuck in the healing process, then we can think about scheduling something to address the shift in challenges.

In the state of Connecticut you do not need a doctor’s prescription to visit a physical therapist.  You will need one if you plan to submit a bill to your insurance company, but you don’t need one to have the visit.  This means that if you would just like to have a good, personalized consultation and treatment session to address your pain, you can skip a step and just go right to the therapist.  Nikki’s Nature does not take insurance due to the unconventional treatment approach and the holistic modalities offered, but payment options and other options such as lowering session time to lower cost are available as well.  To find out more about holistic PT sessions at Nikki’s Nature, or other sessions available there such as hypnosis for weight loss or pain management, visit www.nikkisnature.com.  I am committed to creating a healthy and peaceful approach to client care in the Collinsville area.    Thanks for considering a fresh approach to health-

Sincerely, Nikki Sleath MA, PT, RMT, Cht


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Hypnosis as a Holistic Healing Approach

People get a little nervous when I say that I do hypnosis, and that it might benefit them to try it.  The first thing that comes to mind is usually that stage hypnotist we all went to see when we were younger.  There is a presumption that the hypnotist will be in control of your mind and actions, and make you twirl like a ballerina or cluck like a chicken.  This could not be further from the truth in terms of therapeutic hypnosis that is used for health and healing purposes.   There is no fast, special mind trick to force you into an instant hypnotic sleep.  With my style of hypnotherapy you undergo an extremely pleasant guided relaxation that brings you to your most relaxed state.  You listen to the verbal cues for imagining places, numbers, letters… giving the conscious, logical mind tasks to do to keep it occupied.  This helps eliminate mind chatter, doubt and anxieties about your abilities to achieve your goals.  Then you hear your script, which are the suggestions that you need to receive with full confidence, that will fuel in meeting your goal.  You will remember everything, be able to think logically, and never do or say anything that is not completely in line with your true and natural personality.  The goal can be weight loss/healthy eating, quitting smoking, increasing motivation to exercise, managing stress, battling pain or insomnia, or preparing or recovering from surgery.  In fact, the goal can be whatever you wish to achieve at this point in your life and it doesn’t have to be working on a problem.  It can be about getting over writer’s block, opening to creative flow, accessing spiritual guides, even exploring the notion of past lives.  Really the possibilities are as varied as the number of people in the human population, because we are all unique in how we go about the process of personal growth in our lives.

The great thing about undergoing a hypnosis session (at least in the style I use) is that this is about learning mind-calming skills that you can then use anytime to keep your focus and your motivation up to par.  In fact, the self-hypnosis technique that you receive during the session is something you can use for any goal, not just the one you came into the office for.   Many people use it to fall asleep quickly at night, but you can implement the self-hypnosis cues anytime, even while awake during the day to help you calmly through a stressful situation, or a period where refreshed willpower is needed.  In other words, even if you undergo a hypnosis session for weight loss, you can use the self-hypnosis cues to help you not to yell at your kids, to respond as professionally as possible at work, or to get a good night’s sleep.  This is about beginning to be able to learn some mindful awareness skills that are useful in every part of life, and are extraordinarily beneficial… even crucial, to all-around good health.  If you have never meditated and feel that you have trouble relaxing, this is a phenomenal way to start experiencing your ability to use relaxed and focused states of mind in an easy and approachable way.

In my personal holistic health practice there are two basic ways to experience hypnosis:  a personal session, or a group class/session.  A group session is very affordable and a nice way to try it.  In a personal session, however, the script is custom-written to address your unique personal challenges, where the group script has to be generalized to suit everyone.  In a personal session, the client is observed closely throughout in case further deepening cues are needed, and the wording can be adjusted as you go along to support your state specifically, whereas in the group session, a standard format will be followed, and each person’s breathing and responses to cues can’t be monitored individually.  Also after a personal session, you will be emailed an mp3 recording of the personalized script section of your session so that you can listen to it as often as needed to keep your motivations strong.  Either way, you will experience your personal ability to reach and return to a relaxed state of mind where your intentions are clear and easy to affirm.  I fully believe that what is often lacking in our current system of medical care is the empowerment of the individual to look within, to balance the mental state to support physical actions.  It is believed by many that poorly managed stress is the underlying cause of a large majority of health problems.  Hypnosis is just one way to access and experience the power within the mind that we all  have but do not use, to support our lives.  I encourage you to think about this and feel free to comment and ask questions, using this as a forum to promote insight and education regarding the importance of inner work on overall health.  You can also always feel free to email me at nikki@nikkisnature.com with questions or to be added to a mailing list of class offerings and discounts at Nikki’s Nature.  Have a wonderful and peaceful day!   www.nikkisnature.com


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Starting a Holistic Treatment Office

My intentions were to finish my thesis and relax for a while.  My regular job as a physical therapist has been going well and I was looking forward to reading some fiction, having plenty of free time to spend gardening, working on the house and hanging with the family.  Well, I did finish my thesis and that went very well… but I noticed a vacancy opening up in a nice storefront location in Collinsville where I live.  I had no intentions of opening a business at this time.  I hadn’t saved enough money yet, I thought, and I hadn’t had that period of time to enjoy where there was nothing in particular to accomplish.  I guess I just need to admit that I am a very motivated person.  Well, maybe not motivated in general for everything, but extremely motivated when it comes to pursuing ideals related to my passions and my perceived role in the growth of the world.  Anyway, I felt I had to inquire about the open space, just to see what the rent would be, to prepare myself for my future business venture.  It turns out it was quite expensive for what it was, and I realized that I would have to save quite a bit of money to feel ready to open a retail shop front such as that one.  However, in the midst of inquiring about that space, I stumbled upon another open space that was very different, but ended up calling to me.  This space was not a retail shop front, but an office space in a quiet building.  The rent was super affordable, and it just seemed to be mine.  The office building is a homey house in a very convenient, easy-to-get-to location in Collinsville.  Most of the other tenants leasing offices in the building are women with health and wellness skills and services-  a psychotherapist, a holistic nurse, a reflexologist, a massage therapist, and a few others.  The building is quiet, welcoming and perfect for the atmosphere I need to lend to people looking for private sessions with me.  Also, the tenants work together to help each other with marketing and promoting holistic care.  How could I not be a part of this team?  It felt like a perfect fit… so I took it.

Needless to say, this started a nonstop stream of work for me-  setting up the space, marketing, planning an LLC, designing client forms and procedures, working evenings to build up a decent inventory of my homemade candles and soaps… and the list goes on.  The more I become immersed in creating my own personal role in the world of healing, the more  opportunities seem to continue to present themselves.  I’ve been scheduling personal sessions at the office for hypnosis, Reiki, and holistic physical therapy, and traveling to people’s homes to provide physical therapy to hospice clients who need a therapist with a compassionate, holistic touch.  I’m also scheduling classes to make sampling holistic and meditative healing work available to small groups of people at an affordable price.  Why do I work so hard on setting up my practice?  I often ask myself that, as I don’t feel I’ll be making much money at it for some time.  I don’t really fully  know why in a way that can be put into words.  I do know that I am meant to promote two important principles that need lots of education and exposure in today’s society.  One is that our connection to nature is a key facet in our health, and the other is that looking inward, and doing inner work of various sorts is crucial to our health as well.  These concepts are still on the fringe for the general population, and though they are being talked about more, the act of putting them into practice is still relatively rare.

So, I opened a holistic healing office space almost as an impulsive action.  I guess I am a poster child for going with your intuition.  The bottom line is that as much work as it is, it feels fantastic to be doing this.  I think it is important for people not to overlook that creative impulse that sometimes shows itself as the opportunity in which their unique brand of goodness may be offered to others.  This applies to people in every vocation.  Don’t feel like you are settling on something that doesn’t challenge you in a good way just because you have to.  I’m not saying we should all drop everything and live out of the backseats of our cars to pursue our dreams.  Not everyone can do that-  especially people like me with families and other obligations.  I continue to work at my established job so that I can afford to do the things I’m doing.  It uses up most of my time, but I know it’s worth it.  If you’ve read this far-  thank you for listening!  Usually I write semi-educational articles about interesting health concepts I’ve discovered, but today is a relaxing Saturday morning for me where I’ve already had two cups of coffee, and am sitting here contemplating the new twist life has taken for me lately.  I’ll stop my stream of consciousness introspective morning rant and sign off now, as I have advertising deadlines to address.  I wish you all a wonderful weekend and an amazing spring.  Follow your intuition and your higher purpose-  I think you’ll be glad you did!  Love and peace.


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Reiki Discussion: Ethics and Consent

When I was trained to be a Reiki practitioner my instructor taught us that one of the principles of practice is that you never do Reiki on someone without their permission.  It has now been at least three years since I have been a Reiki Master Teacher and close to seven since I first started learning and practicing.  During that time I have encountered many of my own elderly patients who are either unable to speak,  understand or communicate for reasons such as strokes, dementia, psychosis or because they are “actively dying”.  I interact with them in my role as a physical therapist, often helping them to manage pain, prevent stiffness, or restore what little mobility skills they have left.  I had found that with patients who agreed to let me incorporate some energy work in their sessions, that there was often a noticeable increased ease of movement, sense of relaxation and increased ability for stiff joints to tolerate stretching.  I began wanting to use it with patients who could not necessarily give consent.  My original instructor had said that in such a case, you could meditate upon the idea of their consent, asking to commune with the higher self of the client to gain consent, and that you would then be met with a clear intuitive impulse one way or another on how to proceed.  I tried this many times, and I did find that it works.  However, I have formed my own opinion on the subject of Reiki ethics and consent overall.  I will quote Dr. Eric Pearl who wrote the book “The Reconnection” and started the healing movement known as Reconnective Healing.  He says that the idea of needing consent for this type of work is overblown, and that “…you cannot inflict a healing…” on someone.  I completely agree with this.  From personal experience and from witnessing all of the cases I have worked on so far, I truly believe that any and all healing that occurs happens only when the person is ready to handle it and when it is truly for their highest and best good.  Under this assumption Dr.  Pearl would be right-  you could not inflict a healing in any case unless the person actually needed and wanted it on the proper levels.  To understand this better, you can compare the Reiki treatment to a prayer, for it really is no different.  When praying for someone, you are putting energy into a mental image of healing, and Reiki is simply allowing yourself to experience the actual flow of energy into a physical or mental image or receptacle.  In prayer you probably are not in the habit of asking the person in question for their consent every time you wish them well.  I believe that providing Reiki to a person who is unable to communicate with you is simply providing them the opportunity to receive it, but does not make it mandatory.  Now, I still feel that if you do have open communication with the client in question that you should ask permission and tell them what to expect-  this will serve to make them more receptive to all of the beauty and magic of the experience.  I have found that in my work as a PT I have a  limited period of time to spend with each patient some days, so instead of taking time myself to meditate on whether a very sick person would consent to receiving Reiki, I often just go ahead and incorporate it into my treatment.  Those of you who do Reiki will understand what I mean when I say that sometimes when giving Reiki you feel a whole lot going on energetically beneath the hands and sometimes you may not.  If I try for a bit and I don’t feel much receptivity happening then I just use that as my cue to  move on to whatever else the person may need.  I hope this discussion on consent is helpful, and I am aware that training in this area varies greatly from one teacher to the next depending on the tradition from which they came.  Just remember that one of the tenets of Reiki is that it can do no harm.  Also stay tuned, for I’m planning to write my next blog entry on the art of “holding the space” for your sessions.  Peace, love and warmth to all.