Cultivating Well-Being in Paradise
Healing Circle for Mother Earth at Happehatchee Center, in Estero
A recent Psychology Today article notes that although the multifaceted concept of well-being has been acknowledged by psychologists since 1997, its principle attributes remained unidentified until the most widely used theoretical perspectives on the definition were examined in a 2016 study. Attributes named included happiness, vitality, calmness, optimism, involvement, self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-worth, competence, self-development, purpose, significance, and connection. Although none of these is a medical consideration, they are synonymous with good health.
For patients that are feeling off-balance or disconnected from their well-being, Dr. Carol Roberts, who practices at the Hughes Center for Functional Medicine, in Naples, offers a smorgasbord of options. “Emotionsaffect our physical well-being, so realistically speaking, there is no physical illness without an emotional component. I try to point patients in the right direction with suggestions such as massage, yoga, walking on the beach, meditation and other activities. I let them choose and experiment,” says Roberts.
800 Goodlette Rd. N., Ste. 270, Naples, 239-649-7400. HughesCenterNaples.com.
Southwest Florida’s plethora of practitioners offering numerous research-backed modalities, techniques and technologies such as those that Roberts suggests, as well as others, make it easy for individuals to weave activities into their daily lives that can help cultivate a sense of well-being.
Massage and Facial Treatments
Assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Ronald D. Siegel suggests that if we’re not taking steps to improve our sense of well-being, we’re likely to gravitate backwards. Making time for a facial or massage, considered an outward demonstration of self-love, is a forward step that is more than skin deep. “The skin, which speaks of deeper imbalances and issues inside the body, talks in rashes, eczema, psoriasis, pimples, acne and even herpes—all outer symptoms that merely reveal inner imbalances,” says Larissa Smolen, owner of Spa de Larissa, in Naples.Airport Professional Center, 3811 Airport Rd, N., Ste. 201-B, Naples, 239-571-9900. FacialSpaDeLarissa.com.
“My clients recognize that massage restores and balances their physical and emotional well-being. The majority consider massage a necessity in their busy lifestyle,” says the owner of Power of Touch, in Naples, Mary Radewahn, who is also certified in cupping, which relieves pain and inflammation.
4156 Tamiami Tr. N., Naples, 239-571-2903. PowerOfTouch.com.
MindfulnessPracticing mindfulness can rewire the brain. “The practice of attending to the present moment with curiosity, non-judgment and compassion can have a lasting impact on brains and well-being,” says Paulette Grotrian, a certified teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MSBR) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), who was trained by the originator of MBSR, John Kabat-Zinn. Grotrain teaches at Integrative Mindfulness, in Bonita Springs.
The Fountains Professional Park, 3372 Woods Edge Circle, Ste. 102, Bonita Springs, 734-276-7707. [email protected].
Sound and VibrationResearchers have been investigating and publishing articles on the positive effects of music on well-being. They’ve even explored the extent to which group drumming translates into multidimensional well-being changes such as facilitating a sense of empowerment, creating a sense of community and increased self-esteem. Join the drumming fun every Sunday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Fort Myers Drum Circle, which meets in Centennial Park. No experience is needed.
SWFL Community Drum Circle in Naples, Facebook.com/groups/drummingswfl.
Clinical research has shown myriad positive physical, emotional, mental and spiritual effects from sound and vibration produced by crystal bowls, gongs and Tibetan bowls, according to the Sound Healing Research Foundation, located at the Globe Institute, in San Francisco. Local sound and vibration experts such as Cathy Blair, sacred sound alchemist, and Dana Marie House, a quantum healing sacred sound practitioner, regularly offer the holistic resonance of crystal bowls, gongs and metal bowls to individuals and groups at locations in Collier and Lee county.
Cathy Blair, 239-398-3953. [email protected].
Dana Marie House, 239-571-5234. QuantumHealing-SacredSound.com.
Guided ImageryAccording to the Academy of Guided Imagery, mental images formed long before we learn to understand and use words lie at the core of who we think we are, what we believe the world is like, what we feel we deserve, what we think will happen to us and how motivated we are to take care of ourselves. “Imagery techniques allow you to use the wisdom of your body/mind to address illnesses and issues such as anxiety, depression, phobias, inner child issues, trauma, grief, and more,” says Marie S. Wright, a licensed psychotherapist, located in Naples.
The French Quarter, 501 Goodlette Rd. N., Naples, 239-529-7919.
YogaA special report from Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing suggests that a regular yoga practice correlates with increased well-being, better sleep, better body awareness, weight loss and greater happiness. “These findings are encouraging because they suggest that a regular yoga practice can improve multiple areas of our life at once,” says Lahoma Nachtrab, owner/director of Love Yoga Center, in Naples.
4949 Tamiami Tr., N. Ste. 204, Naples, 239-692-9747. LoveYogaCenter.com.
Blue Zones Purpose WorkshopsHaving a sense of purpose can add up to seven years to an individual’s lifespan. Individuals that participate in a Blue Zones Purpose workshop improve their well-being by learning how to evaluate their values, passions, talents and gifts, and how to finds ways to share their main gift. “Our purpose workshops have reached thousands of Southwest Floridians, from young people wanting to establish a meaningful career to retired individuals seeking new ways of living with purpose,” says Lisa Gruenloh, Blue Zones purpose workshop facilitator.
Spending time nourishing our physical and emotional well-being is a necessity. Using therapeutic-grade essential oils, which affect the limbic system of the brain and help to stabilize emotions, can create tranquility and instill feelings of positivity. Diffuse, roll-on or otherwise create room sprays with rosemary that lowers cortisol when inhaled, lemon that uplifts the mood, vetiver that quiets an active mind, and lavender, which calms and relieves stress. “Our family smells, wears and drinks therapeutic-grade essential oils,” say Susie and Peter Bagwell, doTerra wellness advocates and owners of I Love Oils, in Fort Myers.
17030 Alico Commerce Ct., Ste. 303, Fort Myers, 586-604-3500. ILoveOils.com.
Nature heals, soothes, restores and connects. Taking a nature walk and giving our overactive mind a respite of fresh air in a quiet setting is a prescription for good health, positive mood, meaningfulness and vitality, according to a study published in MIND, a leading journal in philosophy. Happehatchee Center, an eco-spiritual center in Estero, is a place to enjoy nature. “Our nearly five-acre piece of paradise looks much like it did prior to Florida’s development. We have Yoga in Nature classes several days a week, as well as drum and shamanic healing circles for Mother Earth,” says Genelle Grant, president of Happehatchee Center.
8791 Corkscrew Rd., Estero, 239-992-5455. Happehatchee.org.
BiofeedbackBiofeedback, a mind–body technique used for stress management training and teaching control of certain involuntary bodily functions, helps an individual learn to modify their physiology for the purpose of improving physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. “The quantum biofeedback system assesses the human energy field and identifies the energy vibrations that are out of balance. The system can put them back into balance, allowing the body to return to a state of rest and healing,” says Karin Wolfe, a certified biofeedback specialist and owner of Firefly Within, in Bonita Springs.
Bonita Springs, 239-980-3257. FireflyWithin.com.
Hyperbaric Oxygen TherapyHyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) utilizes concentrated oxygen, absorbed through the skin and lungs, to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood. Concentrated oxygen goes directly into the blood, nourishes cells and cleanses as it circulates. “Clients generally comment about how relaxed and energized they feel after a session,” says Doreen DeStefano RN-BSN, a licensed esthetician and owner of Root Causes Holistic Health & Medicine and Integrative Skin Care, in Fort Myers.
12734 Kenwood Lane, Ste. 84, Fort Myers, 239-425-2900. RtCausesMd.com.
Energy Therapies“Energy therapies such as acupuncture, reiki and Therapeutic Touch are healing techniques that use the concept of a subtle life-force energy which pervades all living things. “We are made of energy, and moving that energy and removing blocks that are limiting your full expression and enjoyment of life is what heals,” says Kathleen D’Orsi, a licensed psychotherapist and Brennan Healing Science Practitioner who combines energy healing with psychotherapy.
Dance is more than a fun physical activity that improves coordination. It can reduce stress, tension, anxiety and even depression. It increases self-confidence in social and business situations and sharpens control, agility and balance. “Dance is also a cognitive activity that requires concentration. It keeps your feet and brains on the ball,” says Roman Gomez, studio co-owner and dance instructor at AllStar Dance Studio, in Naples.
4910 Tamiami Tr., N., Ste. 118, Naples, 239-304-9013. AllStarDanceStudio.com.
Spirituality and Strong Faith
Spiritual well-being, an integral part of mental, emotional and physical health, doesn’t have to be associated with a specific religion. Practiced in numerous ways, it serves to help an individual find purpose and meaning in life. “Spiritual well-being results in a sense of empowerment and the realization that even though we have issues, stressors and challenges, we are not defined by our circumstances,” says Reverend Denise Schubert, spiritual director of Open Path Retreat Center, in Fort Myers.
Ample evidence points to strong religious faith that produces broad health benefits and decreased healthcare expenditures. A few of the numerous benefits of a strong faith include feeling content with life’s situation, finding inner peace, and accepting and growing from life’s challenges.
Beacon Executive Suites, 8359 Beacon Blvd., Ste. 604, Fort Myers, 239-728-3614. OpenPathRetreatCenter.org.
Well-being means having positive connections with others that are close and supportive. With so many activities listed in the Natural Awakenings calendar, finding places to mix, mingle and develop social relationships mostly requires making decisions. “People love to come, socialize and listen to local singers/songwriters at our Gaia Coffeehouse the third Sunday of every month. They also gather for our fun and social Bachata dance classes on Wednesday evenings,” says Lulu Carter, founder of the House of Gaia, in Naples.
1660 Trade Center Way, Ste. 1, Naples, 239-272-6152. HouseOfGaia.org.
There are no negative side effects to mixing modalities and practices that improve a sense of well-being, and the choices are a matter of preference.