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In praise of walking

For 24 years, until arthroscopic knee surgery and persistently painful iliotibial bands led me to give it up, I sped through life as a long-distance runner. Now, as one who enjoys a slower pace, I savor the time I spend walking.

It can be as short as the jaunt uptown to church or the bank; it can be as long as a hike at the Delaware Water Gap. No matter. I breathe, I gaze, I open my mind, and I relax.

I know that this most elemental of exercises is the long-term way to say in minimal shape. I read that exposing myself to sunshine helps my body assimilate and use Vitamin D. I realize that this mindful meditation refreshes my spirit, re-invigorates my mind (I thought of this mini-essay as I walked this morning), and reawakens my sense of the interconnectedness of life — the Divine, if you will.

An hour a day is ideal; 15 minutes a day is a start. Whatever you can spare, go outdoors and walk — and breathe in all that is inherent and good in life.

Staying in balance during a crisis in health

In the November-December issue of unitymagazine, Linda Cucurullo cites nine areas of self-care to keep one involved and focused on recovery. They are:

  • Breathing — 20 deep belly breaths an hour for cleansing and stimulating the body.
  • Food — Vegetable soup or broth, grains, lots of water and other easily digestible, life-giving nourishment.
  • Movement — As simple as rotation of the joints, rocking the body, stretching out the body from fingertips to toes, and, when one is able, walking.
  • Yoga — movement for healing and balance.
  • Self-love — Using the mantra “I love you” and, as lyricist Johnny Mercer wrote, “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”
  • Listening — Ask your body how it feels, what it needs to get better, and follow what it tells you.
  • Touch — People need to be touched lovingly. Welcome hugs. Get massaged, by a professional or a friend, even it’s only the feet or hands that get massaged.
  • Visualization — Bathe your being in the energy of healing and health.
  • Prayer — Affirm and express gratitude for the healing going on inside.

More information on unitymagazine

Healing herb and oil

A couple of weeks ago, as I was driving, I was singing to pass the time, and I pulled out of my memory bank a 1940s Disney song titled “Lavender Blue.” How synchronistic, then, to receive the latest issue of True Health with an article titled “Versatile Lavender.”

Writer David McMillin notes that through the ages this herb has been used as a natural headache reliever and tranquilizer. Even today, a few drops of lavender oil in the bath can promote a serene-filled soak, a few drops of lavender oil on the pillow can promote peaceful sleep, and a few drops massaged into the forehead and temples (but away from the eyes) can help stop a headache.

Lavender oil can be purchased at some health-food stores and supermarkets such as Whole Foods.

Cruising With CranioSacral Therapy

  • In April, the Florida Senate passed a resolution stating that CranioSacral Therapy “is increasingly used as a preventative health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease and to address a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction, including migraine headaches, chronic neck and back pain, learning disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic fatigue, scoliosis, infantile disorders, motor-coordination impairment and other problems.”
  • Dozens of New York legislators and Capitol Hill staffers were treated to free CranioSacral mini-sessions to celebrated CranioSacral Therapy Awareness Month.
  • Those who have stories about how CranioSacral Therapy has helped them are asked to contribute to an Upledger Institute book along the lines of the “Chicken Soup” series of books. Length should not exceed 1,000 words. The Institute reserves the right to edit for content and space. Story must be received no later than July 1, 2004, by e-mail to

Stretch of the month

Forward Elevation, from Aaron Mattes’ “Active Isolated Stretching.”

Muscles stretched: Upper triceps, posterior deltoid and serratus anterior for greater upward movement of arm

Muscles contracted: Upper biceps brachii an anterior deltoid.

Method: From a sitting or standing position, reach one arm forward directly over top of shoulder as far as possible, contracting the upper biceps brachii and anterior deltoid muscles. Keep palms facing body and elbows extended throughout movement. Breathe out as you do the movement.

Counterbalance spinal extension (low back) compensation by contracting the abdominal muscles and reaching the opposite arm back as far as possible. Then, breath in, bring the outstretched arm down and bring the other arm up and above the shoulder, breathing out as you do. The stretch is like an exaggerated march. Do 8-10 repetitions.

More info:

Recipe of the month

Just in time for harvest meals, Baked Squash Variation.

Preheat oven at 450 degrees. Spray Pam onto an oblong glassware baking dish and place atop stove.

Leaving the skin intact, cut two acorn squash in half and discard the core pulp and seeds. Cut the halves in half and then cut those halves in half. Slice everything into chunks.

Pour a quarter cup of virgin olive oil into a deep pot and place the squash chunks in the pot. Using a wooden spoon, mix the squash chunks and olive oil, making sure the chunks are well-coated.

Pour chunks into baking dish and put in oven. Bake for 45 minutes and/or until chunks are golden brown. Let cool and serve.

As Lucy Ricardo says in the Vitameatavegamin episode, “Tastes just like candy.”

Until next time … be well.

Dennis Sprick
The Heartful Touch
Massage and CranioSacral Therapy