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Letting go, moving forward

In my bathroom, alongside the monthly Daily Word booklet of inspirational passages that I read each morning courtesy of the Unity Church, is a large white envelope containing pages of affirmations that I copied from a book long ago. They’re meant to boost my morale, keep me thinking positively, self-actuate the Edgar Cayce statement “Mind is the builder, physical is the result.”

Thus I found it prophetic and synchronistic when atop the page most recently pulled from the envelope was this sentence: “I let go easily, knowing that nothing leaves my life unless something better awaits me.”

That something better is a new residence/home office in Montague in the northwest corner of New Jersey. It affords me a shorter commute to my day job, allows me to expand my Heartful Touch massage hours of operation and outcall geographic opportunities (see home page for details), and offers a serene countryside setting in which clients might experience The Heartful Touch.

Meanwhile, I am letting go of my home of the last 13 years and my Heartful Touch office of the last decade as my housemate Frank plans to sell his Montclair residence and retire near family in Georgia. I am eternally grateful for his role in my life and my business, and I wish him all the best as he transitions into a new phase of his life and into the loving embrace of his mother and siblings and nieces and nephews.

I am also grateful to my many clients over the last 10 years who have frequented my Montclair office and I their homes to make The Heartful Touch a success. I invite their continued patronage, either in their residences or at my new home office in Montague, with the added incentive of new lower rates all the time (see home page for details).

To all who read this and to all whose lives I have heartfully touched, I invite your prayers and positive thoughts as something better awaits me — in Montague and in the rest of my life.

Exercise … 30 minutes a day … five days a week

By Czerne M. Reid, McClatchy Newspapers

A simple piece of health advice — to exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week — is still a good idea a dozen years after a team of experts first gave it.

So says a report from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association.

It has been 12 years since University of South Carolina professor Russell Pate led a team of experts who published the recommendations in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Extensive research since then has shown the original ideas to be sound.

“The 30-minute guideline is holding up — it has stood the test of time,” said Pate, who is on the team — led by William Haskell of Stanford University — that put together the new report in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Frank Lourie takes the recommendations seriously.

The almost 60-year-old Lourie works out five to seven times a week at the Katie and Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center in Columbia, S.C., doing aerobic exercises on stationary bikes, swimming laps, lifting weights and doing stretches.

Lourie takes physical activity especially seriously because of a family history of heart disease.

The report served not only to reiterate the earlier physical activity guidelines for adults but also to clarify some points and add others.

For example, some people took the call for 30 minutes of exercise accumulated throughout the day to mean that structured sessions of vigorous exercise were not essential.

“That was never the intention,” Pate said.

The new guidelines incorporate vigorous activity, and specify that moderate and vigorous activity complement each other in producing health benefits. Muscle-strengthening exercises also are included.

“What we have learned is that resistance exercise provides important health benefits that go beyond strength gain,” Pate said. “We now know that (it) is important to bone health and provides many of the same benefits that endurance exercise gives.”

A related article in the journal highlights the kinds of activity older people should do, such as muscle-strengthening, stretching, flexibility exercises and ones that improve balance.

Research on the benefits of physical activity helps experts tweak recommendations from time to time.

Lourie thinks that’s a good thing.

“It only makes sense that as they gain more and more information medically and physiologically about the human body that they use that knowledge to adjust the standards,” he said.

The new report comes as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services begins to develop physical activity guidelines similar to the well-known dietary guidelines.

Pumping a little iron can help the elderly

By Jamie Stengle, The Associated Press

Weight training can help elderly nursing home residents and heart failure patients gain strength for everyday life, the American Heart Association says, expanding on earlier advice.

“Those folks are capable of exercise training benefits, and certainly resistance training is part of that,” said Mark Williams, who led the group that wrote the new guidance.

Williams said resistance training — whether it’s lifting weights or doing sit-ups — should be used as a complement to aerobic exercise.

“A lot of people after having a heart attack or heart failure think they need to take it easy,” said Dr. Amit Khera, director of cardiac rehabilitation at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He said broader guidance should help reassure doctors and patients that it’s probably OK for most people to start exercising after heart trouble.

Khera said cardiac patients using weights are often restricted to 1- to 5-pound weights for the first couple of weeks.

The heart association statement cited one study of a 10-week period of resistance training among nursing home residents with an average age of 87 that resulted in improvements in strength and stair-climbing power. In a study of older women who were heart failure patients, 10 weeks of resistance training resulted in a 43 percent increase in muscle strength and a 49 percent increase in the distance covered in a six-minute walk.

The statement also notes that elderly people and women who suffer from coronary heart disease (a narrowing of the small blood vessels to the heart), or are frail can benefit from workouts including resistance training because they build muscle strength.

Resistance weight training includes using one’s body for weight resistance by doing things like abdominal crunches to using resistance-cord exercises, dumbbells, wrist weights or weight machines.

It’s been known for some time that resistance training is good for everyone, from those with chronic diseases to healthy people. Resistance training for heart patients has been gaining momentum for the last two decades or so, said Williams, professor of medicine in the cardiology division at Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Neb.

Dr. Art Labovitz, cardiology director at St. Louis University School of Medicine, said that despite increasing knowledge about the benefits of resistance training, the public perception is likely that it’s largely off-limits for heart patients.

“I think probably the conventional wisdom is that if you have a heart condition, you can’t lift weights,” Labovitz said.

He added that there may be some circumstances where a heart patient shouldn’t do such training.

The statement recommends that those who do resistance training start out slow, setting the resistance or weight load at a moderate level to achieve the prescribed repetition range without straining. Elderly people should start with a low level of resistance. As progress is made, they should first increase the number of repetitions before adding weight or resistance.

Recipe of the month

How to make dehydrated tomatoes, By the Rev. George Malkmus

(From the Hallelujah Acres newsletter (

Our organic garden has been yielding large numbers of delicious tomatoes for the past few months. My wife, Rhonda, and I love tomatoes; however, the problem is they have a very short season. Well, Rhonda has come up with a way to take our surplus tomatoes during tomato growing time and make them available year round. She does it by dehydration, and they are absolutely delicious! During the non-tomato growing time of the year, we eat them like candy, sprinkle them on our salads, and use them in various recipes.

To make them, Rhonda fills her Vita-Mix blender with these organic tomatoes, adds a few small sprigs of fresh oregano and basil from her herb garden, and blends all, using the tamper to push the tomatoes into the blades. She then pours the blended tomatoes and herbs onto a dehydrator tray sprayed very lightly with olive oil spray, and sets the thermostat to 100 degrees.

After about 24 hours in the dehydrator, she turns the tomatoes over and leaves them in the dehydrator for an additional 6 hours. The dehydrated tomatoes are then removed from the dehydrator and cut into small enough pieces to fit into zip-lock type bags or vacuum seals them. They will keep in edible condition for years. ENJOY!

For info on dehydrators, visit

Until next time … stay in Heartful Touch.

Dennis Sprick
The Heartful Touch
Massage and CranioSacral Therapy