Article of the Month


Health Choices


You shouldn’t have to decide between traditional medicine and natural alternatives: It Is Your Right to Have a Choice!

You have been diagnosed with shoulder rotator impingement. Lifting your arm above your shoulder is impossible. You have numbness in the fingers and your mid chest aches. The medical solution is to take anti- inflammatories and muscle relaxants, which aggravate your stomach. Your doctor says not much more can be done right now, but you may be headed for surgery. Are there any other options?

When someone is diagnosed with a difficult health problem, it’s tough to decide which treatment is best. If you fear surgery or want to avoid invasive treatments, who can help you decide what other alternatives are available?

Most medical doctors can give you little if any advice about non-invasive therapies that may be beneficial, let alone point you toward a qualified holistic practitioner. On a positive note, though, I believe change is on the horizon.

Several years ago, I had the privilege of being one of the keynote speakers at the Second Annual Alternative Medicine Seminar sponsored by the American Medical Women’s Association. The seminar focused on the need for a partnership between Western allopathic medicine and complementary alternative medicine. We, the consumers who are saying “no” to the more invasive therapies and asking for other options, are driving the need for this partnership.

The ability to select and combine appropriate approaches for integrative health care–or the ability to work with qualified alternative practitioners–gives traditional physicians familiar with complementary protocols a distinct advantage. The complementary practitioners who also know how to refer to and work with physicians and medical practitioners will also have an advantage. The holistic patient wants to be educated about health care options. They want to use alternative treatments along with medical care–it is not an either/or choice. So the inevitable partnership is for holistic and medical practitioners to learn how to work with each other for the benefit of the client. Imagine that concept!

Some of the more exciting cases I have worked with are the ones that have utilized an integrated approach. One interesting case was a 38-year-old woman who decided to try a holistic bodywork approach for her frozen shoulder before committing to surgery. Her doctor was familiar with polarity therapy and supported her decision. The first phase of polarity work helped her to identify areas in her upper body where she held stress. The second phase helped her analyze the holding patterns of this stress, like finding what caused the traffic jam. The third phase helped her associate what repetitive movements caused the holding patterns and the fourth phase helped her release the stress pattern, and return her movements to normal. In polarity, the shoulder area is energetically associated with air and breathing structures, so the polarity work she was doing corrected the breathing mechanics that contributed to her frozen shoulder. Specific contact points released muscle tension and gentle rocking movements helped her release constrictions in the rib area.

In conjunction with polarity therapy, she was working with an herbalist on stress management and her doctor continued to medically assess her progress, reporting the results to her as the client and to me as her polarity practitioner. Her shoulder healed, she did not have to have surgery, and her doctor was pleased with her progress.

At the Alternative Medicine Seminar, where I spoke, I met a very energetic, dedicated, forward-thinking medical doctor, Kimberly Sterns. Sterns runs a center that specializes in natural health care choices and practices a combined approach with her clients. Her center includes two medical doctors, an acupuncturist, chiropractor, massage therapist, polarity and reiki practitioners, herbal and vitamin consultants and homeopathy. Their goal at the Sterns Health Center is to help clients participate and make choices in their own health care and to provide a traditional medical treatment along with complementary protocols. My hat is off to Dr. Sterns!

In the future, holistic clients will become part of integrative health care systems like the Sterns Center , which will endorse:

  • Communication between all health care practitioners, medical and complementary.
  • Respect for all practices, including understanding the value of complementary therapies.
  • Cooperation in a partnership model that puts clients first.

As we look into the future of our health care system we can predict, without question, that more centers will emerge that are dedicated to a complementary and integrative approach to wellness and healing. It is not an either/or decision–it is about our rights and our choices to quality health care. Vote choice!

May the long time sun shine upon you.

Mary Jo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP, is the Director of the Ohio Institute of Energetic Studies (Cleveland and Columbus Polarity Schools), which is a state registered school for Polarity Therapy training and Energy Science studies. For information and classes visit

Healthy Tidbits


Lack of sleep linked to heart disease

Sleep problem such as lack of sleep or erratic sleep patterns fuel the inflammation response of the body. Low grade, systemic inflammation may be the real cause of heart attacks and arteriosclerosis.

A blood test can predict the cardiac threat of inflammation.

Elevated homocysteine, fibrinogen, leptin and interleukin-6 could indicate heart trouble.

Most important is your CRP (C-reactive protein) inflammation marker, which is the best cardiovascular risk predictor.

Advice: when you get your next blood test make sure you ask them to test for the inflammation markers! It may save your life.

References: Hearts Afire, Susan Weiner, Energy times, Feb 2007.

Apple cider vinegar controls sugar cravings

A study from Lund university in Sweden suggests that adding vinegar to your foods or drinking vinegar (¼ cup) and water before a meal reduces the body’s insulin response during digestion. In essence this will reduce sugar cravings.

The best vinegar to use is organic apple cider vinegar.

Reference: Alternative Medicine, January 2006

Joint pain

Are you taking your glucosamine and chondroitin?

After much press we now know how harmful non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs are. (NSAIDS)! A natural alternative is glucosamine and chondroitin which are found naturally in our bodies. Glucosamine is an amino sugar which helps in cartilage formation and repair and chondroitin sulfate is part of a protein molecule that gives cartilage its elasticity.

Reference: gaining on joint pain, Elizabeth Krieger, alternative medicine, October 2002.

Study: the arthritis foundation is guide to alternative therapies, Judith Hartsman.

FYI: according to many studies, liquid glucosamine and chondroitin is often better absorbed.

For best liquid G &C. Email: or call 614-299-9438 to order

Eat pears for the best fruit fiber

Need more fiber and more antioxidants? Eat pears! But do not peel them, just wash them well. Pears are a great source of caffeic and chlorogenic acids which are antioxidants and can block formation of cancer causing agents. Sounds like pears should take a front row seat during your holiday season!

Supplements for the heart: Let’s hear from Integrative Medicine!

Dr. Andrew Weil suggests the following supplements to help the heart.

Coenzyme Q10: a natural substance which enhances energy production of the heart muscle cells. Research suggests CoQ10 may ease the symptoms of congestive heart failure and maybe also benefit angina, cardiomyopathy and hypertension .. CoQ10 works well with conventional treatments. It is not recommended taking coQ10 with coumadin . Suggested amounts for coQ10 are 60-180mg a day.

L- Carnitine: an amino acid that helps improve the metabolism of heart muscle cells. Research suggests L- carnitine may improve symptoms of angina and reduces the need for medications. It may also benefit congestive heart failure and inadequate circulation in the legs. It is suggested that you check with your doctor or health care provider on the need for L- Carnitine .

Omega-3 supplements: studies have linked omega-3 with a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes. Fish oil capsules may interact with anticoagulant drugs.

Reference: Dr. Andrew Weil’s self healing

Stephen T. Sinatra MD and James C. Roberts MD suggest the following supplements to help the heart. Check out D-ribose now:


The following information from their book “Reverse Heart Disease Now”, Dr. Sinatra and Dr. Roberts report how they use D-Ribose to help their patients suffering from heart disease.

  • People with high blood pressure D-ribose increases the cardiac energy and helps the heart restore normal diastolic cardiac function.
  • D-ribose is a building block of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which rapidly restores depleted energy in heart disease.
  • Heart, skeletal muscle, brain and nerve tissue can only make enough D-ribose to manage their day-to-day needs. Under stress or oxygen deprivation such as heart disease, tissue can never make enough D-ribose, thus cellular energy becomes depleted.
  • D-Ribose may lower blood glucose levels; therefore insulin dependent diabetics should check their physicians.

Reference: Reverse Heart Diseases Now, St Sinatra MD and J.C Robert MD. For more info: Google D-Ribose and many good studies will come up.

Be your own best friend

  1. Forgive yourself. The past is the past. Everyone makes mistakes
  2. Accept things you can not change. Do not waste your precious energy on things you can not change. Why struggle?
  3. Focus on your strengths. Build your life around your strengths.
  4. Stop focusing on what you don’t have, Focus on what you have.
  5. Stop comparing yourself with others. You are unique and your success is not determined by others.
  6. Be true to yourself and who you really are in body, mind and spirit.
  7. Change your self-talk act. Rid of the words should of, could of, would of!
  8. Treat yourself regularly to a polarity therapy session! It will balance your energy and increase your positive mental attitude.

References: Excerpts from Donald Latamarina, Personal Growth And Effectiveness.

Additions: Mary Jo Ruggieri PhD,

Asthma Trap

Barbara Luhert MD, Director, Osteoporosis Clinic, University of Kanas Hospital, Kanas city. Barbara suggests that inhaled corticosteroids, often used to treat asthma, interfere with bone metabolism and can lead to bone loss. She suggests that if you must take corticosteroids it may be wise to eat a diet of at least 1,500mg of calcium per day, regular exercise and consume low salt. Adding calcium supplements may also be an option.

Reference: the world’s greatest treasury of health secrets, Bottom line books, 2006

Mind, Body, Spirit


Meditation for the Holidays


Over the holiday season, the intensity of our lives heightens. This is a time of joy and celebration; a time of turning to the light as the days grow longer after Winter Solstice. The holidays can also bring stress with additional activities, and sometimes sadness with remembrance of loved ones and times past. This month’s meditation has been chosen as a gift you can give yourself this season. It’s sure to fit your budget!

Triangular Breathing meditation

Dr. Iva Lloyd writes, “The full potential of breathing is the integration of the body, mind, and spirit. It is a process of experiencing, expressing and contemplating life. Breathing joins the conscious and unconscious mind. It is directly affected by what you are thinking and can affect thinking itself. Breathing is not only essential to life, it is a reflection of life.”*

Under stress, our tendency is for shallow breathing, which inhibits oxygen flow to all of our cells. This exercise helps us to slow down, and heighten our breath awareness.

The triangle is the most stable geometric form, and the physical shape of the number three. In this meditation, we choose the equilateral triangle to begin, as our intention is to cultivate balance represented by the triangle within our body.

  1. Cleansing breath: Begin several deep cleansing breaths. Become aware of the movement of your diaphragm. Focus on bringing the breath deep into your body.
  2. Inhale deeply to a count of three through your nose. Hold for a count of three. Exhale for a count of three. You can have someone else count, tap your foot, or mentally count.
  3. Repeat. Notice. Where are you most comfortable: inhalation (experiencing life), rest (contemplating life), or exhalation (expressing life)? Check in with your body sensations and your mental activity.
  4. Playing with the exercise, you may want to increase the counts to your favorite number, change the pattern to: Inhale, Exhale, Hold , place your hand on your belly to feel the breaths, or experiment with exhaling alternatively through the nose and the mouth.

Enjoy the beauty of triangular breathing this holiday season!

Be well,

Laura Ann Bergman, RPP

Laura Ann Bergman, RPP, is an associate at the Columbus Polarity Center . She can be reached directly at .

Essential Herbs


Greek Herb Recipes


Ask Charoula

Hello. In this issue, we will continue our last column on Greek herbs by presenting you with some recipes for your pleasure over the coming holidays.


Greeks have traditionally feasted on a lot of vegetables, some picked right from their own gardens or in the wild, on the mountainsides and valleys near their towns and villages. Aside from herbs like Oregano, Rosemary, Bay and Thyme, village women also have loved to gather in the wild greens such as Dandelion, Amaranth and Purslane, and have cultivated Fennel, Dill, Parsley, Basil, Leeks and Garlic, to complement their vegetables.

Here are some favorite recipes from a Cretan Cookbook that I remember my grandmother fixing for us when we were young:


Leeks in Lemon and Flour Sauce


2 lbs. leeks

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1 cup finely chopped fennel leaves

Salt, Pepper to taste

1 tbsp Flour

The juice of 1-2 lemons


Clean the leeks, chop them and brown them in the oil. Add fennel, a little salt and pepper, and 2 cups water. Simmer for about three quarters of an hour. Dilute flour in the lemon juice, add to pot , stir and cook for another couple of minutes.


Courgettes (Zucchini) in Tomato Sauce


2.5 lbs. small courgettes

7 – 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped Parsley

1 teaspoon of Oregano

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1 lb. fresh tomatoes

salt, pepper


Wash courgettes, slit them with a knife. Put garlic in the slits and place courgettes in a baking dish. Add oil and cut up tomatoes. Sprinkle with parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Bake for an hour or so in moderate oven.


Dried Beans with Fennel leaves


1 lb. dried beans (preferably black beans)

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1/3 of a lb. finely chopped fennel bulb

1 finely chopped onion

1 tbsp concentrated tomato pulp or 1 lb. chopped tomatoes

salt, pepper


Boil beans in water to cover for 15 minutes and drain. Heat olive oil in a pot and saute the onion and Fennel. Stir in tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Add beans, salt, pepper, and water to cover and simmer until water is absorbed and the sauce thickens.


Lentil Soup


1 lb. Lentils

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1 lb. chopped tomatoes

1 finely chopped onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

3 Bay leaves

1 tbsp Oregano

3 tbsp. vinegar

salt and pepper


Fill a pot with plenty of water. Add lentils and boil for 10 minutes, then drain. Brown the finely chopped onion in the oil, add lentils, garlic, tomatoes, Bay leaves, Oregano, and water to cover. Allow the mixture to cook for half an hour. Pour in vinegar 5 minutes before removing the pot from the fire.


And finally this variation of the famous Fava Dip from the beautiful island of Santorini by Jeanne, one of the participants in our Greece Polarity Seminar:


Fava Dip (Split Yellow Pea Puree)

2 cups split yellow peas

5 cups water

1 onion quartered

1 tbsp Dill (fresh)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper


In a casserole, saute onion in olive oil until tender. Add split peas and water and place in the oven. Cook at a low heat very slowly for a couple of hours or until water is absorbed. Stir the peas until they become mushy. Take out of the oven, add Dill, salt and pepper. Add enough oil to taste. (Greeks add a lot of olive oil! You decide how much you need.)


Happy Holidays!!


– Charoula, Herbalist


Quote Of The Day

“Friendship with oneself is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Attention Polarity Practitioners

Looking for a Polarity Practitioner? The American Polarity Therapy Association – can help you locate a practitioner near you. Their Directory listings include individual practitioner’s services and contact information. The website also includes information about Polarity Therapy and the availability of classes.

101 Great Ways To Improve Your Health


Greetings Friends!

This is Mary Jo Ruggieri , Director of the Columbus Polarity Center & Ohio Institute of Energetic Studies & Bodywork, to tell you about a new book that I had the privilege of being one of the co-authors.

The book is titled 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health and is a compilation of 101 proven strategies with reliable, tried-and-true ways to become a healthier person.


The book is titled 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health and is a compilation of 101 proven strategies with reliable, tried-and-true ways to become a healthier person.


101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health is literally the “Who’s Who” of the top health experts in the world and I’m excited to be a part of it. As contributing authors you’ll be amazed to find Dr. Joseph Mercola, Gary Craig, Dr. Marcus Laux, Dr. Susan Lark, Dr. Stephen Sinatra, Dr. Julian Whitaker and many other leading health experts.

If you care about your health, go here as fast as you can:


David Riklan, the president and founder of the #1 Self Improvement web site in the world, – is the creator of this amazing collection of health knowledge!

If you are serious about:

  • Achieving Great Vibrant Health
  • Eating Well
  • Losing Weight
  • Reducing Stress
  • Sleeping Better
  • Reducing Chronic Pain
  • And just plain feeling better

Then now is the time for you to make an investment that will guarantee a hugely beneficial return!

David tapped into the minds of some of the world’s very best physicians, doctors and health gurus to create a book that you can start using to improve your health IMMEDIATELY!

This book can – and will – change your life. From holistic healing to natural supplements, diet and nutrition to improving your health through general self-improvement, this book covers EVERY single aspect of the health arena that you can possibly imagine!

Don’t expect to read the same old health tips you see everyday! David coaxed the experts in this book into revealing some of the lesser-known facts about health to ensure you learn everything necessary to make your body, mind, and spirit are as fit as possible.

And because David wants to ensure that you are in absolute best health, mentally and physically, he has bundled this book with a goldmine of bonus gifts! The combined value of these gifts amounts, literally, to thousands of dollars, but you’re getting ALL of them for FREE just by purchasing one copy of our book!

David is so confident you will love it that he is backing it up with a completely solid guarantee.

Go there and take a look for yourself – and make sure you check out the bonuses. I think you’ll be astounded at the stuff that David’s GIVING AWAY AT NO COST TO YOU!

Here’s the link for you to go directly to his offer:

In good health,

Mary Jo Ruggieri

Columbus Polarity Center & Ohio Institute of Energetic Studies & Bodywork

Heidi’s Fact Finders


What’s in your basket?


As we settle down for winter it’s not too early to start thinking about partnering up with local farms to take advantage of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) during the next growing season. This innovative program has grown to over 1,000 CSA’s since 1990. In short, the CSA is a subscription which allows people to develop a relationship with local farmers and buy shares in their local CSA farm. In return, they receive a weekly basket of produce. Farmers may also include additional farm products such as honey, flowers, herbs, fruit, chicken, eggs, etc. Most CSA farmers prefer that members pay for the season up-front but some arrange for a series of payments. Some farms also require members to work a small number of hours on the farm during the growing season. The season generally lasts from late spring through early fall. (Local Harvest Website) There is usually a limit to the number of shares each farm will accept, so get yourself on the list early.

Resources and References

  • To find a CSA near you take advantage of the zip code search at Local Harvest
  • Another good resource is the Weston A. Price Foundation . Local chapters can be helpful in locating locally grown meat, eggs, dairy products and produce:
  • Eat Wild Online source for grass-fed products
  • Food Routes Network Connect with your local food system.
  • Northeast Ohio Farm Directory
  • If you live in Ohio don’t miss the delightful new book, Farms and Foods of Ohio: from Garden Gate to Dinner Plate by Marilou K. Suszko “Featuring stories on over 40 Ohio family farms, vineyards, and chefs and 123 delicious recipes highlighting farm-fresh flavors” (from front cover)

Contact me if you would like to read any of these articles and don’t have access to them.

Is there a topic you would like me to research for a future article? Send in your questions.

Heidi Beke-Harrigan is an APP and an academic librarian specializing in nursing, counseling and consumer health research. She teaches workshops, conducts research and provides individualized coaching. She can be reached at or


Disclaimer: The information in this newsletter is for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat illness or prescribe any type of medication or treatment. For medical needs, consult your Medical Doctor, Dietitian, or Mental Health Practitioner.