Holistic Healthcare As My Profession


Working in Holistic Healthcare has given me a wonderful opportunity to be involved in a community that is seeking answers to quality and personalized healthcare for everyone, as well as affordable and effective healthcare that is delivered through a compassionate process. I began my career in holistic healthcare by being involved in sports and then eventually becoming a coach. Through my years as a coach, working with many talented athletes, I realized that the only way to success was through a Holistic approach.
This involved being committed not only to the physical aspects of the training program but also to incorporating the mental and emotional aspects of the athletes’ process.

The variables that became as important to the success of the athletes, in addition to being physically fit and physically talented, were such things as stress management, positive mental attitudes, relaxation techniques, meditation, using different forms of bodywork such as Acupuncture, Polarity Therapy, Sports Massage, Chiropractic, Elemental Reflexology and Craniosacral Therapy. Their diet, food-awareness, and the use of herbs,
vitamins and other nutritional supplements also played an important role.
It became a tradition on the teams that I coached that all the athletes had regular sessions with the psychologist, yoga teachers, and nutrition counselors as well as their weekly bodywork sessions. It took a village of people to help create a successful athlete! It literally took a team of qualified holistic health practitioners, mental health practitioners, sports medicine practitioners, and all types of bodywork practitioners to create the “perfect” athlete.

Guess what! It worked! After 20 years of using a holistic approach to training athletes, I saw the following results:

  • The athletes learned self-help techniques that helped them prevent severe injuries and long-term illnesses.
  • By having access to many holistic health practitioners on a regular basis, the athletes became aware of different patterns in their body and mind that they could change or monitor on a daily basis. (A true form of preventive healthcare!)
  • The athletes became partners in their own healthcare process. They could choose the modalities, techniques, foods and nutrients that seemed to resonate and help them the most. This is called personalized medicine.
  • All the healthcare providers worked together as a team! The chiropractor talked to the Polarity or massage practitioner, the orthopedic doctors talked to the exercise, yoga and stretching trainers, the nutritionist worked closely with the mental health practitioners and there would be meetings where several practitioners would sit down and discuss at length what they all felt was best for that athlete!
  • Best of all, they were healthy and were successful athletes with some of them winning Olympic gold medals!

The holistic and integrated training program became the best way to truly create a healthcare system that was effective. It prevented injuries and potential diseases. Health-related problems were also caught early, and more balance physically, mentally and emotionally could be maintained on a consistent basis.

The moral of this story is simple. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. You should not have to be a star athlete to get quality healthcare which is holistic in its approach. The issue we need to recognize and be very clear about is that a holistic, integrative and preventive healthcare system is the only system that is effective for the client. By using holistic healthcare we use the more non-invasive therapies first and often can prevent many problems before they occur. In essence by using, preventive healthcare we will also cut our healthcare costs and provide quality healthcare for all of us.

Why Polarity Therapy?

I chose to become a Professional Holistic Health Practitioner and consultant after leaving coaching with a focus on Ayurvedic Health and Polarity Therapy and more recently also Elemental Reflexology.

Ayurveda and Polarity Therapy are complete and integrated systems of healthcare. Polarity Therapy has a very specific bodywork system that includes training in Polarity exercises, energetic foods, yoga, meditation and stress management techniques. For me it was important to be trained in an established holistic system instead of only a single bodywork system.

*Please take a moment now to listen to a presentation I did for the radio show, Simply Living. It is a 20-minute talk about holistic healthcare specifics with great details about Polarity Therapy as a incredible system of healthcare. I share some of my personal journeys as a coach and as an avid advocate of Holistic Healthcare. Please click on the link below, have a cup of herbal tea and enjoy!

For any comments or feedback, please email Mary Jo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP at satnam170@aol.com.

Mary Jo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP, is the Director of the Ohio Institute of Energetic Studies & Bodywork & the Columbus Polarity Center for Integrative Health & Wellness


Healthy Tidbits


Children Vulnerable to Environmental Contaminants


Uterus: Child’s first environment


According to Healthy Spaces, a resource for Environmental Health Risks /developed by the Canadian Institute of Child Health/, the fetus is at risk of exposure to environmental contaminants. The placenta according to HS acts like a traffic cap letting nutrients and oxygen reach the fetus while preventing other substances from getting through. But unfortunately the placenta does not protect the fetus from other things getting through like alcohol, lead, mercury and PCB’s which can all harm the fetus.
Other pollutants such as carbon monoxide and ozone have been linked to the development of heart defects during the second month of pregnancy. This should give us more motivation than ever to do whatever we can to constantly work on cleaning up our environment!

Healthy Spaces: Healthy Spaces


I would like to highly recommend that you consider using the reference “Healthy Child, Healthy World”, formerly Chec’s Health house. HCHW is a resource for Environmental Health Risks affecting children. I have personally found the articles to be informative and well documented. They have current articles on their Resources’ section and sections on creating healthy environmental for children. Healthy Child, Healthy World, is a national, non-profit 501 (C) 3 organizations based in Los Angeles.

Healthy Child

Mary Jo Ruggieri, PhD, RPP

Water, Water Everywhere


But Not a Drop to Drink


Like it or not water is not an infinite resource. We may find out that water is the next gold on our earth and even more important than any other resource even oil!

Here are some incredible facts for consideration about the future of our world’s water supply and how we use or abuse water.

  1. 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water.
  2. 6,000 people die every 24 hours from an inadequate water supply.
  3. 5.3 billion people will suffer from water shortages by 2025.
  4. In the US the overage person uses 100 – 170 gallons of water every day at home. The average African “family” uses 5 gallons per day.

These facts paint a very clear picture. In the US alone we use 30 times more water per day than in most countries. Lake Mead in Las Vegas , Nevada is drying up ( their only source of drinking water), and according to Cornell University researchers producing a quarter-pound of hamburger meat requires 2, 900 gallons of water.

If we do not begin to recognize the problems we will soon be facing within the next twenty years with the water shortage issue then we are in complete DENIAL.

Only you can solve the problem – here’s how:

  • Basic STOP wasting water
  • Shorter showers
  • Don’t wash your car so often
  • Eat less meat
  • Don’t let water run constantly when rinsing things

For more information go to Blue Planet Network. Make a donation to Blue Planet Run Foundation’s grassroots mission to provide a lifetime supply of safe drinking water to 200 million people by 2027.

Reference: Blue Planet Run ( Earth Aware Editions 2007 ) ; Ecological Integrity by David Pemental , et al. ( Island, 2001 ).

Vitamin D for Women


Christine Northrup, MD speaks out on vitamin D for women. The miracle vitamin which may prevent some cancers, high blood pressure, depression and osteoporosis seems to be lacking in women’s diets. According to research published in the archives of Internal Medicine, 31,487 women were followed for 10 years and they found lower risks of pre-menopausal breast cancer in women with higher vitamin D and calcium intakes.

Northrup recommends that the average person needs 1,000 IU’s of vitamin D daily. She suggests taking cod-liver oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids and 1.000 IU of vitamin D

Info on Eggs

  • No difference between white and brown eggs. “Pigmentation depends upon color and breed of the bird”. H.S. Thesman, PhD
  • Organic eggs here must be fed 100 percent Organic diet with no animal by-products or hormones. Best to eat organic eggs.
  • Omega 3 enriched means hens are fed diets rich in flaxseed and algae products.
  • Eggs get a bad rap – – they are high in all essential amino acids and research has shown that eggs are not the main culprit in bad cholesterol.

Reference: Delicious Living Magazine, 2008.

Polarity Adventure In Greece


In September 2007, thirty people gathered for ten days of educational bliss on the Greek Island of Aegina. The first Holistic Health and Polarity Therapy International Seminar was held with students and faculty coming from all over the world.

The days began with Yoga, Chi Quong, or Polarity exercises on the shores of the Aegina sea. After a Greek breakfast, classes were given in Herbal medicine, Polarity Back bodywork, Aroma Therapy, Energetic Unwinding, Energy Medicine Theory and Greek Cooking classes.

What an adventure! Between classes, were evenings of dancing and long discussions around Greek dinners. There were also days of touring the ancient temples to have a glimpse of Old Greece.

Essential Herbs


Lymphatic System


It’s springtime and allergens are in the air all around us. Also, with the weather daily changing from cold to warm to hot and back to cold, stuffy noses, sinus problems, and other similar problems arise.

Your Lymphatic System plays a major role in keeping all of the above in check. But you need to be good to your Lymphatic System if you want your Lymphatic System to properly protect you !

Our Lymphatic System is the first line of defense for our Immune System, our Respiratory System, and our Nervous System.

This time of the year is a good time to do a diet and herb protocol to improve the Lymphatic System and prevent any of the above problems.

Give yourself a week of cleansing the Lymphatic System:

  • Give up dairy, meats, saturated fats and sweets. Start with one or two days of giving up meat and fats, give up dairy on the 3rd day, and then sugars on the 4th.
  • From day 1, start adding dark green veggies, bitter greens, and colorful veggies: Dandelion greens, arugula, endive, leaf and romaine lettuce, broccoli and brussel sprouts, spinach, radishes, carrots, and anything colorful in season. These foods are really herbs too! They are full of chlorophyll, and have compounds like antioxidants, and bitter substances all of which balance our PH, alkalinize the system, and facilitate cleansing and digestion.
  • Only eat fruits low in sugar, such as apples, and berries. Though berries are acid, they are also ‘chuck-full’ of anti-oxidants.

The Lymphatic is made up mostly of fluids and nodes that are full of white immune cells called Lymphocytes. The herbs that mostly act on and support these white cells are called surface immune system herbs. They can be:

  • Blood purifiers – Dandelion greens and root, Red Clover blossoms, Hawthorne flowers and leaves, Milk Thistle.
  • Strong cleansers, anti-bacterials, anti-fungals: Golden Seal, Echinacea, Calendula.
  • Diuretics/Astringents: Cleaver, Yarrow. Dandelion leaves are also diuretic.
  • Essiac Tea, a combination of cleansing and building herbs like Burdock Root, Slippery Elm, and Sorrel, is also an excellent addition.

So try this one week of preparation for the Allergy and Sinus season, and if you think you can do one more week, go for it.

Just remember that ending this protocol takes as much time getting into than getting out of it. Begin adding your usual foods (if you must!) one by one, first the dairy and sweets, then the meat and fats. And keep enjoying the tasty cleansing and nourishing veggies and herbs throughout the spring and summer!


Monthly Health Quote


“The only remedy for bad habits is to counter habits.”
–Swami Vivekananda

Heidi’s Fact Finders


Un-cooking for Diabetes?


The Nov/Dec. 2007 issue of Spirituality and Health contains an interesting article entitled “The Chef Who Perfected Un-Cooking”. Aside from a very delicious looking recipe for raw pumpkin pie, a little sidebar about a new documentary, Raw for 30 Days, caught my eye. The documentary follows six individuals as they work with Dr. Gabriel Cousens, M.D. and Helen Ross, M.D. at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center to successfully reverse the effects of diabetes. That sounded promising so I set out to see what the medical literature says about this.

Not much research has been done on the subject of a 100% raw foods diet yet. However, researchers at the Department of Pediatrics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, wrote an article in the journal Metabolism (Nov. 2005) entitled Raw vegetable food containing high cyclo (his-pro) improved insulin sensitivity and body weight control and a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine (March 2005) reported that people “who ate a raw foods diet for an average of 3.5 years were thinner and had lower bone density (yet no bone loss) than those eating a typical American diet with Vitamin D status actually better among those in the raw foods group.” (Environmental Nutrition, July 2005).

On the flip side, Sieger Jeen Mulder reports a link between GAD-containing bacteria from raw foods (especially salted or dried or smoked raw meat and fish products) and type 1 diabetes (Mulder, 2005) which opens a discussion about whether or not a raw diet should be vegetarian by nature. A 2005 study determined that long-term consumption of a raw food diet is associated with favorable serum LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels but also can result in B12, calcium and iron deficiencies – another important reason to seek the advice of a health professional before making dietary changes.

There are a number of wonderful new cookbooks, that provide recipies and advice for experimentation with raw foods. Try something new!

Books for Browsing
• There is a Cure for Diabetes by Gabriel Cousens, MD
• Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine by Gabriel Cousens, MD
• Rawsome! by Brigitte Mars
• The Raw Fifty by Carol Alt and David Roth
• Raw Food, Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngalis
• Living Cuisine: The Art and Spirit of Raw Foods by Renee Loux Underkoffler

• Corinna Koebnick, Ada L Garcia, Pieter C Dagnelie, Carola Strassner, et al. (2005).
Long-Term Consumption of a Raw Food Diet Is Associated with Favorable Serum
LDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides but Also with Elevated Plasma
Homocysteine and Low Serum HDL Cholesterol in Humans. The Journal of
Nutrition, 135(10), 2372-8. Retrieved January 28, 2008, from ProQuest Nursing
& Allied Health Source database.
• Is Raw Really Better? EN Weighs in on the Raw vs Cooked Debate. (July 2005)
Environmental Nutrition, 7.
• Mulder, S. J. (2005). Bacteria of food and human intestine are the most
possible sources of the gad-trigger of type 1 diabetes. Medical Hypotheses,
65(2), 308-311.
• Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center www.treoflife.nu

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

Heidi Beke-Harrigan MLS, APP is a polarity practitioner and an academic librarian. She specializes in health education and nursing, counseling and consumer health research. She can be reached at hbharrigan@malone.edu or irharp1140@yahoo.com

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.