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Stress In America

Since 2007, the American Psychological Association has commissioned an annual Stress in America Survey. It measures attitudes and perceptions of stress among the general public and identifies leading sources of stress, common behaviors used to manage stress, and the impact of stress on our lives. You can find the entire survey at apa.org.

The most commonly reported sources of stress include money (64%), work (60%), the economy (49%), family responsibilities (47%), and personal health concerns (46%).

It is estimated American adults experience an average of 50 brief stress response episodes per day. Recent studies show these minor stresses are even better predictors of depression onset and recurrence than are major life stressors.

Reported stress management techniques:
• listening to music 44%
• exercising/walking 43%
• watching television 40%
• surfing the Internet 38%
• do nothing 20%

Stressing over choice: In 1976 there were an average of 9,000 items in our supermarkets; today there are 40,000.

Commonly reported symptoms of stress:
• feeling irritable/angry 37%
• being nervous/anxious 35%
• lacking interest and motivation 34%
• fatigue 32%
• feeling overwhelmed 32%
• depression/sadness 32%

On average, women continue to report a higher level of stress than men: 5.2 vs. 4.5 on a 10-point scale in
2014, compared with 6.3 vs. 6.0 in 2007)

At Medicine Wheel Wellness we have an extremely wide variety of healthy ways to relieve stress. If you're unsure what would work best for you. Click HERE to book your FREE orientation of our facility!

10 Tips to Increase Your Happiness & Well-Being with Sharene Garaman

Born and raised in Jackson Hole Sharene Garaman, Psy. D., has been a practicing psychotherapist for over 25 years. Here, in her own words, is what she does.

I practice positive psychology. I was trained very conservatively from the standard medical model that focuses on the illness. People would be referred to as their diagnosis. I understood that, but felt it was diminishing to the individual as a whole. Also, I think the standard model doesn’t give people enough hope. They come in feeling broken and the focus is on what’s wrong. In positive psychology, I offer them all of the things they are doing right. My north stars are well-being and quality of life, those are the things we’re always working towards improving.

I think everyone can benefit from positive psychology, but those who could benefit the most are the ones who are the most leery and may be the most damaged and untrusting. They come in thinking they are going to be judged and that is not at all what this is about. This is a safe place to explore how to have a better life. And it’s never a one-size-fits-all approach. I like to think a lot of my clients have fun in here. This is not drudgery.

10 Tips to Increase Your Happiness & Well-Being

1. Happiness is a skill that can be learned. As happiness increases, so does well-being.

2. Find your tribe! Community & social connections are the single most important factor in well-being and longevity.

3. Exercise regularly and break a sweat.

4. Spend time in nature every day.

5. Develop emotional resilience. It is much easier to develop a routine for meditation or mindfulness on a daily basis when you’re not in crisis than when a crisis hits.

6. Engage in some type of meditation.

7. Appreciate small things in your everyday life, they add up.

8. Avoid second-hand stress, drama, and toxic people. Spend time with positive people.

9. Simplify your life. Studies show experiences enhance well-being more than things.

10. Practice kindness to self and others every day.

Extra Credit: Get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night.

Q & A: Nick Krauss the Meditating Moose

Nick Krauss is an Imagery Guide and Personal Trainer at Medicine Wheel Wellness, leading fitness classes and Mindful Movement & Meditation. Mostly working one-on-one, Nick trained at the Academy for Guided Imagery to become a Level 3 Certified Imagery Guide to help patients more fully recovery from injuries. When you meet him you’ll notice he’s soft spoken, intensely curious, and focused. You will have his undivided attention and, unless you’re in one of the fitness classes he teaches, his presence is calming. (If you’re in a fitness class, expect to sweat.) Then there’s the Nick that is the goalie for Jackson Hole Moose Hockey: a brick house that’s not afraid to steamroll into a brawl and trade punches with the opposing team.

Q: What’s the science of imagery?

A: Imagery isn’t something that you can do a double-blind, randomized study on, but as one of the oldest therapies, it holds a lot of power as I know first hand. My old goalie coach was the first person to introduce me to imagery. When he taught me a new concept, he’d initially show me what he was trying to teach, then he had me imagine myself doing it. After the first attempt, he would have me visualize what I’d just done and how to perfect it. He didn’t just want my body to know how to do something, but he wanted my mind to understand the principles of it. I found this made a huge difference in learning new skills. You’re teaching your brain with very direct messages. 

Q: Do you still use imagery?

A: Every day. Although I don’t do it in the mornings. I’ve learned that in the morning I like to gain information from the outside world. I usually use imagery and meditation at night when I’m trying to pull my thoughts and experiences from the day together. Nick Krauss_Hockey Goalie-5573-L

Q: So it’s not just for new skills, or even sports?

A: You can use it for almost anything. I’m really focused on using guided imagery to help people with injury recovery. I wrote my senior thesis on that, the mental aspect of injury. Post injury rehab is called ‘physical therapy,’ but the mental aspect is
a huge part of recovery. There is a big difference between healing and recovery. Healing is the physical aspect of it. Recovery is when you’ve processed any fears about how it happened and learned from it as well.

Q: How do these two sides of you, the woo-woo imagery guide and the Eye-of-the-Tiger athlete jive?

A: I’m not a woo-woo person at all. I enjoy the science of what I do. Our body and mind receive all information from every experience we have, even if our conscious may miss or overlook these messages. We have the answers within us.

Q: It sounds intimidating.

A: I tell people that imagery is a brave thing. It’s brave to open yourself up to observe what your mind and body have to tell you. But in the end, getting to know yourself can be the best thing you’ve ever taken the time to do.

Q: What have your mind and body told you recently?

A: That I need to continue with what I’m doing and teach the language of imagery.

Soak Your Stresses Away

Nutrition & Wellness Coach, Yoga Teacher, & doTERRA Wellness Advocate, Natasha Undem tells us how to draw up the perfect bath.

• 2 cups Epsom Salt or Magnesium Bath Flakes
(to relieve sore muscles/ fight inflammation)
• 1 cup Baking Soda (detoxes and alkalizes body and softens skin) • 1/2 cup organic Almond Oil or Sesame Oil (moisturizes skin)
• 10-15 drops doTERRA essential oil(s)

Which oil is right for you?

• Relieve Sore Muscles:
Lavender, Basil, Peppermint, Cypress

• Calm and Relax: Lavender, Frankincense

• Detox and Refresh: Lemon, Rosemary

Want to learn more about essential oils? Medicine Wheel Wellness offers monthly workshops about incorporating essential oils into your life. Did you know you can cook with them?

Worrying Is Not Problem-Solving

Worrying helps you avoid unforeseen problems. Those who worry are more realistic, because they plan for every contingency. Worriers are simply more conscientious than the rest of us who don’t worry. If any of those statements remind you of yourself, now there is something tangible to worry about. (Kidding.) The root of worry is fear of the unknown and the mistaken idea that if you worry and obsess about something, you can stop bad things from happening. You can’t. A good deal of life is out of our control. I saw something written the other day that said, essentially, planing is wonderful until you put on your clothes and leave the house. Amusing and true. Worrying has no inherent protective quality. As a matter of fact, the bad things that may happen may be something you didn’t even consider before-the unknown. Worrying saps your energy, robs you of sleep, it hijacks your day and can ultimately reduce your quality of life. Nor is there room in the life of a worrier for spontaneity, too risky. Worriers may not be much fun either, they have a heavy parental quality, ‘don’t do this, don’t do that’ because all these bad things could happen. Those who worry also seem to have difficulty making decisions, because it might be the ‘wrong’ one. Do not confuse worry with problem-solving. The latter does not have a fear component. Problem-solvers attempt to anticipate problems, but they don’t go looking for them. Problem-solvers rely on their own resourcefulness or that of others. They have faith that they are up to the challenge. They make a decision and then let it go… Self-confidence appears to play a role as to whether one is a worrier or not. People who believe in themselves and are emotionally resilient (bounce back from problems), roll with the setbacks and forge ahead. One of my favorite quotes about worry is from Pat Schroeder, former US Representative from Colorado. She said, “You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.” Assuming you are a worrier and want to change that trait, here five tools to help. The most important concept I have for worriers is that thoughts come and go, they are not reality. One day you will worry, and the next maybe not. Imagine worries as clouds as they drift across your vision. Deliberately change your focus. When you are aware that you are worrying, consciously think about something else more productive and positive. Another tool I have sometimes used with worriers is to have a worry “session” and then leave it alone. Set aside a certain amount of time to fret, and then that’s it-move on. It’s not my favorite tool, but for some this works well. Have someplace physical you can go to “settle.” A place of serenity to quiet the mind and the body. Meditation is non-denominational and it can be as simple as sitting or lying down in a place with your eyes closed paying attention to your breath traveling in and out. But you must practice it. Meditation is a bit like exercise, you don’t have to love it to derive the benefits, but you must do it. Exercise, especially outdoors, benefits the brain as much as the body. Walking in greenery especially seems to calm our nervous system. It’s hard to worry when you are paying mindful attention to the beauty that surrounds you. If none of these tools work and it seems as though worry is robbing you of present day pleasure, it may be time to seek professional help.

Athlete Close-up: Brolin Mawajje

At age 12, Ugandan born Brolin Mawejje was just starting out in the U.S. By 14, he was living in Jackson with his adoptive family and snowboarding. Now 23, Brolin is a medical student, the star of a documentary

film (Far From Home, produced by brother Phil Hessler), and an Olympic hopeful. He is on track to compete in the 2018 Winter Games, and would be the first African Olympic snowboarder ever. Brolin has had to

convince the Uganda Olympic Committee that snowboarding is a sport. “There is no Ugandan Snowboarding Team to support me,” Brolin says. “Most of my team is Medicine Wheel Wellness.” A large part of Brolin’s

program is injury prevention and working with physical therapist Francine Bartlett. “She starts with an assessment, then gets right to the hands-on, working out muscle knots and stretching where I’m tight.”

Brolin’s training includes yoga and sport specific drills that work on sharpening his reaction time. It also includes balance work on the SURFSET Fitness boards, which allow dynamic training in a snowboard-specific

stance. Brolin does guided imagery and visualization training with Nick Krauss. “He’s also a high level athlete so understands performance,” he says. Brolin also generally starts or ends his training session on

the Far-Infrared Therapy BioMat. “I know it’s supposed to have a lot of health benefits and I really like it because it’s a time for me to relax.” Brolin believes his Opedix Dual Tec Tights have helped him stay injury

free. He wears them as his base-layer every day he snowboards. “Brolin is educated. He studies the human body and is the only athlete that has asked me for the research. This company has made shifts with

performance apparel. There’s a reason why the Opedix Ambassador Team includes athletes like Brolin, Travis Rice, and Crystal Wright,” says Francine.

To learn more about Brolin's Journey, and check out the movie Far From Home. Visit the website http://www.farfromhomemovie.com/

Get Outside, Nature Heals!

Nature Can Be The Best Medicine. Keep Yourself Healthy So You Can Continue To Play

Ancient medical systems from Ayurveda to Chinese medicine have long believed nature to be a form of medicine. Roman philosophers and physicians advised walking in gardens to improve mental health and sleep. Closer to home and modern times, into the early 20th century American medical doctors wrote prescriptions for nature exposure as a means of reducing stress and improving mental outlook. The Pines, The Highlands, The Greenbrier, Crest View, these were private resorts well-heeled urbanites took to at the turn of the last century for relief from and treatment of mild nervous diseases and stress disorders.

The 2012 book by Eva M. Selhub, MD and Alan C. Logan, ND, Your Brain on Nature, says, “The anecdotal notion was that nature could have a medicinal effect, providing a tonic for the brain as it dealt with a world that was becoming increasingly complex.” Eventually, as medicine became increasingly scientific, such ideas, which had no evidentiary support at the time, were lumped in with snake oil and baldness cures. But living in Jackson Hole, we know differently.

“Whether I’m running, skiing, hiking, or reading a book in the sun, being outside is my life blood,” says Jess McMillan, a Pilates instructor and one of the top free skiers in the world (she won the 2007 International Free Skiing Association Women’s World Tour and, most every year since, has continued to be in the top 5 at the end-of-season rankings). “It is a way for me to find tranquility, push my limits, and feel connected.”

Recently science has started to back this up. Japanese researchers found that walking in the woods (versus inside on a treadmill) was associated with a greater increase in mood and feelings of vigor in subjects. Also, subjects who walked outside had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. But playing outside can be a catch-22, especially the way we here in Jackson play outside. Our outdoor sports, skiing, mountain biking, running, hiking, can hurt or injure us. “Many outdoor activities are unidirectional, creating muscle imbalances and wear and tear on our joints,” McMillan says.

The best way to stay injury free is make sure your muscles are balanced and your joints are working in a full range of motion. Pilates can help strengthen weak muscles and correct misalignment. It is also a great form of exercise when you are injured. You may not be ready to get back to the gym or in the mountains, but you can get a great workout on the reformer. I also love MELT classes, TRX, and kettlebell workouts. —Jess McMillan

For those rehabbing so that they can get back outside, Medicine Wheel Wellness has group recovery classes that include Knee Rehab, Therapeutic Yoga, Restorative YogaTouch, Mat Pilates, and Durability. The latter uses foam rolling, stretching, yoga, balance exercises, and guided imagery.

"A study has shown that a hike elevates the neurosteroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which declines with aging and whose administration has been shown to improve cognitive functioning in adults. An urban walk did not have this effect on DHEA."

Medicine Wheel’s “unconventional training” classes are about as multi-directional as possible. Instructor Adam Dowell is a certified steel mace trainer. The offset weight of a mace requires constant focus and concentration to control and also to initiate full-body rotational movements. It adds up to a fitness class that requires more stabilization than single-plane workouts. 

The Steel Mace has been around since roughly 1,300 BC and has been used by many cultures including Persian Warriors. At Medicine Wheel Wellness, it is used to get every fiber of your muscles to fire, resulting in a dynamic strength and core stability workout.

Aerial Yoga Is For Everyone!

“Aerial yoga is a fun way to in- troduce people to yoga, or give long-time practitioners a dif- ferent flavor,” says Ariel Mann. “You can use the system to take weight off a body part, you can do it lying down, fully support- ed, or partially supported. A lot of people use it therapeutically. If you do yoga a lot, it is a way to improve your alignment, also, it’s fun. Kids are naturally drawn to it—they look at it as a plaything, and it gives adults an opportunity to explore their inner childlike nature.”

I Tried It - As Told By Claudette Stern

I knew nothing about aerial yoga before I tried it. I’ve done yoga since I was a teenager—I worked in a college bookstore and came across Richard Hittleman’s book 28 Days of Yoga and started that way—but saying I have a yoga practice is mak- ing it bigger than it is. This past summer I decided I was going to try all sorts of new things, places, and techniques related to being physical and self-care. I’m not a big class taker, so this was to push myself a little bit. I didn’t only want to try new things, but, at my age, 57, I think it’s important to make sure we’re being effective and skillful with all parts of our body. I wanted to use it and care for it in different ways. One day I wandered into Medicine Wheel Wellness. I found so much! I did some active isolated stretching (AIS) and also worked with [Dr.] Dagmar [“Josie” Wittner, a chiro- practor]. Talking with Francine, aerial yoga eventually came up. It sounded interesting. It turned out I loved it! Doing yoga that way felt very liberating. The opportuni- ty to feel a sense of weightlessness and maybe stretch yourself a little more than you would if you were just doing work on the floor was wonderful. I loved the way it ended, too. One of the options was to take the silk hammock and fold it up over yourself—while suspended—so you are really kind of this chrysalis inside. We did a few moments of breathing and relaxing. The world was totally shut out because the “pod” was all around you. I really decompressed. When I emerged I felt like the whole class had made a difference—I felt more expansive and stretched.Arielsmall

Meet Ariel Mann, Voted Jackson's Best Yoga Teacher 2011-2015

"The first time I went to a yoga class was because a friend dragged me. We were supposed to go on a mountain bike ride, but it was a snowy June day. My friend suggested we try hot yoga at this new yoga studio [Inversion]. I was pretty sure I was going to die in class. But leaving, I felt so good. After that first class, I did yoga five days a week. The next step was training to become a teacher. Now I am E-RYT 500, which is the highest level the Yoga Alliance certifies. Jackson Hole athletes are pretty extreme. In terms of the physical body, yoga helps to treat and prevent injury through balance and alignment and it improves body awareness so that when you’re out doing your sports, you’re more aware of how and why you’re moving. Yoga gives you confidence in yourself too."—Ariel Mann

Medicine Wheel Wellness Offers Private & Semi-Private Aerial Yoga

Studies show Aerial Yoga causes your body to release "happy" hormones like serotonin, endorphins, oxytocin, and dopamine, which boost your mood and help you feel more energetic.



Animal Chiropractor? Yes!

Did you know, Wyoming’s only board-certified animal chiropractor is at Medicine Wheel Wellness? (And she works on humans too.) 

Once a dog owner brought their 15-year-old German Shepherd in to see Josie Wittner. The dog couldn’t walk and had not been able to go to the bathroom for three days. Josie is a chiropractor who has worked on humans for a decade. Recently she has expanded her practice to include animals. “I have five malamutes and I love ani- mals, so I decided to get a national board exam and do a six-month course,” she says.

Because there weren’t any other options, the German Shepherd’s owner thought they’d try Josie. “Some people completely believe in it,” Josie says. “But some people don’t think it works at all ... until they get their animal adjusted.”

Still, the Shepherd was an extreme case.

“As a healer you always question your ability as to what you can do, and I was really questioning myself with this one,” Josie says. “I told the own- er I’d try, but I really didn’t know if there was anything I could do.”

Josie did one treatment and asked the owner to bring the dog back the following day. Josie adjusted the dog a second time and, by the third time the dog was walking. “I was like, ‘What the heck?!’ This kind of stuff really happens!,” Josie says. “It was one of those weird, crazy things. I had talked to friends who had seen something this remarkable, but I hadn’t ever experienced it before. I wish it could be that dramatic with humans too.”

Excel Physical Therapy

"We strive for quality care at Excel Physical Therapy, a modern facility, full of light and smiling faces, where 
licensed PTs give full hour sessions. And now with a full line of comprehensive services offered through Med- icine Wheel, there is something for everyone no matter what phase of rehab they are in." –Maria Lofgren, PT, Co-owner, Excel Physical Therapy

Maria has been treating patients for almost 20 years. She earned a B.S. degree in Kinesiology from the University of Colorado, Boulder and her M.S. degree in Physical Therapy from Sweden’s University of Gothenburg. Prior to join- ing Francine, who had founded Excel PT as a side job to treat the un-insured, Maria was director of rehab at St. John’s Medical Center. The two met at SJMC and soon after became partners at Excel. Nearly 10 years later, and now with a team of seven licensed physical therapists, Excel PT is a thriving practice dedicated to quality patient care.

Francine earned a B.S in Sports Medicine in 1995, is a NATA certified athletic trainer, and registered yoga teacher. She earned her M.S. in Physical Therapy in 2001 and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy specializing in Healthcare Administration and Practice Management in 2014. She serves as the Medical Education Director for Opedix Kinet- ic Health Gear, a recovery and performance apparel brand sold online and at Medicine Wheel’s Wellness Boutique.

“We want our profession and certainly our clinic to have a top-notch reputation,” she says. “If we don’t give patients the quality care they deserve or have a plan in place for them when their insurance runs out, they’ll turn to others for assistance, or, even worse, stay injured.”
At Excel PT, patients are scheduled in full one-hour blocks and are always with a licensed therapist. You won’t find rehab aides or techs at Excel, however you may see patients working with experienced massage thera- pists, or yoga and pilates instructors, utilized for their specialized skills that benefit the overall recovery process. Excel  78

“It’s been great to see orthopedic surgeons writing prescriptions for yoga, pilates, and even Ope- dix. It’s
even better to see insurance companies covering these things.” Francine says. “Integrat- ed healthcare and preventative medicine is our future. There are too many people in need and too many people left without proper care; in the long run this increases costs for the entire system.”

Excel PT also has a satellite clinic at Wright Training and works in conjunction with strength coach and profressional skier Crystal Wright and pilates instructor and professional skier Jess McMillan.

“There are very reputable trainers, practitioners, and rehab therapies like The Alexander Tech- nique, NeuroMovement, and Rolfing/Structural Integration available alongside the physical thera- py Excel offers.” says Francine. “We see being a part of Medicine Wheel Wellness as an opportuni- ty to offer our patients the best care possible. If someone doesn’t have health insurance but has a need for knowledgable body work or specialized care to tackle bigger issues like depression we now have the help in-house.”

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