Self-care is not just a buzzword; it’s about taking the time to nurture your mental, emotional and physical health. This concept is especially vital in our fast-paced, technology-driven world, where busy schedules have become the norm and accomplishing everything on your to-do list takes precedence over your well-being. All experts we’ve spoken to agree: Your health should be your priority, and you need to schedule time for yourself just as you would any other appointment.
Fortunately, self-care comes in many different forms, ranging from routine doctor visits and other specialized treatments to spa days and yoga classes, and can be squeezed into the busiest of schedules. There are a wealth of health and wellness practitioners and businesses in and around our community that can help put you on a path to a better, healthier you, from the inside out. Read on for advice from local wellness experts and the services they provide to help you practice self-care your way, year-round.
Before delving into the myriad of alternative health and wellness treatments out there, it’s important to start with a visit to your primary care physician for routine preventive care. Annual checkups and screenings are necessary for maintaining and managing your health because they help prevent illnesses and can detect problems before they worsen. “Taking care of our own mental, emotional and physical needs is a necessity — never underestimate the true value and importance of your health,” says Dr. Rohit Varma, founding director of Southern California Eye Institute at CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (CHA HPMC). “When you ignore your body’s warning signs, it may lead to lifelong and potentially life-threatening health problems.” Many health issues, such as obesity and diabetes, if left untreated, can lead to more serious complications down the road and require expertise beyond what can be provided by your primary care physician. That’s where CHA HPMC comes in. The acute-care facility has more than 500 physicians and specialists (representing 69 specialties), state-of-the-art care programs, an award-winning stroke center and much more. The hospital prides itself on providing Toluca Lake and its surrounding communities with the highest level of care, CEO Robert Allen says. “We’re continuously evolving to meet the needs of the changing communities — and to be able to accommodate and serve everyone,” he says. “Our goal is to be at the forefront of health and providing best services to our communities.”
Biannual visits to the dentist are also part of preventive care. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily isn’t enough; regular checkups are needed to maintain oral health and address issues like plaque buildup and cavities. Additionally, dentists can assess whether you need to see a specialist, such as an orthodontist, to address more advanced issues, like fixing the alignment of your teeth, jaws and bones to ensure proper function. Embrace Orthodontics does that and more. Dr. Camille Neagu uses highly advanced treatments ranging from traditional braces to Invisalign and lingual braces to create healthy, long-lasting smiles. Her office creates individualized treatment plans based on each patient’s needs to achieve the best outcome. “A straightened bite and perfect smile not only looks great and increases your self-esteem, but also can lead to unexpected health improvements, such as speaking, chewing and, at times, alleviating oral facial pain,” Neagu says.
East Meets West
“Years ago, Western doctors didn’t really support Eastern medicine,” says Sherrie Matthews of Sherrie Matthews Acupuncture. But that attitude has changed in recent years, as more people turn toward ancient Eastern healing modalities, such as acupuncture, to treat and manage pain and other medical conditions. Acupuncture, a technique originating from Chinese medicine, involves inserting needles into specific points on the body to open blocked pathways (meridians) of energy (chi) and increase blood circulation within the body. Matthews utilizes many different techniques in her practice — including acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion and ear seeds in combination with healing stones and essential oils — for treatments that revive the mind, body and spirit. Her most unique and popular treatment is the Acupuncture Rejuvenation Facial, a full-body anti-aging treatment that uses organic face products made with Chinese herbs. “Pearl powder is used to even out skin tone, reishi mushrooms firm the face and needles go in to really stimulate and activate your own collagen and lift the muscles,” she says.
In addition to anti-aging concerns, acupuncture can help address a wide range of health issues, including one of the most prevalent — stress. “I see more and more patients with insomnia, anxiety, depression, muscle tension, TMJ syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis, irregular menstrual cycles and adrenal fatigue, all caused by chronic stress and mental exhaustion,” says Aleksandra Dianova, MSOM, LAc, of Mulberry Leaf Acupuncture & Herbs. Acupuncture helps patients feel more relaxed and grounded because it triggers the nervous system to switch from “flight and fight” mode to “rest and digest” mode. She adds that ecological issues, such as air pollution, can also cause hormonal disruptions and an inflammatory response in our bodies. For this, she recommends a fire cupping massage as a highly effective detox treatment, as it deoxygenates body tissues by getting rid of deep-rooted toxins and static blood.
Relax and Rejuvenate
Sometimes a pampering day at the spa can work wonders to rejuvenate your body and mind. Since “most health and wellness issues are heavily related to lack of internal balance, whether that be mental, spiritual, physical or hormonal,” it’s important to bring your body back to a level of homeostasis, according to Shalade Johnson of Burbank Spa & Garden. “As we all know, everything we manifest on the outside is cultivated from the inside, including beauty, strength and peace.” Her spa helps with that, providing a tranquil refuge, complete with a lush garden and serene seating areas, and a vast menu of restoring massages, treatments and facials. Johnson says detoxifying treatments, such as the eucalyptus-infused Finnish sauna and ionic footbaths, are popular because they boost the immune system, increase blood circulation, promote skin rejuvenation, decrease stress levels and foster long-lasting relaxation.
Among Evertruth Healing’s array of services — which include energy healing, acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, chiropractic care and neurofeedback therapy — the center features a healing spa that’s popular for its noninvasive full-body massages, custom facials and Endermologie body-sculpting treatments. These treatments are known to increase circulation, enhance lymphatic drainage, stimulate collagen production and promote deep tissue repair and healing. Sai-Ling Michael, DC, says the Environ facial is a favorite among those looking for a safe and effective Vitamin A anti-aging treatment. “I love the Environ skin-care line because of its natural and vitamin-nourishing effect on the face,” she says, adding that the facial is key to achieving “unbelievably flawless skin.”
For a deep mental and physical reboot, Victoria Sainsbury-Carter of Sacred Oak Energy Healing offers energy healing therapy and body–mind counseling. These are based in transpersonal energy healing, which combines the art of holistic inquiry with hands-on healing. “I meet each of my clients exactly ‘where they are’ in their current life challenges, engaging them into a deep state of relaxation, rest and repair,” says Sainsbury-Carter, who utilizes breath awareness, meditation, guided visualization, aromatherapy and crystal therapies in addition to the hands-on treatments to enable clients to “release” emotional blocks and promote healing by balancing, supporting and relaxing the chakra (spiritual energy) and nervous system. “This gentle, supportive process allows my clients to find their ‘quiet space’ within, releasing the layers of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual stressors that overwhelm their lives,” she says.
At Planet Namaste, yoga is not just exercise; it’s a way of life. “What you learn on the mat about balance, compassion and strength translates off the mat,” says owner Juliet Kaluzniacki, who believes in yoga’s ability to not only support mental and physical health, but also promote healthy values within the community. “The health of our community is based on the health of all who live here, and that means providing a space for people of all ages,” she says of her inclusive studio, which offers classes, workshops and more for people of all ages and abilities. Patrons attend classes suited for their age group and skill, allowing them to reap the many benefits of yoga at a level where they’re most comfortable. Along with providing classes for “every body,” Kaluzniacki offers a stress-free, communal environment that enables people to foster a healthy mind–body connection in their practice and be more present with others. “In today’s world, we need to make an effort to connect with each other,” she says. “We have created a space that lends itself to slowing down, having tea and socializing with our neighbors.”