Articles from: March 2015

FOOT REFLEXOLOGY: Ancient Therapeutic Practice Provides Health, Healing Through Your Feet


EDITOR’S NOTE: There are a growing number of places in San Antonio where you can enjoy the relaxation and health benefits of foot reflexology. We asked Julia Jin, general manager of Taichi Wellness Spa Plus, to share her Traditional Chinese Medicine approach to foot reflexology, which is offered at the four Taichi Wellness Spa Plus locations.

Continue Reading

Living Together: 2014 Global Peace Index


The world has become less peaceful over the last seven years, according to the 2014 Global Peace Index. It measures peace in 162 countries according to 22 indicators that gauge both the absence and fear of violence. This is the seventh year the index has been produced.

Continue Reading

LIFESAVING ACTS: Protecting Animals at Home and Abroad


by Sandra Murphy

Each year, more dogs, cats and other pets end up in shelters as lost, stray or owner-surrendered than leave them for a new home. What can be done to reverse this trend?

How to Help

Immediate steps: Have a vet implant a tiny RFID (radio frequency identification) microchip. It’s safe, affordable and helps reunite the owner with a lost pet. Spay/neuter pets to avoid unwanted litters.

Spread the word: Only about 30 percent of household pets come from shelters or rescues, according to the ASPCA. To help, suggest that shelters post photos in the lobby, supported by a note about each animal’s good points and special needs to entice potential adopters. Also share YouTube videos that celebrate adoption and advocate controlling the pet population (see and SpayNeuterStreetMusic2).

Volunteer: The Motley Zoo, in Redmond, Wash., provides medical care and behavioral training for ill, injured, neglected, abused and unwanted animals mainly from overflowing shelters. About half of its 150 volunteers foster pets; others plan educational events or handle administrative tasks. “Each person has a specialty,” says Jamie Thomas, executive director. “We match fosters and animals to get the best results.”

No-kill shelters are becoming more common, even though they require uncommon commitment. As part of implementing effective procedures and infrastructure, shelter leadership works to secure the support and involvement of the community. By joining together to implement lifesaving programs and treat each life as precious, a shelter can transform a community. Find a no kill shelter primer at NoKillReform.

In Faraway Lands

Illegal wildlife trading and loss of habitat are huge and escalating problems wild animals face every day. Small repopulation success stories exist, but progress is slow. Here are some of the most urgent and dramatic perils topping the lengthy endangered species list.

Elephants are hunted for their ivory tusks. “China is the largest consumer of ivory, but the United States is second,” says Jeff Flocken, J.D., North American regional director with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), headquartered in Yarmouth Port, Mass. ( “Every year, 35,000 elephants are killed; an average of one every 15 minutes.”

Northern white rhinos once freely roamed East and Central Africa south of the Sahara. Until 1960, there were more than 2,000; today, only five exist—one in the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, one in a Czech Republic zoo and three at a wildlife conservancy in Kenya.

Imported as pets or show attractions, “There are between 10,000 and 20,000 big cats in private hands in America at facilities/businesses not accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,” says Carson Barylak, with IFAW’s Washington, D.C., office. “There are more tigers in private possession in the U.S. than in the wild.”

Pangolins eat ants and termites. Hunted for meat and their scales (used in Asian medicines), they are one of the world’s most endangered mammals (see

Thirty years ago, the world population of lowland gorillas numbered 240. Thanks to the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, in Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the population has grown to an estimated 880 ( is supported by Led by Ruth Keesling, the project has shown the inestimable value of the species. “Once you’ve looked into the eyes of a gorilla, you’re forever changed,” says her son Frank, in Denver.

How to Help

Make saving animals a priority. Contact legislators. Be a law-abiding consumer— don’t buy ivory or other endangeredanimal products. Support conservancy groups. Share information. Donate time and money.

“IFAW is working to advance legislation to prohibit private ownership of big cats in the U.S. The bill received bipartisan support and we hope to see it become law,” says Barylak. “We’ve asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ban direct contact with big cats. It’s harmful to the animals and the people that handle them.”

Annual running events with participants donning gorilla costumes raise funds and awareness. Following the Austin, Texas, event in January, runs will be held in Cincinnati on March 29 and in Denver on Nov. 1. “Another way to help gorillas is to recycle cell phone and computer batteries. Coltan [tantalite] is used to make batteries—13 percent of the world’s supply of coltan is in the park area of the Congo,” says Frank Keesling.

Barriers to improving the lives of animals can be overcome and banished when we believe it’s possible and everyone helps. The animals are counting on us.

Connect with freelance writer Sandra Murphy at StLouisFreelanceWriter@

BUGS Linked to Factory Farm Antibiotics


The bacteria E. coli now causes 75 to 95 percent of all urinary tract infections, and research from Iowa State University has confirmed that such occurrences are linked to factory farms that use antibiotics.

Continue Reading

Healthy Lifestyle App Now Available for Android Users


The Natural Awakenings healthy living, healthy planet lifestyle app has been upgraded with a brandnew look and updated features. The free app, already downloaded by more than 40,000 iPhone users, is now available on the Android platform.

Continue Reading

MINDFULLY AWARE: Use Mindfulness to Change Your Negative Thought Patterns


by Jeanne Strauss

Most of our thoughts come from automatic, unconscious and conditioned responses to circumstances; they are essentially the same thoughts we had yesterday, last week and last year. These automatic thoughts make our responses to life pretty predictable and keep us stuck in old patterns.

Continue Reading

Deficiency & Toxicity: Understanding the Root Causes of “Dis-Ease” and the Remedies Available


Whether it’s weight, digestion, energy, skin issues, pain levels, or some other health complaint, the cause is the same: deficiency and toxicity. These are at the heart of all health issues. Filling the body with nourishing nutrients and getting rid of unwanted waste and toxins will get you on a path to feeling better. We call that an “out-with-the-bad” and “in-with-the-good” philosophy.

Continue Reading

Meditation Minimizes Migraines


Researchers from the Wake Forest School of Medicine found that mindfulness meditation significantly reduced the number and duration of migraines among 19 episodic migraine patients. Ten were given eight weeks of mindfulness classes with instructions for adding personal meditation in-between sessions. The other nine received typical migraine care. 

Continue Reading

Collaborative Family Law: A Smarter, Healthier Approach to Divorce


by Bill McNaught

As a culture, we need to rethink the concept of divorce. Traditional divorces can be expensive, combative spectacles that involve a public trial. The process is financially and emotionally damaging to couples and children. The traditional legal path is often an angry, aggressive and stressful process.

Continue Reading

CANDIDA CANDOR: Yeast Overgrowth Can Rob Your Health; Learn How to Fight Candida


by Miriam Figueroa

Candida is an over-infestation of yeast in your body. It invades every tissue of the body, including the brain. Candida grows and lives on some of the foods you eat. It makes you crave the foods it thrives on, foods like sugars, breads and alcohol. Candida can be responsible for the inability to lose weight and can cause you difficulty if you are trying to get pregnant.

Continue Reading