Newsbriefs - Local Articles

Articles from: January 2013

Unconventional Advice from a Conventional Doctor by Charles Glassman, MD

Our brain has evolved over tens of thousands of years for the primary purpose of protecting our physical body. Our primal instincts, which reside in a place I call the automatic brain (AB), do not arise from conscious thoughts but are instead sheer reactions to sensory input. Because our AB cannot conceive that our actions or reactions could result in death, I believe that the “survival instinct” is a misnomer. Our instincts are more danger, threat or vulnerability instincts. Our primitive reactions are similar whether or not they take place in life-or-death situations. The AB brain simply reacts.

For instance, imagine yourself in a crowded audience listening to a speaker. The speaker poses a question and suddenly points at you, asks you to stand and come up to the podium and address your off-the-cuff answer to the audience. Your AB drives you to react in one of two ways when faced with danger: fight or flight.

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Practitioner Profile: Susanne Saltzman, MD

Dr. Susanne Saltzman has 20 years of clinical family practice experience treating acute and chronic illness in children and adults. “My emphasis is on homeopathic and functional medicine to decrease dependency on pharmaceutical drugs,” she says. Saltzman has successfully treated thousands of patients for a wide variety of diseases and conditions

Wellness services offered: classical homeopathy, functional and nutritional medicine.

Areas of specialty: ADD and ADHD; autism; allergies; anxiety disorders; asthma; depression; diabetes; migraines; chronic fatigue syndrome; fibromyalgia; Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis; high cholesterol; interstitial cystitis; Lyme disease; menopause;

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Ananda Ashram Daily Yoga Classes Now $10

Ananda Ashram, The Yoga Society of New York, in Monroe is pleased to announce that all yoga classes are now $10. According to Nicole BenDavid, “We aim to make the practice of yoga more readily available to all people and are very excited to be offering classes at this new price.”

Daily Hatha yoga classes are taught according to several yogic styles, incorporating important traditional postures, breathing exercises, deep relaxation, and meditation. Classes are designed to balance the entire energy system, help relieve stress,

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Learn to Teach Yoga to Children and Teens

The winter/spring round of the Young Mountain Yoga training and certification program will take place from February to April. This new Yoga Alliance program will give participants hands-on instruction and guidance on how to create classes and share yoga with children and teens from pre-K through grade 12. “It also will deepen and/or support your own yoga practice,” says facilitator Gabriela Chinnock.

The program includes exploration of asanas (postures), breathing techniques, anatomy geared towards children and teens, mindfulness exercises, implementing meditation for different age groups, yoga games, yoga philosophy, and teaching methodology. The program is divided into

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Raising Resilient Children by Caty Laignel

During Hurricane Sandy, our school lost eleven trees, a van, and a well-loved tree house built by the Middle School. Given that no one in our school community sustained injuries, we felt extremely grateful as we put the school back in shape over the next week. On our first day back in session, the children and teachers gathered together for a story that highlighted the importance of cherishing our time on earth, the need for change in the cycle of life, and the impermanent nature of all things. Everyone then headed outside to help clear the play areas and grounds. Wishing to get their play spaces in order to return to favorite games and activities, the children took on the clearing of brush with great gusto and camaraderie. The positive and collaborative energy with which the students approached this task was inspiring.

When difficult situations arise in children’s lives, participating in making it better gives children a sense of purpose and safety. Dramatic and unforeseen changes can, and will, occur in the course of our lives. The greatest gift we can offer our kids is not to pour all our energy into protecting them from every hardship that might occur, but to clearly model resilience and include them in the actions that are needed when something does happen. Being active allows us to make an impact in the world around us. That gesture, however small, brings us into the present free of worry.

Circumstances over which we have no control are frightening and it is hard to make sense of the level of loss and hardship that many suffered. But we can contribute to the recovery and encourage our children’s participation in these events. By engaging children in activities such as putting together relief boxes with food and supplies for friends or strangers, children have a tangible experience of how generosity can illuminate dark times. We may not have the power to stop something from happening but we do have control over our responses.

Natural disasters can significantly alter our routines as well as put the important things in life back into perspective. Many find that such events lead to more quality family time. Inspiring our children to embrace and participate in the circumstances of each day helps them to face life with less fear and to trust their own ability to take positive action.

Caty Laignel is the director of the Blue Rock School, located at110 Demarest Mill Rd. in West Nyack. She can be reached at 627-0234 or by visiting

Treating PMS Naturally by Barbara Gordon-Cohen

We all know the all too familiar line “it’s that time of the month; leave me alone.” That time of the month really is a period of emotional imbalance usually lasting for up to one week before the menses, in which a woman can experience weight gain, fluid retention, dizziness, shakiness, breast tenderness, cramps, acne, migraines, anxiety, depression, fatigue or insomnia.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is believed to be caused by an imbalance of estrogen or progesterone. Excess estrogen can cause fluid retention and weight gain, sweet cravings, breast tenderness, and nausea. Excess progesterone can cause acne. Deficiency of estrogen can cause hot flashes, fatigue, insomnia, anxiety or depression, and memory loss. Deficiency of progesterone can cause insomnia, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar and the need to eat often), and anxiety or depression. PMS occurs in 40 percent of childbearing women and 80 percent of those sufferers experience emotional mood swings.

Thankfully, there are many natural remedies.

• Women with lower levels of calcium suffer more from PMS so 400 mg of calcium citrate or glycinate taken three times a day may help. Calcium rich foods include the bones of sardines and chicken, sesame seeds or tehina, green leafy vegetables such as bok choy, and Swiss chard, soybean, salmon, almonds, brazil nuts, parsley and dairy if tolerated.

• Chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus) is one of the most popular herbs for PMS in Europe. Studies have shown that women taking chaste tree berry have significant decreases in irritability, depression, headaches and breast tenderness. One should consult with a practitioner before taking this herb.

• Magnesium is found naturally in foods and supplements and has been used to significantly reduce mood swings, cramping, weight gain, swelling, abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, migraines, low blood sugar and anxiety. One could take 300 mg of magnesium citrate or glycinate three times a day. Foods rich in magnesium are dried figs, dried apricots, lemons, almonds, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit. Magnesium can interfere with certain medications so take under a doctor’s supervision.

• Evening primrose oil contains omega 6 fatty acids or gamma-linoleic acid and is involved in the metabolism of the hormone-like substance called prostaglandins that regulate pain and inflammation in the body so this can help with cramps and headaches.

• Acupuncture is a very good modality used to treat PMS. In traditional Chinese Medicine the liver is the organ most affected by stress, anger and frustration. Stagnation of liver energy or “qi” by emotions, alcohol, and fatty foods can lead to PMS symptoms.

• Stress reduction of any kind can help balance PMS symptoms. A restful vacation, exercise, yoga, meditation and walking all will help balance the energy flow in the body and decrease PMS. One should exercise at least 3-4 times a week.

• Use aromatherapy. Taking a bath using oils like lavender and frankincense can be very relaxing. Taking time for yourself can help reduce the symptoms of PMS. • Patients often find that breast tenderness is eliminated when vitamin E (800IU) is taken. Iodine as a tincture or from kelp also can reduce breast tenderness.

• Diet is a very important part of eliminating PMS. Reduce sugar and salt intake to lessen bloating and swelling, breast tenderness, and hypoglycemia. Increase foods rich in potassium such as fish, legumes, and broccoli. Eat small frequent meals to stabilize blood sugar. Eliminate caffeine which can aggravate anxiety, depression and breast tenderness. Increase intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. Avoid alcohol, and decrease intake of fatty foods and meat. If one does eat meat or dairy try to get ones that do not contain hormones, antibiotics or pesticides which all increase estrogen.

• Natural hormones have been very helpful in balancing PMS symptoms especially for women who have had children. One can become low in progesterone or estrogen after having children and these hormones can be assessed through the blood and saliva. Natural remedies include progesterone creams or lozenges to boost progesterone. As always, it is important to consult a certified practitioner to discuss symptoms and treatment options.

Barbara Gordon-Cohen, D.O. is board certified in family medicine and neuromuscular medicine. Her office is on 4 Boar Court in Suffern. She can be reached by calling 354-4507 or visiting


During a period of stress, I suffered from an imbalance of my hormones. One week before my menses I was experiencing chest pain, anxiety and insomnia. I had my progesterone levels checked and via a compounding pharmacist I was prescribed progesterone lozenges from ovulation to menses at bedtime. My chest pain and insomnia subsided. I was able to function again. –Dr. Barbara Gordon-Cohen

Types of Mediation by Kathy Jaffe

In recent years, mediation has become an increasingly popular method for resolving conflicts ranging from divorce to workplace issues. Mediators act as a neutral third party guiding the parties to reach agreement in a safe, non-adversarial setting so that all participants feel comfortable with the outcome. Disagreements do not need to be contentious. Here are some of the common types of mediation available for peaceable dispute resolution.

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Help for Functional Disconnection by Dr. Yola Barbosa

There is an increasing amount of scientific evidence that shows the underlying issue in autism is an imbalance in communication between areas of the brain and certain neural pathways that are underdeveloped or mis-wired. A recent study published by the University of North Carolina and Autism Speaks showed that these changes in communication can be seen as early as six months of age.

A properly functioning brain communicates between both hemispheres as well as within each hemisphere at lightning speed. Think of these communications like runners in a relay race: they connect, pass on information and release, repeating this process millions of times a minute. In a poorly functioning brain, these runners are often out of sync, missing each other or passing on only partial information.

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Core Energetics Practitioner Now in West Nyack

Diana Buonocore, Core Energetics practitioner and the owner of Ten Thousand Leaves Healing Center, has a new office in West Nyack.

Core Energetics, developed by Dr. John Pierrokos, is a form of body psychotherapy. “Core Energetics is a body-centered practice that connects energy and consciousness,” says Buonocore. “The stream of our life energy comes from the Core, which is the essence of who we are. This energy flows in health and is blocked in disease. The work of the individual in Core Energetics is to become aware of the resistance to living life fully and to be willing to release the energetic blocks.”

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New Store Opens in Downtown Middletown

MYTHS, located in downtown Middletown, recently has opened its doors for business. According to store owner, Elisa Street, “MYTHS stands for ‘Mentoring You Through Healthy Support.’ Our goal is to bring awareness of health and wellbeing by offering alternative, healthy activities to share with your family and your neighborhood friends.”

MYTHS carries an eclectic array of gifts, novelties, candles, herbs, oils, jewelry, musical items, carvings, books and handmade crafts featuring some local artists. The store also features fun classes like the African drum

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