From eating right and exercising, to self-care and mental well-being, there are so many ways to enrich our lives through healthy habits. Though these options are out there, we sometimes need a little guidance in discovering new ways to create healthy lifestyles. This Friday, area women were treated to an afternoon of doing just that, and got a healthy start to their weekend at Porter Regional Hospital’s Mini Wellness Retreat at Sand Creek Country Club.
“Porter Physician Group’s Heart Center for Women wanted to take our care a step further with something holistic,” said Cardiologist Dr. Maya Kommineni. “We really wanted to focus on the mind, body, spirit, and soul, because that’s what generates overall vascular health.”
To kick off the day, guests enjoyed a delicious lunch filled with healthy choices including kale salad with brussel sprouts and cranberries, navy bean and artichoke dip, creamy sun dried tomato pasta, and fresh fruit. All the dishes came straight from the kitchen of Dr. Kommineni, who then spoke to the group about how to include energy rich foods in their diet and “eat for energy”.
“These are all my personal recipes that I’ve tweaked over time,” Dr. Kommineni explained. “All the food today was plant powered, and filled with all the nutritional aspects that you need to fuel your day.”
The power of healing herbs was also discussed, as Dr. Jane Bradlaw explained the medicinal benefits of the ashwagandha, aloe vera, and bergamot plants.
“Aloe is actually an anti-inflammatory when taken orally, which is just one major benefit that people don’t always know about herbal medicines like these,” Dr. Bradlaw explained.
After learning the benefits of a rich, plant based diet and natural herbs, the crowd met massage therapist and yoga instructor Katie Hawkes. Hawkes demonstrated cupping therapy, a recovery technique which features attaching small cups to the body to create suction that extracts toxins.
“It’s actually part of traditional Chinese medicine, along with acupuncture and herbs,” Hawkes explained. “It reduces muscle tension, encourages blood flow, relieves inflammation, and is used as a recovery tool for a lot of athletes today.”
The retreat finished up with a yoga session and guided meditation led by Dr. Vijaya Chapala, a family practice physician with Porter Physician Group.
“My goal is to help patients live life to the fullest, because even the tiniest adjustment can make a huge difference,” Dr. Chapala said. “The goal of both yoga and meditation is to keep the mind calm. We are the masters of our brains and of ourselves, and with a lot of practice we can create a more serene lifestyle through meditation.”
Dr. Chapala encouraged guests to take meditation into their own hands, and practice it daily until they find the method that resonates with them the most.
“Meditation is like science. In a laboratory, you experiment to see if theories are proven to work,” Dr. Chapala continued. “With meditation, the laboratory is not a place, the laboratory is right within you. You must experiment and find out what works best for you!”
By the end of the program, guests walked away feeling refreshed and well-educated, ready to implement the new things they’ve learned into their daily healthcare routines.
“I’ve been told a lot of these things already, but it’s nice to see it all presented and validated like this,” said attendee Janet Jones. “I learned something new with the cupping presentation, and I very much enjoyed the program!”
Valpo resident Susan Elliott also appreciated the chance to focus on wellness for a day. “I liked seeing foods that I don’t normally eat,” Elliott said. “The cupping was an interesting thing to see too; I’ve really enjoyed the whole thing!”