Body, Mind, & Soul, Health & Wellness



Depression, stress and anxiety are on the rise across the U.S. just as anti-depressants are coming under scrutiny. With many seeking natural remedies instead of meds, licensed acupuncturist Matt Maneggia has definitely seen an increase in people turning to the ancient medicine.

In the last couple of years, stress-related disorders have become the 2nd most common condition that bring people to our office, with pain still the number one reason,” said Maneggia, owner of Connecticut Family Acupuncture in West Hartford.  “Unquestionably, the number of kids and teenagers we treat is growing quickly.”

In fact, a new national report from the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State shows colleges are overwhelmed with students reaching out for counseling services to deal with mental health issues. Unfortunately many prescription medications are not recommended for young adults due to potentially harmful side effects.

“I think parents are becoming more and more wary of anxiety medications, and actually, kids usually really enjoy acupuncture,” explained Maneggia. “Very often they respond to it much more quickly than adults. Plus they love getting pictures of themselves getting a treatment to share on social media!”

Maneggia notes even for adults, research shows that around 50% of patients treated with medication for anxiety have an “inadequate response,” meaning that their symptoms are not relieved to a clinically significant level or that the patient experiences adverse side effects.

Acupuncture on the other hand, naturally inhibits the sympathetic nervous system, (the fight-or-flight aspect of the nervous system), and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, increasing the body’s ability to rest and relax. When the body is under stress, an area of the brain called the hypothalamus releases a bunch of neurochemicals. Acupuncture can calm this response. Acupuncture has also been shown to increase the release of endorphins, the body’s own “feel-good” chemicals.

And since acupuncture is not a medication, people can have acupuncture while they’re still taking medications. There are no interactions or contraindications between the two. And while Maneggia doesn’t advise his patients to go off any prescriptions, many of his patients work with their doctor to wean off anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications using acupuncture to bridge the gap.

Maneggia notes that while any acupuncture treatment helps with stress relief, there are some specific points that have a more direct effect on stress. Some of these are on the ear, and CT Family Acupuncture often uses ear seeds as a way for people to manage stress in between treatments. Maneggia explains that ear seeds are actual tiny black Vaccaria seeds adhered to the outside of the ear with tan or clear tape. Patients can apply them at home by themselves and gently pressing on the seed stimulates the central nervous system to relieve stress and pain. This allows the patient to activate the relief points when needed during a stressful situation.

“There are also two points on the bottom corners of the fingernail of the pinky that are quite responsive to acupressure to relieve stress – you can just press on these with another fingernail when needed,” added Maneggia. “I have an eBook coming out very soon that discusses some do-it-yourself techniques for a variety of issues, including stress and anxiety – so keep an eye out on our webpage.”

Chinese herbal formulations are also used in conjunction with acupuncture as they can be highly effective and sometimes provide fairly immediate relief. Like the ear seeds, herb formulas can be a great way to maintain the beneficial effects of acupuncture between treatments.

Everybody responds to acupuncture in their own unique way, with some people noticing improvement quicker than others. However, Maneggia generally believes it’s best to get a handful of treatments closer together when starting acupuncture since the treatments have a cumulative effect.

“That may be two treatments a week for a couple of weeks, then once a week for a few weeks, then every other week, etc. I use the analogy of starting a lawn mower for the first time after a long winter – you need to give the cord a few good pulls in close succession before the engine engages and takes over on its own,” he said. “Usually, once somebody is out of the acute situation, people schedule appointments once every 4-6 weeks for maintenance.”


Since 2007, Connecticut Family Acupuncture has utilized acupuncture, TCM work, and cupping to help thousands of people realize their optimum health naturally, without the use of pharmaceutical or surgical interventions. All practitioners exceed state and national requirements for licensure in acupuncture combined with an extensive knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Nationally certified by the NCCAOM and licensed by the CT Department of Public Health. Two locations: West Hartford Acupuncture at 173 Oakwood Avenue in West Hartford and 1212 Boston Turnpike in Bolton. To schedule a FREE 20 minute consultation, call 860.809.1125 or visit

Body, Mind, & Soul

Spirituality Is Not a Weakness’ and It Is Not for Weaklings

By Helena J. Sturnick, PhD, Contributing Writer

Have you heard the term, “Muscular Christianity” before? The movement began in the mid-19th century in England and then spread to America, a reaction by some cultural leaders who feared that religion had diminished its moral power by the feminizing of faith and good works. The antidote, its adherents believed, was to emphasize “primal” masculinity, virile virtues, masculine language, and—as Teddy Roosevelt declaimed—to maintain “the barbarian virtues.” Perhaps those words don’t make you chuckle, but the fierce seriousness sure does give me pause.

Although this article intends to focus on Spirituality more broadly than the narrower aspirations of Muscular Christianity, that movement offers us a sense of how urgent was their cultural need to represent Strength and Action Principles as superseding gentleness and passivity. How compelling was the need to find a new way to define the intensity of faith! Spirituality is not weak was the subliminal 19th Century message.

Masculinized Faith and Social Reform, 1850-2018

Why did the American and English Christians hold this viewpoint? Because they believed, right or wrong, that vigorous faith had diminished over the centuries. It is not too strong to say that they perceived the powerful faith of the Crusades had dissipated into a domesticized Christianity. The mysticism of the middle Ages, so the thinking went, had feminized faith, making it softer and gentler—much to the detriment of contemporary religion. The robust Victorian male leadership determined to create images of God, Church, Congregants and every aspect of the ministry which were vigorous. The impact of the masculinist leaders was felt mainly in the institutionalized church, especially in the pathways of Christianity.

Not all aspects of Muscular Christianity, however, were presented so crudely. Not only Roosevelt, but Social reformers like Jacob Riis, Charles Putney, and Charles Kingsley, expanded the messages of Muscular Christianity to include the “Social Gospel” movements: that is, to call for a wide array of social justice reforms, to support child labor law reform, to develop strategies for the eradication of poverty, to expand and improve education, and to implement other social reforms. These proponents believed, consciously and unconsciously, that human spiritual evolution (in this case, Christianity) could not happen on the backs of spiritual weaklings.

Defense of Faith: Expressions of Muscular Christianity

Whether we are aware of it or not, these philosophies were a major factor in the 19th and 20 century churches’ definition of the perceived dichotomy of the feminized Christian church and the masculine Christian church. These are not simply philosophies. They are an ethos, an ethical platform for perceptions of our modern faith-based institutions and the manner in which defense of faith is presented. Such thinking further plays a role in our contemporary efforts to attract male congregants through an emphasis on sport, athleticism, and brotherhood organizations. Even the image of Jesus comes under scrutiny; see, for example, Jenkin L. Jones’ “The Manliness of Christ.”

There is neither time nor space to discuss how this affected gender and the rights of women. Not until the 1970’s were strong women’s voices effectively raised in America and England to promote Feminist spirituality (which included Goddesses and witches).

Reshaping Muscular Faith Today

Not merely a 19th century phenomenon, the ideas of muscular Christianity have been reshaped by church leaders and some theologians in recent decades. Yes, there are still Churches that sponsor fighters and fight events and “fight pastors,” as well as athletic teams and training, and exercise ministries ( However, “Spiritual Strength Training” is now considered part of one’s whole spiritual practice. Women, as well as men and children, participate in physical training which strengthen the whole self—“Whole-Hearted engagement”—in order to perform not just physically, but spiritually, at peak performance levels. ”Spiritual Fitness” is the phrase of the day, encouraging participants not only to push themselves beyond physical limitations, but to go beyond cultural limitations as well. Exercise the body in order to train the mind, the soul, and the heart. Popular books by Robert Lundin McNamara, for example, are useful resources here. And the American Council on Exercise named faith based fitness one of the Top Trends of 2016.

The Fully Engaged Spiritual Self

Implicit in this important history is a perhaps fearful reframing of faith with the question, “Is Spirituality Weak?” Of course it cannot be. For if it is, then wherein lies our strength? (American men, according to a recent editorial in the NY Times [April 1, 2018], have separated themselves from the controversy by being “twice as likely as women to call themselves atheists.”)

There are many answers, I believe, to the above queries. Moreover, the array of responses are not defined by gender or cultural limitations. They lie within us as we explore our inner selves’ potential to become fully human by discovering the fully engaged spiritual self. These profound matters of morality and faith are given clarity and strength by actions taken by each of us as we develop the following spiritual strengths and practices. None of these will surprise you. They may, however, reinforce the insights you already have.

Aspects of Spiritual Strength for Modern Believers

  • Know yourself is a truth at least as old as the ancient Greeks. Faith, Belief, are the products of a rich inner life, one in which discovery and nourishing of the true Self are how we come to know the Divine. The Universal Spirit which is within each of us is both universal and specific to our own natures. The Great Intelligence surrounds us, while it also distinguishes our unique presence in the world. The God seed within our hearts is the beginning and end of all knowledge (as Spirit tells us, “I am the Alpha and the Omega”). As we seek to dwell mindfully within, we learn our heart’s realities; we learn to comprehend and to feel the authentic pulse of that unconditional love which animates the universe. As we allow ourselves to be genuine and real, we become intrinsic to Spirit’s purpose for us in the world. We are then congruent with the Divine. Lacking this self-knowledge, we are ciphers, rather than souls.

It is easy to acknowledge our strengths—they allow us to celebrate our place in the world. Yet, to acknowledge our weaknesses is painful. It means that no matter how hard we try, we are rough drafts, a work in progress, a long way from perfection. Nevertheless, the strengths and the weaknesses, the good and the bad, the powerful and the powerless are all aspects of our authenticity. The polarities are real, and they can be reconciled within ourselves. It is not Chaos, but Spiritual Unity, that Universal Spirit intends for each of us.

  • Therefore, accept yourself as you are. Universal Spirit does, completely without judgment. So take a leaf from God/dess: accept others too without judgment. Each of us is here to develop our higher consciousness so that we may serve goodness. And sometimes, that action is electrically challenging. Let yourself be shocked alive by the discoveries you encounter about yourself and others. If you don’t accept yourself, then no one else can either. God-Force, on the other hand, embraces us all.

  • Cherish your uniqueness, as the Divine cherishes it. The mission and temperament you bring to this earthly life change the vibrational energy of each day. You are, then, not only the creator of your own life, but you help the Universal Divine create the world anew every day. Over a billion human beings exist, yet you are the only you. There is no replication of your heart’s identity, only the singular consciousness which is yours alone. The power in that statement is incalculable, if you dare to embrace it. Remember Joseph Campbell’s statement: “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”

  • Do not be an imposter; the world is already filled with enough of them.

  • Practice gratitude. Make your daily gratitude lists, join the millions of other human doing the same thing. Yes, being unique is sweet. Yet sometimes there is strength in practicing a Universal ritual of thanksgiving. Comfort without end may exist in spiritual communities.

  • Forgive. The power of releasing grievances is cleansing. As we learn from Universal Spirit and our divine teachers, when we release s grievance or a heartache, we make room in our lives for greater good to enter our hearts and souls.

  • Have faith. As we know from the brilliant lessons of Alcoholics Anonymous, we restrain our egos by accepting that there is always and forever a power greater than ourselves.

Each of us has days when we feel weak, and we think too many funky thoughts. Each of us has days where, if we have to make one more gratitude list or define our character strengths and weaknesses one more time, we’ll jump off the nearest bridge. Some days we don’t want to concentrate on spiritual development—we simply want to be, with nothing more expected of us than the joy or the stillness of the moment. Honor those days too.

Spirituality is never weak. Infused with the boundless power of Universal Creation, It is in the strength of our beliefs, in every breath we take, and in every loving impulse we share with other human beings across the Universe.

Dr. Helena Judith Sturnick is a trained scholar, published author, university professor, national and international leadership coach, and global speaker. She’s earned a reputation for practical and creative leadership, and for speaking about the spiritual side of leadership. This reputation has accompanied Dr. Sturnick as the transformational president of five colleges and universities, a Vice President at the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Director of the Office of Women in Washington, DC, as well as into her newest venture as the author of Fire in the Soul: Finding the Divinity Within Each of Us. During her career, she also received two honorary doctorates, as well as numerous national and international leadership awards.

Body, Mind, & Soul

So What if You Can’t Take a Mental Health Day?

So What if You Can’t Take a Mental Health Day?

By Marianne Clyde, contributing writer


I’ve seen a flurry of articles recently about taking a Mental Health day from time to time. I think it’s a great idea and can be rejuvenating and uplifting.

However, you can’t take a Mental Health day every time there’s a crisis. So what else can you do? You can create and establish tools that you hold within you to be able to develop a strong internal locus of control, so when the storm of circumstance blows in, while you might feel the wind blow strong, it doesn’t knock you off course.

A friend shared with me the other day about someone she knew who was betrayed by a business partner and lost one of his biggest accounts because the betraying business partner slipped right in and snatched it.

I observed another situation in which a large financial group swooped into a small town and bought one of the businesses, throwing the whole business into a tizzy, firing long time employees and choking the sales staff for higher profits.

There was a recently reported case in the news where one employee, apparently disgruntled with her boss, put cleaning fluid in the coffee, sickening a number of employees on the staff.

And, if you watch the staff changes in the White House these days, you’ve got to know that they must be drowning in a pool of stress.

Whether or not, you are predisposed to anxiety or depression, any of these situations would tempt you to call in for a sick day. But you can’t always do that.

It’s difficult to find any statistics on how many people actually take mental health days. I suppose many of us have and just called it a sick day or a personal day. But whether you do that or not, the fact remains that there are times when it’s important to recognize that your stress is getting out of hand and do something about it.

Watching the news, I see so much reactivity to recent events. Not just reactivity, but over-the-top reactivity–clearly based on strong emotion of the moment without thinking things through, or listening to the whole story, or trying to see things from all perspectives. This is the result of stress run amok. In an article by Prevention magazine a couple of years ago, the author discusses how stress can make your IQ go down. This timeless article in Psychology Today explains what goes on when that happens. The parts of your brain involved in decision making, clear perception and executive functioning don’t work as well, when all the blood and oxygen flow is going to your amygdala, your stress center.

When this happens, it’s easier to get into “group think” or adopt an “us and them” philosophy. These reactions are based on limited functioning of the prefrontal cortex, causing suppression of logic by the “powerful tunnel vision survival reaction of the amygdala,” according to the PT article.

This type of reaction is normal in anxiety-provoking situations, and the wise employer knows that it’s important to help employees find coping skills that keep this from happening, or he will have group panic on his hands.

When it seems like everyone’s getting fired, or someone is trying to poison the boss and you get caught in the crosshairs or when you find yourself dealing with a heart-wrenching betrayal, you must have coping skills in place.

Sure there are practical things you must do. Perhaps you need to file a lawsuit. You might need to put a guard on the coffee pot. And it may be necessary to change company policy or expectations about job performance. But there are also things you can personally do so you don’t run off half-cocked making poor decisions or having knee jerk reactions resulting in a need to clean up a mess later.

If you haven’t yet begun a centering practice like meditation, mindfulness, daily deep breathing exercises, or a gratitude practice, it’s never too late to start. These things, if done on a regular basis can actually change your brain. They can teach you to calm yourself and stand firm in your true identity, not thrown off balance by a crisis or even someone’s strong dissenting opinion. They help you learn to respect yourself and others in a way that helps you be more centered and become a better communicator, knowing that your opinion is just as important as someone else’s, not more or less, but equal. Those practices can make it easier to let resentments and grudges go, because they are stress based and unhealthy for you. When you learn to detach from drama, it becomes easier to see where you end and others begin, so you don’t get sucked in.

So, while you may not feel like you can take a mental health day every time things get crazy, you can create a space within yourself that becomes your own little oasis of calm. Just breathe and detach, before you respond, and save yourself a lot of grief.


Marianne Clyde is an expert in Mental Health in the workplace. Speaking to businesses and associations about empowerment, team building and relationship networking, she is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, in practice for over 27 years. She lived overseas teaching in at least 20 developing countries about recovery from trauma, personal empowerment and interpersonal relationships.

She has written and published numerous articles, appeared on radio and television worldwide. Hosts and producer of her own TV shows and radio shows.

After launching 2 best-selling books, Peaceful Parenting: 10 Essential Principles and Un-Leashed: Practical Steps to Get Your Life Unstuck, she has now released her most powerful book to date, Zentivity™: How to Eliminate Chaos, Stress and Discontent in Your Workplace.

Marianne is the founder of the Marianne Clyde Center for Holistic Psychotherapy, in Warrenton, VA, winner of the 2017 Best of Warrenton award, and also the founder of Be the Change Foundation, helping underprivileged women create and sustain home – based businesses. She can be reached at

Beauty Beat

Best New Lipstick Shades For Fall



BY: STATEMENT SKINCARE, Contributing writers


Now that the weather is turning cooler, we need to start thinking of  not only what to wear in clothing but also changing out our makeup.


Summer brought us pastels and pale shades of lip color and gloss for a lighter and more softer look.


With fall we start to look at the deeper, more saturated colors and shades for a more dramatic look to work with our wardrobe.


Below are some of the shades we suggest to go with your fall clothing. The pantone colors this year of blue, green and wine are rich and deep shades so you want to make choices as to what area of your face you wish to make more prominate. Either your eyes or your lips, not both or you could look very overdone.


You can still keep the nude look with all your camels,dark browns and olive greens. Then if you want to do more highlighting of your eyes you can do the browns, and soft beiges also.


Some of the new shades of lip color and gloss for fall include:


Left to Right : Lipsticks:

Fashionista – Freckle – Juicy Melon – Poodle Skirt


Lip Gloss for that finished look:

Luminous Lips – Clear

This easy to apply gel provides a clear coat of glaze over any lip color for an added dose of shine. You can also wear it alone for a more natural look.


Matt Eye shadows include:

Caramel – Nude – Desert Pink – Terra Cotta – Juniper


The important thing to remember is to make sure that all your colors  go with your skintone

to give you a natural but polished look.

For more shades or to purchase please go to STATEMENT SKINCARE AND COLOR COSMETICS on our Facebook Page.

Body, Mind, & Soul

A Few Helpful ‘Points’ from Wellness Shines

We all know that without GOOD health, we have nothing; with life’s challenges, it’s imperative that we feel empowered and well to manage in a balanced way. The good news is that we can manage these situations better simply by using acupuncture points also called acupoints! Similar to our blood system, our bodies have energy tributaries, called meridians. Discovered thousands of years ago in Asia, these meridians have points along them that work similar to circuit breakers. We can release excess energy and support deficiencies simply by holding specific acupoints while taking in a few deep breaths.

Exhausted or not sleeping well?
Massage just below the ball of the foot, in the very center. Massaging this point, known as “Bubbling Spring”, is good for supplementing and grounding our energy, while calming the spirit. The ”Palace Of Labor” point is in the middle of the palm and applying pressure helps lift exhaustion. Also, organic sesame oil rubbed on the feet and ears prior to bed will calm the nervous system and help with deep sleep. Make sure to let it soak in before hitting the sheets.

Nervous or anxious?
With your palm facing up, follow the baby finger to just below the wrist crease. The “Mind Door” point soothes our hearts, helps quiet the mind and relaxes our emotions. Also, on the outside of our knees, just below the bone is “Leg Three Mile”, a great point for your general well-being. It increases stamina, settles digestion and enhances circulation, but is forbidden during pregnancy.

Hope you’re getting the ‘point’ of Wellness Shines…your health is in your hands. Have at it!

Shelly Hines Body Mind and Soul CW picShelley Hines
Holistic healer, Shelley Hines, has been empowering others in matters of Whole Health for over 18 years. Hailing from Ontario, Canada, this lady has accumulated wisdom from ancient healing modalities such as Shiatsu, Meditation, brain re-patterning through Psych-K, Qi Gong, Tong Ren Healing, Ear Coning and more. Ms. Hines shares her insight and enthusiasm on living life vibrantly. Email Shelley at Wellness Shines at or visit her website,

Beauty Beat

The Right Makeup for the Bride

MakeupFrom fake eyelashes to lip gloss, makeup for the bride is a key factor in the wedding. The main goal, besides marrying the love of your life, is to feel absolutely beautiful on your special day, so having flawless makeup is just the first step. A subtle look is totally in this year, just enough to show that you’re wearing makeup, but not to the point where it takes away from the dress and the hair. Start with the basics, such as foundation, then set that with a skin colored powder. Contour with your bronzer and highlight on your cheek bones, then add a hint of color onto your cheeks with some blush. Don’t forget to blend so everything looks natural!

For the eyes, find a nude color that compliments your skin tone and add a thin line of liquid eyeliner on the upper lash line. Add some mascara to the top and bottom lashes and some light lip gloss with a sparkle! To finish off the eye part of your wedding day makeup, add a hint of highlight in the inner corner of your eye to make them pop! Last but not least are your eyebrows because the proper arch and “filling-in techniques” can make the difference on your whole face. Make sure you fill in your eyebrows with a color similar to your hair, and that they’re crisp and even. Top it off with a simple highlight on the brow bone below your actual eyebrow and your beautiful wedding day makeup look is complete!

Sarah Tessicini
Staff Writer

Body, Mind, & Soul, Fashion Sense

Helping Western Massachusetts Women “Dress For Success”

Being professionally dressed for an interview is a major stepping stone to empowerment for women. Under the direction of President Dawn Creighton, Dress For Success of Western Massachusetts is on a mission to provide disadvantaged women with the professional attire they need. Dress For Success promotes the economic independence of women across our region by helping women, many of whom have been in challenging situations or abusive relationships, take ownership of their lives and make a change for the better.

Dawn continues to be astonished by her team of referring agencies and key employers who step up to support women achieve their goals of entering or re-entering the workforce. She states, “I am so proud of the amazing board members that give tirelessly to ensure the woman we serve get the support they need to succeed! My heart is truly warmed by the collective efforts of individuals and the business community who are helping women achieve.”

Under Dawn’s leadership, Dress For Success partnered with Square One and The YWCA of Western Massachusetts to go a step further. To help women “Get Their Foot In The Door”, a $14,000 grant from Columbia Gas of Massachusetts will fund a new workforce development initiative slated to begin in January 2016. According to a recent press release, “The program is designed to improve the employability, employment placement and self-sufficiency of low-income women seeking independence and economic empowerment. It will create a pipeline of women who are prepared to enter career opportunities with essential skills, as well as knowledge of support resources.”

For information on the new initiative, donating, volunteering or other ways to get involved, please email Find them at or visit

Alysia Cutting, Senior Staff Writer