July Special: Free Yoga and Breath Work Class

For the month of July, we will be exploring the importance of deep abdominal breathing and a strong, open core. We are offering a free class in breath work and beginner’s yoga with the purchase of 2 60, 90 or 120 minute Therapeutic Massage sessions in the month of July.

This 60 minute class will take place on July 23, 2016 at 5:15pm. In the class we will explore gentle hatha yoga poses that will open and strengthen the muscles of respiration in the abdomen and thoracic regions. We will also cover the use of pranayama or breath work in order to use these muscles in an efficient manner. Breath work helps with lowering anxiety, stabilizing posture and gently massaging internal organs.

Space is limited, so be sure to purchase your package early to ensure your spot in the free class.

Recipe of the Month: Tea-rubbed Salmon with Brown Rice and Curried Greens

Serves 4


  • 4 4oz pieces of Wild Alaskan Salmon (not Atlantic)
  • 1tsp loose green tea
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 1/2tsp lavender flowers
  • 1/2tsp black pepper
  • olive oil


  • 1c Brown Rice (uncooked)
  • 2c water

Curried Greens

  • 2c kale or chard
  • 2tbsp coconut oil
  • 2tsp curry powder
  • 2tbsp coconut milk (full fat)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Begin by preparing the rice. Place rice and water in pot and allow to simmer for 40 mins. Prepare the rub for the salmon by grinding the tea, salt, pepper and lavender in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Rub one side of the salmon and set aside at room temperature. At about 25 mins left on the timer, melt coconut oil in large shallow pan. Add the salt, pepper and curry powder and stir. Once the curry powder is fragrant, add the greens. Allow them to become soft and turn the heat down to low. Stir occasionally, adding the coconut milk in the last ten minutes of cooking. Now place about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a sautee pan. Once the oil is hot, add the salmon to the pan (rub side down). Allow the salmon to cook on each side for 10 minutes. Plate and enjoy!


Inflammatory Foods and Chronic Pain

Nutrition as a means to combat chronic pain has become a topic of interest in medical communities today. As more and more patients are looking for relief from chronic ailments like fibromyalgia, migraines, diabetes and idiopathic pain, doctors, nutritionist and holistic health practitioners are looking closer to explore the cause and treat more than the symptoms. This kind of whole-body treatment often leads to looking at causes of chronic inflammation.

Within the body, inflammation can have a number of reasons. It may be physical trauma such as a sprain or break. Acute illness may be another cause. Allergens such as pollen enter into the body and can cause an inflammatory reaction. In most cases, these causes of inflammation are short lived and resolve as the illness, allergic response or physical trauma heals. In some cases the inflammation is long term and does not resolve. This leaves the body in a constant state of crisis. Some signs and symptoms of chronic inflammation are: gastrointestinal disorders, asthma/wheezing, nasal congestion, rashes and heart problems. If left untreated, chronic inflammation has been linked to cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.

Diet often plays a role in chronic inflammation. The modern diet consists of heavily processed and sugar-laden foods. Foods such as red meat, hydrogenated vegetable oils, sugary drinks, fried foods and refined carbohydrates (white bread, etc) are often considered inflammatory foods. They create a response in the body much the same as allergens. In contrast, foods such as nuts, olive oil, tomatoes and fatty fish can have an anti-inflammatory response in the body. There are several diets that have shown to improve symptoms in patients experiencing chronic pain and inflammation. As with any change to your healthcare routine, it is best to research each option to find the limits and benefits before starting on a new diet.

  • Low Inflammation Diet: Also knows as The Mediterranean Diet, this diet mimics the eating patterns of the coutries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It is heavy on fish, fresh fruits and vegetables and nuts. This diet has been shown to lower weight and heart disease. This diet may be the easiest to switch to from a more traditional modern diet.
  • Histamine Intolerance Diet: This diet would require additional testing with an allergist. But introducing low-histamine producing foods can help with people who experience chronic inflammation caused by increased histamine levels in the blood and cells.
  • Elimination Diet: Working with a nutritionist or allergist can help you to pinpoint foods that are causing sensitivities through IgE and IgG blood tests. You can then eliminate the foods from your diet for a period of 2-3 weeks. Once the foods have left your system, you can also “test” the reaction by introducing them slowly and singularly to your diet.  Here is a helpful handout to help you with the process.
  • GAPS Diet: Developed by a doctor in 1998 to help her own children with chronic issues, this diet explores the role between gut health and inflammation throughtout the body. This diet is perhaps the most challenging on the list, but it is not meant to be maintained long term. It is a series of steps towards healing.
  • Paleo Diet: The Paleo Diet is a system of eating that mimics our hunter-gatherer ancestors. This diet eschews processed foods, many starches and sources of carbohydrates. In this article, you can read about five clinical trials that have investigated the benefits of the Paleo Diet. While the sample sizes are small and short trial times, it does show some promise for the benefits of using the diet, at least short-term.

As with any treatment, the key to finding a nutritional source of healing is balance and sustainability. If you introduce too much as once, you are less likely to get a benefit from a half-hearted attempt. Working with a nutritionist can help you create a plan that is individualized to your needs and lifestyle. But looking into changes in diet can help you along the path to being free of chronic inflammation and pain.



  1. Harvard Health Publications http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
  2. Loren Cordain, PhD http://thepaleodiet.com/
  3. University of Wisconsin, Medical School file:///home/chronos/u-fe21f2f2ef386fc01a51e9b4efce43df04caa729/Downloads/handout_elimination_diet_patient.pdf
  4. Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride http://www.gapsdiet.com/home.html
  5. Histamine Tolerance Awareness http://www.histamineintolerance.org.uk/about/the-food-diary/the-food-list/



Essential Oil of the Month: Custom Muscle Soak


For this month’s Essential Oil of the Month, we have created a Custom-blended Muscle Soak to soothe away your aches and pains. Our special blend of salts and essential oils will relax tired muscles.

Each 32oz bag (good for 8 baths) contains:

  • Epsom Salt: contains magnesium sulfate, reduces inflammation, relieves muscles aches and pains, soothes muscles cramps
  • Dead Sea Salt: contains magnesium, potassium and calcium chlorides, improves tone and quality of skin
  • Himalayan Pink Salt: contains calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron, promotes good circulation and prevents muscle cramping
  • Lavender: general relaxation oil for muscles
  • Peppermint: anti-inflammatory and cooling relief for low back pain
  • Basil: stimulates blood flow and soothes muscle spasms
  • Wintergreen: helps with muscle cramps and arthritis


Stop in to The Wellness Center today and pick up a bag. We are offering this muscle soak for $11.25 (10%off the retail price) for the Month of June.

Unraveling Low Back Pain

This month we are spotlighting low back pain. Just about everyone has it at some point. You can blame it on poor posture, weak core muscles, sedentary lifestyle..whatever you want, but it doesn’t have to dominate your life. Today we will discuss how massage therapy and other modalities can help restore and support your low back for a pain-free life.

Anatomy and Muscles of the Low Back

The lower back is a complex and important part of the body. Forming the top of the pelvic girdle it supports and strengthens the upper torso, hips and legs. It is balanced by the core muscles in the front and often becomes tight and inflexible as a result of these core muscles being weak. Spanning from the last of the false ribs to the iliac crests, the low back is made up of several muscles:

  • Multifidus-small muscles along spine that strengthen and support vertebrae in order to reduce friction and joint degeneration
  • Erector Spinae Group– made up of iliocostalis, longissimus and spinalis, these muscles primarily work to extend the spine, but also have some rotational and  lateral flexion actions
  • Core Musclestransverse abdominus, internal and external abdominal obliques circle the low back and abdomen and these muscles are responsible for flexion and rotation of the spine and abdomen
  • Psoas-this muscle attaches the low back to the lower pelvis and is responsible for hip flexion
  • Quadratus Lumborum-this large muscle of the lower back is responsible for lateral flexion, extension of the spine and plays a role in respiration

Techniques for Addressing Low Back Pain

Your therapist may use one or more techniques along with traditional Swedish Massage to help you with low back pain. Often a series of session using these techniques will be needed to restore your low back to optimal functioning.

  • Myofascial Release: modality that uses sustained pressure to correct fascial imbalances within the body
  • Muscle Energy Technique: Muscle Energy Technique is a massage modality that uses the body’s own force to restore muscle length and fuction
  • Neuromuscular Therapy: Neuromuscular Therapy is a system of assessing and correcting imbalances in the body through lifestyle changes and myofascial trigger point work
  • Friction: by working on the origin and insertion of the muscles, your therapist can help to release and lengthen the muscles in the tight low back

Essential Oils for Low Back Pain

Essential oils applied to the skin with a carrier oil or added to an Epsom salt bath can be very effective for relieving low back pain. Below is a list of several oils that can help with back pain relief:

  • Lavender: general relaxation oil for muscles
  • Peppermint: anti-inflammatory and cooling relief for low back pain
  • Basil: stimulates blood flow and soothes spasms
  • Wintergreen: helps with muscle cramps and arthritis

Additional Resources for Low Back Pain

In addition to massage therapy, you may find relief in other complimentary medicine modalities.

  • Acupuncture: working with an acupuncturist  is a safe and effective way to relieve low back pain caused by muscle or nerve involvement
  • Chiropractic Care: through the process of adjustments, your chiropractor can help to realign the boney and ligamentous structures of the body to promote better posture
  • Osteopathic Medicine: Osteopaths use gentle manipulations to restore soft tissue and boney imbalances (be sure to ask if they do manipulations when making your appointment)
  • Nutrition: Weight and diet (inflammation) can play a role in low back pain
  • Yoga: poses such as Downward Facing Dog, Cat-Cow and Forward Bend are simple asanas to get your body moving and restore flexibility and function to your lower back



Recipe of The Month: DIY Natural Cleaners

In the spirit of detoxification, we will look into your cleaning cupboards. Many of the widely used cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that not may harm you and the environment. Taking steps to eliminate these cleaners creates a healthier, happier home.

All Purpose Cleaner

Fill spray bottle and use to clean kitchen counters and ceramic surfaces. The lemon and vinegar cut through grease and mess.

Toilet Fizzies

  • 1c Baking Soda
  • 1/2c Citric Acid
  • 30 drops each of Lemon, Lavender and Peppermint Oils

Use a mask and gloves to mix the dry ingredients. Hand mix in essential oil blend until mixture holds together. Spoon onto parchment paper or into silicone mold to dry overnight. Store in air-tight container. Use as needed to freshen and clean your toilet.

Fruit and Vegetable Spray

  • 2c water
  • 1/2 c fresh lemon juice

Even organic produce may have residues from transit. This simple spray can help remove residue and food-grade waxes on your fruits and vegetables. Mix the water and lemon juice in spray bottle. Spray on fruits and vegetables. Allow to soak for 5 minutes. Rinse in fresh water to remove spray.


June Promotions at Heidi Ella Wellness and Massage


With Summer around the corner many of us are starting to increase our time outdoors. Whether it is hiking and biking or gardening, new activities can spell low back pain. But don’t worry, the skilled therapists at Heidi Ella Wellness and Massage can help. For the month of June we are offering a Personalized Self Care Coaching for a Pain Free Back. Learn how to extend the benefits of your massage with effective, self-care practices customized to your particular needs. Your therapist will teach you simple approaches you can implement right away to help reduce pain and discomfort so you can enjoy all the activities summer has to offer.

During the month of June, you can enjoy this personalized self care coaching for FREE with your next massage! Book your 60 Minute Massage with Self Care Coaching online now.
If you already have an appointment scheduled, please call to request the special, otherwise the additional time cannot be guaranteed. You may also call to request an extension of time to a 90min or 2 hour massage. Not valid for use with gift certificates and may not be combined with any other specials.

To enhance your session, your therapist will use a custom blend of essential oils, Ancient Minerals magnesium gel and heat in order to soothe and restore sore, overworked muscles.

Interview with Nutritionist Elizabeth Owens

This month we are learning about Detoxifying the Body. I sat down with Elizabeth Owens to learn more about her upcoming Gentle Cleanse Workshop at The Wellness Center in Burke, VA.

Hi, Elizabeth. I would like to start by asking you to share a little bit about yourself and your personal philosophy towards nutrition:

Hi, Janet. Thank you for this opportunity to share with your readers a little bit about myself and my nutrition philosophy. I have been working in the health and wellness field for almost a decade, with experience in public health, workplace wellness, private practice, and higher education. I am passionate about nutrition, not just because I love eating, but because food has healing properties. The right foods can help prevent or manage illness, and I want to help each individual feel their best and find the root causes of their problems. I don’t promote a specific diet or counting calories. There is so much misinformation out there related to nutrition, and the solution is quite simple; we need to eat real foods and look at the quality.

Your workshop is called Gentle Cleanse Workshop. How does a gentle cleanse differ from a traditional cleanse?

Many people are familiar with juice cleanses where you eat very little, if anything at all, and drink juice all day. People may find these cleanses make them irritable, hungry, have low energy, and perhaps confined to the bathroom! My Gentle Cleanse workshop discusses the science of detoxification and the specific foods (yes, food!) you need to support your body’s innate ability to detox. A traditional cleanse might also call for several supplements which can be expensive! I call it “gentle” because it does not include any supplements, just food, and you can go about your daily activities without wondering where the nearest bathroom is!

What are the signs of needing a cleanse in your life? How will the attendees feel after finishing the gentle cleanse routine?

Our bodies detoxify chemicals on a daily basis, but often can get overburdened so taking time to focus on cleansing is important. If you have digestive issues, fatigue, joint pain, allergies, weight gain, then it is time to take a look at your nutrition. Everyone is coming in at different starting points, with different symptoms and eating behaviors so I cannot guarantee specific results. This Gentle Cleanse Workshop is designed to improve digestion, increase energy, and put you on the right path towards resolving other nutrition-related issues.

Thank you so much for your time, Elizabeth. If you would like to sign up for the workshop, please visit this page for The Wellness Center. The Gentle Cleanse Workshop is on May 21, 2016 from 1:30pm-3:00pm. The cost of attending is $20.00 per person.

Essential Oil of the Month: Lemon


This month we will be spotlighting Lemon Essential Oil. This versatile oil can be used topically, diffused or taken internally. It’s detoxifying properties make it the perfect oil to support you through the cleansing month of May.

Lemon Oil

  1. Stimulates white blood cell production
  2. Detoxifies blood and liver
  3. Increases peristalsis (the movement of the colon to aid in elimination)
  4. Neutralizes free radicals
  5. Is anti-fungal and ant-viral

We are offering 10% off your purchase of Lemon Oil. Stop by The Wellness Center and Pick some up today!

New at The Wellness Center for May

Heidi Ella Wellness and Massage is part of The Wellness Center in Burke, VA. In addition to massage therapy offered, the center offers yoga, Pilates, acupuncture and workshops. This month there are two offerings of note.

Prenatal Yoga Series

We are pleased to now offer Prenatal Yoga at The Wellness Center this quarter!  In this 6 week series each class will be devoted to learning asana (postures) and pranayama (breathing) to prepare for childbirth. We will use gentle and restorative yoga and breathing exercises to strengthen body and mind in anticipation of labor.  Part Yoga, part childbirth education, this class will see you challenged in the second trimester and supported in through your third. Series 2 will run from May 17-June 21.  Sign up here.

Gentle Cleanse Workshop with Elizabeth Owens

You may have heard of detoxing and feared that you won’t get to eat food, have to sip on liquids all day, and be confined to your home! Well, that is not the case here. Join a gentle cleanse program to improve your energy and nourish your body!

Whether you have digestive issues, fatigue, joint pain, or even a few pounds you’d like to shed, this cleanse can start you on the right path to improve your symptoms and lighten the toxic burden our bodies face daily.

This 90 minute workshop includes a three day meal plan with handouts and recipes, an interactive food demo and sampling, and ample time for questions and answers. We will discuss what to include and avoid, and common detox misconceptions to promote safe and healthy cleansing. Come learn simple ways that work for you to improve your quality of life! Register here!

When: May 21st from 1:30-3:00pm
Cost: $20.00 per person