By Kymberly Breckenridge
There is an astounding revolution happening at 21 Reade Place in Poughkeepsie, NY, by the talented practitioners at North American Partners in Anesthesia (NAPA) Medical Group. These anesthesiologists and health care professionals are becoming the change they want to see in the way Western medicine is practiced. They are embracing the practice of health, recognizing that well-being can be achieved through symbiotic pathways that work together to strengthen the whole you.
NAPA of Hudson Valley’s chief of anesthesiology, Mohamed Elmousely, MD, along with the support of Liz Westinghouse, RD, Ashley Townsend, RN/RYT-200, and Stefanie MacMillan-Haible, LMT, recently launched Thyme Retreat, a 90-minute session for people who want to learn why they feel the way they do and how they can take a more holistic approach to their health, held in Dr. Andrew Ng’s pain-management-practice space in Poughkeepsie. “We [at NAPA] really want to help guide people to a possible alternative to medications for pain management,” explains Westinghouse. Clients of Thyme Retreat will have a 30-minute consultation with Westinghouse to develop a customized nutrition plan, based on their goals; a 20-minute one-on-one session with yoga teacher Ashley that covers basic stretches and relaxation techniques; and a 40-minute head, neck and shoulder massage with licensed massage therapist Stefanie.
“We are very proud of how Thyme Retreat combines three seemly differing fields to offer a realistic and achievable whole- health plan. Nutrition, yoga and massage are three avenues that, when integrated, achieve measurable results,” explains Westing- house. “I like to think of it as taking care from the inside out,” quips massage therapist Stefanie. “They start the session with Liz, learning how to take care of the inside through the food we eat, and move to the outside with Ashley, and finally me.”
Westinghouse is practical when it comes to the demands of modern life. “I’m not asking them to practice clean eating 100 percent of the time. But if they can be mindful of what they are consuming most of the time, their health will still be greatly improved.” She recognizes that everyone is different with varying challenges and modalities of learnings. For some, she recommends keeping a food journal; for others, the advice might be to reduce the amount of late-night snacking. But everyone who enters Westinghouse’s door is told that “smaller portions more frequently throughout the day is highly beneficial. You can’t wait all day to eat and expect your metabolism to be functioning the way you want it to.”
Ashley Townsend has been a yoga instructor for years, urging clients, if nothing else, to just breathe. “If we’re not breath- ing, we are not living,” she offers. “Breathing is a simple way to incorporate good health practices into everyday life…it lowers stress levels, increases oxygen to healing muscles and reduces inflammation by kicking in the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, often referred to as the body’s rest-and-digest system.” And Stefanie doesn’t have to sell anyone on how great a massage is for stress levels. Massage might be considered the rewarding portion of a healthy lifestyle; unlike yoga or nutrition, we don’t have to work for results with massage—the massage therapist does all the work. The brilliance of NAPA is in recognizing that a massage therapist must be trained in dealing with built-up scar tissue or the myriad of other possible complications from overuse, surgery or even injury. “There is a documented decrease in inflammation and rehabilitation time with regular massage,” remarks Stefanie, “but you have to be careful. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could hurt somebody.”
Thyme Retreat offers a free initial session with these three talented practitioners. Follow-up sessions, where you see all three, can be purchased for $50.00. So before you complain that Western medicine is in bed with pharmaceutical reps and never focuses on the big picture, check out the educational opportunities offered at NAPA’s Thyme Retreat. I guarantee that less than $20 per visit for a 90-minute nutrition/yoga/massage session is a lot cheaper than the cost of a month’s medication. And three cheers for the good folks at NAPA for bravely announcing that it is not enough to patch people up and send them on their way. Thyme Retreat teaches us that the holistic partnership between doctor and patient, both engaged in the active process of heal- ing, is the best path to overall long-term health.
To set up your initial appointment, call 845.214.1300 or go to www.facebook.com/ThymeRetreat. █