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Cherry Creek Wellness Center News Archive

Your Facial Pain Could Be TMJ Disorder, Learn How Specialized Physical Therapy Can Help

December 20, 2017

Everyone has a TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint. This is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It runs all the way from the top of your head, down the sides of your face. When there become issues with the TMJ, it can lead to a temporomandibular disorder, known as TMD. This disorder can be painful, and often times, people do not even know all of the symptoms they are experiencing are connected. Over time, there may be different types of pain in the face that can cause a variety of symptoms, from a throbbing pain to ringing in the ears. Learn more about facial pain and when it could be TMD, what you need to know about this disorder and how specialized physical therapy can help.

Types of Facial Pain

When one experiences discomfort around their face, it can be incredibly distracting and painful. Some pain can be from an infection, such as a sinus or salivary gland infection that can lead to a swollen and uncomfortable feeling. One could also experience a deviated septum, which can cause difficulty in breathing. For others, they may experience a nerve injury that can cause a variety of sensations from tingling and numbness, to pain. Another symptom could be a tightness in the temples, pain and soreness in the jaw, or headaches and migraines. While some may not put those symptoms together, they may be connected, and caused by TMD.

When It Could Be TMD

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research studies, TMJ disorders over 10 million Americans suffer from TMD. TMD brings on a variety of symptoms that one might not connect all together at first. There can be jaw pain, as well as pain and/or swelling around the temples, ears and neck, headaches or migraines, difficulty chewing or a popping noise from the jaw, earaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dizziness, facial stiffness, and more. Since the TMJ connects the jaw to the skill, it has an impact from the top of your head to even parts of your neck.

Talking to Your Doctor

For many, coming to the determination they have TMD can be a long journey, especially since it may take a few opinions from medical or dental professionals to get there. This is why if you recognize some of the key symptoms, it helps to connect the dots and inform your physician. For many, these dots might be connected after seeing many different specialists, such as a doctor for some symptoms, a dentist for jaw pain, or even an ear, nose and throat doctor for ear issues. When talking to your physician about your symptoms, be sure to show them any clicking or popping of your jaw, areas where you experience pain, tightness, or swelling, note any severity of tinnitus, and all other symptoms. With all of these areas connected, you may notice neck or upper back pain, as well. The more you can explain to your doctor, the more options they can help you with for relief or solutions.

Potential Causes for TMD

There are a variety of causes for TMD. Usually, symptoms occur when there is an injury, misalignment, or wear and tear of the jaw, the onset of arthritis, clenching or grinding of the teeth during sleep, or diseases such as gout of fibromyalgia. When there are issues with the actual jaw, this is when people may notice popping or clicking noises when opening and closing the mouth. This can lead to pain around the area that spreads all the way up the jaw line and into the ears. In extreme cases, it can even be difficult for one to open their mouth.

How to Get Relief

For those suffering from TMD, there are options to help cope, manage and even cure any pain. First, you will want to avoid any motions regularly that can flare up the area, such as eating hard foods or chewing gum. Also, take time to be aware of when you are clenching your teeth. While many associate clenching when angry, it is more common throughout the day, especially when concentrating. Be more aware and make an effort to relax the area. You can also use a hot or cold press around the area each day, and massage the area as well. Your dentist can also help you get a mouth guard to wear at night to help with clenching and grinding during sleep. For medication, anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxers or painkillers prescribed by a dentist or doctor will help to reduce swelling in the area. Some doctors will even use steroid injections or Botox to help with pain. In extreme cases, surgery may be needed but is usually a last resort.

Specialized Physical Therapy

An additional method to get relief for TMD is seeing a local physical therapist. Since each case of TMD differs patient to patient, it is important to use physical therapy as they will help to create a customized plan. First, they can help introduce you to exercises of the jaw that will help increase range of motion in the area. They can also work with you to correct jaw alignment if things are out of place, and can develop a plan with a series of exercises to reduce any tension in the muscles. If surgery is needed for TMD, a physical therapist is extremely helpful during the recovery process. Most importantly, your physical therapist will develop an understanding of the TMD situation to determine which method is best and will not make symptoms worse.

It is important to recognize signs you have a TMJ disorder and how Denver physical therapy can help. Upon a diagnosis, you should get physical therapy on your radar to help you get relief and develop a plan of recovery. To help you accomplish this, you can count on the experts at Cherry Creek Wellness Center. Our premier physical therapy in Denver for TMJ services will help you get a customized plan for long term relief. To set your appointment, call us today at 303-333-3493.

Winter Ski Tips and Benefits of Physical Therapy in Denver

November 29, 2017

Denver is one of the top cities in the world that people travel to for ski trips. With nearly 30 ski and snowboard resorts, and a long season for the sport thanks to high altitudes, living in this area gives you an advantage to spend time exploring slopes some people wait a lifetime to visit. Whether you are new to the sport, or are a seasoned veteran, did you know that physical therapy in Denver can help? Working with a physical therapist can ensure that you are using proper form to reduce injury and improve your time on the slopes. With these tips you can ensure that, whether you are a beginner or a season vet, your ski time is the best it can be!

Beginner Musts

If you are new to Colorado skiing, you definitely live in the right place! As an introductory skier, one of the best things you can do before hitting your first hill is testing yourself skillset on an indoor, controlled setting, or an outdoor one specific to beginners. Skiing is made up of quick movements and you want to avoid people and obstacles. When getting started, make sure you get rid of any of your ski jitters. Your body should be relaxed and loose, not tight and firm. With the quick movements, so you will need to practice to get use to the technique and form. Be patient, you will get it!

When preparing for your trip, hold off on buying any new equipment. It will take time to get accustomed, so wait until you feel comfortable on the slopes before making an investment. In the interim, you can rent. For clothing, work with a professional to get properly fitted for your clothing and any boots or equipment you may need. This is a crucial step to ensure you have a safe and successful experience. When items do not fit properly, it will negatively affect how you perform.

Last, even in the dead of winter, you can still get a sunburn. Add in Denver’s high altitude and it can be even easier to end up with one. Make sure you protect yourself from the sun on all exposed areas. You can purchase ski goggles that will protect your eyes from the harmful effects of sun exposure. Be sure to find ones with UV ray protection. For any other exposed areas, use sunscreen. Finding a UVA sunscreen will help block the more harmful UV rays from affecting your skin. Along with the benefits of offering protection, sunscreen also helps prevent signs of aging and should be incorporated every time you are outdoors.
When it comes to the SPF you use during your trips, aim to use at least SPF 30 or higher. Given that you are on a higher altitude, you will be more susceptible to burns. Apply at least one ounce of sunscreen (or less, depending on exposed areas) a half hour before going outdoors so it can fully penetrate your skin. If you plan on being outdoors skiing for most of the day, make sure you reapply. If you find you are sweating a lot, or have snow that gets on your skin, you may have to reapply more often. Follow the instructions on your sunscreen to learn how much to reapply.

Tips for Advanced Skiers  

The great thing about skiing is there is always something to learn, or a skill to perfect. A simple thing to remember is to “ski stacked,” which means to ensure you line up your body. This enables you to utilize your legs more to avoid twisting your waist when going down a hill. When using this method, a great tip to help you know if your form is proper is to have your arms parallel in the same direction that you are using your skis. When you are taking turns, make them with your arms and legs without twisting your mid-section.

Next, practice ankle flexion. This technique is done by using the muscles in the ankles instead of putting pressure on the front of the feet. In this position, you will keep the joints in your ankles in a locked position. Make sure you are refraining from adding too much pressure on the tip of your ski boots. When this happens, you could fail to ski properly and possibly even fall. When in this position, keep your hips in line and pay attention to your balance so you do not lose your footing.

Last, make sure your short turn skills are up to par. These are similar to stacked skiing where you will turn in a parallel motion. Many different layouts are different, so it is important to brush up on your skills and be prepared. On these turns, you will focus on using your legs instead of your torso for the motion. As you are going into your short turns, watch your speed. If you have a few in a row, make sure your timing is consistent on each to help you maintain your form and balance.

Incorporating Physical Therapy

As with any sport, it is important to visit a physical therapist—whether you are new to skiing or are on an advanced level. For new skiers, a physical therapist can teach you proper form and posture. For those who ski often, you can work with a physical therapist on your existing form. You can show them how you approach different techniques. From there, they can assist you by recommending improvements to your overall form or technique.

Keep in mind while skiing is exercise, which can be difficult at times, it is important to not be in pain. If you find you are in pain, this is something to discuss with your physical therapist as soon as possible. When an injury goes unattended, it can lead to larger issues down the road.

To help you with your skiing and other athletic questions, you can receive specialized physical therapy in Denver at Cherry Creek Wellness Center. We have locations in Cherry Creek, Lone Tree, Stapleton, Wheat Ridge and on the west side of Denver. Our team will help you perfect your form and help you avoid injuries while skiing or practicing other sports. As we gear up for the ski season, make sure you contact Cherry Creek Wellness Center in Denver today to schedule your appointment.

Top Ways to Have a Safe and Healthy Thanksgiving from Your Wellness Center in Denver

November 1, 2017

Thanksgiving is an exciting time of year. From the delicious food to time spent with family and friends, it is a holiday that many look forward to. As you begin to make your Thanksgiving Day plans, make sure you remind yourself of key things that will make it a safe and healthy holiday. From menu items and properly cooking foods, to utensils, allergies, and the physical tasks of the day, be sure to take advantage of these tips from your local wellness center in Denver.

Healthy Menu Items and Indulging

Did you know that Americans can consume up to 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving? This can be over 2,000 calories or more than what the average person should eat in one day. It is important to remind mix in healthy foods along with the indulgences to ensure you do not go overboard with your plate. A great way to do this is to have healthy menu swaps. For instance, change out a sugar filled sweet potatoes recipe to cubed butternut squash that is tossed in oil and sprinkled with cinnamon. Place it in the oven at 425 for 30 minutes, or until crispy. Next, if you can brave taking mashed potatoes filled with butter off the menu, try this cheesy cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe. It has 61 calories per serving as opposed to over 200 calories. When you find swaps such as these for some of your favorite recipes, you can indulge a little more without packing in as many calories.

Cook Food Properly

If you will be responsible for any of your Thanksgiving menu items, make sure you are cooking food properly. Food that is not cooked to temperature that ranges from 40 to 140 degrees, is in the “danger zone.” The danger zone creates an environment in food that encourages bacteria growth. Different foods have different temperatures they must be cooked to, based on the USDA’s guidelines to avoid the danger zone:
  • 140 degrees: Ham
  • 145 degrees: Beef, pork, lamb, veal, roast, steak or chops
  • 160 degrees: Eggs, ground beef
  • 165 degrees: Poultry, stuffing, casseroles, reheated leftovers

To ensure you reach these temperatures, keep a few thermometers handy when cooking. When taking temperatures, make sure to clean the probe off after use. Never use the same thermometer on another item without washing it as it can create cross-contamination. You will also need to do this when cooking different foods and avoid using the same cutting board, knives, etc. on different foods without cleaning them.

Kitchen Safety

Make sure you avoid injuries in the kitchen by using caution when cooking and preparing food. When cutting and slicing, always slice away from your hand. Cut on a cutting board and make sure items are secure. Next, use caution around hot items. Burns are one of the top injuries sustained when cooking a Thanksgiving meal. Have plenty of oven mitts and pot holders available to easily transport items in and out of the oven. Lay out trivets too that will allow you to set aside items to protect your counters. If you think you may struggle pulling the turkey out of the oven, ask for help! A busy kitchen is also susceptible to fires. Avoid leaving towels or other items near an open flame.

Also, never leave anything you are cooking in the kitchen unattended. Always have a fire extinguisher on-site in the event of an emergency. If there is a fire, use the fire extinguisher and not water. Why? If it is a grease fire, you can actually make the situation much worse. If you do not have a fire extinguisher, try to find a lid that will fit over the pot or areas that is on fire. This can suppress the flames since they need oxygen.  This is the same thing for a fire inside an oven. Make sure the door is shut and turn it off. In some cases, baking soda can also help. If you have a fire that quickly becomes out of control, evacuate everyone immediately and call the fire department.

Food Allergy Awareness

When cooking a Thanksgiving meal, check with your guests to see if they have any food allergies. If anyone does, it is important to avoid cross-contamination. This is when you would use the same cooking utensils for different foods. For instance, if someone has an allergy to poultry, do not use the same knife and cutting board to cut ham. If anyone else will be bringing items to your Thanksgiving meal, inform them of any guest food allergies as well. Your guests with food allergies will be used to working with menus, so you will not need to revamp your entire plan for them. Just be sure to have items they can have and properly cook food.

Proper Postures

Handling Thanksgiving Day preparations can be tasking! You are on your feet all day, lifting heavy items, moving furniture, and much more. When you will be on your feet all day, make sure you add support to your shoes. You can find shoe inserts at your local convenience store. Next, make sure you maintain proper posture throughout the day. This will help you to avoid upper or lower back pain. When standing, make sure your head is not slouched over and keep your feet shoulder-length apart. Keep your shoulders pulled back. When lifting, always lift by bending your knees. Remember to lift with your legs. You run the risk of injury when bending over to lift a heavy object.

Cherry Creek Wellness Center can help you prepare for your Thanksgiving physical tasks. Many assume physical therapy is just to help heal an injury, which is untrue! Our team can help you with pro-active methods to prevent an injury down the road. We can also help with massages after your long day of cooking and eating. Learn about our four different methods of massage therapy you can get at your wellness center in Denver. To get started, set up an appointment today by calling 303-333-3493.

Guide to Getting Started with a Denver Wellness Center for Physical Therapy

October 4, 2017

If you have never been to a Denver wellness center before, there are many benefits to take advantage of. One of those benefits is physical therapy. Physical therapy is available for everyone, not just athletes of those needing to treat an injury. Everyone can take advantage of physical therapy to help them in their day-to-day activities. As you decide to begin working with a physical therapist, there are a few things you can do to prepare. Learn about the benefits of physical therapy, introductions in the process, what you need to know about your first visit, insurance coverage, daily activities, and benefits of sports medicine.

Benefits of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy has a wide variety of benefits. It can help people recovering from an injury, coping with an illness, trying to have a healthier lifestyle, or are an athlete, options are endless. This relief comes from a series of customized exercises depending on what their issue is. With physical therapy, there are not any one-size-fits-all solutions. Through physical therapy, many save costs by finding solutions that will help a person avoid surgery. They can also help to ease and speed up a recovery after an injury, or after a surgery takes place. For others, physical therapy is a great way to increase one’s mobility. Strength training and exercises can help develop form. Even if a person is not sure of how physical therapy can help them, it is a great conversation to have.

Introductory Processes

You can be referred to a physical therapist by your primary care physician, or you can see one on your own. If referred to by a doctor, ask your doctor what you will need to discuss with your physical therapist based on the symptoms you have or procedures you had. These will help to create discussion items that will help your physical therapist create a customized plan for you. In addition to creating that list, also come up with questions you have for the physical therapist, too. As you consider any symptoms or issues, try to think about if certain symptoms are worse at certain times than others. For instance, is it after something that is consumed? Different times of day? You will also need to share family history, medications you are on, and more.

Your First Visit

Make sure you arrive a little early before your first appointment to make sure you have time to fill out new patient forms. Much of your first visit with a physical therapist will be assessing your individual situation. This will help them create your customized plan for recovery, or the goal you are trying to accomplish. Next, they will go through and evaluate your current condition—such as your coordination, strength, posture, and more. In addition, they will discuss with you how your current activity levels are to help you with your customized plan. This may include any specialized equipment you will need as well. By having an in-depth, initial dialogue, your physical therapist will be able to help you with your future sessions.


As you prepare for your first physical therapy appointment at a wellness center, talk to your insurance company on coverage for physical therapy. You can also discuss with them anything you will have to pay, which will help you financially be ready for the appointment. You can also talk to your insurance company to see if there are specific areas of coverage for the services you may receive. While each is on a case-by-case basis, discussing and planning before your appointment will help you be prepared.

Using a Physical Therapist for Everyday Activities

Physical therapy is a great add that will help with your day-to-day. For starters, it can help with your posture. Poor posture and alignment can lead to many problems down the road. Many Americans walk around with an arched back, or some suffer from “text neck,” due to holding your head down in lower position for several minutes throughout the day. When the head is in a tilted down position, it can make it weigh even heavier, making it more detrimental on your body. Could phones change the way our spines curve? Scientists warn an entire generation is plagued by ‘text neck,’ which you can learn about from The Daily Mail. A physical therapist will help bring awareness to current issues and what you can do to avoid long term damage in the future.

Sports Medicine

Athletes and those who are active can greatly benefit from working with a physical therapist. A physical therapist assists athletes perfect their form to prevent injuries. Or, if you have sustained an injury, a physical therapist will help you recover more quickly. They will also help you to avoid that injury again in the future. From here, a physical therapist will help you be a better athlete. When an athlete is injured and does not utilize the help of therapy, it can take much longer to recover. When the amount of downtime has been reduced, you can get back to your normal routine.

No matter what your need for a physical therapist may be, they will help you to be better, and stronger. When you are preparing for your first visit, the Cherry Creek Wellness Center will make your experience smooth. Our one-on-one physical therapy will help you live a pain-free lifestyle. We provide a wide variety of services including hand, pelvic floor, and sports therapy. They can also assist with TMJ and vestibular rehabilitation.

Cherry Creek Wellness Center has locations in the Denver area to accommodate you no matter where you work or live. In addition, we also provide massage therapy services, Pilates, and personal training.  To get started, learn more on how to prepare for your first session of physical therapy in Denver. You can also take advantage of our patient resources to learn more about how we can help you. Getting started with physical therapy will help give you long term gains no matter what your injuries are, or athletic goals may be. To get started with your first appointment, call us at 303-333-3493 today.

Denver Wellness Center Explains Ways to Improve Posture at Home and Work

September 6, 2017

Poor posture is the culprit for neck and back issues, poor circulation in the body, mental changes, carpal tunnel, fatigue, digestion issues, and more. All of this can be fixed by getting into a routine that changes bad habits. While it will take some effort, once you correct some of your poor posture issues, you will be helping yourself in the long run.  Learn from your local Denver wellness center tips to correct posture at home, work and how physical therapy can also help.

Home Tips

One of the first ways people are hurting their posture is with smart phones and tablets. The average human head can weigh around 12 pounds. When one hangs their head down low for hours and hours throughout the day, it puts even more stress on the body as it can weigh up to 60 pounds at a full 60-degree angle. This leads to pain throughout one’s neck, shoulders, arms, and more. When one does this long term, it can also lead to permanent damage of the spine. Iti is important to be cognizant of your posture while using mobile devices. With smartphone related posture injuries are on the rise, here’s how to prevent them. Take breaks, and try to keep devices at a straight eye level as much as possible, which you can learn about through Digital Trends. In addition, it is important to maintain proper posture even when relaxing. When sitting on a couch or lounging chair at home, make sure you do not slouch down.

Best Practices in the Workplace

The workplace is one of the biggest places people have poor posture. When this can happen for up to eight to 12 hours per day, it can speed up the rate of long term damage. Make sure you have a screen that is eye level and about an arm’s length distance between you and your screen. This will also reduce eye strain. If carrying bags to meetings, make sure your bags are not too heavy. This will weigh down heavily on your shoulder leading to poor posture and other issues. Stress is another trigger of poor posture. Make sure you find ways to relax and unwind, to try not to let the job overtake your health.

Trying Physical Therapy

Looking for ways to correct your posture? Work with a physical therapist. Often times, people do not realize the mistakes they are making. By talking to a local physical therapist, you can show them your everyday motions, such as sitting, standing, walking, etc. From there, they can point out issues and show you the right way. Through a series of exercises and time, your physical therapist will help you make progress to avoid long-term damage to your neck, back, spine, etc.

Are you ready to receive your posture consultation? The Cherry Creek Wellness Center can help. By meeting with us, we will help you identify areas to improve and the best ways to move forward. To get started, contact the Cherry Creek Wellness Center in Denver today!

Being a Better Athlete with Physical Therapy in Denver, CO

August 23, 2017

Are you looking for ways to be a better athlete? The great thing about athleticism is there is always room for improvement. No matter what your level of expertise is, you can always find ways to become better and improve your form. In many cases, athletes are not aware they are in need of the help. Learn more about food and nutrition, and exercise that you can use to become a better athlete. You can also learn how you can use physical therapy in Denver, CO, too.

Food and Nutrition

Eating the right foods and paying attention to your nutrition is crucial for being a better athlete. Not only does it help you be healthier, but is also needed to give you fuel before a workout. When you are done, it also helps you to recharge after. For those who run or do a lot of cardio, eating carbohydrates is important, however, this does not include bread and pasta. Aim for healthy carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, bananas bell peppers, and more. In addition to carbs, protein is also important and should be incorporated into your post-workout routine to help build muscle. To learn more about the different types of food groups and the role they play with your workouts, check out Healthy Eater’s top 15 healthy carb, protein and fat rich foods.


Being an athlete means you exercise often when practicing your sport, but there is also exercise done outside of the sport for practice. Depending what your goal is will determine the types of exercise you do to supplement your sport or activity. An important aspect to make sure is in your routine is strength training. There are misconceptions out there that when one does strength training, it is to “bulk up.” This is not the case. Strength training helps one become a better athlete through increasing strength! This will help you maintain momentum and be able to work harder and stop less.

Physical Training and Redcord

Did you know physical training is one of the key ways to become a better athlete? By working with a physical trainer, you can perfect your form, learn more about your sport and also learn techniques that will help you avoid injuries in the future. One way athletes are achieving their fitness goals is through Redcord suspension training. This type of resistance training helps to enhance muscle control and stability. There are a variety of ways a physical therapist can work with you using Redcord. It is a slower training that allows an athlete to become more aware of themselves and strengthen their foundation.

Cherry Creek Wellness Center would like to do everything we can to help you become a better athlete. From Redcord suspension training and physical therapy, to massages and Pilates, we offer a wide array of services to help you. In addition, we can help you recover from an injury too. As you train, be sure to check out our Cherry Creek Wellness Center tips: how to safely recover from a tough workout. Then, call us at 303-333-3493 to see what we can do for you.

Cherry Creek Wellness: Using Physical Therapy to Manage Your Fibromyalgia

August 16, 2017

With millions of Americans each year coping with fibromyalgia, it is definitely a condition that requires assistance from a doctor and Cherry Creek wellness professional. It is crucial to work with doctors and professionals to seek relief and learn more about ways to manage it. Despite there not being a cure, there is much that can be done to live normally. Learn more about what fibromyalgia is, symptoms of this condition, and ways a wellness center can help.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a disorder in which a person has pain throughout several areas of the body from the muscles to the soft tissue creating pain from the nerves. This chronic and widespread pain can create both physical and mental stress on a person. It can also be hard to diagnose because several of the symptoms could be associated with other problems. Also, because they are still trying to find out what causes fibromyalgia, there is no cure for this disorder. Those living with it must find ways to relax and relieve the pain. While a majority of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women, men can get it too.  Typically, the initial signs begin to appear to middle-aged people, however for some it can be younger. In the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases’ questions and answers about fibromyalgia, they explain physical or emotional stress, or a traumatic event, can lead to one getting this disorder. It may also be genetic.


There are many symptoms that occur with fibromyalgia, making it one of the difficult things about diagnosing it. For those living with fibromyalgia, they experience aches and pains deep into the muscles. It can be anything from an ache to throbbing pains. Additional symptoms can include chronic pain, fatigue, headaches and migraines, depression and anxiety, and insomnia. There can be a feeling of difficulty lifting limbs because they feel weighed down. Also, those suffering from fibromyalgia can have difficulty concentrating.

Ways a Wellness Center Can Help

In addition to working with your primary care physician on ways to relieve your symptoms, you can also work with a physical therapist. It is important to remain active and also have proper posture when suffering from this condition. The more a person with fibromyalgia can keep moving and try to stay active, even when they don’t want to, can help ease the pain. Through a variety of slow stretching exercises, the physical therapist can help a patient remain flexible. When visiting a physical therapist or wellness center, those with fibromyalgia can undergo deep tissue massages to help relieve pain, too.

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, Cherry Creek Wellness Center can help. Through specialized physical therapy in Denver at Cherry Creek Wellness Center, we will provide you with a variety of ways to help ease and create a pain management plan for you. From physical therapy to soft-tissue techniques through massage, we can help you cope. To get started to see how we can help you, give us a call today at 303-333-3493.

Stress Management

By Lynn Tandler, CNC - August 14, 2017

Summer is coming to an end and fall is right around the corner. Summer vacations are over, and it is time for the kids to go back to school, and for adults to get back to business. For many this transition time is stressful. It is often a time of craziness - homework, sports, work commitments, school lunches, personal relationships, and more! How do you balance the demands of family, work, and kids and still have time for you and your needs?
Stress is normal. There is stress in our relationships, with our kids, in our jobs, financial stress, health stress and more. Shannon Gwash, director of wellness programs and services for Jefferson Center for Mental Health says the term “eustress” refers to healthy stress. It can be a motivator for working towards goals or pushing a person to excel. “Distress”, on the other hand, is when life starts to become too overwhelming says Gwash. According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month, and half reported their stress has increased in the past year. Too much stress, unchecked, can lead to illnesses because of a compromised immune system, or emotional issues such as depression and anxiety. Therefore, how stress is managed is important. Here are some tips for stress management, not only for back to school but at any time!
Many of us turn to alcohol, excess caffeine, sugar, and carbs when we are stressed. These foods can exacerbate the problem and lead to poor health. The three worst categories of food for stress management and moods are sugary foods, glutinous foods, and processed foods. Alternatively, there are foods you can eat (often, not just in times of stress) that can help maintain mental, emotional, and physical balance in your body. Some foods that help calm your nervous system include bananas, oolong tea, and fermented vegetables. Berries, omega-3 fats, kiwifruit, and high-quality protein sources also have mood-boosting properties. Vitamin C-rich foods help reduce your body’s production of stress hormones while boosting your immune function to better ward off stress-induced illness. Limiting caffeine is also a good idea. Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. High doses can increase anxiety. People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate. If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back.  


Putting physical stress on your body through exercise can help relieve mental stress. The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don't exercise. Activities that use repetitive movements of large muscle groups, such as walking or jogging, can be particularly stress relieving.


  • Practice mindfulness: Jon Kabat-Zinn, founding executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, defines mindfulness as living in the present moment. In the process of paying attention to the present moment we are more in touch with our life as it is unfolding, and not worrying about the past or the future. Massage therapy is a great way to help achieve mindfulness. Yoga and joining a Zen group also helps with mindfulness and stress management.
  • Meditate: Study after study has shown that medication is a powerful stress reducer and overall health enhancer. It can be as simple as finding 15 minutes a day and using a phone app such as Headspace.
  • Stay connected to your social network. Make time to spend with friends and loved ones.
  • Laugh!  Laughing is good for your health and can relieve stress because it brings more oxygen into your body and organs, it stimulates and relieves your stress response, and it can alleviate tension by relaxing your muscles.


There are many essential oils and proprietary blends that help with stress management. My two favorites are lavender and orange. Lavender has been shown to change brain wave patterns making people feel better. Orange can help alleviate stress and anxiety. These can be diffused or applied topically.
It is not possible to eliminate stress. Therefore, the best we can do is reduce our stress levels as much as possible by eating healthy, taking appropriate supplements to support our body, using essential oils, and practicing some of the lifestyle techniques discussed above.
If you have any questions on this information, would like more information, would like additional essential oil recommendations, or would like help dealing with stress, please contact Lynn Tandler, holistic Certified Nutrition Consultant at the Wheat Ridge location of the Cherry Creek Wellness Centers at 303-333-3493, ext 2.