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Natural Awakenings Fairfield County & Housatonic Valley CT

Wellness Solutions for Pain-Free Living: Local Experts Provide Insight at Community Event

Nov 02, 2018 01:59PM ● By Sandra Gordon

Amidst Fairfield county’s natural beauty lies an ugly truth: Connecticut is among the top 10 states with the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  In an effort to build healthier communities, the “Wellness to Painless” Conference at the Hindu Cultural Center (HCC) took place in Stratford on September 29, providing tools, information and resources for healing pain naturally. Sponsored by Dr. Jaya (Vaidya) Daptardar, CEO of Active Ayurveda and Yoga, and Natural Awakenings magazine, the day-long conference featured a round-up of inspiring speakers and natural healers with the goal of providing community wellness education and experience. 

Psychiatrist Sudha Sreenivasan, MD kicked off the event with an overview of the causes of acute and chronic pain and the inside story from a neurological perspective. “Opioids can be addictive because they activate the reward centers of the brain, releasing dopamine,” Sreenivasan said. To prevent acute pain from becoming chronic, opioid-free options are effective, including exercise, muscle strengthening, stopping smoking and changing your lifestyle by, for example, avoiding “text neck,” which is a major cause of neck pain today, caused by looking down at your devices, Sreenivasan said. 

Natural Awakenings publisher, Nicole Miale, discussed how to be your own change agent. Stress overload, including working long hours, juggling multiple responsibilities, financial demands, changing family models and the constant influx of new technology can lead to chronic pain. Stopping the progression of tension and stress to physical pain can be done through many mechanisms and modalities. Coping with life’s “super stressors,” is possible; Miale encouraged attendees to build a support network and try new things to feel better. “Use Natural Awakenings as a resource; the people and modalities in the magazine are your toolbox for feeling better,” she said.

Next up was Dr. Carlo Monsanto of the Mindful Connection Institute in Princeton, New Jersey, who explained the science of Ayurveda and its philosophy that healing happens from the inside out. “When you give up your inner wisdom, you go through a rough time internally,”  Monsanto said. He urged participants to “read your sensations to relate to them differently, to develop a sense of intimacy with yourself.” Awareness is key. The alternative—rejection or disassociation—“makes us feel blocked and heavy,” he said. 

After a yoga session led by Wendy Simmons-Taylor, yoga teacher with  HCC yoga teachers' team, and delicious healing lunch with healing ingredients, such as garlic and ginger, Daptardar provided a more detailed account of Ayurveda, which uses herbs and breathing exercises to balance the mind, body and the environment. “We all have three doshaskapha, vata and pitta,” Daptardar said. “Determine your dominant dosha and make it work with your lifestyle,” she said. “If you’re in pain, your vata dosha is dominating. To balance it, eat foods with ginger, garlic. Turmeric and Boswellia supplements and meditation can also help.”

Kristen Rzasa of InterPlay Health then demonstrated the MELT method, a self-treatment technique to reduce and prevent chronic pain in just ten minutes a day, and discussed the healing powers of essential oils. If you’re feeling stressed about pain, try rubbing your palms together with a drop of mint and orange essential oils. “Inhaling the scent goes into the limbic system in your brain to immediately shift your emotional state,” Rzasa said.
Reiki master Berta Prevosti, of the Jiiva Center in Stratford, wrapped up the conference with a soothing Reiki demonstration. “The whole day was truly a healing experience,” Daptardar said. 

For more information on Dr. (Vaidya) Jaya Daptardar’s upcoming wellness seminars and services, visit

Sandra Gordon is a Weston-based freelance journalist specializing in healthcare topics.

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