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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Letter from Publisher: Matters of the Heart

Sharon Bruckman

We love February in Southwest Florida, and not only because we are blessed with gorgeous weather that beckons us outdoors for physical pursuits; it allows us to connect with others in so many positive ways. It does a heart good! In this month’s special Heart Healthy issue, you’ll find plenty of inspiration to open your heart and give it what it needs.

First, are you getting your quota of hugs? In “Amazing Embrace: The Healing Power of Hugs” writer April Thompson explains how hugs and other forms of affectionate touch tap into our fundamental human need to belong, while at the same time boosting the immune system and turning down our biological response to stress. Discover how a hug can uplift and heal us physically and spiritually.

Next, you’ll want to pay special attention to Lisa Marshall's feature story “Heart of a Woman: The Right Choices Keep It Strong," where experts remind us that 80 to 90 percent of heart disease—the number one killer of women—is avoidable with lifestyle and dietary changes; in some cases, natural remedies can even reverse it. Find healthy natural strategies to reduce your risk, including regular meditation, shown in a recent study to cut the incidence of death by heart attack or stroke in half. This is truly a must-read for all the women in your life, young and old.

Editor Linda Sechrist brings a plethora of local practitioners offering research-backed resources like yoga, massage, nature, drumming, dancing and sound healing to help you cultivate a greater sense of well-being. I was happy to be reminded that so many things I love to do are on her list.

Finally, we asked relationship and dating therapist Ken Page to share his insights from hundreds of workshops on intimacy and spirituality. Discover how some of our deepest insecurities can be our greatest gifts—and how to make them work for you in choosing and cherishing your partner. Be sure to read “Making Love Last."

Whether your Valentine is a grandchild or mate, you’ll find inspiration for planning a special meal among our yummy, plant-based recipes selected for their health healthy benefits.

With a big heart planted in the middle of our month, I hope this issue of Natural Awakenings guides you to new ways of loving yourself and others on your path. Grab a cup of herbal tea or a veggie juice and enjoy browsing through the magazine to pick out some things you would like to try.

Maybe a day at the Yoga or Veggie Festival, or an outdoor benefit concert will inspire you. Is it time to treat you or your loved one to a massage? Try asking spirit to guide you to the people and places for your highest good. Tune in, breathe deeper and fuller, and enjoy your journey.

Spreading the Love,

Sharon Signature