Amour with a capital A(cupuncture)….

Acupuncture for Love

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are all about gently encouraging the body to return to a state of harmonious energetic balance of Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang also pertain to the masculine and feminine aspects of our individual natures; as well as the duality and balance that exists in all romantic relationships.

For Valentine’s Day (or for any day!), it is a great idea to improve the balance and harmony and free flow of Qi, pronounced “Chi” (which basically means vital energy).

In addition, for Romance with a capital R, we need ENERGY, and we need to FEEL WELL.

Sexual interest and response suffers when our bodies are not in balance, or we are fatigued or just not feeling well. “Not tonight, dear. I have a headache!”

A thoughtful gift for your Sweetie could be a series of acupuncture treatments to help him or her to regain that sense of balance and wellness that has gone by the wayside due to life’s obligations and stresses.

All Gift Certificates at Well Within are 10% off through 2/28/14!  Buy one for your loved one HERE!

Exploration of Fascia

Exploration of Fascia
by Ashleigh Howland, LMT

Myofascial Release

When we were taught about the fascial system in massage school, our instructors enthusiastically explained that fascia was a connected web throughout the whole body, a substance the consistency of egg-whites that has a tendency of getting stuck in places. Causes of it sticking were immobility, guarding from injury, chronic overuse, dehydration, cold, and so forth. By releasing these stuck areas, we could create miracles! You could relieve a headache by working on the feet! We could release elbow tension by working the opposite shoulder! We could help the plantar fasciitis in the left foot by working up the left leg, crossing to the right glutes, and up into the right shoulder. We were taught that fascia was sort of a new discovery, something that was originally cut away and discarded as useless in the early days of body exploration, when entrepreneurial anatomists dug up bodies in their quest for knowledge. Fascia, it seemed, was the part of the body to understand the most clearly, as it was the key to better helping our clients.

I tried to get excited about fascia.I let my hand sit on my practice partner’s back for what seemed like eons, visualizing my healing power sinking down into the layers of dermis, fascia, muscle, and impacting the fascia that wove into the very bones. I tried to get the right level of “stickiness” where I could lift my hand, my partner’s skin would have warmed up to the point where it came with me, and then I could glide, without emollient, down the fascial line, releasing trigger points and adhesion as I went. I tried to note the changes in breathing as I worked the fascial restrictions through the ribs. Once, when I was having my own hamstrings worked on, I felt this incredible fluttering in my muscles as the tissue resisted release and then let go. I felt the woozy, almost intoxicated effect of the post-fascial session, when the body tries to acclimate to the new freedom you’ve created. But overall, I was underwhelmed. I just didn’t get it.

I happily continued massaging, forgetting about the glory of fascial work. I used Swedish strokes, long and slow, to increase circulation and relax muscles. I employed deep tissue tools, an elbow in the glutes, a forearm up the ITband, heel of the hand kneading the gastroc. I gave great massages, and I gave decent massages. My clients were happy, relaxed, and loose of muscle. All was well.

Then, in June of this year, I had a couple of different massages with colleagues who focused very much on fascial release. I sort of huffed to myself, convinced this would be a waste of my time when I could have been getting a good elbow through the shoulder.

The first massage was excruciating: I breathed deeply; I asked for less pressure, slower work; I wiggled and giggled and tried not to kick my therapist. I got off the table completely disoriented, and the next day, every bump I drove over sent shocks of pain into my paraspinal muscles. I felt like my nerves were raw and exposed. It was terrible, and my main issue, a sticky right hip, was no better.

The second massage was just 30 minutes between clients with a Well Within colleague (Mary!!). Her approach was slow. steady, and patient. She began with gentle palpation of the area to determine where the fascia was most restricted, and when she found an area with adhesion, she waited. And waited. And then began to move, ever so slowly. I felt little at first, and then warmth, like blood flow was returning to a parched area. There was some intensity, bordering on the edge of my comfort zone, as she worked closer to my sacroiliac joint and greater trochanter in the right hip, but when those moments passed, I felt looser. When I stood up, I felt freer than I had in months. It lasted a day or two, until I drove to the Cape and back, and then the tissue got stuck again. But over the next few weeks and months, as I continued to foam roll, receive both fascial and muscular work, stretch, and hydrate, the sticky hip resolved.

With myself as a test body, I began to explore this fascial situation once again, and then with clients. This time around, for an unbeknownst reason, I got it. I could feel the softening of tissue under my hands. I could feel and see the twitch of skin as the fascia below reacted to stretching. When my hands pass over the posterior ribs, I feel the rib cage expanding, feel the muscles working, and to me, it’s truly freedom blossoming beneath my hands. I have grown to understand that rock solid hamstrings will bend if I pin the fascia in the glutes with one hand, and hold and rotate the lower leg with the other, working my way down until I’m pinning just behind the knee. I’ve felt the quadricep attachments at the knee expand as I sink into the tissue and then begin to stretch. Sometimes it’s a long movement, such as down the erectors on either side of the spine; it can take anywhere from 3-5 minutes for one stroke, depending on how stuck the tissue is. Or I can use shorter, quicker friction to break up restrictions, such as the plantar fascia on the bottom of the feet.

It’s rare now that I don’t use fascial work in my treatments, at least as a palpation tool to indicate where the body is holding restrictions and stuck points. If a client truly wants to just unwind, I will not include fascial release; it’s absolutely effective, but not always relaxing. Feedbacks from clients is of the utmost importance, as is my listening to verbal and silent cues. I need to know, and to intuit, when enough is enough; fascial work can be very intense, and since I immensely enjoy using it as a technique and seeing its results, I have to be careful not to overwhelm my client. This is what happened to me in that first massage. Initially, the work was interesting; then it got uncomfortable; then my body began to activate its fight or flight response. As soon as that triggered, I was tensing and guarding while my therapist continued to push, quickly, through unwilling tissue. Yikes!

What I perhaps love the most about fascial work is that, for my die-hard deep tissue clients, it not only qualifies as “deepest tissue” since fascia blends into the bone; but it allows me to warm up the muscles and sink through even more layers of tissue. Once the fascial restrictions in and around a muscle have broken up, even a little, the muscle itself also begins to let go, which means I can manipulate it just that little bit extra. It’s easier on me than just digging in with my elbow and body weight; and much more effective for the client. For this reason, myofascial release works wonderfully with pregnant women, runners, desk jockeys, weekend warriors, cyclists, yogis, equestrians, teenagers, geriatrics, CrossFit fans, couch potatoes… Pretty much everyone!!

For an awesome and current article on fascia, check out this Runner’s World link:

Learn more about Ashleigh and her work HERE.

Ashleigh Howland

How to enjoy your holiday cookies without giving up on your health goals.

How to enjoy your holiday cookies without giving up on your health goals

Health Coaching at Well Within
by Allison Nichols, Holistic Health Coach
The holidays come around once a year. They’re a time for celebrating family and friends, for practicing gratitude for all that you have…and for indulging in your favorite holiday treats.  They only come around once a year after all.

Social life gets busy between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day—lots of office parties, friend’s holiday parties and family get-togethers take over your calendar.  You can guarantee that there will be holiday cookies at these parties. Holiday cookies, stuffing, baked sweet potatoes with marshmallows, chocolates, candies in holiday colors, Yule logs…fruit cake: you name it and I bet you’ll come in contact with it at one point over the holiday season.

During the holidays we’re constantly confronted by sweet treats and constantly needing to make the decision of whether to eat them or not. If you have health or weight loss goals, I’m sure that you already dread the thought of making that decision over and over again.

Do I eat the cookies or not?

Do I treat myself or stay on my diet?

You may be thinking that if you eat the cookies, you might as well forget about your health goals— that you can’t be healthy AND eat sugar cookies.

What if I told you that you CAN enjoy your holiday cookies while still working your way toward your health goals  You’d probably say I was crazy.

But you really CAN have cookies and still make progress toward your goals. It’s all about finding a balance between holiday cookies and healthy whole foods.

Here are 5 tips to ENJOY your holiday cookies (or fruit cakes, Yule logs, and stuffing) and still make progress toward your goals.

Be prepared.   If you know you’re going to a holiday party, prepare yourself. If you know that you’re going to be tempted by cookies and sweets, take some time before you go to think about a strategy. And by strategy, I mean think about what cookie you will eat.  Focus on special treats that you can ONLY get at this time of the year. Will you have Aunt Mabel’s gingerbread cookies because she only makes one batch a year? Or will you have some of your cubicle-mate’s pfeffernüsse because they’re special and homemade? Focus on enjoying cookies that you can ONLY get during the holidays.

Make a conscious decision.  Once you get to the party and have targeted your cookie of choice, make the conscious decision to eat it. Even though you went into the party with that cookie in mind, it doesn’t mean you have to eat it. A healthy balanced lifestyle is ALL about making conscious choices when it comes to food. Make the conscious choice to have that cookie, and then, if you want another one, make another conscious decision to have a second.  Lots of things change when you take the time to stop and really think about that cookie. Just make sure that you’re making a conscious choice from a loving, nurturing place and not from a self-defeating, negative  place.

Give yourself permission to enjoy that cookie. Give yourself permission to relax. To break your food rules. You have the right to eat whatever you want over the holiday season as long as you make the conscious decision to enjoy the experience.  Some cookies over the holiday season will definitely not affect whether or not you reach your health or weight loss goals. Yes, it might take a bit longer than you expect, but all good, permanent changes take longer than you expect.

Eat lots of healthy whole foods between cookies. Getting lots of whole foods—vegetables, fruits, protein, and healthy fats—during the holiday season will ultimately set you up for success. Eating healthy whole foods the majority of the time will make eating cookies easier both mentally and physically. Center your meals around some high quality protein, vegetables (especially the dark green leafy kind) and healthy fats.  Keeping the sugar to a minimum between cookies will help you bounce back more quickly.

Get Support. The holidays can be a really hard time of year for those of us with health and weight loss goals. If you know that you struggle during the holiday season, reach out for support now. A health coach is a wonderful partner to have during the holidays to lift you up, hold you accountable and to support you to make healthy choices for yourself most of the time.

Now that you have these 5 tips, you’ll definitely feel better about eating those cookies this holiday season. Don’t forget to eat lots of whole foods, to be mindful,  and, most importantly, to enjoy yourself!

The holidays are a stressful time of year, especially for those of us with emotional ties to eating and food.  Don’t wait until after the holidays are over to start taking charge of your nutrition.   Try a Nutritional Discovery Session with Allison now and get set up with coaching THROUGH the holiday season!  You can go into the New Year already feeling energized, healthy and motivated to make permanent change.

Allison NicholsAllison is a Certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor at Well Within. She specializes in working with individuals to cultivate a carefree relationship with food, and to have more vibrant, natural energy by transitioning to a whole food diet.




Up to $20 off on Small Business Saturday!

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country.
Founded by American Express in 2010, this day is celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
This year, Small Business Saturday is on November 30th.

Well Within is excited to be a qualified Shop Small merchant.

To get the credit, you must register your card by visiting this link ( between 11/24 and 11/30 (or sooner if registration limit is reached).  There is a limited number of registrations so register your card early. 

Then, come in for an appointment at Well Within on Saturday, November 20th and pay for your appointment with your registered American Express card to receive a $10 statement credit on your next statement.

To sweeten the deal, we are offering $10 off all 60 and 90 minute appointments on Small Business Saturday when you enter coupon code ‘SHOPSMALL’ when booking your appointment online (MUST be booked online to get $10 off.)  Click HERE to schedule your appointment now!

$10 off + $10 statement credit = $20 off!

American Express Offer Terms HERE.

Thanksgiving Survival Guide

Allison Nichols - Thanksgving

5 Tips to make healthy choices through the stress of Thanksgiving. 

By Allison Nichols, Health Coach

So. You’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Mom, Dad, Your sister, her husband, their 3 kids, Great Aunt Mabel  and your next door neighbor are all coming. You’ve planned an elaborate meal complete with 26 pound turkey and all of the trimmings. Your plan for place cards, appetizers and three different pies looks good on paper, but now that you’re actually starting to put it together, you’re getting a little overwhelmed.

We all want Thanksgiving to be special—a time to cherish your family and spread your gratitude. Often what we deem as “special” turns out to be WAY more work than we intended.  What was once going to be a joyful celebration with family turns into a stressful kitchen nightmare.

When you’re stressed and trying to do everything for everyone, the first thing you forget to do is to take care of yourself.  You’re pulled in so many different directions that it’s impossible to stay centered and to make nourishing choices for yourself—especially when it comes to food.  Before you know it, you’ve eaten three slices of pumpkin pie…and the turkey isn’t even out of the oven!

Stress eating, or emotional eating, is the number one coping mechanism employed over the holiday season. Not only is this time surprisingly stressful, you’re constantly confronted with seasonal goodies making the healthy choices harder to make.

Here are 5 tips to continue to make good food choices through the stress of Thanksgiving Day: how to turn stress eating into healthy eating.

Forego the cheeseball and crackers for baby carrots and veggie slices.  If you feel the need to munch while you cook, reach for the veggie appetizers—the crunch of baby carrots and bell peppers can be surprisingly satisfying.  When you’re in a stress snacking mood, go for the veggies over the dense Thanksgiving apps. Not only will you feel less full at dinner time, you’ll have covered your vegetable bases for the day.

Load up on Turkey and sweet potatoes.  Pile your place high with delicious turkey and vegetables—centering your meal around protein will ensure that you feel full and satisfied longer.  Filling up on protein will also help you feel lighter and more energetic after your Thanksgiving meal. Prioritze the turkey (you spent all day making it, afterall), and then add the stuffing, sweet potatoes and green beans.

Plan health-i-fied desserts.  Of course you’re going to have dessert on Thanksgiving! No Turkey Day would be complete without a slice of pumpkin pie. This year, plan some healthy desserts to put out with your traditional desserts: an edible arrangement made of fruit, or gluten-free pumpkin pie sweetened with maple syrup. This way, when you have that slice (or two or three) of pie, you’re still making a healthier choice.

Remember: Thanksgiving always tastes better on Black Friday. Don’t be afraid to stop eating when you’re full: that turkey isn’t going anywhere. Just because it’s a special meal doesn’t mean you need to eat until you’re totally stuffed. Listen to your inner body cues and strive to stop eating when you’re just full enough to be satisfied. You can always go back for seconds later if you want them.

Be forgiving of your indulgences.  After all is said and done, Thanksgiving is a special day and we tend to eat differently on special days. If you end up eating lots of cheeseball, green bean casserole, and pie, don’t worry too much about it. Be forgiving: in the long run, one day of unusual eating will not affect how long it takes you to reach your weight loss goals. Acknowledge your indulgences and choose to move forward.

With these 5 tips, you’re all set to make the healthy stress-eating choices this Thanksgiving. Surround yourself with healthy foods, and don’t worry too much about eating on the big day—Thanksgiving is ultimately about sharing a meal with family and friends.

The holidays are a stressful time of year, especially for those of us with emotional ties to eating and food.  Don’t wait until after the holidays are over to start taking charge of your nutrition.   Try a Nutritional Discovery Session with Allison now and get set up with coaching THROUGH the holiday season!  You can go into the New Year already feeling energized, healthy and motivated to make permanent change.

Allison Nichols

Allison Nichols – Holistic Health Coach

Allison is a Certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor at Well Within. She specializes in working with individuals to cultivate a carefree relationship with food, and to have more vibrant, natural energy by transitioning to a whole food diet. 

An Ounce of Prevention

Fall RunnerDid you know that acupuncture is considered preventative medicine? A recent conversation with a co-worker made me realize that the general population probably does not know. Acupuncture is great at shortening the length of a cold/ flu, stopping a headache, or helping repair damaged muscles from overwork or injury; but it is best at PREVENTING such illnesses. The truth is most people should see an acupuncturist regularly to maintain general health. So the question is what does “regularly” mean? Some people, depending on their constitution (general health tendencies), should go as frequently as once per week or as infrequently as 4 times per year (when the seasons change) to keep them balanced and in good health. And when symptoms TEND to flare, you should begin more frequent treatment. For example: If you are prone to seasonal allergies, to ensure that your symptoms are minimal you should start treatment a month or two PRIOR to the season when your symptoms typically arise. If you ALWAYS get a winter cold or the flu, autumn is the best time to begin your regular visits. And if holiday stress usually gets the better of you and you tend to lose sleep or get sick, NOW is the time to start once or twice weekly treatments. Sometimes we forget that prevention is the best medicine. If you have a question as to whether acupuncture is right for you or a loved one, please do not hesitate to contact us.

MichelleMichelle Bellavance, Licensed Acupuncturist at Well Within

Client Feedback From Our Recent Cleanse

Cleanse Feedback

We always welcome feedback!  It helps us grow and be better.  We are especially grateful when our clients let us know how their experience with Well Within had an impact on their life.

Below are some things our clients had to say after participating in our last two cleanse programs:

“My detox week with Allison was a life long learning experience. I did not want a diet experience. Rather, I wanted to learn how to make wiser food choices and to have the process of making wise choices be sustainable long after the detox week. Allison’s broad and deep knowledge about nutrition, how our bodies work to process food, why our bodies react to certain foods, how to shop for whole foods … even the location of terrific local farmers’ markets … is impressive. I gave myself a running start in the weeks leading up to the detox by cutting back my wheat and sugar intake, went through the detox week eating delicious whole foods, and came out lighter, calmer, and motivated to make whole food eating a way of life. Looking forward to joining Allison for a 2-week detox!”–Clare


“My cravings have mostly disappeared. I feel more in control. I have lost a few pounds. I think I feel on a more even keel overall. “–Eva


“The cleanse has been very good for me. I think the first thing I noticed is that my mouth feels cleaner! I have lost some weight, and I no longer struggle with ongoing gassiness.” –Betsy

“I feel clearer and healthier.” –Jennifer

FREE Community Yoga in the Park

Yoga in the Park

Take yoga, to the whim of Well Within’s energizing yoga teacher Jill, sprinkle in some sunlight and shady trees, add some fresh air, a soft patch of grass and you have Yoga in the Park! This is a fun (and FREE!) opportunity to bring your yoga practice into the outdoors and enjoy the beauty of Newton. Grab your friends (newbies, super yogis and everyone in between), wear comfortable clothing and sunglasses and come help us keep the good vibes flowing through our neighborhood.

This event is BYOM (Bring your own mat).

Please note:  Yoga in the Park will be cancelled in the event of rain.  Please check our Facebook page the day of to confirm.

Where:  Wellington Park - 98 Kilburn Rd, Newton, MA

Sunrise Yoga : Sat, June 22 at 7:30am

Twilight Yoga : Tue, July 23 at 7:30pm (cancelled due to heavy rains)

Twilight Yoga:  Thurs, August 29th at 7:00pm

Click HERE to register!

Spring Rejuvenation Workshop Series with Allison Nichols – Holistic Health Coach

Spring Rejuvenation Workshop Series (3 workshops)
The cost of each workshop is $20.  Sign up for all 3 and save $10!

Paleo Curious Workshop (Ancestral Health and the Benefits of a Whole Food Diet)
Sunday, April 14th 2:30-3:30

Paleo Curious WorkshopThere’s so much more to the Paleo Diet than just eating like our ancestors. In this workshop, you’ll learn why eating like our hunter gather ancestors is one of the best ways to improve your health and lose weight. We’ll talk about the dangers of the Standard American Diet and how the USDA Food Pyramid is holding you back from reaching your health goals and having the life you’ve always wanted. You’ll leave with some specific tips for successfully adopting a Paleo, whole food lifestyle.



Weigh Less, Live More: Breaking Free from the Diet Mentality
Sunday, April 21st 2:30-3:30

Weigh Less - Live MoreFeel like you’ve been on some kind of diet for your entire life? Wonder why all of the diets never seem to work? In this workshop, you’ll learn the real reason diets don’t work and safe ways to permanently lose weight without feeling restricted or deprived. You’ll learn how your lifestyle affects your food cravings, what those cravings really mean and how to stop them for good! We’ll talk about breaking free from your diet mentality and becoming an Intuitive Eater. Are you ready to Find Food Freedom?



Rejuvenate Yourself This Spring: The Benefits of a Whole Food Cleanse
Sunday, April 28th 2:30-3:30

Spring CleanseSpring is an amazing time to immerse yourself in a whole food cleanse. Spring as a season represents fresh starts and new beginnings: A time to trade the heavy comfort foods of winter for lighter, brighter foods of spring. A time to stop hiding behind those baggy winter clothes and start being proud of your healthy body.In this workshop, you’ll learn all about the benefits of cleansing in the spring in order to reset your system and get the fresh start that you’ve always wanted. We’ll talk about how to increase your energy by eating foods naturally in season in the spring, how to stop those sugar cravings in their tracks, clear your mind and get your metabolism back on track so that you can move confidently into swim suit season.In this workshop you will learn how to:

  • Increase your energy by eating foods naturally in season in the spring
  • Shed excess weight
  • Strengthen your immune system to better combat those seasonal allergies
  • Heal your digestion
  • Kick your sugar cravings
  • Clear your mind.
  • Lift your mood. Get your hormones under control and ween yourself off that sugar dependency
  • Get your metabolism back on track



Complete 3-Workshop Series – $50

Welcome Allison Nichols – Holistic Health Coach

Allison Nichols

Health coaching has always been such a valued, fun and popular part of what we offer at Well Within.  Celeste met Allison in an online business coaching forum and knew she had all the makings to fit perfectly into the Well Within family!  She is bright, confident, compassionate and highly motivated to create an array of health coaching programs to inspire our clients to nourish and nurture their bodies.  We are so very happy to add Allison and her unique and exciting offerings to our health coaching department.  Welcome Allison!

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I come from a family of nurturers—a line of nurses and doctors. The desire to nurture and support people led me to get an undergraduate degree in biology from Hamilton College and to pursue my holistic health coaching certification. I like to think of myself as a caring listener guiding people toward their goals and dreams.

I’ve always been an athlete—Nordic skiing and running track through high school and college. I’m currently a weight lifter and crossfitter. Lifting heavy things has empowered me to embrace my shape and change my life.

What led you to health coaching?

I’ve had an interest in nutrition for as long as I can remember—although my interest wasn’t always coming from the most positive place. As someone who had been on one diet or another since the age of 8, I used food as a tool to control my life as opposed to using it as a tool to nourish my body.

My personal nutrition journey began in 2009 when I started to eat meat again after being a vegetarian for four years. For the first time in my life, I was able to relate the food I was eating to my energy levels and digestion. I started experimenting with the Paleo diet—eating more animal protein and lots of vegetables. I ate more fat and less fruit.

As a result of my own experimentation, I am free of my old digestion issues—I have more energy and, most importantly, I have a much better relationship with food.

My purpose as a health coach is support others to heal themselves with food as I have.  So that they can identify the foods may be the cause of their issues whether it’s IBS, fatigue or arthritis, so that they can feel a lightness and sense of renewal that they’ve never felt before.

What types of clients have you particularly enjoyed working with or have had great success with? What did you enjoy about working with these clients?

I am very passionate about working with people who want to cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Body image and the emotional associations of food play a huge role in the food choices that we make. I am a firm believer that diets don’t work. The more restrictive the eating plan, the less likely it’s sustainable.

What I’ve enjoyed most about working with clients looking to heal their relationship with food is seeing the strong foundation that we work together to create—something that they can use for the rest of their lives. Supporting them to have a genuine sense of relief about weight loss—a better relationship with food and with their body and to feel more vibrant and alive.

Why did you choose to bring your work to Well Within?

I believe that true healing attends to every aspect of one’s life. In order to have the life you’ve always dreamed possible, it’s important to work toward finding balance in all areas of life. Well Within is a wonderful community of practitioners all working toward providing expertly balanced care to heal their clients.