Healthy Concepts

Holistic health is defined as “a form of healing that considers the whole person — body, mind, spirit and emotions — in the quest for optimal health and wellness.” It’s a well-known explanation, and is generally used to encompass several aspects of one’s journey to well-being: a mixture of modalities and techniques to find balance in a variety of aspects. 

It’s rare and unique to find it all rolled into one experience, but that’s exactly what Aerial Dance Pole Exercise in Appleton offers as a carefully constructed and thoughtful space that provides so much more than physical exercise.

Founder and owner Dr. Paula Brusky has intentionally and knowingly created a sanctuary for women, a place where students and instructors alike feel safe and empowered through fitness and community.

“We’re a sanctuary where women can discover their strength and believe in their beauty all while networking with other adventurous women,” she says. “Be adventurous! Be courageous! So much of our culture tells women to be shameful and reserved, and we adamantly want the opposite. Our women want to get strong and feel good about themselves, but they also want to find cool women to be friends with.” 

A full-service fitness community

In addition to what Paula refers to as “play classes” (tricks-based classes on a specific apparatus) that have catapulted the studio into a class of its own, Aerial Dance also provides strength and conditioning classes more recognized in a typical gym environment.

“We teach pole, hoop, hammock and silks and also have a full line of flexibility conditioning and strength building classes. It’s not just the adventurous stuff, it’s the nuts and bolts classes that help members work toward and build up to a pullup or increase range of motion – exactly what women need as they age.”

Paula stresses that you can be a member without ever touching one of the apparatus, and the programs offered are designed for women who get bored and want new and interesting components each visit, including workouts with kettlebells, free weights, resistant bands, and body weight exercises.

All programs are taught by highly trained and certified instructors who are working as hard behind the scenes as in front of the class. Cross collaboration is important at Aerial Dance, and classes are designed with each woman on the roster in mind. For example, Paula explains that if a student had been struggling with a move the week before, a specific exercise will be included in that week’s conditioning class curriculum to specifically address the problem. It’s all in an effort to help women stay engaged and reach their goals.

“Our programs change constantly. And the great thing is that they’re all very small class sizes. It’s particularly true for our strength and conditioning classes that have a max of five women, so really you’re talking about small group personal training and it’s included in your membership. Even our ‘big’ classes are usually eight women,” she explains.

When it comes to the aerial arts, your interests and comfort level dictate what you should try first, and that varies from wanting to try flying and being off the ground to exploring the sensual side and “tricks.” 

So what are they and how do they work? Paula explains: 

Pole. A vertical metal object that is attached to the ceiling and the floor — it’s gymnastics on a vertical apparatus. “Pole is going to be an Olympic sport in 2024 – there are two international groups working to make this a reality!”

Aerial hoop. A metal ring you do tricks on that is suspended in the air. “Hoop is very attainable because once you get in the hoop, there’s a lot you can do without having to lift your bodyweight again.”

Aerial hammock. One loop of fabric that has both ends attaching at the top. “The loop is much easier to start with because you can sit in it.”

Aerial silks. Silks are two strands of fabric that are attached at one point and come down to become two separate pieces.

Choosing and exploring the apparatus to try first (they offer an Intro to Aerial class so you can try Hoop, Hammock and Silks in one class!) is fun, but the safety of students and staff is taken very seriously. The studio features only the most state-of-the-art and dependable gear. 

“Because of how we install our permanent poles, there are no weight limits and the pole itself can spin or be static. In our aerial program, we have a custom-designed steel aerial structure that you can hang cars off of. 

“In general, you’re supposed to have a 2,000 pound point load to hang a human. That’s the safety factor. Ours at Aerial Dance are 30 times that. It lets me sleep at night, and I really like sleeping!” Paula laughs. “I want to know that my students and instructors are safe.”

She also explains that falls do happen, and that’s all a part of learning a new sport. In advanced classes – when students are not upright but inverted and injury is a potential concern – each student has a spotter when learning a new trick, just like in gymnastics programs. Paula developed a curriculum to help keep both the instructor who is spotting and the student who is trying the trick safe from injury, and also in a great mental space to keep attempting tricks and goals.

“Even when a student is “falling” out of a move and an instructor is stopping her, with our spotting technique the student is able to recover the move and is able to come down on her own safely,” she explains. “So she’s not afraid of the move later, which is really important from a mental standpoint.” 

Find your strength. Believe your beauty.

The aerial arts provide a whole body workout, but what Paula says is one of the most significant components of Aerial Dance has little to do with physical fitness. 

“We spend a lot of time getting to know our women and getting to know what they’re going through,” Paula says. “We find out where they need support so we’re able to offer that to them. There’s something that happens when you’re scared and doing a move for the first time, and you’re trusting your spotter with your life – literally – that develops a different level of comfort.

“As instructors we’re all very different, which I think is important and unique. It’s not our job to do anything but support you, both in the air and on the ground.” 

Paula and her instructors cultivate an environment of celebration, not competition. Being true to yourself and finding out who you are is as much a part of the process as learning to use the hammock and silks, and every step is celebrated. 

“There’s a lot of individuality in the aerial arts,” she says. “We foster a ‘help each other because life can be hard’ attitude. The more cheerleaders we have on our path, the more willing we are to walk it.

“Find your strength. Believe your beauty. You’re already strong, you are already beautiful. We hear a lot about finding a new you and losing weight going into the New Year, but we don’t want that. Aerial Dance is all about what you can gain and owning what’s already there.” 

“I think it’s important to understand that the aerial arts are about you, and not about eliciting something from someone else. It’s about your journey and feeling comfortable in your own skin. It’s discovering what your body is capable of. It’s about confronting your fears and succeeding. It empowers you and makes you feel strong internally as well as gaining strength externally.” —Dr. Paula Brusky

Building emotional strength 

“We spend so much time working on our physical body and not enough on emotionally building strength,” Paula says. “We’re going to be starting a book club in January — a book a month — about pertinent things happening in life.” 

Titles like Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection,” Terry Orlick’s “In Pursuit of Excellence” and other books about self-compassion and loving and accepting yourself are all on the table in an effort to provide another healthy outlet through Aerial Dance’s supportive community. 

“We want our members to be able to explore other ideas about themselves. Smart is sexy!” 


It’s no surprise that with the supportive environment and focus on reveling each other’s successes that Aerial Dance likes to celebrate — in a big way — each year. Their annual Christmas Show and Holiday Party applauds the past year’s progress in December as a way to celebrate and showcase the growth the students and instructors have seen over the last year. 

And it’s not just the routine and physical tricks that are cheered for. Paula says that it’s about getting excited about outgrowing comfort zones and developing confidence that she sees as a big reason the applause and cheers for the performances are so loud.

“All body shapes and sizes, and all ability levels perform,” she says. “A lot of people have a misconception that you have to look a certain way to do this. You don’t. You can be a very successful aerial artist at any shape and size.” 

Aerial Dance Pole Exercise

1871 N. Silverspring Drive, Appleton


To find schedules and to register for classes (or to check out what members have to say about Aerial Dance!), visit

My passion for skin care developed from my personal experience with a common skin condition. I understand the physical and emotional pain that often come with issues of the skin — for our exterior is ultimately others’ first impression of us. When our exterior is damaged, or not to our liking, our self-esteem is not as high and our confidence can suffer. I made it my ultimate goal to find a career in life where I have the opportunity to help individuals feel confident in their skin. 

According to the National Institute of Health (, approximately 80% of people between the ages of 11 and 30 will experience at least one acne breakout. At age 19, the hormonal acne that I experienced the majority of my life took an unexpected turn — cystic. The annoying red bumps that appeared grew larger, became more inflamed and were painful. This is when I turned to the help of a primary care physician. I was met with compassion, but wasn’t given much information more than a handout on the medication I was prescribed. At home, I soaked in the information from the handout and did my own research. It was a topical medication that worked by speeding up the cell regeneration, or the cell turnover — cells died and shed at a faster rate, which allowed new cells to take its place — resulting in a clearer complexion. Medications can have a “get worse before it gets better” phase and in my experience, it was absolutely the hardest part of my journey.

I remember leaving the house without makeup to let my skin breathe, and I felt like a monster. I went to a clothing shop with a friend of mine, and I could feel the eyes on my skin; I felt ashamed and embarrassed. There is a stigma about acne that if you have it, then you are not doing something right and it’s “your fault.” For example, you might be told you wear too much makeup or you have poor hygiene habits, but that is not always the case. Yes, proper skin habits will help alleviate problems and promote healthy skin, but acne is a skin condition that is very common and the root of this condition can originate from genes, diet and lifestyle. All acne is not created equally. If you are reading this, and you are fighting any skin condition — not just acne — know that it is not your fault.

Proudly, I can now say that my acne is under control. Through my acne journey I discovered my calling; I wanted to help people like me, individuals who didn’t feel confident in their skin. Skin health is not common knowledge. The average person does not know how to properly cleanse their skin, how to choose the appropriate moisturizer for their skin type or how they can effectively exfoliate their skin at home. Before and during my acne journey I did not know that there were licensed professionals out there that helped guide individuals through their experiences and educate on skin health. I remember Googling: “skin care professional” while pondering my future and seeing the word “aesthetician” pop up. I thought to myself, “That... that is what I want to be.”

What is the difference between dermatology and aesthetics?

Dermatologists are medical doctors with continued education to diagnose skin diseases and conditions, and effectively treat them using prescribed medication and/or services. Aestheticians are licensed professionals who are trained to recognize skin types and conditions, treat those types and conditions within their scope of practice by using products and tools, and recommend at-home care based off of the information they have gathered by analyzing skin and a consultation. They are also trained to understand the effects medications have on the skin, and accommodate treatments based on that information. I chose aesthetics because in my experience no one told me that there are licensed professionals who could have helped me with my acne journey, especially while I was experiencing sufferable side effects. I want people to know that you can see both a dermatologist and an aesthetician; one will diagnose and treat your condition with prescribed medication and/or medical services, and the other to help guide you through your journey by educating you on skin health, proper professional treatments and at-home care. 

As an aesthetician, products that we use are our most important accessories; this is what we trust will help our clients reach their goals. For me, using a line that is cruelty-free, clean and effective is imperative. I am humbled to be a part of a team that uses nothing but the highest quality organic skin care product, called Ilike, and is welcoming to everyone. 

I entered this career path with a fire in my heart to help individuals with acne, and upon working in my field my fire grew into something much larger — a drive to educate clients on the overall importance of skin health and how to achieve it, to build confidence and self-appreciation, and help my clients breathe and take a moment for themselves. 

As we fully embrace this winter season, I find myself longing for the fresh taste of herbs from my garden to season the foods I eat. Obviously, we cannot simply slip outside and snip a sprig of thyme, oregano, or harvest a cayenne pepper so it is time for us to reach for dried or frozen herbs to provide flavor and a health kick to our foods. In addition to using herbal teas as a way to ingest herbs — and rather than relying on supplements — why not use them as we cook? 

In general, dried herbs (if they are still good — how long have you had that spice jar in your cabinet?) are stronger than fresh herbs. The basic rule of thumb is that 1 unit of dry herb = 3 units of fresh herb. In other words, if you would use 1 teaspoon of fresh basil in a recipe, you likely will only need 1/3 teaspoon of dried basil in the same recipe. This is because fresh herbs have a lot of water content when compared to the dried so the dried are far more concentrated. Here is an interesting comparison of fresh to dried herb, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database:

  • Fresh parsley is 87.71 percent water (12.29 percent active ingredients)
  • Dried parsley is 5.89 percent water (94.11 percent active ingredients)

This means that dried parsley is 700 percent more concentrated than fresh. And this holds true with the antioxidants in dried herbs. The gold standard for measuring antioxidants is the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC), developed by the USDA and National Institutes of Health. The ORAC value for fresh parsley is 1,301; for dried parsley, the ORAC value is 73,670. So, if you purchase organic herbs, nonirradiated, that are not UV treated, or bottled with chemical preservatives, you can eat those dried herbs without worrying about a loss of antioxidant properties! Store them in a cool, dry, dark place in glass containers, and they will last longer for you, too. Also, if you buy whole herb versus ground, you will notice that the flavor is maintained longer (just crush/grind it when you need it — a spice/coffee grinder works well).

Since we are in the season in which respiratory ailments are common, let’s focus on an herb that can enhance your respiratory system, protect against colds/flu, help fight sinus infections, or minimize symptoms and/or the length of time those symptoms hang around: horseradish (Armoracia rusticana). 

Before it was a food, horseradish was recognized as a powerful medicine. It has a volatile oil compound, sinigrin, which breaks down to become a natural antibiotic which is thought to be the active ingredient that enables horseradish to be so effective against upper respiratory infections. This compound, along with several others in horseradish, clear congestion, thin mucous, reduce inflammation, fight bacteria and viruses, relax muscles and stimulate the immune system. The root is rich in minerals and vitamins, including vitamin C.

Here is a Bavarian-inspired recipe from Bharat Aggarwal and Debora Yost’s wonderful book that can be used to accompany a pork dish, or as a condiment for a roast beef sandwich:

Bavarian Apple and Horseradish Sauce

Makes about 1½ cups

½ cup prepared horseradish, drained

1 large, tart green apple, peeled, cored and diced

¼ cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon dried parsley

Mix the horseradish, apple, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the sour cream, sprinkle with parsley and serve. Or, refrigerate until ready to use, stir and bring to room temperature prior to serving.

You can also cook with horseradish, which makes the flavor quite mild. Today, it is often used as an ingredient in batter or coating for fish, and is even added with a bit of sour cream to mashed potatoes. 

References: “Healing spices: How to use 50 everyday and exotic spices to boost health and beat disease.” Aggarwal. B. & Yost, D. Sterling. 2011. 

“Herbs for common ailments: How to make and use herbal remedies for home health care.” Gladstar, R. Storey Publishing. 2014.

Finding natural foods and alternatives to medication to help heal is a passion of mine, and can make a huge different in your overall health and well-being. I have come up with a list of a few things that may help you too.

  1. Beets or beet powder can lower blood pressure as much as a drug. A medium-sized beet or two teaspoons of beet powder can eliminate blood pressure medication.
  2. Gelatin (bone broth) makes for healthier skin, hair and nails. It improves cartilage in the body. Simply add two tablespoons of gelatin in a warm drink each day.
  3. Soluble fiber (hi-maize 260 resistant starch fiber). Just two tablespoons a day can lower cholesterol, prevent blood sugar from rising, prevent constipation and help in weight loss by making a body feel full. 
  4. Coconut oil. Just one tablespoon per day in a warm drink gives the brain the fat it needs and prevents hunger, especially when used the same day as the gelatin and soluble fiber is used. 


If you think you don’t know an herb when you see one, this is a plant that I’m fairly confident anyone could pick out in a field. It’s likely to be one of the tallest of the plants you see, as it often reaches seven feet or more in height, with a tall spike at the center. The leaves are quite large (5-8 inches), soft and fuzzy with a look and feel that remind me of the ears on Nubian goats. You find mullein growing everywhere — by streams, at the side of the road, in cement cracks in sidewalks — and in any soil type (gravel, sand, clay). She is a determined grower, handles full sun to part shade, and is a biennial (in the first year you see a rosette of the beautiful, fuzzy large leaves at ground level, followed by the tall spike in year two with delicate yellow flowers all along the tall spike), and she grows in zones 3-9. That means that we find her in a lot of places here in Wisconsin.

Mullein leaves are used to moisten the respiratory tract and calm coughs and congestion. The flowers, when infused in oil, either alone or with garlic, are used to relieve infection and pain of earaches. We are going to focus on the leaves for this Herb Blurb, because it is the time of year when we use mullein leaf the most for its expectorant and antispasmodic properties. 

If you have a “tickly” cough, mullein might be just the thing for you. And, she is a wonderful tonic for hacking, spastic, deep coughs and for bronchial congestion, colds, allergies, and other respiratory issues. Mullein is also used to support glands, which can often become swollen and sore during times of infection. It has been used in the care of asthmatic individuals, because it can help relax constriction or tightness in the lungs and throat.

If you have mullein growing near you, it is a simple thing to harvest. Gently gather some of the beautiful leaves (taking care not to harvest more than ¼ of the plant), and allow them to air dry. Once dry, you can gently crumble them into a dark glass jar, or a regular mason jar that you store in a dark, cool place. If you don’t have it this year, start some seeds next year so that you will begin to have your own supply of this beautiful, healing herb.

Cough Tea

For an easy way to make tea to get you through cough and cold season, make up a batch of tea overnight, using a half-gallon mason jar or other similar glass jar.

  • ¼ ounce mullein leaf 
  • ¼ ounce coltsfoot leaf
  • ¼ ounce marshmallow leaf

Bring water to a boil, and pour over herbs to fill jar. Allow to steep overnight (you can pour the water into the jar in your kitchen sink, cover and leave overnight). In the morning, strain the herbs and refrigerate the tea. Warm as you want to drink it throughout the day. Feel free to add honey to taste, if you like. 

References: “Herbal antibiotics: Natural alternatives for treating drug-resistant bacteria (2nd Ed).” Buhner, S.H. Storey Publishing. 2012.

“Rosemary Gladstar’s medicinal herbs: A beginner’s guide.” Gladstar, R. Storey Publishing. 2012.

“The herbal apothecary: 100 medicinal herbs and how to use them.” Pursell, J.J. 2015. Timber Press. 2015.

“What’s wrong with me?”

It seems to be a common existential question of many people. As the state of our world moves forward into higher consciousness; yes, despite very challenging and confusing current events, we are at a time where we need to open to new possibilities and change the lens we perceive life through. What if the truth of each of us, and existence, has been there all along but just buried deep inside us? Becoming aware of our intuition and building that into a personal guidance system is a powerful way of coming back to our truth. This then assists us, through guidance, clarity, more understanding, and direction in decision making, in the ever-changing, ever-expanding world we live in.

John Holland reminds us of our truth: “Imagine yourself as a luminous being of energy and light, because in reality… you are.”

Richard Rohr says that we, the human race, have come to a state of doubting that there is any true spiritual presence in our world anymore. This doubting has led to not hearing, sensing our inner voice, our intuition, the higher guidance that has never left us. He goes on to encourage us by pointing to the discoveries that the science fields of astrophysics, anthropology, physics and biology have made that now confirm the profound intuitions some religions have spoken about for many centuries. R. Rohr calls this intuition our inner compass, our guide. It’s time to come back to the incredible and ever-present resource of our intuition.

Dr. Joe Dispenza explains that everything is made of energy, connected in an amazing “web” throughout time and space. This web is the quantum field — all of existence. He goes on to say that this energy forms vibrations of information that actually creates various degrees of physical structures and their individual purposes/functions, such as our body, animals, trees and automobiles. This quantum field, vibrations of energy, then is “an invisible intelligence.” It stands to reason that intuition, psychic abilities and our inner compass come from this energy field. 

The English word, intuition, means “knowledge from within” in Latin. According to an article in Examined Existence, intuition comes from several areas in the brain. The right hemisphere is where creativity, spontaneity, senses, intuitive thoughts and emotions are formed. More specifically, Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist from Iowa, confirmed that intuition comes from the ventromedial prefrontal cortex; a deeper part of our brain. An article in Psychological Science refers to a team of researchers from Wales that have proven the existence of intuition. The article quotes the researchers, “These data suggest that we can use unconscious information in our body or brain to help guide us through life.” Psychic ability is not different than intuition. Intuition or psychic ability is accessed through specific senses, in many cases clairaudience, clairvoyance, clairsentience, or claircognizance. 

John Holland describes four types of psychic abilities. Clairsentience is the attaining of knowledge through an inner feeling. Clairaudience is accessing information through an inner hearing. Clairvoyance is the ability to use inner sight, “seeing through your mind’s eye.” Claircognizance is an inner knowing. Psychic ability, then, is not unlike intuition. It is simply the intuitive skill that has been focused on, developed and refined. 

It feels appropriate to end with a powerful quote by Dr. Joe Dispenza: “How can a consciousness that has created all of life... that has expressed such a deep and abiding interest in us, be anything but pure love?” 

So when you ask yourself, “What’s wrong with me?” remember, we are of that consciousness, that pure love! Breathe and expand into that!

Two major deals in the health care and insurance industry were announced in December 2017. CVS Health is buying Aetna, a $63 billion insurance company for $69 billion, and Wisconsin’s largest hospital system, Aurora Health Care, is merging with the largest system in Illinois, Advocate Health Care, to form the 10th largest hospital system in the United States. 

The CVS Health Aetna deal will take months to be approved and finalized, but it represents a major shift away from the hospital-doctor-centered delivery system like Aurora and Advocate to a more consumer-centered approach. 

CVS pharmacies will be expanded to include doctor, wellness and insurance services. CVS Health also owns the CVS/Caremark PBM and Silver Script Medicare Part D drug plans.

We will have to wait and see how these mega mergers affect future health care and insurance costs. Amazon, Apple and Google are also working on new technologies and services to address health and cost. 

Ultimately, employer group plans and individual consumers will drive innovation given better opportunities to improve health and lower cost. 

In the meantime, it is important for us to take charge of our health.

Many of the health care professionals in this magazine offer you great health care value as we learn to shop for health care. We encourage you to ask how they can help you in your path to healthy living. And as always, use a licensed health insurance advisor when selecting your health plan. 

“I know what I need to do, I just don’t do it.” 

Does this sound like you? The nutrition we put in our bodies affects us in so many ways: thinking clearly, experiencing pain, having energy, reducing fat and weight, just to name a few. Nutritional Healing will guide you through your difficult areas and help to renew your body to be healthy, energetic and feeling good. Take your health back with proactive health care, not reactive sick-care!

Nutritional Healing is a health clinic located in Appleton. Kimberly Stoeger is a Clinical Nutritionist with a masters degree in human nutrition and experience using nutrition as a complementary medicine. She and her team of nine employees are all educated and certified in clinically proven lifestyle plans, which coach and educate clients on reducing and reversing their risk of chronic disease while also reducing body fat. 

Nutritional Healing is based on meeting wellness goals through body weight composition and therapeutic lifestyle programs. Start off your program with a body weight composition analysis where the body is assessed for fat mass, fat-free mass and total body water. It’s a simple test that takes just minutes with no discomfort. A printout is provided with all the numbers explained. This is used to monitor the sustainable fat loss, not just weight loss. It’s important to lose weight, and it’s also important to reduce fat.

Knowing which foods to consume is also important. A body could be sensitive to even the healthy foods one is consuming. With a quick and easy test, your food sensitivities can be determined. Eliminating these trigger foods can help reduce the inflammation in a body to speed the process of weight/fat loss and illness. Everyone has sensitivities and can benefit from this test.

There are so many supplements available and choosing the right ones can be difficult. Quantity to take, quality of the supplement and differing types of supplements are a few puzzling areas. Bring in your supplements and Nutritional Healing will analyze and advise what is best for you. There is also medical food that can specifically target nutritional needs and clinical conditions such as fibromyalgia, digestive disorders, diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Ever find yourself completely confused at the grocery store? The label says healthy or nutritious, but is it really? Does low-fat, lite or fat-free mean it’s good for you? The nutritional healing team will help sort all of that out. Do you have a pantry or refrigerator full of food, and you wonder what should really be in there? Do you wish someone would just tell you what to eat? Do you have limited time to eat, and end up eating on the go or at restaurants? They can help with expert advice on keeping you on track. Do you have favorite recipes and you know they are laden with calories? There is help with alternate recipe ingredients to help you keep eating your favorites — healthily.

Nutritional Healing’s team works privately one-on-one with each client constructing a personalized and specific lifestyle program that individually works for you. When a larger support system is needed, they are also available to work with a family as a whole since it can be hard to change one’s health and weight alone. Children and elderly nutrition are also very important to the family core. 

The Nutritional Healing team also works with local high schools, colleges and professional athletes for optimal performance! And their corporate wellness programs are tailored to meet local companies’ needs as another benefit to our community; focusing on proactive health care during times of rising health insurance costs.

You know what you need to do; let Nutritional Healing help you get started! We’re successfully changing people’s lives from the inside out!

Nutritional Healing, LLC is located at 400 North Richmond Street, Ste F. Office hours are by appointment, Monday through Friday. For more information about Nutritional Healing, LLC, please call 920-358-5764 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Also visit them online at or check out their Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest pages! 

Fellow Wisconsinites, winter is officially here! Along with the weather advisories, poor travel conditions and increased heating costs comes the unfortunate colds, flu, and a host of other respiratory ailments. All which can take a toll on a person’s energy, social life and general sense of well-being. 

I have been blessed with a strong immune system that has always protected me from the worst the season has to offer. But recently as family members and friends started coming down with coughs, colds and sinus infections, they spread their germs my way to the point I actually woke up coughing with a scratchy throat and sniffles. My congestion has lasted a couple of weeks as of this writing. 

I love researching different treatments and recently found one known for being effective for respiratory issues called halotherapy, or salt therapy. I checked out all of the talking points and was still a little skeptical. Although I have always told my kids at the first sign of a sore throat to mix up a salt water solution and gargle, I never knew why — it was just what my mother taught me and her mother before her and so on. That’s when the light bulb in my head went on and I thought, “Well if it works for sore throats, someone smarter than me must have figured out how to use salt in other ways.” I decided to book my appointment for a salt therapy session at The Salt Room Appleton. 

When I called to make an appointment I mentioned that I had been struggling with congestion that hadn’t gone away, and that I was afraid I had a cold but nothing worse than that. Not wanting to spread germs, the owner, Sheryl Bauer, assured me that there was no reason not to come in because the salt is a natural antibacterial and that between sessions they disinfect the rooms with an ultraviolet light. Between that and the salt there is no fear of spreading disease. 

When I got to the The Salt Room Appleton I filled out a brief questionnaire and Lisa took me to the back area where I was given a see-through plastic case for my cell phone to protect it. I was also given a locker to lock my valuables inside during my session. Since I happened to have neon green socks on, I put on a pair of protective booties to protect them. 

The salt room was picturesque! It was like being in a large arctic cave (without the cold) and a beach at the same time. The floor was covered with white salt crystals, which is just like walking on a beach. At the same time the walls are sprayed with a thick layer of salt, which makes you feel like you are in an arctic cavern. They have a lineup of six zero gravity chairs to sit in with tissues and a small garbage can by each chair (you’ll see why this is important in the next paragraph!). I settled in with a light blanket to cover my clothes from the salt and Lisa explained to me how they would blow in the pulverized salt through a vent in the wall. She said some people even like to nap during their 45-minute session. She then put on some soft, spa-like music and dimmed the lights. And then my session began.

At first, I was busy checking and answering work emails, then I completed my grocery list and checked out some online recipe sites for dinner. They have free Wi-Fi so you can continue your electronic lifestyle if you choose. After 10 minutes, I had to blow my nose as the congestion started breaking up. I found out that the salt particles actually decrease the thickness of the mucus in your sinus and lungs helping to draw it out. During my time in the room I took some really deep breaths of air and it felt so good! I found it cool that even though I was sitting on top of salt, surrounded by salt plus the pulverized salt being pumped through the air that it never bothered my eyes. I licked my lips and could taste the salt like I had been swimming in the ocean but my eyes never felt dry, and I wear contact lenses. 

After about 30 minutes I decided to take advantage of the calming, spa-like space and reclined my chair, closed my eyes and relaxed. I got a brief snooze in and then it was over. On my way out, I looked into the kids’ room, which is similar to the adult room in that it is like a salty beach the kids can play in with toys. There are also chairs for the adults who accompany them (getting a treatment right alongside their little ones). The difference is that it didn’t have salt sprayed on the walls. 

I went back to work and my lungs and sinuses felt open and clear for the rest of the day! I can’t wait to go back to The Salt Room Appleton and plan to tell everyone I know who has allergies or sinus problems about my experience: the minute I walked out of that room I could breathe easier and my nasal drip was gone. When I go back I plan to make a day out of it, first with a salt room session followed by an infrared sauna, which they have on site for all of you detoxing people out there! Visit them and pick up a brochure and read through it or visit their website at for all of the incredible benefits of salt therapy. Then book an appointment for you or a loved one — you won’t be disappointed. 

The Salt Room Appleton

1196 N Mayflower Drive, Appleton


It’s common for children to learn about gratitude through the holiday season, but there are many more teaching moments that happy and healthy families can take part in. Participating in these types of activities helps to strengthen your relationships with children, and supports healthy youth development. 

Create family traditions

If you don’t yet have your own traditions, ask family and friends what they enjoy most about getting together during the holidays (for example, a game of charades, watching old home videos, children performing a play). Be intentional about carving out time for all guests, including the host, to participate.

Invite someone who doesn’t have plans

Be mindful that the holidays may be a lonely time for someone you know. Whether it’s your college student babysitter who can’t afford to travel home or a neighbor who doesn’t have family nearby, think about someone you may know that can be included in your celebration.

Give back to the community

This is a great time to volunteer as a family. Serving meals to others, making and delivering gift baskets, buying gifts for a family in need or spending time making handmade holiday cards for troops abroad are opportunities to teach the importance of empathy and creating joy for others.

Take a break between dinner and dessert

Once you’ve finished a delicious and filling meal, make sure to take a healthy break. Stand up and move around before having dessert. Take a family walk around the neighborhood or play a fun game of freeze dance indoors.

Go tech-free

Designate an area for cell phones and tablets where they can be silenced and off-limits for a few hours. Removing the distraction will help children and adults engage in face-to-face conversations and interactions that strengthen bonds and help everyone to decompress.

Take a deep breath

Whether you’ve spent the day traveling, preparing food or feeling over-stimulated by family time, remember to take a few deep breaths in the midst of it all. Centering our hearts and minds on what we are most grateful for connects us with the spirit of the season all year long. 

Reference: “How Healthy, Happy Families Celebrate Thanksgiving.” YMCA. Albin, J.

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