Your Four-Legged Healer


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All of the four-leggeds who live in this house have had their time as "senior clinical associates." Golden is the ambassador of love in the front yard most of the year, when the weather allows him to meet and greet all who pass by. The five felines who live on the second floor have all contributed their special breed of medicine in the bathroom and in the kitchen and hallways.

An article in the April 20, 2009 Boston Globe, however, provided them with more impressive credentials: hugging your cat can improve your health and even increase your longevity! "A growing body of medical research suggests that people who own or interact regularly with animals may be healthier than people who don't." And specifically, "Cat owners are less likely to die of a heart attack than non-cat owners....Pet interaction may help protect against allergies, asthma, and even some kinds of cancer."

While, on the one hand, there have been studies that have shown that elderly people who have pets live longer and are happier than those who don't, because pets are so common and familiar, there are many ways we overlook them and take them for granted. No more! The National Institute for Health has recently formed a public/private partnership with MARS (the world's largest maker of pet food), to fund and encourage research on the timeless bond. 

James Griffin, deputy branch chief at NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, stated that, "while there are many small studies and much anecdotal evidence of improved health among cancer patients, autistic children, and others after interacting with animals,....large-scale, controlled studies are needed to determine" the role animals play in human health, and how that healing power may best be tapped.

Adnan Qureshi, a neurologist and executive director of the Minnesota Stroke Initiative at the University of Minnesota, discovered that cat owners were 40% less likely to die from heart attacks than non-cat owners. They were also less likely to die from all cardiovascular diseases — including strokes. The findings held true, he said, “even when the researchers took into account other heart disease risk factors, such as age, weight, gender, race and ethnicity, smoking and cholesterol levels."

These findings do not surprise me at all. I have long considered a cat's purring their "love song." Holding and petting a purring cat is soothing for both cat and human. It also generates oxytocin, the anti-stress hormone that counteracts the effects of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol contributes to cardiac illness. Oxytocin contributes to cardiac health and reverses the effects of cortisol. Science aside, I always feel more joyful, receptive and open when I am holding and petting a purring cat! It just plain feels good!

Cats are also very emotionally tuned in. I have countless stories of times cats responded to emotional and physical distress in their human companions. When I am sad, my cats will curl up next to me, offering comfort and connection. They just know when I need them, and make their presence known!

While some people fret about pet dander and pet hair, several studies have shown that pet ownership is actually good for our immune system. A recent study in San Francisco found that people who reported ever having owned a pet had about a 30 percent lower risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the body's blood-filtering tissues, compared with non-pet owners. The longer they owned the pet, the more protection they appeared to have. 

Earlier studies have linked pet ownership during infancy with a reduced risk of asthma and allergies, because exposure to pet dander is believed to desensitize the body toward later contact. The California researchers theorize a similar chain of events with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Whether biologically or emotionally, it just plain makes sense that beings whose primary purpose is connection, companionship and love would contribute to our well-being and improve the quality of our lives! So, pull out the vacuum, let your four-legged into your bedroom, and enjoy their company on your bed!

Linda Marks, MSM, has practiced heart-centered body psychotherapy (EKP) for nearly 25 years with individuals, couples, families and groups.  Linda and her 13-year-old son Alex share their home with six four-legged healers: one dog and five cats. She writes a monthly e-newsletter HealingHeartPower from which this article was excerpted.  For more information or to contact Linda, www.healingheartpower.com, LSMHEART@aol.com, (617)-965-7846.

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November 13, 2019

During the wee morning hours the Moon enters Gemini. Curiosity is piqued and tongues are ready to wag. The focus on ideas and information is intense today. Retrograde Mercury slips into a sextile with serious Saturn and a trine to dreamy Neptune…
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November 2019

No matter how broken or damaged you may feel, there is a deep well of stillness inside of you that is always there! Connected. Whole. Unchanging and Ever present. Yoga Nidra or Conscious Sleep...

Cost: $20 each session

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
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Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
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Come shine with us! Join us in harmony and in our goal to bring the light of Spiritualism forward to all those who are searching.

Where:
VFW Post 2597
775 Boston Rd, Rt 3A
Billerica, MA
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Sponsor: The Spiritualist Fellowship Church Of New England
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A beautiful collection of messages from Jeshua Ben Joseph (Jesus) that will transform your life, as it did his. Coming together to study these teachings, to ponder, to savor, to deepen our...

Cost: $25 per class

Where:
Heart and Soul Holistic Healing Center
130 Massapoag Avenue
Sharon, MA  02067
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Sponsor: Heart and Soul Holistic
Telephone: 781-258-9942
Contact Name: Barbara Ann Strassman
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In gratitude for your service, please join us at Dragonfly Wellness Center at 176 Jackson Road, Devens for refreshments and complimentary 15 minute sessions of: Chair massage Shamanic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Dragonfly Wellness Center
Dragonfly Wellness Center
176 Jackson Rd
Devens, MA  01432
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Sponsor: Yoga Anita
Telephone: 978-227-8297
Contact Name: Anita Perry
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2nd and 4th Monday of every month This psychic message circle is for anyone wishing to raise their connection using their psychic centers known as the “clairs.” Learn how to use...

Cost: $20

Where:
Messages From Heaven Healing and Learning Center
646 Central Street
Suite 3
Leominster, MA
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Join us at our free Boot Camp created specifically for post-divorce issues! About this event: Make new connections while learning essential strategies for building your post-divorce life with...

Cost: Free

Where:
RMS Residential Mortgage Services
465 South Washington Street
2nd Floor
North Attleboro, MA  02760
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Sponsor: Vesta: Redefining Divorce
Telephone: 508-744-6014
Contact Name: Deanna Coyle
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Come join us for a guided drumming circle to celebrate the November “Beaver” Moon. Arlene Dorischild will lead fellow drummers in a celebration to honor this special lunar event....

Cost: Donation

Where:
Peaceful Creations LLC
382 Boston Turnpike
Suite 102
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
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Sponsor: Peaceful Creations LLC
Telephone: 617-208-3333
Contact Name: Rebecca Resnik
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Free Evidence-Based Holistic Health Education Program at Wilbraham Senior Center The H.E.A.R.T. Program® (Health Empowerment and Real Transformation), created and instructed by Michelle...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
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Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
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The Wellness Roundtable Holistic Practitioners Network creates an environment for wellness practitioners to inspire, educate and support one another, while building community and encouraging...

Cost: $20 (Drop-ins are welcome)

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Meditation Studio
30 Lyman St
#108B
Westborough, MA
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Sponsor: 01581
Telephone: 508-329-3338
Contact Name: Ritu Kapur
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How would it feel to have direct education on changing your feelings so you do start to ask for what you truly want? Each month, come and practice hands-on skills to get into the habit of...

Cost: $15

Where:
Awaken Holistic Counseling Services
2 Liberty St., Unit 2L
Newburyport, MA  01950
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Sponsor: Awaken Holistic Counseling Services, LLC
Telephone: 978-255-7893
Contact Name: Kerri Morrison
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This is a class that will teach you how to make your own wire-wrapped gemstone pendant! Don’t be discouraged—it is simpler than you think, and you’ll have great fun in...

Cost: Reg includes supplies $40 per person or $35 more than one

Where:
The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
68 Stiles Rd
Unit A
Salem , NH  03079
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Sponsor: The Healing Power of Flowers - Heaven and Earth
Telephone: 603-275-7688
Contact Name: Stacey
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Retire the Curse, Enhance the Blessing with Sally Sugatt, LICSW, C-IAYT Do you feel locked into your family’s karma (reactions, cycles or patterns)? Come explore how you have been...

Cost: $45

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
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Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
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Award winning artist, musician and channeler, David Young shares his amazing revelations. Orchestrated synchronicities over the course of four years uncover the truth of what happened 2,000...

Cost: $35

Where:
Peaceful Creations LLC
382 Boston Turnpike
Suite 102
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
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Sponsor: Peaceful Creations
Telephone: 617-208-3333
Contact Name: Rebecca Resnik
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Facilitator: Peyton Pugmire Fridays, 9/20, 10/18, 11/15, 12/20, 9:30am–10:30am Everyone leaves with a powerful message to inspire their weekend!  Join Peyton Pugmire,...

Cost: Pay What You Wish

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
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Telephone: 781-797-0389
Contact Name: Creative Spirit
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Four week series for girls ages 11 and up with Leigh Sloss This series of classes will focus on some of the most effective yoga and mindfulness skills for reducing stress and anxiety.  In a...

Cost: Series: $75; Drop in rate $20

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
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Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Contact Name: Alice Bentley
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Learn the facts about Lyme Disease and how to protect yourself and your family! The Central Mass Lyme Foundation will host its 4th Lyme Disease Conference....

Cost: In advance: $30, at the door: $40

Where:
Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center
366 Main St.
Exit 9 off Mass Pike
Sturbridge, MA
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Sponsor: The Central Mass Lyme Foundation
Contact Name: Michele Miller
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With Ross J. Miller, psychic healer, medium, regression therapist. In this unique, experiential workshop you’ll learn how to identify your guardian angels and spirit guides by name and...

Where:
Newton, MA


Telephone: (617) 527-3583
Contact Name: Ross J. Miller
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Instructor: Peyton Pugmire Ages 16+/Adult Like meditating with a paintbrush!  Come re-connect with yourself, your heart and soul, and your divine intuition—one brushstroke...

Cost: $120 (includes all supplies)

Where:
Creative Spirit
80 Washington Street
Marblehead, MA  01945
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Telephone: 781-797-0389
Contact Name: Creative Spirit
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Practice what you have learned in Yoga for Plantar Fasciitis Part 1 (Nov. 2). Relieve pain on the bottom of the foot. It's not the usual stretching. It's a gentle way to...

Cost: $35 preregister; $40 at the door

Where:
Sohum Yoga and Medittaion Studio
30 Lyman Street
Suite 108b (next to hair salon)
Westborough, MA, MA  01581
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Sponsor: Pat Lebau Yoga
Telephone: 508-393-5581
Contact Name: Pat Lebau
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Journey back into the experience of peace, harmony and inner power through this unique meditation practice. Explore the power of your thoughts and how they can bring you inner harmony and help you...

Cost: Free of charge as a community service, contributions welcome.

Where:
Inner Space Meditation Center and Gallery
1110 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA
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Sponsor: Brahma Kumaris
Telephone: 617–547–1110
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Reiki Master Teacher Libby Barnett, M.S.W., integrates her healing skills with past experience as a medical social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital. 38 years experience. Reiki...

Where:
Weston, MA


Telephone: 603-654-2787
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Psychics, mediums, angel readers, spirit art. Reiki, chair massage, IET, Gaiadon Heart, crystal healings, etc. Sign yourself up for a few appointments and bring your friends! Appointments...

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA
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Telephone: 508-230-3680
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Learn to overcome spinal tensions through therapeutic postures, designed to decompress your spine and relieve pain. Taught by a certified yoga therapist, classes bring you through poses...

Cost: 5/$50

Where:
Bliss Through Yoga
484 Bedford St
East Bridgewater, MA  02333
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Telephone: 508-331-3564
Contact Name: Janice O'Brien
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