holiday gift guide 2020

Seeking wellness in pandemic times


It’s a stressful time, and all that anxiety has repercussions on our bodies.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Caroline Verdi, who works at Beach Lake Wellness Center in Beach Lake, PA.

Verdi is a reflexologist; she uses pressure on the ears, hands and feet to relieve pain or stress elsewhere in the body. “It can increase circulation and lower blood pressure,” she said. “It helps the body come into balance on its own.”

This matters because “when you’re reducing stress, it can help prevent disease.”

She also uses an infrared sauna. “In most cases, when I’m done, you are in such a deep relaxed state,” she said.

An infrared sauna uses infrared panels to warm the body; they’ve been credited with many health effects, from better sleep to pain relief. Stress aggravates the sympathetic nervous system, Verdi said, “and what I love about the infrared sauna is that it calms [it down].”

You don’t need access to an infrared or water-type sauna to use natural methods to manage stress, though, especially if you’re confined at home because of the pandemic. Verdi offered some suggestions.

Essential oils, for instance, are available, although you should be careful of what you choose and how you use them—always combine them with a carrier oil, for instance; don’t use them straight.

And always, be cautious. Work with a professional if you want to explore essential oils more deeply. “Oils are potent,” Verdi said. In particular, do not take them by mouth.

“People think that because they’re natural, they don’t need to be cautious.”

True essential oil is extracted from plants, retaining their beneficial properties. They can be anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, or sedative, she said.

Pay attention to labels. Some oils that call themselves “essential” are really just perfume, according to

Verdi, who creates and sells a line of essential oils locally and on her website, notes that oregano and clove are known to have antimicrobial effects; they’re best used in cleaning. A study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology found that oregano had antimicrobial effects when added to detergent for handwashing and surface cleaning.

“Never use oregano and clove oils straight,” she said.

Here are some other tips:

  • Use a diffuser for essential oils, but “don’t choose willy-nilly,” she said. Lavender and lemon oils are generally safe. Lavender is sedative and lemon is uplifting; both have other helpful properties, as well.
  • You don’t have to be a trained reflexologist to try some techniques at home, Verdi said. “Just rubbing each other’s feet or learning basic techniques. It’s so helpful.” She has videos on her Facebook page (@refexologybyTSUBO) to get people started. “You’re helping each other get rid of that fight-or-flight state,” she said.
  • Baths or showers. Hot baths are relaxing, and a hot shower immediately alternated with a cold one improves circulation. (My great-grandmother apparently swore by hot-and-cold baths for a long, healthy life.)

Contact Caroline Verdi at Beach Lake Wellness Center on Facebook or at

reflexology, Caroline Verdi, health, wellness, Beach Lake Wellness Center


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