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From the Editor: Becoming a Believer

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I’ll admit it. Growing up in my house in Pittsburgh, the words alternative medicine were not uttered much at all. Let me explain. My dad is a nuclear radiologist, who always had a scientific explanation for every ache and pain my siblings and I experienced. His treatment plan was always pretty simple: Pop four Advil and let him know how you feel the next day.

I still call my dad quite often for medical advice, but I have come to realize that there are other solutions and options when it comes to our health. 

Those options include alternative health—this issue’s theme. Our editorial team was extremely excited to explore this complex yet fascinating topic. 

When I first heard the word alternative, I immediately thought about working out. As a former athlete, I have been a slave to traditional workouts—running, biking, weights—you name it. Editorial assistant Emma Way does a great job with her article about getting fit outside the box by offering workout options you should like, whether you are a fan of yoga, weights or group classes. Pole fitness, anyone?

Diet plays a huge part in alternative health, and whether or not some things are trending one week and old news the next, people are willing to try almost anything if it tastes good and is good for you. While olive oil is perfectly acceptable, local health stores are now carrying plenty of alternatives, such as grapeseed and flaxseed oil. Spice up your salad dressing or add some zing to your next smoothie. Check out “The Skinny on Specialty Oils.”

But what many people don’t realize is that regardless of how we choose to take care of ourselves, neglecting our body and minds can also take a toll on those around us. Take our pets, for example. “Dogs are so receptive to what’s going on with us emotionally,” says Diane Mayer, the founder of White Feather Farm, a unique spa that provides holistic healing for both people and dogs. The farm, located in Avondale, Pa., offers off-leash walks in the woods, water shiatsu and Reiki.

But Mayer says sometimes the best medicine really is very simple: It’s silence. “If there is one communication I could give people via the dogs, it would be ‘stop’—dogs will make you do it. Stop and be still. I’m a firm believer in silence.”

Whether it’s a trip to White Feather Farm, an extra yoga pose in the morning or a trip to the massage therapist after a stressful day at work, alternative health really can take many shapes. You just need to find the one that fits your life.  

—Danielle Bouchat-Friedman

Danielle Bouchat-Friedman

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