Archive for August, 2011

Guest Blogger of the Month: Olya Turcihin

I have suffered from sciatica for about three years now. At one point, I had to go to the emergency room because the pain was so awful. Finally, a dose of morphine was able to alleviate the pain, but only for twenty minutes!

On and off, the pain ebbs and flows depending on the day, the weather, my activity and my mood. Yoga has definitely helped me to make my body stronger and more flexible to withstand and sometimes erase the pain. My chiropractor also is a life saver and pain reliever.

And then, this past weekend, I learned about reiki acupressure points. Helping my friend after surgery, a mutual friend came over to offer his reiki services. Before he began, he explained that reiki pressure points can release toxins and help in the healing process by sending life energy (also known as reiki) through the acupressure points.

My research of reiki revealed that “energy blockages” whether from stress, trauma, or an injury, can be traced to the root of all health problems. Your energy flow affects how you feel, how you think, and how you breathe. Just as negative thoughts can block your energy flow, positive thoughts can increase your healing energy. When the body’s life-force energy becomes blocked, various emotional imbalances and physical symptoms also result. These energy blockages occur at the acupressure points. Through a variety of acupressure methods ranging from light touch, tapping, to simply holding the points, the body’s life energy is able to flow and rebalance.

As Jay, our reiki practitioner moved us through the points located on our hands and arms; we slowly moved down the body until we got to our feet. We held the points down with thumbs and/or fingers and applied firm, steady, stationary pressure. To stimulate the area we applied pressure for only four or five seconds at a time.  I was able to tell when I hit the point, as the area was tender, and a weird kind of energy flowed through the point.              

Jay asked us to find the point on our ankles right underneath the ankle bone located midway between the inside of the ankle bone and the Achilles tendon. The sensation was unbelievable! He described this point, K3, as the only spot in the body that connects bone and muscle. An amazing sensation ensued throughout my entire body, an energy that coursed its way right to my pained lower back!  I have been applying pressure to this point regularly and I actually find that my pain has subsided in the last week.                                                          

Acupressure points, just one more tool in my arsenal. The foot, an incredible tool to the health and well-being of your body! Give it a try…

Bio Olya Turcihin was born in Switzerland, lived in Turkey as a baby and then moved to NYC at the age of three, a true New Yorker. Olya Turcihin earned her BA in English Literature from Binghamton University, SUNY. She currently lives and works in NYC, where photography is her passion. Her photographs have recently been included at the Crest Fest 2011 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and a group show at The End’s Northside Open Studios Launch Party Show in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Her interests range from yoga, film, gallery hopping to volunteering her time to photographing art within the five boroughs of NYC for Artseeka, a new social platform for sharing and discovering art. You can follow Olya’s photographic journal at olya turcihin photography and Olya’s Urban Journal.


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On average, Americans spend more than 7.5 hours working weekdays.  Our jobs can many times feel like our home away from home. So it’s important that employers recognize our commitment to the workplace and understand the need for balance and a healthy lifestyle. If you aren’t working as hard on your health and wellness, mental and physical ability diminishes over time. Many companies are working on plans to prevent employee health problems by creating health and wellness programs in the workplace.

Recently I talked with Shannon Muller, HR Generalist, of The Conti Group about their Building a Better You employee wellness program. Launched this year, the program has met with instant success. Part of that success is due to Conti’s partnership with employees—the program is designed with employee feedback and contributions. Building a Better You encourages employees to lead a healthier lifestyle at work and home, providing the tools, resources and support to make it happen.  

Happy Feet: When did Conti start a wellness program? 

Shannon Muller: Conti initially began researching and developing plans for a wellness program in 2010. After we were sure we had a good plan in place and management support behind us, the program was launched in early 2011. We surveyed employees to gauge their interests and make sure we were developing a program to which they would respond. We even opened up for program name suggestions from employees and selected Building a Better You, from a list of great suggestions.  

Happy Feet:  Explain how your wellness program works? 

Muller: The program is designed to attract the variety of personalities and interests of our employees. The idea is to educate and motivate employees to live healthier lives and there are a variety of ways to do that. We host lunch & learns on various topics, we distribute newsletters and healthy recipes, we spark the friendly competition amongst coworkers and we offer incentives for participation. As you know we have the Conti Walking Competition, for which, we provided pedometers to participants and they submit weekly step counts competing against coworkers. I have recently incorporated bonus point values for other healthy habits including eating fruits and vegetables or taking vitamins. 

We also recently held a Health Screening event at our corporate office to allow employees the convenience of being screened without leaving the office and plan to begin a Weight Watchers at Work program in the fall.

Here’s an excerpt from the Conti Newsletter discussing the company’s committment to its employees: Conti cares about its’ employees and wants to see each one of us live healthy, balanced lives. There are so many benefits to making healthier choices in your life such as, increased energy and motivation as well as decreased stress and tension.  Healthy choices improve your overall physical, mental, and emotional well being and can enhance your outlook on life.

Happy Feet: How have employees responded overall? I know the walk program has sparked a little competitiveness on the Whitestone Bridge project. 

Muller: Employee response has been great! As mentioned before, we surveyed employees to be sure the plan would catch their attention. Nearly 50% of employees signed up for the Walking Competition and are especially competitive.  The Health Screening appointments filled within 3 days of announcement. Employees respond to my various emails and announcements with excitement and suggestions. They offer their recipes and links for helpful sites on fitness and nutrition. It is great to see how many people appreciate and enjoy the program.

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Gaga has the Grammys, Firth has the Oscars, and Happy Feet has the Choice Awards. Recently selected as a Choice Awards product winner, Happy Feet shined at this year’s National Hardware Show.

A recent comment from NRHA’s vice president Scott Wright stresses the significance of this award, “New products are the lifeblood of the industry. The Retailers’ Choice Awards program recognizes the top products each year at the National Hardware Show® that demonstrate strong sales potential at retail. The award also creates a strong bond between retailers and manufacturers due to the fact that retailers choose the winners.”

Other winners at this year’s show included College Duck Tape from Duck Tape, 360 Grill from Blacktop and Ready-to-eat meals from GoPicnic. Key elements of chosen winners include products that display innovation, great sales, and business potential for retailers.

“We are very proud to have been chosen for this award. As a made in America product we are always striving to keep our work force pain-free and comfortably on their feet for as long as they need to be,” says Annette Salamone, Vice President of Marketing, Happy Feet USA, Inc. “We look forward to The Hardware Show each year.  The attendees are a group of hard-working, on their feet, individuals and it makes us happy to be able to put smiles on their faces.”

Read more about the “latest and greatest” products, like Happy Feet Insoles, in the Hardware Retailing July issue.

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