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What a gorgeous day at Advanced Wealth Strategies' Client Appreciation Event at Freedom Boat Club on May 7, 2017! We were thrilled to help sponsor and provide massages in such a beautiful setting!

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 Freedom Boat Club

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 Jim Vogel (IMU Social Media) & Danielle Ratliff (Serenity Now)

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Danielle Ratliff (Serenity Now) with Andy & Lisa Jay (Destination Magazine)

We were thrilled to receive the "Normy" on April 27, 2017 for "Best Massage/Spa" and can't believe we made the cover of The Herald Weekly! We truly appreciate all of our loyal clients for voting and supporting local small businesses like ours!

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we raised $514 for Carolina Breast Friends, a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to uniting and helping women in all stages of breast cancer survival. Breast cancer awareness is close to my heart as I lost my grandmother this March and chose to memorialize her with a tattoo on my right arm. We raised funds by hosting a raffle for a $100 Serenity Now Gift Certificate, and Jerry L. was the winner of the gift certificate.


We also spread awareness by participating in the "Get Checked Challenge". I pledged to schedule an early mammogram at 33 years old because it runs in my family, and posted the following picture on my personal social media pages. Even my husband, Bill, got in on the fun...

Carolina Breast Friends Get Checked Challenge

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Serenity Now is pleased to partner with The Lotta Foundation's annual Lotta Coats Drive and will be collecting gently used and new coats through August 20th.

Dark clouds and ominous forecasts don't just occur during the frigid months. Many people in our community face difficult conditions every day. They struggle to provide for themselves and their families, and by the time winter rolls around, warm coats are way down the list behind basic necessities like food, electricity and water. You can help though! Serenity Now and The Lotta Foundation are collecting gently used coats to be distributed through Lydia's Loft and Communities in Schools. Look for the signature blue barrel in the lobby of Serenity Now Massage Therapy. If you have gently used coats you no longer use, please don't put them away. Give them away, and change someone's climate today!

To learn more, click HERE

Safe Alliance is hosting their annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event on August 27th at NoDa Brewing Company at 9am. Men will don high heels a walk a mile to raise awareness about rape and gender violence. William Morrow of Serenity Now is volunteering his time to provide free chair massages for all participants. Registration is $25 for men and $10 for ladies, with all proceeds supporting Safe Alliance's outreach efforts for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence.

To learn more, click HERE

 

 

 

HRelax the Mind - SNMTow Often Should You Get a Massage?

This is one of the most common questions clients ask about massage therapy, and it really all depends on WHY you get massages. Do you get massages for health benefits? Or, to help you relax and handle the stress of everyday life? Most likely it’s a combination of the two, so let’s look at some of the most common reasons to get regular massages:

Relaxation & Stress Relief

One of the very best reasons to get a massage is for relaxation. Relaxation massage helps to support your body, including blood circulation and flexibility of joints. Regular massage can help prevent pain, muscle tension, and stress points from building up and causing problems. Why wait until you have a problem to get a massage? Massage is perfect for preventing issues with your tissues. Relaxation massage is usually recommended at least once per month, or as often as you want!

There may be times in your life where you experience higher levels of stress and more muscle tension than normal. It is especially important to practice good self-care during these times. When we “don’t have time” for a massage, is usually when we need one the most. Make yourself a priority even during stressful times, your health is worth it.

If you are in a high-stress job or you work in an environment where you stay in a certain position for a long period of time (at a computer for example), you may begin to develop tight or “knotted” muscles. This will frequently occur in your shoulders, arms, and back. All of this increased muscle tension will make movement harder and can cause a great deal of pain. Regular massage can help to keep you loosened up and will help to prevent pain and stiffness.

Living with high levels of stress for a prolonged amount of time increases the risk of contracting heart disease and other diseases. It has been estimated that 75 – 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related problems. The good news is, massage can help! Just knowing your massage is coming up in a few days can help to relieve stress, and a massage every 2-4 weeks will help with stress related tension.

Sports Recovery

Are you a weekend warrior, or do you just like to stay in shape? Either way, massage can help with sports performance and recovery. Many athletes and physically active people receive sports massage because it enhances their performance, prevents injury, and speeds up their muscles' recovery. Competitive sports can put a lot of stress on a person's muscles! Research conducted at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging at McMaster University in Ontario shows that massage reduces inflammation and stimulates the growth of new mitochondria, the energy-producing units in the cells, after strenuous exercise. This means that massage can help relieve pain, build muscles and help with muscle recovery too! For these benefits it is recommended that you get a massage up to three times a week or at least three times a month.

Chronic Health Conditions

People with ongoing health issues often find massage very helpful to alleviate symptoms. Chronic health problems that greatly benefit from massage therapy include back pain, joint pain, and localized inflammation. If you get therapy for specific issues, the frequency of getting massage therapy varies with the type of condition you have and how severe it is. Relief from pain can usually be achieved with 2-4 massage sessions per month. Your massage therapist will work with you to help you get on the best schedule for your body.

Pregnancy

Pregnant women can greatly benefit from massage therapy! Prenatal massage and is popular among expectant mothers, who often experience a lot of aches and pains as their pregnancy progresses. Many women suffer from back pain, hip & sciatic pain, headaches, and tired legs & feet. But you don’t have to, and a certified massage therapist can help to relieve those discomforts.

Going to your massage therapist once or twice a month can help with the symptoms caused by pregnancy, and it can even help you sleep better. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor and your massage therapist to ensure that you don’t have any pregnancy related conditions that would contraindicate massage therapy for you. Most women experiencing a healthy pregnancy can and should enjoy regular massage sessions.

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Serenity Now Massage Therapy sponsored a Christmas Tree for Catering to Cats & Dogs through the Rotary Club of Davidson.  Each year, businesses who sponsor trees pick a charity, decorate trees, and the community votes on their favorite trees at the Christmas Village in Davidson. Each vote costs $1, and the charities are guaranteed a minimum donation of at least $200.

We decided to decorate the tree with cat and dogs toys so they could be donated afterwards. While shopping for the decorations, two lovely ladies at Wal-Mart started talking to Danielle Ratliff and Mary Parrott about why we were buying so many cat and dog toys. They were sweet enough to give us monetary donations towards the cause!  The Serenity Now team had fun decorating the tree and were thrilled to support such a worthy cause.

Catering To Cats & Dogs (C2CND) began its journey as a Rescue in October 2008 with ten cats and no dogs. Their Rescue became a 501(c)3 charitable Non Profit in September 2009 with four fosters and approximately 30 felines. Current animals in foster care with C2CND can fluctuate from 70 to 80 cats and 90 to 100 dogs, but can rise to over 100 cats and over 130 dogs during kitten/puppy season. All animals reside with fosters. C2CND is run entirely by volunteers who dedicate their time and energy saving, transporting and caring for animals in the Lake Norman and surrounding areas from certain euthanization by pulling them from local Animal Control facilities prior to their PTS (Put-To-Sleep) date. We believe these animals are the most critical and focus our efforts on them, providing medical necessities and ensuring ALL are spayed/neutered. By requiring all animals to be altered, their rescue continues to battle the exploding pet over-population in the Greater Charlotte area, which covers multiple towns and counties.

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Cornelius, NCThe Executive Women of Lake Norman held their annual Holiday Luncheon Celebration for members and their guests on December 16, 2015 at Davidson’s North Harbor Club. Several community awards were given in addition to a $1,000 check which was presented to Megan Lynch, Executive Director of the Mooresville-Lake Norman Christian Mission, the group’s charity of choice in 2015.

Starr Miller, 2015 President presented Jodi Vipperman-Wright of Savory Moments Gourmet Catering with the Small Business Owner of the Year Award. Tricia Sisson of The Range at Lake Norman received the Community Service Leader Award, and the Presidential Award was presented to Danielle Ratliff of Serenity Now Massage Therapy. Kathy Holden of Home Helpers & Direct Link received the Five Years on the Board of Directors Service Award.

The EWLKN’s Board of Directors and officers for fiscal 2016 are:

President – Danielle Ratliff, Serenity Now Massage Therapy

Past President – Starr Miller, StarrMiller Interior Design

Vice President - Annie Lewis, Annie Lewis Event Planning

Secretary – Tricia Sisson, The Range at Lake Norman and Ballantyne

Treasurer – Erin Gee, Aquesta Bank

Membership & Communications – Vicky Turner, Perma Safety Tub and Tammi Murphy, Blarney Stone Marketing & Design and LKN Savings.com

Programs & Education – Dr. Jodie Silver, SouthEast Chiropractic and Gwynn Linder, LKN Fit Life

The Executive Women of Lake Norman (EWLKN) is an organization of professional women who hold positions of leadership within their organizations. EWLKN’s mandate is to facilitate relationships between professional women through the core values of leadership, mentorship, membership and friendship. Some of the organization’s targeted areas of focus in 2016 are: to facilitate networking opportunities for personal and professional growth and involvement in community service programs.

EWLKN meetings are held at 8:00 a.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month in the Randy Marion Conference Room, 2nd floor, at the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit www.executivewomenoflkn.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Every year, Safe Alliance creates a special Holiday Store for their clients and their families who have been impacted by intimate partner violence, sexual violence, child maltreatment, homicide and/or other violent crimes during the past year. The Holiday Store is filled with new toys and gifts donated by the community, and their clients and children will spend a few hours "shopping" in the their store for holiday presents on December 19th. The store helps women and their children create a special family holiday season, even during crisis. 

Serenity Now is donating $500 to the holiday store and will also serve as a drop off site for gifts. You can make a difference by bringing new, unwrapped gifts to Serenity Now between now and December 15th. Critical needs items include cash donations, twin bed-in-bag sets, bed sheets, comforters, blankets, towel and washcloth sets, clothing and games for teenagers, and $10-$25 gift cards.

For more information, please click HERE.

 

When Cornelius resident Bonnie Shelton tested positive in July 2014 as a carrier of the BRCA 1 gene, she decided to undergo a double mastectomy and hysterectomy even though she did not have cancer. As a BRCA 1 gene carrier, Bonnie had an 87% chance of contracting breast cancer and a 47% chance of contracting ovarian cancer.   Unlike her mom and grandmother, Bonnie had a choice.

A regular client of Serenity Now Massage Therapy in Cornelius, Bonnie told her story to Owner and General Manager, Danielle Ratliff, a staunch supporter of women’s causes. Because October was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ratliff challenged her clients and her team of Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapists to raise $1,000 in honor of Bonnie Shelton for the Teresa Flippo Surgical Oncology Fund which was established by Carolinas HealthCare Foundation.

They donated $1.50 for every massage performed in October and sold raffle tickets for $5.00 each, or five tickets for $20 for a One-Hour Massage. In total, Serenity Now Massage Therapy surpassed their goal, donating $1117.00 to the Teresa Flippo Surgical Oncology Fund. Dr. Flippo-Morton had a distinguished career at Levine Cancer Institute as a skilled surgeon and remarkable mentor to residents and fellows. She had treated an estimated 2,300 women with breast cancer in the Charlotte area. Unfortunately Dr. Flippo recently lost her battle to pancreatic cancer 33 days after diagnosis and just four months after Bonnie Shelton’s surgery.

“I’m honored that Danielle and her team at Serenity Now Massage Therapy raised so much in my honor,” says Shelton. “The Teresa Flippo-Morton, MD, Surgical Oncology Fund will support an array of educational and research opportunities for residents and fellows in the surgical oncology specialty, as well as the notable Levine Cancer Institute faculty educational endeavors.”

Serenity Now will be donating $1.50 per massage performed during the month of October to the Teresa Flippo Surgical Oncology Fund. We will also be raffling off a 60 Minute Swedish Massage for $5 a ticket or 5 tickets for $20. We hope to raise at least $1000, and the donation will be made in honor of our client, Bonnie Shelton. Bonnie had a double mastectomy and hysterectomy after testing positive for the BRCA 1 gene. Her story below is very inspiring and we thank her for picking our charity for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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"Hello, my name is Bonnie Shelton. I would like to share my journey.

July 2014 I decided to have genetic testing conducted. This decision was based on my family history. My Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 41. She was a fighter. I witnessed her struggle with chemotherapy and a mastectomy, but despite all the challenges, she won, beating breast cancer. At the age of 51, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Again, she fought treating it aggressively with chemotherapy and stem cell treatments. Unfortunately, her heroic effort was overcome by this disease, passing away at the young age of 55. Ironically, my Mother was a very healthy woman her entire life, but this disease does not discriminate.
I did not want this to happen to me. I debated the idea of genetic testing. I have a Family with a wonderful husband- Eric and three beautiful children: Colby, Kiley, and Karley. What happens if I was positive? How would they react? What would I do?

My husband also influenced me. He was diagnosed in December 2012 with left tonsil cancer spreading into his left lymph nodes. He went through eight weeks of treatment: Radiation and Chemotherapy. He fought. As the treatment broke his body, it did not break his will. He was focused being here for the long term for our Family. He won. I am happy to say he is healthy. His experience brought back many memories of my Mother’s harsh treatment. Once he was cured, in July 2014, decided to make an appointment with a Genetic Counselor to arrange the testing for BRCA 1 & 2 gene. I wanted to know if I was at risk for Cancer.
I met with the Genetic Counselor at the Levine Cancer Center. Ironically, this was where my husband’s Oncologist and Radiologist office was located bringing back memories, the unpleasant kind. My Family history was discussed. She explained of my elevated risk of 21% based on the diagnosis of my Mother and Great Grandmother of breast cancer. A follow up appointment was made for the blood test for BRCA 1 & 2. The results of the test took about 2 ½ weeks. I remembered during my husband’s experience, the waiting for the results was agonizing. I can confirm, it was. The results came back positive for BRCA 1 gene. I was shocked. What now? What about my Family? What are my options? Once the shock settled, it made sense given the Family history.

I did not tell my husband for a few days. I was not sure how he would take the news. After all, he was 5 months post treatment, just getting back to normal. He had a business trip to Germany up coming- August 2014. I informed him of the news of a positive test. He was very emotional, “can we catch a break?” After he gathered himself, he gave me a hung and kiss stating, “You took care of me, now I will take care of you. We will beat this.”


When you're positive for the BRCA 1 gene, your body cannot suppress/fight tumors if they develop in your body. I was at an 87% change of contracting breast cancer and 44% for ovarian. The general population has an 8 % risk of contract breast cancer and 1% chance of ovarian.

It was time for action mode. What are my options? How do I take care of myself to limit my risk for getting cancer? I had a follow up appointment with my genetic counselor. She did an amazing job of providing direction. Two option were explained:
-Increased screening via frequent breast exams and ultrasounds to monitor any concerns for ovarian cancer.
-Aggressive treatment plan: preventative surgery including hysterectomy and mastectomy.

My husband and I discussed my options. He offered advice based on his cancer experience. He stressed I did not have cancer. His experience with the treatment was very difficult. If the risks for getting caner are so high, we are gambling with your quality of life. While early stage cancers seem treatable, why risk a positive diagnosis and treatment? His other point was to focus on our children. We want you to be healthy and be there to watch them grow up and experience life. In my eyes, the path forward was simple, preventative surgeries. These procedures would reduce my risk cancer from 87 % to 5%- a no brainer.

I met with my genetic counselor at CMC Levine Cancer Center to discuss my decision. She put me in contact with amazing Doctors. Dr. Hall whom would perform my hysterectomy, Dr. Teresa Flippo for my mastectomy, and Dr. Robinson for the reconstruction. The Doctors were wonderful in explaining the procedures I would undergo. The full hysterectomy was performed October 8, 2014. My recovery was uneventful. The double mastectomy was performed on February 5, 2015. This recovery was difficult, but I had a great support network to see me through.

The first time I met Dr. Teresa Flippo, she greeted me with a firm handshake, great smile, and wearing a pair of pink cowgirl boots. She came highly recommended not only for being an amazing surgeon, but also her fantastic personality and level of patient care. Dr. Flippo always took her time during my visits, explaining in great detail the procedures, asking me how I was feeling and doing with everything I was experiencing. She inquired how my Family was holding up. I was never uncertain about my decisions to move forward with the preventative surgeries. I was completely confident Dr. Flippo would do an amazing job. She always made me smile and feel at ease. I felt blessed to have her as my Doctor. My double mastectomy and reconstruction went very well. Dr. Flippo and Dr. Robinson did a fantastic job.


About four months after my surgery, I was informed Dr. Flippo had passed away just 33 days after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Dr. Flippo had treated an estimated 2,300 women with breast cancer in the Charlotte, NC area. Dr. Flippo touched many lives of some many people in many ways. She was compassionate and gracious with her patients. Dr. Flippo was also a fabulous teacher to her students and residents. I think about her daily and how fortunate I was to have her in my life and as my surgeon. If not for Doctors like Dr. Flippo, I may not have had the confidence to undergo my surgery.

I am eight months post surgery experiencing no complications and leading the same active lifestyle.

I wake up every day, thankful for my health and Family."

Serenity Now Massage Therapy collaborated with FiFi's Fine Resale on August 26th for a "Mommy's Morning Out." Briana Coates provided chair massage to the ladies, and they also enjoyed hair touchups by Cocoon Salon, and reiki treatments by Debbie Chisholm.  The day was a hit for all in attendance and thank you to Julia Austin, owner of FiFi's Fine Resale for inviting us!

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Danielle Ratliff, owner of Serenity Now Massage Therapy, appeared on WSIC's radio show, "Local Biz Now" with hosts Wayne Bidelman and Joe Vagnone on April 24, 2015.  It was a fun morning with lots of laughs.  Listen to the full segment by clicking the link below.

Local Biz Now Segment

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Danielle Ratliff, owner of Serenity Now Massage Therapy, was honored by being chosen as one of Lake Norman’s 100 Most Powerful Women by the Huntersville Herald on May 28th, 2015.

“Ratliff owns Serenity Now Massage Therapy in Cornelius. She has become very active in the Executive Women of Lake Norman, as well as chaired events for Safe Alliance, an organization that helps abused women.”

Read the full article here: http://huntersvilleherald.com/news/2015/5/28/12887/lake-norman-s-100-most-powerful-women-part-3

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Aida Sajuthi of Serenity Now Massage Therapy participated in Safe Alliance’s event, “Shower the Shelter” on May 20th, 2015.  She offered chair massage to fourteen survivors of domestic violence while Safe Alliance’s Young Professionals group kept the children busy making cards and decorating cookies.  Supporters of Safe Alliance purchased flowers for the shelter and it was a wonderful night of pampering for the residents.

A little about the shelter, copied with permission and courtesy of the Safe Alliance website…

“The new Safe Alliance shelter has 80 beds compared to the 29 beds at our former shelter. The shelter is located on a 5-acre site in Charlotte, convenient to public transportation and other support services.  The 40,000 square foot facility has state-of-the art security.

With an increase in capacity, Safe Alliance can now offer longer stays for our clients. In our former shelter, clients were limited to stays of 30-days due to a lack of space.  Now, each family’s needs are addressed individually and service plans are developed accordingly. 

The new shelter space includes: 10 emergency units and 19 apartment – style units, counseling rooms, conference rooms, kitchen/dining room, children’s spaces, donation room, health clinic, laundry and job training center. In addition to emergency and transitional accommodations, Safe Alliance offers the following services: Safety planning, trauma counseling, support groups, case management, child care, legal advocacy and representation, help with addiction issues, life skills training, health care services, career planning services, and toiletries/clothing/furniture assistance.”

For additional information about the shelter and other services offered by Safe Alliance, visit their website at www.safealliance.org

Diana Kranefuss of Serenity Now Massage Therapy helped coordinate a Hope House event for five homeless women and their four young children on February 21st. The theme of this event was, "A Girls Night In - A Celebration of our Beauty, Strength and Wisdom." She offered free massage to each of these ladies and put together gift baskets of toys, toiletries, blankets, and gas card for each of them. Serenity Now also donated grocery store cards and aromatherapy to soothe the ladies. It was a great evening of smiles and the children were so excited for their gifts and pampering!

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Pictured left to right: Danielle Ratliff, Serenity Now owner; Kristie Hogan, NC Massage School owner; Diana Kranefuss, Serenity Now therapist

Corporate chair massage for a realtor event with Lennar at The Farms in Mooresville on February 10, 2015. Pictured left to right: Diana Kranefuss, Erin Davis, Danielle Ratliff.

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The Executive Women of Lake Norman was pleased to present Safe Alliance with a check for $1000 at their winter luncheon. Safe Alliance is a non-profit whose mission is to provide hope and healing for those in crisis. The luncheon was held at Killington’s on December 10th, 2014 and there were over thirty “Lady Leaders of the Lake” in attendance. Pictured are Danielle Ratliff (right), Vice President of the Executive Women of Lake Norman, and Kathryn Firmin-Sellers (left), Chief Strategy Officer of Safe Alliance.

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As seen in the August 2014 edition of Lake Norman Woman Magazine

There’s no better time to start “seizing the day” than breakfast.  Start out on the right foot by choosing a combination of superfoods containing protein and fiber to keep you full.   Every morning, I make a refreshing green smoothie that supercharges me.

Refreshing Green Smoothie

½ cup Greek yogurt

½ cup orange juice

½ frozen banana

Handful of frozen blueberries

Handful of fresh spinach

All yogurt contains bone-protecting calcium and probiotics, healthy bacteria that ensure your gut flora is balanced; however, Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt which increases its fullness factor.  The blueberries are a bonafide superfood as they are high in antioxidants, phytoflavanoids, vitamin C and potassium.  The ½ cup of orange juice contains over half of your daily value of vitamin C, while the banana contains a high dose of potassium and gives the smoothie its creamy texture.  The spinach is high in antioxidants as well as vitamin K and A.  Don’t let the green color scare you can’t taste the spinach one it’s blended. 

We have all heard that fiber can keep you regular, but did you know a diet high in fiber can help with weight loss and lowering cholesterol?  Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains are great sources.  One of my favorite high fiber lunches is a huge salad of fresh arugula, tomatoes, black beans or turkey, and a hard-boiled egg topped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  A whole egg contains 100% of the carotenoids for vision and is chocked full of vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, D, E, B6 and B12, so don’t toss that yolk!

Lower your heart disease risk by having a dinner with wild salmon as the main course.  It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which studies show may also improve your mood and reduce depression.  Pairing the salmon with a whole grain like quinoa or brown rice and a large serving of vegetables rounds out the meal and ups your fiber intake for the day.

For the wine lovers out there, include 1 glass of red wine at dinner to decrease your risk of cancer and prevent blood clots.  Made from the skin of red grapes, it is high in resveratrol, a natural plant compound with antioxidant and inflammatory properties.  If you don’t drink alcohol, a glass of grape juice will do the trick as well.

Last but not least, no day would feel complete without a small sweet treat!  Choose dark chocolate that has 60% or higher cocoa content for the biggest antioxidant punch and added bonus of lower fat and sugar content.  Studies show dark chocolate can even lower blood pressure. 

Overall, you’ll notice a high percentage of whole, unprocessed foods in my meal choices.  I feel better and my skin glows when I eat clean, and I assure you that you’ll notice a difference as well.  Start with one small change per week, and before you know it, you’ll be seizing the day with superfoods on a regular basis!

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~ Danielle Ratliff is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist and Licensed Massage Therapist at Serenity Now Massage Therapy in Cornelius. 

Do you have pain that radiates from your gluts, and down your leg? It could be sciatica, a symptom often caused by degenerative disk disease or a herniated disk, most likely L4, L5, or S1. Other causes could be piriformis syndrome, a condition where the piriformis muscle under your gluts is compressing on the sciatic nerve. Visit your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan, but neuromuscular therapy and deep tissue massage can be used as adjunct therapy to medication. 

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