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427 South Marengo Avenue #5
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(323) 558-2055

Hi! I’m Natalie, a holistic psychotherapist in Pasadena, CA who helps young adults decrease anxiety naturally through somatic practices. Are you looking for a therapist in Pasadena who has a mind/body/spirit approach to helping people reduce their anxiety? Then give me a call to see if I’m the right fit to help you achieve peace, joy and freedom from anxiety.

Natalie Moore Holistic Psychotherapy Pasadena.jpg

Holistic Health Blog | Pasadena, CA

This blog is for anyone interested in integrative health or functional medicine. Topics will include Eastern philosophies of healing (such as acupuncture and Chinese Medicine,) nutrition and exercise. Stay posted to learn more about a mind/body/spirit approach to health and wellness.

Essential Oils Effects on Mental Wellness

Natural Healthy Concepts

When we use the word ‘healthy’ to describe someone, we often refer to their physical well being, not mental health. But we can’t see into someone else head, or really know what they are going through without asking. Depression and anxiety are much more common than we think, affecting over 40 million adults each year in the U.S.

For those suffering there are many ways to go about addressing these challenges, and they all are worth investigating. But that requires several individual conversations. So for now, we will focus on the use of supplements like essential oils that have been shown to provide support for the mind. While not a permanent solution that will fix serious underlying issues, essential oils may be another tool that offers that little extra support during especially challenging moments.

 Essential Oils Mental Wellness Holistic Psychotherapy for Young Adults Pasadena CA

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are condensed extracts from plants, containing various compounds such as volatile oils. Traditionally, these oils have been used to cure ailments and relieve small aches and pains, but now we understand that they can have an impact on your mind.

Keep in mind that brands that specialize in quality oils that don’t use fillers can be very potent and will need to be diffused. This means that you will never want to directly massage large amounts of the oil on your skin, and you should never ingest them unless they are specifically marked as an oral supplement.

If applied to the skin, first mix them with a carrier oil. Some people apply the concentrated oil on the wrist or temple, but be careful not to go overboard as this can make you incredibly sick or lead to skin disorders.

A more practical and less messy way to use essential oils is through a diffuser, which is a device that is very similar to a humidifier, but different (do not add essential oils to your humidifier as you can damage it.) You can also add a few drops in your shower or bath.

Whatever method you prefer, it is best to be in a place where you are calm and relaxed to absorb the full effects.

What Essential Oils Should You Try?

Bergamot Oil

Bergamot is a commonly used essential oil for its pleasant scent, but it packs more than just an aromatic punch. Bergamot is great for depression because it is a stimulating scent that can promote feelings of joy, energy, and freshness by improving blood circulation. A 2011 study found that it lowered anxiety. Bergamot may be the ideal scent for a common area, creating a blanket of comfort throughout the area.

Lavender Oil

While bergamot can stand on its own, combined with lavender essential oil, another essence shown to promote calm and peace of mind, it can do wonders. Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils. It is known for its soothing scent as well as its calming capabilities, whether through diffusion, steam, or even as a massage oil. A 2013 study stated that taking 80 milligrams a day of lavender essential oil as an oral supplement helped to alleviate anxiety and depression.

Using lavender oil as a treatment for these illnesses is said to have the same results as anti-anxiety medication. A study showed that after just four weeks of lavender aromatherapy, women showed an improvement in postpartum depression and anxiety. Another study revealed that people who suffered from PTSD showed less anxiety, had fewer sleep disturbances, were less moody, and reported feeling overall healthier after using lavender aromatherapy.


Chamomile is another commonly used oil for relaxation and sleep. Chamomile has long been used in teas as part of pre-bedtime rituals, but it does not necessarily make you sleepy. Instead, it aids in sleep by reducing stress and promoting relaxation. It is considered a medicinal herb and according to research is recommended as a natural remedy for anxiety and depression.

Ylang Ylang

In addition to the previously listed oils, ylang ylang is another promising essence to help fight depression and negative thoughts. A quick whiff of this and studies have shown it can fight feelings such as anger (by lowering your blood pressure), low self-confidence, and even jealousy.

Clary Sage Oil

Last but not least, Clary sage oil is another uplifting extract that can be used daily. The word “clary” has Latin roots derived from ‘clarus,’ meaning ‘clear.’ This oil lives up to its name, known for providing clarity, calm, and contentment. It has also been shown to lift moods and cause feelings of euphoria, and is suggested to “clear away dark clouds.”  This oil can be administered before bed or in the bath for a relaxing soak.

Seek Out Additional Help

These are just a few of the essential oils you can try for mental health concerns. But mental health is a complicated issue with no single solution. Always speak with a qualified medical professional about your mental health concerns. If you aren’t using essential oils already, ask whether any of the oils talked about here can be combined with an existing therapy or used as a primary tool for helping you to achieve confidence of body and mind.


about the author

What matters the most at Natural Healthy Concepts is customer care - for you and your health needs. Natural Healthy Concepts is about quality natural health products by real people who care and share the philosophy that your health is the best investment you'll ever make!


Small Business Spotlight: Gold Line Pilates

Natalie Moore

Today's post is the first in a new style of articles where I'll periodically be featuring small health and wellness businesses local to the Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley areas. The idea behind this is to build community among the holistic businesses in the area and to expose more consumers to the amazing services that are being offered nearby. I was lucky enough to get to know Melissa and her staff of wonderful Pilates instructors at Gold Line Pilates in Pasadena, and I'm thrilled to be potting the spotlight on this local business in today's post. Find my interview with Melissa here:

 Pilates Mind Body Connection Holistic Psychotherapy for Young Adults Pasadena CA

Every business owner has a story to tell! Tell us a little bit about your personal journey and why you opened up Gold Line Pilates.

A long-time Pilates aficionado, I practiced Pilates in a lot of different places, and I instructed Pilates in a lot of different places...big-box gyms, boutique studios, physical therapy clinics, and wellness retreats throughout the United States and throughout the world. Like many entrepreneurs, I always thought to myself, I can do this better.

We often hear about yoga and Pilates in the same breath. Few know the difference between the two. Can you tell us what Pilates actually is?

Pilates is a system that is based on the notion that all movement, all activity, all physicality should originate through core strength. Consider the analogy to a house...if there's a flimsy foundation, the strength of the walls and roof is irrelevant. Pilates is a full-body workout, but the focus is first and foremost, connecting and strengthening the foundation. Pilates focuses on perfect form, alignment, and performing movement the correct way through mindful and sequential muscle recruitment. I'm a huge yoga fan especially Bikram and Vinyasa flow. I find it simultaneously rigorous and relaxing.

You can’t walk down the street in L.A. without passing a fitness studio on every corner. What sets Gold Line Pilates apart from the pack?

In short, our instructors. Gold Line Pilates only hires the most experienced and rigorously trained instructors who create customized programs based on your individual needs and challenges so you can achieve your goals and have a blast doing so. Fixing your back, sleeping better, good arms for a future event, improve your marathon time, recover from hard workouts faster and more efficiently, better posture, prepare or rehab from surgery...Gold Line Pilates instructors have seen it all. It's my personal opinion that many of the fitness studios popping up take a churn and burn approach where the model is big cheap group classes with a focus on no-pain-no-gain intensity. Pilates is not that, and Gold Line Pilates is definitely not that.

What type of vibe/energy/feeling do you want clients to experience when they walk into Gold Line Pilates? And when they walk out?

Walking in to the studio, I want our clients to feel safe to spend much needed time on themselves. At Gold Line Pilates, we understand that we are all spread too thin and that self-care is the first thing to go out the window. A private Pilates session is a commitment to work on yourself both physically and mentally. When walking out, we want our clients to feel better than they walked in...tall and proud, energized, mentally alert, and accomplished knowing that they dedicated time and worked to improve themselves in a meaningful and personally applicable way.

I see that you specialize in private and semi-private sessions. Tell us the value of these versus taking a typical fitness class with 30+ students.

In group sessions, there is always the opportunity to cheat or skate through an exercise (intentionally or unintentionally) that you don't like or you think you're not good at. Honestly, those exercises are usually the ones you need the most. In private sessions, there is nowhere to hide. We often hear the phrase, "I've done group Pilates classes for years but I've never felt it like that before." Furthermore, even the most competent Pilates instructor can't supervise a group class with the attention and care required to practice Pilates with the precision required to do it well. And of course, a group class is generalized whereas a private session is tailored which is a critical difference for anyone who has an injury or physical issue of any kind.

Besides the obvious benefits of losing weight and looking amazing, what are some of the more unexpected benefits of a committed Pilates program?

The biggest benefit of Pilates is the general improvement of your movement overall. That is manifested in many ways in day-to-day life including alleviation, mitigation, and prevention of pain and injury from other potentially harmful activity. Many of us have to work at a computer, sit down (or stand up) for excessive periods of time, commute long distances, travel for work, lift and carry heavy items, etc. It's obviously not practical nor even possible to just stop these activities. Pilates gives you the tools to act with more engagement and strength. One day, you will check the blind spot in your car and notice that you are lifting and twisting with much more range and ease. One day, you will sit in the plane's middle seat and not notice. One day, you will accidentally trip over the curb and catch your balance. And yes, one day you'll sit on your barstool shoulders back with a tall straight spine!

Lastly, what’s your vision for Gold Line Pilates? As business owners, we all have those pipe dreams. Don’t be shy! We’d love to hear (and hold you to them!)

I am a huge believer in small local businesses and supporting our neighbors with our locally earned dollars. I so value personal and face-to-face relationships in our overly virtual and corporatized world. I want Gold Line clients, instructors, staff, and stakeholders to feel that we are all each other's best cheerleaders and champions. I view Gold Line Pilates as a wellness hub where the San Gabriel Valley can train, recharge, and improve themselves and their lives.

Gold Line Pilates is a boutique Pilates studio offering private and semi-private sessions. Our approach to Pilates is highly tailored to every person's particular needs. Gold Line Pilates features top-of-the-line equipment and gold-standard instructors to ensure an excellent and customized Pilates experience for each client.


5 Strategies for Letting Go Within Your Relationships

Natalie Moore

If you’ve been on the holistic health path for some time now — like I have — you’ve probably experienced a ton of growth and healing in various aspects of your life. Maybe you’ve improved your diet and sleep habits and notice that you have more energy. Or maybe you’ve started an acupuncture course and get colds less often now. Or it could be that a consistent exercise routine has improved your self-confidence. Who wouldn’t want to feel this great all the time, right? If you’re anything like me, you may be struggling with an issue I commonly come up against. It’s that just because we want to live a long and healthy life, doesn’t mean that everyone in our lives wants that for themselves, or more accurately, are not necessarily willing or ready yet to put in the effort and make the sacrifices/investments that a healthy lifestyle requires. I recently had a conversation with a couple of Pilates instructors — from Gold Line Pilates in Pasadena — about this topic, and realized I had some tips to share about how to navigate relationships with loved ones who aren’t exactly on the same page as you health-wise:

 Letting Go Relationships Holistic Psychotherapy for Young Adults Pasadena CA

1 | Lead by example

This one is super easy. Just do your thing! When you spend time with your loved ones, stick to your daily health routines, whether that’s bringing your filtered water with you everywhere you go or ordering the healthful option out at restaurants. When your loved ones see how much vitality you have, paired with your healthy habits, they will have no choice but to notice the correlation there. Who knows? Simply watching you may be enough to inspire them to start making healthy changes in their life.

2 | Mix up the scenery

One great way of supporting others in getting healthy is to change up the scenery of your hang-outs. Do you normally meet with this friend or family member at a bar? Recommend bowling instead! Is your knee-jerk to go out to your old favorite restaurants (with less-than-optimal choices)? Pack a picnic instead. My favorite way to catch up with folks is to invite them for a walk around the Rosebowl. Walking is typically an easy enough exercise for any activity level and it still gives me a mild workout in the process.

3 | Be a listening ear

Our first instinct when wanting to encourage loved ones in improving their health is often to provide advice or to critique unhealthful choices. I know this pitfall well! Unfortunately, giving unsolicited consult can have the opposite effect we’re looking for. When people feel judged or scrutinized, their defensive walls begin to go up, making them less receptive to the feedback they're being given. Instead of doling out counsel, just be a non-judgmental ear and offer support, when it’s asked for. Try it out!

4 | Let go of control

At least for me, part of what makes it so frustrating seeing certain friends and family members not take great care of themselves is the false idea that “I know better.” But in reality, I don’t know what is best for everyone! It’s really tough to let go of the idea that “if only they listened to me, they would be so much [healthier/happier/fitter, etc.]” And yes, on a certain level, we are right. We know that mindful eating, moderate exercise and getting enough sleep are vital aspects of health and longevity. But at a certain point, we need to let go of our need for control of others’ behaviors. Easier said than done! Meditation helps with this.

5 | Look at your own fears

This one takes letting go of control to a deeper level. Start asking yourself why you feel the need to change others. Is it to reduce the suffering of your loved ones? Is it to prevent yourself from feeling the sadness and anger of a loved one getting sick and/or the grief of their potential untimely passing? I know these are difficult areas to explore. Be gentle with yourself. Grab a journal, if that helps, or pick up the phone and talk to a supportive friend about it. We all have unconscious fears that motivate our behavior. It’s normal! Just start becoming curious and aware of what comes up.

I hope these tips are helpful to you if you happen to be grappling with this particular concern. This has been an ongoing process for me and trust me, I’m still learning the “letting go of control” aspect of this journey. Now I’d love to hear from you! Are you on the holistic health wagon? Are you trying to proselytize the lifestyle to others? Did you used to preach and have come to peace with letting people move at their own pace towards wellness? Please share your thoughts/opinions/experiences in the comments below. I love learning from my community. Thank you for reading and be well. :)

about the author

Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.


4 Holistic Practices for Addiction Recovery

Natalie Moore

Today's article is a guest post contributed by Maryland Recovery. Enjoy!

The definition of “holistic” is to understand that the parts of something are intimately interconnected to the whole. Holistic treatments and therapies focus on the whole person, not just one part. Holistic practices address the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of an individual. On the journey toward recovery, holistic addiction treatment can be extremely beneficial. Take a look at how these four holistic practices can fuel long-term recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction:

 Addiction Recovery Practices Holistic Psychotherapy for Young Adults Pasadena CA

1 | Yoga

Yoga for addiction recovery is a complementary practice in combination with other treatment methods. Yoga is a natural form of medicine that can provide stress relief, physical strengthening, deep breathing techniques, self-awareness, pain relief, better sleep, increased energy, emotional healing, and heightened self-confidence. It is an amazing holistic therapy that can work wonders on the physical and emotional states of people during addiction recovery. Yoga is a marriage between mind and body. It focuses on bringing the individual closer to a place of deep-seated ease. Bringing peace to the mind-body system is critical during addiction recovery, where both are in a state of disruption from a substance use disorder. Yoga can make you feel more comfortable in your mind and body, and find places within yourself to gain strength, instead of feeling the need to search outside of yourself. The benefits of yoga for recovery are numerous.

2 | Meditation and Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a major part of addiction recovery. It is a phrase that appears during the Twelve Step Program, and one you will hear often during your sobriety journey. Mindfulness and meditation can be especially useful during the first stages of recovery, when someone has trouble thinking clearly as the brain adjusts to life without substances. Those searching for dual diagnosis treatment can benefit from meditation and mindfulness, as these practices help manage erratic emotions and target multiple problems of the body and mind. Mindfulness involves being present within the moment. Meditation is a safe, natural exercise in which one focuses on the connection between the mind and the body, with the goal of achieving serenity. There are many types of meditations, but in general it will take place in a quiet setting with no distractions. Simply sitting and focusing on the breathing, while keeping an open mind, can facilitate mental healing. Meditation and mindfulness practice over time can help give you more awareness and impact over your thoughts and emotions, facilitating long-term independence from substances. One study from 2013 found that yoga and mindfulness meditation during recovery makes patients less likely to relapse later in life.

3 | Drumming Therapy

Drumming therapy involves a drum circle or similar arrangement, in which participants drum to induce relaxation during recovery. Research shows that drumming enhances theta-wave production and the synchronization of brain waves, making participants feel naturally more relaxed. The pleasurable experience of drumming can help those with addictions release pent-up emotional trauma and feelings of isolation or alienation. Drumming can help one connect with the self and with others in a healthy and safe way.

4 | Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the holistic practice of inserting thin needles into specific, documented points on the body. Acupuncture treats many different disorders, and is a therapy the Chinese have used since 2500 BC. Acupuncture is a popular alternative to traditional medicine in Western countries and around the world. Based on traditional oriental medicine, acupuncture centers on the idea that two systems in the body control human functions. Addiction treatment specialists who are certified in acupuncture can pinpoint parts of the body that may control addictions. A collection of studies published in “Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine” found evidence supporting acupuncture as a treatment for opiate addiction. After completing a treatment program, acupuncture can help bodily systems, helping the individual heal and treating addiction as a disorder.

If you are someone struggling with addiction, consider exploring a holistic recovery program for whole-self treatment. The Maryland Recovery Center can help you keep your detoxification, treatment, and recovery processes as natural as possible without risking your health or safety. We engage in holistic addiction recovery therapy and alternative treatment to garner the best results. Yoga, meditation, drumming therapy, and acupuncture could be exactly what you need to achieve long-term sobriety.


about the author

Maryland Recovery Center offers an outstanding, personalized approach to addiction treatment and recovery. With long-term drug and alcohol addiction solutions such as intensive outpatient programs and holistic therapies, Maryland Recovery is a preferred destination for anyone struggling with addiction. The Center’s kind, caring staff members are highly trained and committed to the success of each and every patient.


11 Best Tips for a Healthy-Eating Lifestyle

Natalie Moore

If you're anything like me, you may find it challenging to maintain a healthy diet consistently. For me, it took years of trial and error to finally get to a point where I eat healthfully the vast majority of the time. I'm on a mission to help other people find this balance in their lives so that they, too, can enjoy the many benefits of healthy eating, such as sustained energy, increased longevity, improved overall health of mind, body and spirit. Listed below are what I've learned over the years and am happy to now share with you:

 Healthy Eating Lifestyle Holistic Psychotherapy for Young Adults Pasadena CA

1 | Don’t Skip Breakfast

It really is the most important meal of the day! Not just because it revs up your metabolism and keeps you energized in the morning hours, but also because eating a healthy breakfast sets the tone and intention for the rest of the day. If you show up to work on an empty stomach, of course you’re going to be tempted to spike your energy with the coffee and donuts someone brought it. But if you filled up with a hearty breakfast and stayed hydrated, none of that would even look good to you.

2 | Bring Your Lunch to Work

This is one of the most important (and IMHO easiest!) ways to radically improve your diet. It’s as simple as preparing a quick salad or packing your leftovers from dinner the night before into some containers and bringing them to work. Getting into this daily habit will not only transform your diet, but will also save you lots of time and money! Remember to cook lots of fun, delicious healthy meals so you don’t feel like your bag lunch is a drag, but something to look forward to. Your coworkers might even get jealous!

3 | Batch Cook Your Dinners

I’m such an advocate for batch cooking! If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s when you shop for, prepare and cook an entire week’s worth of meals ahead of time (usually on the weekend) so that you don’t have to think twice about what’s for dinner. My favorite thing to batch cook is soup, as it’s so easy to get your protein and veggies in there and very easy to store. I usually take the leftovers and freeze them so if there’s a weekend I don’t have time to batch cook, I thaw out the frozen meals and have a week of dinners. Easy!

4 | Want Sweets? Make them Yourself!

I don’t know about you, but I have a huge sweet tooth. But from all that I’ve learned about the health disadvantages of sugar, I avoid it as much as possible. But that doesn’t mean I need to feel deprived! My favorite way to appease my sweet tooth without the negative health effects is to bake my own treats. I use recipes like this amazing gluten-free zucchini bread to satisfy the sweets craving, without the refined sugar, gluten or dairy.

5 | Find Recipes You're Excited About

If you see healthy eating as something you “have to do” instead of something you “want to do,” you’ll dread the process and most likely not achieve the results you desire. Switch it up! Start looking for inspiration on Pinterest, cooking blogs or in cookbooks for healthy recipes that look fun to make and delicious to eat. No need to eat that same boring old salad day after day! I personally love the food blogs Cookie & Kate and Minimalist Baker. Both sites have awesome, healthy recipes that can be modified for vegans, vegetarians, Paleo-eaters and those with gluten, dairy or other food allergies.

6 | Restaurants Don’t Need to be a Landmine

Some may say that it’s impossible to eat healthfully at restaurants. There is a grain of truth to the statement, in that it’s difficult to know exactly what you’re eating if you didn’t prepare the food yourself. However, there are some hacks you can put in place. For breakfast, order the omelet and ask if you can customize your own fixings, opting for the veggies. For lunch, find a salad with lots of veggies and leave out the cheese. For dinner, look for a meal with plenty of protein with a side of veggies and leave off any creamy sauces. For all meals, opt for water instead of sweet, caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.

7 | Vacation? No Problem!

You might think that going on vacation will make it impossible to eat healthy foods causing you to give up on the idea entirely. This is simply not true and unnecessary! What I do when I go out of town is I decide with my partner one meal we’d like to eat out each day (whether that be a breakfast, lunch or dinner) and the other two meals we eat at the hotel. We bring big containers of cooked meat, mixed veggies and quinoa in a cooler and keep them in the mini-fridge. When we’re ready to eat, we pop some food in the microwave and presto! Not only do we ensure that most of our meals are up to our health standards, but we also save a lot of money! For fresh fruits, we find a market in town and grab a variety every few days.

8 | Schedule in your Splurges

No man can live off bread alone! Sometimes we need to let our guard down and just enjoy the sensory pleasures of food and the joy that food can bring us in the moment. Moreover, finding a healthy balance with your diet will help you maintain consistency with it, whereas strict, rigid diets tend to fall by the wayside. For those special occasions coming up, schedule in a “splurge” day where you go all out. Remember to savor the experience and be mindful of the fact that you’re splurging. Let it be a conscious, enjoyable experience.

9 | Focus on What You'll Gain, Not on What You'll Lose

When we think about the word “diet,” we automatically feel constricted and there’s a rebel inside us that wants to revolt! That’s because the word conjures up limited portions, bland foods and deprivation. What if we instead thought of dietary modifications as a lifestyle change that will give us increase vitality and make us feel really good all the time? And to take this a little further, what if I said you could eat delicious food to satisfaction? Well, guess what? You can! Simply cook whole, organic foods (that means nothing from a box!) and eat slowly and mindfully, paying attention to your body’s signals that you’re not hungry anymore. You’ll never have to worry about portions again.

10 | Keep it From a Good Place

When thinking about the dietary changes you’d like to make, ensure you keep it from a place of self-love as opposed to self-loathing. If you resolve to change your eating habits because you want to alter the way you look, you’ll most likely be resentful about the changes you’re enacting, making it more challenging to maintain the new habits. Conversely, if you create change from a place of self-appreciation and improved health, you’ll be much more apt to keep the healthy habits for life.

11 | Be Kind to Yourself

Making nutritional changes is hard work! You may come up against some really uncomfortable feelings such as craving, desire, deprivation, anger, frustration, guilt and shame. This is normal. Food and eating are highly emotionally-charged phenomena. It can provide a sense of comfort in times of need. It can be linked to happy or unpleasant memories from childhood. Remember to be kind to yourself during this process of self-discovery.

I hope these tips have been helpful and inspiring to you. Please keep in mind that making the shift to eating healthy as a lifestyle is a huge commitment and is a process. That means it takes time (sometimes years!) and that there is a ton of self-correcting along the way. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to do this. It’s your journey. Now I’d love to hear from you! Where are you on your healthy eating path? Have you been doing this forever and looking for ways to fine tune? Are you just getting started and trying to figure out how to do this? Please share your experience in the comments below. If you have any great tips that I haven’t written here, please add those to the conversation, too! Thank you for reading and be well.

about the author

Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.


8 Pillars of Optimal Health and Well-being

Natalie Moore

Whether you are just getting started with healthy living, or you've been at this a long time, I hope you get something out of today's post. I felt compelled to share here what I believe to be the 8 pillars of optimal health and well-being because this information could be potentially transformative. It has taken me many years to get to a place where I feel comfortable telling others how I've created a healthy lifestyle for myself (although I'm far from having reached my health goals!) There are many links here for those who would like to do further research and reading into the information provided in this post. I encourage you to be the advocate of your own health and continue to educate yourself! Enjoy:


1 | Nutrition

At this point, most everyone knows that eating a healthy diet is vital for optimal well-being. But it can still be incredibly challenging to do so, with all the tempting foods that we encounter daily at restaurants, at work and at the grocery store. I find that the easiest way for me to stay on top of healthy eating is to do batch cooking! (AKA planning, shopping for, preparing, cooking and packing up an entire week's meals on Sunday.) For meal planning, I get inspiration on my favorite recipe sites like Cookie and Kate and Minimalist Baker and after cooking/preparing the meals I package everything into containers for the week. Whatever is leftover gets frozen for a lazy day. This way, I know I won't have to execute any willpower at all. It's also a great way to save money and time. I will tell you that for years I "tried" to eat healthy and always seemed to fail until starting this routine. Meal prep is a total game-changer! But don't forget the water. Staying adequately hydrated is arguably the most important (and simplest!) way we can improve our health. I like to prep my water bottle the night before so it's ready to go in the morning.

2 | Sleep

People underestimate the importance of sleep for health and well-being! There are so many processes that occur while we are sleeping that become undermined if we don’t get the proper amount of sleep. So why is it that people have such a hard time getting the amount of shut-eye they need? IMHO the two biggest culprits are caffeine and electronics:

  • Caffeine: Because caffeine gets in the way of proper sleep (caffeine stays in your system 8-14 hours!), I highly recommend looking into completely cutting out or at least reducing your intake. Want a hint? Chicory root herbal coffee replacement is a delicious way to ween yourself off the hard stuff and can be purchased at your local health food store. 
  • Electronics: It’s common knowledge now that our beloved electronic devices emit blue light that can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm, resulting in lower levels of melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep. Research from Harvard now suggests that frequent exposure to blue light could be much more harmful to our health, potentially causing diabetes, cancer, heart disease and obesity. The solution? Set an electronics curfew so that you turn bright screens off a few hours before bed (or at least dim the screens) to signal to your body it’s time to get sleepy.

3 | Movement

We know how important physical activity is for tiptop health, however there is a huge misconception today that exercise must be extremely rigorous to get the benefits from it. This couldn't be further from the truth! Evidence suggests that moderate exercise is as good – or even better! – than intense exercise. This is good news for all of us, especially those with chronic conditions that preclude hardcore physical activity. Even yin yoga and tai chi, very slow-moving forms of exercise, have big health benefits.

I'll admit that I used to fall into the "if I'm not dripping sweat, blistered and sore, I didn't get a workout" category until a slew of overuse injuries interrupted my exercise routine to the point of losing momentum and stopping for a period of time altogether. I now have finally realized that long-term consistency beats out short-term intensity. (I believe that's a Bruce Lee quote!) That means that it's more important for me to run a couple miles a few days a week than to attempt that killer 15-mile hike once a week. For my best tips on this, check out "10 Keys to Making Exercise Consistent."

4 | (Low) Stress

Stress is the number one contributor to illness. It inhibits the immune system's function which makes it difficult to prevent and heal disease. (Here’s an interesting study about how long it takes the body to heal a wound under high-stress or low-stress conditions.) Therefore, one of the best ways to improve your health is to reduce your levels of stress. How does one do this? There are many ways! Read “8 Ways to Reduce Anxiety Naturally” for some ideas.

5 | (Low) Toxicity

Especially for those of us who live in a big city (like Los Angeles,) we need to be mindful of the effect that environmental toxins have on our health and how to reduce our intake as much as possible. We are exposed to as many as 84,000 chemicals a day (of which only 1% have been tested for safety) which puts extra stress on our organs that are in charge of filtering those toxins out.

Lastly, I'll include cigarettes and alcohol here as toxic substances to avoid.

6 | Connection

We need satisfying emotional connections with other people (and animals can be a great source of this, too!) to have optimal health. When we feel loved and bonded to others, oxytocin is released by the pituitary which reduces stress and increases feelings of happiness and peace. Connection to others also provides us with a sense of safety, support and common humanity. Life's troubles don't seem as challenging when we have people who want to help us or can at least share that they know what you're going through. A (wo)man is not an island and we can't do this alone!

7 | Purpose

Without a sense of purpose, life feels empty and unfulfilling. Many will seek distraction to avoid the discomfort of feeling purposeless – looking to unhealthy addictive behaviors to soothe them. When people don't know what their calling is, they can get their priorities out of whack and focus too much on feeding the ego, which will often manifest as greed, narcissism, selfishness and pettiness. This can also cause fear, a sense of scarcity and feeling alone. Conversely, when someone is aware of their unique purpose in life, they feel connected to others, they understand that there is plenty to go around, they are generous and willing to help others while expecting nothing in return. To learn more, read "5 Ways to Discover your Life Purpose."

8 | Enjoyment

You gotta have fun! When we engage in enjoyable activities that give us a sense of satisfaction, we are setting ourselves up for optimal health. The more time we spend doing things we enjoy, the more serotonin and dopamine (these are the happy hormones!) we release in our brains and ultimately improve our mental health and our mood. How can you squeeze and little more fun into your schedule, you ask? Check out my post, "17 Ways to Make Time for Yourself" for ideas.

Now, as always, I'd love to hear from you! Is there an important aspect of health that you believe was missed here? Let me know! Is there an area of health that you would like to see written about here on the blog? I'd love to hear your thoughts. What has worked for you in improving healthy habits? What hasn't? Please share in the comments below. Thank you for reading and be well.

about the author

Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.


Affordable Local Acupuncture Treatment

Natalie Moore

You may have heard of the amazing benefits of acupuncture and have been curious about trying it. I know when I first heard my boyfriend talking about his experience with it, I was dying to check it out myself. However, there was so much ambiguity around the whole idea. I didn’t know how much it would cost, who I should go to for treatment and if it could help me with the issues I was facing.

Luckily, I had my eyes and ears open at the time and happened to stumble upon community acupuncture (basically acupuncture done in a room with other people, which makes it more cost-effective) at a yoga studio I had been frequenting. I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to test the acupuncture waters since services were offered on a sliding scale of $20-45 (an individual acupuncture session typically costs between $80-150) and were being offered in a setting that I was already familiar with.

It ended up being a great experience! I’ve since been a regular recipient of acupuncture for a couple of years now and have found its effects to be truly transformative for total health – mind, body and spirit. If you’ve been curious about acupuncture, but are interested in trying community acupuncture to ensure affordability, I’ve compiled a list of organizations that provide reduced fee services to the community in a group setting. Enjoy!


1 | Yogala Studios, Echo Park

Yogala is my all-time favorite yoga studio in Los Angeles (and I’ve been to many!) The vibe there is so low-key and healing to me. This is where I first tried community acupuncture and really enjoyed it. The acupuncturist at the time was Kathy Comstock, L.Ac., who no longer practices there. Now Amalia Gardner, L.Ac. has taken up providing low-cost acupuncture ($20-45 for 45 minutes) to the Yogala community. You can learn more about the schedule and about Amalia here.

2 | Slo Poke Acupuncture, South Pasadena

Slo Poke is located in the Fremont Center Theatre building and offers community acupuncture at a reduced rate. An initial consultation costs $55 and ongoing treatment costs $45. Slo Poke also offers package deals of 5 sessions for $210 or 10 sessions for $400. Services are provided by Emily Huffman, L.Ac. and sessions are by appointment only, so make sure you call ahead of time. You can learn more about Emily and get in touch with her here.

3 | Eagle Rock Community Acupuncture

ERCA provides community acupuncture 6 days a week and offers online scheduling for the client’s ease. Their fees are $45 for an initial visit and $35 for follow-ups. Services are provided by three licensed acupuncturists, Valerie Brown, Jae Kim and Benita Safaryans. ERCA also gives discounts for 5, 10 and 20 treatment packages (costing $160, $300 and $560, respectively.) Lastly, ERCA has a private room option for those who prefer privacy for their treatment at an additional $15 cost. Click here to learn more and to schedule an appointment.

4 | Center Point Community Acupuncture, North Hollywood

Center Point’s owner and founder Mike Gonzalez, L.Ac. is passionate about providing low-cost acupuncture to his community. Through utilizing a group setting, he’s able to offer services at the low cost of $20-40 per session. To learn more, visit his website.

5 | Echo Park Community Acupuncture

EPCA is home to a small group of acupuncturists who are committed to providing affordable acupuncture to the Echo Park community. The clinic charges $40 minimum for a first treatment and $25 minimum for follow-up treatments. They have wonderful testimonials on their Yelp profile, which you can view here.

6 | Village Community Acupuncture, Sherman Oaks

Owner Steven K. is a licensed acupuncturist who believes that acupuncture should be affordable to all. His clinic consists of a small group of acupuncturists who provide services at an affordable $35 per session rate. Steven’s belief about community acupuncture is that individuals should be able to afford to receive treatments multiple times a week to address the root cause of the issue, as opposed to covering up the symptoms. You can read testimonials on the Yelp profile here.

When I first was looking into acupuncture treatment, I was certainly worried about whether the needles would hurt or not. I found that my apprehension around the needles was the only unpleasant part of the experience. If your acupuncturist is gentle, the needles don’t feel like much of anything except a tiny pinch.

I hope these resources are helpful to you in your search for health and well-being. If you want to learn more about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, my favorite blog on the subject is Chinese Medicine Living.

Now I’d love to hear from you! Have you received acupuncture before? If so, what has your experience with acupuncture been like? If not, are you curious about trying it out? Do you have any fears around it? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Be well.

about the author

Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.


10 Keys to Making Exercise Consistent

Natalie Moore

We know that exercise is healthy for mind, body and spirit, yet it can be so tough to stick to a routine at times. I know that personally, even though I consider myself a fitness nut and love many forms of exercise, it can be easy to fall out of the habit. An illness, an injury or even a particularly busy month at work can often be all it takes to bring us from consistent exercise to total stagnation. Here are my 10 keys to keeping exercise consistent:


1 | Bring a buddy

For me, the easiest way to ensure that I get in my workout is to invite a friend. You’re less likely to flake out on exercise if you’ve involved a friend or family member into the plan. The trick is to make sure it’s someone who’s not going to cancel on you! Once you’ve established that your friend is into the idea and shown that they’re accountable, make it a regular occurrence, so you don’t have to think to schedule it. Monday nights you meet with your bestie and walk the Silverlake Reservoir. BOOM!

2 | Join a group

There are tons of fitness groups on Meetup – any type of workout you can imagine is on there. And these activities are often free. A convenient aspect of going this route is that you don’t have to plan the event or work around a friend’s schedule – just find a group that meets at a convenient time and location and there you go!

3 | Make it fun

If you’re dreading your workout, you’re likely to find a reason not to do it! In other words, the workout that’s fun is the workout that gets done. Hate running? Try a brisk walk instead. Enjoy nature? Go for a hike. Love dancing? Take a Zumba class. With so many different workout options (especially here in Los Angeles) the world is your oyster.

4 | Find a deal

Gym and studio memberships can get pretty pricey, making it hard for some people to get a consistent workout routine going. Luckily, there are lots of free or donation options such as yoga in the park, running groups, hiking crews, etc. Find them online or ask around. You’ll feel great about getting in shape on a budget as well as making friends in the process!

5 | Get it done early

We’ve all been there…you had grand plans to exercise after work, but you get home and you’re exhausted! You barely have enough energy to watch a movie, much less sweat it out on a run. Instead, get your workout done in the morning before work! That way, you have plenty of energy for the day and you don’t have to summon the willpower to work out at the end of a long day.

6 | Plan ahead

It’s hard to get folks out on a hike the night before. Instead of trying to squeeze in your workout last minute, plan out your workouts ahead of time. This will help keep you in the mindset of prioritizing exercise, as well as give you time to invite friends along.

7 | Use an app

MindBody is an awesome scheduling and class purchasing tool that can be found in any app store. The user interface is easy to use and well-organized. Find a class, book and get ready to sweat! ClassPass is a membership program and app that allows one to workout at a number of studios for a low monthly price. Couch to 5k is an amazing app that coaches you all the way from couch potato to being prepared to run a 5k race.

8 | Set a goal

In order to start running consistently, it helps to sign up for a running event – say a 5k – to have something to work towards. Or to start hiking regularly, maybe there’s a particular mountain – like Mt. Baldy – that you’d like to summit. Setting these kinds of goals keeps our eyes on the big picture, helping us stay focused on the process.

9 | Track your progress

Track your progress! Journal about your workouts by simply writing down what you did (i.e. hiked 7 miles; 60-minute yoga class, etc.), how you felt before during and after the workout. Not only will this give you an opportunity to reflect on how the exercise made you feel, but you also get to see how much improvement you’ve made towards your exercise goals.

10 | Keep it realistic

Remember that our fitness goals need to be realistic in order to remain consistent with the action. If we expect ourselves to go from zero exercise to running a marathon in a month, not only can we damage our bodies, but we can become discouraged and give up entirely. Set goals that you believe are achievable and adjust as necessary – ramping it up or slowing it down depending on your body’s response.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you. They’ve certainly helped be develop an active lifestyle and jump back on the horse each time I’ve fallen off. Now I’d love to hear from you! What are your favorite techniques to make sure you stay on top of your physical activity? Thanks in advance!

about the author

Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.