Dr. Kathryn Alexander, D. C.

As We Begin to Re-open

This time in my practice has been interesting, to say the least.  Along with other healthcare practitioners, I initially had to limit my treatments to urgent or acute care patients.  My Board specified that giving routine or wellness visits was not allowed.  This changed in mid-May, and as long as I follow CDC guidelines, I’m allowed to treat everyone.


As my patients begin to return for treatment, I’ve seen the downside of going without regular care.  I recently saw one patient who had suspended her wellness visits, and there was more to address than there had been in the previous six months!  It gave me a new appreciation for the importance of regular treatment and bodywork, whatever modality a person chooses.


As patients return for care, I am seeing an increase in complaints of neck and back pain.  I’m struck by the impact of not being able to follow pre-virus social routines and interactions.  People are moving a lot less and are more sedentary than they realize since the beginning of this pandemic.  Stress levels are much higher and are reflected physically.  I encourage everyone to double-check the ergonomics they are using while sitting or using the computer.  With more people working from home, this is especially important.


I also encourage everyone to move as much as they can, and deliberately increase how much they are moving.  This means taking a home “work-break” every 20 to 30 minutes to move and stretch.  Also, with the opening of parks and waterways, there are more options and increased opportunities for getting out and about.  Yoga is very helpful for stress reduction, flexibility, and strength; Ridgely Retreat has begun to offer rooftop yoga.  This is a wonderful way to be outside while observing social distancing and getting exercise.  There are also many on-line options available.


The impact of this virus will be with us for some time to come.  As much as each of us can, it’s good  to mindfully increase our daily activity to reduce stress and maintain health.



Dr. Kathryn Alexander, D. C. has had her practice at Ridgely Retreat since 2007.  She offers a no-charge 15-minute consultation.  She can be reached at 443-433-0463.









Supporting the Immune System

Supporting the Immune System — Some AK Suggestions

During these challenging times, here are some suggestions from an Applied Kinesiology perspective that can help with self-care.

The immune system has two major parts: the innate (part we are born with and our first line of defense) and the adaptive (part that develops as we move through life). Nutrients that support the innate immune system include Vitamins A, C, and D. Zinc lozenges that can be dissolved slowly in the mouth are also helpful.

There are two reflexes used in Applied Kinesiology to help support the immune system. They were developed by osteopath Frank Chapman. Each point should be rubbed daily for two to four minutes. The first point is on the left rib cage near the spleen, which is at the 7th and 8th rib (about halfway down the rib cage on the left side). The second point is on the right front rib cage at the level of the 4th and 5th rib (about halfway down the breastbone and move 2 – 3 inches to the right). It is important to massage each reflex for at least two minutes. It is not necessary to do this more than once daily.

Emotional stress can be helped by tapping acupuncture points on the face or head. Generally, the most helpful point is ST 1, which is located on the cheekbone directly below the iris of the eye when looking straight ahead. Tap lightly and quickly on both sides for one or two minutes (about 120 taps per minute) while thinking of the stressful situation. This procedure can be done as often through the day as needed.

If you need help finding any of these points, I will be happy to talk with you. I can be reached at 443-433-0463 or 443-433-0462. Please leave a message and I will contact you.

Stay safe and well!

Dr. Kathryn Alexander, D. C. has been practicing at Ridgely Retreat since 2007. She offers a 15-minute no-charge consultation. She can be reached at 443-433-0463.

7 Ways to Keep Your Healthy Eating Goals on Track during Holidays

By Elizabeth Harris, MS, RDN

Now that Halloween is behind us, the holiday season will kick into full swing real fast. For many people that means sweets, cocktails, social gatherings, baking, and other fun activities that can derail healthy eating and wellness routines.

Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to help you stay on track with your long-term health goals even during this festive, indulgent season. Here are some of my favorite tips:

  1. Don’t go hungry. Heading to a party or social gathering? Have a well-balanced meal or snack before you go. You’re less likely to overindulge if you’re not starving when you arrive.
  2. Follow the sure-thing rule. Having Thanksgiving or another holiday meal at a friend or family member’s house? Offer to bring a dish…and then make it a healthful one so you know there will be at least one option that meets your wellness objectives.
  3. Use the plate method. Whenever you’re at a buffet or holiday gathering, remember to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. This will make your plate look visually appealing, fill you up with nutrients and fiber, and leave you with less room for less nourishing options.
  4. Leave yourself reminders so you don’t lose track of your long-term goals during the holiday season. Fill post it notes with your wellness or healthy eating goals and post them in strategic places around your home or car. Or find inspirational photos or messages that remind you of your goals and hang them in places where you’ll see them frequently.
  5. Make friends and mingle. You’ll be less likely to mindlessly munch from the buffet if you physically move yourself away from the holiday spread. Fill your plate once and then relocate to a different room or area. Get busy socializing and moving around so you won’t be focused on the banquet after you’ve already filled up. And if it’s that kind of party—join in and dance. It’s not often you can burn calories while you party!
  6. Set an intention ahead of time. How much alcohol can you drink and still feel good, while honoring your wellness goals? Which sweets are a “must try” for you? How much will feel good to eat and how much will be too much? Making some decisions ahead of time will make you much more aware of your party-time choices.
  7. Try the 80% solution. Make a commitment to enjoy your meal until you’re feeling about 80% full…and then stop. Push away your plate. Get up and move around. If you’re still hungry 20-30 minutes later, go back for more. But odds are, you’ll realize you’re satisfied and won’t eat to the point of being uncomfortably full.

I also recommend finding balance in your daily eating patterns. If you deprive yourself, diet, or have a “restriction” mindset throughout the rest of the year, you’ll be much more likely to overindulge during the holidays. When you make wellness a lifestyle and focus on practicing small health habits that you can stick with each day, you’ll discover it’s much easier to find long-term success with your healthy eating goals.

Lastly, I love practicing mindful eating all year round, but it can especially help to keep you centered during the holiday season. Want to learn more? I’ll be presenting a special Mindful Eating During the Holidays Workshop on Wednesday, November 13 at 6 p.m. right here at Ridgely Retreat. You can sign up here: http://www.ridgelyretreat.com/events.

In this fun workshop you will:

  • Learn what mindful eating is…how it can benefit you…and walk away with 4 tools you can use to practice mindful eating on your own
  • Find out how mindful eating can help you navigate the indulgent holiday season with awareness, intention, and confidence
  • Understand the different types of hunger and learn techniques to help you tune into and respond to your body’s hunger and fullness cues
  • Get the truth about some popular mindful eating myths, participate in a powerful and thought-provoking mindful eating exercise, and more.

I hope to see you there! And best wishes for a fabulous, fun, and healthy holiday season!


Elizabeth Harris, MS, RDN
FB: @elizabethharrisnutrition

Physiotherapist applying kinesiology tapes

Vertigo & Applied Kinesiology

Vertigo and Applied Kinesiology


Occasionally a patient presents with dizziness, vertigo, or light-headedness. There are some Applied Kinesiology protocols that can help.

If there is a crystal loose in the inner ear, this can cause BPV, or benign postural vertigo. Many physical therapists are trained to work with this condition, and I encourage people to seek this therapy as appropriate.

If a person is hypoglycemic, drops in blood sugar from not eating regularly enough may contribute to dizziness or light-headedness. Adrenal fatigue, especially when moving from a lying to a sitting or standing position, can be a factor. Medications should also be checked, since dizziness may be a side effect.

I check the neck for misaligned vertebrae. If the first cervical vertebra is not properly aligned, or if there is degenerative change in the cervical discs, neck muscles can be imbalanced and this can result in dizziness.

Lastly, I use an AK technique to re-balance the upper cervical area. This area of the body is rich in proprioceptors, and if they are not firing correctly, the person will experience dizziness and/or vertigo, especially when changing position. The correction is a short series of isometric contractions, done first in the office and later at home as needed. This technique is effective, simple and lasting.

Dizziness, lightheadedness, and vertigo can be very disruptive to a person’s life. These chiropractic techniques, alone or combined with physical therapy, can be very helpful.


Dr. Alexander, D.C. practices at Ridgely Retreat. She offers a 15-minute no-charge consultation. She can be reached at 443-433-0463.

Why a custom orthotic?

Many of us with knee, hip, and low back pain don’t realize imbalances in the feet can cause or worsen these problems.

The feet have three arches – the inner, outer, and transverse arch across the balls of the feet. Together, they are called the plantar vault. If one of these arches is more dropped than the other, or one foot is flatter than the other, pain in other areas of the body can result.

The first step is to always wear good quality footwear. Good arch support, as well as a strong shank and roomy toe box are recommended. A lace-up shoe is often preferable to a slip-on. Many shoes don’t provide these. A custom orthotic that can be inserted into the shoe is a good solution. An orthotic flip-flop, sandal, or shoe are also options.

Studies have shown that custom orthotics can reduce low back pain by more than 30%. They help chiropractic adjustments hold longer, reducing wear and tear on affected joints. Pain is reduced in fewer visits and in many cases does not return. Like any other custom product, a truly custom orthotic is more expensive than an over-the-counter insert. However, the benefits far outweigh the cost. People can begin or resume exercise programs they were avoiding due to pain. Many find their balance improves, so there is less risk of falling. It all contributes to a better quality of life.

I use Foot Levelers custom orthotics in my practice. This is a softer orthotic and molds well to the patient’s foot while providing the needed corrections. The company stands behind its product with a money-back guarantee.


Dr. Alexander practices at Ridgely Retreat in Annapolis. She offers a no-charge 15-minute consultation. She can be reached at 443-433-0463.

Getting Comfortable In your Own Skin

Today it seems like there are hundreds of skin care products on the market. How do you choose which is the best for your skin? What about the myriad of treatments and facials? It can be overwhelming to navigate through all of the products and services offered, all the while staying away from certain chemicals that can harm more than benefit. Here’s an attempt to provide clarity in the confusing work of aesthetics, which is available to both men and women.

Customized facials
After a personal consultation with a Licensed Aesthetician, a facial can be created that will provide maximum results for your particular needs. Taking into consideration any concerns, skin type and conditions, the aesthetician will recommend a home care regimen to follow up on the treatment.

It gently sloughs away the outermost layer to reveal the young, healthy skin. In the process, it restores radiance, energy and confidence. Microdermabrasion stimulates blood flow to the surface of the skin, increases the oxygenation and enhances cell renewal. This treatment is especially suited for people who are sensitive to chemical peels. Results are noticeable after the first treatment; three to five treatments are recommended for optimal results.

This treatment works by using a carboxy spray to deliver a hydrating serum to problem areas of the skin. You will notice a lifting/tightening effect within 12-24 hours of the facial. CooLifting can be used on all skins types or degrees of pigmentation. There is NO downtime with CooLifting and is the perfect “Red Carpet” facial before a special event. Clients who sign up for a package of three facials, followed by monthly follow-ups, will see substantial improvement in their skin over time.

The XEO Cutera
This treatment helps reverse the signs of aging before they start by restoring your skin’s healthy appearance and reversing visible imperfections such as sun damage, fine lines, redness and scarring. The XEO stimulates the skin’s natural renewal process to improve overall skin quality, resulting in a radiant, more youthful complexion, During the procedure, gentle micro-pulses are sent to the skin to activate collagen remodeling to give your skin its smooth, radiant complexion. After a series of four to six treatments, you can expect to see visible improvement in the look and feel of your skin. .

Fraxel Laser
The Fraxel Laser is designed to target aging and damaged skin by treating portions of specific damaged tissue. By creating microscopic “wounds” within the targeted areas well beneath the outermost epidermal layer of the skin, Fraxel Laser treatments trigger the body’s natural healing process by accelerating the production of collagen and new, healthy skin cells. Fraxel is the first laser to combine the impact of ablative laser with the gentleness of nonablative lasers. Healing occurs so quickly that there is very little downtown.

With Fraxel Laser treatment you can expect two levels of results, immediate and progressive. Immediately after the initial healing (10 to 14 days), the surface of your skin will feel softer, look brighter and tone will start to become more even. Progressive results occur over the next three to six months as the deeper layers of the skin continue to heal. Fraxel can be used for many different conditions including discoloration or uneven pigmentation, melasma (mask of pregnancy), age spots, brown spots and sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles, acne, surgical scarring, stretch marks and enlarged pores.

Under the supervision of our medical director, we are able to offer advanced skin care and treatments for our clients.

Celie Pribyl, Licensed Esthetician
Linda Worcester, Licensed Esthetician
Nancy Dowell, Licensed Esthetician

Will Aerial Yoga Help Me Lose Weight?

Aerial Yoga takes your practice off the mat, suspending you in a soft, slightly stretchy fabric hammocks. You float and flow through traditional poses. It allows you to challenge your body without compressing your spine or joints. The swing supports you so that you decide the intensity of your workout. You can choose a full yoga sequence, or work on previously hard to attain poses, like inversions. Additionally, the practice pays homage to a variety of weight-loss disciplines such as Pilates, gymnastics, and aerial arts. So, then, you may be asking yourself, will aerial yoga help me lose weight?

The Official Reports
Studies from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) show that women who did three 50-minute aerial yoga classes a week for six weeks experienced a change. They lost an average of two and a half pounds, 2 percent body fat, and about one inch from their waist. Furthermore, their VO2 max (a measure of fitness) improved by an astounding 11 percent.

Take it to the Core
Aerial yoga is supportive while challenging your balance. From the moment you enter the silks, you start engaging your core immediately, without even realizing it. Core strength not only shapes and trims your mid-section, but it also lends physical stability to everything you do.

Flippin’ Fun
What could be more fun than being an acrobat for an hour? Being in the aerial yoga trapeze allows you to flip and twist, laugh and have a genuinely good time. And you don’t need research to tell you that if an exercise is fun, you will probably do it often, and stick with it longer.

Master the Elusive
Have you been working on your handstand, headstand, forearm stand, but have just not entirely been able to grasp the pose? The silk wraps around your body and supports you in these inversions. Take your practice to a new level. Aerial Yoga may also improve your mat practice, allowing you to accomplish these formerly elusive asanas.

Creative Cardio
While you will undoubtedly experience full-body firming, your cardio fitness improves. The physiological response is similar to other cardio exercises like swimming. Studies have also shown that the calorie burn in a 50-minute aerial yoga class is similar to an hour of power walking.

Zero-Impact, Effective Results
Because you are suspended and supported throughout your entire practice, your spine and joints are safe. Therefore aerial yoga is safe for those who may have experienced an acute or chronic injury. In effect, you can use this type of exercise to maintain, even improve fitness while nursing an injury.

Blissed Out
It is no secret that there is a myriad of positive effects from mind-body activities, mainly stress reduction. Aerial yoga classes commence with Savasana, where you lay cocooned within the silks. Talk about blissed out.

Are you still asking yourself “Will aerial yoga help me lose weight?” The answer is yes, that, and so much more! Ridgely Retreat offers a variety of yoga options. Check out our schedule and register for a class today!