McKeesport reflexologist to speak on managing stress

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Your arm can serve you well in times of stress — and not by reaching for a cigarette or alcohol.

''If you flex your hand, it will help calm you down,'' Joyce Dupak said.

The certified reflexologist will be guest speak on the topic at the free ''Healthy Ways to Manage Stress'' workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at McKeesport Kane Regional Center, 100 Ninth Ave., McKeesport.

No registration is required, and all ages are welcome.

The workshop is organized by the Chronic Disease Logic Model/Committee of the McKeesport Healthier

Communities PartnerSHIP, one of 63 community affiliates of the state Department of Health's Health Improvement Plan.

''This gives people an opportunity to learn about ways to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes in a relaxed, informal setting,'' committee member and public health nurse Lorraine Starsky said.

The mission of the McKeesport Healthier Communities PartnerSHIP, made up of 125 community providers and individuals, is to address the health, educational, social, spiritual, recreational, safety and security needs of the community.

In 2004, SHIPs from McKeesport, Duquesne, Braddock and Hazelwood met to discuss ways to create collaborative health initiatives, resulting in the creation of the Mon River Fleet PartnerSHIP.

Today, the organization comprises McKeesport, Duquesne, Braddock, and Clairton, and has a mission of increasing the quality and years of healthy living of the residents of those communities.

In her talk, Mrs. Dudak of McKeesport will focus on four topics: common sense ways to relax; oils and scents that relax a person; guided meditation; and reflex points of the hand.

Reflexology is a complementary technique involving applying pressure to the feet, hands, or ears with specific finger and hand techniques.

Mrs. Dupak said it is shown to improve circulation, help one's immune function and decrease muscle tension and soreness.

''It is not a substitute for medical attention, but it balances your body so it can heal itself better,'' she said.

Among her tips are:

■ If obsessing about something for more than 10 minutes, get up and do something constructive, such as walk or garden.

■ Listen to music.

■ Breath deep 

■ Take a warm bath with a scented bath oil

■ Laugh

''When your ears hear your own laughter, it is a signal to the body that everything is OK,'' she said.

According to MedlinePlus, the National Institutes of Health's website, studies have shown that stress, anger, anxiety and depression can increase a person's chances for heart disease.

''I want people to reach their maximum health in a natural way to avoid diseases,'' Mrs. Dupak said.

For more on the McKeesport Healthier Communities PartnerSHIP and

the Mon River Fleet, visit: . For more

on the workshop, call 412-247-7816.

Margaret Smykla, freelance writer:


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