How to reduce joint stiffness and tightness

It is possible to reduce, or, in some cases, prevent the joint stiffness, tightness and pain that tend to creep up during menopause and the post-menopausal years. This depends on a few factors; nutrition, motivation, regularity, type and degree of physical activity, hormonal levels and, to a certain degree, genetics.



Those of us who have difficulty stretching may tend to develop muscle pulls while more flexible people may have more of a predisposition for joint injury. So, it’s important to engage in preventive care to protect your joints and prevent further damage to injured joints through safe, effective lifestyle approaches such as proper nutritional support, regular, moderate exercise, weight loss to decrease pressure on the joints, postural improvement and avoidance of excessive repetitive motions.

Acupuncture and massage therapy is a natural way to alleviate joint pain and stiffness. Herbs with anti inflammatory properties and supplements, such as, Glucosamine Condroitin Sulfate with MSM, Vitamin D and Antioxidants are safe, natural ways to support structural and functional joint integrity when recommended by an experienced health professional.

We know, by experience, that when we are sedentary our flexibility diminishes. Activities such as tai chi and daily stretching help maintain flexibility. If you are recovering from an injury or surgery it’s important to check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine. Be sure to practice with caution. It is best to stretch after 30 minutes of your favorite cardiovascular exercise.

Here are some of my favorite stretches to maintain suppleness in the pelvis and lower back.
[You’ll have better sex too!] These stretches may be done while sitting or lying down on the floor on top of a clean towel or mat. Move slowly and exhale as you move into the stretch. Keep your maximum stretch position steady without forcing yourself beyond your limits. Follow with an inhalation, then exhale as you release again into the stretch. Each stretch may be done daily, 5 repetitions in a row and held for about 15 seconds each time.

  • Inner thigh stretch: Sit on the floor and bring the soles of your feet together. Hold your feet in place by gently grasping your ankles. Maintain a vertically erect, but not stiff, posture. Bring your upper body forward and let your knees relax toward the floor while keeping your buttocks planted to the floor. Breathe while hold this position for about 15 seconds Then, slowly return to your vertically erect posture. Relax, then, bring your feet a little closer toward your body and repeat the stretch. Variation: With the soles still together, bring your feet slightly forward and repeat the same stretch routine above.
  • Butt/outer thigh stretch [great for low back and hip pain and sciatica]: Begin by laying flat on your back on the floor with your arms relaxed at your sides. Bend both knees until both feet rest flat on the floor. Cross your right foot over your left knee. Gently grasp your right heel and right knee and pull your lower leg toward you while keeping your back relaxed, flat on the floor. Relax and breathe while in this position for about 15 seconds. Then, relax and breathe as you tilt [in this position] a couple of degrees to the right, then, a couple of degrees to the left. Repeat to the other side with your left foot over your right knee.
  • Seated hamstring stretch: Sit on a pillow or folded blanket with both legs extended in front of you on the floor. Keep your knees relaxed, not rigid. Bend forward from your hips and reach forward with both arms while keeping your buttocks planted in place. Reach toward your toes. If possible, gently grasp your ankles or tops of your lower legs [whichever is more comfortable] and pull forward gently as you breathe into the stretch. Then, release.
  • Hip flexor stretch: Begin standing with both feet together in a parallel position. While maintaining a vertically erect posture, lower yourself to the ground in a kneeling position, with your left knee on the ground so your left foot is behind you and your right leg is in front of you with your right foot flat on the floor. Drop your body weight vertically down into the ground until you feel a stretch through the front of your left hip. [Do not bring your right knee forward over the toes.] Relax and breathe into the stretch. Return to a standing position. Repeat stretch on the other side.

Giving Thanks

For Thanksgiving this year, we deliver a personal message from Gabrielle Gottlieb:

I open myself to the almighty, creative power, love, healing and wisdom of the universe and pour forth from my deepest heart of hearts eternal gratitude for the blessings I have received from friends, family and patients who have come through our doors at Well Balanced Woman.

I thank Ken who’s gracious support made Well Balanced Woman more than a dream and a plan.

I thank my dearest, closest friends, Judy Jothi Jai Jackson, Chette and Marcus Jones, and Joe Gallant, who have been so supportive and caring and have stood by me for many long years.

I thank Gretchen Harnick, my consultant and loyal advocate, for her guidance, support and belief in my vision.

I thank my patients for their trust in my ability to empower them and bring healing into their lives.

I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be of service to all of you.

I thank my family for their most sincere and unconditional love and Bernard Dellosso for watching out for my wellbeing.

May all the goodness that has come to me flow back to nourish all of you a thousand fold.

With love and gratitude this Thanksgiving and always.

Giving Thanks


Practicing at the US Open

Early this September, our very own Gabrielle Gottlieb got the call of her life, well one of the calls of her life since she’s pretty fabulous as it is.   The call was a referral to work on the healthcare team, as Acupuncturist behind the scenes, on  pro tennis players, at the US Open here in New York.  With a prior career as a professional dancer, and having worked on dancers and athletes for decades, Gabrielle was thrilled for this chance and we caught up with her after she caught her breath later that month.

Q:  What part of your experience impressed you most?
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Balancing Exercise for Women

The Alphabet Balance and Strength Building exercise

This balancing exercise is used in many rehabilitative physical therapy routines. It will help you build balance, muscle tone and focus. We like to do this exercise once a day, preferably in the morning.

Stand erect on a non-slip flat surface, a yoga mat is good. This exercise works best in barefeet or comfortable shoes. Clasp your hands together, palms held tightly together in front of your chest and fold your fingers as if in prayer. Raise your right knee, leg bent and place your foot on the inside of your leg, either calf or ankle for balance. Extend both index fingers so they are pointing forwards, like an arrow, with your fingertips touching each other.

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What do you wish all women knew about menopause?

In this article, we ask Gabrielle Gottlieb,
“What do you wish all women knew about menopause?”

Menopause is not a disease. It is a natural life transition which all women go through. To some degree, the experience is different for each of us. Some women seem to sail through with relative ease, whereas others may encounter varying severity of symptoms.

I recommend that women prepare for menopause before they are blindsided by symptoms and concerns. Research shows that training for menopause, will prepare the body and mind to be more aware and adapt as changes arise.

Educate yourself.
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Where does Western Medicine fall short?

The practice of natural medicine, including herbs, is so important, as it works with the body’s natural chemistry as opposed to overwhelming it. At this point with Western Biomedics, our society is so over drugged and prescribed. I believe that we have overwhelmed our natural immune system. Certainly, if you need emergency medical care, surgery, etc. there is no replacement for this. But Eastern Medicine forms a critical link between body, mind and spirit.

Mind Spirit BodyAs a society, we’ve been taught to blame somebody or something else outside of us. In studying and practicing Eastern Medicine, I have seen patients take more control of their health through regular conscious practice. In many cases, through Eastern Medicine bodies can become more balanced. By eating mindfully, exercising, and using alternative therapies, patients often find long-term relief of pain and other health concerns.

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Patients & Lifestyle

In this article, we ask Gabrielle specifically what patients experience, when visiting Well Balanced Woman, to seek acupuncture treatment.

Well Balanced Woman

What can your patients expect, when seeing you at Well Balanced Woman?

I have a thorough patient intake process, during which I discuss the current health concern with each patient. As Asian medicine is lifestyle medicine, we can discuss all tenets of concern, in order to explore together, the best course of treatment.

The first visit can take over 1 1/2 hours, I am very thorough with my patients. I am naturally respectful, and maintain the highest level of privacy for all of my patients, whether they come in for one treatment or a series.

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Why Alternative Medicine?

In this interview, we ask Gabrielle Gottlieb, Why Alternative Medicine? What influenced her to start a practice using Asian and Alternative treatments for women’s health.

What is your earliest memory of Asian Medicine?

When I was 7 years old, I quite literally opened up the encyclopedia to the Bronze Man. I learned that Song Dynasty doctors had to practice their skills on these life-sized, bronze statues, marked with 365 acupoints, before treating patients. While certainly I was very young, I never forgot this image and say that chance is a very powerful thing.

Later, when I was 16, I saw a fascinating broadcast from China on television. Chinese doctors were performing heart valve surgery on a woman who was sedated with acupuncture, along with some chemical sedation, but she was awake. This fascinated me and is another point on my path I will never forget. Also while in high school, in Long Island, NY, l was introduced to yoga and meditation through a friend. I subsequently entered pre-med for my undergraduate degree and started teaching yoga at school.

What happened next?

While studying pre-med, and teaching yoga, I found myself wanting to emphasize prevention and lifestyle changes over medication of symptoms. I recognize and respect the value in Western biomedicine, and if someone needs surgery or medications, they need to take on these treatments.  However for me, I wanted to learn more about prevention and lifestyle treatments, which led me to study Therapeutic Massage at the Swedish Institute.

I practiced medical massage for 17 years.  My patients were amazing, and I thrived in this environment.  Through building a connection with patients and dissolving their pain during long-term care, I observed common issues I wanted to explore more deeply

How did you really find Acupuncture?

Quite a few of my patients had health concerns which could not be addressed by massage alone. I myself was always very body oriented. I danced professionally and worked as a yoga teacher and fitness instructor, and was able to make the connection between mind, body and spirit not only for myself but in healing and offering healing treatments to patients.

However, I wanted to explore alternative therapies more deeply. I remembered the acupuncture surgery broadcast I had seen as a young woman, and started to explore acupuncture as my next phase.

What then?

I enrolled in the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, to earn my bachelors and masters of science in acupuncture. Taking over 3000 hours of academic training and externships gave me the courage, knowledge and direction of knowing exactly what I wanted to do for my patients.

What is your Professional Philosophy?

I take a holistic approach to healthcare. I empower my patients to do the same. By having a genuine interest in my patients health, growth and development, I want them to know they have the capability within them to get well, be well and maintain their health throughout their life.