May 18

Say “No” to Aveeno


By Dr. Jen Newell

Jennifer Aniston has pioneered a number of epic fashion statements – who didn’t have “the Rachel” haircut? That being said, I can’t get behind her promotion of Aveeno skincare products, which masquerade as “natural” products. This is really deceiving and confusing to customers looking to make smart choices for personal care products.


Aveeno’s Claims:

Our mission to help every woman feel naturally beautiful in the way she looks and in the way she lives her life. So we strive to inspire you to discover natural beauty and wellness, and we work hard to provide products made with the most natural and effective ingredients.

The makers of AVEENO® only select the finest ingredients found in nature with powerful benefits to become ACTIVE NATURALS® ingredients, and turn them into innovative, effective skin and hair care products. In fact, these formulas are so effective, they’re recommended by dermatologists, pediatricians and beauty professionals across Canada.

AVEENO® products can help you achieve healthier looking skin and hair, so you can look and feel more beautiful too.


What’s in Aveeno:

AVEENO® Daily Moisturizing Lotion (interestingly enough the full ingredient list was not available on Aveeno’s website; the only ingredient mentioned is colloidal oatmeal):

Active Ingredients: Dimethicone (1.25%) (Skin Protectant)

Inactive Ingredients: Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour (Oat), Benzyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Isopropyl Palmitate, Petrolatum, Sodium Chloride, Water


What are all these ingredients?

Dimethicone – man-made silicon polymer that gives products a silky, easily spreadable sensation. While Dimethicone is considered safe and low hazard risk according to the Environmental Working Group; I caution against its regular use as it creates a plastic-like barrier on the surface of the skin and prevents the skin from its normal activities.

Avena Sativa Kernal Flour (AKA colloidal oatmeal) – this is not considered one of Aveeno’s active ingredients but it is one of the least concerning ingredients in the products which is probably why it’s the only one mentioned on their website. This ingredient is created by finely grinding oat kernels; It is often used to relieve minor skin irritation and itching.

Benzyl Alcohol – benzyl alcohol is a naturally ocurring and synthetic ingredient used as solvent and preservative; has been associated with contact allergy.

Cetearyl Alcohol – mixture of fatty alcohols, consisting predominantly of cetyl and stearyl alcohols and is classified as a fatty alcohol. It is used as a emulsifier and helps prevent oil and water containing products from separating.

Distearyldimonium Chloride – found in many skin creams because of its moisturizing and smoothing properties.

Glycerin – used as a moisturizer to treat or prevent dry, rough, scaly, itchy skin and minor skin irritations.

Isopropyl Palmitate – binding agent that lubricates the skin. Isopropyl palmitate has been known to cause acne, blackheads, whiteheads and clogged pores if overused.

Petrolatum – Petrolatum is mineral oil jelly (i.e. petroleum jelly). It is used as a barrier to lock moisture in the skin in a variety of moisturizers and also in hair care products to make your hair shine. The European Union classifies petrolatum a carcinogen and restricts its use in cosmetics. Petrolatum comes from crude oil, and as such is not a renewable resource.

Sodium Chloride – salt.


My Thoughts:

Based on the ingredients, Aveeno is far from natural and does not qualify as a skin-nourishing product. I advise patients to steer clear of it and opt for actual natural alternatives that will heal and nurture the skin as part of a comprehensive skincare regime.

Not only do I dislike the ingredients used by Aveeno; I also think they should be held accountable for their false claims of being a natural product. Unfortunately, there are no regulations about the use of terms such as “natural”


Dr. Jen Newell is passionate about helping people embrace health, feel amazing and easily incorporate “real” food into their busy lives. Her mission is to make health accessible and achievable, and to inspire patients to live an active, vibrant and healthy life.

Jen has a clinical focus on digestive health, food sensitivities and healthy nutrition; mental health and stress-related illness; women’s health, hormone balance and fertility; optimal aging; and dermatology. She focuses on integrating healthy foods into one’s diet in a medicinal and therapeutic capacity and providing individuals with nutritional support that is easy to incorporate into a busy day. Dr. Newell practices at the Integrative Health Institute in Downtown Toronto.


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May 11

Why YOU Should Drink Green Tea!


By Dr. Marc Bubbs, ND, CSCS

Green tea has been used for thousands of years throughout India, China, and Japan as a panacea for longevity and health. Green tea is a member the Theaceae family of plants and contains numerous key nutrients that can help sedentary and active people improve overall health, lose weight, and fight inflammation.

Green tea is a wonderful tonic for overall health and has an amazing array of health promoting benefits. It contains some of the highest concentration of powerful anti-oxidants, which help protect the body’s DNA and cell membranes. It lowers total cholesterol levels and increases good ‘heart healthy’ HDL cholesterol. It also inhibits cancer cell growth and is protective against breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. It’s amazing that one plant can have such a profound impact on so many systems of the body.

Green tea also contains epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG, which helps increase fat burning in the body. Fat is an important fuel for exercise, increasing your endurance and therefore your overall performance. EGCG can trigger the release of stored body fat to be used as fuel for movement and exercise. This is a great way to accelerate weight loss and reduce risk a chronic diseases.

The benefits of green tea don’t stop there. It contains naturally occurring caffeine that inhibits a very important enzyme called COMT. When this enzyme is inhibited it prolongs the fat burning effect of EGCG due to the presence of the naturally occurring caffeine in green tea. This synergistic effect is why it’s important to actually drink green tea, rather than simply take supplements.

Green tea is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, containing over fifty-one anti-inflammatory compounds. One in particular is especially potent. Apigenin, a citrus bioflavanoid, is an active inhibitor of the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2). The ability to inhibit the COX-2 enzyme is the same mechanism used to stop inflammation by the popular over–the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil or Ibuprofen. These drugs have many side-effects, including stomach ulcers, liver and kidney damage, and have been shown to cause intestinal hyper-permeability or leaky gut.

Inflammation is thought to be the root cause of many chronic diseases. Green tea blocks the formation of uric acid, another important and well-recognized medical marker for systemic inflammation. Green tea not only reduces inflammation and but also contains over 50 anti-ulcer compounds.

Add a cup of green tea to your day to start reaping the many health and performance benefits of green tea. If you are an avid coffee drinker, try substituting your afternoon coffee for green tea. You’ll not only boost your antioxidant levels, but your overall health as well!

Dr. Marc Bubbs, ND, CSCS,
  is a Naturopathic Doctor, Strength Coach, Author, Speaker, and Blogger practicing in Toronto, Canada. He believes that diet, exercise, and lifestyle factors have the most profound impact on your overall health and performance. Marc is the author of The Paleo Project – A 21st Guide to Looking Leaner, Getting Stronger, & Living Longer and currently serves as the Sports Nutrition Lead for Canadian Men’s Olympic Basketball Team.
Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CSCS

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May 4

What is Yoga Therapy?

_D5A8011-248An Introduction to Yoga Therapy at IHI

By Meghan Walsh, BFA, Certified Yoga Therapist

Imagine being prescribed a pill that gradually healed your back pain while eradicating your worry around the limitations it caused you and as a result opened your eyes wider to the gift that is your life. If you broke open that pill, inside you would find what is yoga therapy. This is not at all to say that the effects of yoga therapy come with the ease of regularly swallowing a pill, though it is a strong dose of ‘lifestyle medicine’ that is honoured daily through practice.

The general long-term goals of Yoga Therapy include:

  • reducing the symptoms of suffering that can be reduced
  • managing the symptoms that cannot be reduced
  • rooting out causes wherever possible
  • improving life function
  • shifting attitude and perspective in relationship to life’s challenges

Yoga therapy is a complementary/integrative system of health, not an alternative one. It supports and works in conjunction with your normal medical treatments, as you are asked to consider continuing your personal health routine as suggested by your doctor or medical professional.

The healing path of yoga philosophy is known to us via Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, an ancient, inter-faith text containing 196 sutras – aphorisms – outlining the path to present moment awareness and self-realization. A therapeutic yoga practice is derived from these teachings, this philosophy and is one that adapts these techniques and practices and applies them to each individual’s goals and life circumstances. A therapeutic yoga practice will take into account the individual’s age, height, weight, strength, environment/climate, activity, desire, priorities, pain/strain, injury, allergies, sensitivities, preferences and aversions and may help any individual facing any health challenge.

A personalized therapeutic yoga practice may include some of the following tools:

  • Pranayama (conscious and mindful breathing)
  • Individualized movements sequenced appropriately for your circumstances
  • Ayurvedic Wellness counselling (diet and lifestyle)
  • Mindfulness Meditation practices (seated and ‘everyday’)
  • Visualization techniques
  • Use of Sound and Mantra
  • Craniosacral self-care techniques
  • Self-massage techniques for pain, tension and stress
  • Conscious communication skill building
  • Yoga Nidra (conscious relaxation)

Yoga is beneficial for our health in ways that modern science is only beginning to understand. Even though it has been applied with therapeutic intention for thousand of years, yoga therapy is now emerging as a contemporary discipline, as science begins to document the importance of understanding the interrelation of all existing things. As yoga techniques are researched and new data gathered, it becomes easier for science and the medical establishment to understand and accept the benefits of yoga therapy.

Yoga therapy is a neurologic re-wiring of the brain, a micro neuroplastic surgery, similar to mindfulness based cognitive therapy or other psychotherapies. In yoga therapy we do not sit and converse or analyze our lives and relationships. Instead we use the techniques and practices to gain present moment awareness, and through learning the philosophy we can change the way we filter the events of our lives. This in turn effects our neural firing, which shape our genes and in turn shape our microscopic anatomy.

Yoga therapy heals the individual by assessing and addressing the root cause of suffering, which means that it doesn’t always cure the individual, though it is healing. For example, if the individual is suffering from cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy or an alternative treatment, their daily therapeutic yoga practice would greatly benefit the mental and emotional state. A yoga practice supports our ability to cope day to day and to accept what the body is going through. One of the primary teachings of yoga is to accept and embrace impermanence; both in small, everyday ways and in the ultimate ‘we are all humans and have a body which will eventually expire’ way. By sitting with our fear we are able to reduce the suffering we experience as we work with our condition/disease. In some cases the individual’s cancer is cured and they move on with their lives, and in other cases it is not and they may pass with a sense of peace, grace and acceptance. Either way, yoga therapy supports the practitioner, regardless of the outcome.

Ultimately, by cultivating a daily practice of yoga and mindfulness, we cultivate healthier choices in our lifestyle, our diet and how we contribute and behave in relationship; fostering gratitude, joy, compassion and peace in our mind, body and hearts.

Meghan Walsh HeadsotMeghan Walsh
Yoga Therapist

Meghan Walsh is a Certified Yoga Therapist under the Sri. Krishnamacharya lineage, she studied at Yoga Therapy Toronto with Ante and Felicia Pavlovic; and an Ayurvedic Practitioner trained at C.A.I.S.H. with Dr. Ismat Nathani. Meg is trained in Mindfulness Meditation and offers mindfulness based approaches while working therapeutically and when teaching group therapeutic, hatha, vinyasa, yin, prenatal, restorative yoga and meditation. Meg holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from OCAD University.

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Apr 27

Empowering Health

By: Dr. Lisa Watson, ND

I’m not a fan of buzzwords – they are often words people use without really knowing what they mean. As a Naturopath I see words like all-natural, superfood, multigrain – and I cringe. I recognize that these words are often used to make processed and packaged foods look healthier than they really are.

But there is one buzzword I really do like. Empowerment. It encompasses what I do as a Naturopathic Doctor and I’d like to tell you why.

What is Empowerment?

My favourite description of empowerment is this:

Empowerment is the ability to know what you need and the confidence to meet those needs. ~Dr. Aviva Romm, MD

From the perspective of health care, empowerment means that while a doctor – Medical Doctor, Naturopathic Doctor, Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Doctor of Chiropractic, Osteopathic Doctor – may know more information about the human body, YOU know your body best.

As a doctor my role is to empower you – to teach you to recognize what your body needs, what your symptoms are trying to tell you, and to give you the tools and confidence to meet those needs.

Integrative Medicine and Empowered Health

Integrative medicine and empowered health work together to help each and every one of us to optimize our health and reach our goals.

Integrative medicine is using the best of all forms of medicine with the sole purpose of improving patient outcomes. ~Dr. John Gannage, MD

Working as a Naturopathic Doctor in an Integrative Health clinic gives me the resources to truly empower my patients to take charge of their own health. I can provide my patients with the knowledge and clinical experience I have accumulated, as well as provide access to other caring doctors, RMTs, yoga teachers, physiotherapists, counselors, doulas, etc.

This team based approach can offer anyone an opportunity to further their understanding of their mind and body and give them the confidence to do what needs to be done to achieve their health goals.

And that is empowerment.

And it’s pretty great.

LwatsonDr. Lisa Watson delivers health care that supports balanced and attainable health at all ages and stages of life. Of primary importance is health care that nurtures the body, mind, spirit, family and community.  As a Naturopathic Doctor and mother, Lisa believes that health care and a healthy lifestyle are intrinsically linked and that each serves to support the other. Dr. Watson practices at the Integrative Health Institute in Downtown Toronto.

Follow Dr. Watson on Twitter
Check out Dr Watson’s blog:

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Apr 20

Food and Gratitude Recipe e-Book

EBook Front PageClick the Image to access e-book

Gratitude Through Food Is Fuel For Self Healing

“Let us be thankful for our food and the hands that have prepared it” ~ My father in law the farmer

Taking the time to nurture your body with healthy food is one of the best ways to give gratitude to your wonderful health and spirit. Optimal nutrition is a powerful life transforming tool. As a Naturopathic Doctor I have seen many people change their lives through diet and lifestyle medicine. The key to longterm success is not found by following the “perfect meal plan” but instead by cultivating an attitude of self love and self care and expressing that love through nutrition.

We are human and inevitably we will get stuck. When things fall apart, and everything is shifting, gratitude gives us a place to start the recovery process. Gratitude requires humility and it helps us cultivate compassion for ourselves and others. Expressing our gratitude through food helps us connect to the world around us. We are human and we all need to eat. When we really reflect on all of the energy that goes into preparing a meal, it can be astonishing to realizes the number of connections we have to nature and humanity. From the earth and the farmers that patiently nurture our wholesome food, to the spices grown with care all over the world, to the tradition and spirit of recipes passed down from generation to generation, or the forward thinking food innovations shared freely by like minded friends online. Food connects us to our family, our friends, our culture, and ourselves. Food and bring comfort, lift our spirit, celebrate our success and support us through times of grief and loss. Through gratitude we can nurture a diet that will provide us with fuel for a wonderful and connected life.

Our team has compiled a book of their favourite recipes and reflections on nutrition, life and love. We share them freely with you though gratitude and we welcome you to pass it on.

In health,

Dr. Erin Wiley
Founder of the Integrative Health Institute

Gratitude For Our Authors

With great respect I would like to thank all of the creators, contributors, and collaborators who have made this wonderful resource possible. Your love of food, health and nutrition is flowing off the pages of this beautiful handmade book. In particular I would like to thank Drs. Jen Newell and Shannon Vander Doelen for their leadership and design of this project. Your spirit and enthusiasm have inspired our entire team to share their stories of self care. Thank you for the countless hours of editing that were spent making a smart sustainable resource for our community.

Dr. Erin Wiley ND
Clinic Director
Integrative Health Institute

Discover your health potential. Book now!
Follow me on twitter.

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Apr 13

What is Fascia and Why Do I Need Mine Released?

physio pic

An Introduction to Myofascial Release and Physiotherapy at IHI
By Shannon Stoby, PT, MScPT

Do you have unexplained, seemingly unrelated symptoms? Do you feel unwell, but your test results are ‘normal’? Do you keep having recurrence of the same injury? Have you had an injury or surgery from which you do not feel you have completely healed? Maybe you are in fantastic shape, but have become ‘injury-prone’. Or, maybe you have experienced some form of trauma and are not healing in the expected time frame. These are among the many instances in which your fascial system may be the link to your healing.
Fascia is, basically, connective tissue—but it is much more ‘connective’ than any way we have previously thought of connective tissue! It runs continuously and three-dimensionally throughout the body, covering organs, muscles, nerves, blood vessels—essentially, every structure and system. When healthy, fascia is a fluid, dynamic tissue that allows us to move and function optimally. Through injury, surgery, inflammatory processes, repetitive postures and movement patterns, and general stress, restrictions in the fascia may form. When fascial restrictions occur, the tissue tightens, becomes dehydrated, and exerts pressure on the structures that lie beneath. Due to the interconnectedness of the system, these ‘snags’ can have unexpected and cumulative effects, causing pain and inhibiting movement. Additionally, as these restrictions are not visible in standard medical imaging tests, the effects or symptoms are difficult to diagnose.
Myofascial Release (MFR), as taught by John F. Barnes, is a holistic, hands on approach to treatment, which takes the symptoms into account while seeking the cause, acknowledging the roles of both the mind and the body. Through the application of sustained pressure directly on the skin, restrictions can be released without force, assisting in the relief of pain and regaining of movement.

What conditions can benefit from MFR?
To name a few…
• chronic pain
• acute injuries
• fibromyalgia
• headaches
• TMJ issues
• incontinence
• pelvic pain/dysfunction

What to expect in an MFR treatment
Expect to be treated like a whole person.
Injury and illness have many effects; the physical ones are obvious, but the emotional effects are there as well. Every facet of your healing is important.
Expect to be heard and believed.
Regardless of your diagnosis or the seeming randomness of your symptoms, you know your own body and deserve a voice in your care.
Expect to be looked at.
MFR takes the whole body into account. While your knee injury, for example, will be treated, the root cause may be elsewhere. In light of this, bring appropriate clothing for such an assessment! Shorts, a tank top or sports bra, or underwear are appropriate apparel for treatment.
Expect your therapist’s full attention.
MFR is an individualized, one-to-one, hands on treatment. It requires that the therapist be present and attentive to what is happening with your body.
Expect to be held accountable.
As much as it is the therapist’s job to be present, the patient must be equally present in both body and mind. The therapist is there to guide and facilitate your healing journey, but your progress is ultimately your responsibility.
Expect the unexpected.
Basically, expect nothing! Be prepared to listen to your body and honour it.

Myofascial Release has been both a personal and professional experience for me. I have learned a great deal about myself and about how profound a healing journey can be. Everyone’s journey is different in it’s time-line and path, and I look forward to being part of yours.

Image courtesy of Ambro at

Shannon Stoby, PT, MScPT

DSC00358Shannon is a Physical Therapist with an interest in helping her patients achieve holistic healing from whatever ails them and achieve optimum functioning in pursuing their passions.

Shannon graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Physical Education with distinction, and followed with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy. She is licensed with the College of Physical Therapists of Ontario and is a member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

Shannon has trained extensively in John F. Barnes Myofascial Release (MFR), and this is the focus of her practice. She has worked with patients with mental illness, has trained in women’s health treatment, and is a sports enthusiast; MFR allows her a means to assist with all of these issues in a meaningful way. She has also worked across the lifespan, with experience addressing the health concerns of older adults. Through her experience in work and in life, she has come to understand that there is more to healing than just the body. While physical health is paramount, the roles of the mind and the soul in health and healing are of equal importance.

Shannon is excited for the opportunity to work with the talented team at IHI, and looks forward to working with you, in wherever the journey may lead.


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Apr 6

What Is TWICE As Deadly As Obesity?

By Dr. Marc Bubbs, ND, CSCS
Weight gain and obesity is a major cause of many of today’s chronic diseases; diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, many cancers, etc. The plethora of convenience foods, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, sugars, and carb-centric diets have led us down the path of weight gain and obesity, with 75% of the population in this category.

However, while obesity is a major health problem a new study finds that lack of movement is actually TWICE as deadly as obesity!

That’s right, not getting enough exercise or movement in your day will put you at twice the risk of developing a chronic disease, regardless of your current bodyweight. I have seen first hand in clinical practice just how profound an impact movement has on improving all areas of health and well-being.

I could outline all the ways fitting an extra 20-30 minutes of movements into your day will improve your health, but Dr. Mike Evans MD from Toronto says it better than anyone. Take 9 minutes out of your day and watch this video, it could change your life!


Enough said. Improve your mental, physical, and emotional health in 2015 by incorporating more movement into your life; cycle to work, go for a walk after dinner, take the stairs instead of the escalator, enjoy some ‘play’ time with family or friends on the weekend.

The more movement you can incorporate into your life, the better you’ll feel, the better you’ll perform at work and in the gym, and best of all… you’ll become a the better YOU!

Get started today!

Dr. Marc Bubbs, ND, CSCS, is a Naturopathic Doctor, Strength Coach, Author, Speaker, and Blogger practicing in Toronto, Canada. He believes that diet, exercise, and lifestyle factors have the most profound impact on your overall health and performance. Marc is the author of The Paleo Project – A 21st Guide to Looking Leaner, Getting Stronger, & Living Longer and currently serves as the Sports Nutrition Lead for Canadian Men’s Olympic Basketball Team.Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CSCS

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Mar 30

Laughter, Stress, and your Brain



By Dr. Marc Bubbs, ND, CSCS

Stress is a the topic of the day on most health blogs, as today’s 24/7 constant connectivity society is seemingly wreaking havoc on our bodies and brains. Most of my clients say they don’t have ‘any extra time’ in the day, they are already over-scheduled, and they don’t get as much sleep as they would like.

Stress isn’t just the inability to cope; it’s also your sympathetic nervous system and the fight or flight mode that keeps you going through busy days, weeks, months, and years! If you burn the candle at both ends, the biochemical wheels in your body must turn quickly to keep up with the high demands of your life.

So, what can you do to offset the stress on your body and improve your productivity at work, in the gym, and at home? Laugh!

Would you believe the latest and greatest research coming out shows that this cheap and cheerful method of de-stressing the body really does have merit. A recent study at Loma Linda University by Dr. Gurinder Bains MD found that people watching a funny video for 30 minutes performed better on memory tests. A keynote symptom of elevated cortisol levels is poor short-term memory, as cortisol damages the hippocampus area of your brain, where you convert short-term to long-term memory. Laughter seems to be a powerful method for reducing cortisol stress hormones.

The benefits of laughing don’t end there. A study of nursing students showed laughing – one hour sessions twice weekly – improved sleep quality, symptoms of anxiety and depression, improved their social function. Pretty impressive findings!

Heart rate variability (HRV) is growing in popularity as a means to measure your total stress load. A novel new study in patients awaiting organ transplant surgeries found that 20-minutes of laughing, ten total sessions over a 4-week period, improved mood and increased HRV. Considering the degree of stress experienced by patients awaiting life-saving surgery, these findings are quite significant and the authors concluded they warrant much further investigation.

Improve your stress levels and brain health by scheduling time for more laughing in your day. Laugh with friends, laugh with colleagues, laugh with family… it’s not only good for your mood, it’s great for your health!


Dr. Marc Bubbs, ND, CSCS,  is a Naturopathic Doctor, Strength Coach, Author, Speaker, and Blogger practicing in Toronto, Canada. He believes that diet, exercise, and lifestyle factors have the most profound impact on your overall health and performance. Marc is the author of The Paleo Project – A 21st Guide to Looking Leaner, Getting Stronger, & Living Longer and currently serves as the Sports Nutrition Lead for Canadian Men’s Olympic Basketball Team.

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Mar 23

Is Gratitude Good for Your Health?


By Dr. Shannon Vander Doelen, ND
In the spirit of our annual #IHIgratitude week, I thought it would be interesting to explore the health benefits of expressing gratitude. I hope you agree with me that being grateful, and communicating your thanks to yourself and to others makes you feel good. Many of my patients and colleagues regularly keep a gratitude journal – some make a point to write each and every day of what they are grateful for. Personally, I keep a note in my phone and jot things down from time to time as they come to me, and I re-read the list when I feel I need a boost. But is this good feeling backed up by research? I took to the scientific literature to find out.


In 2002, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published one of the first studies of its kind, which revealed that people who subjectively rate themselves as being grateful (and who are observed by others as having a grateful disposition) have a more positive affect and better well-being. This study was responsible for the creation of a tool that has been used ever since in gratitude research, the Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-6).


A 2009 Study from the Journal of Adolescence assessed 154 teenagers to see if experiencing and expressing gratitude had any benefits. The researchers found that gratitude was associated with positive affect, life satisfaction, social support, optimism, and less negative physical symptoms. Interestingly, they also found that boys may develop more social benefits from gratitude than girls.


A more recent study from 2014 in the Research on Aging journal found that older adults who are less grateful rate their health less favourably than those who are more grateful.


It’s clear that Gratitude is good for your health! The great news is that you can foster gratitude with simple exercises. Some ideas for you and your family are:

  • Keep a gratitude journal – take note of things you are grateful for either on a daily basis or as you notice them
  • Shift your thoughts – challenge yourself to notice when you have negative thoughts and shift your attitude towards what you could be grateful for in that moment. For example, if the subway is delayed or there is traffic on your way to work, instead of focusing on the negative, try to frame your thoughts as being grateful for public transit or your car that can help you safely get to work.
  • Talk about it over dinner – when you sit down to a family meal, ask everyone at the table to share one thing they are grateful for from their day, no matter how big or small.



Shannon will work with you to help you live your healthiest and happiest life. Since this means something different to everyone, she is excited about exploring your individual needs and working with you to create a treatment plan that is unique and sustainable for you and your busy lifestyle. Shannon is passionate about health and happiness and believes that the two go hand-in-hand.

Clinically, Shannon practices functional medicine. She maintains a general family practice, with a special interest in managing fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression; digestive health; skin health; irregular or painful menstruation; and endocrine/hormonal disorders.


Mccullough ME, Emmons RA, Tsang JA (2002). The grateful disposition: a conceptual and empirical topography. J Pers Soc Psychol, 82(1):112-27.

Froh JJ, Yurkewicz C, Kashdan TB (2009). Gratitude and subjective well-being in early adolescence: examining gender differences. J Adolesc, 32(3):633-50.

Krause N, Hayward RD (2014). Hostility, religious involvement, gratitude and self-rated health in late life. Res Aging, 36(6):731-52.


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Mar 16

The Magic of Gratitude

IHI Gratitude image

By: Corinne K. Intuitive Reiki + Crystal Healing. Soulful Living Coach.

 More often than not, when we’re feeling stuck, restless or frustrated with something in our lives, we focus on it. We invest energy in complaining about situations, people, places or things that we’re feeling unhappy or unfulfilled about. We can’t stop thinking about whatever’s troubling us, pouring over the details and finding ourselves falling deeper and deeper into the difficulty behind an issue. The problem is that when we do this, we’re directing our energy to the wrong place.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” ~ Nikola Tesla, Inventor + Engineer

Like attracts like and the more we feel good, the more we feel good. So when we focus on negativity, we’re essentially perpetuating an existing negative situation and asking for more negativity.


Getting into a habit of gratitude is powerful.

When we’re grateful for what we have – even if it isn’t perfect or quite what we want yet – we’re telling the universe that we’re open for more to be grateful for. We send out the vibe that we’re ready to take on more good things that come our way and that we appreciate what has already been sent to us.

Embracing a sense of gratitude is the same as building any other healthy habit. Research shows that if you can stick to something for 21 days, you’re more likely to make that action a habit in your life. So if you want to start feeling better about your relationships, job, yourself – or anything in your life for that matter – it’s important to direct your energy where you want it to flourish and expand.


Gratitude Challenge

For the next 21 days, take a couple of minutes every day to list 3 things you’re grateful for. Set up an appointment in your calendar to go off everyday to prompt you to sit down with a journal and pen. Reflect on the last 24 hours and list 3 things that you’re thankful for. This can be anything from the fact that you caught the train on time, to the perfect lunch you ate, a kind smile from a stranger or the greetings your dog gave you as you walked into the door after work. Even the littlest things can be a source of joy. Once the universe sees that you’re thankful for what you have, it’ll begin to send you more.

Start right now by thinking of someone you love, someone who has made a huge impact in your life and has supported you through tough times. Pick up the phone and call that person. Tell them why you love them and let them know how much they mean to you. Let them know that you’re happy to have them in your life. You’d be surprised what kind of an impact expressing your gratitude can make on someone’s day and yours.

When you’re not journaling over the next 21 days, try to be mindful when your thoughts are going to a negative space. Catch yourself when you’re getting caught up in negativity about anything and pause to remember all the good stuff in your day instead. I’m not saying you have to shove difficulties under the rug and ignore them but remember that we can often make mountains out of molehills and make a small, crappy situation a bigger deal than it needs to be.

Happy gratitude-ing!


Through intuitive Reiki, crystal healing and coaching, Corinne guides her clients to live more authentic lives by encouraging them to identify what they truly need and begin to move away from what no longer serves them. She helps them live a life that feels more free, empowered and inspired.

Check out her website for more information and sign up for her 7-Day Soul Lift and weekly newsletter crafted to help you live a more soulful life.



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