Dec 15

There’s an App for That! – Women’s Health

dab17e994be1be8eecba3005b4d2-400x337By Dr Jen Newell, ND

This is the second in Dr. Newell’s series ‘There’s an App for That!’ Check out her recommendations for fitness apps here

Health support is available at our fingertips these days. If you want to lose weight, get in shape, track your diet or your menstrual cycle there’s an app for that! Apps geared towards women’s health provide self-awareness and empowerment so women can take control of their well-being. Below are 3 of my favourite women’s health apps:

Period Tracker:

The lite version of this app is completely free. It allows the user to track their menstrual cycle, symptoms of choice (including bloating, cramps and spotting) and their mood throughout the month. Based on the information that is input the app creates a calendar the shows predicted dates for menses, ovulation, and fertile window. This app is very popular among my patients and makes monitoring your menstrual cycle very easy.

Calm:

Calm.com began as a website intended to help stressed, busy, overwhelmed individuals take a much needed mental break. The website offers guided mediations to promote relaxation in various time intervals depending on how much time you have. The app offers a portable version of the website that can be easily used on your commute or in the office. Guided sessions range from 3-30 minutes in length. Everyone needs a moment of quiet and calm in our busy lives.

Lumosity:

Most people have heard about Lumosity or seen the television adds for this app. Lumosity is a training program created by neurologists to exercise your brain and improve cognitive function. It uses fun and challenging games to work various cognitive skills and parts of the brain. This is a way to play games on you phone and improve your cognitive health.

Mindshift:

This app was designed to help users work through steps to control their anxiety. The user will learn how to relax and develop more helpful ways of thinking about situations that can be anxiety provoking. MindShift is the work of a joint collaboration between AnxietyBC, a non-profit organization devoted to increasing the public’s awareness and access to evidence-based resources on anxiety disorders, and BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority.

 

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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Dec 8

#PhoneEmotion

Screen shot 2014-11-04 at 10.28.48 AMBy Lauren Berger, MSW, RSW

Pay attention. What emotional reaction do you get when your e-mail ringtone goes off on your phone? Excitement? Dread? Concern? Although the use of technology is important in our society, we also seem to be having emotional reactions. Perhaps the average teenager gets a little rush or sense of excitement when they hear their text ringtone. The average 30somethings working on Bay Street may notice their stomachs clench at every e-mail alert. Why? It seems that the more an event happens (stressful late night e-mail) and there is an alert that we associate with it (cell phone “ding”), we pair the two together, making the alert set off the reaction that the event would have set off… However, the alert in itself is nothing about which to be stressed. But we are! Like Pavlov’s dogs, we are creating associations. When they are attached to our phones — which are always attached to us! — it seems to lead to a stress response overload that may very well be unnecessary. Just because you hear your e-mail alert at 9:00PM doesn’t mean that you’ve been assigned a new work task; but you may fear that you have. So your notification from amazon.ca or your Evite from Aunt Sally to a holiday party gets the same reaction from you — probably one of stress or anxiety — that is unnecessary. Why is this a problem? Well, we all seem to have enough stress in our lives without creating extra, unnecessary stress from being afraid of our phones!

The good news is that this stress can be avoided. At a designated time during the evening (I’d recommend between 7:00-8:00PM), silence your phone’s notifications. This way, you can check your phone at your leisure without feeling dread if your ringtone goes off. Also, you will easily see and identify where your e-mail is coming from, rather than agonizing for the short period between hearing your ringtone and actually checking your phone. The bonus of this tip is that you may feel like you’re getting your evenings back and detaching from your phone! While this is scary for some, many find it a welcome change from being constantly “plugged in” or overly available. Try this simple solution for one week and notice how you feel by Friday.

Lauren Berger is a Registered Social Worker providing counselling and psychotherapy at IHI.  Check her out at www.laurenberger.ca, drop her a line at lauren@laurenberger.ca, or follow her on Twitter: @LaurenBergerMSW.

main image from Flickr via Creative Commons.

 

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Dec 1

Naturopathic Concussion Management

concussionBy Shannon Vander Doelen, HBSc, ND

Concussions are an injury that we hear a lot about due to their prevalence amongst NHL and NFL stars. Despite the fact that it is one of the most common neurological disorders in athletes and non-athletes alike, little research has been done in the field of non-sport concussions, and this is why physicians often have difficulty treating people with these injuries. The good news is that we can take sport related concussion research and “return-to-play” protocols and adapt it for proper management of non-sport related concussions.

Maybe you fell off your bike, slipped on some ice, tripped when you were walking, were playing a sport with your friends or kids, or even fainted – if you hit your head, you might have had a concussion. And if you’ve had a concussion, it’s likely that you will experience some undesirable symptoms, and perhaps you’ll need a “return-to-life” protocol before you can start to feel better.

A concussion, or a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), is defined as a complex pathophysiological process that affects the brain due to some type of biomechanical force (either a direct blow to the head, face, or neck, or to another part of the body with an “impulsive” force that gets transmitted to the head). In more simple terms, a concussion is an injury that causes the brain to shake in the skull and results in symptoms that are related to the disruption of normal brain function, and are not necessarily due to any structural injury of the brain.
Once your medical doctor has ruled out any complications, such as bleeding or fracture, you may be wondering what the next steps are in terms of managing your injury. It is estimated that 80-90% of patients who get a concussion recover in 7-10 days. However, that means 10-20% of these people will have persistent post-concussion symptoms for weeks or even months.
After a concussion there may be many physiological processes and reactions that are not functioning normally. This can be due to inflammation, disruptions to our neurotransmitters that are responsible for how we think and react, oxidative stress that may lead to cellular damage, “excitotoxicity” or excessive neuron stimulation, and mitochondrial dysfunction leading to decreased energy produced for brain cells. Additionally, there may be post-traumatic deficiency of certain vitamins, minerals and nutrients due to their increased use by the body after the injury. Ultimately, all of these factors can contribute to any number of symptoms that are associated with concussions, including:
Headache
Dizziness
Nausea/vomiting
Light or noise sensitivity
Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Visual disturbance (blurring, stars)
Difficulty with balance
Fatigue
Depression or anxiety
Difficulty with sleep (too much or too little)
Difficulty concentrating
Brain Fog, or just not feeling like yourself
Neck and shoulder pain or stiffness

I’m still not feeling right, what should I do?


Naturopathic medicine focuses on treating the cause of your symptoms. Though nothing can reverse your head injury, figuring out what physiological processes are contributing to your symptoms is critical. With this knowledge, an evidence-based treatment plan can be developed that will help you to return-to-life symptom free.

Lifestyle Modifications

Think of your brain injury like a broken bone. In order to heal, it needs rest. Immediately after a concussion you need complete physical and cognitive rest. If you are still having symptoms after a few days, it is likely a sign that you are doing too much too soon. You need a step-by-step protocol in place where you don’t move on to the next step until you are symptom free. You may require strategies to help you get back to work or school, manage stress or anxiety, get adequate sleep, and modify your exercise plan to promote optimal brain health and recovery. An important habit to adopt if experiencing symptoms is to limit your screen time to an absolute minimum (TV, cell phone, tablets, and computers). Not only are screens incredibly stimulating to our brain, they can contribute to headaches, visual disturbances, light sensitivity and sleep issues that result from concussions.

Diet


Changing our diet is one of the best ways to mitigate inflammation. It is helpful to adopt a diet where you avoid foods that promote inflammation like red meat, sugar and dairy, and add foods that decrease inflammation such as herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables. Additionally, if you have any food sensitivities, consuming those foods may result in additional inflammation for you. This may include eggs, gluten, or certain fruits and vegetables.
Did you know that your brain is surrounded by fluid? So remember to also stay hydrated, drinking at least 1.5-2L of water per day to keep the environment around your brain as healthy as possible.

Supplementation

Though diet and lifestyle changes are often profound in their effect, supplementation is also important to correct for any deficiencies and address some of the dysfunctional processes that are occurring in our brain. Fish oil has been show to be very important for brain health and recovery after a concussion. Antioxidants like curcumin and resveratrol can be supplemented in concentrated doses to help counteract oxidative stress. Certain vitamins and minerals may also help to correct any faulty physiological reactions. Vitamin D and magnesium have been shown to help decrease inflammation and decrease neuron excitability respectively.

Acupuncture


Acupuncture is incredibly effective at treating the nervous system, and helping to calm down any neurological “excitability” that may be present. It is helpful for sleep disturbances, headaches and anxiety. Furthermore, certain acupuncture points increase blood flow to specific areas of the brain. When the brain gets adequate blood flow, there is proper delivery of nutrients for repair and removal of waste products that will help to decrease inflammation.

Soft-Tissue Therapy

After any injury our soft tissue structures like muscles, tendons and ligaments may react by tightening up or by under-performing. If you are experiencing headaches, neck or shoulder pain and stiffness, seeking out additional physical therapy from a chiropractor, registered massage therapist or osteopath may help to correct any soft-tissue dysfunction.
Suffering from a concussion can be very difficult both physically and emotionally. It is important for your long term brain health that you manage this correctly! Your naturopathic doctor can make specific and individualized recommendations along with monitoring your progress so that you can feel better and return-to-life symptom free.

References
Marshall S, Bayley M, McCullagh S, Velikonja D, Berrigan L. Clinical practice guidelines for mild traumatic brain injury and persistent symptoms. Can Fam Physician 2012;58:257-67.
McCrory P, et al. Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport – the 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport. Clin J Sport Med 2013;23:89–117.
Maroon JC, Blaylock R, Bost J, LePere D. Post Concussion Syndrome – Pathophysiology and Non-Pharmacological Approaches to Treatment. 2011;1-23.
Cernkovich Barrett E, McBurney MI, Ciappio ED. Omega 3 Fatty Acid Supplementation as a Potential Therapeutic Aid for the Recovery from Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion. Adv. Nutr. S 2014;5:268-277.

IMG_2905_2Shannon 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.
Photo Credit: mislav-m via Compfight cc

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Nov 24

Let Life Romance You

WOMANby Corinne K., Authentic Living Coach & Reiki Practitioner

In many shamanic societies, if you go to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited or depressed, they don’t throw a couple of pink pills at you and tell you to come back again in a month if things don’t get better. Instead, they ask you the following questions:

When did you stop dancing?

When did you stop singing?

When did you stop being enchanted by stories?

When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?

Dancing, singing, storytelling and silence are the four universal salves. When we’re depressed, anxious, rundown and stuck, we can look to play, creativity and mindfulness techniques to get us feeling like ourselves again.

When we’re stuck, we fail to see new perspectives.

When we’re stuck, we live in our heads and create scenarios and situations to worry about, that haven’t even happened yet.

When we’re stuck, we’re disconnected from ourselves, others and the world.

Getting unstuck is about getting back to basics: loosening up, tossing out the thoughts, things, people and situations that no longer serve us and getting reconnected to what our gut is telling us we need.

Living is more than following a daily routine. Truly living is about appreciating every moment in the day. It’s about noticing the change in the seasons – the Fall colours. It’s about being grateful for what we’ve got. It’s about focusing on the good. It’s about enjoying moments and making memories.

Getting unstuck and truly living is about letting life romance you again.

Bio PicCorinne K.
Change Catalyst. Reiki Practitioner. Soul Healer.

I help my clients live more authentic and full lives by encouraging them to embrace change and life holistically.  My coaching is a mix of straight-up conversations, goal setting, Reiki, creativity and fun. For more information on Corinne, please check out her website.

Corinne is hosting a seminar, ‘Getting Unstuck’ at IHI Thursday, November 27th 6:30-7:30pm. Sign up here!

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Nov 19

Movember Men’s Mental Health

Tired Man Sitting on BedBy Dr Jen Newell

It’s November, a month where the focus turns to men’s health and our facebook pages are filled with moustaches. I love that there is greater awareness regarding prostate cancer and that younger men are motivated to action. While this is a cause that fully deserves the recognition it gets, I want to also illuminate other health concerns that men regularly experience and that I see frequently in practice. Most often I see the effects of stress, most often anxiety and depression, as the reason men visit a Naturopathic Doctor.

Both men and women get depression but men experience it very differently than women do. Men are more likely to feel very tired and irritable, and lose interest in their work, family, or hobbies. They may be more likely to have difficulty sleeping than women who have depression. And although women with depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide.

Unfortunately, many men do not recognize, acknowledge or seek out help for depression. They are often more reluctant to discuss how they are feeling and downplay their symptoms. Often the reason I see them in my office is because the women in their lives urge them to seek help.

Signs and symptoms of depression:

  • Feeling sad or “empty”
  • Feeling hopeless, irritable or anxious
  • Loss of interest in work, family, or hobbies
  • Fatigue/exhaustion
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Changes in sleep patterns (insomnia or hypersomnia)
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Increased pain, headaches or digestive concerns
  • Risky behavior or substance abuse

Depression Checklist

Naturopathic Treatment of Anxiety and Depression in Men:

  • Dietary Modifications:

Balancing blood glucose is critical in managing depression. If you are consuming heavily processed foods loaded with sugar, white flour, artificial flavours, colors and sweeteners these ingredients in your can wreck havoc on your body and mind. These “food-like” products lead to decreases in energy, poor focus and concentration and hormonal imbalances that impact blood sugar regulation and other hormonal processes in the body.

  • Supplemental Support:

A number of botanicals and nutrients have a powerful effect on mood and stress. These can be personalized for each individual’s needs but things like St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP, L-Theanine, B vitamins and Kava Kava are frequently used for alleviating depression and reducing the physical impact of stress. Addressing stress has a significant impact on depression and its associated symptoms.

What are you doing to improve the health of the men in your life? Are you growing a moustache to rival Tom Selleck or Groucho Marx?

Resources:

National Institute of Mental Health – www.nimh.nih.gov

Depression Hurts – www.depressionhurts.ca

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – www.camh.ca

Movember Canada – http://ca.movember.com

http://ca.movember.com/mens-health/mental-health

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.
Photo Credit: Mic445 via Compfight cc

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Nov 17

Physical Restoration Through Breathing and Mindful Movement

mindfullnessBy Odette Oliver, RMT

I can’t help but notice the ‘energy’, the ‘buzz’ our city creates. I see people rushing around with heads down, eating while on the move, constantly checking an electronic devise, sitting for hours at poor ergonomic work stations, and even exercising like crazy. Our fast paced world has led us to set our goals very high for everything; but the stress of our work, and play, is slowly taking its toll.

Stress triggers the release of chemicals such as steroids and adrenalin into our body, preparing our body and psyche to tackle a threat. Today that threat could be a business deadline, an argument with a boss, being stuck in traffic, family obligations, illness, money. How do we get everything done? If these triggers are ongoing those chemicals don’t ‘switch off’. Our nervous system is kept in a hyper active state, and the ‘switch off’ process that would return our body to normal is compromised, and balance is lost. Sometimes the process is slow and we don’t realize that stress has become the ‘new normal’. This loss of balance can lead to both physical and psychological damage.

The body will respond to stress in the same physiological way whether we perceive the activity as fun or as danger. Some of the short term activities we use to deal with our stress can seem like fun for a while: a drink after work, run for the burn, rewarding comfort food. But when these become long term behaviors our immune system can be compromised leaving us open for illness.

In work or play we are not giving ourselves enough time to restore the balance. Stress management techniques can help. We have to re-learn to relax our nervous system without over exciting it.

At IHI I will be running a series of 6 evenings exploring relaxation techniques for stress management. Starting in January………2015

Through mindful movement and breathing the only goal is to be there exploring at your own pace.

Resting on the floor and starting very simply with breathing, imagery,’ body scanning’ and undemanding stretching I hope to explore ‘physical restoration’ so we can normalize our stress responses while negotiating our stressful environment.

Here is a sample exercise:

Isometric exercise

The awareness of muscle tension held in your body.

Only hold your breath for as long as it is comfortable to do so. Breathe in through your nose and out slowly through your mouth.

To start take a slow, deep breath, in and out, 3 times. Then continue breathing normally.

Gradually tense up your whole body as if you were becoming rigid then let go.

Do this with one part of your body (isolate) your arm for instance, then the other arm.

Now breathe in and hold your breath and tense up one arm, as you breathe out release the tension in your arm. Now do this with the other arm.

Now try the exercise isolating one leg and then the other.

To isolate further:

Starting at the right foot then the left, and continue in the following order:

CalfUntitled

Thigh

Buttock

Push your back down into the floor (which muscle are you using?)

Continue up to your shoulder blades

Back of your head

Continue to the right hand, left hand

Fore-arm, upper arm to the face

Squeeze your eyes tight shut and let go put keep your eyes closed

Now purse your lips, let go

Frown and smile

Take 3 big easy breaths in

Again breathe in and hold make your whole body rigid and let go

Breathe normally

Stretch out as if you were getting up in the morning, let go breath normally.

When ready roll onto your side and sit up slowly

 

Odette will be hosting a complimentary seminars on Tuesday, November 18th and Tuesday, December 2nd, please sign up here or here.

Odette graduated from Sutherland and Chan School and Teaching Clinic in 1997. Since that time she has been practicing and teaching massage therapy in Ontario and Nova Scotia. In Halifax she was the School Director of ICT Northumberland College School of Massage Therapy,  where her teaching focused on communication. Throughout her teaching career, Odette has stressed the importance of good body mechanics, physical awareness and relaxation techniques.

Her previous career began in England as a dancer and choreographer. She worked extensively with painters, photographers, and actors in exploring barriers to ‘freedom of movement’, in the context of character development and performance improvement. Now Odette continues to promote ‘freedom of movement’ as a massage therapist.

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Nov 10

Top 6 Reasons WHY You Are “Soooooo Tired”

tired-woman

By Dr Erin Wiley, ND

Tired? You are not alone, the vast majority of clients I see in practice either generally want more energy, or are exhausted and struggling to understand why. Most people reach for a coffee or sugary snack as a solution to their energy crisis on a daily basis. Despite that fact, one thing is certain, you are NOT suffering from a caffeine or sugar deficiency. So, if you are finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning, can’t get through the workday without that second cup in that afternoon, or don’t have the energy to exercise or socialize, it’s time to get your health back on track and understand the root cause of your less than optimal energy production.

6. Iron and Vitamin B12

We need iron and vitamin B12 to make healthy red blood cells that circulate oxygen to every single cell in our body. Without oxygen our cells literally can’t breathe and will eventually die. Hemoglobin, iron and B12 levels are very easy to test and can be deficient in some cases, especially for those who follow a vegan/vegetarian diet or who have heavy periods or blood loss. While nutrient deficiency is something most people think of when they hear the word “fatigue”, and it is very important to rule out and address, it may be surprising to hear that it is not the number one reason why most people in my practice are experiencing low energy levels. However, if this is the case a nutrition plan from your Naturopath can make all the difference.

5. Pollution and Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Mitochondria are the tiny organelles that live inside our cells and make ATP (the chemical currency of energy in the body). Literally the amount of energy we can make and spend every day is dependant on both the health and number of mitochondria in our tissue. These energy powerhouses depend on a number of micronutrients to run efficiently. Chemicals in our daily environment can deplete the body of these nutrient energy co-factors, cause a great deal of oxidative stress and disrupt our metabolic pathways. Once we hit the tipping point between too much chemical exposure and not enough protective nutrients our mitochondria start to struggle and this can cause a drastic decline in energy, mood, focus and concentration. Chemical exposure can come from everywhere; car exhaust, cigarette smoke, pesticides, dry cleaning, resin and glue in our carpets, flame retardants in our electronics and furniture and even drugs especially some anti-biotics, HIV meds, and chemotherapy. Your Naturopathic Doctor can teach you how to limit your exposure, maximize your protective and energy producing nutrients, and even test your toxic load. That way, you can prevent energy depletion from becoming chronic degenerative disease.

4. Endocrine Disruption Thyroid and Adrenal Health

Your endocrine system is made up of glands that are responsible for making hormones that travel in your blood stream and tell your cells what to do. Your thyroid gland controls your metabolism and your adrenal glands respond to stress. Your endocrine system will start to malfunction when it is exhausted from stress, disrupted or damaged by chemicals in our environment, or lacks the basic nutrient building blocks that drive hormone production. Once these glands are exhausted they cannot function properly. Symptoms usually include fatigue, an inability to loose weight, dry hair and nails, poor wound healing and recovery, no stamina, low mood, poor focus and concentration. You will not feel or perform better until your body has the time, energy and tools to repair your endocrine tissue. This is where Naturopathic Doctors can really help to address endocrine burnout. ND’s have the tools to assess and identify endocrine stress (even in its early stages) and an understanding of the support your thyroid and adrenal glands need to fully recover.

3. Sugar And Coffee Actually Cause Fatigue

Sadly our cultural habits around food promote fatigue. While sugar and caffeine might give you an initial energy boost, do not buy into the short term energy high, you are setting yourself up for a rebound energy crash. There is nothing you can do about it. This is an innate biological response. When you eat sugar or coffee you will spike our insulin and this is what creates the roller coaster of energy ups and downs. Insulin is what I like to call “the hybernation hormone”, it slows your metabolism, signals your body to store fat, causes your blood sugar to drop, making you feel tired and crave more sugar. If you then eat more sugar to feel better you will surly make more insulin and the cycle will continue. The more carbohydrates and coffee you consume the more consistently tired you will feel. Breaking the insulin cycle might seem daunting but your ND can help you make some simple and surprising dietary changes that will get your hormones working with you and not against you.

2. Stress, Insomnia and Sleep deprivation

Many of us drastically underestimated how much stress we are under. It has become a cultural norm to work 10-12 hour days, to always be “on call”, to be constantly stimulated and distracted by technology. Stress occurs when the body responds to a challenge. We need to consider not only the stresses that we perceive as negative but also how “busy” we are, the number of demands are on our time, just how many challenges we need to overcome on a daily basis? When we are stressed we engage the fight or flight response. Our brain diverts resources away from digestion, energy production, recovery and repair of our tissue, and our immune system. Resources are channeled towards dealing with the perceived stressor. This response is protective in the short term but very harmful in the long term. I challenge you to consider, if your “to-do” list never ends and you don’t have time to unplug, when does your body have the time to build new healthy cells, repair tissue damage, rebalance our endocrine and nervous system? If you believe that relaxation is not productive, think again? Your cells just might be at their busiest when you are at rest.

1. Sitting At Your Desk, In Your Car And On Your Couch.

A favorite saying around the clinic is that “movement is medicine” but culturally we can easily get caught up in sitting. Sitting at our desk, sitting in our car, sitting at the table, and sitting on the couch. Unfortunately all of this “sitting” means we are not asking our body to make energy. There is a reason why those of us who love spin class, run marathons, and go to cross fit have more energy to burn, we are literally signaling our body to make more mitochondria and signaling those mitochondria to make more ATP (energy). Muscle tissue contains more mitochondria than any other tissue in the body. The more muscle tissue we have, the more energy we can make. However, it is not just formal exercise that signals the body to make more energy but really the total amount of movement we get in a day. Walking or cycling to work, taking the stairs, getting up from your desk at least every hour, all of these choices add up to more energy production. When it comes to productivity and better performance a sedentary lifestyle is having the single biggest impact on our energy potential. So when it comes to wanting more energy literally…. move it or loose it!

If you are concerned about your energy levels, feeling exhausted, or just want to perform at your best? Your Naturopathic Doctor can help you understand the cause of your fatigue and create an action oriented treatment that just might change your entire life.

Want more information? Join Dr. Wiley at noon on Tuesday, November 25th for her seminar on ‘6 Reasons WHY You Are Sooooooo Tired’. Sign up here

Dr. Erin Wiley is a naturopathic doctor with a strong focus on preventative and integrative medicine. She is the Co-founder and Clinic Director of the Integrative Health Institute, an integrative medical clinic located in downtown Toronto. Erin has a strong clinical emphasis on stress related illness, anxiety, depression and hormone balance. As a naturopathic doctor, Erin is passionate about working with people to help them better understand their health and achieve their health goals.

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Nov 3

Certification in Restorative Medicine #BetterDoctorBetterCare

DSC00079By Dr Jen Newell, ND

I was recently in Santa Fe, New Mexico attending the annual Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine (AARM) conference. This conference was a amazing opportunity to connect with like-minded Naturopathic Doctors, MDs, Nurse Practitioners and other integrative medicine practitioners. Not only was I able to learn from some truly great minds, but I was also able to participate in a certification in Restorative Medicine. This certification encompasses an evidence-based review of thyroid function including treatment protocols for optimizing thyroid health, using Triiodothyronine, botanicals and nutritional medicines to support the thyroid system.

What is Restorative Medicine?

The purpose of Restorative Medicine is to restore the delicate balance of system functions to achieve optimal health. With this goal, Restorative Medicine enhances healthy aging and promotes vitality and longevity. By reaching beyond simple symptomatic relief, it explores the root cause of disease with the purpose of halting tissue degeneration and optimizing cellular, endocrine and metabolic function. Restorative Medicine is patient-specific rather than disease-specific. By working with the biological individuality of the patient, a path is cleared to re-create balance and promote healthy aging.

Restorative Medicine is comprised of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies that, combined with lifestyle changes are capable of preventing future disease and slow or halt the progression of existing diseases. It is powered by novel, evidence- based therapies that are published in peer-reviewed medical journals and shared in a variety of medical education opportunities. Both conventional medical practitioners and Naturopathic doctors utilize hormones, nutrition and herbal therapies to effectively practice Restorative Medicine.

How Restorative Medicine can Help You:

I am so excited to be able to offer my patients more innovative care and new ideas to enhance their health. In particular, to promote metabolic processes and thyroid function by establishing optimal body temperature.

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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Oct 27

Do Your Boobs Hang Low?

By Nancy J. Brooks, RMT

I’d like to invite you to consider how much you support your girls… your boobs!!!

From my experience as an RMT, the amount of support from your bra that you give your girls is directly related to the amount of tension in your back, neck and shoulder muscles.

If you want to offer your girls more support, please consider these 3 tips when choosing a bra that will help your boobs to be comfortably lifted and separated:

  1. Your rib cage: Get YOUR proper measurement that fits snug and choose a material that’s comfortable and moves WITH YOU. This area targets the side body muscles that assist in shoulder blade stability and keeps the girls from wobbling to and fro.
  1. The cups: You know you’ve got the right fit when your cup does NOT runneth over and you DO NOT have a uni-boob. Placing the girls comfortably in their own cups helps the neck and mid back muscles with their job of keeping the upper body lifted.
  1. Shoulder Straps: Adjustable! One size does NOT fit all! Be empowered to choose how much lift YOU want to give to YOUR back and shoulder muscles. For a little extra assistance to the mid back muscles, give the racer back or “T” style a try. You can even buy a device that clips on to your old school style bra and “ta-da” you have an immediate racer back or “T” style support.

Show your girls some love! Take them to your local department store or specialty shop and have a professional measure them up right so you and your boobs can feel supported all day long!

Integrative-033Nancy J Brooks has enthusiastically been practicing as a Registered Massage Therapist in good standing with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario since 2000.  Upon completion of her Massage Therapy diploma from Sutherland-Chan School and Teaching Clinic, Ms. Brooks felt compelled to immerse herself in both rehabilitative and spa treatment settings; her goal was to understand and experience the myriad approaches to healing.

For more information about Nancy or massage therapy at the Integrative Health Institute, contact Nancy here.

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Oct 20

How Can a Naturopathic Doctor Help with Infertility?

Integrative-083By Dr Jen Newell, ND

There are a number of ways in which a Naturopathic Doctor can support fertility and increase chances of natural conception and success with assisted reproductive technologies. Below are ways in which a Naturopath can help:

  1. Time

Naturopathic Doctors have the privilege of having time to get to know their patients’ and their unique needs. With an initial visit of an hour and half, a Naturopath has the opportunity to understand the patient’s individual concerns and with appropriate follow-ups can devise a personalized treatment plan. Patient’s report feeling supported, understood and listened to, which can help to alleviate the stress often associated with trying to conceive.

  1. Counseling

With the time given to understanding patients unique needs, Naturopathic Doctors are able to learn more about the emotional impact of trying to conceive and can address both physical and emotional concerns.

  1. Holistic Practices

Naturopathic Doctors consider the whole body and lifestyle of a patient when creating an integrative treatment plan. Not only is fertility improved, but overall health is supported so often patients report more restorative sleep, improved digestive function and increased energy as a result of treatment.

  1. Stress and Anxiety Management

Research into Naturopathic Medicine has found that seeing a Naturopath reduces stress for patients by 15-20%. Patients feel listened to and are able to discuss aspects of their care and lives to reduce perceived stress. Managing stress increases chances of successful conception. Naturopathic care is also helpful at reducing anxiety associated with fertility treatments.

  1. Diet Counseling

Counseling patients to adopt a healthier diet improves overall health and supports fertility. Naturopathic Doctors are able to support patients in this transition and provide support for eliminating dependency on certain foods such as coffee and sugar. They are also able to identify and address nutrient deficiencies through diet and appropriate supplements.

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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