June is Pride Month and is a time when many of us reflect on how to be a better ally for the 2SLGBTQ+ community. As a fourth-year social work student, I am consistently learning about marginalized communities and ways in which I can foster a more inclusive, safe, and accepting society. I’ve included some ways below that I hope helps to ensure that we are honouring and acknowledging diversity and the Pride community, not only in June but every single day.
1) Using correct pronouns. We cannot assume we know how someone identifies; you may have noticed social media platforms getting on board to encourage the normalization of sharing one’s pronouns. Instagram now has a feature where you can edit this into your profile/bio. In my social work classes, we always start the semester with an introduction of ourselves and the pronouns we would like to be called. It’s a simple way to steer clear of performative allyship and embody taking action toward inclusivity.
2) Acknowledge diversity within the 2SLGBTQ+ community. There are marginalized communities within umbrella terms and it’s important to amplify those voices as well.
3) Donate to causes and support companies that demonstrate allyship. There are many 2SLGBTQ+ organizations that need help to support their clients and provide the best services for those in need. It’s also a good idea to take some time reflecting on the companies you buy from and if they also support marginalized communities. Some of my friends are asking for donations for the Pride run, so that is another way to not only support fellow allies but to directly support 2SLGBTQ+ organizations.
4) Active Listening. Who better to teach and help allies understand what is needed better than those within the 2SLGBTQ+ community? Providing a safe space to listen and learn can go a long way.
5) Speaking up with friends/family. We may witness moments where we feel called to correct the language used or beliefs our family or friends hold. It can be uncomfortable, but change doesn’t occur unless we speak up for the voices that are not present.
Of course, there are many more ways we can show up and I encourage you to research and acknowledge your own social location. Let’s learn and grow together to become better allies! #loveislove
By: Jessica Kristy, Social Work Student/Office Manager
5 Tips and Tricks to help you add mindfulness into your child’s day.
- “Try a sun salutation”: Try doing some simple sun salutations with your kid in the morning. Stand up and take a deep breath in together, reaching your hands up to the sky. Then relax everything on the exhale. Repeat twice more.
- “Silent meditation”: Next time you’re waiting with your child in line at the grocery store ask them stay silent for 60 seconds and try to listen to all the sounds around them.
- “Noticing the new”: When walking on paths you normally take- say your way to the park or to daycare- challenge your child to find things they haven’t noticed or seen before. For example, a plant in someone’s garden or a bike rack.
- “Gratitude gab”: This is a great one to do before bed or at the dinner table with the whole family. Ask everyone to name one thing they are grateful for or tell everyone about something good that happened that day.
- “Bedtime bliss”: Try a progressive relaxation exercise with your child to help them calm down before bed. Get them to relax all of their body parts, starting with their toes and moving up to their feet, ankles and all the way up to their head.
- “Stuffie breaths”: Help your kid learn how to take mindful breaths. During playtime, or before bed, get your child to lie down on their back and place their favourite stuffie on their tummy. Get them to take deep breaths into their belly, so that their stuffie gets to sail up and down as they breathe.
Dr. Kristin Heins, ND, Psychotherapist
By: Dr. Kristin Heins, ND, Psychotherapist
Covid 19 is making viral infections global news and concern so far this year. As a naturopathic doctor this also means a lot of focus on immunity boosting.Customizing immune protocols to the specific need of the patient is part of my practice as things like age, medication regime and lifestyle can and do impact treatment regimes so definitely consider speaking to someone licensed who can address you as an individual.That said, I wanted to blog a bit on an immune booster that is relevant across the board and that is sleep! Sleep is not just wasted or unproductive hours in a day. Sleep is actually the time when the body rests and repairs. We know this scientifically because good rest shows correlations with our infection fighting white blood cells.So for starters if you are wanting to keep your body as healthy and ready to fight infections as it can be, make sure you are sleeping well. If not work to fix it! This may require consultation with a health care practitioner – there are pharmaceutical and nutraceutical options available – but certainly if not already adopting the following healthy sleep hygiene tips start with these:
- Turn off devices 60 min before sleep as they stimulate not sedate our brains and nervous system.
- Adopt a similar sleep and wake pattern (time and routine) as this helps our body more easy move in and out of rest.
- Limit / reduce sugar, alcohol and caffeine as these all can be negatively impactful on sleep.
- Identify sources of stress and work to reduce them or find someone to help. Stress often creates mental emotional and nervous system activation that negatively contributes to sleep.
For more help with stress reduction, sleep supporter or immune boosting talk to your doctor or health care practitioner.
If you’re home and feeling the effects of missed manual treatments and maybe a less than ideal work station setup, our osteopath, Marine Burkhardt, has some tips on how to stay comfortable until you’re able to get back in to see your favourite practitioner for some hands on care.
On the painful area, apply hot and cold alternately: 10 minutes of each for 40 minutes. For hot, you can use a hot water bottle and for cold you can use an ice pack or ice cubes. Be sure to put a cloth around it so as not to burn your skin. You can use a tennis ball at home to massage the painful area. If it’s your back, for example, place the ball between you and the wall. For your buttocks, you can sit on it to massage the muscles of the buttocks.
Torticollis, Cervical Pain (Neck Pain
Gently move your neck up and down, turn your head right and left, tilt your head (bring your right ear close to your right shoulder and bring your left ear close to your left shoulder). Do these movements for 3 seconds each, 10 repetitions, 3 times a day.
Stretching of the trapezius muscle (its role: lowering or raising the shoulders, bowing and head flexion). Sitting or standing with shoulders rolled forward. Grab your head, gradually increasing the head flexion on your breath.
Other trapezius stretch: straight trapezius stretch. In an upright position, tilt your head to the left side and reach behind your back with your left hand to gently grab your right wrist and deepen the stretch yourself with your left arm, increasing or decreasing the traction for a comfortable stretch.
Stretching of the SCM (Sternocleido-occipito-mastoid sternocleid). A muscle that males the link between your skull, your collarbone and sternum; it will be used in flexion, rotation and head tilt. Let’s take the right SCM, the goal is simply to tilt your head to increase the stretch: While standing or sitting, drop your right shoulder and with your left hand, grasp your head and tilt it to the left. You can add a left rotation of the head to increase the stretch.Upper Back Pain:
Child’s pose: Stretch with the arms forward 10 times, 3 times a day.
You can put a yoga block or a hard book between your shoulder blades and lie on your back This position stretches your back muscles and opens your rib cage. You can complete the stretch by taking deep breaths and remain in this position for 3 to 10 minutes.Lower Back Pain:
Sleep on your side with a cushion between your legs to decompress the pelvis. If you are lying on your back, put a cushion under your knees. Avoid turning, bending or lifting. Remember to bend your knees when you bend down.
Stretching knees and chest – On the ground, lying on your back, bring your legs together and grab both knees; keep your legs together. Pull gently to bring your knees closer to your chest.
Cat/ Cow Kneeling on the ground, slowly round your back while breathing in; the head and buttocks go down and the back goes up (act like a cat). Then, return to normal while exhaling and continue to lower the back, but straighten the head and “push” the buttocks out; the back should become slightly concave (dog). Alternate between cat, dog, cat… following your breathing rhythm; the head and pelvis should be the opposite of the back.Psoas:
A very important muscle used to do hip flexion (to bring the knee against the stomach). Serves as a stabilizer for the spine. Tight psoas muscles can cause back pain. Example left psoas:
Put the left knee on the ground and place the other leg in front of you, bent at right angle (genuflexion); the arms remain along the body or can lean on an object to maintain balance.
Straighten your back vertically, tuck in your stomach and bring your pelvis forward, bending your right leg more. Stay in this position for 20 seconds and change legs. Piriformis It is also a hip flexor but it is also used to open the hip (abduction and external rotation of the hip). – Lie on your back and bend your right leg so that your (right) foot is flat on the floor. – Then place your left ankle on your right leg at knee level. – Grab your right leg (back of the knee) and pull slightly with both hands do not lift your head or back. – Repeat with your left foot flat on the floor.
Be sure to stretch well after your workouts and don’t forget to hydrate with plenty of water everyday.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
Marine Burkhardt, Osteopath DOMP
by Guiomar Campbell R.Ac.
Traditional Chinese Medicine theory believes that the heart houses the spirit or “Shen” and plays key roles in regulation of emotions. Nourishing and nurturing our heart is the most powerful gift we can give to ourselves and others. As various mystics are saying it will keep us in the path of being healthy, wealthy and wise.
This exercise will help you:
Balance your emotions
Clear your mind
Improve your sleep
Relax your chest
Relieve tenderness in the breast
Increase your energy level
– You may choose to stand with your feet shoulder width apart or sitting in a chair with your spine straight and feet flat in the ground.
– Take a big breath in with your nose, with the tip of your tongue touching behind the upper tooth. As you exhale pronounce the sound “Ah”, which is the sound of the heart chakra.
With the four fingers of both hands, tap REN 17 point, located in the middle of the sternum between the two nipples. This point stimulates the thymus gland and opens heart energy.
– Continue tapping this point for 3 minutes as you pronounce the sound of love “Ah”.
If you prefer you can also repeat the word Love, Love.
You will experience a sensation of warmth rising up your chest towards your neck and a light feeling in your chest.
Finish by saying thank you to your heart and chest area.
Repeat this exercise every day twice a day. Every time you practice this exercise you will notice a relaxing feeling sensation on your chest that will allow you to breathe better and stay calm and grounded.
This article is not intended to treat and cure. It is for educational purposes only! If you need health assistance please contact your Doctor.
Pelvic pain during pregnancy is normal because your organs make room for the growing uterus, hormones drastically change and ligaments stretch; it’s no wonder that you’re feeling pain that you didn’t once before.
Be reassured that many expecting mothers feel pelvic pain.
Common locations for pelvic pain :
- over the centre of your pubic bone
- across your lower back
- in your perineum
- in your thighs
- the round ligament
The Round Ligament
typical pain is described as sharp, achey, crampy, occurring on one or both sides of your abdomen.
The round ligament attaches to your uterus (cornu of the uterus) to your pubic bone (mons pubic, fatty tissue attached to pubic bone).
As a normal part of pregnancy, the round ligament increases in diameter and length. It can cause cramping and pain due to its stretching & contracting. This may be sharp or cause a pulling sensation. Once the baby is born the round ligament shrinks back to its non-pregnant state.
Round ligament pain its self is a normal, growing pain related to pregnancy, so it will resolve its self. However osteopathic treatment can help be reducing any local muscle tension, and improving the mobility on your hip and pubic bone.
How to self manage the pain :
- Avoid sudden movements
- Avoid heavy lifting
- Stretch your hip, lying on your back, gently hug one knee at a time in to your chest, drop the knee to beside your belly, so not to compress your bump.
- Marine Burkhardt, Osteopath
We’ve all been spending more time at home these days, so it’s important to have a space that represents you and creates a sense of ease. If you’re anything like me, you may have recently binged episodes of “The Home Edit” on Netflix and asked yourself how you can organize your own space and make it a Pinterest-worthy oasis. If you want to spruce up a few rooms, here are some tips that I’ve found helpful:
- Start with the Declutter – I’ve saved this step until last and ended up finding myself with 25 extra hangers I just purchased and didn’t need. Once you cut down the clutter, you’ll know what you need to buy – if anything at all!
- Wait for what you want – My impatience has landed me with some pretty impulsive purchases just so that I could check it off my to-do list. If there’s a dream couch or desk you have in mind, it’s out there so don’t settle! Murphy’s Law is real – as soon you buy something you weren’t really sold on, its perfect twin will find its way to you the next week…and will probably be on sale. Better to create a space with items you love rather than items you like.
- Clear Bins are Game-Changers – Whether it’s a clear bin filled with summer clothes or left-over Halloween candy, it is so much better to be able to see the contents of the container you’re reaching for; and they’re stackable!
- Accessibility is Key – If you can’t see it, you won’t use it. Use higher shelving for old files and bins filled with your high school yearbooks and things you won’t be accessing any time soon. Keep the daily items where you can see them – and reach them!
- Cohesiveness – What is it about a closet full of matching hangers that is so aesthetically pleasing?! Even if all of your hangers aren’t the same, just organizing them by color makes a big difference. And maybe while you’re at it, color co-ordinate your wardrobe, too! Too far? Okay, one step at a time.
It is easy to feel like we have little control over what is happening around us and that can be very overwhelming. I’m a true believer that the design of our spaces can have a huge influence on our moods, so have some fun with it and create a space you love!
Office Manager, Social Work Student
Let’s talk about posture or even better let’s talk about movement:
There is a saying that the best posture is your next posture. What does it mean? It means keep moving! Yes, movement is what our body wants. Our circulation, joints, muscles, and fascia need movement. Our lifestyle has changed so much compared to what it used to be. We are sitting most of the time in our modern life: we sit at work, we sit on the couch and we sit in a car or bus. Now with working from home due to Covid19 circumstances, we don’t even commute to work anymore so our movement has become limited more than before. So if there is one thing I would suggest to do is to get up and move every 20-30 minutes for 2 to 3 minutes. All you need to do is to either get up, stand up and do some safe movements or just walk around.
Now when it comes to your posture in sitting, I’m going to make it simple:
1-sit on your sits bones.
2-sit tall and keep the arch of your spine in the neutral position (don’t flare/poke your chest/lower rib cage nor slouch them, just keep the arch neutral). There is an arch in the spine and the spine is not one straight line. We just don’t want to exaggerate the arch one way or the other.
3-If you keep your head way too forward (forwarded head posture or poking your chin) you want to modify that.
Now we all know if we lose this posture after a few minutes, it’s ok because we are supposed to get up every 20-30 minutes so we are not going to sit for too long.
You may ask where the sits bones are. You can feel the sits bones under the gluteal fold (under the bottom). We usually sit on the tailbone (last piece of bone in spine). In order to sit on the sits bones you can simply tilt your pelvis back or take your glute muscles out with your hands as you sit (glute muscles are the flesh part of the bottom).
Remember motion is lotion and your best posture is your next posture so keep moving as our body loves movement.
By Guiomar Campbell R.Ac.
Famous during the Middle Ages for its ability to clear eye problems clary sage is known in many cultures as The Christʼs eyes”. Widely used for female complaints such as painful periods, scanty menstruation. The scent of clary sage oil along with acupressure treatment can help a woman feel more connected with the intense emotions. Especially when it is applied during the last stage of labor, as It may calm and enhance the dream state, helping to bring about a feeling of euphoria.
Where to use clary sage
It has therapeutic properties like anti-inﬂamatory, anti-bacterial, anti-convulsive, anti- “fungal, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, nerve tonic, sedative, soothing, uterine tonic, warming, diuretic and digestive. Dilute in gentle carrier oil and rub it into the skin over the reproductive organs, acupressure points in the legs and feet.
Apply one to three drops of the essential in the palm of your hands and inhale deeply three times. In my experience women generally can ﬁt two deep inhalation before next contraction. The other choice is to use clary sage is to place a few drops of undiluted oil in a cotton balls, once the oil is absorbed, the mother can place the cotton balls under her pillow or somewhere nearby while she is giving birth.
Apply 1-3 drops of clary sage essential oil blend to the acupressure points SP6, Ki1, Bl28 and massage with your thumb. Important to hold the pressure for 1-2 breaths. Than stroke along the meridian line. i.e. SP(spleen) meridian. Continue massaging the lower legs towards the inner side of the foot towards the big toe.
When contractions slow down or dilation needs to speed up
• Inhalation is the best remedy. The pungent fragrance helps quicken the labor process by intensifying the muscle contractions.
• Rub diluted (see recipe) clary sage essential oil on her belly while in labor.
It releases muscle tension and provides the necessary calm and comfort to the mother.
• It also helps in muscle dilation, required for the baby to come out.
Massage the KI1 point, located in the bottom of foot and apply deep holding pressure.
• It helps to ground and bring the energy down to the legs.
Massage the palm of hands along lung (thumb side) and heart(little ﬁnger side)
meridians. Stroke the inner arms several times.
Recipe from Guiaʼs home remedy
I put this formula together for my second pregnancy and and loved it! I added fennel for nausea and Ylang ylang to increase pleasure and feeling of sensuality. It also balances yin energy male and female energy in the body.
• 10 drops of clary sage oil
• 10 drops of lavender
• 4 drops of fennel
• 4 drops of Ylang Ylang
• 50 ml of either grape seed oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil or jojoba oil
This blend can be massaged on the palm and the feet of the woman in labor. It releases muscle tension and thereby provides the necessary calm and comfort to the
mother. It also helps in muscle dilation, required for the baby to come out.
“Essential Oils Desk Reference by Essential Science Publishing ESP. Research”, by Dr. Gary Young
“Aromatherapy an A-Z”, by Patricia Davis “Healing with Aromatherapy”, by Marlene Ericksen
by Sara Taheri, BSc PT
Probably you’ve heard about the Kegel exercises. You probably don’t know if you are doing it correctly or you need to do it at all!
Kegels are NOT always indicated for pelvic floor problems.
Here I’m going to explain a little about the functions and dysfunction of the pelvic floor muscles and why Kegels are not for everyone.
Pelvic floor muscles sit between the sits bones, pubic bone, and tailbone. The opening of the urethra, Vagina, and anus go through these muscles. So basically intercourse, vaginal delivery, bowel, and bladder movement happen in this area. These muscles have different functions and here I have listed some of them:
- Holding the organs up; holding the baby up.
- They need to be flexible for different functions like intercourse, vaginal delivery, bowel, and bladder movement.
- They are one of the deep core muscles
Pelvic floor dysfunction can happen if these muscles become tight or weak or tight and weak:
- Hypertonicity (tight pelvic floor muscles): contributing to Urgency, Urge incontinence, Chronic pelvic pain, Dyspareunia, Vaginismus, Vulvodynia, Pudendal Neuralgia, Interstitial Cystitis and Chronic Prostatitis
- Hypotonicity (weak pelvic floor muscles): contributing to stress incontinence, urge incontinence (leakage), and Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
Now, if these muscles are tight, we need to work on their flexibility and we shouldn’t do Kegels at all! If these muscles are weak, we work on the activation and strengthening of these muscles along with other deep core muscles.
Now the question is how we know if the muscles are tight or weak. The good news is that a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist can assess these muscles by doing internal exam. A Pelvic Health Physiotherapist has the training for doing the manual work. By assessing the muscle tone and strength, a they can find out if there is any tightness/weakness or a mix of both and can educate and guide you to do the proper exercises.
“The Cochrane Collaboration 2010 concluded that Physiotherapists with specialized training in pelvic floor rehabilitation (using internal examination to teach the exercises) should be the first line of defense, before surgical consultation, for stress, urge and mixed incontinence in women.”
So to answer the first question “ To Kegel or Not” we should say that we don’t know until we assess the tone and strength of the pelvic floor muscles and a Pelvic Heath Physiotherapist can help you to find out what you need to do and how to do it.
A Pelvic Health Physiotherapist will look at your posture, breathing and check other deep core muscles as they try to look at the whole picture.
If you are pregnant, or going through postpartum or having some issues like incontinence, pain, prolapse, frequency and urgency book an appointment with a Pelvic Health Physiotherapist. We can help you with that.