All posts in Health & Lifestyle

2018 Consumer Choice Award!

Thrive is thrilled to announce that it has been selected as the 2018 Consumer Choice Award winner in the category of Naturopathic Medicine in the Toronto Central Region!

It has always been Dr. Kristin Heins’ mission to provide individualized and holistic care where her patients receive truly specialized treatments that support both their mental and physical well-being. Dr. Heins is extremely grateful to be recognized for her work and will continue to provide current and future patients with optimal care to help them feel their absolute best.

Thank you from the entire team here at Thrive for this incredible honour!

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Cleaning up our Intake through the Indulgent Summer

Summertime carries with it an energy of excitement, enjoyment and freedom. The days are longer, the weather inviting. For many, we translate this energy into a lifestyle that includes more barbeques, social events, alcohol and often less nutritious food choices. With so few months to enjoy social time comfortably outside with friends, I think switching our mindset from “avoidance” to “improved” is a great way to approach food and alcohol consumption this summer. Many patients come in and ask how to make reasonable improvements to their summer routines and so decided to share a few tips and suggestions in this month’s newsletter:
•    Loading up on creamy side dishes and red meat barbeque is not great for heart health or our waistline. Opt instead to grill vegetables on the bbq and experiment with salmon and fish recipes that cook in a flash and are part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.
•    Alcohol intake is typically a calorie exploder in the summer. Try and clean up your drinking, to the extent this can be true, by using clear alcohol (vodka, gin, tequila) and mixing with low sugar and low sodium options like soda stream water with lemon and lime slices or low sodium San Pellegrino. Remember also that most beer and many vodkas are wheat-based …. so if this is a food group you try and avoid in food form it is typically best avoided as an alcohol also.
•    Most of us are more social in the summer. Try making socializing and connecting with family and friends the “treat” and not use social events as a reason to have two plates of dessert.
•    Bring nutritious and seasonal fruits and vegetables to parties or have them out at your own! Opting to pick at these as snacks between meals is a great way to fill the urge while also being good to your body.

A Word on Blood Services and Our Community:

Many of us know that donating blood can save lives. Medical advancements make it so that today, a number of blood related diseases like leukemia, aplastic anemia, certain metabolic disorders and inherited immune system diseases can also be treated with donated stem cells.
In September, Thrive has decided to have information available at the clinic for patients looking to learn more about donating blood services. We want to offer patients more detailed information on steps and facts about blood donation and registering to be stem cell donor. Keep your eyes and ears open and don’t forget to pick up your fact sheet when in the clinic.
If you want more information today, start by checking out www.blood.ca

By: Dr. Kristin Heins ND, RP (qualifying)

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Allergies – Why They Happen and How You Can Help Stop Them

I wanted to share an article on allergies as many this time of year suffer seasonal allergy symptoms. At a fun time of year to enjoy the outdoors, no one wants to be overwhelmed with congestion and low energy!!
Allergies occur when the body mounts an immune system response to substances inhaled or ingested from the environment. For allergy sufferers, these substances (called allergens) enter the body and then the body sends out an immune particle (called an immunoglobulin)  to  attack the foreign substance! An inflammatory cascade is then set in motion. For allergy sufferers, the rest is known and seen through their symptoms!

Common Allergy Symptoms:
Runny nose, runny and / or itchy eyes, sinus inflammation and headaches, generalized fatigue, shortness of breath, asthma.  Skin conditions can include rashes or darkening around the eyes “allergic shiner” is also common. For some ingested allergens we can have anaphylaxis or severe swelling in the throat, hives and for less severe sensitivities you may have indigestion, gas, cramping or bowel changes (not considered an allergy but still a cause of immune response).
What we also now know is that allergen / immune complex binding can have mood and brain involvement causing symptoms like agitation, irritability and / or depression.
Allergy Triad: allergies, asthma, eczema – all signs of a hyper responsiveness of the immune system.

Tip #1: Eat Plenty of foods rich in antioxidants as well as minerals essential to the immune system.

  • Oxidation increases as our body fights off germs. Help offset this reaction with antioxidant foods.
  • Foods containing beta- carotene, including dark green, yellow, and orange vegetables. Eat at least two servings of one or more of these vegetables daily.
  • Vegetables and fruits that contain vitamin C, such as broccoli, green/red peppers, cabbage, collard greens, and citrus fruits. Eat at least one-2 servings daily. Vitamin C is especially important for those with allergies as vitamin C plays a major role in modulating the histamine response which plays a major role in allergic congestion and skin irritation.
  • Foods containing vitamin E, especially seeds and nuts, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and beans.
Tip #2: Reduce Allergen exposure by using a salt water (saline) nasal rinse daily during allergy season.
Tip #3: See a specialist to devise an individualized plan to optimize your immune functionality and support organs of elimination (liver, bowel, lymph, kidneys) that may be under functioning. Dr. Heins or a licensed Naturopathic Doctor can customize a supplement approach based on your specific symptoms and allergy (immune) presentation.
Written by: Dr. Kristin Heins, ND
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Practice Safe Gardening

Dr. Jennifer Wise, D.C.

300_family_garden

I know it’s been a long time since we’ve thought about many outdoor activities, but the exciting truth is that it’s finally almost time for those “May flowers”!  If you’re planning on gardening, keep these tips in mind to avoid injury:

1. Warm-up

Try going on a short walk to loosen up your muscles and get your blood circulating before beginning gardening.

2. Stretch before and after your gardening session.

The Ontario Chiropractic Association recommends starting with these stretches to avoid injury.  Hold all stretches for 15 to 20 seconds. Stop if it is painful.

  • Thigh Stretch: With one hand on the wall or a tree, bend your left knee then reach back and hold your ankle with your right hand. Pull your heel toward your buttocks and hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat with the other leg. To stretch the back thigh muscles (hamstrings), with one hand on the wall or a tree put one foot on a chair, stump, or step. Slowly bend forward from the waist until you feel the pull at the back of your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat with the other leg.
  • Back Stretch: Sit on a chair and slowly bend your body forward from your hips, putting your head down and resting your hands on the floor.  Hold, then relax.
  • Shoulder Rolls:
    With your arms hanging loosely at your sides, slowly rotate your shoulders in a circular motion forward, then backward.
  • Wrist Extension: Hold one arm straight out as if you were giving a ‘stop’ signal, use your opposite hand to hold this position. Hold. Repeat with the other hand.
  • Wrist Flexion: Hold one arm out in front, palm down. Bend your fingers until they point toward the ground. Use your opposite hand to hold this position.

3. Lift with Care.

For any heavy lifting always try to recruit some help.  If you must lift alone, please remember these basic rules:

  1. Stand close to the load to be lifted
  2. Place your feet shoulder-width apart
  3. Keep your back straight
  4. Squat down to the object’s level and test the weight of the load
  5. Use the strength of your leg and arm muscles to smoothly and slowly lift the load
  6. Keep the load close to your body
  7. Pivot to turn and face the intended direction of travel. Proceed with the load
  8. Avoid twisting your body while carrying the load
  9. Bend your knees and slowly lower the load to its intended place

Remember to have your spine checked by your chiropractor- you may not always feel a subluxation, but if you are starting with a spine that is misaligned or not moving properly, you will be much more likely to experience an injury.  Come in and see Dr. Wise for a Spring tune-up

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How to Manage High Stress Periods…Like the Holidays!!

By Dr. Kristin Heins

I came across an article on the Mayo Clinic website (www.mayoclinic.org) on stress management around the holidays and really liked it. It may be especially helpful during the hectic and emotion-filled holiday season; but, is also a useful life approach to stress management. Most of us know that stress and feeling overwhelmed does not limit itself to holidays!! When stress is at it’s peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. The feeling is often one of overwhelm vs. support. Below are ten ways to try and shift the balance back to a more supportive experience:

headache1. Acknowledge your feelings: If historical or present day loss and sadness exist, accept that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings.

2. Reach out: If you feel lonely or isolated – seek out community, faith-based or other social events as they can offer support and companionship. Volunteering may also lift your spirits and broaden friendships.

3. Be realistic: The holidays may not (likely won’t) be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if adult-children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails, videos, skyping.

4. Set aside differences: Set aside familial grievances during gatherings until a more appropriate time for discussion. Try and find understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry – chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress just like you may be.

5. Stick to a budget: Before you shop, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Ways to manage budgets:

  • Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
  • Give homemade gifts.
  • Start a family gift exchange

6. Plan ahead: Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. Ask for support for party prep and cleanup.

7. Setting Limits: Saying yes when you want to say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. If you can’t participate in a project or activity, try and be clear about which ones you can say no to and take that time for other activities like rest and self -care.

8. Keep healthy habits: 

  • Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets or drinks.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Incorporate regular physical activity into each day as it helps with both physical and emotional wellbeing.

9. Take a breather: Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slows your breathing and restores inner calm.

10. Seek professional help if you need it: Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, seek help from a professional.

I hope that this helps make the holidays more enjoyable for you and yours. Happy Holidays!

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Natural Pest Control Options for Your Summer Garden

By Dr. Kristin Heins

 

Heather Rhodes wrote a useful article on her website “Gardening Know How” that I thought would be worth sharing. It contained a few great recipes to allow you to make natural pesticides for plants that may be under attack by bugs this summer. Organic garden pest control is a popular topic since as consumers we are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of exposing ourselves and the earth to the least toxic materials possible. Natural home pesticides are not only easy to make, they are cheaper and safer than many products you can buy on store shelves. Remember that there are benefits to many of the little critters in your garden and you always want to be sure the damage a bug may be causing is worth using the pesticide for.

Rhoades points out in her article that garden pests are repelled or killed by a surprising number of safe and natural products. Here are a few natural insect repellent recipes she includes on her site:

Garden Pest Control Recipe #1

1 head of garlic
1 tablespoon dish soap (Note: do not use a dish soap that contains bleach)

2 tablespoons mineral or vegetable oil 
2 cups water 

  • Peel the garlic cloves and puree the cloves along with the oil and water. Allow to sit over night and then strain the mixture. Add the soap and mix thoroughly. Pour into a spray bottle and use on pest infected plants.

Organic Garden Pest Control Recipe #2 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
2 tablespoons baking soda
1 teaspoon dish soap or Murphy Oil (Note: do not use a dish soap that contains bleach)

2 quart of water

  • Combine ingredients and pour into a spray bottle. Use this organic bug spray on your affected plants.

BEFORE USING ANY HOMEMADE MIX: It should be noted that anytime you use a home mix, you should always test it out on a small portion of the plant first to make sure that it will not harm the plant. Also, avoid using any bleach-based soaps or detergents on plants since this can be harmful to them. In addition, it is important that a home mixture never be applied to any plant on a hot or bright sunny day, as this will quickly lead to burning of the plant.

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Thrive is FIVE!

This month marks the five year anniversary of our opening of Thrive.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Thrive family, which includes the inspiring patients we have met over the years, the amazing practitioners that we have been so fortunate to work with and our own families for the support they have shown us through this journey! We are thrilled to say that Thrive is “thriving” and continues to grow and evolve as we hoped it would.

To celebrate our “birthday”, we are having a Google review contest! If you think Thrive is a great place to get healthy and want to help other families get healthy too, please leave us a google review and WIN FREE PRIZES!  All you have to do is show your support for Thrive by leaving a comment or star review telling Google what you think about our office. At the end of the month, we will enter you into a draw to WIN 2 movie passes or a gift card at Body Blitz.

Thank you to all of you for your dedication to thrive and to your own health goals.  We look very forward to many more years serving you!

In health,

The Thrive Health Team

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Surviving the Dark Canadian Winter

By Dr. Kristin Heins
 

I read an interesting article recently about beating the winter blues. I was then reminded the next day, when a boost of sunshine elevated my spirits in a noticeable way, that “winter blues” is a catch phrase for a spectrum of mood related changes that affect many of us in winter months. As a naturopath, I work with patients to physiologically support their neuroendocrine (the complex interplay between our brain and hormones) system. Now as a psychotherapy student under supervision, I look at the social and psychological implications of these mood changes. Both these options would be ideal for someone who is feeling that the quality of their life is being notably impacted by the change of season.

For others who may feel “winter blues” to a lesser extent – I have listed a few lifestyle ideas to help increase the pep in your step until our longer days and warmer temperatures fill our spirits once again.

  1. Brighten your environment: using a light box / SAD lamp for 30 minutes a day has shown to be highly affected in some studies on SAD ( a clinical diagnosis of seasonally related depressive symptoms).  Sit close to Windows and draw open curtains when possible.
  2. Eat for Mood: speaking to a naturopath or nutritionist to help support mood through diet can be a great support. Simple carbohydrates like sugar can provide short term boosts but longer term patterns of mood instability. Alternatively increasing proteins and in particular tryptophan and tyrosine containing foods can help boost mood.
  3. Exercise: A 2005 study by Harvard university suggests fast walking 35 minutes daily 5 days a week to improve mild to moderate depressive symptoms. Exercising under brighter light may also improve general mental health and social functioning according to a preliminary study on exercise and mental health.
  4.  Get Outside: Being outside and in nature when possible can help improve focus and lower stress levels. So add a layer and bundle up!
  5. Get Involved: Social isolation in cold winter months can add to poor sense of wellbeing. Make social arrangements or find volunteer or charity groups to be involved with as a way to boost spirits and outlook.

If you would like individualized support please email drheinsnd@thrivehealth.ca or online at www.thrivehealth.ca

 

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What is Contemporary Medical Acupuncture?

By Dr. Elisa Petricca
 

Contemporary Medical Acupuncture is a nerve stimulation technique, which involves the painless insertion of extra fine needles into specific areas of the body in order to regulate abnormal activity of the nervous system and to release certain substances in the brain, altering the body’s pain pathways.

Medical Acupuncture is a very low risk treatment intervention. However, as with any conservative approach to care, potential side effects and/or risks should be discussed with the patient prior to treatment.

How Does Medical Acupuncture Work?

  • Normalizes the nervous system and alters pain sensation via stimulation of the central nervous system.
  • Improves blood flow to local areas of pain as well as the rest of the body resulting in tissue repair and facilitation of the healing process.
  • Reduce tension in the body by helping with the breakdown of excess fascia and tissue.
  • Helps to calm the body and mind, assisting in overall well-being.

Acupuncture Treatments  

The duration of acupuncture treatments can vary from several seconds to 30 minutes. Acupuncture treatments involve the insertion of acupuncture needles into appropriate areas of the body. Once the needles are inserted and secure in the body, they may be stimulated manually or with electricity to enhance nerve stimulation.

Acupuncture has been shown as an effective treatment for many conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of neurological and muscular disorders including:

  • Headaches
  • Neck and back pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sports injuries (sprains, strains)
  • Sciatica
  • Neuritis (inflammation of nerves)
  • Facial pain
For more information or if you have any questions, feel free to contact the office and we will be happy to help you!

References:
1. Canadian Contemporary Acupuncture Association, 2010-2016.
2. McMaster University Medical Contemporary Acupuncture Program, 2016.
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Managing Stress this Holiday Season!

Managing Stress this Holiday Season!
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My formula:
  1. Acceptance
  2. Self-care
  3. Social engagement
  4. Assertiveness

Accept there are things that you can’t change or control. Focus on the positives, consider forgiveness.

Self-care: Don’t postpone exercise, pleasurable activities, good sleep, or healthy eating because “you are too busy”; you are only giving away your anti-stress “free medication”.

Be social: time to follow the plan and not the mood! Stressful times are the right time to say “yes” to that coffee, that drink, that dinner with friends/family etc..

Be assertive: say what you need and want respectfully, don’t hold back. Also learn to say “no” to unnecessary commitments.

Take pauses, get into mindfulness practice! Meditation is the “new thing” for a reason. Download a meditation app to your smartphone. 5 minutes a day can make a big difference.

Warmly,
Dr. Maria Chaparro, Registered Psychologist in Supervised
Practice

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