Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ontario Prescribing & Therapeutics Exam

Many of you know that I have spent the majority of 2016 studying for the Ontario Prescribing and Therapeutics exam and I am excited to share with you that I found out yesterday that I passed! I am so thankful for all of the support that I received from my family, friends,
colleagues and patients … in the stressful days preparing for the exam and in the weeks while I waited for the results. Thank you so much for the confidence you had in me.

What does this mean FOR YOU moving forward?

I am now able to do the following: 
 Access and use the substances and medications on the Schedules of the Controlled Acts Regulation (a complete list can be found in the schedules listed at  http://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/150168

These substances and medications include: 
-injections (vitamin B12)
-vitamin D over 1000 IU
-vitamin A over 10 000 IU
-desiccated thyroid 
-topical bioidentical hormones (estrogen, progesterone)
-Have an in depth understanding of the evidence based application of pharmaceutical drugs that patients may have had prescribed by other practitioners

Many of you know that over the last 2 years in addition to having a family-based practise I’ve had a special interest in working with Women. It’s been my passion helping women realize their full potential in life by feeling healthy, confident, energized and strong. I witness the effects of poor health on a daily basis (and the impact it has on the different areas of a persons life - work, relationships, family etc), and it has become my mission to continue promoting prevention, balance and healthy lifestyle.
I feel that having passed this exam I now how a greater variety of tools at my disposal and can better address the population that may require thyroid and hormonal support, which seem to be prevalent issues. I’m excited to put these tools to work!

For those of you who are interested in knowing more about why this exam became an option for Naturopathic Doctors, here is a quick recap of what has been transpiring over the last year in our profession:

Effective July 1, 2015, Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario were moved from being regulated under the Drugless Practitioners Act to the Registered Health Professions Act (RHPA). The initiative to move the regulation of Naturopathy in Ontario began more than two decades ago. While there have been some transitional challenges, this change is a positive step forward. It recognizes the Naturopathic profession as an equal partner alongside other health professions, expands the lab testing we can order and allows for designated prescription rights. Among other benefits, these will ultimately enhance the quality of naturopathic care for patients.

Dr. Anna Falkowski HBSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinic Director
Twitter: @NaturoDoctor
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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Shiatsu - what IS it and what can you expect??

I have to tell you - until Gracie Hvidston started working at Vitality for Life as our Shiatsu therapist I didn't know much about this ancient Japanese body therapy. Well I finally experienced it for myself and I really wanted to share with you my experience.

First off, here's a quick explanation of Shiatsu - Shiatsu is Japanese for “finger pressure” - it is a therapy with it's roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a non-invasive physical therapy aimed at relaxing the body’s nervous system from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state. Pressure is applied with the thumbs, palms, elbows and knees and held at specific acupuncture points along the meridians.

So what can you as a patient expect? Here's what happened during my treatment:

The room is set up similar to a massage therapy room - a massage table is used, the lights are low to create a peaceful environment and there is soothing music playing in the background.

After the paperwork in which your medical concerns are described have been taken, the therapy begins. The interesting thing about Shiatsu is that you do NOT need to disrobe. The therapy is performed right through the clothing.

I started in a seated position and Grace started to work on my shoulders and back. She used her thumbs and forearms to press into hundreds of points, moving efficiently over all the muscles. After 5 minutes I went into a side-lying position and she continued to work along my spine, then hips and legs. She also stretched my arms into a few different positions and pulled them gently which felt great. I turned to the other side and the same motions were repeated. I then laid on my stomach and she worked along my entire back, shoulder and back of legs and feet. It felt incredible. Her thumbs are surprisingly strong - I thought she was using her elbows but she said that doing Shiatsu for over a decade has built her strength in her hands. 
Her thumbs press down and move to the next point usually each second, it's quick but very relaxing. VERY relaxing. With each press I felt the tension melting away and the trigger points disappearing. I was thinking about how great a runner would feel having Grace work on their legs, as she treated my tight calves and hamstrings!
I then turned onto my back and Grace worked on my shoulders again but this time UNDER my back - Grace explained to me that she targets the same muscles but in all different positions because muscles are 3-dimensional and each position allows her to work on different aspects of that muscle.
She then worked on my scalp which was my FAVORITE!! Who knew so much tension was held there, but the pressing and kneading released so much tightness and felt wonderful. We finished with some work over the belly (I had complained of some chronic digestive issues). That was a different experience than anything I'd ever had. 

The whole treatment was one hour in length and felt simply amazing. Grace uses Shiatsu to treat a variety of conditions (migraines, hormone imbalances, stress, mobility issues, digestive issues etc) but also helps people maintain great health. For those of you that could benefit from acupuncture but are scared of needles, you can get many of the same benefits from Shiatsu! I HIGHLY recommend you try it, and you may be surprised to learn that it may be covered under your health benefits!
Next, I may be seeing Grace for a Reiki treatment or some cupping (those services are also currently being offered)! We are thrilled to have Grace part of our team and to be able to offer Shiatsu therapy in Barrie!

Dr. Anna Falkowski HBSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinic Director
Twitter: @NaturoDoctor
We're On Facebook!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Vitality for Life Women's Retreat!

Vitality for Life Women’s Retreat
Date: Saturday November 14, 1pm – 6pm
Location: Moksha Yoga Studio, 411 Huronia Road

We invite you to join us on this special day of pampering, learning, fitness and connecting! Your day will include a private hot yoga class, meal planning workshop, a delicious nutritious lunch, and a Guided Meditation from our special guest, Kelly Benoit, that will reconnect you with your Inner

You will also choose 2 of the following packages (these will be filled on a first come first served basis, so your choices may not be guaranteed):

1.      1. A) Kyla Hookey, RMT, is pleased to offer eight lucky ladies a special service - Enjoy 15 minutes of traditional East Indian Head Massage blended with Swedish Massage to bring you one of the most relaxing and therapeutic treatments possible.  Expect to lay back, relax and let Kyla ease the tension from your neck and shoulders, relieve sinus congestion and tension from your face and release tightness from the muscles of your scalp, all while having luxurious warm coconut oil rubbed into your hair (or we can do it without the use of oil).  Why not treat yourself to this indulgent experience?  After all, you're worth it!

     B) Join Dr. Jennifer Brazeau, DC as she takes you through the MOST effective exercise routine to target your BAC (Booty, Arms & Core) – in the comfort of your own home! During this 15 min. session you will be given a simple program and shown proper technique with moves that require no advanced equipment!

2.      Feeding the Skin, with Jodi Fraser RHN (Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Skin Care Specialist)
To keep skin looking healthy, youthful and vibrant you have to nourish it from the inside out.  In this session we will learn what the best anti-aging foods are for firmer, more radiant skin, what your skin’s enemies are and how to avoid them.  In this 30 min. session we will take a look at the active ingredients in skin care products that help fight the signs of aging, what to look for, how best to apply them and how to make some at-home anti-aging products! You will go home with an anti-aging meal recipes and recipes for homemade skin care products, plus Stemulation anti-aging product samples!

3      3. Join Denise Sutherland, certified Aromatherapist for a 30 minute mini perfume session.  Learn what some of your favourite essential oils are and create your own "Signature Scent" mini perfume sample with Denise's guidance. Denise will also tell you the benefits of the essential oils that you chose for your personalized perfume. You will take home your "Signature Scent" to enjoy.

Loot Bags: Surprise samples for all participants!

Draw Prizes:
2 One Hour Massages with Kyla Hookey RMT
2 Nutritional Assessments with Jodi Fraser, RHN
Chiropractic Assessment with Dr. Jennifer Brazeau, DC
Olive Baby Gift Basket
Lotus Natural Skin Care Basket

*Please call the clinic with your payment within 3 days of reserving your spot to ensure you are enrolled!

Dr. Anna Falkowski HBSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinic Director
Twitter: @NaturoDoctor
We're On Facebook!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Registered Holistic Nutritionist in Barrie - Jodi Fraser, RHN!

I am very honored to introduce you to this lovely lady , who will be offering her Holistic Nutrition services at our clinic - Jodi Fraser RHN! The addition of Jodi's services has been a year in the making, so this is a very exciting time for us! 
As many of you know, Nutrition is a key foundation for what I do as a Naturopathic Doctor, and I make many recommendations in terms of dietary modifications. Some patients can feel overwhelmed or 'lost' when a dietary and lifestyle change is recommended (by myself or other health practitioners), but Jodi is here to help make sense of it all and give you very specific advice on HOW you can make these necessary changes! I'm so happy that
she'll be here to help you with the details (not to mention, you may be able to use your health benefits for her services! Please look into your plan to ensure you have coverage to see a Registered Holistic Nutritionist - she has the NNCP designation which makes a difference!)

Jodi is not only passionate about educating people about all things Nutrition, she lives the lifestyle herself, and can share with you her vast knowledge of incorporating healthy foods and meal plans into even the most hectic lifestyle! 

As a mother of three children Jodi knows first hand the struggle many Moms and families face when it comes to trying to make changes to daily routine. She can help you navigate these challenges by customizing a meal plan specific to the needs of your family.
Jodi also treats a variety of conditions using Nutrition and healthy lifestyle, including hormone imbalances, food allergies, headaches, irritable bowel, indigestion and chronic fatigue. Whether you are seeking weight-loss, improved energy or glowing, healthy skin, Jodi can help! Holistic Nutrition services are wonderful for women wanting a healthy pregnancy, for nursing moms, and during the post-partum period when hormones can wreak havoc on your body and mood!
Jodi's warmth and caring nature will make you feel safe and supported at your visits. You may also want to know that Jodi has 20 years of experience as a Skin Care Specialist, and she is excited to incorporate her knowledge of anti-aging and skin issues to her practice! She is offering FREE Meet & Greets to help you determine whether her approach is a good fit for you! You can book these ONLINE here.

Barrie Holistic Nutrition Services:

-Nutritional Counselling
-Customized meal plans
-Manage food allergies and sensitivities
-Anti-aging food plans
-Pantry clean-out/re-stock suggestions
-Grocery list suggestions
-Weight-loss support
-Meal plan reviews and recommendations
-Nutrition for anti-aging and Healthy Skin
*Your Health Benefits may cover Holistic Nutrition!
Now Accepting NEW Patients & Saturday Appointments Available!

Dr. Anna Falkowski HBSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinic Director
Twitter: @NaturoDoctor
We're On Facebook!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hospital Food & the road to Healing!

Last week my father had a motorcycle accident. It happened out of the blue, on a seemingly 'normal' day, and completely rocked my world upside down. I won't go into the details other than to tell you that the driver of the car was charged, and witnesses were certain my father wouldn't make it based on what they saw. I'm very happy to say that he's with us today, and although he has some months of recovery ahead, he's doing amazing. REALLY amazing.
The reason I wanted to write this blog is because I believe that if you don't take negative experiences and turn them into something positive, then  you've missed an opportunity for growth. So if I can help even ONE other person reading this as they care for their loved one, then i've used this horrible experience for good. Writing this is also quite therapeutic for me, to be able to share my experience with you.
I want to start by saying that I'm extremely thankful for our medical system and after this event I am proud to be Canadian and have the services that we have covered for us. It's not a perfect system but it's a very good system. From the EMS drivers first on scene, to the doctors at the Alliston hospital who made the decision to move my dad to St. Michael's hospital in Toronto, to the doctors and nurses who cared for my dad over the next few days, I'm deeply thankful.
Now I want come to the part of the story that will hopefully help one of you. Some of you may have a loved one in hospital, in hospice, in homecare OR it may come at any point in your future. As a bystander or family member you will feel somewhat helpless, as I felt. I couldn't fix broken bones or take CT scans or run IV lines, but I can (and YOU can too) help in a BIG way in the days after the trauma team has done 'their thing'. Aside from the healing effect of just 'being there' and the support you will provide, I want to talk about nutrition, because this is the one area that we have still not improved upon in the hospital setting.

My dad hadn't eaten in over 24 hrs (understandably). He was kept hydrated with a saline drip, so we didn't have to worry about that, but eventually when food was brought to him, it was the powdered, cold and processed food that we would expect from a hospital. This is not the kind of food that promotes healing, in fact the oils used in these foods CAUSE inflammation, and don't provide the nutrients needed for the body to heal itself. I'm sorry but it's the naturopath in me - this is my viewpoint and perspective, and it's my only way to have any control of the situation:)

My dad is also in his 60's, so muscle-wasting is a huge concern. After our 30's it gets harder for our bodies to maintain muscle mass (that's why we push resistance training in this age group), and with every decade we lose a substantial amount. When you take an older person that becomes bed-ridden (even for a few days) or requires a cast, the muscles waste away even quicker AND will be harder to get back after the fact. So in light of the inflammation in the body post-accident and the muscle wasting there's a few things that I wanted my dad to have for his healing.
Protein is essential. It's what will keep his energy up, immune system strong, and will provide the amino acids required for hormones, anti-inflammatory mediators made by the body, and will keep his muscles from being eaten for energy. Next is healthy fats - they will repair the damaged cell linings, help with hormone communication, decrease inflammation and heal the adrenals (the stress organs).
 Next comes the rainbow of colors you get from veggies and fruits - all the bio-flavonoids that fight free-radical damage and decrease inflammation in the tissues, not to mention the vitamins that will help with the healing process. So on my way to the hospital I put together a quick comfort package (this is for both my dad and my mother, who wouldn't leave his side and was also feeling the effects of stress and fatigue after the accident). Keep in mind these foods are not 'ideal' because some of them are just quick packaged foods that are convenient to bring and won't spoil during their stay, however they are a step up from what is currently provided by the hospital. This is a picture I quickly snapped before throwing it all into a cooler bag.
Here is what I brought - 2 tupperwares, one with cut up veggies (cherry tomatoes, carrots, peas, celery, brocolli) and one with fruit (blueberries, strawberries, peaches); packets of protein powders (my parents mixed these at breakfast with some water); packets of powdered greens, protein bars, Lara bars (fruit & nuts), trail mix (raw almonds, walnuts, dried cherries, apricots), mini-tuna cans, sardines, gluten-free crackers, Vector granola (protein-rich granola), individual yogurt, Emergen-C (vitamin C drink mix), coconut water, gluten-free lemon snaps. Please note vitamin C or greens should not be given to anyone who is bleeding or in need of blood thinners until they are stable!
 My dad is normally a healthy eater and therefore these foods would provide some comfort to him and also to my mom. If your loved one does not normally eat this way you could tailor it to meet their likes while still ensuring you are providing a healthier option for them then what they receive in hospital. My parents greatly appreciated their comfort package and it made me feel great to be able to do something to speed my dads healing (I also brought my homeopathic remedies and traumeel cream for the bruising and aching tissues!). My dad has been making leaps and bounds over the last few days, and as I write this, we were able to celebrate his Birthday as a family at home (Aug. 16). I also want to say a big thank you for the many friends and neighbours who helped us through a very stressful time - it was a reminder that community and support is such an important component of good health. I feel blessed to have you all in my life!

Dr. Anna Falkowski HBSc, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, Clinic Director
Twitter: @NaturoDoctor
We're On Facebook!