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There was a bit of worry about the weather at first, but slowly the sun came out, it warmed up, and folks started arriving to our Annual CREWC Open House. We were thrilled with the turn-out. About 100 people visited — there was good food, good talks & a nice summery atmosphere. We hosted a talk on holistic pregnancy tips for expecting mums (Bellies, Boobs & Babes!), another called ‘The 4 Pillars of Health’ which had about 40 attending, Biotron health testing in the clinic and Quantum Touch demonstrations outside. There was yoga for the kids and tours of Carp Ridge Healing House. Thanks to everyone who came and everyone who helped organize the day (that includes Dean Fleming below — our master grillman)! A few pix follow:

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by Reba Word ND

number4The number four seems embedded somehow in human life. We are fascinated and guided by it. It has long represented positive concepts like completion, stability and predictability. Or strength, balance, and symmetry. 

In earthly and cosmic things there are the four cardinal directions, four seasons, four parts of the day: morning, afternoon, evening, night.

There are four dimensions of spacetime, four fundamental forces in physics. Animals have four limbs. Furniture has four legs, our buildings are four-sided.

Ancient concepts include the four classical elements: earth, air, fire, water. Four personality temperaments: choleric, sanguine, melancholic, phlegmatic. Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.

In the domain of health and well-being, there are four essential things you have direct control over that can guarantee increased vitality and improvement in overall wellness:

1. Conscious input in feeding your body
What do you eat and drink? Is it mostly healthy and balanced whole foods, or is there a lot of sugar, salt, snack food and processed food? Your diet should contain adequate protein, a variety of fruits and vegetables, and quality fats. Do you drink enough water daily? Do you drink too much coffee, too much alcohol, too much soft drinks? Do you eat to pacify certain emotions (boredom, loneliness, anxiety)? Do you smoke a lot? Do a lot of drugs? Are you taking the proper kind of medications or supplements? Do any of them conflict with another?

2. The basic value of good breath
It’s one our basic life function but it’s usually taken for granted — and it often gets ‘negatively modified’ as we become adults. At birth our breathing is naturally deep and full. We need a rich supply of oxygen to feed our blood and organs, our mind and spirit. In this modern rush-rush culture we often develop a shallow breathing pattern which decreases strong oxygen flow. Some people even get into a habit of holding their breath momentarily while breathing, often while working or listening to something.

To improve your health, improve how you breathe. Breathe deep into the abdomen, fill your diaphragm and expand your lungs. Take some time during the day to just sit quietly and breathe. An easy form of meditation focuses on awareness of the breath. Good breathing lets us exert a sense of control or grounding over things that are out out of our control. This is called active reception (vs. passive reception). We react better to life when we breathe better.

3. Make a move to more movement
Before modern transportation and industry, most people were always on the move. Our bodies did not evolve to spend most of our awake time in a sitting position, but between cars, computers and TV . . . you get the idea. If you don’t have a physically dynamic job, try something easy — brisk walking (at least 20-30 minutes a day). Walkers have less incidence of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other nasty diseases. They live longer and also get mental health and spiritual benefits.

Basic changes in diet and exercise can lead to a dramatic drop in chronic illness risks in as little as 40 days. Find someone who will regularly go walking with you — that makes it more fun. Or maybe get a dog from the shelter — dogs love truckin’ on down the road (but make sure you are up to the commitment of pet ownership). And make sure to walk in nature whenever possible, especially near waterways. Our modern culture tends to isolate us from our natural roots.

4. Get to bed!
I’m sure you’ve heard: we’re a sleep-deprived society. It’s estimated that 30 percent of adults suffer from chronic insomnia. The amount and quality of sleep affects every aspect of life: concentration, memory, mood, energy, skin (our largest organ), immune functions and disease, general performance, hormones — the list goes on. Regular deep sleep helps to replenish, rejuvenate and reset the body for the next day’s tasks. And while you may not remember your dreams, it’s clear this aspect of sleep is critical to the health of our mind and unconscious, key aspects in overall well-being — body, mind and spirit. Most vivid dreams are associated with ‘REM’ sleep which occurs off and on throughout a normal sleep cycle. Many cultures take dreams very seriously in their daily lives.

While everyone is a bit different when it comes to sleep or problems relating to restful sleep, the following are common ways to help get a good night’s rest: Don’t vary your sleep/wake schedule — try to get to bed and rise at the same time daily. Don’t drink or eat caffeine four to six hours before bed and minimize your daytime use. Don’t smoke, especially near bedtime or if you wake in the night. Avoid alcohol and heavy meals before sleep. Get regular exercise. Minimize noise, light and excessive hot and cold temps where you sleep. Try and wake up without an alarm clock. Attempt to go to bed earlier every night for certain periods.

by  Jean Brazeau  and Jasmine Iwaszkiewicz

Before beginning, we ask that you take a moment to  sit down, become still, place your hand on your heart and follow your breath to a place of inner peace, calm, tranquility. . . feel your awareness as it  starts to enter your body. . . just for a moment.  This will allow for a more profound, expansive experience of what we are about to share. Thank you . . . and now let’s begin.

Most of us believe we make choices of our own volition on a daily basis.  For some of us, we   believe we consciously express our wants, our needs and our desires through the one aspect we feel we have control over, our choices!

What if we aren’t controlling our choices — what if our choices are controlling us?  What if our choices are driven by deep-seated unconscious needs for love, security, appreciation, validation, fill-in-your-own-word?  What if our choices are actually made  from a place of avoidance, moving away from things we fear such as being alone, living in poverty, not meeting societal expectations, not feeling good enough, etc.

Have you ever experienced a time when you did something you’d rather not have done?  A time when, from somewhere deep within, a voice or a knowing or a feeling was telling you this isn’t  right or  it simply doesn’t feel good in your body?  Sometimes that voice is quiet, a fleeting whisper, easily ignored.  Other times it screams loudly and will eventually make itself known to you, be it through physical, emotional and/or spiritual dis-ease and dis-comfort.  Sooner or later, one way or another the overwhelment, confusion, depression, doubt, pain and fear overcomes you.  Life can become challenging, heavy, hard and meaningless.

How many times in our lives have we felt unwell but chose to force our way through our own discomfort?   Did we go to work, tend to the children, make the meals, visit the in-laws or have them for dinner, balance the books,  clean the house or go to the gym anyway?

How  many times have we sexually engaged with our partners when all we really wanted to do was roll over and surrender to  tiredness or exhaustion?  How many of us have chosen to go out on dates or out with friends when we really wanted to stay home?

How many of us chose careers based on our parents’ desire for us to exceed beyond their own accomplishments, or alternatively, to go in the extreme opposite direction because we didn’t want to be controlled?  Either way, the choice stems from the  same place – unconsciousness.

How many of us have stayed in relationships long past their “sell-by-date” simply because we were afraid to be alone?  Dinner for one can feel daunting to say the least. How many times have we allowed others to disrespect and dishonor us simply because we were  afraid to say no for fear of the consequences?

Just for a moment, let’s try something.  Bring into your awareness a time when you did or said something, OR didn’t do or say that which needed to be said or done.  Check in with yourself in that moment. What were you feeling, what was underlying that choice?  Fear of disappointing others, fear of exclusion, loss or abandonment?  Wanting to do the “right” thing?  Wanting to be accepted by others? How about the “peace-at-any-price” game —  if I say or do what I really think, mean or want, then all hell will break loose?

And how did you feel as you engaged?  Perhaps resentful , rejected, angry or alone.  Maybe you chose to deny yourself and opted out of feeling anything at all.  In our experience, this is akin to opting out of life itself.

Ask yourself, and more importantly, be willing to hear the answer.  What were those choices born of for you?

For some of us, we’re aware we’re making choices that may not be in our best interests or that may not feel very good. And some of us are totally unconscious of the fact that we even have a choice in many situations.

The truth is, choice is available to us in every moment.

But is it really? For many, the ability to consciously choose for ourselves what we wanted or didn’t want was taken from us at a very young age.  Let’s get real!  How many of us would really have chosen to be teased, bullied, humiliated or abused, be it physically, sexually or emotionally as young children?  Often, even our bodily functions are controlled by outside forces such as school policies which dictate when we can relieve our bladders, whether it be at recess, lunch or the teacher’s whim.

As children we are often “commanded” to do things by our parents or the educational, religious and health care systems.  To choose to go against the command would surely result in punishment ranging from grounding, withdrawn privileges, physical and/or emotional abuse, being shut out or ignored, all of which leave us feeling fearful, humiliated, resentful, angry, ashamed and anxious, to name but a few.

These feelings create our life experience, shape our choices, and are solid indicators that we’ve not had clear and conscious choice at our disposal in that moment.

Our choices shape, color and create our relationship with ourselves, which in turn shapes , colors and creates every relationship we have with others and every experience in our lives.

What is it that we would choose from our deepest desires?  Not from what we were taught in school, church, at home, from friends, or learned from past relationships, but from a clear and conscious place inside.

And what exactly does that mean?

‘Consciousness’ and ‘clarity’ are relative terms.  One can only know unconsciousness once one has become conscious.  One can only recognize disintegration once one has  become integrated.  For example, it is often the case we only appreciate our health and our bodies  after we have had the flu or cancer or another debilitating dis-ease, or appreciate the financial stability our employment offers us after we have been laid off.

We’ve heard it said that we are born free yet we live in prison, held hostage by rules and belief systems that are not of our own choosing. This is truth.

It would be our honor to assist you in unraveling the false aspects of yourself.

Join us at an upcoming 3-day all-inclusive, live-in FUNshop, September 11,12,13 at the New Life Retreat in Lanark. Our unique FUNshop will provide you with the teachings, experientials, healings and tools to assist in raising your consciousness and vibratory levels.  Through clear and conscious choice, improve your relationships with your family, friends and co-workers, and most importantly with yourself.

Be Free Now!  Become the creator of the life of your dreams.

For FUNshop details please contact:

Jean Brazeau: jeanbrazeau@sympatico.ca or 613-295-2756

Jasmine Iwaszkiewicz: jasmine@beingu.ca 705-427-5962

by Reba Word ND

During the summer months the ambient heat from the sun and the environment can cause changes in our circulatory system.  People may notice more swelling in extremities due to the leakage of fluid from the vasodilation of peripheral blood vessels.  Vasodilation is when a vessel expands in diameter to allow more blood flow to an area.  This is a protective mechanism; the vessels in the periphery of the body expand to allow heat to be lost therefore cooling the body.

This can become excessive though — and swelling can occur when blood pools.  A good hydro technique to try is to put the feet in basins of alternating temperatures.  You can do it like this:

Fill two basins of water (small recycle bins without holes in the bottom are a good size), one with hot water and one with cold.

Put the feet in the hot water for 3 minutes — this actually increases the vasodilation and blood in the area.

Then put the feet in the cold basin for 30 seconds — this prompts the musculature of the vessels to contract thus pushing blood back into the core of the body.

Alternate like this several times and end in the cold water.

Propping your feet up on an ottoman or lying on the floor and putting your legs up a wall magnifies the effects.  Adding a couple drops of essential oil (such as lavender or rose) to the warm basin is also nice. Very refreshing.

by Varda Burstyn & David Fenton

Printed with permission from the author, originally appeared in Eco-Sense, published by the Environmental Health Association of Ontario, www.ehaontario.ca

It’s not news to the chemically sensitive community: word is spreading that many 20th-century chemicals are toxic and have seriously adverse effects on health. Today, cancer epidemiologists like Devra Davis, who heads up the world’s first Center on Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, have moved from the margins to the mainstream. Davis’ 2007 book, The Secret History of the War on Cancer, eloquently and irrefutably makes the links that vested interests have tried so hard to deny (www.environmentaloncology.org).

In addition, two decades of research shows that a group of chemicals whose molecular structure mimics or disrupts sex hormones has been doing grave harm to sexual and neurological development. So-called “endocrine disrupters” – aka “estrogen mimickers” and “androgen-blockers” – have penetrated every dimension of our lives. They’re found in plastics, pesticides, flame retardants, cleaning products, air “fresheners,” and personal grooming products.

These dangerous molecules have been pushing the age of puberty downwards in girls, halving the average sperm count in men, harming the development of boy’s genitals and, it now seems conclusive, actually reducing the number of boys born relative to girls. A documentary which aired on CBC last fall, The Disappearing Male, explored this species-threatening issue – one of a dangerous cluster of harmful effects that argue for urgent regulatory and industrial change.

The chemicals implicated in this research have also had grave consequences for neurological development, wreaking havoc with the delicate neurological development of fetuses, babies and children. The result: an epidemic of attention deficit and behavioural disorders, a breathtaking multiplication of the incidence of autism spectrum disorders (from roughly 1 in 10,000 births in the 1950s to roughly 1 in 100 today), runaway Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease – not to mention the damage to the central nervous systems of chemically-sensitive adults.

What’s even newer in the last five years – confirmed by more and more studies in 2008 and 2000 – is that toxic chemicals are also implicated in the epidemics of so-called normal illnesses that used to be called the “diseases of civilization.” We are speaking here of diabetes – considered by Canadian health authorities to be the single most serious disease in terms of public health risks today. We are speaking of cardiovascular illness, of Alzheimer’s and other dementias; of obesity and its associated ills; of respiratory diseases such as asthma; kidney and liver disease; and of autoimmune and inflammatory illness, ranging from allergies to lupus to fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And we are talking multiple pathologies.

A recent study reported, “adults exposed to higher amounts of the plastic compound Bisphenol A are more likely to be afflicted by cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and have liver enzyme abnormalities.” What we’re learning is that chemical toxicity – and chemical ubiquity – affect all of us, not just those unfortunates who suffer from the full-blown nightmares of chemical sensitivity or other severe disabilities.

Now, on the understanding of ES-MSC, there is progress too. One very important breakthrough has taken place in Germany: The World Health Organization is the global standard-setter for assessing and classifying health problems. Drawing on its International Classification of Diseases – 10 (ICD-10, chapter 19), the German government has finally codified ES-MCS as it should be, and as it is: a physical disorder of allergies and poisoning (toxic injury).

It has also linked it with other complex chronic conditions such as ME-CFS, in the chapter on diseases of the nervous system; and with Fibromyalgia in the chapter on diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue. The German document also states that classification of MCS as a disorder of mental and behavioral disturbances – which is how Quebec misclassifies the illness at present – is not correct. Nor is the use of another diagnostic classification system. Bravo, Germany!

Space limitations mean we can only give a small hint here of what all the new research is saying on the whole array of illness now implicated in chemical consequences. But we have assembled an impressive sampling of it on our informational website and blog. We invite you to visit http://www.thechemicaledge.wordpress.com where we seek to reach people beyond the chemical sensitivity community with the facts of the chemical health crisis, for crisis it is.

If you go to the site, then click on EcoSense, and, by all means, if you also explore the whole site, you’ll find nearly a hundred new references dealing with compelling health research on all types of illness. You’ll also find lots of other material to help think about how to effect positive change. Torontonian Linda Sepp, who scours the scientific and popular press nearly every day and sends out her findings to many in the community, has informed us and others about many of these studies. We want to thank her and acknowledge her invaluable role in helping us and others stay up to date.

What’s becoming crystal clear is that chemicals play a key role in illness across the board, and that people who were exposed to these chemicals during gestation are at much higher risk than others. When every one of us now carries a body burden of many chemicals, and when even household products are laced with toxic chemicals, most fetuses cannot escape at least some exposure, which is why Wayne Ellwood, in his New Internationalist summary of the latest evidence, says, “Critics predict that in 10 years the fallout from the petro-chemical and plastics plague will rank with tobacco and pesticides as a major global public health issue.”

It’s important to see the silver lining in the massive grey cloud of news. Mainstream market books such as Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on Our Children (2008), by Philip and Alice Shabecoff, and The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our  Health and Well-being (2008) by Nena Baker are getting the word out. Simply put, once these findings become widely known everyone will share a motivation to leave the age of toxic chemicals behind – not just a minority of sufferers.

And victims of toxic injury like the chemically hypersensitive will, we hope, finally receive the recognition and treatment we deserve. The greatest challenge to achieving these possibilities at present is that research remains leagues ahead of medical practice, consumer behaviour, industrial production and government action. Although the number of family physicians who are learning to link the health problems of their patients to chemical toxicity is growing, many of them, plus the superstructure of specialists who have so much power in our health care system have barely begun to grasp this reality.

And while an important number of chemical engineers and businesspeople have launched the “Green Chemistry” movement, old dirty technologies still rule the day and fight regulation with huge war-chests and powerful lobbies. Many consumers now want, and purchase, safe-chemical products (building, cleaning, grooming). But the majority still purchase toxic ones because they don’t know better, or have no access to them, or can’t afford the healthy alternatives.

The pivotal piece between all these sectors is government. It has the power to make the changes – through regulation, incentives, economic and legal penalties, the funding of innovative and urgent health practices and services – which can radically accelerate our motion toward a healthier world. So personal choices should always be combined with green citizenship, and green citizenship should always strive to reduce our chemical, as well as our carbon footprint. Indeed, these often overlap. So read about it, and spread the word and don’t forget the people who represent you at city, provincial and national levels!

NOTE: Hospital Guide for Taking Care of Patients with Environmental Sensitivities
The David Thompson Health Region of Alberta, Canada, has produced a hospital guide on how to care for patients with Environmental Sensitivities. You can review their guide and scent-free policy by following this link on our EHAO website: http://www.ehaontario.ca/resources.htm

by Katherine WIllow ND

When retreats are advertised, they are described as soothing mini-holidays for the body, mind and soul.  The touted benefits include a sense of coming home to yourself, feeling rested and rejuvenated, having a clearer sense of your path and learning new spiritual and healing tools to take home.

This tends to be true.  It’s amazing what can happen when you replace rushing about with a peaceful flow.  The body and mind can rebound more quickly than you’d ever expect.

However, there’s a catch.  It’s similar to what we tell you when you start a program with a naturopathic doctor: you can get worse before you get better.  This is a combined result of the healing process itself and a certain amount of detoxification.  In fact, when we think we’re simply having a “bad day” for no obvious reason (as opposed to after a weekend of revelry), it is often this same mechanism at work.  The trick is to remember this fact — because if we think we’re ill, the body will take much longer to get through it than if we cheerfully realize that we’re healing!

How does this relate to retreats?

In our normal modern pace of life, unless we’ve already modified our lifestyle to accommodate a healing journey in a retreat setting, our physical and mental issues take a back seat to GETTING THINGS DONE.  We become quite unaware of the baggage we are lugging around on both of these levels.  When we suddenly stop, the first response is sometimes a deep fatigue, followed in turn by detox reactions.  The latter can include headaches, muscle pains, loss of appetite, digestive upsets, uncontrollable irritability, weepiness and a deep desire to leave the retreat.  Typically these happen in the first two days.  Or, nothing out of the ordinary may happen, depending how one lives in everyday life.  Some people feel good right away.

By the third day, this wave has usually passed, leaving the retreat participant feeling better than they have felt in ages, sometimes ever.  They are inspired to clean up their lifestyle at home so that they can continue to enjoy this vitality and bliss.

That’s where the second catch comes in.  Going home to a hectic household/job/family after a retreat is like being dropped over a cliff.  It takes time to establish habits that support a high level of health and wellness; meanwhile one experiences the imbalance of “normal living” in a rather acute contrast to the natural rhythms that we cultivate on retreat weekends.

However, retreat bliss is better than any drug or distraction.  It moves us to change.  It inspires us to grow.  And then all the discomfort is well worth it and we become a beacon for others.  And at the Centre we really do try to make it easier on people by designing our retreats in a way that facilitates healing smoothly and includes having FUN!

I hope I have presented an honest overview of retreats.  If you have any questions or just want to learn more, call the Learning Centre and speak with Freya (613-839-1179) or email programs@ecowellness.com.

We’d be delighted to see you at our upcoming summer retreat on July 17 – 19 (Friday night thru Sunday). Check the Learning Centre schedule for more details.

by Katherine Willow ND

My recent preoccupation with teeth came about after my daughter Coral’s dentist drilled into a nerve by mistake when fixing a cavity.  Our lives became a living hell.  Coral couldn’t eat, sleep or nurse properly.  Baby Felix, who is normally calm and delightful, became understandably and perpetually cranky.  And I responded very unhelpfully by shutting down, my typical reaction when my kids are hurting.

By the time I finally unwound enough to start thinking clearly, Coral had not one, but two root canals — at eighteen years old.  Hours later, one of the doctors I had called for advice told me he probably could have prevented them with a holistic technique called neural therapy.  And then he recommended a book detailing studies that show why you should avoid root canals at all cost.  They are banned in Europe.

This was all a bit traumatic for me.  I had already known about the dangers of root canals, but not what to do instead other than pull the tooth.  Coral was just happy to be out of pain after 3 weeks.  (Yes, it did take me that long to get it together, embarrassing and regretful as that is.)  Therefore I thought I’d write a little about the experience, so that others can be more aware. Because there is more to teeth than the average dentist can tell you…

Holistic Dentistry

There’s a huge amount of research on holistic dentistry.  Root canals are only a small piece of it.  However, the solutions are often expensive, hard to find and/or require unrealistic lifestyle changes for most people.  From the German New Medicine perspective, one needs to resolve emotional conflicts related to wanting to bite someone!  (I’ve actually seen this twice in the last year.)

My conclusion is that we need to do some studies to find easier ways to deal with dental issues.  There must be a better way.  So I am connecting with some of the holistic dentists in Ottawa and across North America, as well as some of my colleagues who address dental issues in their practices, to design a study to see if we can help oral conditions, which usually require dental work, with simple lifestyle changes, affordable supplements and homeopathic remedies.

In the meantime, here are some tidbits that may be of interest:

* I discovered that you can easily check teeth with muscle testing.  When Coral touched the teeth with the root canals, her muscles went totally weak.  They strengthened again when she touched one of her other teeth.  Coral’s dentist asked me to test her for a filling material and we were able to find one that was best tolerated to fill the root canals.  (This wasn’t the original dentist, in case you’re wondering.)

* Each tooth is linked via lymph channels to specific organs, which are then affected when that tooth is sick.

* When material from root canalled teeth is inserted under rabbits’ skins they often get the same diseases that the person has, and may even die within days.  Material from ordinary teeth doesn’t cause this reaction.  I know, horrible study for the rabbits. I don’t agree with animal testing.  This was done decades ago and is the basis for the book mentioned earlier: Root Canal Cover-Up, by George E. Meinig, published by Bion Publishing in 1998.  (Just for the record, I dislike the reactionary tone of the book.)

* You probably know that mercury fillings leak mercury into the body.  These are also banned in Europe.  However, taking them out is a tricky procedure which ABSOLUTELY needs special equipment to avoid poisoning oneself–or the dentist!

* It’s possible to test potential materials used in your mouth for tolerance, either with muscle testing, the Biotron or the Vega machine.  We have an ND in Ottawa who specializes in testing for dentists — Anthony Toplak in Bells Corners.

* My approach to teeth, so far, has been to work on the rest of the body first.  The teeth can sometimes settle down or we can better handle the dental materials we already have in our mouth.  And, if we still need work done, our body can handle that with less reactivity after strengthening and detoxifying.

* Other dental issues that affect the rest of the body include the occurrence of subclinical infections (which we can pick up on the regutherm and sometimes treat homoeopathically), the misalignment of teeth which can cause pains elsewhere, gum disease which is rampant and threatens the life of our teeth in this culture, and grinding teeth, which, along with misalignment, can be helped with craniosacral therapy.

My experience with Coral has re-inspired me to refocus on holistic solutions for dental problems, and maybe create some new ones.  Let me know if you’re interested in participating in a study.  I’ll announce it again when we’re ready to run it, probably sometime this fall. You can leave a message at the clinic at 613-839-1198.

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