by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa Owner
Yesterday, Homespunspa Mobile Spa was invited to give mini mani’s to new mothers at the MotherFest at Mothering Touch. It was a pre-Mother’s Day mini mani marathon for me and Ranjit and the nail polish was flying!
The most popular colour choice? Good ol’ Lucky Lucky Lavender. See if you can spot the bottle in the photo below.
Homespunspa's collection of nail polish colours.
The new mothers brought their babies to the event and had a choice of treating themselves to all kinds of pampering services from Thai Massage to Belly Painting to a Photoshoot. At one point in the afternoon, there must have been at least 60 babies in the store at once. It was truly an honour and a really joyful experience for me to be so close to so many infants at the same time. One was only three weeks old! So cute!
Anyway, back to the question at hand: Does Being Pregnant Make Your Nails Grow Faster?
As each of the women sat in front of me to get their nails filed and polished, I asked many of them, just out of curiosity, if they’re finding a difference in their nails now that they’re pregnant. The surprising answer was “Yes” and most, if not all of them, had noticed how much stronger their nails were and how much faster they grew while they were pregnant. One woman said, “It must be the prenatal vitamins we’re taking.”
Prenatal vitamins are designed to help ensure better health for fetus and mother. These vitamins and supplements contain high concentrations of folic acid, calcium and iron and low amounts of vitamin A. Some brands also include Omega-3’s and DHA.
As it turns outs, it’s not the prenatal vitamins that make the nails grow stronger and faster — it’s the pregnancy hormones that are key. During pregnancy, the woman’s body starts to produce a bigger batch of hormones than usual and these hormones have a number of tasks and responsibilities. For one, they boost circulation and send a constant deluge of vital nutrients to the skin, which in turn makes nails grow faster.
So that answers that.
If you’re a new mom and can’t keep up with trimming your nails during this special time and want a little treat for yourself, please call me, Maria, at Homespunspa. I’d be happy to come to your home and give you your choice of a manicure, pedicure, facial or massage at your convenience. And the beauty of a mobile spa is…you don’t have to worry about getting a babysitter because you’ll be within earshot of your little ones the whole time. And why not invite some friends over and make it a spa party?
Anyway, I’d like to take this moment to wish all of the moms and mother figures out there and especially my own dear mother, a very happy Mother’s Day. Cheers to you!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
I love yogurt. I used to eat a bowl full of plain, no-fat yogurt with blueberries, cinnamon and ground flax seeds along with half a toasted English muffin, slathered with margarine, plus cup of coffee with milk every morning for breakfast.
That was my stand-by for years because it was quick, easy, tasty and filling and I didn’t have to think about it. Life was good. But things change. I have decided — after watching JJ Virgin on Public TV — to see what would happen if I followed her advice and took soy, peanuts, sugar, eggs, corn, dairy and gluten out of my diet for three whole weeks. I was hoping to lose some weight and clear some skin issues. As an esthetician, I know about the relationship between good nutrition, good digestion, and healthy body weight and healthy skin and I knew the food I was eating wasn’t doing me any favours.
I knew it would be challenging to avoid bread for a few weeks. That was a given. Soy has proven to be very challenging because it seems to find its way into everything — especially gluten-free stuff — and it was in my margarine which I wasn’t aware of until I read the label. Eggs, corn and peanuts are probably the easiest, though I do like my popcorn, sunny side up eggs on Sundays, and celery with peanutbutter. I had given up dairy before and I knew what that was all about so I wasn’t too concerned about things like cheese, butter and ice cream. The yogurt, though, was closest to my heart and I was most sorry to see it go.
I didn’t think I could have my dairy and yogurt too but I’m happy to say I was wrong about that.
JJ Virgin suggested replacing dairy yogurt with coconut yogurt. I thought that was too good to be true. And what were the chances of being able to find this stuff in Canada?
Much to my surprise, I found “Cultured Coconut Milk” at a nearby Planet Organic and it was on sale! I was so excited!
Bowl of cultured coconut milk or coconut yogurt with blueberries for breakfast..
When I saw the containers of cultured coconut milk in the refrigerated dairy section of the grocery store, I picked one up and quickly read the label: Dairy free and Certified Gluten Free. Check, check. The ingredients include: coconut milk, water, organic coconut cream, chicory root extract, organic dried cane syrup, rice starch, pectin, tapioca, kelp, magnesium, locust bean gum, live cultures, guar gum, carrageenan and monk fruit extract. A serving of 175 grams has 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0 cholesterol, 135 mg’s of sodium, 23 grams of carbs (9 grams of fibre and 7 grams of sugar), 2 grams of protein, 0 vitamins A or C, 35% Calcium and 6% Iron.
Sounded good to me.
I couldn’t wait to taste it so I bought the coconut yogurt and tried some as soon as I got home.
Another pleasant surprise! Coconut yogurt tastes really good. Although I’m not a Top Chef Canada judge, I really think So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk is a winner. It’s really thick, rich, creamy and smooth. It’s even thicker than no-fat Greek yogurt. The taste of the coconut is strong but it isn’t overly sweet. And this brand comes in different flavours but I’m happy with the plain. Unfortunately, it’s a bit on the expensive side. When compared to regular yogurt, the coconut yogurt container is smaller and costs as much, if not more. I may not have it everyday but I’ll have it often enough.
So far I’m on week two of the Virgin diet. I can’t say I’ve seen any difference at this point in terms of my weight and my skin but I’m pretty sure I’ll see a slight improvement at the 3-week mark. I’ll keep you posted. Finding the coconut yogurt was definitely the highlight of this entire exercise.
Have you tried to tried coconut yogurt? Did you like it? Please leave a comment.
Have you tried to avoid certain foods to see if you have issues with them? Have you read the Virgin Diet book and are thinking about taking a vacation from soy, peanuts, sugar, eggs, corn, dairy, and gluten? If so, let me know.
Till next time, Maria
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
I’ve recently returned home from my whirlwind Wellness Tour. I spent three and a half months immersing myself in the field of wellness at Dr. Oksana Sawiak’s Integrative Wellness & Detox Centre in Norval, Ontario, just outside of Toronto, in the middle of a crazy Canadian winter and now am feeling refreshed and rejuvenated and ready to take my Homespunspa Mobile Spa business to the next level of success. Although I often felt like a fish out of water and completely out of my comfort zone, I know deep down in my heart that this whole experience was well worth the time I spent there.
When I left Victoria, I was feeling stuck, frustrated and burned out. I knew I had to do something different from my regular routine if I wanted things to change and improve. I know most people don’t have the luxury of leaving their life for a few months to explore different options and I’m grateful that I was able to take Dr. Oksana up on her invitation.
I started feeling better soon after I arrived in mid-November. I’m passionate about health and wellness and was learning something new every day. Even though I didn’t know what to expect from my internship, I was open to learning whatever I could and when Dr. Oksana suggested I sign up for a Higher Transformational Healing Workshop with Fred Vokey to learn about healing, I was game. Both Dr. Oksana and I participated in the full-day workshop and the experience for me was inspiring, enlightening and profound.
I’m aware that the topic of energy healing may sound a little “out there” or “woo, woo” to some people — that’s up to everyone to decide for themselves. I personally think it’s pretty cool. There’s a long tradition of healing in history across most, if not all religions and cultures and it’s just a matter of remembering, re-learning and re-activitating that wisdom and knowledge in today’s day and age.
I truly believe that the healing I experienced while I was away had a lot to do with the Higher Transformational Healing workshops I attended and now I’m a certified instructor and can teach you how to turbo charge the healing energy around you so you can heal yourself and others.
I’m super excited to be offering an Energy Healing Workshop (Level 1) in Victoria, BC on Saturday, April 6, 2013 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the 24 Carrot Centre, 714 Discovery Street, 2nd floor, Victoria, BC, V8T 1H2. Tickets are $220 early bird.
More information about Higher Transformational Healing is also available on the “Healing” page of my website, www.homespunspa.com. Please contact me, Maria, by email or phone to sign up for the Energy Healing Workshop and to make payment arrangements. I’m really looking forward to this and I hope you sign up.
Higher Transformational Healing Workshops
Anyone can learn how to heal with energy — including YOU. We are all born with the ability to heal ourselves and others and we just need to refresh our memory.
If you feel attracted to the idea of healing yourself and others, it may be worthwhile to explore Higher Transformational Healing.
During the workshop, you’ll learn how to:
- Awaken the Healer within;
- Channel Life Force Energy;
- Use Breathing Techniques for Channeling;
- Place your hands on or near the body for healing;
- Do Absent Healing;
- Do Self-Healing;
- Do “The Anywhere Healing;”
- Balance the Chakras;
- Move Bones with a Light Touch;
- Align the Body; and
- Connect with the Council of Healing Masters.
The Higher Transformational Energy Healing Level 1 workshop will especially appeal to the caregivers among us who know people who are suffering from an illness like MS or cancer or depression and would like to do what they can to help others feel better sooner.
Please join me for level 1 training on Saturday, April 6, 2013. You’ll get lots of hands on practice and by the end of the workshop, you’ll l become a certified practitioner of Higher Transformational Healing.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could boost someone’s spirits with your healing services?
When: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Time: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Price: $220 (pay in advance, in person or online) or $250 (last minute)
Where: 24 Carrot Centre, 714 Discovery Street, 2nd floor, Victoria, BC, V8T 1H2
Presenter & Contact: Maria Koropecky
Websites: www.homespunspa.com or www.highertouch.org
I hope to see you there!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Well, I’m officially back from my Wellness Tour in Ontario. It’s good to be back home on the west coast. I enjoyed my time and learned a lot about wellness and healing and am eager to share my new knowledge with my friends and customers.
Experiencing a true Canadian winter was a refreshing change for me. I got a taste of -25 degrees Celsius temperatures, a couple of blizzards, snow, ice, wind and all of the rest and didn’t mind the season so much. There’s nothing like a bright, sunny day in the middle of winter compared to grey skies and rain for months on end as I was used to. I was grateful to have a warm coat, dry boots, a hat, scarf and gloves which kept me warm and dry enough and thank goodness, I didn’t catch a cold like every one else around me.
I found, however, that the different climate did a number on my skin. My skin and hair became much oilier while I was away. I guess having the constant salty, ocean air blowing around me has been benefiting my skin all of these years and without it, my skin went out of balance. I wouldn’t have thought salt water breezes would be helpful until I saw that nasal spray commercial when they ask that fisherman if he has breathing problems and he says, “of course not, the salty air keeps my sinuses clear” or something like that.
Of course, there are many other factors that contribute to adult acne. We learned in school that 1 in 5 or 20% of adults over the age of 20 are currently experiencing cases of acne. You could be in your 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s and all of a sudden get bombarded with several open and closed comedones, blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, pimples, cysts, redness and severe inflammation. It comes as quite a surprise because you think those days are long behind you.
Adult acne sufferers are a growing demographic and you’ll find more and more skin care companies responding to this trend by offering solutions that are taylor-made to adults and not teenagers.
Definition of Acne
Acne is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the skin, usually related to hormonal changes and overactive sebaceous glands. Symptoms include: redness, blemishes, pimples and blackheads which can be found of the face, shoulders and back.
4 Causes of Acne
- Excessive sebum/oil production.
- Abnormal Desquamation. Desquamation refers to the process of cells travelling from the bottom layer of the Epidermis (Stratum Germinativum) to the top layer (Stratum Corneum) and if this process happens either too quickly or too slowly, it’s considered abnormal and causes blocked pores.
- Proliferation of Propione Bacteria. Propione is the bacteria responsible for acne and it’s generated by Abnormal Desquamation.
- and Inflammation. The body produces inflammation as a defensive mechanism anytime it feels attacked.
There’s Hope for Adults with Acne
There are lots of things you can do to minimize acne outbreaks as an adult and in this post I’m going to cover nutrition.
If you’re suffering from adult acne, now’s the time to really kick up your nutrition and eat the healthiest foods you can find and afford. What you put into your body really shows up on your skin so be mindful. Here are some nutritional guidelines that can really help with acne breakouts for people of all ages.
- Minimize hot, spicy, acidic and salty foods.
- Minimize oily, deep fried, processed/refined and junk foods.
- Minimize refined sugar.
- Avoid eating at irregular times and late at night.
- Do not eat Iodized salt.
- Minimize common allergen foods such as milk, eggs, wheat and yeast.
- Eat lots of low-fat yogurt.
- Eat more garlic.
- Drink more water and green tea.
- Minimize pop and soft drinks.
- Replace unhealthy snacks with almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
- Select organic, free range, hormone-free meats.
- Increase fibre-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.
- Eat a natural, seasonally-based cuisine.
Nutrition is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other things we can all do to keep our skin clear and healthy. I’ll post more in a couple of days.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Well, it’s January and I’m still in Ontario. It’s snowing right now and there’s about 4 to 5 inches of snow on the ground already but I’m not letting that stop me from taking daily walks through my neighbourhood.
Over Christmas vacation, I walked for almost an hour every day at around 3:00 in the afternoon going along the same path. There’s some green space in this neighbourhood and the various suburban streets are interconnected with nature trails, which I wasn’t expecting to find at all. Normally, I’d get on the path from the street entrance, enter the park, turn right, walk past the ponds and streams and trees and head over to the shopping centre. Then I walked around the whole parking lot, cut across the gas station and then looped back onto the trail again, walked up a hill, crossed a street, and down a hill and past my original starting point and carried on to the next exit which took me a couple of blocks further west past my house. Then I’d pass another big pond and ended up in the residential area on the streets again and walked a few more blocks back to my house.
Usually, the path has been cleared of snow but once it wasn’t and I got an extra work out from walking on an uneven surface, which I was grateful for. Walking on snow requires more effort and that burns more calories. Yay.
And some days have been super cold and windy. Thank goodness I have my big coat, hat, scarf, gloves and boots. Once it was so windy, I ended up running for about 20 minutes instead of walking and let the wind push me some of the way. Running into the wind was another story. Try doing that with a 20-pound winter coat on your back.
As I was walking down the hill, I heard something different behind me. I can’t explain the sound but it caused me to stop in my tracks and look back over my shoulder. On the crest of the hill, there stood five deer, sun shining behind them. I greeted them with an “Oh, Deer.” They were about a standard backyard length away from me and I was able to count them. If only I had my camera!
I think I was in their path and the deer would have gone right where I was into the valley, if I wasn’t there at that moment. They decided to veer to their left, around me, and with like five grand leaps each, they whisked over the snowy terrain and quickly disappeared from my sight around the bend. It was quite a moment. Almost poetic. I felt like I was in a nature documentary even though I was in the middle of suburbia.
Now that I’ve returned to work at the wellness centre, I’ve decided to get my walks in first thing in the morning. It’s not easy getting out of a warm bed to go outside to walk for a half an hour or so, but I’m really enjoying my “Me Time.” I get to think, make plans, meditate, relax my stress, get exercise and fresh air and yes, enjoy my local winter wonderland — all for free.
And this morning, I saw two bright red cardinals playing and fluttering about and they looked stunning against the snowy backdrop. Again, I wish I had my camera.
I hope this blog post inspires you to find the time to take walks and explore your own neighbourhood. I recently came across an article about what they’re calling, “Sitting Disease.” Maybe you have heard of it already.
According to current thinking, too much sitting can seriously harm your health and lead to conditions like heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease. And sitting for most of your day, everyday, may even shorten your life.
Standing is better than sitting and walking is better than standing and running is better than walking. If nothing else, get up off your chair at least once an hour, at least for a few minutes, just to move your body, especially if you have a full time desk job or spend most of your day sitting.
Here are some ways you can stand and move around more in your daily life:
- Stand whenever you use the phone (my sister-in-law does this — she paces while she talks on the phone and now her kids do it too!)
- Stand while ironing and folding laundry and other household chores,
- Stand while watching television,
- Stand during business meetings (I’ve seen people do this many times),
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator,
- Walk or ride a bike to work, school or the shops, (studies show that people who drive their car to work are heavier than people who take the bus, ride their bikes or walk),
- Park your car further from your destination and walk part of the way,
- Get on/off public transportation a stop or two earlier and walk the rest of the way,
- Stand up when riding public transportation, if possible (balancing in a moving vehicle will do wonders for your core), and
- Use any excuse like lunch time or coffee breaks or last minute errands to walk.
Now that you’ve read this, do yourself a favour: stand up, stretch and walk around for at least 5 minutes right now. I just did!
Happy New Year, everybody!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
I’ve had this brown mole on my face all of my life. It has been sitting just below my eye on my right cheek ever since I can remember. I was pretty used to it and the only time it bothered me was when someone else pointed it out or mentioned it or if I looked at it directly, which was very rare. It was just a blurry part of who I saw when I looked in the mirror.
My first official memory of my mole dates back to somewhere around 1978 when I was in elementary school. I went on a sleep over to my friend Janet’s house and she grabbed a chocolate chip out of our munchie bowl, stuck it to her face and said, “there, now I have one, too.”
Fast forward 20 years. I was lying on the couch, watching tv and all of a sudden, all I could see in my peripheral vision was my mole and not the show I was watching. The mole might as well have been the size of Mt. Everest. That’s all I could focus on — this big, fat mole, towering in front of me, casting long and wide shadows, obstructing my view. It just about drove me crazy. I thought to myself, that’s it, I’m getting rid of this mole once and for all.
Somehow, I managed to make an appointment with some doctor and took a noisy, cross-town bus to Scarborough one winter day. The doctor took a look and said, “Well, the mole doesn’t look dangerous at this point, but we could surgically remove it, if you want. Also, it will likely leave a big scar and you probably wouldn’t want that on your face.” On top of that, it would have been considered cosmetic surgery and would not have been covered by my health plan which meant big dollars that I didn’t have.
Removing moles was harder than I thought. I didn’t realize that removing a mole would leave such a big scar until many years later when another doctor took a mole off the back of my neck and he did such a hack job that I’m so glad I didn’t risk that on my face. He even said after he saw the scar, “Did I do that?” Yes, yes, yes you did.
So I kept the mole on my face and went on with my life. I always took notice of other people who have moles on their cheeks as if we’re in some sort of special club. Maybe you’ve noticed a cheek mole on Jim Morrison from the Doors and Marilyn Monroe and the former mole on Jann Arden’s face? Tortured artists? Maybe we have something in common.
Fast forward another 15 years. As you may or may not know, I’m currently doing an internship at the Integrative Wellness Centre with Dr. Oksana Sawiak. Not only am I learning about wellness from an expert, I’m also learning new things about myself and this is turning out to be quite an interesting trip. I feel like I’m reinventing myself and am changing my ways for the better. I was hoping to make some drastic changes and heal some wounds but I wasn’t expecting to do anything that involved my appearance.
Then last Wednesday, Dr. Oksana asked me how I felt about my mole. She strongly suggested I get rid of it because she could see granulomas and she could do it, starting right now, with this special, natural medicine from Ukraine. I had had a couple of glasses of wine in me, so I didn’t protest too much and gave her the green light. So she went to her medicine cabinet and came back with a vile of something affectionately known in Ukrainian pharmacies as “Chyste Tilo” or “Ukrain” in English.
Ukrain is an alternative medicine created by Ukrainian chemist Vasyl Novytskyi in 1978 — coincidentally, the same year as my “chocolate chip” memory. The formulation is based on the herb, chelidonium, and is promoted to treat all cancers, radiation-induced diseases and AIDS. The tincture is named in honor of Ukraine and its common name in Ukrainian is “Chyste Tilo” which means “clean body.”
Dr. Oksana said the first treatment would hurt a lot, the second treatment would hurt even more and the third treatment would be even more painful but after that the mole should be gone and that would be that.
I took another sip of wine and Dr. Oksana opened the vile and dabbed on some Ukrain on my mole. It burned like a disco inferno but only briefly. There was no turning back. I went to bed and the next morning the mole looked a little different. We applied some more tincture the next evening but it didn’t hurt nearly as much as it did the night before. By this time the mole had turned black. I couldn’t look at it for more than a split second so I can’t be more descriptive.
The next morning it was the most repulsive thing I had ever seen on my face. Do you remember the line that Kramer says on Seinfeld, “Look away, I’m hideous.” (It’s worth Youtubing). That’s how I felt. And I had to go out in public that day, so I covered it up with a bandaid. I felt like I would scare children otherwise.
After the fourth night, I stopped putting the treatments on and am now playing the waiting game. It’s now Tuesday and the mole is still black. If I touch it, it wobbles like a loose tooth. Gross, I know! It’s just hanging by a thread and is supposed to just fall off at some point. I can still feel the mole and my eye feels a bit funny and I have a feeling the Ukrain is still hard at work. I don’t know how long this stage will last. I hope it’s not weeks and weeks. But there’s nothing I can do about it now. It is what it is.
I will let you know what happens.
In the meantime, for another story about moles, please read my blog post, “Mountains or Molehills” from February, 2011. And leave a comment if you’re a member of the mole on the cheek club. I’d love to hear from you.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
I’m one week into my Homespunspa Wellness Tour and I’ve already learned so much. Last Friday, I had the chance to attend Dr. Oksana Sawiak’s Periodontology seminar. The seminar is geared to dentists who are interested in learning new approaches to treating gum disease and although I’m not a dentist, I do have teeth and I was fascinated by the topic.
Wellness Starts in the Mouth
The first thing I learned was: wellness in the body starts in the mouth. The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body and it also mirrors what’s going on in the body. (The same thing can be said about your skin, hair, and eyes, however, because they also reflect the general health of the body). So if you have gum disease, for example, it’s likely you have other health issues elsewhere in your body. The good news is, if you treat the gum disease, then your overall health and wellness will also improve and you may even prevent the development of more serious illnesses in the future.
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is also known as Gingivitis, Pyorrhea, Periodontitis, Periodontal Pockets, Gum Recession, or Trenchmouth, in its most severe form. Sadly, 80% of North American adults suffer from some degree of gum disease. If not treated, you can lose your teeth. Often times, people opt for gum surgery to heal this infection, but as I learned from Dr. Oksana, there are other treatments available these days that are less destructive.
How do you Know if you have Gum Disease?
You might suspect you have a gum infection if:
- Your gums bleed or swell,
- Your teeth are loose or are shifting,
- You experience a sour or salty taste in your mouth,
- You have the ever-popular morning breath,
- You feel like there’s something stuck between your teeth, even after flossing,
- You have heart problems, Diabetes or any other chronic illness,
- You are scheduled to have a professional teeth cleaning appointment every 3 to 4 months.
If you ignore your symptoms and go ahead and have your hygienist clean your teeth, the infection in your mouth can spread into your blood stream, which will allow the pathogens to settle in a weak spot, like your heart valve, your pancreas or your reproductive organs, which can lead to heart problems, Diabetes and fertility issues. Oddly, many people report that the feel like they have the flu after dental cleanings and that is a sign that their gum infection has travelled throughout their body. To avoid this feeling, it’s better to treat your gum infection first and then go ahead with your teeth cleaning appointment once it’s all cleared up.
Microscopic Imaging of Dental Plaque
It’s one thing to have symptoms; it’s another thing to see the science behind the scenes. During the seminar, Dr. Oksana showed us what plaque looks like under a microscope and my jaw dropped. Seeing microscopic images of live dental plaque on a screen was like looking at a city on Google Earth! It was a whole new world.
To prepare for the slide collection, we were asked to let our plaque “mature” by not flossing or brushing for 24 hours before the seminar or eating spicy, citrus or salty food or drinking any alcohol. It was all I could do not to brush my teeth that morning!
One of the visiting dentists took a sample of my plaque from around the gum line of the teeth and placed it on a microscopic slide. Once the slide was placed under the microscope, we were able to see all kinds of activity and I had a really good lesson in biology (a grade 10 class I vaguely remember).
Each slide we viewed was filled with activity and information. It’s hard to know what you’re looking for on a slide and to understand the lay of the land, but after a while, the patterns start to become more noticeable in the terrain. Dr. Oksana said, “Start with the lakes and work from there.” We identified (still living) things like Spirochaetes, Candida and Bacteria on the slides. We didn’t see any red blood cells because it just so happened that no blood was drawn but we were able to identify some white blood cells .
White blood cells are pretty easy to spot and seeing them provides a really big clue because the body sends white blood cells to fight off an invading enemy and to heal an infection. They are the “soldiers” of the body, so, if there are white blood cells present, then there must be an enemy like, for instance, an Amoeba nearby. Unfortunately, white blood cells are powerless against Amoebas and Amoebas take the nucleus from the white blood cells, are fed and nourished and are able to carry on while the white blood cells die off.
The Amoeba is a parasite and parasites are ultimately the core issue behind gum disease. Therefore, you have to kill the parasites in order to treat gum disease. Make sense?
If you’d like to see your own live microscopic “Amoeba, Candida and Spirochaetes, Oh My!” show, you’re welcome to make an appointment with Dr. Oksana in the YouWell.ca Integrative Wellness and Detox Clinic in Norval, Ontario. She also knows of 12 other dentists who are doing this type of work in Canada and who have a microscope in their dental office. If that’s not convenient and you suspect you have gum disease and want to treat it naturally, you have options and there is hope and I will describe the treatment protocols in my next blog post, coming soon.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
My Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012 is starting in just a few days and I’m getting really excited about my trip. But while I’m away, I don’t want to forget about exercising and lose all of the ground I’ve covered in the last several months. And with American Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays coming up, I’m sure many of you will be tempted to let your exercise routine lapse while you’re travelling to different cities to visit family and friends. My advice: Now is not the time to slack off; try to find a way to include regular exercise in your daily routine throughout the festive season and beyond.
And if you need a little extra motivation to get off your butt and move your body, I recently heard the average person consumes 3000 calories on Thanksgiving Day. That’s a lot of delicious food! If you workout regularly, you’ll definitely avoid gaining unnecessary weight and you won’t need to make any New Year’s resolutions come January 1.
“So, how do I stay fit while travelling,” you ask? Well, as much as I’d like to bring my yoga mat, 12-pound weights and treadmill on the road with me, that’s not practical. My personal trainer, Jeanette, however, came up with a brilliant solution: Bring an elastic/ resistance tube and use it. That’s the tip to stay fit on your trip.
She suggested I bring my tube with me on my trip because it’s lightweight and fits in nicely in my suitcase and there are countless strength training exercises I can do with it wherever I go.
Jeanette told me I’ve lost almost 24 inches since May and I’m not about to undo all of that hard work by discontinuing my regular workouts. I plan on running, doing abdominal crunches and push ups and using my resistance tube often.
Before launching into the exercises, make sure you’re wearing proper fitness clothes, have a bottle of water handy and you warm up for 5 minutes to get your heart rate up. Also, remember to cool down and stretch when you’ve finished your tube workout.
Obviously, you’ll need a tube for these exercises. Mine is purple (of course) and has medium resistance. It also has a casing over it to protect me if the tube ever wears thin and suddenly snaps during a workout. I think it cost me around $30 at a local fitness supply store but I don’t remember exactly. I definitely recommend adding one to your home gym.
Of course there are dozens of strength training exercises you can do with a tube but I’m just going to highlight seven. I’m sharing these instructions and illustrations with Jeanette’s permission.
1) Elastic Double Overhead Press: Stand on the tube and hold the elastic in both hands with your arms at each side and your elbows bent. Push your arms over your head, keeping your elbows no higher than your ears. Return to the starting position. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Maintain good posture and wrist alignment and exhale while pushing your arms up and inhale while bringing them back down.
2) Elastic Double Lateral Raise: Stand on the tube and hold the handles in both hands with your arms at your sides and palms facing forward. Lift arms to shoulder level, keeping your elbows straight, then lower and repeat. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale while lifting your arms and inhale while lowering them. Maintain good posture, abdominal contraction and wrist alignment.
3) Elastic Bent Over Crossed Row: Stand on the tube with feet hip-width apart. Take the end of the tube that is under your left foot with your right hand and the end that is under your right foot with your left hand making a criss-cross with your wrists. (I have to think about this every time). Bend your knees slightly and tilt forward from the hips. Pull up the elastic and raise your hands toward your waistline then return to start. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale when pulling the tube back and bending the elbow and inhale while straightening the elbow. Keep wrist aligned, abs contracted, and spine neutral.
4) Elastic Single Biceps Curl: Stand on the tube with feet outside hip-width apart. Grab the handle with palm facing forward, keeping your arm extended. Pull up while bending at the elbow and then return to start. Do 12 reps and 2 sets with each arm. Exhale as you pull the elastic and inhale on the return. Maintain good posture and keep the abs engaged and watch your wrist alignment.
5) Lateral Biceps Curl with Elastic (External Rotation): Stand on the tube with feet hip-width apart. Grasp handles. Arms are at each side and palms are facing away from the hips. Bend elbows and pull the tube until the hand reaches the shoulder. Lower the hand and repeat. Do 12 reps and 2 sets. Exhale when bending and inhale while extending the elbow. Maintain a space between the elbow and the side of the trunk, keep abs contracted and wrists in neutral position.
6) Elastic Trunk Sidebend: Stand on the tube with your right foot and hold the other end with your right hand. Bend to the left, keeping the elbow straight. Return to start. Repeat 12 times. Switch sides and repeat, bending to the right. (I just figured out I’ve been doing this one without following the instructions and bending the wrong way… oh well). Do 12 reps and 2 sets each side. Exhale when bending the trunk and inhale when straightening the trunk. Maintain good posture and keep abs contracted.
7) Standing Hip Abduction with Tube (Outer Thigh): Stand on tube with both feet together. Place your weight on your left leg. Keep your knee straight and raise your right leg to the side. Return to the starting position. Repeat 12 times. Switch sides and repeat with your left leg. Do 12 more reps and 2 sets each side. Exhale as you abduct your leg and inhale as you lower it. Maintain good posture and keep your ankle aligned in neutral.
I hope you get a chance to try out these tube exercises. I’m sure they’ll keep me busy and fit in the coming weeks. Let me know how things go and I’ll keep you posted on my progress during my Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012. And thanks Jeanette for your great idea!
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Last December/January, I caught the worst cough I can remember and I don’t want to go through that ever again. I lost my voice to laryngitis for a few days, the painful, phlegmy coughing kept me and everyone in my household up at night, and it took about three weeks for the nastiness to clear out of my system.
Flu, short for influenza, is a viral illness that tends to flare up in the winter months and to involve many people in the community at the same time. Flu symptoms include: fever (38.3 to 40 degrees Celsius or 101 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit), chills, body aches, headache, pain when you move your eyes, fatigue, weakness, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, etc. It usually lasts for about 10 days and then everything will be back to normal, but the flu can also lead to more serious and dangerous complications for some.
Having a cold or flu or cough is not fun to say the least so I’ve come up with a list of home-spa-inspired suggestions that will help us all stay healthy this season.
20 things you can do to prevent, avoid, or at least minimize the flu this year:
- Immune System: Fortify your immune system and keep up your resistance to infections by eating a healthy and nutritious diet, exercising regularly and getting plenty of good quality sleep year-round.
- Avoid exposure: If you can at all help it, (easier said than done, I know), avoid contact with people who are showing flu symptoms.
- Vitamin C: Take Vitamin C supplements daily, (I like the chewable kind), and eat foods that have a high vitamin C content.
- Vitamin D: Boost your Vitamin D intake during the dark, winter months.
- Echinacea: Take Echinacea capsules or drink Echinacea tea. Echinacea is a popular healing herb that boosts the immune system, has antiviral properties and helps prevent the onset of colds.
- Zinc: Take Zinc Lozenges at the onset of a cold. This mineral is often used to reduce the length and severity of cold symptoms. Foods that contain zinc include: eggs, meat, seafood and whole grains.
- Panax Ginseng: Take Panax Ginseng supplements during the winter and especially at the onset of a cold. You will find Ginseng in products like ColdFX.
- Garlic: Eat fresh garlic (like on toast or in a salad dressing) at the onset of flu symptoms.
- Oil of Oregano: Take drops of oil of oregano to boost your immune system.
- Hydrate: Drink lots of liquids throughout the day. Choose hot tea with lemon and honey, water, orange juice, and apple juice.
- Soup: Eating a bowl of comforting chicken noodle soup may be just the recipe to alleviate your cold symptoms.
- Clean Hands: Wash your hands regularly and keep your hands away from your nose, eyes and mouth. Also, use a tissue or your upper arm when you cough or sneeze.
- Exercise: Sometimes exercising just as you are starting to feel a cold or flu coming on, may be a good idea; however, do not exercise if you have phlegmy congestion below the neck.
- Relax: Managing your stress will go a long way to keep illness at bay.
- Sauna: Sitting in a sauna for a few minutes may help flush out your cold symptoms.
- Room Sprays: Use room sprays made with essential oils like: basil, bay, benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, cajeput, citronella, coriander, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, grapefruit, helichrysum, juniper, lavandin, lavender, lemon, lime, marjoram, myrtle, niaouli, orange, oregano, peppermint, petitgrain, pine, rosemary, tea tree, and thyme (wow that’s a long list) to freshen the space, disinfect surfaces, help breathing and foster sleep.
- Stop smoking: You may think now isn’t the time to quit smoking altogether, but many years ago, my father went off on a fishing trip and came home with the most miserable cold and after that, he never smoked his pipe again. Quitting smoking will only increase your health in the long run.
- Flu Shot: Consider getting a flu shot early in the season.
- Stay Home: If you’re feeling sick, stay home and rest. Your co-workers and the people that you would otherwise meet when you walk down the street, would appreciate it.
- Sleep: Get lots of rest and do your best to sleep well at night.
I hope these suggestions and recommendations help keep you and your family healthy this winter. If you have any other ideas, please leave a comment and share your wisdom.
by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
“The Road to Wellness is up the road and around the corner” was the lead in an article I wrote in 1998 when I was a reporter for the Peninsula News Review. My assignment was to interview a Naturopathic Doctor who had just opened a wellness clinic in Saanichton. At that time, I wasn’t as concerned about health and wellness as I am today (aah… “youth is wasted on the young…” as the saying goes) so I didn’t take advantage of what the clinic had to offer. But now, looking back, (I can still remember the long, white, billowing curtains in the treatment room), I think my conversation with the Naturopath and my visit to his clinic may have had more of an influence on me than I realized because within a couple of years of that meeting, I opened Homespunspa Enterprises, and have been on the road to wellness ever since.
Now, 12 years later, after going back to school to become an esthetician and adding a mobile spa to my business, I’ve come to a new stretch of road. Dr. Oksana Sawiak, who is a friend of my mother’s from childhood and also a holistic dentist (retired), has graciously invited me to spend some time with her in her new Integrative Wellness & Detox Centre, youwell.ca, in Norval, Ontario. Dr. Sawiak is a frontrunner in the dentistry field and throughout her 30+ year career, has focused on mercury-free/biological dentistry and is now delivering lectures on holistic dentistry, non-surgical gum treatment, pain control, hypnosis, and detoxification, etc.
I can’t wait to learn everything I can from her and her colleagues so I can transfer my new knowledge about this super-big topic of wellness to my readers and customers. I’ll be calling on my writing skills from my aforementioned journalism days and will be making regular updates on my blog about what I’m learning so everybody benefits.
I’ve already purchased my plane ticket and will be leaving Victoria in mid November. I’ve decided to call my adventure to the Toronto area, the Homespunspa Wellness Tour 2012. If you’d like to help support me while I’m on my wellness tour, (and I’d really appreciate this ) please buy a t-shirt or knick-knack from my special collection in my Café Press store. If you ask me, I think those t-shirts and mugs and blankets are pretty-darn cute.
While I’m in Toronto, I will not be available to accept any mobile spa appointments myself until I return but can facilitate any alternate arrangements with other trusted spa practitioners, if you’d like. Just send me an email and I’ll hook you up.
In the meantime, why not buy or rent a copy of the movie or book by T.C. Boyle, “The Road to Wellville” for a laugh and to catch a glimpse of the early days of how this whole wellness movement started in the first place.