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Issue: September 2011


In This Issue:
Women and Heart Health
Audrey's Story
Hot Stone Massage
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Women and Heart Health

Dr. Samantha Ristimaki, BSc, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

You know how much you weigh but how high is your blood pressure?

samantha ristimakiHeart disease is the leading cause of death for women over 50 in Canada. The damage usually begins between the age of 25 and 45 so now’s the time to start thinking about your heart.

You may not be aware that arteries are damaged until you have a heart attack. The blood vessels act as a highway for the transport of nutrients and oxygen and the removal of wastes within the body. Without clear highways, problems begin to arise. Blood vessels can become lined with plaque that reduces blood flow. Insufficient blood flow to the heart can cause angina or a heart attack while lack of blood flow to the brain can result in a stroke.

Women often mistake a heart attack for indigestion

Symptoms of a heart attack can be very subtle in women. Instead of sharp stabbing pain that radiates down the arm, women can experience squeezing or burning pain. This may be accompanied by fatigue, shortness of breath, clammy skin or nausea. Often, women mistake these warning signs as indigestion and delay seeking medical attention. The longer treatment is delayed, the more damage is done.

Symptoms of heart disease in women:

  • Fatigue with exertion
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sleep disturbances or waking at night with shortness of breath
  • Needing to sit or stand to be comfortable
  • Indigestion
  • Anxiety
  • Aching, tightness of pressure in the chest that may be worse with activity

Think about prevention:

  • Learn about your heart health. Most women know exactly how much they weigh but do you know your blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Go for a yearly physical and be sure your heart is in check.
  • Cut back on the Java. Women who drink 4 cups of coffee per day almost double their risk of heart attack.
  • Skip the sweets. The more sugar you eat, the more insulin your body produces and the more LDL (bad) cholesterol your liver produces.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and exercise one hour per day.
  • Take time to relax, meditate and laugh. Depression is correlated as a major risk factor for heart disease.
  • Drink more water. 2-3 litres of water daily will help to prevent constriction of blood vessels associated with dehydration.


Please call us at 905.465.4595 to book your
Naturopathic appointment with Dr. Samantha Ristimaki.

For pricing information please click here.


Audrey's Story

Dr. Shima Shahidy, (Hon) B.Sc., DC
Chiropractor, Acupuncture & Graston Technique Provider

dr shima shahidyI've had the pleasure of working with a wonderful patient who first came to see me for knee and back pain pain several years ago. She is in her sixties, suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and had arthritic knees. She was on multiple medications, not exercising regularly or controlling her diet.

She has since had what I would call "an aha moment" and made some drastic changes in her life. I felt her story was worth sharing because there are so many people who are in the same situation as her to various degrees and it is important that we hear each others stories so we know that we are not alone in our struggles for achieving balance. I asked Audrey to write about her experience and she agreed. Please read below.

"I was diagnosed with diabetes 25-30 years ago. My family members have all lived well into their nineties with no illness so when I was told about kidney or liver failure, I said, "Not me!" and kept on drinking 6-8 cans of regular Pepsi a day and eating peanut butter sandwiches on white bread without another thought.

When I went for my yearly eye exam this year, my optometrist would not give me a prescription and instead sent me to a Retinal specialist. I was told I had swelling behind the eye and I would lose the sight in my right eye. He said there was a new treatment available which costs $200 a session (not covered by OHIP) involving injections into the eye (perhaps 4-5 times) and with no guarantees of success. The needle would bring down the swelling but the vision would not be 100%.

I couldn't imagine not being able to see my granddaughter's face, watch her riding her horse, see her walking down the aisle at her wedding or not being able to drive my car and maintain my independence. It was time for change. So, I've given up Pepsi and white bread and my blood sugar levels are now 4.5 - 6.5. I plan my meals, cook and try to decrease or eliminate foods that can raise my blood sugar. I exercise in any way I can whether it's on the stationary bike or in the pool. I have had two needles for my eye and my vision is improving but I will have to continue treatment. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about having a Pepsi but I know if I touch it, I will be right back where I started, drinking 6-8 cans of pepsi a day and losing my vision."

Audrey continues to come in for treatment and we are focusing on sustainable lifestyle change as well as strengthening her knees to allow her to exercise more and more. I am excited for her as she goes through this process and I'm looking forward to seeing her continue to improve. 

Please call us at 905.465.4595 for more information
and to book your appointment with Dr. Shima Shahidy.

For pricing information please click here.

Hot Stone Massage

Calais Irwin, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist

calais irwin RMTWhat is a ‘Hot Stone’ Massage?
It’s a specilized type of massage that uses traditional Swedish massage techniques along with heated stones placed on the body and in the therapist’s hands.

What type of stone is used?
The most common stones used are Basalt stones. When the lava from volcanic eruptions [mainly in coastal areas] cools, the stones are smoothed and formed by water erosion. Basalt contains a magnetic iron that helps insulate and retain heat, and its smooth, hard surface creates the perfect glide over sore, tired or aching muscles. Stones are selected in varying sizes and shapes for the different body parts.

How are the stones heated?
The stones are placed in a hot water bath. The water and stones are then heated to 120-150F. As the stones cool they are replaced with fresh hot stones.

How long is a hot stone massage?
In order to provide the most effective treatment, we offer a 1 hour (upper or lower body) or 90 minute (full body) treatment. This is suggested as it takes time to place stones on the body and replace stones that have cooled throughout the treatment.

The Benefits     
Soothes tired aching muscles, calms the mind, decreases stress, improves blood and lymphatic circulation, and the heat allows for deeper penetration into the muscles without having to increase pressure.

Who should not have a hot stone massage?
It is not recommended for anyone who has diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, are on blood thinners, or if you are pregnant. Ask your massage therapist if you have concerns about any other conditions.


Please call us at 905.465.4595 for more information
and to book your appointment with Calais Irwin.

For pricing information please click here.


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