‘Sign…Sign…Everywhere a sign.’ Are you Paying Attention to the Signs your Body is Sending?

This month signs of various forms have been bringing me messages.  Crocuses popping up indicating spring is truly here.  Ducks literally walking down the middle of the road reminding me to slow down.  An oriole pecking at my window, then my front door reminding me to get outside and put bird food out 😊.  Other messages have been more obvious in the form of letters – ‘now that you’re 50 you are eligible for breast screening’.   ‘Just a reminder you are due for your routine Pap test’.  The most important ‘signs’ or signals are blatantly obvious or subtle.  Are you paying attention to your signs?

Women are often the last to take care of themselves or pay attention to the body signals begging for attention.  For breast and cervical health, screening exams are important to keep up to date.  I always ask patients ‘Do you know your breasts?‘ Blush, squirm, giggle….it’s a valid question.  No-one should know your breasts more than you.  You or your partner often are the first to notice subtle changes…a little lump, a dimple, skin color change, unusual discomfort, nipple discharge.  These are signs that need to be investigated – early detection is key.

The same goes for vaginal health.  Do you know what is normal for you?  If there are any changes with discharge, odor, discomfort during sexual intimacy, or pelvic pain in general, please get it assessed.  No question is off limits…no question is embarrassing.  And keep up to date on your PAP test.  Cervical cancer is preventable  – 15 minute examinations are way easier to tolerate than perhaps a lengthy illness or hospitalization or worse.

So please pay attention to the ‘signs’ your body is sending you.  I am happy to provide women’s health assessments/Pap tests to anyone that does not have a provider.  Please contact the office to book an appointment or if you have further questions.

Resources:

www.knowyourlemons.org for information on signs of breast cancer

www.choosingwiselycanada/paptests.org for more information

In service,

Dana Clay, NP

April is IBS Awareness Month

IBS – Irritable bowel syndrome.  Almost everyone knows someone with IBS.  I also have been diagnosed with IBS so I can speak from first hand experience about the trials and tribulations as well as ways I have controlled this imbalance in my body.

As the name indicates, irritable bowel syndrome is pretty much an umbrella term for the multitude of ways our digestive system becomes irritable and doesn’t function correctly. The general symptoms of IBS include abdominal cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and/or constipation, and if severe can lead to nutrient deficiencies due to lack of absorption in the gut.

IBS can have a huge effect on your life – who else plans their errands or road trips around the best bathroom stops? Or walking into a mall or restaurant, scoping out where the nearest bathrooms are? Anyone…anyone…Buller? Yep, your life is consumed by not if, but WHEN IBS will occur.  There is no definitive cause for IBS but more of a group of TRIGGERS that create the symptoms:

  • Stress – not a cause of IBS but more how the nervous system reacts and influences the body – the gut/brain connection
  • Food allergies – gluten, dairy, nuts, etc
  • Hormone levels, especially in women
  • Frequent antibiotic use

So some ways recommended to have better control over these symptoms and create balance in the body are as follows:

  • Manage your stress – meditation, exercise, counselling, journaling
  • Clean up your diet – choose real food, our body struggles to produce the correct enzymes to break down food, the more processed the food, the more difficult for the body to recognize how to break it down.
  • Create balance in the gut – increase intake of pre and probiotics to recolonize the proper gut bacteria.
  • Water – proper hydration is important for all body functions

So in a nutshell, IBS is a common condition and often not diagnosed.  If you resonate with this information, I invite you to discuss this with your healthcare provider to explore ways to improve your health.  For more information click here  or contact me here.

 

In service,

Dana Clay

Women and Emotional Holding Patterns

March 8th, we celebrated International Women’s Day acknowledging the strength, and resilience of women in all cultures and how far we have come fighting for equality and standing up for what we believe in. YES, I am very proud of my ancestors and those that have gone before me breaking down the barriers that allows me to have the independence I cherish today.  However, in my practice, I am noticing that women are voicing feeling disconnected – not only from one another, but also from themselves – unwilling or unable to tap into their emotions that allow them to heal the past, including ancestral patterns and therefore struggling to be present.  We hold so much inside that we become numb, and it starts showing up physically and mentally.

 

As an example, I had something trigger me this past week that brought up so much anger and resentment that it really had a physical effect on me for a few days.  I thought I had moved through this past event, learned from it, and moved on.  But the visceral reaction was so great that I had to take time to make sense of it to move it out of my body.  For me, my stomach was like a knot – an area that represents our self-confidence, how we form relationships and how we view ourselves in our world.  My chest felt tight – an area of our emotional heart and lungs where sadness, repressed feelings, and emotional pain often resides.  And of course, my jaw – clenched tight withholding the words I want to say but don’t – swallowing them down because we were taught not to express anger or that our words would be met with punishment.

My experience in BodyTalk and Reiki allowed me to see this for what it was – I saw that this was a memory resurfacing that had a lot of emotional content still attached to it that I had not yet fully processed therefore it reared its ugly head, because I was ready to do the healing.  My body was yelling at me to pay attention and figure it out.  So, my 50-year-old self took a step back and held space for my 7-10-15 year-old self to have the temper tantrum, feel the anger, feel resentment, feel the victim, and cry, all the while unraveling the associated memories, watching them float through my mind, then disappear.  I’m not going to lie – it was a long two days before I felt better.  But I did the work.  I did my tapping techniques, I had a BodyTalk session, I ALLOWED myself to FEEL the feelings, I journaled, I walked outside, I ate soothing foods, I drank a lot of water, I took lots of Epsom salt baths, I slept a lot.

 

So, what is the point of all this?  The point is that this was MY emotional holding pattern.  It shows up in my abdomen, chest, and jaw, and I was able to name the emotions that I was holding there and why. This is the gift our body’s give us – we get to listen and learn from them daily.  I invite you to take some time after reading this, close your eyes and see where your emotional holding patterns are.  I encourage you to Feel your Feelings too and not wait for them to show up as physical aches and pains.

 

For more information or if you would like to talk more about BodyTalk and Reiki to help identify and release your emotional holding patterns, contact me at:  www.steppingstoneshealthandwellness.com

 

In service,

Dana Clay

How to N_ _ ture the Heart: What’s missing…..UR

Ah Valentine’s Day – a day for acknowledging your love to someone special…..how about showing YOURSELF some of that love this month. I would like to share some easy ways to SELF-LESSLY show yourself some appreciation and to nurture your heart at the same time. Primarily I would like to talk about the emotional heart, but lets start with the obvious, physical heart health.

The Physical Heart – heart health starts with nourishing it with a proper balanced diet, reducing added sugar, salt, and unhealthy fat.  The heart is a muscle and benefits from at least 150 minutes PER WEEK, of activity to keep it strong and operating optimally.  Sounds like a lot?  Try breaking it up  – go up and down stairs during TV commercial breaks, 5-10 minute walk around the house/office during lunch break, and if you are so inclined, dress up really warm and get outdoors for some fresh air and sunshine and enjoy that winter beauty.

There are many different ways to exercise and get that heart rate up – go with what is available to you and what you ENJOY.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, and you can use objects around the home to add weight to your routine. Grab a friend or partner and do some mall walking.  Some free options are YouTube videos for yoga, strength training, and cardio.  There are also virtual class options at your local health and fitness venues. And of course, keep on top of your health with routine physical exams with your healthcare provider.

 

The Emotional Heart – stress, anxiety, worry, depression – all of us have experienced these emotions – especially the past few years.  According to University of Ottawa Heart Institute, emotional stress has a direct and indirect effect on heart health. When we don’t verbalize or release our emotions and internalize everything, it triggers a stress response in the body – increases the immune response, triggering inflammation that affects blood vessels and tissues.  Elevated stress increases your blood pressure and heart rate, muscle contraction, and improper breathing, and can lead to sleep problems.  People that report frequent stress/anxiety/depression/frustration/anger are more likely to choose unhealthy foods to soothe themselves, drink more alcohol, and smoke cigarettes.

 

So I would like to offer simple ways to be more in tune with your emotions, to acknowledge what they are, and ways to move through it:

  • Take 5 minutes away from the stressful situation (bathrooms are great) and name what you are feeling. Close your eyes and do a quick body scan to see where you are tight and contracted. Breath deeply into those areas for a count of 4 and breath out to a count of 5. Repeat at least 3 times.  It acknowledges the feeling, where you are holding it in your body, automatically calms the brain, relaxes the muscles, and brings clarity to the situation.
  • Set boundaries: say NO to people, activities, situations when possible. Adding on extra obligations only leads to anger, resentment, which increases stress.  See above.
  • Laugh or smile: not only is it contagious, but it is also an instant stress reliever and releases all the ‘feel good’ chemicals like serotonin.
  • At night and upon waking, lie with one hand on your heart and one on your abdomen and visualize your favorite color moving in a figure eight starting at your heart to your belly with the mental message of sending love to yourself and your body and releasing whatever of no longer needed.
  • Shut the TV off, put down the phone – play with the kids and pets, cuddle with your partner, or read a good book. Unplug and be KIND.
  • Commit to self care 5-10 minutes a day to start every single day. Make it part of your daily routine. Self care is whatever centers you, feeds your heart, and makes you feel good.
  • If you are struggling and need to talk, please reach out – family, friends, co-worker, mental health professionals, and other resources are available to you.

 

From February 14-28, I will be offering 10% off BodyTalk and Reiki sessions to help you nourish yourself and your heart. Always happy to answer any questions you may have.  Happy February – treat yourself this month, YOU DESERVE IT.

Check out my website for all services available at Prairie Sky Integrative Health through Stepping Stones Health and Wellness.

In service,

Dana Clay, NP

Top 10 Conditions that Respond to Low Level Laser Therapy

PAIN – Everyone has experienced it at one time or another. It can be a life saving mechanism to prevent us from further damaging ourselves – it is our body’s built-in communication system to say ‘HEY – stop what you are doing and pay attention, something is not right, here!’

 

Pain is the leading reason for health clinic visits. It can be short term or chronic, lasting weeks, months, even years, depending on the cause and condition.

I have recently been re-introduced to low level laser therapy (LLLT or photobiomodulation). I first came across it and used it 10 years ago for acute and chronic pain with good results, and since then the quality of the devices available have much improved.

 

So what is Low Level Laser Therapy? Glad you asked….

 

LLLT is pretty much what is says, low levels of laser or light wavelengths that penetrate the tissues, and the body tissue then absorbs the light. The red and near-infrared light cause a reaction, and the damaged cells respond with a physiological reaction that promotes regeneration. This reduces inflammation, reducing pressure on nerves, which reduces pain sensations, and speeds up the healing process. Pretty cool stuff!

 

What can LLLT help with?

  • Ligament or tendon tears
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Muscle strains or sprains
  • Arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Back and neck pain
  • Carpel Tunnel syndrome
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ)
  • Post-herpectic pain (Shingles)

 

What to expect

 

LLLT is cold laser therapy meaning it doesn’t heat up the tissues. Although you’ll feel the laser device touching your skin, the procedure is painless and non-invasive. There will be no sound and no heat, but you may feel mild vibration. Each treatment typically takes 5-10 minutes. But, laser therapy isn’t a one and done type of treatment. If your physical condition is a recent injury, a couple treatments may be all you need, whereas a chronic condition may need up to 10 sessions. But everyone is different, and lifestyle factors play an important role as well. You can support your healing by drinking lots of water to stay hydrated, eating a healthy diet, moving as much as you can, and reducing your stress levels.

 

Contraindications

 

If you have cancer/cancerous lesions, or a pacemaker, LLLT is not recommended around the affected areas. Similarly, the laser will not be used around the eyes or thyroid areas.

 

 

If interested in a consultation, learning more or have questions, contact me at www.steppingstoneshealthandwellness.com or dana.bodyworks@gmail.com and through Prairie Sky Integrative Health 306-757-4325

 

Yours in gratitude,

Dana Clay, NP