Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Keeping Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

Despite this recent 'heat wave', cold and flu season is definitely upon us! If you have children, you have likely already dealt with at least one snotty nose this season (we are currently blasting through the Kleenex at our house). But the best way to protect yourself and your family from falling victim to illness this season is through prevention. Here are some easy ways to help boost your immune system this season.

Load Up on Fruits and Veggies (and Healthy Proteins and Fats)

A healthy diet is your body's (and immune system's) best defence. Vegetables and fruits contain 100s of micronutrients- vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants- all of which helps to strengthen your immune system and ward off illness. Healthy protein sources are also needed for the immune system and it's normal function, as our healthy fats.

Ditch the Sugar

Some studies have actually shown that ingestion of sugar can actually suppress the immune system and that suppression can last up to 5-6 hours after ingestion. Reduce refined and added sugars as much as possible, and remember that this includes fruit juice which provides a sugar punch equivalent to soda.

Add the herbs

Various herbs and spices- like turmeric, oregano, ginger and garlic all possess immune boosting properties as well as antimicrobial effects. Garlic specifically is highly antimicrobial. If you do feel a bit of illness coming on, load up on the garlic which can help kill the virus you were exposed to.


Both Echinacea and Elderberry have immune stimulating properties that can help boost the immune system and keep you from getting ill. Elderberry has also been shown to help combat influenza. Many studies (here and here) have shown benefit with Elderberry. One in particular looked at a preparation of Elderberry syrup and found that patients who had flu symptoms that were given elderberry syrup had their symptoms resolve within 2-3 days, while those given placebo took 6 days on average. You can make your own Elderberry syrup (I use Wellness Mama's Recipe) or purchase a commercial version. Even adding something like Traditional Medicinal's Echinacea and Elderberry tea is an easy way to give yourself a little daily boost.


Supplements are another way of giving yourself that extra protection during cold and flu season and there are a few good basics that can be added to your daily regime, especially here in North America.
  • Vitamin D: During the winter months, our sun exposure (which is our main source of Vitamin D) plummets. This can lead to decreasing levels that tend to bottom out around March. Adding Vitamin D can not only help prevent deficiency, it's also a necessary component for a healthy immune system.
  • Probiotics: When about 70% of your immune system is actually found in your gut- it's important to keep that healthy. Our main source of healthy bacteria comes from fermented foods and our surrounding environment, like dirt. However, both of these sources tend to be lacking in the standard North American diet- we do not regularly consume natural fermented foods (no yogurt doesn't count) and we are generally pretty intense when it comes to sanitizing- both our foods and with hand sanitizer. Adding in a good probiotic is a great way of giving your micro-biome some needed support.
  • Essential Fatty Acids: Again, most people are actually deficient in EFAs (Omega-3s). Our ratio should be 1:1 for Omega 3s to Omega 6s, however, the standard North American diet is actually more like 1:20 Omega 3s to Omega 6s and that leaves us deficient. Our best sources are fish (hence fish oils) but we also can't consume too much due to heavy metal concerns. Beef is actually a source of omega 3s IF it is 100% grass fed, however, due to issues with our food system most beef is corn fed so the fatty acid profile actually shifts to a more inflammatory fat- arachidonic acid. Adding in a high quality fish oil is an easy way to ensure your intake of omega 3s.
Of course, check with your Naturopathic Doctor to discuss if these supplements (or tips) would be right for you and what dosing or brand is best suited to your needs.

We truly hope you are enjoying our Wellness Wednesday Youtube chHealth Tips, don't forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel so you never miss an episode!

~The Coach House Team~

Monday, 28 November 2016

Chronic achy muscles? Tried everything? What’s the missing link to pain free muscles?

I was at a chiropractic talk the other week and a phenomenon known as the thixotropic effect was discussed. As the presenter explained its relevance to us, I began to realize that this effect is something that should be conveyed to our patients/clients so they know how to contribute to their injury recovery.

The thixotropic effect states that a material will remain in a gelatinous (soft and gooey) or fixed state unless loading (shear, compression, traction, etc.) is applied to the material. After such loading, the material will become more pliable. It is a concept of modulation! Now, the question is how do we make this modulation stick? In respect to the human body, what we need to do is modulate the source of control of the tissues that often give us problems (muscles, tendons and ligaments) – all of which are controlled by the nervous system. Therefore, we can only make lasting physical changes if we modulate the nervous system.

What this means is that if you have tight, sore muscles, either from overuse or from chronic poor posture, your muscles will remain tight until enough force is put through them – the thixotropic effect. This force can be provided by a manual therapist or through exercise (stretching, weights, etc.).  The catch is, with only one of these strategies or the wrong method of these strategies, the perceived tension will reappear within 20 minutes to an hour. What we need is a strategy to neurologically modulate the areas of complaint in such a way as to help relieve the discomfort. A combination of the following is an excellent approach to training your nervous system to function more efficiently: 1) Electrostimulation to modulate the neural impulse affecting the targeted structures, 2) Lymphatic drainage to help remove metabolites prolonging the discomfort, 3) Isometric contractions to actively stimulate the tissue involved, 4) Acupuncture dry needling to target deep intramuscular regions, and 5) Dynamic movement to re-establish tolerance to functional patterns.

When it comes to learning how to use the nervous system in a new manner, the typical duration of rehabilitation is approximately three weeks after which point the brain has recognized and learned a new motor skill. This, however, doesn’t mean your rehabilitation is over. You’ll still need time to further ingrain this neurological conditioning so that it becomes second nature when that recruitment pattern is needed. If you are interested in learning more about this approach to your musculoskeletal complaints, I encourage you to book an appointment with me and I would be happy to discuss an individualized treatment plan with you. 

Friday, 25 November 2016

The 12 Days of Christmas Recap

And that's a wrap! 

We hope you've enjoyed our healthy, local gift guide as much as we enjoyed putting it together. It's amazing how many great little shops and local products there are right here in KW. I know my holiday shopping list shifted after checking out these shops for photos. Did you know Distinctly Tea has hot chocolate mix made with granulated honey and not corn syrup based? I searched everywhere for this last year and could not find it! I am currently on week two of my Sustainable Market order and loving it. And I will be checking out Wordsworth Books this week to pick up my children's Christmas books. 

Just incase you missed a day, we have recapped each day below. If you haven't had a chance to check out some of these shops before, now's the time! You won't regret it.

On The First Day Of Christmas: The Coach House Therapeutic Centre


Our clinic, The Coach House Therapeutic Centre, offers gift cards that can be redeemed towards massage therapy, physiotherapy, naturopathic medicine and chiropractic care. If you haven't checked out our beautiful facility now is the time! Give the gift of health this season with a gift certificate to your favourite health care clinic!

Visit The Coach House Therapeutic Centre Website to learn more about our team, services and facilities.

The Coach House Therapeutic Centre
150 King Street South Unit G, Waterloo, ON N2J 1P6

On The Second Day Of Christmas: Gifted

Gifted is a beautiful boutique shop in Uptown Waterloo that is like walking into an Etsy store. They have a huge selection of unique gift ideas- many of which are handmade by local artisans- it's hard not to find something for everyone. Gift the gift of handmade, local, artisan treats.

Check out Gifted's Website to learn more.

181 Park Street, Waterloo, ON N2L 1Y7

On The Third Day Of Christmas: Words Worth Books

Wordsworth Books is located in Uptown Waterloo and has a wonderful selection of quality books- from children's to adult's- and magazines, and actually specialize in hard to find books. They also carry a selection of adult colouring books and supplies. If you haven't popped in to Wordsworth before, now is the time! Give the gift of stress reduction this holiday season!

Words Worth Books Website

Words Worth Books
96 King St S, Waterloo, ON N2J 1P5

On The Fourth Day Of Christmas: Fearless Heart Yoga Studio

Fearless Heart Yoga offers an array of yoga classes that suit any fitness or experience level including specialty classes such as Prenatal, Mom and Baby, Kids, Sports and more. With amazing instructors and a beautiful facility this is definitely an Uptown location to check out- they are even hosting an Open House on Saturday, December 3rd from 3pm-6pm at their studio above Seven Shores Cafe. Give the gift of fitness.

Fearless Heart Yoga Website

Fearless Heart Yoga

10 Regina St N #3, Waterloo, ON N2J 2Z8

On The Fifth Day Of Christmas: The Truth Beauty Company

Truth Beauty Company is located in Uptown Waterloo and focuses on all natural, chemical free skin care, person care products and makeup. Carrying lines for everyone- men, women and children/babies, Truth Beauty Company carries a wide selection of amazing brands and products many of which are Canadian made. Give the gift of natural beauty.

The Truth beauty Company Website

The Truth Beauty Company
Lower level, 46 King Street North, Waterloo, ON N2J 2W8

On The Sixth Day Of Christmas: Cocoon Apothecary

Cocoon Apothecary is definitely a Coach House staff favourite. This amazing skin care line is super luxurious, completely chemical free, organic, eco-friendly and artisan made in small batches right here in KW. Though the Coach House carries a small selection of Cocoon's products, their main location (and site of their production) is well worth the visit. (There will also be a Holiday Shopping Party happening on November 26th from 11am-5pm with a few pop up shops). Boasting both a women's and a men's line, their products are perfect for anyone, and because they are chemical free, safe for young ones as well. Give the gift of chemical free skin care this holiday season and check out Cocoon Apothecary.

Cocoon Apothecary Website

Cocoon Apothecary
72 St Leger Street, Kitchener, ON N2H 6R4

On The Seventh Day Of Christmas: Distinctly Tea

Distinctly tea is beautiful store located in the Bauer Marketplace and carries a huge selection of both delicious teas, Matcha powder, hot chocolates, local handmade pottery, imported chocolate and loose leaf herbs. Check out Distinctly Tea and give the gift of a warm 'cuppa' this holiday season.

Distinctly Tea
187 King St S, Waterloo, ON N2J 1R1

On The Eighth Day Of Christmas: Death Valley's Little Brother

Did you know coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the North American diet? However, nutrient value begins to decrease after roasting which is why freshly roasted is ideal. Enter Smile Tiger Coffee Roasters and Death Valley's Little Brother which offer freshly roasted coffee right here in KW! Give the gift of a cup of happiness (and health) this holiday season!

Death Valley's Little Brother Website
Smile Tiger Coffee Website

Death Valley's Little Brother
84 King St N, Waterloo, ON N2J 2X4

Smile Tiger Coffee
100 Ahrens St W, Kitchener, ON N2H 4C3

On The Ninth Day Of Christmas: Relish 

Relish Cooking Studio in Uptown Waterloo offers a great selection of cooking classes with various instructors in a fun group environment. But it's not just cooking classes, Relish has an amazing selection of healthy cookware and kitchen gear including Le Creuset and cast iron pans. Give the gift of healthy cooking this holiday season.

Relish Cooking Studio
56 Regina St N, Waterloo, ON N2J 3A3

On The Tenth Day Of Christmas: The Sustainable Market


Did you know that in fruits and vegetables grown in North America can spend up to 5 days in transit before arriving at a distribution centre? If grown outside of the country it can be up to several weeks? All the while losing nutritional value like vitamins and minerals. Local produce is always the way to go. The Sustainable Market is an online farmers market focusing on local, chemical free and non-GMO farms that use sustainable farming practices. But it's not just produce, they also offer ordering from local bakeries like Golden Hearth and local coffee from Smile Tiger as well as dairy, meats and pantry items. They will also be holding their Holiday Market from November 25th until December 16th with some amazing local artisans- check out their website for more info! Give the gift of healthy eating this holiday season with a gift certificate to The Sustainable Market.

On The Eleventh Day Of Christmas: Fenigo

                                                                        Did you know often times BPA-free plastic actually leaches more endocrine disrupting chemicals then BPA containing plastic. Every time it is heated and cooled (think left in a car, put in the dishwasher, etc) more chemicals are released into the food or beverages it's containing. Fenigo offers an amazing selection of everything you need to go plastic (and litter) free! From mugs to water bottles, straws to utensils and even storage and lunch containers, you will find it at this little gem of a shop! Give the gift of chemical free this holiday season.

Fenigo Website

105 Lexington Rd, Waterloo, ON N2J 4R7

On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas: Ambrosia Pastry Co.

Let's be real, it wouldn't be the holidays without...Chocolate! Ambrosia Pastry co. in KW makes small batch, handmade, craft bean to bar chocolate completely from start to finish. Ambrosia sources Fair Trade Organic cacao beans from around the globe and choose the best roasting methods and percentages of cacao to highlight the beans characteristics. Need more reason to try these bars? A bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cacao contains high amounts of fibre, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium and antioxidants. Just remember to enjoy in moderation and give Ambrosia a visit. This holiday give the gift of a tasty treat!

Ambrosia Pastry Co. Website

Ambrosia Pastry Co.
150 Roger St, Waterloo, ON N2J 1A9

Happy holiday shopping!!!

~The Coach House Team~

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Yogi Kids

As an ND, I recommend yoga a lot. It's a great activity that is low impact, easy on joints, wonderful for tight muscles and stretching and will improve flexibility. However, it's positive effects don't just end there, it doesn't just improve physical health parameters, it has also been shown to improve mental health parameters. This is especially true in children. Recent studies have shown yoga can benefit a child's mood, tension, stress, anxiety, self-esteem and memory!

There are even some preliminary studies that suggest benefit with ADD/ADHD. Here are some examples:

Even though yoga is a relatively safe exercise, there are still some things to be mindful of while practicing. Here are some tips from Elena of Fearless Heart Yoga who teaches the children's class:

Many people come to yoga with the impression that the practice itself is inherently safe, but as with all physical exercise there is always a risk of injury. Injuries can be both sudden or chronic and practicing with a teacher, especially when you are new to the practice, is the best way to help you understand how to keep your practice safe. 

If you're practicing with your kids at home, you can make the practice as safe as possible a few ways:

1) Make sure they aren't putting pressure on their neck or on the crown of the head.

2) Make sure they are not hyper-extending their joints  commonly the elbows) or putting lateral (side-to-side) pressure on the joints, especially the knees.

3) Check in. Try asking open ended questions like "What do you feel?" and if they're feeling pain, "Where does it hurt?" rather than asking yes or no questions like "Does your knee hurt?" since they might be inclined to give you the answer they think you want. This will also help them develop a stronger sense of awareness of their own body and feelings.

4) Make the practice relaxing, fun and informal. If you go into a yoga practice with your child with the expectation that they will be able to touch their toes/do the splits/learn to meditate in X amount of time, this will likely only stress them out and make both you and them frustrated. Instead of setting time driven goals, use the practice as a way to engage with them and help them cultivate a sense of confidence and awareness of themselves in and outside their practice.

5) If you are unsure how to make a pose safe or more accessible for your child, seek out help from a professional. Every body is different and children are no exception.

The next session of Kids Yoga being held at Fearless Heart Yoga is starting Thursday, January 12th at 4:30 pm and will run for 6 weeks. Classes are 30 minutes long and taught by Elena. For more information check out Fearless Heart Yoga

~The Coach House Team~