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Practitioner Profile - Andrea Ruiter, RMT

Our profile series continues with Andrea Ruiter, RMT. Here are 5 things you probably don't know about Andrea!


Q: Where was your home town, and what was your favorite thing about it?

A: Born and raised in Guelph! I can’t see myself ever leaving Guelph, it’s the only place I would call my home.

Q: What made you enter your field of practice?

A: If you were to ask 5 year old Andrea what she wanted to be when she grew up, her answer was always ‘Massage Therapist’ and to this day I have no idea how that even came to mind. That thought lingered in my head throughout my teenage years, struggling in high school to figure out what career would be best for me. I took a year after high school to work and I realized that I should just go with my gut instinct and TRY Massage Therapy, have a feel for it, learn about it. So I did, and I loved everything about it! I actually hadn’t had my first massage until I started my schooling! 5 year old Andrea would be proud, because look at me know, 2 years into practice and I couldn’t be happier!


Q: What is the most rewarding experience you have had in your practice?

A: I wouldn’t be able to pick just one thing that I find rewarding, every day is something new, every client is in search of healing, relaxation, or education and it’s extremely rewarding to end my day knowing that i’ve helped them in some way. 

Q: What is the most interesting place you have visited?

A: Dawson City, Yukon

Q: What is your favourite pastime away from the clinic?

A: Spending time with my furry friends, human friends, and family. 


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Practitioner Profile - Dr. Tim Lodder

Our Practitioner Blog Series continues with a profile of Dr. Tim Lodder DC. Here are his answers to his "top 5" questionaire.


Q:  Where is your home town and what is was your favourite thing about it?

A: I grew up in Fergus, a small town just north of Guelph.  We lived in a subdivision on the edge of town surrounded by farmers’ fields, forests, open fields, a river and an old railroad track.  As kids we were outside exploring and playing every day … we climbed trees, built forts, played ‘war’ in the forest, swam in the river, played sports and biked everywhere.  It was such an amazing experience and we were always so adventurous.  My childhood was great that way – as long as we were home for dinner by 5:30!  Today I still love being outdoors and being active and most of that love I can attribute to the fun I had as a kid.


Q: What made you enter your field of practice?

A: I have wanted to become a chiropractor since I was 13 years old.  It was a combined interest in anatomy, natural health, being treated by a ‘cool’ chiropractor as a child that first peaked my interest.  As I began along the education journey, I was very fascinated with the many amazing aspects of the human body.  Now after over 10 years of practicing I’m still in love with what I do.  Being a chiropractor is a rewarding occupation and I’m thankful that I’m able to use the gifts I have to help others feel well.  I have realized that the body’s wellbeing is not a simple physical state.  There are many factors involved and there is never “I have arrived” moment.  Health is a constant, every day journey.  I’m blessed to hear so many stories of people pursuing and achieving healthier and happier lives.  To be part of that every day is a gift.   


Q: What is your favourite movie?

A: I love movies but I will have to say my favourite is The Usual Suspects starring Kevin Spacey.  It is an intriguing movie with a spectacular ending.  I have watched it about 20 times and still find parts of the story that I never figured out before.  “The Greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist”.


Q: What is your favorite pastime away from the clinic?

A: Do I have to pick one?  I have many things I love to do but first and foremost is spending time with my amazing wife and four kids.  That can be playing endless games of Uno, going for bike rides, hiking by the river, family camping trips (in our new trailer!), going to hockey, ballet, or swimming lessons, going to church or just relaxing at home.  My family is amazing and I love spending time with them.  My next favourite thing will be to be active.  Hockey, baseball, running, biking or just a good ol’ hike.


Q: If you could meet one person from any time in history, who would it be and why?

A: Jesus.  I believe that through the death and resurrection of my Saviour Jesus I am redeemed from my sins and adopted as a child of God.  That gives me great comfort in my life.  But I’m very fascinated by Jesus’ life here on earth.  What would it have been like to see him?  Or to witness his miracles?  If I lived then would I have accepted him as Jesus, the son of God?  At least I know I do now.  

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Practitioner Profile - Leslie Brown RMT

I recently had a conversation with Leslie Brown RMT, and found out a little bit more about her likes and what makes her tick. Leslie is the latest interview in our Practitioner Profile Blog Series!


Q: What made you enter your field of practice?
I have always had a passion for working with people and helping people.  The more educated and informed we can be about our own health will only benefit us in the future. My favourite area to treat is the neck and shoulders, and helping to relieve pain, stress, tension anywhere in the body is truly rewarding.  I love that every single day I come to work I am dealing with something new (a new condition, a new injury, or a new person) or just continuing to ease the ongoing activities or stress of everyday life.

Q: What is your favorite movie?
: The Sound of Music.  I truly admire Julie Andrews and think she is a phenomenal actress and singer.  The music, the story, the children, the family ties and dedication that come out through the movie are so amazing and inspiring.

Q: What is the most interesting place you have visited?
My husband and I traveled to Alberta in 2014.  We hiked in Banff and Jasper and saw the most beautiful sights that can't be described or justified by the pictures we took.  My legs have never been as sore as they were during our trip, but it was absolutely breathtaking.  We also took a side trip to the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller - seeing 40 dinosaur skeletons was another amazing sight to see.  I admit it brought out the biology nerd in me to see their bone structures and anatomy on such a large scale!

Q: What has been the best year of your life so far? why?
Our son was born in 2015.  Becoming a parent has changed my perspective in more ways than I can count.  His smile and laugh will light up an entire room, and I love watching him grow and develop every day.

Q: What is your favorite pastime away from the clinic? 
As much as our family time allows, I volunteer with a girl's youth group.  These young ladies are aged 11-21 and develop leadership skills through planning service, charity, fundraising and fun events.  They are a great group to work with (we usually laugh a lot!) and see their confidence and abilities grow through their teenage years.


For more clinical information on Leslie, you can visit her biography page on our website.

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Curious About Cupping??

Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but it’s not new! Last years Olympics shone a light on this ancient treatment - an element of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Everyone was wondering, “What are the purple dots on Michael Phelps?”. This is a healing method intended to stimulate blood flow and lift the skin from the muscle. The cups rupture capillaries, creating distinctive round, painless bruises.


What Does It Help With?

3 Benefits of Cupping

1) Relaxes the body – HOW? It works deep to stretch the muscles and the fascia covering the muscles so that your body feels relaxed.


2) Relieves pain – HOW? Pressure applied to painful areas and swelling.  Cupping works to improve increase blood flow and send in nutrients and oxygen to the area ultimately relieving pain!


3) Detoxifies – HOW? Poor circulation can cause toxins to build up. Cupping gently pulls in fresh blood to enter the area and removes stagnate blood containing toxins, debris and dead cells.


Cupping has been used in all sorts of conditions including lung infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, common cold, headaches or more commonly to relieve tight muscles.


What Does It Feel Like?

When the cups are applied with suction, this creates a pulling sensation in the area. Some people compare it to deep massage.


Are There Any Side Effects?

Generally cupping is very safe – when provided by a trained health professional. Following a treatment, you will have red or purple marks on the skin from where the cups were placed.


For more information on Cupping, and to find out if this technique is right for you please click on the link below to book your complimentary 15 minute introductory visit with Dr. Alaina Gair ND


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The 3 Best Essential Oils To Have At Home

Essential oils are everywhere and as a naturopathic doctor I get asked about them a lot! Essential oils are one way of preparing medicinal plants that concentrates specific compounds from the plant. There are lots of plants I prefer to use other ways but there are some essential oils I can’t live without! These essential oil are surprisingly specific. They are from medicinal plants that I love and unlike other plants (not listed here), I prefer to use these plants as essential oils.


3.Tea Tree

Tea tree is my go to oil for a disinfectant. I use it topically for skin infections like acne and use it through out my home to help with cleaning. My favorite spot for tea tree essential oil is my steam mop, I add a drop or two to the cleaning pads to boost the disinfecting power in my kitchen and bathroom!



Eucalyptus is amazing for the respiratory tract and although I’ve always liked it for colds I’ve become a bit obsessed since my little one was born. I use a couple drops in a diffuser when she has a cough and she wakes less from coughing (which means more sleep for everyone)! I also throw a drop in my shower when I have a respiratory infection myself. A word of caution here, Eucalyptus essential oil is a potent medicine and something to take seriously. Store this one high up and make sure your little ones can’t get near the diffuser, it doesn’t take much of this essential oil taken internally to be dangerous.



Lavender is all round one of my favorite herbs. My neighbor grows a bunch of lavender on either side of their sidewalk and it is, year round, my favorite part of my walk home from work because it’s such an intoxicating smell. Lavender is a great anxiolytic; even just the smell of lavender has been shown to reduce blood pressure! A few drops in a bath with a cup of epsom salts is my go to recipe for relaxation and good sleep.


Not all plants are best used as essential oils but I wanted to share the ones I can’t live without! If you want more information on using essential oils safely check out my blog here (


Submitted by


Dr. Katie Thomson Aitken

Naturopathic Doctor

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Practitioner Profile - Dr. Lori Jones DC

Next up in our Practitioner Profile Series is Dr. Lori Jones, Doctor of Chiropractic. Here's a little peek into her life story, from a conversation I had with her recently. For more clinical information on Dr. Jones you can visit her biography on the website.


Q: Where was your home town, and what was your favorite thing about it? 

A: I grew up in North Bay, Ontario.  My favorite things about it were the beautiful lakes and outdoor sports readily available.  I water skied and tubed on Lake Temagami where we had a cottage and swam for hours in this isolated, cold beautiful northern lake.  The house I grew up in had a ski hill right behind it and an ice rink right across the lake so in the winter I was figure skating, playing hockey or downhill skiing. 


Q: What made you enter your field of practice? 

A: I would say what drew me to chiropractic was the injuries I sustained while freestyle skiing, and racing.  My mother was also in a significant car accident when I was 16 where she was hit by a drunk driver and sustained a bad head injury.  Chiropractic was something that she used on her road to recovery and it helped her reach her wellness goals.


Q: What is the most rewarding experience you have had in your practice?  

A: I would say it was when I performed a lecture that a patient attended and subsequently came to see me in office.  She was in her mid 70's, she was such a sweet woman.  She had been in pain in her mid back for about 25 years and after seeing my lecture came in to see what I could do for her.  I took x-rays and adjusted her, on the next visit she came in crying saying that she was pain free and had suffered for 25 years and couldn't believe how good she felt after one treatment.  It was so great to see someone who hadn't been exposed to chiropractic take a chance on something different out of their comfort zone (at 70 something years old), and have such amazing results so quickly.  She is an amazing woman, and I've been blessed to have her be a part of my practice for many years thereafter.


Q: What is the most interesting place you have visited? 

A: In 2009 my husband and I (before kids) travelled for 3 weeks to South East Asia.  I was in the wedding of a friend I met in University who was from Singapore.  So we visited and attended her wedding reception in Singapore and then went to Malaysia and Thailand.  We took subways, ate at local restaurants, had many massages and late nights.  It was a wonderful trip where we learned how to travel on our own in a faraway place without knowing the language.  We learned so much and gained such freedom.  I would love to go back to Thailand, it was an amazing place with such beauty.  


Q: What is your favorite pastime away from the clinic? 

A: Things have certainly changed for me over the years.  Ten years ago I would have said it was the many sports that I participated in.  Now I would say it is spending time with my husband and 3 young children.  They are just getting to ages where we can now do lots of fun activities together.  My 3 year old was on a harness downhill skiing in front of me this year singing away.  It was a beautiful thing!!! 


Q: How has your practice changed over the years?

A: As my family has grown so have my interests. I have three children and the first was a breech that resulted in a Caesarean section. After this experience I expanded my knowledge base to provide prenatal care, and became certified in Webster, to be able to help those that are in similar situations to the one that I experienced. It has become a passion and large part of my practice, which I love.

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Multidisciplinary approaches to Tension Headaches - A Focus on Massage Therapy

One of the side effects of stress is that a lot of people carry it in their bodies. One of the common places is in the neck and shoulders. I (Dr. Katie) sat down with Leslie Brown RMT to discuss how massage can help with managing one of the most common physical side effects I see of stress in my practice - tension headaches.



What are tension headaches?

Tension headaches are trigger points that refer pain into your head. Trigger points are a tight hyper irritable spot that most people call knots. Each muscle has a different location and referral pattern. For example some one might experience pain behind their eyes and someone else might have pain in the back of the head. A massage therapist will know what muscles to treat based on where your tension headache is. Active trigger points will constantly refer pain into your head, while latent trigger points only create pain when you press on the trigger point. 


Why do people get them?

Neck problems are so prevalent. So many people have poor posture and are so stressed! Also repetitive computer and cell phone use affects posture and causes neck pain and headaches. These headaches are very prevalent and exhausting. They take away from your focus and energy and impact sleep because when you have pain you don't have restorative sleep, which impacts your overall healing. 


How do you treat tension headaches?

I have a lot of experience with treating headaches and neck pain because of my work with people who have been in motor vehicle accidents.  Many people do not only come in when they have a headache, they come in for prevention and maintenance. Typical treatment would be 1/month to counteract lifestyle factors such as ongoing postural and stress tension. It is also beneficial as time for self care and to help with relaxation. If you are getting more than 3 headaches a year, treatment can help reduce frequency and intensity of your headaches.


This picture shows some common referral patterns of the neck muscles.  The X's are trigger point locations in the muscles and the red areas show where the referral pain (tension headaches) are felt.


Leslie Brown is a Registered Massage Therapist at Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre. To book a massage with Leslie, or chat with Dr. Katie about multidisciplinary headache care call 519 827-0040, or click on the links below to book online.


To book with Leslie : Book an appointment


To book with Dr. Katie :  


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Five Common Symptoms That Might Actually Be Anxiety

Anxiety is a funny thing, while most people think of it in terms of worry and excessive thoughts, many manifestations of anxiety are very physical. In fact, especially for men, these may be the only or primary symptom. These symptoms can be caused by many things, and it’s always important to look at physiologic as well as psychologic causes, however, anxiety, especially in men, can get overlooked as the cause despite the fact it is very common. And so with that, here are 5 Common Symptoms that might actually be anxiety.



Trouble sleeping sucks, and it’s tempting to write off insomnia as well, insomnia, but if the reason you can’t sleep is actually anxiety, treating the anxiety is a more effective way to get you better sleep. So if you tried melatonin and “it didn’t work for you” it’s probably not treating the cause of your anxiety. Herbs that calm the mind and ease anxiety are much more likely to help you sleep that even herbs that are for sleep if your insomnia is because of anxiety.



Anxiety can make all kinds of pain worse but headaches are a special kind of overlap because it’s so easy to overlook. I find that headaches from anxiety are often diagnosed as tension headaches, which although not untrue, leaves out a possible treatment option. If your tension headaches are not responding to usual therapy, consider that natural anxiety treatments may be helpful at reducing headache pain.


Having to go...

Running to the bathroom because your bowels are going to betray you is no fun. It’s even less fun when it makes it hard to leave the house. Here is the thing, it may not be “IBS” and even when it is, it still may be anxiety (a LOT of people have both). Treating the anxiety calms the nervous system, including the enteric nervous system which is in charge of making you “go”.


Having to go (the other one)

Perhaps not quite as distressing as having to run for the bathroom, having to pee ALL THE TIME is still super inconvenient. When the usual concerns (like infection and prostate issues) have been ruled out, its time to rule out anxiety before you just label your bladder as irritable too!


Trouble Breathing (Even just when working out)

Everybody knows that difficulty breathing can be related to anxiety, but most people think of it as panic attacks and not being able to breathe. In fact, exercise intolerance, or having trouble breathing when working out, is common in anxiety and can be overcome with a combination of physical and psychological support!


The thing about all these anxiety symptoms is that they have an alternate treatment option. By treating the underlying anxiety (when present) you are treating the CAUSE of the symptom, not just suppressing the symptom itself.


If you are ready to find the root cause of your symptoms click on this link to book your complimentary 15 minute consultation with Dr. Katie.



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Boost Your Breast Health

By: Dr. Alaina Gair, ND



I'm Dr. Alaina Gair, Naturopathic Doctor. I am passionate about helping women understand and optimize their breast (and overall) health! According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 1 in 8 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. An estimated 26,300 Canadian women and 230 men will be diagnosed this year. That’s 72 women every day. Being that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month I felt this was the perfect time to share some quick tips that you can put into action today!


I created this blog to help you have:

• A clear understanding of what risks are within your control
• Simple strategies for optimizing breast health
• Peace of mind knowing that you are doing what you can to stay healthy


Let’s get started!


Diet Downfalls


Did you know that pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are carcinogenic?   
You can limit your exposure by investing in organic produce when picking foods  that have the highest pesticide content.  

For 2017, here are the fruits and vegetables that were found to be highest in pesticide content, according to the Environmental Working Group:

• Strawberries
• Spinach
• Nectarines
• Apples
• Peaches
• Pears
• Cherries
• Grapes
• Celery
• Tomatoes
• Sweet bell peppers
• Potatoes


Fruit and Vegetables

Eating a diet high in vegetables and fruit has been linked to decreased risk of developing breast cancer. Aim for 2-3 servings of fruit, 4-6 servings of vegetables and 7 or more servings of other plant foods like whole grains, beans, peas and roots.


Eat a rainbow - variety is important!

Dark green vegetables contain chlorophyll which helps to detoxify the blood, thereby decreasing risk for breast cancer. Colourful berries contain ellagic acid – a compound that actually blocks the growth of cancer cells. Members of the cabbage family contain indole-3-carbinol – an important ingredient for managing estrogen in the body. 



Filtering your tap water can also help to maintain healthy breasts. Chlorine has been suggested as a cause of 1-2% of cancers in Canada and a simple Brita filter will remove 99% of this chemical!


Pump Up Protein

For protein, stick to lean meats like chicken and fish. These contain healthy fats – omega 3 and 9. Ideally these should be free-range, organic or wild caught. Red meat isn’t totally off the table when it comes to reducing risk for breast health. BUT, it’s quite important to buy grass-fed, organic beef. Red meat animals are particularly good at concentrating pesticides and herbicides from their feed. This is stored in the saturated fat in the meat we consume. 


Strike Sugar!

I’m sure most of you already know that keeping sugar to a minimum is beneficial for your health. Diets high in processed foods dump sugar into the blood stream following a meal. The liver responds by releasing insulin-like growth factors which makes cells double and are major stimulators for cancer growth and spread. 



Lift Your Lifestyle



Try a few different activities and then pick one you really enjoy and can stick with! The best outcomes for breast cancer prevention are seen with 60 minutes of exercise 5 times a week, but benefits are seen with just 30 minutes of brisk walking daily. This simple strategy decreases risk of developing breast cancer by 18%! 



Women's bodies process alcohol differently than men's, and therefore women should keep consumption to a minimum – no more than 1 alcoholic drink per day. Research demonstrates that daily consumption of 2-3 drinks results in an increased risk of breast cancer of 43%. 


Chemicals at Home

Try making your own cleaners and stick to personal care products that don’t contain parabens, phthalates or sulfates. These chemicals build up in fat tissue (including the breasts) and have been shown to be carcinogenic.  Chemical-free products are available at health food stores and your skin will thank you for investing in healthier options! One product that really goes a long way is castile soap. Use it as body wash, all purpose cleaner or laundry detergent. 


All-Purpose Cleaner Recipe:

1 cup distilled water

15 drops essential oil –

(Pick your favorites, I use peppermint, lemon and lavender)

1/2 tbsp. castile soap


This makes an effective, non-toxic cleaner for your home. Remember, if it's not biodegradable, it's probably degrading you. If it's harmful to the environment, it's harmful to you!



Stress Sabotage


Stress management, like exercise, comes in many forms. It is important you to pick a system that resonates with you, that brings you peace, and that is something you could stick with every day.


We can predict cancer risk by assessing whether a person skips breakfast, eats between meals and has irregular hours of sleep. The extent to which this impacts development of cancer remains unknown, but there is no question that factor represents a level of chaos in daily life. Chaos adds stress physically and mentally, so it is important not to allow this into your life.


Consider some of the options below, try them out and then commit to a practice that brings you peace.


Some Stress Management Techniques


Guided meditation - there are many apps available to help you develop meditation as a skill. Consider trying out Buddhify (an app). This product has guided meditations to bring mindfulness to almost any daily activity.


Other activities include:

• Diaphragmatic breathing
• Mindfulness
• Bubble bath
• Exercise
• Hypnosis
• Yoga
• Walking in nature
• Music
• Spa day
• Make up your own!


Some people need more help with developing a stress management practice - be patient with yourself! This takes time to become routine.


I hope you have found some helpful information that you can put into action and start optimizing your health and wellness today!


Yours in Breast Health,


Dr. Alaina Gair, ND


* Please remember, this blog does not constitute medical advice and does not act as substitution for seeing a medical doctor or naturopathic doctor to discuss your health. 


If you would like to book an appointment with Dr. gair to discuss Breast Health, or any other health concerns please click on this link: 


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Massage Therapy Treatment for TMJ (Jaw) Dysfunction

Did you Know?

The resting position of the jaw and tongue is when your upper and lower teeth are slightly apart, and your tongue is gently resting on the roof of your mouth just behind the upper central teeth.


What is the TMJ?

The acronym TMJ stands for “Temporomandibular Joint”.  TMJ dysfunction is a disorder of the muscles of mastication (chewing), the temporomandibular joints and associated structures.


Causes of TMJ Dysfunction:

• Predisposition (genetics or trauma to the face, neck or jaw)
• Tissue alteration (postural dysfunction, spasms, trigger points, etc.)
• Stress (increase in tone of the chewing muscles due to jaw clenching, tooth grinding, or habitual gum chewing)



• Pain in the jaw, face, or ear area
• A clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the jaw
• Headaches (commonly felt in the temples or forehead) or earaches
• Jaw that “gets stuck”, locks, or goes out of place


What can Massage Therapy do?

Massage treatment can be very effective to reduce the muscle tension and trigger points in the jaw, neck and shoulders.  These areas will commonly be tender if TMJ dysfunction is present, but working with a RMT to meet your goals (decreasing pain or reducing headaches) will provide positive results.  Your dentist will commonly prescribe a mouth guard to wear at night to prevent your teeth from wearing down from chronic grinding, if necessary.  Massage treatment in all of these areas will also help to reduce stress and improve posture.



Place the tips of your fingers on your cheekbones, then move your fingers down (they should be about an inch in front of your ears).  If you clench your teeth with your fingers there, you will feel the masseter muscles engaged (the main muscles of chewing).  You can then make small circles with your fingers to massage the area.

It is common to forget about the jaw muscles that we use for eating and talking all day long, but they can be a large contributing factor to neck pain or headaches.  If you think massage therapy treatment would be beneficial for you, please do not hesitate to contact our clinic for an appointment.


Contributed by


Leslie Brown, RMT

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Marnie Kerr
February 8, 2018
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Norfolk Wellness Blog Contributor
November 24, 2017
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