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4 Ways to Support Your Well-Being as We Transition into Winter Months


Winter months bring many joyful activities, such as the holiday season, playing in the snow, or the cozy feeling of coming inside and enjoying a warm drink after being out in the cold all day. However, for some individuals, the winter months can bring on a feeling of sadness. Depression that arrives or worsens during the winter months may be a sign of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Which is a form of depression that is triggered by changes in daylight and weather that occur primarily in winter.


Signs and Symptoms of SAD

- Feelings of depression that happen most of the day, every day, in a seasonal pattern

- Experiencing tiredness or low energy

- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy

- Sleeping too much

- Changes in appetite/ or weight gain

- Feeling sad/ guilty/ or down on yourself


How to Support Yourself


Set yourself up in the fall

Set up a routine in the fall to help your body transition into shorter days and into winter months. Your routine could include aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep per night, eating nutrient-dense foods, and including daily movement.



Daylight savings time is upon us, and our bodies are greatly impacted by a reduction of sunlight. We may feel more irritable, fatigued, lethargic, and/or reduced emotional bandwidth. Get outside as much as you can during the afternoon to take advantage of what sunlight we have. If you commute to and from work in the dark, try to take a 30-minute walk on your lunch break if possible. When you are indoors, open your blinds and get as much natural light in as you can.


A time for reflection

Winter is a time when nature is dormant and resting, signalling for us to pause and reflect. This year try to not get caught up in the bustle of the season and truly slow down and enjoy it. The cooler months are a great time to start incorporating meditation practice. Our Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Katie, recommends the following meditation apps to help you get started - Insight Timer, Headspace, or Calm.


Enjoyable Activities

Plan activities to look forward to! Initiate conversations with friends, plan outings and engage in clubs or the community. Having connections in real life can make a big difference in not feeling alone. If you struggle to make real-world connections, as opposed to online connections, I recommend picking up a copy of Dr. Katie’s book Create Calm and reading chapter 21, which is all about community and putting yourself out there. Pick up a complimentary copy for a limited time in the front reception area of the clinic!


The staff at Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre hope these strategies help you transition into the winter months with ease!


by Kelly Verstraete, CHA

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Benefits of Gratitude + 5 Tips to Grow Your Practice

Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have in life instead of focusing on what they’re lacking. Our brains are designed to problem solve rather than appreciate. We must override this design to reap the benefits of gratitude. Studies show that practicing gratitude can lead to more intimate and connected relationships, reduce feelings of stress and depression, improve sleep, and result in better overall well-being.


Improve Relationships

Gratitude can improve relationships, as a mutual appreciation for each other often results in a more satisfying relationship. A study with couples found that individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner felt more positive towards the other person. As well as felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.


Reduce Stress

A large part of managing stress is being able to regulate our emotions; practicing gratitude can help with that. A 2017 study published in Scientific Reports looked at the participant’s heart rates before, during, and after practising gratitude. The study found that heart rates decreased. A decreased heart rate is associated with feeling calmer. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed take a moment to list the things you’re grateful for at that moment. It may be difficult but it will likely help to calm you down and put things into perspective.


Better Sleep

People who practice gratitude before bedtime report better sleep. This is likely because gratitude diminishes anxiety and stressful feelings, allowing for a more restful and relaxed sleep.


Overall Well-Being

Gratitude can also improve one’s outlook on life. Appreciating what you have can leave you feeling more optimistic and satisfied and experiencing less frustration, envy, and regret. Gratitude also tends to result in increased self-esteem and confidence, which also improves mood.


People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. Find what works best for you and your life. Here are some suggestions:


- Stack it on top of an existing habit. If you stack it on top of another habit you’ll likely find it easier to maintain. Try thinking of 5 things you’re grateful for while in the shower.
- Get specific. Instead of saying you’re grateful for your friend, dive deeper and ask yourself what it is about your friend that makes you grateful to have them in your life.
- Think of different things. Challenge yourself to think of something different each day. Getting specific can help with this.
- Keep a gratitude journal. A space where you can write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for each day.
- Show appreciation to others. Whether that be through a thank you note, an email, or verbal interaction. This act of appreciation will mean more than you think to its recipient.


If you try any of these tips, please share them with us at your next appointment! The staff at Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre would love to hear how you’re incorporating gratitude into your daily life.


by Kelly Verstraete, CHA

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5 Ways Parents Can Manage Back to School Stress

As the back-to-school season rolls around so does the back-to-school stress and anxiety that many parents face. A study reported in the New York Times found that 57% of the 2000 parent participants of school-aged children (aged 5-18) revealed the back-to-school season to be the most stressful time of year.


As another school year rolls around here are five tips for how parents can healthily manage their back-to-school stress.


Plan Ahead

Weeknights can become stressful and overwhelming when you are trying to help your children with homework, prepare dinner, extracurricular activities, and everything else life throws your way. Planning your meals for the week ahead can help alleviate the stress of deciding what is for dinner each night. Once your meals are planned, make a grocery list of what items you will need for the week and go grocery shopping once. This will help to avoid running to the store for last-minute ingredients or impulsively eating out. And lastly, prep your food ahead of time if you can. Having your produce washed and pre-cut will save you hours preparing dinners on busy weeknights.


Set Routines & Stick to Them

Having routines set in place will help not only you but also your child’s stress levels. Routines provide a sense of stability and security. You know what to expect each day and can prepare for it. For example, every night before bed you set your child’s packed backpack by the front door. This will help to eliminate the morning stress of finding your child’s lost homework or permission slip.


Focus on the Positive

It can be easy to get lost in the negative, what-if thoughts regarding your child going back to school. However, it is important to remember that children thrive during the academic year. They work hard to grasp the fundamentals of math, excel on the sports field, or advance their reading level. As we gear up toward another school year don’t fret about what could go wrong. Instead, acknowledge the positives. Your child is becoming an educated, independent individual who is learning how to navigate the world. If you do find your child is struggling, many schools offer support to help them, so that they can also focus on the positive!


Take Care of Yourself

As parents, one of our main priorities is making sure our child is taken care of – properly nourished, with daily movement, and a quality night’s sleep. But what about you? Are you prioritizing that same level of care for yourself? You are not able to show up as your best self if you’re not taking care of yourself and your body. When we feel stressed energy is in our bodies and we need to get it out. Research has shown that one 20-minute walk per week can reduce stress, and anxiety, and boost mood and energy. Find the movement that brings you joy.



Mindfulness increases your ability to be present in the current moment. This leads to reducing stress and better engagement with your child. If you’ve never explored mindfulness before, start small. Begin by appreciating the smell of your morning coffee or the cool crisp fall mornings that are upon us. Find something within your day that brings you joy and take a moment to be present and embrace it. This builds up the skill of being in the moment. You can then apply it to be in the moment with your children.


As we transition into another back-to-school season it is important to remind yourself that you are not alone in feeling stress during this time. However, that doesn’t mean you need to remain in a state of stress. There are steps you can take to alleviate your stress levels by planning your week, setting routines for yourself and your kiddos, and acknowledging the positives of watching your children grow. Remember to take time out of your day to take care of yourself and have mindful moments throughout the day.


The staff at Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre wishes your family a stress-free back-to-school season!

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Chiropractic


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the occupational disease of the 21st century and can affect just about anyone, though office workers, computer users, musicians and assembly line workers - among others - are more prone to get it. Most common symptoms of CTS include numbness and tingling in the hand, fingers and wrist; swelling of the fingers; dry palms; or intense pain that awakens you at night. It sometimes also causes these same symptoms in the upper arm, elbow, shoulder or neck.


Since CTS doesn’t happen to everyone who performs repetitive tasks,  it makes sense to look for other contributing factors. In many people the health of the structural system may be the main problem - spinal subluxations and misalignments can be causing nerve pressure that contribute to the condition. 


Take a close look at those suffering from CTS and you will find that more than the wrists (where the carpal bones are located) are being used to perform their tasks; the neck and spinal column are usually also involved. For many years clinicians, patients and researchers have reported relief from classic symptoms and an overall improvement in body function after chiropractic adjustments. Compressed nerves in the neck can block the flow of nutrients to the nerves in the arm, shoulder, wrist and related area and make them more susceptible to injury and irritation. Chiropractic adjustments help ensure that the body is free of subluxations and misalignments, removing structural stress from the nervous system.


A chiropractic adjustment may make the difference - will it make the difference for you? 


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We are open during the Lockdown

As you will have heard, the Ontario Government has imposed a province wide lock down starting on December 26th, 2020.
Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre will remain open and continue to treat patients, with protocols in place that meet and exceed the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health and the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health local directives. Our treatment rooms are cleaned between every patient, PPE is worn by practitioners and staff, and the clinic as a whole is cleaned and sanitized regularly throughout the day.
In order to maintain a safe environment for our patients, practitioners and staff we would remind everyone to self-screen before attending every appointment. If you answer yes to any of the following questions the day before or day of your appointment, please call us immediately:
1. Have you travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days?
2. Do you have any of the following new or worsening symptoms or signs? Symptoms should not be chronic or related to other known causes or conditions:
Fever or chills, Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, cough, sore throat, trouble swallowing, runny nose/stuffy nose or nasal congestion, decrease or lost of smell or taste, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, not feeling well, extreme tiredness, sore muscles.
3. Have you had close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19?
When you arrive at the clinic we ask that you wear a mask, sanitize your hands immediately upon entry and fill out the tablet, confirming you have completed and passed the COVID-19 screening. Our full COVID-19 in-person Best Practices for both patients and practitioners are listed on the COVID 19 banner of our website. We can stay safe if we all work together.
If our mandates change, and you have an upcoming appointment, we will contact you directly to let you know of any changes to your appointment.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions and to confirm your appointments.
We look forward to seeing you and continuing to support you on your Wellness Journey.
Thank you!
The team at Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre

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Have you met Dr. Katie yet?

Meet Katie Thomson Aitken

She is the naturopathic doctor here at Norfolk Wellness.


Here is Katie doing yoga, and this is why she loves it,


"I’ve been doing yoga on and off for 10 years now. Yoga has helped me fall in love with exercise. I love classes when I show up and spend the whole class on my mat with my breath as much as classes where I leave drenched in sweat filled with joy from trying something new and challenging."


Naturopathic doctors treat patients as individuals by addressing the physical, environmental, lifestyle, attitudinal, and emotional aspects of health. This allows naturopathic doctors to find and treat the cause of the disease using a variety of therapies.


If you think this might be right for you, you can book an appointment online here

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Oh no! So you’ve been in a Motor Vehicle Accident - what’s next?


After you’ve been in a car accident, it can all seem overwhelming - Who do I call? What information do I need? Who can help me? When am I going to feel better? While every case is individual and timelines for healing and recovery may differ, some things are the same for every claim. If you follow these four straightforward steps, it should hopefully help simplify things for you.


1. Contact your auto insurer right away and open a claim. They will assign an Accident Benefits Adjuster to you and send you out a package of papers. (There’s lots - they send out every possible form that MIGHT be needed). The really important one is the OCF 1 - Application for Insurance Benefits. Complete this form and return it to your insurer AS SOON as you receive it, to make sure there are no delays in getting treatment approved.


2. Do you have Private extended health care Benefits? (The auto insurance industry mandates that any existing benefits be used first before their coverage will take over). Contact your Benefits coordinator and find out the details of your plan - including:

> Does your plan cover your treatment if it is the result of a motor vehicle accident?

> What is your annual coverage amount for Chiropractic? For Massage?

> What percentage of each visit does your benefits cover?

> What date does your plan reset annually?

> How much coverage have you already used this year for Chiropractic? For Massage?


3. Contact our clinic to book your initial visit. Even if you are a current patient, you will need to have a full examination so the doctor can assess you and determine your injuries, get all the details of your accident, and formulate an individual treatment plan for you.


4. When you come for the first visit, please bring all the details of your Extended Health Benefits (as above), along with any claim information you may have already received from your auto insurance. This will allow us to set up your MVA file and make sure that we set up your billings correctly.


Helping you to heal includes trying to keep your accident-related stresses to a minimum, so if you have questions or concerns about any of the paperwork or processes, please reach out and ask! We are always happy to help :)


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How long will I need Chiropractic Care?

One of the concerns we hear from potential patients is that they will have to keep “doing chiropractic” for the rest of their lives if they start treatment. We like to explain it this way: In dental care, you get your teeth cleaned and make sure your gums are flossed and everything is healthy. But once you eat another meal, or take another drink, you may run into issues again if you don’t keep up with regular oral maintenance. Plaque can build up, cavities can form, toothaches can happen. So regular brushing and flossing is a must, and scheduled maintenance visits to your dentist are highly recommended 


The same happens with your spine. When you start coming for chiropractic visits, it may take a few treatments to realign and retrain your spine to stay in it’s optimal position. Once you’re feeling better you may think - I’m all good, why do I need to keep coming back? Well the reality is, just like the dental care, as you go about living your life and performing work tasks, playing sports, having accidents or just living your life - your spine may end up out of alignment again. This is why we recommend maintenance care, so that you keep your body “tuned up” to keep it from breaking down. 


What does maintenance care look like? It really depends. There is no one “right” schedule that we suggest everyone follows. For some folks, maintenance looks like a visit every couple of weeks, because they have a very physically demanding job that puts lots of stress on their body. For others, maintenance might look like once a month to iron out the kinks; and for still others it may look like 3 - 5 visits per year to keep tuned up when life throws them a curveball. It may also include recommendations for stretching and strengthening programs to keep your body running at its best between visits.


The doctors make their recommendations based on your unique situation; there is no “one size fits all” schedule that you must follow for the rest of your life. It’s really that simple - healthy maintenance for healthy bodies :).

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Massage for the Treatment of Headaches and Migraines


Do headaches or migraines affect your ability to function and live a happy, healthy life? Did you know that massage therapy can play a major role in managing and even eliminating headaches and migraines?


What causes headaches and migraines?

Headache causes can range from muscle tension in the head, neck and shoulders, to active trigger points in a muscle, to stress and anxiety, as well as hormonal and weather changes, and even dehydration. While the majority of headaches can be treated with over-the-counter medications, these are often temporary solutions for a chronic problem. In a proactive role, massage therapy can make a major difference in the frequency, intensity and duration of headaches and migraines.


How will massage therapy help relieve my headaches?

Focused treatment to the neck, shoulders and head in particular can reduce overall muscle tension and lead to a reduction in symptoms of headaches and migraines. Additionally, massage can decrease stress hormones in the body like cortisol and increase feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine, promoting relaxation and stress-relief, leading to better quality sleep and a reduction in the likelihood of headaches. Often when clients arrive for their appointment with an active headache, symptoms can be reduced or even resolved by the end of the appointment.


What will my massage therapist need to know?

When you come for your first appointment, your massage therapist will ask you some health history questions to get an understanding of your overall health and lifestyle, then they’ll ask more specific questions like how frequently you get headaches/migraines? When do you usually get them? How intense are they? How long do they typically last? Where in your head, neck and shoulders do you feel them?


These kinds of questions help start a good foundation of information to formulate a treatment plan specific to your needs and symptoms, and to establish a baseline to be measured against as your headache symptoms improve over time with massage treatment.


To schedule your visit, please click this button

to access our online booking system, or call the office at 519-827-0040.


Submitted by

Christie MacLachlan, RMT
Registered Massage Therapist

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Breast Massage


Breast massage is something that some RMT's offer, all learn about, and only a small amount of the public is aware that it is even an option.  It can be used to treat a variety of breast complaints and can be very beneficial as they are a part of the body that is largely ignored when it comes to wellness.


Why would I need breast massage?


Indications for breast massage include:

Breast pain or injuries
post-surgical symptoms
Congestion and swelling
Pregnancy, breastfeeding and weaning discomfort
prevention of mastitis
Assistance with breast monitoring and familiarity with breast tissue
premenstrual and menopausal tenderness.


What is a treatment like?


If indicated, breast massage does not typically last very long and would be included as a small part of your regular massage. Generally, breast massage is gentle and never involves touching the areola or nipple.  As with any massage, some discomfort may be experienced if you are already experiencing tenderness but should not be painful. Depending on what the goals are for treatment, the general flow of treatment may work inward toward the body or outward toward the nipple.  A treatment would become personalized and individual based on your specific needs and would end with teaching you any home care that would help you maintain good breast health. 


What if I am not sure about it?


Communication is key in any treatment. Your comfort is of utmost importance as breast exposure and contact can be a sensitive issue for many people.  You have the right to alter or withdraw your consent at anytime during a treatment.  You have the right to alter the treatment to your comfort such as only massaging through the sheets instead of direct contact.  RMT's should be flexible to your needs and comfort level as well as inform you of all the aspects of a treatment.  


*Breast massage is not included in a typical massage and would need a clear indication for it to be suggested by an RMT as well as it needs to be consented to separately.*


If you are experiencing any of these indications, I would encourage you to speak to your RMT about your options.  If your RMT does not offer breast massage, you are welcome to come by Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre and book an appointment with me!


Sienna Dang, RMT

Norfolk Chiropractic Wellness Centre


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Marnie Kerr
November 8, 2022
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Norfolk Wellness Blog Contributor
October 12, 2022
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