The Turning Point in Modern Medicine – Shift or Fade – Tommy Caldwell

There was a time when your local MD was the only person you would go to in times of health related woes. Be them minor aches and pains, or major health concerns, there was only one source you knew of that could tell you not only what was wrong, but how it was going to be made better.

As we grow as a society so grows our own knowledge of personal health. A great portion of the population is learning how to self educate themselves and realize not only the current flaws in the medical structure, but alternative resources that can be found in order to combat some of the problems that modern medicine was once thought to be the only remedy for.

People have many theories or arguments as to why things are shifting the way they are and why the medical community is thriving less and less. Some blame the intervention of aggressive drug companies, some blame the lack of enthusiasm in modern GP’s that would sooner write a prescription than spend the time educating their client, and some blame their local government for restricting the ability for medical facilities to operate the way they should. These are all valid arguments, and there are many, many more with equal validity- but the true problem in medicine today is its ultimate disconnect from the modern community; the inability to relate to the updated knowledge and mindset of the modern human being. The medical community has two choices as time moves forwards: change, grow, and reconnect with its people, or fade, crumble, and disappear into the past.

The Napster Age

Remember when music first became free through sites such as Napster? The music industry was furious, fearful, and at a loss. Billions of dollars were spent trying to prevent the sharing of online music and in keeping the music industry the way it has always been; and why not? The music industry was a money making machine that had been operating pretty much the same way since the 1940’s. We went from records, to 8 tracks, to cassettes, to CD’s- but the creation, packaging, distribution, and profit from music was always constant.

The music industry knew that with ability to share music through online communities, the industry was in trouble. Instead of looking at this as an opportunity to evolve and find new/interesting ways to run their model and succeed through change, they wasted billions of dollars trying to prevent the world from spinning. If they had only seen where the future was headed and adjusted accordingly, they would’ve changed the music industry as we knew it, saved a ton of money, and continued to succeed within an updated system of music.

Medicine is in the same boat, and it is being handled the same way.

Now that people have the ability to share information online they are more aware of many things. Firstly that they have the ability to prevent many health problems by educating themselves on what is good for them to eat, how important exercise is, and how to access the avenues in order to live a better life. They also have a new insight into the drug industry and its deep ties to the current medical system. Most people are starting to understand the motivations of billion dollar drug companies and their great influence over the medical community. The combination of understanding how to better your own life without the medical community, as well as all of the ever-growing education of flaws within the medical establishment is bad news for medicine. They all know it, but much like the music industry they are squeezing their eyes shut and hoping this will all go away.

Drug companies, Genetic Engineering groups like Monsanto, and all the like are putting forth billions of dollars in funds in order to shut down the natural medicine industry and make any natural product that can help remedy the human body available only by prescription. This is one example of many on the agenda’s of these kinds of companies, but it shows you their combative approach to the current situation. Much like the music industry they are too late, and will ultimately, fail.

Medical practitioners aren’t to blame on that level, but they are still fully resistant to the current change in the community. I believe that all (or at least the majority of) MD’s are out to help people. They are out to make the world a better place and serve their community- but they also have their heads buried in the sand when it comes to how the world and industry is changing, and they are losing their audience.

With the level and speed of information sharing the way it currently is- the medical world needs to change. It is no longer useful to resist your own people like the music industry tried to do- rather, you need to change your approach and rebuild a trusting relationship, and more importantly a ‘connection’ with the world.

The Paradigm Shift

We live in a truly amazing age, and I don’t know how many of us realize that. We live in the first and only age known to man in which we can share any information with any person in the world within less than a second. The fact that ANY PERSON can do it with even the most basic means of technology is truly amazing and groundbreaking. This is a time that will be written in history books- and this generation of human beings will change the entire direction of the planet. It is unbelievably exciting when you think about it.

The problem for many industries is that the world has the ability to change far faster than the industries want to change themselves. This is why you see so many failing industries in the world; not because they deliver bad products, because their staff are ineffective, or because nobody wants their products or services- but because they refuse to change in order to accommodate an ever changing world.

This is something that the medical community needs to understand- and they need to understand it quickly. Like it or not, they are an industry just like any other- selling products and services in exchange of financial gain. And just like all the other industries their refusal to adapt and change is allowing the world to look past them.

Health- The Key to Reconnecting

People in this world (or at least a significant portion of them) are starting to not only understand, but become enthusiastic about health. They are taking control of their own lives from a very fundamental level and learning how important it is to take care of their bodies. Even with this change, however, they still seek out some sort of outside assistance to keep them confident in times of health uncertainty. People are finding Naturopathic Doctors, Chinese Medicine, and all kinds of alternative methods to modern medicine. I think it’s important to note that, because it isn’t as if people who are educated in health want less help in their lives- but they want help from people who have the same values, ideals, and principles as they do. What I’m getting at is people aren’t seeking modern medicine less and less because they simply don’t want help from anyone when it comes to health related issues- they just want help from people who care about what THEY care about- and for a typical individual who understands health and wellness, that person is not an M.D.

Modern Medicine practices a disease model. That means most of their education and scope of practice revolves around waiting until there is an issue, and then finding a way to treat that issue. There is nothing wrong with that and people need to understand that medicine (the way we know it today) came from a place that required practioners to solve existing problems- not prevent them from happening. It was also established in a time where life was so simple in terms of people having access to ONLY good sources of food and in a time where everyone had to be active each day in order to get work done. This meant that the need for prevention wasn’t there like it is today- it was much more valuable to have a medical model that could diagnose an existing problem and find a way to fix it.

With that in mind the need for preventative medicine has been growing rapidly over the last century- and of course, the medical world has refused to change along with that rapid increase in need. This is what has created such a massive disconnect between people and modern medicine.

Music is now medicine, record companies are now hospitals, and Napster is now information about taking care of yourself. The medical industry now has to become a source of accurate and effective preventative health information, and stop resisting the change that is happening before its eyes.

Don’t Tear it Down- Just Build with Better Bricks

The medical community isn’t going to just disappear, and if it did I think a lot of us ‘health extremists’ who may see that as an ideal situation would quickly realize what a huge loss and mistake it would be. Instead it needs to take a new direction with new objectives, and a better understanding of how to relate to its every evolving population of patients.

While a lot of the technology that has been implemented into medicine has been controversial and it some cases even dangerous or counterproductive, there has still been (and will continue to be) great technologies and advances is medical science that can do amazing things for the world’s population. And while a lot of the operation and structure of the medical world has become stagnant and ineffective, there is still a lot about the medical system that can be quite advantageous to the world as well. Not to mention the great need for emergency care, care for the elderly, and care for the large population of people who quite frankly just can’t care for themselves.

We get so caught up in what is wrong with medicine these days that we forget about all the things that are also right and benefit many people that surround us. We forget that the best solution is a change, a medium, and the letting go of old ineffective ideas for new effective ones.

If the medical system puts a large shift towards educating their MD’s on health, prevention, and patient education- the damaged relationships with its patients and image will repair and recover. If it however decides to fight tooth and nail to protect a dying system of sickness and disease medicine, the people will disconnect and seek professionals that are more relatable to how they view life and wellness.

Therein lies the crossroads that the medical community is facing- follow the music industry and fight for a dying system that is inevitably going to change with or without you, or learn from other industries mistakes and give the people not only what they want, but what the world (currently) needs. And remember- the choice doesn’t have to be any more complicated than choosing to connect with your patients on a level that makes them feel secure, confident, and like you care about their views on health- but following your own agenda with your fingers in your ears yelling “LA LA LA LA LA LA” isn’t a great way to convey that message.


Call for Speakers Ignite Health Ontario I


September 19, 2012

Ignite Health Ontario is a new speaker series, branching from Ignite London, that offers 5 minute presentations. The speaker series will include 2 presentations for each topic and events will take place every 4 months. All presentations will be videotaped and available for viewing on the Ignite web sites through Youtube. The pillars of this event include the following 6 topics:






Mental Health






Patient Stories


All speakers will have a table to share additional information about their presentation, providing a networking platform between speakers and guests. Tables will also be available for sponsors to advertise their services. Costs of our event include: facility rental, insurance fees, videographer, photographer, and healthy snacks and beverages.


Our first event will be taking place on Wednesday, October 24, 2012 upstairs at the Covent Garden Market. On average, Ignite London has hosted audiences of 150 people. Ignite London and the parent company O’Reilly Media will be advertising our event, drawing people from their existing audiences. We are expecting 100-150 attendees for our first event.


Providing a talk about a topic you are passionate about, in addition to the passion I put behind creating this event will not only show support for a balanced approach to self motivated health care, but it will also help assure the success of “Ignite Health Ontario”.


The following guidelines are required by all speakers within the Ignite format. I would encourage you to prepare a speech in the “ignite” format and we would be delighted if you are up for the challenge!



Your talk proposal must be submitted by October 5th at midnight. Not all talk proposals make it to the schedule, but we aim to fit in as many passionate and unique ideas as we can.”


Your talk must be exactly 5 minutes long. This is an extremely short amount of time. Be sure to practice your presentation to make sure you don’t go over time. The MC has permission to use a giant cane to drag offstage any speakers who go over 5 minutes. Make sure you are wrapping up on your last slide.


Your talk must be accompanied by 20 unique slides. Your talk should not hinge on transitions, animation or sound. If you have a video in one of your slides, you have to be able to talk over it, and be prepared if the video does not play – this slide will still be displayed for exactly 15 seconds. Presentations must be submitted to me in .ppt format. I believe it will be presented in Microsoft Power Point, but this may change. Also, be sure to use high-contrasting colours, as we do not know the condition of the projector we will be using.


Slides will auto-advance every 15 seconds. Keep this time limit in mind while crafting your slides, as 15 seconds is not a lot of time for your audience to read. Auto-advancing can help you with your pacing, but it can also be overwhelming if you cannot keep up with the slides. Practice, practice, practice!


Your slides are due October 17th, 2012. Please email your presentation to You cannot make changes to your presentation after emailing it in.

I would be pleased to discuss this opportunity further with you at your earliest convenience. If you have any questions or would like more information about our event, I may be reached at 226-234-4006. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Michelle Clermont, Event Coordinator Ignite Health Ontario

The Problem with Paleo – Guest Blogger Tommy Caldwell

If you have any interest, participation, or aspirations in the world of health, you have no doubt heard about the Paleo Diet. In fact, if you even subscribe to any social networking avenue you have surely been exposed to the current trend. The Paleo Diet is a hit. In fact, it is a booming hit that hasn’t been seen in the wellness world since the South Beach Diet or the Original Weight Watcher’s program. But as with most ever-popular trends, the Paleo Diet has spread faster than the general public’s ability to comprehend what is good and bad about it. In this article I will highlight the great aspects of a typical Paleo routine, but I will also touch on the aspects that you may need to put a little more logical thought into before you blindly subscribe to the diet as a ‘whole’. The Paleo Concept For those who perhaps don’t know exactly what the Paleo Diet is, here is a brief description. The Paleo diet is a theoretical and research based diet that follows the consumption of foods that were most likely consumed by our longest living genetically indentical relatives. Basically- the foods that the human race has been exposed (and therefore adapted to) for the longest period of time over human history are the foods that our bodies are most likely to ‘handle’ in a favorable manner. Adversely, the foods that the human race has been exposed (and there for adapted to) for the shortest period of time over human history are the foods that are bodies are most likely to ‘handle’ in an unfavorable manner. An example of this would be vegetables and wheat. Vegetables have been available for human consumption since the beginning of man- therefore man has had apt time to regulate the digestion of the food. On the other hand products like wheat have only been manufactured for human consumption for the last 10,000 or so years- making them fairly new to the human diet- therefore man hasn’t necessarily had apt time to regulate their consumption… get it? It is a very logical and theoretically sound basis for what you put in your body- but that doesn’t make it a flawless system. The Good I view the Paleo trend the same way as I view the Crossfit trend: Considering that it is indeed considered a trend (or ‘fad’ or what have you) it is far superior and a ‘breath of fresh air’ when compared to what else you will find in the same category (think Jenny Craig, WeightWatchers, Slimfast, and all the other terrible diets that are far from health based). But, that doesn’t mean it is ideal for any one person or that it is an optimal way of viewing your health approach. With that in mind, there are far more positive aspects than there are negative- and that is why I feel it is important to highlight them first. Real Food First- The Paleo diet focuses on real food that grows from the ground and roams the earth. It doesn’t promote eating things from a box, magic potions or snake oils. It is just a system of real food consumption. It’s Based on Logic- Even though much of the logic is theoretical; it still has a very ‘human’ and plausible basis. It isn’t a total ‘blind faith’ approach like what you would get in a 90’s weight loss shake craze. It is built upon a foundation you can wrap your brain around. It Promotes Overall Lifestyle- Paleo dieting discusses food first, but it also discusses all aspects of self improvement as well. It covers how you move (exercise) as well as how you live day to day (lifestyle) which is a very important approach to health success. It isn’t really selling a ‘product’- Paleo isn’t a service. It isn’t a product or a subscription. It is merely information that you can either choose to implement into your life or not- for free It will give you weight loss/body composition results- Any time you cut grains, sugars, and junk from your diet it will give you a positive result. If you are an average person who sticks to the Paleo Diet, you will gain positive results from it. The Bad I’m hesitant to call this section ‘the bad’, because all things considered it is hard to put the Paleo Diet into the ‘bad’ category. Especially when you see what it is up against in the health world- you can’t argue its dominance in effectiveness, health basis, and plausibility. That said there are still some components that need to be investigated and challenged a little more openly. We Are Not Our Ancestors- The Paleo diet is affectionately known as the ‘caveman diet’, and this stems from the diet being generally identical to what we assume our cave people ancestors would eat like. The issue with that is we are not cave people. Human beings have survived as long as we have and become the dominant species on the planet (from an evolutionary perspective) because of our ability to change, adapt, and grow. If we did everything now like our caveman ancestors did in their time we would still be cave people. Why This Matters When It Comes to Food- If the human race has flourished on change and adaption, we can’t start eliminating foods outright because they may not have been eaten by cavemen. It’s really quite stupid when you think about it. This isn’t to say that the foods that are available now are as good, better, or even worth eating when compared to what composed our original long-standing diet- but you’ll have to come up with better logic than “if cave people didn’t eat it, we shouldn’t”. If that’s how you feel life should be lived than go back in your cave and unlearn the English language- see what that does for your future. Meat Meat and More Meat!!!!- Along with the Paleo diet comes a huge love for meat. Most Paleo ‘Guru’s’ will even tell you that meat should be eaten with every meal or ‘in abundance’ or ‘with abandon’. What these people fail to recognize is that meat was the most difficult and dangerous form of consumption for our distant relatives. Killing an animal for food meant the need for tools (labor), the need for a hunt (spent energy), and an inevitable fight (danger). I wasn’t around back then, but I can guarantee that our ancestors weren’t eating various sources of meat 3-5 times per day with every meal… in fact; I doubt they even ate meat on a daily basis. Considering that plants have always been the most abundant source of nutrients on this earth for all herbivores and omnivores, it is safe to say that our ancestors likely at plants in abundance, and meat when they could. If Paleo people promote eating as close to your ancestral code as possible- how do they get to the conclusion that people should be consuming steaks 5 times per day without thinking twice? Why This Matters When It Comes to Food- Our modern cravings are based directly upon what was rare for us to come across in the wild. This is what kept us driven to hunt and gather (much like how sex drive ensures human procreation)- therefore tastes like sweet (high up and far between fruit plants) and salt/fat (animal meat) weren’t sources we came across or consumed regularly- if they were abundant to us back then, we wouldn’t require a crave mechanism to locate them. This is also why humans don’t crave vegetables- they were so abundant to us and easily accessed in the wild that we didn’t require extra motivation or drive to find them. They were always available and always our main source of nutrients. Don’t get me wrong- I love meat, and I think it is an essential part of our diets- but if you subscribe to the thinking that you should be eating in line with an ancestral code, eating meat with every meal does not add up. Contradictions in Adaption- One of the biggest rules in Paleo eating is to not eat grains (which for the most part I am 100% on board with). The reasoning behind this is that the agricultural age came so late in our history that our bodies are not properly adapted to consume grains. I understand and agree with most of this logic, but I also don’t consider myself a pure Paleo eater- so I can disagree without conflict. What Paleo advocates fail to mention is that human beings were most likely originally vegetarians whom learned to cook and consume meat (as well as cook all foods)- thus leading to a huge jump in evolutionary progress, particularly in brain size/function. Now, if the one piece of food that Paleo’s hold in such high regard (meat) was once a new introduction to the human diet (un-adapted) that allowed us to better ourselves as a species- where do they get off saying that people shouldn’t eat grains because they aren’t yet adapted to it? It is quite contradictory and a bit senseless. Don’t take this as me being an advocate for grains, because I am not. For the most part I loathe grains and feel as though a very small percentage of the population should consume them- but- my reasoning has nothing to do with adaption and more to do with grains not being the most optimal food that can be put in the body. They can be easily replaced by more nutrient dense and less problematic foods that will give you more bang for your buck. It’s like the old race car analogy- your body could run off grains and get from point A to point B, but you wouldn’t be breaking any records getting there. Bottom Line- you can’t outright condemn a food source (Grains) because we haven’t been exposed to it for a million years, yet turn around and push another food (meat) when at one point it was brand new to the human race and was partially responsible for the brain power we have today. Why This Matters When It Comes to Food- Some foods are good for everyone, some foods are bad for everyone, and then there are some foods that are good and bad on an individual basis. If you follow some preconceived notion that you shouldn’t consume something solely because it wasn’t available to you 100,000 years ago you may be missing the boat on human progression and adaption. Especially when the people telling you this information are being slightly hypocritical (remember the meat history). Take supplements for example- they aren’t the majority basis of a healthy diet, but even a Paleo eater will take Vitamin D, Fish Oil, Multi-Vitamins and Whey Protein. I’m aware that all of the bases of these products come from ‘Paleolithic’ sources- but they are definitely processed and digested in ways that our bodies haven’t been adapted to for the majority of human existence. I guess my question is how much do you bend until you break and contradict your own principles? Our Lifestyles/Demands/Activities are not Paleolithic- The modern day human being (particularly the athlete) does not participate in the lifestyle that our ancestors would have. Our ancestors (like all animals) would conserve energy whenever they could and use it only when necessary. Modern day athletes on the other hand search to put vigorous demands on their bodies multiple times per day in order to create resistance and adaption that makes them stronger, faster and fitter. Rice, potatoes, and other starches are a great way for an athlete to up their recovery time and energy reserves. This as well as higher doses of fruit for glycogen replacement (the energy source that our muscles need to recover and perform). These foods may not have served a great purpose in Paleolithic times as they do now for modern day athletes, but that doesn’t mean that an athlete should avoid certain foods because cavemen didn’t eat them or consume them in that volume/frequency. I wouldn’t recommend rice, potatoes, heavy starches or lots of fruit to an average person, and definitely not to an overweight individual- but to those with extremely high energy demands and the need to perform at high levels day in and day out- I would absolutely recommend adding grains (but not gluten) to your diet on a fairly regular basis. Why This Matters When It Comes to Food- Lots of us have much different energy demands and lifestyles than our ancestors did. The very act of searching out repetitive strenuous activity day in and day out that doesn’t result in direct food consumption or protection goes against our very human nature. Therefore when you can make certain foods work for you and serve a direct purpose that others may not need to worry about- you should do it. White Jasmine Rice is blasphemy in the Paleo world, but in the world of a high caliber athlete it can be the difference between 1st and 2nd The key here is understanding history, contradictive statements, and most importantly-yourself. None of us come from the same place, live the same lives, or have the same goals- so what makes us think that we should all be subscribing to the exact same food habits? The key to a good diet is understanding what is good for YOU and eating those things purposefully. If you can justify each piece of food you put in your mouth by having a realistic and effective purpose for how it will serve to better your particular life- you are on the right path. And don’t get me wrong- the Paleo diet is a great start towards a healthy life, especially if you are an average person who is new to life change. But it isn’t the optimal solution for food supremacy and it never will be unless you understand exactly why it is perfect for your lifestyle and fulfilling those specific demands. As far as general diets go- Paleo is the best out there, but, it still has a lot of obvious cracks, contradictions, and missing information. So like most things in this world you should be ‘combing’ through the info and throwing away what personally doesn’t make sense to you- otherwise you are generalizing what should always be a specific approach to health.

Kiki Maple Sweet Water – Amazing new natural sweet beverage!

Come on out to Ignite Health Ontario I on October 24th to sample this amazing new sweet beverage from nature!!!


KiKi Maple Sweet Water,


A traditional rural spring beverage has been released to the whole/health food market for year round enjoyment!


KiKi Maple Sweet Water, which is produced by Troll Bridge Creek Inc., Arthur, Ontario, is a one ingredient drink and that ingredient is pure maple sap drawn directly from the tree.  For those of you who don’t know about the maple sap, it is the clear sweet liquid that is harvested from the maple tree each spring of the year.  This liquid is then boiled until it becomes maple syrup.  To make 1 litre of syrup approximately 40 litres of sap is used.


Tree sap has been used in traditional folk medicine  in North America, Korea and Northern Europe for 1000’s of years.  Troll Bridge Creek Inc. has been able to bottle this beneficial liquid so that it can be enjoyed year round. 


Not only is this a refreshing drink, to be enjoyed on those hot summer days, KiKi Maple Sweet Water has many nutritional benefits. Maple sap, with over 80 nutrients, is a natural way to replenish the body’s electrolytes after the morning jog, bike marathon or hot yoga session. There are many essential minerals in maple sap including calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc. 


Some other Nutritional information:

  • 64 Anti-oxidants, Anti -radical, Anti-inflammatories, Anti-mutagens, Anti-carcinogens
  • Therapeutic levels of Abscisic Acid, which will improves the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes


Senior Citizens understand all about maple sap and when they take that first sip their smiles and the look in their eyes make all this effort worthwhile.  Another interesting reaction is from the youth, who have embraced KiKi Maple Sweet Water like no other generation.  Memories of their school’s field trips to the sugar bush are triggered by the subtle maple taste.  Sweet memories…


Unfortunately many of the family sugar bushes are falling into disuse.  The ageing farm population can no longer keep up to the physical and economical demands of the boiling process (sugaring off).  The maple sap is very unstable and must be boiled down almost immediately to syrup, this means that the process goes on non-stop for 24 hours a day for days.  The typical season is a six week of harvest.  Bottling the maple sap bypasses this expensive, labour intensive work.  It is hoped that more sugar bushes will be brought back on line to meet the demand for this refreshing drink. Once again providing the first harvest income of the season.  Although maple syrup is also very good for you, 75% of the Anti-oxidants are denatured by the boiling process.


Currently there are 6  maple sap based beverages available, the original KiKi Maple Sweet Water, KiKi Lemon Ginger, KiKi Lemon Mint, KiKi Blueberry, KiKi Cranberry, KiKi Strawberry and New yet to be released KiKi Lemon!


Smoothies, herbal teas and rice all made with KiKi beverages retain the goodness that has been provided by nature.


Visit the Troll Bridge Creek Inc. Website to learn more about this product and the nearest location where you can purchase these amazing beverages.

Check out our YouTube Videos as well




Keith and Lorraine Harris,

Owners of Troll Bridge Creek Inc.


Teenage minds- Not ALL the same!

My name’s Megan I am 16 years old and I live in London, Ontario. Seeing into the minds of people my age can be difficult for anyone who isn’t my age. My generation faces new problems, new social norms, and new expectations. The way teenagers thought 30 years ago isn’t how we think today and the way we think now won’t be how teenagers 30 years from now will think. And within that every teenager will have different priorities and different hopes and dreams so clearly you can never have a full understanding of every teenagers mind. I have been sick for the last 5 years of my life and have been removed greatly from people my age so I can’t tell you much about the way they think but I can tell you about the way I think.

The thing about being sick for so long is I had a lot of time to think.  Most people envy being able to stay home all day and relax but being that isolated can become boring and tedious; you can only check facebook so many times. For the first few years of my illness I found small things to entertain me, video games, books, television shows, but as I grew older I spent more of that time thinking. I thought about my future and if I would get the chance to have one, I thought about my family and if I would always be a burden on them and I thought about the world and would I ever be able to do anything for it. I started spending more of my time reading about what was going on in the world and I started seeing things that I couldn’t believe were happening. For example a couple months ago in Iran 70 university programs were closed off to women because they were surpassing the men within them. And in many places around the world, such as Uganda, it is legal to kill a person for being a homosexual. Reading all this I wanted to fix it but never thought I would have the opportunity to.  At that point in my life I didn’t let myself dream or hope for anything but sickness, after five years of nearly constant illness how could I? So I ignored these problems and went back to my tv or video games.

Something changed for me a few months ago, I got tired of letting my illness stop me, I got tired of not trying to do anything because no one thought I could succeed, and I got tired of accepting that I would live the rest of my life being ill. I don’t know what changed for me but I did. I started researching universities and looking at careers in human rights and I started working towards a future for myself. I started volunteering in the community and doing things to see if I could handle going back to school. And now after five years I’m fighting my illness so I can do something with my life. I have decided I want to become a human rights lawyer and be the person that helps solve the types of issues mentioned above. So this year I’m working my butt of to do well in school and to get more involved so I can get into a good university and eventually a good law school. It is hard, I get tired and I get sick but I keep working because I have to, because I’m tired of letting illness rule my life.

So that is how I think, it may not be how every teenager sees the world but those are the challenges I am currently facing and I hope this gives some insight on a teenagers brain even if it is just mine. One thing I want to add is a quote from novelist John Green.

“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

― John Green, Looking for Alaska

Ignite Health October 24,2012 Covent Market London, Ontario!

I am very excited to announce that we have been able to secure the date of October 24,2012 for the inaugaral event for Ignite Health. This is TRULY the ideal location. They hosted the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution event last May and because there are lots of local food vendors at this market I want to bring people to them and this is a Win/Win relationship! I  will make sure everyone is wearing a name tag so that we have a chance to connect names with faces of those we might not have met in the community before!

The event will run from 6 pm – 9pm We will have some healthy snacks and beverages available for participants.

We will accept up to 200 attendees and the event will be set up on EventBrite where you will need to book your tickets quickly!

We will start the evening off with a physical or spiritual challenge for teams to enjoy and then settle in for some amazing speakers.

You will enjoy 2 presenters in each of the following categories:

Food – I will share details of the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador program.  We will have a nutritionist sharing a few great ideas for healthy eating!

Exercise – Have you considered the Hula Hoop for a great workout? We will have an exciting presentation and challenge for attendees. I will also make sure we have a great personal trainer provide some getting started tips for those new to exercise!

Mental Health – We are looking to secure a puppet presentation for Anxiety, and a great speaker to raise awareness on mental illness in our community.

Spiritual – Are you aware of Shamanism for dealing with illness from a spiritual perspective, Deep Breathing and Yoga will be the other focus I am looking to have presented.

Patient Stories- A positive approach to Cancer from an inspirational lady and another strong woman to share her battle with Depression!

Practitioners – We will introduce you to Reiki with a demonstration with 2 amazing ladies. We are looking for another practioner to share their skills and I am considering a number of ideas!

After 6 presentations I will break this event up for 20 minutes for you to enjoy a snack , take a break and an opportunity to speak with the first 6 presenters.

We will come back for the second half presenters and you will have a chance afterward to go into the Labatt Room to get more information from all the speakers and a chance to talk to them.

Get Registered at

Follow our Companion Blog at

Reiki De-Mystified – Guest Post Katy Standen

Firstly, I would like to thank Michelle for inviting me to write an article for the Ignite Health blog. I have a great deal of respect for her and her passion for sharing paths to better health with the community at large. I am excited to see how Ignite Health unfolds in the coming weeks! As for me, my passion is for sharing Reiki, and I am thrilled to be able to tell you a little bit about it today.

If you type the word “Reiki” into a search engine, you will find millions of results. To the complete neophyte, that alone is overwhelming and enough to put you off doing any further research. When I first began looking into Reiki as a possible complement to the medical care I was receiving at the time, the information I found left me with more questions than answers. I realised I probably was not alone in this situation and wondered how many other people had been turned off by websites that seemed more esoteric than informative. When explaining Reiki to others, I believe it is just as important to explain what it is not.

In writing this article, I discovered that answering the question what is Reiki? is not as easy as it first appears. In a nutshell, Reiki is a Japanese technique to promote relaxation and stress reduction. From a holistic point of view, when the body is completely relaxed it can then begin to engage its own natural healing abilities. Healing can take on many forms, and it’s important to note that healing is not synonymous with curing.

Reiki is also an energy healing modality. I think this is where some people start to get nervous, although there really is nothing to be afraid of. Reiki is actually painless and harmless, so the fear stems from a lack of understanding. I feel that describing how Reiki works is probably where most practitioners start to unwittingly scare away potential clients. Being an energy modality, practitioners of Reiki generally subscribe to the Eastern understanding that the human body also contains “life-force energy,” and that when this energy becomes compromised in some way, we start to feel unwell. This life-force energy is also commonly known as qi (pronounced like the “chee” part of the word cheese) for those familiar with Traditional Chinese Medicine or martial arts. Incidentally, the kipart of the word Reiki is merely the Japanese pronunciation of the same Chinese character representing qi. The rei part of the word signifies that the ki, or energy, is being drawn from a connection to the Universe or Higher Power, which is to say not directly from the practitioner him/herself.

This is where it is important for me to stress that Reiki is not a religion, although it does encourage its practitioners to embrace spiritual practices such as meditation and treating all living things with kindness and respect. Reiki is harmless so, even by just trying it once, you cannot hurt yourself; at worst you will walk away from the treatment feeling the same way as when it began. Reiki is not massage therapy; there is no manipulation of tissue and this also means that you do not have to disrobe in order to receive a treatment. Most importantly, Reiki is not a replacement for medical attention, but it is an excellent complement to any care or treatment you may be receiving at the time.

So what happens during a treatment? Basically, a practitioner who has been attuned to Reiki energy will draw it into their body and direct it through their hands towards the recipient. Treatments can be given either hands-on or hands-just-above the body, and a good practitioner will always ask permission to touch you at the beginning of each appointment. Either way, because Reiki is an intelligent energy, it will still travel to where it is needed most. A treatment can be given with the recipient laying down or sitting, whichever they prefer, but I find most people are able to relax more if they lay down. It really is about ensuring the comfort of the recipient, first and foremost. During the treatment, the practitioner will place their hands in a series of positions along the recipient’s body. Some people are actually able to feel the Reiki traveling around their body.  I have heard it described as a warm, tingly sensation. Many people don’t feel anything other than a sense of peace and relaxation. Most people fall asleep, especially if they are lying down!

As for who can benefit from Reiki, it truly can be beneficial to anybody who is open to trying it. Personally, Reiki has aided me in dealing with grief and depression, managing symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), overcoming trichotillomania, and losing weight. Most importantly, it has allowed me to regain work-life balance, which is something I never believed in until I realised I no longer had it. Even if you do not feel you have something to “heal” from, everyone deserves to take a little time for themselves to relax and unwind, and Reiki is the perfect vehicle.

Katy Standen is a Reiki practitioner and member of the Canadian Reiki Association. She practises Reiki from her office located in the Wortley Village area of London, Ontario. For more information please visit her website at