Health Promotion Newsletter Issue No.14

4 Mar

news14Welcome to the year of the snake!
I hope that everyone has had a great start and prosperous beginning to the new year!

Since this winter is bitter cold (and long), I hope that everyone had not been forced to hibernate. Getting out and doing some active work always helps lift the spirits. Better yet if you can fit in a mini vacation to improve your state of mind.

  • Just to keep you posted on our upcoming exciting new workshops, the first will be happening on Thursday March 14, 2013. It is a workshop on aromatherapy and will show you the benefits of essential oils focusing on emotional health. At the same time this workshop will show you how to make your own massage oil and home use incense.
  • The second workshop will actually be a pilot project of Tai Chi lessons running for four consecutive weeks. These workshops will be led by an instructor who is a PHA. I encourage and welcome everyone to join in as based on the response we get to this pilot project, there will be a possibility of orchestrating a weekend retreat for Tai Chi enthusiasts and healthy workshop pursuers alike in the late spring. 
  • The third workshop is HIV Aging and Mental Health Series Two. This will take place on Friday, April 5, 2013. From our last HIV Aging and Mental Health Series One, it was left on a high note as there was a lot of conversation and healthy dialogue between the coordinator and the clients. This illustrates a lot of resilience on the part of our clients! Once again thanks to the sponsorship of Viiv Health Care Canada for their generosity. This time around we are very proud to have Dr. Evan Collins, a psychiatrist at the Toronto General Hospital Immune Deficiency Department as our facilitator. This workshop is proudly sponsored by Jenson pharmaceutical company.

Please mark all these dates on your calendars and wait for your invitations to be sent from your support team!

Please see the attached article researched by Nadia Saleem from the Canadian Natural Pathetic school.  We thank her for all her hard work and support to the community. Their satellite clinic is at 333 Sherborne Street.

Kenneth Poon – Health Promotion Worker

download healthnews_issue14 (.pdf file)

news14artThe breath is considered the vital force of life in many cultures. With each breath we bring in oxygen to nourish our organs, and we breathe out waste and toxins we need to remove from our system. Each breath cleanses us, physically, mentally and emotionally.  

As breathing is an involuntary function, we tend to not pay attention to our breaths. Rather, we focus on our every day stresses of work, family, and finances, living in a state of chronic stress. This results in chronic stimulation of our sympathetic nervous system. Physically, this stress response includes an increased heart rate, sweating, slow digestion, tense muscles and quick and shallow breathing. As a result, many of us suffer from constant muscle aches and pain, inflammation, digestive issues, decreased immunity, among many other ailments.  The good news is that we are naturally equipped to help fight the negative effects of stress with this simple yet powerful tool, the practice of deep breathing.

Deep breathing has been shown in many studies to help the body relax and release tension, increase energy, decrease blood pressure, reduce anxiety, promote more restful sleep, relax tight muscles and decrease pain, nourish the brain, improve concentration and memory, improve digestion, boost the immune system, among numerous other health benefits.   And best of all, it is free and always available to us.  Focusing in on our breath allows us to be mindful of how we breathe, especially during periods of stress. This is especially useful when you feel angry or upset. Taking a moment to check in with your breath helps your body to release tension physically and mentally.

One of the simplest exercises you can do at any time of the day is to take a minute or two to pay attention to your breath. As you inhale, slowly count from 1 to 3, feeling your abdomen expand. As you exhale, count from 1 to 5 (each exhale should be slightly longer than the inhale). Do this for 1 minute.  You will instantly feel relaxed and refreshed. As a challenge, aim to do this at least once every 3 hours in your day for 3 weeks. You will be amazed at the results you can achieve.

Yours in health,

Nadia Saleem, Naturopathic Doctor (Candidate, 2013)


Murray MT, Pizzorno JE Jr (2006). Stress management. In JE Pizzorno Jr, MT Murray, eds., Textbook of Natural Medicine, 3rd ed., vol. 1, pp. 701–708. St. Louis: Churchill Livingstone.
Maker-Clark G. Breathing Exercises. In Rakel D, ed., Integrative Medicine, 3rd ed., pp. 814-820. Saunders, 2012.

download healthnews_issue14 (.pdf file)

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