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Relaxation massage: how it helps your body & mind

Posted on: May 24th, 2017 by Mariano

the forestModern life is replete with sources of stress – everything from jobs with unrealistic expectations, to the demands of a busy family, to the overabundance of technology and stimulation. So much is happening and the pace is so fast, sometimes it feels like there’s too little of us to go around. More people are suffering from stress-related conditions than ever before – conditions that impact physical as well as mental and psychological health.

With the distractions and constraints that the constant pressure in our lives creates, it can be hard to remember what simply being alive and fully present in our bodies is supposed to feel like, or to make space for re-grounding ourselves.

But life balance is essential to maintaining ongoing health and wellness, and while we cannot control many of the pressures that bombard us in our daily lives, we can control the steps we choose to take to counteract their negative effects.

One of the best and simplest ways to manage stress and become more present with the inner self is relaxation massage.

The benefits of relaxation massage therapy:

  • Relaxation massage lowers stress levels by reducing the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, removing tension, creating a feeling of ease and mental clarity, and uplifting the mood.


  • Relaxation massage reduces muscular tension. The incorporation of deep diaphragmatic breathing during the session enhances this result.


  • The relaxing tempo and longer strokes of relaxation massage promote increased cardiac return and lymphatic flow, bringing freshly oxygenated blood to all the muscles and fascia of the body. Improved circulation promotes tissue healing and overall health.


  • When the body relaxes, troublesome areas become more apparent and easier for the therapist to access and address. The therapist can use deeper pressure to work on the problem areas in the course of creating full-body relaxation.


  • Touch is therapeutic. Many of us have a shortage of physical contact in our lives. Massage addresses the primal animal need for touch and creates a profound sense of well-being.


The state of relaxation and enhanced self-awareness that is achieved after a session has far-reaching benefits that have a positive impact on all areas of your health and your life. It’s important to regularly re-connect with yourself through massage.

If you feel that work or life is becoming too demanding on your body, or if you feel you need a space to be calm and relax and clear your mind, consider the benefits of a full-body relaxation massage. It’s an important part of taking good care of yourself.


Emily Kaminsky, RMT

Emily is part of the team of Integrated Therapies. Read more about her here. If you like to book a session with her you can do it online or call the health centre at (780) 432-4803

Spring: the season of renewal and growth by Dr. Yangyang

Posted on: March 30th, 2017 by Mariano

 Spring according to Traditional Chinese Medicine and the five element theory

The flow of qi and balance of yin and yang can be described in five distinct stages. And each stage is associated with its own time of year, element, organ system, colour, emotion, and many more qualities. With each stage, there are sets of general guidelines to follow to help the body deal with the environmental qualities of that stage, and also to help with the transition into the next season.

Spring, in particular, is associated with the wood element, the Liver organ, the emotion of anger, and the colour green. When you think about it, it makes sense. Spring conjures up images of plants sprouting and leaves budding on trees, and what colour are most plants and leaves? That’s right, green! And since green is the colour associated with spring, eating more young, leafy green vegetables during this time of year is especially good for the body. Also, the taste associated with the Liver is sour, so you can incorporate some sour elements into your diet such as using lemon in cooking or drinking lemon-infused beverages. Be careful not to over-indulge in sour foods though, because too much of the sour taste can, conversely, have an adverse effect on the Liver.

The Liver, the organ of the spring

The Liver in Chinese Medicine is responsible for the smooth flow of qi throughout the whole body. When the Liver runs properly, physical and emotional activity also function smoothly. The Liver also controls the tendons. So a good activity to do in the spring is to stretch. Stretching can increase blood flow and circulation to the muscles and tendons, which is another one of the Liver’s other main functions- to store and distribute blood when needed. Activities such as yoga, jogging, and taichi are great things to do in the spring.

Chinese scripture for spring with explanation.

Chinese scripture for spring with explanation.

However, since weather during springtime is somewhat unpredictable (warming weather mixed with sudden cold fronts), we need to be careful about our exposure to wind and cold. Spring also corresponds to wind environmentally, and the Liver is very susceptible to the effects of wind, which can bundle with other pathogens such as heat or cold and cause symptoms like the common cold.

An old Chinese saying states “春捂秋冻、不生杂病: chun wu qiu dong, bu sheng za bing”, which translates to “bundling up in the spring and keeping cool in the fall prevents you from getting various illnesses”.

When transitioning from winter to spring, the body needs to gradually get used to the warmer weather. Since spring is the season for growth, this also refers to the Yang (or hot) energy gradually growing and building up. However, since the Yang is still rising and relatively weak to the unpredictable coldness of the environment that can appear without warning, we need keep bundled up so that the Yang energy can be nurtured and pathogens can be kept out.

Acupuncture for this season

Getting acupuncture is a good way to prep your body and help with the transition into spring. Using TCM theories, acupuncture can help balance the body, improve the overall health of the Liver, and help deal with emotional issues such as anger, stress, or frustration which are commonly seen in Liver qi disharmony.

Acupuncture treatments can harmonize the inner organ systems and correct minor annoyances before they become serious problems. See an acupuncturist or TCM practitioner to see how acupuncture can help you stay healthy this spring!


Dr. Yangyang practices acupuncture and other TCM modalities at Integrated Therapies. If you would like to have more information:

read more about Dr.Yangyang

read more about acupuncture

book an appointment online





Effectively treating low back pain with acupuncture & massage

Posted on: March 12th, 2017 by Mariano

by Mariano Torres, R.Ac / director of Integrated Therapies


lower back painI have been a bodywork therapist for more than fifteen years. My expertise includes Shiatsu, Thai Massage and Tuina. I am also a registered acupuncturist with additional training in sports medicine acupuncture for orthopaedic disorders.

One of the most prevalent and debilitating conditions I treat is lower back pain. Here’s a brief overview of how I address and resolve lower back pain problems with acupuncture and bodywork.

This is by no means intended to explain either every step of every treatment or the intricacies of Chinese medicine and acupuncture, but only to illustrate typical treatments for lower back pain.

Acute vs chronic back pain

When addressing lower back pain, it’s important to differentiate between acute and chronic conditions. An acute condition may be an injury that happened a few days or weeks ago or a sudden pain that started recently. A chronic condition is pain that is recurrent or constant and has been present for more than three months.

As a rule, acute issues are easier to treat because the body is still strong and hasn’t been debilitated by ongoing pain. A body with chronic pain is weakened both by pain and by compensatory abnormalities or restrictions in movement. Chronic lower back pain may be the result of an old injury, bad posture, improper diet, stress, lack of exercise, or digestive or menstrual problems. All applicable causes must be addressed to correct the condition.

Once we assess and identify the type of pain, we can decide what kind of treatment is appropriate.

The assessment

assessment of sacroiliac joint

assessment of sacroiliac joint

Assessment starts with diagnostic questions then moves on to orthopaedic and muscle imbalance testing. Diagnostic questions explore the history of the pain and identify symptoms and lifestyle considerations. The orthopaedic assessment addresses the alignment of the hipbones and sacrum. In 90% of cases where lower back pain is present, there is a structural misalignment that needs to be addressed.

We first check the position of the hipbones. They may be tilted to the front (figure 1), which causes constriction of the lower back, or to the back (figure 2), which causes weakness and poor stability in the lower back.

We then test the sacroiliac joint for movement. The sacroiliac joint connects the sacrum bone to both hipbones or iliac bones (figure 3). It is often locked on one or both sides when lower back problems are present.

Finally, we conduct muscle testing to reveal which muscles are weak or not firing well, and which muscles are working

hip alignment examples

hip alignment examples

harder to compensate, causing fatigue, weakness, pain, and misalignment. Muscle malfunction can be either the cause of the problem or the result of an alignment issue. For example, if the gluteal muscles are weak, the hip will tilt forward because they cannot hold it in the correct position.

The treatment

In Chinese medicine, we address acute pain as “Blood and Qi Stagnation”, which is a lack of movement of blood and flow of energy. The stagnation of energy and blood is caused by a blockage in the injured or painful area, and treatment is focused on re-establishing the movement of blood and energy to remove it.

In the case of chronic lower back pain, we primarily address the kidney energy in the body. A common symptom of deficient kidney Qi is lower back pain. In Chinese medicine, kidney energy is the main source of strength and the capacity to thrive. By strengthening that energy, we help the body to heal itself.

Acute lower back pain usually requires one to two treatments weekly for a few weeks, while chronic pain might need one treatment every ten days for up to several months.

Each ninety-minute treatment works toward correcting the issues identified during the assessment and addressing any constitutional issues that are present.

A typical example

A client complains of being tired and having pain in the right hip that radiates down the leg (commonly called sciatic pain). During the orthopedic assessment, we discover that the client’s sacroiliac joint is locked on the right side, and that the right hip is tilted forward. Muscle testing reveals that the gluteal muscles are weak and the psoas muscles are not functioning well, especially on the right side.

Treatment includes:

acupuncture for lower back painAcupuncture

  • unlocking the sacroiliac joint by inserting needles at key points
  • resetting muscles by inserting needles in the motor points to restore firing
  • addressing the anterior tilt of the right hip by inserting needles in specific point combinations
  • releasing the root nerve of the psoas and gluteal muscles by inserting needles close to the vertebrae
  • addressing the constitutional issues with point combinations that correct weak kidney energy



  • deep tissue massage in the area
  • stretching and decompression of the lower back, legs and feet (Thai Massage style therapy)
  • acupressure in certain areas of the hips and back (Shiatsu style)


After the initial session, we will conduct a reassessment to see if the alignment has changed, and make recommendations for a treatment plan.

Read more about Mariano

If you like to book a first treatment and assessment with Mariano please call the clinic at (780) 432-4803 or book online: “Acupuncture first treatment and assessment” he will combine acupuncture and massage.


Portrait of Mariano Torres

Mariano Torres R.Ac/ director

Some client comments:

“Mr. Torres is an individual with the power to enhance, or change your life. His knowledge and skill with the mind and body of a patient provide relief from discomfort, peace of mind, and nurturing for the soul. In my times of pain he has been a provider of wonderful relief, spirit, and positive energy.

He is well versed and skilled in traditional western therapies, as well as traditional healing techniques – and whether you are a believer in alternative medicine and therapy or not, Mariano is a practitioner of great warmth. He is truly one of the healers who has made a direct and lasting impact on my quality of life.

I cannot recommend him highly enough – as a practitioner, or as a person.”
Greg Scratchley


“I have had various treatments recently at Integrated Therapies and would highly recommend the therapists that I have had treatment with :-
Mariano Torres treated me for pain in my lower back that was becoming so intense, any kind of movement was difficult. He has a warm, kind manner that with his sensitivity and knowledge of Acupuncture – holds a safe and caring space in which I could trust and totally relax.  My back pain was greatly helped in the first appointment, and a day later, with rest, the nerve pain had completely gone. Mariano is a master in his field.
Kim Reimnitz


“When I came to integrated therapies, I had been experiencing pain in the left side of my lower back for over two years. I had seen and followed treatment with a physiotherapist and a chiropractor, but they were not able to really diagnose what was causing the inflammation. They were treating my symptoms and as soon as I would stop going, the pain would come back. When I started seeing Mariano, he found the root cause of my pain the very first day and worked from here. After a couple of sessions my pain started changing and then slowly releasing. He did not only ease up the pain, but taught me to create more awareness with my back. I am happy to say that I finished my treatment with him almost two months ago and I am pain free. Not only that, I can keep up with all my physical activities and not worry about how I am going to wake up the next day. He is really magical with those needles. I experienced him as very knowledgeable, kind and professional. I highly recommend him to anyone.”
Gabriela Touma


“True healing experience with a true doctor! I had so much trouble with my back pain. I have gone to a drop-in clinic doctor for three months, a chiropractor, a physiotherapist (expensive and very well-known) and a masseuse. Nothing made changes. The back pain has only got aggravated over time. And I met Mariano and I finally feel that he really cares for me and is willing to work this out. I have no doubt that with his treatment I will get better and get back to my normal active life. He focuses not only on the regional pain you have, but also on the general wellness and balance of your body. If you are seeking for a more mindful, integrated approach to treating your pain, this is the right place.”
Karen Kang


“I had my first acupuncture appointment with Mariano. My pain relief wasn’t instant but by the end of the next day, my pain was gone! I will make acupuncture with Mariano one of my “must have” treatments! Thanks Mariano! “
Audrey M.


“Mariano is an exceptional practitioner of acupuncture and massage. He is highly skilled at assessing where the problem lies and how to approach treatment. I have had several types of treatment for physical problems and his technique is definitely superior. I have felt significantly better and look forward to more treatments. Thank you so much Mariano.” S.D.

Golden Milk, a recipe for inflammatory conditions and much more.

Posted on: November 4th, 2016 by Mariano

Golden Milk recipe Golden Milk recipe
Its great for you! Start drinking it every evening before bed.

Golden Milk is an Ayurvedic recipe. I started recommending Golden Milk to some of my clients that suffer from inflammatory conditions in the joints, from just muscle tension to more serious condition like cartilage degeneration.

Now I recommend this “magic potion” to all my clients because it has amazing benefits:

  1. It’s an antiseptic and an analgesic, so it helps with pain relief
  2. It detoxes the liver and helps to purify the blood
  3. It helps your digestive system
  4. It’s great for joint problems, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  5. It works well for different skin problems.
  6. It offers a general immunity boost and provides you with a good dose of antioxidants.


I recommend to drink Golden Milk before bed. It will help you sleep as well. My wife and I drink it every night.

The recipe is divided into two parts. First, we’ll look at how to make the turmeric paste. Then, we’ll use the paste to make the golden milk.

Turmeric paste
½ cup of clean water
¼ cup of turmeric powder
½ teaspoon of ground pepper

Put the pan with water in it on a medium heat setting. Add turmeric and pepper and stir well, so you create a smooth paste. It takes about 7 to 9 minutes to get the paste properly cooked. If it becomes too dry, you can add some more water.

Allow the mixture to cool down and then place it in a glass container with an airtight lid. The paste will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks.

Some people take this paste directly, without making it into a concoction. It’s good for pain relief. For severe pain, it’s recommended to take half to 1 teaspoon of turmeric paste a day.

Golden milk recipe
¼ teaspoon (or more if you can tolerate the taste) of turmeric paste
1 cup almond milk (you can also use organic cow’s milk or other milk substitute)
1 teaspoon of coconut oil (you can also use sesame oil or sweet almond oil) – get unrefined, cold pressed oil
Some honey (or use another natural sweetener such as maple syrup, stevia)

Put milk and turmeric paste in a pot and cook on medium heat. Heat the mixture until steaming but not boiling. Remove from heat. When the drink cools down, add honey and oil. The oil supplies you with healthy fats and further increases turmeric absorption. It helps with joint lubrication and promotes cellular function.


Mariano Torres / director at Integrated Therapies

Treating Insomnia with Acupuncture by Peter Lee

Posted on: June 13th, 2016 by Mariano

While acupuncture is used to treat a wide range of conditions, each acupuncturist tends to have an individual style and an area of particular focus. I am most interested in alleviating psychoemotional conditions such as depression and insomnia.

woman not being able to sleep

Psychological and emotional conditions are difficult to treat, and western medicine does not offer many options. Most are medication-based, and attempt only to address symptoms while ignoring root causes – and, inevitably, medications have side effects, which are sometimes severe. Also, discovering the best medication and the exact right dose for any given patient is a process of trial and error that can be prolonged and is not always successful, if indeed it is undertaken at all. More commonly, cookie-cutter solutions are imposed without regard to individual fit or efficacy.


How acupuncture works with psychoemotional conditions

Acupuncture, on the other hand, seeks to address both root and branches of psychoemotional conditions, and can do so effectively and with minimal risk of side effects. One of the most basic tenets of acupuncture and traditional East Asian medicine is that everyone is different, so treatment begins with a recognition of the uniqueness of the individual. Proceeding through gathering relevant diagnostic information to correct diagnosis and correctly targeted treatment, acupuncture can relieve depression and insomnia without risk of side-effects.


The importance of sleep

Most people acknowledge the importance of sleep, but few truly understand its profound impact on overall health. Insufficient sleep increases the risk of – or directly leads to – irritability, headaches, heart disease, weight gain, poor vision, infection, gastrointestinal conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), depression, diabetes, and cancer. Both the amount and quality of sleep is directly related to all aspects of physical and mental health.

In traditional East Asian medicine, insomnia is defined as a condition in which quantity and quality of sleep are decreased consistently for more than a month. Insomnia may be present in the form of one or more of the following: difficulty falling asleep, waking up easily throughout the night (except from pain or full bladder), early awakening with difficulty going back to sleep, and dream-disturbed sleep. Insomnia may be due to multiple factors including pathogenic heat, overthinking, emotional frustration, and depression.


Research in the effectiveness  of acupuncture in treating insomnia

receiving acupuncture treatmentScientific research verifies the effectiveness of acupuncture in this area. In an article recently published in the Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, for example, acupuncture was shown to be 90% effective in improving total sleep duration and sleep quality for patients with depression, with similar clinical results as an antidepressant, but lower relapse rates and no side effects.

There were two groups, the acupuncture group and the antidepressant medication (Mirtazapine) group. Total effectiveness rate for acupuncture treatment was 90% with no side effects of any kind. Total effectiveness of mirtazapine treatment was 92.5%, but with dizziness, drowsiness, vision changes, weight gain, increased appetite, and constipation listed as common side effects.

In the research, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) was used to measure improvement. Within one month of treatment, the acupuncture group showed 9.7% improvement in HAM-D score while the medication group showed 15.9% improvement in the HAM-D score. Within three months of treatment, the acupuncture group showed 36.2% improvement while the medication group showed 32.5% improvement.

For three months, the acupuncture group received treatments every other day while the medication group were given 20 mg of mirtazapine tablets orally once a day. The point prescription for the acupuncture group consisted of primary acupuncture points which addressed the depression and insomnia, and of secondary acupuncture points which addressed the differential diagnosis of each individual. The primary points included a point on the wrist (Shenmen – HT-7), a point on the leg (Sanyinjiao – SP-6), and a point between the eyebrows (Yintang). The secondary acupuncture points, which were added to address the different needs of each individual, included a point on the foot (Taichong – LR-3) and a point on the leg (Yanglingquan – GB-34) if the other symptoms they had were liver related symptoms such as headache, irritability, and rib pain, or a point on the arm (Jianshi – PC-5), and a point on the leg (Zusanli – ST-36) if the other symptoms they had were spleen symptoms such as poor appetite, indigestion, vomiting, nausea, and epigastric or abdominal pain. The needles were stimulated every 10 minutes and were retained for 30 minutes.

It was concluded that acupuncture improves total sleep duration and sleep quality significantly, which in return reduced the relapse rate for depression and insomnia and improved overall health, both physically and mentally, without any side effects.

Another study, a single-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled research, concluded that acupuncture improves sleep and reduces insomnia when compared to sham acupuncture (random needling) and to a medication, estazolam. Acupuncture showed significantly superior results improving total sleep duration and sleep quality, like the previously mentioned study. The point prescription in this study included a few points on the head (Shenting – GV-24, Sishencong, and Baihui – GV-20), a point on the wrist (Shenmen – HT-7), and a point on the leg (Sanyinjiao – SP-6). The estazolam medication group experienced side effects such as daytime drowsiness.

In a further study, acupuncture was shown to increase the bodily serotonin levels and the concentration of gama-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in cerebrospinal fluid. Serotonin is one of the neurotransmitters which regulate cognitive function, mood, sleep, and appetite, while GABA is another neurotransmitter which reduces the excitability of the neurons. In this study, acupuncture was shown to have 93.3% total effectiveness rate in the treatment of insomnia. The point prescription included a point on the head (Shenting – GV-24), a point on the wrist (Shenmen – HT-7), points on the leg (Sanyinjiao – SP-6 and Zusanli – ST-36), a point between the eyebrows (Yintang), and a point behind the ears (Anmian). The needles were retained for 45 minutes each session. Additionally, acupuncture points in the ear (Subcortex and Shenmen) were used with ear seeds (Vaccaria seeds covered with zinc oxide tape) rather than needles and patients were asked to stimulate them for few minutes each day.


In conclusion

Research is confirming the effectiveness of the ancient arts of healing. In studies examining the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating insomnia and depression, acupuncture successfully increased total sleep duration and quality while decreasing daytime dysfunction and sleepiness, with no side effects. It’s important to understand that acupuncture does not alleviate symptoms as quickly as medications because it does not add synthetic hormones into the system or chemically modify the body, and that the absence of side effects is a significant compensation for the longer duration of treatment. Unless a condition developed overnight, it will not disappear overnight, and the additional time it takes to remediate a condition of long standing allows a more natural and lasting course of healing and restoring balance.

Read more about the author Peter Lee R.Ac. or book an appointment with him.



Kelman L, Rains JC (2005). Headache and Sleep: Examination of Sleep Patterns and Complaints in a Large Clinical Sample of Migraineurs.

Meier-Ewert HK, Ridker PM, Rifai N, Regan MM, Price NJ (2004). Effects of Sleep Loss on C-reactive protein, an Inflammatory Marker of Cardiovascular Risk.

Benedict C, Brooks SJ, O’Daly OG, Almen MS, Morell A (2012). Acute Sleep Deprivation enhances the Brain’s Reponse to Hedonic Food Stimuli: an fMRI Study.

Orzel-Gryglewska J (2010). Consequences of Sleep Deprivation.

C. A. Everson. (1993). Sustained Sleep Deprivation impairs Host Defense. American Journal of Physiology.

Tauseef Ali. James Choe, Ahmed Awab, Theodore L Wagener (2013). Sleep, Immunity, and Inflammation in Gastrointestinal Disorder. World Journal of Gastroenterology.

Baglioni C, Battagliese G, Feige B, Spiegelhaldar K (2011). Insomnia as a Predictor of Depression: A Meta-Analytic Evaluation of Longitudinal Epidemiological Studies.

Ye GC & Yan H. (2014). Therapeutic Observation of Acupuncture for Depressive Insomnia. Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. 55(6)

Lin-Peng Wang, Guo, Jing, Cun-Zhi Liu, Jie Zhang, Gui-Ling Wang, Jing-Hong, Yi, Jin- Lian cheng, and R. Musil. Efficacy of Acupuncture for Primary Insomnia: a Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. Deutsche Zeitschrift fur Akupunktur 57, No. 4 (2014): 31-32

Wang H, Meng X.H, Zou W. (2014). Curative Effect of Acupuncture Therapy of Regulating Mentality combined with Auricular Point in the Treatment of Insomnia. Journal of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion. 30(7).

A therapist’s guide of Integrated Therapies

Posted on: April 21st, 2016 by Mariano

Have you ever asked yourself which therapist is most appropriate for your current needs? Here are brief descriptions of the qualities that we see in some of our team members that will help you choose the right therapist for each visit.


Marina Sokalski, Massage Therapy StudentMarina is our newest massage therapist. She is still a student who will finish her course in a few months. We decided to hire her prior to graduation because she is exceptional. She has the hands and presence of someone with many years of experience. She knows how to deliver a deep and healing treatment. Because she is still at school her fees are almost 30% less than the rest of the massage therapists.

“I saw Marina and I was in pain with a sprained muscle in my lower rib in my back. I loved it, I felt so relaxed and felt better in 2 days. She had just enough pressure and gentleness for the whole body. I will definitely be back :)” Lindz

Read about Marina


Frank Lai, Registered Massage TherapistFrank is one of our popular registered massage therapists. People love his sessions. He has an innocent gentleness in his personality. His sessions are strong and sensitive at the same time.

“I went for Massage Therapy with Frank Lai annoyed by my neck pain and he reduced it so much that next day I was already back at the climbing gym. I was amazed by how good he is and how professional. It is a gem you shouldn’t miss.” Anna Viladoms

Read about Frank


Peter Lee, AcupuncturistPeter is our newest member. He is a registered acupuncturist and excited to be working in our team. His knowledge and skills are outstanding. He will make a precise, detailed diagnosis of your concerns and deliver a treatment that will address your problem. He has no reviews because he just started with us. His fees are 25% less for a limited time.

Read about Peter


Anne Liebhart, RMT, Craniosacral TherapistAnne is our most experience registered massage therapist. Her 30 years of experience, her physiotherapy background combined with a wide variety of subtle energy work makes her a popular and uncommon massage therapist under Canadian standards. She loves what she does and it shows.

“I have had 2 sessions with Anne and both were equally unique and wonderful. Anne is extremely knowledgeable and intuitive. She has a genuine interest in working with you to improve all aspects of your health. Trust me, do yourself a favor and book an appointment with her, you will know what I am talking about!” Rhonda

Read about Anne


And here is one more review for your enjoyment… or mine:

“If you are looking to be treated well from beginning to end, I recommend you visit Integrated Therapies. The staff are friendly and the atmosphere is comfortable and inviting. I have had Acupuncture and massage with Mariano. He is a master of his art! During each of my many appointments over the past few years, I have felt that Mariano has heard my concerns and has put both his heart and great expertise into his treatments. I always feel much better after a visit to Mariano. I have also seen Frank for massage. I feel very comfortable asking for what I want with Frank – more or less pressure, for example, and I find Frank to be very responsive. As with Mariano, each time I have seen Frank I have left feeling well taken-care of and relaxed. And Kim at the front desk is absolutely lovely! She is so very friendly as well as efficient at what she does. It is always nice to come in and have Kim greet me! Going to Integrated Therapies is a gift I am grateful that I give to myself!”
Jill Koziey


Thank you for reading,

Immediate Shift™ workshop with Susann & Ernst von Meijenfeldt

Posted on: April 15th, 2016 by Mariano

The brain that rewires itself

With much success Susann and Ernst von Meijenfeldt teach people the Immediate Shift Method™. The Immediate Shift Method™ is a self-coaching tool to shift out of negative conditioned patterns into your heart, and into psychological and physiological resilience and wellbeing.

The Immediate Shift Method™ makes use of the principles of neuroplasticity to retrain your brain to become ‘unstuck’ and to support you to live fully alive. The brain has been called the most complex structure in the universe. Being the subject of countless scientific and medical studies we have learned the brain is not a static, fixed organ. It is highly dynamic and changeable. Neural architecture (synapses, pathways, networks) changes all the time, primarily in response to new experiences, thinking and feeling. This lifelong ability of the brain to change is called brain plasticity or neuroplasticity.

Brain pathways that get a lot of use, consciously or unconsciously, become stronger and stronger, forming highways in the brain. These highways get more and more easily triggered with the potential consequence of people getting ‘stuck’ in unfavorable patterned pathways.


Constant stress reaction depletes the system

When the nervous system is activated into stress, overwhelm or alarm of any kind; emotional, physical or mental, the brain tries to help the body by creating stress reactions. One effect of such “help” is the shutting down or over-stimulating of our vital systems: the nervous system, the immune system, the digestive system, the endocrine system, the muscular system and the cognitive system. Research shows 80 – 95% of all health issues are related to stress!

A stress reaction is designed to last for short periods of time only. An enduring stress reaction becomes a highway in the brain, sooner or later affecting your health, your way of thinking and feeling and your ability to function.

By applying the Immediate Shift Method™ you will learn to shift your nervous system from stress to rest. That shifts your vital systems back into a wholesome balance. You will feel immediately how you have more ground and space to deal with life in the way you know to.


Immediate Shift™ workshop

In the three day workshop we teach you the Immediate Shift Method™, a practical tool you apply each time you notice a stress reaction, or when a negative pathway (mental, physical, emotional) is activated. You will realize how much influence you really have to choose which pathways in your brain to fire, and which ones to stop. In the safe and intimate setting of a small group you will find out with much compassion, humor and togetherness that we do have the choice and the power to create a life that gives expression to what we really are, rather than being conditioned replicas of human conditioning, our past experiences or even of those of our ancestors.

The actual shift includes a few simple steps and gestures you do with congruent posture and expression, and some self-coaching phrases you speak out loud. It also includes resourcing on authentic states you know and love through visualization. In just a few minutes the Immediate Shift Method™ breaks the trance of negativity and shifts you into your heart, and into full embodiment of a real state of your choosing.

Participants receive individual coaching and room to practice. We will help you to recognize your pitfalls, and open up new resources that are their antidote. You will learn not only from your own coaching but also from the specific support each of the participants receives. When the workshop completes you will be well prepared to do the Immediate Shift Method™ on your own.


Applying the Immediate Shift Method™

Each time you apply the Immediate Shift Method™ you shift into your heart, giving new signals to your brain and your nervous system to fire new wholesome pathways. This shift brings coherence in your heart-brain connection, balancing your whole system.

The Method enables you to choose a way of being you want to live from. That way you regain the power to lead your self into a way of being and doing you want to activate. Serving what you truly love and no longer serving your conditioning, negativity, victim states and limiting beliefs.

Your true nature of inner rest, love, ease, kindness, joy, openness and clarity bounces back. The more often you consciously shift, the quicker your brain rewires itself to the new connections you tell it to build. From here it is easy to relate to authentic qualities you know in your heart, and give these form and expression.

If you apply the Immediate Shift Method™ many times daily for the first 10-12 weeks, you will notice significant changes in your presence and in how you relate to yourself, the world, and others. Already during the three days of the workshop participants notice significant changes in their nervous system, their all-over level of inner calm, natural joy and vital energy.

For whom is the workshop?

“I highly recommend the Immediate Shift training to anyone with physical, mental or emotional challenges – basically anyone with a pulse – who would like the tools to create a powerful shift in their lives.”
“Susann & Ernst are skilled facilitators who bring their particular gifts to make this work brilliant.” (Julia – workshop participant).

In our modern world with high demands of multi-tasking and lots of pressure and stimuli, everyone can benefit from being calm instead of overwhelmed or stressed. Some of the following conditions achieved great results, as they all are based on a nervous system that is out of balance: stress, burn out, overwhelm, anxiety, PTSD, negativity towards self and others, depression, low self- esteem, panic attacks, toxic shame, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, over-sensitivities, IBS/digestive issues, chronic pain, foggy mind, eating disorders, addictions etc. Many people experience an immediate shift out of these conditions into resource states like rest, wellbeing and aliveness.

The Immediate Shift Method™ is a training method, not a therapy and it does not replace the need for any medical treatment. It will give you the background knowledge and a simple, powerful, practical tool to shift out of stuck places and unstuck yourself.


About the facilitators

Susann and Ernst von Meijenfeldt are holistic life coaches with training in many different process-oriented and transpersonal methods. Our passion is to support clients to awaken out of the trance of human conditioning by opening their heart and shifting into the love, joy and authenticity of their true Self.

We work in private practice in Edmonton, Canada, and over the phone/ Skype with international clients. Together we facilitate Open-Heart circHealing, Process Workles, (international) workshops and Deeper Love couple coaching.

With our background in Integrated Philosophy and our professional experience with Recreation of Self, Hakomi (Mindful Somatic Psychotherapy), Transpersonal Coaching, Co-active Coaching, Self Compassion work, Attitudinal Healing , HeartMath and Releasing, an array of resources is available to provide tailor-made feedback, coaching and support during the workshop.

Read more about Susann

Read more about Ernst

Read more about their work

Contact Info:

You can contact us by email at or by phone: 780.914.6399 (Susann) or 780.914.9436 (Ernst)


Workshop details

Date:       May 20, 21, 22, 2016              Friday, Saturday and Sunday – 1:00 – 6:00 PM

Place:     Integrated Therapies, 10065 80 Avenue, Edmonton

Cost:       $585 early bird rate (register and pay before April 30, 2016), $690 regular rate

We offer a customized payment plan for those participants that need it.

Space is limited to eleven participants per workshop, so please email us right away if you are clear to participate and we will reserve you a spot. We will send you a confirmation email and details how to pay. If these dates do not work out for you but you want to participate another time please let us know.

We are looking forward to share this for us priceless gift with you. For any questions you have please feel free to email us or give us a call.

With Love, Susann and Ernst von Meijenfeldt


Cancellation policy

On occasion unforeseen circumstances may make it necessary for us to cancel a workshop and accordingly we reserve the right to cancel workshops where appropriate. In such circumstances you will be given as much notice as possible and we will either refund the full seminar fee or, if you request, move your registration to an alternative date. We are not liable for any losses other than the workshop costs.

If you start the workshop but decide not to complete, we will not reimburse you.
Once you have registered and paid you have seven days to cancel your booking and receive a full refund, unless the workshop you participate in starts within four weeks. Because we run small groups with limited spaces, we cannot refund you in the last four-week period. If you take up a space and cancel on short notice, it is difficult for someone else to fill your spot. However, if we are able to fill your space anyway you will be fully refunded.
We deduct an administration fee of $85 from all refunds.



Please read some of the testimonials and see how much participants benefit from the Immediate Shift™ workshop. If they can shift, you can shift too!


“After the Immediate Shift workshop, I felt a profound and visceral sense of peace and acceptance. I stopped constantly worrying about the future and replaying the past, and instead found myself calmly and inexplicably living in the moment. How had this happened?! It continued to happen, as I practiced the 2-3 minute shift process every time I fell into old patterns of thinking, or even when I just felt a familiar discomfort in my body. I quickly shifted out of the pattern of socially isolating myself, and started taking music and writing workshops, and attending the community events I used to talk myself out of. The most amazing transformation I experienced is the ability to feel my feelings instead of dissociating from them: something that had created relationship problems throughout my life.

Susann and Ernst are skillful, knowledgeable and exceptionally kind teachers. Their ability to carefully focus on each person and remain intellectually and emotionally present throughout the entire 3 days of the workshop was impressive, and created the type of trust and safety required for facilitating a group through this intense process. They are an extremely perceptive and effective tag-team, finishing each others’ sentences while each bringing their unique knowledge and abilities forward for the benefit of us all. I’m extremely grateful for their loving guidance into this new way of experiencing life.”

Melisa Brittain, Edmonton


“I had been secretly wishing to practice brain plasticity for many months. So when I heard about the “Immediate Shift Method” I opened my mind (with difficulty) to the possibility of such a real and life-changing tool.

I was suffering from chronic anxiety, daily dread, depression and utter hopelessness. During the 3- day course, my mood went from hopelessness and acute anxiety to love, hope and a feeling of lightness. But as the weeks after the workshop carried on, I noticed more changes. I started getting more courageous instead of combative. I started to dream things instead of being egotistical. I started to SEE my higher self in action in my daily life, and synchronistic events happened beyond my comprehension and explanation! Maybe the synchronistic events, the beauty and the hope were there before, but I was so caught up in my negative moods that I hadn’t noticed. I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone. For me, it is bringing out a side of me that is wonderful, hopeful and positive. Thank you Susann and Ernst.”

M.M. (name withheld) Calgary


“I joined the Immediate Shift workshop out of professional interest. Being an osteopath I have been able to witness the inter-connectedness between the body and mind. I am interested in every method, which helps to clear and change ingrained body-mind patterns. I am happy to recommend this method, as well Susann and Ernst’s professional abilities as facilitators. I was able to witness not only changes in myself over the course of the weekend but also in every one of the participants. We got more and more enthusiastic about the method as the weekend progressed. What also struck me as being helpful was Ernst’s ability to rationally convey the facts about this method, supported with Susann’s demonstrating and animating ability from her wealth of professional and personal experience.

I am now recommending this method particularly to patients with chronic, hard to shift conditions such as Chronic Fatigue, R.A, Fibromyalgia etc. where the relaxation of the mind could play a crucial role in their recovery.”

Dr. Egbert Weber D.O.,N.D.,mATMS, (Osteopath), Byron Bay (Australia)


“I am feeling so fortunate that I decided to attend “Immediate Shift” this November. It has provided me with a profound method that allows me to shift out of limiting ways of being (eg. bad habits like night time snacking, grumpy interactions with my husband, fearful thoughts that hold me back, and times of stress & overwhelm, to name a few). I am very excited to have a method that is quick (yes, 3-5 minutes) and that I can apply ALL BY MYSELF. This is incredibly empowering.

After dedicating myself to catch each trigger, every small troubling thought, and every negative state of mind for the weekend of Immediate Shift workshop, I found an overall sense of peace growing in me. I was staying in these negative places for such a short time, it would rarely be remembered at the end of my day.
Back to work has been different as I have less time in my day. But luckily, the process is quick. I have done it in my head while walking my dog and while driving to work. Other times I take the 3-5 minutes and do the entire process. This reinforces it and integrates it into my daily way of being.

I am deeply grateful to Susann and Ernst who have creatively gathered various process tools and developed an effective approach to change and healing that assists each participant to be the best that they can be. Their warmth and open sharing makes learning the Immediate Shift comfortable, entertaining and safe.”

Pam Algar, Registered Psychologist, Edmonton


“My husband and I took part in the Immediate Shift workshop with Susann and Ernst and I’m thrilled to share my experience. Susann and Ernst are professional, experienced and caring facilitators and trainers. I felt completely supported and ‘held’, and their combined female and male energies were complimentary and whole.

I experienced a profound shift during the workshop, and now I have immediate tools available anytime I experience myself being out of balance. I don’t think I can express how good it is to be in charge of myself again, instead of past trauma, accidents, viruses and conditioning being in charge. Simple daily activities like driving, working, getting groceries, are no longer overwhelming and exhausting. I experience much more calmness, quiet rested-ness, an inner strength, and more capacity in general.

Doing the workshop with my husband has provided us with a deeper ground to be together in and when we have conflicts. We are able to each take responsibility for how we are being, and the conflict completely disappears. I would be happy to recommend this training to anyone!”

Christy Bruce, Edmonton


“I took part in the 3-day Immediate Shift workshop with Susann and Ernst and was pleasantly surprised to find how effective and powerful this Immediate Shift method is! I feel more vibrant, alive and have less IBS type symptoms. The Immediate Shift method has allowed me to change beliefs that have triggered anxiety, feelings of being stuck, and the IBS. I find that I am no longer rushing around like I have been for so many years.

Susann and Ernst have poured a tremendous amount of time and love into this work. Thank you! Three weeks after doing the training I am applying the method consistently and I am seeing the benefits of it. The Immediate Shift method is giving me a way to stop going down the path of a negative spin. The process has unearthed the next layer of deep holding patterns that I am now ready to be free of. This helps greatly with my relationship with my wife and with my clients at work. I plan to continue to do the process, because of the long term benefits I want to achieve.”

Don Bruce, Edmonton


“I was officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 15 years ago. The symptoms associated with fibromyalgia impaired my ability to function normally and express fully in my life. Fatigue, chronic pain, brain fog and migraines limited the number of hours that I could function at any given day, the range of what I was able to do, as well as the quality of those hours.

In those 15 years I tried all kinds of different treatments, therapies, diets, supplements, exercises, etc. all to no avail, leaving me feeling helpless on how to help my body not be in so much distress. When I heard and read about the Immediate Shift method I thought that it definitely would be a successful process to change behavioral patterns and decided to register for the workshop.

At first I did not comprehend how unconscious body functions could be influenced but during the workshop I learned and understood how it could happen. I figured that if I had made the effort for so many previous treatments, I could invest some time every day to improve my condition.

Susann and Ernst are knowledgeable of the content, very skilled in its delivery, and held a space of safety and respect with the right amount of humor, in which we all were able to explore the method.
Within 1 week my symptoms had decreased by about 75% and now, 5 weeks later, I am functioning at 95%!!! I recommend the Immediate Shift workshop highly, as a 3-day investment into a symptom free future!”

Mariel Helmers, Edmonton


“I am very grateful for the wonderful Immediate Shift Workshop. Already in the first week after the workshop the use of the Immediate Shift method bore fruit. I feel significant changes in my life, and my partner and I are very different in our togetherness. I am more often and quicker aware of my ‘ruts’. I feel empowered to change these old habits every time I recognize them, and I am enthusiastic about reprogramming them on the spot. I am turning into the ‘Real Peter’!
I am looking forward to the time when the ‘ruts’ won’t even show up in my life anymore, because I rewired my brain.

One important part of the training is that I am now more aware when I am in the ‘Fight-Flight- Freeze-Response’. And I can us the Immediate Shift method to shift out of it. That makes me much more quieted and grounded during the day. I am more present in my heart and more available for others. Every evening I use the method to prepare for going to bed, as I used to stay in a high Fight-Flight-Freeze-Response as long as possible. Now I look forward to my dreams instead of fearing them. I discovered newly that feeling safe is important to me.”
The Immediate Shift method is such a practical, simple method to use. Wonderful!”

Peter Krempelsetzer, München (Germany)


“The Immediate Shift Method has been life changing and life giving for me. I had been experiencing chronic fatigue and depression for many years. For the last 3 months I would wake up with a feeling of dread for the day ahead and would often sneak back into bed soon after breakfast to sleep again and to curl up in the pain and hopelessness I was feeling so much of the time.

I had heard about the Immediate Shift workshop but was reluctant to take the course because I already knew that it was in my power as awareness to heal myself and I knew that all I had to do was shift my perspective when dullness and heaviness arose. However, although I knew to and how to do this, I wasn’t doing it. Then one day I received an invitation to the workshop and when imagining myself taking the course I saw my heart wide open and sunshine coming into my face. My belief that I can heal myself quickly was already activated. I arrived at the workshop ready to change and I did – quite significantly.

Over the years I have done a lot of work on myself, attended a lot of workshops and relied on professionals to help me shift and heal. What I love about the Immediate Shift Method is that it gives you a tool that you can take home and do it all by yourself which is incredibly empowering…, and cost and time effective! It is quick and simple, so it can be done anytime, anywhere (even in public washrooms if needed!) This enables you to catch your bad habits as soon as they arise, which is key to rapid change.

It has been a month since completing the workshop and I no longer wake with dread and then crawl back into bed after breakfast. Instead, I wake with purpose and enthusiasm and I maintain that state throughout the day. My nails are long for the first time in years and I have energy to exercise everyday. It is still delicate in me. I can often feel the old patterns hovering close by, but when I see or feel that, I know it’s time to do the process. This way I am no longer afraid of the black cloud taking me over again, as I have my constant companion, the Method. I have my life in my own hands again. It has been a true gift.

As facilitators, Ernst and Susann combine their many abilities to hold a friendly, safe, playful, yet firm space. They kindly allow no room for being a victim or coming from old ways of thinking. They simply and beautifully leave you no choice but to leap playfully into an Immediate Shift.

Sally Ransen, Edmonton


“Best workshop I ever attended! Unforgettable, life changing, humorous and very lively. It was sweet to see how Susann and Ernst interacted. With such lightness and togetherness. Their sharing of their own difficulties and experiences was very supportive. We were all in it together. The weakest system in my body was my nervous system. Now it calmed down to a normal level. I notice a very different way of being in my body. There is an unusual rested-ness and well being in me. Calmness in any situation, with much more heart. It’s a new life!”

Heidi Pander, München (Germany)


“I’ve got a wonderful life and after the Immediate Shift Workshop my life is even better. Whenever a belief, pattern, feeling or tension comes into my body, I take a moment and give myself the ’Immediate Shift’. Within a minute my mood changes to availability, relaxation and curiosity, open to what is asked of me.

I never knew that my happy feelings actually make me very agitated. Now with doing the ‘Immediate Shift’ I am more able to ground myself, becoming less and less anxious. It’s amazing how the ritual of the ‘Immediate Shift’ becomes a moment of contemplation throughout many, many, many moments of the day.

I also notice how my life is moving forward positively and that I have way more time to do things than I ever thought. I love to be authentic; to be fully me without compromise!”

Sylvia van Loveren, Edmonton


“Prior to the Immediate Shift workshop, I was increasingly experiencing symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME. The symptoms included constant swollen and painful glands in my neck, armpits and groin area. My fatigue was increasing to the point to which I was pulling back from nearly all social engagements so that I could go to bed earlier and earlier, often 8:00 or 8:30 PM. If I stayed out late one night, until 10 PM, I would be extremely tired or even sick with a cold for the next week. It felt like my life was getting smaller and smaller and was being increasingly run by the CFS/ME.

I was thrilled to hear about the ‘IS’ workshop Susann and Ernst offer. Following the ‘IS workshop my symptoms are completely gone. I stayed up until 11:30 PM or later every night for the next two weeks, enjoying such beautiful and fun time spent with other people. Not only are my symptoms gone, but also I am really enjoying being able to connect with others in a meaningful and full way. I am confident that as I keep up with the process, my symptoms are a thing of the past.

That is a big “WOW” for an “incurable” illness. I cannot thank Ernst and Susann enough.”

Leanne Hedberg, Edmonton


“Doing the Immediate Shift training gave me an astounding shift back into my own power. It brought me again in contact with my true kind nature and helped me shift my focus to the loveliness that I am. It gave me a ‘shifting’ tool which I can use any moment of the day to support me staying on the right track.

Ernst and Susann were coaching us in such dear way, full of humor and sparkle and with many examples from their own live. If you wish to change something in your live, this Immediate Shift training is a true leap forward.”

Dorine Scherpel, Edmonton

Hypothyroidism and Acupuncture by Peter Lee R.Ac

Posted on: March 31st, 2016 by Mariano


acupuncture for lower back pain

While it is well known that acupuncture effectively treats musculoskeletal issues, acupuncture can also treat many other disorders. Controlled clinical trials carried out by the World Health Organization lists numerous disorders including neurological, respiratory, digestive, blood-related, urogenital, gynecological, obstetric, cardiovascular, psychiatric, and pediatric disorders, as well as skin diseases. In case of thyroid issues, acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of the symptoms and also the dosage of the thyroid medications.

Western Medicine Overview

Hypothyroidism is a condition where there is an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone in the body with decreased level of circulating thyroid hormone (TH). It may be a result of thyroid gland malfunction, the pituitary malfunction, or the hypothalamus malfunction.

Although the causes differ from different countries, in developed countries such as the United States and Canada, the inflammation of thyroid gland is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. This inflammation and swelling damage the thyroid gland and in return the thyroid gland malfunctions. This may be due to autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, iodine deficiency, viral infections, medications, pregnancy, birth defects, surgical removal of the thyroid gland, and radiation treatments.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Overview

In TCM, improper diet, poor constitution, and overstrain lead to hypothyroidism. First of all, improper diet may damage the Spleen and Stomach, leading to fatigue, weakness, reduced concentration, cold body, weight gain, and constipation (Qi and Blood Deficiency in TCM). Secondly, poor constitution and/or overstrain may result in weak Spleen, Stomach, or Kidneys, leading to retention of water.

Signs and Symptoms

The hormone from the thyroid gland regulates metabolism, body temperature, energy levels, mood, heart rate and blood pressure. With such functions, lack of thyroid hormone results in related symptoms. In the early stages, hypothyroidism shows fatigue, weakness, depression, reduced concentration, cold body, unexplained weight gain, constipation, slower heart rate, headache, pale complexion and edema. In the later stages, the symptoms of the early stage may worsen and there may be continued weight gain despite the poor appetite, goiter, slow speech, thickening of the skin and decreased sense of taste and smell.

Acupuncture Treatments

Acupuncture is one of the ancient healing techniques that have been effectively treating diseases for thousands of years. Acupuncture stimulates and promotes the body’s inherent healing abilities, regulates the nervous and endocrine systems, and strengthens the immune system. Acupuncture is slowly getting more attention and acknowledgements as technological advancements allow modern studies to show that acupuncture is effective.

All diseases are essentially imbalance of yin and yang in TCM. Hence, restoring the balance between yin and yang is the first and the most important goal of an acupuncture treatment. In fact, human body has inherent healing abilities. A healthy immune system knows how to defend and heal our body. Unfortunately, there are times when it is too weak to do its job or when it is overwhelmed and does not know what to do. That is when acupuncture comes in. Without physically or chemically modifying the body, acupuncture can remind the body which way to go, on the journey to recovery.

In TCM, Hypothyroidism is considered to be due to weak Spleen and Kidney. As previously mentioned, Spleen and Kidney can be damaged from improper diet, poor constitution, and overstrain. In this case, not only does acupuncture restore the balance between yin and yang, but also, with different protocols, acupuncture strengthens the affected organs, Spleen and Kidneys, thereby significantly reducing the signs and symptoms manifested by weak Spleen and Kidneys.

Hypothyroidism is a difficult disease to treat. That is why modern medicine can only offer you synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine also known as Levothroid, or Synthroid. Acupuncture can reduce the dosage of these thyroid medications hence reducing the risks of possible side effects. While acupuncture alone can significantly reduce the dosage of the medications as well as severity and frequency of the signs and symptoms, even greater results can be achieved with adjustments in diet and lifestyle. In the best case scenario, patients were able to completely get off the medications.

Dietary Suggestions

Patients with hypothyroidism are recommended to increase their iodine and selenium intakes while reducing goitrogens and goitrogenic foods but do not over-consume iodine. In addition, smaller but more frequent meals rather than big heavy meals are suggested. Furthermore, replacing refined sugar snacks with fruits will also help maintain a healthy diet while keeping weight in check.

Foods to Consume

Iodine is required in TH production. Daily iodine requirement is about 150 micrograms. While three ounces of cod fish, shrimp, and turkey contain 99, 35, and 34 micrograms of iodine respectively, iodized salt contains about 140 micrograms per half a teaspoon. Hence, it is recommended to consume iodized salt, seaweeds, and sea foods.

Several foods that can be recommended for the patients with hypothyroidism are fish, nuts, whole grains, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, sea weeds, beans and dairy products. First of all, fish including tuna and wild salmon, contains the Omega-3 Series, which decrease inflammation, and boost immune system, and selenium, which also decreases inflammation. Secondly, nuts including Brazil nuts, Macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts contain large amounts of selenium but they also contain high level of fat. Over- consumption should be avoided. Whole grain foods including cereal, bread, pasta, and rice contain fiber, which will help constipation, but fiber may also interfere with thyroid medications. It is suggested that the thyroid medications are taken several hours away from dietary fiber consumption. Thirdly, fresh fruits and vegetables with low calorie and high nutrient including cherries, blue berries, potatoes, and green peppers, which contain antioxidants, will help with weight gain. Garlic and onion also contain high concentration of selenium.

Fourthly, there is calcium, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, and a high concentration of iodine, the precursor to the production of TH, in seaweeds, such as nori, dulse, and wakame. However, over- consumption of iodine may worsen conditions affecting the thyroid gland. Fifthly, as beans contain antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein and other vitamins and minerals, they offer sustained energy which will help the fatigue that patients with hypothyroidism often experiences. Lastly, dairy products including fortified milk which contain extra calcium, iodine, protein, and vitamin D will assist Hashimoto’s Disease, which is found to be one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism.

Foods to Avoid

Foods that interfere with the body’s ability to use TH, to produce TH, or to absorb necessary nutrients should be avoided. They are soy, cruciferous vegetables, gluten, fats, sugar, processed foods, coffee, and alcohol. First of all, soy contains plant-based phyto-estrogen and estrogen interferes with TH usage. Secondly, cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, kale, turnips, and cabbage negatively impacts the TH production as they may prevent iodine absorption. Thirdly, gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye, and other grains, may interfere with thyroid medication absorption. Fourthly, fats from fried food and fatty cuts of meat may interfere with thyroid medication absorption and with hormone production. Next, refined sugar or foods with large amount of sugar have high calories without any beneficial nutrients and they only lead to weight gain. In addition, processed foods contain large amount of sodium, which increases the risk of high blood pressure. Furthermore, dietary fiber in excess may interfere with thyroid medication absorption. Moreover, coffee and alcohol should be avoided. Coffee containing caffeine may block thyroid medication absorption while alcohol is shown to interfere with the TH usage and to have toxic effect on the thyroid gland. Other foods that should be avoided include cassava, linseed, peanuts, mustard, millet, peaches, and spinach.

Many of the naturally-occurring chemicals such as goitrogens found in plants interfere with thyroid functions. When the thyroid gland attempts to produce TH by putting together the salt iodine and the amino acid tyrosine, in the presence of goitrogens, the thyroid gland is instead interrupted and enlarged, resulting in goiter. First of all, goitrin, found in the seeds of cruciferous vegetables, is by far the most problematic plant goitrogen resulting in goiter even with the presence of high concentration of iodine by lowering the activity of thyroid peroxidase. Thyroid peroxidase is an enzyme which is necessary to insert iodine into the TH.

Secondly, thiocyanates, which is formed from bamboo shoots, cassava, corn, flax sweet potato, and cruciferous vegetables when they are cut or chewed, also lower the thyroid peroxidase activity and interfere with iodine absorption as they compete with iodine to enter the thyroid gland but the effects of thiocyanates can be combated by iodine consumption. Thiocyanates however are able to cross the placenta and affect the newborns, resulting in thyroid dysfunctions in newborns. Another way to reduce thiocyanates levels is to cook or to ferment.

Thirdly, soy flavonoids and millet flavonoids also lower the thyroid peroxidase activity but increasing iodine consumption will combat this effect. Fourthly, quercetin, kaempferol, and rutin also lower the enzyme activity of thyroid peroxidase and hepatic deiodinase (a liver enzyme which activate TH). Apple, broccoli, blueberries, cranberries, grapes, and onions contain large amounts of quercetin. Endive and grapefruit contain kaempferol. Asparagus, citrus fruits, and cranberries contain rutin.

Lifestyle Suggestions

Peter Lee, AcupuncturistFirst of all, it is important to exercise, in order to help with fatigue and weakness. It may be difficult as the patients already feel out of energy but increasing physical activity will help increase energy levels by building up Qi. Secondly, it is important to improve sleep quality. It is recommended that patients sleep seven to nine hours on regular bases in a dark and sound-free environment. It is also suggested that they keep the same schedule even during the holidays or the weekends. Exercising will also help improving sleep quality. Thirdly, it is important to stop smoking. Nicotine found in cigarettes interferes with sleep and worsens the fatigue.

Peter is a registered acupuncturist that practices at Integrated Therapies in Edmonton. If you have any questions regarding this article please write to Peter at

If you would like to see Peter for acupuncture please book online or call (780) 432-4803.

Read about Peter
Read about more about Acupuncture


1. Lazenby, R. B., Handbook of Pathophysiology, 4th Edition, pp 327

2. Hypothyroidism, Medline Plus, National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health. Retrieved from

3. Tao Chunxiang (2008), How to Give TCM Differential Treatment for Hypothyroidism?, Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine; 28(3): pp 231-232

4. Theobald, M., 7 Hypothyroidism-Friendly Foods to Add to Your Diet. Everyday Health. Retrieved from eat.aspx#/slide-1

5. Thompson, D., 9 Foods to Avoid With Hypothyroidism. Everyday Health. Retrieved from avoid.aspx#/slide-1

6. Vann, M., 8 Ways to Stay Energized With Hypothyroidism. Everyday Health. Retrieved from

7. Ede, G., Foods that cause Hypothyroidism. Diagnosis: Diet. Retrieved from

8. Hypothyroidism Diet. Retrieved from

The power of suction cup therapy with massage

Posted on: October 30th, 2015 by Mariano

by Frank Lai, RMT

I have been aware of suction cup therapy since I was a child in Taiwan. My father is a doctor of Chinese medicine and he uses this ancient technique every day in his practice. I am a great believer in its benefits, and use it where appropriate to enhance both relaxation and therapeutic massage treatments.

cupping therapyThe therapy has two stages: assessment and treatment. Once assessment of the patient’s condition has been completed through questioning and physical testing, the cups are applied to the areas requiring attention and left in place for five to ten minutes. The vacuum created by expelling air from the cups creates suction which mobilizes blood flow and promotes healing. It also resets the fascia if they are compressed or misaligned.

Cupping is often used on the broad areas of the back, and is a wonderful addition to any massage.

The treatment is sedating, and people will often descend into a profound state of relaxation. Larger cups may be used on the back for a stronger effect. The strong vacuum mimics the rolling action of deep tissue massage without the discomfort. The movement may be long and draining, or circular and stimulating, for stubborn knots and areas of rigid tissue.

 Cupping can also be used to treat:

  • blood disorders such as anemia and hemophilia
  • rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia
  • fertility and gynecological disorders
  • skin problems such as eczema and acne
  • high blood pressure (hypertension )
  • migraine
  • anxiety and depression
  • bronchial congestion caused by allergies and asthma
  • varicose veins


It can have minor side effects, including:

  • mild discomfort
  • burns
  • bruises


Cupping should not be used on:

  • pregnant or menstruating women
  • people with metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread from one part of the body to another)
  • people with bone fractures or muscle spasms


and must not be applied to sites with:

  • a deep vein thrombosis
  • an ulcer
  • an artery
  • a pulse that can be felt


Read more about massage therapy with cupping.


Frank Lai - Registered Massage Therapist

Frank is a registered massage therapist at Integrated Therapies.

If you would like to experience the benefits of massage therapy with cupping,

book an appointment to see him. Call (780) 432-4803 or book online.




Chronic pain? Consider going on a Candida cleanse by Christiane Panesar, holistic nutritional coach

Posted on: June 15th, 2015 by Mariano

Christiane, Holistic Nutritional CoachingDo you have the feeling that there’s something wrong with you, but you just can’t figure out what it is? Are you wondering why you’re so low on energy, irritable and unable to focus? Have you been struggling with digestive issues forever? Do you get sick easily? Do you suffer from yeast and bladder infections regularly? Do you think having headaches, PMS and other chronic pain is normal??

You might have an unwanted guest: candida albicans – a parasitic yeast like fungus. Actually, it is completely normal to have it living in our digestive tract in symbiosis with our friendly bacteria. It has been around for thousands of years. However, only in modern times it has been able to throw off our microflora’s balance and take over our body. How was that possible? Antibiotics and other medication, birth control pills, pesticides, herbicides and other toxins in our food, chlorinated tap water and a diet high in sugars and acid forming foods created an environment where opportunistic bugs like candida proliferate. I strongly believe it’s not about the bug, but about the environment.

The good news: it is possible to reverse an overgrowth of candida with a thorough cleanse. We have to create an environment that serves our friendly bacteria (our allies) and not opportunistic yeasts, fungus and parasites.

The necessary steps are:

  1. Starving the yeast – not feeding it any of its food like for example sugars, breads, dairy and alcohol.
  2. Supporting the detox of yeast die-off by adding liver cleansing foods like dandelion, burdock and artichoke as well as by using clays.
  3. Restoring digestive function by consuming raw fermented foods and other digestive tonics. In addition you should apply principles of balance such as proper food combining and the right portion size.
  4. Creating alkaline, mineral-rich blood by consuming 80% alkaline-forming foods and only 20% acid-forming foods.
  5. Rebuilding immune function by pampering our good bacteria and by consuming foods that support our immune system and repel the yeast.


Depending on the individual symptoms, this cleanse typically takes 2 – 3 months, or more in serious cases. To tell you the truth: it is quite tough. However, already after a week or two you will probably feel significantly better, with more clarity and energy and might notice that your taste buds have adjusted to the new way of eating. There is a wide selection of foods that you can enjoy during the cleanse such as baked chicken with lemon-garlic asparagus and a colorful salad; amaranth onion pie with sauerkraut; or a chocolate avocado pudding with stevia.

After having completed the cleanse it is important to keep on incorporating these principles regularly into our day to day to maintain balance. And if you feel doing the whole cleanse is too much for you at this point, you will still highly benefit from following one or the other aspect of it. Let me assist you with these crucial steps towards reclaiming your body. We’re meant to thrive, not just to survive!

Book online an appointment for Holistic Nutritional Coaching with Christiane or call Integrated Therapies at (780) 432-4803