All Posts in Category: Lifestyle

Let’s Prevent Forward Head Posture

As a Registered Massage Therapist it’s common to see patients complain about head, neck and shoulder
issues. Before treatment I typically do a postural assessment to understand the source of pain and far to
often I see what is called forward head posture.

Forward Head Posture is a common problem for a lot of people, amongst other postural issues. If left
untreated, Forward Head Posture will cause significant damage to the spine, in what is otherwise a
preventable injury.

The human body was not designed for prolonged periods of sitting or sedentary lifestyles. Our bodies
automatically adapt to our environment and when we continually place ourselves in sub-optimal positions
such as hours of sitting, looking down towards our phone or tablet, certain muscles that are responsible for
good posture will become weak and tight. If you have a forward head posture, your shoulders will also
hunch forward with it. By doing so, your FHP can add up to 30 pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical

“For Every Inch of Forward Head Posture, it can increase the
weight of the head on the spine by an additional 10 pounds”

If you really want to understand how this feels on your spine take a 10 lb weight hold it in front of you with
your elbow extended out and hold that position for as long as you can and that’s essentially how your spine

If you only thought that forward head posture affects your spine think again, Research shows that 90% of
the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by the movement of the spine. Therefore, less
cervical movement results in less nutrition to the brain.

As a Registered Massage Therapist we work on releasing tension on the tight muscles and strengthen the
inhibited muscles by this posture.

The way to deal with forward head posture is to do fhp exercise and maintaining better posture, which isn’t
always easy below are Three tips on fixing your forward head posture

Here are 3 tips on fixing your FHP!

Chin Tucks:

While sitting upright, gently tuck your chin in as to make a double chin.
Aim to feel a gentle lengthening sensation at the back of your neck.
A common mistake I often see is the person starts to move their head up/down. Make sure your eyes and
jaw stay level, and move the head horizontally backwards.
Think of the movement like a book sliding back into the shelf.
Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 30 times

Pec Stretch

Place your forearms on the door frame with your elbows at shoulder height.
Place one foot through the doorway and the opposite foot behind you.
Lean your chest and hips through the doorway until you feel a stretch in your chest.
Take a deep breath in to really stretch out your chest, and as you breathe out, lean further through the

Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Do 2 repetitions, one with your left foot forward and one with your right foot
forward. Do 2 to 3 times per day to gain length, once at full length move to once per day to maintain the
length in your pectoral muscles.

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Sugar, Sugar!: Amy Deacon on Sugar Addiction & Anxiety

I have a full blown sugar addiction.  I have for years, and I’m sure that if sugar were taken as seriously as heroin, I would have been admitted into rehab years ago.  What also makes my sugar addiction a real addiction is the SHAME.  Holy Moly.

Just to highlight the lengths I would go to in order to cover my tracks:

  1. I had a secret stash.
  2. When my husband told me he was going out, I would get SO EXCITED knowing I could binge without judgment.
  3. When hubby was out, I would BINGE beyond the point of discomfort.  My body would be in all sorts of pain.  I would even get sweats!

While over the past couple of years I’ve gotten much better at moderating my intake (which I contribute to creating an overall better relationship with food), this past weekend was no Bueno!

It was Greek Easter.  And I don’t know if it’s every Greek household or just our own, but if you are not passed out in a food coma post meal, something was wrong with the food and you’ve just insulted your host.  While I left a little early to put our babe to bed, my husband was so kind and brought me back a plate of desserts.  Which I devoured.  In one sitting.  My stomach felt off but I went to bed.  However, throughout the night, I woke up periodically in a panic.  And while it was only momentary, I felt frantic – and that really bothered me.

The more I reflected, the more I came to realize that historically speaking, there’s a pretty strong relationship between my sugar consumption and feeling anxious.  And that’s not cool.  It sounds terrible – but honestly, I can tolerate sugar messing with my body for a day or two.  But my head?  No way!  I don’t have time to knowingly invite anxiety into my life.  So I’m making a firm decision.  I’m going to go 40 days with no added, refined, processed sugars.

I don’t care to get to a place where my life is completely void of sugar; however, I don’t want it disrupting me as I allowed it to this past weekend.  And if cutting it out reduces anxiety, increases energy and makes me feel better overall – I’m down.  Wish me luck!  And if you have any tips or suggestions, send them my way 🙂


Amy Deacon is currently accepting new counselling clients at the Toronto Wellness Centre. Please call 416-920-2722 or send us an inquiry to schedule your therapy appointment.

This blog was originally published on Toronto Wellness Counselling.

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The Heart of the Matter

We go to physicians to examine our bodies; dentists to inspect our teeth; chiropractors to explore the curvature in our spines – but what about our hearts?  When was the last time your heart had a check up?  When I speak of heart, I’m referring to the centre of you as a person; the space where you express and experience emotion, affection, enthusiasm and spirit.  It’s an important question, as it is only when there is a healthy flow within our hearts that we can truly be at our best.  Let me explain, when our hearts are healthy, we have space for our emotions to flow with ease; energy for the things that matter most; and perspective to appreciate the lives we have.

​The flow within our hearts helps determine our ability to be present in relationships, focused at work and responsive to our mental, emotional and physical needs.  However, for many of us, having a healthy flow can be a daily struggle.  Throughout life, we experience betrayal and regret, frustration and anger, sadness and loss – many of which are normal parts of life.  However, when such experiences remain unresolved, we risk creating a ‘build up’, which blocks the flow of our hearts.  As such, genuine feelings of love and happiness are difficult to experience because we’re clogged with lingering resentment, anger,guilt and fear.  This lack of flow can stifle our most important relationships with our partners, families, colleagues, and most importantly, ourselves.

If this is something you relate with, please know you are not alone.  All of us experience chapters in our lives in which we feel our hearts are blocked.  And the good news is that there is so much you can do to get your heart flowing as it is meant to.  Connecting with a therapist, joining a support group or spending quality time with those closest to you are great ways of mending your heart. As a therapist, my work is to help individuals safely explore the contents of one’s heart, including both your strengths, as well as those areas that are in need of restoration. Remember – your heart is the most central part of who you are, so do take the time to check in, and give it the attention it so deserves.


Amy Deacon is currently accepting new counselling clients at the Toronto Wellness Centre. Please call 416-920-2722 or send us an inquiry to schedule your therapy appointment.

This blog was originally published on Toronto Wellness Counselling.

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Say Yes to September – 3 Wellness Service Package

We’re all sad to see the summer winding down, but here at the Toronto Wellness Centre we want you to Say Yes to September! It is an amazing time to make a change, and to help, we’re offering a 3 Wellness Service Package to jump start your health and lower your stress before Autumn hits Toronto!

The Say Yes to September Package gives you an Initial Chiropractic Appointment with Dr. Jonathan Cartile DC, 1 Thirty-Minute Massage with Nick Furgiuele RMT or Almarielsa Cansino RMT, and an Acute Naturopathic Medicine appointment with Dr. Kate McLaird ND. For just $150, this gives you a 25% savings!

Call 416-920-2722 for more information, or book your first appointment online.

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Activated Charcoal: Setting the Facts Straight About the Charcoal Trend

With each year, certain health products surge in popularity, and activated charcoal is one of the top hits in 2017. It has even started to be incorporated into food items around the world including Ikea hot dogs in Japan, Ice cream in Toronto, and cold-pressed charcoal juices in the UK, to name a few.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that activated charcoal is not charcoal used in your barbecue! Barbecue charcoal is packed with toxins and chemicals, and should never be consumed. Activated charcoal is available as a supplement within a health food store that has be manufactured from coconut shells and ideally does not have added sorbitol which can cause diarrhea.
How does Activated Charcoal work?

The charcoal is considered “activated” due to its electromagnetic charge, which will stimulate a binding-reaction to drugs, chemicals, supplements, and even bacteria of the opposite charge. Due to the substance being bound to the charcoal, absorption into the body is diminished.

This “new detox ingredient” has actually been used since the 1800’s, within emergency rooms to stop certain cases of acute poisonings or overdoses! This speaks to the fact that activated charcoal can be dangerous if used inappropriately and should be used in certain contexts under the supervision of a naturopathic and/or medical professional.

Natural is not necessarily safe.

One of the main concerns is the high likelihood of drug interaction when taken together – since the charcoal may bind to the drug decreasing the dose received by the body. There have been several drugs proven in research to interact with activated charcoal; however, if you do not see a certain medication on this list, I would still remain cautious.

Interactions may also depend on the amount of activated charcoal consumed, but I would always ensure a time buffer of 2 hours before and after medication avoid interaction possibility. This would include common prescriptions such as the birth control pill, iron supplements and anti-histamines – until further research can solidify safety.

Activated charcoal can also bind compounds from your food!

When charcoal is being incorporated into “black ninja hot dogs” as seen in Japan, this may be a positive benefit since it will help to bind the nitrates; however, unfortunately this does not counteract the carcinogenic effects of hot dogs (for those looking for an excuse to justify hotdogs!). On the other hand, adding activated charcoal to a healthy juice, for instance, may prevent the absorption of the beneficial vitamins and mineral content.

On a more positive note, despite the important considerations you need to make when using activated charcoal, it does in fact have several health benefits. I would recommend you seek professional guidance in order to ensure accurate timing, duration and dosing to achieve your health goals without any side effects.

Some of these health benefits include: oral health, gas & bloating discomfort, “hangover help”, ameliorates detoxification withdrawal symptoms, and topically to aid in acne treatment. I commonly use activated charcoal in conjunction with a comprehensive treatment plan to address the root causes of my patient’s ailments.
If you have any questions further about activated charcoal or how naturopathic medicine can help improve your health, please do not hesitate to contact me! I would love to meet you.


Dr. Kate.


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