The Future Looks Bright for One Ottawa Curling Team

March 3, 2016 12:56 pm
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Team Ontario members at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts 2016, Grand Prairie Alberta (from top left to right), Pascale Letendre alternate, Bob Hanna coach. (from bottom left to right) Jenn Hanna skip, Brit O’Neill third, Stephanie Hanna second and Karen Sagle lead. Photo courtesy of Pascale Letendre.

An unexpected successful season for the Ottawa Curling Club’s Jenn Hanna and her team ended on the national stage this past week.

Hanna (skip) and her team comprising of her younger sister Stephanie (second), Karen Sagle (lead), Brit O’Neill (third), and alternate Pascale Letendre competed as Team Ontario at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts held in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

In just their first year playing together, Team Hanna placed 5th overall on Friday, just shy of securing a playoff spot.

O’Neill says they are not at all disappointed with the results. “The experience itself was incredible. This is the dream; this is why I’ve curled my whole life to get to the big show here. It’s just unbelievably amazing to experience it and to represent your province.”

“Coming into this week, we’re a new team, we’re a rookie team,” explained O’Neill. “A lot of the teams here, it’s almost (as if) they curl as a profession. They’re on the tour, they’re traveling all season (with) lots of sponsorship and opportunity and time to train.”

O’Neill is a full time dental hygienist student at Algonquin College, Sagle works full time, and the Hanna sisters are both moms with young kids. With these factors in mind, the team decided to set realistic goals for the Scotties Tournament. The team decided to shoot for more wins than losses, and believed that it might sneak them into a playoff spot. The team turned the goal into a reality, ending the week with a 6-5 record.

This was O’Neill and Sagle’s first time competing at the Scotties, but for skip Hanna (36) and her sister (33), this was familiar territory. The sisters had last been at the Scotties in 2005 with a different group of women, where their team lost in the finals. They came back this year to competitive curling after a three-year hiatus to compete with O’Neill (29) and Sagle (29).

It was a surprising win earlier this year at provincials where they beat two-time Canada champion Rachel Homan and her team, winning them a spot representing Ontario at nationals.

Homan, also from the Ottawa Curling Club and 2013 national champion, was a favourite to win and represent Ontario at the Scotties. It was a surprise to many when Hanna and her team took the game.

“To come out of that game it just put our names on the map. It woke a few people up, and woke us up too, realizing what we’re capable of as a team,” says O’Neill.

The team’s unique dynamic is one reason for their quick success according to O’Neill. The Hanna sisters function as a strong duo, and O’Neill and Sagle have been dating for four years.

“Some people would think that would be detrimental but it absolutely wasn’t, not one bit,” declared O’Neill, “(The Hanna’s) are very comfortable with each other, obviously, and (Sagle) and I are (as well). You can say things you just might not be able to say to strangers.”

She says it was partially their unique dynamic what made them comfortable as a team much quicker than usual.

Another unique factor about Team Hanna is that all of their team members live in Ottawa.

According to O’Neill, most of the time players are from across the province. Having all their members in the same city makes it easier to practice and play together.

It just may have been that comfort level that helped them achieve their goal this past week. While they fell just short of playoffs, they were able to boast significant wins against Team Alberta and Team Northern Ontario, who respectively placed first and second.

Team Alberta started off the tournament with six straight wins and was undefeated until they faced Team Hanna, winning that match 7-5. Alberta, led by skip Chelsea Carey, only lost two games the entire week and finished overall champions with a record of 9-2.

Team Hanna also beat Team Northern Ontario 6-4. Northern Ontario later went on to play defending national champions led by Jennifer Jones, winning 7-5 and beating Team Canada out of a spot in the championship match.

O’Neill says that her team is very happy with how they played even if things could have gone a bit better. “There are some games that we let go that we should have won. One in particular that would have got us in for sure, so it’s disappointing knowing it’s just right there. (However) I’m not at all disappointed with how the week went.”

After a long week, the Ottawa curlers flew home from Alberta Sunday morning. Though O’Neill says they haven’t talked about the future yet, she sees good things ahead.

“The season obviously went very well, it’s not very often that a first year team goes to a national championship. So there are obviously great things to build on.”

A Beginners Guide to the Ottawa Redblacks

February 26, 2016 10:03 am
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With two seasons under their belt, the Ottawa Redblacks have shown this city what they’re all about.

The professional football team went from winning only a couple games in their opening season to making it all the way to the Grey Cup this past year.

For those of you new to Ottawa, or anyone who wants to support the team in the upcoming season but would like to know a little more, here’s your guide to the Ottawa Redblacks.

The Redblacks are a professional football team playing in the CFL. Their run started in 2014, and the Redblacks are the third CFL franchise to play in Ottawa. The former teams were the Ottawa Rough Riders, who played from 1876 to 1996 and the Renegades, who had an unsuccessful stint between 2002 and 2005.

The team plays home games at the TD Place Stadium, where lumberjack mascot Big Joe is a crowd favourite. It has become a tradition for a team of woodcutters to chop off the end of a log every time the Redblacks score a touchdown.

In their first season, the team finished last in the East Division with only two wins the entire year. It was a building year and in the off-season trades were made, players were acquired and the Redblacks came back strong.

The Redblacks took 12 games this past season, winning the chance to play the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for the East Division Championship. They beat the Tiger-Cats 35-28 to the cheers of a home crowd at TD Place. For the first time in 34 years an Ottawa team was on its way to the Grey Cup.

In November, the Redblacks and fans travelled to Winnipeg in pursuit of the championship. But their dream was not to be. After a tough 26-20 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos, the Redblacks ended their second season.

A new attitude, successful player development and small changes made in the off-season contributed to the Redblack’s success this past year.

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Coach Rick Campbell’s team-first attitude helped transform the Redblacks into a cohesive field on and off the field. His work helped change the Redblacks from a last place team to the winning team fans adored in only one year. He was named 2015 CFL coach of the year.

Top quarterback Henry Burris also led his team to success. After a troubled year in 2014, the 40-year-old quarterback came back a renewed player. He led the league in passing with 5,703 yards, set a new CFL record with 481 pass completions and won the league’s outstanding player of the year.

Now in the off-season, the Redblacks are making changes and fans are looking forward to cheering on their team for another great year.

Make sure to stay tuned to Ottawa Life Magazine for off season updates and continuing coverage.

Gee-Gees Dream of Winning National Championship

February 23, 2016 11:55 am
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Gee-Gees team and fans rush the court to celebrate their victory at the Capital Hoops Classic, February 5th. All photos by Meagan Simpson.

They say the third time’s the charm, and that just might be true for the Ottawa Gee-Gees. After losing in the championship game to the Ravens two years in a row, they are itching to take home the title.

Head coach James Derouin says he and his group of veteran players have set their sights on becoming Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) national champions.

“The team’s goal this year is to win a National Championship,” says Derouin. “But unlike the past we are trying hard to focus on getting better throughout the season and focus more on being at our best when it matters most.”

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Gee-Gees point guard Mike L’Africain dribbles past Ravens forward Ryan Ejim at the Capital Hoops Classic, February 5th.

They have won the last two games this season against Carleton University men’s basketball team, the most recent at the Canadian Tire Place on February 5th. The University of Ottawa’s team won this year’s 10th annual Capital Hoops Classic 78-72.

It has been eight years since the Gee-Gees men took home the Capital Hoops trophy and Derouin says the win was extra special for them and definitely helped get rid of some of their ‘ghosts’ in the building.

“Winning the Capital Hoops means a lot for our team and our program,” Derouin says. “Carleton has dominated that game in the past, and despite the fact that is only a league game, for a lot of fans in this city, it might be the game they remember the most.”

However the team has their sights set higher Derouin told Ottawa Life Magazine, “We’re different this year and we’re focusing on the future. We’re happy with the win but we want to win [nationals] in March.”

With an almost perfect season, the Gee-Gees may have what it takes to unseat the 11 time national champion Ravens. With only two losses in 15 games this season, they are leading the CIS Northern Division with 26 points.

Though the Ravens are not far behind with 24 points and only three losses this season, two of which were against the Gee-Gees.

Both teams have been going back and forth, vying for top spot all season and the latest statistics from CIS have Carleton ranked 2nd and the University of Ottawa 3rd after the Ryerson Rams.

The difference for the Gee-Gees this year? Derouin believes it is his team’s experience and size that sets them apart and makes them stronger compared to previous years.

More than half of the team consists of veterans, fourth and fifth year students, including point guard Mike L’Africain, forwards Matt Plunkett, Nathan McCarthy and guard Caleb Agada who is just coming back from an ankle injury.

Gee-Gees point guard Mike L'Africain about to shoot a three-pointer at the Capital Hoops Classic, February 5th Photo by Meagan Simpson

Gee-Gees point guard Mike L’Africain about to shoot a three-pointer at the Capital Hoops Classic, February 5th.

After the Capital Hoops game L’Africain told reporters that their team motto is ‘FMB’ – For My Brothers – and their success doesn’t just come from lead players but a collective effort and sacrifice from the whole team.

Agada, who has helped bring his team to many victories, was back on the court this weekend, though Derouin says he was not one hundred percent yet and hopes to see him fully recovered in the next few weeks leading up to playoffs.

With only four games left in the regular season he says, “[Our] team needs to keep focusing on getting better and improve right to the end. Defence and rebounding are still the key for us moving forward.”

Over the weekend the Gee-Gees played away two games, losing 96-90 to McMaster but taking their game against Brock 89-82.

Derouin says, “We have shown signs of being great and also signs of being extremely vulnerable. This makes a coach very uneasy. We hope to have the best version of our team come March. If we can do that, [we’ve] got a shot.”

He notes that be believes there are six to eight teams who he thinks have a chance to win nationals this year and he counts his team among them. The CIS Final 8 championship tournament that will decide this year’s victor is being held at the University of British Colombia, March 17-20th.

If the Gee-Gees succeed in achieving their goals it would be the first ever time for the University of Ottawa men’s basketball team to bring home the national championship trophy.

How Future Doctors See Social Factors Shaping Their Medical Practice

February 22, 2016 9:33 am

Medical students learn how to manage and treat disease. But once they start meeting patients in clinics and hospitals, they are also confronted with the fact that social factors have a huge impact on health and that their medical interventions might sometimes be limited.

Two medical residents, Laura Stymiest and Lita Cameron, and medical student, Chris Harper, explain how they hope to shape their medical practice to include social determinants of health and how they will work with the community to offer the best care possible for their patients.

You can find their talk on Soundcloud or download the podcast here. You can also find it on YouTube by checking out the video below.


Lita Cameron is a Family Medicine resident at McMaster University. She completed her Masters in Global Health Science at Oxford University. She worked previously for the Public Health Agency of Canada and has been involved in aboriginal health research.

Laura Stymiest is a paediatrics resident at Dalhousie University. She previously completed training at the Coady International Institute and has been involved in research in the area of Social Paediatrics.

Chris Harper is a medical student at the University of Toronto and camp director in his hometown of Saint John, New Brunswick – two cities deeply affected by child poverty.

Interview by Mélanie Meloche-Holubowski, journalist intern at, and journalist with Radio-Canada.

Selecting the Right Combat Archery Parts Supplier

February 19, 2016 11:46 am

Playing with combat archery equipment can be a great way to both pass time and relieve some of the stress you have in your life. Just like any other hobby, eventually the tools you use in the combat archery matches will start to show signs of wear. When a bow, easily the most important archery tool, breaks, finding the right OEM Replacement Parts is the only way to get it going again. Finding the right supplier and Toronto archery range is the only way you will be able to get the right parts. The following are a few things to consider when trying to find the right supplier for your combat archery part needs.

How Well Do They Know Their Industry?

The first thing to think about when trying to find the right archery supplier is how well they know their own industry. You want to find a supplier who has been around for a while and is able to offer the help you need to find the right parts. Most newcomers to the world of combat archery parts do not know what they are looking for. There are a number of different parts out there and in order to get the right one you will need to know the exact make and model of the bow you have. The professionals will be able to help you get this type of information.

What Parts Do They Have In Stock?

Another thing to think about when trying to find the right supplier is what parts they have in stock. When a part for a combat bow is needed, the faster it can be gotten the better. Having to wait on a part to be ordered can lead to a lot of frustration and stress on the part of the owner. Calling around to the various suppliers in an area will allow the bow owner to figure out who has it and for how much.

Will They Install the Part?

When trying to find the right supplier for your combat bow parts, you will have to see if they can install it as well. Trying to handle the repair work on a combat bow without the right experience can lead to the creation of even more problems. A professional will be able to get the part installed the right way in no time.

The right archery supplier will have no problem helping a person get ready for their combat matches.

Article by Vivian R. Smith.

Catching Up with Travis Konecny During His Race to the Top

February 4, 2016 11:25 am

Photo by Valerie Wutti. 

2015 was definitely the year of Travis Konecny. When it began, Konecny was halfway through his second season with the Ottawa 67s. Now, the former 67s captain is headed to the Sarnia Sting, he’s a draft pick for the Philadelphia Flyers and a World Juniors veteran.

“It’s been an amazing year,” he says, sitting with his back to the 67s’ home ice in the TD place arena. Konecny is dressed for afternoon practice, with a thick grey hoodie and gym shorts. He doesn’t flinch when Paul the goalie coach sends a puck right into the glass behind his head and the sound of it echoes through the empty stands.

I caught up with Konecny a couple weeks before he was traded to Sarnia and just days before he left for Team Canada’s world juniors training camp. At that point his role with the national team was still up in the air, but whatever nerves Konecny may have felt didn’t show.

“I’m really excited. It’s an opportunity of a life time,” he said. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about.”

Konecny grew up and started honing his lightning-fast stick handling and pinpoint shots in Clachan, Ontario, a town that didn’t even have its own rink. He admits that there wasn’t a lot of hockey around the town then, but Konecny made up for it by practising on ponds close to his house and watching whatever hockey he could.


Travis Konecny at the Flyers’ draft. Photo by Chris Crawford.

“I remember Christmas and holidays when you wake up at all hours of the night just to catch a (world juniors) game across seas, and you’re rooting for them (Canada).”

“And now that I have the opportunity to go I know that the whole country is behind me,” he added. “It’s pretty special.”

In an interview with Chris Crawford from while he was competing in Finland for Team Canada, Konecny said “the World Juniors have been something special to experience, seeing the crowds, the fans coming over to support us has been awesome.”

Konecny’s family played a huge role in getting him to where he is today. His dad knew what it would take to get to the professional leagues and pointed Travis in the right direction whenever he could. Konecny’s brother was always up to play goalie and his mother was the “bearer of bad news.”

“She was the tough one,” Konecny laughed. “If there’s a bad game she’s the one who speaks up.”

So far, all this work has paid off. After the 67s snatched him up, Konecny scored a combined 55 goals in his first two seasons with the team. In his first year with the OHL, Konecny led all rookies in goals and was subsequently made rookie of the year. Clearly, Ottawa has been holding onto a potential superstar.

Despite growing up in a small town, Konecny didn’t find moving to the Capital much of a shock.

“When I heard Ottawa I was thinking ‘big city’ but when I got here it felt like a small town,” he said. “The people were all welcoming, it’s just awesome. I love it here.”

Konecny doesn’t seem too nervous about the possibility of moving to Philadelphia, either. In fact, after a few minutes of speaking with him, I had a pretty solid sense that Konecny doesn’t get too nervous about many things at all. Even though he was in a pivotal point in his career with the World Juniors approaching fast, his main concern seemed to be making it onto the ice in time for practice. When I asked if he was feeling any pressure, he said that he’s “just really looking forward to it.”

“You know, you just live it in the moment and make the best of the opportunities.”

After that I moved onto the most important question of all: Which NHL team does Konecny and his family root for?

“Toronto. We’re big Toronto fans,” he said with a laugh. “Maybe moving along to Philadelphia now.”

Ottawa to Host Figure Skating Nationals in 2017

February 3, 2016 11:49 am

By: Meagan Simpson

Alaine Chartrand competing at 2015 Four Continents Figure Skating Championship in Seoul, South Korea

Alaine Chartrand competing at 2015 Four Continents Figure Skating Championship in Seoul, South Korea

Reigning national figure skating champion Alaine Chartrand will be defending her title on home ice next year.

Gathering outside the TD Place arena on Monday, Skate Canada announced that Ottawa will host the 2017 figure skating nationals. Chartrand stood among the skaters present at the announcement, where Dan Thompson, CEO of Skate Canada, said his organization is proud kick-off ‘Ottawa 2017’ and help the city celebrate its 150th birthday.

This will be the 15th time Ottawa has hosted the figure skating nationals.

19-year-old Chartrand took home her first-ever national title after winning gold in the senior women’s division at the nationals in Halifax last month.

The local figure skater trains out of Prescott and Nepean skating clubs. She was touted as a favourite to win after placing second last year, and with a strong season under her belt she was able to beat out reigning 2015 champion Gabby Daleman from Newmarket, Ontario.

Ottawa last hosted the event two years ago at the Canadian Tire Centre, where Chartrand placed fifth, losing the opportunity to skate for Canada at the Sochi Olympics.

But this time around she has a few years of international experience and boasts the title of Canada’s top female skater.

She told reporters at Landsdowne, where the championship will be held, that she is excited to have nationals back in the nation’s capital next year, and for her family and friends to be able to come out and support her.

While the Ottawa Senator’s home rink may have been too big a venue for the event two years ago, the TD Place arena is a smaller, more intimate setting for the skaters and fans who will be attending.

Fans from Ottawa and all over Canada will have the opportunity to watch over 250 skaters who will be compete in junior, novice and senior for men’s, women’s, pairs and ice dance categories.

The 2017 Canadian Tire Skating Championships will take place next January from the 16th to the 22nd.

According to Skate Canada’s website, tickets go on sale later this year. Fans are currently able to register for pre-sale tickets.

Eating Disorders and Men: a Silent Epidemic?

January 14, 2016 12:57 pm

By Brooke Peloquin.

For Troy Roness, body image was something he struggled with for his whole life. The divorce of his parents and the pressure of perfection had a dangerous effect on the reflection he saw in the mirror.

When Roness was just 18, he began restricting food and compulsively exercising as a way to transform his body into the one he thought he’d always wanted.

But in 2009 when his obsession over the perfect body resulted in a life threatening eating disorder, Roness’s parents stepped in and contacted the Dr. Phil show for help.

“To me…I wasn’t sick enough and I could do it on my own,” said Roness, now 28 and a North Dakota advocate for health and social issues. “I don’t think men are brought up to talk about feelings. I think most of us are given instructions when we’re really young to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, push your feelings under the rug, you’re fine.”

Roness is just one of the 10 million American men who fall victim to an eating disorder in their lifetimes, but unlike some, Roness was able to get the help he needed to recover and finally feel comfortable in his own skin.

According to the American National Eating Disorders Association, up to 43 per cent of men are dissatisfied with their bodies. These men make up a third of the total population of people suffering from an eating disorder. And so the question is, why are men with eating disorders overlooked in society when they are such a large portion of the population of sufferers and could fill over 500 NHL sized hockey rinks?

Despite not knowing he would be the star of the show, Roness said his appearance on Dr. Phil “kind of pushed me into the direction of treatment.”

But treatment didn’t come without hesitation. “I thought that if I went for treatment people would question my sexuality,” said Roness.

Dr. Shari Mayman, a clinical psychologist at Anchor Psychological Services in Ottawa, said the dismissal of men with eating disorders is due in part to the stigma that eating disorders are “female” diseases.

“The numbers over time have indicated that women struggle with this more than men,” explained Mayman. “I do think that there is a perception of it being a female disorder and so there’s a reluctance to present as a man with a ‘girly’ problem.”

At the 2013 International Conference on Eating Disorders in Montreal, Leigh Cohn, a featured guest speaker, said the number of men suffering from an eating disorder is actually much higher than estimated, as men are often too stigmatized to seek treatment for “women’s problems.”

This stigmatization is not only based on the 10-to-one ratio of females to males suffering from eating disorders that Mayman referenced, but also on deeply rooted societal ideals that men have to be muscular.

As the traditional family breadwinners, men with eating disorders go unnoticed because they have always been expected to be strong and masculine, said Danielle Kinsey, a history professor at Carleton University.

“I thought that if I went for treatment people would question my sexuality,” — Troy Roness

“Having men refusing food doesn’t make sense in terms of mainstream cultural points,” said Kinsey. “It seems like a very strange role for them, which is probably why you don’t see men owning the disorder as much.”

Studies have shown the muscularity of ideal male body images in media has increased over the past several decades. And despite eating disorders being coined “female” diseases, according to Cohn, the media objectifies and sexualizes men just as much as women.

Media has traditionally told women they have to be a size zero to be beautiful, but the male ideal is just as unobtainable, asserted Nick Hrynyk, a Carleton PhD student studying Toronto gay male culture.

“For men it is often seen that there is one standard of beauty, it’s always the muscled body,” explained Hrynyk. “Men are not seen as being victims of eating disorders primarily because for so long the narrative has been women have to achieve the size zero, men aren’t.”

Meanwhile, for male sufferers who choose to seek treatment despite the preconception that eating disorders are a female disease, they are faced with a lack of resources dedicated specifically to men with eating disorders.

Lucyna Neville is all too familiar with the struggles men face when it comes to the gap in the medical system and how eating disorders are treated.

As co-founder and now board member of Hopewell, Ontario’s only eating disorder support centre, Neville worked front-of-the-line for years, giving support to people suffering from the disease.

When men walked through Hopewell’s doors or called the helpline, their questions always revolved around what male specific resources were available, said Neville.

But in a society where the face of eating disorders is a young female, Neville found that the resources for men just weren’t there during her time at Hopewell. “Personally, we had nothing to offer them,” she said.

A 2011 study on binge eating from the University of Wesleyan concluded both the number of studies that include men is far fewer and the number of men who receive treatment is well below the number of women who get treated.

Robin Green, of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre in Canada, said these numbers exist because there are fewer programs in place focused solely on men and medical practitioners still need help understanding the nature of the disease from a man’s standpoint.

As a result, men are often too intimidated to seek treatment and get help.

“I think there are two pieces,” said Green. “The stigma that’s preventing them from asking for help, then there’s the system that maybe isn’t fully equipped to support them.”

Luckily for Roness, he was able to find the help he needed despite a system that has often overlooked other men. After his appearance on Dr. Phil, Roness sought residential treatment at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, Wis., in an eating disorder program dedicated solely to men.

Now fully recovered, Roness devotes his time to raising awareness about eating disorders. He said that if society is going to start recognizing men as victims of the disease, discussions on the issue have to start.

“It’s very easy to say the longer a person struggles with an eating disorder without getting any treatment, the longer the recovery’s going to be,” explained Roness. “It’s the same thing when we don’t talk about it, the longer it’s going to be on the recovery road back as well.”

IMG_2202Brooke Peloquin is third year student at Carleton University pursuing a degree in journalism with a minor in art history. Originally from a small rural town, Ottawa has become Brooke’s new home and source for inspiration and news.

Healthy Food Choices This Holiday Season

December 21, 2015 1:03 pm
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The holiday season is upon us. Special gatherings with family, friends, and plenty of food are in order. But if you are trying to watch your waistline, or simply want to make healthier choices this holiday season, here are 6 tips to make sure you have a great time without needing to keep track of the calorie count!

  1. If faced with a buffet, limit yourself to one plateful.
    • Choose your options wisely, because one plateful is plenty of food for anyone. Don’t forget that you need to leave room for some Christmas baking treats (in moderation!).
  2. Focus half your intake on delicious nutritious veggies.
    • Grab a handful of veggies with a little bit of dip instead of the crackers, breads or deep fried goodies. Faced with a very long buffet of scrumptious options? Half your plate should be filled with greens and vegetables and leave the rest of your plate to indulge on other tasty offerings of your choosing.
  3. Do your best to avoid the deep fried or creamy options
    • Not only do deep fried or creamy dishes have more calories, they are heavy foods and lead to that “Goodness, I ate way too much!” feeling. But, if you’d like to have a taste of those indulgent dishes, take a little mini portion and savor it instead of pilling it on your plate.
  4. Only one slice of bread or a roll at the dinner table
    • Breads and rolls can increase your salt and carbohydrate intake. Only choose one and leave the rest for the other friends and family members to enjoy.
  5. Bring a healthy dish to share.
    • If you are attending a potluck-style dinner party or gathering, bring a healthy dish to share like a vegetable platter with hummus or bean dip, guacamole, or a seasonal salad filled with veggies. That way, you’ll know there is something you can fill up on without the guilt.
  6. Enjoy a glass or two of wine as it has far fewer calories and much less sugar than beer or mixed drinks.
    • White or red wine averages 60-70 calories per glass, whereas a 12-ounce bottled beer and be upwards of 200 calories per serving, and mixed drinks can be even higher. Also, red wine in moderation can help decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease! (Moderation equals 1 glass for women or 2 glasses for men a day).

One night of indulgence will likely not pack on the pounds, though multiple parties and festive evenings can catch up to you. Eat lightly the next day and you’ll be back on track. And most of all, happy holidays and enjoy the time with your loved ones.

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

healthyfood_holidayseason_image3Josée is a Naturopathic Doctor at Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre. Her clinical focus the study of interactions between the psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. She focuses on anxiety, stress, insomnia, hormone health and depression which can cause fatigue, digestive complaints, a weak immune system and pain.

You Are What You Eat : Processed food Additives Linked to Obesity, Gut Inflammation and Food Addictions

December 3, 2015 12:13 pm
You are what you eat Image 1

Processed food can remain longer on shop shelves, but what does that spell for our digestion? In a new research paper published in the journal Nature, scientists from Georgia State University examined how food additive emulsifiers affect the digestive health of mice.

Emulsifiers are added to most processed foods to prolong shelf life and enhance texture. The research team fed mice two of the most common emulsifiers on the market — polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose. They observed that the emulsifiers altered the mice’s gut microbiota or friendly bacteria found in the intestinal tract. Not only did this increase the risk of developing obesity, but also inflammatory bowel disease. It’s no coincidence both these conditions have been increasing since the 1950s.

You are what you eat Image 3“The dramatic increase in these diseases has occurred despite consistent human genetics, suggesting a pivotal role for an environmental factor,” the study’s co-author Benoit Chassaing, a researcher from GSU’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences, said in a press release. “Food interacts intimately with the microbiota, so we considered what modern additions to the food supply might make gut bacteria more pro-inflammatory.”

Emulsifiers help to hold food together. Mayonnaise without emulsifiers, for example, will separate from an oily top layer to a thicker white layer that rests on the bottom of the jar. Once the emulsifiers were ingested by the mice, their blood-glucose levels went awry, inflamed their intestinal mucus layer, which left them with weight gain, specifically in the abdomen. The bacterial change triggered chronic colitis and metabolic syndrome, which includes obesity, hyperglycaemia, and insulin resistance.

You are what you eat

Ultimately, you are what you eat. If your diet is smeared with margarine, mayonnaise, creamy sauces, candy, ice cream, and most other packaged and processed baked goods, you and your gut may be at risk.

“We do not disagree with the commonly held theory that over-eating is a primary cause of obesity and metabolic syndrome,” the study’s coauthor Andrew T. Gewirtz, a researcher from GSU’s Institute for Biomedical Sciences, said in press release. “Rather, our findings strengthen the concept intimated by earlier work that low-grade inflammation produced from a modified microbiota can be an underlying cause of excess eating.”

Food addiction and overeating

What’s worse are the new results from research out of the University of Michigan, which found processed foods are the most likely to trigger a food addiction and overeating. The brain responds to processed food much like it reacts to street drugs. The very dense high-calorie processed foods do contribute an abundant amount of energy, which is why the body craves them. However, there’s a point when it becomes too much, and now it even changes the way the gut responds to food.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

The YMCA’s Still Got It

December 2, 2015 12:11 pm
Kathy Godding in her fabulous costume at the 2014 Cliffhanger event.

A shot from the YMCA-YWCA’s annual cliffhanger event. Photo by John Enaje.

The Capital’s YMCA-YWCA has a lot to offer locals.

Founded in 1867, the Y works to advance the health and well being of children, youth and families. The Y provides services that tackle issues such as children’s health, unemployment, homelessness, social isolation and inequality. The Y’s goal is to make a positive impact on those who need these services the most.

Healthy living is a cause that the Y has always championed by providing gym facilities and fitness programs to the public.  What sets the Y apart from other gyms, however, is its dedication to providing a welcoming atmosphere that is encouraging, supportive and inspiring.

Ali Riel is the General Manager of two Ottawa YMCA-YWCA facilities. As we spoke it was quickly clear that Riel is proud of the Y’s dedication to inclusivity.

Cliffhanger_Ines BR3

The YMCA-YWCA’s annual cliffhanger event. Photo by John Enaje.

“We don’t turn anyone away,” says Riel. “It doesn’t matter what your financial means are, or what your religion or race is. We provide subsides for anyone that needs one. (People) can get a membership, they can participate in swimming lessons (and) we can send them to camp. Everybody has the opportunity to come through our doors to get fit and get healthy.”

In 2014, over 37,500 people participated in the Y’s health and fitness programs, and 5,058 of those members received financial assistance through subsidized memberships.

The Y’s breadth of accessible programs is impressive, to say the least. They aim to offer programs for every member of a family, from pre-school children to adults over 50. Family Inclusive memberships are also a great and affordable option for families who are looking to get healthy together. A Family membership at the Y offers children’s swim lessons, children’s programming like dance and sports, as well as adult fitness classes, all at one cost.

Building a foundation for a child’s healthy future is a cause that the Y is dedicated to, as well as one that they’ve been expanding upon for the New Year.

“How do we teach young children to be active?” Riel says. “We need to teach them the right skills. We are incorporating that teaching into our (children’s) programming,”

“The Y is a place that will introduce them to a multitude of sports and activities. We want to give (kids) a grassroots experience that they can then figure out what sport they like to pursue. We want to introduce them to all of the possibilities that are out there.”

Riel recognizes that not every child is interested in sports.  “We want to develop the whole being, and mind, and body. Not just the athlete. Kids can learn about arts, crafts, drama and music, too.”

Related: Adrenaline Junkies Rejoice: YMCA’s Cliffhanger is Back.

The Y also offers kids a chance to learn aquatic skills with a national swim program that is delivered in all Ys across the country. The program introduces swim skills that are transferrable to the Red Cross and Life Saving Society swim programs. Riel explains that the Y aims to teach kids at a comfortable pace and level style.

“There isn’t a deadline for a child to receive a (swim) badge. It doesn’t matter if it takes a child one or two sessions. It’s our job that they walk away with sound skills and water safety.”

The Y is also launching an exciting new Youth Night. Every Friday, youth are encouraged to take part in different sports and activities, such as basketball, group fitness classes, a youth open swim, hip-hop dance classes and more.

Also arriving this winter is a new adult group fitness class. Group Power combines music with traditional strength exercises and a motivating atmosphere to push adults to their person best.

With so many programs to choose from, you are bound to find something your whole family will enjoy at the Y.  You can learn more information about the National-Capital Region YMCA-YWCA by visiting their website.

Staying Active Over the Holidays

November 30, 2015 2:19 pm

As the holiday season arrives, schedules can fill up with parties, dinners, shopping, and vacations. Although this is an exciting time of year, it can be stressful. When our calendars get overwhelming, in order to meet holiday demands, one of the first things people often reduce is exercise. Also, as the weather turns cooler, people spend less time outdoors. Since physical activity helps reduce stress and up our energy, slashing a workout routine can make things worse.

WinterWorkout3Exercise induces stress reducing hormones called endorphins that help you feel great. If November and December bring more stress into your life, consider exercise as a way to balance it out. It could be your outlet for tension relief and ultimately give you enough energy to happily and calmly power through the holidays.

If you do not regularly practice yoga, consider trying it this winter. Not only does it improve heart health, flexibility and body strength, it can help clear your mind from holiday craziness that sometimes piles up. Meditative practices help to calm the mind to help you become more physically and emotionally aware. Furthermore, hot yoga studios are growing in popularity and a great way to stay cozy as the temperature drops. You can find them all over the city.

For many, the holiday season means family feasts, parties, and festive drinks. This is another reason why being physically active should take priority. Since many people travel near and far it may seem difficult to continue with your workout routine. However, staying fit does not have to mean regular gym visits or joining a sports team. There are many ways to incorporate exercise into a holiday schedule. Think of your daily routine…can you take the stairs more? Can you park farther from work and walk to the office? Consider becoming a mall walker!

When holiday shopping, arrive before the stores open to take a power stroll before your power shop. As the WinterWorkout2snow falls, consider shoveling as exercise. You can also embrace the cool weather by snowshoeing, outdoor/indoor skating or by cross-country or downhill skiing. Also, if you are a runner, do not be afraid to run outside. If you are properly prepared and dressed, it is perfectly safe. Another great idea is to get a pedometer to track your steps. You should be aiming to take at least 10,000 steps a day. If you are traveling or staying in a hotel, pack a resistance band for strengthening and a jump rope for cardio. This requires little room in your luggage and can be done in small spaces.

Staying fit this holiday is easier than you think. With some preparation and creativity, you can easily stay energized throughout it all. However you choose to be active, remember to have fun with it!

An Interview with the Last Canadian Quarterback

November 27, 2015 2:44 pm
Russ Jackson Photo

From the Sens’ legendary ‘Hamburgler’ streak last spring, to the Fury’s impossible season, and the Redblacks playing for the Grey Cup this weekend, Ottawa’s sports teams have had more success in 2015 than we know how to handle.

To reflect on some of Ottawa’s past sporting triumphs, and to celebrate the Redblacks’ stunning year, Ottawa Life Magazine called up former Ottawa Rough Riders quarterback and Canadian football icon Russ Jackson. In a sport increasingly dominated by Americans, no Canadian before or since has led teams and won seasons like Russ Jackson did. Jackson played with the Ottawa Rough Riders for 12 years and led them through the team’s golden age, including 3 Grey Cup wins. He was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1973 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1975, and he’s a member of the Order of Canada.

We spoke with Jackson last Sunday, just before the Redblack’s win against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, to talk about his legacy, the new team and how a coin-toss decided his entire career.

Ottawa Life: So Russ, you already have a pretty unmatched legacy in Canadian football, is there anything you still want to add to it?

Russ Jackson: I think I’ve reached that plateau. Being a Canadian who played quarterback, which was a very unusual situation in the Canadian football league, I think that I left a legacy that is still talked about in the sense that no one else has come along in the last 40 or 50 years to play first-string quarterback for a CFL team for any length of time.

That’s still my legacy, they still talk about that—that I’m the ‘last Canadian quarterback,’ and ‘when will the next come along?’ So I believe that my legacy has been written, I don’t think there’s anything else to add to it now and I’m very proud of it.

And in your 12-year career with the Rough Riders, how long did you play as their quarterback?

Well I started in 1958 as the defensive back and I was sort of the third string quarterback. Ahead of me they had two Americans, Hal Ledyard and Tom Dimitroff, and they both got hurt, one broke his leg and one broke his arm. So during that ’58 season I was the only show in town. So I got a chance to play, had success, and basically from then on I was playing quarterback. Not all the time, because I was sharing it with an American, but then in the early ‘60s I took over as the first-string quarterback and played all the games. Throughout my 12-year career I only missed one game, because [of] broken ribs.

Wait, broken ribs and you only missed one game? Was it at the end of the season?

No that was in the middle of the season. In those days you played when you were hurt, a little bit more than you do now.

So it was a bit of chance that those people were injured and you were able to play quarterback. Do you think you would have eventually been given the long-term position even if that hadn’t happened?

Yeah, that’s something that no one knows. I mean, these things happen and if you take the advantages you get you have that opportunity to succeed and play the position you want. But would it have happened if they hadn’t gotten hurt? I really can’t answer that.

You look back at your life and there are things that you don’t think of as being important at the time, but as you look back 50 years later you say ‘that was really influential on my life.’

I can recite one other one. When I was graduating from McMaster University, the BC Lions had the first draft pick. I know the general manager was trying to decide whether to pick Russ Jackson or an outstanding running back from Western University by the name of Bill Britton. And as the story goes as I heard it, it came right down to the GM making the choice. He flipped a coin, and it came up Bill Britton.

So he drafted Bill Britton, I ended up in Ottawa, and I look back and say ‘if the coin came up Russ Jackson I never would have gotten the chance to play quarterback.’ You don’t look at them at the time as being important but you look back now and say wow, would you be talking to me now?

It seems like the sort of thing that could keep you up at night.

As long as it turns out well, they wake you up but you smile. If they didn’t turn out well they wake you up but you don’t smile.

You’ve said before that while you were with the Rough Riders teaching was your job and football was your hobby. Was it common for football players to have two jobs back then, or was that something you did a little bit differently?

No it was common. We didn’t get paid a whole lot actually, most athletes, whether they played hockey in the NHL or football in the CFL, salaries weren’t like they are now. Most players had a second job. Education was really good because training camps didn’t start until the July first weekend and if you were a teacher you were on holidays over summer.

It made it really great because when you retired you’d already put 10 or 12 years into a profession and you moved right into it as you left. That worked out well.

So the Rough Riders didn’t end up lasting forever, are you happy to see that Ottawa has a new team?

Oh it’s great, and to think that last year in their beginning they went two and 16 and this year here they are in first place playing this weekend to see if they can get to the Grey Cup. I mean it’s just a fantastic start to the new franchise, the Redblacks. I give the players and coaches and the ownership all the credit for getting it organized and getting a competitive team together very quickly.

It really is amazing. You led the Rough Riders in what is considered their most dominant era, the 60s through to the early 70s. During that time did it really feel like you were on top? Was there a lot of energy there?

Oh yes, I mean people often talk about it being the Golden Years. It was the only show in town professionally. The fans were behind you, they almost felt like they had a part of you. In those days players basically played for one team, and part of it is due to the fact that we did hold jobs down in the city and salaries weren’t high. There wasn’t an extra million dollars to trade someone like they could now. Nobody’s going to give up their job or a chance to play football in Ottawa for an extra $500 or $1000.

People stayed in the town, they stayed with one team and I think that helped make it into the Golden Years because the fans almost felt they had ownership of the players. They knew them, they knew who they were, they recognized them on the street. It’s different now because players move around more.

I think it was not just in Ottawa but most of the CFL cities, that the ‘60s and early ‘70s were looked at as the Golden Years. Now it’s not uncommon for a quarterback to have played for maybe three or four teams over his twelve or fourteen-year career and that changes things I think a little bit for the fans.

It’s changed a lot in other ways too. Today it seems like football players are getting injured a lot and retiring younger.

Yeah, well some of them are yeah. It’s a much tougher game. It’s like hockey, they’re getting bigger and bigger and the arena’s not getting any bigger. It seems like every game someone gets hurt.

So are you going to be watching the next Redblacks game?

Oh I’ll be there. I’m leaving for Ottawa tomorrow.

Was there anything else you’d like to add while we’re talking?

Not really…just that it was a great life, and I was thoroughly pleased that I had that opportunity to play professional sport and play football.

Mushrooms To Boost Your Immune System

November 17, 2015 11:58 am
Mushrooms 1

There’s a new wave of options to help boost your immune system this season. While vitamin C, Echinacea and oregano oil have all had their claim to fame in enhancing your immune system, mushrooms are quickly gaining in popularity to positively impact the fight against viruses and bacteria, especially when cold and flu season is just getting started.

mushrooms_boost_immunesystem_image2Your immune system fights foreign invaders – also known as pathogens – on two fronts: one through using the innate immune system, and the other with the acquired immune system. The acquired immune system is one that needs to be introduced to a pathogen (virus, bacteria etc), after which your body creates and increases the output of immune fighting cells that will attack the pathogen in question. This process can take a bit of time to occur after you’ve been exposed. On the other hand, the innate immune system is your first line of defense against pathogens. It’s the “seek and destroy” part of your immune system. Specialized cells find viruses and bacteria and attack immediately by engulfing and digesting them. This branch of your immune system allows you to quickly and effectively remove possible pathogens so you can enjoy life while keeping sickness at bay!

Mushrooms like Agarikon (Fomitopsis officinalis) are powerhouses to your immune system, fighting off both bacteria and viruses, offering you dual protection this time of year. Packed with immune fighting constituents like beta-glucans, it has been used for centuries to treat various infections and ailments. With the help of research studies, we now know that Agarikon has an effect against pox viruses, swine and bird flu, herpes simplex 1 and 2, Influenza viruses A and B, and even M.tuberculosis! Not only can Agarikon be anti-viral and anti-bacterial, it also has potent anti-inflammatory potential.

If you are someone who frequently catches colds or simply hates getting sick, medicinal mushrooms are wonderful at boosting the innate immune system and therefore arming you with a strong first line of defense during the cold and flu season.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

mushrooms_boost_immunesystem_image3 (1)Author: Dr. Josée Boyer, ND

Josée is a Naturopathic Doctor at Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre. Her clinical focus the study of interactions between the psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. She focuses on anxiety, stress, insomnia, hormone health and depression which can cause fatigue, digestive complaints, a weak immune system and pain.

The Radical World of Roller Derby

November 12, 2015 1:52 pm

Roller derby is a sport like no other. Fast, furious and incredibly competitive, it comes as no surprise that roller derby has gained popularity over the years.

Sports promoter Leo A. Seltzer first invented the sport after reading an article in Literary Digest. The piece indicted that 93% of Americans had roller-skated at some point in their lives. Seltzer then developed a new marathon competition, modeling it after dance marathons and bike races.


The Sirens in action. Photo courtesy of Paul Thompson.

Seltzer’s first derby competition debuted successfully at the Chicago Coliseum on August 13th, 1935. Not long after, sportswriter Damon Runyon encouraged Seltzer to develop the derby into a competitive game. Runyon also suggested more contact between the players and more rules. Roller derby as we know it began to enter into the mainstream, through television coverage and a collection of sponsorships.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Natalie Campbell (or also known by her derby name, Drunky Brewster), has been playing flat-track roller derby in Ottawa for eight years. Campbell was initially approached in a bar about joining the first derby team for Ottawa’s league, the Rideau Valley Roller Girls. As someone who is typically up for anything, Campbell decided to give derby a try.

Since then, Campbell has been an active force behind the local league’s growth, and describes the RVRG as a precursor of modern flat-track roller derby. With the league, Campbell has watched the sport grow, change, and legitimize itself in the sporting world.


The Prime Sinisters in action.

There are three home teams in the RVRG: Slaughter Daughters, Riot Squad and Prime Sinisters. The teams play against one another for the annual RVRG home team championship and participate in tournaments designated for home teams each year.

Two all-star teams also make up the RVRG: Ottawa’s B-team, The Sirens, and the A-team, The Vixens. The Vixens are currently ranked 42nd in the world.

The Vixens represent the RVRG internationally and Campbell is their bench coach. This September, they competed in the Division 1 Championship Playoffs in Dallas, TX. The Vixens faced off against teams from all around the world, from Australia to Sweden to the US.

Empowerment is another huge part of roller derby. All body shapes and athletic capabilities are accepted and welcomed into the sport. 

“I think part of the appeal for women is that we see a wide range of body shapes on the athletes, even at the higher competitive levels. That’s not to say that fitness isn’t a huge part of it, but there’s not a ‘typical’ body shape to the athletes,” says Campbell. “In this sport, there are advantages to being tall or short, or to being large or small.”

In the end, it is the skating, footwork, agility and power behind hits that count the most.

One challenge for derby members is trying to maintain a work/life/derby balance. Members are required to participate in a minimum of two practices a week, which last about two to three hours. Approaching playoffs, members are required to practice up to four times a week. 

Along with practices, the team members are also responsible for the administration, promotion and running of the league. The sport’s camaraderie is a massive benefit.

“I’ve met some amazing women and men through playing roller derby. (These are) people I would have never met if it were not for this one quirky thing that we all enjoy.”


The Vixens

In order to introduce newbies and derby hopefuls to roller derby, the RVRG has organized a Fresh Meat program.

The program is a three to four month session that teaches skating basics and accepts about 20 to 30 men and women.

In order to graduate out of the Fresh Meat program, the skater needs to demonstrate a set of skills called the Minimum Skill Requirements. After graduation, the skater is accepted as a full league member and can join in on regular practices, start full-contact scrimmaging and can be recruited to a home team.

While it may seem very intimidating at first, at its core, the RVRG are still a community sports team.

“There was a mythology or hype behind roller derby for a long time about the girls being tough and brash. (However), there are a lot of shy and introverted players who find their place in the league.”

When asked for advice for the derby curious, Campbell’s advice is simple:

“Just do it. There’s really nothing to lose. Don’t give up if skating doesn’t come easy to you. Not everyone progresses at the same speed, and the league is made up of skaters of a huge variety of skill levels. There’s room for everyone.”

You can learn more about the Rideau Valley Roller Girls by visiting their website.

Are you Getting Enough Vitamin D?

October 20, 2015 2:02 pm

As our Canadian cold weather trickles in and the days become shorter, getting your daily dose of sunlight can become a challenge. While curling up at home with your favourite blanket all winter might sound like a great idea, it can also hurt your vitamin D intake. Many Canadians are low in vitamin D and may not even know it.

But what exactly is vitamin D and why do we need it? Vitamin D helps our body absorb calcium to keep our bones healthy. It is a fat-soluble vitamin and is a crucial nutrient for several metabolic processes that support things like our immune system, muscles, nerves and digestion. Since vitamin D comes directly from the sun, we often don’t get enough in the summer moths either, as sunscreen blocks its absorption as well.

Keeping strong bones and preventing osteoporosis is important. It reduces the risk of fractures, prevents falls, keeps our posture strait and our spine strong. As we age, our skin’s ability to absorb Vitamin D also decreases, which is why it is important to get it from sources other than the sun.

We cannot get enough vitamin D through food sources alone. However, there are several foods that contain it and can help you reach daily intake recommendations. For example, foods considered high in vitamin D include cow’s milk, fortified soy and rice beverage, fortified orange juice, fatty fish like salmon and sardines, margarine, egg yolks and fortified yogurts.

In Canada, since it is tricky to get enough vitamin D through food and direct sunlight, The Osteoporosis Canada foundation recommends regular vitamin D supplementation for all adults in Canada all year around.


Direct sunlight is one of the best vitamin D sources you can find, but it’s not always available.

Many calcium supplements contain vitamin D. Check your current vitamins’ label to see if you are meeting the recommended dose. Keep in mind that there are two forms of Vitamin D that can help with strong bones. They are vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Also, since you do not have to take this vitamin with food, you can conveniently take it whenever it’s convenient throughout the day.

So, how much should we be supplementing?  Osteoporosis Canada also suggests; “Healthy adults between 19-50 years of age, including pregnant or breast feeding women, require 400 – 1,000 IU daily. Those over 50 or those younger adults at high risk (with osteoporosis, multiple fractures, or conditions affecting vitamin D absorption) should receive 800 – 2,000 IU daily. These amounts are safe.  Taking more than 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily should be done only under medical supervision.” In conclusion, the average Canadian adult would be smart to take about 1000 IU’s of vitamin D per day.

You can find out more information about the Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre here.

Acupuncture to Enhance Anti-depressant Medication: Feel Better Faster

October 9, 2015 12:00 pm
Medication working on brain health.

Depression and chronic low mood are very prevalent conditions affecting Canadians. Those diagnosed with mild to moderate forms of depression can have success with natural interventions if they are started early with good adherence to treatment. But not all cases are the same, and those diagnosed with more serious and chronic forms of depression are often prescribed anti-depressant médications. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are a very common prescription in Canada. 9% of the Canadian population is taking an anti-depressant medication, which is a significant number and constantly growing. At times, scientists question the effectiveness and side effects of these medications. Looking at alternative medicine additions to help enhance efficacy and relief of depression can be of great benefit to a patient. By lifting mood more efficiently and effectively, there is hope to resolve depression, feel better, and remove the need for medication.

Acupuncture needles. Photo credit: Dollar Photo Club

Acupuncture needles.
Photo credit: Dollar Photo Club

Acupuncture is an alternative treatment that is growing in popularity to help heal the mind. Known to balance the energy of the body and regulate the nervous system, acupuncture is becoming a common intervention for those seeking to restore a balanced mood. Treatments are highly individualized based on the patient’s presentation of depression along with other signs and symptoms he/she might be experiencing. Specific points are chosen and treatments are very relaxing and restorative. The best part is that science is now catching up and publishing studies showing benefit to combining acupuncture with anti-depressant medication to help treat mental illness.

In fact, studies are showing the use of acupuncture and medication together exceeds the therapeutic result of taking medications alone. A study published in early 2015 by the Journal of Affective Disorders wanted to examine the use of SSRI’s alone and in combination with acupuncture to help lift depressive symptoms. Looking at newly diagnosed depressive patients, the combination of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) with acupuncture has shown clinical benefit, greater than simply using the SSRI medication alone. Receiving consistent acupuncture treatments in the first 6 weeks of SSRI treatment was “effective, has an early onset of action, safe and well-tolerated” (1),

These findings are very promising and practical. After being diagnosed with depression, many people want to do everything in their power to stabilize their mood and feel like themselves again. The addition of acupuncture is a trusted and researched way to use alternative medicine to enhance conventional depression treatments.

  1. Journal of Affective Disorders.2015 May 1;176:106-17. 

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Photo of Dr. Josée Boyer, ND Photo credit: Kaleena Jay Photography


Author: Dr. Josée Boyer, ND

Josée is a Naturopathic Doctor at Ottawa Holistic Wellness Centre. Her clinical focus the studyof interactions between the psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. She focuses on anxiety, stress, insomnia, hormone health and depression which can cause fatigue, digestive complaints, a weak immune system and pain

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