Self-Injury Awareness Day – March 01, 2013

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Many of us carry the scars of our troubles on the inside. But what about those of us who carry the scars on the outside? Self-injury, also known as self-harm, is a dangerous behaviour, in which an individual deliberately hurts themselves in order to deal with the emotional pain that they are suffering. Self-injurious behaviour is not only troubling because of the harm that they are causing to themselves, but because of the stigma that is attached to those who self-injure.

…Cutter…Emo…Freak…

Just a few of the many taunts and jeers that are ever present for self-injurers. These labels are not only hurtful, but often times they amplify the self-loathing behaviour. Bullying is a large contributor in the continuation of self-injury. However, it is not the only contributing force. Emotional turmoil, unresolved emotional pain, as well as past and present emotional trauma can trigger self-harming behaviour. It can be used as an escape, similar to drugs and alcohol. That is how the behaviour is most often described by those who self-injure.

That is why Self Injury Awareness Day was created. To bring it to the surface. To allow those suffering in silence to speak out and be heard. To give them a voice they so often don’t have.

There are many questions that arise when it comes to self-harm. Especially from the loved ones of those that self-harm. What does it look like? Who is at risk? What do I say? What do I do? It can be a very confusing time for both the person who is self-injuring and their loved ones. The most important thing to remember is to remain open and understanding, no matter how hard that may seem. It is important that the person who is self-harming feels understood and not judged. It is also important to not condone the behaviour, as it is symptomatic of maladaptive coping skills.

So what does self-injury look like? It comes in many forms: cutting, bruising, scarring, burning, branding, and scratching. Any behaviour that one can use to intentionally cause harm to their own body is considered self-injury. While the injuries themselves are not always apparent, there are signs that someone is self-injuring. They might cover up the marks with excessive clothing (even in hot weather) or make up. They might seclude themselves more often, and gradually spend more and more time alone. If a loved one’s behaviour is troubling to you, the best thing that you can do is ask them if they want to talk. They may not want to open up, but just knowing that someone is willing to listen is often times more than enough. All you can do is be patient.

There is no one person that is more likely to self-injure. And it is hard to know the exact statistics about those who do self-harm, for obvious reasons. It was once thought that only young women self-harm, but the truth is that it is a behaviour that affects many people from many different backgrounds, ages, races, and of any gender. Anyone can engage in self-injury. And that is one of the most tough pieces of reality for people to accept. That is why it is so important to have Self Injury Awareness Day. It is to help dispel the myths and stigmas attached to self-harm and to let those that are self-injuring that they are not alone.

So what can you do or say when a loved one tells you that they self-injure? Or what should you do or say when you find out that they self-injure? There is no right answer. There is no one way to act or right thing to say. As mentioned above, the best thing that you can do is offer support and remain calm and understanding. The last thing that they need is to feel judged. And it is important that you make it clear that you will be there to help them seek out the help and support that they will need. Staying strong is a difficult thing to do when someone you love and care about tells you that they hurt themselves, but it is one of the most important things that you can do during this trying period.

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Hope begins in the dark; the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don’t give up.
– Anne Lamott

Holistic Dentistry

Your smile is an international hello

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Treating the body as a whole, and not just separate pieces is the foundation of any holistic medical practice. This is just as true for Holistic Dentistry as it is for other holistic medical practices. Holistic Dentistry promotes health and wellness instead of the treatment of disease. This approach to dentistry includes both the advances of modern science and knowledge that is drawn from many traditions of natural healing. Holistic Dentistry focuses on not only the patient’s teeth, but their mind, body and spirit as a whole. It shows how dental health is an important part of overall health, not something separate. Holistic Dentistry is a way to take care of one’s teeth and gums that is healthy for the body as a whole, which includes using different techniques than those of traditional dentistry.

The Holistic Dentistry approach is one which chooses to take a different path than that of a traditional dentist. So how is Holistic Dentistry different from traditional dentistry? Listed below are some of the important differences between Holistic Dentistry and traditional dentistry.

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Traditionally, dentists use mercury fillings in teeth. It has been stated by the ADA and FDA that the mercury in the fillings is safe and stable enough not to do much harm to the body because they leak only a small amount of mercury over time. However, Holistic Dentists recognize that mercury is a toxin to the body, no matter how small the amount. They choose to not use mercury but a composite filling instead, to reduce the harm to the body as a whole.

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Severe decay brings the recommendation of root canal therapy from a traditional dentist. They will argue that a root canal is the most effective way to keep a natural tooth. However, unless the canal is 100% sterilized, the canal will not be effective. There are a number of chemicals that can be used to sterilize the canal. Holistic Dentists realize that these chemicals are toxic to the body, no matter how small the amount. They also recognize that any bacteria left over from an improperly completed root canal can also damage the body. It is for these reasons that a Holistic Dentist will not typically recommend a root canal.

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Fluoride is seen as an important part of a dental care regimen. It comes in both a topical and ingested form. Many traditional dentists argue in favor of fluoridating water supplies. Their argument is supported by the decrease of cavity rates in areas that have fluoridated water supplies. Holistic Dentists are typically against any form of fluoride that is ingested. The main concern is the toxic effects that the ingested fluoride can have on the body (i.e. cancer and various bone problems) as well as fluoridating the water supply being forced medication of the general public. However, there are some holistic dentists that are for topical fluoride.

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Whether or not a material that is placed in your body is referred to as the biocompatibility of dental materials. Most traditional dentists will not test the biocompatibility of the materials because they do not believe in it. Many traditional dentists will not even explain the difference between the fillings and other materials that will be used. Holistic Dentists recognize that any material that is put into the mouth, can affect the entire body. Many Holistic Dentists have on-site equipment to test for biocompatibility of any materials that will be put into your mouth. Composite materials are the materials of choice for many Holistic Dentists when doing fillings and they often use alternate materials for other procedures.

The important thing to remember when considering going to a Holistic Dentist is to ask the right questions. You need to keep in mind that it is your mouth that you are looking out for, so you need to choose a dentist that is right for you. This means asking questions like:

  • What kinds of materials do you use?
  • What types of procedures will you not perform?
  • What is your overall philosophy when approaching Holistic Dentistry?

Asking these questions will allow you to make the right decision for not only your mouth, but your body as a whole.

7 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally


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Depression is a state of mood characterized by negative effects in our life that continue to spiral, depression can be reflected in one’s physical, emotional and mental well-being. The onset of depression can be marked by an array of causes; perhaps you have reached a hiccup in a relationship with your significant other, or perhaps you are undergoing the loss of a loved one.

What was once the focus of intrigue and marvel in life may quickly and abruptly lose its enticing properties for the depressed individual.

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.

1. You can’t sleep or you sleep too much

2. You can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult

3. You feel hopeless and helpless

4. You can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try

5. You have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating

6. You are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual

7. You’re consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behaviour

8. You have thoughts that life is not worth living (Seek help immediately if this is the case) 

7 Ways to Beat Depression Naturally

1)     Exercise on a regular basis, I highly recommend it.  There are so many different forms of exercise (Yoga, walking, tai-chi, weight lifting) begin slowly.  Begin outside if you can, fresh air is the surest way to get the blood flowing and change-up your energy.  Even if it’s as little as 20 minutes a day to start, you will notice you feel better instantly.

2)    Diet rich in vitamins and minerals, healthy foods, vitamin B and calcium.  Cut out refined carbohydrates, fried foods and avoid sugar at all costs.  Make sure you speak to your doctor about getting the proper DHA’s and probiotics into your diet for a healthy mind and gut.

3)   Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because our bodies produce it when exposed to sunlight.  Ask your doctor to check and see if you are low in vitamin D.  People often feel better when they take vitamin D especially in the winter months.

4)   Herbal Supplements contain many medicinal powers and can heal a variety of ailments.  Seek out a great naturopathic doctor to discuss homeopathic remedies, vitamins, acupuncture, cupping and getting to the route of the issue by releasing toxins from the body.

5)   Get enough sleep and notice when your sleep is being disturbed by your mood.  The best thing to do is create a routine and stick to it everyday.  Take a Epsom salt bath to sooth and relax you, reduce TV and all stimulants.

6)    Talk it out with a therapist, counselor, friend or mentor. Depression is not the cause of hopelessness and extreme sadness — it is a symptom. If there is a specific problem you are having that is causing these feeling…face it, come up with a plan. Do not allow your problems to go unanswered. Hope can be found in moving, step by step toward addressing our issues.

7)    Be of service to someone else in need.  Often when we take the focus off ourselves and help another we stop running circles in our minds and we tend to feel better.

Most important of all, have hope and faith that “this too shall pass” and you do deserve to live a happy life.

Stacey Dombrowsky