I honestly spent years of my high school education thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do for a career! I knew healthcare and medicine was my calling, but growing up in a small northern community where the closest University is about a 5 hour drive away - I had a narrow understanding and mind-set as to what is actually out there in terms of professions.
I wanted to become a pharmacist, and then medical doctor - but something did not quite feel right. I personally avoid taking any medications unless absolutely necessary - in fact I'll even live through the pain of a headache and not take an Advil. I would try to figure out why I am getting this headache - is it because I am dehydrated? do I have a nutrient and/or mineral deficiency? Am I sensitive to a certain food that is triggering this headache? There could be many reasons!
So why would I dispense prescription drugs or get people to take a pill to feel better? It goes against my own personal values and beliefs.
A close family member told me about Naturopathic Medicine when I was attending the University of Waterloo. Traditional medicine made her feel worse. She felt drowsy, she had an upset stomach, and had unpleasant physical reactions to medications which were supposed to be of benefit to her. She was referred to multiple specialists and every avenue of medical expertise was consulted but to no avail. She went to see a Naturopathic Doctor and it wasn't until then that her energy levels started improving; pain became more tolerable, and her digestive issues were becoming resolved. I thought - Wow, this is powerful!! I did my own research on Naturopathic Medicine and decided that this was the profession for me!
I chose Naturopathic Medicine because I believe the body has an innate ability to heal itself. Sometimes life circumstances and events cause detriment to our health and we need to address the cause of the problem. Our health is not only physical, and we must also account for the mental, emotional, & spiritual aspects. The mind-body connection is equally important to consider. For instance, I've seen people in practice acquire physical symptoms following a vary tragic, stressful life event.
Holding feelings inside causes damage in the long run. I believe it is important as people to express how we feel and to be able to do so in a caring and nurturing environment. A patient should feel validated, accepted, and hopeful that their needs will be addressed.
Naturopathic Doctors address all aspects of health while coming up with an individualized treatment plan for patients. As a Naturopathic Doctor I spend time with patients in order to understand their health concerns and who they are as people. In practice, I use acupuncture; diet and lifestyle advice; nutrition; botanical medicine; and/or homepathy to put together a treatment plan to benefit patients.
Questions? Send me a message on the website contact form or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Ashley is accepting new patients in Ottawa/Westboro at the Hampton Wellness Centre and
at Restore Chiropractic.
Did you know that thoughts and feelings can dictate how we perceive and go about our day? What you wake up thinking can ultimately set the tone and influence the outcome of the day. So why not make your first thought of the day a positive one? If you want to set the tone for a good day, start with positive thinking!
How can you do this?
Upon rising in the morning, write down 3 things you are grateful for. Keep a pen and paper beside your bed, and set your alarm to go off a few minutes earlier than you normally would. Do not rush out of bed at the sound of your alarm, but take time to allow your body to wake-up and before rising jot down these 3 things. There is always something to be grateful for – life is good!
Another way to get your day off on the right track is to be kind to yourself. Write down three things that you consider good qualities about yourself each morning. This is also a great way to increase your self-esteem and boost confidence levels.
While getting ready for the day, take a few moments to look in the mirror. Which features are you most proud of? Look past the “imperfections” and acknowledge the features that make you feel good about yourself. It might be your nose, your lips, your eyes, your hair style, or the shape of your face. Whatever the features are, verbalize them as you stand in front of the mirror.
Think thoughts that make you smile! Research states that smiling even though we may not feel like it can change our mood, relieve stress, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and make us more attractive to others. Smiles are contagious and they also help other people who may be struggling with their day.
“Once your replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson
Dr. Ashley is a Naturopathic Doctor ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS in Ottawa at the Hampton Wellness Centre (Tuesday: 12-6pm, Friday: 8-1pm, and Saturday: 9-1pm), and at Restore Chiropractic (Monday: 9-3pm). She also sees patients at the Embrun Holistic Wellness Centre on Thursday from 3-8pm.
Most of us think of selfishness as a bad thing because it has a negative connotation to it. Selfishness does have its place and time, and there are times when you can give yourself permission to be selfish! It is important that we take time out of our busy lives to stop and think about ourselves. Take a moment or two everyday to stop and ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Relaxation and self-care are very important for our health and well-being. In a world where there are so many things on our to-do lists and things that need to be accomplished, it can become a norm to feel as though we always need to be doing something productive. This is not a healthy mentality or lifestyle.
When we are under constant stress, our bodies are in a “sympathetic” state. This is called the “fight-or-flight” response – when we are alert and on-edge because we just might get chased by a tiger (back in the stone age) or get run over by a speeding vehicle (today). In a sympathetic state, blood is diverted to the organs necessary for immediate survival. The remaining organs (our digestive tract and organs involved in detoxification or elimination, for example) are neglected when we are in this state. As a result, we do not digest or absorb food, nor do we eliminate toxins or hormones properly from our bodies. A “parasympathetic” state is necessary in order to digest food and excrete wastes efficiently. Keep in mind that it is healthy and normal to feel stressed out at times. Stress motivates us when deadlines are fast approaching and it also makes sure that we show-up on time for important meetings and events.
Here is a short list of self-care tips you can implement into your daily routine to help you relax and enjoy life to its fullest:
1) Read a book: what better way to escape reality than to get lost in a book! Live through the characters and the events that take place. Reading allows you to forget about your own schedule and gives you the option of when to go back to it.
2) Plan a vacation get-away: time away allows us to unwind and de-stress. Do not bring any work with you! Use this time to re-connect with your body and mind.
3) Meditate: Meditation has health benefits on all levels. Physical health benefits include but are not limited to: lowering blood pressure, reducing muscle tension, improving metabolism, as well as increasing immunity and energy levels. Mental health benefits range from emotional stability, a decrease in anxiety, and an improved ability to focus and concentrate. Meditate regularly, perform a body scan to “check-in” with yourself, and add some guided-imagery to take you wherever you want to be.
4) Color: Mandala coloring taps into your creative side without the need for artistic experience. If you have artistic experience, then great – you can also draw to express yourself and let go of any emotions or anything you might be holding onto. Coloring re-directs your focus and brings you to the present moment, as you color listen to the sound of your pencil filling in the various sizes of shapes. Do not spend too much time stressing out over color – trust your instincts.
5) Deep breathing: This are very beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety, and can be done anywhere at any time! This is the perfect tool to have at your disposal. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and then exhale through your mouth for 5-6 seconds. Repeat 4 times. This helps to switch our response from a sympathetic to a parasympathetic state.
Dr. Ashley is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and is accepting new patients at the Hampton Wellness Centre. Naturopathic medicine is a form of alternative medicine that aims to treat the cause of your concern(s). Modalities include: acupuncture, diet and lifestyle counseling, nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, and hydrotherapy. Call 613-761-1600 or contact us to book your initial appointment today.
Ashley Kowalski is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Embrun, Cornwall, and Ottawa. She is currently accepting new patients.