Spring Detoxification

By Dr Kelly McGuire

Detoxification is a hot topic at this time of year. Fall and spring during the change of season are wonderful times to reflect on our habits and routines, and make goals to change bad ones and aspire to healthier ones. Although our organs of detoxification; (see below) are constantly working to try and balance our body, sometimes they get overwhelmed by toxic exposure or become sluggish due to nutritional deficiency.

Organs of Detoxification

GI tract (liver, gallbladder, colon) Urinary tract (kidney, bladder and urethra)

Respiratory tract (lungs, bronchial tubes, throat sinuses and nose)

Lymphatic system (channels and nodes)

Skin (sweat and sebaceous glands and tear ducts)


I’d like to take this opportunity to address some common concerns and questions that come up regarding the topic of detoxification.

How do I know what type of detoxification product to buy?

The truth is, sometimes no products are needed. Since our body already knows how to detoxify, sometimes it is a matter of simply removing the things that generally build up in our systems and lead us to become more toxic. For example, avoiding a food allergy to milk would be a perfectly good detox for a person who reacts to this food. Working with a naturopathic doctor or nutritionist who can help you identify food allergens would be one way to detoxify without using products. Also using techniques like sauna, exercise or changing the diet to focus on increased intake of organic fruits and vegetables for a few days can also lead to a gentle detox without the use of products.

On the other hand, there are instances where well designed products with therapeutic doses of specific substances can be used to compliment or enhance a detox. This is when working with a professional becomes important to ensure you do not waste your money or time on the thousands of products marketed for detox. An example of this would be a tea that only addresses the purging of the bowel and neglects to support any other organs or systems. This can result in becoming dehydrated, or worse, dependant on the use of laxatives to have a normal bowel movement. Having a professional help you decide which products to use will ensure a comprehensive and individualized approach to detoxification.

My friend did a detox and felt great, why do I feel so crummy?

The concept of biochemical individuality is extremely important when considering what type of detox to do. While some people have excellent bowel function and go to the bathroom more than 2 times per day, others struggle with this elimination pathway and may in fact do more damage if they detoxify one system of their body without making sure that the others are in balance. This is just one example. What medications you are on and how long you have been on them can also affect specific organ systems like the kidneys or liver over others. This plays a role in what would be appropriate for you. Talking with your doctor about your health history is a key part of designing an individualized protocol that will ease your body through the process and avoid negative side effects as much as possible. Of course some negative effects are to be expected like the headache that comes along with caffeine withdrawal or the tummy rumbles that come along with sugar cravings while your body initially adjusts.

Are colonics safe and effective for detox?

Colonics are a form of hydrotherapy, like an enema, that flush out the bowels to aid in detoxification. While this practice can be safe and effective when performed by a trained practitioner with sterile equipment it doesn’t come without risk. There is always a risk of infection from improper equipment, perforation of the bowel, chemistry disturbances due to absorbing excess water, and caution needs to be used in those with gastrointestinal disorders, tumors, hemorrhoids or heart and kidney disease. Often times it is a matter of being properly prepared for the colonic to make it the most effective and safe. It is best to be supervised by a physician like your MD or ND if you have any concerns regarding this treatment approach.

I can’t do this alone; can my whole family do a detox?

Yes! It is important to have moral support and the whole family on board when making comprehensive changes, especially to the diet. Often asking a spouse to participate or making small changes to everyone’s diet is a great way to adopt healthier habits as a family. Making smoothies in the spring and experimenting with different combinations of fruits and vegetables is a great example. This not only goes for diet but teaching the family about how to decrease exposures to things like cleaning products, beauty products and environmental toxins can go a long way in cultivating a healthy family. Caution should be used with young children and for pregnant and lactating women as this is not the most appropriate stage in life to do a detox. This is a time of building (tonifying) or maintaining balance.

Try this recipe at your next family dinner as a rejuvenating vegetarian feast that will benefit everyone’s body. Add it to the weekly rotation of healthy meal choices.

Cleansing Kichadi

½ cup brown basmati rice¼ cup whole mung beans (or lentils)

1 ½ tsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)

3 bay leaves

1 ½ cups coriander seeds

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp sea salt

2” piece of kombu (seaweed for cooking broth)

1-2 tsp fresh ginger root grated

3 cups water

2 cups fresh vegetables (go for seasonal and organic if possible – like; carrots, zucchini, celery, kale, collard greens, chard, cabbage, summer squash etc.)

Soak mung beans for 12-24 hours with one change of water for ease of digestion.

Rinse the soaked beans together with the rice until water is clear

Grind the cumin and coriander (with grinder or motor and pestle)

Warm ghee in a medium saucepan and add the freshly ground spices, bay leaves, and oregano. Sauté until aromatic but not burnt. Stir in turmeric, ginger, rice, and mung, add water and kombu…

Simmer covered over low heat until beans and rice are soft (about 30 minutes)

Meanwhile wash and dice all your vegetables.

Add salt to the dish together with the vegetables before all the water has been absorbed by the beans and rice. Do not stir and cook undisturbed until completely tender (about 20-30 more minutes)

Stir thoroughly and serve warm.

These are just some of the common questions I get from patients regarding detoxification. Bottom line is that you want to have a protocol designed specifically for your individual needs. It is also important to consider the safety and therapeutic value in products marketed for detox. If you have more questions seek the help of a professional.

What’s an Osteopath?

by Jason Brandow, DOMP

You’re having a great visit with a co-worker, a family member, or a close friend, when they say “Oh, you should see an Osteopath.” Of course you reply by saying, “What’s an Osteopath?” If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked “What is Osteopathy” I would be a millionaire. I find that no matter how I try and describe how I treat my patients, the next question is ALWAYS

“What is the difference between Osteopathy, Physiotherapy and Chiropractic?”

There are many similarities between these therapeutic practices, but there are a few marked differences that really set each one apart. Here is a quick explanation of each.

Physiotherapy specializes in the rehabilitation of both acute and chronic joint injury, using a wide variety of stretches and strengthening exercises that the patient does in clinic and at home. Physios often use ultrasound or laser therapy machines to aid in tissue recovery. Some physios use hands on treatments for soft tissue injuries, but most rely exclusively on exercise prescription. Sessions are usually 30 minutes.

Chiropractic is one of the most well known forms of hands on therapy here in Ontario. The foundation of chiropractic lies in spinal manipulation to normalize vertebral position and free pressures on underlying nerve roots. Some Chiropractors prescribe home exercise and stretching programs, or work with a physio to complement the adjustments. Sessions are usually 15 minutes.

Osteopathy is the newest form of hands on therapy in Ontario, but it is actually the oldest of the three, beginning in the late 1800’s. Osteopathy uses a balanced mix of soft tissue techniques and gentle spinal realignments to treat the patient. Osteopathy is known for being the most holistic form of hands on therapy, meaning that we look over the whole body to find patterns and pulls away from the painful area. Osteopathy is used to treat infant issues such as colic, digestion issues, and cranial bone malformation. This specialization in cranial anatomy also allows us to treat all kinds of adult conditions related to the eyes, ears, sinuses, and jaw as well. An Osteopathic treatment is typically booked for 1 hour.

I hope this helps to clarify the difference between these three common therapies. For more information please feel free to contact us here at Core Link Wellness.


Cleansing Kichadi

By Dr Kelly McGuire ND

Try this recipe at your next family dinner as a rejuvenating vegetarian feast that will benefit everyone’s body. Add it to the weekly rotation of healthy meal choices.

½ cup brown basmati rice¼ cup whole mung beans (or lentils)1 ½ tsp cumin seeds

2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)

3 bay leaves

1 ½ cups coriander seeds

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp sea salt

2” piece of kombu (seaweed for cooking broth)

1-2 tsp fresh ginger root grated

3 cups water

2 cups fresh vegetables (go for seasonal and organic if possible – like; carrots, zucchini, celery, kale, collard greens, chard, cabbage, summer squash etc.)

Soak mung beans for 12-24 hours with one change of water for ease of digestion.

Rinse the soaked beans together with the rice until water is clear

Grind the cumin and coriander (with grinder or motor and pestle)

Warm ghee in a medium saucepan and add the freshly ground spices, bay leaves, and oregano. Sauté until aromatic but not burnt. Stir in turmeric, ginger, rice, and mung, add water and kombu…

Simmer covered over low heat until beans and rice are soft (about 30 minutes)

Meanwhile wash and dice all your vegetables.

Add salt to the dish together with the vegetables before all the water has been absorbed by the beans and rice. Do not stir and cook undisturbed until completely tender (about 20-30 more minutes)

Stir thoroughly and serve warm.

Piriformis Stretches

Piriformis Stretches

Basic stretch (when pain is present)

This is the most gentle stretch if there is pain present. Lie on your back knees bent. Ensure your spine is in its neutral position, meaning your ribs are touching the floor, your sacrum or buttocks are full on the floor, and only the small of your back (lumbar spine) in away from the floor in its small curve. Do NOT flatten your back and raise your buttock off the floor.

Take one bent knee and gently pull it towards the opposite shoulder. Only pull as far as you can while keeping your buttocks on the floor. Hold this stretch for several minutes, do not bounce.  Allow your muscles to adapt to the stretch while it has no further tension placed on it.

The 4 stretch

Lie on your back knees bent feet flat on the floor. Ensure your abdominals are connected and your lower back is NOT pressed into the floor. Keep your back in neutral with your rib cage on the floor and only the lumbar spine in a small curve and your buttocks on the floor.

Take one foot and place one ankle on the other knee (making a 4 with your legs) The objective is to gently press the top knee towards the floor, do NOT raise your buttocks off the floor. Continue to press quadriceps and knee of top leg. You will feel a pull in the same buttock as the top leg. DO NOT LET YOUR HIPS HIKE UP ON EITHER SIDE THEY SHOULD STAY LEVEL. Only press down as far as you can without hiking the hip or rolling the buttock off the floor. REPEAT AS MANY TIMES AS YOU CAN WITHOUT FURTHER PAIN


The pain in your buttocks may not be just from your taxes…

By Erin Rothenburger, RMT

The piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttocks region functioning primarily to external (outwardly) rotate the hip and leg.  Pain syndromes can occur as a result of overuse in activities such as running or skating, with prolonged sitting, muscle strain from sudden movement, direct trauma, or even from habitually sitting on a wallet.

Often associated with piriformis problems can be pelvic imbalances, sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction, overpronation while walking and running, tight hip flexors (front of the hip), weak hip abductors (soft side of the hip), as well as sciatic nerve symptoms.

The sciatic nerve is relatively large and runs underneath the piriformis muscle.  In 15-17% of people the nerve runs through or partially through the muscle. Tightness and spasm of the piriformis can lead to a nerve entrapment syndrome causing pain, tingling and numbness into the leg.

Massage therapy can provide relief and assist with recovery from pain and dysfunction by manually releasing the muscle, mobilizing the SI joint, addressing pelvic imbalances and overpronation issues, as well as improving circulation, tone and tissue health in the areas involved.

Stretching of the piriformis muscle should be applied carefully and in a gradual progression.  Symptoms may be reproduced during the stretch.  Simply lessen the time in the static position and lessen the intensity, but continue.

(Click here to learn more about the stretch from Kathleen Simpson, our Pilates Instructor)

Consult your health care professional to determine if the source of the pain is indeed the piriformis muscle and not a spinal problem, nerve root or disc problem, or bursitis.

Naturopathic Medicine and Breast Cancer support

By Dr Kelly McGuire and Dr Payam Kiani

Overcoming breast cancer is a tremendous personal and medical endeavor. Naturopathic Medicine has a lot to offer those patient’s facing this daunting task.  Whether you are faced with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or recovery after your conventional care, our naturopathic doctors can help you stay healthy and have better outcomes.

Some of the most common tools used to help support your care and help you to navigate your journey towards remission include:

  • Nutritional assessment – You are what you eat, digest and assimilate into your cells! Optimizing your diet pre- and post- surgery can improve healing and speed up recovery. A healthy diet is the root of a healthy life in the long term.
  • Nutritional supplementation – undergoing chemotherapy or radiation is necessary for cancer survival but also very damaging to healthy cells. Using selected nutritional supplements before and after your conventional treatment can help lessen the fatigue and other unpleasant side effects of your entire healing process.
  • Lifestyle suggestions – Exercise, meditation, prayer, and other lifestyle techniques can greatly influence a healthy recovery. Discussion about healthy habits is integral to a Naturopathic treatment plan.
  • Acupuncture – This ancient Chinese practice is a large part of a Naturopathic Doctor’s training. We use acupuncture needles to relax muscles, balance physical symptoms and access subtle mental/emotional channels that exist in our bodies. The balance of yin, yang, qi and blood ban bring profound strength to a healing body.
  • IV therapy – Giving nutrients to your cells is a complex process when we eat food. Delivering specific nutrients like Vitamin C directly to the blood stream is a safe and effective treatment option.
Side Leg Lift Series

Side Leg Lift Series

By Kathleen Simpson, our Pilates Instructor

Join Core Link Mat Classes to learn more : Monday 7:30pm – Friday 9:30 am

Gifts certificates are available! Give your love the gift of Strength, Flexibility and Perfect Posture – It will last a lifetime

Side Leg Lift Series

Starting position : Lying on floor, straight out, abdominals pulled up off floor, head lying on your arm or holding your head in hands in a side lying PLANK position (intermediate). Hand in front of you, do not lean.

1) Raise top leg hip height, toe pointed, flex foot as you take it down, repeat 10 times

2) Raise top leg toe pointed and draw an oval with your foot, ensure you draw your leg towards the back as well as out front. Use your Gluteal muscles to move leg and support pelvis – Repeat 10 times each direction

3) Bend top leg in front of body, foot (toe) on floor, flex bottom foot and raise bottom leg toward ceiling. Ensure whole thigh is raised off floor. Repeat 10 times.

4) Bend top leg so knees are 90 degrees to hip. Keep hip in place facing forward and open top leg and bring as high as you can (clam), do not move your hip. Repeat 10 times


5) Straighten lower leg a bit, so it is slightly curved. Top leg is still 90 degrees from hip (clam position) rotate top leg so knee touches ground, then straighten leg by reaching through your heel and kick behind you, without moving your upper body.  Ensure your gluteal (butt) muscles are on and assisting with the kick back.  Repeat 5-10 times


Click here to learn more about Pilates

Click here for more information about our mat classes / private and semi-private reformer sessions

Global Health and NDI – A Life Changing Medical Brigade

Global Health and NDI – A Life Changing Medical Brigade

By Dr. Kelly McGuire

February 2013,

Myself with local volunteer

In February of 2011, I ventured on a life changing experience to the remote island of Ometepe, in Nicaragua. Through the organization Natural Doctors International (NDI) I joined the forces of global health. I went on an  international medical brigade to bring help to those experiencing life in a developing country. Nicaragua is the second poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Largely due to the pioneering work of NDI’s co-founder and executive director Dr. Tabatha Parker, a model of naturopathic care and public health is now a reality in Los Angeles, Ometepe – the island made of two volcanos. I’m honoured to be part of this experience and wanted to spread the awareness of this global health organization. We can all make a difference by donating, promoting volunteerism and social responsibility, and building personal relationships with likeminded people interested in the future of our health and planet. We are reminded this February to spread love and hope in small and big ways. Reflecting back, exactly two years ago, I’m happy to share some of my experience.

Tales from my travel journal February 2011



Pictures from left to right : Clinic snapshot. / Supplies closet. / Farming day water break.

Armed with our mosquito nets and scrubs and arriving as an eclectic group of individuals with our unique ideas on how we can change the world, we returned as a cohesive force empowered by the experience we had. NDI’s unique brigade experience living in homes with locals, and popular education style of delivery and practical experiences beyond words changed me as a person and physician. From struggling to communicate with a Spanish dictionary over dinner to tending the fields, working in clinic and attending lectures the journey challenged us on so many levels.

Our house mom’s welcomed us in like daughters and their children and grandchildren were our brothers and sisters. Even though they have next to nothing compared to the standard of living we are used to in Canada, these individuals showed us true happiness. Life really comes down to the simplicity of health and happiness regardless of our possessions. I learned that its easy to take for granted the standard of living we are used to and how personal choices can impact the larger global community. Our use of water in particular concerns me, especially when you realize it is possible to take a shower out of one small bucket of cold water.


Pictures from left to right : Farmer group shot. /Home-stay siblings. /Plantain and nap in kitchen

One case in clinic that particularly touched me was when a man broke down crying during his interview when describing his experience with stroke. Even though my broken Spanish was unable to express empathy it was mutually understood as his eyes thanked me and I handed him his free treatment. He held my hand for a moment and squeezed. The days in clinic brought other crazy experiences of finding green pus and other fungal or insect infestations in the ear canals, possible rabies infected dog bites, many stomach aches and digestive complaints from parasites, back pain due to kidney stones, back pain from working as farmers, and severe dehydration due to environmental conditions. We also treated many common cases of cough and cold, cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well as malnutrition.

A necessary part of the educational process was sharing stories and the emotional impact of our experiences as a group and reflecting on the privilege and responsibility it takes to be a physician in another culture. Often our own tears would be shed after exhausting days in the heat treating many patients. Naturopathic medicine has a lot of offer the world and thanks to Dr. Parker a free health care clinic remains in Los Angeles that continues to demonstrate the impact our medicine can have. Many brigades since mine have continued to enrich their understanding of global health through NDI. To learn more about NDI check out their website at ndimed.org.

In light of Valentine’s Day falling in February, lets all think of donating a little love and support to this amazing organization. Even if that simply means sharing and promoting awareness.



Pictures from left to right : Dr. Parker lecturing. / Island of Ometepe.


Pilates for Breast Cancer

By Kathleen Simpson

Pectoral and Shoulder Stretches and Strengthening

Before and after surgery of any kind, it’s best to be our best. Our body is going to or has experienced a change, a procedure that has changed our structure, our skin, muscle, fascia, everything to the cellular level.

Before surgery or at least after surgery it is best to exercise to ensure our best Range of motion (ROM) for our muscles and joints that will be affected by the changes of surgery. Even a week without exercise can make us weaker, so we want to ensure we have our optimal strength prior to surgery. Having strength and flexibility will greatly assist in the healing process.

Surgery causes scar tissue to form underneath the skin, where we can’t see it, however, this scar tissue causes decrease in our ROM in the surrounding area, as well as restrictions to the tissue and muscle. By stretching and strengthening the area surrounding the surgery site we can bring our body back to optimal health and balance.

Surgery in and around the Breast area also effects the shoulder, the scapula, the neck (cervical) and the arms. So, we need to ensure we include all of these in our strength training regimen.

Here are some examples of important exercises and stretches, please take the time to look at your form, never push your tissues to the point of “sharp” pain, however, some discomfort (tightness) is to be expected after surgery.

ROM of Pectoral Muscles (upper chest)

1) Post surgery and after your physician has given  you the go ahead to start your gentle exercise, in the shower start massaging your chest muscles, tissues under your arm and while your doing this try to lift your arm up toward the ceiling, eventually trying get your arm as straight and as close to your ear as possible.

2) Before and after surgery ROM for Pectoral and Shoulder

Stand against a wall, preferably in front of a mirror, spread your arms straight out to the side (like a cross), try to run your arms up towards your head keeping your arms straight and against the wall. If you have to come off the wall at any spot to keep your arms straight, this is where you have some restriction in your ROM, range of motion, keep working with this daily for improvement. Feel the stretch in your chest, shoulder and sides.

You can also do this exercise (stretch) laying on the floor running your arms along the floor up towards your head, when this is comfortable you can add laying on a foam exercise roller. The roller exercise allows you to go further in your stretch as your arms are now behind your body with arms straight working towards your head.

3) Supine Rotation Stretch

Lay on your side knees at right angles to hip (like your sitting in a chair), your head on a pillow which is mostly behind your head. Keep your knees together and rotate your upper body by lifting your arm and directing it behind you, follow your arm with your eyes so your head rotates with your upper body. You will be trying to look behind yourself with your hips and knees in front of you. The rotation  comes from your spine, not just your shoulders. Really try to reach and stretch from your mid back. Stay for a few minutes to allow your muscles to stretch gently, make sure your shoulders are away from your ears as much as possible. You can gently massage your Pectoral muscles towards your shoulder to obtain more ROM.

Do this stretch at least twice to each side every day. You can even do it in bed before or after your sleep.

When you have achieved good range of motion you can begin strength training for your pectoral, arm and shoulder muscles. Here are two good strength training exercises, please pay attention to your form.

4) Fly

Laying on your foam roller with hand weights, place your arms out to your sides, (like a cross) bring your straight arms over your chest and return your arms to the floor.

5) Assisted push ups, from floor.

Knees on the floor, hands shoulder width apart, push yourself up so your arms are straight.

** Ensure your abdominals are pulled up and in, and that your shoulder blades stay apart don’t pinch your shoulder blades together or drop your head/neck. Head and neck should always be in line with your upper back working with the muscles between your shoulder blades, your shoulder blades are kept down away from your ears.**

* Push up against wall. Feet are away from the wall so when you place your hands on the wall at shoulder level and width you are at a 90 degree angle, your buttocks are not sticking out, you push your buttocks towards the wall, not out behind you. This opens up your hip towards the wall so you are really leaning into the wall. Head is in line with your upper back, shoulder blades are apart and stay wide, your abdominals are pulled up and in and  your gluteus (buttocks) are tight to support your pelvis. Now bend your elbow so your whole body, not just your head, leans towards the wall. Only go as far as your shoulders stay in place, now with a big exhale straighten your arms and push with your chest muscles.



Benefits of Massage Therapy for Breast Cancer

By Erin Rothenburger

Massage Therapy can be very beneficial in the treatment of a variety of issues that may arise as a result of procedures and treatments (ie: biopsy, partial or full mastectomy) for breast cancer.  The shoulder, arm, chest, rib cage, neck, and even the breast can be treated directly using a variety of different hands on techniques.  Shoulder and neck mobility, muscle function, tissue mobility and health, lymphatic drainage, and circulation can all be addressed with the use of massage.

Mobility and Function: Mobility and ease of movement can become limited in the neck, shoulder girdle, rib cage and arm.  Scar tissue can cause pulling, puckering and adherence of underlying structures.  Massage therapy can work directly to prevent and reduced these restrictions in order to lessen pain and improve appearance and function.  Frozen Shoulder (an adherence of the capsular joint of the shoulder which can significantly limit range of motion in the shoulder and arm) can also be detected and treated with the use of massage therapy.

Stress and Relaxation: Massage therapy can be very beneficial in calming the nervous system, reducing muscle tension and promoting relaxation, leading to an overall state of wellbeing.

Nerve Compression Syndromes: (commonly Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) As a result of tissue restriction, postural changes, or swelling/ congestion in the tissue, the plexus of nerves and blood vessels arising from the neck and shoulder may become compressed, resulting in symptoms that can extend all the way down the arm.  These symptoms may include pins and needles, numbness, burning pain, hot/cold changes, nagging pain or throbbing.  By reducing these restrictions and addressing postural or body alignment changes, the compression can be reduced or eliminated.

Lymphatics and Circulation: Lymphatic drainage and circulation can become blocked affecting especially the breast and arm.  These blockages can cause a loss in tissue health, swelling, discomfort and pain.  There are many lymph nodes located in area of the breast and axilla (armpit).  If lymph nodes have been removed, it makes it much more difficult for this draining and circulation to occur on its own.  Massage therapy can assist with this process.

Pain and Soreness: As a result of scar tissue and restrictions, muscle tension and functional compensation, as well as nerve and circulatory compression and drainage problems, pain and soreness can persist.  By addressing these issues, then the pain and soreness can be greatly reduced.

Massage Therapy is a regulated health profession.  Many extended health benefit plans cover massage therapy treatment.