In Wisconsin, one of the most appreciated components of the spring season is “fresh air.” Opening our windows, seeing and feeling the sun shining, and the refreshing scent of the outdoors brings us back to life after a long winter.
In the beginning, the transformation is slow as trees and flowers begin to bud and grass starts to grow again. Before we know it, the vibrant greens and bright florals are back in full force — things are alive and well. And that means the season of lawn care and maintaining landscapes has begun too.
It’s an alluring image, but one that can quickly become clouded when considering the harmful chemicals and toxins associated with traditional lawn care practices. It’s not only detrimental to the grass in the long run, but also the health of our loved ones — both pets and people.
According to Dr. Phil Landrigan, professor of pediatrics at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, “there is... concern that pesticides of all kinds can damage the developing nervous system and can result in learning disabilities in children, behavioral problems and possibly chronic diseases like Parkinson’s.”
Troy Reissmann was made aware of the potential link between the chemicals and health complications while working for a conventional lawn care company. It didn’t take him long to reflect and realize he was going to change the course of his career, and life, for the better.
“I thought, ‘I don’t want to contribute to the problem for the rest of my life, I want to do something to help it. Where do I begin?’”
After researching how to organically and safely treat lawns, he and his wife Lisa established Valley Organics in 2009. The local business provides the area — from Green Bay to Fond du Lac — with natural and organic lawn care to achieve healthy and lush lawns without the toxic effects.
Traditional chemical-based care uses a regimen of harsh and toxic elements to treat lawns, and Troy and Lisa say it also creates an unhealthy cycle that is hard to break.
“The main weed control that’s used is one of the two active ingredients that was in Agent Orange. It’s called 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D),” Troy explains. “It won’t kill the grass, but it will kill the majority of weeds. But in doing that, it also kills off a lot of new grass growth, which makes the lawn dependent on the chemicals.”
“Valley Organics is the opposite,” Lisa adds. “We want to make the lawn healthy and sustainable so eventually you can step down from treatments and simply maintain it to keep nutrients in the lawn. By then the root growth has gotten so much longer and it’s easy to sustain.”
They achieve this by providing all-natural fertilizing, core aeration, winterizing and special treatments like insect repellant by their one-of-a-kind tea.
“Intelli-tea” combines fertilizer, compost, worm castings, fish fertilizer and black strap molasses to create a concoction that adds live culture back into the lawn. After brewing for 24-48 hours, the tea is sprayed to feed the lawn with its lacking nutrients. Surpassing typical organic teas that have a 10 gallon to 100 gallon ratio of concentrate to water, Valley Organics prefers a much stronger concoction at 50 gallons of concentrate to 50 gallons of water to the lawn’s benefit.
“We found out through trial and error that we can actually get rid of a lot of lawn insects — not by killing them but by repelling them using garlic oil, peppermint oil and things that are too pungent for them,” Troy says. “It helps control the insect population and it’s also really beneficial for the lawn.”
In Valley Organics’ case, what’s safe for the lawn is safe for all of us — and that includes our two- and four-legged family members.
“We can tell people that what we’re putting on their lawn is safe and healthy, and won’t damage the environment, their animals or anything at all,” Troy says.
“We put a little flag out on the lawn saying that we were there,” Lisa says. “But it doesn’t say ‘Danger’ or ‘Keep Off.’ People ask us all the time if they can go on it, and yes you may. We don’t have to wear masks or boots when we apply the treatments. It’s not harmful!
“Canada and some states even have banned the chemicals,” she adds. “And more and more people are getting it every day,” Lisa says. “Our customer base is made up of a lot of pet owners, families with young children and now grandparents with grandkids who are understanding that it’s important.”
Just like every family member’s health and safety is important, Valley Organics realizes each and every lawn is unique, and determines their plan of action. A four-step plan beginning in spring and continuing through the summer is often the most popular choice for new customers, and most plan choices regularly include grass seed as part of the first and last treatments.
“A soil test helps us determine what’s going on in the soil to proceed going forward,” Lisa explains. “Then we do a granule treatment and that includes seeds, which right away helps thicken the lawn up.”
The soil test results — showing pH levels, identifying dry clay soil versus sandy soil, etc. — determine what the next three steps are. They could be a combination of granule or a liquid-based compost tea.
“In addition to our fertilizers we have different amendments like lime or gypsum to help with anything the lawn might need,” Lisa says. “It’s tailored to that specific lawn. And sometimes it’s different from the back lawn to the front.”
Educating the public about transitioning from conventional lawn care to natural and organic is important for Troy and Lisa, and they often spread the word about information ranging from the benefits of natural lawn care on the honey bee population to why dandelions are a positive sight and what they describe as simple science.
“Grass needs three things to live: oxygen, food and water,” Troy says. “Rain takes care of the water, oxygen is aerating and pulling up the soil, and the food is up to you. You can feed your lawn nothing at all, you can use chemicals which are not sustainable, or you can feed your lawn something healthy like what we use.”
“There is an alternative to the chemicals,” Lisa says. “You don’t have to use them to have a nice lawn. It may take a little longer organically, but it’s possible and it’s worth it.”
Valley Organics believes aeration is one of the healthiest measures you can take for your lawn by allowing moisture and oxygen to enter into the root system, which is why
new customers receive a FREE aeration in fall!
Troy and Lisa are often met with customers who struggle with allergies and effects of conventional lawn care chemicals, and encourage people to visit www.datcpservices.wisconsin.gov/landreg/ to sign a registry to become informed about when your neighboring lawns will be sprayed. According to the site, “The Landscape Registry allows Wisconsin residents to be notified before lawn care and landscape companies apply pesticides to neighboring property. You list the addresses that you want to be notified about, and companies check that list against their lists of clients.”
“It’s nice to know when to bring your dogs in, have your kids play inside and even hang laundry on the line,” Lisa says.
Valley Organics Lawn Care
It’s by no stretch of the imagination that with a PhD in biomolecular chemistry, an MD from the University of Wisconsin-Medical School, training at the Mayo Clinic and residency and fellowships in pulmonary and critical care — not to mention nine years of experience practicing in these fields — Dr. Steven Bittorf is an accomplished member of the medical community.
“I feel fulfilled… but one of the things I recognized is that we expend a lot of resources at the end of life in our medical system,” he explains. “We don’t devote nearly enough attention to preventing a lot of preventable disease. It’s really a tragedy.”
Dr. Bittorf also struggled with the notion that the medical system is programmed for, and focuses on, the diseased patient in a disease model, making it difficult to take into consideration individual differences in the population. It’s in that sentiment that he began considering a more alternative side to care via integrative medicine, also known as functional medicine.
But what is it?
“It’s a very common question,” Dr. Bittorf explains. “Integrative medicine is one-on-one care with the emphasis on the relationship between the physician and the patient. It aims to incorporate both traditional care and alternative care... it’s an emerging subspecialty of medicine. In the mid-2000s it was kind of a whisper in the woods. But I was listening to that whisper.”
Listening but also initiating a business model in which he could spend quality time with patients offering care that wasn’t readily available in traditional areas of medicine was Dr. Bittorf’s mission.
“Lifestyle change is the best medicine your practitioner is not offering you right now… it’s the big elephant in the room. It’s not easy to do on your own, you have to have structured help,” he says.
Dr. Bittorf founded Green Bay Integrative Health (GBIH), a clinic devoted to “sharing extensive knowledge of integrative medicine for patients seeking an alternative approach to a variety of ailments, providing aesthetic and healthy aging services, and promoting health and wellness” in 2014 so he can be the person alongside you on your health journey.
GBIH focuses on all facets of an individual’s health and implements a full array of alternative treatment options, including supplement care, food sensitivity and allergen testing, aesthetics (like Botox and Juvederm), general medicine, hormone replacement therapy and vitamin infusions to treat a variety of ailments and to prevent further medical intervention.
A wide range of conditions such as fibromyalgia, Lyme’s disease, ovarian and breast cancer, and chronic fatigue syndrome have been studied and shown to benefit from vitamin C. However, it’s not as simple as taking a pill each morning. The level of vitamin C absorbable by the body is 500 milligrams per day. GBIH provides infusions of up to 50,000 grams in one intravenous session.
“If you take (vitamin C) by mouth, you can only absorb so much into your bloodstream,” Dr. Bittorf explains. “Super high doses of it by vein transiently flow in the bloodstream. It does not cause illness to normal cells or to the individual, and for cancer cells, it induces something called hydrogen peroxide that kills those cells by taking advantage of their sensitivity to vitamin C.”
General vitamin deficiency, Dr. Bittorf says, is also a more common issue to contemplate than we might realize. Per the Center for Disease Control, 90 million Americans are deficient in vitamin D alone. This can contribute to symptoms of depression, seasonal affective disorder, obesity, cardiovascular disease, strokes, insulin metabolism being poor, and Alzheimer’s disease worsening.
Being mindful of our gut is also vital to our health.
“The bacteria in our gut secretes more serotonin that reaches our bloodstream than our whole brain makes in a single day,” Dr. Bittorf says. “If you have an unhealthy biome, you’re not getting that serotonin in your blood and could have sleep disturbance, mental health issues, skin rashes and joint inflammation.”
Education on vitamin deficiency and supplements is a large part of Green Bay Integrative Health’s care, and one Dr. Bittorf takes seriously. While he explains that the supplemental field is an unregulated industry often affecting the purity and concentration of ingredients, he’s found a medical-grade supplement company called XYMOGEN Nutriceuticals to ensure he and his patients know what they’re receiving in the form of vitamins.
“A lot of times people aren’t getting what they think they’re getting or in the right concentration... as your XYMOGEN Nutriceutical Practitioner, you will receive the highest quality formulas on the market and the best customer service in the industry... we care that you want safe, effective formulas on which you can rely. I am proud to be affiliated with a team helping to bring patients what they are searching for — better health and wellness.”
Typical signs of aging include insomnia, hot flashes, muscle weakness, aches and pains in the joints, irritability, mood swings, mental fog, memory loss, and mild depression — for both men and women. They’re also clear signs of a decline in hormone levels. The replacement of hormones like testosterone, progesterone and estrogen can easily assuage such symptoms.
“Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is very popular now, and it’s also very safe,” Dr. Bittorf says. “It’s effective in alleviating symptoms of menopause in women and andropause for men affecting people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and older. I have patients in their 80s.”
GBIH utilizes three hormone replacement therapy methods: body creams, lozenges for under the tongue and unique to Dr. Bittorf is pellet therapy in which hormone release from pellets is cardio-activated and delivers consistent, healthy levels of hormones for three to five months in women, and four to six months in men. Pellets avoid the fluctuations, or ups and downs, of hormone levels seen with other forms of delivery.
“It’s the cheapest most effective way to get hormone replacement therapy,” Dr. Bittorf says. The key to the pellet form is that it’s bioidentical, not synthetic. After a while it dissolves and disappears completely. (They) are compounded by an FDA-approved pharmacy into concentrated pellets the size of a grain of rice. The pellets are custom prescribed for each patient and implanted under the skin.
“It’s a healthy aging technology. People who have hormone replacement therapy have better cardiovascular health, better muscle strength and bone mass. When I’m 90 I’d like to do 50 pushups and a crossword puzzle and remember that I did both!
“Patients have told me I’ve saved their lives, and it gives me a really warm feeling. I get really attached to my patients because we see each other frequently and I know it’s making a difference. It’s about forming relationships, and it’s rewarding for me.”
"My approach to medicine is based upon a model of health and wellness, as opposed to a model of disease. Whenever possible, integrative medicine favors the use of low-tech, low-cost interventions. I incorporate these techniques in every visit.” —Dr. Steven Bittorf
926 Willard Drive, Suite 236, Green Bay
920-489-8349 • www.greenbayintegrativehealth.com
“A mother’s love” conjures up a beautiful image, an overwhelmingly intense emotion born between a woman and her child.
To realize it is a dream of many, the decision often met with a great deal of thought, love and purpose. The accompanying emotions are wide ranging and all consuming: excitement, fear, anxiety and joy.
Unfortunately, it’s disappointment and grief felt by the 15 percent of women who experience fertility issues. It’s a devastating realization, but one Dr. Rami Kaldas, M.D., a board-certified gynecologic surgeon and obstetrician, and the founder of the Kaldas Center for Fertility, Surgery & Pregnancy, S.C, associates with an uncharacteristically positive feeling:
He is deliberate in including such a bold adjective to describe an often considered whimsy emotion. The team at the Kaldas Center has the education, tools and the expertise to back up such confidence in their ability to fulfill the dream of pregnancy.
“Invariably people are overwhelmed with emotion because no one has actually made them understand (infertility) and given them definite hope,” Dr. Kaldas says. “It’s not an indefinite thing. This is what you’ve got, this is what we’re going to do about it and these are your chances (of becoming pregnant) after we do it. And if it doesn’t work, this is what we’re going to do next.”
While each woman and their body is unique, among those struggling to get pregnant, Dr. Kaldas asserts that their infertility is likely due to the same, sole condition.
“If someone has not become pregnant in over a year and everything else — the husband or boyfriend being checked, the other labs — is fine, I truly believe that it is endometriosis unless proven otherwise.”
The chronic condition affects one in 10 women. Dr. Kaldas simply describes endometriosis as “uterine lining gone bad, wreaking havoc outside the uterus,” and attributes it to being the cause of more than half of all infertility cases. Cells that normally grow inside the uterus grow outside of it, resulting in the body’s immune response blocking pregnancy from occurring. This creates inflammation, scarring and pain.
The largely accepted treatment for endometriosis is one Dr. Kaldas considers old fashioned and unnecessary.
“Ninety nine percent of obstetricians are burning endometriosis and that makes it worse,” he explains. “You have to think of it in a three-dimensional way — it’s not paint on a wall, it’s an iceberg. You’ve got to cut it out.”
The Kaldas Center is the number one clinic in Wisconsin to excise endometriosis using a laser, removing the problem all together rather than removing surface tissue one visit at a time. They are the experts in this technique.
“I had the very good fortune of being taught by the person who was the very first to put a camera on a scope and connect a laser to it,” Dr. Kaldas says. “While the patient is asleep we essentially put laparoscopic instruments through tiny incisions and pick up the endometriosis, laser around and underneath it and remove it. It’s that easy… it typically takes me half an hour to an hour and I’ve done several thousand surgeries.
“The sad thing is, we see young women who want to get pregnant with ovaries being removed for endometriosis that just don’t need that done. Seeing patients who are being treated with outdated techniques is disappointing.
“(Education) has become a mission and a gospel because we’ve seen so much nonsense. And on top of that, fertility cycles and medication are expensive. We want people to find us sooner rather than later because they go through so much.”
The Kaldas Center — now with an entirely new and custom-designed location at 701 S Nicolet Drive in Appleton — thrives on educating and understanding their patients and all they go through, and has created a space that is conducive to the struggles and joy that go along with the scope of sentiments their patients experience. It’s both calming and bright, and contemporary and comfortable.
“When they walk in, (patients) feel uplifted,” Dr. Kaldas says. “That was the whole goal, and it really worked up to our expectations. We didn’t want a typical medical office. We needed it to be a different sphere, a different world. It has nothing to do with what you’ve been through in the past.
“We really aimed to make it look like the combination of someone’s home and a cafe. Every exam room, for example, has a bistro table in it with a wooden top and wrought iron legs. Most of the exam rooms have antique chairs. It gives people a warm feeling but it also makes them think outside of the box, that this is going to be different. They should be hopeful.”
The Kaldas Center believes that form follows function and vice versa, and that was the mantra behind the design and construction of their new space. The more accessible location — near the Appleton International Airport and interstate — holds an overwhelmingly comforting quality along with modern and state-of-the art equipment.
“We want people to know that you’ve got expertise right here that you will not find crossing one or even two states,” Dr. Kaldas says. “And it was important to us, especially for sufferers of recurrent pregnancy loss, endometriosis and pelvic pain to feel at home… so many have been in a way negated before.”
The entire team at the Kaldas Center undoubtedly has a standard of care that elevates them — it’s a combination of their work ethic and philosophy for caring for patients. But it’s also clear that it’s deeper than that. The dreams they help make come true and the hope they deliver to families is their purpose in life, not simply their work.
“I had a wise older gentleman recently comment on a mutual friend of ours who had a terminal illness,” Dr. Kaldas explains. “He said that maybe after our friend made it through that they’d stop working and focus on philanthropic things, maybe they’d regret that they had worked so much.
“I thought to myself that if someone told me that I was going to die tomorrow and I had worked the whole day before, I’d say great... I’d be so happy.”
“Results are what matter. Not only on the medical front and the fertility front but also psychologically and emotionally.” —Dr. Rami Kaldas
“We have a fundamental human element. We don’t just go through the motions.” —Dr. Rami Kaldas
March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, created in an effort to educate women about the diagnosis, how it affects fertility and quality of life, and what can be done to help.
Do you have a first-degree relative with endometriosis? The chances of inheriting the condition increase 7 to ten fold. Symptoms include:
Dr. Kaldas recognizes that his and his teammates’ ability to treat endometriosis efficiently comes from their technology and commitment to their art at the Kaldas Center. Helping spread that message to those who need it is what it’s all about for them.
“I have so many favorite parts of my day because I have such an incredible team here,” Dr. Kaldas says. “But it’s when the shingles fall from people’s eyes, it’s that ‘I once was blind but now I see’ element that I love.”
“Wanting a baby and (being) unable to conceive was a very emotional and challenging time for us, but Dr. Kaldas made this process easier and comforting. He always made me feel like there was still hope and we still had options to try… After the delivery of our daughter there was so much joy in the room shared by everyone. (Dr. Kaldas) really took the time to get to know us on a personal level and knew how much this baby meant to us.” —Danielle
“It had been two and a half years of trying to have a baby, two doctors, thousands of dollars, an undetermined diagnosis for infertility and one heartbreaking miscarriage before I walked into Dr. Kaldas’ office for the first time. As we discussed the road my husband and I had been down trying to have a baby, Dr. Kaldas listened attentively and laid out a plan he believed would work for us to have a baby on our own. Leaving his office that day, I felt a renewed sense of hope for the first time in a long time. We followed his treatment plan the very next month and to our surprise and excitement, we were pregnant with our first baby boy!” —Heather
“Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in creating this beautiful new place for us to help people solve their problems and challenges achieving their family goals… we feel privileged to come and work here every day. It takes a community… and we thank all who have taken part.”
Kaldas Center for Fertility, Surgery & Pregnancy, S.C. is there for you
701 S Nicolet Road, Appleton
Lake Park Swim & Fitness (LPSF) has become an institution in the Fox Valley. It’s known for its 27,000-square foot state-of-the-art facility, friendly and welcoming staff and an unrivalled list of classes and amenities that keep their members returning day after day, year after year.
While other such establishments revel in their commitment to stay the same, LPSF is an organization determined to do the opposite: it is constantly evolving, improving and enhancing. Whether it’s in the space itself or the equipment and workouts offered, changing and growing is a conscious effort made by owners Felicia Christianson, Megan Collins and Jane Dias.
But the trio, who has worked together in the fitness industry for 20+ years, also knows what works to create the perfect balance of caring atmosphere and motivational environment. LPSF’s emphasis on creating healthy and happy members has been, and always will be, key to their success.
“After 8 years in business, we can confidently say that our mission statement of “inform-connect-inspire” is working,” Megan says. “We will continue to offer a health club that is focused on its members.”
“(We have) a strong emphasis on service, cleanliness, variety of classes, professional and experienced staff and complimentary amenities,” Felicia adds. “There is no denying the difference you feel the minute you walk through our front door — it’s a sense of belonging.”
A refreshing new workout that’s fun
LPSF currently offers a variety of more than 70 classes each week, including aqua fitness classes, TRX, yoga, kickboxing (with bags), boot camp, cycle, core and step — all included in membership.
“We feel so strongly about the benefits of group exercise that we want classes available to members,” Felicia says. “We will even offer to have our Director of Member Connection, Ja’Tame Schabo, attend class with new members to make sure their experience is a positive one.”
“Of course, not everyone likes a group atmosphere and that’s why we have 10 degreed and certified trainers for one-on-one or partner training,” Megan adds.
Newest on the list of class offerings at LPSF is the addition of barre fitness.
A combination of dance technique, yoga and Pilates — and using a ballet barre and other props for support — the workout is the continual use of small, isometric or pulsing movements versus traditional, full-range movements usually associated with strength and resistance training.
“It offers our members a low-impact, full-body workout that specifically focuses on areas many struggle with: hips, thighs, glutes, abs and arms,” Jane explains. “It’s a different way to challenge your body while still benefiting from weight bearing and resistance work.”
An already idyllic space with mirrored walls overlooking a pond, water fountain and a sunset view, LPSF’s cycling studio has been enhanced even further with the addition of a permanently mounted custom ballet-like barre for barre fitness classes. Beginning with class times 3 days a week to start, a small class size of 10 allows instructors, Sarah, and personal trainer, Chris (see included bios to learn more!) to devote their knowledge and expertise to each participant to ensure proper form and the kind of hands-on attention LPSF has become known for.
Felicia, Jane and Megan themselves have become an institution at LPSF, and have a lot to share about their love of helping others to achieve success in their fitness goals, but their message boils down to a simple, significant fact:
“Join Lake Park Swim & Fitness and you join a supportive community that truly cares.”
Sarah Pierre, Barre Fitness Instructor
What makes LPSF a great fit for you? When my husband and I were looking at different gyms in the area, we were both impressed by the kindness of the staff at LPSF. Additionally, I appreciated the strong sense of community among members and staff.
Why barre? I grew up dancing and have always loved ballet. Additionally, I love the motivation that comes from group fitness classes… barre fitness is a perfect combination of all the things I love.
Who would you recommend taking a barre fitness class? The best thing about barre classes is that they are very accessible for a wide variety of individuals. No previous dance experience is required and even though the class is fast paced, it is low impact and very safe. I would recommend taking a barre class because they are fun and so incredibly effective in creating long, lean and strong muscles.
Is there anything you’d like to tell people who may be hesitant to take a barre fitness class at LPSF? It has been a blessing for me to be able to share something that I love with others. I would be so honored to be able to help you reach your own personal fitness goals and work with you to help you get the most from your workout. A barre class may seem very different than other classes at first but I encourage you to stick with it and I promise that it will become easier as you become stronger.
Chris Bentley, Certified Personal Trainer
Where did you get your training? National Academy of Sports Medicine.
What makes LPSF a great fit for you? I moved to Wisconsin three years ago from San Jose, California. The first time walking in Lake Park Swim & Fitness I wanted to be part of this amazing family. I have been with (them) three years this October.
How long have you specifically been involved in barre? Barre has been in my blood for 6 years.
Why barre? I have been participating in classes the last six years and have noticed a tremendous difference in my body in several areas: my strength, and improvements in many muscle areas such as glutes and hamstrings.
Is there anything you’d like to tell people who may be hesitant to take a barre fitness class at LPSF? The music adds a challenging and exciting environment to each workout, and you will leave each class feeling a sense of relaxation, but at the same time feel good that you discovered a new fitness opportunity that you truly will come to love.
By participating in these classes you will definitely notice a change in overall body muscle groups. This class is perfect for clients of any age and fitness level. (Barre fitness) is something you can do every day. I do!
“Chris (Bentley) and I have been doing barre for most of the time that I have been training with her. Barre is anything but easy and it really works each muscle group. It also shows amazing results!”
—Lynne James, LPSF member
“LPSF’s mission statement is simple to remember and easy to carry out. We’re all linked together as a team, and know the importance of being connected…”
Lake Park Swim & Fitness
730 Lake Park Road, Menasha
There are a lot of things Sally Schmidt wants the world to know about alpaca, and more specifically their fleece that is becoming more and more celebrated for both fashion and function. But what does she think the most pertinent fact is for us to know while we battle winter in Wisconsin?
“It’s SO warm!” she laughs. “Alpaca fiber feels luxurious, like a cross between cashmere and silk. It also possesses superior wicking action compared to natural fibers to keep you dry and cozy.”
Sally and her husband Tom opened Sabamba Alpaca Ranch and Bed & Breakfast in De Pere for that reason: to give people of all ages an experience that made them feel warm and comfortable. And at first, that didn’t involve the endearing and lovable four-legged creatures at all.
“I knew I wanted to start a bed and breakfast,” Sally remembers. “I had studied them and how to start that kind of a business, so I picked out a Victorian home on the river when my husband who grew up on a dairy farm said, ‘I want to go back to the country.’”
Her next question was a logical one: What do we do? It was a television advertisement that caught her eye while living in California called “I Love Alpacas” that eventually ignited the idea of creating a ranch in Northeast Wisconsin.
“We visited farms and went to open houses to meet alpacas and I got bit by the bug,” she says fondly. “I just looked at their cute faces and knew it was for me.”
It’s easy to see just how delightful and charming alpacas are in appearance, but it’s their personalities and humanlike behavior — there are troublemakers! — that make them so likeable. Sabamba Alpaca Ranch and Bed & Breakfast runs and resembles a happy family, in both the human and animal sense. In fact, it is within that theme that the farm got its unique name.
“We took the first letter of our 7 children’s names to create it,” Sally explains. “We wanted them all to be a part of the ranch.”
The “full service alpaca ranch for breeders, enthusiasts and anyone interested in alpacas” focuses on breeding for fleece production, which begins with sheering the animals in May.
Each alpaca produces 5-10 pounds of fleece each spring (500 pounds of fiber = 1700 pairs of socks!), and varies in length and grade. The fleece, or fiber, is softest when the alpacas are at their youngest and similar to human hair with age becomes shorter and coarser. Alpacas come in 22 natural colors, but Sally often finds an unexpected variation while sheering the active and playful babies of the family.
“We’ll go through the process and think, ‘OK, there’s a white colored one, a grey colored one’ but if it’s a cria (baby alpaca) it’s usually hay colored because when they roll on the ground, the hay gets stuck in their baby fleece,” she laughs.
Most of the processes are the same as in the production of sheep’s wool, but the outcome in the finished product is much different. Alpaca fiber is finer than sheep’s wool and the scales are different, which is the reason it has a different “hand” or feel.
“You don’t get the prickle from alpaca that you do with sheep’s wool,” Sally explains. “It also has a much stronger ability to insulate. It keeps you warmer. People say they just feel cozy wearing alpaca clothing.”
Unlike its wool and synthetic rivals, alpaca fleece also has the capacity to regulate body temperature, an added bonus in cold climates like Wisconsin.
“I can go from the barn to the house and be comfortable throughout,” Sally says. “Manmade fibers that are poly based don’t breathe. Natural fibers like alpaca are great because they have that breathability.”
It’s these components that make alpaca fiber the perfect choice for a variety of items like scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, blankets, sweaters, capes and more, all of which Sabamba Alpaca Ranch offers. In addition, they carry alpaca yarn and rovings, handmade gifts like stuffed animals and ornaments, and household products such as dryer balls and nesting birdfeeders.
“Our general tip for taking care of alpaca fiber is ‘less is more,’” Sally explains. “When you have ‘plastic’ clothes, you wash and dry them every day. We teach people to wash their goods only when they need it — you’ll do more damage to a natural fiber by washing it than you will wearing it. Animals weren’t designed to go in the washing machine!”
Located on a quaint rural road in De Pere, Sabamba Alpaca Ranch and Bed & Breakfast is all you want a country getaway to be and more. The sense of warmth and family is undeniably present within the remodeled 1890 farmhouse.
“We want everyone to feel at home,” Sally says. “By the time you leave — even if you’re only with us for one night — we want you to feel like you are a part of the family and know that you’re always welcome.”
While the bed and breakfast offers cozy quarters, hearty breakfasts and the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate, it also provides a one-of-a-kind experience not found anywhere else.
“If you want to be interactive in the barn, you are welcome. It’s entirely up to guests how they spend their vacation with us. We’re a year-round full time farm so you can help with chores like feeding the animals. Or you can just watch the alpacas while on the porch,” Sally explains.
“We also offer what we call the “Alpaca Experience.’ I dedicate one-on-one time to teach you about anything you might want to know. Do you want to learn about how to raise alpacas? The history of alpacas? Alpaca fiber? We have a lot of fun and people learn a lot.”
Some guests have even had the chance to leave a legacy of their own. Alpacas Layla, Georgette and William are all namesakes of past guests of the bed and breakfast who were lucky to witness their births on the ranch.
“It’s definitely a unique experience and people come because they want something different, to learn something new,” Sally says.
The bottom line for Sabamba Alpaca Ranch and Bed & Breakfast?
“It’s fun! We have a really good time.”
There are a multitude of ways to peruse all Sabamba Alpaca Ranch has to offer in the form of fashion and function — not to mention gifts (and gift certificates) for all ages — and it’s never been easier:
November and December at Bay Park Square mall: Sabamba Alpaca Ranch is conveniently located within the Door County Christmas store at Bay Park Square in Green Bay. The space near Younkers and Santa’s winter wonderland holds Sabamba’s signature line of alpaca clothing, household and outdoor accessories, and specialty items amongst a variety of local vendors’ goods, including Door County Christmas items.
December 2-11 at Old World Christmas Market at Osthoff Resort: Sabamba Alpaca Ranch will be featured at the annual market at Osthoff Resort. Located at 101 Osthoff Avenue in Elkhart Lake, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily “experience the holiday ‘gemütlichkeit’ of a traditional European Christmas Market, reminiscent of the centuries-old German Christkindlesmarkt. International and regional artisans displaying their specialty wares, European delicacies, German Christmas music and Father Christmas are all a part of the 18th annual Old World Christmas Market.” Source: www.christmasmarketatosthoff.com.
The farm store located at Sabamba Alpaca Ranch is open various hours and days all year — visit www.sabambaalpaca.com for details!
Sally and Tom were “bit by the bug” when it comes to alpacas, and you could be too. If you’re interested in learning more about the business, Sabamba Alpaca Ranch offers events each year to help the public explore all avenues of alpaca breeding.
“The goals for our breeding program include superior fiber qualities, healthy livestock — caring for them in a superior manner — and positive animal behaviors, which is very important to us,” Sally says. “We want the alpaca to be calm and well-rounded.”
Other events on the farm include a Beginner’s Seminar each spring, creating the perfect hands-on opportunity for potential future alpaca breeders and owners to learn more. Ideal advice on handling and training, breeding, fiber and much more are all presented. Their Annual Fall Open House offers the chance to meet and walk an alpaca, take photos and eat delicious snacks.
Sabamba Alpaca Ranch is open year round, and is available for small group tours. For more information, simply call 920-371-0003 for details!
Sabamba Alpaca Ranch and Bed & Breakfast
2838 Hickory Road, De Pere
Forefront Dermatology is no doubt renowned. Their team of dermatologists and surgeons are masters of their craft, and are skilled and acclaimed within the dermatological field. They hold a commitment to see patients the same or next day in many of their clinics where they expertly address a wide spectrum of conditions and concerns, including acne, eczema, rashes, warts, psoriasis and rosacea, along with cosmetic treatments.
They’ve also become an industry expert on treating basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and less common skin cancers through a highly specialized procedure called Mohs micrographic surgery. The level of medical care and technique is unmatched, and it’s also complemented by their dedication to providing patients with compassionate care, education and personalized treatments throughout a patient’s journey.
With 36 locations throughout Wisconsin and their devotion to providing high quality care while getting to know each patient as an individual, Forefront Dermatology is undoubtedly known. But even more than that, they’re investing in and making a big impact on our communities, and people are truly feeling it.
“We are committed to supporting our communities,” Joe Swetich, Director of Human Resources for Forefront, says. “The best way to do that is to stay active and involved.”
The connection Forefront Dermatology makes with the communities it serves is wide ranging and far reaching, and begins with what they know best: health and wellness and educating the public about how to care for their skin. The team of dermatologists travels to local health fairs, senior centers/nursing homes and area employers to provide complimentary skin screenings to detect potential conditions early on.
“We have a lot of different opportunities throughout our communities,” Dr. Victoria Negrete says. “The vast majority are done at local businesses, companies and hospitals… [they] do not cost the patient a dime and anyone can partake.”
“We have identified countless melanomas at free screenings in patients who otherwise may have never come in to be evaluated,” Dr. Betsy Wernli adds. “Skin screenings are an invaluable service for countless patients that are still with us today because their cancer was caught early and treated effectively.”
Spreading knowledge about skin health is a large part of their mission, and making sure the message is heard as early as possible is significant. Forefront Dermatology physicians visit local high schools and middle schools to ensure our communities’ youth is aware of the importance of sun protection and skin care.
But educating the public doesn’t stop there. In fact, Forefront Dermatology is invested in sustaining the highest level of care for its communities by making an effort to train future primary care doctors to diagnose and treat skin cancer and other skin conditions.
The determination to successfully diagnose and treat skin cancer and other skin conditions has propelled Forefront Dermatology to its level of achievement but is just the beginning when it comes to the impact it’s making around the state, and even nationwide. Through initiatives from seasonal favorites like Toys for Tots and community food drives, Forefront is able to support a number of causes that impact children, adults and even our furry friends.
“Each Friday the employees who choose to wear jeans can donate $3, which allows them that luxury,” Joe Swetich says. “At the end of the month we total everything up and make donations… a few we’ve done this year are Grow It Forward, Soles for Souls, Relay for Life, KAN Cool for School and Lakeshore Humane Society.
“We’ve also done supply drives for the troops… supply drives for the local humane society and N.E.W. PAWSibilities dog rescue in Oshkosh. We also have many employees adopt [pets]!”
Established in 2013, The Forefront Dermatology Foundation’s purpose is “to help bring awareness, support and services to the people and communities that need it most,” and it goes well beyond medical attention. National efforts such as Miles for Melanoma, Outrun the Sun, Race Against Melanoma, Ann’s Hope Foundation and the National Alopecia Areata Foundation are all impacted.
“For several years, Forefront Dermatology — beginning before we changed our name from Dermatology Associates of Wisconsin — has held a Day of Giving in which we take a percentage of our fees from a day of clinic from all of our clinics and through our own charitable foundation donate to worthy charities and causes within our communities,” Dr. Peter Katz explains.
“It is a wonderful day that raises a lot of money used to give back,” Dr. Betsy Wernli adds.
Support often comes in the form of monetary donations, but the impression of the act of giving lasts far longer for the Forefront Dermatology physicians and those their contributions affect.
Seven-year-old Rowyn from Green Bay and her family are among them.
“One of Forefront Dermatology’s sponsorships near and dear to our hearts is through Make-A-Wish® Wisconsin, supporting children who are struggling with life-threatening medical conditions,” Dr. Betsy Wernli explains.
“Since moving to Appleton six years ago, I came to know one of the local Make-A-Wish® contacts, Regional Director Kris Teofilo. We talked about my past involvement with Make-A-Wish®, which my wife Murissa and I became involved with when I was in medical school in Milwaukee after our godson Reese passed away unexpectedly,” Dr. Peter Katz explains. “As Wish Granters in the years we lived in Milwaukee, we met some of the amazing people who drive the important Make-A-Wish® mission and helped grant the wishes of some extraordinary children.
“When Kris approached me about the opportunity to sponsor their signature event Gourmet Wishes to help grant wishes for local children earlier this year… our Forefront Dermatology Foundation committee immediately approved our sponsorship. The event was a fantastic experience and afterward we were able to meet with one of the children we sponsored. Wish kid Rowyn, battling Wilm’s Tumor, and her family received a renewed sense of hope, strength and joy through their magical week at her favorite theme park in Florida to meet all of her favorite princesses. Rowyn’s special wish granted by Make-A-Wish® Wisconsin came true through our sponsorship. There was not a dry eye to be seen and it was an unforgettable night.”
“It is good for all of us to give a piece of ourselves,” Dr. Betsy Wernli says. “Some people are capable of giving more, some less. Those who give more truly receive a larger return; giving back is as good for the giver as it is the receiver.”
For more information about how Forefront Dermatology is helping our communities, and to find a location near you, visit www.forefrontdermatology.com or call 855-535-7175.
“Because we care, we make it our business to know how to care for you.”
It’s in those words — and the genuine heart behind them — that one feels the difference in the way the Kaldas Center for Fertility, Surgery & Pregnancy, S.C. cares for the women who enter their doors.
Founded by Dr. Rami Kaldas three years ago, he and providers Dr. Donald Menya, Dr. Yadira Rafuls, and Katie Stam, board-certified nurse midwife, are known for their unique approach when it comes to traditional women’s health. There’s nothing customary about their treatment philosophies or their drive to go above and beyond for their patients, who are naturally considered a part of the family.
“It is one hundred percent about the whole person,” Dr. Kaldas explains. “At the Kaldas Center, we wed medical knowledge, the individual, seeing the person as a whole and a hefty dose of a lot of common sense. We’ve got to know how a person’s symptoms fit into their life.”
Communication and making a connection between patient and everyday life is essential, and for Dr. Kaldas, it often comes down to one simple question: “How does this bother you?”
“We need to know not just the problem, but how it fits into a patient’s life to best fix it,” he says. “We adapt to the needs of all women.”
And like the lives of the women they meet, each health journey is unique and presents diverse options for care. The Kaldas Center is perhaps best known for their unmatched expertise in fertility and minimally invasive surgery including treatment of endometriosis, pelvic prolapse, and incontinence, but more typical visits are welcomed as well.
“We do annual exams, and that’s really a pleasure for us,” Dr. Kaldas says. “That’s the way we avoid sometimes having to do surgeries. If we can catch things early enough and be proactive and preventive, we like to. We fill all niches.”
Holding the highest medical standards in fertility and pregnancy care along with the utmost level of attention in traditional women’s health, is just the beginning when it comes to why the Kaldas Center has become an unrivaled space for compassionate care. It’s their overall philosophy and commitment to their patients’ happiness that catapults them to excellence.
“Yes, we sometimes simply do things others might not be able to do,” Dr. Kaldas says. “But it’s also that life is going to throw humbling situations at people. We’ve been put here to overcome those indignities with our patients. When things seem hopeless, we’ve been able to help.”
I’ve always been passionate about helping other women… not just helping with their medical condition but helping to shape their future. I feel a calling to doing that.”
—Dr. Yadira Rafuls
“The word midwife means “with woman.” I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with women and their families during this incredible journey!”
—Katie Stam, Board-certified nurse midwife
It is truly an honor to care for women’s health. It is my goal to provide the most complete care for each of my patients as each one’s journey is unique.”
—Dr. Donald Menya
When I was a child, I was afraid of going to the doctor. If I had to go to the doctor, then something was wrong. Sometimes it was really necessary, like when I had a bad earache. I thought nothing could hurt worse. I knew completely that the doctor would make me better, and I would be ashamed of my tears of anguish. I had trust.
Then I became a doctor. I learned so much and took the lessons to heart and wanted to apply them to heal, to earn people’s trust when they thought God did not love them anymore. So I worked hard at knowing deeply how to understand what my patients were saying to me, how to heal their physical and emotional wounds, and also to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
That is why I chose gynecology and obstetrics as a profession. For me and the rest of the team at the Kaldas Center for Fertility, Surgery & Pregnancy, S.C., it has evolved into so much more. The needs we meet range from cases of decades long battles of attrition with pain, life altering incontinence or urine and stool, years long struggles of yearning for a child, and pregnancy conditions that risk the life of both mother and child. Recently a professional article stated that only 1 in 5 residents finishing their education could independently complete a surgery that patients assume all OBs can do. That is sad. A guarantee of competence awaits those who come to the Kaldas Center. We aim to understand why an affliction happened in the first place. The better we know about “why,” the more proactive and individualized we can be with collaborative treatment.
Why do we do this? It is who we are. It is not a day job we get through to pay the bills. So blessed is the Kaldas Center with people who care and who care to know how to care and heal. I am daily humbled by their actions. Our own staff is the best example for me. These are the people who choose to conquer demoralizing situations that life has thrown at our fellow human beings. The Kaldas Center does this by being natural and sincere, one human face to face with another. Then we can reach happiness with and for our patients. Without happiness, there is no life. And we are very much in the business of facilitating life — a better life, quality of life — through understanding why and knowing how.
The fashion designer Christian Dior said, “It is unforgivable to do what one doesn’t love.”
We agree. We would not do what we do if we did not love life, love our patients and love to make their dreams of a pain-free life, of a family and of a safe pregnancy with a healthy baby reality. It is not a job we are doing. It is a calling.
When we evaluate a woman with pain and determine what is causing it, we are excited to learn if she has endometriosis, an infection or laxity of her organs that is causing her suffering. She is beautiful, but cannot feel beautiful. She has seen three or four doctors already. No relief has been had. No way forward.
Then she comes to the Kaldas Center, finds us through a friend, or online. To figure out why a couple keeps having the heartbreak of miscarriage after miscarriage, or to properly diagnose and fix why a woman is suffering the indignity of wetting or soiling herself, makes our days worthwhile. That is a game changer. The minute they make the call we insist that they understand that whatever life has thrown their way, they can trust the Kaldas Center to know the way forward. Normal pregnancy and annual exams are dear to us also. It gives us the chance to catch up from the year or years past and learn how we can promote wellness.
Dreams can come true. We have dream jobs, and with insight, patience, perseverance and skill, we will help our patients dream the impossible dream.”
—Dr. Rami Kaldas, founder of the Kaldas Center for Fertility, Surgery & Pregnancy, S.C.
On January 1, 2017, the team begins at their new home located at 701 S Nicolet Road in Appleton.
Kaldas Center for Fertility, Surgery & Pregnancy, S.C.
200 Theda Clark Medical Plaza
Suite 133, Neenah
Close your eyes and envision a gentle, flowing stream. The sun is shining and the water is clear and sparkling. The graceful waves and elegant rhythm slow us down and cause us to stop and appreciate the present moment — it’s a symbol of peace. The positive, relaxing image helps our minds to be content and happy.
What if the water was less calm and more turbulent? Sediment is turned up and rather than a relaxed current, the stream looks choppy and as though there’s no specific direction. It looks and feels stressful, and triggers anxiety. It is overwhelming and difficult to see through.
Although we might prefer the idyllic nature of the first, both examples are symbolic of circumstances that materialize in our lives. And while we can’t control outside factors — like the weather or the speed at which situations arise — there is a way to find our peace no matter the storm: Modern Kadampa Buddhism.
“The analogy of the water is also true with the mind,” Gen Kelsang Gomlam, resident teacher at Kadampa Meditation Center Madison, explains. “When you slow down and focus on your breath with the intention to allow the sediment to settle, it does. The busyness dissolves back into our mind, and we’re left with a positive, peaceful feeling.”
It’s an emotion we all strive for. Mental peace opens the door to the potential to change lives for the better, and Kadampa Meditation Center Madison provides a welcoming, comfortable space to begin the journey to just that.
Kadampa Buddhism — “Ka” referring to all of Buddha’s Sutra and Tantra teachings, and “dam” denoting Atisha’s special instructions called the Stages of the Path or Lamrim in Tibetan — allows the integration of the knowledge of all of Buddha’s teachings into our everyday lives.
“We’re here for public service,” Gomlam says. “My teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is a humble teacher. He was asked to bring Buddhism to the western world over 30 years ago, and no other Buddhist teacher has put as much energy into creating centers and developing study programs that are available to everyone, Buddhist and non-Buddhist.” (See sidebar for some of her most highly suggested books written by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.)
Kadampa meditation centers – in 54 countries around the world – present Buddhism in a way that is easily understood, and is accessible to everyone.
“The same meditations that were taught 2500 years ago are now for the first time globally,” Gomlam says. “We serve the public by giving them an opportunity to solve their human problems in a different way, mainly through meditation. We teach different levels and eventually we learn how to meditate on topics that are conducive to human happiness.”
In Modern Kadampa Buddhism, it’s not external conditions that make us happy. Instead, happiness is a feeling that comes from our mind. Gomlam explains that often we look to inanimate objects or external things — like a new car or job — to help our emotional state, but this leaves us constantly disappointed. We get everything we want and we’re still not happy.
“It’s puzzling for many people,” she says. “We think if we have good relationships, a great job and we live in a place we want that it will make us happy. And it does for a while, but that’s not sustainable. Eventually it lets us down.”
Gomlam explains that the nature of our mind is peaceful, but our day-to-day stress and irritation can get in the way. Through meditation, our natural peace manifests again and appears for us. It in turn helps us to respond to the daily stresses of life in a clear, beneficial way. We solve our problems better if we have a clear mind, and if we have a clear mind, it’s inevitably peaceful.
“Buddhism is logical,” she says. “You just need the experience and the methods to practice it. We know that we have advanced medically, technologically, materially… we have so much progress externally. But there is not a corresponding increase in human happiness.”
Offering meditation classes that are suitable for every level of experience, Kadampa Meditation Center Madison’s class design always includes two guided meditations and a short talk or teaching on a topic suitable for busy modern people, or instruction in meditation techniques. The center also provides programs for those interested in chanted prayers, and increasing their understanding and experience of Buddhist philosophy and practice. Meditations are routinely conjoined with a topic, like how to improve your love, or how to improve your patience.
Complimentary 30-minute guided meditations are also offered every Wednesday and Friday. Gomlam explains that it’s meant to be easy. You are welcome to simply walk in, and you’re guided through the process from start to finish. She suggests even just 15 minutes of meditation a day can change your life.
“The basic meditation is learning how to let go of busyness and stress so your mind’s natural peace appears again,” she says. “Meditation teaches how to maintain that or get it back when we lose it. The more you do it, the more control you have over your life. It helps everything.”
Kadampa Meditation Center Madison is friendly and welcoming to all — including children. Originally intrigued by meditation and later drawn to the practical methods and inspiring teachings for everyday life, Meghan Caylor, Educational Program Coordinator, focuses on kids and their innate ability to grasp the message of Modern Kadampa Buddhism.
“Kids don’t have any limitations when they meditate,” she says. “We teach methods and they just go with it. It’s very peaceful and amazing to watch. We learn a lot from them.”
Every Sunday from 10 to 11:15 a.m., children age 4-12 can participate in Dharma for Kids. In the future, Kadampa Meditation Center Madison will also offer special days filled with family-friendly projects and meditation.
“We focus on Buddhist teachings… such as how to be more loving and kind, how to get rid of anger… and start and end with a meditation, much like the adult classes — the kids love that there are similarities,” Meghan says. “We also do a craft that is themed off of the main topic, which gives them something concrete to take away.”
We all hold the potential to gain the ability to focus on our mind’s happiness and the positivity that lies there.
“I was like most people. I had a good life, but I felt like I was missing something,” Gomlam says. “When I went to my first meditation class, I felt something special that I had never felt before: something clicked in my heart. It made me feel better, and I decided if it made me feel better, I was going to keep doing it until it stopped working. It never has. I’m still here!”
“Yes meditation does relax you physically and mentally, but the function of meditation is to change your mind from negative to positive — from distracted to focused — from unhappy to happy.” —Gen Kelsang Gomlam
The following are some of their most highly suggested books, all written by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:
“We learn in meditation how to cultivate a peaceful mind, and a peaceful mind is always a happy mind.” —Gen Kelsang Gomlam
Grand Opening Weekend with Gen-la Kelsang Jampa
7-9 p.m. — Ribbon Cutting and Center Blessing Ceremony
10 a.m.-12 p.m. — Public Talk: Modern Buddhism: Happiness and Our Human Potential
12-1 p.m. — Light Buffet and Open House
10-11:30 a.m. — Special Prayers for World Peace: Our Human Potential for Peace
Kadampa Meditation Center Madison
1825 S. Park Street, Madison
September is a great time of reflection on all the preceding summer offered. In a perfect world, the weather was pleasant, the good days were long and the season provided just as it should: a break from the rest of the year, complete with vacations and long weekends away. Our early childhood memories filled with outdoor play and seemingly unending movement are thought of often, the nostalgia highlighted at every turn.
Times are changing. Steve Barnett clearly remembers the used-to-be summer anthem, “Go outside and play!” from his youth, but fears it’s a thing of the past.
“While growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s… my sisters and I would grudgingly leave the house, find the neighbors our own age and proceed to be gone for the rest of the day — riding bikes, playing ball and finding woods to play in,” he recalls fondly.
“Today, more often than not, neighborhoods are quiet. High school students drive cars to school, and faces are looking at phone, computer and television screens.”
The parents of yesteryear were on to something. The owner of Orthopedic & Spine Therapy, Steve recognizes the inevitable health and wellness changes and challenges that accompany the onslaught of more and more screen time — and it impacts more than you may think.
It’s no secret that smoking is harmful to one’s health. Research and studies over the last few decades have focused on and resulted in the knowledge that the act of smoking and being around those who partake in the act is detrimental. An increase in incidents of heart disease, stroke and cancer have all been linked.
Health and wellness studies are now concentrating on another deadly lifestyle choice, one Steve recognizes is an inevitable part of every single day:
Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk has been studying the adverse effects of our increasingly inactive lifestyles for years and has summed up his findings in two sentences:
“Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.”
“Over the past twenty to thirty years we have adopted a more sedentary lifestyle,” Steve adds. “We have become less active… Americans sit about nine hours a day on average… ‘sitting is the new smoking.’”
Researchers have linked our present day ills of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer to prolonged sitting. Studies show sitting more than six hours a day puts you on a potentially deadly track, and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has found increases in the risk of colon, endometrial and possibly lung cancer.
“Frequent sitters are also susceptible to muscular issues such as stiffness,” Steve explains. “After years of constantly sitting the body is not as proficient at general activity. Researchers believe this is why elderly people have a hard time getting around later in life.”
Sedentary habits are also associated with higher levels of depression. It is reported that sitting reduces circulation, and it is more difficult for “feel-good hormones” to make their way to receptors. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine followed 9,000 women and determined that those who sat longer and did not meet the minimal exercise requirements suffered from depression at much higher rates compared with those who sat less and exercised more.
While it seems simple to create distance from the ill effects of smoking by simply choosing to not participate, dissociating ourselves from the inevitable act of sitting is much more difficult. What does Orthopedic & Spine Therapy recommend?
“Move,” Steve says simply. “We need to think of ways to reduce the periods of sitting done throughout our day. Our culture has not been good at tracking and accountability when it comes to health — until now. Technology (like Fitbit and Jawbone devices) now makes it effortless to track activity. When you are aware of what you are doing in real time, it is easy to see how small choices lead to big changes.”
Because so many people sit at work, there has been heightened activity over the past several years to ensure that desk stations are ergonomically correct. This places the individual in the best position for their body type, thus reducing strain to the body tissues and promoting an efficient work environment, not only financially for the company but also physically and mentally for the individual.
“Ergonomics derives from two Greek words: ergon, meaning work and nomoi, meaning natural laws, to create a word that means the science of work and a person’s relationship to that work,” Steve explains.
We also can’t forget about the importance of our movement outside of the structured 9-5 workday. Steve suggests finding the right balance is in finding the right activities for you.
“Finding enjoyment in the activity has numerous additional benefits,” he says. “While silent sports can be done in a group, much of the time they are done solo. This alone time fosters mind/body connection with just your breath and nature keeping you company. They are activities such as running, hiking, biking, kayaking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and swimming.”
Orthopedic & Spine Therapy’s goal is to restore patient’s health.
“When people are experiencing symptoms, or are not able to do activities in a pain-free manner as they were able to do, they should contact us,” he adds. “I relish those moments where I’m able to see a patient leave their duration of treatment very well satisfied.”
Unrivalled customer service, education and results are what drive a “WOW Philosophy” at Orthopedic & Spine Therapy. Always top of mind, Orthopedic & Spine Therapy serves their communities in the following divisions:
Orthopedic & Spine Therapy boasts 18 clinics throughout Northwest and Northeast Wisconsin to treat all musculoskeletal conditions. No matter where you’re located, there are exceptional physical therapists nearby to help with any pain or frustration you may be experiencing. Visit www.ostpt.com to find the location and contact information for the clinic nearest you.
Orthopedic & Spine Therapy provides:
Orthopedic & Spine Therapy also:
Mimi Fogarty has a unique lease on life, a perspective that is both intriguing and engaging in its conveyance. She’s always felt different, but it certainly hasn’t phased her. Instead, it has propelled her into an occupation that isn’t a job at all. It’s her life.
“I was always the weird one,” she laughs. “I think I’ve had a gift my entire life, and I realized it when I was six years old. I’ve always thought outside the box, and that’s how I work too.”
Her business, Soul Level Healing in De Pere, combines holistic modalities with Mimi’s own intuition and natural abilities to help people in a variety of ways. Aptly named, the studio brings healing through Reiki, aromatherapy, meditation practices and music therapy.
“No matter what modality I’m using, I’m assisting my client in healing from a soul level,” she explains. “You have to heal the soul before you can heal the physical and emotional body.”
Intuition is a significant part of Mimi’s lifework, but can’t be taught. It’s intrinsic for her, and something she attributes to her Native American heritage.
Within her culture are totems, “spirit beings, sacred objects, or symbols of a tribe, clan, family or individual. Native American tradition provides that each individual is connected with nine different animals that will accompany each person through life, acting as guides.”*
“One of my totems is an owl. It’s not very desired as it represents death and darkness, but for me it also represents being able to see what is otherwise hidden.
“I basically hear with my mind’s ear,” she adds. “I’m fifty percent Ojibwa and fifty percent Aztec Indian. Nature is my church. I really connect with animals and the outdoors — living plants and trees.”
And of course, people.
She does so through a variety of holistic modalities at Soul Level Healing. Reiki is a large part of that, but Mimi understands that it’s not an easy concept to grasp at first. The results of the energy work speak for themselves.
“It’s very hard to explain something you can’t see. A lot of people say they’ve heard of it, but they’re not sure what it is. Other people say, ‘Oh my gosh, what is that?’” she laughs.
Reiki uses universal life force energy to heal the body on a cellular level, Mimi explains. It takes whatever issue you have — whether it’s migraines, fibromyalgia or arthritis — and channels energy to the location that you need it most. Essentially, it is reprogramming your cells to function the way they were meant to. It also deals with our chakras, or our body’s energy centers.
“When I’m doing Reiki, I don’t touch the body. My hands hover about 2 to 3 inches above, and I’m using my intuition to read where you need the energy the most,” she says. “If you live with a lot of stress or pain, those chakras can start spinning backward, stop spinning, or start to spin at a different rate than the others, which causes physical inflammation and irritation.”
She’s seen a variety of ailments relieved through Reiki at Soul Level Healing: arthritis, fibromyalgia, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, aches and pains, and gastrointestinal problems.
For Mimi personally, it was migraines.
“I was a client of Reiki for a long time before I became a practitioner,” she says. “I was looking at the holistic way of living, and I didn’t want to put a lot of chemicals into my body. I wanted to heal myself from a cellular level and my migraines have definitely diminished. If it can work for me, it can work for anyone!”
An often overlooked part of the healing process that she says is integral in relief is simply believing and being open to alternative modalities working for you. And it’s not just your human friends and family that can potentially be helped.
“I don’t have room for horses,” Mimi laughs. “But Reiki can help animals too!”
Mimi’s outlook on life and Soul Level Healing is nothing short of commendable. Her intuition and drive to help others is the quintessential pairing to create a space for overall health, and it’s growing.
Educating others is a big part of Mimi’s life, and is an ever-present part of her mission. She is currently being trained and certified in a number of modalities to better herself and expand Soul Level Healing:
• Holistic Cancer Consultant
• Holistic Health Practitioner
• Integrative Cancer Educator
• Certified Naturopathic Practitioner
• Certified Holistic ADHD Educator
• Certified Holistic Diabetes Educator
“I want to focus on helping people live a healthier lifestyle,” she says. “I want time with each client to get a background of what it is that they’re suffering with, and what outcome they’re looking for.”
Also in Mimi’s plans for the future are incorporating yoga, meditation practices, nutrition consultation, and even holistic substitutions for more traditional forms of healing. Client education surrounding essential oils in the form of aromatherapy is also in the works, as well as integrating music into the lives of her clients.
“I love music therapy,” she says. “It makes you relaxed and feel good — maybe it takes you to a certain time or place that makes you happy. There are so many healing properties with music.”
Mimi’s life purpose is simple: to be kind, to heal people, and to help those who cross her path feel comfortable and knowledgeable about all holistic health offers.
“I pride myself on the compassion I offer to others,” Mimi says. “I feel what you feel. I can empathize and know either how deeply something is hurting you or any concerns you may have… I love what I do.”
Mimi explains that her gift of intuition goes beyond that of traditional empathy and understanding. At Soul Level Healing, she reads people through a variety of methods: psychic readings, and oracle card and pendulum sessions.
“I use my gifts to help spiritual seekers who want to develop their own intuitive abilities. I also offer my services to open-minded individuals searching for clarity, comfort and solace when dealing with a tragedy or the loss of a loved one,” she says.
Mimi also teaches others to embrace such gifts by providing classes meant to help support our own natural intuition and abilities. They cover a variety of topics: Advanced Mediumship, Divination, Intuitive Healing, Meditation 101, Oracle Cards and Pendulum Divination.
Soul Level Healing
3313 S. Packerland Drive, Suite D, De Pere