Healthy Concepts

when one considers “retail,” a typically unflattering vison may come to mind. Fluorescent lighting, disinterested associates and the unwelcomed cash register are all things we’ve encountered while shopping. Walk into Sweet Willow Naturals, and the wonderful smells and uplifting environment are refreshing. But this is only the beginning when it comes to differences in this shop and typical retail experiences.

Owners Mary Radue, Heather Herdman and Lynn Green, along with their one employee, Dana Schlies, intentionally created this environment. The camaraderie between the four is evident, and visitors feel as though they’re sharing time at home with friends rather than in a retail location. In this scenario, the “friends” happen to be highly knowledgeable about all things natural, and want to partner with you to share their knowledge.

“We’re a retail store, but our mission really is service and education,” Mary says. “We want to help people understand what’s going on with their health, and partner with the person to see if lifestyle changes could be considered.”

“We try to meet people where they are — someone might want to buy $250 in essential oils. We encourage them to learn about one or two oils and find many ways to use one oil, rather than buying an oil for every different use,” Heather says. “Lynn says the same about herbs. Trust the herbalist who knows 100 things to do with one herb, rather than one thing to do with 100 different herbs.”

Their mission is backed up by their education. Mary’s academic background is in psychology and education; she holds coach certifications in integrative nutrition and eating psychology, and is currently working toward her health coach certification from the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy. Heather and Lynn come from professional nursing backgrounds; Heather holds a doctorate, Lynn has a master’s degree and maintains a nurse practitioner practice. Heather is a clinical aromatherapist, has completed massage school and has taken numerous courses on herbs and essential oils. She’s currently enrolled in a 1000-hour immersive herbal course. Lynn is a long-time master herbalist, which she uses in conjunction with her advanced nursing and medical knowledge. She has studied with internationally recognized integrative health specialists, such as Drs. Tieraona Low Dog and Andrew Weil, and is well-known regionally and across professional groups as an expert in herbal and integrative health care. Dana is a certified herbalist, completing specialized herb courses for women and children. As a mother of three young children, she integrates herbs and sound nutritional principles into her family’s life. Continuing education is a way of life for these women!

“Evidence-based practice is integral to who we are; we don’t recommend something that doesn’t have research behind it. Many people aren’t aware there can be interactions with essential oils or herbs and medications. We share that, and encourage people to talk with their health care providers. We hear things that have no research support — essential oils do not cure cancer, but there are folks out there saying they do. We try to educate,” Heather explains.

“Nature isn’t always nice — you wouldn’t lie in poison ivy, right? So why use herbs or essential oils without knowing how they work and any cautions you should consider? These are natural medicines with chemical properties, and should be used carefully — the same way we should use Western medicine,” Mary adds. “We’re known to talk someone out of buying something when we don’t have evidence to support a particular use.”

“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort.” —John Ruskin

Balance in lifestyle is important to the women at Sweet Willow Naturals, but their approach to quality and integrity of products is non-negotiable. “We source local, quality products,” Heather says, “with proper labeling and appropriate ingredients sourced from reputable places. We try as much as possible to supply organic herbs. If we can’t find what we need locally, we go to reputable regional suppliers. We try to stay as close to Green Bay as possible, because sustainability is part of our mission.”

Twenty-four tea varieties are blended in-house to promote health in areas such as: sleep, stress, anxiety, digestion, breastfeeding, etc. “We do a lot of custom blending for people,” Lynn says. “Sometimes it’s making a flavorful beverage, and sometimes it’s to promote health so we can blend something especially for them.”

The store offers a variety of ethically grown, harvested and distributed products, including more than 170 high-quality, organic or wild harvested herbs and spices sold by the ounce (also available in bulk). A full line of do-it-yourself products is available, including organic carrier oils, salts, clays, etc. Natural skin care products; Sweet Willow Natural’s own line of infant/child products, natural salves, tinctures and liniments; a variety of natural soaps, lotions, shampoos and deodorants are available. The store has its own line of spice blends, chai, cocoa, and other culinary goodies too.

Sweet Willow Naturals provides a large variety of 100 percent pure essential oils, featuring a brand which performs gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to test and confirm purity. “It’s the only way to know that what’s supposed to be in the bottle, really is in the bottle,” Heather says. Many aromatherapy products, including essential oil diffusers, are available. Just as significantly, the group provides invaluable information regarding safe essential oil use.

The store promotes recycling and reuse by encouraging visitors to reuse to the containers they purchase and bring them back for a refill (or bring your own container in and they’ll fill it!).

Empowerment is a word used carefully by the team at Sweet Willow Naturals — they believe that people hold their own power to support their unique journeys — instead, the notion of providing knowledge to partner in their visitors’ health and well-being is their No. 1 priority.

“In a nutshell, we’re very curious people,” Mary explains. “We’re not judgmental, we don’t tell people what to do, we ask questions to understand the bigger picture: ‘Tell me your story. How are you nourishing yourself with food, movement, sleep and relaxation? How are you managing stress?’ Then we can educate.”

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” —William Butler Yeats

Visitors also enjoy classes designed to support well-being (see sidebar for upcoming classes!), and take advantage of health promotion services offered. These include health & wellness coaching, massage therapy, herbal and aromatherapy personal consults. Appointments can be made in person or by phone, and take place in private rooms available at the store.

“We provide lots of classes, including how to use garden herbs for health and in cooking, and how to use herbs for each body system,” Dana says. “For example, we’ve offered classes on herbs for making toothpaste, mouthwash and for gum issues. You can learn to make herb-infused body care products. For kids, antimicrobial items, such as first aid ointments, cough syrup, cough drops, teas and soups are great.”

“We’ve offered classes on making soap, body butters, lip balms… how to use essential oils — where they come from, how they’re processed, how to use them safely. We’ve had instructors offer classes on sound bowls for meditation, and Ayurveda and its health care tradition,” Mary adds.

Sweet Willow Naturals encourages custom creation of classes. The staff can develop a class (or “tea time chat”) with your own interests in mind. A group of 4-10 people is ideal, so participants can interact and ask questions. Some examples of previous custom-designed classes include: general health promotion, understanding our relationship with food and letting go of the “diet mentality,” tea blending, safely using essential oils, and using herbs as foods.

“Our classes are fun and laid back, not overwhelming,” Dana says. “We share information and always like to have treats to try. I recently brought medicinal gummy bears made with a strong tea infusion, cherry juice and gelatin. They’re fun for kids, but the adults also loved them.”

“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” —Charles Dickens

The Sweet Willow Naturals team has a philosophy based on balance and holistic health. They support mind, body and spirit, living in the moment, and finding joy in simple things. Humor is in no shortage within the shop. In fact, these women find contentment in laughing — at themselves.

“We have a retail horror story,” Mary laughs. “It was our first summer in the old store, and I was alone that day. We had our infused oils in glass bottles hanging on this shelf on the wall… and it came flying down. Glass and oil went everywhere! It ended up being a defining moment for our working together; we learned we don’t get bent out of shape, and we found humor in what could have been a catastrophe.”

“We take one day at a time, and really enjoy ourselves,” Heather says. 

“Our primary mission is education. We want to teach people to proactively manage their own health, rather than having to rely on someone else to do it for them.” —Heather Herdman, RN, PhD

Mary, Heather, Lynn and Dana have a love of sharing knowledge and supporting others in taking their well-being into their own hands — literally. See below for the fall and winter lineup, or call the shop to set up a custom class for your group of friends and family!

  • October 11: Let’s Dance – Intro to Nia
  • October 12: DIY Herbal Salves and Lip Balms
  • October 18: Essential Oil Safety – Use Those Drops Wisely
  • October 21: DIY Herbal Salves and Lip Balms
  • October 24: Gremlin Training
  • October 26: DIY Lotion Bars & Body Butters
  • November 9: Strengths Spotting
  • November 13: I’ve Run Out of Sheep and I Still Can’t Sleep!
  • November 16: Soap Making
  • December 2: Make Your Own Aromatherapy Jewelry
  • December 5: Done with Dieting
  • December 9: DIY Windowsill Herb Gardens
  • December 11: Herbal Treats & Sweets

For more classes, details and to register, please visit, call 920-530-1188 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Slow down and stay a while…

“Our location features a tea bar where you can come and grab a delightful cup of tea and a yummy, healthy snack! We encourage you to sit down for a spell, sip your tea and chat with us!”

Sweet Willow Naturals

1541 Bellevue Street, Suite 3

Green Bay


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I had the opportunity to attend a Rejuvenessence mediSpa (R-mediSpa) soiree in June and learned about some great skin care products that do not contain the usual harmful ingredients found in the majority of skin care and makeup lines on the market today. After happily using the Skinbetter line and Jane Iredale makeup that I purchased that day for a few months, I was curious about R-mediSpa’s other services. After all, I was going the extra mile to nourish my body from the inside out and applying clean, chemical-free makeup to my skin so why not treat myself to more?

I discovered that R-mediSpa offers a complimentary consultation to address a client’s concerns at which time options are presented to address those issues. They also thoroughly explain the procedures they offer. There is absolutely no high pressure sales pitch and I was able to choose the option I was most comfortable with. Keep in mind that I have some of the usual culprits like broken capillaries, pigmentation variations, surface irregularities and fine lines. Since I had never had the “spa experience” before and wasn’t overly bothered by my imperfections, I decided I wanted to try the microdermabrasion. I found out later that this is actually their signature procedure that they are well known for. This is a very noninvasive procedure that is suited for most skin types. I felt it would help to exfoliate dead skin cells allowing my moisturizer to work better and it would be in line with my “Keep nasty chemicals off my face” mantra. My anesthetist, Heather, thought that would be a good first step for me.

My appointment started out with a brief health history form to fill out. The staff at R-mediSpa was attentive and welcoming and it was a very zen-like atmosphere with soft instrumental music and aromatherapy. I learned that it is not a one-size-fits-all office and that they customize every last detail to what they feel will work best for the client. Heather determined that I should be treated with the papaya enzymatic solution based on my skin needs and let me tell you it smelled amazing!

The microdermabrasion was not what I expected at all. It was soft and cool to the touch. It was like a little vacuum nozzle that gently sucked debris from my face. Because it hardly made any noise at all, it allowed me to ask Heather about 1,000 questions! As I was lying on a heated bed with my face wrapped in a warm towel letting the moisturizing oils soak in, I couldn’t think of anything more relaxing. I need to mention that afterward my face felt like baby skin. Seriously, baby skin!

After Heather waited for me to stop feeling my face over and over she let me know that she wasn’t done yet. Based on her evaluation she also chose a volcanic silt mask to apply. It wasn’t like the concrete concoction I can remember getting as a kid at the drug store, but luxuriously silky and I could feel my pores doing a happy dance. OK, I exaggerate, but it felt fantastic! Heather also gave me the most relaxing neck and shoulder massage that only added to the level of calm I felt. I could get used to this!

After the microdermabrasion treatment and silt mask, I asked to have a makeup consult because at their soiree I had a color match done and had so many compliments afterward about how my makeup looked so natural. I knew I was finally wearing the right color foundation. Since that was in June and it rained for the rest of the summer, I didn’t get out in the sun much and felt my face was not as tan. It turned out my shade was lighter, and Heather gave me some great makeup application tips that I was not aware of. Since she knew I did not wear much makeup, she used complementing neutral colors so when I was done I looked much better but not overly made up. She did not take me out of my comfort zone, but enhanced the features I had that made me — well me.

I have been busy raising four children and that doesn’t give me much time to think about me. Now that I took time to care for myself, it has reenergized me in many areas. I cannot recommend enough that every woman at least have a consultation to talk with the professionals at R-mediSpa about their services — and they offer a lot! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain by scheduling a visit and experiencing their expertise. Maybe then it will be your turn to feel like a queen! 

Rejuvenessence MediSpa

2201 E Enterprise Ave #104, Appleton


We often hear visitors make comparisons between Oil Well and other oileries. Therefore, we felt it important to share with you the specific ways Oil Well is abundantly unique and different, beginning with our freshly poured products (never pre-bottled) available to you in our elegant carafe bottles from Italy.

Oil Well is very fortunate to have regional exclusivity to the only ice-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) known in the world, which is sourced from personal friends at their privately-owned land in Soulanari, Greece.

  • We offer bath and body products made from this exclusive and certified organic oil, and therapeautic and wild-crafted essential oils, which supports our focus on disease prevention.

We pride ourselves in offering a variety of organic, cold-pressed EVOOs sourced from around the world. We chose premium cold-pressed EVOOs from many regions, which are also available in a variety of naturally-flavored selections.

  • In addition, we offer exquisite dark chocolates and truffles all made from our worldly EVOOs and balsamic vinegars.

Oil Well offers distinguishably-aged, 25 star dark and white balsamic vinegars, which are also available in a variety of naturally-flavored selections.

  • As an extension of our balsamic vinegars, we also offer premium, speciality-aged vinegars.

Our mission is to provide wellness education and a personalized experience for each customer; therefore, our employees have wellness-related expertise, with specialities ranging from health & wellness coaching, nutrition, culinary arts, Reiki, massage and beyond.

  • As a convenience for our customers, special occasion gift baskets and exclusive bread-dipping pottery are readily available.

Oil Well proudly features our very own Perfectly Pressed Club, affording members the opportunity to receive free products, recipes and complimentary attendance to educational sessions, access to the Oil Well phone app (clearance items, coupons, special promotions), and more.

Oil Well also offers our monthly Oil Well-ness sessions and free daily samples and recipes! Our classes vary from cooking tips using our olive oils and balsamics to massage, Reiki and organic essential oil blends! As well as online purchasing for corporate and personal gifting at!

Feel free to contact us at 262-354-0236 for any special event hosting at Oil Well or off site, as well as special occasion labeling on your bottles for all events! Hope to see you soon in Oconomowoc at Oil Well ~ Lake & Country! 

New pets can make life at home more exciting. Cats are popular pets because of their curiosity, playfulness and size, which makes them great pets in private homes and apartments big and small.

Many people prefer cats because they tend to require less maintenance than dogs and felines are relatively self-sufficient. According to a 2014 survey from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, 37 percent of Canadian households included one or more cats. In the United States, the American Pet Products Association says that 30 to 37 percent of households have a cat, and more than 35 percent of cats are acquired as strays.

Kittens can be soft, fluffy and adorable to have around. However, to maintain a peaceful household and provide a safe environment for new felines, it’s important for pet owners to follow some key tips.

Kittens should not be separated from their mother or siblings until they’re at least 10 to 12 weeks of age, provided the litter has had significant human contact, offers Blue Buffalo Pet Food’s animal experts. If the kittens have not had much contact, it may be possible to bring them home earlier. The earlier cats are socialized, the easier the kitten-owner relationship and the less skittish the cat may be.

Cats require some necessities from the start. These include feeding bowls, litter boxes or trays, toys, and scratching posts. Washable cat beds with warm blankets are also helpful. Position the litter tray in a corner away from food and water. The International Cat Care group says that a new home can be intimidating, so it’s best to introduce cats slowly to their new environments. Choose a room that’s quiet where the kitten can adjust. Outfit the room with toys and a place to snuggle or hide, and remove any hazards or breakable items.

Gradually give the kitten time to venture out into the main living area to explore, watching how it behaves. If the cat dashes nervously, it may need more time to acclimate. Some kittens take up to two weeks to fully relax in a home. People should be introduced one at a time.

The animal guidance group VetStreet says handling and playing with kittens at least once per day will help owners form strong emotional bonds with their cats. Children should be monitored upon introduction to the new kitten to make sure it’s a positive experience for both the kitten and child.

Veterinarians can offer a wealth of information for new cat owners. Ask many questions, including which foods to feed them and how often; illnesses to watch out for; suggestions on how to introduce the kitten to other pets; and guidelines for making litter box training easier. Remember to discuss having the kitten spayed or neutered right away to help combat cat overpopulation.

Kittens can be playful members of the family. Treat them right from the start and they can make loving and excellent pets. 

Source: MetroCreative Connection.

We have all heard that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets. It is one of the world’s regional diets that seem to provide benefits to health and longevity. One of the key elements of the Mediterranean diet is the use of particular fats in the diets. Olive oil provides the omega-9 fatty acids, and fish from the sea and grazing animals provide the critical omega-3. Omega-6 fatty acids from nuts and seeds are consumed in their natural forms as foods and not as refined oils as we have in the U.S.

The sad story for the American diet is the huge shift to refined sugars, refined grains, refined grain and seed oils, which provide many calories but are largely nutrient deficient. We also consume artificial chemicals as a normal part of our diet. It is no wonder that we have the health issues that overwhelm us. We wonder why we are sick? We turn to pharmaceutical drugs as if they can cure our diseases. The basic truth here is that good health is not possible without good nutrition. Traditional diets provide a wide range of nutrients that come from the foods of the earth. Refined and chemicalized foods do not nourish the body and cannot provide the building blocks of good health.

If a person is unwilling to take responsibility for their food and diet choices then not much can be done. Supplements can help, but supplements are not a replacement for eating quality food, prepared well and served with love. The challenge for many people is making sense of the nutritional information that is available to them. This is especially true when it comes to diets. Today the Mediterranean diet is more popular than ever, with new research every month documenting its benefits.

Getting Started with the Mediterranean Diet: Nine Steps

Embracing the Mediterranean diet is all about making some simple but profound changes in the way you eat today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life.

  1. Eat lots of vegetables. Vegetables are vitally important to the fresh tastes and delicious flavors of the Mediterranean diet.
  2. Change the way you think about meat. If you eat meat, have smaller amounts.
  3. Enjoy some dairy products. Eat Greek or plain yogurt, and try smaller amounts of a variety of cheeses.
  4. Eat seafood twice a week. Fish such as tuna, herring, salmon and sardines. Shellfish including mussels, oysters and clams have similar benefits.
  5. Cook a vegetarian meal one night a week. Down the road, try two nights per week.
  6. Use good fats. Include sources of healthy fats in daily meals. Avoid bad fats.
  7. Switch to whole grains. Whole grains’ fuller, nuttier taste and extra fiber keep you satisfied for hours.
  8. For dessert, eat fresh fruit.
  9. Learn more about the health benefits and the “how-to” of the traditional Mediterranean diet. is a consumer-friendly site where you can explore the science of the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. They reference over 150 studies on the Mediterranean diet. They dispense with the jargon and help you under the context of the studies. They also have similar resources for other traditional diets such as Asian, African and Latin American. These are the diets that have sustained humans for thousands of years. Oldways is a resource rich site that will help you understand and appropriate the best from all of these world traditions.

One thing that becomes abundantly clear to me as I research the traditional diets of the world is the commonality of the benefits of eating wholesome nutritious foods no matter what the tradition or culture. Traditional diets are rich in the natural compounds upon which health is built. A diet that is stripped of its nutrients cannot provide health. Foods and supplements nourish the body. That is how nutrients exert their benefits to the structure and function of the human body. Eat better to be better.

I will be wrapping up my contribution to Nature’s Pathways at the end of this year. It has been a lot of fun providing thought-provoking articles for your consideration for the past years. You will be able to follow my writings and interviews at You can also speak with me personally through Family Nutrition Center. Just contact the store for an appointment. 

Imagine for a second that you are waking up in the morning rested, pain free and ready to embrace the day with a feeling of wellness. Quantum-Touch can help you get there.

Quantum-Touch is “the power to heal” energy healing. The body has an extraordinary ability to heal itself and Quantum-Touch helps to maximize the body’s own capacity to heal. Quantum-Touch is an effective method for reducing back pain, aligning bones, reducing muscle aches, healing injuries, healing burns, it addresses the root cause of disease and creates the space for true healing to occur, rather than working on the symptoms. Quantum-Touch is also good for physical and emotional issues, and varying degrees of improvement with cancer, infections, improved eyesight, and much more.

Love is a universal vibration that allows people to transfer healing energy from one another. It is the foundation of all healing and the core essence of the life force. Quantum-Touch techniques teach us how to focus and amplify life force energy by combining various breathing and body awareness exercises.

When a person has an injury, condition or even stress, the affected part of the body has a lower vibration and cannot completely heal itself, so the practitioner raises their vibration using body sweeps and breathing techniques. They place their hands on the client’s pain or condition, the client’s body raises their vibration to match and that is when the healing can truly begin.

When two things vibrating at different frequencies through resonance and entrainment, either the lower vibration will come up or the higher will come down, or they will meet in the middle. In Quantum-Touch, practitioners learn through breath and meditation techniques to raise the vibration of their hands to a high frequency. When they place their hands in proximity to someone else who is in pain, their client’s body, like a similarly tuned circuit, will resonate and entrain to the practitioner’s hands. Quantum-Touch sessions are basically the same. As you arrive for your session you will be asked to read and sign a release paper, and rate your pain from one to 10, 10 being the worst. The practitioner will align your hips and occipital ridge using a light touch, breathing and body sweeps. After those are in alignment, you will be asked where it hurts. As the practitioner will lightly put their hands on your pain, their hands may get warm and sometimes hot. You will experience a change in your pain — it may have moved or went down, and you should let the practitioner know this. They will follow the pain to the root cause or until it is gone. Sessions range from 15 minutes to possibly 1.5 hours. Some conditions require more than one appointment. During the session, the client may experience some emotional releases. This is normal, and you will be treated in a nurturing manner.

This amazing healing is good for animals and plants as well, and you can run energy into water and drink it to send healing energy to every cell of your body. Quantum-Touch can have benefits for athletes on all levels to improve training and performance. Quantum-Touch is yours for a lifetime. These are natural exercises that everyone can easily do; the ability to assist in healing is an innate gift we already possess. It takes a weekend class (12 hours) to learn. You can use it for self-healing or on loved ones.

Quantum-Touch works because our love has impact — more than we can imagine.

Conception doesn’t always happen easily for all couples. Not every woman conceives on the first try, it can take months and even years to conceive. It can be disappointing and stressful to anyone.

Reflexology has been used for fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood since the early 1700s. Reflexology assists in rebalancing the mind, body and spirit, helping to get the body in its natural state of homeostasis (perfect health).

Reflexology works best when the client has a healthy lifestyle, which includes diet, exercise, relaxation and work/life balance. No two reflexology treatments are the same for each person. Treatments are tailored to each person, which helps to ensure the best outcome. Reflexology is a treatment working certain points on the feet that correspond with different parts of the body. As a reflexologist, here are a few reasons I feel it works in helping with conception:

Rebalancing the body

We have maps on the bottom of our feet and hands that correspond to parts on our body. Reflexology works by stimulating reflex points on the feet/hands that correspond to parts of the body that need assistance to work well. Reflexologists are trained to work the relevant reflexes and the supporting systems. For example, it is important to work areas relating to the reproductive system but also to work the nervous system, which supports the body in creating the right environment for conception.

Total relaxation

An hour-long reflexology session is like getting a whole body massage. It is wonderfully relaxing, calming and balancing. It is due to the way reflexology rebalances the hormones within the system. Anyone who has regular reflexology treatments and then stops very quickly realizes how much better they felt having the treatments. The actual treatment is focused on allowing the client to totally relax using massage and pressure point techniques to the foot and lower leg. This slows breathing, blood pressure drops, tension eases and the body initiates its healing ability. Often, when trying to conceive, there will be a lot of negative, repetitive thought patterns taking place. Reflexology assists in altering these patterns.

Relieves stress

Reflexology can really help combat stress, which is very important if it is to increase fertility and become pregnant. Reflexology is soothing and relaxing, and it helps balance hormones, promote regular menstruation, promote ovulation, and can relieve symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis.

Continued reflexology treatments can also help:

  • Improve the natural healing abilities of the body.
  • Encourage all body systems to function efficiently.
  • Help remove toxins from the body.

In essence, energy pathways are unlocked in reflexology; this allows the body’s energy to flow as it should. These points on the feet that correspond to the reproductive system in the body are massaged, assisting in balancing the body as a whole and relieving any blockages that might be stalling conception.

Nutrition is a very important factor in conception. We have been led to believe all food is good for us, but the truth of the matter is we are all individuals with many varying food sensitivities — some more obvious than others. Understanding that some types of food, while they taste incredible, may not be the best for your body and becoming pregnant. It is important to do research as to what to eliminate from your diet (for a while), and what foods to include to increase the chances of conception. Hydration is necessary for the body to function properly but what we drink is equally important. Two quarts of water daily is the best source possible! Without the proper hydration, the ability to conceive becomes a challenge. There is limited flow for the body to perform properly. Note: some liquids actually dehydrate a body. Soda, coffee, sugary drinks and caffeinated drinks can all have this effect. Some even have bad toxins that can cause illness and disease, so always know what you are putting into your body.


Reflexology is not just for women, men also greatly benefit from reflexology and good nutrition. Men receive many of the same benefits as women, but it can also help increase their mobility and health of the sperm while eliminating the stress they are put under to perform. It also helps remove toxins that can inhibit their health.

The latest research, a two-year clinical trial at the IVF unit at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, is the brainchild of reflexologist Jane Holt. She approached the unit after 13 of the 23 women she treated with a range of fertility problems fell pregnant last year.

A client of hers, an auxiliary nurse age 34, is convinced that her trip to see Jane resulted in the birth of her son, Luke, who is now five months old.

“We had been trying for a baby for just over a year and had begun to look at other ways that would help me conceive when someone recommended reflexology,” she said.

“I had four treatments and was pregnant within three weeks. I am convinced that the reflexology got my body in working order so I was ready to conceive. I also felt 10 times better, more positive and a lot happier in myself.

“I went in there with an open mind, but was totally shocked to find myself pregnant so soon,” she said. “I would definitely advise other women to try reflexology. It may not work for everyone, but it worked for me and it is worth trying.”

Reflexology is safe and painless and I believe has helped many women achieve getting pregnant, even my own daughter. Many have told me “it’s like getting a whole body massage through my feet!” 

1. Increased cancer risk

As early as 1928 Dr. D.T. Quigley warned physicians about the dangers of spreading cancer cells through the compression of the mammogram. It is only logical that if there are any small, undetected tumors already developing in the breast, that painful compression could easily spread malignant cells through the circulatory and lymphatic system.

2. When is radiation safe?

A mammogram is X-ray radiation delivered to very sensitive tissue. The National Academy of Sciences explains that a typical mammogram delivers 1,000 times more radiation than a chest X-ray! Premenopausal women receiving annual screenings for 10 years are exposed to 1 rad of radiation per year. Each rad increases the breast cancer risk by 1 percent. So after 10 years, the exposure results in a cumulative 10 percent increase in breast cancer risk.

According to, X-rays provided by mammograms result in substantially greater damage to DNA than would be predicted, and suggest that the risk of breast cancer caused by exposure to mammography radiation may be greatly underestimated. So the answer is: never!

3. Don’t rely on computer aided detection (CAD)

Many radiologists have relied on specialized computer software to locate suspicious areas in routine mammograms. In a new study, computer aided detection (CAD) failed to improve breast cancer detection and also increased a woman’s risk given a false positive result, which usually means another mammogram. The study analyzed 1.6 million mammograms taken between 1998 and 2006. Some experts say that in light of the new evidence, radiologists should use more discretion in interpreting CAD results.

4. Increased cancer risk for high risk women

A 2011 study by highlighted the existence of breakage of DNA strands induced by mammography. The low dose and a low and repeated dose of mammograms exacerbated the DNA strand breakage in patients who were considered at high risk. High risk patients would be those who had a family history of cancer.

5. False positives

According to Medscape, mammograms miss up to 1/3rd or more of all breast cancers. And false positive results cost women time, pain, emotional trauma, energy and money. Women are more susceptible for a false positive result if they have dense, also called fibrocystic, breast tissue.

6. Inconclusive results

Routine mammography has been conclusively shown to be useless for women under the age of 50. In November 2009 the U.S. Preventive Task Force (a federal advisory board) changed their recommendations from annual to screenings every 2 years, starting at age 50 — not 40 as previously recommended. This is a benefit, especially for the sensitive premenopausal breast tissue to radiation and external stressors.

7. Invalid scientific evidence for mammograms

Terry Matlen reported in a 2009 article posted on that 9 FDA scientists had raised the red flag and shared their concerns about mammograms in a letter to the president-elect Obama, alleging that “gross mishandling by FDA managers were putting the country at risk.” Matlen writes, “The scientists cited a breakdown of the independent scientific review process at the FDA as far back as 1998, when Tom Daschle, Mr. Obama’s choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services, wrote about the issue in his book, ‘Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.’” In that book, Daschle described how mammography computer aided detection devices were not appropriately approved, thus setting into motion a chronic breakdown of the FDA’s system. Daschle noted that these devices were not backed by clinical evidence showing they were effective in detecting breast cancer thus causing undue biopsies for thousands of women.

By the time a lump is visible on an X-ray (ultrasound) it has been developing for 5-8 years. According to an article in the Journal of National Cancer Institute, “the overwhelming majority of breast cancers are unaffected by early detection, either because they are aggressive or slow growing.” 

Reference: “Shocking Truth About the Big Squeeze That Will Have You Thinking Twice.” Dr. Veronique Desaulniers.

Fall is here and winter is quickly approaching, and with them brings the numerous illnesses that can spread throughout our communities. Several practices can be considered to keep children healthy through these seasons, as well as providing immune support through botanicals and supplements.

As a main line of defense, four key factors play an important role in keeping your child healthy. Simple hand washing should be a priority, with plain soap and water. Avoid using antibacterial hand sanitizer, which can contribute to antibiotic resistant bacteria and strip the skin of its beneficial microbes. Provide sufficient rest time for your child through plenty of sleep each night as well as naps, if needed. Switch from a cold, summer diet to emphasize a diet consisting of warming, hearty foods to bolster the body further. And finally, add in a few supplements and botanicals to provide additional nourishment and stability to the body.

There are a few supplements that have been proven to offer great benefit for direct immune support: Vitamins C and D, cod liver oil, probiotics and a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. With children spending more time indoors, and our location in a northern climate, our bodies are not always capable of producing the Vitamin D necessary for overall health. The majority of Americans are not consuming adequate amounts of fish to provide the omega-3s necessary for overall health. Cod liver oil contains omega-3s and vitamins A and D. A probiotic and multi-vitamin/mineral supplement round out the vitamins and minerals and bacterial support for our children’s growing needs. With so much of our population deficient in common vitamins and minerals, supplementing with a full spectrum vitamin is reasonable.

Echinacea has been popular for home use for several decades and was prominently used by the eclectic physicians in the 19th century. It has proven to be effective in preventing illness and is safe taken daily, but it is not as effective for treating an illness. A safe and effective dose for echinacea for children 2-5 years old is 7.5 milliliters per day, given in 2 divided doses, once in the morning and once in the evening. The dose for children 6-18 years old is 10 milliliters per day, given in 2 divided doses as well. Umcka or umckaloabo has been demonstrated to reduce the length and severity for upper respiratory infections; dosage is 30 drops, 3 times a day, taken at the first sign of symptoms. Andrographis has also been shown to boost immunity, diminish the frequency and duration of upper respiratory infections; dosage is 50-200 milligrams a day, usually for five days, for use in children. Start at the lower end for small children and work up to 200 milligrams a day for teenagers.

Further, medicinal mushrooms are showing great benefit for immunomodulation. They benefit both under- and over-active immune systems to boost immunity, and reduce the frequency and severity of illness. Reishi, shiitake and cordyceps are excellent choices that have the most evidence and clinical studies for use in children. Other herbs that can also be considered and combined with those listed above are elderberry, astragalus and codonopsis. Astragalus and codonopsis can be given in the form of tea, or made into gummies for another creative way to give herbal remedies to kids. Elderberry syrup and a children’s version of fire cider can be used frequently during the winter months. There is an abundant number of herbs that can be used to address symptom relief from coughs, fevers, sore throats, ear infections and conjunctivitis.

When taking several of these supplements or herbs over the course of an entire season, illness can be prevented and the duration or severity may also be lessened. If you are uncertain about a certain illness or feel that something more serious is going on with your child, please see your child’s health care provider for further evaluation. Trust your instincts as a parent and partner with a pediatrician, functional or integrative doctor or nurse practitioner who supports you and your family. 

This information is for educational purposes only; please speak with your family’s health care provider before adding botanicals to your child’s diet.

References: “Healthy All Year.” Aviva Romm. Romm Enterprises. 2015.

The National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements.

“Fortify Your Life.” Tieraona Low Dog. National Geographic Society. 2016.

Astragalus has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine in combination with other herbs, such as ginseng, dong quai, and licorice.

There are more than 2,000 species of astragalus.

Astragalus has been used as a dietary supplement for many conditions, including for diarrhea, fatigue, anorexia, upper respiratory infections, heart disease, hepatitis, fibromyalgia, and as an adjunctive therapy for cancer.

The root of the astragalus plant is put in soups, teas, extracts, or capsules.

How much do we know?

There are no high-quality studies in people of astragalus for any health conditions.

What have we learned?

Patients with nephrotic syndrome (health problems related to kidney damage) are susceptible to infections. A 2012 research review found that taking astragalus granules may be associated with a lower risk of infections in children with nephrotic syndrome. However, the review concluded that the studies were poor quality.

People with diabetic nephropathy (a type of kidney disease) who received an intravenous drip of astragalus over a period of 2 to 6 weeks did better on some measures of kidney function, compared to people who didn’t get astragalus, according to a 2011 analysis of 25 studies. However, most of the trials involved were poor quality.

There’s weak evidence that astragalus may help heart function in some patients with viral myocarditis (an infection of the heart), a 2013 research review showed.

Because of limitations in the studies, a 2013 research review on the effects of astragalus on fatty liver disease, which causes fat to build up in liver cells, couldn’t determine whether astragalus helps.

An astragalus-based herbal formula didn’t extend the life of patients with advanced lung cancer, a small 2009 trial reported. The study was supported in part by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).

What do we know about safety?

Astragalus is considered safe for many adults. The most commonly reported side effects are diarrhea and other mild gastrointestinal effects. However, it may affect blood sugar levels and blood pressure and be risky for people with certain health problems, such as blood disorders, diabetes, or hypertension.

Astragalus may interact with medications that suppress the immune system, such as drugs taken by organ transplant recipients and some cancer patients.

Some astragalus species, usually not found in dietary supplements, can be toxic. Several species that grow in the United States contain the neurotoxin swainsonine and have caused “locoweed” poisoning in animals. Other species contain potentially toxic levels of selenium.

Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. 

Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Herbs at a Glance.

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