Category Archives: Alternative Health

Long term medication

Recently I have been working with some older people who have very strange problems.

I had the opportunity to speak with one’s GP, which I thought was very progressive for the GP. I mentioned the person was on blood pressure medication for 40 years and could that affect this situation. He thought it could.

Now would the person be alive if they had not taken the medication in the first place all those years. That’s tough to say.

Could they have done other things in those years to get their blood pressure in check? Again tough to say. However in 40 years you think something could be done.

I have another client I get to speak to their GP about. I don’t know if it’s a trend but in 20 years these are the first times a GP has asked what I think. It’s a bit of a shock really, but I am happy to put in my opinion.

Again my first question is on the persons long term medications. Don’t misunderstand me, I am all for properly prescribed, necessary medications. In the past I have taken my share and I would take them again if I needed them. I have no problem with the miracles of modern medicine.

But, everything has a cost. Long term those costs will come to collect. I think there are ways that people can lessen and sometimes eliminate medications and for that matter “health supplements”

An example of that is digestive enzymes, they are okay to take for a few months but not a few years. If you find you still need them after 6 months, further investigation should happen.

All I am saying is, if you are on long term prescription medications, or supplements have a look at what they do for you and see if there are some ways to do the same without them. Let’s take sleeping pills, their use is on the rise massively.  Google how to get to sleep. Do some of what it says for a week and see what happens, or call me and I’ll tell you.

Think about it and talk to your health team and start working on lowering your med/supplement load. I recently finished a case where the person was on 12 meds and 2 years later they are on none. It was a long road, with full involvement of their Doctor and family. But the results where worth it.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Making the medicine go down

Ever tried to get a little person to swallow medicine? It can be impossible. Here is a solution developed by a pediatric psychologist, I just heard on the radio. It’s brilliant!

Three parts and a few ‘advanced’ ideas at the end.

1. Have them suck on a ice cube, frozen fruit or a popsicle. It turns down their taste buds.

2. Get three portions of something they like to drink. Smoothie, thicker juice etc. If liquid pour, if pill crush the medicine and mix it in middle glass of liquid.

3. Plug their nose! It also turns down the taste buds. Do this FIRST. then swallow glass with no medicine, glass with medicine, and finish with glass with no medicine.

Voila! medicine inside body.

Why do kids refuse to take medications that can actually save their life or at least get them better quicker? I see it more with kids that have been sick. They get so much stuff done to them for their “own good”. But often it hurts, is uncomfortable and separates them from their peer group.

When they get a chance to control something they do it. Like what goes into their mouths. If you have had a sick young person you know the stress it brings on everyone. But most of the people involved are “mature”. Imagine how the little person feels. They have a big lack of control.

What can we do about that. Let them control what the drink is (no whiskey), how it’s made, how the pill is opened, crushed. Type of glass, how the nose is plugged. The countdown to drinking, what the celebration is afterwards. Things like that.

I have spent years working to get kids to take, often terrible tasting herbs. I wish I had heard this speaker before. It still might be tough with some kids but the ice and holding the nose are really good ideas.

And like the song says, “A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down”

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies


Spring to it

Ah early spring, really early spring it seems. We have little flowers in the yard, well until the deer ate them last night.

The golf courses are going, runners abound, it’s the magical time when we ski in the morning and rush down for a quick round of golf.

But wait what happens the next morning, you hurt all over? How could that be? Ah it’s the waking from hibernation time.

This is my favorite time of year in the clinic, not only is there some sun shinning in the windows but there is the most diversity in people coming into the clinic. It’s a big variety of injuries, tears, sprains and pulls.

The longer I practice the more I follow the old texts on health in Chinese Medicine. They warn of approaching Spring with respect, slowly opening the body to the new season and DON’T GO CRAZY with exercise. Rushing out to dig the garden, plant the flowers, go for a run.

Winter is still the most ‘hibernating’ time for us. Our body’s get a bit out of shape. We get a bit more rest than other seasons and that is a good thing. Our minds they seem to skip that and think we can just go back to exactly what we where doing in the fall.

Do yourself a favor and take it easy for the first couple of weeks. Rake the lawn over the weekend not the next 4 hours. You will be glad you did.

But for the other 98% of us, I will be standing by in the clinic.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Yuma AZ and snowbirds

Did a winter vacation to see my dad, he snowbirds down in Yuma Az. it’s on the boarder of Arizona, California and Mexico. There is about 100,000 snowbirds that go there for the winter/spring. Let’s just say the average age is north or 75.

It is flat, dry and is the sunniest town in the world! There are miles of RV’s of every type in all directions and all sorts of different types of houses. Some people take their RV and just park out in the desert and hang out, they call it ‘boon-docking’.

I am stunned how busy my dad is. When I first showed up to Dad’s Casita/5th wheel lot, I asked why he had 10 couches, 50 chairs, enough cutlery etc for an army. Then the cars started showing up. We set up a BBQ in the lot and had a huge hot-dog party.

Often there is a ‘bloody marry’ party. Where at 9am, 30-40 people will show up at someones house/RV/trailer and drink bloody marry’s till 10am, then 30 of us went for breakfast. Often at 4pm is happy hour where again 40 people show up and all are gone by 4:59. It’s like magic. One night we went to a fabulous house for supper with 15-20 people.

On Thursdays they meet to go out to the desert and drive around to some old mine site, or look out or oasis. There is movie night’s, they go into the big city to see hockey or baseball games. It never ends.

We went to Algodones Mexico and that is where things got interesting for me in the health business. The town of 5500 is about 1/4 pharmacy’s, 1/4 dentist, 1/4 eye glass shops and 1/4 everything else you’d think Mexico should have.

The line up getting back into the USA was long and very social, everyone was visiting and most where carrying BIG BAGS OF DRUGS. Just not the kind 20 year olds think of. My dad’s been going down there for 10 years and after a couple of years I asked him what was surprising to him. His answer was how restricted some of the group was due to their medications and how many med they where on.

I asked my dad what he thought his reason was for better health and he said the farm life. My dad farms about 4 moths a year. It’s not as hard a job as it once was but he’ll start at 6 am and normally turn into bed around 11-12 pm. He’ll do that in the spring for 6-8 weeks and in the fall harvest for 3 months.  He’s pretty tough for a 72 year old.

When the group realized what I did for work the health questions started. I think I could be busy down there. To age well I encourage all of us to do the following:

Eat well, learn what eating well for you means. It can take 10-15 years of casual study to get a food plan that works for you so start right away. Start small and just pick an area of study each year to get better at it. My first year was how to eat more vegetables, then we worked on finding better sources of meat. Last year was finding ways for me to eat more fruit. This year I am studying the microbiome (the bugs in us).

Get active. Find things you like to do that work your muscles in a balanced way. I talked to a retired PE teacher in Yuma. He’s messed up. How we trained and stretched 40+ years ago was mostly a bad idea. There are a lot of 70 year olds that have terrible body structures. If it hurts regularly then maybe it’s not for you. I of course love Tai Chi but there are thousands of activities you can do to keep fit.

Find hobbies that activate your mind. If they can involve other people that’s a bonus. You want to keep your mind nimble and quick. A good way to do that is to use it. Find things that challenge you. I pick up a new hobby every 5 years. It reminds me how crappy it is to be brand new at things, it gives me the chance to improve at it and notice I can get better at things and it stretches my mind/body in new directions.

Heal your injuries, whether they are physical, mental, spiritual, emotional or nutritional. As you age they can come and ruin your life. Many of us are trying to do just that, well continue then. It can take years to fix some things. I am reading a book on healing the gut for ADHD, they talk in years not months in this book.

Get better social skills because if your going to Yuma your going to need them and enough stuff to sit 40 people for supper.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies


Sparkilng good time

I just got back from a weekend at Sparkling Hills Health Resort, it was nice. It is a “European Spa experience”. Basically 8-9 different steam rooms, some really nice pools, hot tub, gym, tea room, library room and a silent room, with a beautiful hotel built around it.

We arrived at night and did not realize the thing is basically on a mountain top. We got to the spa and went to the outdoor pool, it was nicely warm and then the snow storm hit. That was fun, swimming around in an outdoor warm pool in a snow storm.

The place was built in partnership with the Swarovski company so everywhere you look there are crystals. It is all very beautiful.

It was my first time at a health retreat as a customer, normally I am working at my teacher retreat. I must say I enjoyed being on the receiving end.

I encourage all of us to take a weekend now and then to totally unplug and notice just how fast the wheels of life have gotten. It was a nice time to re-connect with my wife and look at our lives and see where they are going and if we are happy with that. It seems we are.

I met a few clients up there, one did a 7 day program up there and was very excited to tell us how it has revitalized her and recharged her life. It was interesting to hear about all her treatments and the fun she was having.

Heather did the cryogenic chamber a -110c room (yep that’s SUPER cold). You are in there for 3 minutes for only $55 (yep that’s SUPER expensive) but there is positive reviews about the machine.

Life is short, you only get one body take care of it. Going on a retreat is one way of doing that.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Tai Chi for health

I have been doing Tai Chi, which is basically a line dance from China, since 1999. I started because I have heard  it is good for you. About a month ago I started to understand it in a whole new way.

My original teacher, James, started teaching again and I started going to regular classes again. He started expanding what I was doing and then one day about a month ago I had a strange experience.

I was doing a move that pulled my arm across my abdomen. With his coaching and lots of repeats of the move eventually when I pulled my hand across my abdomen it would gurgle where ever my hand went!

I must say it was a very strange thing. I would pull my hand from left to right and then back and it would just bubble inside back and forth with my hand,

This last weekend I was lucky to attend a workshop with Mr. Boon Loh. Likely the most experienced practitioner in the society. He took me aside for a couple of times and put me threw the paces. He had my body doing things that where just incredible. For a guy who’s not supposed to be able to walk, I would like to have had those doctors there to see what I was doing.

I have pushed hundreds of people to do Tai Chi and some still do. Most quit because it is boring and until a couple of months ago I agreed with them. Now I am excited to practice every day. Talking with Mr. Loh he says I have the whole mountain yet to see, I have only found a path. I will let you know what I see. Or better yet come with me.

In my 30+ years of being in fitness I still maintain Tai Chi is the best overall exercise a person can do. The big reason is it is adjustable to how you are feeling. If you are having a good day you can make it very hard. If you are tired you can make it easier but still get the benefits of it. Old and young people can do it together equally, no one is slowing the other down or getting in their way. Some Tai Chi’s are built for injured people, some even do it in chairs.

I have lots of great Tai Chi stories, next time you are in the clinic ask about the 75 year old lady in the wheelchair and at 80 doing 108 Don-yu’s.

Kelowna contacts:

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies


The attack on Natural Health

Today marks an amazing event. Heel Canada and Heel USA closed and left the continent. They are one of the largest homeopathic company’s in the world. They still operate in dozens of countries just not ours.

Why? They got a class action lawsuit in the US, that applied to Canada also. They settled out of court for 1 million dollars. While maintaining they did nothing wrong, they said it would cost much more to fight it out.  So they left.

Have you ever heard of Traumeel? That’s just one of dozens they make. At the moment there is a LOT of backlash against homeopathic s. While I am not a huge fan of them, they can be a miracle cure for some and they have little to no side effects and bought from a reasonable supplier, they are cheap.

Doing research for this I find Boiron, another Homeopathic company, has all kinds of lawsuits against it. Reading those court documents I can see why they are getting sued. You can not just go to a health food store and normally buy a Homeo that will work. It is much more difficult than that.

Homeopathy should be delivered via a trained Homeopathic practitioner. It is not something you just go to a shelf a buy. As the product is super, super low strength it takes a very precise mixture to get results. I have seen people go to the few remaining experts in Homeopathy and it really amazes me how they figure it out, but they do and get results.

The point to this story is, if you are into Natural therapies they got a kick today.

UBC talk, Health and Longevity with Oriental Medicine

I spoke today at UBC about health and longevity with Oriental Medicine. I had a fun time and there where three other great speakers. Here are the health and longevity tips I talked about.
Without seeing someone and figuring out their specific challenges and strengths for health and longevity we are sticking with the basics. BUT, the basics will take you a long way.

#1. The Three Rules of Eating. (a) Eat three meals a day. If you do not have regular daytime inputs of nutrition your body will do all kinds of weird things eventually. (b) When you eat sit down, do NOT work, do NOT use electronics. DO visit, listen to relaxing music or be quiet. It will allow your body to actually digest your food. (c) Chew your food, it is amazing when you chew and taste your food, you will start making better food choices.

#2. Get some friends and join some clubs. Google “longevity and friends” and you will see a lot of pages on the better the friends you have and the better connections you have into the community the longer and healthier you life will be.

#3. Regular exercise. As people age they loose their minds or they loose their physical health first. Regular exercise will do it’s part to keep you healthy. I suggest Tai Chi. there are some great clubs in town you can find them here. OR

#4. Make peace with yourself and the world. Life is too short to spend it angry with yourself. Life is too short to spend it angry at others. It may take time to get to a place of peace with yourself and others but start down that road as soon as you can.

Others are: the body likes routine, go to bed and wake up at the same time (as best you can). Drink a consistent amount of plain water each day. Avoid having lots some days (and none other days) or lots in a short period of time. Remember the body likes routine. Have personal time, relationship time, family time, work time, friends time and community time.

How do you do it? Start with one thing on the list and work on it for six months. Just one, get it figured out and continue on to the next one on the list that you like. Start small, be consistent and huge changes will be yours.

Any questions, call.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies


15 years of Tai Chi and still learning

I started Tai Chi in 1999, it was something I always wanted to do. I thought then and I believe it now to be the very best exercise in the world. The reason is, it is scalable to your fitness levels. If you are fit you can make it very hard and if you are weak, you can make the moves easier and still do it side by side with the fit person.

This weekend we had my first instructor do a workshop. As usual I wondered why I should bother going after all I have taught it for several years. As usual I left completely blown away at all the cool stuff I learned and wondered how I could call what I did before Tai Chi.

That has happened to me 20+ times over the years, going to Tai Chi workshops. It occurred to me today, while I was marveling at all my new found skills, how many people did no go to the seminar because they figured they had it all figured out and don’t need to show up for class. Trust me they don’t.

Then I made the leap to most everything, how many of us don’t do a lot of things because we figure we got it all figured out? We stop learning, stop being curious as to whats around the corner, what would happen if I did _________?

The conclusion I made for my reasons is arrogance, I thought I was just too good for another ‘beginners seminar’. I have programed myself anytime I think that way I force myself to go and find out. Normally I realize I have a looooong way to go before I am the ‘wise old one’.

Take a moment and think about things, wonder what it could be like if you approached things like a 7 year old. Is there something there for you to learn, experience, appreciate?

From my work point of view I talk to a lot of people that figure their health problems are handled, their injury’s are healed good enough, their diets, sleep, lifestyle is all under control. From my vantage point I see it differently for some of them. But you can’t help the ones that don’t show up for class.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies

Don’t screw it up, you only have one body.

Every New Years I review my life and what happened last year vs what I had planned. Then I build a plan for this year and go merrily on my way. Of course in a year I’ll wonder what the heck happened. Some of it goes better and some worse than expected.

I love a quote by Jim Rhon, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Every year I work on improving an area of my life and health, it could be diet, exercise, rest, hobby’s etc. I think over the last 15 years it has made an incredible difference to my life.

Start small. My very first year’s goal was to eat three meals a day and keep my hours at work to below 12 a day. I was successful likely 80% of the time, but it was better than when I started the year and that’s what matters.

Your time here is very short, make it count. Your mind, body and spirit is what allows you to enjoy life, take care of them. I encourage you to read my “Get your rocks in order” story if you are not familiar with it and start putting the Big rocks in first.

Be Well,
Ward Willison
Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies