• The World's Healthiest Cookie

    From start to finish, these cookies take about 30 minutes to make (including bake time).  The cookie dough is so good you won’t want to bake them!   Sweet Potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral.  As well they are high in vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C.

    They’re a cinch, and you’ll be so glad you made them; so bake some sweet potato cookies, and enjoy them knowing that they’ll make you smile from the inside out!

     

    World’s Healthiest Cookie Recipe

    2 ripe bananas, mashed
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like)
    1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (for GF buy gluten free oats)
    2/3 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
    1/2 cup pecans, chopped (can substitute with other nuts or seeds)
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup sweet potato packed tightly peeled and shredded (add up to a whole cup if you like a more moist cookie)
    1/4 cup chocolate chips (add up to 1/2 cup if you like)

    Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

    In a large mixing bowl mash 2 ripe bananas.  Add vanilla, coconut oil and maple syrup ; mix well.

    In a separate bowl, combine and mix oats, coconut, pecans, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.  Slowly stir the sweet potato into the oat mixture making sure to break up all of the clumps.

    Stir this mixture into the wet mixture, then fold the chocolate chips into the batter.

    Dampen your hands a little, and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the batter into your palm.  Shape them into balls then press them flatter onto the parchment.  Bake one dozen on each baking sheet, or set the dough aside, and bake one batch at a time.  Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes.

    Voila, Magic!

  • Soma Studio Welcomes Michealla Redeker, RMT

    Soma Studio would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest RMT, Michealla Redeker.

    Michealla is a skilled, resourceful, intuitive, and approachable Registered Massage Therapist with extensive knowledge and experience in the field. A graduate of the West Coast College of Massage Therapy, Michealla obtained her registered status in the fall of 2001 after completing 3000 hours of training.

    Michealla has been a dedicated practitioner of Massage Therapy for the past 11 years and has continually upgraded her skills over this period of time.  She has advanced study in therapeutic deep tissue massage, Myofascial release, muscle energy techniques, Thai massage, and perinatal. She also is a dedicated yoga practioner.

    Michealla has travelled to various parts of Asia including, Thailand and India, to learn and experience different holistic healing practices.  In her practice, Michealla treats a wide spectrum of patients with issues stemming from chronic illness, athletics, pregnancy, work, stress and accident related injuries.

    Michealla has recently returned to work after taking some time off to spend with her first child and love of her life. A grounded down to earth mom and professional, Michealla is passionate about travel, foreign culture, music the outdoors and activities including, Yoga, running and hiking.

  • 5 Reasons for Pregnancy Back Pain

    While being pregnant can be a wonderful experience, it often comes with a few challenges such as lower back pain.

    There are essentially two types of pregnancy back pain: lumbar pain (over and around the lumbar vertebrae area) and posterior pelvic pain (in the back of your pelvis). Pelvic pain can be felt deep inside the buttocks, in the back of your thighs and/or over your pubic bone.

    There are many potential reasons behind your back pain – here are five of the most common causes:

    1. Hormonal changes – The hormone relaxin literally allows the ligaments that attach your pelvic bones to your spine to relax. Your also joints loosen, leading to instability and pain when walking, bending, sitting for long periods or rolling over in bed.
    2. Postural changes – Your growing belly shifts your centre of gravity forward. Along with weakened abdominal muscles, your posture may be compensating (i.e. slouching or allowing your back to bow and your pelvis to shift back) and putting additional strain on your back.
    3. Extra weight – Women typically gain between 25 and 35 pounds during a healthy pregnancy. Not only does this weight need to be supported by the spine, it creates extra work for the muscles and stress on the joints, all causing lower back pain.
    4. Stress – Emotional stress can cause muscle tension in the back.
    5. Previous or chronic back pain – With all the changes that occur in your body during pregnancy, old issues may flare up.

    WHAT TO DO

    There are several things you can do to ease the discomfort of back pain during pregnancy and prevent it from turning into a long-term problem.

    1. Exercise – Regular exercise strengthens muscles and increases flexibility, easing the stress on your spine. Swimming is a fantastic option as it strengthens muscles while the water’s buoyancy removes any strain.
    2. Keep active – If you can’t get to the gym or pool, make walking and stretching part of your daily routine. Avoid sitting for long periods or bed rest.
    3. Check your posture – When standing, ensure that you use a pelvic tilt, stand tall and hold your shoulders back. When sitting at a desk, rest your feet on a box or stack of books, sit up straight, use additional support behind your back and, if in the third trimester, a pillow on your lap under your belly.
    4. Sleep position – Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees. The pillow should be wide or thick enough to almost set your legs hip distance apart. As your belly grows, use another pillow underneath it for support.
    5. Massage therapy – See a certified prenatal massage therapist, who will relax muscles that are overworking and tense due to the changing body. Prenatal massage therapy deals with some of the other pregnancy-related conditions as well such as carpal tunnel syndrome, edema in legs and hands, insomnia and headaches. A certified prenatal massage therapist will also provide advice about where to take prenatal classes, proper breast feeding positions for your body, the importance of rest after delivery as well as appropriate exercise after baby.

    If you have pregnancy-related back pain, make an appointment with one of our certified massage therapists to relax and experience some relief.

  • Amazing Epsom Salt

    Epsom salt is vastly underrated. Most of us associate it with a relaxing bath, but did you know that epsom salts have all sorts of amazing health benefits—as well as beauty, household and gardening-related uses?

    Epsom salt has been used for hundreds of years as a natural remedy for a number of ailments. Unlike other ‘salts’, Epsom salt has beneficial properties that can soothe the body, mind and soul.

    What is Epsom Salt?

    Epsom salt, named for a bitter saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England, is not actually salt but a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function and helping to prevent artery hardening. Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins and help ease migraine headaches.

    Why Epsom Salt Baths?

    Epsom salt baths are the easiest way to enjoy the health benefits of magnesium and sulfate, as both minerals are readily absorbed through the skin. After a deep massage treatment, we often give our clients a packet of Epsom salts because it draws the lactic acid out of the body, reducing achiness. For the same reason, these baths are great after a big workout or long run.

    The key is to use water that’s as hot as you can bear (unless you’re pregnant) and at least one cup of Epsom salt. Another important tip: drink two glasses of water while you’re in the tub to assist in the flushing process.

    Benefits of Epsom Salts

    There are many reasons why Soma Studio recommends Epsom salt baths to our clients. Some of the countless health benefits include:

    • Relaxing the nervous system
    • Drawing toxins from the body
    • Soothing back pain & aching bodies
    • Easing muscle strain
    • Reducing swelling & inflammation
    • Alleviating skin problems
    • Treating colds and congestion
    • Relieving symptoms of athlete’s foot

    It’s also a natural emollient, exfoliator and hair volumizer. Around the house and garden, Epsom salt can be used to soften towels, clean bathroom tiles, deter slugs, fertilize plants and keep your lawn green.

    Where to Find Epsom Salts in Vancouver

    Any pharmacy such as Shopper’s Drug Mart or London Drugs should carry plain Epsom salt. If you become a convert, you can find it in bulk at Costco and select stores.

    To up the relaxation ante, try naturally scented bath salts such as lavender, mandarin, sandalwood or ylang-ylang. These can be found at bath and body care stores such as Escents Aromatherapy – or it’s easy to make your own.

  • Fit for Two Prenatal & Postnatal Fitness CONTEST

    Soma Studio East and Fit for Two® have partnered in a monthly draw to win a free pass at Fit for Two Vancouver East! The free pass is for four consecutive classes at the East Vancouver location only.

    How to Enter

    Starting December 1st, 2012, all one-hour pregnancy massage clients at our Soma East location will be entered into the draw after their appointment. On the last day of the month, one name will be drawn from the group as the monthly winner. Winners will be notified by phone.

    Learn More About Fit for Two

    Find out general information on the organization or view the class schedule for Vancouver East.

    Please contact us with any questions about the contest.

     

  • Giving Back During the Holidays

    The holidays present the perfect opportunity to give back to our communities, especially to those not as fortunate as ourselves. Helping others rejuvenates us in ways that a wrapped gift can’t, taking the focus off accumulating “more stuff” and putting it back where the true meaning of giving lies.

    Giving back doesn’t need to involve a monetary donation. You can volunteer your time at a local charity, donate goods you don’t need or do a ‘drive’ to collect clothing or personal care items for people in need. Volunteering can also involve your profession: many organizations would welcome you to donate your time as a nurse, photographer, graphic designer, yoga instructor, massage therapist, etc.

    Five Places to Give Back in Vancouver

    Lookout Emergency Aid Society – Volunteer as a kitchen or clean-up helper during holiday meals or a Christmas helper, Santa, elves or musician on Christmas Day at this organization that supports emergency shelters, transitional housing, outreach and training programs. The society is also looking for many other types of volunteers.

    YMCA Presents of Peace Holiday Hamper Program – Assist a low-income Vancouver single parent who is facing the holidays with no other support (i.e. family, ex-partner, other agencies, etc.) by providing a gift hamper. Note: Hampers are due in the family’s home by Dec. 19th.

    Union Gospel Mission – Volunteer or do a ‘personal goods’ drive (toiletries, warm clothes) to support their large range of services, including meals, outreach, emergency shelter, affordable housing, children & family programs, alcohol & drug recovery and more.

    Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society– An obvious choice at this time of year, but beyond donating the most needed items to local donation bins, the Food Bank always needs volunteers for their warehouse, depots and events; and appreciates specific gifts in kind.

    Your Neighbours – Most of us can think of an elderly, disabled or homebound neighbour that may appreciate some able-bodied help. Depending on your (and their) comfort level, offer to help them with their shopping, drive them to an appointment, put up some festive lights or – if it snows – shovel their walkway and stairs. You could also bring them a surprise such as a warm meal, holiday treat or plant.

    Giving back shouldn’t stop when the holidays are over. There are countless Lower Mainland organizations that need our help throughout the year. Check out more volunteer opportunities here.