All posts related to "lifestyle"

AS it Goes – Participation: A Way to Be Heard

Participation: A Way to Be Heard

Image courtesy of Ambro at

I am not an Arthritis Superhero. I don’t work at one of Canada’s best workplaces for employees living with arthritis. I didn’t participate the annual World Arthritis Day in any special way other than my daily dog walk. I don’t produce videos on living with arthritis to win international acclaim. Nor have I ever been nominated or honoured for any outstanding community leadership in the arthritis field—nor do I expect to be recognized.

What I am is one of the 4.6 million men, women and children diagnosed with arthritis, who soldier along as we cope with our maladies and pains as best as we can. While all of the above mentioned “happenings” connected with increasing arthritis awareness create an all-important public buzz, the rest of us mortals are left trying to figure how to climb a flight of stairs, or twist off the top from a jam jar, or find a comfortable sleeping position. In other words, it’s all about our personal struggle on a daily basis to get through the day (and night) in a positive way, and then try to repeat it over and over again . . . Continue reading

Baby boomers over 65 are reinventing old age

Senior couple sitting at the parkJust in time for National Seniors Day in Canada on Wednesday, October 1, Paul Luke of The Province wrote a feature article titled “Over 65 and going strong: Baby Boomers are reinventing old age". In the article, he talks about the following themes:

  • Baby boomers’ perception of physical appearance;
  • Baby boomers are the richest and healthiest generation;
  • Seniors in the workforce;
  • Good health in seniors;
  • Statistics on the numbers of seniors in Canada; and,
  • The road ahead.

Please find below a summary of each section.

Continue reading

Spotlight on Arthritis Superheroes


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Today, in the first article of our “Spotlight on Arthritis Superheroes” series, we shine the spotlight on Helena Madsen and her blog, Chronic Marriage.

Chronic Marriage is a blog run by Helena Madsen, a wife, mother, writer, and counselor who lives with Muscular Dystrophy. Her blog is all about living with chronic illness AND helping couples build an extraordinary marriage. Continue reading

AS it Goes – Amber as Therapy?

Amber bead necklace in heart shapeMy friend, her daughter and her 6-month old son recently came for an afternoon visit and while the baby entertained us with his antics, his shirt opened to reveal that he was wearing a necklace made of small amber beads.

The baby’s mother, a university-educated and grounded young woman, told me that many young babies wear these necklaces because it is believed that amber has strong anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Babies wear amber as a remedy for teething; Baltic amber, in particular, is thought to soothe and calm a fussy baby without resorting to drugs. Continue reading

AS it Goes – A Magical Fish

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My hubbie and I recently celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary, and our children searched for the perfect gift to give the couple that already has two of everything. They finally settled on a "little" something related to the traditional stone—coral—that marks 35 years of married life.

Coral is said to grant wisdom, promote a healthy emotional foundation, and protect passage through tempests. However, instead of giving us a piece of ornamental coral (where to display that?) or a decorative photo of colourful coral (no wall space available either), they decided to expand on the coral theme and integrate it into their gift.

Apparently a family vacay to see a coral reef was their first idea, but practicality and financial reality intervened. Instead, we were introduced to "Armand", a bright blue betta fish whose new home features coloured coral-type rocks on the bottom of his fish bowl. These fish tend to be aggressive, so they are often sold individually as they can easily live up to their common name: Siamese Fighting Fish. Two male bettas in the same tank will fight each other to death to exert their dominance (I’m sure the kids did not know about this aspect when they decided on their gift ).

However, Armand seems friendly enough and he interacts with us: he follows your finger along the outside of his tank and every day at the feeding hour, he nearly jumps out of the water with excitement when his food arrives. Lately, he’s been making bubble nests, floating bundles of bubbles, which apparently indicates that he is healthy and comfortable in his environment on the island in our kitchen.

We were a little hesitant about owning a fish because our previous attempts to care for goldfish were most unsuccessful. But there’s no doubt that owning a pet has a positive psychological effect. Armand’s lazy swim around his bowl does impart a certain calmness with his hypnotic movements. It’s a fact that your body goes through a physical change when your mood is altered; the level of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is actually lowered. And the production of serotonin, a chemical associated with well-being, is increased.

Fran HalterCoupled with the purported "magical" properties imparted by the coral stones on the bottom of his bowl, Armand has made a positive contribution to our state of health. Anyone who suffers from a chronic condition or disease, such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS), welcomes any small positive measure that brings even a modicum of comfort or relief. Seems like Armand has done just that. ~ Fran


Do you have a pet that has a magical effect on your health? Send us pictures!

AS it Goes – Massage is Not Therapy

Woman enjoying massage

Image courtesy of Ambro /

Many people with arthritis use massage therapy to help alleviate their aches and pains. Massage soothes sore joints and muscles and over the long term, it may improve your range of motion, reduce stiffness and lessen the anxiety associated with living with chronic pain.

When you have ankylosing spondylitis (AS), it’s important to know—in advance—what kind of massage would suit you the best. If you are in remission, for instance, the massage can be a little more aggressive with more pressure applied to muscles. In general, it is advised that AS’ers should ask for a soft tissue massage with light kneading, vibration, and some stretching and long soothing strokes. Continue reading