About Us

About Wellness Works Integrated Health Services

Wellness Works provides integrated health and wellness services to clients in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland area. These services include personal training, nutrition consultations and metabolic typing, postural assessments, and massage. Our philosophy is simple. We believe that the mind, body and spirit are all connected and therefore optimal growth and healing occurs when we look at the whole life versus just one aspect of it. Click here for more about our philosophy and how we work

The Evolution of Wellness Works ….

I had not planned on becoming an exercise specialist and wellness practitioner… yet now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

In fact, I’m sure my school classmates would have agreed that I was the least likely to even be employed in the fitness industry. You see in elementary school I was a klutz. I couldn’t throw a ball and was usually picked last for a team. The focus on competition in high school made me dislike sports even more.

After high school I got into fitness for the health benefits. I started skipping rope and for the first time in my life, I began to enjoy physical training. I even started riding my bike to UBC (45 min. each way). Most people who heard that thought I was nuts! I loved going at my own pace and not having to compete with anyone.

Then I had a thought that changed the course of my professional life. I realized that others may have had similar experiences with fitness growing up, and the best way I could help them was to get into the exercise field. If I could enjoy fitness, then anyone could!

Good Bye French Degree, Hello Phys Ed…

I said ‘au revoir’ to my French degree and eventually landed at the University of Toronto to complete a Physical Education degree, where I studied anatomy, physiology, exercise physiology, nutrition and how exercise can improve health. During my studies I worked in the fitness lab and did fitness assessments and consultations. I graduated in 1992 after 2.5 years of schooling. (See the French degree did come in handy!)

I immediately put my degree to use and started working at the Toronto Athletic Club as a member of the fitness staff. Soon I was promoted to be the department head.

I would likely still be working in a club today had another magical moment not occurred a year later. One of the trainers asked me if I would train her clients while she was away. It was then that I realized I could be a trainer in my own business versus working for a club.

I Can Have My Own Personal Training Business?!

I started my Fresh Air Fitness business and trained clients in parks in Toronto. It got cold and icy for the winter so we went indoors. The following spring I couldn’t get the people back out to the parks, so I continued to train my clients in the gym for the next two years.

By the fall of September 1997 I was ready to do what I had always wanted to do – move back home to Vancouver. No more -15 Celsius days that chilled me to the bone!

Moving to another city meant I had to build my business all over again from scratch. I found a training gym and was soon training clients again.

My Clients Guide Me…

While I do love to learn, it’s often my clients who guide me to my next area of education. I had a number of clients with injuries and various aches and pains. I became frustrated with my inability to help them, so I started to search for solutions. Through this pursuit I discovered and enrolled in the CHEK Institute’s Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology (Level 1) course in 1999. Applying what I learned allowed me to become much more effective in helping my clients overcome low-back pain. However, not all clients responded as well as I thought they should and I wanted to know why.

I began to read voraciously. It became clear to me that other lifestyle factors, such as nutrition and sleep, impact a person’s ability to heal physically. If the body is not given the raw materials (nutrients), or rest time it needs to rebuild tissue, healing is very slow. This led me to do the Holistic Lifestyle Consultant course through the CHEK Institute and to become a Metabolic Typing advisor.

A Wellness Newsletter Was Born

My studies made me think that a fair bit of the health info put out by the media was incorrect. Combine that with my love of writing and the need to share what I was learning and what do you get? A Wellness Ezine! Wellness Tips is an online newsletter that I started in May 2005 and goes out to my subscribers weekly. (Subscribe to Wellness Tips)

Helping You, Helps Me

I had been suffering from back pain for 5-6 years. When I heard that Diane Lee, a world famous physiotherapist who lectures all over world on low back and pelvis pain, was going to teach her 3-day low-back and pelvic stabilization course in Vancouver, I went.

That course changed my life on both a personal and professional level. I permanently got rid of my back pain, and I came to really understand the importance of back stabilization exercises. As a result I restructured the assessments and the exercise progressions I was doing with my low back-pain clients.

Diane was starting a Post-Partum Program for Moms as she found that many women develop low back-pain after child birth, whether it is 8 months or 20 years later. She needed people to teach her program. Diane welcomed me, and I was extremely fortunate to receive lots of personal tutoring from her, so I became very good at assessing people’s core function.

What I learned from Diane is the foundation for how I help those with low back pain. I teach my clients the skills they need to stabilize their own back so that over time as they improve these skills, their back pain resolves.

From Back Pain to Other Pains…

Back pain isn’t the only pain my clients have. I continued on with my corrective exercise studies and completed my CHEK Level 2 and 3. I was then able to help clients with neck, shoulder, and jaw pain.

Once I had my Level 3 certification, I had the qualification to access functional medicine tests available through Bio-Health Diagnostics.

One Thing Was Missing…

The only thing that I felt was missing from my repertoire was a manual therapy technique. I decided to take a Structural Integration course from Paul St. John, a very well known and respected massage therapist. So I travelled down to sunny Florida to take the required courses in 2008. (And no – I didn’t get to spend a lot of time at the beach!) After lots of practice, I took my certification exam in June 2009. I am now a certified Integrated Somatic Therapist.

These massage techniques dovetailed perfectly with what I had learned through the CHEK program. I now use a blend of assessment techniques (from CHEK, Diane Lee, & Paul St John) to determine what muscles need to be strengthened and stretched to create an exercise program, and I also use mobilization and muscle release techniques to help bring a person back into the correct postural alignment. This frequently eliminates pain and improves the body’s effectiveness.

My Team at Wellness Works

There is only one of me. I quickly discovered that I can’t train three clients at popular times like 5 pm so I started to bring on and educate trainers in 2006. You can read about them on the personals trainer page. This allows me to focus on what I’m really good at – assessments and working with those who are hurt.

Parting Words

The body is a 3D puzzle. If someone has pain or isn’t well, you need to find the root cause. Treating the symptom does not work for long. It jazzes me when I can figure out what is causing a client’s pain and help them heal. When clients follow my recommendations or exercise program they will get results.

This is a collaboration. I can’t fix you. It’s up to you to do the work. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

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