Kathleen Jackson checked out the sharp ridges of a fake skull during an informative lunch and learn on brain health

Brain health key to good health

Live, Love Laugh, and Play everyday kicked off this week's four day Chamber Week series

About 30 people reached into their goody bags and pulled out funny glasses and moustaches before taking a break from their lunch for laughter yoga.

The laughter came naturally for the group that looked around at their peers, who were also sitting in on a lunch and learn on mental health, hosted by the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce in celebration of Chamber Week.

Laughter helps create a positive mental state to deal with negative situations and people, presenter Danné Mykietyn shared during Live, Love, Laugh and Play Everyday, which kicked off this week’s four-day series.

The owner of DandiLion Wellness Centre shared her passion for brain health, which began 20 years ago when her daughter Nika was diagnosed with epilepsy. That’s when she realized that many drugs used to control seizure activity were the same anti-psychotic medications used to treat mental illness, and she began to question whether the drugs prescribed were, in fact, the right wellness path.

She was reacquainted with such prescribed drugs at 40 years old when she went through a difficult divorce and elevated stress met with hormonal imbalances and biochemical imbalances within her body fueled what was later discovered to be hypomanic.

In 2005, she moved back to her hometown of Trail and two years later opened a wellness spa in Rossland, which has since moved down the hill to Trail. Her customers come to escape everyday stresses with some of the services provided but also to learn about leading edge concepts in wellness, with brain health now at the centre of her business plan.

“Mental wellness in Canada is at an all-time low,” she told the group participating in the first lunch and learn session held in the Teck Interpretive Centre this week. “Statistics Canada show that one in five Canadians are affected or have family members who are affected by brain health and mental wellness issues.”

She believes that number is even higher when it comes to those under 35 years old, pointing to a “revolving door” at the Daly Pavilion, a psychiatric facility at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital.

Spurred by her own condition and those of her loved ones, Mykietyn began to research alternative options for mental health. Her studies first brought her to American psychiatrist Daniel Amen and his SPECT imaging methods of making neuropsychiatric diagnoses and creating individualizing treatment plans. She also discovered Dr. William Walsh, an international expert on advanced nutrient therapy, which is how brain changing nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids) targeted to correct biochemical imbalances can improve academic, behaviour, depression, autism and mental illness.

Mykietyn spent many years taking mind-numbing prescriptions before taking prescribed nutrient therapy. She is now an advocate for brain health and is hoping to convince others to try nutrient therapy, so much so that she is now the only place in Canada that offers biochemical lab testing for advanced nutrient therapy. After a blood and urine analysis is taken, it’s determine what nutrients are overabundant in a brain or what’s lacking, and a nutrient-based compound is made.

“It’s important to take care of our brain because it controls every aspect of our lives,” she said, demonstrating how soft the tissue is by making an example of the three-pound organ in a bag using Gyro Park sand as one of the main ingredients.

Mykietyn shared her tools to staying happy and healthy, which include laughter yoga, journaling and a “smile file” made of notes and cards collected over the years. She touched on the importance of making “me” time to go for a walk, sleep, meditate or whatever it is that helps you find balance.

The lunch and learns are a chance for Trail and District Chamber of Commerce to promote personal and professional development, according to Audrey Lochrie, executive director.

“Chamber Week is a national recognized week to get out in the communities (you serve) to show appreciation for members for one and to show folks who aren’t members sort of what we do here,” she explained.

There are 240 businesses, 111 in downtown Trail (from East Trail to the Gulch) alone, which are chamber members. The number has bumped up slightly since Rossland and Trail chambers amalgamated late last year.

Lochrie said the chamber is an advocate for business at the government level but is also dedicated to promoting business in various ways, including plugs through social media and cross promotion. The Trail Chamber’s main goal, however, is to increase its members’ customer base.

The chamber office, located above TD Canada Trust in Trail, also run the Trail Visitor Centre and makes numerous referrals daily.

Trail Chamber just secured its annual $68,000 funding from the city to continue to run this centre, which welcomed 2,700 visitors last year.

The greatest challenge continues to be the office location, but Lochie is pleased to announce grant funding has been secured from Destination BC to set up “info on the go” at touch points in the Gulch and at the RV Park in Trail. The eye-catching info domes should helped direct visitors to key attractions in the area but also help them locate the chamber’s office.

“Our location is the pits, and I don’t think that’s any secret,” said Lochrie. “By the time folks do get up here, they’re usually angry, and the only reason they come up is to tell us how hard it is to find parking or how hard it was to find us.”

Chamber Week continues with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Mia Gardiner rounding out the remainder of this week’s info sessions (lunch included) with a presentation on Effective Delegation done Tuesday and plans of touching on Coaching for Performance Wednesday and Providing Feedback Thursday.

There may still be room and those interested should RSVP by phone (250-368-3144) or via email at membershipmanager@trailchamber.bc.ca.

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