Recap : Naturally Speaking, It’s Endo Event

On March 5, 2016, an event was held in Toronto, Canada called “Naturally Speaking, It’s Endo.”  It was a workshop with several presenters on natural techniques that you could use to manage your Endometriosis symptoms and pain.  I asked Michelle, one of the organizers of the event, if she and her cohorts would answer a few questions for our blog, and they did!  Not only that, but they offers some amazing highlights from each of the speakers below.  They also offered some beautiful door prizes and a luncheon for the attendees.
This once again goes to show that you don’t have to be huge organization to prepare an event.  This was put together by two women; two very strong women with a vision! I always say it because it’s, true, but “Together, we can do great things!”

Who helped organize and plan the event?

It was basically myself with the help of our office manager, Elaina. We also had support from The Endometriosis Network Canada (TENC) to help promote the event, but the planning and organization was just Elaina and I.

How long had it been in the works? (If you can believe it, many EndoSisters ask me these two questions because they’d like to prepare events in their area, too, and it’s something that many people want to know)

I initially wanted to do this event last September and had started thinking about it in July. But since I was getting married in October, I felt I was being pulled in too many directions at that time. I contacted TENC to see if they were planning anything in March for endometriosis awareness month. When they said they didn’t have any plans I told them I was interested in planning an event about natural ways to manage endo symptoms. We often get asked by women about what options exist in natural healthcare if they don’t want to use medication, or if they are on medication, what options can provide complementary support. TENC said they would help us spread the word about the event, so I started planning the speakers and event content around late November to early December. I booked a venue in January and we started promoting the event right away. I have helped plan events before so I know in order for the event to be successful, you should give yourself at least 6 months to plan, organize and promote the event.

How many attendees did you have?

We had 12 attendees.

I see that you have 5 guest speakers, covering topics from nutrition, naturopathic medicine, chiropractic care, restorative exercise, and skin care/make-up. How did these topics tie-in to Endometriosis care, treatment, and support?

I wanted to give women a variety of options for treatments because each woman is going to have a different experience with endometriosis. In holistic medicine we believe that every person is a unique individual, and what works for one person with endo, may not work for another. So the speakers offered 5 different options that can be used separately, or in conjunction with each other. I also know that other illnesses/diseases can occur simultaneously with endometriosis, such as weak pelvic floor muscles. These five different perspectives encompass a treatment plan for the whole person because what we eat, the supplements we take, our breathing and posture, our exercise regime and what we put on our skin all affect endometriosis symptoms.

Were there highlights of each that you’d care to share? I know that feeling well, inside AND out, can dramatically help an EndoSister feel better about her condition.

I can share highlights from each presentation.

From a nutrition perspective: the aim of the diet should be to help reduce inflammation to help reduce symptoms. The best way to do this is with a veggie centric diet which is dairy and gluten free, high in fibre and healthy fats, and low in carbohydrates.

From the restorative movement: The way you move every day makes a big difference to your pelvic floor health. Walking more, sitting in chairs less, not wearing high heels, and not sucking in your stomach are all great ways to start caring for your pelvic floor.

From a skincare perspective: what we put on our skin is directly absorbed into our body. Some ingredients used in skincare products are toxic and can mimic the estrogen hormone, so be an aware consumer and look for organic, natural options for skincare and makeup products.

From a naturopathic perspective: the very first thing that needs to be done to help reduce symptoms from endometriosis (even before looking at hormones) is to reduce inflammation and ensure a healthy gut ecology. Once this is done, the hormones will balance much easier, especially with incorporation of some mind/body work. Lastly, the Dutch hormone panel is a new test that provides a deeper look at the hormone balance in a person with endometriosis.

From a chiropractic perspective: Deep breathing techniques will help to support the pelvic floor and core muscles. Your pelvic floor acts as a second diaphragm and when everything is working together, the nervous system is better supported and helps to reduce symptoms such as low back pain.

I also see that representatives from The Endometriosis Network Canada was present. Could you tell me more about that? What did they talk about? Any future events coming up? More support for local EndoSisters in that area?

Yes. I asked them to come and do a brief talk at the beginning of the event about what they do in case any women in attendance hadn’t heard of them before.

As of right now, we don’t have any future events planned. However, we do write blog articles for TENC and any other endo publications that are interested.

I know tickets were $20-30 and the price of admission included snacks, a make-up tutorial, and a chance to win door prizes. Where else did the funds go? I’m assuming overhead and payment for the guest speakers? Anything else?

The event was $20 and included admission, food and a chance to win door prizes. We initially tried offering a discounted rate so that it would encourage people to buy tickets ahead of time because we were offering food and needed a sense of numbers to prepare for. However, we weren’t selling a lot of tickets and were told that sometimes women with endo don’t know until the day before an event if they will feel well enough to attend. So we kept the price at $20. We wanted to keep the price low so it was affordable, but we needed a way to make back some of the money we paid for expenses. So essentially all the money we made from the event went to cover some of the overhead expenses, and we (meaning
Greystones Health) covered the rest.

If you could do anything differently, what would it be?

I don’t think so. We put a lot of effort into this event and were pleased with the result.

Any advice for EndoSisters reading this entry today?

In regards of event planning, be sure to give yourself lots of time to plan the event, and also consider the timing for the event. From my experience both planning and attending events, events held during the summer months usually have less people because people are busy outdoors enjoying the weather. When the weather is cooler, people are more likely to look for something to do.

In regards of a health perspective, my partner, Dr. Steyr has had success treating women with endo as a naturopathic doctor, whether it was managing symptoms or helping them prepare for pregnancy. I’ve heard many women say that they’ve run out of options to manage their endo symptoms, and so we want to give them a message of hope. There is always a way to better health, and it’s important to realize that this is a process which can take some time, but we’re here to help and support these women as they journey on their path to better health.

For more information on any of the participants involved in the workshop, please see the links below.
Greystones Health: A Toronto based natural healthcare team offering naturopathic medicine and nutrition counselling.  They also work with Back in Balance for chiropractic services.
Michelle Heighington: registered nutritionist.  Michelle is also able to meet with patients via Skype! If you’re interested, please reach out to her for more information.
Dr. Joseph Steyr: naturopathic doctor.  Dr. Steyre and Ms. Heighington offer a free initial consultation.  If interested, please reach out to their offices at
Dr. Lisa Clarke: chiropractor
Petra Fisher:restorative exercise specialist
Christie Pawliw: independent consultant for Arbonne International.  Christie is available by e-mail if you’d like more information about skincare.  Please feel free to contact her for more information.
The Endometriosis Network Canada: A volunteer-run, incorporated, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to facilitate & promote a patient-centred approach to managing endometriosis.

I want to thank Michelle, Elaina, Greystones Health, each of the presenters, and The Endometriosis Network Canada for taking the time to help spread the word about Endometriosis, other treatment options, and taking the time to respond to our questions.  Keep up the great work!



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