About Shawna Page

Shawna Page is the founder and CEO of femMED. Following a 20-year career in the investment banking industry, Shawna was ready to settle down and take on a new challenge: early retirement and being a full-time mother to her three children. Little did she realize she would be back in the saddle after only 3 weeks. Living a healthy lifestyle has always been a top priority, and over the years Shawna had gained a tremendous amount of knowledge in the natural health world, but more importantly, she became very aware of the consumer pitfalls as well. Searching the store aisles for the right supplement was frustrating and confusing. There was no trusted brand just for women. That, combined with the lack of natural options available to women, gave birth to her desire to simplify things and she created femMED, the first ever consumer friendly all-natural solution to women’s most common health concerns.

Stress Relief via Your Feet!

I’m always on the search for ways to destress, that are fast, easy and affordable.  I picked this up from a RealAge article and it really does work!

The next time a bad day (or week, or month) has you on the verge of a mini meltdown, undo the anxious knots by getting to know your feet.

Yep, giving yourself a quick foot massage can have almost the same stress-lowering benefit as a full-body rubdown, according to Roberta Lee, MD, author of The SuperStress Solution. Here’s her easy 10-step footsie rub.

Step-by-Step Foot Destressor
Lee’s do-it-yourself foot massage is based on the principles of ayurvedic reflexology.

  1. Wash your feet with warm soap and water, then wipe them dry.
  2. Apply a small amount of sesame seed or almond massage oil mixed with lavender essential oils. (Here’s another scent that can help soothe stress.)
  3. Start rubbing at the base of your little toe.
  4. Move over to the base of the next toe and continue rubbing.
  5. Apply slight pressure on the flesh between your little toe and the next toe over.
  6. Now move to your middle toe.
  7. Massage, stretch, and pull your middle toe in a circular motion, then do the same with your other toes.
  8. With your fingertips or the palms of your hands, gently apply pressure to both sides of your heel just below the ankle, and then rub around your ankle clockwise to boost energy and circulation.
  9. Finally, knead and squeeze your calf muscle to release tension.
  10. Repeat on the second foot.
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Most people never read a label.  Does it surprise me? No, not really.  We live in a society of complacency.  It’s easier to throw a product in a shopping cart than take the time to read the label, because after all, a prerequisite to reading a label would involve actually having some prior knowledge of what we’re reading — and who has time for that?!!   BIG MISTAKE!  The more I learn about what goes into the foods we put in our bodies, and the products we put on our bodies, the more incensed I get.  It is beyond my comprehension that government agencies condone these products for purchase.  But that won’t change anytime soon so it’s up to you to filter the good from the garbage.    If you don’t have time (or the inclination) to learn about the dangers of what lurks in your labels, here’s the best (quick) advice I can give you.

1. Do most of your shopping around the perimeter of grocery stores, rather that the inside aisles – this way you will buy fresh, and avoid all the processed stuff.

2.  Do read the labels — and if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, put the product back on the shelf.

3.  Buy organic whenever possible

4.  Watch out for these!

  • Gelatin: made from animal hooves, bones and skin (mostly pigs and cows) Yes really!
  • BHT:  The Environmental Working Group classifies BHT as a skin, liver and kidney toxicant. We store it in the liver and also in fat, which is why thin people are more at risk for damage. Studies show it promotes cancer and tumor growth.
  • DYES! Especially, FD&C red no. 40: Shocking discovery – this dye is in the leading national brand of PRENATAL SUPPLEMENTS! It is a known carcinogen. In Europe, this dye is not recommended for consumption by children. It is banned in the UK, Denmark, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Sweden.
  • Sodium benzoate: In combination with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate may form benzene, a known carcinogen. Check all pop cans in particular for this one!
  • Titanium dioxide: Has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen.  You can find this in everything from vitamin supplements, to skin care, sunscreen, food, toothpaste….and far too many more!
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Take care of your Ticker – Omega-3 may slash risk of heart failure

It seems every time I turn around there is yet another study highlighting the benefits of omega 3′s.   New finding from the U.S. and Sweden point to increased intakes of fatty fish, and the omega-3s they contain, may reduce a woman’s risk of heart failure by about 25 per cent.   The benefits appear to be linked to the omega-3 content of the fish, report researchers in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The highest intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids linked to a reduction in the risk of heart failure by 25 per cent.  To date, the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have been linked to improvements in blood lipid levels, a reduced tendency of thrombosis, blood pressure and heart rate improvements, and improved vascular function. Beyond heart health, omega-3 fatty acids, most notably EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), have been linked to a wide-range of health benefits, including reduced risk of certain cancers, good development of a baby during pregnancy, joint health, and improved behaviour and mood.

Source: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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Walking Associated With Lower Stroke Risk in Women

Not that I didn’t already know the many benefits of exercise, and walking in particular, but reading this study just legitimized a lot of my thinking on this subject. I’m a walker – I love to get out in the mornings and start my day with a brisk walk. Lucky for me I have several friends who live near by who are very happy to keep me company – I think it’s the real key to sticking with it!

ScienceDaily (Apr. 8, 2010) — Women who walked two or more hours a week or who usually walked at a brisk pace (3 miles per hour or faster) had a significantly lower risk of stroke than women who didn’t walk, according to a large, long-term study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. The risks were lower for total stroke, clot-related (ischemic) stroke and bleeding (hemorrhagic) stroke, researchers said.
Compared to women who didn’t walk:
Women who usually walked at a brisk pace had a 37 percent lower risk of any type of stroke and those who walked two or more hours a week had a 30 percent lower risk of any type of stroke.
Women who typically walked at a brisk pace had a 68 percent lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke and those who walked two or more hours a week had a 57 percent lower risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
Women who usually walked at a brisk pace had a 25 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke and those who usually walked more than two hours a week had a 21 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke — both “borderline significant,” according to researchers.
“Physical activity, including regular walking, is an important modifiable behavior for stroke prevention,” said Jacob R. Sattelmair, M.Sc., lead author and doctoral candidate in epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass. “Physical activity is essential to promoting cardiovascular health and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, and walking is one way of achieving physical activity.”
More physically active people generally have a lower risk of stroke than the least active, with more-active persons having a 25 percent to 30 percent lower risk for all strokes, according to previous studies.
“Though the exact relationship among different types of physical activity and different stroke subtypes remains unclear, the results of this specific study indicate that walking, in particular, is associated with lower risk of stroke,” Sattelmair said.
Researchers followed 39,315 U.S. female health professionals (average age 54, predominantly white) participating in the Women’s Health Study. Every two to three years, participants reported their leisure-time physical activity during the past year — specifically time spent walking or hiking, jogging, running, biking, doing aerobic exercise/aerobic dance, using exercise machines, playing tennis/squash/racquetball, swimming, doing yoga and stretching/toning. No household, occupational activity or sedentary behaviors were assessed.
They also reported their usual walking pace as no walking, casual (about 2 mph), normal (2-2.9 mph), brisk (3-3.9 mph) or very brisk (4 mph).
Sattelmair noted that walking pace can be assessed objectively or in terms of the level of exertion, using a heart rate monitor, self-perceived exertion, “or a crude estimate such as the ‘talk test’ — wherein, for a brisk pace, you should be able to talk but not able to sing. If you cannot talk, slow down a bit. If you can sing, walk a bit faster.”
During 11.9 years of follow-up, 579 women had a stroke (473 were ischemic, 102 were hemorrhagic and four were of unknown type).
The women who were most active in their leisure time activities were 17 percent less likely to have any type of stroke compared to the least-active women.
Researchers didn’t find a link between vigorous activity and reduced stroke risk. The reason is unclear, but they suspect that too few women reported vigorous activity in the study to get an accurate picture and/or that moderate-intensity activity may be more effective at lowering blood pressure as suggested by some previous research.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death and a leading cause of serious disability in the United States, so it’s important to identify modifiable risk factors for primary prevention, Sattelmair said.
An inverse association between physical activity and stroke risk is consistent across genders. But there tend to be differences between men and women regarding stroke risk and physical activity patterns.
“The exact relation between walking and stroke risk identified in this study is not directly generalizable to men,” Sattelmair said. “In previous studies, the relation between walking and stroke risk among men has been inconsistent.”
The study is limited because it was observational and physical activity was self-reported. But strengths are that it was large and long-term with detailed information on physical activity, he said.
Further study is needed on more hemorrhagic strokes and with more ethnically diverse women, Sattelmair said.
The American Heart Association recommends for substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity or a combination.
Co-authors are: Tobias Kurth, M.D., Sc.D.; Julie E. Buring, Sc.D.; and I-Min Lee, M.B.B.S., Sc.D.
The National Institutes of Health supported the study.

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Exposure to Three Classes of Common Chemicals May Affect Female Development

ScienceDaily (Apr. 5, 2010) — Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that exposure to three common chemical classes — phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens — in young girls may disrupt the timing of pubertal development, and put girls at risk for health complications later in life. The study, the first to examine the effects of these chemicals on pubertal development, is currently published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
“Research has shown that early pubertal development in girls can have adverse social and medical effects, including cancer and diabetes later in life,” said Dr. Mary Wolff, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Oncological Sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “Our research shows a connection between chemicals that girls are exposed to on a daily basis and either delayed or early development. While more research is needed, these data are an important first step in continuing to evaluate the impact of these common environmental agents in putting girls at risk.”
Phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens are among chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, which interfere with the body’s endocrine, or hormone, system. They are found in a wide range of consumer products, such as nail polishes, where they increase durability, and in cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, and shampoos, where they carry fragrance. Some are used to increase the flexibility and durability of plastics such as PVC, or are included as coatings on medications or nutritional supplements to make them timed-release.
Dr. Wolff, co-principal investigator Susan Teitelbaum, PhD, Associate Professor, Preventive Medicine, and their team from Mount Sinai’s departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology recruited girls from the neighborhood of East Harlem, a unique minority population considered high risk. Working with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Kaiser Permanente Northern California, they analyzed the impact of exposure to environmental agents in a study that included 1,151 girls from New York, greater Cincinnati and northern California.
The girls were between 6- and 8-years-old at enrollment and between 7 and 9 at analysis. Researchers collected urine samples from the study participants and analyzed them for phenols, phthalates, and phytoestrogens, including 19 separate urine biomarkers.
The data showed that the three classes of chemical compounds were widely detectable in the study population, and that high exposure to certain chemicals was associated with early breast development. The strongest links were seen with phthalates and phytoestrogens, which were also among the highest exposures. One phenol, two phytoestrogens, and a subset of phthalates (those found in building products and plastic tubing) were associated with later puberty. However, the phthalates found in personal products such as lotion and shampoo, especially those with fragrance, were related to earlier breast and pubic hair development.
“We believe that there are certain periods of vulnerability in the development of the mammary gland, and exposure to these chemicals may influence breast cancer risk in adulthood,” Dr. Wolff continued. “Dietary habits may also have an impact. Further study is needed to determine how strong the link is.”
Consistent with previous studies, researchers also found that body-mass index (BMI) played a role in the onset of puberty. About a third of the girls were considered overweight, which is also an indicator of early breast development. As a result, some of the chemical associations differed in more or less obese girls. Researchers continue to study the impact of diet on pubertal development and eventual breast cancer risk.
“Exposure to these chemicals is extremely common,” Dr. Wolff continued. “As such, while the association between chemicals and pubertal development seems small, the impact on the overall population is significant.”
Funding for the research was provided by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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