Health food store set up with an educational focus

A woman who is developing a health and wellness centre in Red Deer owes her interest in alternative medicine to a hockey injury — suffered by someone else.

Karen Bradshaw

A woman who is developing a health and wellness centre in Red Deer owes her interest in alternative medicine to a hockey injury — suffered by someone else.

Nearly 15 years ago, Karen Bradshaw’s boyfriend developed multiple blood clots after being checked during a hockey game.

Doctors were left scratching their heads, she said, but an iridologist linked the problem to a kidney injury.

“Within three months he was out of his wheelchair, and they’d told him he’d never walk again.”

Bradshaw was so impressed that she began studying iridology, which involves examining the eye to diagnose health problems.

She also obtained certification in reflexology and reiki, and learned about other alternative treatments.

She’s worked in the wellness industry for the past 12 years, with the last eight spent managing Nutrition House at Parkland Mall.

Work in retail allowed Bradshaw to discuss health issues with customers, but provided little opportunity for public education.

“You’re on a different level with the customers,” she explained.

“Sometimes we’d have a hundred people a day through the store.”

Bradshaw decided it would be more productive to set up a business with an educational focus. The result is Living Nutrition, which she started June 15.

Located in Bay 5, 3301 50th Ave., Living Nutrition consists of a health food store with sports nutrition, homeopathic, vitamin, herbal and food products, as well as health and beauty aids. It also has four offices and a studio, which Bradshaw hopes will be used by other health practitioners.

Yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, iridology, reiki and even dance classes are possibilities, she said.

“We want to have it so there are a lot of things available to the customers.

“Just educating people on how their bodies work and where diseases are derived from.”

Working with Bradshaw is Debra Melin, a longtime wellness researcher and educator, and Chelsea Jamieson.

Alternative health techniques are better accepted now than they were when she entered the field, said Bradshaw.

“Twelve years ago, I was considered a witch.”

Still, there’s still plenty of need for education, she said. And a wellness centre like Living Nutrition should help.

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