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Archive for May, 2010

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach

I enjoy gardening but have only a porch for my plants and herbs. For years I’ve been growing fresh basil, oregano and assorted herbs and vegetables on my porch each summer. If you want to grow your own urban garden but are not sure how to get started, you may want to visit an Appetite for Balance garden party. If you missed the party in May, no worries, they are holding four more parties this summer! Read their flier below for more information. All parties offer give-a-way(s), gardening tips, food demos, holistic nutrition/wellness, hands-on workshops, sustainable food/beverage, and FUN in the sun! So, grab a friend (or two) for a Sunday afternoon of digging and chewing!

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By Sue Shekut, Owner Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

You may ask, who the heck is Yuriy Dmytrenko? Is he a Russian gymnist? A well known swimmer? A famous soccer player? Well, he’s a little bit of all the above–AND, he’s a fantastic massage therapist.

Yuriy waiting for his next client at Whole Foods Gold Coast

Yuriy works at both Working Well Massage chair stations in Chicago. You can meet Yuriy at Whole Foods Gold Coast or at Whole Foods Lincoln Park. One of the things I really like about Yuriy is that he combines the strength of an athlete with old world gentlemanliness of his native land–Russia. Yuriy can give really deep massages or he can be gentle and relaxing. After a massage, I can count on Yuriy to help me put my coat on, help me pick up my groceries and give me a nice smile and hug!

I asked Yuriy to tell me a bit about his background and he shared his story with me. Now I am sharing it with you! Yuriy was born in Russia and completed the Russian Institute of physical education in 1992. He taught high school physical education classes and trained young people in gymnastics, swimming, personal training and soccer while teaching. He moved to the U.S. and became a personal trainer,certified through the ISSA. In 2002 he graduated from the First Institute of Massage in Glenview and in 2008 he became a United States citizen!

As English is not his native language, sometimes Yuriy may appear shy or gruff. but if you speak to him, his whole face lights up when he smile and does his best to alleviate your tired and tense muscles. I recently had a client tell me “I love Yuriy” because he is so sweet and such a  good massage therapist!

I respect Yuriy for coming to a new country where he did not speak the language and working his way through U.S. based training to become a personal trainer and massage therapist. And, he legally obtained citizenship and continues his English language studies to improve his speech and comprehension of English. It’s an honor to work with Yuriy and always a pleasure to get a massage from him too!

Picture of Yuriy massaging client, Pete Skarnulis

Try Yuriy’s massage at Whole Foods Lincoln Park on
Mondays from 4-8pm
1550 N Kingsbury, Chicago, IL

or at Whole Foods Gold Coast on
Wednesdays from 4-8pm
30 W Huron, Chicago, IL

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Bicycle Bike Rack
Image by VeloBusDriver via Flickr

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapists, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

While taking part in the Climate Cycle Ride on  May 15, I was fortunate to stop by one of the booths and speak to a representative of thechainlink, a Chicago bicycling Online Community. According to the organization’s website” the chainlink is a one-stop resource for Chicago cyclists to find rides and routes, share information and connect with other cyclists.”

The site lists upcoming rides and events and provides forums for discussion. The forums have great info like what to do if your bike is stolen, info about helmets, front rack recommendations, info about police officers giving bicycle riders tickets for not obeying traffic rules and so on. I really enjoyed  reading some of the posts and comments from area bikers. Overall, it seems like a very useful site if you bike int he city or surrounding area.

Leah, the founder, explains why she set up this site:

the chainlink is a place for Chicago bikers of all types to connect, find rides and routes, and share information. the chainlink was created because even though Chicago is a big biking city, it’s a fragmented community, and there was no one resource that served the needs of bikers. My hope is that this site will allow bikers in Chicago and surrounding areas to connect with each other, explore the area through interesting rides and routes, find the resources they need, and most of all, bring a sense of community to Chicago biking. So join a ride, start a conversation on the forum or find a riding buddy – everything you do here will strengthen Chicago’s biking community.

the chainlink is very much a work in progress and I absolutely welcome your feedback. Please feel free to drop me a note with any comments and suggestions – you’ll be helping the chainlink grow and better serve the community.

Thanks for being a part of biking in Chicago!

Leah
creator, the chainlink

P.S. What are you waiting for?
– Looking to do a distance ride this season? Click here to find a long ride in the Rides & Events section.
– Have a question, piece of news, or just looking to sell something? Post it in the Forum here.
– Know someone who might like this site? Invite them to the chainlink by clicking here.

Comment Sample

Here is an example of an interesting comment line. A poster was angry because a cop gave him a ticket for riding his bike through a red light.  Other posters chimed in and gave his advice when he wondered if he should fight the ticket:
“Good luck – you ran a red light. We expect cars to stop for them so they don’t kill us. If you want to be treated like you are traffic, act like you are traffic.”

“You entered the intersection on a red and that is illegal; if you saw a car do it would you want a cop to issue them a ticket?

This is a great example of why there needs to be bike specific laws.

It is also a great example of the fact that if you want to share the road and have laws enforced for cars you need to be prepared to have laws enforced for bicycles.”

Check out the site here!

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapists, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Check out a great site to check the calories of your foods via Calorie Count here. According to the site,  you can use Calorie Count in one of two ways:

Diet Your Way

Calorie Count doesn’t prescribe a particular diet. Eat any foods you want as long as you burn more calories than you consume.

Get Help from Friends

Motivation is very important in dieting! Get support and encouragement from our community to stay on track – permanently!

The Calorie Count Website gives you some basics about nutrition that should help you get started no matter what your  approach to dieting and fat loss. Read the following excerpts from the website below.

What are calories?

Calories are the amount of energy that is produced by a given quantity of a food. Calories are supplied by the carbohydrate, protein, fat, and alcohol in food.

Why count calories?

Fact: When you eat more calories than you need, you gain weight. The wild card is determining what you need because there are so many variables. In general, an individual needs only the calories he is able to burn. You can maintain a healthy weight by matching the calories you take in to the calories you burn day-after-day. You lose weight by taking in fewer calories than you burn.

Counting calories is a real eye-opener. Research shows that most people don’t realize how many calories they eat. They don’t see the extra calories that come from large portions and from high fat foods.

As a weight loss method, calorie counting doesn’t give you rules about what, when, and how much to eat. The only recommendation is to have a balanced diet of the foods you prefer within your calorie requirements. Calorie counting induces people to adjust their food choices, portions, and physical activity to reach their calorie goals.

Diet & Nutrition Tools from Calories Count

Diet  Profile

Determine Your Diet Profile
Take our test and learn about your food habits
Cell Phone

Nutritional Info on Your Phone
Use your cell phone to analyze foods on the go
BMI Tool

BMI Tool
Determine your ideal weight
Burn  Meter

Burn Meter
Learn your calorie burn profile

Food & Recipe Databases

Food Browser

Food Browser
Browse our database of 109,000 foods
Recipe  Browser

Recipe Browser
Browse our database of 362,000 recipes
Recipe Analyzer

Recipe Analyzer
Get the nutrition facts on your favorite recipes
Unit  Converter

Unit Converter
Convert common kitchen and dietary measurements

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Back Muscles and Spine

Massage therapists and and chiropractors have had a symbiotic relationship over the years.  Chiropractors hire massage therapists and massage therapists often refer clients to chiropractors and/or rent space from chiropractors. I used to teach the Business class at one of the local massage schools, and, as a business owner myself, I have to keep up on laws and regulations regarding massage…and chiropractic.  Unfortunately a recent law has put the chiropractic profession a bit at odds with massage therapists. To enlighten clients and other massage therapists, I am going to break down some of the current laws regulating massage and chiropractic are in Illinois.

The Law Regulating Massage Therapists in Illinois

The State of Illinois began requiring massage therapists to obtain a state License for Massage in January, 2005. This law requires massage therapists to complete schooling of at least 500 hours, take and pass the National Certification Exam and pay a fee every two years. In Illinois, Massage Therapist’s are also required to take 24 hours of continuing education credits every two years. This licensing act was an attempt to further legitimize massage therapy (and make it clear massage is not prostitution) and give massage therapists  a uniform standard of education and ethics to follow. Prior to this law, each municipality regulated massage according to their own guidelines. Some cities had stringent regulations, others had none. The state law helped eliminate this confusing patchwork of regulations and put massage therapy under one set of rules, the Massage  Licensing Act.

The Massage Licensing Act requires licensees to be fingerprinted as part of the license application process. This is required to help protect the public from sexual predators and other people with a history of sexual violations. The law also requires massage therapists to have taken and passed courses including kineseology and anatomy and physiology. This means that licensed massage therapists know how your muscles attach, work and can be injured–and how to reduce muscle tension and “knots” in your muscle tissue.

The Law Regulating Use of Unlicensed Persons to Perform Massage In Chiropractic Offices

However, the State of Illinois then passed an act, 22S ILCS 60/Medical Practice effective January, 2010, that allows Chiropractors to hire unlicensed, and potentially untrained staff to give clients “therapeutic” massages at the Chiropractor’s office. Chiropractors may have lobbied for this bill saying that they did not want to have to wait for students to pass their licensing exam before they could work for chiropractors. However, there is no shortage of Licensed Massage Therapists in Illinois (According to the ABMP, there are currently about 8,000 Licensed Massage Therapists in Illinois). And chiropractors can directly bill insurance companies for massage services, while independent massage therapists cannot for most insurance companies in Illinois. Ironically, according to a representative I spoke to at Blue Cross Blue Shield, even with a high-end Blue Cross insurance plan, only chiropractors are allowed to perform the massage, not massage therapists, in order for the insurance company to reimburse for the massage.

Unfortunately, this paves the way for chiropractors to now hire unlicensed, potentially unqualified people to give clients their massages and then in some cases, the chiropractor may bill the insurance company for those massages even if the chiropractor does not perform the massages. Thus untrained employees can be allowed to provide direct patient care to patients with medical conditions. Untrained people can injure you while doing massage work because they haven’t had the 500-hour massage school training (which includes not only training on proper massage techniques, but also anatomy, kinesiology and physiology. And ask a massage therapist: most chiropractors do not stand over massage therapists as they work, monitoring their massage performance–chiropractors are usually working on other patients. In some offices, chiropractors work in one room while the massage therapist works behind closed doors in another room.

License Massage Therapists may lose work to unlicensed people because the chiropractor can hire someone else to do the same work for less pay. In addition, Public Act 096-0618, does not afford the public protections from sexual predators or require unlicensed massage therapists to be finger printed or background checked! It is not clear  how this new law protects the public or can be said to be for the public good.

Note: Reimbursement requirements depend on your particular insurance plan.

As a client, what can you do to protect yourself and make sure your massage therapist is qualified and licensed?

1. Check the State of Illinois Division of Professional Regulation website to look up your Massage Therapist by name and see if he or she has a valid state Massage Therapist license here.

2. If you receive massage from someone at a chiropractor’s office, ask the chiropractor if the massage therapist is licensed. If not, ask for a massage therapist that is licensed by the state and has completed all required training and testing.

3. If your insurance company has been paying a portion or all of your massage bills at the chiropractor, check with the insurance company to find out the exact requirements for reimbursement. Does your insurance company require the chiropractor to personally perform your massage or can they have someone in their office perform the actual massage for reimbursement?

If the insurance company requires the chiropractor to perform the massage, and your chiropractor charged your insurance company for performing massages then he/she delegated the massage to a staff member that is not a Licensed Chiropractor, your chiropractor could run into trouble with the insurance company. If the insurance company ever found out, you may also be in trouble too. You may have to pay back the insurance company for your massages and you may also be accused of committing insurance fraud. But, if it’s a great deal for you and the chiropractor to have the insurance company pay for your massage, who would ever tell the insurance company? Well, a disgruntled employee of the chiropractor’s office for one.  Or a spouse divorcing one of the chiropractor’s patients could be a whistle blower. Anyone with a bone to pick with the chiropractor. (Bad pun intended.)  Ask yourself if saving a few dollars is worth the legal risk.

4. Note that using a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account (HSA) for to pay a massage therapist directly for your massages IS legal IF the massage is considered therapeutic. For example, if you have been diagnosed by a doctor or chiropractor with plantar facitis or a low back or cervical disorder that requires massage, that would be a therapeutic massage. Or, if you have fibromyalgia or a repetitive injury such as a thoracic outlet syndrome, massage to help with these conditions would be considered therapeutic. Check with your Flex Spending or HSA account administrator for details of your specific plan. To be an expense for medical care, the expense has to be primarily for the prevention or alleviation of a physical or mental defect or illness.  Check the U.S. Government’s rules for “qualifying medical expenses” here.

For example, a Cigna plan allows you to use a FSA or HSA funds to pay for massages if they are used to treat a physical defect or illness. Cigna Plan – Fees paid for massages are not reimbursable unless to treat a physical defect or illness. Physician’s diagnosis letter required.”

I don’t want to scare anyone out of getting a massage at your chiropractor by any means!  Most chiropractors are law abiding and follow insurance company guidelines. I work closely with several chiropractors and I refer clients to them often. But knowing the law and abiding by it may save you from problems and legal issues down the road.

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An American black bear (estimated weight of ap...
Image via Wikipedia

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach,  ACSM Personal Trainer

Hiking in the Chicago area is a relatively safe enterprise as far as bears are concerned. For those of you that plan on venturing out into the wilds anywhere  outside Chicago, it’s a good idea to know how to handle yourself if you happen to run into a bear.  Or if a bear happens to run into you!

Watch this humorous video on You Tube that teaches you how to deal with a black bear or grizzly encounter. The video star Shannon Davis and Ted the Bear! For more survival videos, visit backpacker.com/survival.

If you have any problems watching the video from this blog, to view the video on You Tub click here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Bike the Drive

At least for one day, Chicago bicyclers will have Lake Shore Drive all to themselves. On May 30, 2010, the city closes Lake Shore Drive to motor vehicles so that thousands can ride their bicycles along the “Drive.”

According to the website: MB Financial Bank’s Bike the Drive provides you with hours of bicycling nirvana. Cruise up and down the entire length of Chicago’s famous Lake Shore Drive without a car in sight! Pedal as fast or slow as you want – it’s your ride! Take in the striking skyline as you breeze along sparkling Lake Michigan.  Whether you are a racing star or you are bringing your family for a leisure ride, the MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive is the perfect way to kick off your Chicago summer!

Bike the Ride Schedule

5:30 a.m.: Lake Shore Drive will open to bicyclists, upon police approval

9 a.m.: Bicyclists may not enter Lake Shore Drive; participants must be north of Randolph Street or south of Roosevelt Road

9:15-9:45 a.m.: Volunteers will help participants safely move to the Lakefront Trail, which they can take back to the post-ride festival

10:30 a.m.: Car traffic resumes on Lake Shore Drive

Cost

Standard Registration fee is $45

If you sign up for a Premium registration for $63, you also get a one year membership to *Active Transportation Alliance.

Gold Package – only $75!

  • MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive – May 30, 2010
  • Boulevard Lakefront Tour – Aug. 29, 2010
  • One-year Active Trans membership

Platinum Package only $100!

  • MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive – May 30, 2010
  • Boulevard Lakefront Tour – Aug. 29, 2010
  • Bike Town Bash – Dec. 5, 2010
  • One-year Active Trans membership

More info on Registration packages and discounts here.

BiketheRide Start Location: Columbus and Jackson downtown Chicago

What’s New This Year

Helmet rental
Bike and Roll Chicago, the official bicycle rental company for MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive, is offering participants discounts on bike rentals. Rentals include a bike, helmet, lock and riding map. Helmets – which are required for the event – are also available for rental or for purchase. Find details here.

Getting your packet has never been more convenient!
Choose one of these many options so you can have everything you need for the big day.

  • Premium We can mail you your packet, including your 2010 MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive T-shirt, for only $3.75
  • Standard We can mail you your packet, with a voucher for your event T-shirt, for just $.75
  • Self Pickup Stop by any of the packet pickup locations in the weeks leading up to Bike the Drive for free. Pickup time and locations are coming soon. We plan to have even more convenient locations this year.

Route checkpoints
We want to make sure that the MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive is attended by paying participants only. The registration fee pays for the supplies and cost of the event, which is our largest fundraiser. We will ask participants to show their rider numbers and wristbands at checkpoints along the route. Any non-paying participants will be escorted Lake Shore Drive and given the opportunity to register on-site. Thank  you for your patience!

Save on even more biking with our discounted packages
Hold on to your helmet! Our Gold Package and Platinum Package are the best way to save and get even more biking in 2010.

What is the Active Transportation Alliance*?

Based in Chicago, Illinois, the Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit advocacy organization that works to improve conditions for bicycling, walking and transit and engage people in healthy and active ways to get around.

For 25 years, we have led the charge for a transportation culture that values safety, health, sustainability and choice. Our expert staff and our committed board of directors are growing choices for transportation like never before.

Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, we create opportunities for people to move and travel safely, actively and enjoyably every day.

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