Interview With Vladimir Shmitsman- Part 1: Homeopathy recognizes the individual

“In homeopathy, the personality of the individual determines their prescription,.. because Homeopathy understands that every person is different.


Dr Shmitsman

I think some people might be surprised that you began your medical career with more conventional medicine.  

Yes.  In the beginning, I was a nurse.

I like that your grandma was one of the first to plant a seed for you very early on in terms of natural medicine.  

Yes.  She used to take me with her when she would pick plants and berries in the forest.  She was around me until I was 16 or 17 years old.  So it was a fair amount of time that I spent with her. (For more details about this story, please visit Dina’s Homeopathic)

And you had other people along the way who opened your eyes up to homeopathy?

Yes. It wasn’t just my grandmother’s influence that made me make my change from conventional medicine to homeopathy.

I finished nursing school, and then I went to the military for two years. The doctor who I worked with there was Russian Japanese.  That was a third generation of people who used to practise acupuncture.

For the first time in my life, I saw someone using acupuncture.  This man was a doctor in a hospital, but almost every day, I saw him treating different guys in the military using acupuncture.  He practised acupuncture as he felt he needed.

acupunctureWhat was your reaction to it?

For me, it was a shock. In the beginning, I thought he was hypnotizing people and that’s why they thought they were feeling better.  Because there’s no way, with the nursing training that I had, from what I had been taught in school, that I would believe that the energy involved in acupuncture could exist. There was never any proof that it could even be real.

So what made you change your thinking?

My thinking didn’t change right away.  But day by day, behind this doctor’s back, I interviewed the patients he worked on, and I asked them, “When you get the treatment, are you really feeling better, or do you just think you feel better?

Speaking to them, and being with this doctor for two years, assisting him, I was around his way of thinking all the time. It was almost like he was already ‘infecting my brain’ (smiles) with this other way of healing: healing through acupuncture points which I had never heard of before, but which seemed to be working.

So I started to believe that it was all true.  And I asked him if I could get a little more introduction to what he does and how it all works.  He said, “Oh finally. I was waiting for you to ask me this for six months.” (laughs)  So I think he knew that I was interviewing people and was sceptical at first, but that I was curious and would eventually want to learn.

acupunture in the ear

Oh, wow! So he already knew you would come around to his way of thinking.

Yes, and he was right, because finally, I did become a believer.  Two years of being around him so much, he had a big influence on me through that time.

That, on top of what I learned about herbs from my grandma, turned things around for me. That’s why, when I finished the military, I decided to go from being a nurse to becoming a medical doctor.

I think it is great that you have a background in both conventional and natural medicine.  How did the official change to natural medicine actually happen?

Even when I became a conventional medical doctor, I already knew that I was interested in natural medicine.

This partly came from the herbal approach that was left with me from my childhood.  Because anytime I used to get sick, I used to get herbs for healing from my grandma.  And the other part was the big change around my belief in energies. Energies of plants, energies of acupuncture needles, energy of meridians- I learned that they are all very much the same concept.


So when I was finishing medical school, I had two desires- to do cardiology, or to do natural medicine. Natural medicine DID win (smiles).

Amazing! That just gave me goosebumps. (smiles)

You mentioned in your bio that sometimes, as a conventional doctor, you had patients that still experienced problems even after treatments or after taking medication that ‘should have helped’ them.  And that’s what made you see that something more was needed.  Could you give some examples of this?

As a conventional doctor, you have many patients that come in.  But you only have a few minutes with them.  You ask them what’s going on. One might have high blood pressure for example.  You check his blood pressure. Yes. His blood pressure is high.

So then you need to check his kidney.  We check the kidney. Kidney is normal.  Congratulations.  But the blood pressure is still high.  Okay. So you give him a prescription for medication to keep his blood pressure under control.

But then he comes in with high cholesterol.  So we recommend that he changes his diet.  But sometimes, that does not help. We recommend doing more exercise.  Sometimes, that does not help. So we give him medicine to control his cholesterol. And he has to take this for the rest of his life.

And taking those medications every day could lead to side effects where the patient now has to take other medications.  And that creates a vicious circle.  Basically, you don’t really solve the core of the problem.

The core of the problem?

broken hearted manYes, as a conventional doctor, you don’t have time to ask the patients who they are and what caused the high blood pressure in the first place. Maybe the patient has a broken heart, maybe his wife left him.  Maybe he had a car accident a few years ago. Maybe soon after that, he started to have high blood pressure as part of his psychological trauma and he was just never well since then.

Of course, we can again offer a person some antidepressants. But antidepressants don’t take your trauma away.  They just cover your symptoms.  In some cases, people get over it. But then they might also get over it without drugs. Maybe instead, they use meditation or specific exercises to help them to restore the energy from the trauma that is the underlying cause of all of the stress, which is resulting in the high blood pressure.   Many people still have those emotional scars for the rest of their lives.  So covering that up with other drugs doesn’t help the core problem or true healing to take place.

Can you explain why this is harmful? Because I imagine that it might feel ‘easier’ or quicker to take the drugs rather than have to go into the core of the problem.

It’s harmful because if life brings them similar experiences again and again, or experiences that trigger the past traumas, those scars get aggravated and can bring on much more serious medical conditions later on.  Not dealing with the core problem in the situation above, for example, could bring on weakness of kidneys for instance.

It’s not about refusing medications all together.  I have a background in both conventional and natural medicine. And they both have their place.  It is not about trying to get people to turn entirely away from conventional medicine. But it’s about trying to lessen the gap between conventional medicine and alternative medicine. It’s about finding the right balance- being aware of which situations call for one or the other.

I love how you encourage this balance, this awareness.  How does the approach of Chinese Medicine fit into this?


Chinese medicine believes FEAR would affect the kidneys, ANGER would affect the liver, OVERTHINKING would affect your pancreas.  And the Chinese have been practising this for a couple of thousands of years already.  Because of that approach, it helps us to understand that maybe it’s not enough to prescribe medication for depression.  Maybe you have to give something to patients or find a different approach which we did not have the option for as conventional medical nurses or doctors.

The best we can do with conventional medicine is to send patients to a psychiatrist or prescribe some mild antidepressants for depression or trauma. And eventually, when the person starts to get functional, take them off of the drugs and that’s it.

But when you move towards treatment through acupuncture, homeopathy, or herbology, it opens up totally different perspectives for you.  You get introduced to herbs which people used to use from the 18th century for broken hearts, for example.

Herbs for a broken heart. That sounds fascinating. So treatments from a homeopathy point of view would really involve taking a look at each person’s experiences?

Yes. In homeopathy and Chinese Medicine, the belief is that organs could be affected by suppressed emotions.  So the treatment of high blood pressure, for example, from that perspective, will be totally different than in conventional medicine. essential-oil-preservative

With conventional medical training, we learn in university to prescribe the same blood pressure medication for everyone, unless someone has side effects to it. But then you would just change the prescription to another group of drugs.

With that approach, the personality of each person would not change your prescription.  Where in homeopathy, only the personality of the person MAKES your prescription.  So you don’t treat the DISEASE.  You treat that particular personality of a person who HAS this disease.

That is beautifully put.  It just makes so much more sense to me than treating everyone like a statistic.  

mind-heart-body-soulYes.  And if five people with different personalities would have high blood pressure, each of them would be given a different approach for that same condition.  Because homeopathy understands that every person is different.

What are some of these differences that are often dismissed in conventional medicine?

They are differences in personalities and sensitivities to life events. Some personalities are introverts, and keep all their grief inside. They never show it to anybody, and never share those thoughts with anyone. Other people are very talkative and tell all their neighbors and friends, everyday again and again, all the same stories of everything that they are going through. Those people can’t hold anything inside. They have to let it out. Some people remember anger forever.  While with other people, the construction of their personality allows them to easily forgive, and so they can let go of things easier. Others cannot let go of anything.

I know for myself, I need to talk things out. But then I think of other people in my family or circle of friends who wouldn’t feel comfortable with that.  I like this idea that each person’s way of dealing with issues is respected and taken into account.

Yes. Because it depends who you are. And homeopathy and Chinese medicine understands this.  People have different personalities and come from different situations in life.  This approach gives you a greater perspective, so you become like a criminologist who tries to investigate each individual person – including whatever happened in their life, not just now but also in their past.  And you go step by step, learning and investigating. And eventually, people start to open up and tell you things.  Then you can suddenly start to see the whole picture and treat the person from that perspective.

How does this approach change the way you would treat someone and help them heal?

It can change everything. Because then, most likely, the person in my previous example with a broken heart or trauma doesn’t even need to treat the high blood pressure.  Maybe instead, they work on looking at the trauma which happened to them ten years ago, the trauma that they didn’t even realize has never been forgotten. spiritual healer

And you start to work through that rather than giving them medication for high blood pressure. And suddenly, you bring that all up. This might be hard because the person could feel like it all just happened yesterday. But they are getting it out and working through that.  And soon after that, they start to feel better about their physical illness, because it was related to the underlying trauma which they needed to work through, not just the high blood pressure. The high blood pressure was just a result of not addressing the original problem.

To find out more about Doctor Vladimir Shmitsman and his clinic, or to make an appointment, please visit Dina’s Homeopathic. 


Dancing’s Appeal to the Senses- Interview With Danielle Felices


I know you dance a few different styles of dance, but … is Zouk your favorite (smiles)? 

Oooh that is a loaded question! Currently, yes, Zouk is my favourite. I guess that is pretty clear to people who have met me. (smiles)

 What it is about Zouk that draws you to it?

When I think about what draws me to Zouk, I think first about what draws me to dance in general, and a few things come to mind. To me, dance is about passion, connection, emotion and technique. I was drawn to Zouk because it really resonated with me in those three areas which are important to me. I have found a new level of passion in myself and my dance through my journey so far in Zouk. I am passionate about the music, my personal development, the growth of the Zouk community, and I love learning more about myself and others through this dance. Continue reading

Interview with Jason Haynes of

Haynes Photo 8I was so honored by your message to me a few years ago, reaching out to see if I would be interested in being part of collaboration project between a group of other writers of Dance.  What made you decide to create a site with this kind of collaboration in mind, and with writers from all over the world?

I love being part of the social dance community, and I’m a journalist at heart.  These two personal interests are the fuel that keeps the fire burning.  Around 2013 I started seeking out Latin dance themed sites that I could hopefully join and contribute to.  I was interest in learning more about the culture and influential dancers within the Latin dance community, and I wanted to share my findings with others.  I found a few sites that contained interviews and blog posts.   I was looking for a site that felt more like an online magazine and wasn’t aligned with any particular organization.  I didn’t find one.  I did, however, find one writer named Tasleem (smiles), who had produced wonderful, in-depth interviews with several influential dancers.

That is very sweet. Thank you so much. It really meant a lot to me. Sometimes, especially as a solo writer, I never really know who, if anyone, my pieces are actually reaching or resonate with. So your message to me helped to encourage me and remind me that what I am doing actually has a purpose.  

Well, what you were doing was exactly what I wanted to do! I read several of your interviews, and during this time, I had a lightbulb moment:  I got the idea to build my own website.  So, I brushed up on my WordPress skills and started a site called  My goal was to produce an online magazine catering to the interests of the Latin dance community.  The site had a magazine style feel, but the content was from a single source (me) and lacked the community feel that I wanted.

Haynes Photo 5Yes, I could tell, even from your initial message to me, that you are definitely a people person. I loved the way you obviously enjoy bringing people together, and I imagine you contributing greatly to the welcoming  and friendly atmosphere to dance communities around you.

Thank you.  Well, I knew that if I ever wanted to create a site with global appeal, that I would have to collaborate with others.  I simply couldn’t do it all myself and accomplish my greater goal.  This was the inspiration that led to (formerly Continue reading

World Dance- by Ryan Morrissette

“My goal is

just to make

the whole world


~ Ryan Morisette



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“Work It Out”- Interview With Reuben Avery

Reuben on Trumpet

I know you first as a musician – specifically as a keyboardist and trumpeter. You have been playing music since you were a child, right? 

Yes, I’ve been playing music since I was very young. I grew up on a farm and in our home there, my family had an old upright baby grand piano. When I was a toddler, I would crawl over to the piano and pound on the pedals. This would shake the sound board enough to make some noise. My mom eventually figured out that I was interested in the instrument, so she popped me in my high chair and sat me in front of the keyboard. I would happily plunk away for hours on end.

Wow! That’s amazing.  And kind of adorable (smiles).

Yeah, I think I have improved a bit since those days (smiles), but we’re not sure since we can’t find the cassette tapes that contained my recordings that were made on our small Fisher Price recorder.

Aww… haha (smiles).

I love how it seems that you chose the instrument, and your mom saw your interest in it and just encouraged it, rather than you being pushed into it. I think forcing kids to take music lessons can sometimes actually make them lose all enjoyment in it.

Yes, well I did eventually start taking piano lessons in grade 2, and was off and on with them throughout my grade school days. I always enjoyed improvising on the instrument and creating my own music…often much more than practising what was assigned to me by my various teachers. As such, piano, has always been my first love and I can still entertain myself for hours on it. I just love being able to create lush harmonies and lay creative melodies over them.   Continue reading

Strength in Diversity- Interview with Gabriel El Huracán- Part 2

In Part 1 of this interview- “Why Tango?” Gabriel El Huracán  discusses what it was about Tango that drew him into the dance so deeply.   I have begun this second half of the interview with some of the words Gabriel left us off with at the end of Part 1. They just seemed so fitting to the theme of Part 2 of this interview:  celebrating the beauty of differences, the strength of diversity.

Gabriel:   In tango, you’ll have a kid who is twenty years old who is still in college or university and he’s beginning his life. And in the same room, you will have this older tanguero who might be eighty years old, dancing right next to him.

And you might meet a lawyer and a plumber and a stay at home mom all in the same room doing the same dance, sharing the same passion. You have people from all social classes in the same space. You have people from all ages, and people of all different cultures connecting through this common passion.

Tango allows me to make these unlikely encounters that I never would have made in my daily life otherwise. Continue reading

Why Tango?- Interview with Gabriel El Huracan- Part 1


I am really impressed at how quickly it seems you have picked up tango and to such a high level. Do you feel that there is something about your life before tango which contributed to this?

For as long as I can remember, I was always more of a physical person.  I was into basketball and into movement in general.  I think if you’re an active person and just more physical in your life in general, you’re used to telling your body to move in certain ways.  You’re used to isolating certain parts of your body and just having more body awareness.  And this is really important, especially in tango.  So perhaps that gave me an ‘advantage’ in terms of learning tango quicker.

And you used to be a bartender before, right?  I think bartending is an art in itself.  A bartender friend of mine even described her job as a dance on some nights.  Do you see any parallels between your life as a bartender and the way you teach or dance now?

I never thought about it before, but probably the social skills I developed while being a bartender helped me with my teaching in some ways.   I mean, I was already used to expressing myself around many people, through bartending.  I was already dealing with so many different types of personalities on a daily basis and in a very busy environment. And I was used to keeping people entertained with humor and stories, and learning how to read what people wanted. It also got me into the habit of navigating around a room full of people. Continue reading

Interview with Bellydancer Ashley Rhianne

Ashley3What sparked your interest in bellydance?

I saw my first bellydancer at age 14. It was at a goddess fair in Langley.  Being a Bohemian hippy teen, I was super inspired and wanted to learn how to dance like those women.  I had studied ballet for several years and then jazz dance, and bellydance was something totally different and up my alley.

I had also been fascinated by Egypt since I was little, and the music seemed to touch a chord deep inside me.  I started to look around White Rock, where I grew up, for classes. And I came across a teacher named Nahida who had danced in Egypt. I started taking her classes in 1995, and the rest is history!

Was dance and performance part of your upbringing? 

I was a natural performer since pretty much from the time I could walk.  My parents and younger sisters don’t dance, but my father loves to perform and be on stage.  He was often organizing lip sync contests at his work where he was the lead singer, and was quite addicted to karaoke for a while!  My paternal grandmother was a dancer and danced pretty much up to her death at 85.  I definitely take after her.  She was one of the brightest sparks I ever knew.

Continue reading

Our Perception of What We Can Do

“Dance can be very frustrating if you feel that you can’t get a Ashley4- by Daudimovement. 

But we have all been there!

So, as a teacher, I want to try to limit that kind of discouraging experience as much as possible.

The frustration can start to limit our perception of what we can do.

Dance is supposed to make you feel good, at the end of the day.  So I want THAT to be the strongest take- home feeling for my students.”

                 ~Ashley Rhianne




The Signs Are Everywhere!

Thank you to my beautiful friend Michelle for connecting me to the Sufi Poets again, particularly Hafiz’s collection- “I Heard God Laughing”.

How fitting that the very first poem focuses on the Freedom to Dance!  Dance Me Free- I’m telling you, the signs are EVERYWHERE!

“You are with a Friend Now

Hafiz describes some of the preparations required for the inner ‘Journey of Love’. He urges us to let go of habitual negative attitudes and unnecessary attachments, which only weigh us down.  To make this Journey, we must be light, happy and free to go Dancing!” by Daniel Ladinsky- translator


I wish I could show you

When you are lonely or in darkness,

The Astonishing Light

Of your own Being!

~ Hafiz

…I say use dance to not only help you bring out this light in yourself and others around you, but to also dance out the darkness.

Even the Sufis, from hundreds of years ago, knew the power and magic of Dance to Heal!