About Me

I am a hard working, fun-loving, sometimes serious and always compassionate health care practitioner helping mid-lifers understand mind-body connections that influence brain and heart health.

My history: I started University at the age of 15! Finished my 4-year BSc Specializing in Neuropsychology from the University of Alberta and then went into the Health Sciences Faculty at McMaster University and spent some time in research there – largely about Caregiver Stress with Alzheimer’s Disease. Then finished a 4-year program to become a licensed Naturopathic Doctor with an additional 2 years in Residency focusing on Eastern Medicine and Acupuncture. I also taught dermatology, women’s health, physical/clinical diagnosis, Eastern Medicine and Acupuncture. I have worked in hospitals, home-care, senior’s centres and lectured at these and various universities as well as lecturing at each location of the cancer support organization of Wellspring in Ontario. I practiced as a Naturopathic Doctor for 21 years at the Menen Centre for Optimum Health and the Canadian Integrative Cancer Centre – both owned and operated by me. I am an avid reader and I am a Certified Mindfulness Practitioner and regular meditator. I recently completed a 6-month intensive course with Eckhart Tolle and Kim Eng and I am bringing Conscious action into my own practice.

I let go of my naturopathic license recently (you know I will not easily let go of the knowledge learned and gained through my education and work history!) to remind everyone that YOU are the creator of your own health and wellness. I am an educator and trainer that can help you and/or your organization get there. I believe that true medicine is based on compassion and empowerment of patients/clients. And that is what I help people achieve.

I continue to be particularly interested in the prevention and management of chronic illness. I am most interested in how emotions play a central role in brain and heart health which then contribute to the high numbers of heart disease, memory decline and immune disorders in our society today.

I focus on helping people understand and manage emotions and lifestyle (including nutrition and exercise) to achieve optimum health and wellness. Mid-life brings so many changes to a person’s life. This is the time many encounter a relationship crisis, a major health diagnosis and/or loss of family and friends. These details cannot be ignored as they play a huge role in our day to day wellness and strongly impact our personal and professional lives. This is the foundation of my work for a healthier “second half” of our wonderful lives! This is the time when people connect or disconnect from society and this has long-term implications for our lives. Here I am creating support and community among people with similar values. We all need each other and I look forward to the community that comes together here.

There has been an increasing focus on medicine (pharmaceutical as well as natural) to move people back to health while the basics of communication with each other and the environment around us has been lost/neglected. You will notice that no medication or supplement will be enough to manage chronic health concerns. It’s time to get back to basics and work with the healing power of nature – both within and around us – for best health!

I can be reached for appointments at 416-920-8975 locally and internationally on WhatsApp or by email at: hanifahelps@gmail.com and I look forward to helping you get back to your best health!

Kindly,

“Dr.” Hanifa Menen, BSc, (and retired ND)

So recently I was interviewed (for almost a couple of hours) by a health group serving the international community about my services and I received a copy of the article written about me from the interview! Thought I’d share it with you  

Warning: It’s a long one!

Where Intention Goes, Energy Flows – Hanifa Menen’s Philosophy with Grief (note: I had said “Where attention goes, energy flows” but… this is what can happen in phone communication! Still think the journalist hit the Essence of my experience and practice!

After 21 years as a naturopathic doctor, Hanifa Menen “awakened” to her new calling as a Grief Recovery and Brain-Retraining Coach. The change isn’t unusual for someone like Menen who said, “I was a quite the go-getter academically; my brother was the go-getter socially.” At 15 years old, she started her BSc Specializing in Neuropsychology at the University of Alberta then proceeded to study Health Sciences at McMaster University. It was when her brother was diagnosed with a chronic illness during her first degree, that she really set out on her path to wellness and health. She said, “We were told about a particular clinic in India that could help. It was an Ayurvedic clinic. At that point, western medicine was not able to figure out what was going on [with her brother].”

Menen and her family travelled to India in 1990 to seek treatment for her brother. During her time in India, Menen saw the healing benefits of a type of medicine she had never really seen before. She was initially taken by it, especially pulse diagnosis which is practiced in both Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine. When she was looking into programs involving health and wellness she stumbled upon a 4-year program at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine which included learning Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. Menen began working as a naturopathic doctor and owned and operated the Menen Centre for Optimum Health in Toronto from 2000 and also the Canadian Integrative Cancer Centre in Oakville, Ontario from 2010, then opening a healing retreat centre with healing sessions, accomodation and meals for guests, before focusing purely on health coaching. Her personal experience with separation and divorce really jump-started her awakening. She said, “My practice was becoming ego-fulfilling. I remember talking to patients who were pushing themselves to work long hours even though a chronic illness diagnoses suggested this was not ideal because their pay and benefits were good. I would ask my clients “who is holding your golden handcuffs?” And then I looked at myself and thought, ‘well, who is holding my golden handcuffs?’” It was not salary and benefits she was holding on to, but rather the attachment to the title of a naturopathic doctor. Yet this title did not inherently empower her clients.

Menen became more “introspective” with herself and her practice then. She practiced more mindfulness and more meditation. And after a 6 month intensive, where she learned from the likes of Eckhart Tolle, she learned the art of non-attachment. She said, “Tolle said,’the true Self does not have or need any title; it just is.’ And at that point, my biggest attachment was my title as a naturopathic doctor. My patients looked at me like I was supposed to heal them (which fed the desire for my Ego as well, as I loved watching many heal), but my true Self wanted most to be the guide/facilitator to empower patients heal themselves.” She’s always believed that healing happens with a perfect interplay between the patient, the practitioner and a Higher Power/Source/God/the Universe. Yet the title of “Doctor” often implies that the doctor is the healer.

Menen said she felt that, “I was offering my service of empowering patients, not my products, my treatments, my role from “Doctor-knows-best” perspective (which does not empower patients) and it was in those quiet moments of reflection that she chose to focus on trying to “raise consciousness within patients to realize this” instead. She said, “It’s about showing patients/clients that they have the power to heal.”

Moving forward, this brought Menen into becoming a Grief Recovery and Brain Retraining coach. Regarding her grief recovery practice she said, “Sometimes people feel like they can overcome limiting thoughts and feelings on their own, mentally. But oftentimes if they do not actually do this, so difficult life experiences are often re-lived and repeated.”

Grief is a natural response to loss – often due to the loss of a loved one – but can also come with the loss of a job, a pet, one’s health, or safety. It can be a highly individual experience with triggers that can last for as little or as much time as is needed for individual healing.

There are a few myths associated with grief including:

Grief goes away if you ignore it (most often linked with “time heals” thinking)
You need to be strong
You shouldn’t cry
Moving on and forgetting are the same thing

The best way to tackle grief is head on. Not only does grief take an emotional toll, but it can have physical effects too, as the immune system is closely linked to the emotion of grief according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Menen said about grief that, “Most people don’t think of working through their grief until it is significantly effecting their day-to-day experience. People can choose not to see things clearly for a very long time. When patients/clients are ready to work with grief, working with a practitioner who focuses on the healing and learning that comes from grief experiences is often transformational. It usually takes someone else to see and notice details that are often missed by most individuals, to help prevent the pattern of re-living similar/painful grief experiences and to move towards healthy and joyful life experiences.

And that’s what Menen is there to help clients through. She said, “It’s nothing magical, it’s just taking the time to understand, support, process and complete the grief.”

Menen rounds out her practice with Brain Retraining because, as she said, “It’s not just about talking about grief/limiting thought patterns, it’s about learning from them.” Brain retraining is about working with the neuroplasticity of the brain. This is training one’s brain to reorganize by forming new neural connections. Menen said, “It’s about retraining your conscious and unconscious thoughts to encourage and shape the experiences that manifest in one’s life. It’s about finding the root of the limiting belief.” It’s about acknowledgment, understanding, and change. Brain retraining is not hard, it just needs to be consistent for results. Menen lives by the philosophy of, “Where intention goes, energy flows.” 

Menen’s practice focuses a lot on relationships and how life experiences and emotions take a toll on both our emotional and physical health. The “microcosm reflects the macrocosm” she said, “so the un-ease within our minds and bodies is reflecting the un-ease we see in the world around us, and things are all interconnected, whether we can see this or not.” It’s with the focused acknowledgement and acceptance of how one’s emotions can and do effect one’s life experiences, that we can create new paths to health and wellness.

 

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