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News Article

December 02, 2014
Nassau boutique hotel to feature renowned spa

The ultimate holistic wellness experience is coming to The Bahamas.
Bamford, renowned for its commitment to nature, purity and authentic luxury, will be a part of The Island House (TIH), a boutique hotel soon to open in western Nassau.
Offering individually crafted treatments and botanical products made from the highest quality organic ingredients, it will be the first Bamford Spa located outside of Europe.
"We could not be more excited to announce this partnership with Bamford, a brand that is synonymous with holistic wellness," said TIH Project Director Lauren Holowesko.
"The spa will be a calming, invigorating retreat unlike anything offered in The Bahamas. We see it as a centerpiece of the property, the embodiment of our commitment to nature, simplicity and quality."
Founded by Lady Carole Bamford in 2006, the award-winning Bamford brand is a reflection of her passion for holistic natural living, traditional skills and craftsmanship. The clothing and beauty company offers seasonal collections in natural fabrics and pure, artisan made bath, body, baby and home products.
The Bamford Body Collection will be the product line used throughout the hotel and will form the basis of a range of beauty, massage and therapeutic treatments offered at the spa.
"Bamford is delighted to be partnering with The Island House, whose belief in holistic wellbeing is so closely aligned with our own," a spokesperson said. "The Island House has created a beautiful environment where guests can experience Bamford treatments that balance mind, body and spirit. This sense of wellbeing continues through Bamford's natural and organic offering within The Island House bedroom suites. A truly wonderful addition to the Bamford partnerships."
The spa at TIH will be the main feature of a comprehensive wellness space at the heart of the property.
"Situated at the edge of our 25-meter lap pool, and surrounded by the yoga lawn, squash courts, gym and movement studio, it will serve as an oasis of tranquility amid the bustle," Holowesko said.
The focus on wellness is just part of what will make TIH stand out among Nassau resorts, she added.
"We want to offer our guests an inmate and authentic experience they can't find in the bigger, more mainstream resorts; one that merges the height of contemporary luxury with the unaffected elegance of authentic island life.
"At the same time, we want TIH to become a cultural gathering space. Our 48-seat cinema will be open to the community and will feature mainstream but also art house films and independent Caribbean productions. The space is versatile and can also play host to art exhibitions, seminars, and speaking events.
"Our ongoing call for artwork submissions aims to highlight young and emerging Bahamian talent as well as established local masters, the aim being to feature original work throughout the property, including the guest rooms."
The property will feature six rental apartments, two restaurants, a cafe, spa, gym, squash and paddle courts, and movement studio for fitness classes. To learn more, visit: http://www.the-island-house.com.

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News Article

July 01, 2014
Get in touch

It's one of the oldest healing arts, and today the benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching. As an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has also proven beneficial for many chronic conditions including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation and depression. Many people will also attest that massage helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living.
Chantell Smith is one of those persons. She tries to get a massage as often as she can and when her "pocket" allows so that she can relax from her everyday stressors. The 50-plus woman says the opportunity to lie on her massage therapist's bed does not happen as much as she would like, but when it does, she lets go of all of her worries, at least for the time that she's there. She says she is not rich or even well-off, by any stretch of the imagination, but she makes allowances for that one splurge in her life, because for that brief period in time, her life is stress-free.
Making time for massages is something people from all walks of life should do because the benefits are numerous, according to orthopedic sports therapist Edwardo Thompson, who is trained in massage therapy and has been practicing for 15 years at The Spa of Eden at Pishon on West Bay Street. He says over the years he has found that most people think that getting a massage done is only for the wealthy or the really stressed, but the aim of therapists is to help people recover. According to him, massages are preventative and are good for everyone, from the office worker, to the garbage collector, to the stay-at-home mom; the therapist says everyone's body goes through chemical reactions that tighten muscles and put muscles under stress.
"You don't have to lift something heavy to put your muscles under stress -- it could be something as simple as a thought, so therefore that stress level that you're now putting on your body needs to find its way out," said Thompson. "I like to look at the body as a big chain of energy. Anytime you have a short circuit, it has to go somewhere. Electricians will tell you that the reason you have circuit boxes is because if you have a shortage somewhere it's going to trip the breaker, so the same thing with stress. When your body becomes stressed then you start having boils and lumps and all these other things, and this is when diseases start to form. It has to go somewhere, and nine times out of 10, what massage does is help the body to relax. It helps the body to get rid of that load. Muscles are designed to move, so all the movement that you do over a period of time weighs you down and puts tension on you. It actually strains the muscle, so a good therapist will actually lengthen the muscle tissues and that's where the results will come."
Going for days, weeks and months on end without having your muscles relaxed to release the chemical reaction isn't good, said Thompson, who is also an active release therapist.
"The true benefit for me when I work on my clients is to really help them prevent stress...even disorders. Sometimes we [massage therapists] are the first ones to recognize a problem with a client. Sometimes the client doesn't even know they have a problem. Because we're working on them on a consistent basis, we're able to identify things and sometimes we make suggestions," he said.
Thompson has come across many clients with posture problems from doing everyday things they don't think twice about, like tilting their head to the side, which if they do for years on end, their body adjusts to by rotation. He's seen countless clients with one shoulder higher than the next due to the shoulder adjusting to a heavy bag slung across it for many years. Even women wearing incorrect bras pose a problem, he says, as the bra straps cut into the shoulder and causes problems with the trapezius muscle and the neck.
The sports therapist said through just being able to touch, therapists can identify changes in the foot as well. He said a lot of the soreness and tightness at the bottom of people's feet can be attributed to the type of shoe they're wearing. Through touch, he said he's able to identify those simple things and help a lot of clients get back on the right track.
Thompson said every therapist has his own technique and style, and he has developed a signature style known as "the Edwardo", which is more of a therapeutic massage. His style is for the everyday person seeking relaxation, but people who lie on his massage bed are not just "worked on". Thompson tries to solve their problems.
"Most patients when they lay down on my table, nine times out of 10 they have a problem. When you lay down on my table, I want you to leave out of here completely healed, so for me it's not just a massage; it's solving a problem. So the therapeutic part comes in when I'm asking the questions before we begin the massage. Are there any concerns? And you would be surprised what people would tell you about problems they've had for years.
"Every stroke has an intent when I work, and that's the difference. It has a purpose. It's being used to deliver something. And that thing that I'm delivering is what I feel with the tissue that I'm working, what state the tissue is in when I'm working -- whether it's in a contracted state or fibrotic state, it's all about the touch. A touch that will not only treat the symptom, but correct the problem."
Thompson, who is also trained in neuromuscular therapy and is a myofacial therapist (a technique that is used for releasing tissue) and is a certified active release therapist, said all of his work isn't just based on a feel-good massage, but more of a medical massage.
How often a person gets a massage, he said, should be based on the individual's lifestyle -- a person's level of stress or how they carry themselves; everyone should find that quiet time for themselves.
When you've made the decision to get a massage and are considering which spa to go to, Thompson said people should look at the hygiene of the operation, with professionalism not too far behind. Patrons should ensure they feel comfortable and their expectations are met.
Thompson is the type of therapist who likes his clients to give him the freedom to do his job.
"When a client relaxes and lets their body go, I find that it's the greatest opportunity for me to work, because I find that there's no tension -- there's nothing stopping me from actually working to reach that goal which is to really eliminate the stress and the fatigue, whatever the problem is. I would suggest clients let the therapist have the freedom to use their gift."
While the country is in an economic bind and most people are watching how they spend their pennies, he suggests that people start living from a preventative perspective, instead of waiting for something to happen. According to Thompson, getting massages gives you the opportunity to maintain a perfect health, recover it and ensure that your body is performing at an optimum level at all times.
"Spend that quality time for yourself. To really look at it from the perspective that you not only want to live longer, but you want to live healthier. When you get a massage, it's not that you're getting a relaxation massage or feel-good massage, you're actually helping your body to function," said Thompson.
10 of the most popular types of massages
Swedish massage therapy: Therapists use long, smooth strokes, kneading and circular movements on superficial layers of muscle using massage lotion or oil.
Aromatherapy massage: Massage therapy with the addition of one or more scented plant oils called essential oils to address specific needs. The massage therapist can select oils that are relaxing, energizing, stress reducing or balancing. Aromatherapy massage is particularly suited to stress-related conditions with an emotional component.
Hot stone massage: Heated, smooth stones are placed on certain points on the body to warm and loosen tight muscles and balance energy centers in the body. The massage therapist may also hold stones and apply gentle pressure with them. The warmth is comforting. Hot stone massage is good for people who have muscle tension, but prefer lighter massage.
Deep tissue massage: This massage targets the deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. The massage therapist uses slower strokes or friction techniques across the grain of the muscle. Deep tissue massage is used for chronically tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems or recovery from injury. People often feel sore for one to two days after deep tissue massage.
Shiatsu massage: A form of Japanese bodywork that uses localized finger pressure in a rhythmic sequence on acupuncture meridians. Each point is held for two to eight seconds to improve the flow of energy and help the body regain balance. People are normally pleasantly surprised when they try shiatsu for the first time. It is relaxing yet the pressure is firm and there is usually no soreness afterwards.
Thai massage: Like shiatsu, Thai massage aligns the energies of the body using gentle pressure on specific points. Thai massage also includes compressions and stretches. You don't just lie there -- the therapist moves and stretches you into a sequence of postures. It's like yoga without doing any work. Thai massage is more energizing than other forms of massage. It also reduces stress and improves flexibility and range of motion.
Pregnancy massage: Also called prenatal massage, pregnancy massage is becoming increasingly popular with expectant mothers. Massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage know the proper way to position and support the woman's body during the massage, and how to modify techniques.
Reflexology massage: Although reflexology is sometimes called foot massage, it is more than simple foot massage. Reflexology involves applying pressure to certain points on the foot that corresponds to organs and systems in the body. Reflexology is very relaxing, especially for people who stand on their feet all day or just have tired, achy feet.
Sports massage: Sports massage is specifically designed for people who are involved in physical activity, but you don't have to be a professional athlete to have one -- this type of massage is used by people who are active and work out often. The focus isn't on relaxation, but on preventing and treating injury and enhancing athletic performance. A combination of techniques is used during the massage. The strokes are generally faster than Swedish massage. Facilitated stretching is a common technique. It helps to loosen muscles and increase flexibility.
Back massage: Some massage clinics and spas offer 30-minute back massages. If a back massage is not on its menu, you can also book a 30 or 40-minute massage and ask that the massage therapist focus on your back.
Source: altmedicine.about.com
Benefits of massage
o Alleviates lower back pain and improve range of motion.
o Assists with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shortens maternity hospital stays.
o Eases medication dependence.
o Enhances immunity by stimulating lymph flow--the body's natural defense system.
o Exercises and stretches weak, tight or atrophied muscles.
o Helps athletes of any level prepare for and recover from strenuous workouts.
o Improves the condition of the body's largest organ -- the skin.
o Increases joint flexibility.
o Lessens depression and anxiety.
o Promotes tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
o Pumps oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
o Reduces post-surgery adhesions and swelling.
o Reduces spasms and cramping.
o Relaxes and softens injured, tired and overused muscles.
o Releases endorphins--amino acids that work as the body's natural painkiller.
o Relieves migraine pain.
Source: massagetherapy.com

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News Article

October 27, 2014
Former pro giving back as personal fitness trainer

Former professional basketball player and Bahamian national team member Jimmy Mackey is one of the newest certified fitness instructors in the country, and already his work is paying dividends for his clients.
Mackey, the only master personal trainer in the Caribbean region, has trained a number of elite Bahamian athletes, preparing them for various competitions. The list reads like a who's who among the upper echelon athletes in the country. He does his work out of MacFit 360 Personal Fitness Gym, located in the newly built Independence Business Park on East Street South.
"I just figured for myself that personalized fitness sessions is something different that the country needs right now," said Mackey. "I just decided to go with the concept of a personal training studio - clients could come in and get that specialized attention, getting assistance from a trainer at the elite level. Elite athletes now know that they have a place where they could train. We have a lot of equipment that the big gyms have, even testing equipment where we test athletes' metabolism, their vertical tests, speed tests, and all the other lil small stuff that matters. We also test nutrition, get athletes eating the right foods. We have state-of-the-art equipment available, and the energy is out of the roof."
In addition to being the region's only National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Master Trainer, Mackey is also a certified nutritionist, a certified massage therapist and a certified suspension trainer among others. He specializes in sports performance training and rehabilitating, with a strong focus on speed, agility and quickness. When he obtained his corrective exercise credentials, one of the key areas was imbalances in the human body.
"Imbalances in athletes is a common area of concern," said Mackey. "When I started working with Ramon Miller this year, I found out how weak he was in terms of his core strength and his balance. Without those two, it's difficult to generate a lot of power as an athlete. Once he got involved with me, and started working on his conditioning, he noticed that his speed was faster than it usually is around that particular time of year. I just told him that it's just that all of his weaknesses got stronger, and that made him a faster athlete. Even when he broke his ankle, you couldn't even tell that he broke his ankle because he was performing at such a high level."
Miller, the local hero from the 2012 London Olympics, was in top form earlier this year before suffering that untimely injury at the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Relays at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium. He broke his ankle prior to the heats of the men's 4x400 meters (m) relay, but still turned in the fastest split for Team Bahamas. He was working with Mackey at MacFit 360 up until that point.
"One of the challenges that I have, and this surfaced with Ramon as well, is that people say that I'm from The Bahamas, so I really don't know much, but here it is I have the credentials to prove myself. I just started pushing myself to get certified, and to be recognized as an elite and master trainer is a huge honor. It makes one want to push harder to get certified further with what's trending in the industry," said Mackey.
In addition to Miller, Mackey also worked with Bahamian professional basketball player Jaraun "Keno" Burrows, the senior women's national basketball team and TWD Athletics Club just to name a few of his clients. His organization, MacFit 360, is named after him, and is open to the public six days each week, from 5 a.m to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
Mackey got started as a personal fitness trainer here in The Bahamas about six years ago, moved to the United States to get certified, and has now returned home. His gym, MacFit 360, has been open for about a year.
"A lot of people love the smaller gyms now, the personal training studios, and that is what MacFit 360 is all about," said Mackey. "Being a master trainer, I think that you should be able to train anybody. I would definitely encourage other young people to get involved with fitness training, as long as you have the passion for it. You have to have a passion for this to take it to the next level, and be the best that you could be.
"I took it all the way to being a master trainer, and I'm the first one in the Caribbean. I was just selected out of thousands of trainers around the world to be featured in one of the biggest fitness magazines in the world. I just want to add some awareness to my Bahamian people as far as health and fitness is concerned. I want to implore my Bahamian people to act now and get healthy now, to fine tune your diet and nutrition and get away from all the fatty stuff; just live a healthy lifestyle, and push yourself in everything that you do."
Mackey is encouraging athletes in particular to visit him at MacFit 360 in the Independence Business Park and see immediate results.

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News Article

July 14, 2014
Traveling can take a toll on feet

Summer is here with a vengeance, and most Bahamians are busy planning or going on their next vacation. Whether you are planning to walk around amusement parks, shop until you drop, or explore one of the beautiful Family Islands at home, traveling can take a toll on your feet, and an injury can ruin your entire vacation.
Before you go on your next trip, here are some sensible travel tips to follow for good foot health while traveling. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort in your feet or ankles, visit a podiatrist before traveling to find out what's causing the problem and have it treated. Remember, foot pain is not normal and it can ruin your travel plans!
Shoes
Review your travel itinerary and the activities you have planned to decide on the kind and amount of shoes you will need to pack. As a general rule, wear comfortable, supportive shoes such as sneakers. They should fit properly, with good arch support and be worn with socks to prevent discomfort and blisters. Do not take new shoes that have never been worn on your vacation. It is a good idea to condition and prepare your feet and legs for the activities you plan to perform during your vacation. If you plan to walk a lot, several weeks before your trip, begin a regular walking program wearing the shoes you will take on your trip. This will help you to enjoy your vacation more and prevent aches, pains or injury that may accompany a new workout routine.
Preventing a blood clot
When flying or driving for long periods of time, there is an increased risk of developing a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT which is a blood clot in the legs) especially if you have risk factors such as a recent long surgery, confined to bed, cancer, older than 40 years of age, obesity and smoking. The risk of developing DVT from air travel is strongly linked to age. It is uncommon in young people and very common in the elderly. Studies estimate that three to five percent of travelers develop clots in their veins related to travel. In the United States it is estimated that there are one million cases of DVT related to air travel every year and that 100,000 of these persons die. To prevent this we recommend when traveling for more than four hours you should get up and move around every two hours, drink plenty water, stay hydrated, don't drink too much alcohol or caffeine, avoid crossing your legs and exercise your leg by flexing your feet and ankles, wiggling your toes and unlacing your shoes if your feet swells.
Don't go barefoot
Always wear shoes or sandals while walking on the sand to prevent foot injuries from the hot sand and puncture from objects that may be hidden beneath the sand. Walking barefoot exposes the feet to sunburn, as well as the virus that causes plantar warts, fungus that causes athlete's foot or nail fungus and many other infections. Persons with diabetes should never walk barefoot, in doors or outside.
Apply sunscreen
For persons with lighter complexions, be sure to apply sunscreen to your legs and feet while basking in the sun. Apply sunscreen to the tops of your feet and legs regularly at least every three to four hours to prevent sunburns and protect against the harmful UV rays of the sun.
Foot first aid
Take a foot first aid kit and be prepared in case of a minor foot problem. Pack Band-aids, foot pads, talcum powder, antibiotic or first aid cream and nail clippers in your toiletry bag. If you injure your foot or ankle while traveling, seek professional attention from a podiatrist.
Pamper you feet
After a long day of sightseeing, shopping, walking, hiking or whatever you have planned for your vacation, treat your feet well, massage them, rest them and keep them elevated. After all you will need them to do it all over again tomorrow.
o For more information email foothealth242@gmail.com or visit www.foothealth.org or apma.org. To see a podiatrist visit the Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street, telephone 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates on Albury Lane, telephone 394-5820.

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News Article

April 04, 2014
Jackson likes the direction regional athletics is headed in

With a focus of promoting Caribbean athletics globally, the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) is spearheading a 'Day in the Life' Series, featuring some of the best athletes in the region. The first stop on the regional tour was the island nation of Jamaica. Sheldon Longley is with the IAAF team, and will be bringing updates here in the Sports Section of The Nassau Guardian.
Whereas Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President Dr. Warren Blake spoke about a possible coaching exchange between Jamaica and east African countries with the intention of broadening the athletic bases of both countries, particularly in distance running for Jamaica, former sprinter Grace Jackson has a different approach.
The Olympic silver medalist over 200 meters (m) from the 1988 Seoul Games said last week that as long as Jamaica maintain its status in the sprints, put a little more emphasis on the quarter-mile events, show a little more progression in the jumps and successfully move from junior prominence to senior success in the throws, the tiny island nation would move past countries like Russia and the United States (U.S.), and become the number one athletic country in the world.
Additionally, she said that the rest of the Caribbean, including The Bahamas, can do just as good as Jamaica by specializing and focussing on certain areas.
Jamaican sprinting came to the forefront at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, as they out-shone the U.S., taking four out of the six sprint titles, two in world record times. In total, they won nine sprint medals. The following year, Jamaica took three sprint titles, and both 4x100m relays at the Berlin World Championships. They duplicated that feat at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu and at the 2012 London Olympics, with the exception of the women's sprint relay, and then last year, Jamaica won four individual sprint titles, and captured both sprint relays at the Moscow World Championships. The country is undoubtedly the number one sprinting nation in the world right now.
"I think that we were knocking on the door for a while," said former sprint sensation Grace Jackson. "Merlene (Ottey) was that first inspiration, and must be given credit as such. She took us through a period of years where she was dominant. Other males were also dominant, but not getting medals in the major championships, but the people who were beating them were not necessarily better.
"We would fall short in finals at big meets, but then turn around and beat those same athletes who were beating us in the next meet. So, the question is, was it mental - racing in a final? Our men, in particular, stayed above ground by making it to the finals, but we just couldn't win medals.
"What is happening now is that we are breaking through and winning medals. I don't think that we have a need for the middle distance events. We have won medals in a number of other events. We just have to nurture the events that we have done well in - put the support behind those events like the hurdles and the jumps, continue to support the sprints, and bring the 400 meters back on board. I do not see us at this point showing the talent in the middle distance. We need to work with the things that we have a history of making something big in.
"If we were to touch all of those and get more medals, we could move ourselves past countries like Germany, the U.S., and Russia. Individuals have to be able to have the desire to do those events. For instance, some of the 200 runners could be quarter-milers. They have to come to terms with that. We can move from a junior to a senior level in the throws, and then we have it made. Jamaica would be at the top of the medal standings at the world championships and the Olympics."
Jackson said that a major aspect of athletics is to have athletes running in the right events. She believes in the student-athlete concept, and is driven to develop a facility that allows an athlete to develop, become a different person, and then move on.
"I believe that universities are the answer across the region to be the feeder systems for national teams," said Jackson. "Universities have a structure that will always be in place. It's an ideal home for athletes. They offer academic and medical support. Universities help athletes to develop athletes into being elite, and to know themselves. At the end of the day, athletes need strong coaching, video playback, massages, medical services, nutrition, and an understanding of where they would want to go."
A number of top Jamaican sprinters opt against running indoors. Triple world record holder Usain Bolt doesn't run indoors, and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce didn't either until this past March in Sopot, Poland. This year represented her first time running at the world indoor championships, and still she was able to come out with the gold medal, in the women's 60 meters (m). Jackson said that whereas it would be good for Jamaicans to add to their athletic resumes, generally, there isn't a need for them to run indoors.
"We could just concentrate on being the best that we can be outdoors," said Jackson. "Most athletes don't want to run indoors. It creates more opportunities for them to get hurt. If we are going to improve internationally, ultimately we would have to build the stadium, and build our athletes to be top athletes. We need to focus on being the best that we can be at all times, and make athletics the best that it can be."
Just this past weekend, the island nation of Jamaica concluded one of its most successful Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships, commonly known as 'Champs'. Over 20 records were broken at the five-day high school meet. Jackson said that the excitement surrounding 'Champs' is extraordinary, but they need to be careful when it comes to the preservation of athletes, so that they could become successful on the senior level.
"When you look at a lot of our high school athletes, 'Champs' is their Olympic Games - only a small percentage of them will make it," said Jackson. "'Champs' produces top junior athletes, but how do we funnel them in different directions so that we have a larger catchment. It's a tough transitional period to the senior level. We need to create more opportunities for our junior athletes. High school competition is important, and it is a tradition that we love, and we now need a bigger stadium because of it, but we have to be careful not to overwork our young athletes."
As for the world relays this May, Jackson said that The Bahamas has a huge task ahead in staging a successful meet - the first event of its kind in the history of global athletics. The inaugural International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) World Relay Championships is set for May 24-25, at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium here in The Bahamas.
"I'm very excited about it. It's a great event," said Jackson. "A lot of people in Jamaica, and the Caribbean, are inspired by relays. All of the athletes want to perform well. For Jamaicans, anything that has a baton in the hand we love. As a people, we are looking forward to competing in The Bahamas. I pray for a successful meet, and for it to continue to grow. I'm hoping that The Bahamas host well and create the kind of excitement that the IAAF is looking for. We love the relays in Jamaica, and The Bahamas is big on the relays as well, and so is America, so it bodes well that it is in this half of the world."
Jackson said that it is going to take a total team effort from the Jamaican athletes to go to The Bahamas and return with the desired results, particularly with triple world record holder Bolt most likely being unavailable because of a foot injury. Earlier last week, Jamaican athletes Yohan Blake and Warren Weir had hinted that they would be coming to The Bahamas to break the world record in the men's 4x200m. Without Bolt, who holds the individual world record in that event, the task becomes significantly more challenging.

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News Article

November 12, 2013
VAT bill revealed

The legislation and regulations the government drafted to guide its value-added tax (VAT) regime when it takes effect next July would tax over 80 different professions, cable bills and phone bills for all consumers, and electricity and water bills for businesses.
The Value Added Tax Bill 2013, and the Value Added Tax Regulations 2013, obtained by The Nassau Guardian, propose a flat tax rate of 15 percent on a long list of professional services, utilities and imported goods.
Financial services carried out for a specific fee, many financial transactions and insurance transactions and premiums, except for health and life insurance, will also be subject to VAT.
As has been widely reported, hotel rooms and food and beverage transactions would be taxed at a rate of 10 percent.
Condominiums that are part of a hotel complex, even if they're part of a rental pool, would be taxed as well.
However, some services and goods will be exempt from the new tax.
A variety of breadbasket items, educational institutions, daycare, after school, retirement, medical, and disabled facilities, religious institutions, charitable organizations and the sale or rental of a dwelling not part of a hotel complex would be exempt.
Games of chance, gambling and lotteries would also be exempt.
While the government has drafted over 160 pages of legislation and regulations, there are still a few things that have yet to be set in stone.
For example, the regulations propose a threshold for VAT being applied to electricity and water bills for commercial consumers.
This means that if a business consumes less than a certain amount of electricity per month to be determined by the government, it would pay no VAT; everything exceeding that as yet undetermined level would be subject to VAT.
The same is being proposed for businesses that consume public water.
While the draft legislation does not propose to impose VAT on these services for residential consumers, The Guardian understands that the prime minister will soon decide whether this will change, bearing in mind his party's pledge to lower the cost of electricity.
The government has also not decided on what the threshold will be for professional services to become VAT registrants.
The Guardian understands that currently the government is considering $100,000 or $150,000 as the threshold at which VAT will apply to those services.
The legislation also exempts professional services that are conducted for people who are not in The Bahamas in many instances.
Domestic transportation by land or water, other than in connection with a tour, would also be exempt.
VAT registrants who will be required to impose the new tax on retail transactions will be those businesses whose revenue exceeds $100,000 per year.
The VAT legislation and regulations are quite detailed and complex, but there are many areas that are quite straightforward.
What will you pay more for?
Expect financial transactions to impact your bottom line.
Financial services and transactions are not exempt from VAT if they levy a fee.
This includes, short-term insurance contracts; legal, accounting, record packaging services, and tax agency services, including advisory services; the provision of insurance, other than life or medical insurance; safe custody for money or documents; brokerage services; debt collection or factoring services and trustee services.
Also taxable would be the transmission of money or monetary value in any form; the issuance, sale or redemption of money orders or traveler's checks; check cashing; currency exchange issuance, sale or redemption of money orders and traveler's checks and currency exchange and pay day advances.
Loans to consolidate finances from bank to bank will be subject to VAT if the repayment terms are in installments.
However, financial services provided to a person treated as a non-resident for purposes of the Exchange Control Regulations are exempt.
Accounting and record packaging services rendered to these institutions would also be exempt.
What won't cost more
Many basic food items will be exempt from VAT.
Beef, chicken, pork, sheep meat, horse meat, smoked meat, dried meat, salted meat, sausage, sandwich meat, corned beef and fish will be exempt.
Fresh milk, milk products, concentrated and evaporated milk, cream, cheese, dairy spreads and butter will also be exempt.
VAT will not apply to fresh and frozen vegetables and fruit.
Rice, fonio, quinoa, triticale, flour, cereal, cereal grains, cereal groats (like oat, wheat, barley and rye), meal and pellets will be exempt.
Soybean oil, ground nut oil, olive oil, sesame oil, castor oil, other oils used for cooking and vegetable fats will also be exempt.
Margarine, imitation lard and shortening will be exempt.
Cane sugar, beet sugar and white sugar will be exempt.
VAT will not apply to bread, noodles, couscous, bulger wheat or foods for infant use.
Mustard and mayonnaise, soups and broth will also be exempt.
Mineral water for infant use will have no VAT applied to it.
Laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, soaps and domestic utility goods will also be exempt.
Licenses issued by the government will be exempt from VAT as well.
Government agencies, ministries, departments, statutory bodies, local government councils, or other government entities that provide services that are usually taxable will be exempt from VAT if the services are of a nominal amount or they are not intended to recover the cost of those goods and services.
The Ministry of Finance will begin a series of intensive VAT workshops for the public starting tomorrow, Financial Secretary John Rolle said recently.
The workshops will come amid criticism over the proposed implementation date and questions about its impact.
The government has said VAT is necessary to bring down the government's massive deficit and get the country's spiraling debt situation under control.
Ministry of Finance officials estimate that VAT can generate about $200 million in annual revenue.Professions subject to VAT under draft bill1. Accountants
2. Actuaries
3. Acupuncturists
4. Advisors
5. Advocates
6. Aestheticians
7. Appraisers
8. Architects
9. Athletes
10. Athletic Trainers
11. Auctioneers
12. Audiologist
13. Barbers
14. Beauticians
15.Chemists
16. Chiropractors
17. Consultants
18. Contractors
19. Cosmetologists
20. Counsellors
21. Custodial engineers
22. Custom brokers
23. Dental Assistants
24. Dental Hygienists
25. Dentist
26. Dieticians
27. Electricians
28. Electrologist
29. Embalmers
30. Engineers
31. Entertainers
32. Financial Analysts
33. Foresters
34. Funeral Practitioners
35. Geologists
36. Hair Dressers
37. Hairdressers
38. Health Care Providers
39. Home Repair Service Providers
40. Interior Designers
41. Interpreters
42. Land Sales Developer
43. Landscape Architecture
44. Lawyers
45. Librarians
46. Massage therapists
47. Mechanics
48. Naturopathic Doctors
49. Nurse Practitioners
50. Nurses
51. Nursing Home Administrators
52. Occupational therapists
53. Occupational therapy Assistants
54. Optometrists
55. Orthodontist
56. Osteopath
57. Painters
58. Pharmacists
59. Physical Therapists
60. Physicians
61. Physicians (MD)
62. Pilots
63. Plumbers
64. Podiatrist
65. Professional fundraisers
66. Professional Planner
67. Professors
68. Promoters
69. Psychologists
70. Radiologic technicians
71. Real Estate Appraisers
72. Real Estate Professionals
73. Respiratory Care Practitioners
74. Salesmen
75. Scientists
76. Social Workers
77. Speech-Language Pathologists
78. Stock Brokers
79. Surveyors
80. Teachers
81. Technicians
82. Timeshare Developers
83. Timeshare Sales Agent
84. Transient Sellers
85. Translators
86. Veterinarians
87. Such other professions that the minister may add

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News Article

May 29, 2012
Pedicure pointers for diabetics

It's almost summer and most women are looking forward to getting a pedicure and showing off those pretty toenails, but as diabetics, before you kick off your shoes, consider the potential downsides of pedicures.
People with diabetes are at high risk for a number of complications including infections, ulcers and amputations. If there is a break in the skin, it can lead to a leg or life-threatening infection. As podiatrists, we recommend that individuals with diabetes do not receive a pedicure because of the often questionable sanitary conditions of the beauty salon, the skills of the individual performing the pedicure and the cleanliness of the instruments used.
Regardless, many women (and, yes, even men) with diabetes are still heading to salons and spas. Aside from being a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, pedicures can ensure that feet are clean and moisturized, which is important when you have diabetes with dry skin. The reality is that women are going to get pedicures whether they are diabetics or not. If people with diabetes choose to have pedicures. they must be aware of the risk and follow these tips to keep their feet safe.

Know when to skip it: If you are healthy, with your diabetes under control and without complications, getting a pedicure may not pose as great a threat as it does for people with diabetic foot complications. If you have decreased feeling in the feet (neuropathy), an infection or an ulcer, don't book an appointment. An open wound will allow in any bacteria that may be hiding in the foot basin, the water or on the instruments. Further, because of the nerve damage you may not be able to tell if you've been cut or burned if the water is too hot.

Check out the salon: Before scheduling a pedicure at just any nail salon, it is wise to look into the cleanliness of the salon and its practices. It is important to look into all the salon's sanitation practices, the technician's training (make sure he/she is licensed), how the tools are cleaned and how the basin is cleaned. If the salon looks clean, but you're still not sure, don't be afraid to ask them how they clean their basins and instruments.
Foot baths and instruments should be cleaned with a hospital-grade, EPA-registered disinfectant after every client. If the salon or spa does not clean often enough or with the proper chemicals, don't take a chance on going there. There are so many things you can catch at a salon that is not clean including fungus or bacteria. It is recommended that you visit and check out the salon or get a manicure first before getting a pedicure.

Examine the foot bath: Foot baths provide a pool of warm, bubbly water that is relaxing. But they can also be filled with bacteria that can come from the water or from the basin not being cleaned properly after the last client. It is recommended that basins are thoroughly cleansed between each client.

Inspect the tools: Before you let a pedicurist touch your feet, find out how her tools are sanitized. All nail instruments should be cleaned after each use. Dirty instruments used on past customers or soaked in unchanged sterilizing fluid or open containers are very dangerous and can be the source of an infection. Pick a salon that uses stainless steel instruments, which are easier to clean rather than wooden sticks or porous files. To prevent the spread of infection, emery boards and nail buffers should be used once and given to the client or thrown out after each client. To ensure instruments are clean and safe, some people take their own tools to the nail salon. At the end you would take the tools home and clean them yourself.

Give instructions: If you have diabetes it is best to tell the nail technician you have diabetes. Give clear guidelines on how you want them to take care of your feet safely. Tell them that you cannot have your feet soaked in hot water. Request that the technician not clip your cuticles or file your heels or calluses with a blade.

Make sure the water is warm, not hot, and that your toenails are cut straight across. Moisturizing lotions or creams should be massaged into your feet, but not between the toes. Insist that the pedicurist avoid a credo blade or razor on your feet.

Consider the alternatives: These measures may seem a bit excessive, but consider the alternative. Unsterilized instruments can pass bacteria and infections between clients. The first thing to understand when it comes to diabetics is that pedicure risks in healthy people are multiplied in diabetics.
The first thing that a diabetic should do is to consult their podiatrist and ask them if they can have a pedicure. Sometimes patients with controlled diabetes can enjoy pedicures without much more risk than normal healthy people. However, nail technicians must remember that instruments should be cleaned before use and that diabetics are at increased risk for complication and that their skin should never be broken.
In the unfortunate situation that the skin of a diabetic is broken, or if there is pain or soreness you must take immediate steps to clean the wound and place a dressing on the wound. You should see a podiatrist as soon as possible if symptoms persist. When you have diabetes, any injury to your feet is a major concern even if it is caused by the manicurist. An injury is an open invitation for an infection. An infection can lead to higher blood sugars and higher blood sugars can interfere with healing, which can lead to ulcers and potential amputation.
When it comes to pedicures, persons with diabetes must ask themselves if it is worth the risk? People with diabetes should be seen by a podiatrist on a regular basis for routine foot care. It is best to see the podiatrist, regularly so any problem or potential foot complications can be dealt with early.

o For more information, email me at foothealth242@gmail.com or visit www.apma.org or pedicuretip.org. To see a podiatrist visit Bahamas Foot Centre on Rosetta Street or call 325-2996 or Bahamas Surgical Associates on Albury Lane or call 394-5820.

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News Article

September 15, 2011
Roadmasters set to stage fourth charity run

For the average distance runner, one goal is to compete in a half marathon and then eventually a full marathon, whether it's for his or her own personal gratification or just for a worthy cause. For the past three years, the Bahamas Roadmasters Club has provided both opportunities.
Now into its fourth year, the Roadmasters annual charity run is set for Saturday, September 17 and the interest is brewing from a cross section of the society. Last year, the proceeds went to the Pilot Club of Nassau in their quest to build a pool for the Physically Disabled. Previously, the Aids Foundation and the Aids Camp were among the beneficiaries. This year, Bahamas Roadmasters' goal is to raise at least $10,000 to assist the Ranfurly Home for Children.
The club, founded by president George Smith and others, provides an avenue for Bahamians to develop their dreams of being marathon runners. It also catered to those members who were primarily interested in losing weight or just improving their physical conditioning.
Kimley Saunders, chairman of the organizing committee for the run, said they are opening doors for so many other Bahamians to participate because of the charity aspects attached to the event. Although it's not a full or even a half marathon, the run features a number of aspects that will cater to just about every causal or competitive runner, from a five-mile run or walk from Montagu Beach to Charlotte Street and back.
There's also a 10-mile run/walk that leaves Montagu Beach and travels all the way to Goodman's Bay and back. If a participant dares to be more adventurous, there's the 20-mile run that leaves Montagu Beach and travels all the way to Blake Road and back to Montagu. Additionally, there's also the 20-mile uniformed officers relay that already has a team from the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), two from Her Majesty Prison and three from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) signed up to compete. There is also an open relay.
For those doing the 20-mile run, the start time is 4:30 a.m. The five and 10-mile races will begin an hour later at 5:30 a.m.
Saunders noted: "We hope to have at least 150-200 participants or more and that everyone will have fun and enjoy themselves and at the same time support the Ranfurly Home. We hope that we can raise the $10,000 or more that we are anticipating to raise for the Ranfurly Home."
In July, 2009, Angela 'Grandmother' Rahming decided to increase her mobility by moving up from walking to running. She did her first charity run two years ago and returned for her second appearance last year. This year, however, Rahming has decided to work closely with the organizing committee. She serves as the assistant secretary, but she said she was so inspired by her ability to "complete the run" without any problems that she's made it her goal to encourage others to get involved.
"It can be for anybody," she insisted. "You don't have to worry about keeping up with anybody. As long as you are consistent, you can finish. Every day you go out, you can add your mileage. Being consistent is the key."
Through her new found love, the actual 'grandmother' of one said a lot of the members were taken aback when she started, but she never allowed anyone to discourage her. In fact, they are all in awe of her achievement in just three years. Last year, Rahming participated in her first half marathon on January 31 at the ING in Miami. Her nephew, who lives in Florida, was so thrilled about her commitment and dedication, that he decided to join her.
With the support of her daughter, grandson, sister and niece on the sideline cheering her on, Rahming completed the course in three hours and 10 minutes.
"For me, that was good, really good. Obviously, it's not elite running time, but for me it was super," she quipped.
That has led to Rahming making strides in a series of other events. In October, she did a half marathon on a Saturday in Washington and on Sunday, the following week, she did her first full marathon. In April, Rahming duplicated the feat when she ran the Kentucky Derby, then drove back to Ohio and did a half marathon.
"I didn't tell anybody in the club that I was going. I just went with another friend," she stated. "They were all surprised that I did it."
Although it was a new event last year, the RBDF has dominated the relay competition and this year, sports officer Ramone Storr said the Defence Force will be back to do it again.
"I guarantee a repeat in the relays," said Storr of their dominance of the first, second, third and fifth place finishes. "We have a couple solid young fellas in training and on the squad now, so I guarantee we will repeat with the relays."
Known for their athletic prowess, Storr said the Defence Force is always capable and ready.
"This road race will just showcase our talent," he pointed out. "We really are in it because we want to do to our part to assist with charity."
For a registration fee of just $20, each participate will receive a T-shirt, Eco friendly bag, a water bottle and free food - stew conch, chicken souse, Johnny cake, fruits - Gatorade, juice and water. A number of prizes will be offered, including tickets on the Bahamas Fast Ferries, dinner for two at British Colonial Hilton and gift certificates from the Sports Centre, Mystical Gym, Lickety Split, Dominos Pizza and a full body massage from International Orthopedics.
Registration sites are the Palmdale Vision, the Reef Restaurant and the Ranfurly Home for Children.

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News Article

October 09, 2011
Bald, beautiful surviving

No one ever thinks they will develop cancer. Cassandra Lewis-Moore was one of those people. The 34-year-old thought there was a possibility she would get diabetes as it'runs'in her family, but she never thought cancer would happen to her. But during the eighth month of pregnancy with her first child in October 2010, she felt a huge lump in one of her breasts. She knew something was wrong. She sought medical attention.

"It was very large, and it shouldn't have been there,"recalled Lewis-Moore."I'd never felt anything like that before. It didn't hurt, but it was very hard and very big. But because the breasts were so large you couldn't see it."

Because she was pregnant, her doctor ordered an ultrasound of the breast and concluded it was breast milk that would go away once she started breastfeeding. Lewis-Moore, a newlywed and her husband, Kevin welcomed a beautiful baby boy, Andreus, who they call"KJ"into the family. In the months after her son's birth, she noticed her breast size decreasing, but the lump getting bigger and protruding through the skin and not disappearing like the doctor had told her it would. It had started to hurt. It was a pain she chalked up to tenderness from breastfeeding. That was until the day she was playing with a then crawling"KJ"and like all babies do, he kneed her in the breast. The pain was excruciating. She remembers actually pushing her baby away from her so suddenly that she scared him. She thought about what the doctors had told her, and massaged her breast and put hot towels on it to help dissolve the milk. But it was the day that she took a"me day"in January 2011, and headed to the spa for a massage. As the therapist worked on her back, she said it was so painful she could not complete the therapy. That pain sent her back to her doctor.

Her doctor requested a mammogram. The result showed hardened milk. Her doctor requested a lumpectomy to remove the hardened mass, which was done in March 2011. The mass was tested and the result returned as Stage 2 breast cancer. The cancer cells were actually inside the hardened breast milk.

FRIGHT TAKES HOLD

Lewis-Moore was scared--not because it had taken so long to determine she had breast cancer--she was mad because she wondered what would happen to her family after she'd waited so long to get married and have a child, and then to be diagnosed with cancer while still a newlywed and a new mother.

"In my 20s, it was all about education and my career--so in my 30s, it was about getting married. And I'm the only girl and the last child in my family, so it was a big thing[for me to get married and have a child], and to be told this[that I had cancer]. I thought, what was going to happen to my family?"

Lewis-Moore began her battle with the deadly cancer cells. She celebrated her baby's first birthday one week before she began chemotherapy treatment. And she did her best to keep her energy up over the months of treatment for her child, who was too young to understand that his mom was sick.

"He just knows one day mommy had hair that he used to pull,"says Lewis-Moore who boldly sports a bald head no hair caps for her."The tough part was when we were playing one day and I had already started chemo, and he pulled on my hair, and a whole clump came out in his hand and fell on his face. He just dropped it and ran. He was scared. But other than that, mommy is still mommy. Sometimes, she can still play; sometimes, she can't because she's very tired."

She's finished with chemo, but will have to take additional treatment because she was diagnosed as HER2-positive. This is a diagnosis for people who have a protein called human epidermal growth factor that promotes the growth of cancer cells. HER2-positivebreast cancers tend to be more aggressive than other types of breast cancer. They're also less responsive to hormone treatment. However, treatments that specifically target HER2 are very effective.

"I'm going to have to do additional treatments, but they're not as severe as the chemo, and they want me to do radiation, and we're still setting that up."

The road to survivor isn't quite finished yet, but Lewis-Moore begs to differ. "I had a lump--the cancer was there, and they took the lump out, and the cancer hadn't spread."

Even though chemo was a downside, Lewis-Moore has come out on the other side with a friend--a 31-year-old who had to have an immediate double mastectomy because her cancer was spreading like wildfire.

"Chemo was rough; I will not lie,"she says."It is not rough for everyone, but for those who have the illnesses after the chemo, make sure you have a strong support system at home and at work."

BRINGING SEXY BACK

She is now on a slow road to bringing sexy back. She's walking at least 20 minutes a day as recommended by her doctor, and looking forward to the fabulous new breasts she will soon be getting. She had a partial mastectomy on one breast, but to put safety measures in place for her future, she wants to have a double mastectomy then get those"fabulous new breasts"with which will come a tummy tuck. The surgery she will have done, a TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction, which is the gold standard in breast construction, removes some of her stomach skin and fat, to reconstruct her breasts and fill them in.

As she battled the disease, she admits that she was not always as confident as she is today and says at one point, she really stopped trying and didn't bother with anything. But after a month or two, she said to hell with it--that she was going to live her life and have fun. She was going to dress up and go out and rock her bald head.

When she first started to lose her hair, which was natural, her cousin took her to his barber and she got a low haircut. The hair continued to come out, so she told her husband to shave off the rest. Right after she did that, Lewis-Moore, who works for BAF Financial and Insurance Bahamas Ltd., the coordinators behind Denim Day in the country for 14 years in raising monies for a cure, says she had to attend a company awards ceremony to which she wore a head-wrap. For a week she wore different head-wraps until she was hit by a hot flash at work. All she wanted to do was get naked, but she couldn't at work. The best thing for her to do was remove the head-wrap. That was the last day she wore one.

Removing the head-wrap liberated her and gave her confidence.

"I had another coworker who had breast cancer and her advice to me was to just wear makeup, but I couldn't wear that because I sweat too much, so I would just draw on my eyebrows if I remembered in the mornings. One morning, I woke up, was washing my face, looked in the mirror and said,"By damn, I don't have any eyebrows, eyelashes, nothing. So some days, I had eyebrowsâEUR¦some days, I didn't and I put on my lip-gloss, put on my earrings and was out the door."

THE FUTURE

The cancer survivor is excited for her future. And she says cancer does not have to be a death sentence. She says women need to take their health seriously and check things out because they know their bodies, and know when something is wrong. She encourages them to get bumps or moles that they hadn't seen before checked out.

For anyone who has been newly diagnosed with breast cancer or will be diagnosed in the future, Lewis-Moore says she has learned that you need to have a strong support system at home and at work, both of which she had.

Through her battle, Lewis-Moore was thankful for the support she received from her husband, and also thankful that he had a group of friends with wives, sisters or mothers that had breast cancer that he could talk to.

"It was tough, because being a newlywed and fairly young, and I didn't have urges. It just wasn't there. I was miserable in the sense that I did not want to be bothered and I did not want to be here."

But she says her husband's support, as well as that of her family--her mother traveled from Grand Bahama to stay with them for six months--and her aunts and cousins helped by keeping the baby some days and make certain she was okay, especially after days when she endured eight-hour chemotherapy sessions, helped her through the rough times. And her co-workers that knew what she was going through were helpful and very understanding.

"I never thought cancer would happen to me. I thought maybe I would get diabetes because that runs in my family, but never anything like this,"she says.

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