By Rebecca Bartlett 
BELLEVILLE – Two local women are trying to empower people to find alternatives to medical health care as part of their businesses.
Tamara Segal and Alissa Brennan are entrepreneurs who work towards preventing and treating illnesses and ailments using natural methods to help people without using harmful chemicals and toxins.
Alissa Brennan  wants to help those who are suffering and do not find traditional medicine useful.
“My goal is to empower people. I really want people to become more aware of the products they’re using every day and some simple ways that they can switch those out. So instead of making things and selling them to people, I prefer to educate people on how to do that themselves,” said Brennan.
She had a new baby at home and had to clean the bathroom. She said she waited for her daughter to be napping so that she could close the door and then go clean. As she was using all these cleaners, she said she had an epiphany.
“As I was using those products, I was thinking to myself, ‘Well if I’m trying to protect her from these, why am I using them? I’m standing here using them and breathing them in, and why is that okay?’ It snowballed from there,” said Brennan. “After that I started seeing things on TV and reading things that made me more aware of all of the toxins that we have in our home. It’s so common that people don’t even realize that it’s a problem.”
From then, Brennan said that every time she did research into how to make natural replacements for household cleaners, and once she ran out of a product, she would make her own chemical-free cleaner. She also said the biggest thing for people to do is to look at what they’re putting into their bodies.
“I would tell people to start with their food because that’s really the foundation of our health and wellness. Are you eating things that are full and natural or are you eating things that are processed and full of chemicals?” said Brennan.
She is also an essential oil  educator. She makes products like soaps and lotions using essential oils. Although she makes a lot of her own products, she doesn’t sell them to the public.
She said she focuses on prevention rather than treatment and hopes that by teaching classes about essential oils and natural wellness, more people will start to think the same.
Tamara Segal is a registered herbalist  who owns and operates Hawthorn Herbals  in Prince Edward County. Segal said she began her journey into natural wellness when she was living in Toronto when she was in her 20s.
“I felt that I wanted to also be able to take more responsibility for my own health. I started to realize that a lot of the plants that were growing around me in the places that I rode my bike or walked around the city were medicinal plants,” said Segal.
After living out of province for a few years, Segal and her husband moved back to Ontario. Segal said they chose Prince Edward County because her husband grew up in Belleville. She now owns a farm where she can grow all her own herbs and operate her business.
Segal said her first suggestion to clients is to start eating certain foods that will be beneficial for whatever they’re looking to treat. Then, she looks at different exercises like yoga, aerobics or meditation she said.
“Or even just decided that once a week you’re going to take an hour that’s totally for yourself and nobody else. That’s really important for your healing because a lot of people get really caught up in the hectic pace of their life and it’s really detrimental to your health,” Segal added.
“I’d like to emphasize that we’re trained to work alongside the allopathic model if people want to go see their doctor, they can still come see a herbalist, we’re trained to work with whatever they’re doing,” said Segal.
Another woman has also taken steps towards natural healthcare.