“I Feel Fine”

ID-10083065Many people don’t think they need to see a Chiropractor because they ‘feel fine’.

Many people hold the belief that if we have symptoms we are sick, and if are without symptoms then we are healthy. Much of modern health care relies on this approach, ridding people of their symptoms.  Many people come into my practice to get rid of their symptoms, seeking relief from the physical ailments they are experiencing.  But there are limitations with this belief.

Some of the sickest people in this country are symptom free. Similarly, a person who is experiencing symptoms is not necessarily SICK. Many of the symptoms people experience are actually signs that the body is healing, and stopping those symptoms can inhibit the healing process.

Think about some of these examples:

fevers – the body raises the internal temperature to kill bacterias or viruses

sneezing/coughing/vomiting/diarrhea – the body is trying to expel something foreign to it!

joint pain – the body tells us to be careful, to avoid using the joint and doing further damage

swelling – the body creates a natural splint to protect the joint

inflammation – the body increases the circulation to repair the injured tissue

bloating & indigestion – the body tells us something we ate was not right for us!

Symptoms are not bad, they just tell us to pay more attention! Every symptom is our body lovingly giving us a message.  When symptoms occur, our body is trying its best to communicate with us. Do you listen and act? Or just try to stop it? It’s up to you.

Life is a process, not an event, and so is healing. Sometimes symptoms are simply part of the healing response, part of your body adapting to a new healthier internal state and a way it clears things out.

Health is not defined as an absence of symptoms; and sickness and dis-ease in the the body don’t only occur in the presence of symptoms. Health is a condition of wholeness in which all your muscles and organs are functioning 100%. Spinal subluxations disturb this process, and will cause symptoms as your body tries to communicate something is wrong.

I care about your symptoms, but I care more about your whole body and the longer-term effects of neurological and structural damage going on inside you!

After a chiropractic adjustment your body will always function at a higher level, regardless of how you feel. I know the power of a chiropractic adjustment. I have witnessed it for almost 15 years clinically, and I have seen it personally with myself and my family.

Symptoms might be the reason many people come into my practice, but it’s not what gets them excited to stay once they are feeling better! If you are living with spinal subluxations you are simply not functioning at your peak. Chiropractic will cause your symptoms to resolve, but most importantly it ensures your body is functioning as a whole so that you can move, think and feel your best.

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Thinking Clearly

351619rcnfp65dpChiropractic strengthens your body in so many ways, but could there be anything more powerful than being able to strengthen your brain?

In a recent study, 30 subjects received 4 weeks of chiropractic adjustments compared to 10 control subjects. The brain activity was measured by a computer generated and scored test called Microcog. This program tested attention control, memory, calculation, and general brain functioning.

All 30 subjects demonstrated significant improvements in all areas of brain function while the control group displayed no changes.

Restoring healthy joint function does more than relieve your back pain, neck pain, headaches, joint pain, or whatever symptom brings people initially into the practice. It’s the same reason people consistently tell me how once getting adjusted their digestion is better, their breathing improves, they are sleeping better, and feeling calmer.

Consistent chiropractic care supports your health because it restores the connection between the vital intelligence that runs your entire body – the one between your brain and the rest of your body!

When this internal power is turned on your body will function and feel the way it was designed to. It’s that simple.

Chiropractic is the largest and most established profession within the new wellness industry. Not just for the sick, wounded and stressed, Chiropractic care can help you thrive physically and mentally.

If you still haven’t had a spinal assessment, perhaps it’s time. If you have tried Chiropractic but haven’t found a Doctor who is right for you, keep looking.

If you’d like more information about my approach, read the success stories, get in touch, and book a “Meet the Doctor” visit or an Intensive Health Assessment. Together we will make a plan so that you  can regain your health and transform your body.

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Strengthen Your Brain

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Your brain is the most amazing and important muscle in your body and has the same requirements to stay strong and healthy – to keep building it you need to challenge it!

More and more neurological research is pointing to the brain’s plasticity, this means that your brain has the ability to constantly grow and change. It can grow new neurons, make new connections, and even learn to inhibit dysfunctional pathways that don’t serve you (such as cravings, addictions, negative thought patterns, hyperactivity, poor memory or concentration, etc.) It’s a huge topic, but for now let’s just focus on ways to boost it with challenge and activity.

Giving your brain new experiences helps it form new nerve pathways necessary for that activity, particularly if its something you have not done before. Trying new activities is powerful for your brain because doing so stimulates brain centres that have been dormant, or helps create entirely new pathways to complete the task at hand. Your brain is an amazing machine that can adapt to new processes and challenges, you just need to give it the experiences to do so! If you have children in your life, they are some of the best companions with their eagerness and love of adult attention.

Consider trying some of these activities on a regular basis:

Learn a new language

Do mind games (sudoko, word scrambles, brain teasers)

Try a new sport (builds coordination, precise muscle control, memory, strategy, plus increases blood flow to your brain!)

Read a book

Pursue something creative (painting, photography, sculpture etc.)

Try a new instrument (or play one you know), sing, dance

Learn to build models

Play board games or work on a puzzle

There are unlimited ideas, these are just a few. Like moving your body, it doesn’t matter what you do, just do something that will engage or challenge your brain. Choosing something you find intriguing or joyful will strengthen your resolve to keep doing it…but remember you might not know you enjoy a new activity until you try it!

If you are having trouble concentrating, with your memory, are feeling foggy or unbalanced – consider having your spine checked! Misalignments in the upper neck and cranium can disrupt nerve pathways and interfere with circulation to the brain. Chiropractic can help! 

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Keep Your Heart Healthy

Cardiovascular health is important throughout our lives.

Your heart pumps blood to all parts of your body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to every single cell through the arteries. Once the cells have received the oxygen, the blood is returned to the heart through the veins. The systematic, rhythmic relationship between your lungs and your heart is what refuels the blood with oxygen so that this cycle can continue endlessly. With every beat of your heart, blood is moving through the chambers of your heart and then being pumped through your body. Its truly an amazing system!

Heart disease results when the heart has to beat faster than the normal healthy rate to perform its job. When the arteries are clogged blood needs to be pumped through them at a faster rate with greater force (“high blood pressure”). The sad news is that far too many times the first symptom of heart disease is a serious heart attack! We can’t see the heart gradually losing it’s ability to function properly, which is why waiting for symptoms to start isn’t the wisest approach.

Most people can quickly think of all the known risk factors for heart disease smoking, high cholesterol, alcoholism, obesity, lack of physical activity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a poor diet. It’s estimated 9/10 Canadians have at least one of these risk factors, and 4/10 have 3 or more.

There is another risk factor: Did you know spinal misalignments can contribute to heart health too? When the vertebrae in the spine are not moving properly they impinge both the nerves and the arteries. Once corrected with spinal adjustments, proper nerve and circulatory flow returns. Research has shown that chiropractic spinal adjustments can lower both blood pressure and heart rate, allowing your cardiovascular system to function the way it was designed to.

Although heart disease remains one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide, the great news is that the majority of risk factors are lifestyle choices! Change your habits and you change your risk.

Make choices to keep your heart working properly by considering the following:

Stress Less: High stress levels cause blood pressure to rise, heart rate to increase, and disturbances in heart rhythm. Evaluate the stressors in your life and make changes! Learn how to cope with stress effectively, and find professional support as needed.

Eat Well: Choose a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Avoid packaged and processed foods which contain extra fats, sugars, preservatives, and sodium. Avoid high consumption of fried, fatty foods.

Quit Smoking! Just do it. There is nothing health promoting about this habit whatsoever!

Get Moving: Move your body everyday for at least 10 minutes. Exercise helps relieve stress, and supports every system in your body including your cardiovascular system.

Get Adjusted! To support nerve function, heart function, and for a healthier body overall!

Have questions or need more direction? Let me know how I can help.

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Living With A Happy Heart

ID-100375349Emotional and mental stress create tension in your body and affect all body systems. It’s important to regularly check in with yourself, assess your emotional health, and make changes if needed. Consider the following ideas to develop a happy heart. Take some time to reflect on them, then make the choice to move your life forward so you can live with greater peace.

Let Go: You always have a choice in how you handle any situation and how you let it affect you. Holding negative feelings toward someone doesn’t hurt them, it hurts you! Who are you holding anger towards? What do you need to let go of?

Focus on the Good: What you dwell upon expands. If you focus on what you don’t have, that’s all you will see. Focusing your thoughts on victories instead of defeats will help you develop an attitude of gratitude and a greater sense of self-worth. When you change the way you look at things, often the things you are looking at change.

Be Thankful: The secret to happiness is not found by seeking more, but in developing an appreciation for what we have. A powerful exercise is the use of gratitude journal to reflect on day-to-day success, or simply take a few minutes to think of 5 things you are grateful for in your life. You will be pleasantly surprised how it will shift your mental state.

What’s Your Purpose?  A big question I know, but one that you need to make the time to think about. Are you living your life with purpose, plans and passion? If you could do anything you wanted to, what would it be?  It’s never too late to re-design your life and pursue any dream you have. What steps can you take to start moving in that direction? Baby steps still take you forward!

Laugh: Laughter is “the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug”. It suppresses the secretion of stress hormones, boosts your immune system, reduces inflammation. Let’s face it – there is nothing like the feeling of a deep belly laugh! Are you laughing enough? Connect with others and share some fun.

Get Adjusted! Structure dictates function. A healthy spine means a body that can function the way it was designed to.  Every function improves. Studies have shown people struggling with depression, anxiety, mood swings, and addictions are supported with chiropractic care and symptoms dramatically change. I see it all the time. People routinely remark how they feel calmer, they have more clarity of thought, and their moods are more stable. They feel happier, more in control of their health, better able to develop other positive habits, and more comfortable getting help from other professionals.

“Happiness is not a destination. It is the attitude with which you choose to travel.” – Arit Desal, Yogi & Philosopher

Choose to apply some of these tips to develop your own happy heart…

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Stretch Yourself

ID-10076382I recommend stretching to every person in this practice, it’s a dialogue I have almost daily…but I must confess, I’m guilty of not stretching enough!  We taped an episode of my TV show all about stretching recently, with a great panel of guests including a Trainer, a Physiotherapist, and a Pilates/Yoga Instructor. We had a great conversation!

 Here are some of the highlights: Our lifestyle habits and daily stressors will inevitably create tightness, aches and pains, and can even predispose people to spinal subluxations and other joint injuries. Adequate muscle flexibility is just as important as muscle strength for performance in athletics and life in general.

Most people know this! However, many people complain they don’t have time to exercise, let alone improve flexibility. What are some practical strategies?

Think “intermittent and often”. I’ve now started stretching briefly while brushing my teeth! What else to do during those 2 minutes? I’ve also started stretching in the evenings while we are often relaxing and watching a movie or television. I listen to tons of audio training and podcasts, so now rather than just sitting still I find myself moving and doing some simple stretches. You can always find small moments to stretch if you are aware it is something you should do! So consider this a reminder.

Healthy movement involves: (1) proper joint alignment (this is where Chiropractic comes in) and (2) muscles that are capable of expanding and stretching to their full capacity; muscles which are full of oxygen and given the opportunity to move through their full range of motion.

Doing a few simple stretches intermittently and often can make a tremendous difference in your overall mobility as well as help you hold your adjustments and build a healthier spine. Including stretching as part of your healthy lifestyle will improve your sports performance, help with daily lifestyle tasks, and prevent injuries! If you need ideas ask me for a copy of the spinal stretches or borrow one of the many books in the practice.

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Tips for Shoveling Snow!

ID-1009691 2Snow season often means I will see a very consistent pattern within people’s spines, and it’s no surprise when you consider that an average shovelful of snow weighs 5 to 7 pounds! Take this load and repeat it over and over to clear a walkway or driveway, and you’ll quickly realize how much weight is lifted in one session of snow clearing — on average, several hundred pounds!

Shoveling snow can be a pain in more ways than one…. Keep these tips in mind to prevent hurting yourself while dealing with the snow on your property:

  • Don’t let the snow pile up: If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shoveling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow each time. This approach is far less strenuous in the long run.
  • Pick the right shovel: Use a lightweight pusher-type shovel.
  • Push, don’t throw: Always push the snow to the side rather than throw it. That way you avoid lifting heavy shovelfuls of snow, and sudden twisting or turning movements.
  • Bend your knees: As with any heavy object, you need to use your knees, and leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting, while keeping your back straight.
  • Take a break: If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Shake out your arms and legs. Stop shoveling immediately if you feel chest pain or back pain. If you have back pain that is severe or that persists for more than a day after shoveling, call me rather than ‘waiting for it to go away’. If you have chest pain that is severe, see a doctor immediately
  • As always, keep your regular chiropractic adjustment schedule to maximize your spine’s ability to move the way it was designed to!
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Define Your Year Ahead!

I love this concept and started to apply it a few years ago, and to be honest I’ve switched from 1 word to 3 based on some other ideas that have come my way and the experiences I’ve had doing this exercise every year. I have found that choosing a word, (or a maximum of 3) has been a powerful way to help me focus my energies and keep my perspective about what truly matters most to me.

So how does it work? 

Think about your aspirations – what do you want for the year ahead? Is there an overriding theme that comes to mind for you? Can you sum up your intentions in a single word or a few? I bet you can.

A great word can set the tone for your actions and keep you focused. A word can also serve as a reminder of what’s important when everyday ‘life stuff’ frustrates us. For example, when my sons were young and I wasn’t in practice, my word was “Nurture”. It reminded me of my focus on raising my sons and looking after myself. It allowed me to accept that my career aspirations would be fulfilled at a later date, and that the little boys in my kitchen were simply more important for the time being. In other years the words “Grow”, “Balance” and “Focus” have worked well for me.

A great word sets your intention and will help manifest the people, places, opportunities (and challenges!) to help you achieve your goals. A good friend recently shared her story of using theme words during the past few years. “Abundance” was her focus at one time and she grew her business substantially. “Love” was her focus another year, and she met the man she married. Metaphysics aside, what you focus on tends to happen! The simple act of awareness can powerfully keep you oriented towards actions that support your goals, and make you more likely to attract success.

Your ‘word’ might come to mind easily. You may already have one that has been running through your thoughts repetitively, especially if you have set resolutions or goals for yourself. If not, carve out some time in your week to think about it. Sit quietly and reflect. Journal if it helps you sort out your thoughts, or, on a blank sheet of paper simply write down words that depict your hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Something will pop out at you, or you may notice a pattern in the words you write down. Don’t over-think it!

Friends, colleagues, and people in my practice have shared their words with me for added support and accountability. Here’s some of their theme words to get you started: Relate, Believe, Focus, Simplify, Build, Mindful, Refresh, Rejuvenate, and Fun.

I’ve found that the best words are the ones that overlap the different facets of our lives and can be applied to different goals. For example, last year one of my words was “strong” to reflect my goals of  becoming physically stronger and also because I wanted to continue to grow a strong business.

Once you have your word write it down where you can see it regularly. Use it as a password so you have to consciously think about it many times a day. Place post-it notes all over your home if you need to. Get creative and do what works for you – and share your ideas!

One word is easy to remember. Pick one for yourself and let it shape the months to come and set the intention for a great 2016.

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Keep Your Holidays Healthy!

ID-10067023The holiday season is such a time of celebration, but it can also be a time of stress and challenge! I joke that people occasionally develop an acute case of the “overs”. This condition is triggered by overcommitting to social functions, overindulging in sugary, rich foods and alcohol,  and results in general feeling of overwhelmEmotional states can be stressed, but our bodies are also stressed by the foods we eat, minimal exercise and too little sleep.  This all leads to sluggish immune systems and more frequent accidents and injuries. The great news is that this condition is completely preventable!

Consider the following points and make some changes in your life and within your family this holiday season:

Socialize – We all need social connections, but during the holiday season many people are ‘overstimulated’, ‘overcommitted’, and ‘overwhelmed’ with too many events. Be choosy about how you spend your social time. Be assertive and learn to say no to situations that will upset you.  Decline invitations (if you can do so without grossly offending the invitee) that create unnecessary emotional stress, or will simply burden your schedule and shortchange you of sleep. 

Reach out – At the other end of the social spectrum is loneliness.  With changing family dynamics, different living arrangements, and simple geography for some people, many are left alone during the holidays.  If you feel lonely or isolated consider getting involved in different activities, volunteering your time at seniors homes, food banks or other organizations geared towards helping others. The rewards will be far greater than just the social stimulation.

Exercise – Quite simply, physical activity makes every system in your body work better. Instead of taking a break from your exercise routine, keep it up! or consider getting started! It doesn’t have to wait until January and your resolution of getting in shape or losing weight.  The fact is, exercise is simply something most people have to build into their lives, work into their schedules. You will always find something better to do with your time! Exercise helps relieve stress and prevents weight gain.  Moving your body will always give you a boost, even just a some stretching or a brisk walk will rejuvenate your body and mind.

Eat Regularly & Prepare for Outings – If you are going to  a party or dinner, don’t starve yourself all day in anticipation.  Doing so will  slow your metabolism, leave you ravenous and more likely to overeat later in the evening. Instead, eat small meals or snacks throughout the day and you’ll be less likely to overindulge when you are out. If you are planning on consuming alcohol be sure to increase your intake of water to compensate for the dehydrating effects.

Take a Breather – It IS the season for family, friends, and being on ‘holiday’ so don’t forget to take the time to relax and indulge in activities you enjoy! Make time for yourself too, often time alone is what is easily neglected with busy social schedules or family commitments.  Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you and change your perspective if you are having a frantic day.  Do something that clears your mind, slows your breathing and restores inner calm, Journal, listen to music, take a brisk walk and look at the lights, read a book, whatever interests YOU and gets you in a quiet place for a small bit of time.

You CAN indulge, celebrate, and still feel good in January! Make good choices for you and your family and you will enjoy the holiday season and start 2016 in good health.

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Combat the 3 C’s: Colds, Coughs & Congestion

69443tegi1jeqhsMany times when people in the practice are dealing with colds, coughs, sore throats, or congestion they want to stay home, but you’ll often hear me encourage them to come get adjusted and stress the importance of it during illness.

If germs were the only factor that made us sick…we would all be in serious trouble! However, a healthy body is dealing with germs everyday and does not become ill. Sure some bacteria or viruses are more threatening than others, but in general when we become ill it’s because our body’s ability to cope with the demand on our immune system has failed.

Congestion, coughing, sneezing, fevers, and a runny nose are all signs the body is effectively creating an immune response to help the body eradicate the bacteria or virus causing the infection. This is a good thing and not to be suppressed! Medications to make you feel better offer temporary relief, but often create other imbalances in the body that can affect your long-term health.

As per any ailment, my recommendations are always to support the body as best as you can and strategize to boost the immune system, and Chiropractic care is a huge contributor to a healthy immune system!

Chiropractic works!

A study by a neurologist found that 92% of children with chronic tonsillitis had upper cervical misalignments, and after studying 76 children with chronic tonsillitis it was concluded that “tonsillitis goes hand in hand with movement restriction in the cranio-cervical skull and neck junction”

If you’re sick and suffering make a spinal check-up high on your priority list. In addition to increasing fluids, sleep, and nutritional support, your body will likely recover without any other intervention and give your body better health moving forward.

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