Barefoot is Best!

ID-10033840 2It’s that time of year again…when I’m kicking off my shoes and adjusting barefoot as much as possible! Many health experts agree that bare is the healthiest state for your feet to be in, because most shoes have no relation at all to the natural shape of the human foot.  

What are the benefits of being barefoot?

– natural shaped feet, including straighter toes free of corns, hammer toes, bunions and callouses in the wrong places

– well shaped legs resulting from a natural and balanced gait.

– a more natural gait, free of weight brought on by shoes

– prevention of blisters, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts

– better posture & spinal health!

It’s also been argued that most adult foot trouble would not exist if properly shaped shoes, or better yet, no shoes at all had been used during childhood.

Children who are encouraged to walk barefoot typically have:

– fewer instances of deformed toes

– greater foot flexibility

– greater ability to spread the toes

– denser muscles on the bottom of the feet

– greater agility than those who had never gone barefoot

– better hip rotation and more flexibility of leg muscles

– greater balance

– better posture, spinal balance and overall nerve system function

Less Stress & Improved Brain Function

People who are barefoot tend to be less stressed and authoritative, leading to a more relaxed environment at both home and work. Many cultures believe that the positive energy of the earth, known as chi/prana, is absorbed through the soles of the feet. When you are walking barefoot your body is absorbing this positive energy, allowing you to think more clearly.

In addition, there is also evidence that the natural motion of being barefoot positively affects brain function!

Other than the spine, the foot is the region of the body which contains the most proprioceptive sensory receptors. These are the distinctive nerve circuits that help your brain know where your body is in relation to the space around you.   The natural unrestricted movement of the feet stimulates all these receptors, and is vital for overall neurological health!

So don’t be alarmed if you see me walking around barefoot. I love shoes, but barefoot is best!

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Adding More Life to Your Years

I’m known for working with kids but I love seeing people of all ages experience the benefits of Chiropractic, and have been so inspired lately by the older crowd within the practice…people who in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and living healthy and fulfilling lives.

Most of them have had times in their life when they were not feeling so mobile, when they had significant pain, experienced significant health challenges; and they worried about how their lives would deteriorate, and what would happen as they continued to age.

What inspires me about these folks is that they found hope and help, and made substantial changes in their lifestyle so that they could live a more vibrant life. They asked questions, found the right professionals to support them, and are committed to taking care of themselves as best as possible.

At any age, this is not always easy. 

It’s not ‘easy’ to choose good food when our brain craves something not so good; it’s not ‘easy’ to exercise, and it’s not always ‘easy’ to adopt a positive outlook. But, it’s always a choice.

It has been estimated that by 2050 4.2 million Americans will be living until they are 100 years old. It’s also been estimated that our generations are living an average of 34 years longer than our grandparents did.

So our ability to live longer isn’t in question, the questions are how will you be spending your years? And what are you doing now to support your body and ensure you’ll get there with the level of health you dream of?

While genetics certainly play a role, there has never been a centenarian recorded who had a centenarian parent. Experts claim that in fact, genetics determine less than a third of the factors involved in lifespan. Our chronological age (actual age) increases every minute regardless what we do, but our biological age (how well your body looks and functions) is much more flexible. The difference in your actual age and biological age can be as much as 30 years! We know the requirements for a healthy body: connecting with others, eating good food, getting enough sleep, moving your body, maintaining a happy outlook, and a healthy spine and nervous system!

Studies have shown that chiropractic patients in their senior years report better overall health, have fewer chronic conditions, spend fewer days in nursing homes and hospitals, are more mobile in their communities and are less likely to use prescription drugs than non-chiropractic patients.  Even when the demographics were nearly identical, the chiropractic group reported fewer ongoing health problems.

Along with aligning your spine, working with a Chiropractor can help align the other habits in your life to be more congruent with good health. When you invest in your body, it will always offers excellent returns.

The more you do today, the more your body will reward you later in life with the physical health to allow you to pursue the activities and hobbies you dream of.

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Getting In The Swing of Things

Golf is a great sport for so many reasons! The mental challenge, time outdoors, social connection, stress reduction and physical activity all support the body and mind in so many ways.

However, given the nature of the golf swing, it can also be highly demanding on the spine and joints and trigger nasty problems in the back.

The good news is there are ways to support your body, minimize injuries and even play a better game! Consider these tips:

Be Careful When Handling Your Golf Bag. Choose a portable hand-pull cart and alternate sides when carrying your golf bag or pulling the cart. Use proper lifting techniques when moving your golf bag. Avoid twisting, and instead use strength of your legs, hips, arms, and core muscles.

Walk the Course. It’s a simple way to dramatically improve your fitness level and strengthen your bones. Walking elevates aerobic activity, increases stamina, and boosts immunity.

Warm-Up! Jolting stiff muscles into action can trigger muscle strain and spinal misalignments. Golfers who stretch and warm-up before playing typically demonstrate greater swing flexibility, muscle endurance, and report fewer aches and pains while playing.

Improve your Posture. There is good reason 70-75% of the athletes who tour with the PGA are under regular Chiropractic care to both prevent injuries and optimize their performance. Healthy posture and spinal movement benefits your entire body, but it can particularly offer tremendous advantages when playing golf. A healthy spine moves properly, which minimizes tissue damage, degeneration, and muscle imbalances that can lead to injury. The neurological benefits of spinal adjustments have also be shown to enhance mental clarity, induce a more relaxed state, and quicken reaction time and agility – these are game changers! Consider working with your Chiropractor to develop better spinal movement patterns and support neurological function and you will be surprised at how much more you enjoy the game and what the scorecard shows at the end.

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“I Feel Fine”

So many times when I speak with someone about what I do, they comment “I would hate to know what you’d find in my spine, it’s probably a mess!”  or  “I feel fine, lucky I don’t need a Chiropractor”…but no definition of health describes health as ‘feeling good’.

The attitude “if it’s not broken, why fix it” does not apply to the human body.  Some of the sickest people on this planet have no symptoms and “feel fine”. We all know people who seemed to be fine but then suddenly are diagnosed with a major illness. People who ‘suddenly’ have a heart attack, stroke, are told they have cancer.

Waiting for your body to give you symptoms is like waiting for a bomb to go off…everything is quiet until suddenly there is a huge impact.

Like many people, I too managed by health by reacting to problems and solving challenges within my body with medications. Luckily, 18 years ago, a shoulder injury forced me to see a Chiropractor, and from that point on everything changed. Not only my own health, but my attitude about it.

The Chiropractic approach is just that – an approach to supporting your body from the inside-out in every way.  Giving the body what it needs from the top-down (neurological function from the brain through the spinal cord), as well as all the other ingredients necessary for optimal function….food, hydration, movement, love and social connections, sleep, purpose and passion!

Chiropractic is not just an adjustment or treatment for a symptom, it’s an approach to looking for the causes of problems in the body, rather than just reacting to them.

Waiting for something to happen before you take action often makes the healing take longer, and requires more investment of your time and resources.

People who choose to make chiropractic care a regular part of their life understand this, but they also see the profound changes in their health, and are more empowered to be in control of their body. It’s a beautiful thing to watch in my practice and something I will never tire of.

People often hear me say “health comes from choice, not by chance”. Choosing to honour your body and give it what it needs on a consistent basis is one of the wisest decisions you can ever make.

If you’re still struggling with some aspects of your health, ask for direction.  If I can’t help you, we’ll find someone who can.

Life is short. Give yourself the gift of better health so that you can live more fully.

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Better Performance With Chiropractic Care

I always love watching people’s progress and hearing their experiences with how Chiropractic care helps them feel and function so much better in their lives. I care for many families, and many active and athletic individuals, and what is consistent is the improvements noted in physical abilities when they add Chiropractic to their healthy lifestyle.

“I am stronger, can do more at the gym with greater ease, and the only thing that has changed is that I’m getting adjusted now.”  

“I know my son needs to be here when he stops hitting home runs at baseball! I can’t believe the difference in how he bats when he’s been adjusted that week” 

“The difference in the way I can fully squat, the amount of weight I can hold, and the improved range of motion in my hips is unbelievable.”

“I feel like the amount I can push myself during workouts is just so much higher, that there are no limits to my training.”

When at the gym, I’m often asked “what are you training for?”, and my answer is always the same “LIFE!  Raising two active boys and being able to do the things I love.”

Whether you are training for your life or a sporting competition, chiropractic care will always give you a leading edge.

Athletes at all levels, in every sport, at every age, both male and female benefit from increased stamina, strength, flexibility, balance, agility, balance, position sense,and power.  Given these improvements, it’s not much of a surprise that professional athletes have a Chiropractor on their health team.

If you are competitive athlete, a recreational athlete, or simply looking to expand your physical abilities, spinal adjustments will improve your sports performance.

Spinal care is not just for when you are injured, it’s necessary to optimize your health in every possible way. Bodies with healthy spines perform better – in sporting events, recreational hobbies, and life!

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Balanced?

Recently I was sitting at my local café, reading, planning my day. When it was time to get started on the responsibilities I had, I joked with an acquaintance how reluctant I was to leave, that it was so lovely sitting there, his comment was brilliant: 

“Give yourself a break. Enjoy the day. Whatever you have to do will all work out in the end, and if it hasn’t worked out yet – it’s not the end!”

I encourage you to balance time in your life for movement, healthy eating, nurturing relationships, getting enough rest, and playing.  You need all of these things in your life because you are a whole person, and because being healthy requires attention to all these areas.

Are the different facets of your life balanced?

Sure, there are times when some of our responsibilities dominate, when we must focus specifically on doing the best we can to manage everything.

Some days, weeks, months are more balanced than others. I think it’s important to look at the larger picture of our lives when reflecting on this topic.  When raising young children, juggling work or changes in career, helping aging parents, moving or renovating a property, life can become a little overwhelming, and sometimes very unbalanced. I can say this from personal experience, and from working with people for so many years.

Even during these stressful times we can always become aware, and try to make small changes if that’s all we can make. Do the best you can – a little will always be better than none at all.

Take a minute to consider the different parts of your life: social life, physical health, relationships, personal time, work/career happiness… and assess yourself. How much time are you giving to all these areas? 

If things are unbalanced, is it temporary given the stage of life you are in, or a constant challenge?

What can you do differently?

Do you need to shift your priorities?

How can you make a change, and what do you need to get started?

Where can you create more time in your life to support these other wishes you have?

We all have work responsibilities, family obligations and personal objectives. The key to healthy living is in balancing all of them every week, sometimes every day, and giving ourselves permission to do so. 

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Allergy Relief!

69443tegi1jeqhs“I cannot believe the difference in how much less I am sneezing since I started getting adjusted!”

“For the past 2 seasons I have had virtually no allergy symptoms! Love it! And all because I came to you for a sore shoulder!”

“Thank you. My sinus congestion is dramatically better, my breathing is easier, and I am sleeping again.”

What’s the Chiropractic Connection?

Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to an allergen (dust, pollen, pet dander, foods) and produces too many histamines to counteract this process. Histamines are chemicals the body creates to neutralize the effects of the item offending the respiratory or visual system, a way the body’s innate wisdom attempts to correct the problem.  Histamines cause you to produce mucous, sneeze, will make your eyes watery, and even give you rash sometimes, all ways the body tries to expel the offending allergen.

Most allergy medications attempt to treat the symptoms your body instigates to get rid of the allergen.  Antihistamines dry up the mucous membranes, and minimize the sneezing, itching and congestion. They can provide relief, but the underlying problem remains.

What if there was another way to help your body with Allergies?

The Chiropractic approach focuses on restoring proper function to your body, so that you can better adapt to the ‘stressors’ in your environment, including those of seasonal allergies.

Spinal misalignments (termed subluxations) are caused by physical stress, emotional stress, and chemical stress. These misalignments in your spine cause muscle imbalances, joint irritation, inflammation, pain, and weakness. Spinal subluxations affect your spinal cord and impair healthy neurological function, and when corrected with Chiropractic adjustments, proper joint movement is restored, muscle tension is balanced, and your overall health improves in many ways!

Specific to allergies, the correction of spinal subluxations helps your body respond more appropriately to the pollens, dander and other airborne items you inhale because they help restore balance to your immune system.  There is a direct correlation between your spine and immune system.  It’s simple: A nervous system that is working more effectively permits the immune system to function more effectively – something all allergy sufferers need!

How can you get started finding relief?

An initial consultation and assessment will help us determine if Chiropractic can help you, and whether our approach is right for you.  Following your evaluation we’ll create an action plan to get you functioning and feeling better. We’ll monitor your symptoms and changes over time, and continue to evaluate your care as your body heals. Many of our patients note dramatic reductions in their allergy symptoms and improvements in their overall wellbeing when they add Chiropractic care to their life.

Time to try something different this year? Call us or let us help you find a Chiropractor near you!

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Expanding Abilities

Lately there have been many conversations from people in the practice about how surprised they are that they are able to do ‘so much’ without physically harming themselves, how they feel they are able to deal with stress more effectively or ‘handle more’ before feeling overwhelmed.

Let me remind you:

The body is amazing!

Every minute of the day your body is coordinating a multitude of activities…your heart is beating and sending blood and oxygen to all your cells; your lungs are expanding and contracting to exchange oxygen with the environment; your digestive track makes use of the food you take in to give you energy and will remove wastes; your immune system is constantly fighting microorganisms that try to inhabit your body…I could go on and on. Your body can do all these things simultaneously, every second of the day, because your brain is coordinating it all.

Spinal subluxations are caused by stress (physical, mental, emotional & chemical) but they also create stress within the body.

Chiropractic adjustments work because they remove stress from your nervous system and maximize your brain’s ability to coordinate all internal activities, and yes, your joints will move better too! Healthy joint function allows you to move freely, without pain, and push yourself more to become stronger, fitter and more flexible if you choose to.

You are designed in perfection to be who you are, to express every gift inside you, and to perform! It’s up to you to use those skills, to pursue your interests, and to take responsibility for your health and ensure your

body performs the way it was designed to.

Forget limitations, the goal of your care with me is to help your body thrive in every possible way by removing stress from your nervous system, and then guiding and supporting you in developing other health habits.

Chiropractic helps your ability to work, play, and live with a full range of physical abilities and emotional awareness, and ultimately to expand your potential.

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Can Chiropractic Help Ear Infections? Yes!

ID-10062117Ear infections are always a common concern with the families of young children, and always relief and faster healing time when the children come see me!

 What’s the connection and how does Chiropractic help? 

Doctors of Chiropractic look for the cause of dis-ease in the body, which often begins in the spine. Misalignments in the spine (subluxations) cause nerve irritation, restrict proper movement, and block the normal nerve pathways in the body. Subluxations cause the muscles supporting the spine to be unbalanced, lead to early degeneration, make the body more susceptible to injury, and cause pain and inflammation. Most importantly, subluxations affect the nervous system, the vital connection between your brain and the rest of your body.

Subluxations are caused by slips and falls, poor posture, accidents, sports injuries, and all types of stress!  Spinal subluxations weaken all organ systems, and reduce quality of life…  which is why everyone can benefit from chiropractic care!

Specifically with regards to ear infections, the function of the Eustachian tube (canal in your ear that drains fluid and helps equalize pressure) is dependent on the contraction of very tiny muscles, muscles that are supplied by spinal nerves that exit at the top of the skull. Subluxations at the upper part of the spine interfere with this system, and it has been shown that restoring proper function to this muscle normalizes the function of the eustachian tube, and helps the body deal with the inflammation or excess fluid on its own.

Through a careful and thorough examination, I can locate any areas of subluxation in a growing child’s spine, gently correct them using special techniques, and restore proper function to your child’s spine so that they can recover from the illness on their own.

Countless studies show the effectiveness of chiropractic care in relieving the cause of ear infections and preventing recurrence.  In one study, 93% of all cases of Otitis Media improved with chiropractic care, 75% of them in 10 days or less, and 43% with only 1 or 2 office visits.

Next time you or your children are suffering with an earache or infection, consider chiropractic care first.

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What’s Your Word For 2015?

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I love this concept and started to apply it about 10 years ago personally, and for the past 3 years we’ve been doing it within the practice – sharing our words on the wall which creates excitement, accountability, and inspires others!  It’s a great exercise to capture the intention of what you hope 2015 represents to you.

Think about your aspirations for 2015… 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? 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.

A great word will capture the various parts of your life, such as your role within your family, your work, and yourself, and help you improve components of all of them. For example, the word ‘focus’ reminded me to complete certain projects with my work, but was also my reminder to be focused and present with my loved ones. Get it?

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. The word you choose only has to make sense to you, and relate to something meaningful you’d like to achieve, so don’t over-think it!

Friends, colleagues, and people in my practice have often 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, Savor, Strength, Trust, Open, Healthy 

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 simple and easy to remember.  Pick one for yourself and let it shape the months to come.

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