RYH Episode 19: Listen to Your Body

Your body is always talking to you; constantly sending you messages about how it’s performing or how it’s feeling. A lot of people relate symptoms to sickness but more often than not, once you deepen your ability to tune into your body’s messages, it will tell you about hidden sources of inflammation that have not yet begun to show up as symptoms. Your health is about so much more than how you feel, and on today’s episode, we go over how to team up with your body for better health.

For more on the benefits of listening to the body, check out this blog post.

Why I Love Looking After Pregnant Women

I so love all the growing bellies in my practice, supporting women though the physical and emotional journey of pregnancy. Many women love to see their Chiropractor during pregnancy because  they find such relief, but the benefits to the growing baby are tremendous too, particularly given the rapid rate of growth that occurs during this time. It’s astonishing really! The human fetus will develop 7x more quickly than an infant. Due to this rapid growth, the fetus is most sensitive to bio-mechanical forces that can create pressure and lead to abnormal molding of the skull and surrounding supportive tissues.

One particular study looked at the changes in the spine of breech babies, and in the 6000 cases that were reviewed here is what was found:

  • 42% developed postural scoliosis
  • 20-25% torticollis
  • 50% hip dislocation

Conservative Chiropractic care during pregnancy may prevent or decrease the possible occurrence of constraint, which allows for freedom of movement within the uterus so that the baby can position properly during this period of rapid growth, and so the mom to be can feel as comfortable as possible too!

Disclaimer: Chiropactic is not a treatment or cure for in utero abnormalities or developmental issues.

RYH Episode 18: The Health Benefits of Gratitude

It’s Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and also my favourite time of year in the practice. In addition to the amazing weather and abundance of produce from local farmer’s markets, we have also set up our gratitude wall – an annual tradition in my practice. Today’s podcast is all about gratitude, so listen in and find out how making gratitude a daily practice will actually do great things for your health.

For more on the health benefits of gratitude, check out this blog post.

Stronger, Fitter, Faster

Athletes at all levels, in every sport, of all ages, 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!

And the “mini athletes” benefit too….

“My speed and reaction time on the ice is better.”
“I don’t get hurt as often.”
“I can run straighter, and faster!” 

Spinal care is not just for the injured, it’s necessary to optimize health in every possible way, and especially important with the rapid growth in childhood. Bodies with healthy spines perform better – in sporting events, recreational hobbies, and life!

Disclaimer: Chiropractic is not a treatment or cure for diminished sports performance in children.

RYH Episode 17: Gardening With Your Body In Mind

It’s that time of year (at least here in Canada), where we reap the last of the harvest, pack up the gardens and put them to bed for the winter. Your body, while genius, does not care which season you’re gardening in, it still needs you to be conscious of it as you work. On today’s episode, I’m sharing the quick tips that will save you from the injuries I commonly see in my practice during this time of year.

For more Gardening Tips for a Healthy Spine, check out this blog post.

Gratitude Is Good For Your Health

Practicing Gratitude is Good For Your Health!

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.

Marcus Aurelius

The simple act of gratitude can have powerful effects on your emotional well-being and consequently on your physical body as well.  Negative emotions create muscle tension, weaken our immune system, and even alter our hormone patterns (men too!).  Taking a minute to immerse yourself in simple gratitude for the many blessings in your life is scientifically proven to improve your health.

Practicing Gratitude as a Community

Every October we do something powerful and positive in the practice. We invite people to take a moment to share something they are grateful for on a piece of paper and post it on the wall in the reception room.

Everyday  as we discussed the importance of living with a grateful heart, encouraged people to take a moment to share what they were grateful for, we were inspired by the responses we received.

More than just the act of writing the gratitude note, others read all the notes on the wall, had a laugh, shared a sentiment, and left with a smile on their face.

We watched people reflect, and often converse with others in the practice. We witnessed people coming together, interacting with each other, and watched a community unfold. We’ve already started the wall again this year, but here’s why gratitude is so important:

A man becomes what he thinks about all day long.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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.

The Science Behind Gratitude And What It Can Do For Your Health

Research shows the feelings associated with gratitude, appreciation, love and caring enhance health. When you find one thing, however small, to be thankful for and hold that feeling for as little as 15-20 seconds, many subtle and beneficial physiological changes take place inside you:

  • Levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline decrease, supporting many organ systems and boosting your immune system
  • Coronary arteries relax, increasing the blood supply to your heart. Heart rhythms become more harmonious, affecting other organs and lifting your mood
  • Breathing becomes deeper, increasing the oxygen level of your tissues

People who regularly practice gratitude report higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy when compared to those who do not.

Practicing Gratitude Individually

Make gratitude part of your life by adopting more thankful thoughts or making the time to write them down. 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 and the benefits to your health!

chiropractor recommendations office ergonomics

RYH Episode 16: Workplace Ergonomics

It is estimated that Canadians spend almost a quarter of their life at work. When you take into account how much of the remaining 75% is spent sleeping, it becomes clear quickly, how important the health of your workplace is. Today’s podcast will cover a few ways to maximize your work environment to support better spinal health, and thereby, overall health. It’s an investment you won’t regret.

For more information on basic office ergonomics, read this blog post. For information on “text neck” check this one out.

Child receiving chiropractic adjustment

Why I Love Seeing Children

Second to being in the womb, the first year of a child’s life is a period of intense growth. At birth the spine is 20cm, within 24m will grow to 45cm. The entire spine doubles in the first year! The first 12 months of life are also crucial for spinal curve development, and 65% of neurological development occurs in the first year.

Given these rapid changes, the vertebrae are especially susceptible to changing shape in response to pressure by slowing bone growth. Spinal misalignments will causes asymmetrical growth, and tension on nerve system means less ability for growth and development.

This then leads to changes in the health of these sweet little ones. Infants may develop symptoms such as:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Reflux, or spitting up
  • Irritability, or colic
  • Difficulty nursing (impaired sucking, head turning, swallowing)
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Balance issues
  • Delayed developmental milestones

For most parents I meet with, spinal care for their child has not been something they have given much thought to, in fact many adults are the same! But once they observe the gentle care their child receives, and the profound changes in their overall wellbeing, it’s quite easy for them to continue to see the benefits of chiropractic care for their growing family.

I love watching these children grow strong, straight, how they recover more easily from injuries, and get sick less.

What’s even more fun is that when they are not feeling well, or observe something unusual with their body, they ask to see me first!

These children are growing up learning that a healthy body needs good food, exercise, sleep, love, and Chiropractic, and that if something is wrong we can look to figure out what’s wrong rather than just pop a pill or suppress their symptoms, and THAT is what I love the most 🙂

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health, but is not a cure or treatment for trouble breathing, reflux or spitting up, irritability, colic, difficulty nursing, balance issues or delayed development. 

Setting Goals for Your Health

Across the board, one of the most recommended practices for success is goal setting. It’s not uncommon to see people planning their dream home or dream business, but what about your health goals? Personally, I have several areas of my life that I set goals for, and health is a very important area in my plan for success. Tune in to the podcast today to get some tips on how to prioritize your health by setting goals.

Infant Massage

Massage is an amazing way to bond and connect with your baby, but more importantly, touch is crucial for their brain development! Touch is the second sense to develop after hearing, and they have receptors for touch all over their skin (just like us!). Stimulation of these touch receptors stimulates their awareness, speeds development, improves circulation, tones muscles, and often reduces irritability. It also teaches them to appreciate the power of touch, and its been said that it makes them more comfortable with their own bodies as they grow into toddlerhood. In addition to holding, squeezing and kissing them, a regular routine of massage can be a great experience for both parents and their babies.

When Is a Good Time to Try It?

Whenever you are comfortable and ready to! Infants of any age benefit. Pick a time when you are not rushed or preoccupied and you can be 100% involved in the process. Its wonderful to combine the massage with an evening bath (after) as they can be very relaxed, but any time of day is the right time.

Expect that your baby might not want to lie there for 15 min the first time you try it, you might need to start with 3 minutes and build up to progressively longer sessions, depending on their temperament. Some infants will readily enjoy a massage, others are more sensitive and may take longer to get used to the stimulation, and others just might not want to hold still! Know your baby and do what you feel is best for them watching their cues.

What Do You Need?

Pillow, blanket, waterproof pad (optional), bath towels, olive oil, or a specially formulated baby massage oil…be careful with scented aromatherapy oils, which are too strong for baby’s skin, too pungent for their sense of smell.

How Do Your Do The Massage?

These are guidelines – remember that what you are trying to achieve is time with your baby and stimulation of their brain, don’t get too caught up in the process or feel their is a very specific system necessary to the massage. Feel free to get creative and develop your own routine too! Have fun with it!

Get everything ready before you start, and go slow with all movements. Talk to your baby and maintain eye contact as much as possible. Watch their body language during the process – do they seem to be enjoying it? Are they squirmy? crying? smiling & laughing?

With all the movements below think of repeating them 3 times to create more of a flow to the routine. Start at the feet and work your way up to their head.

Feet – thumb over thumb movement taking turns to stroke upwards on sole with alternate thumbs, moving in same direction; squeeze each toe gently, massage over ankles

Legs – moving up the leg do the ‘rope twist’ (gently alternating hands so that you are effectively ‘twisting the skin and muscles, increasing the circulation in their legs) Do this all the way up the legs

Buttocks – slide both hands/fingertips under buttocks and gently drum fingers into skin, or use palms to massage the skin (depending on age/size)

Belly – rub in circles, then using both thumbs stroke away from belly button out to sides of body

Chest – rub in circles, trace a heart or the alphabet, sing a song,

Arms – gently cap their shoulders, rub a few times then rope twist movement (similar to legs) moving downward

Hands – palms up gently use thumb to make circles, then pull on each finger

Face – stroke forehead starting at point between eyes and drawing circles out around cheek bones ending at nose; stroke from ears along jaw line; rub ear lobes

Back – starting at top of spine stroke downwards to hips; use fingertips to ‘drum’ skin lightly from top to bottom (like playing a keyboard), stroke outward from midline to sides, make circles down both sides

Whether you use the movements above or develop some of your own, try to stick with some kind of routine to the massage. Most babies like routine and knowing what to expect – some temperaments appreciate this more than others so respect the individuality of your baby and their sensitivity. If they don’t like it, take a break, console them and try again another day for a shorter period of time.