Get Connected! Why Relationships Are Important For Your Health

We are innately social beings and we all long for connection with others. Relationships bring joy, laughter, and often empathy to our lives, but more than just fun times, studies have shown that friendships help us live better and even longer!

A Harvard study found that physical impairments were less likely to develop in those who have many friends. In fact the results were so significant, the researchers concluded that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight! Another group of researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death, while those who had the most friends cut their risk by more than 60%!

When our lives get hectic social time seems the first thing to be cut out, but that’s exactly when we need it the most.

Make time for the friendships you have, but be open to meeting new people too. Considering joining a club or picking up a new hobby.  Explore your interests and find others who share them, chances are you will have more in common than you might initially think!  Random encounters with people we cross paths with can bloom into the most rewarding relationships, but you have to start with being open to meeting others and the possibility of a new friendship starting.  Whether its in your work environment, grocery stores, banks, gas stations, coffee shops, schools, airports – anywhere your life takes you, be it within your own community or out in the great big world, there are plenty of people for you to connect with. 

It sounds terribly cliché, but when you are nice to people they are generally nice back, and you can also meet some very interesting people who just may become your friends. 

So go ahead! Smile at a stranger. Offer a helping hand. Have a random conversation. Chances are you’ll both benefit!  Surround yourself with people who are happy and have a strong sense of purpose. 

The more social connections we have, the better one’s overall health. Check out the video on this topic here

Quick, Easy & Delicious Meal For Anytime of Day!

I’ve started doing some food demonstrations at the Collingwood Downtown Farmer’s Market, and the first one was a success!

Our focus is to highlight ingredients that can be found at the market, and how simple it can be to create a nutritious and delicious meal using local produce. Other scheduled days I will be there include July 7, July 21, August 18 and September 15.


This past Saturday I shared my favourite go-to recipe, here it is!

Dr. Melissa’s Anytime Salad

The great thing about this salad is that you really can make it anytime for any occasion using whatever local, seasonal produce is available. Be sure to choose a variety of colourful vegetables, mix up the type of protein, and try any combination of oils and vinegar that appeals to you. The possibilities to enjoy this healthy salad with different ingredients is endless!

1 Cup/handful of greens (your choice: kale, spinach, chard, beet greens, salad mix)

3/4 cup protein (ie. beans, chopped chicken/turkey/steak, hard boiled eggs, tuna, salmon,

3/4 cup assorted chopped seasonal vegetables


2 TBSP  Tuscan Herb Olive Oil (Collingwood Olive Oil Company)

2 TBSP Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic Vinegar (COOC)

Pinch sea salt, ground black pepper to taste

*use a 50/50 ratio for your olive oil & balsamic, and use any combination you like!

Emotional Stress & Your Spine

Stress comes up almost everyday in my practice, not only in what people share with me but in what I observe in their body even if they don’t say a thing. There are three different types of stress –  physical, chemical & emotional. All three types of stress affect your nervous system, but whenever I ask people which one has the greatest impact on their health, the answer is always the same: emotional stress! So it’s an important one to understand and try and find solutions for, although certainly not easy.

How does emotional stress create stress in the spine?

An emotional event or trigger happens -> Brain perceives and recognizes it -> Creates a stress response -> Creates muscle tension   -> Pulls your spinal joints out of alignment -> disrupts healthy flow of signals going to and from your brain and regulating all your body.

Chronic emotional stress causes:

    • chronic muscle tension
    • chronic increase in cortisol and adrenalin (stress hormones)
    • increased stimulation of your sympathetic nervous system
    • decreased overall nervous system function
  • decreased immunity

Why is emotional health important to me as a Chiropractor?

Quite simply, because I care about the wellbeing of people in my practice! Clinically though, if there is emotional strain causing stress in the body, which as noted above affects your spine, nervous system and muscles, and we don’t get to the cause and find a solution, we may be missing part of what you need to fully heal.

The heart of my clinical approach is not just responding to the symptoms that your body is creating, it’s also addressing the cause of the problem. For some people this involves changing their ergonomics or a repetitive strain caused by work or athletics. In other cases there is an underlying food intolerance causing inflammation. Most people have some type of emotional stress in their lives, and this conversation comes up consistently.

We might not be able to change some of the circumstances we face, but we can always change our perspective and how we respond. Our brain has to perceive something as stressful in order for our physiology to change, so if we don’t THINK something is stressful, it won’t affect us negatively.

Check out these blog posts with some of my top recommendations on how to change your perspective when dealing with stress so that it doesn’t affect your body negatively:

http://Happy Hearts, Healthy People

I Love Shoes, But Barefoot is Best!

One day a fews years ago while I was adjusting on a regular afternoon, my shoes were hurting my feet, so I took them off. After adjusting a few people, however, I was, almost instantly, converted. I felt stronger, more sure on my feet, grounded. More purposeful and connected with each adjustment. So I started doing a little research.

I asked some colleagues and was not surprised to find that many of them also adjust barefoot – the simple answer when I asked why? It’s more natural and the way we were designed! I was also surprised to learn so many people in my practice prefer being barefoot, finding it more comfortable on a regular basis.

Many health experts agree that bare is the healthiest state for your feet to be in. Most shoes have no relation at all to the natural shape of the human foot. 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.

What are the some of the benefits?

– 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 motion, free of weight brought on by shoes

– prevention of blisters, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts – better posture & spinal health!

It’s also been suggested that 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.

AND…there is evidence that the natural motion of barefoot positively affects brain function!!!
Other than the spine, the foot is the region of the body which contains the most proprioceptive sensory receptors, the distinctive nerve circuits that help your brain know where your body is in relation to the space around you. With this abundance of sensory information, the natural unrestricted movement of the feet is vital for overall neurological health!

Given all these benefits, kick those shoes off! Don’t be surprised if you find me barefoot in the office too!

3 Tips For Your Next Airplane Trip

I love travelling and exploring new places, but getting to the destinations can sometimes be tough on our bodies! Keep these tips in mind on your next trip:

Use Your Waiting Time: There’s plenty of time waiting while travelling, use this time to walk around the airport or do some stretches instead of sitting the whole time, you’ll be sitting long enough while on the airplane! While you’re in your airplane seat, try doing some neck stretches, shoulder shrugs, or ankle rolls to increase circulation and joint movement which is always a good thing. Get up out of your seat too! Take a few extra minutes when you use the bathroom to do a few stretches while you’re standing there. If you’re worried about getting any funny looks, get over that. Chances are you’ll strike up a conversation and get them moving too.

Put Your Feet Up:  Sitting for long periods can cause fluid build up in your legs which can lead to muscle soreness and even blood clots. As soon as you reach your destination lie down on the bed or floor and prop your legs up on the wall or headboard for 15 min. This will help drain the fluid and reduce the swelling.

Move Your Body: Once you reach your destination, hit the gym, get out for a walk, or go for a swim. You might not feel like it if you’re tired and sluggish from travelling, but it will make a huge difference in how you feel. Moving your body will help feed oxygen to your brain and muscles after spending hours in care or plane. Your energy and mood will likely improve quickly too 🙂

If you are visiting and sightseeing, look for programs or tours that incorporate moving  your body. Last year in Chicago we had a ton of fun on a bike tour through the downtown streets and waterfront, and loved how much we learned in the process. Most destinations will offer something similar!

These ideas always work for me, and if you choose at least one of them on your next trip you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel once you reach your final destination. Happy travels!

Challenge Your Brain & Get Smarter!

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!

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! Read! Read! 
    • 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!

Can Adjustments Strengthen Your Brain Function?

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

Check out this 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 the simple (and yet very complex!) way your body is designed, and 16 years in practice I never tire of witnessing the healing I observe with the people I work with when proper internal function is restored.

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.

~ Dr.Melissa

*Kessinger, R. Boneva D.  Neurocognitive Function and the Upper Cervical Spine. CRJ 1996;6:88-89

Make Time To Play!

Life is for living! Are you having fun?

Recreation is defined in the dictionary as “refreshment of one’s mind or body after work through activity that amuses or stimulates play; activity that refreshes and recreates or activity that renews your health and spirits by enjoyment and relaxation.”  We all need time to re-energize and refocus.

When was the last time you did something spontaneous and fun? Do your hobbies make your heart smile? I love being on my mountain bike in the warm months because I feel like a 10-year old every time – even more so when my friends and I put backpacks on and head to the beach! My sons also keep ‘play’ in my life because much of our time together is spent doing so! As they are grow older and their interests change, I’m gaining opportunities to try new activities, which is always bound to make us all laugh! Children are a great reminder for all of us to make time for fun, and often provide us ample chances if we indulge ourselves. I’m going to challenge you to do so!   

Recently someone in my practice noticed all the silly faces the children in my practice on the wall, and she commented that adults seem to lose some of that ability to be silly, and that so many people lose their sense of fun because they care too much what others will think. Perhaps it’s because as adults we can easily get weighed down with responsibilities and lack the time. The good news is we can always reroute and make some changes in support of more balance in our lives. We can choose to prioritize time for fun knowing it’s a step in the direction of better health. Enjoying an activity, time to yourself or connecting with friends, moving your body…are all important parts of a healthy lifestyle.

Time for recreation and play is time worth spent to make the rest of your life more productive, and all your relationships better, including the one you have with yourself.

Making adjustments part of your life is a step towards ensuring you will be able to ‘play’ and enjoy a great quality of life, without being stopped by problems in your body!

This month I challenge you to get out and PLAY more!

~Dr. Melissa

By the way, healthy joints need to move to constantly nourish and cleanse themselves, and exercise is what is needed!  All physical activity supports the body physically, but recreational pursuits are the perfect way to combine fitness with fun.

If aches and pains are stopping you let me know and let’s figure out what’s causing the problem.

If someone you care about is limited in their ability to pursue hobbies, sports or leisure activities, tell them about chiropractic and let’s get them feeling better! We have a huge network of doctors and can easily find a suitable referral for them if they don’t live close by.

How Do I Manage Illness In My Family?

My sons are 15 and 11 years old, and have never had any medication whatsoever. Do they get sick sometimes? Of course they do, but at a much lower frequency than many of their peers. People often ask me what our ‘secret’ is, and I’m happy to divulge it: They eat really well, get plenty of rest, are active, happy, and get adjusted regularly!

If they develop symptoms that there body is dealing with a bacteria or virus, we honour the innate wisdom of the body and it’s power to heal from the inside-out, and support their own ability to heal. 

Each illness a child experiences helps to strengthen and enhance their natural immunity.  Rather than suppress their symptoms, I encourage the immune system to process the bacteria or virus  as effectively as possible by supporting cellular function.

When they get a cough, cold, or some congestion, in addition to spinal adjustments to support their immune system, here are some other practices I use:

  • Encourage added sleep and rest.
  • Keep them home from school until they have no fever and their energy is back.
  • Supplementation with vitamin C, vitamin D, and a high quality multi vitamin.
  • Eliminate all refined sugars and dairy products from their diet, keep foods simple and nourishing.
  • Offer increased fluids, nutrient-dense smoothies, and warm herbal teas.
  • Mix some olive/coconut oil with a few drops of the essential oils of tea tree and eucalyptus, rub into their chest and under their collar bones to encourage drainage of the lymph glands in those regions.
  • Offer natural raw honey to soothe the throat.
  • Have them gargle with salt water (1/4 tsp sea salt with 1/2c water) to flush bacteria out of the mouth and to ease discomfort in the throat.
  • Offer lots of love, comfort, and reassurance!

I’ve also found that illness is always a great teaching moment with them. Helping them understand how their bodies work, what is happening when they have a fever, and are coughing/sneezing, and what their body needs to feel and function well is a lesson that everyone needs! 

Although we have a great team of  doctors to call on if needed, this approach has never failed us, and they have often been back feeling themselves in no time at all.  I’m also confident their developing brains and bodies are stronger for it.  

Next time your children are ill, consider supporting their body naturally, and working with health professionals who can help your body recover from the inside-out. 

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for colds and flu.

Balance, Agility & Chiropractic

I’m fortunate to see a variety of people in my practice, including many athletes! Whether it’s just people who want to enjoy an active lifestyle and recreational activities, or highly competitive athletes looking to improve their performance or recover from injuries, I love hearing about their goals and accomplishments.

Many professional athletes have a chiropractor on their sport team, and it’s not just because it helps them stay mobile, prevent injuries, or recover. Many athletes (and many people who have no sports or athletic interest whatsoever!) choose chiropractic because it helps them perform better.


Check out this study: 

Researchers had two groups: Asymptomatic athletes with no acute or chronic injuries were given chiropractic care based on their own clinical findings, and a second group who were athletes, but were the ‘control group’ and were not provided any spinal care.  Both groups were given training exercises.

Researchers measured changes in agility, balance, touch perception, power, and speed, reactions after six weeks of chiropractic care then again at 12 weeks. After 6 weeks they found 10.5% improvement in the chiropractic group, compared to 4% improvement in the control. After 12 weeks their evaluation showed a further 16.7% improvement in the chiropractic group compared to the control group.  The authors concluded that correction of spinal subluxation enables the body to function and perform at a higher level.

Think about where in your day to day life could improved balance and agility help you? Whether you are training for something specific, or just training for life (like me!) remember that a healthy spine and a nervous system that is operating with maximized function is a key component!