RYH Episode 6: Playtime Isn’t Just For Kids!

When was the last time you did something spontaneous and fun? Do you have hobbies that make your heart smile? 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. In this episode Dr. Melissa Longo discusses the importance of finding time for hobbies and recreation in your life – for the benefit of your health!

Movement is Life!

One of my favorite quotes that pertains to Chiropractic doesn’t come from a Chiropractor, but from a brain researcher…

Roger Sperry, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1982 for his work in brain research, stated:

“The more structurally distorted we are, the less energy we have for metabolism, for healing and for thinking.”

This is Chiropractic 101!

Without movement you could not sustain life. Blood cells that don’t move cannot transport oxygen, lungs that don’t move cannot breath, hearts that don’t move can’t pump blood, and spines that don’t move can’t create the motion needed for proper joint nutrition or body mechanics.

Most importantly, spines that don’t properly move cannot adequately stimulate the joint-brain pathways for the regulation of hundreds of internal functions your body performs each and every day.

Movement and alignment of the spine is required for healthy brain function, specifically the coordination of activities such as concentration and learning, emotions, motor control and organ function.

Chiropractors ensure your spinal joints are moving the way they were designed to, so that YOU can move, think and feel the way you were designed to!

RYH Episode 5: What’s Your Health Habit Style? Reacting, Preventing or Optimizing?

What’s your attitude when it comes to looking after yourself? Do you react to problems, take preventative measures, or actively work towards building greater health and wellness? Your approach to health is just that – YOUR approach, but when was the last time you gave it any thought? In this week’s episode Dr. Melissa Longo discusses 3 ways to look at health and what questions to consider to make the best choice for yourself.

My Summer Adventure First Aid Kit

I love summer!  I love getting outdoors with my sons on the trails or at the beach. Even though it’s starting to get a little tougher to recruit them to spend time with me in their teenage years with their own sports involvement, jobs and their own friendships, time together outside is consistently what I’m aiming for.  At all ages, during every season, there are minor injuries that can happen, and I’m often asked how I deal with them in my home.

In our home there are no pharmaceuticals, harsh chemicals or commercial preparations, period. The majority of minor scrapes, bruises, burns, rashes, I have always been able to support with some of the items listed here, as well as herbal medicines, foods, fluids, rest, and spinal adjustments, particularly if there has been a tumble or fall or sports collision. Based on my training, I am comfortable handling many injuries but we have still made trips to the ER for stitches and broken bones! 

Here’s what I keep in my home, and in a pack that I can easily throw into a basket or backpack if we are heading out the door.  Please remember, if you’re ever in doubt about how to handle an injury or illness, get in touch with me, contact your medical doctor or head to the emergency room for further advice. 

Arnica cream or Traumeel – for aches and pains, to help reduce inflammation

Arnica 30c (homeopathic remedy) – for bites, bruises, cuts, broken skin, burns, scalds, nosebleeds, stings, sprains, fractures, muscular aches and pains, (or virtually any injury to the body)

Aconite 30c (homeopathic remedy) – for fear, anxiety, restlessness, sudden illness, intense pain, shock.  Give it to any child who has been hurt or traumatized in any way

Chamomilla 30c (homeopathic remedy) – for teething, insomnia, earaches, digestive troubles, anytime they need

Band-Aids, gauze, wet-wipes (for traveling only, when at home I just have soft rags and water or peroxide for disinfectant)

Tweezers, Ice packs

Hydrogen Peroxide, Rubbing Alcohol – Basic disinfectants, but the best way to clean a wound is to first wash your hands, then wash the wound with mild natural soap and water. This is what I use 95% of the time!

Witch Hazel – Strong natural antioxidant and astringent; good for disinfecting and promotes healing. Also helps with itching and inflammation

Bach Rescue Remedy –  A flower remedy designed for shock, trauma, any type of anxiety.  Can be taken orally. Very relaxing and soothing.

Calendula cream – Great healing salve for cuts, stings, burns, scrapes and scratches, any skin irritation. Easy to find at any natural health store or at markets throughout the summer!

Olive oil – soothing to the skin and a great carrier oil for using essential oils. Coconut oil is also a favourite. Use about a 1/4 cup combined with 6-10 drops of the essential oil. Essential oils are highly concentrated and should not be used directly on the skin. There are so many essential oils of benefit to keep in your home, these are my top 3:

Tea Tree Oil – antibiotic, anti fungal, antiseptic and antiviral

Eucalyptus – antibiotic, analgesic (pain relieving), antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory 

Lavender – antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, antiviral, anti fungal, antidepressant, healing, and sedating

Smoothly Starting Your Day

Most mornings my sons start their day off with a smoothie. I’ll often make extra in the warmer months and pour the leftovers into popsicle molds – a much better alternative than the sugar-filled commercial frozen treats.

Why are smoothies great for growing kids?

Because you can pack a whole lot of goodness into these drinks! When my sons were younger I had more control over their food choices. As teenagers it’s a little tougher, but with a smoothie in the morning and healthy dinners in the evening I can stress a little less at what they might consume during the day. (Read my other tips about feeding kids healthy food here.)

You can read this blog post for some of the favourites within my practice, but most mornings it’s a pretty quick and easy recipe before my sons are dashing out the door to school:

  • 1-2 bananas
  • 1 scoop or protein powder (I always opt for something that is a vegan product as I don’t like whey or soy proteins)
  • 1/2cup – 1cup frozen fruit (whatever we have! Berries are a consistent favourite)
  • Add water or orange juice to cover
  • Blend it in a Vitamix & pour!

4 Tips To Protect Your Back When Golfing

Golf is a great sport for 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.

and don’t forget…BETTER HEALTH MEANS BETTER GOLF!

Fuel Wisely: Junk food makes junk parts!  Think about what your are putting in your body on a regular basis. Avoid processed and packaged foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, and choose fresh, whole foods. Try new foods, eat in season, and vary the nutrients into your body. Stay hydrated.

Move It: Exercise improves your body in every possible way! Strive do some type of physical activity everyday. Vary activities to develop muscle strength, endurance, flexibilty and cardiovascular stamina. Cross-training helps target all muscle groups, and reduces risk of injury.  

Sleep: The time when your body repairs and rebuilds itself! Strive for minimum of 7 hours. Avoid prolonged periods of sleep-deprivation due to work or leisure. 

Get Connected: Social stimulation and good relationships support our health. People with friends tend to live better and even longer.Laughter is “the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug”. A good laugh suppresses stress hormones, boosts your immune system, and reduces inflammation.

Align Yourself: Optimal Spine = Optimal Health. Spinal misalignments cause joint degeneration, muscle imbalance, pain, weakness, and neurological symptoms. Structure determines function, and poor spinal health weakens the function of all body systems. 

Keep your spine healthy with Chiropractic care!