Poor Posture = Poor Health

ID-10083067People often note their posture is better when they start to get adjusted….of course it is!

Posture is the window to spinal health, as chiropractors we can easily evaluate it, but so can many of you! Find a friend and do this quick check:

Looking at them from behind, the head should be level (with both ears at the same height) shoulders should be level, and your hips should be level. Looking from the side, we want to see straight line from the ear through the shoulder, hip, knee and down to the ankle. This is how the body was designed for maximum function, to be most efficient, and for every joint to work the way it was designed to.

Any changes to healthy alignment compromises the body in every possible way. Structure dictates function. Vertebrae protect the spinal cord, which means changes in the alignment of  vertebrae affects the healthy function of your spinal cord, which then affects every cell in your body.

Poor posture = Poor health = Poor quality of life

Good posture is not something you are either blessed with at birth, or not…in fact, you’re not even born with it at all! Infants develop the curve in their neck when they start to hold their head up, and the curve in the back develops when they start to sit (yes, this is one of the reasons all infants benefit from a Chiropractor monitoring their health). As life goes on, we experience slips and falls, sports injuries, car accidents, repetitive strains that cause the vertebrae in your spine to shift out of alignment (subluxation). When left uncorrected, spinal subluxations lead to changes in posture as the spine starts to compensate.

Chiropractors adjust the spinal subluxations to restore proper motion into the joints, and proper neurological function to every other cell and organ.  Posture naturally improves as healthy movement is restored to the body. You don’t need to consciously think about it or hold your body differently, your posture gets better on its own! How great is this? As your spine is restored to its natural state, the muscles develop new movement patterns and your brain develops a new awareness about where to hold you. With healthy posture you will have more flexibility and joint movement and less pain. You’ll breathe easier, think more clearly, sleep more soundly, and recover from illness faster. Your overall health will improve in many profound ways.

Sit up straight, pull your shoulders back…and book your chiropractic spinal check-up!

Opposition From Others?

portraitsSadly, sometimes people share with me that as they become healthier, feel better, maybe even get more fit or lose weight, they are met with unwelcome comments and even criticism from others.

I get it.

Even with the growing awareness, research and success with Chiropractic care, there are still people who challenge our effectiveness and value. In my 12 years of practice this attitude hasn’t really changed, but it affects me less because what continues to grow is my own certainty about what we do, and the impact Chiropractors make on people’s lives because of the healing I get to witness every single day.

“Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds.” ~ Albert Einstein

Changing your level of health creates a huge positive impact in your life. It’s inevitable that a few obstacles may present themselves along the way, and these obstacles may come in the form of other people’s attitudes.

Competitors or others who may be jealous will try and bring you down. Family or friends around you will try to discourage you. You’ll hear comments that may make you question your own beliefs.

As your commitment to yourself and your health grows, it might change relationships with friends, partners, and even your family members.

Those who are the most frightened of change, holding on tightly to old habits, may become the loudest critics. Some may become jealous of your new levels of energy, your accomplishments, your appearance, and your physical abilities.

Criticism is often a coping mechanism of individuals afraid to grow, a defensive reaction that scared people use to protect themselves against change.

My advice? Be great anyway.

Honor yourself and your commitment to improvement. Fill yourself up with sense of fulfillment and happiness, choosing to spend your time, money and energy towards bettering yourself, and lead by example. The only thing you can take responsibility for is your own health and your own attitude, so focus your intentions on building a better you and let everyone else watch, and learn!

Gratitude & Your Health

ID-100204763With Canadian Thanksgiving and the fall harvest,  we are reminded to offer thanks for the ‘bounty’ in our lives; to reflect on the many blessings, and plant seeds for future abundance. Symbolic and beautiful….but let’s remember that this holiday is not the only time we should be practicing gratitude! Rather, it’s an important part of a healthy lifestyle!

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 adrenalin 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.

“A Man becomes what he thinks about all day long.”~ Ralph Waldo Emmerson

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.

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.

Regardless of your current level of health, finances, or relationships, and what you may perceive as limitations to them…thinking, moping or complaining about them is not going to change anything! Find some small things to be happy about, and chances are your list will continue. Changing your thoughts will change your experiences, and this will change your life…

Before you exit this post, right now, take a couple deep breaths and think of 5 things you are grateful for…I’ll bet you can’t stop at 5!

Stress-Free School Lunches? Yes, It’s Possible

Most parents I know (myself included at times!) find making school lunches a frustrating endeavor. Trying to combine healthy choices with the preferences of your child, and potentially the influence of other children, can be a challenge.

My suggestion? Get your children involved, and RELAX about it.

I recommend everyone choose 100% high-quality, nutritious food 100% of the time; but that’s not realistic for most people, so instead I promote my 80/20 rule:  make 80% good choices and leave 20% for items that “have no nutritional value but taste good”.

Applying  this simple rule to your kids lunches might help ease the whole process.
My boys lunches include a fruit, vegetable, sandwich/main of some type (these days we have fallen in love with a great invention – the thermos!). They also often include some kind of packaged, processed item that their grandmother buys for them!

My sons understand the importance of good food, but by focusing on feeding them a solid breakfast and dinner, I can loosened up about that middle meal.

Consider your child’s overall food intake.  If you focus on the quality of their other meals during the day, and over the whole week, you can safely oblige their tastes for school lunches and still feel you are providing them with the solid nutrition for growing minds and bodies.

Chiropractic For Life?

I always love it when people in my practice tell me how great they continually feel, that the benefits of regular chiropractic care continue and that their body’s are always improving. It’s not because they are “addicted to getting adjusted” or because we have created some type of dependency within their body by working together.  It’s quite simply because the body as a whole works better when the brain and spinal cord can direct all internal functions without interference.

A body that is neurologically and structurally balanced will always adapt to physical and mental stress better than one that is not. 

Consider this research: In 2005, a landmark study found evidence that chiropractic care can reduce oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress plays a role in a whole host of diseases and disorders: Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and many others. Thiols are compounds in the body that act as antioxidants, reacting with free radicals to neutralize them. Serum levels of thiols reflect DNA’s capacity to repair itself, and can be used to measure aging and disease status. The study participants who received chiropractic care for 2 or more years had higher serum thiol levels in their body. Some of the chiropractic patients even had serum thiol levels higher than what is associated with normal health and wellness!

Based on these findings and consistent with all other health habits, chiropractic as a preventative or wellness strategy just makes sense.

Many people choose to make chiropractic part of their life because they notice such profound changes in their level of health, and how they are able to think, move and live with greater ease. They aren’t addicted to chiropractic, they are addicted to feeling well!they have become “addicted” to feeling well!

Teens Need Chiropractic Too!

ID-100103394Research studies on adolescents show neck and upper limb pain are more common in the fall-spring, and speculate it is because of the added schedule demands and academic stresses at that time, combined with playing musical instruments, jobs, sports involvement, studying, and long hours sitting.

Other findings to note:

– Early degenerative changes have been found in 14 yr. olds. often rapidly following the adolescent growth spurt It’s also been found that the frequency of disc degeneration was increased in those that had low back pain as teenagers.

– Another study examined 15 yr. olds with and without back pain and found that subjects who initially had low back pain had a lower frequency of physical activity (bad!) and decreased spinal function; at follow up time the degenerative disc disease had increased significantly in the group with low back pain.

– 13% of adolescents studies had evidence of spinal degeneration without any pain or symptoms

I love working with teenagers for many reasons. Similar to children, their spines have been in a subluxated state for less time, and there is less progression of spinal damage. Translation: they heal faster, in less time and it costs less.

Everyone can benefit from a spine that is moving well, adapting to stress, and performing the way it was designed to.

Structure dictates function. Spinal subluxations affect your joint mobility, but more importantly they affect the ability of your brain and spinal cord to coordinate all the internal functions that regulate how you think, feel, digest, breathe, and heal.

If your teenager has not been checked by a Chiropractor, make it a priority! Or share this information with your niece, nephew, grandchild, cousin, neighbour…any teenager that you care about!

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for degenerative disc disease in children.

5 Little Things

I often have several books I am reading and currently “The Leader Without a Title” by Robin Sharma is in the mix. It’s not uncommon for me to find some correlation to health from most of the material I read, and in this particular case Sharma’s particular point had me thinking about health goals for people…what if you just tried to do 5 daily things to improve your health? Imagine doing 5 little, yet important, intentional acts everyday to get you closer to your most important health goal: feeling and functioning well….

I’m not talking about massive, major changes to your health that require a dramatic lifestyle change, but small daily things that ultimately create a bigger impact because you are actually doing them.

“Success in anything is created through the performance of a few small daily disciplines that stack up over time to create stunning results” – Robin Sharma

It’s much easier to build on small steps and gradually add more, than to attempt a massive change. It’s likely that you’re already doing some great things to support your health, but perhaps they have already become so routine for you that you’ve even forgotten they are good for you!

Focusing on the good things you are already doing, and all the good things your body is capable of doing is also a powerful gratitude reminder and can motivate other small changes. Can you think of 5 things that you do on any given day to support good health? This month I challenge you to take a minute and think about what consistent simple habits you are doing, even post them on the wall in the office.

Need some ideas? Here’s some to get you thinking

reduce your caffeine or alcohol

drink more water

go for a walk/run/swim/bike/hike

visit a friend

eat some fruit

go to bed a little earlier

play with your children

read a book

put that donut or cookie down

take a yoga class

breathe (with awareness! consciously relaxing, with full deep breaths)

do something you love

learn something that can help you live healthier

get adjusted!

Expanding Your Potential

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.

A little reminder: 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 in this practice 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.

Everything Is Better!

ID-10083065Chiropractic is not just for sick people.

When I meet people and they learn I am a Chiropractor itʼs common for their next comment to be “Iʼm lucky, I donʼt have back pain”. Needless to say, this puts a smirk on my face, and an interesting conversation starts…

Chiropractic is not a treatment for any ailment, but a way to allow the body to function the way it was designed to. From balancing your structure and providing relief for so many joint problems, to the powerful healing of countless health issues inside the body, Chiropractic works because every adjustment gives your body the opportunity to function without interference to the most powerful coordinating system ever known – the brain and spinal cord.

Every adjustment reconnects the brain and body. Itʼs why headaches stop, digestion improves, previously immobile children start to walk, and why skin rashes clear up.

Itʼs for these reasons that more people than ever are choosing Chiropractic care not just to feel better or ʻrelieve back painʼ but to function better in every aspect of their life.

Chiropractic care isnʼt just for the sick, suffering or wounded, itʼs for people who want to be their best….in health, in sports, in moods, in family relations, in energy, in memory and mental ability, in physical dexterity, in coordination, in life!

Fun In The Sun!

ID-10026830My favorite season is summer! I love the sunshine, relaxed schedule, outdoor living and so many sports and hobbies. Here’s a few ideas to help deal with the parts of summer that can occasionally make it a little less fun…

Sun Safety – Natural sunlight is essential for good health, time in the sun is a question of balance. Daily moderate exposure enables the body to produce vitamin D and make melanin (our body’s natural sunscreen). However, overexposure causes damage to the skin, accelerates aging, suppresses the immune system, and can lead to cancers. Children are much more sensitive than adults so taking some precautions is wise. Use hats, and cover the skin with clothing when possible. Seek out the shade and balance time out in the sun with breaks indoors. This also helps prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration. If you are choosing to use sunscreen, be mindful of the toxic chemicals in many sunscreens that can be worse for the body than sun exposure! Check out cosmeticsdatabase.com for a list you can shop with.

Bites and Stings – Stings from a bee or wasp are not usually dangerous unless you suffer from an allergy, but they should always be treated immediately nonetheless. Apply a paste of baking soda and water to a bee sting to relieve pain; make a compress from a pad of cotton soaked in lemon juice and apply to a wasp sting. *Multiple stings, or stings to the eyes, ears or mouth should be treated in the hospital.* Mosquitos Avoid bug repellents that contain DEET which is effective for repelling insects but also extremely hazardous to your health. Instead, prevent insect bites by diluting a few drops (or combination of) any of the following essential oils: eucalyptus, citronella, peppermint, rosemary, clove, citronella or lemongrass in half a mug of water, gently apply to exposed areas avoiding the eyes and mouth. Experiment and find a scent that you like, place in a spray bottle and keep on hand for easy access when enjoying the outdoors. Cider vinegar can be used the same way and the smell evaporates as soon as it dries.

Cuts & Bruises – So common in childhood, but also with active grown-ups, or random accidents! If there is extensive bleeding, or any other unusual symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, or a head of injury, take your child to the hospital for emergency treatment. Carefully clean the area and then apply a clean cloth soaked in witch hazel or a cold compress and some TLC! Arnica cream is also useful for soreness.

First Aid Remedies * Please note I am comfortable handling most minor injuries based on my training but have still made trips to the ER for stitches! If in doubt how to handle an injury or illness, call get in touch with me, contact your medical doctor or head to the emergency room for further advice. There are no pharmaceuticals, harsh chemicals or commercial preparations in my home, period. Any illness, accident or health concern, I can support naturally with some of the items listed here, herbal medicines, foods, fluids or rest! Here’s what I keep on hand for most first aid emergencies:

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

Homeopathic remedies –  taken orally, 5 granules under the tongue. Directions are on on most packages.

Arnica 30c – for bites, bruises, cuts, broken skin, burns, scalds, nosebleeds, stings, sprains, fractures, muscular aches and pains,

Aconite 30c  – 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  – for teething, insomnia, earaches, digestive troubles, anytime they need

Band-Aids, gauze, 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 90% 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. 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, antifungal, antiseptic and antiviral Eucalyptus: antibiotic, analgesic (pain relieving), antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory                                                            Lavender:antiseptic,antibiotic,analgesic,antiviral,antifungal,antidepressant,healing,and sedating