It’s a Question of Time…

“There is no process that does not require time”                                                           – Principle #6 in Chiropractic Philosophy

Sometimes we all need to be reminded of this simple idea.

Whether you are learning a new skill, starting a business, grieving a loss, building relationships, adapting to a new home or community, or changing a habit, it’s important to remember that time is an essential requirement.

I see so many people who are invested in their health, who want to honor their body and take care of themselves. However, many health professionals will also attest to the fact that what we also see (more often than we would like) are people who are looking for the quickest results possible, instant gratification, a short-term fix but not long-term healing.

Occasionally this approach is necessary because of finances, scheduling challenges, work responsibilities, or geography, but sometimes real healing just isn’t a priority for people because they don’t want to accept this very simple, but crucial fact:

When it comes to the human body virtually all functions are dependent on time, and in no area is this more evident than with healing.

It takes time for cells to regenerate. It takes time for muscle patterns to change. It takes time to break down scar tissue and muscle adhesions. It takes time for flexibility to increase. It takes time for symptoms to change. It takes time for structural changes to be evident on X-rays. It takes time for healthy joint motion to be restored.

Chiropractic spinal adjustments restore proper function to the joints, and restore balance to the nervous system. It’s not magic, even though sometimes it’s what many of you might think!

The systematic adjustment and tuning of your spine with consistency produces massive changes in your body’s structure, but this doesn’t happen with one adjustment, it happens with TIME.

There are things you can do to speed the process, ways to reduce the physical or mental stressors in your life to help your body even more. Ask me if you need some direction, otherwise take comfort in the fact that your body is healing and your health problems are subsiding, it may just take a little more time.

Clear it Out!

ID-10090288

Many parents tell me that often one of the first things that happens when they bring their children home from an adjustment is that they head to the bathroom!

I’ve adjusted many people who suffer with a variety of digestive or bowel troubles, many of which resolve with Chiropractic care.

Here’s why:

Spinal Subluxations interfere with all body functions and lower your resistance to disease. Every organ in your digestive system – mouth, tongue, throat, esophagus, pyloric valve, stomach, intestines, glands, pancreas and others – needs a healthy nerve supply from your spine.

Subluxations can cause stomach, esophageal, and intestinal disorders. Of 100 people with stomach and duodenal ulcers, 86 had spinal abnormalities in the area that supplied the stomach with nerve fibres. Another study on adolescents found that 87% who were suffering with ulcers had pelvic distortions and blockages in the spine.

Chiropractic works! Correction of spinal problems relieves stomach ulcers, gastritis, colitis, and spastic constipation according to researchers, and I have certainly seen this clinically in my practice.

If the nerves are impinged upon by a subluxation, no amount of drugs will relieve the pressure. A chiropractic spinal adjustment releases pressure on your nervous system to promote body harmony, enhanced ability to cope with stress and improved resistance to disease.

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for constipation or digestive issues in children.

Spring Clean Your Body! Basic Detox Program

Spring is here! Even though the weather might not seem that way, the change of season is a great time to give your body a boost and consider a detox. Trust me, doing a detox is not a scary, depriving, horrible experience. It’s actually a great way to get refocused on healthy eating habits, give your digestive system a break and ultimately support your health.

There are countless programs out there, and even more products you can purchase to detox. I recommend this basic program because ANYONE can do it, no special products are required, and you can customize it to your comfort level and physiological needs depending on how ‘toxic’ you are. It’s also a fantastic way to determine whether you have any food intolerances or allergies, and provides great perspective on how you eat and your general attitude toward food.

Why Detox? Modern urban life is toxic by definition! Many people live a fast, hectic, stressful pace, and rely on convenient and time-saving measures to feed themselves. We are surrouded by a variety of chemicals in our environment too. Your body has its own detoxifying systems (liver, kidneys, bowels), and does an amazing job of removing wastes from your body. However, if the volume of internal waste exceeds what it is able to safely process, these organs can be overwhelmed and not function properly. If your body is carrying more toxins than it is built to handle, your health will be at risk.

The concept of detoxifying and cleansing your body has been around for hundreds of years, and has been used medicinally to promote the healing of many ailments. By giving your digestive system a ‘break’ from the task of processing, digesting, and eliminating certain foods, it can direct more energy towards cleaning out the build up of the potential stored toxins in your cells. Seasonally detoxifying supports all organ systems, allows for cell renewal, and will help you look and feel younger!

When? At minimum I recommend a detox protocol seasonally, unless there is a specific health concern that has developed to which a detox can offer benefit. To plan your detox you need to find a time when your social and work calendar is not over-booked, and when you can give yourself the time for some additional rest. It’s often a good idea to start on a weekend, so that the bulk of the detoxifying can start before the typical work week begins.

What are the benefits? After a detox program you should notice increased energy, clarity of thought, improved digestion, better sleep, glowing skin, and even the subsiding of certain health concerns. You’ll likely feel good about yourself that you were able to exert some discipline and will power, and possibly even determined some food sensitivities or allergies.

Are there any adverse effects? As your body is clearing itself of toxins you may experience some symptoms, but they are generally nothing of great concern and a sign that the detox is working. Remember, your digestive system will be healing and although you may be uncomfortable at times, they are healthy responses. Some symptoms you might experience are: furry tongue, headache, irritability, excessive elimination (urinating, diarrhea), flu/cold-like symptoms, skin eruptions, fatigue. Similar to when you contract a cold, develop an infection, or contract food poisoning, your body is doing its job to expel what does not belong inside! Consult a health professional if you experience anything that concerns you, but rest assured what you are feeling is temporary.

The plan: It’s pretty simple – Remove irritating foods and beverages, and overload your body with proper nutrients to support healing and increase the elimination of waste.

Avoid: alcohol, caffeine, refined sugars/candy/chocolate, processed food, wheat, gluten, dairy products.

Choose: an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods

Let me be clear, many items we consume taste great, offer us comfort, connect us socially, or fill some other need that is not nutritional. Consuming those types of foods or beverages occasionally (think 20% of your diet) is not necessarily harmful but it’s not a health-producing habit. The objective with a detox is to support your health so minimizing (if not completely eliminating) these items is key.

BASIC 7 – DAY DETOX FOOD PLAN

DAY 1 – liquids only, unlimited quantity (water, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, unsweetened herbal teas, vegetable broth, dairy-free smoothies )

DAY 2 – liquids and fruit only

DAY 3 – add raw vegetables

DAY 4 – add cooked vegetables and brown rice

DAY 5 – add beans, lentils, nuts and seeds

DAY 6 – add grains and live yogurt*

DAY 7 – add fish

Seasonings? At any time after day 3 you need to add more flavour to your foods, consider lemon, lime, olive oil, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, Bragg’s unfermented soy sauce. There may be organic, pure foods I have missed here, but just keep it simple for a few days. If in doubt whether something is appropriate or not, just look at the ingredient list and if there are items you cannot pronounce or that are not real food…pass on it!

Customize it: depending on how ‘toxic’ you are, or your interest level, this program can be implemented for anywhere from 7-30 days! If you have never done a cleanse before, consider a simple 7 day program to see how your body responds. If you are more comfortable and confident with the restrictions, consider a lengthier program. Although everyone can benefit from a 21 day cleanse, only you can determine what will work for you based on your level of commitment. You might find that once you start with the first week, continuing on is easier than you think!

To create a lengthier cleanse, simply follow the food implementation protocol but extend the number of days. For example, for a 14 day program follow the DAY 1 protocol (liquids only) for 2 DAYS, for a 21 day program follow it for 3 DAYS, for 30 day program follow it for 4 days..

You can do this!

You may have read through this and thought about being deprived, and what you are giving up for a week, wondered “What am I going to eat?!”….but I’d encourage you to think about what you are going to gain from changing your diet for a week instead of what you are losing. You’re stronger than you think! It’s only a week, and chances are, you’ve done many tougher things before and surprised yourself with the result.

Like any healthy habit, making choices to support a better body is never a poor investment. Regularly giving your body a detox boost is just another part of a healthy balanced lifestyle.

 

Get Smarter!

21667jx2cmug83pYour brain is the most amazing and important muscle in your body, and it has the same requirements as other muscles 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 a book
  • 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 stregnthen your resolve to keep doing it…but remember you might not know you enjoy a new activity until you try it!

Play!

IMG_5424Life is for living. Making chiropractic adjustments part of your life is a step towards ensuring you will be able to play without being stopped by problems in your body! 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 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!

Recently a patient noticed all the silly faces the children in my practice made for their photos on the wall, and she commented that adults seem to lose some of that ability, that so many of us lose our sense of fun because we care too much what others will think. Or perhaps because we 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.

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.

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.

The joints in your body must move easily to constantly nourish and cleanse themselves, and exercise is what is needed! All physical activity supports the body, but recreational activities are the perfect way to combine fitness with fun.

This month I challenge you to get out and PLAY more. 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 great Chiropractors we work with and can easily refer them somewhere suitable.

Rib and Chest Pain Relief!

ID-10014148Many times people come into my practice with shortness of breath, pain around their ribcage, sharp pain when they inhale, and restricted movement in their mid-back. Understandably they are often a little stressed and scared  because they worry they could be suffering with  heart trouble.

Yes, the symptoms of rib subluxations can be similar those experienced during a heart attack or other cardio-respiratory concerns, and it’s important to clinically rule those possibilities out before proceeding with Chiropractic care. However, more often than not, what has happened is the joints between the ribs and the thoracic spine have become misaligned, causing pain and irritation to the surrounding tissues.

How Does Chiropractic Work?

Spinal misalignments called vertebral subluxations cause muscle imbalances, joint irritation, inflammation, and early degeneration. Since the spinal joint surround the spinal cord, spinal subluxations also impair healthy neurological function in the body. Spinal subluxations weaken all organ systems, leading to sickness, pain, and a lesser quality of life.  Doctors of Chiropractic correct spinal subluxations to restore proper mechanical and neurological function within the body.

Many people are find relief from rib and chest pain, often almost instantly, when healthy joint movement and function is restored with chiropractic spinal adjustments.

Every part of your body works better with a spine that is moving properly. Instead of relying on medications (with side effects!) help your body heal from the inside-out.

If you are suffering with pain in your rib cage, shortness of breath or restricted movement in your mid back, consider Chiropractic first!

Understanding Fevers

ID-10036546As both a Chiropractor and a mother, I have personally seen the benefits of a more natural approach to children’s health, and seen hundreds of children thrive without reliance on pharmaceuticals for everything that ails them. My sons are 7 and 11 years old, and I can  count the number of times I have taken their temperature.

They rarely get sick, but when they do fall ill, I understand the importance of monitoring them, giving them love, fluids and nourishment, and letting their body deal with the bacteria or virus on their own. They have never taken any medication (and yes, that is a fact I am proud of!) and I have certainly never given them any medication to treat a fever. Here’s why:

What is a fever?
A fever is a raise in the body’s core temperature above:
37.8    If taken orally
37.2    If taken under the arm

Fevers are part of a healthy immune response, one of the body’s first lines
of defense against bacteria and viruses.  By raising the temperature inside the body bacteria cannot survive!  The number of circulating white blood cells increases (important immune system fighters), the amount of iron in the blood (which bacteria need to survive) is moved into the liver where it is stored, and many toxins are released through perspiration.

Fevers are a good thing!  They are the sign of a healthy, functioning immune system.  A fever on its own is not a reason for concern.  It’s important to monitor your child for other signs of possible illness (runny nose,tugging at ears, coughing, etc.) before assuming they are sick.  Other factors can also be responsible for an increase in body temperature (i.e.over-dressing, physical activity, heat exposure). When in doubt, seek advice from a health professional.

If your child has a fever: Watch them for other signs of a possible illness. Ensure they eat nutritious food (unprocessed, low-sugar, unrefined, whole foods), get adequate rest, and increased fluid intake (broth, diluted juice, H2O). If they are breastfeeding increase the frequency of feedings. Give them extra love, comfort, and reassurance their body is strong and working well to help them heal.

Can Chiropractic care help?  Yes. Spinal adjustments can provide beneficial support of the immune system, and subsequently, can help reduce a fever since the body is more easily able to process the bacteria or virus within. Fever is no longer needed because the infection subsides.

Can a fever be dangerous?   Untreated fevers caused by viral or bacterial infections do not rise inexorably, and will generally not exceed 105 degrees because the body actually has a built-in mechanism to prevent an infection induced fever from reaching 106.  Temperatures that climb to these levels are part of the cycle that normally occurs when the body is trying to fight the infection.  Although 95% of childhood fevers never reach 105, those that do often peak and then start to descend as the body heals.  Only in the cases of externally caused fevers (heatstroke, poisonings, etc) does the body’s inborn mechanism fail, and it is in these cases where fevers can exceed 106 and warrant immediate attention.

Head to the emergency room if your child…has a fever that persists for more than 3 days, develops other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, vomiting repeatedly, muscle twitching or other strange movements; is an infant younger than 2 months of age; cries inconsolably, has a high-pitched or weak cry; is difficult to waken, excessively drowsy, confused or delirious; has been exposed to an environmental toxin or ingested something poisonous; has had a seizure, a stiff neck or has purple spots on their skin; has difficulty breathing and does not feel better once nose is cleared; is acting very sick; or has underlying risk factors for serious infection.

If none of these are present, TRUST the body’s wisdom to use a fever as an adaptive response to restore health. Look to support your child’s health overall with a variety of preventative measures rather than symptom management. The long-term benefits are proven and your child will thank you!

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

Live With a Happy Heart!

ID-10010020Emotional and mental stress create tension in your body and affect all body systems. It’s important to regularly check in with yourself, assess your emotional health, and make changes if needed. Consider the following ideas to develop a happy heart. Take some time to reflect on them, then make the choice to move your life forward so you can live with greater peace. 

Let Go. You always have a choice in how you handle any situation and how you let it affect you. Holding negative feelings toward someone doesn’t hurt them, it hurts you! Who are you holding anger towards? What do you need to let go of?

Focus on the Good. 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. When you change the way you look at things, often the things you are looking at change.

Be Thankful. The secret to happiness is not found by seeking more, but in developing an appreciation for what we have. 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.

What’s Your Purpose? A big question I know, but one that you need to make the time to think about. Are you living your life with purpose, plans and passion? If you could do anything you wanted to, what would it be? It’s never too late to re-design your life and pursue any dream you have. What steps can you take to start moving in that direction? Baby steps still take you forward

Laugh. Laughter is “the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug”. It suppresses the secretion of stress hormones, boosts your immune system, reduces inflammation. Let’s face it – there is nothing like the feeling of a deep belly laugh! Are you laughing enough? Connect with others and share some fun.

Get Adjusted. Structure dictates function. A healthy spine means a body that can function the way it was designed to. Every function improves. Studies have shown people struggling with depression, anxiety, mood swings, and addictions are supported with chiropractic care and symptoms dramatically change. I see it all the time. People routinely remark how they feel calmer, they have more clarity of thought, and their moods are more stable. They feel happier, more in control of their health, better able to develop other positive habits, and more comfortable getting help from other professionals.

“Happiness is not a destination. It is the attitude with which you choose to travel.”

~ Arit Desal, Yogi & Philosopher

 

Boost Your Antioxidants with Chiropractic? YES!

ID-10034246I 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.

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.  Find out for yourself!

Define Your Year!

ID-100211313What’s Your Word?

I love this concept and started to apply it a few years ago. Think about your aspirations for 2014. 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.

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. Don’t over-think it!

Friends, colleagues, and people in my practice have 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

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