More Chocolate? Other Ways to Fill Easter Eggs

ID-10074204Traditional easter egg baskets are filled with chocolate, but why not consider some other ideas this year? 

I’ve been asking patients in the practice some of the ways they celebrate easter weekend with their children and they have shared some fantastic, creative ideas.  Whether you create a basket for children in your life or conduct an easter egg hunt, consider these tips to avoid the overdose of chocolate, sugar and unnecessary waste that is often created with commercial packages.

Chocolate, jellybeans, and candy are fun treats for most children and adults, but in moderation! Even a teaspoon of sugar causes the immune system cells to drop substantially, and can dramatically affect behavior.

If you enjoy filling eggs, purchase ones (yes even plastic) that you can reuse every year and try some of these items to place inside…

  • Stickers, coins, small toys
  • For older children try little pieces of paper with bigger ‘prizes’  written on them. Then create a scavenger hunt to find them too!
  • Use numbers or symbols inside the eggs, and have a corresponding chart for them to follow on – they will love the challenge and skills they will build!

As with all gift-giving, don’t forget about the gifts of ‘experiences’. Many of us already have enough ‘stuff’. Movie/event tickets, lessons for a sport or hobby, gift cards for music or clothing, jewellery, sports cards, games (especially if they are ones you can play as a family!)

Get creative, have some fun, and share  some of your favorite ideas too!

 

Healthy Hearts!

Cardiovascular health is important throughout our lives. 

Your heart pumps blood to all parts of your body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to every single cell through the arteries. Once the cells have received the oxygen, the blood is returned to the heart through the veins. The systematic, rhythmic relationship between your lungs and your heart is what refuels the blood with oxygen so that this cycle can continue endlessly. With every beat of your heart, blood is moving through the chambers of your heart and then being pumped through your body. It’s truly an amazing system! Quite simply, heart disease results when the heart has to beat faster than the normal healthy rate to perform its job. When the arteries are clogged blood needs to be pumped through them at a faster rate with greater force (“high blood pressure”).

Most people can quickly think of all the known risk factors for heart diseasesmoking, high cholesterol, alcoholism, obesity, lack of physical activity, diabetes, high blood pressure, poor diets but did you know spinal misalignments can contribute as well? When the vertebrae in the spine are not moving properly they impinge both the nerves and the arteries. Once corrected with spinal adjustments, proper nerve and circulatory flow returns. Research has shown that chiropractic spinal adjustments can lower both blood pressure and heart rate, allowing your cardiovascular system to function the way it was designed to.

Although heart disease remains one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide, the great news is that lifestyle plays a huge factor in the development of it!

Make choices to keep your heart working properly by considering the following:

Stress Less: High stress levels cause blood pressure to rise and the heart rate to increase. Evaluate the stressors in your life and make changes!

Eat Well: Choose a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains. Avoid packaged and processed foods which contain extra fats, sugars and preservatives.

Quit Smoking & Moderate Alcohol Consumption: Just do it. Nothing health promoting about these lifestyle choices whatsoever!

Get Moving: Move your body everyday for at least 10 minutes. Helps relieve stress and supports every system in your body.

Get Adjusted! For a healthier body overall. It’s that simple.

Sit Well! Or Not at All…

Your body was designed to move! However, due to workplaces and lifestyles the average person sits 6-7 hours per day. Prolonged sitting can be tough on your spine and other joints.

Keep these considerations in mind:

  • Maintaining the lumbar curve helps maintain the thoracic and cervical curves. Aim to have your feet firmly resting on the floor with knees bent at 90-100 degrees. Adjust your chair if possible, or place something under your feet. Better yet, consider sitting on a stability ball instead! (Check out the video and hear me explain why this is a better choice for you). Some people have even modified their workspaces to allow them to stand while working on a computer or writing. Take a look at your work station and what improvements can be made. Get creative!
  • The average head weighs 10-15 lbs. Improper sitting posture pushes the head forward, which places severe stress on the muscles, ligaments and vertebrae of the upper neck. 73% of people who sit on the job suffer from headaches due to poor posture. A loss of the normal cervical curve can stretch the spinal cord by 5-7 cm! This leads to many unwanted affects in your whole body. It’s not uncommon for vertebral misalignments in the upper neck to create symptoms such as dizziness, allergies, migraines, chronic fatigue, sinus congestion, emotional stress, and pain or tingling in the arms, hands, and shoulders. Take visual breaks every 10 minutes from your computer screen, and breaks from sitting every hour.

Break Time!

Whether you are at home or office, try these 2 minute stretches:

1) Lying on your back, bring your knees to your chest and hold for 4 seconds.

2) Lying on you back, bring your knee to the opposite shoulder and hold for 4 seconds. Repeat with other knee to opposite shoulder.

3) Leaning on a chair or table edge perform a cat stretch by arching your back towards the ceiling with your head looking down, rounding your back. Hold for count of 10.

4) Interlock your hands behind your lower back, stretch your shoulders backwards and point your nose to the ceiling while pushing your hands towards the floor. Hold for a count of 10.

5) Roll your shoulders backwards, then forwards, doing 10-20 rotations each way.

6) Interlock your fingers and push your hands in front of you and away from your body. Hold for a count of 10.

7) Roll your neck right then left, repeating several times both directions. On your last turn to the right hold the position for a count of 10. Repeat with other side.

8) Perform circular motions with your wrists for 60 seconds.

9) Point and flex your feet, alternating each side. Roll your ankles around in a clockwise direction for a count of 10, then change direction.

Lessons from a Renovation – Part 1

During the restoration and redesign of this building I have thought about many comparison’s to one’s health…

What you see isn’t always what you get.

There were a few surprises we discovered (and continue to find) during the renovation process. I didn’t know the floor was weak until we looked, and so it was rebuilt. We couldn’t see all the old wiring that was hidden behind the walls, and so new wiring was installed. In a 100 year-old house there are always interesting discoveries to be found. Years of changes to the original structure, and many curious solutions to problems that arose.

My attitude with every discovery (although reluctantly because of the time and investment required to fix!) was “Great that we found out! Let’s rebuild it and make it better.”

Yet too often when it comes to our bodies people don’t want to know what’s wrong.

I hear it all the time! “Oh I’d hate for you to look at me, you would see what a mess my body is”. Just like in an old house, many parts of  your body can be overlooked while focusing only on the parts you can ‘“see’”.

How do you define being healthy? By how you are feeling? Or by how you are functioning?

What could be hidden in your body?

I often wonder what it takes for people to take control of their health, why there is such apathy among people? What gets people to take action and make healthy choices to support their body?  Unfortunately the answer for most is CRISIS.  In my experience not enough people truly value their health, or they have been misled as to what the human body needs to function properly.

If you want to thrive, not simply survive, you need to commit time and resources to all components of a healthy lifestyle: proper food, proper movement (spinal joints with chiropractic care and overall movement with exercise), healthy relationships, personal time, adequate rest, hydration, fresh air and sunlight.

Your body is the house your spirit lives in.  How are you taking care of it? Are you doing everything you could be? If not, why?  Are you going to wait for a crisis to happen before you act?

Please know your answers to these questions are for you to know, and whatever they are, its your responsibility to accept them, or make changes!   Your care here encompasses you as a whole being, and although your adjustments are the most  powerful thing you can do for your body, there are other necessities for healthy function.  My responsibility is to support your health however I can, so if you need or want some direction, ask us!

Workplace Ergonomics

How you spend your day physically can affect your spinal health. Chronic, repetitive postures can create spinal stress, and there are simple ways to improve your workspace to reduce the risk. How can you tell if your office environment is safe and conducive to your comfort and productivity? Consider the following questions:

At the office, do you:

  1. Sit for long periods of time?
  2. Perform repetitive arm or hand movements?
  3. Spend a lot of time on the telephone?
  4. Have to turn your head to see your computer monitor?
  5. Take few or no breaks?
  6. Sit under dim or flickering lights?
  7. Spend a lot of time looking down at papers on your desk?
  8. Experience headaches or neck pain?
  9. Experience aching, numbness, or tingling in your fingers and hands?
  10. Experience back pain?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you could be at risk of developing or already suffering from repetitive strain injuries related to your office     set-up.

So, take a few minutes now to check out your work station….what can you improve? Consider these tips: 

The Keyboard: Position it above your lap. Ensure that you can type with your arms relaxed, close to your body with elbows bent at 90 degrees and wrists level.

The Computer Monitor: Position it directly in front of you. (Your eyes should be looking straight ahead, not with your head tilted up and back, and not looking down).  Keep your monitor free of dirt and smudges, in order to reduce glare. Allow the muscles in your eyes to relax by taking a 20 second break every 20 minutes, during which you look at an object that is located at least 20 feet away from you.

The Mouse:  Try using a light grip to avoid strain. When you move it around use your elbow to guide it instead of your wrist.

The Telephone: Use your hand to support the telephone against your ear, and alternate regularly instead of cradling the phone between the ear and shoulder. Consider using a headset or speaker to limit the strain on your neck and arms.

The Chair. Sit upright and all the way back. You can even roll up a towel and place it against the arch of your back for lumbar spine support. Your chair’s height should be adjusted to a level at which your knees are bent at a 90-100 degree angle, with your feet touching the floor.

Take breaks! By far the most important thing I can stress is to vary your tasks as much as possible throughout your day. Keep your body from being stuck in any position for too long, and give your brain a boost as well. Can you switch up the

Spending some time to make simple ergonomic changes to your work environment can improve your comfort and productivity.

Gratitude Wall

Of all the years in practice (10! Yes a party is being planned!) I think this year’s Thanksgiving event was my favorite.

Everyday as we discussed the importance of living with a grateful heart, encouraging you to take a moment to share what you 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.

I am a big believer in the power of community and to see it happening in my own practice always makes me smile…to see new relationships formed within the walls of this office.  Its precisely why we will continue to create events that bring people together, that share in the human spirit and foster greater harmony within our community.

THANK YOU for playing along and sharing your stories.

THANK YOU for committing to get well and for choosing us to support your health.

THANK YOU for trusting us with your referrals of friends and loved ones.

THANK YOU for your flexibility with scheduling changes.

THANK YOU for your continued patience and support during the rebuilding of this space.

THANK YOU for the laughter you bring us during your office visits.

THANK YOU for inviting us into your children’s lives.

Congratulations to our draw prize winner Zach…a 12 yr old boy who shared his gratitude list after his adjustment one morning before school.  He won’t be going to Le Scandinave Spa but will be enjoying a gift certificate to a sporting goods store instead!

Fix?

Often I hear the comment in the practice, “I need to be fixed”, “You’re going to fix me right doc?”, “Sit here honey, mommy’s just going to get fixed now.”

I always had a challenge with this vocabulary.  Fixing means that something is broken.

Unless you break a bone, break your skin or internal organ with some trauma, you are not BROKEN. I don’t think of your body as BROKEN when you come here to see me. When you come here for care, I am not fixing anything, and you do not need to be “fixed”.

The adjustments RE ALIGN your spine, TAKE PRESSURE OFF your spinal cord, BALANCE your muscles. Your body will do the rest.

When you take the position that something is wrong with you, that you are BROKEN, it takes your power away, and makes it seem like you need something external to your body to get well. It gives me the responsibility to get you better, and takes it away from you.

But that’s not how healing happens.

Your body needs no help, just no interference. Your body can heal itself, it just needs the right  environment inside. My role is to remove the interference, educate, and inspire you to make other healthy lifestyle choices. Your job is to see them through, and take control of your health.

Then I looked up the word FIX in the dictionary…and I had to rethink my position.

Fix: to repair; mend; to put in order or in good condition; adjust or arrange 

So let’s agree that although I just might ‘fix’ you with an adjustment, its not because you are broken but because you are choosing to repair tissues that have been strained, put them in healthy  order, and adjust your body to more optimal functioning.

We are not here to fix something that is wrong with you but rather to restore what is right with you, to return your body to its natural state. You are whole and complete just the way you are.

You just need your Chiropractic Fix!

Everything Works Better

Recently at a continuing education event I was asked to complete the following statement “When I adjust people….” during a session of sharing and discussion with colleagues. Based on what I know from my training, and what I have seen in my practice consistently for the past 10 years, here’s the list I created. Keep in mind its quite spontaneous! The real-life stuff we see here….

When I adjust people…

blood pressure balances – muscles balance – sinuses clear    nerve supply increases – thoughts are clearer – sleep is better awareness is heightened – leg pain subsides  – bowels clear  taste improves – pelvic structure shifts – heart rate stabilizes children giggle – cuts heal faster – broken bones heal – relief seizures slow down – fevers drop – balance restored            people connect to others – people laugh – body heals     breathing regulates – euphoric – back pain clears –        headaches lessen – arm pain clears – neck pain clears   menstrual cycles regulate – immune system is stronger     energy improves – blood sugar normalizes – ear infections stop depression lessens – addictions subside – libido improves empowered thinking – excitement about health               flexibility improves – infections go away – families are healthier couples are healthier – life is enjoyed better – able to work hobbies improve – life is turned on – labour progresses or starts babies smile – allergies lessen – stomach aches subside        peace enters the body – strength returns

I share this with you as a simple reminder that regardless of the health challenge that you are facing, if any, you are always better with a healthy nervous system!  A body without spinal subluxations will always perform better than one with them.  Trust your body and its ability to be well. With every adjustment your body as a whole works better. Its as simple as that.

Back to School! Tips for Using Back Packs

Its that time of year again….school is in! Kids going back to school carrying packs on their back is a great reminder to all of us to exert some caution when using them to haul our stuff around. Check out these brief tips below:

– Avoid slinging your backpack on one side – this can cause the spine to lean, putting stress on the joints and muscles in the mid – and lower – back.

– As much as possible, wear both straps and adjust them so that the pack fits snugly. You should be able to slide your hand between the backpack and your back. Ensure the straps don’t dig into the skin to prevent proper circulation.

– Use the waist strap during periods of long wear since it reduces the strain on your back and transfers some of the load to your hips.

– Position the shoulder straps on on your shoulders!  Carrying your backpack too low will cause you to lean forward and puts the weight on your upper back.

– Bend with your knees to lift the pack, or place the pack on a table or bench to more easily slide it onto your back instead of bending and twisting.

– Choose a pack with plenty of compartments and make use of them! Pack the heaviest items closest to your body, and place awkward shaped items towards the front so that they do not dig into your skin.

The most important thing to remember is this: when your spine is healthy, when your muscles are strong and balanced, everyday activities are not a problem for your body! Regular chiropractic care ensures this. If you haven’t yet made time to find a Chiropractor to work with to achieve your family’s health goals…now is the time!

Summer Fun! Tips for your Family

Enjoy the Sun! 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).  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 take precautions…and be mindful of the toxic chemicals in many sunscreens that can be worse for the body than sun exposure!  Choose natural products when using them, but even easier is to use hats, and cover the skin with clothing when possible.  Seek out the shade and balance time out in the sun with breaks and indoor play as well.  This also helps prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration.

Bites and sting  Although they should always be treated immediately,  stings from a bee or wasp are not usually dangerous unless the victim suffers from an allergy.  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 Prevent insect bites by diluting a few drops of essential oils of eucalyptus or citronella in half a mug of water, gently apply to exposed areas avoiding the eyes and mouth.  Cider vinegar can be used the same way.  Arnica (homeopathic) is useful for any bites that cause swelling, bruising or pain.  Witch hazel is also quite effective.

Cuts & Bruises  If there is extensive bleeding, or any other unusual symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, or a head of injury, head to the hospital for emergency treatment. A clean cloth soaked in witch hazel is good for bruises as is a cold compress and some TLC!  Arnica cream is also useful for soreness.

First Aid Remedies: These are the basic items in my first aid kit! Keep the following on hand in your car, purse or within easy reach for most emergencies…

Arnica 30c homeopathic remedy– for bumps, bruises, blows, cuts, broken skin, burns, scalds, nosebleeds, stings, sprains, fractures, muscular aches and pains, (or in fact 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 you need to relax!

Band-aids, gauze, wet-wipes.

Bach Rescue Remedy – a flower remedy designed for shock and trauma.  Very relaxing and soothing.

Calendula cream – great salve for cuts, stings, burns, scrapes and scratches, any skin irritation.

Tea tree oil, Eucalyptus oil – essential oils known for their antibacterial and anti-septic properties. Must be diluted or mixed with a natural oil or salve before being applied to the skin.