Episode 19: Listen to Your Body

Your body is always talking to you; constantly sending you messages about how it’s performing or how it’s feeling. A lot of people relate symptoms to sickness but more often than not, once you deepen your ability to tune into your body’s messages, it will tell you about hidden sources of inflammation that have not yet begun to show up as symptoms. Your health is about so much more than how you feel, and on today’s episode, we go over how to team up with your body for better health.

For more on the benefits of listening to the body, check out this blog post.

Hungry for more? Check out the rest of the Rock Your Health Podcast episodes!
If you’re more of a reader than a listener, you may prefer checking out some blog posts!
If you love conversation, reach out here, I’d love to hear from you!

Why I Love Looking After Pregnant Women

I so love all the growing bellies in my practice, supporting women though the physical and emotional journey of pregnancy. Many women love to see their Chiropractor during pregnancy because they find such relief, but the benefits to the growing baby are tremendous too, particularly given the rapid rate of growth that occurs during this time. It’s astonishing really! The human fetus will develop 7x more quickly than an infant. Due to this rapid growth, the fetus is most sensitive to bio-mechanical forces that can create pressure and lead to abnormal molding of the skull and surrounding supportive tissues.

One particular study looked at the changes in the spine of breech babies, and in the 6000 cases that were reviewed here is what was found:

  • 42% developed postural scoliosis
  • 20-25% torticollis
  • 50% hip dislocation

Conservative Chiropractic care during pregnancy may prevent or decrease the possible occurrence of constraint, which allows for freedom of movement within the uterus so that the baby can position properly during this period of rapid growth, and so the mom to be can feel as comfortable as possible too!

Disclaimer: Chiropactic is not a treatment or cure for in utero abnormalities or developmental issues.

Hungry for more? Check out the rest of our blog posts!
If you’re more of a listener than a reader, you may prefer tuning into my Rock Your Health Podcast.
If you love conversation, reach out here, I’d love to hear from you!

Episode 17: Gardening With Your Body In Mind

It’s that time of year (at least here in Canada), where we reap the last of the harvest, pack up the gardens and put them to bed for the winter. Your body, while genius, does not care which season you’re gardening in, it still needs you to be conscious of it as you work. On today’s episode, I’m sharing the quick tips that will save you from the injuries I commonly see in my practice during this time of year.

For more Gardening Tips for a Healthy Spine, check out this blog post.

Gratitude Is Good For Your Health

Practicing Gratitude is Good For Your Health!

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.

Marcus Aurelius

The simple act of gratitude can have powerful effects on your emotional well-being and consequently on your physical body as well.  Negative emotions create muscle tension, weaken our immune system, and even alter our hormone patterns (men too!).  Taking a minute to immerse yourself in simple gratitude for the many blessings in your life is scientifically proven to improve your health.

Practicing Gratitude as a Community

Every October we do something powerful and positive in the practice. We invite people to take a moment to share something they are grateful for on a piece of paper and post it on the wall in the reception room.

Everyday  as we discussed the importance of living with a grateful heart, encouraged people to take a moment to share what they 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. We’ve already started the wall again this year, but here’s why gratitude is so important:

A man becomes what he thinks about all day long.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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.

The Science Behind Gratitude And What It Can Do For Your Health

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 adrenaline 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.

Practicing Gratitude Individually

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.

You will be pleasantly surprised how it will shift your mental state and the benefits to your health!

chiropractor recommendations office ergonomics

Episode 16: Workplace Ergonomics

It is estimated that Canadians spend almost a quarter of their life at work. When you take into account how much of the remaining 75% is spent sleeping, it becomes clear quickly, how important the health of your workplace is. Today’s podcast will cover a few ways to maximize your work environment to support better spinal health, and thereby, overall health. It’s an investment you won’t regret.

For more information on basic office ergonomics, read this blog post. For information on “text neck” check this one out.

Child receiving chiropractic adjustment

Why I Love Seeing Children

Second to being in the womb, the first year of a child’s life is a period of intense growth. At birth the spine is 20cm, within 24m will grow to 45cm. The entire spine doubles in the first year! The first 12 months of life are also crucial for spinal curve development, and 65% of neurological development occurs in the first year.

Given these rapid changes, the vertebrae are especially susceptible to changing shape in response to pressure by slowing bone growth. Spinal misalignments will causes asymmetrical growth, and tension on nerve system means less ability for growth and development.

This then leads to changes in the health of these sweet little ones. Infants may develop symptoms such as:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Reflux, or spitting up
  • Irritability, or colic
  • Difficulty nursing (impaired sucking, head turning, swallowing)
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Balance issues
  • Delayed developmental milestones

For most parents I meet with, spinal care for their child has not been something they have given much thought to, in fact many adults are the same! But once they observe the gentle care their child receives, and the profound changes in their overall wellbeing, it’s quite easy for them to continue to see the benefits of chiropractic care for their growing family.

I love watching these children grow strong, straight, how they recover more easily from injuries, and get sick less.

What’s even more fun is that when they are not feeling well, or observe something unusual with their body, they ask to see me first!

These children are growing up learning that a healthy body needs good food, exercise, sleep, love, and Chiropractic, and that if something is wrong we can look to figure out what’s wrong rather than just pop a pill or suppress their symptoms, and THAT is what I love the most ?

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health, but is not a cure or treatment for trouble breathing, reflux or spitting up, irritability, colic, difficulty nursing, balance issues or delayed development. 

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

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!

If It’s Not Broken…

So many times when I speak with someone about what I do, they comment “I would hate to know what you’d find in my spine, it’s probably a mess!”.  This attitude still surprises me.

The attitude “if it’s not broken, why fix it” does not apply to the human body.

Some of the sickest people on this planet have no symptoms and “feel fine”. We all know people who seemed to be fine but then suddenly are diagnosed with a major illness. People who ‘suddenly’ have a heart attack, stroke, are told they have cancer.

Waiting for your body to give you symptoms is like waiting for a bomb to go off…everything is quiet until suddenly there is a huge impact.

I cannot tell you how illogical this seems to me, but I certainly didn’t always look at health this way.

Like many people, I too viewed things differently, only responding to challenges in my body with medications. Luckily, 20 years ago, a shoulder injury forced me to see a Chiropractor, and from that point on everything changed. Not only my own health, but my attitude about it.

The Chiropractic approach is just that – an approach to supporting your body from the inside-out in every way.  Giving the body what it needs from the top-down (neurological function from the brain through the spinal cord), as well as all the other ingredients necessary for optimal function….food, hydration, movement, love and social connections, sleep, purpose and passion!

Chiropractic is not just an adjustment or treatment for a symptom, it’s an approach to looking for the causes of problems in the body, rather than just reacting to them.

Waiting for something to happen before you take action often makes the healing take longer, and requires more investment of your time and resources.

People who choose to make chiropractic care a regular part of their life understand this, but they also see the profound changes in their health, and are more empowered to be in control of their body. It’s a beautiful thing to watch in my practice and something I will never tire of.

People often hear me say “health comes from choice, not by chance”. Choosing to honour your body and give it what it needs on a consistent basis is one of the wisest decisions you can ever make.

If you’re still struggling with some aspects of your health, ask for direction.

If I can’t help you, we’ll find someone who can.

Life is short. Give yourself the gift of better health so that you can live more fully.

– Dr. Melissa

Forget Resolutions, Why Not Set a WORD instead?

Anytime is a great time for making changes in your life, but there is something special about the start of a new year. Whether you feel you need to make some drastic changes, take a few small steps in a new direction, or simply get back into an established routine, commit to doing something  this month to live a better life. I’ve never found resolutions work, and I stopped setting them years ago. Instead, I love this concept and have been implementing consistently. Maybe this year you might want to give it a try!

Think about your aspirations – 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, and Fun.

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! I’ll tell you my word!

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

Set an intention for what you want 2017 to mean to you, choose a word to define it, make deliberate choices and take action! I’m here to help if you get stuck 😉

~ Dr Melissa