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!

Basic Cleansing & Detox Protocol

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 types of ailments.  Seasonally detoxifying gives your body a boost, allows for cell renewal, and will help you look and feel younger!

Why Detox?  Modern urban life is toxic by definition, but if your body is carrying more toxins than it is built to handle, your health will be at risk.  Many people live life at a fast, hectic, stressful pace, and rely on convenient and time-saving measures to feed and look after themselves.  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.

When? At minimum I recommend doing a detox protocol seasonally, but many opt for making a detox part of their monthly or even weekly routine.   Our goal is to help you change your lifestyle to support detoxifying continually, and to lessen the toxic load on your body.  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.  Its often a good idea to start on a weekend, so that the bulk of the detoxifying can start before the typical work week begins.

How will you feel? After the program you should notice increased energy, clarity of thought, and quite often a subsiding of certain health concerns.  However, during the detox program some side effects are inevitable as your body is clearing itself of toxins.  They are generally nothing of great concern and a sign that the detox is working. Some symptoms you might experience are: furry tongue, headache, irritability, excessive elimination, flu/cold-like symptoms, skin eruptions, fatigue. Consult a health professional if you experience anything that concerns you.

The plan:  It’s simple – Stop overloading the body with harmful chemicals and give yourself proper nutrients to support healing and increase the elimination of chemicals. Avoid: smoking, alcohol, caffeine, candy, chocolate,  ‘extreme’ exercise (an intensity your body is not accustomed to).

7 day detox diet – the beauty of this program is that:

(i) ANYONE can do it

(ii) no special products are required

(iii) you can customize it to your comfort level and physiological needs depending on how ‘toxic’ you are

(iv) it can help to determine whether you have any food intolerances or allergies

(v) it provides great perspective on how you eat and your attitude toward food.

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

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

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..

Other Activities to Consider? 

Detoxification involves not only diet.  Various body and skin treatments help the general detox process and will enhance your results.  They can also be incorporated into your general lifestyle to continually boost your body.

1) Tongue brushing: every morning immediately upon rising, scrape your      tongue with a spoon repeatedly until clean (no white residue) then rinse with water.

2) Hot water with lemon first thing in the morning prior to eating anything.

3) Skin brushing before your shower; hydrotherapy while in the shower (alternating hot and cold).

4) Castor oil packs at night before bed (see handout), ideally combined with quiet breathing and positive visualizations.

Barefoot Bliss!

It all started innocently enough a few summers ago. In the practice one afternoon, my shoes hurt, so I took them off.  After adjusting a few people, however, I was, almost instantly, converted.  I felt stronger, more sure on my feet, grounded.  More purposeful and connected with each adjustment.

So as per most products, concepts,  new trends or fads….I experimented on myself, and did a bit of research before being ready to share my thoughts.

I am not a runner, but I have heard about barefoot running.  I believe strongly in the importance of children being barefoot, particularly in their toddler years when just learning to walk.

I asked some colleagues and was not surprised to find that many of them also adjust barefoot – the simple answer when I asked why? its more natural and the way we were designed! I was also surprised to learn so many people I adjust prefer being barefoot, finding it more comfortable.

Many health experts agree that bare is the healthiest state for your feet to be in.  Most shoes have no relation at all to the natural shape of the human foot.  It’s also been argued that most adult foot trouble would not exist if properly shaped shoes, or better yet, no shoes at all had been used during childhood.

Children who are encouraged to walk barefoot typically have:

– fewer instances of deformed toe

– greater foot flexibility

– greater ability to spread the toes

– denser muscles on the bottom of the feet

– greater agility than those who had never gone barefoot

– better hip rotation and more flexibility of leg muscles

– greater balance

– better posture, spinal balance and overall nerve system function

What are the benefits for you?

– natural shaped feet, including straighter toes free of corns, hammer toes, bunions and callouses in the wrong places

– well shaped legs resulting from a natural and balanced gait.

– a more natural motion, free of weight brought on by shoes

– prevention of blisters, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts

– better posture & spinal health!

It’s also been suggested that people who are barefoot tend to be less stressed and authoritative, leading to a more relaxed environment at both home and work. Many cultures believe that the positive energy of the earth, known as chi, prana, is absorbed through the soles of the feet. When you are walking barefoot your body is absorbing this positive energy, allowing you to think more clearly.

AND…there is evidence that the natural motion of barefoot positively affects brain function!!!

Other than the spine, the foot is the region of the body which contains the most proprioceptive sensory receptors, the distinctive nerve circuits that help your brain know where your body is in relation to the space around you.  Given this abundance of sensory information, the natural unrestricted movement of the feet is vital for overall neurological health!

I have happily embraced being barefoot as much as possible. Even though I do love shoes, I find myself wearing them more because I need to, not because I want to…and I kick them off as soon as I can.

Being “Whole”

“Be really whole and all things will come to you.” ~ Lao Tzu

Wholeness? How do we interpret that? Be who you are, and love every part of yourself. Be aware of your surroundings and appreciate the simple things. Express yourself. Balance all parts of your life – work, play, relationships, personal time, exercise, reflection – so that you can be the fullest YOU possible.

Humans are complex beings made up of so much more than just tissues and cells, muscles, bones and skin.  Your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about the world, and yourself, contribute to how your body functions.  We can think ourselves sick and think ourselves well.   Choose to believe you are living and functioning well.  For some of you that will be an easy task, for others it will take more effort, but you can only heal if you are willing to do so.

We know that the human body works better as a whole, and that every cell in your body depends on the health and function of the others to operate properly. The body is self-healing and self-regulating and depends on some coordination for it all to happen – that’s where your brain comes in!  Chiropractic adjustments remove interference from your spinal cord to allow  your brain to communicate with your body, so you can function as a whole being.

Why Get Adjusted?

Recently, I asked some people in my practice why they were getting adjusted.  Here’s what I heard:

“It allows me to function without severe pain.  You helped me understand that this is what I need to stay healthy, the way you explained everything made sense…and I CAN WALK easier now! I used have periods of immobility because of the pain in my legs, but that never even crosses my mind anymore! I realize that coming here is simply a lifestyle choice I am going to make for as long as I live.”

“The adjustments are helping my body feel better.  When I am aligned my posture feels better, stronger and I just feel well.”

“Because Chiropractic care changed my life.”

“I work hard and use my body, and so I keep getting sore.  Although I don’t specifically remember how I was feeling last year, I definitely know it was A LOT worse and that my adjustments help me a ton.  I come here to keep the level of health I have achieved.”

“I came here with a sore shoulder but now I am sleeping better and my digestion has improved – who would have thought?!”

“My son used to get sick chronically and now, he never does – this is just part of our life now to keep us all strong and healthy, and I love how we don’t rely on medications anymore”

“I don’t know.  I didn’t come here with any problems, it just makes sense to me!”

Although each comment made me smile, the last one particularly struck me – investing time and money in something without really question why, simply because it resonated with her beliefs and desire to stay healthy!

Chiropractic is not a treatment for a disease but a way to support your body’s innate ability to function well.

Why Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is not just an adjustment but an entire approach to managing your health, a way to support your body naturally from the inside-out.

A vertebral subluxation is the structural misalignment, or locking between two or more adjacent vertebrae, which causes nerve tissue irritation, and a resultant alteration in the normal mechanical, nerve and organ functions within the body.  When vertebral subluxations occur, there is an altered communication between the bodily systems.  This lack of harmony promotes sickness and a lesser quality of life.

Not just for the weak and wounded, chiropractic care is simply what your body needs to function properly.  Millions of people now choose to make spinal adjustments an integral part of their healthy lifestyle.  If you haven’t yet experienced a thorough neurological & biomechanical assessment from a Doctor of Chiropractic…perhaps its time?

Detox Your Home…Why?

Chemicals have replaced bacteria and viruses as the main threat to health. The diseases we are beginning to see as the major causes of death in the latter part of (the 1900’s) and into the 21st century are diseases of chemical origin.”                                                                   – Dr. Dick Irwin, Toxicologist, Texas A&M University

We live in a chemical world. Over 5000 chemicals have entered daily use since WW II, many of them found in the products we use every day to clean and beautify our bodies and our homes. Scientists are increasingly concerned that long-term low-level exposures to chemicals create a variety of health risks. They also worry that we do not yet know the impact of living with the cocktail of chemicals found in household air and dust.  Testing for human health effects is normally done on single chemicals. However, in the real world, we are exposed to a daily variety of chemicals which create ‘chemical stress’ in the body and impact cellular function.  Quite simply, if you are breathing, absorbing, ingesting a variety of chemicals regularly, your body has to work harder to keep you functioning well.

Many people assume that “if it was bad for us, the government would not allow it to be sold” but we know that regulatory bodies are slow to act. Legislation governing pest control products was only amended in 2002, after over 30 years without change and review of pest control products is just beginning. Health Canada has recently added some chemicals to their ‘hot list’ of chemicals not permitted in cosmetics, but those ingredients had not been used for years and were added for the sake of ‘clarity’. Health Canada has been slow to restrict many chemicals currently in use, including identified or suspected carcinogens, hormone disrupters and reproductive toxins. The process of evaluating and regulating all the chemicals we use in our daily lives is going to be slow. And past experiences in regulating lead in gasoline, tobacco and lawn pesticides tell us that the companies which produce these products won’t take attempts to limit their use quietly.

In choosing the products we use on our bodies and in and around our homes WE are the ones in control. We can make informed choices for the sake of our own health and the health of our families. And in most cases, what is less toxic for us is also less toxic for the natural environment.

Making the move to less toxic products can seem overwhelming… but it doesn’t need to happen all at once and is likely easier than you think! Whether you make changes in a few areas or in many, you will be making positive choices for your life.

Ready to start? Grab one of the many books from the practice or keep watch for more posts with ideas and solutions.  Share your ideas with us too! Some of the most useful tips I have gained have come from others and not out of a book…