RYH Episode 20: How Do I Deal With Illness In My Family?

Despite being 13 and 17 years old respectively, neither of my sons have ever taken any medication. The only support they’ve had from pharmaceuticals is when dealing with broken bones and pain management. If they have colds, congestion or any other common illness, my approach since they were born, was to let the body handle it naturally. I have the support of an amazing health team, including a great physician and a naturopath who have always been there for advice, and thankfully, believe in the power of the body to heal itself. To find out how we’ve done it, tune into today’s show.

For more information on how to handle illness naturally, check out this blog post, and this one too.

Have a Happy, Healthy Halloween!

Dressing up and celebrating Halloween can be fun for kids, and adults, but it can also be unhealthy for your body and the environment!

Consider these tips this year:

Have fun and walk with your kids!

When my sons were younger I sometimes saw parents driving slowly while their children trick or treated. If you are injured and this is absolutely necessary, I totally understand. But if you can walk I’m going to suggest that you do! Move your body a little and appreciate the fresh air. It’s also much more entertaining!

Give Treats You Would Like Your Children to Receive

Enough said.

Create a Low-Impact Costume

Rather than buying a new costume every year, get creative with items you already own, swap with friends, or shop the local resale shop.

Be Mindful of Toxic Chemicals

Most makeup, face paint, and coloured hairsprays contain ingredients that do not support healthy bodies. Even though you might argue “it’s only once a year” I’m still going to remind you there are alternatives! Get creative and have fun with costumes without using chemicals that don’t belong on your children’s skin, or that you wouldn’t want them to inhale.

Decorate Naturally

Grab pumpkins, gourds, hay bales from a local farm. Reuse decorations you have from previous years rather than purchasing disposable items every year that add to the landfill.

Have a Happy, Healthy Halloween!

It’s totally possible to have lots of fun this Halloween, while protecting your health and the environment. Hope you have a great one!

Baby Won’t Poop? Chiropractic Can Help!

I never knew once in practice I would get so many email, calls and texts from happy mothers who report that after their child’s adjustment their bowels were working better! We all know how uncomfortable constipation, diarrhea or any gastro-intestinal dysfunction can be –  imagine how your little one feels! There can be many causes of tummy troubles with infants, toddlers, and children of all ages such as food sensitivities, dehydration, stress, food poisoning, and lack of movement within the spine and nervous system!

Chiropractic Care Sets the Body Up For Health

Chiropractic isn’t a ‘cure’ for anything, but rather a way to support the body so that it can heal from within. When there are misalignments in the spine (subluxation), particularly in the lower spine where the nerves branch off the spinal cord and supply energy to the digestive organs, it will lead to dysfunction. When we restore proper joint movement through a chiropractic spinal adjustment, this also relieves tension within the nerves and allows them to function the way they were designed to. The colon works better, the heart works better, the lungs work better, your legs work better, and so does your brain, reproductive system and virtually every other part of your body!

If your child is struggling with digestive system complaints it’s time to take a look at the cause and start restoring proper function to your whole digestive tract. Chiropractic care will remove any structural imbalance, and then we can work at examining their diet, stress levels and making some other adjustments to your lifestyle so that their body can heal from the inside out.

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.

What Do Chiropractors Do When Our Children Are Sick?

It’s highly unlikely we’ll give them any medication or rush them to a walk-in clinic. Instead, we honour the innate wisdom of the body and it’s power to heal from the inside-out.

Each illness a child experiences helps to strengthen and enhance their natural immunity. Rather than suppress their symptoms we encourage the immune system to process the bacteria or virus as effectively as possible by supporting cellular function.

My sons are 12 and 8 years old, and have never had any medication whatsoever. Do they get sick sometimes? Of course they do, but at a much lower frequency than many of their peers. They eat really well, get plenty of rest, are active, happy, and get adjusted regularly!

When they get a cough, cold or some congestion, this is what I do:

– Adjustments to correct spinal subluxations to remove nerve interference (daily).

– Encourage added sleep and rest.

– Keep them home from school until they have no fever and their energy is back.

– Supplementation with vitamin C, vitamin D, and a high quality multi vitamin.

– Eliminate all refined sugars and dairy products from their diet, keep foods simple and nourishing.

– Offer increased fluids, nutrient-dense smoothies, and warm herbal teas.

– Mix some olive oil with a few drops of the essential oils of tea tree and eucalyptus, rub into their chest and under their collar bones to encourage drainage of the lymph glands in those regions.

– Offer natural raw honey to soothe the throat.

– Have them gargle with salt water (1/4 tsp sea salt with 1/2 cup water) to flush bacteria out of the mouth and to ease discomfort in the throat.

– Offer lots of love, comfort, and reassurance!

I’ve also found that illness is always a great teaching moment with them. Helping them understand how their bodies work, what is happening when they have a fever, and are coughing/sneezing, and what their body needs to feel and function well is a lesson that everyone needs!

This approach has never failed us, and I am confident that their developing brains and bodies are stronger for it.  Next time your children are ill, consider supporting their body naturally, and working with health professionals who can help you along the way.

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

Balanced?

Recently I was sitting on the patio of my local café, reading, planning my day. When it was time to get started on the responsibilities I had, I joked with an acquaintance how reluctant I was to get to working, that it was so lovely sitting on the patio! His comment was brilliant:

“Give yourself a break. Enjoy the day. Whatever you have to do will all work out in the end, and if it hasn’t worked out yet – it’s not the end!”

I encourage you to balance time in your life for movement, healthy eating, nurturing relationships, getting enough rest, and playing.  You need all of these things in your life because you are a whole person, and because being healthy requires attention to all these areas.

We all have work responsibilities, family obligations and personal objectives. The key to healthy living is in balancing all of them every week, sometimes every day, and giving ourselves permission to do so.

Are the different facets of your life balanced? 

Sure, there are times when some of our responsibilities dominate, when we must focus specifically on doing the best we can to manage everything.

Some days, weeks, months are more balanced than others. I think it’s important to look at the larger picture of our lives when reflecting on this topic.  When raising young children, juggling work or changes in career, helping aging parents, moving or renovating a property, life can become a little overwhelming, and sometimes very unbalanced. I can say this from personal experience, and from working with people for so many years.

Even during these stressful times we can always become aware, and try to make small changes if that’s all we can make. Do the best you can – a little will always be better than none at all.

If things are seem to be a little unbalanced in your life ask yourself…

Is it a temporary situation given the stage of life you are in, or a constant challenge?

What can you do differently? 

Do you need to shift your priorities? 

How can you make a change, and what do you need to get started?

Where can you create more time in your life to support these other wishes you have?

Change can only happen if you choose to do so. Think about these questions, then act!

Ask Your Kids

Photo on 2012-09-30 at 19.53 #4Parenting is not easy. My sons teach me far more than I teach them, and I think I will be saying this for many years. They are also my greatest source of joy, and developing them into amazing human beings is by far the biggest accomplishment I am working on.

I believe we create independent children by giving them freedom to make choices, within limits of course, while providing them guidance, support, encouragement, and tons of love along the way. If we empower them to have some control over their lives, I believe they are more accountable for their actions and can feel more proud of themselves with what they achieve.

To start this summer, I decided to ask my sons for their thoughts about how they should spend their time.  My goal was to figure out what they wanted to do, rather than just imposing my ideas on them, and to give us a framework to plan our time.

I gave them this simple list of questions to answer.  To be honest, reading their responses moved me to tears.  Sure, I was reminded of their interests, and I learned a few new ones that had developed, but I was also completely inspired by some of their comments and very proud of the people they are becoming.

Obviously, it goes without saying that communication is the key in any relationship and the ones we have with our children is no different.  Giving them opportunities to express themselves with you will always succeed, and sometimes written communication  can offer different insights than verbal alone. If you’re connecting with your children, start now.

I mentioned this exercise to a few parents in the practice and they asked for a copy, so here it is…

school’s out!

Sleeping Like a Baby

Ty day2b

In addition to what we see clinically, research continues to support Chiropractic care for children!

One study looked at SLEEP PATTERNS IN CHILDREN regardless of the initial reason they were brought to a Chiropractor. Of the 116 infants enrolled in the study, 10% had reported ‘sleep disturbances’ and 75% had presented with ‘excessive crying’.

Overall, better sleep habits were seen in all the infants – and what parents wouldn’t appreciate that?!  Specifically, consecutive hours of sleep, quality of sleep, and time taken to settle before sleep all showed significant improvement. Parents reported that their infants settled more quickly and easily, noting improvements after only a few adjustments.

Chiropractic works. For everyone.

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

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!

Chiropractic & Fever

Caring for children is by far the highlight of everyday in my practice. I love watching the children grow, but I love watching the parents grow too! Our programs for children help parents learn about how to care for their family naturally, and offer guidance for many questions and parenting dilemmas that pop up.

“I thought I’d share a little something which means the world to me!  My son was at daycare on a very hot Monday.  When I picked him up at 4, he was acting kinda off.  All the other kids seemed fine. When I got home with him, I felt his head and he felt warm, but I figured it was the hot weather and thought little of it.  That night he did not sleep well, which is not normal for him.  In the morning I checked his temperature and it was 99 degrees.  I kept him home Tuesday and monitored him all day.  He was off all day and needed mommy.  By Tuesday night his temperature was 100, so putting him to bed, I gave him infant advil. It helped him sleep, but he was restless. Wednesday morning, I checked his temperature and it had gone up to 102.  I called Telehealth and they told me that there was a virus going around infants and toddlers, and that it was a cold with a fever and that it could last up to three weeks.  They said that what I was doing was perfect and that if it gets any worse to call them back.  I knew you were working 3-6, so I called to book him in for an adjustment.  I knew it couldn’t do any harm.  The adjustment was obviously a surprise to him because he cried, but when I got him home, he was almost back to normal.  I thought I would check his temperature just to see what it was and I was floored!!  Twenty minutes after you adjusted him his temperature was back down to 98 degrees.   You’re awesome!!! This is twice now I thought I was going the ER but I’m so glad I came here first!”    MT

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