Indulge…and Still Feel Good In January

ID-10065594So many families in the practice talk about how ‘insane’ this time of year gets. Yes, the schedules can get more full, there can be more late nights, more consumption of indulgent foods and beverages, and less sleep…none of which are good for your health. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are choices involved with all those behaviours!  You don’t have to succumb to the “overs” this holiday season…being overstimulated, overspending, overindulging, and being overwhelmed! Take a few minutes to consider the following points and make good choices for yourself this holiday season:

Socialize Wisely – We all need social connections but during the holiday season many people are ‘overstimulated’, ‘over-committed’, and ‘overwhelmed’ with too many events. Be choosy about how you spend your social time. Be assertive and learn to say no to situations that will upset you. Decline invitations (if you can do so without grossly offending the invitee) that create unnecessary emotional stress, or will simply burden your schedule and shortchange you of sleep.

Reach Out – At the other end of the social spectrum is loneliness. With changing family dynamics, different living arrangements, and simple geography for some people, many are left alone during the holidays. If you feel lonely or isolated consider getting involved in different activities, volunteering your time at seniors homes, food banks or other organizations geared towards helping others. The rewards will be far greater than just the social stimulation.

Exercise – Quite simply, physical activity makes every system in your body work better. Instead of taking a break from your exercise routine, keep it up! Or consider getting started! It doesn’t have to wait until January and your resolution of getting in shape or losing weight. The fact is, exercise is simply something most people have to build into their lives, work into their schedules. You will always find something better to do with your time! Exercise helps relieve stress and prevents weight gain. Moving your body will always give you a boost, even just a some stretching or a brisk walk will rejuvenate your body and mind.

Eat Regularly & Prepare for Outings – If you are going to a party or dinner, don’t starve yourself all day in anticipation. Doing so will slow your metabolism, leave you ravenous and more likely to overeat later in the evening. Instead, eat small meals or snacks throughout the day and you’ll be less likely to over-indulge when you are out. If you are planning on consuming alcohol be sure to increase your intake of water to compensate for the dehydrating effects.

Take a Breather – It IS the season for family, friends, and being on ‘holiday’ so don’t forget to take the time to relax and indulge in activities you enjoy! Make time for yourself too, often time alone is what is easily neglected with busy social schedules or family commitments. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you and change your perspective if you are having a frantic day. Do something that clears your mind, slows your breathing and restores inner calm. Journal, listen to music, take a brisk walk and look at the lights, read a book, whatever interests YOU and gets you in a quiet place for a small bit of time.

Rethink Gifting – There are many ways to show affection and pamper the ones you love without purchasing ‘things’. Consider giving gifts of ‘experiences’ – trips to the spa, movies, sporting or cultural events, gift certificates to restaurants etc. Time together is more valuable with the ones we love than any object, and you’ll get the benefit too! Take the stress away from shopping and get creative giving gifts of the heart in other ways.

The holidays don’t mean you should take a holiday from taking care of yourself. Make good choices for you and your family and you will enjoy the holiday season and start the new year in good health. You CAN indulge, celebrate, and still feel good in January!

It Changed My Life

2014-10-11 042I was studying Kinesiology at McMaster University when I experienced a shoulder injury. As it worsened and I developed numbness and tingling in my hand, my mother suggested I see a Chiropractor. While sitting with my Chiropractor during the consultation, she joked with me that with my extensive knowledge in anatomy and physiology, I should consider studying at the Chiropractic College in Toronto. It was a moment that defined the rest of my life. I don’t know what prompted my reply, but for some reason I responded with “Sure I’ll apply!”  Something inside me said ‘this makes sense’.

With chiropractic care my shoulder injury healed quickly, but the effects on the rest of my body were profound. I stopped getting sick!

Although I was intensely involved in health and fitness, my life experiences had led me to believe that illness and living with aches and pains was just part of life. The routine use of antibiotics or medications to respond to health challenges was to be expected, and simply the way our health was managed. I believed the body was meant to break down, and the combination of genetics and luck were the determinants to the level of health we experienced.

Fortunately, Chiropractic care changed not only my entire health, but more importantly, it changed my entire perspective on health. My studies led me to understand the human body in a completely different way, and discover that the human body is in fact a brilliant machine that just needs the right environment to function properly. Giving our bodies what it needs physically and emotionally shapes our internal ‘environment’, and when we do so, we can heal.

I now enjoy an exceptional level of health. I have not taken a medication in over 15 years, have had 2 beautiful pregnancies and natural deliveries, and continue to feel and function well. This doesn’t mean that my health has not been challenged at times, or that I am superhuman! I need to take care of myself the same ways I encourage others to, and during times of transition or stress I too can get overburdened and worn down. The difference lies in my recovery, the choices I make to support myself, and the fact that I have a great team of health professionals to support me along the way.

I see my Chiropractor for spinal checkups weekly, every other week, or sometimes multiple times per week, depending on the level of mental and physical demands on my body.

My experience with chiropractic continues to dramatically shape how I support my own body, my children’s, and what I am able to recommend to others. It’s a philosophy that just makes sense to me. More than just a ‘treatment’, Chiropractic represents a distinct philosophy and approach to health: Health comes from within the body, not from things outside the body. Look to the cause of health challenges rather than just patch them up, and support the body to work the way it was designed to.

Coughs, Colds & Congestion

69443tegi1jeqhsMany times when people in the practice are dealing with colds, coughs, sore throats, or congestion they want to stay home, but you’ll often hear me encourage them to come get adjusted and stress the importance of it during illness.

If germs were the only factor that made us sick…we would all be in serious trouble, but a healthy body is dealing with germs everyday and does not become ill. Sure some bacteria or viruses are more threatening than others, but in general when we become ill it’s because our body’s ability to cope with the demand on our immune system has failed.

Congestion, coughing, sneezing, fevers, and a runny nose are all signs the body is effectively creating an immune response to help the body eradicate the bacteria or virus causing the infection. This is a good thing and not to be suppressed! Medications to make you feel better offer temporary relief, but often create other imbalances in the body that can affect your long-term health.

As per any ailment, my recommendations are always to support the body as best as you can and strategize to boost the immune system, and Chiropractic care is a huge contributor to a healthy immune system!

Chiropractic works: A study by a neurologist found that 92% of children with chronic tonsillitis had upper cervical misalignments, and after studying 76 children with chronic tonsillitis it was concluded that “tonsillitis goes hand in hand with movement restriction in the cranio-cervical skull and neck junction”

If you’re sick and suffering make a spinal check-up high on your priority list. In addition to increasing fluids, sleep, and nutritional support, your body will likely recover without any other intervention and give your body better health moving forward.

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for cough, colds or congestion.

Poor Posture = Poor Health

ID-10083067People often note their posture is better when they start to get adjusted….of course it is!

Posture is the window to spinal health, as chiropractors we can easily evaluate it, but so can many of you! Find a friend and do this quick check:

Looking at them from behind, the head should be level (with both ears at the same height) shoulders should be level, and your hips should be level. Looking from the side, we want to see straight line from the ear through the shoulder, hip, knee and down to the ankle. This is how the body was designed for maximum function, to be most efficient, and for every joint to work the way it was designed to.

Any changes to healthy alignment compromises the body in every possible way. Structure dictates function. Vertebrae protect the spinal cord, which means changes in the alignment of  vertebrae affects the healthy function of your spinal cord, which then affects every cell in your body.

Poor posture = Poor health = Poor quality of life

Good posture is not something you are either blessed with at birth, or not…in fact, you’re not even born with it at all! Infants develop the curve in their neck when they start to hold their head up, and the curve in the back develops when they start to sit (yes, this is one of the reasons all infants benefit from a Chiropractor monitoring their health). As life goes on, we experience slips and falls, sports injuries, car accidents, repetitive strains that cause the vertebrae in your spine to shift out of alignment (subluxation). When left uncorrected, spinal subluxations lead to changes in posture as the spine starts to compensate.

Chiropractors adjust the spinal subluxations to restore proper motion into the joints, and proper neurological function to every other cell and organ.  Posture naturally improves as healthy movement is restored to the body. You don’t need to consciously think about it or hold your body differently, your posture gets better on its own! How great is this? As your spine is restored to its natural state, the muscles develop new movement patterns and your brain develops a new awareness about where to hold you. With healthy posture you will have more flexibility and joint movement and less pain. You’ll breathe easier, think more clearly, sleep more soundly, and recover from illness faster. Your overall health will improve in many profound ways.

Sit up straight, pull your shoulders back…and book your chiropractic spinal check-up!

Opposition From Others?

portraitsSadly, sometimes people share with me that as they become healthier, feel better, maybe even get more fit or lose weight, they are met with unwelcome comments and even criticism from others.

I get it.

Even with the growing awareness, research and success with Chiropractic care, there are still people who challenge our effectiveness and value. In my 12 years of practice this attitude hasn’t really changed, but it affects me less because what continues to grow is my own certainty about what we do, and the impact Chiropractors make on people’s lives because of the healing I get to witness every single day.

“Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds.” ~ Albert Einstein

Changing your level of health creates a huge positive impact in your life. It’s inevitable that a few obstacles may present themselves along the way, and these obstacles may come in the form of other people’s attitudes.

Competitors or others who may be jealous will try and bring you down. Family or friends around you will try to discourage you. You’ll hear comments that may make you question your own beliefs.

As your commitment to yourself and your health grows, it might change relationships with friends, partners, and even your family members.

Those who are the most frightened of change, holding on tightly to old habits, may become the loudest critics. Some may become jealous of your new levels of energy, your accomplishments, your appearance, and your physical abilities.

Criticism is often a coping mechanism of individuals afraid to grow, a defensive reaction that scared people use to protect themselves against change.

My advice? Be great anyway.

Honor yourself and your commitment to improvement. Fill yourself up with sense of fulfillment and happiness, choosing to spend your time, money and energy towards bettering yourself, and lead by example. The only thing you can take responsibility for is your own health and your own attitude, so focus your intentions on building a better you and let everyone else watch, and learn!

Gratitude & Your Health

ID-100204763With Canadian Thanksgiving and the fall harvest,  we are reminded to offer thanks for the ‘bounty’ in our lives; to reflect on the many blessings, and plant seeds for future abundance. Symbolic and beautiful….but let’s remember that this holiday is not the only time we should be practicing gratitude! Rather, it’s an important part of a healthy lifestyle!

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 adrenalin 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.

“A Man becomes what he thinks about all day long.”~ Ralph Waldo Emmerson

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.

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.

Regardless of your current level of health, finances, or relationships, and what you may perceive as limitations to them…thinking, moping or complaining about them is not going to change anything! Find some small things to be happy about, and chances are your list will continue. Changing your thoughts will change your experiences, and this will change your life…

Before you exit this post, right now, take a couple deep breaths and think of 5 things you are grateful for…I’ll bet you can’t stop at 5!

Everything Is Better!

ID-10083065Chiropractic is not just for sick people.

When I meet people and they learn I am a Chiropractor itʼs common for their next comment to be “Iʼm lucky, I donʼt have back pain”. Needless to say, this puts a smirk on my face, and an interesting conversation starts…

Chiropractic is not a treatment for any ailment, but a way to allow the body to function the way it was designed to. From balancing your structure and providing relief for so many joint problems, to the powerful healing of countless health issues inside the body, Chiropractic works because every adjustment gives your body the opportunity to function without interference to the most powerful coordinating system ever known – the brain and spinal cord.

Every adjustment reconnects the brain and body. Itʼs why headaches stop, digestion improves, previously immobile children start to walk, and why skin rashes clear up.

Itʼs for these reasons that more people than ever are choosing Chiropractic care not just to feel better or ʻrelieve back painʼ but to function better in every aspect of their life.

Chiropractic care isnʼt just for the sick, suffering or wounded, itʼs for people who want to be their best….in health, in sports, in moods, in family relations, in energy, in memory and mental ability, in physical dexterity, in coordination, in life!

Fun In The Sun!

ID-10026830My favorite season is summer! I love the sunshine, relaxed schedule, outdoor living and so many sports and hobbies. Here’s a few ideas to help deal with the parts of summer that can occasionally make it a little less fun…

Sun Safety – 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). However, 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 taking some precautions is wise. Use hats, and cover the skin with clothing when possible. Seek out the shade and balance time out in the sun with breaks indoors. This also helps prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration. If you are choosing to use sunscreen, be mindful of the toxic chemicals in many sunscreens that can be worse for the body than sun exposure! Check out cosmeticsdatabase.com for a list you can shop with.

Bites and Stings – Stings from a bee or wasp are not usually dangerous unless you suffer from an allergy, but they should always be treated immediately nonetheless. 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 Avoid bug repellents that contain DEET which is effective for repelling insects but also extremely hazardous to your health. Instead, prevent insect bites by diluting a few drops (or combination of) any of the following essential oils: eucalyptus, citronella, peppermint, rosemary, clove, citronella or lemongrass in half a mug of water, gently apply to exposed areas avoiding the eyes and mouth. Experiment and find a scent that you like, place in a spray bottle and keep on hand for easy access when enjoying the outdoors. Cider vinegar can be used the same way and the smell evaporates as soon as it dries.

Cuts & Bruises – So common in childhood, but also with active grown-ups, or random accidents! If there is extensive bleeding, or any other unusual symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, or a head of injury, take your child to the hospital for emergency treatment. Carefully clean the area and then apply a clean cloth soaked in witch hazel or a cold compress and some TLC! Arnica cream is also useful for soreness.

First Aid Remedies * Please note I am comfortable handling most minor injuries based on my training but have still made trips to the ER for stitches! If in doubt how to handle an injury or illness, call get in touch with me, contact your medical doctor or head to the emergency room for further advice. There are no pharmaceuticals, harsh chemicals or commercial preparations in my home, period. Any illness, accident or health concern, I can support naturally with some of the items listed here, herbal medicines, foods, fluids or rest! Here’s what I keep on hand for most first aid emergencies:

Arnica cream or Traumeel – for aches and pains, to help reduce inflammation

Homeopathic remedies –  taken orally, 5 granules under the tongue. Directions are on on most packages.

Arnica 30c – for bites, bruises, cuts, broken skin, burns, scalds, nosebleeds, stings, sprains, fractures, muscular aches and pains,

Aconite 30c  – 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  – for teething, insomnia, earaches, digestive troubles, anytime they need

Band-Aids, gauze, Tweezers, Ice packs

Hydrogen Peroxide, Rubbing Alcohol – Basic disinfectants, but the best way to clean a wound is to first wash your hands, then wash the wound with mild natural soap and water…this is what I use 90% of the time!

Witch Hazel – Strong natural antioxidant and astringent; good for disinfecting and promotes healing. Also helps with itching and inflammation.

Bach Rescue Remedy – A flower remedy designed for shock, trauma, any type of anxiety. Can be taken orally. Very relaxing and soothing.

Calendula cream – Great healing salve for cuts, stings, burns, scrapes and scratches, any skin irritation. Easy to find at any natural health store or at markets throughout the summer!

Olive oil – soothing to the skin and a great carrier oil for using essential oils. Use about a 1/4 cup combined with 6-10 drops of the essential oil. Essential oils are highly concentrated and should not be used directly on the skin. There are so many essential oils of benefit to keep in your home, these are my top 3:

Tea Tree Oil: antibiotic, antifungal, antiseptic and antiviral Eucalyptus: antibiotic, analgesic (pain relieving), antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory                                                            Lavender:antiseptic,antibiotic,analgesic,antiviral,antifungal,antidepressant,healing,and sedating

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.

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.