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!

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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.

Rib and Chest Pain Relief!

ID-10014148Many times people come into my practice with shortness of breath, pain around their ribcage, sharp pain when they inhale, and restricted movement in their mid-back. Understandably they are often a little stressed and scared  because they worry they could be suffering with  heart trouble.

Yes, the symptoms of rib subluxations can be similar those experienced during a heart attack or other cardio-respiratory concerns, and it’s important to clinically rule those possibilities out before proceeding with Chiropractic care. However, more often than not, what has happened is the joints between the ribs and the thoracic spine have become misaligned, causing pain and irritation to the surrounding tissues.

How Does Chiropractic Work?

Spinal misalignments called vertebral subluxations cause muscle imbalances, joint irritation, inflammation, and early degeneration. Since the spinal joint surround the spinal cord, spinal subluxations also impair healthy neurological function in the body. Spinal subluxations weaken all organ systems, leading to sickness, pain, and a lesser quality of life.  Doctors of Chiropractic correct spinal subluxations to restore proper mechanical and neurological function within the body.

Many people are find relief from rib and chest pain, often almost instantly, when healthy joint movement and function is restored with chiropractic spinal adjustments.

Every part of your body works better with a spine that is moving properly. Instead of relying on medications (with side effects!) help your body heal from the inside-out.

If you are suffering with pain in your rib cage, shortness of breath or restricted movement in your mid back, consider Chiropractic first!

Live With a Happy Heart!

ID-10010020Emotional and mental stress create tension in your body and affect all body systems. It’s important to regularly check in with yourself, assess your emotional health, and make changes if needed. Consider the following ideas to develop a happy heart. Take some time to reflect on them, then make the choice to move your life forward so you can live with greater peace. 

Let Go. You always have a choice in how you handle any situation and how you let it affect you. Holding negative feelings toward someone doesn’t hurt them, it hurts you! Who are you holding anger towards? What do you need to let go of?

Focus on the Good. 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. When you change the way you look at things, often the things you are looking at change.

Be Thankful. The secret to happiness is not found by seeking more, but in developing an appreciation for what we have. 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.

What’s Your Purpose? A big question I know, but one that you need to make the time to think about. Are you living your life with purpose, plans and passion? If you could do anything you wanted to, what would it be? It’s never too late to re-design your life and pursue any dream you have. What steps can you take to start moving in that direction? Baby steps still take you forward

Laugh. Laughter is “the most inexpensive and most effective wonder drug”. It suppresses the secretion of stress hormones, boosts your immune system, reduces inflammation. Let’s face it – there is nothing like the feeling of a deep belly laugh! Are you laughing enough? Connect with others and share some fun.

Get Adjusted. Structure dictates function. A healthy spine means a body that can function the way it was designed to. Every function improves. Studies have shown people struggling with depression, anxiety, mood swings, and addictions are supported with chiropractic care and symptoms dramatically change. I see it all the time. People routinely remark how they feel calmer, they have more clarity of thought, and their moods are more stable. They feel happier, more in control of their health, better able to develop other positive habits, and more comfortable getting help from other professionals.

“Happiness is not a destination. It is the attitude with which you choose to travel.”

~ Arit Desal, Yogi & Philosopher

 

Boost Your Antioxidants with Chiropractic? YES!

ID-10034246I always love it when people in my practice tell me how great they continually feel, that the benefits of regular chiropractic care continue and that their body’s are always improving.

It’s not because they are “addicted to getting adjusted” or because we have created some type of dependency within their body by working together.

It’s quite simply because the body as a whole works better when the brain and spinal cord can direct all internal functions without interference.

Consider this research:

In 2005, a landmark study found evidence that chiropractic care can reduce oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress plays a role in a whole host of diseases and disorders: Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and many others. Thiols are compounds in the body that act as antioxidants, reacting with free radicals to neutralize them. Serum levels of thiols reflect DNA’s capacity to repair itself, and can be used to measure aging and disease status.

The study participants who received chiropractic care for 2 or more years had higher serum thiol levels in their body. Some of the chiropractic patients even had serum thiol levels higher than what is associated with normal health and wellness!

Based on these findings and consistent with all other health habits, chiropractic as a preventative or wellness strategy just makes sense.  Find out for yourself!

Define Your Year!

ID-100211313What’s Your Word?

I love this concept and started to apply it a few years ago. Think about your aspirations for 2014. 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

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!

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

Life needs Motion!

ID-10030974Roger Sperry, the recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1982 for his work in brain research, stated

“The more structurally distorted we are, the less energy we have for metabolism, for healing and for thinking.”

This is Chiropractic 101!

Without movement you could not sustain life. Blood cells that don’t move cannot transport oxygen, lungs that don’t move cannot breath, hearts that don’t move can’t pump blood, and spines that don’t move can’t create the motion needed for proper joint nutrition, proper body mechanics, or stimulation of the joint-brain pathways required for the regulation of hundreds of internal functions your body performs each and every day.

Movement and alignment of the spine is required for healthy brain function, specifically the coordination of activities such as concentration and learning, emotions, motor control and organ function.

Chiropractors ensure your spinal joints are moving the way they were designed to, so that YOU can move, think and feel the way you were designed to!