Benefits of Being Barefoot!

As the gray days of winter start to pass and the temperatures warm, I find myself itching to ditch my shoes and head outdoors. I love being barefoot and how my feet (and my legs) feel when I get to spend more time sans-shoes.

Walking barefoot is great for adults, but utterly essential for our little ones.

The human foot has 33 joints as well as tons of tiny muscles and nerves that provide information to the brain about where your body is in space- proprioception- and balance- dictated by the vestibular system. When we walk barefoot, our feet are alive with information. Think of walking on a pebbly beach. Our feet interact with the ground and there is a massive amount of data sent to the brain.

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When barefoot we are truly interfacing with our environment.

Let’s take a moment and think about what happens when we place our feet in shoes- particularly stiff and restrictive ones. You are basically placing a blindfold on your feet!

  • Your nervous system is not getting as much information from the ground.
  • The joints in your feet don’t get stimulated. (Joints get nutrition through motion, so they starve when they are restricted)
  • The muscles of the foot don’t get exercised.
  • Your balance and your proprioception suffer.

These same principles apply to the feet of our children. When they learn to walk, stand, and even when they play with their toes, children are building and programming their nervous system. They are patterning the way their muscles will fire for proper gait and spinal stabilization. Kids earn every milestone that they make. All of this happens from the ground up. Some neurologists even prescribe thinly soled shoes or barefoot time for children with developmental delays.

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According to an article in the Washington Post, “Going barefoot helps a child develop body awareness.” I love how succinctly they boil this all down.

Have you taken your shoes off yet?

Do you feel like your feet have been blindfolded your whole life?

Do your feet need to wake up?

Dr. Samelak is passionate about helping people wake up their feet and improve the way that they interact with the ground- improving balance, preventing injury, and starting to correct long standing structural imbalances.

Check out our Events Page to learn about when Dr. Samelak will be teaching her next Love Your Feet workshop with Jodi Boone!

 

Air Quality and Exercise

With this summer’s forest fires in full swing, Seattle has been covered in a haze of smoke for the past week. Air quality has been poor and traffic is congested. Athletes are attempting to continue to stay in shape while battling the smokey haze.

Below, I will discuss some ideas to help stay safe while continuing to exercise. However, IF YOU HAVE ANY LUNG OR CARDIOVASCULAR CONDITIONS, please speak with your Primary Care Physician before exercising to ensure that you are not putting yourself in danger.

Assess Air Quality Prior to Exercise

Check out AirNow.Gov to learn about the current recommendations regarding air quality. For example, today’s rating in Seattle is “Unsafe for Sensitive Groups”. This means that those with any lung or cardiovascular issues should remain inside as should children and older adults who are more sensitive to particulate in the air.

Make sure that you understand what your own personal status is:

Do you have asthma or another respiratory condition?

Are you sensitive to smoke?

Have you been short of breath or have your sinuses been draining?

If you answered “yes ” to any of these, please consult your PCP prior to engaging in exercise.

By looking at the map, you may want to choose to drive to an area that has a better air rating before engaging in outdoor exercise.

Exercise Intelligently

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Once you have determined that you are “OK” to exercise and have found an adequate location, listen to your body.

  • Take frequent breaks
  • Exercise at a lower intensity to take a load off your respiratory system
  • Consider using a sinus rinse to help keep your nasal passages clear
  • If you feel prematurely out of breath or as though you are working harder than normal… Make it a Gym Day and exercise in a controlled environment. (You may also consider being evaluated by your PCP)

Hopefully the winds will pick up off the Pacific and the smoke will clear- but until then stay safe and keep your personal health in mind when spending time outside. Taking a day off training is better than compromising your health.

***The information contained in the blog above is not intended as healthcare advice and is provided for general information purposes***

 

No Pain, No Gain- An Outdated Fitness Concept

No Pain, No Gain

I remember being in high school sports and repeatedly hearing people laugh and say, “No pain, no gain” as we pushed ourselves to make gains in the weight room or in the pool. We worked out to exhaustion, more focused on completing the workout or the set in the weight room than on form or perfection. Coaches said things like, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” We got strong, sure. We gained speed. We thought we were so cool as we showed off our bruises and iced down our shoulders.

The reality, though, is that we were injuring ourselves. We were building poorly coordinated neural pathways. We were altering our biomechanics and causing overuse injuries.

 

Now that I am years out of that scenario, I often work with athletes, like myself, who are driven to excel and want to improve in their sport. One of the biggest discussions we have is surrounding this concept of “No pain. No gain.”

A workout should build you up, not break you down.

It is important to work out in a way that pushes your capacity, but does not allow for the break down of your mechanics. For example, when I assign rehab exercises in my practice, we always discuss:

  • The goals of the exercise
  • What you should feel when you perform the exercise
  • What are the “fails” of the exercise (ie: what things let you know that you have completed as many exercises as your body can handle)

It all comes down to the neural edge. This is the limit to which the brain can control the exercise and where we can actively create new pathways. Here is where we can safely make gains in our training.

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Beyond rehab, think of it like this… If you are on a run and you have decided that you will run 6 miles today. However, at 4 miles you notice that your left foot is hurting in the arch with some knee pain as well. Do you decide to continue running? -OR-  Do you listen to your body and stop your run at 4 miles? Should you continue to run, you are risking causing damage in your body that may keep you from running later in the week or season. It is important to evaluate (or to be evaluated by a professional) why the pain is present? Are your supporting or stabilizing muscles doing their jobs? Are you wearing appropriate shoes for your feet and the surface you are running on? Do you have proper nutrition?

Running through pain or working out through pain can be extremely detrimental to training, overall. It can result in overuse injuries and in neural patterning that lends itself to future injuries. Instead, it is imperative to train intelligently. Work smart. Get evaluated to be sure that you are making safe gains and discuss your training with a coach and functional movement specialist.

Let’s forget No Pain, No Gain

Let’s shift our focus in training. Let’s teach our athletes, young and old, to listen to their bodies and find their edge.  Let’s lead by example and learn to work out smart- and hard.

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***This blog is intended to provide educational content and is not for diagnostic purposes nor to provide health care advice. Please speak with your health care professional prior to changing your workout routine.***

Same Weight, Different Body- It’s time to ditch the scale and take a broader view of health!

As a Chiropractor, my health is an important part of my practice. I try to “live my brand” and do not recommend things to my clients that I would not be willing to do for myself. That being said, I am incredibly human. I have health challenges. I do not always remember to take my supplements. Sometimes, I eat dessert- in fact, I am writing this in a Starbucks where I am treating myself to a Frappuccino. Recently, thanks to Facebook and my wardrobe, I have come to the realization that my health has drastically changed over the past 1.5-2 years (for the better).

About 2 years ago, I became aware that I was not taking care of myself the way I should be. I have food allergies and sensitivities, and while I had cut quite a bit of them out of my diet, I was desperately clinging on to dairy and rice. At a Standard Process seminar, I made the decision to take my health into my own hands and address how my food sensitivities have impacted me.

2 years ago, I was battling depression, my weight, acne, sleep, and the list could go on. I was also working out regularly, had just finished my first triathlon, working on my spiritual well being, sleeping at least 7.5 hours per night, and getting adjusted regularly. Most people looked at me and called me healthy- but I was far from it.

I was faking it and hoping to make it. When each week ended, I spent the weekends in my pajamas sleeping too much and always tired. I would find myself crying over the smallest things. I was always feeling behind and having panic attacks regularly.

It was time for a change.harmony-1229886_1920

The past 2 years have been a quite a journey. I started by cleaning up my diet further- finally giving up my beloved dairy and rice. Within weeks, I was sleeping more deeply. Within months, my skin was clearer. Soon, my clothes fit better. Slowly, I was climbing out of the hole I had dug myself into during grad school and my first years in practice.

I started to really love who I am again. I started to feel like the fun and upbeat person I pretended to be for years. I scaled my workouts back to yoga, swimming, and weight training to allow my body time to heal and balance without as much repetitive stress. I budgeted time for relaxation and recreational reading.

Then, just over a year ago, my husband and I took a month and a half off to visit Europe and move out to Seattle from our first real home together in the Detroit area. The total reset that this allowed for my emotions was unreal and I truly felt in control of my emotions for the first time since puberty.

All told, this was almost a year long process.

The best part was that even moving across the country, finding a place to live, starting a new practice from scratch, dancing this dream awake, didn’t shake my cool. In the year that we have been in Seattle, I continue to be healthier, I can hike and run again, even completing my first half marathon this past June.

Looking at pictures of myself now, the change in my health really hits home. I look happy. I feel healthy. I am significantly more fit. What’s funny, though, is that pesky scale. You know the one. The bathroom scale. Over these past 2 years, it has not budged more than 5-10 pounds in either direction. In fact, during my most unhealthy years it was both at its highest and lowest weight. As I have worked to recapture my wellness and love my body, I have settled somewhere in between- even though my dress size is smaller.

Here’s the thing. And it is a big thing. Something that took me a long time to learn and something that I continue to learn each day. Health is not any one thing. Some of the people who look the healthiest are not well on the inside. Like me, they battle depression or anxiety.

Health is not merely the absence of disease or pain. Health is the constant pursuit of joy in your body and in your soul. It is ever changing. It is not measured on the scale, nor is it truly quantifiable. “Healthy” me is going to be different from “healthy” you. You can be stick thin or curvy and be healthy or unhealthy. It is important to work with health care providers that are focused on wellness and to build your tribe around you that can support your transformation. Find someone to assess you and listen to you. Health is a discussion.

My story of the past 2 years is in no way unique. But. I hope you were inspired in some way to assess your own health.

Start the conversation.

Take those first steps toward your best self.

What in the heck is Pandiculation?

This weekend, while cruising Facebook, I stumbled across a blog discussing pandiculation versus stretching. They posit that pandiculation is more effective than stretching at changing muscle length and improving flexibility. Completely fascinated, I have started learning more…

Pandiculation Defined:

Dictionary.com defines Pandiculation as a noun. “The act of stretching oneself.” It then goes on to explain that it is most commonly associated with yawning.

Interesting, but I am pretty sure that we all recognize that a yawn is a much different kind of stretch than we achieve from a toe-touch. (Are you yawning yet? Because I am.) The real question is: Why do we feel looser in our jaw, neck, and even shoulders from a yawn, when a voluntary stretch is not as effective?

Perhaps Dictionary.com’s definition is a little incomplete.

EssentialSomatics.com defines Pandiculation as:

A conscious, voluntary contraction of a muscle, followed by a slow, deliberate lengthening of that muscle and a complete relaxation

They further explain that the conscious, voluntary component of pandiculation helps to reset the way our brain perceives the length of our muscles. For the neurology, read this.

Pandiculation versus Stretch

Essentially, pandiculation changes our brain’s understanding of muscle length, acting as a sort of soft reset.

It is important to contrast this with an understanding of our basic stretch. When we stretch a muscle, as in our hamstrings with a toe touch, a reflex tells the spinal cord that is happening in the muscle. This triggers a return signal to the muscle to contract or shorten. This defeats the intention of the toe touch and can actually reduce muscle power afterward. (See the first link in this post for more details)

This seems to indicate that if we truly want to lengthen a muscle, we must control that movement and engage the brain.

Why does it matter/How to apply this

I started reading about this during my down-time at a trail marathon and 50K where I was providing post race soft tissue work for athletes. While assessing the runners, I began to notice trends in their imbalances as well as how hamstrings and glute muscles responded to even a gentle evaluation of length/tension. They tend to cramp or contract in protest! This is a perfect setting to understand that basic stretch reflex. Many of these runners would benefit from an understanding of applied Pandiculation. (Which may be my new favorite word)

One of the best human examples of pandiculation mentioned earlier was yawning. Yawning is a controlled contraction of the muscles in the lower jaw and neck followed by a gradual release.

Now, think about your cat or dog at home. Have you ever seen your feline friend get up from sleeping without that luxurious stretch that they hold and then gently release? I am pretty sure that my cats are expert pandiculaters.

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As humans, most of this is not instinctual for us as it is with our pets. However, yoga is one form of exercise that applies pandiculation to its movements. I know that I sometimes walk into a yoga class unable to touch my toes in forward bend, but after a few flows, I am so much looser and stay that way for days. A great yoga practice literally resets your brain’s perception of muscle length.

Take Home

It is hugely important to make sure that you are training your body with intention and the help of professionals! It is possible to avoid injury, increase power and endurance, and improve overall performance by learning more about your own body’s balance and imbalances. Please work with your health care provider to ensure that your workouts and your body are balanced and appropriate for you. If you are in the greater Seattle area and would like a consultation regarding your fitness, please feel free to contact us at (206)565-9691 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Samelak.

And just for fun… try saying Pandiculation three times, quickly!

 

Muscle Testing and Chiropractic- Applied Kinesiology

As a Chiropractor, one of my main techniques is Applied Kinesiology. While in Chiropractic school, I obtained my 100 hour certification in this technique. According to the International College of Applied Kinesiology (ICAK):

Applied Kinesiology (AK) is a system that evaluates structural, chemical and mental aspects of health using manual muscle testing combined with other standard methods of diagnosis… The combined terms “applied” and “kinesiology” describe the basis of this system, which is the use of manual muscle testing to evaluate body function through the dynamics of the musculoskeletal system

The basis of Applied Kinesiology is in the manual muscle test.

When working with patients, I use the muscles of the body as indicators to help me decide where there is stress in the system and what I can do to help support the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. A manual muscle test involves isolating a specific muscle in the body- like the deltoid or the latissimus dorsi, and checking to make sure that it is “turned on” or working how it should.

This can seem mystical and magical, but all boils down to basic neurology. Can the brain find that particular muscle and tell it to do a specific task? If it can’t, why not? According to the ICAK:

Manual muscle tests evaluate the ability of the nervous system to adapt the muscle to meet the changing pressure of the examiner’s test. This requires that the examiner be trained in the anatomy, physiology, and neurology of muscle function. The action of the muscle being tested, as well as the role of synergistic muscles, must be understood. Manual muscle testing is both a science and an art. To achieve accurate results, muscle tests must be performed according to a precise testing protocol. The following factors must be carefully considered when testing muscles in clinical and research settings:

• Proper positioning so the test muscle is the prime mover

• Adequate stabilization of regional anatomy

• Observation of the manner in which the patient or subject assumes and maintains the test position

• Observation of the manner in which the patient or subject performs the test

• Consistent timing, pressure, and position

• Avoidance of preconceived impressions regarding the test outcome

• Nonpainful contacts – nonpainful execution of the test

• Contraindications due to age, debilitative disease, acute pain, and local pathology or inflammation

What all of that means is this: It is important that a practitioner using manual muscle testing (MMT) is able to be consistent, specific, and observant when evaluating the human body. By ensuring that all muscle tests that are performed follow these basic guidelines, the results of a muscle test should be clinically useful. (ie: They should help me to tell what is going on with my patient. )

For example, when there is severe low back pain, are the muscles in the pelvis and lower back properly supporting the spine? If not, why not? How can we turn them on and make sure that they are doing their job?

In 2007, a paper was published in the Journal of Chiropractic and Osteopathy that evaluates the reliability and validity of the MMT through a review of the literature. This paper found that there is significant evidence to support the clinical use of the manual muscle test in practice; however, the experience of the provider and the adherence to specific guidelines for muscle testing is important. This review suggests that muscle testing is a useful way to evaluate the neuromusculoskeletal system, but it will be important to continue studying MMT and to incorporate randomized controlled trials, if possible.

Why you should STOP ignoring your feet!

wanna-see-my-footFeet are important.

They are the foundation that we stand upon.

Your feet contain 26 bones, 33 joints, and over 100 ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Not to mention nerves and blood vessels!

And yet we abuse them by wearing impractical shoes, restraining them, sitting too much, etc.

Problems with our feet involve more than just foot pain, they can impact the low back and even headaches.

Gait patterns (how we walk) are driven by the foot.

The gait cycle is broken down below, but, in essence the way that we walk is influenced by how we transfer weight from one foot to the other. It is important for us to see that the heel hits the ground first and then the bones of the foot lock together, rolling the toes down and bearing weight.

  • The gait cycle starts with a Heel Strike. The heel of the reference foot is the first place to touch the ground.
  • When the foot is flat, weight can be transferred to the referenced leg. In this part of the gait cycle, think about weight bearing, shock absorption, and moving forward.
  • Mid Stance occurs when the body is balanced and in alignment on the reference foot.
  • Just as the heel of the reference foot leaves the ground, the body is in terminal stance.
  • Toe off occurs when the great toe of the reference foot leaves the ground and begins to swing. This is the beginning of the swing phase of the gait cycle.
  • The swing phase is that part of the gait cycle during which the reference foot is not in contact with the ground and swings in the air. It constitutes about 40% of gait cycle. (wikipedia)

Feet have arches that act as springs to support our movement.

It is important to have your arches analyzed and evaluated- no matter their shape to ensure that your feet support your body. Think about it, have you ever been told you had flat feet or high arches? Take at look at the photos below and compare to your footprints in sand.

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Often, high arch feet are very rigid and benefit from self-mobilization. Follow the steps below to mobilize your feet. By stimulating motion in a rigid foot, you can reduce foot pain and improve your biomechanics.

  • Grasp your forefoot in both hands and perform a shearing motion between each of the toes
  • Gently tug on each of your toes
  • Using your whole palm, grasp the heel of your foot and firmly move it back and forth

Flat feet, on the other hand, generally need to be retrained to have more muscular coordination. For this, the “Short Foot” exercises tend to be very helpful.

  • Try placing a kitchen towel on the floor and using your toes to pull it toward you

OR

  • Use your toes to pick up marbles off the floor

feet-619399_1920Either way your feet should be moveable and strong. Think of watching a toddler walk barefoot. You can see their toes grasp the ground, almost like they have suction cups on their tiny toes.

In this photo, see how the toddler is pulling up on their toes? This is especially noticeable when they are first learning to walk and balance.

Perhaps, one of the  most important things to realize is how our shoes influence our feet.

Shoes are orthotics. They support our feet or force them into submission- like in high heels. High heels can do a lot of damage to our bodies- no matter how nicely they make our behinds look in skinny jeans.

feet-1840937_1920Knees: increased pressure by 26% through the knee (knees are also affected posturally as described below)

Calves: tightens/shortens the calf muscles

Achilles (Calf tendon): Shortens and risks tearing when barefoot

“Pump Bump” or Haglund’s Deformity:     bony enlargement on the back of the heel from rubbing/irritation

Posture: whole body mechanics are different with the sacrum rocked forward, increased strain through the knee, increased pressure in the lumbar spine, anterior head carriage, etc.

Ball of foot: pushes weight forward into an area that isn’t designed for it, creating metatarsalgia (the higher the heel, the more pressure through the forefoot)

Hammertoes/Hallux Valgus: from “squishing” the foot into the toebox

What does it all mean?

It is important to go barefoot sometimes! Especially in grass or sand where your muscles in the feet are forced to work.

If you are a runner or walker, get your shoes professionally fitted to be sure that they are correct for your gait and foot type.

For that matter, have your gait assessed to be sure that you are running properly and prevent future injury.

Have your Chiropractor assess your feet to ensure that they move properly and to help you decide if exercises, mobilizations, or orthotics are right for you.

 

 

 

 

My 5 Favorite Chiropractic Quotes

I collect quotes.

Quotes on all subjects from health and chiropractic, to motivation, to silly phrases.

Sometimes they speak to where I am in my life.

Sometimes they remind me of my goals or of something I love.

Chiropractic quotes remind me what I love about my profession and why I do what I do.

bj-palmer

This is probably one of the most well-known chiropractic quotes. BJ Palmer is known as the “Developer” of chiropractic. One of the major principles of chiropractic care echoes this quote. Our bodies all have innate potential which is present in all living beings. When the body is damaged or ill (dis-eased), it is important to unlock its potential and allow it to heal itself.

When I adjust the spine, I am moving the bones into a more normal alignment but most importantly, nerve interference is removed from the body. This unlocks our innate intelligence and allows the body to heal.

heal-better

This quote speaks to me on so many levels. As a Chiropractor, it is important for me to remember that sometimes it takes time for pain or discomfort to be relieved. However, I know that each and every person that I lay my hands on and make a correction to their spine is healthier after their adjustment.

This is also a phrase I quote to my patients. Chiropractic is unlike any other healing modality. When we remove the interference in the nervous system, I expect some immediate changes in symptoms… but pain relief is not the goal of the adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to make the body function more smoothly which will speed up healing.

patient-centered

This quote dovetails with the previous one. This definition hits on my 3 favorite aspects of Chiropractic.

Chiropractic is patient-centered:

I treat each patient as an individual, from assessment to treatment. In order for me to work with each person, we must build a relationship of trust and cooperation. Each treatment plan is unique and tailored to the patient.

There is nothing cookie-cutter about Chiropractic Care.

Chiropractic is hands-on:

I use my hands to gently and effectively assess, analyze, and correct the spine and joints of my patients. Think back … when was the last time that a doctor touched you other than to listen with a stethoscope or give a shot?

Chiropractic focuses on influencing bodily function through structural correction:

See: “The power that makes the body, heals the body”

whisper

Many times, I see patients for the first time when they are in crisis. We often ignore warning signs from our bodies (myself included). We dismiss that headache. We walk off the knot in our hamstrings or the pain in our low back because a heat pack gets rid of it for awhile. We go on roller coasters and get shaken about, then cover up our symptoms the next day with over the counter meds.

Eventually, we end up having to stop everything because our quick fixes are no longer enough. When you ignore the subtle hints from your body, it stops you in your tracks.

Chiropractic patients learn to listen to those whispers and nudges from their bodies. They learn to seek care when things are minor to avoid the screaming.

"When in sickness, look to the spine first"- Hippocrates

This quote sums up a lot of my feeling about Chiropractic.

The nerves that go to all of your organs, muscles, and tissues must pass through the spine.

It makes sense, therefore, that when the spine is not moving properly, the body will not function optimally.

Many times a patient seeks care because their low back was sore or they had pain in their leg. They neglect to mention that they suffer from constipation or menstrual cramps. After a few treatments, many patients casually mention that some of these “other things” have corrected themselves. What a great side effect!

Am I missing your favorite health or Chiropractic quote? Post it below!

5 Things to Remember This Cold and Flu Season

I am so excited to co-blog this one with the wonderful Naturopaths from Clarity Natural Medicine in Fremont, Seattle! Check out their information below this post!

5 THINGS TO REMEMBER THIS COLD AND FLU SEASON

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Taking small actions in these 5 areas of your life can make a big difference for your wellness.

 

 

 

DIET DOs and DON’Ts:

Avoid eating common food allergens. If you know you have food allergies, now is not the time to ‘cheat’ because something tastes good or because the serving is very small. Any time you eat something you are allergic to, your body responds by attacking the food proteins in the same manner as it would attack a bacteria or a virus. This keeps your defense system is busy and may not allow for proper attention and resources to be spent on actual bacteria and viruses when they invade. If you do not know if you have any food allergies, it is still generally advised that you avoid consuming dairy products while you have the flu or a cold because they often cause the body to produce excess mucous.

fruits-320136_1280If you are sick or have been around people that were sick and wish to avoid falling ill, it is best to eat a whole foods diet- fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources. Avoid processed sugar and alcohol as these cause inflammation and depress immune system function.

WATER is your friend:

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During an illness, your number one job (other than resting) should be to maintain adequate hydration. Dehydration not only inhibits your immune system and lymph from circulating properly through your body tissues, but it also elevates your body temperature. Simple dehydration can cause a fever or cause an existing one to worsen. Additionally, consider that the mucous that drains from our nose, gets stuck in our ears or that builds up in our lungs is mostly water! When you are dehydrated, the mucous also dehydrates and becomes thicker and more difficult to get out.

 

MATTERS OF HYGEINE:

It’s not something we often think about, but many times our indoor air quality is more of a concern than the quality of our outdoor air. Persistent exposure to indoor mold, pet dander, dust and smoke irritates our mucous membranes (the lining of our nose, throat and lungs) also making it more likely that a bacteria or virus can invade. Clean and ventilate your home often. Avoiding second hand smoke and smoking counts helps, too. If you know you have a mold or dust allergy, consider installing an air filter in your home.  To reduce the spread of illness, wash your hands frequently and wipe down all shared surfaces: doorknobs, handles, children’s toys, even electronics.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE:

Chiropractic care can help you to combat both ear fullness and sinus congestion as well as boost the immune system.

The human body is an amazing machine. The anatomy of the head, face, and neck are closely related and can directly influence one another. Chiropractors utilize these relationships to help your stuffy sinuses drain or relieve pressure in your ears. The base of skull-31060the skull and the first bone in the neck, the atlas, can help the ears and sinuses drain by opening up the soft tissues in the throat. Sinuses are basically the spaces formed between the bones of the skull and can be gently manipulated to open up and improve drainage.

When working with the sinuses, gentle, rocking motions of the skull are combined with an adjustment to the upper neck and lymphatic drainage massage to maximize the efficacy of treatment. Most patients need a tissue within moments of their adjustment! This technique is gentle enough to use on little babies as well as their parents and grandparents.

One additional benefit of seeking out chiropractic care while sick is that an adjustment boosts the immune system.

The nervous system and, therefore, spine have a tremendous influence on the function of the immune system. In fact, one study demonstrates that Fighter T Cells work better for 24-48 hours after an adjustment for a review of literature click here. This means that getting adjusted regularly can help keep your immune system in top shape, but it also means that when you are sick, an adjustment can speed your recovery and help some of your symptoms.

PROPER SUPPLEMENTATION:

Nutritional and herbal supplements can help your immune system stay strong and are effective at helping fight colds or flus if one does come. While there are some overall recommendations that are safe for most people, such as extra vitamin C, elderberry syrup and probiotics, each individual has unique nutritional needs and immune system weaknesses that make a personalized treatment the best. Your naturopathic doctor or chiropractor can make specific treatment recommendations after discussing your past medical history and any current concerns in detail.

Hope you have learned a couple of new tricks from these tips!

Take a moment and check out Clarity Natural Medicine– I love having Dr. D and Dr. M as colleagues and friends!

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Clarity is the shared vision of Dr. Tamara Dickson and Dr. Kellyn Misser who provide individualized integrative care. At Clarity Natural Medicine, concerns are explored completely and options to care are presented fully.

Get Your Flu Adjustment Here!

woman-698943Flu season is generally considered to be present from October-February. Many of us have experienced that we are more likely to “catch” a cold during this time of year. Signs pop up for you to “Get Your Flu Shot Here”. (For more info about the flu shot click here).

But why?

Flu and cold viruses are no more prevalent in the environment in the winter months… so why do we get sick!?

During the winter, our lifestyle drastically changes. We are enclosed with more people in work/school and are outdoors less. This also means that our Vitamin D levels are probably low because we aren’t getting as much sun exposure. Vitamin D plays a role in immune system function as well as mood and Seasonal Affect Disorder.

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It’s also no secret that stress levels rise in the holiday season with travel, family, and increased demands on our time. The holidays are also a time of increased sugar consumption. A study performed by Loma Linda University in 1973 found that 100g of sugar correlates with white blood cells being 40% less effective at killing germs for up to 5 hours.

These factors and many more mean that we are far more susceptible to colds and flu.

Don’t. Panic.

There are simple steps you can take to boost your immune system and protect yourself during the winter (and year round).

  1. Get Your Flu Adjustment Here!

patient-adjustmentThe nervous system and, therefore, spine have a tremendous influence on the function of the immune system. In fact, one study demonstrates that Fighter T Cells work better for 24-48 hours after an adjustment for a review of literature click here.

This means that getting adjusted regularly can help keep your immune system in top shape.BUT it also means that when you are sick, an adjustment can speed your recovery.

2. Monitor Your Sugar Intake

cake-727870It is recommended that women consume no more than 28g of added sugar, daily. By cutting sugary drinks, like pop and sports drinks, and keeping an eye on your cookie and dessert consumption you can improve your overall health and keep yourself from getting sick. If you want to learn more about sugar, join our book club which is reading Sugar Nation this January.

3. Get Your Vitamin D Levels Checked!

Vitamin D is essential for many bodily processes. Living far North of the equator, many of us are deficient in Vitamin D year round- and our levels plummet in the winter months. I love Biotics Vitamin D drops for easy and safe supplementation for both children and adults.

Is there a topic you would like to see me discuss?

What are your favorite ways to keep your immune system boosted?

Comment below!