It started off as a pink trend. Grocery stores started stocking their shelves, and customers started buying up the pretty pink salt, but other than a few ‘it’s good for you’ rumors, no one really knew anything about this aesthetically pleasing salt substance. It comes in cooking form, slab form, stone form, and lamp form. But what is ‘IT’ and where does it come from?
True Himalayan salt is mined from within the Himalayan mountains that stretch through Asia, China, and India. Crystalized sea salt beds that formed within these mountains were covered in lava millions of years ago. This lava protected the sea salt from millions of years of pollution, bacteria, and ruins. It basically kept it in pristine condition. Now the red, pink, and white salt can be found just about everywhere.
Let me be clear before I start informing you on the benefits of Himalayan salt, cooking with or on this salt, utilizing the stones, and places the lamps in your home will not be a cure all to anything. We tend to be a society driven by quick fixes, and this is not one of them. The benefits to Himalayan salt are real, but (like any and all-natural solutions) it takes multiple interventions, therapies, and lifestyle changes to truly impact your life. I absolutely enjoy having salt lamps around my home and office, and I believe that you should invest in a few as well, but please take the time to dig deeper into your health and mental state of mind to find other ideas to pair with the salt. Himalayan salt is only a small addition with great benefits that should be made to your life.
Himalayan salt is the purest form of sea salt available. It contains varying amounts of minerals and iron-rich content. Nothing is added into this salt, as it naturally contains iodine and everything needed to benefit the body. It contains:
- sodium chloride
- strontium and more
Together these elements and minerals are linked to:
- Electrolyte balance
- Mood stabilization
- Aiding in adrenal fatigue
- Increased hydration
- Balanced pH (alkaline/acidity)
- Reduce acid reflux
- Muscle cramping prevention
- Proper metabolism functioning
- Strengthening of bones
- Lowered blood pressure
- Increased absorption of nutrients in intestines
- Improved circulation
- Removal of toxins and metals
- Libido support
You will find many blogs and articles saying these benefits are tied to the minerals but not the salt itself. I beg to differ, as most natural remedies are often described in this manner. Again, depending on your main complaints, you should include healthy lifestyle changes in combination with the Himalayan salt.
Ways to utilize Himalayan Salt:
Bathing: The skin soaks minerals through the bath water; this can be more effective than ingesting them! Using Himalayan salt in the bath tub allows the body to absorb the nutrients in the best way possible.
Salt Lamps: While a single salt lamp will not purify your home, paired with an air purifier, the lamp should effectively help send negative ions into your air, impacting your focus, mood and health. Salt is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water molecules from the air. These microscopic compounds remain on the salt and not floating in the air where you would have been breathing. The heat also dries these particles and rereleases water into the air with negative ions. Every few weeks, it’s good to turn off your salt lamp for an hour, let it cool and then gently rub it with a damp cloth to clean away trapped dust and particles. The rest of the time just leave it on and let it work to clean the air in your home.
Salt Slab: These can be used hot, warmed, room temperature, chilled, or frozen. You can serve any and all food types on the slab, as it enhances taste and mineral content within the food. It is naturally anti-microbial, so clean up is easy.
Cooking: Himalayan salt is used just as table salt is – it’s an even substitution.
Neti Pot: A salt water rinse of the sinuses can help with allergies and illnesses. Using Himalayan salt kills bacteria and bonds to many contaminants that may be stuck in your nasal cavities due to breathing polluted air.
I have many mothers join my practice during pregnancy with the thought that it won’t be needed once baby arrives. I have several others who call for their first appointment shortly after birth begging for relief of new found pains and problems. It doesn’t take either mother long to understand just how valuable chiropractic care is as a standard of care in a healthy lifestyle.
I have shared much information about care throughout pregnancy here on the blog and within my book, but I feel as though the topic of postpartum chiropractic care is an extremely important topic within itself. I am not just talking about the week after having your new baby, which of course is highly needed, but also the months – and even years for some – after having children.
After giving birth, you may not consider one of your first outings should be to the chiropractor, but once you think about the journey you have accomplished, you may think again. That first visit after birth is wonderful for both mother and baby. Your baby has just experienced quite the ride – no matter how she entered this world. Her positioning within your uterus may or may not have been ideal, the birth process is strenuous, and the world can be a hard place to adjust to. A great family chiropractor is exactly what she needs! I’ll save those details for a future blog, but know that a newborn definitely can and should be seen after birth.
Today, though, I want to talk about YOU… the mother.
As you may (or may not) have realized, your body has changed significantly throughout birth:
- Ligaments have loosened
- Bones have spread
- Nerves have been pinched
- Back Pain has persisted
- Weight has shifted
- Posture has changed
- Balance is different
- Hormonal tides have caused chronic complaints
After giving birth, some of these problems disappear while most linger and new ones arise. The body immediately begins working to tighten the ligaments and realign organs and bones, but it is a process. This can take months, even up to a year to completely occur. And while this is happening, you are altering your body by holding a baby, leaning to breastfeed, survive in a state of exhaustion. To put it mildly, your body is not in its peak performance state.
Seeing a chiropractor immediately after birth grants you the ability to jump start your body’s healing process. Chiropractic care ensures proper blood flow to these tightening ligaments, aligns the spine to allow proper neuron reception and movement, and can alleviate aches and pains.
There are, of course, the most common areas needing adjustment after birth; the pubic bone, sacrum, and lower back. While pregnancy can alter these areas, birth significantly throws them out of place. A good adjustment will ease the body into motherhood with far less pain than a mother who does not get adjusted. Continual chiropractic care throughout the postpartum period speeds the recovery time as a whole, too.
Postpartum chiropractic care can also be responsible for the following:
- Correcting Posture
- Speeding Pelvic Floor Recovery
- Alleviating Sciatica and Nerve Pain
- Aiding in the Prevention of Postpartum Depression
- Relieving ‘New Mother Wrist’ Pain
- Subsiding Headaches
- Providing Comfort for Better Sleep
If you are planning to have more children, it is even more important to help heal your body properly. Future pregnancies deserve a strong foundation and healthy start.
Puberty is a time of life that we don’t often sit and reflect on; however, there will be a time in which parenthood presents the chance to relive all of the acne, cramping, back pain, emotional rollercoasters, and slamming doors through the lives of our children. I’m not exactly looking forward to this time when my own daughter will go through it, but I plan to help her as much as possible.
There are several things to note before I dive into why seeing a chiropractor throughout the onset of puberty (and continuation of menstruation) is beneficial. The first being the average age of puberty is growing lower each year. This is a scary realization, when you see 10-year-old girls needing to grow up before they are ready. But this is the reality we are currently living in. Our hormone-injected, processed and sprayed food, vaccines, water supply, and pesticide-filled environment may be to blame, and other than living in a bubble, it can be very hard to avoid all of these possible exposures.
As one enters puberty, the body is experiencing a multitude of things:
The body is growing at a more rapid pace than normal, causing the muscles and spine to misalign which can add to already mounting emotional and physical stress during this trying time. The pain may come across as increased emotional outbursts, growing pains, or back pain.
Cartilage is hardening. Puberty is a crucial time for bone development, as the flexible cartilage that had allowed for growth in childhood hardens into true bone.
Hormones raging. There is no better way to describe the hormone distribution that is occurring throughout puberty. Hormones serve as messengers traveling through the bloodstream. Hormones can be responsible for:
- Sleep Patterns
- Sexual Arousal
When the body is out of alignment, hormones cannot travel from point A to point B efficiently.
Sports and physical activities intensify around this stage of life. As the competition increases, the physical toll on the body does too. Many teenagers begin lifting weights, increasing work outs, hitting harder on the field, and taking harder hits themselves. Even when not competing, the feeling of invisibility seems to soar throughout puberty, inviting daring jumps, awkward landings, and crazy stunts. All of which can cause misalignments of the spine.
Books are heavier. Chiropractors everywhere have a bone to pick with our school system and the amount of weight our children are supposed to carry around each day. As the grade levels increase, the weight and number of books seem to increase as well. Carrying this amount of weight around is bound to leave a body needing adjustment. When you add in the overall changes occurring throughout puberty, it’s a recipe for extreme discomfort.
Gentle adjustments by a chiropractor can help a child throughout the transition of puberty. By keeping the body aligned, there is a higher probability that hormones can quickly rebalance, neurons can properly fire and be received, the body can handle greater impacts, and the symptoms of puberty remain calm and mild. For girls, what they think may just be back problems may actually be displaced pain from the reproductive organs. These organs depend upon a healthy nervous supply from the lower spinal column. If these nerves going between the reproductive organs and the spine are somehow blocked, it can lead to menstrual pain, cramping, and irregularities. Putting the lower spine back into proper alignment with chiropractic adjustments will relieve the pressure on these nerves going to the reproductive organs, relieving both menstrual and lower back pain.
Regular chiropractic care aids in all of the stages of life and should not be overlooked throughout puberty.
In recent years, it has become almost trendy to be seen with an amber beaded necklace on your toddler. I’m not sure if most parents even understand the true significance of this stone, but I must admit that I love seeing it everywhere!
If you are not into trends, but want to really know if your baby (or you!) should be wearing an amber necklace, read on.
For centuries, mankind has known that stones and crystals have healing powers. It wasn’t until our medicine-driven society decided that man-made is better than earth-made. With a balance in life needed, it is about time that we start looking toward the abilities that our earth can provide to us.
I need to begin with the fact that there is not one study out there that has been conducted proving that Amber does anything that I say here. You won’t find any ‘real’ research out there on the subject, but what you can find is testimony after testimony of how it has impacted individuals.
What is Baltic Amber?
In short, amber is fossilized tree resin. Baltic amber is mined from close to the Baltic Sea and contains between 3-8% of a substance called succinic acid. It comes in a variety of shades and colors, with most people claiming the lightest shades to be the most powerful. However, all shades seem to have people saying pain is eased. The same is noted about raw versus polished finishes on the stones. A polished stone is tumbled to achieve the shiny look, and is not less beneficial than a raw finished amber. The succinic acid within the amber is thought to be absorbed into the skin as body heat is released. This process allows the body to benefit from the acid, reducing inflammation and pain.
Who Can Wear Amber?
The beautiful thing is that anyone can wear Baltic amber. From infancy throughout adulthood, there are necklaces, bracelets, and other jewelry pieces that can be worn safely. Some swear by wearing amber as a preventative aid, along with a more natural lifestyle of organic eating, healthy choices, and chiropractic care. Others utilize amber to aid in reducing pain and inflammation. Many parents use a necklace on their infants when teething begins to help with gum inflammation. Most parents choose to keep the necklace long passed the teething stage, as a child’s body is always growing and changing with possible inflammation occurring at any time.
Baltic amber has been said to help with the following:
Boosting Thyroid Function
Strengthens kidneys and intestines
Swollen Glands/Sore Throat
Baltic Teething Necklaces
Please understand, that these are not to be chewed on. The necklace should not be long enough to slide over the chin and into the mouth of a child. They can be wrapped as an anklet until they fit properly, or a smaller size can be made.
I highly recommend Baltic amber to my clients. Even if you doubt the power of this stone, it doesn’t hurt to try it!
The search results are overwhelming when trying to learn about the benefits of aloe vera juice. There are over 22,000 resources to sift through that are based on research and studies linking aloe vera juice to positive benefits. I have been preaching this for quite some time now, and feel the need to spread the word to everyone else out there!
Over the past few decades, aloe vera has become a household stable when it comes to sunburns, but the truth is that there is so much more to this naturally occurring resource. It’s an easy to maintain plant that can be grown indoors and may provide you with a multitude of benefits. I want to focus purely on aloe vera juice today as to not overwhelm you with all that the plant can do. As always, ensure that you are purchasing a high-quality product. Most natural stores (and many grocery chains!) will have options.
Aloe vera juice is a nutrient dense drink that contains Vitamins A, C, E, and many B Vitamins. It is one of the only plants known to contain B12. It also has a natural source of folate (known to many as ‘folic acid’), magnesium, zinc, calcium, selenium, sodium, chromium, iron, and potassium.
When clients talk to me about digestive issues, the first thing I suggest is to begin adding aloe vera juice to their routine. The juice contains an insoluble fiber that acts as a cleaning agent to the digestive track as it passes through. It also has a soluble fiber that aids the body in absorbing sugar and fat. These fibers also help the body to absorb and rid itself of toxins, helping promote a healthy detoxification and improving the gut.
Our society is not consuming the healthiest of diets, and even those of us trying to maintain a healthier lifestyle struggle with keeping our bodies in perfect alignment. Most people tend to be unbalanced and lean toward an acidic internal environment. This leads to chronic inflammation and pains throughout the body. Joint pain, headaches, ulcers, weight gain, fatigue, arthritis, allergies, and even diabetes, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and heart disease are linked to chronic inflammation. Aloe vera juice is a natural alkaline that helps rebalance the body and reduce inflammation significantly.
Oral administration of aloe vera (ingesting it as a drink) is a useful support for lowering blood glucose in diabetic patients as well as for reducing blood lipid levels in patients with hyperlipidaemia. What this translates to is that aloe vera juice can aid in lowering cholesterol.
Aloe Vera Juice has been shown to add in all of the following, in addition to the above mentioned ailments:
· Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
· Degenerating Eye Conditions
· Digestive and Bowel Disorders, not limited to atonic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis
· Anti-inflammatory Lupus
· Skin Problems, not limited to eczema, psoriasis, acne, burns, athlete’s foot, cold sores, frostbite
Overall, aloe vera juice cleanses and detoxifies while stimulating cell growth. It has even been proven to improve brain function, increasing memory and danger awareness. Research also shows it aids with depression, as well as improving nervous system functioning. It is known to regulate appetite and boost metabolism (even promoting healthy hair growth!), while also reducing the risk of kidney and heart disorders.
Drinking aloe vera has a (gentle) laxative effect on the body for some people, and should be drank in moderation if this is proven for you. You do not want to throw the electrolyte balance off and become dehydrated. However, this is not the case for most who drink the juice. It is a naturally hydrating product and is safe and healthy to consume during a well-balanced diet and lifestyle.
Cannabidiol Oil (CBD Oil) is derived from cannabis (marijuana plant), using the chemicals that are naturally found in the plants. This oil does not produce the ‘high’ that you would assume comes from marijuana. There is actually no form of intoxication associated with the oil, but it is still looked upon in a negative light because of its origin. As the research unfolds though, people are beginning to understand just how powerful and beneficial this plant can be to our society. CBD oil has benefits to long to describe in one article, and instead of giving you a short overview, I am breaking it into two separate articles. Even then, there is more to read and uncover! I highly recommend digging in to the research available out there!
Research shows that CBD Oil Benefits the following:
- Chronic Pain
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Social phobia
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Mild to moderate depression
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Menstrual Cramps
- Muscle Pain
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- And More…
18% of adults (40 million Americans over age 18) suffer from an anxiety disorder. It is rarely talked about, and either over-medicated for or under-treated, as many doctors do not take it seriously. Of course, I will recommend exercise, dietary changes, and alternative outlooks on the conditions as first treatments, but sometimes it is not enough.
Researchers believe that CBD changes the response to serotonin through the brain’s receptors. A 2012 study discovered that CBD oil successfully reduced anxiety in adults suffering from social anxiety disorder. A 2011 study revealed that CBD oil greatly reduced stress and anxiety in those who fear public speaking. With dozens of other studies finding similar results, it is time that this legalized natural treatment be more well-known and accepted.
We have learned that CBD oil alters the cerebral blood flow, reducing uptake in the left parahippocampal gyrus, hippocampus, and inferior temporal gyrus. The blood flow increased in the right posterior cingulate gyrus. CBD may then help the hippocampus regenerate neurons, which then relates to an overall impact on the activity in limbic and paralimbic brain areas, significantly reducing anxiety.
Further research shows that CBD oil:
- Aids in sleep with those suffering from insomnia due to anxiety
- Lowers the heartrate and other physiological effects of anxiety
- Improves Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms
As mentioned above, CBD oil has an effect on the brain’s receptors, and this effect has been discovered to help in pain management. The oil has the ability to lessen inflammation and reduce chronic pain.
Over 38 million adult Americans suffer from chronic pain, and doctors (again) typically over-medicate these individuals, who then still suffer. Cannabidiol shares neuroprotective effects with THC (the strain of marijuana that produces the ‘high’), inhibits glutamate neurotoxicity, and displays antioxidant activity greater than ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or tocopherol (vitamin E). It is a TRPV1 agonist that inhibits fatty acid amidohydrolase, which reinforces CBD’s ability to manage pain.
This pain can be related to everything from menstrual cramping to chemotherapy side effects. There can be pain from injury or pain from illness, but one thing is consistent, CBD has the research behind it to provide pain relief. Even if not used alone, it should be considered as part of a management regimen.
I am not about to start a food blog here! (Although, Manuka Honey is absolutely delish!) I want to introduce you to the amazing powers and benefits of having Manuka Honey in your medicine cabinet (or kitchen) at home.
Long before the days of Neosporin, there were natural solutions to most scraps, burns, wounds, sore throats, and infections. Over the decades, we have drifted away from these solutions looking in favor of man-made, chemical-filled, toxic answers. Why? Because doctors tell us we should. But times are changing, and our society is beginning to question more, research deeper, and demand healthier options.
As with most products on shelves, there are several options to choose from, and most of the time, you get what you pay for. This is no exception. The highest quality, most beneficial Manuka Honey will cost more, but it will last you quite a while.
What is Manuka Honey?
Manuka Honey is one of nature’s most powerful medicines. It comes from New Zealand, made from bees that pollinate the native Manuka bush. Only those specific bees in this specific region of New Zealand can create this powerful honey. It is then tested and verified by independent labs for its properties and exported all over the world.
Manuka Honey consists of:
- Hydrogen peroxide (found in all honey)
- Methylglyoxal (MG) (A powerful antibiotic compound)
It is the Methylglyoxal (MG) compound that sets Manuka honey apart from other types of honey. MG is much more stable than hydrogen peroxide and doesn’t lose its antibacterial properties. It is this element that provides the benefits listed below, but not all Manuka Honey is created equal. There is a UMF number found on each brand and jar of the honey. This is the Unique Manuka Factor, and it is extremely important when purchasing your honey. It tells you the antibacterial power found within that honey; the higher the number, the more powerful the honey. While UMF 1+ to 10+ holds benefits, they are not more beneficial than your average local honeys. Looking at a UMF of 10+ to 15+ is better, and will provide benefits, a Manuka Honey of UMF 16+ or higher is what you want to find.
How can Manuka Honey benefit you?
Research shows Manuka to be effective against over 60 species of bacteria, and can be used topically on wounds and infections. It is quite effective as a wound dressing to promote fast, improved healing.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is more commonly known as the ‘Super Bug.’ Due to the antibiotic overuse and drug ineffectiveness within our society, we have caused certain strains of Staph to become so powerful that the only option is surgery or other ultra-invasive solutions and medications. Research has found the Manuka Honey can combat the strongest, most threatening genes of the MRSA bacteria. When a higher concentration of Manuka honey is used, it is able to effectively treat the major wound-infecting types of bacteria. If antibiotics are used, Manuka honey can help them be more effective and even reverse antibiotic resistance.
Research shows that Manuka Honey can actually cure a sore throat as it can inhibit the bacteria causing a Strep Throat. More recently, it has even been approved by the National Cancer Institute to be used to heal inflammation in the throat from chemotherapy.
Low Stomach Acid and Acid Reflux
Clostidium Difficult is a dangerous bacteria related to intestinal imbalances. Manuka Honey is an effective way to defeat this bacteria. Taking Manuka Honey can reduce reflux and rebalance the digestive system as a whole, healing stomach issues.
Clinical trials have also shown that Manuka honey has a positive effect in the treatment of various cancer tumors. The honey was effective in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and also proved to increase the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments.
Acne and Eczema
While no studies have been performed yet, the testimonies speak for themselves. Topical use of Manuka Honey seems to cure acne and eczema; leave the homey on for 10 minutes and then wipe off – repeat daily until healed.
Research shows that Manuka Honey drastically reduces the pain from a burn, speeds healing, and can prevent infection from occurring.
The rich anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties of Manuka Honey can prevent infection in people with venous ulcers.
Tooth Decay and Gingivitis
This powerful honey has been shown to improve oral health and prevent gingivitis. One study showed that chewing on Manuka Honey for 10 minutes, 3 times a day, can reduce tooth plaque and bleeding gums.
Because Manuka honey is an effective antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory topical treatment for skin problems, it is also excellent for treating shingles. One study showed that Manuka Honey was able to treat the virus that causes shingles.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
IBS and IBD plague many in our society without medical reasoning to support why. I believe it to be an unbalanced gut, as the gut health is what controls most bodily issues. No studies have been performed involving IBS and Manuka Honey, but in clinical trials involving IBD, researchers found that Manuka Honey reduced inflammation in the colon. It is safe to believe the testimonies about the positive relationship between Manuka and IBS as well.
Manuka Honey is naturally 4x stronger than any other honey, and is rich in fructose, amino acids, enzymes and B-complex vitamins, particularly thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and B6. Its mineral content includes calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese in various amounts.
Manuka Honey has also been found to fight:
• Athlete’s Foot
• Hair Loss
Food sensitivities are linked to skin issues like eczema, ADHD, bloating, IBS (and constipation), Autism, behavioral problems, developmental delay, epilepsy and more. So how do you figure out if and what foods are harming your child’s gut?
First, I must start with noting that there is a large difference between food allergies and food sensitivities. A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body. It can cause a range of severe or life-threatening symptoms. Food intolerances (sensitivities) effect the gut and, in turn, can cause reactions throughout the body. Allergies can be found through IgE testing, and sensitivities can be found through elimination diet, food panels, and IgG testing. Let me clarify that this article is specific to food sensitivities.
35 years of research was studied to find that Artificial Food Colors, benzoate, and a laundry list of foods are all very much linked to causing ADHD, as well as the above mentioned challenges. It was found that a complete elimination diet was recommended to figure out the exact triggers for each child suffering. (For example, one study showed that after eliminating trigger foods, children who suffered from chronic eczema showed 100% signs of relief and improvement.)
What is an Elimination Diet?
The purpose of an elimination diet is to discover symptom-triggering foods. There are several well-known elimination diet, the most recommended (and extreme) being GAPS. ‘The Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)’ is a wonderful book that I suggest you read as you journey through this challenging time. It will open your eyes to just how important it is to heal the gut, and how completely eliminating foods and beginning with a pure, whole foods’ bone broth aids to truly solving your chronic problems. While GAPS is extreme and very hard to stick to in the beginning, it is well worth the hard work.
Whole30, Feingold, FODMAP and many other elimination diets are slightly easier to follow and will also help pinpoint exact food intolerances. These diets will not heal the gut, but they are a great start and will give you answers.
The most common foods to cause reactions include:
The most common foods to cause reactions include:
Many of these foods are known to be highly inflammatory, which of course means they cause inflammation within the body and trigger chronic pain and problems that can be different in each individual. Dairy (lactose and casein)
Corn (including corn meal and corn starch)
Corn Syrup (in all forms and all names)
All citrus fruits and juices
An elimination diet is not instant relief. It takes weeks for foods to clear from the system. Once you are symptom free for 8-weeks, you begin to slowly reintroduce foods one at a time to look for reactions. When a reaction occurs, eliminate the trigger food and do not add in another until you are baseline again.
It is important to note:
The offending foods can be your favorites, the foods you often crave.
If you are affected by several foods, eliminating only one may make little difference with your symptoms.
You may find that you can have a small amount of a trigger food without observing symptoms, while a larger amount causes a reaction. I call this the cup theory. Your gut is like an empty cup, it can only fill so full before overflowing and triggering symptoms.
Your tolerance may be impacted by several factors; natural hormonal fluctuations may make you more sensitive.
Your triggers can change over time.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “widely accepted, currently-used labor and birth interventions are not necessarily the safest care for women and babies.”
You read that right.
In February (2017), the ACOG released a new committee opinion that common labor and birth interventions should not be used on low-risk pregnancies. If you are currently pregnant and fall into this low-risk category, it is of utmost importance that you educate yourself on these recommendations. It typically takes the medical field years to come up-to-date and follow through reliably.
The ACOG recommends that low-risk pregnant women seek individualized care as opposed to common obstetrics practices. These doctors are trained and capable of handling more intricate pregnancies and are quick to intervene when it is not necessary.
The committee also recommends the following:
Stay home until “active” labor
This is around 6 cm dilated but can be witnessed as a shift in the labor. The mother moves into a more serious role and contractions become stronger and more frequent. Waiting until this time helps prevent an unneeded c-section and other birth interventions (such as pitocin). During this time (and before), a warm bath may help with the pain, as well as relaxation and support.
Keep track of the baby’s heartbeat with a hand-held device.
Skip the constant fetal monitoring, as research has not proven it to be safe for baby. It is also quite cumbersome and interfering with the natural process of labor. By using a doppler (fetal stethoscope), the risk of having a c-section drops drastically, as does the chance of needing forceps or vacuum to aid baby in being born.
Obtain continuous, one-to-one support from a labor companion such as a doula.
Hiring a doula or preparing your partner through a partner-based coaching childbirth class (such as the Bradley Method), reduces the chance of receiving a c-section, accepting pain medication, and
This shortens labor and reduces the likelihood of cesarean birth, use of pain medications, and increases the probability of a positive birth experience.
Drink clear liquids during labor.
Not eating or drinking in labor at the hospital is an outdated practice that can potentially spiral labor into interventions. Using an IV does not support the woman’s body in labor to move as needed. It is now recommended to drink plenty of clear liquid and the committee is currently still researching eating as needed while laboring. I can assure you that eating helps keep energy levels where they need to be, and food should be consumed if wanted.
Avoid a procedure to break the membranes (bag of waters).
Having your water broken does not shorten labor or prevent a c-section. It is an intervention and should be left to break when the body forces it to. If it does not break before baby enters the world, it is perfectly safe and healthy to be born “in the caul.”
Use upright positions and/or move about during labor.
Work with gravity during labor. Laying on your back is the opposite of productive. This increases the intensity of contractions and stretches the length of the labor. Choosing to be upright, moving around will shorten labor time and reduce the chance of having a c-section.
Try various drug-free pain relief methods.
Instead of planning to ‘take the drugs’ once labor begins, understand that a drug-free birth has no adverse effects and includes many benefits for both mother and baby. There are too many techniques to list to handle labor without drug interventions, but some include:
- Breathing Techniques
Use position of comfort and choice when pushing and giving birth.
As previously stated, lying on the back fights gravity, increases pain, and lengthens labor. This can be said for the second stage – or pushing, as well. There are several positions in which help baby move through the birth canal easier, and even aid in preventing tearing. Hands and knees, squatting (shorten birth canal by over 10%!), side-lying, or whatever is comfortable for the mother – that is the best position to push.
Rest and await the urge to push after full dilation.
Couples assume that 10cm means PUSH! The ACOG now recommends waiting to push until the body begins pushing on its own. There is a natural timeframe that the body creates after reaching maximum dilation. This time allows for rest and energy rebuild to effectively aid the body in birthing the baby.
Push according to one’s own urges and preferences.
Gone are the days with pushing for a count of 10 or bearing down and hold the breath to push as hard as possible. These tactics have been shown to cause possible harm and are no longer recommended. Allowing the woman’s body to be its own guide is now understood to be the best way to birth.
Following these recommendations can aid in achieving the birth a mother desires, one with little to no intervention. This is the absolute healthiest way for a baby to enter the world.
While pregnant, utilizing a knowledgeable chiropractor can also provide many benefits for mother and baby. I believe that opening your mind to alternative care and exploring additional birth team members can help make the journey of pregnancy and birth a more positive experience.
Even when you lead a healthy lifestyle, sickness happens. Of course, it is best for our bodies to be prepared to fight off any bad bacteria, but sometimes we need help. It is so easy to pull into to the drug store and grab the most promising over-the-counter product, but is it the best option? What about for our children?
I cannot explain how often people ask me about my home ‘medicine cabinet.’ They want to know if I secretly have a stash of some cure-all product. They want to know what to have on hand when sickness invades their home so that they can avoid the dye and chemical-filled medicines down the street. With a world of homeopathies and natural remedies, what works? What items are helpful for what ailments? What is worth keeping on hand? Oils? Pellets? Foods? The list is never-ending, and no one seems to just give you a list of what to use and when.
While these natural items are things that I recommend, or have used, it is not an exhaustive list. I wanted to take the most common ailments that patients ask about and offer natural remedies to at least explore before grabbing the Motrin or Ibuprofen. Yes, I do keep dye-free children’s Motrin on hand as a ‘last resort.’ I use it when a fever is above my comfort zone within my own child, and when she is beyond comfort. Please read about why you should NEVER resort to Tylenol on my blog HERE. (Also note that the AAP does NOT recommend to EVER alternate the use of Tylenol and Motrin. Learn about recommendations https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAP-Issues-Advice-on-Managing-Fevers-in-Children.aspx)
A list of natural remedies to have for basic ‘First Aid’ and Sickness:
*Remember that with homeopathies and natural items, they can be taken in combination with one another, but it is not necessary. You can alternate these throughout the illness or stick to only 1-2 of them. I want to give you options to find locally or order within your budget.
Flu (Preventative and Remedy):
- Celletech’s Winter Balance (remedy) and Winter Tonic (prevention) taken weekly and then continuously at the onset of flu symptoms (These products are wonderful and worth researching to add to your medicine cabinet – read more http://celletech.com/about-us.html ).
- Oscillococcinum – pellets can be dissolved in water for fastest relief.
- Bioron Gelsemium Sempervirens 200C – 3-4 pellets dissolved in water repeated until symptoms subside.
- Elderberry Syrup
- Increased Probiotics
- Vitamin D3
- Aloe Vera Juice
- Triguard: If you feel one coming on take 30 drops in orange or grapefruit juice 3 times a day until symptoms subside. (Learn more http://anaturalhealingcenter.com/Products/tri_guard.html)
Cough, Cold and Nasal Discharge:
Depending on type of cough (dry, croupy cough. Wet, deep cough. Dry, hacking cough) and color/thickness of discharge, there are specific hemopathies that are meant to be used. I keep the following on hand, as recommended by the National Center for Homeopathy. (Learn more http://www.homeopathycenter.org/coughs-and-colds )
- Aconite: watery runny nose, sneezing, headache; early stages of croup.
- Arsenicum: profuse watery nasal discharge, nose feels stopped up, frequent and violent sneezing; nasal discharge may be thick and yellow; dull throbbing frontal headache; cough from deep in chest.
- Bryonia: dry, painful, spasmodic cough, worse with deep breathing, eating, drinking, in warm rooms and during the day; better from the open air.
- Hepar sulphur: rarely used in the beginning stages; cold may have started with watery, runny nose, but now nasal discharge is thick, yellow and may be bad smelling; sneezing at the slightest exposure to cold.
- Kali bichromicum: used during later stages of cold; discharge thick, yellow or greenish, and stringy, difficult to remove from nose; thick post-nasal drip; sinus headache.
- Nux vomica: illness after exposure to cold or cold dry weather; onset not sudden; dry, tickling and scraping sensations in nose; nose stuffy and dry at first, then develops a watery and often irritating discharge with sneezing; nose may alternate between stuffed up and runny.
- Pulsatilla: bland yellow to yellow-green nasal discharge, with stuffiness alternating with fluent discharge; nose may run in the open air and the evening, and stuff up in a warm room; lips are chapped and peeling; dry mouth with a lack of thirst; both dry and loose coughs,
- Spongia: loud, dry, barking cough and hoarse, rasping respirations; breathing sounds like saw being driven through a board.
- Activated Charcoal Powder: This is amazing and has multiple uses, but for upset stomach, diarrhea, food poisoning, vomiting, etc it cannot be beat.
- Increased Probiotics
Items I always have on hand:
- Belladonna: Sudden High Fever
- Coconut Oil: The uses are endless.
- Magnesium: Cramping, growing pains, and so much more. Research shows that magnesium (Epsom salt) in the bath can help the body fight illness.
- Manuka Honey UMF16 or above (and goldenseal mixed as a paste on wounds): Acne, burns, sore throat, allergies… This can even work on an early staph infection! Talk about powerful.
- Colloidal Silver: Any sign of infection can be battled with Colloidal Silver. It can be used on open cuts, ingested, as eye drops for pink eye, etc.
- Raw Garlic: Nature’s antibiotic, consuming this can fight off illnesses.
- Arnica Gel (not to be used on open wounds): ‘Growing Pains,’ bruises, unopened ‘boo-boos’ and sore muscles
- Arnica Pellets: stiffness, sore muscles, light pain from injury
- Milican Oil: Ear ache or swimmer’s ear
- C Salts: My first line of defense for sudden constipation.
- Bone Broth: Keep a batch in the freezer to pull out whenever needed.
As I said, this is not an exhaustive list, but one that covers the most common illnesses that strike our homes. There are many other options out there that may also work, but these are the short list that have made it to my personal ‘Non-Medicine Cabinet.’
Make sure to follow proper dosing and consult your primary doctor with questions.