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.
It’s hard to overlook the articles circulating on social media right now. Miralax is under fire -for good reason- and parents are crying out for another answer to their child’s constipation issues. I feel the need to speak out on this because so many families don’t think to talk to a chiropractor about this problem.
I see many families who do come in with an infant begging, “Help her poop!” And the relief I hear in their voices later that day (when they call to excitedly thank me) is wonderful! When taking care of a new baby, you follow their bowel movements so closely, and you notice every tiny struggle. But something happens after the diapers come off, when the babies turn to children. Somehow parents miss the constipation until it turns in to chronic stomach aches, backaches, crying, and debilitating pain. By this point, parents are reaching for any over-the-counter option they can find – suppositories, laxatives, miralax, whatever looks promising… but there are better options.
While you can read more about natural options on the blog HERE and HERE, I have yet to break down solely why chiropractic care is a very important factor in aiding a child’s digestive system and can be key in getting them to have a bowel movement regularly.
Research shows that between 5-28% of children today suffer from chronic constipation. These children worsen the cycle by fearing to go when the feeling arises due to the pain. But regular chiropractic care can help.
A chiropractor finds the subluxations – think ‘energy blockers’ – within the body. These blockages prevent the nervous system from completing its job of firing neurons to their destination in a timely manner. As the nervous system controls everything within the body, this can be detrimental, and can surely effect the gastrointestinal track. Typically, patients suffering from constipation are found to have subluxations through the center and lower portions of the spine. These areas are linked to the colon and intestines, and a subluxation within this area causes inflammation, which can trigger constipation. A gentle chiropractic adjustment can be enough to allow for easy bowel movements again.
It’s important to note that chiropractic care is not a one-time-fix. Regular visits are needed to maintain proper alignment within the body. This, combined with a diet void of dairy, processed foods, and high in protein, fiber, and real whole foods may be enough to keep a child using the bathroom regularly.
By Dr. Skylar Kulbacki
MiraLAX is a commonly prescribed over the counter (OTC) medication that is becoming more popular among pediatricians for the treatment of constipation in their young patients. A laxative intended for adults, MiraLAX is now being prescribed to children and infants as young as a few weeks old.
The effectiveness and safety of MiraLAX and its active ingredient polyethylene glycol 3350 (PEG) has not been tested in children.
“Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients has not been established.” 
Even though there have not been any studies to confirm the safety of the use of MiraLAX in the pediatric population, it does not stop many pediatricians from suggesting to parents to put their children on long term regimes using this potent drug. There have even been protocols created by The Seattle Children’s Hospital for long term use of MiraLAX, up to 12 months , even though it states directly on the label to not use the medication for longer than 7 days.
The cutout from the MraLAX product label .
What is this dosage doing to our children? Is it necessary?
How does MiraLAX work?
• PEG, the active ingredient in MiraLAX, is an osmotic laxative. This means that it acts by stimulating the intestines to pull in water from the body, softening the stool and allowing for an easier bowel movement. By pulling this water from the body and into the intestines, the risk for becoming severely dehydrated and experiencing electrolyte disturbances is greatly increased.
What does this mean for my child?
• By treating the symptom and not the source of constipation, a child may be at risk for developing long term complications due to chronic constipation and/or laxative use.
• The effects of prolonged and habitual use of MiraLAX is unknown, but due to its properties, this drug can at the very least cause dehydration, malnutrition, and Gastrointestinal dysfunction in a child.
• The body becomes accustomed to the stimulation provided by the medication, and constipation is likely to persist in the absence of laxative use. This creates a physical dependency upon laxatives to create a bowel movement at all.
How to help your child suffering with constipation:
• If your child is currently being treated for constipation using MiraLAX or another laxative, speak to your pediatrician about weaning your child off these medications safely.
• Try to figure out why your child may be suffering from constipation:
o Is your child drinking enough water throughout the day?
Kids Total Daily Beverage and Drinking Water Requirements:
4 to 8 year old Girls and Boys need 5 cups a day
9 to 13 year Girls need 7 cups a day
9 to 13 year old Boys need 8 cups a day
14 to 18 year old Girls need 8 cups a day
14 to 18 year old Boys need 11 cups a day
o Is your child eating a diet consisting of naturally binding foods?
o Does your child eat enough fiber each day?
o Does your child get enough physical activity throughout the day?
Daily physical activity and exercised helps to keep the bowels healthy and regular.
• If your child is still suffering from constipation after a change in diet, increased water consumption, and daily physical activity there are safe and effective options for promoting a healthy GI and regular bowel movements.
o A daily probiotic will help to feed the GI and creates an environment for regularity.
o Chiropractic care can remove any restrictions the body may have creating improper nervous system communication that directly regulate the bowel and GI tract.
o A gentle belly massage using lavender oil can help to stimulate a bowel movement. Working from the child’s right lower belly and massaging little circles with your hands in a clockwise motion in an upside-down U will help to ease discomfort and encourage a bowel movement.
Children should be having a bowel movement every day at the very least. For infants, it is more, at least 2-3 times each day. Feces are filled with toxins and it is vital to health that bowel movement are occurring daily.
1. Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Company. “Polyethylene Glycol,” Drugs.com, last revised Februaray 2016, [link].
2. Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation. “Constipation Treatment Recommendations When Child is Over One Year of Age, for New Diagnosis or Recurrence of Symptoms. [link]
3. “Stop use and ask a doctor if you need to use a laxative for longer than 1 week,” MSD Consumer Care, Inc., “Directions,” “Warnings,” MiraLAX product label, [PDF file].
4. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Water: How Much Do Kids Need?”, eatright.org, last revised May 2015, [link].
Medication is not the first resort.
I have several clients who came to my practice with a medicine cabinet full of prescriptions to help them be ‘healthy.’ It’s funny isn’t it; how many drugs a person must take to counteract the problems occurring within the body? The truth is that these drugs typically act as a mask. They may lessen symptoms and appease doctors, but do they actually aid in solving the root of the problems?
Let’s talk about what blood pressure is.
“When your heart beats, it pumps blood round your body to give it the energy and oxygen it needs. As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes.”
There are two readings you need to understand when having your blood pressure taken: Systolic (SBP: the higher number) and Distolic (DBP: the lower number). Your Pulse Pressure is the difference between these two numbers. While a systolic number above 140 (hypertension) places an individual at higher risk of problems, the greater the pulse pressure, the higher the risk factors become.
Hypertension exists in two stages:
Stage 1: SBP 140-159 or DBP 90-99
Stage 2: SBP > 160 or DBP > 100
Instead of reaching for the medication, let’s look at the main underlying causes to hypertension:
- Physical Inactivity
- Sleep Apnea
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Primary Aldosteronism
- Thyroid Issues
There are many other reasons an individual may be experiencing hypertension, but altering the current lifestyle should help immensely.
More than 15% of deaths today are linked to high blood pressure. Remember that hypertension triggers strokes, heart attacks, aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure. According to the American Heart Association 28% of Americans have high blood pressure and don’t even know it.
Even if you are not actively hypertensive, it may be time to evaluate your lifestyle to see how you can prevent it from occurring in the future.
Things to consider when trying to lower your blood pressure:
NIH recommends the DASH diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. Personally, I tend to recommend skipping anything labeled ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat-free’ and stick with real food, as opposed to altered, processed foods that contain food substitutes.
Foods to avoid: alcohol, processed foods, sugar, trans-fats, caffeine, excess sodium.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Regular physical activity — at least 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). It’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again. Exercise can (also) help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program.”
SUPPLEMENTS (Always talk to your doctor about adding supplements into your routine)
The following are all linked to lowering blood pressure:
- Fish Oil
- Coenzyme Q10
- Cat’s Claw
- French Lavender
- Celery Seed
- Deep Breathing
- Quit Smoking
- Lessen Chronic Stress
- Get More Sleep
Several studies lead to the same conclusion: Chiropractic care, in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can aid in lowering blood pressure. More research needs preformed, but from personal experience, I believe that these three categories (along with adding homeopathics, acupuncture, and supplements) will keep the medications far from your body.
Giving birth is an intense experience in which the body pushes itself, causing stress and pains to the mother that can last well after the baby arrives. Even if no immediate pain is felt, there is still need for chiropractic care during the postpartum period.
I often explain to my clients that after having a baby, the body needs time and help to reach its full potential again. So many women complain about things never being the same, or that back, hip, pelvic, or wrist pain intensifies instead of dissipating. Considering all the body has been through during pregnancy: the hips widening, additional weight being carried, a postural shift, hormonal changes, and other ailments, it is easy to understand that the body may be out of alignment. When you then add hours of contractions, pushing, and birth into the equation, it’s clear that one of the first trips out of the house after having your baby should be to the chiropractor.
Did you know?
A woman’s pelvic biomechanics can be altered during birth. As the baby descends, especially if he is posterior (sunny-side-up), the bones of the pelvis can shift and become misaligned.
Chiropractic care can manipulate the pelvic bones, restoring balance and comfort.
Throughout the last few weeks of pregnancy that lead to labor, the following occurs:
• Hormones work to soften the ligaments between the bones in your pelvis which allows for the pelvis to shift, granting additional room for the birth. This can cause soreness in some women. These hormones are not only released to the pelvic region, but the entire body is affected. This means that all ligaments have the opportunity to become looser, weaker, or less effective. This puts you at an increased risk of injury, inflammation, and pain at all joints of the body. These hormones commonly cause instability and abnormal motion of the sacroiliac joint, pubic-symphysis, and other joints that can cause lasting pain.
• Baby drops lower into the pelvis, engaging for birth. This shift or drop can cause further stress on the body, as the mother alters her posture to accommodate this extra weight and different position from baby.
• Braxton Hicks contractions. These are the body’s way of preparing birth, and they can be both positive and negative. If brought on by dehydration, stress, over-working, or exhaustion, the body will not be working as a whole. Maintaining a healthy diet, proper sleep, and daily exercise should help keep Braxton hicks contractions to a beneficial amount.
If birth was difficult or traumatic, the spine and pelvic joints large challenges to overcome.
Once the baby has arrived, a mother’s center of gravity is altered drastically, causing her to even walk differently. Her hormones rollercoaster, and her body works toward nourishing the baby. Holding this new baby can shift the posture and strain the wrist, neck, or back. Failure to restore normal biomechanics may result in permanent health problems in need of medical intervention.
The jury is still out on exactly how long the hormone relaxin can affect the body postpartum. If it is still present, the ligaments of the body will not completely tighten. Research shows that the ligaments begin to re-tighten nearly 8 weeks after giving birth, but the process’ length can be different for each woman, taking up to a year or more. It is critical to work with a qualified chiropractor before ligaments begin to pull back, as it can cause long-term problems if the joints are not properly aligned.
During the postpartum period, chiropractic adjustments speed recovery time, aid the body in normalizing pelvic and spinal positions, and help correct the posture. Seeking chiropractic care within the first two weeks after giving birth may help to prevent headaches, shoulder problems, neck discomfort, muscle tension, lower back pain, sciatica, upper back pain, wrist and elbow pain, and more.
When pregnant mothers frequent my office, we often discuss their birth plan along with their pregnancy experience. Typically, women committed to chiropractic care are of the more natural mindset and plan for unmedicated births whenever possible. One of the biggest pieces of advice that I offer is to hire a doula. Not just any doula, but a doula who you feel connected with.
You will read about how a doula will support a birthing mother and help educate couples about birth; some are even known as postpartum doulas and help after the baby is born. But what you will not read is about the emotional support, the true in-the-moment help that a doula provides. There is an unselfish act of giving herself – her entire being – to ensure that a mother brings her child into the world safely, and as peacefully as possible. A doula does not push her believes or choices on families, but instead, she accepts and fights for what a mother wants. She will spend hours, even days, foregoing her own needs to support the birthing mother. These are the events that the research cannot tell you.These are the stories you must hear from mothers who have given birth with a doula present.
There is also a science behind childbirth and doulas. Actually, there is quite a bit of science. Researchers have studied how doulas impact birth, and the results are nothing less than I would expect. Labors involving doulas are significantly shorter with greater progress (dilation) made before entering a hospital or place of birth – and far more progress before the accepting of medical interventions (epidural). Research also shows the having a doula lowers the risk of an unplanned cesarean section and increases APGAR scores at both 1 and 5-minutes post-birth.
to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Perinatal Education, “Doula-assisted mothers (are) four times less likely to have a low birth weight (LBW) baby, two times less likely to experience a birth complication involving themselves or their baby, and significantly more likely to initiate breastfeeding. Communication with and encouragement from a doula throughout the pregnancy may increase the mother’s self-efficacy regarding her ability to impact her own pregnancy outcomes.”
It is more than just emotional, physical, and educational support that a doula gives to a birthing woman. She is her advocate. Her voice helps account for the reduced need for interventions during birth, less complications, and an overall happier experience during and after birth.
Research shows that doulas create a:
- 12% increased chance of spontaneous vaginal birth
- 28% decreased chance of c-section
- 31% decreased chance of accepting an epidural
- 34% decreased chance of being unhappy with the birthing experience as a whole
It is important to note that doulas can be utilized for any birth situation. A planned c-section still needs support and advocating – just as much as an unmedicated vaginal birth.
I feel as though many couples are afraid of having “another body” in the room with them, but to these couples, I encourage you to reach out and interview doulas in your area. The right doula will never feel like a body taking up space, but as a partner in your birthing team. Hospital nurses have been reduced and their time is spread thin. The days when a nurse was by a woman’s bedside throughout her labor as a supportive figure are gone. This paired with our society’s need to intervene with the birthing process, leaves many couples feeling defeated. A feeling that belongs nowhere near pregnancy, labor, or birth.
One of the largest take aways from the research is this: There is absolutely zero harm that has been proven in having a doula present for birth.
Not every birth is traumatic, but many are. What is a traumatic birth, you ask? The term is subjective to each woman (and baby) who experiences the birth. While one mother may consider a 48 hour natural labor traumatic, another may not. The key is to understand that a traumatic experience depends on how a woman feels about her birth. Were forceps or a vacuum unexpectedly utilized? Was an episiotomy given without consent? Was baby ‘stuck’ at an odd angle for a prolonged period of time? Not one mother will share the same story, but thousands can share their version of traumatic birth.
A birth that doesn’t go as planned can cause post-traumatic stress disorder, postpartum depression, impact the breastfeeding relationship or milk production, effect relationships -including the bond between mother and baby, have physical implications for mother and/or baby, and have lifelong effects that can impact both mother and child.
It is assumed, through little research, that at least 1-2% of all mothers develop post-traumatic stress disorder after a difficult birth. With the lack of ample research done in the field of traumatic birth experiences and their overall impact on mothers and infants, I choose to believe in the word of the mothers and the physical differences I see in these families after their traumatic births. I have witnessed many infants in need of immediate chiropractic care after their challenging entrance to the world, and I have also seen many who have managed to only need a slight adjustment. The thing to remember is that it is important to be seen by a good family chiropractor.
According to a 2004 study, an undefined prolonged second stage (pushing) of labor results in the use forceps. (This is a topic for another post, as there should be several natural things done prior to grabbing forceps.) The use of forceps is linked to facial injuries, cranial distortions, injuries to the brainstem and spinal cord, and subluxation to the infant. They are also linked to meningeal tears and injuries to blood vessels, muscles and ligaments, and the nerves and bone structures. The same study included the possible side effects of utilizing a vacuum for extracting a baby during birth. This is linked to cephalohematomas, lacerations, and subluxation.
Keeping in mind how subluxations tend to run hand-in-hand with sensory processing disorder, adhd, sleep issues, and so many other common chronic problems children are faced with today, it is not a far stretch to consider that a child’s birth may be the origin of these problems.
Erb’s Palsy, “a form of obstetric brachial plexus disorder (A plexus is a network of nerves that supplies a specific area of the body), is an injury that occurs when the nerves in a baby’s upper arm are damaged. It typically affects one or two of every 1,000 babies. The injury usually occurs as a result of a lesion at Erb’s point, the area near the baby’s neck where the fifth and sixth cranial nerves merge to create the upper point of the brachial plexus.” This is caused by one or more of the following, with birth trauma being the most common:
The use of forceps and/or vacuum extraction tools during delivery
Large infant size
Small maternal size
Excessive maternal weight gain
Second stage of labor lasting over an hour
Infants with high birth weight
Infants in the breech position
While chiropractic care may not cure severe cases of birth traumas, it is a tool that may provide help in lessening symptoms, improving the quality of life, and allowing the body to be in its best alignment possible.
Birth trauma is often overlooked by doctors as the cause of chronic problems, and over time, as the child grows, it becomes a thought less considered. But the truth is that birth trauma is real, and the impact it can have on a mother or child needs to be addressed. Psychological therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and other healing techniques should all be considered following an extremely difficult birth.