• The Power of Baltic Amber

    27 June 2017
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    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

    Arthritis

    Back Pain

    Shoulder/Neck Pain

    Jaundice

    Teething

    Colic

    Strengthens kidneys and intestines

    Anemia

    Common Cold

    Increased Energy

    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!

    Resources:

     

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v239/n5374/pdf/239527a0.pdf

    http://www.abstractboard.com/abstract/14561530/Anxiolytic-like-effect-of-succinic-acid-in-mice.html

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  • Are You Drinking Aloe Vera Juice? You Should Be.

    27 June 2017
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    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:

    · Asthma

    · Candida

    · 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

    · Swelling

    · 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.

    Resources:

     

    http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408690490424694

    http://bjgp.org/content/bjgp/49/447/823.full.pdf

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26171992

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23394255

    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.335.8751&rep=rep1&type=pdf

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19218914

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3872617/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103709/

     

      

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  • Natural Labor Induction

    28 December 2015
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    ‘Tis the season that we see pregnant women in the office asking for ways to naturally induce labor.

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    Around the holidays it seems that pregnant women are put on the clock before they are even in labor.  Those who are due within a week of a holiday are typically given the option to induce labor as to avoid giving birth on the holiday itself.  In the past year, full-term pregnancies have been relabeled to 39 weeks instead of 37 weeks due to the highest (and at that point, still rising) c-section rates of all time.  Women were being electively induced as early as they could be (37 weeks), with the doctors leading the induction discussions.

    It is so tempting to have the opportunity to not give birth on an actual holiday.  Sharing a birthday on such a momentous day is challenging. It’s also inviting to have an exact end-date to the uncomfortableness that is pregnancy, but medically inducing pregnancy does not have to be your first choice.

    Being induced generally includes the use of the drug Pitocin, a synthetic oxytocin.  In 2012, a study was conducted by Australian and New Zealand Journal of Gynaecology that showed the use of Pitocin leads to “great pain and suffering, including serious unintended and adverse health effects to both mother and infant.”  The study witnessed:

    • Increased use of regional analgesia (65 vs. 22% control group*)
    • Increased use of instruments for delivery (21 to 18% control group*)
    • Increased use of Cesarean section (29 to 14% control group*)

    *control group did not receive oxytocin

    The researchers concluded that synthetic oxytocin use increased “severe” maternal and neonatal morbidity and increased the doubled the risk of c-section. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19821304

    Pitocin Side Effects (directly from the manufacturer’s drug insert):

    • Anaphylactic reaction
    • Postpartum hemorrhage
    • Cardiac arrhythmia
    • Fatal afibrinogenemia
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Premature ventricular contractions
    • Pelvic hematoma
    • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
    • Hypertensive episodes
    • Rupture of the uterus

    According to the same drug insert, the infant may suffer from the intensification of uterine contractions or “motility” in the following ways:

    • Bradycardia
    • Premature ventricular contractions
    • and other arrhythmias
    • Permanent CNS or brain damage
    • Fetal death
    • Neonatal seizures have been reported

    Inducing your labor can potentially lead to issues with baby:

    • Problems breathing and keeping warm
    • Feeding problems because they may have more trouble sucking and swallowing
    • Newborn jaundice, which causes their skin and the white part of their eyes to look yellow
    • A longer hospital stay after they are born or be in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
    • Are more often readmitted to the hospital with problems
    • A smaller and less developed brain when they are born.

    The problem is that many women are quickly approaching their due date, or already have surpassed it, and the doctor is presenting them with an induction date.

    If this is you, and you are begging for ways to help get labor started before a doctor does, then read on.

    You need to know that no induction method will bring a baby earthside who is not ready to be born.  Medically, this is known as a failed induction and ends in c-section.  But if baby is ready, natural induction methods can trigger labor.  Also, make sure that you are at least 39 weeks (or more) before trying to induce labor.

    What is developing and changing within baby at 39 weeks gestation:             

    • Advanced muscle development: Aiding with the suck swallow motion of nursing
    • Body temperature control
    • Further brain development
    • Higher body fat
    • Advanced body system development: lung development, digestive system, nervous system, etc

    Natural Labor Induction Methods

    Sex: Sex is a commonly suggested method of natural induction due to semen containing prostaglandins, which help to ripen the cervix.  Consider a relaxing bath first; making sure the body is not tensed.  Please note, that sex is safe throughout the entire pregnancy and is not linked to premature rupture of membranes or early labor.

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    Chiropractor:  Not only can chiropractic care ease symptoms during pregnancy, there is research that show it can ease delivery time and pain as well. Research found that women who receive chiropractic care during pregnancy have approximately 6 fewer hours of labor than women who did not receive care. Chiropractors who specialize in pregnancy (Webster Technique) can not only ease pain, but they can manipulate baby’s position, turning him into the best place to begin labor.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2647084/ and http://www.prlog.org/10119754-decreased-labor-time-with-chiropractic-care.html

    Nipple Stimulation: Stimulating the nipples (including your areola, as a baby would when sucking) triggers the production of natural oxytocin. Oxytocin contracts the uterus. Massage the first nipple for 5 minutes (when there are no contractions), then wait to see what happens (around 15 mins or so) before doing more. It’s a good idea to take your mind off things by getting on with your usual duties than sitting and waiting for something to happen – so try and keep busy! Once labor is well established again, stop the stimulation. http://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/nipple-stimulation-how-to-do-nipple-stimulation-for-labour

    Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to induce women who are post dates in their pregnancy. Most of the time one treatment is all that is needed to get the process going. Sometimes a second treatment may be needed. Through continual research, it’s been found that induction using acupuncture generally works within 6-48 hours of having your treatment http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19922252

    Acupressure/Trigger Points: You can find a wonderful reference of acupressure for pregnancy and birth here: http://acupuncture.rhizome.net.nz/download-booklet/

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    • The first area on the body used for stimulating labor is located between the thumb and index finger. This point is actually the “webbing” between these two areas. Techniques vary, but this pressure point can be pressed and rubbed for several seconds or simply pressed firmly for approximately one minute and then released. This technique can also be used during active labor to relieve pain.

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    • The next area of the body used for stimulating labor is the ankle. This area actually has two different pressure points. The first pressure point is located on the outside of the ankle, just behind where the bony prominence is. Just like the first mentioned location, techniques vary but the pressure point can be rubbed or pressed for several seconds or one minute. The other ankle pressure point is inside the leg, above the ankle. This area may be difficult to find but it is more sensitive to touch than the rest of the leg.

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    • Another area is located on the back, above the buttocks and lower back. This area can also be pressed or massaged as tolerated.

    Homeopathy— Homeopathic remedies use highly diluted versions of more potent substances to treat the body. Pulsatilla and Caulophyllum are two commonly used homeopathic remedies used to stimulate labor.

    Evening Primrose Oil:  EPO may not induce labor, but it can prime and soften your cervix. You may take the oil orally or insert it vaginally for the best results.

    Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Keeping you hydrated, as well as simulating contractions, RRL Tea has been used to tone the uterus and possibly bring labor on if the baby is ready.

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    Cinnamon stick tea: Take cinnamon sticks and boil them into a tea and drink. It actually tastes good so even if it doesn’t bring on labor it may help you to relax.

    Clary Sage Oil: One of the numerous health benefits of clary sage essential oil is to promote relaxation and pain relief during labor. It is specifically useful where muscular tension arises from mental or emotional stress.  Mix CSO with a carrier oil (Like Coconut Oil) and rub on before using acupressure for best labor-educing results.

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    Pineapple: Most tropical fruits such as pineapples, mango, papaya, and kiwi contain proteolytic enzymes, enzymes which break down protein and are thought to have certain medicinal properties.  Pineapples have been used as an anti-inflammatory, digestive aid, diuretic, and also to induce labor.  Bromelain, a type of proteolytic enzyme found in pineapples, may help to soften the cervix which could explain how it helps to bring on labor.  Since it is also used as a digestive aid, it may stimulate the bowels to move, which could bring on contractions as well.

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    Wide Squats, Stair lunges, and Curb Walking: Walking on an uneven surface such as a curb or lunging up the stairs can help drop baby into a lower and engaged position for labor to begin. Squatting reduces the birth canal by 10% and helps to get baby into the lowest position for birth.

    Exercise/Walking: The pressure of your baby’s head pressing down on the cervix stimulates the release of oxytocin, hopefully bringing on labor, also just being upright gets the forces of gravity working for you, encouraging the baby to move down into the pelvis.

    Castor Oil:  Rubbing two tablespoons of castor oil on the belly (around the uterus) can possibly cause contractions, leading to labor.

    Enemas or other bowel preparations (drinking castor oil): This causes the bowels to contract and could cause the uterus to contract. Use with caution as castor oil can cause vicious diarrhea.

     

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  • Probiotics and Overall Health

    30 November 2015
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    pro2

     

    Poor gut health affects much more than the picture displays. Your digestive health affects every physiological system in your body. The digestive system is the second largest part of the neurological system. Called the enteric nervous system, it is located in the gut. This is why the gut is known as the second brain. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19149514/

    80% of the immune system is located in the digestive track.

    “According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), upward of 60 to 70 million Americans are affected by digestive diseases.” Inflammation is believed to be the root cause of most diseases. Guess where inflammation typically begins? The gut. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11157355 and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17024003

    What researchers believe is that an overactive immune system results in the body being flooded with defense cells and hormones that damage tissues. Dietary and environmental toxins may build up in the body, turning the immune system on and keeping it highly reactive. As these toxins build, they throw the balance of good to bad bacteria off, causing the gut to become inflamed.

    The gut contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Digestive experts agree that the balance of gut flora should be approximately 85 percent good bacteria and 15 percent bad bacteria. If this ratio gets out of balance, the condition is known as dysbiosis, which means there is an imbalance of too much of a certain type of fungus, yeast or bacteria that is affecting the body in a negative way. By consuming certain types of probiotic foods and supplements you can help bring these ratios back into balance and eliminate the inflammation. http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2012/4/overlooked-role-probiotics-human-health/page-01

    Some common warning signs of a bacteria imbalance: http://www.steadyhealth.com/topics/signs-of-bacterial-imbalance
    • Bad breath, gum disease & dental problems
    • Sleeping poorly, possible night sweats
    • Frequent colds, flu or infections
    • Faulty digestion, acid reflux and other gut disorders
    • Chronic yeast problems, candida
    • Frequent constipation or diarrhea
    • Acne, eczema, skin & foot fungus
    • Frequent fatigue, poor concentration
    • Extreme menstrual or menopausal symptoms
    • Difficulty losing weight, sugar/carbohydrate cravings
    • Allergies and food sensitivities
    • Painful joint inflammations/stiffness
    Two additional signs that your gut flora may be adversely impacted are depression and lowered immunity. Both of these are actually common-sense side effects of poor gut health, but they’re usually completely overlooked. Most people, including many physicians, do not link the immune system to the gut, when they should be making a healthy gut a major focal point if they want to help the root issues.

    The gut originates from the same type of tissue as the brain. During fetal development, one part turns into the central nervous system, while the other develops into the enteric nervous system. These two systems are connected via the vagus nerve, the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen. Hence the gut and your brain work in tandem, each are influencing the other. And this is why your intestinal health can have such a profound influence on your mental health, and vice versa. This also helps explain the link between neurological disorders (including ADHD and autism) and gastrointestinal dysfunction. For example, gluten intolerance is frequently a feature of autism, and many autistic children will improve when following a strict gluten-free diet. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/05/microbes-manipulate-your-mind.aspx

    Foods that promote inflammation are:
    • Corn and Soybean oils
    • Pasteurized dairy
    • Refined carbohydrates
    • Conventional meat
    • Sugars
    • Trans fats

    The secret to restoring your digestive health is all about balancing out the good and bad bacteria in your gut. If you are going to be healthy you MUST consider consuming probiotic rich foods and supplements daily.

    What are probiotics?

    Probiotics are beneficial forms of gut bacteria that help stimulate the natural digestive juices and enzymes that keep our digestive organs functioning properly. They are found in many foods and can be taken in supplement form. (Review our guide to choosing a quality supplement because they are not created equal.)

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    How do you benefit from probiotics?

    The website Green Med Info has assembled an amazing list of more than 200 studies, which together explore more than 170 diseases which can be helped or treated with probiotics. https://www.healthambition.com/probiotics/

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    Digestive Health: http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics We have more than 1,000 types of bacteria that live in our digestive tracks. They help us break down food and absorb nutrients. Environmental and chemical toxins can throw off the bacterial balance of the gut. For example, when antibiotics are introduced, the drugs can kill-off the good bacteria, the healthy intestinal flora that helps us digest, as well as the bad. Probiotic intake should increase if antibiotics are being taken. The probiotics can keep the bacteria balanced throughout the antibiotic treatment so the body does not experience extreme side effects. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22071814
    Probiotics can help with many, if not all types of digestive issues. Research has shown that probiotics can be helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Probiotics can help with overall digestive health, even if you are not suffering from any urgent problems.
    Urinary Health: https://nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics
    Probiotics taken regularly can help prevent bad bacteria from invading the urinary tract by maintaining a population of healthy bacteria on the tract’s adherence sites. Infections in this area of the body are extremely common, especially in women, and taking probiotics daily can help prevent reoccurring infections.
    Allergies: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3733627/
    One of the most important characteristics of probiotics is their safety for human health. Thanks to their ability to adhere to intestinal epithelial cells and to modulate and stabilize the composition of gut microflora, probiotics bacteria may play an important role in the regulation of intestinal and systemic immunity. They actually seem capable of restoring the intestinal microbic equilibrium and modulating the activation of immune cells.
    Several studies have been recently conducted on the role of probiotics in preventing and/or treating allergic disorders.
    Probiotics have also been shown to reduce childhood eczema (a sign of allergies) when mothers take them while pregnant. Researchers found that pregnant women with a history of seasonal allergies who took probiotics throughout their pregnancies passed on a 50% higher level of tissue inflammation in utero, which is believed to trigger the immune system and reduce allergy incidence.

    Women’s Health: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26052924
    Just like the digestive tract, the vagina relies on a balance of good and bad bacteria. When the balance is off, it can result in bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Studies have found that probiotics can help prevent infection, manage an already active one, or support antibiotics as a treatment. Utilizing the probiotics as a vaginal suppository rather than orally may be even more helpful if there is a current problem.Probiotics have an important role in maternal health, as pregnant women are susceptible to vaginal infections.

    Immunity:
    As you have read, in detail, the gut holds 80% of our immune system. By eating probiotic-rich foods and maintaining good intestinal flora, you can maintain a healthy immune system.
    Obesity: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26459447
    A study revealed that obese people have different gut bacteria than those maintaining a healthy weight. This shows that gut flora plays a role in obesity.

    There are several strains of probiotics, and each one is being shown to affect the body in different ways. Some of these strains include: http://probiotics.org/strains/

    • Bifidobacterium bifidum — The most dominant probiotic in infants and in the large intestine. Supports production of vitamins in gut, inhibits harmful bacteria, supports immune system response and prevent diarrhea.
    • Bifidobacterium longum — Supports liver function, reduces inflammation, removes lead and heavy metals.
    • Bifidobacterium breve — Helps colonize healthy gut community and crowd out bad bacteria.
    • Bifidobacterium infantis — Alleviates IBS symptoms, diarrhea and constipation.
    • Lactobacillus casei — Supports immunity, inhibits h. pylori and helps fight infections.
    • Lactobacillus acidophilus — Relieves gas, bloating, improves lactose intolerance.
    • Lactobacillus bulgaricus — A powerful probiotic strain that has been shown to fight harmful bacteria that invades your digestive system and is stable enough to withstand the acidic digestive juices of the stomach. It also neutralizes toxins and naturally produces its own antibiotics.
    • Lactobacillus brevis — Shown to survive the GI tract, boost cellular immunity, enhanced natural T-killer cells and kill h. pylori bacteria.
    • Lactobacillus rhamnosus — Supports bacterial balance and supports healthy skin. Helps fight urinary tract infections, respiratory infections, and reduce anxiety by reducing stress hormones and GABA neurotransmitter receptors.
    • Bacillus subtilis — An endospore probiotic that is heat-resistant. Elicits a potent immune response and supports GALT. Suppresses growth of bad bacteria like salmonella and other pathogens.
    • Bacillus coagulans — An endospore probiotic that is heat-resistant and improves nutrient absorption. Also has been shown to reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis.
    • Saccharomyces boulardii — A yeast probiotic strain that restores natural flora in the large and small intestine and improves intestinal cell growth. It has proved effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease. It’s also been shown to have anti-toxin effects, be antimicrobial, and reduce inflammation.

    Taking probiotics is extremely beneficial, but making sure that you don’t prevent them from working is also important. Be sure to eliminate the following, or increase your probiotic intake if any of the following is necessary: http://www.shanti.com.au/body/probiotics.htm
    • Prescription Antibiotics
    • Sugar
    • Tap Water
    • GMO Foods
    • Grains
    • Emotional Stress
    • Chemicals and medications
    • Birth Control/Steroids/Hormonal Drugs
    • Chlorine (Use a good filter for your drinking water)
    • Flouride
    • Coffee (I know. I know. Just add a little extra probiotics if you are a coffee drinker.)
    • Carbonated Beverages
    • Ascorbic Acid (In low-quality supplements, bottled drinks and juices.)
    • Radiation (chemotherapy, x-rays, microwaves)
    • Additives/Preservatives (Avoid processed foods)
    • Pesticides/Herbicides/Fertilizers
    • Stress

    In order to improve your gut flora balance, make sure to avoid these probiotic killers the best that you can. We are exposed to many of these foods, toxins and stressors on a daily basis, and if you’re going to restore your digestive health, they must be addressed. If they’re not addressed, your gut micro-organisms become imbalanced and your system can become a breeding ground for bad bacteria, yeast, viruses, fungi and parasites.

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  • Headaches: Reasons and Relief.

    15 September 2015
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    Headaches: Reasons and Relief.

    Adults who suffer from severe headaches and migraines say that they grew up with headaches throughout childhood.  Catching, treating, and preventing headaches in children can lead to life filled with significantly more pain-free days.

    According to the National Headache Foundation, the most common headache in children is a tension headache, which starts in the neck and wraps around the head.

    75% of children will get headaches before the age of 15, with girls being more affected than boys. The numbers are continuing to rise due to our American lifestyle. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2526375/

     The main cause, you ask?  Our guess: Technology. Texting, using the iPad, hand held video games, anything keeping the child looking down. Even sitting and completing hours of homework can cause tension in the neck. We need to break this habit (in ourselves as well as our children).  Introduce a book stand for homework and reading, even the iPad will work on this.  Try to limit your time on the phone or other device and pay attention to your posture while on it.

    Move!  Get outside.  Play with your kids, stimulate their brains, and stimulate your brain!  Engage the core muscles. Strong core muscles mean a strong back. Stand up every 20-30 minutes of sitting at work (or doing homework), sit on a yoga ball instead of an office chair, and exercise regularly, adding more core exercises into your workout.

    Headaches can be divided into two categories: Primary and secondary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease or illness and are rare.

    Primary Headaches include:

    • Cluster Headaches
    • Migraines
    • Tension Headaches
    • Persistent Daily Headaches
    • Cough Headaches
    • Exercise Headaches
    • Sex Headaches

    Possible Lifestyle Triggers:

    • Alcohol
    • Processed Foods
    • Lack of Sleep
    • Poor posture
    • Skipped meals
    • Stress
    • Dehydration

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/headache/basics/causes/sym-20050800

    Persistent daily headaches are NOT normal.  Treating the headache is just masking a symptom.  The thyroid, Vitamin D, and adrenal glands all can cause headaches and are generally overlooked in the mainstream population.  The thyroid aids in brain development, secretes hormones, regulates your temperature, and helps with metabolism. Vitamin D is important for bones, muscles, and the brain.  It is also helpful in preventing cancer, autoimmune diseases, and hypothyroid.  Having lab work done to know your numbers is helpful in supplementing yourself correctly.

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    The adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and are responsible for producing cortisol and sex hormones.  Cortisol has been called the “stress hormone,” and is responsible for regulating the body during stages of increased stress in life.  We tend to always be in a high state of stress.  That means our cortisol is always high and does not come down as it should. Again, lab work should be done to know exact levels.

    While most people tend to categorize their headaches as sinus pressure or a sinus headache, this is actually not accurate and very uncommon. Roger Cady and Curtis Schneider of the Headache Care Center in Springfield, Mo., have shown that nearly 98 percent of people who believed they had sinus headaches were actually experiencing a migraine.  So instead of blaming your sinuses, start a headache log and document foods you are eating, strong scents, exercise, and daily lifestyle.  You may be able to find your body’s trigger.

    Brain tissue does not feel pain the same way skin and other organs do.  The brain is encased in a hard, protective covering and it does not respond to touch or pressure sensations. Headaches occur because of activation or irritation of structures that do sense pain: skin, bone or neck joints, blood vessels or muscles. Headaches occur in response to exposure to internal or external triggers, such as hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, fasting or stress. Exposure to these triggers prompts the brain to signal pain centers that produce a variety of chemical messengers, including serotonin and norepinephrine, which cause expansion of meningeal blood vessels surrounding the brain. This expansion results in increased blood flow, and blood vessels on the side of the head can become more prominent and tender. As the blood vessels swell they stretch the nerves that surround them, causing these nerves to send signals to the trigeminal system, an area of the brain that relays pain messages for the head and face. Activation of the trigeminal system most commonly causes pain around the eye and cheek, creating the false perception of “sinus” pain. The trigeminal system also sends messages to the hypothalamus, an area of the brain involved in food cravings, and to the upper part of the cervical spinal cord, which may result in muscle spasms in the neck.  (Source: Cephalagia: An International Journal of Headache)

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    Ways to help headaches:

    Yoga: It is important to start practicing as soon as possible after you start to feel the pain.  Imagine your brain shrinking with each pose.  Yoga promotes blood flow and relaxation, helping the body to align and alleviate the pain.

    Exercise: Increase in exercise will aid in digestion and help with improved sleep.  Nabih Ramadan, MD, a neurologist at the Diamond Headache Clinic in Chicago, and chair of the National Headache Foundation (NHF) Education and Biomedical Research Committee states that regular exercise at least three times a week can lessen the frequency of headaches. A study based on surveys from over 69,000 people in Norway, found that sedentary adults had a higher risk of headaches than their more active counterparts. Likewise, the researchers noted that study participants who reported more frequent headaches were the least likely to be physically active.

    Remember that a strong core means a strong back. A strong back leads to strong, correct posture. Make sure you include strength exercises for your core.

    Pressure points: Acupressure can relieve pain and rebalance the body quickly.

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    Points to try:

    • The inside of your eyebrow, just above the bridge of your nose.
    • The temples: gentle massaging motion
    • The base of the skull: Tilt your head back and press upward in a circular motion
    • Between the thumb and index finger: Pinch the area and massage
    • Between the big and second toes: move one inch forward and press down

    Source: http://www.naturalblaze.com/2013/05/6-ways-to-relieve-headaches-with.html

    Magnesium: According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), nearly half of the people suffering from migraine headaches show to have a low amount of ionized magnesium in their blood.  A great way to add magnesium to the body is topically, through the skin.  Magnesium oil used regularly can help the frequency of headaches.  Remember that magnesium needs calcium to do its job.

    Two studies have shown that supplementing with magnesium may reduce the frequency of headaches.  Magnesium levels affect serotonin receptors and have an effect on nitric oxide synthesis and release, as well as on NMDA receptors all brain structures and chemicals suspected to important in the formation of a migraine. www.thedailyheadache.com

    Chiropractic care: Chiropractic care helps with headaches and balances all three nervous systems.  A study from 2001 found chiropractic care resulted in immediate improvement in headache severity when used to treat episodes of cervicogenic headache. Aligning the body and correcting the posture can help alleviate frequent headaches and the severity of headaches. http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/FULL/Behavioral_and_Physical_Treatments_for_Headache.html

    Gluten free: Diet plays a huge role in triggering a headache. A study published in BMC Medicine discovered that gluten sensitive individuals are at a higher risk of headaches.  Frequent headaches can be eliminated by a simple change in one’s diet.  ( www.migraine.com )  Cut out processed foods as well as gluten.  Preservatives such as nitrites are linked to migraines.

    Hydration: Water makes up 70% of the human body and 80% of the brain. It is a very powerful nutrient. When it is lacking, you can expect to suffer a wide range of health ailments. Headaches are one of the most common illnesses associated with dehydration.  Carry water with you and remember to drink often. http://www.newsmax.com/health/Dr-Brownstein/headache-arthritis-dehydration-water/2014/02/06/id/551303/

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  • Back to School: Preventing and Treating Lice

    7 September 2015
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    Back to School: Preventing and Treating Lice

    It was only a matter of time before Lice mutated to beat the medications and chemicals used to treat them.  We have seen this across the board in the past few years.  Illnesses, infections, bugs all have been altered due to the overuse of medications, pesticides and chemicals in our society.  (That or they are dying off).  Why people are surprised that there is now a “Super Lice Bug” blows my mind.  It was bound to happen.

    Kids are heading toward the bus stop, being dropped off, or walking with friends to school each day.  They spend countless hours in close confines of other little heads, possibly contaminated with lice.  Even homeschooled children or those too young to be in school but go on regular outings with mom are at risk of exposure to lice.  Extra-curricular activities, library play areas, dressing rooms, anywhere that other people have been or currently are can hold a risk of inviting lice onto your child (or yourself).  The thought alone is enough to give you an itchy scalp.

    Head lice affect as many as 12 million people in the US each year, mostly children.  – According to the CDC

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    What are Lice?

    Pediculosis humanus var capitis, better known as lice, are a bloodsucking parasite specific to humans.  They bite 4-5 times a day and inject an anti-coagulant in their saliva.  Scratching the bites can cause an infection.  Lice are 2.5-3mm long and quite flat.  They are easily transferred from head to head, but they cannot fly or jump.  Sharing towels, pillows, blankets, hair brushes, or play mats are also known ways of contracting lice.  Female lice live up to 3 months, laying up to 300 eggs during their life.  Each egg is attached to a shaft of hair. These eggs are called nits.  Nits hatch 6-10 days after being laid. (https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/lice/ )

    What are Super Lice? 

    The good news: Super lice are not deadly or any scarier than ordinary lice.  They are just harder, MUCH harder to get rid of.  Scientists have reported that lice in at least 25 states have developed resistance to over-the-counter treatments. It was found that 104 out of the 109 lice populations tested had high levels of gene mutations, which have been linked to resistance to pyrethroids.  (Journal of Medical Entomology)

     

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    Symptoms of Lice:

    The most common symptom of lice is itching. Lice may not cause any symptoms at first though. Itching on the scalp may start weeks or even months after lice have started to spread. Scratching can make the skin raw and cause oozing of clear fluid or a crusted over area of the scalp, and it may get infected.

    Preventative Measures:

    Steering clear of chemicals and drugs (the cause of the mutating insects), I’ve created a list of several options you can use to prevent lice from entering your family’s personal space.

    • Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your shampoo
    • Add ½ teaspoon of witch hazel, 8-10 drops of tea tree oil, and 8 oz of purified water to a spray bottle and spray backpacks, car seats, pillows, and mist the hair each day before walking out the door
    • Rub coconut oil with 2 drops of tea tree oil across hair line before leaving each day

    You found Lice, now what?

    There are many over-the-counter options such as Nix, Rid, A-200 and Pronto and prescription varieties like Ovide or Kwell.  But before you reach for these, know that they are filled with neurotoxins, which kill lice by attacking the central nervous system. Rid, Pronto, and A-200 contain pyrethrins, and Nix contains permethrin, all used in common garden pesticides. Ovide contains an even stronger neurotoxin, malathion, the same pesticide band by many communities. (source: http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/09/07/back-school-lice-alert-theres-no-need-douse-your-kids-pesticides?cmpid=tp-ptnr-mommypotamus )

    Natural solutions to lice that people swear by can be found all over the internet, but it’s hard to decide the best resolution for you.  There’s no right or wrong answer, and you may find one that becomes your go-to over the years. I’ve pulled the remedies that seem to have the highest success rates:

    • Use olive oil with a drop of rosemary essential oil, tea tree oil, and theives oil mixed in. Run this mixture through the hair and comb in small sections.  Make sure to use a fine tooth comb or a specific lice comb.  Once the lice have been combed out, you can wash the hair with dish soap (blue dawn) if needed to get the remaining oil out.
    • Suffocation: A study showed that coating the scalp with mineral oil and chemicals would suffocate the lice, but that is NOT a natural solution. You can use a coconut or olive oil on the hair/scalp and cover with a shower cap for 12 hours.  You will need to repeat the process again in 2-3 days to catch the newly hatched lice. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933647/ )
    • Create a lotion with a teaspoon of shampoo and 7 drops of tea tree oil. Lather the lotion into the hair and let it sit for 15-20 minutes and then rinse out and use the Nit Comb through small sections until all lice are gone.  A study showed that a lotion containing 1% lavender and 10% tea tree oils was 97.6% effective in killing lice, while insecticides like pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide were only 25% effective.  (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933647/ )
    • Salt, Vinegar and Oil: Together they work to dehydrate and kill the lice. Create a spray with ¼ cup of salt dissolved in ¼ cup on warm vinegar and coat the hair.  Allow to sit until fully dry and then coat the head with coconut or olive oil and comb out the dead lice. (http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2011/09/12/getting-rid-of-lice/ )
    • Combine 1 Tablespoon of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap, 8-10 drops of tea tree oil, and water (use a mason jar and mix all ingredients).  Rinse the hair with vinegar and apply “shampoo” to head for at least 5 minutes.  Comb hair with Lice Comb.   (source: http://mommyfootprint.com/natural-lice-prevention/ )
    • Apple Cider Vinegar and Oil: Wet hair and apply vinegar to hair. Allow the hair to completely dry (with vinegar) and coat scalp and hair evenly with coconut or olive oil to suffocate the lice. Pull all of the hair under a shower cap and let sit for either hours before using the Lice Comb and washing out.
    • A great tutorial on the process of removing nits and lice by using a natural product by Hair Fairies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZmHQXcQWUo

     

    The catch:   You cannot miss even one egg or the entire process will need to be repeated.  Make sure to wash EVERYTHING that could be carrying the lice and dry on HOT.

     

     

     

     

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  • Reflux: How to Help Naturally

    28 August 2015
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    Reflux: How to Help Naturally.

    Arching his back while screaming, spitting up when eating, not sleeping, these are all signs of reflux in an infant.  While some choose to overlook these symptoms, others want to know more, to understand what their baby is suffering from, and more importantly, to help.

    Over 50% of infants suffer from reflux.

    Doctors will typically ask parents to cope with their unhappy child for a few months until their reflux dissipates.  If the parent is persistent or the child shows poor signs of poor growth, a doctor may perform one of the following tests:

    • Ultrasound: detecting an obstruction in the opening between the stomach and small intestine
    • Blood Work: to rule out or identify any possible causes of recurring vomiting
    • Esophageal pH Monitoring: measuring the acidity in the esophagus by inserting a tube through the nose
    • Upper Endoscopy: using a tube with a camera lens inserted through the mouth, the doctor will see into the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine. Samples of tissue may be taken for study. This procedure is done under general anesthesia.

    Less invasive doctors will first suggest that a breastfeeding mother remove dairy from her diet.  A formula fed infant will be given a list of different formulas to try.  If the reflux continues, medication will naturally be recommended.  H2 Histamine Blockers such as Zantac or Pepsid are prescribed, followed by stronger medications such as Prevacid or Prilosec (proton pump inhibitors).  As all medications do, these have a laundry list of side effects from dizziness to vomiting.  There have been no studies conducted on children and dosages of zantac.

    There are other ways.  Natural ways.  Ways to help your crying, pained child. 

    Let’s discuss reflux.

    Did you know that reflux is actually the symptom of TOO LITTLE stomach acid?  This can be traced back to pregnancy and mom’s morning sickness and heartburn.  These ailments can be passed to baby in-utero.  As we get older, our acid drops and there is an increase in GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

    reflux

    The medications given are actually making the problem worse by suppressing the acid.  The absent acid is hydrochloric acid (HCL), and when low, an organism called Helicobacter pylori or H. Pylori causes a low grade inflammation of the lining of the stomach, and over time the body’s response is to want to get rid of it.  This is reflux.

    Make sure to wean from any medications gradually, as the body will rebound and worsen the reflux if you quit cold turkey.

    Behind ear infections, reflux is a close second as to why parents visit the office.  After learning more about the child, mother, pregnancy, diet, supplements, and medication usage, we will discuss and plan dietary changes and a supplement plan.  If breastfeeding and keeping the baby’s gut “pure,” the plan will be only for the mother.  But infants can be supplemented as well as the mother. If not breastfeeding, infant should be supplemented.

    • Vitamin D: More than likely, the mother is deficient in Vitamin D.  Without knowing your vitamin D levels, you can follow recommended doses of a liquid vitamin D; however, testing to know your levels is most beneficial.  (I usually recommend Xymogen brand.)  If you are not as concerned with keeping your child’s gut “virgin,” then you can supplement your child with recommended dosage.
    • Probiotics: (AMAZING) They help heal the gut and boost immunity. Did you know 85% of your immunity comes from your gut? You want a probiotic with a minimum of 7-10 strain.  You just don’t want to take acidophilus. (We recommend Davinci Mega Probiotic davincilabs.com )  Taking care of the gut, yours and your infant’s will boost your immunity and help with a healthy life. Please follow the label for dosage.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3337124/ and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166766/
    • Digestive Enzymes: Mom can incorporate these alongside the probiotics to help break down fats, proteins, carbohydrates and milk sugars. Our foods today are not broken down like they once were due to over-processing.
    • Limit/Eliminate Dairy, Gluten, Caffeine, Alcohol: Dairy can produce histamines, which cause irritation to the lining of the gut and causes a decrease in the production of acid. Gluten also irritates the gut.  Stick with organic as far as your budget allows.  Look for no antibiotic use, no hormone, and free range with meat and dairy.
    • Water: Stay well hydrated for breastmilk supply.
    • Unrefined Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt: These salts help produce HCL(hydrochloric acid) in the stomach, fighting off parasites and aiding in digestion.
    • Complex Minerals: The body needs an average of 80 essential minerals a day, but the typical person gets 10-15. Also, a diet high in meat and processed foods can demineralize the body; and a diet low in salt will make the body deficient in nutrients. (Schroeder, HA. Losses of vitamins and trace minerals resulting from processing and preservation of foods.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 24: MAY 1971, pp. 562-573.) We recommend Youngevity’s Cheri minerals   http://youngevity.com/
    • Aloe Juice: Aloe coats the lining of the gut to allow healing from the repeated acidity that has irritated the lining, therefore allowing nutrients to be absorbed. Mom should consume in the morning on empty stomach and before night time on an empty stomach for 4-6 weeks or until the reflux has resolved.  Aloe juice can be given directly to the baby, morning and evening.
    • Inclined Sleep: place a wedge or small pillow under the mattress of child’s bed/crib to prop her up at a slight   This keeps the body in proper alignment for digestion.

     

    Reflux in Toddlers:

    Along with supplementing a toddler, helping to close the cardiac sphincter, the valve that allows everything in and out of the stomach, will help control the reflux.  This can be done by laying the child down after eating and feeling under the breast bone and sternum (small knob) for a pocket of tissue, no bone.  That is the sphincter.  Depending on if the child is infant or older, you may use 1 or 2 fingers, pressing down about ¼ to ½ inch and then aiming your hand toward the feet (almost like a scooping motion) using sustained pressure for 20-30 seconds after every feeding.

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    Chiropractic Care for Reflux:

    Misalignments in the upper neck due to childbirth or not being positioned correctly in the womb can be a cause of reflux.  Parents tend to place baby in a swing or seat inclined to aid in reflux relief.  This then causes the legs to be elevated and the spine to flex and curve forward, putting added stress on the infant’s body that shouldn’t be there. This causes tight and spasming muscles. The chiropractic adjustments will help to calm the muscles down and align the spine, allowing for the body to function more effectively.

     

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  • Studies Prove 70% improvement of Asthma with chiropractic alignments!! So, why aren’t more children under chiropractic care?

    26 March 2015
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    By Dr. Brenda Fairchild

    I hear all the time in the office from parents that their doctor has told them that there is not much that he or she can do about their child’s asthma.  Conventional pediatricians suggest that the child may outgrow it, and in the meantime prescribe steroid treatments and/or inhalers for acute symptoms.  Parents often feel like they have tried everything.  Inhalers, steroids, and all different types of medications and nothing has helped. They are sick and tired of hearing their child struggle to breathe.  They are sick and tired of missing work and for their kids missing school … according to the American Lung Association, “Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism; in 2008, asthma accounted for an estimated 14.4 million lost school days in children with an asthma attack in the previous year.”  How much school as your child missed?? http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/asthma/resources/facts-and-figures/asthma-children-fact-sheet.html

    Parents come to me, Dr. Brenda Fairchild, because they are frustrated, feel helpless watching their child gasping for air, and feel like they are failing as a parent.  They are tired of their child being one of the 7.1 million children chronically suffering from asthma.  When I first meet a parent and child(ren), I always ask why they are in my office.  Did they hear that chiropractic can help with their child’s condition?  Were they referred by a pediatrician (highly doubtful…but you never know)?  Most parents aren’t always sure why or how they ended up at Pea and the Pod, but they know they need to make a change in their family’s health and NOW!  So, what can a pediatric chiropractor do to help their family?  I am going to give you a best kept secret to help your child’s asthma.  You will be amazed how much better they will feel!

    First and foremost, any child with Asthma, difficulty breathing, or other health condition, will be physically adjusted. This is not an option in care at my office.  And here is why: the Journal of Orthopedic Surgery conducted a study of 3,013 patients with bronchial asthma  published  in 2004 found they were able to “alleviate bronchial asthma and allergies by improvement of neurology causes by chronically narrowed intervertebral foraminae from the 2nd to 4th and 8th  to the 10th thoracic vertebrae…Asthma patients improved by 70%.”  This is jus11016309_10203917234346625_100385389_nt a complex way of saying that professional adjustment of the spine in the right place can alleviate breathing difficulties by 70%.  That’s right!!  A 70% improvement!!!  I don’t think any medicine can claim that much of an improvement.  What this means to YOU and YOUR child, is that misalignments of the spine in the mid-back of your child can be exasperating the asthma.  This is why chiropractic care is SO important for the health of your child!   This is why I will not see children whose parents do not what their children adjusted.  I cannot ignore a 70% improvement of asthma and you should not either.   https://ispub.com/IJOS/2/1/8061

    Another random clinical trial of 36 children with chronic asthma were studied over 3 months with chiropractic care along with medical care. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11514813 Those with chiropractic care had greatly improved quality of life  and decreased asthma severity, while those children under standard medical pulmonary treatments, showed little to no statistical improvement. Please read that sentence again.  Chiropractic care along with medical care improved symptoms, while medical care alone did not!

    Another study by the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research of 81 asthmatic children reported an improvement in 90.1% after being under chiropractic care for 60 days, ages ranged from 1-17 years of age. The number of asthma “attacks” decreased by an average of 44.9%, and 30.9% decreased their medication by 66.5%. The authors concluded that “Chiropractic care, for correction of vertebral subluxation, is a safe, non-pharmaceutical health care approach which may also be associated with significant decreases in asthma related impairment as well as a decreased incidence of asthmatic `attacks.’”

    http://vertebralsubluxation.sharepoint.com/Pages/1497_0042_impairment.aspx

    This is why, before you change anything, your child should be being seen by a pediatric chiropractor ASAP.  But it just doesn’t stop at chiropractic care, you have to look at diet and make changes, and possibly add supplements.  In my office, I generally order blood work on my clients as it can help to reveal the big picture.  Is your child also allergic to milk or gluten?  I like to start with removing dairy from the diet first, as it is the a more common intolerance, and easier to remove from the diet than gluten.  In addition, dairy products are implicated in excess mucus formation.  How much added sugar is your child consuming?  Is your child vitamin D deficient??  Many children are, especially in the winter months, and supplementation can help breathing (and overall health and immunity) improve significantly.  Are there pets in your house?  How often do you clean your house?  What kind of cleaners are you using?  What other medications or supplements are your children taking?  These are all questions you should be asking yourself.  Taking control of your child’s health is important and I know from the conversations in my office that many doctors are not addressing these questions.  At Pea and the Pod Chiropractic we will help guide you and your family, and help you figure out the best way to heal your child.  There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for children.  Individuals need individual care and we will be your partner in health!

    Call Pea and the Pod Chiropractic today to make the change! 302.368.0800 And don’t forget, Dr. Brenda is specialized in Pediatric Chiropractic Care!

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  • Practical Tips for Flu Prevention

    strong immune systemIn light of the news that this year’s flu shot is, at best, 23% effective (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/flu-vaccine-working-23-percent-effective-28249610), many people are wondering what they can do to help protect themselves and their family from the flu.  In fact, there are a lot of lifestyle changes that you can make in order to help keep your family healthy during what we have been calling ‘the sick season.’  In addition to influenza, norovirus (what most people refer to as a ‘stomach bug’ or ‘stomach flu,’ that includes vomiting, diarrhea, and fever), and rhinovirus (the common cold), all run rampant this time of year.  Many of the tactics that you can use to prevent the flu will also prevent the spread of other common contagious illnesses.

    First and foremost, practice proper hand washing!  Check out this awesome poster from the World Health Organization.  You can print it out and hang it in your bathroom for your kids: http://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/How_To_HandWash_Poster.pdf. One of the best best strategies that you can implement to help prevent the spread of illness, is have everyone take off their shoes and jackets, and WASH HANDS as soon as you get home.  From anywhere!  When you get home from school, the drugstore, the mall, the grocery store, a friend’s house, your mom’s house, anywhere.  Every time you walk in the door make it a habit to wash your hands.  If you are running multiple errands, or will be in a location where soap and water is not readily available, it is a good idea to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, but keep in mind this does not kill norovirus, clostridium difficile bacteria, or many strains of the flu virus.  Experts have said that hand sanitizer is more effective at preventing germ proliferation, rather than at killing it off, so it’s important to use soap and water whenever it’s available, and not to rely on hand sanitizers.

    In addition to hand washing, when you are out and about, it’s important to try not to touch your face, eyes, nose, or mouth!  This is more difficult than people realize.  It’s habit to rub our eyes when we are tired, scratch our nose, or eat something with our hands.  Spend any time with children, and you will notice how often they have their hands in their mouths, and fingers in their nose!  That’s one of the best ways to spread germs, so talk to your kids about keeping their hands away from their face.  This will be almost impossible for them!  But it’s still important to try, and it’s never too late to begin instilling good hygiene habits in our children.

    Typically, the influenza virus is considered a “droplet transmission” virus, which means you must come into contact with the secretions of someone who is infected.  Some strains have been known to be “airborne,” which means the microscopic droplets can stay suspended in the air for some time and you can become infected by breathing them in.  For this reason, if you are going to be in contact with someone with the flu, or if you MUST go out in public when you have the flu, it is prudent to wear a respiratory mask.  These are available at any drugstore.  While you might feel silly wearing it, it’s better than getting the flu or spreading it to someone else!  Alternatively, you could wear a Scough and pretend you are covering your face because you’re cold! http://wearascough.com

    Getting regular chiropractic adjustments can help keep you and your family in optimal health.  In order for our immune systems to function appropriately, our body and brain need to be able to send effective messages to each other!  These messages are sent up and down our spinal cord (in a complex process I won’t bore you with here), and a simple adjustment can make all of the difference if some of those pathways are blocked.  Chiropractic adjustments can be especially helpful for children who have frequent sinus and ear infections as the adjustments help to keep those areas open for drainage.

    Vitamin D deficiency is almost epidemic in this country, especially during the winter months when we are exposed to very little sunshine.  However, vitamin D is crucial for proper immune function and many other functions in the body. In order for our bodies to make adequate vitamin D, we need to have adequate levels of cholesterol in our bodies, and at least 15 minutes of face and arm exposure to sunlight per day.  Clearly no one one in the Northeastern United States is getting that amount of exposure during the icy cold winter months.  A high quality vitamin D supplement can help fill in the gaps until we can all lay out in the sunshine during the warmer months.  We like Bluebonnet brand, Xymogen, and Nordic Naturals, but you can ask your chiropractor or naturopath which supplement brand they recommend.  It is especially important for breastfeeding mothers to make sure that they are not vitamin D deficient.  Many pediatricians mistakenly claim that breastmilk is deficient in vitamin D and that babies need supplementation, but this is only true if the mother is deficient.  Some breastfeeding mothers need as much as 5,000-10,000 IU supplementation in order to have enough vitamin D for themselves and their nursing baby.  Your chiropractor or other health practitioner can order a blood test so that you know what your vitamin D levels are.

    It is very important to maintain the healthiest diet possible when trying to prevent the flu and other illnesses.  By now, most of us know how damaging excess sugar can be to the immune system, so it’s especially important to keep the sugar down during outbreaks of illness!  We know how hard it is to maintain a healthy diet when fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t as available and when all you want to do is curl up with some hot comfort food.  Nourishing soups that contain a lot of garlic, onions, and ginger will help fight the flu and other illnesses.  Bone broth is a wonderful addition to everyone’s diet, see our favorite recipe here: http://wellnessmama.com/5888/how-to-make-bone-broth/ Organic oatmeal with grass-fed butter, cinnamon, and maple syrup is a delicious and nourishing way to start the day.  Pastured eggs have plenty of protein, omega-3 fats, and vitamin D.  Don’t forget to eat the yolk!  That’s where the vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats are.  Snack on organic almonds and walnuts, organic dried fruit and seeds, and grass-fed cheeses.  If you must have something sweet (as we all must sometimes), you can make your own organic low-sugar hot chocolate.  Organic, fair-trade pure cocoa powder, plus the milk or milk alternative of your choice, and just a couple teaspoons of organic cane sugar will satisfy your sweet tooth.

    Remember also, that the majority of your immune system resides in your gut.  There are certain food additives and over-the-counter medications that are known to harm the beneficial bacteria inside your large intestine that protect you from infection.  NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can damage gut flora when taken in excess or over long periods of time.  Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (Equal) and sucralose (Splenda) have been known to kill off beneficial bacteria. Always read labels of all over-the-counter medications as many contain sucralose or aspartame.  Pedialyte, often given to children for dehydration during illness, contains sucralose, which is almost guaranteed to make your child feel worse.  Check out this blog for an all-natural rehydration drink for kids: http://dontmesswithmama.com/homemade-citrus-electrolyte-drink/

    If you or your family members do happen to come down with the flu, in the absence of other serious medical conditions, it is usually a self-limiting illness.  It is important to stay at home, preferably in bed, and to REST, when you are ill!  Our culture encourages pushing yourself to the limit, but it’s important to STAY HOME when you are sick in order to prevent passing the illness along to others.  Plenty of rest also results in a quicker recovery.  Keep hydrated and eat nourishing meals such as bone broth.  For kids without an appetite, I make a delicious, immune boosting rice dish that I have put on my birth blog here: https://birthinfullbloom.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/immune-boosting-rice-dish-for-sick-little-ones/

    Stay hydrated with coconut water, electrolyte drinks, organic juices, and tea.  Organic Lemon Balm tea is both antiviral and delicious!  Even kids like it, sweetened with a little raw honey (honey is not recommended for babies under 1 year of age).  Breastfeeding babies and kids are much less likely to come down with the flu, but if they do, it is important to nurse frequently for hydration, calories, and immune boosting effects.  If you are nursing a baby and your older child comes down with the flu, pumping breast milk and giving it to your older child in a cup can help them benefit from the antibodies it contains.  We have yet to read a convincing study indicating that Tamiflu is indicated for treatment of the diagnosed flu, but this is something you must discuss with your healthcare provider.

    There are many herbal remedies that are safe for treating common illnesses at home.  These include Echinacea and Elderberry, the two most common, Lomatium, Olive Leaf Extract, and others, but as herbal remedies are out of the scope of this blog post, we suggest directly contacting an herbalist or naturopath for dosing recommendations.  As always, boosting probiotics and vitamin C will help almost any illness.  Note that too much of either can cause loose stools in both adults and children.  If this does happen, remember that is normal (and often indicates you have just passed the therapeutic dose), and simply discontinue or back off the dosage.

    There are so many ways that you can help protect your family from the flu this season, and not all have been listed here.  If you have any questions about the information you’ve read here, please contact us at peaandthepodchiropractic.com or 302-368-0800.

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  • Chiropractic Care in the Treatment and Prevention of Pediatric Ear Infections

    Many children in the United States suffer from recurring middle ear infections, known as Otitis Media.

    In fact, 3 out of 4 children will experience at least one ear infection by the time that they are 3 years old.

    Ear infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or be the result of allergies, and include symptoms such as severe pain, fever, and irritability. The most common conventional treatment is antibiotics, but these will only work for bacterial infections (many ear infections are actually viral infections), and often don’t resolve the und10720886_10203030691383605_1006833486_nerlying condition. The result is then more recurring ear infections and subsequent antibiotic prescriptions. This in turn can create antibiotic resistance, persistent gastrointestinal distress for the child, and a myriad of other problems. Recurring ear infections can even temporarily or permanently damage your child’s hearing, also resulting in speech delays. For this reason, prevention and treatment of the underlying condition is of utmost importance.

    One of the causes of persistent ear infections is actually allergies, both seasonal and allergies to certain foods. Allergies create an accumulation of fluid in various compartments of the body, including the middle ear. This fluid accumulation provides a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. These organisms cannot grow well without the fluid. Eliminating the causes of fluid build-up, by both reducing allergen exposure and receiving chiropractic adjustments to relieve compression around the ear, can reduce the frequency of ear infections.

    Ear infections also occur after a child’s immune system has been lowered for any reason. A child’s Eustachian Tube is short, narrow, and horizontal. Because of this, bacteria and viruses (from a common cold for example) can easily make their way to the middle ear. If there is also misalignment of the structures around the ear, the microbes build up and grow even more. There is new research that the overuse of antibiotics and vaccines given early in life can contribute to recurring ear infections. As Dr. Brenda Trudell of New Beginnings Chiropractic explains, “Antibiotics given early in life, or with the first ear infection may alter infants’ immune systems in such a way that they are unable to fight off infections on their own. Some vaccines are known to lower immunity for a period of time, which can make an infant more susceptible to viral or bacterial infections. And six childhood vaccines, including Hib, have “Otitis Media” listed as a common adverse reaction, meaning the vaccine itself is a known cause of ear infections. With vaccines given at birth, 2,4,6 and12 months, it may be a reason why 62% of children are diagnosed under the age of one. A large study in New Zealand showed that vaccinated children were 3 times as likely to get OM than unvaccinated children” (http://newbeginningschiropractic.net/chiropractic-approach-to-childhood-ear-infections/) For this reason, she recommends that children who are showing any signs of illness or fever, NOT be vaccinated at that time. If their immune system is busy fighting off something else they will be more susceptible to a vaccine-induced ear infection.

    Childhood ear infections can also be caused by trauma at birth and in this case it is especially important to visit your chiropractor. Infants born via C-section, forceps, or vacuum, are at a much higher risk of spinal and cranial injury and should be seen soon after birth by a chiropractor who specializes in Pediatrics. Babies who are born via C-section and thus were not exposed to the beneficial bacteria of their mother’s vagina are at an even greater risk of developing recurring ear infections.
    One natural treatment for ear infections it to put drops of organic garlic infused olive oil or breastmilk in the ear (not to be used if a rupture is present). Supplementing your child with 1000-2000 IU of vitamin D (supplement yourself with 5,000 IU if you are breastfeeding a baby or child), up to 250 mg of vitamin C, and a high quality probiotic will also help their overall health. Exclusively breastfed infants also have much lower rates of ear infections. Most importantly though, if you are planning on treating your child’s ear infections naturally, it’s imperative to clear the fluid out of the ear and open up the space where the bacteria or virus is growing. Otherwise any treatment is going to be short-lived at best. The conventional medical treatment of this scenario is to insert tubes in the child’s ears. Ear tubes are tiny cylinders placed through the ear drum (tympanic membrane) to allow air into the middle ear. The insertion of ear tubes is currently the most common childhood surgery requiring general anesthesia. Both general anesthesia and antibiotics are serious medical interventions that are not without risks. Chiropractic adjustments of the neck and skull have been recommended by many doctors, including Dr. Sears, to aid in the treatment and prevention of ear infections in children, and these adjustments may prevent the need for tubes. Dr. Joan Fallon DC, describes her treatment of ear infections in an article for the American Chiropractic Association.

    Before yet another round of “maybe-they’ll-work-and-maybe-they-won’t” antibiotics or the drastic step of surgery, more parents are considering chiropractic to help children with chronic ear infections. Dr. Joan Fallon has published research showing that, after receiving a series of chiropractic adjustments, nearly 80 percent of the children treated were free of ear infections for at least the six-month period following their initial visits (a period that also included maintenance treatments every four to six weeks). “Chiropractic mobilizes drainage of the ear in children, and if they can continue to drain without a buildup of fluid and subsequent infection, they build up their own antibodies and recover more quickly,” explains Dr. Fallon. She’d like to see her pilot study used as a basis for larger-scale trials of chiropractic as a therapeutic modality for otitis media. (http://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=69)

    Chiropractic adjustments for treating and preventing ear infections usually involve the bones of the neck, skull, jaw, and cervical spine. Correcting the alignment of the small bones in the head and neck allow fluid to properly move and drain. As Dr. Trudell explains, “Chiropractic adjustments remove interference within the nervous system by correcting misalignments in the spinal column, jaw and possibly cranial bones, without the use of drugs or surgery. Correcting misalignments also reduces muscle tension, decreases inflammation, increases mobility, and establishes proper blood flow and lymph drainage, all of which can affect the function of the middle ear and Eustachian tube.” These adjustments are very gentle and nothing to fear! Relief can even begin as early as the first treatment.

    If your child is suffering from recurrent ear infections, come and see us at Pea and the Pod! There are many factors that impact recurring ear infections and Dr. Brenda can help you find which health and lifestyle changes will help your family. We also are proud to now have an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant on staff, Mona Liza Hamlin. Exclusively breastfed babies have lower rates of ear infections and if you need help with nursing your little one please give us a call!

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