the necessity of good sleep

the necessity of good sleep

Why regular sleep is essential to good health and what to do if you’re not making the cut Melatonin is naturally secreted by our pineal gland in our brain in response to darkness and in accordance with your circadian rhythm, your body’s internal clock that oscillates parallel to the 24-hour daily cycles of the earth.  Melatonin is typically secreted between 9-10 PM, but this can be affected by a number of factors; having the TV on in the room, jet lag, lack of bright sunlight exposure during the day, temperature over 70 degrees in your bedroom, to name only a few.   The importance of getting a restful night’s sleep cannot be under stated.  It is essential to mood, mental clarity, cognition, memory, immune system functioning, weight gain/retention, hormone secretion and regulation, and gene expression.  Some research is even showing a lack of sleep to increase your risk of developing cancer.  It can be difficult to commit to a nightly sleep hygiene routine, but try to pick a time to have “lights out” (and I mean OUT) and follow through.  This would optimally be between 10-11 PM.  If you are already having sleep issues, some things to try are turning off all electronics for at least one hour before bed, keeping your thermostat set to below 70 degrees, and sleeping in as close to total darkness as possible.  If you’re still having trouble, I would recommend consulting your physician on melatonin supplementation to help get you back on track with your sleep/wake cycles.   There are many additional benefits to melatonin supplementation, including a decrease in muscle soreness and tension, but by far the most profound would be its potential to aid in disease prevention.  According to a study in the Journal of Pineal Research, supplementation with melatonin has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer by regulating the sleep wake cycle and thereby regulating hormone production and gene expression.  The study also concluded that melatonin can help to decrease this risk by inhibiting the growth of several cancer types while also signaling cancer-cell specific death.   J Pineal Res. 2005 Nov;39(4):360-6. PMID:...

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An article by Cole Bradburn – Why Infants Need Chiropractic Care

An article by Cole Bradburn – Why Infants Need Chiropractic Care

Why Infants Need Chiropractic Care by Cole Bradburn It is common to get strange looks from people I talk to about taking infants to the chiropractor.  I know what is going through their heads: is it safe…babies don’t have back pain…do babies get adjusted the same way I do?  These are legitimate concerns for any parent, but to answer them I will begin with the most important question: WHY? Let’s start with the obvious.  When was the last time you tried to squeeze through a 10cm hole? Being born is tough work, there are a lot of pressures and forces being exerted onto your baby during their journey into the world.  A current study demonstrated that 90% of newborns suffered birth trauma and associated strain through the neck and cranial areas following birth: Over 1500 babies were studied periodically across an eight year period by Viola Frymann, an American osteopathic doctor. All babies were examined within the first five days of birth; in fact, many were checked within the first 24 hours of birth. This study revealed that approximately: • 10% of the newborn babies had perfect, freely mobile skulls or cranial mechanisms. • 10% had severe trauma to the head, evident even to untrained observers. • The remaining 80% all had some strain patterns in the cranial mechanism. Left uncorrected this trauma continues to impact your baby’s spinal growth and development, reducing the healthy function of their nervous system.  This can cause many health challenges later in life that could easily have been prevented. The first year of life is the greatest time of spinal elongation A baby’s spine lengthens by 50% by the time they reach one year old!  At no other time does this growth happen so rapidly, so you want to make sure your baby is in proper alignment ensuring proper symmetrical growth. The Hueter-Volkman law states that bones change shape with pressure by slowing bone growth in response to pressure (compression forces).  Any spinal misalignment changes the balance of pressure across the spinal bones and can lead to asymmetric bone development.  This is the difference between having a spine like a straight, strong Oak tree versus a crooked tree. The first year of life is also the time of spinal curvature development.  There are curves called “lordosis” present in your neck and lower back, and curves called a “kyphosis” in your mid-back and sacrum. These spinal curves are necessary for movement, balance, upright posture, protection, and shock absorption.  Without being in alignment during this crucial time your baby’s spinal curves may not develop properly – giving them a poor foundation for later in life. Optimize the function of the nervous system The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord, and it...

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Dry Winter Skin

Dry Winter Skin

Coconut oil has become my best friend.  There are a myriad of uses and benefits from this tropical item, one of which is helping to combat dry skin both from inside and out.  Eating a few teaspoons throughout the day can aid in creating a healthy-oil base skin layer and applying a dab to already cracked and dry skin can soothe and nourish. Supplements that support healthy skin are fat-soluble vitamins A, C, E, and K (try taking with them that teaspoon of coconut oil to boost absorption), alpha-lipoic acid, and a B-complex.  Consult either myself or your personal physician for optimal dosages and possible...

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Uric Acid..The New Cholesterol?

Uric Acid..The New Cholesterol?

Uric acid may sound familiar because of its association with gout, a painful inflammatory condition of the big toe in which an abundance of uric acid crystals are deposited around the joint.  However, uric acid has much more serious implications than a red hot toe.  Excess production lowers nitric oxide levels, raises angiotensin, and leads to smooth muscle contraction.  Smooth muscle is what our blood vessels are made of, therefore contraction of these vessels raises our blood pressure and can also lead to kidney damage. Fructose elevates uric acid levels in our body.  Fruit is one of the more common foods through which we intake fructose.  Although fruit has a number of healthy vitamins and anti-oxidants, it should be limited to the berry variety and only 2 servings per day.  Juice and soda should be avoided at all costs and be sure to read the labels, as high fructose corn syrup is added to nearly all processed foods including these every day...

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Eating Organic on a Budget

Eating Organic on a Budget

It’s unfortunate that trying to supply your body with the most nutritious and non-toxic foods available can put a serious dent in your funds.  So if some corners need to be cut, here is how to sort through what produce you can afford (both financially and health-wise) to buy organically or not. The Dirty Dozen and The Clean Fifteen       The Dirty Dozen Produce that should be purchased organically: 1. apples 2. celery 3. cherry tomatoes 4. cucumber 5. grapes 6. hot peppers 7. nectarines 8. peaches 9. potatoes 10. spinach 11. strawberries 12. sweet bell peppers (plus collards, kale, summer squash & zucchini)   The Clean Fifteen Produce that is safer to purchase conventionally: 1. asparagus 2. avocado 3. cabbage 4. cantaloupe 5. corn 6. eggplant 7. grapefruit 8. kiwi 9. mangoes 10. mushrooms 11. onions 12. papayas 13. pineapples 14. sweet peas (frozen) 15. sweet...

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Creep That Leads To Postural Insult

Creep That Leads To Postural Insult

It is not often discussed because productivity would likely take a hit, but the human body was not designed to sit at a desk in front of a computer for hours on end, day after day, year after year.  Not only do the majority of jobs today necessitate that position, but people often do not realize the extent of the damage they are creating in their soft tissues because of it.  Whether it occurs ten days or ten years later, we all eventually feel the effects of poor ergonomics (through the physiological processes creep and hysteresis), and this is a crucial piece to address when trying to alleviate musculoskeletal pain. Creep: “In material sciences, creep is the tendency of a solid material to move slowly or deform permanently under the influence of mechanical stresses.  It can occur as a result of long-term exposure to high levels of stress.” (Wikipedia). What that means in terms of our muscles, ligaments, and joints (our “solid material”) is that a sustained posture, especially poor posture, can lead to deformation of those tissues.  The most noticeable symptom is pain, but pain is the last symptom to present.  Before pain, there was a decrease of oxygen to the tissues, cellular death, shortening and tightening of some tissues and stretching and weakening of others.  After trying to repair these harmed systems, at some point the body can no longer handle the load and that’s when we feel pain.  To be clear, “sustained” does not necessarily mean hours.  Creep can begin in as few as 15 minutes, but the longer the posture, the more severe the deformation. This is why it’s absolutely crucial to take micro-breaks throughout the day.  Make sure to get up from your desk (or whatever you may be doing for an extended period of time) and walk around to release those contracted hip flexors.  And take a break from typing by rolling your shoulders down and back and squeezing your shoulder blades together.  This helps take the tension off your back line of muscles and has also been shown to be a stress-relieving position.  Trust me, your body will thank you now.. and...

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