Archive | April 2013

A little something to help you enjoy your summer, pain free…

Do you have low back pain?  Who doesn’t, right?  Does the pain not respond to treatments to your low back?  Big surprise…  the pain might not be coming from your back.  Research shows that health care practitioners should be looking to your hips.

In order for your low back to function properly, the hip joints need to have adequate mobility.  Internal rotation (moving the thigh inward) and external rotation (moving the thigh outward) should be equal on each leg and from side to side.  The musculature around the hips, also needs to be balanced and strong.

Unfortunately, with the way our society functions, most of us sit at a desk for 8 hours a day and then go home to sit on the couch.  Whatever happened to running around and enjoying the great outdoors?  In case you need some help, I’ve put together some dynamic (movement) stretches to help increase mobility in your hips.  So go outside, enjoy the sun (get your 15 minutes worth) and stretch out your hips twice a day.  The best time to stretch is after cardiovascular exercise, when your muscles are pumped full of blood.  However, if you stretch dynamically, there is less chance of injury if done before exercise.  Plus dynamic stretching is more fun!  Please remember, if you feel pain at any time, (or were instructed not to perform any of these moves) stop what you are doing and see your health care practitioner.

  1. Leg swings – swing your leg from front to back, toes pointed forward.  Keep your back straight, shoulder blades down and back, and pelvis still.  If you lack mobility, keep your swings small.
  2. Side-side Leg swings – swing your leg from side to side, toes pointed forward.  Keep your back straight, shoulder blades back and down, and pelvis still.  Do not rotate your torso.
  3. Split squats – assume a wide split stance with toes pointed forward.  Keep your back straight, shoulder blades back and down, and don’t let the knees buckle in.  Keep your hands behind your head and squat one knee toward the floor.
  4. Lateral squats – assume a wide stance with toes pointed forward.  Keep your back straight, shoulder blades back and down, knees out, and squat to the side with hands behind your head.
  5. Rotational squats – assume a wide stance, with one leg toes pointed forward and the other leg toes pointed out 90 degrees.  Keep your back straight, shoulder blades back and down, knees out, and squat to the side with toes pointed forward.
  6. Reverse lunge with twist – step back with one leg as far as you can and rotate to the opposite side.  Keep your back straight, shoulder blades back and down, and knees out.  Squeeze your glute (butt) muscle on the back leg while you rotate and stand up.
  7. Crossover reverse lunge – step back with one leg and to across your other leg.  Keep your back straight and shoulder blades back and down.

My love,

Dr. Kristin

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What is Whole Body Vibration Therapy?

Whole body vibration (WBV) therapy has become popular recently, in the athletic community and in Chiropractic offices.  But why?  What can WBV do for you?

First off…  What is WBV?  WBV units are platforms, as seen in the picture below, that you stand on.  The platform oscillates up and down one side at a time, causing your body to vibrate.  These machines will vibrate between 20-100 Hz (Hertz is a unit of frequency or # of vibrations per second).

So why vibrate your body?  Well…  when a muscle is isometrically (contracted without changing length) loaded, 40% of the muscle is being contracted at once.  When those fibers start to fatigue, the body utilizes a different 40% of muscle fibers, in order to reduce fatiguability.  When vibration is added to isometric contractions, the Tonic Vibration Reflex is initiated.  This reflex causes a sustained contraction of the whole muscle by engaging the muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs.  Ultimately, the whole muscle is rapidly fatigued, and you have had a workout!

The vibration increases local circulation and lymphatic drainage.  This helps to accelerate tissue repair!  Studies have even shown a decrease in blood inflammatory markers after utilizing WBV post-workout, which can help decrease delayed onset muscle soreness, felt after a heavy workout.  Draining blocked lymph ducts can also help to reduce the appearance of cellulite, which accumulates as toxins deposit in the fat tissue in the surrounding areas.

Basically you can’t lose by jumping on this great machine!  Perform squats, one-legged exercises, push-ups, or just stand.  There are many benefits!

 

My love,

Dr. Kristin

WBV

What is the Captain’s Chair?

The captain’s chair is the above piece of equipment at the gym.  It can be a bit daunting, unless you mimmick someone else’s manuevers upon it.  But here is a short video showing you how to do an abdominal exercise on it.  This is just one example, as you can also perform other exercises on it and modifications.  Enjoy!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Sleep Deprivation and Melatonin

As most of us have heard, the general rule for sleep is to get 8 hours a night.  (Some people seem to need less than 8 hours, and I always say biochemical individuality.)  But why is sleep so important?

After your eyes shut and your brain waves slow, your body kick starts some very important healing processes.  Sleep is when your body can really do some work on the damage done during the day.  Melatonin is the hormone that kick starts this process.  It is more important than many of us have realized in the past.  It has been seen that decreased levels of melatonin will skew the rest of your hormonal profile, including growth hormone, testosterone, estrogen, etc.  In this way it is thought of as a regulator of hormonal balance.  As I have talked about in other posts, hormonal balance is key to healing and body fat control.  Throw off that balance and we typically see a decreased ability to heal and deposits of fat in very particular areas of the body.

Melatonin has also been seen to possess very strong antioxidant properties.  Antioxidants work to rid the body of free radicals, which are molecules formed from oxidative stresses which include improper diet, stress and smoking.  Free radicals are thought to speed the aging process and contribute to processes including cancer.

Melatonin is released from the pineal gland, which resides in the middle of your brain.  Its production is stimulated by the sun, and its release is inhibited by the sun and stimulated by the dark.  When it gets dark, as melatonin increases in your blood, you begin to be less alert and hence fall asleep.   This is when the magic is done.  (Melatonin is however, inhibited by bright lights at night, which means staying up late with all the lights on.)

If you are depriving yourself of sleep, your body is not being given the adequate amount of time it needs to heal and repair tissues.  This includes staying up super late at night in a well-lit room (this can actually inhibit the release of melatonin).  There are many more benefits of sleep than I am going to discuss here, such as resting your adrenals glands and the increased release of growth hormone.  But I wanted to stress the importance of sleep and melatonin.  This does not mean I think everyone should go out and supplement with melatonin.  I recommend turning the lights off and trying to be in bed by 10pm, to allow your body the time it needs to repair.  And who doesn’t feel more productive when they get up early?

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Are you dehydrated?

I’m sure you’ve all heard before that your body is made up of 60-80% water.  But perhaps we need to talk about how common and easy it is to go into a state of dehydration, and how it actually affects you.  First let us define what dehydration is.  It is not as simple as you are either dehydrated or not.  Your level of hydration is a fluctuating state.  Dehydration means your cells do not have enough water to operate optimally.  Water is the medium through which your cells do their jobs.  Just as if your car does not have enough oil in the engine, it cannot run as well as it should.

Being dehydrated can slow your metabolism by up to 30%.  This means that if you are trying to get in shape or lose weight, it becomes an uphill battle.  Dehydration also significantly affects your liver, which means your body will not be able to process and eliminate toxins as efficiently.  And if you are exercising, dehydration means your muscles won’t be at full capacity.  Dehydration can be the difference of one glass of water.  As a rule of thumb, you should consume 1/2 your weight in lbs, in ounces of water.  If you weigh 120 lbs, you should be consuming 60 ounces of water per day.  If you are exercising or perspiring excessively, this number needs to adjust accordingly.

There are different signs of dehydration that you may experience (everyone is different).  These include headache, constipation, aching muscles, fatigue, decreased brain function, and infrequent urination.  As a general rule, it is healthy to eliminate your bowels at least one time a day, no more than 3 (obviously this can range and you need to be able to assimilate the nutrients from your food), and to urinate once an hour.  The excretory systems are meant to do just that, excrete toxins.

Water quality is also an important issue to address.  It is very common for municipalities to add chemicals to the water supply, such as chlorine, to kill potential bacteria/parasites.  This is important to prevent infections among the masses.  However, consuming these chemicals is also detrimental to us.  Chlorine kills bacteria, this includes the GOOD bacteria in your colon, and therefore acts as a type of antibiotic.  This is quite devastating to your immune system as a large responsibility lies in your bowels.  Fluoride is another issue, and a popular misconception.  We have been taught that Fluoride is good for our teeth.  Unfortunately for us, there is research and many case reports showing otherwise.  (If you are interested in reading about fluoride, I suggest reading the book ‘The Fluoride Deception’ by Christopher Bryson.)  Fluoride consumption actually destroys bone and teeth (naturally occurring known as calcium fluoride and artificial known as sodium fluoride), and also collects in the pineal gland in the brain.  A recent study out of Harvard University has shown that fluoride decreases IQ in our children.  All in all, it would be optimal for us to remove fluoride from the water we drink.  (I suggest also reading this article on Natural News http://www.naturalnews.com/026605_fluoride_fluorides_detox.html).  The best way to make sure you are consuming the best quality water is to purchase a reverse osmosis system for under your sink.  A system like this will purify your drinking water only and should cost about $200.  I could not think of a better investment.

The last issue I would like to address is your water drinking container.  It is very common these days to purchase bottled water, or refill your own plastic container.  Plastic contains toxic chemicals that will actually leach into the water contained inside.  These chemicals have been found to disrupt your endocrine system, or your HORMONES.  Disruptions of hormones can lead to an inability to lose weight and infertility.  BPA is a popular chemical you may have heard about, and companies are now advertising BPA-free products.  What they do not tell you is that the plastic contains other chemicals that are either as detrimental or worse.  So all in all, I recommend NOT drinking out of plastic.  Good alternatives are stainless steel bottles (like Kleen Kanteen) or glass.

Gives your body what it deserves!  Because you only have one!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

What supplements should I be taking?

As a wellness doctor, I am frequently asked “what type of supplements should I be taking?”  I am an advocate for supplementation, however the most important first step is to look at your diet.  Nutrition is meant to be attained foremost from your food.  Therefore, it is of utmost importance to make sure all your bases are covered in your dietary regimen.  Step number one includes removing foods which are inflammatory to you.  This includes wheat, pasteurized dairy products, corn and sugar.  Allergy testing or an elimination diet may be required to determine how your body responds to different foods.  With inflammatory foods present in the body, your immune system is compromised and healing cannot take place.

Just as your car may require a certain type of fuel to function optimally, so does your body.  The human body performs according to the fuel you give it.  Many foods contain chemical preservatives and toxins, which can alter body processes and lead to bigger problems down the road.  These additives can be avoided by purchasing organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed beef, organic free range chicken, and pastured eggs.  Purchase whole food ingredients and cook meals yourself.  A good rule of thumb is anything made in a factory (processed) should not be eaten by you.

Lastly, consume at least 8 full glasses of water a day.  Water helps to flush out toxins through your bowels and it is the medium through which all bodily processes work.  If you are in a state of dehydration, your body cannot function optimally.  You quickly become tired, achy and unable to perform tasks as usual.  So drink up.

Once diet changes have been made, we can begin to look at important supplementation.  There are 3 main supplement staples that I believe are important for everyone.  Omega 3’s, Vitamin D3, and probiotics.

In a typical American diet, we usually do not see adequate omega 3 fatty acid consumption, and conversely too much omega 6.  Omega 3 fatty acids are involved in removing inflammation from the body, and omega 6 fatty acids are associated with the presence of inflammation.  Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in grass-fed beef and wild caught fish.  Your levels can be tested and should be at a ratio of 1:1.  If these foods are not consumed or if your omega 3 level is too low, supplementation is suggested.

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for immune function, reduction of inflammation, bone health, and has anti-cancer properties.  Vitamin D can be synthesized from exposure to the sun.  An adequate daily amount of 10,000 IU requires about 20 minutes in the sun with most skin exposed, and no shower for up to 30 minutes post exposure (so the vitamin can be absorbed through the skin).  Unfortunately, most people do not receive this amount of sun daily, especially due to work schedules during daylight hours and winter.  Vitamin D levels can be checked to see if you are low.  Low levels can cause fatigue and low immune function.  If supplementing it is important to choose the bioavailable form of D3 (cholecalciferol).

Lastly, many Americans at some point or another are on a course of antibiotics.  Unfortunately, antibiotics do not only kill the invader, but they kill beneficial bacteria in the bowels as well.  This is a problem since your digestive tract is a HUGE portion of your immune system.  Many pathogens enter your body through your mouth, leaving your bowels to deal with them.  An unhealthy gut, means an unhealthy immune system.  If you are on a course of antibiotics, it would be wise to also take a course of probiotics to repopulate those fallen soldiers which you have lost.  Once the course of probiotics is over, it is  beneficial to consume fermented vegetables to properly feed the beneficial bacteria.  This would include foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi (all which should be non-pasteurized to maintain good bacterial integrity).

If you do not feel you are eating as healthy a diet as you can, it would also be wise to purchase a high quality multivitamin.  The good thing about a multi is that it ensures you are receiving all beneficial vitamins and minerals.

So to reiterate….  DIET first, supplements second.

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Abs After 30

Are you looking to lose weight, burn fat, and feel younger, healthier, more energetic?  Abs After 30 is an exercise and diet program specifically designed to make you burn fat by optimizing your hormonal balance!

Hormones are chemical messengers that affects cells in different systems all over the body. They are responsible for fat storage and fat usage. Hormonal imbalances will make you store fat in certain areas, like belly, butt, and thighs.

As we age, especially in our 30’s and beyond, our hormones naturally decrease. However, this is AMPLIFIED by our poor choices in diet and exercise. Studies show that following a hormone-enhancing diet and a hormone specific exercise plan will reverse this process. Hormonal balance reduces problems ranging from obesity and diabetes to brain fog and fatigue.

There is an overwhelming number of people with hormonal imbalances, and luckily there is an answer… Abs After 30! Regain your hormonal balance, your health and your fitness now! Say goodbye to that extra fat!

 

Check out www.absafter30.net and change your life!

 

My love,

Dr. Kristin