Tag Archive | chiropractic

Horsetail

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I decided yesterday that I need to honor nature around me and my connection with it. The way I am going to do this is to learn about 1 new herb every day/every other day. And then of course share it with you!

My herbal adventure begins with Horsetail, which is found in North America, Europe, and Asia. Some of you may have heard about this plant, which is often used to increase hair strength through its high content of silica (about 35%). The plant itself is hard and hollow, only being edible in a young state. These characteristics give it an affinity to hard structures throughout the body, making it beneficial for bones, cartilage, arteries, connective tissues, and skin.

This plant is especially useful for people with silica deficiency. This can be observed through several characteristics including hair becoming thin and splitting, weak nails, hangnails, and infections around the nails. Mucus membranes also become weak, leading way to allergies, particularly in the sinuses and chronic bladder issues.

Horsetail can aid in rebuilding joints, where bone and cartilage have weakened. It also helps to strengthen vessels to avoid varicosities.

This herb also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties making it beneficial for old inflammations, abscesses, or other breakouts of the skin. It is known as the “herbal scalpel” because of its ability to draw out old infections.

Typical ways to utilize this plant includes capsule form of the dried herb, alcohol tinctures, and/or tea. The best way to decide if an herb is for you is to see a health care practitioner who prescribes herbs.

To sum up a list of things this herb is excellent for;
-silica deficiency/malabsorption
-chronic bladder infections
-joint degeneration
-varicose veins
-chronic allergies

My love,

Dr. Kristin

A Fresh Start Every Day

Every morning when we awake is a new day to treat our bodies with the care and love we deserve. As our bodies have been regenerating and repairing throughout the night, the morning brings an empty canvas. A great way to jump start your digestive function is to drink a large glass of quality water with fresh squeezed lemon and/or lime. In case you are wondering what quality water is, (refer to a previous article) reverse osmosis is my personal choice as it removes chlorine AND fluoride. Since all our cells function through the medium of water, a large glass first thing is a good way to jump start your metabolism after a good 8 hour liquid fast in the night.

Now for the fun part… fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice! What exactly is this good for? Lemons and limes are great liver detoxifiers. They both help to stimulate the production of liver enzymes and bile, which aids in the digestive process. These citrus fruits have also been shown to lower the glycemic index of the food being consumed along with them, which is great for diabetics and for weight loss.

A tall glass in the morning will help flush your digestive tract first thing in the morning, and help rid yourself of harmful toxins from the foods you’ve eaten. It’s such a great way to start your healthy day!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

Stretching. The what, where, when, and how to…

I thought I’d give a run down on the most effective and satisfying way to stretch, since most times I go to the gym I see no one doing it.  First off, there are a couple reasons to stretch your muscles.  First, as many people are involved in daily repetitive postures and movements, certain muscles will adaptively shorten.  This means that if you sit all day long (for example), your hamstrings and hip flexors are in a shortened position for most of the day.   Since our body is always trying to be as efficient as possible, this sends a signal to the brain saying that these muscles only needs to be ‘this long’.  Hence the muscles adapt to the new demand.  Second, this shortening leads to altered biomechanics in the way our body functions.  The body will always try to compensate for losses by activating other muscles to pick up the slack.  But eventually the system breaks down further and further, especially when compounded with injury.  Sooner or later you will experience pain, the warning signal.  Many times the pain will vanish without a trace, but this does not mean the underlying issue is gone.  Stretching can help to re-establish the proper muscular balance in the body.  Unfortunately, it needs to be a routine to be effective.

There are a couple rules to follow when deciding to take up a stretching routine.

1. Always stretch after your muscles are warm.  This means no pre-workout static stretching.  It has been shown that this can lead to a higher susceptibility of injury during the workout.  It has also been shown that your muscles will not function as optimally.  This means you should not statically stretch before you need to run a race or play a game (something that you need to be at your best).  If you are doing a gym or home workout, the best time to stretch is at the end.  If you are just stretching without working out, it is best to take a short walk or jog first, just to warm up your muscles.  I personally love a sauna session before a good stretch.

2.  If you choose to stretch before a workout, the best way to do so is to dynamically stretch.  (Notice in #1 I said no STATIC stretching.  Static means being still, or for example touching your toes and holding that position.)  Dynamic stretching increases muscle blood flow and helps to loosen the muscle.  This would include a movement such as swinging your leg forward and backward repeatedly.

3.   Through my research, I’ve seen that the most optimal way to lengthen a muscle is to perform eccentric muscular contractions with weight.  This approach will actually build muscle fibers in a lengthening fashion.  So you will get stronger, plus added length and mobility.  This would be performed by holding weight in a contracted position, and continue to hold in that position while another person tries to pull you out.  (This can be done with the other persons strength or by standing on the weights – on a machine assisted lift.)  I have done this style of stretching/lifting most with pec flys on a pec deck machine (machine where your forearms are resting on pads and you squeeze in until your forearms are touching).   I have seen great improvements in my posture (since my shoulders were rolled forward from sitting in class during chiropractic school).

4.  Last, when stretching statically it should never be painful, only uncomfortable.  The stretch should be held for at least 30 seconds for optimal results.  And please, always listen to your body.  If it feels you have gone too far, back off.  If it feels you could go further, ease into it.

I’ve seen with many patients (and myself) how much stretching can actually help alleviate pain and assist in optimizing biomechanical function.  In this article, (http://drkristinsfitnessrx.com/2013/04/30/a-little-something-to-help-you-enjoy-your-summer-pain-free/) I talked about different stretches for low back pain.  It can be beneficial for most people, so why not start a routine today?  The only thing you have to lose is pain or dysfunction!

My love,

Dr. Kristin

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

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

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