We talk a lot about boosting our immune system during the winter months.
In today’s current climate, people are starting to pay particular attention to their health- which is great! Instead of a focus only on boosting the immune system, how about looking at how to stop lowering our immune system’s function? Many things we regularly do serve to dampen our immune system’s ability to function at its best. These 9 ideas on removing interference to your immune system and increasing its ability to function optimally were shared with us by our colleague Dr. Don Clum. They are just too good not to share! You can find more resources from Dr. Clum on his website. And we have of course, added our own tidbits!
1. Cut out the sugar. Sugar can lower your immune response by 60% for up to 4 hours. Sugar is in almost all processed foods and drinks. We know it’s delicious, but is it worth it?
2. Stop being sedentary. Exercise has been shown to raise immune response and even help people recover from the flu. Dr. Brendan’s favorite saying: “Move the body” really applies here!
3. Stop tossing and turning. Sleep! Poor sleep has been on the rise in this current crisis and will impact your immune response.
4. Don't isolate...Socialize! Loneliness/isolation has been shown to decrease your immune response. A recent study from the University of Surrey found that social isolation can cause increased inflammation in the body. Trust us, you really don’t want more inflammation! Socializing can mean a phone call or an email, find a way to connect with your friends and family even if it’s not in person right now. Connection is more important now than ever before.
5. Cut the negativity. Laugh! It lowers stress hormones that impact the immune response. Do whatever you can to cultivate a positive mental attitude. And please, turn off the news!
6. Limit your sitting time which produces shallow breathing. Breathe! Breathe work, mediation and mindful-breathing have a positive impact on the immune system. Apps like HeadSpace help with this.
7. Get to your chiropractor. Adjustments have an influence on the parasympathetic nervous system which in turn has an impact on the immune system. We just received a bulk order of Coherence Through Chiropractic, the Immunity edition. Pick up your copy next time you are at the office to learn more or check it out HERE.
8. Stop eating so often. Eating multiple meals and snacks all day long increases our insulin exposure which can lower the immune response. Pick an eating window and meal plan to help you with this.
9. Put the device down. Too much screen time has been linked to depression, obesity, and addiction. Play a board game or cards with your family or plant a garden, get crafty or move your body.
There is no medication, vaccine or mask that can supersede a healthy lifestyle. We're in this together and we CAN do better!
Let’s take a minute to discuss allergies. It’s definitely that time of the year and even though we’re close to being past the pollen, there’s still quite a bit of sneezing, coughing, itchy, watery eyes, runny noses, congestion; all of that yucky stuff that gets stuck in our heads and our lungs that we are not too happy about.
The strange thing about allergies is some people deal with them while others don’t. If pollen was the only culprit, all people would be suffering. So it’s not necessarily the pollen in the air, even though there is lots of pollen around!
Allergies are what we call a hypersensitivity reaction. That means our body is over reacting to something normal in our environment. This is different from a normal physiologic reaction. For example, if you were in a smoke filled room it would be very normal to be coughing inside that room, that’s a healthy response because your body doesn’t want to inhale that smoke. You’re going to cough to stop the smoke from getting deep into your lungs and that’s a normal physiologic response. When we are talking about pollen and things like that in our environment it’s not necessarily as normal to have such a hypersensitive reaction. Sure, if you were to breathe in a whole bunch of pollen it would be normal to cough and sneeze a couple of times to get it out, but, in terms of the lingering effects of it, not necessarily normal. So why in the world would our body have a response like that to something normal in the environment? The number one reason is that our body, on some level, is depleted; physiologically, emotionally, physically, spiritually depleted in some way so our physiology is not functioning normal anymore. It’s not normal to have allergies to normal environmental things.
We are not talking about food allergies here, those are different and something we’ll discuss in a different blog. So why do we get seasonal allergies? The answer is quite simple. It’s that our body is depleted and we have to find a way to replenish or make our body more vital and healthy. If our body is sick, it’s not because we are lacking in Zyrtec or Claritin. We are not having an allergy because of a lack of medication. We are having allergies because we are not having enough vitality. Our body is not successfully mounting a normal immune response to what’s happening. We have this environment in that pollen comes into us and our body is amped up on high alert and makes an immune response that’s overly strong to a normal environmental stressor.
Think of it this way: Someone who is already at threshold with their health doesn’t have any wiggle room – they’re already at the tipping point toward symptoms and dis-ease. On an emotional side, imagine it this way: You’re already stressed, you’re already fatigued; it’s tough at work and there’s traffic on the way home, you walk in the door, your kids are making all kinds of noise, there’s craziness and then the next thing you know you are already at threshold, your body can’t take much more of anything else happening in this situation. If it does you’re going to boil up and go over the top and maybe lose your temper or yell or something that is not normal for your life.
Think of our immune system in the same sort of way, our immune system has a particular threshold, our body has a particular threshold and when we’re depleted our threshold is much lower so things that normally wouldn’t irritate someone who is in a healthy vital state are now irritating our immune system. This is how allergies and quite frankly much of the suffering of life can happen.
What’s really neat is that there are some studies showing that as people become well-adjusted, as they receive the benefits of regular chiropractic care, their immune system is strengthened. These people have an increased vitality and hence a reduction in the symptoms of allergies, among other things.
Now, there’s a lot of ways to build up your vitality. Regular adjustments are one of the best ways. If you are currently experiencing allergies and you are already receiving regular chiropractic care then it’s time to look at other ways to up the vitality of your body, build up that strength from the inside out, so that allergies don’t have to be something that bothers you every single spring or fall or whenever they seem to come about in your life. Remember, health is normal, sickness and disease is not.
Check out our previous allergy blog from May of 2017 for more info on supporting your immune system during allergy season.
Let’s take a moment to discuss the importance of being flexible and the importance of flexibility, or more specifically the importance of having a flexible system. Now when discussing this it doesn't mean being able to bend and stretch and being able to do the splits. Sure that stuff's helpful, but having a flexible system, having a flexible nerve system, flexible spine, having good flexibility in our body means that our body has a very high resistance to our environment. Life stressors are going to happen, no matter what. No one makes it through life without stress. You can't live in a bubble. You can't have a stress free life. It's important to find ways to reduce unnecessary stress, but it's even more important to figure out how to up-level ourselves so we can handle the stressors that are going to come at us a little bit better. So instead of knocking us down and taking us off our center, those stressors actually help us to grow.
A perfect example of this is doing a workout. Let's say there's somebody who's in awful shape, never moved much in their life and they go out and they do a high intensity two hour workout. The chance of them getting an injury because of that workout is extremely high. Whereas if someone else is in peak physical fitness and does that same two hour workout, they're going to get stronger because of it. It's going to benefit them. And the same can be applied to so many other circumstances in life where health is all about the flexibility of our body; the flexibility of the system to handle what we're doing and integrate it; to actually help us grow and evolve as people. And what's really cool is that we find as people are getting themselves adjusted, the flexibility of their whole body gets better. Spots that used to be rigid in their body; spots that didn't have much mobility, didn't have much spinal mobility, which means the nerve system is stuck in that particular area and the spine is stuck in that particular area and hence their lives are stuck in that particular area, are now able to move forward, to grow and to evolve as people. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and even more beautiful to experience.
Here are two staples in our household. Kids love 'em too!
Instructions: Blend and enjoy!
Instructions: Blend and enjoy!
Let’s take a minute to learn more about stress. It’s March and there’s another storm predicted in this area for tomorrow. Any time there’s a storm, any time there’s life events, these events can be stressful. And when we’re talking about stress, we’re usually talking about it as a bad thing, which it can be. In fact, many times in this office you’ll hear me or Dr. Amanda say that stress and fatigue are the two most common things that pull a spine out of alignment. And that’s absolutely true, but when we’re saying that, we’re talking about bad stress. But, can there also be good stress?
Typically, we think that all stress is bad stress, but I want to take a minute to talk about some stress that can be good stress. You see, without any stress, without any strain, there can be no growth. We must have a certain amount of stress in our lives in order for us to grow, to change and to evolve. I remember back when I was on a flight once coming back to the US from Thailand, we stopped by Japan, we were flying Japan Airs back to the U.S., and the pilot comes on in the middle of the flight. There was some significant turbulence and people were getting pretty stressed out. And in the most calming way that only a pilot could say, he said, “Well, turbulence is…turbulence is a normal part of life.” And then he went on to have a philosophical discussion about turbulence and it really helped. You could tell the rest of the plane, everyone breathed out an “ahh”; they let out a sigh of relief. And even though the turbulence continued, people were much more relaxed because they had put it in the proper context that this was not something out of control. No, the plane was not going to crash. This was a normal part of life.
And stress and strain are also normal parts of life. And if we can make ourselves healthier; if we can build up our internal resistance, make ourselves stronger, then the events that we might think could be more stressful in our life, can actually be beneficial to help us grow.
And also, if you think about stress or strain in the sense of like working out a muscle, you have to stress a muscle for it to get stronger. Now, if you stress it too much, you could cause injury. But the right amount of stress at the right time in the right quantity for the right amount of time and knowing when to stop can be a very beneficial thing in our lives and in our body.
So, just some food for thought as we’re coming into another storm. Again, it can be very stressful, but it doesn’t have to be bad. Where’s the good in it? How can these events help us to grow and to evolve and become better people overall?
In this video Dr. Brendan will share how he discovered chiropractic and how he chose this engaging career.
Lately, we have been getting SO many inquiries about ear infections! We’ve had parents calling the office asking about Chiropractic care for their children with chronic ear infections and in many of my online Mommy groups it’s also a hot topic. So, what’s up with all these kiddos and their ears?
First off, it’s very common and normal for children to have some fluid in their ears when they begin teething. This is due to the natural inflammatory process. If the fluid pools and doesn’t drain properly, it can become infected. The eardrum AKA the tympanic membrane commonly becomes red during the teething process as well. This is also due to the inflammation caused by emerging teeth. A red ear drum does not always mean an infection, sometimes it is just teething, other times it is a true bacterial infection.
Another important factor to consider is the Eustachian tube. In children, the tube is shorter and straighter, whereas adults have longer and more angled Eustachian tube. Thus, fluid drains much easier from an adult ear and is less likely to pool when there is sinus congestion.
Now, imagine we have a teething child with fluid in their ears and that fluid isn’t draining well. The pressure from the fluid may be causing pain and making this child uncomfortable.
Have you ever thought about what controls the function of the Eustachian tube and it’s ability to drain? The answer is motion. When we swallow, fluid is able to move through our tubes. But, if muscles that aid in swallowing are functioning properly, swallowing doesn’t occur effectively.
And what controls muscle function? The nerves!
We all have a brain, brainstem and spinal cord. From the spinal cord, the nerves come out and go to every part of our body and control EVERY function. Our spine protects and encases our precious cord and as chiropractors, the spine is our window to see how our nerve system is functioning. When the brain sends a message to a body part, the body part gets the message and relays a signal back to the brain. However, there can be interference in our nerve system and this will inhibit it’s ability to function at its best. So, like in the game of telephone that we played as kids, the brain sends the message out and the body part gets it. However, what if it's garbled, or worse, the body part doesn’t get it at all!? When this type of breakdown in communication happens in the body, we may experience symptoms. A symptom is the body’s way of telling us that it is not functioning at it’s best.
Chiropractors use the spine to determine how the nerve system is functioning. Most often in children experiencing ear infections we find misalignments of the cranial bones and in the bones of the upper neck. These misalignments disrupt the body’s ability to properly drain fluid, causing it to pool and become infected. Once we can restore proper motion to these areas we tend to see ear infections clear up and rarely return.
When your child is teething, it’s a great time to bring them to a pediatric chiropractor to be checked and ensure that there are no misalignments which may hinder the body’s ability to drain excess fluid.
In addition to having your child checked and adjusted by a pediatric chiropractor there are a few things you can do at home to help prevent and heal from ear infections:
Kombucha is a delicious fizzy drink loaded with nutrients and probiotics and can help you to improve your health in many profound ways! The health benefits are outlined in this great Dr. Axe article.
I've been making my own kombucha for several years now and after many failures have figured out a good system. Although I messed it up several times at first, it's because I was trying to make it too complicated! It's really super simple and easy! Don't overcomplicate it. The recipe I use for sugar to tea to water ratios is shown in this video.
My two favorite things about making Kombucha are:
1) It's delicious and nutritious!
2) It costs about $4.00 to make 2 gallons.
Ok so here goes...
First you'll want to get a SCOBY. SCOBY stands for "Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast." Sounds kinda gross, right?! But this is the good stuff! The SCOBY is the thing that consumes the sweet tea and gives off all the health benefits. Getting a SCOBY is very easy as people have a new SCOBY every time they make a batch and will literally give them away. I'm happy to gift a SCOBY to anyone local! Also, making one is simple as well. You can get a store-bought Kombucha and prepare a scoby from the bottle. That's what I did to ensure purity. Making a SCOBY will be the topic of another post.
So now that you've got your SCOBY along with some starter Kombucha, you're ready to brew! It's important to use either straight black or straight green tea with nothing else added, as you don't know how the added stuff will react. No herbal teas here. The ideal ratio I have found for the sweet tea is as follows: 1 cup of sugar and 5 bags of tea for each gallon of water. Also remember the sugar is for the SCOBY, it's what drives the fermentation reaction which produces all that healthy and bubbly goodness.
You can see here that I'm using green tea. I prefer the more delicate taste of a green tea-based Kombucha. Black tea works just fine too, I simply prefer green.
First you'll want to bring water to a boil, preferably in 1 gallon incriments for simplicity sake. Once the water has boiled, remove it from heat, add your sugar and stir in with a wooden spoon (wood is best since plastic may leach chemicals), then add your tea bags.
Once the sweet tea has cooled to room temperature, remove and discard the tea bags and pour the kombucha into a glass container. Definitely use glass for this part since plastic will most definitely leach chemicals in this process!
I make two separate one gallon batches to give me this:
The glass container I use can hold about 2 1/2 gallons or so. I don't fill it to the top. With the scoby added, it looks like this:
Notice the paper towel and rubber band over the top. This was a part I messed up several times. I was getting fancy trying to use a cheesecloth, but the holes in it were too large and fruit flies were getting into the brew - gross! So I had to throw several batches away. The paper towel works great because it allows plenty of air in for the fermentation to occur plus it seals it enough so no critters can get in.
Next store the batch somewhere out of the way, preferable in a dry area. That could be in a closet, it could be in a cupboard, it could be on top of your fridge...doesn't really matter so much as it not going to get direct sunlight and isn't too humid.
The length of the time for brewing will vary depending on temperature. A good rule is that for warmer summer days it takes about a week to a week and a half, while in the cooler months about 2-3 weeks will do. This is another time to keep it simple. Take it down periodically and give it a taste test. Once it tastes how you like, which for me is slightly sweet with a light vinegar taste, you're ready to start bottling!
Note: this is where many people stop because at this point you do have Kombucha and it will be slightly fizzy and tasty and all the health benefits are there. However, the bottling is great because you can add unique flavors as well as create increased carbonation.
If we were to look at this from the side we would see many layers to the SCOBY. The SCOBY will always eventually fill the dimensions of the container on the surface. Each new layer could be removed and used as a separate SCOBY. In fact, you could even take a tiny piece and it would eventually become a larger SCOBY. They grow at a very rapid rate given the right conditions.
At this point, remove the SCOBY and set in a separate container along with some of the Kombucha to serve as starter fluid for your next batch. Use enough fluid to cover your SCOBY. This goes without saying, but make sure you wash your hands thoroughly anytime you handle the SCOBY to preserve the unique culture. You can put that container into your fridge until you're ready for the next batch, and it will keep just fine for months. The low temperature will slow down the reaction to the point where almost nothing will be happening and the acidic composition of the Kombucha will preserve the SCOBY.
Now on to the bottling! I use recycled GT Dave's bottles because the plastic lids keep an excellent seal and can let you know how carbonated your Kombucha is becoming based upon how much the lids are "popped-up." That said, I've also have great success recently with the swing-top bottles. One advantage of the swing-top bottles is that the rubber seal will vent as needed to prevent overcarbonation. One disatvantage is that the small top can be make for a trickier fill vs. the wider mouth of the GT Dave's bottles. Make sure to sterilize them by washing them in your dishwasher beforehand.
Here is the bottling setup. I use the smaller measuring cup for my juice and the larger one for pouring in the Kombucha. I add about 2 oz of juice to each of the bottles for both flavor, and to further drive the reaction so the Kombucha becomes nice and fizzy. Some great ones to add are pomegranate juice, mango juice, and lemonade with some fresh ginger added. Orange juice did not turn our well. Experiment with this and have fun!
You want to fill the bottles close to the top, that way there's less air that needs to be competed with to build carbonation.
Next, put the lids on nice and tight, set them aside somewhere safe (could be the same place you brewed your Kombucha), and wait. Usually 2-4 days is best for the secondary fermentation. Beyond that and you could have a bottle bomb, which is too much carbonation that blows everywhere when you open it; think of shaking champagne before you open it, not fun when kombucha is all over your kitchen.
Below are images of the initial bottling, then day 1, day 2, day 3, and day 4 from top left across to bottom right. You can see the lids are slightly raised by day 4.
Voila! You now have fizzy and delicious home brewed kombucha! What I like about the GT Dave's bottles and caps is that when the cap bulges the carbonation is at a good spot. What's interesting is that different juice/fruit combinations added will ferment quicker than others. In this one the lemon/ginger went the quickest, the mango number two and the pomegranate mix was the slowest.
Put them in the fridge to slow the reaction and enjoy a much better taste. Enjoy your Kombucha and now you're ready to brew again!
Do you or your loved ones suffer from seasonal allergies? They can be miserable, making us tired and really can hinder our ability to function. So what are allergies beside a big ole ball of misery?
When we experience allergy symptoms, our body is having an abnormal reaction to something (normal) in our environment. Our immune system is on over-drive and is reacting to something natural, like pollen, grass, trees etc. Now food allergies are different, so we will save those for another time.
If you think about it, why would we be allergic to our environment? The environment we live in should be a safe place for our body, not somewhere that makes us cough, sneeze, and have itchy watery eyes and trouble breathing. It is certainly not normal to need a medication to help your body live comfortably in nature and you are not experiencing allergies because of a lack of Claritin or Zyrtec in your system.
Unfortunately, we live in such a way that we have become out of touch with our natural environment. Our bodies are over burdened by toxins, our guts are depleted by decades of antibiotic use, we tend to ignore our bodies' basic needs of resting well, eating well, moving well and drinking enough clean water and we tend to live in a high stress state which promotes high levels of cortisol circulating in our systems, further depleting our immune systems' abilities to protect us and adapt to our surroundings. So what can we do?
We can start with the obvious: eat better, sleep better, hydrate better, and move better.
Next, we have to work to build up our depleted bodies and give our immune systems the building blocks it needs to function at its best.
What is the number one way to keep your immune system in tip top shape? I bet you can guess where I am going here, that’s right . . . chiropractic adjustments.
By ensuring that the nerve system is properly communicating with your immune system, you will keep it working at its best. It's simple and easy, get adjusted, regularly. You can do lots of amazing things for your body but if your nerve system is not free and clear of interference, it still won't work at its best. Here is a case study to check out if you are a lover of research.
Once you ensure proper nerve function, get good rest, motion and food, there are some further things you can do to teach your body that your environment is safe and it doesn't need to overreact to pollen, trees and grass.
I want to share with you a little bit about why Chiropractic, and specifically our office, Seaside Chiropractic, is different from what you may be used to when it comes to your health care.
When you come in for an initial visit, you’ll have the opportunity to sit with either myself or Dr. Brendan and talk about YOU! We really want to know what’s going you on with you and what you’ve been through in your life, to really get a sense of how we can best serve you. Once we’ve had some time to connect and for you to share, we’ll do a thorough postural exam, look at you gait, and check your spine. Your spine is our window to check your nerve system. Our nerve system consists of our brain, our brain stem and our spinal cord. From our spinal cord, our nerves come out. They go between every bone in our spine, go out to every single part of our body, and control every single function. Our nerve system truly is the master control system of our body. So if we want to be functioning and operating as best as we possibly can, we need our nerve system functioning and operating at one hundred percent.
We are all human and we all have stressors. Through life’s stressors, whether it’s a physical thing like a repetitive motion, sitting at a desk all day, or traumas, such as a sports injury, a fall, a car accident; we could go on and on. Physical things put stress and tension on our body. We all have emotions, we all have relationships and finances, and it’s stressful. We store that tension in our body. And there are chemical stressors; we live in a very toxic environment. We have medications, we have chemicals in our cleaning products, in our food, our environment. We store that tension in our bodies. What happens when the body has an experience that it can’t process, that it can’t fully integrate, it stores that tension. It distorts our posture; it changes the physical structure in our body. When this happens, particularly over a period of time, our body can’t integrate this and we begin to get symptomatic. Symptoms can be neck pain, back pain, and headaches. They can also be digestive issues, they can be a sense of feeling overwhelmed, feeling outside yourself, feeling so stressed that you just can’t take a minute to breathe, anxiety, depression. Symptoms can be trouble with relationships, anything that happens to our body affects our body. When our body’s cup gets overburdened, we need a little bit of help to empty that cup, to integrate these experiences so that we can learn, grow, and evolve from all of life’s experiences instead of storing stress and tension, waiting for the next thing, waiting for the bus to come, waiting for a new job, a new partner, waiting to start living. When we integrate our experiences and own our lives, we can live fully and vibrantly express our fullest potential.
What you’ll notice about an adjustment in our office is that it’s very gentle, which can be very unique compared to some of the preconceived notions people have about Chiropractic care. Sometimes people get off the table feeling like nothing has happened. It’s when they start going about their day, or their week, or their month, that they realize they’re no longer yelling at their partner, or getting up in the morning isn’t so challenging. Maybe they’re choosing healthier food options; maybe it’s just a little bit easier to go exercise. Maybe you see the world in a slightly different light; it’s a little brighter today. We’re working with a subtle substance in the human body, and it is so subtle that sometimes we’re not tuned in enough to feel it. So what adjustments in our office will do is help awaken your body, enlighten your body, and enlighten your life. We all have an incredible amount of potential, and you deserve to express yours. We’re here to help you do that.
I can’t explain more about the adjustment to you, you have to come in and experience it for yourself. After your initial visit, you’ll be able to schedule your report. This is a second opportunity for you to sit down with myself or Dr. Brendan and go over your goals. We’ll let you know what we found in your body and how we can best serve you. You’ll let us know what you’re looking for, what you’re willing to change in your life, and we’ll come up with a plan that works best for you, your time, and your finances, and then we go from there. And the fun begins! As we start to unravel tension in your body and you start to express yourself, to really play your music, life truly is a better place!
Thanks for taking a moment to tune in and we look forward to seeing you in the office.
Drs. A & B
We want to share as much health information with you as possible, so here is some healthy reading for healthy bodies and souls.