Wellness Articles

Archive for 'Health/Wellness'

The Importance of Sleep

Simple as it may seem, getting enough quality sleep is one of the most important things you can do to safeguard and improve your health. Here are six reasons you need to get sufficient sleep, according to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch:

  1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
  2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
  3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
  4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
  5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
  6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

Healthguide.org offers these tips on getting and staying out of sleep debt:


While you can’t pay off sleep debt in a night or even a weekend, with a little effort and planning, you can get back on track.

  • Aim for at least 7.5 hours of sleep every night. Make sure you don’t fall farther in debt by blocking off enough time for sleep each night. Consistency is the key.
  • Settle short-term sleep debt with an extra hour or two per night. If you lost 10 hours of sleep, pay the debt back in nightly one or two-hour installments.
  • Keep a sleep diary. Record when you go to bed, when you get up, your total hours of sleep, and how you feel during the day. As you keep track of your sleep, you’ll discover your natural patterns and get to know your sleep needs.
  • Take a sleep vacation to pay off a long-term sleep debt. Pick a two-week period when you have a flexible schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and allow yourself to sleep until you wake up naturally. No alarm clocks! If you continue to keep the same bedtime and wake up naturally, you’ll eventually dig your way out of debt and arrive at the sleep schedule that’s ideal for you.

Make sleep a priority. Just as you schedule time for work and other commitments, you should schedule enough time for sleep. Instead of cutting back on sleep in order to tackle the rest of your daily tasks, put sleep at the top of your to-do list

Three Steps To Better Health

People want to know – what does it take to be healthy? What habits and behaviors are likely to lead to more vitality? How do we avoid getting sick, and spend more of our time being well?

There are three basic steps each of us can take to walk the path of good health.

First, we need to learn to eat right. Providing quality fuel for this human machine is critical in maintaining and developing the best health possible. While there are many styles of good eating, there are a few simple guidelines we must all respect:

–       eat enough but not too much

–       stick with fresh whole foods over processed foods

–       avoid toxic substances like preservatives, food additives and colorings

–       strike a proper balance between proteins, fats and carbohydrates

–       drink water

–       supplement with vitamins and minerals from natural sources

Second, we need to think right, creating a healthy mindset that helps us deal with the stresses of our lives effectively.  Developing supportive self-talk, practicing meditation or just quiet introspection, and sleeping sufficiently can lead to a better attitude and more happiness.

Third, we need to move right, through appropriate exercise, proper breathing, good posture and maintaining your structure and nerve system with chiropractic care. Including yoga, stretching or martial arts helps to create balance and coordination.

Addressing these three basic needs, eating right, thinking right, and moving right, will lead to a better quality of life with less illness and more productive time throughout your life. Take the responsibility to notice where you could improve, and make good decisions to enhance your lifestyle – it will pay off for you, as it has for millions of people who are adopting the wellness way of life.

What’s The Recipe?

If you want to bake a delicious cake, what would you have to do?

You would follow a recipe, which tells you the ingredients you would need, and then, how to combine them and cook them so you come out with the best cake possible. Knowing exactly how much and exactly in what order to combine those ingredients is the difference between success and failure.

So even if you are committed to baking the very best cake by using the highest quality ingredients, if you don’t know the correct sequence to combine the ingredients, or the correct amounts of those ingredients, the cake won’t come out right. And, the temperature and duration of cooking time are essential. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to think this way when you realize what your chiropractor does to help you.

Everyone who visits a chiropractor has an individual, unique formula that leads to being as healthy as possible. Your doctor of chiropractic is an expert in the delivery of chiropractic care, and in creating a personalized recipe for your health and wellness.

That program of care is not, however, just given in the same doses or in the combination or for the same duration for everybody. Like the recipe for a successful cake, the amount of each ingredient and the time when each ingredient is introduced is very important to the desired outcome, which of course is your optimal health and wellness.

Just like baking a cake, your chiropractic health care is a recipe for success, and the amount and frequency of care and the other ingredients that contribute to your health and wellness need to be administered in just the right way in order to insure success. Different cakes have different ingredients, and it’s the same with chiropractic care – different people require different programs of care to get the best results.

Which areas of your spine and nerve system need attention? How often do you need to receive adjustments to get the best response? Which of the many types of adjustments are ideal for you, and in what combination? Which other health-related services and products will contribute to the best results possible?

Do you need other advice and guidance beyond your program of in-office care? Do you need recommendations on improving your diet, your exercise, your mental attitude? Do you need suggestions on how to reduce your stress, or coordinate your daily activities so they are easier for your mind and body to withstand? Do you need to add some new habits, or break some old ones?

Everyone is somewhat different, and that means that your doctor of chiropractic will help you develop a recipe to produce the very best health and wellness experience for you and your family.

Sometimes, the chiropractor has all the services and products you need on site at his or her office – sometimes, he or she works in harmony with other health and wellness practitioners. Either way, the result is like a delicious cake – with the proper ingredients, combined at the right time and in the right proportions, you and your family can experience the benefits of glowing good health, wellness and vitality.

Ask your doctor of chiropractic – what is your recipe? Then, be prepared to follow his or her directions, and you, too, can have the results you want and need.

What Is The Chiropractic Wellness Lifestyle?

You probably hear about the chiropractic wellness lifestyle when you visit your chiropractor’s office – what is it, and how does it help you and your family?

The chiropractic wellness lifestyle is a series of decisions you make and actions you take to improve your health and enjoy life more.

The chiropractic wellness lifestyle invites you to:

— Eat healthfully. Eating organic foods that are not full of pesticides, toxins and hormones and whole foods (foods that have no or minimal processing) is a smart decision savvy health consumers make. Find the right rhythm for your meals — some prefer three squares, though modern food scientists frequently recommend smaller meals at closer intervals. Eat a healthy breakfast every day. Exclude heavily processed foods, like “enriched” flour, sugars, artificial sweeteners, and especially aspartame, a known cancer-causing nerve poison, and take nutritional supplements as needed (ask your doctor of chiropractic for his or her opinion about how to eat more healthfully.)

— Exercise. Actively participate in the rehabilitation and strengthening of the body to support repair and maintain your ability to do what you like. You’ll reduce the tendency to be injured, and bounce back from injuries more quickly. Your chiropractor can help you select the right physical activity to fit your age and body type.

— Maintain a positive attitude and optimistic thinking. Adopt a happy mindset, and practice constructive habits like reading, meditating, visualizing, reviewing your goals, associating with people who support your dreams, engaging wholeheartedly in whatever form of spirituality you prefer.

— Get periodic chiropractic examinations and adjustments when necessary for yourself and your family. Good food, proper exercise and a great mental attitude will be helpful in any case, but regular chiropractic care is the “X-factor” that helps you get the most out of these other health and wellness practices. Getting your spine and nerve system healthier improves every aspect of your body function, and paves the way for you to move toward wellness.

Deciding to follow simple guidelines like these will not only make you feel better, it will help you live longer and get more out of life. Choose the chiropractic wellness lifestyle – you and your family will improve your quality of life, and feel better overall, too.

Think About It!

Getting healthy depends on what you focus on.

This is more than just an interesting idea, it’s an important and valuable reality. Scientists tell us that the experience we have moment to moment and day to day throughout our lives depends on what we focus on. If that is true, it begs the question “What are you focused on?”

During more private moments, it is easier to notice what you are focused on because all you really have to do is “check in” with your internal chatter and how you are feeling. When things are quiet and you can be with your own thoughts, it is essential to notice what they are and make sure they, and you, are focused on the things you want, as opposed to thinking about the things you don’t want.

Why is this necessary? The human mind often does not notice the “negatives” in our thoughts. For example, if I say to you, “Whatever you do, don’t think about a pink polka dot elephant,” you might notice that a “pink polka dot elephant” instantly becomes your focus. This is because the mind ignores the “don’t” part (negative) and goes right to the “think about” part. This happens naturally most of the time in all of us.

So, if you think to yourself “just ignore the things that annoy you about him,” your tendency will be to focus on the “things that annoy you about him,” not the “ignore” — curious, isn’t it?

So, then, how can this support you in being healthier?

Well, what do you think about, when it comes to your health?

Are you thinking of not being sick? Your mind may be tricked into focusing on “being sick,” not the “not.” Are you thinking about not being in pain? Your mind will tend to focus on “being in pain.” Are you thinking about not having trouble sleeping, digesting, or breathing? Your mind will look right at the symptom, not the “not.”

Instead, you could concentrate on being well, feeling great, and sleeping, digesting and breathing well. By paying attention to the way you construct your thoughts, you can choose better words to express your feelings, and guide your mind toward better results.

So, try on, “I am relaxed, and it’s easy for me to fall asleep.” Or, think “my body works well and I am good at digesting my food and breathing normally.”

Or, “I practice good lifestyle habits like eating well, drinking enough water, and getting regular chiropractic adjustments so my spine and nerve system are healthy.” This is the way you can use your mind to help you be healthier.

Could it really be that simple? Clearly, you’ll have to do more to be healthy than just monitoring and managing your thoughts. But most doctors agree, it’s a secret weapon you can use to improve your chances at health and wellness, when you take the responsibility to create the right mental and emotional backdrop to your health habits.

You’ll still need to develop a healthy lifestyle, but if you want to be as healthy as possible, think about it!

Why Wellness?

Most people, when asked if they are healthy, usually respond based on the presence or absence of symptoms, as if having symptoms means they are sick, and not having symptoms means they are well.

This is a common misconception, fed by the media, by many doctors, and by the giant businesses that thrive on selling drugs and other symptom-removal products.

Actually, while there is a place for this line of thinking, modern-day health consumers realize that they can be sick and have no symptoms, like when someone feels fine but quietly has a serious disease like cancer or heart disease, or when someone experiences pain while not suffering any serious malady, like when you stub your toe or get a splinter.

The way you feel does provide some valuable information, but it is hardly the determining factor as to your level of health. It’s important to understand this in order to know how to properly care for yourself and your family.

So, you may be thinking, if the way you feel doesn’t tell you enough about your actual level of health, then how do you know if you are healthy or not?

Great question – and here’s where you can end the confusion. Unless you have objective, scientific ways of evaluating your health, you can be misled into thinking things are fine when they are not, or scared into thinking something is wrong when it isn’t. But if you have good information, you can make good decisions about your health habits and which kind of care to seek when you need it.

That’s why knowledgeable health consumers develop relationships with health and wellness advisors, to learn about their body function and understand their health status. It’s not foolproof, but it’s better to get regular examinations of your teeth, eyes, skin, heart, spine and nerve system, to be sure you are staying on course and picking up on any deviations from normal before they turn into something unpleasant or dangerous.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so visit your doctor of chiropractic, and ask about how he or she can advise you on the habits and lifestyle decisions that lead to a better quality of life – you’ll be glad you did!

Spring Cleaning Is For More Than Your Home

Right about this time of year, many families and households are emerging from their winter slumbers and lifting their faces to bask in the springtime sun.

Whoever is the “neat freak” in the home makes some comment about “spring cleaning,” and the teenagers run for cover, knowing what that means – it’s that time of year to tear things apart, scrub them spotless and reset the environment to make the conditions as beneficial and enjoyable as possible. Leaving no stone unturned, there is washing, straightening, and repair until everything is shipshape.

Why do we bother with spring cleaning? Even those of us who are not especially driven to keep things in order recognize that unless at least around once a year we put some attention into it, there would be a gradual, relentless decline of the appearance and cleanliness of the home, which after a while would be very unpleasant.

So, we choose the arbitrary convention of “spring cleaning” to restore ourselves to at least a neutral position, if not an opportunity to make things a little nicer and a little better each year.

Those of us who adopt the same policy toward our health often improve our quality of life and increase our longevity. Sure, it’s great for those who have the discipline and passion to maintain their bodies meticulously at all times, but most of us are not quite so diligent – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be healthy. Just because you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something – if you could do a little “spring cleaning” in your body, it would significantly contribute to your overall well-being.

What if you decided to skip the extra dessert or night snacking? What if you got up a little early for a walk in the morning sun before breakfast? What about just sitting quietly for a few minutes each morning to connect with your higher self, or a Higher Power? Could you drink a little less coffee or soda or alcohol, could you choose healthier foods, could you park your car at the end of the lot and stroll a hundred yards to get your blood flowing, or finally quit smoking? Anything you do to make yourself clean out, get strong and move forward is a great gift to yourself.

If you don’t pick a time of year to get back on course, you may experience the same kind of gradual decline that happens to a home without attention. Why not give your chiropractor a call, and he or she can help you put together a “spring cleaning” program for your body that will make you healthier long-term and leave you feeling great!

Who’s In Charge of Your Health

Who’s in charge of your health? Who makes the best decisions for you and your family? Is it a doctor or other health professional? Or is it becoming increasingly clear that only you can make the most important decisions about your own health?

For many years, the doctor has been revered, looked up to as an important role model, and that should never change.

But ultimately, you are the one who must take the responsibility to choose your daily habits, select which professionals to consult, and make whatever mid-course corrections are required for you to have the best quality of life possible.

Yes, you may depend on doctors like your general practitioner, your chiropractor or your dentist to give you the latest information, either about a health problem or about improving your wellness and peak performance. These experts have been trained to notice, compile and communicate the best ideas and observations, and from there, many people relinquish their control and just accept whatever the doctor says.

It makes more sense for you to be an active participant in your own health and wellness process. Remember, the time you spend with the doctor is a tiny fraction of your overall time – what health choices are you making at all other times? What do you eat, how much do you sleep, what is your typical exercise routine, if any? How often do you visit your dentist, your medical doctor, or your chiropractor for maintenance or wellness care? Which specialists would contribute valuable distinctions to this process? Do you seek out a nutritionist, massage therapists, or personal trainers to help you take your health to a new level of excellence?

It is in no way disrespectful to differ with or expand upon a conclusion your doctor has drawn, especially if you do it respectfully. It’s not that you should ignore your professional advisors, but remember, it’s your body, and you know it and feel it better than anyone else, and ultimately you reap the rewards or pay the consequences of the decisions made, either by you or on your behalf. You can tip the scales in your favor by using common sense and following through on taking better care of yourself overall.

Clearly, in times of emergency, you need to change the balance and receive more input, but even in this situation, unless you are unable to participate, you should still play a major role in the direction of your own health and wellness care.

Putting together your team of health professionals will help you coordinate your and your family’s health and wellness, because the better the information you have to work with, the better decisions you can make. Developing communication among your advisors will coordinate the opinions you receive and give you the final word on what is in your family’s best interest.

The style of health care is changing, and each individual and family will be called upon to add more to health care delivery and to the conditions surrounding their own health and wellness. Stay current by reading, listening to and watching health related information, and put yourself at the top of your health and wellness decision-making team – your efforts will be repaid multifold in the form of a longer, better, less painful and more productive life.

Causes and Effects

Most of us realize that we live in a cause and effect world. If I touch a hot stove, my hand will burn. If I drive my car and use up all my gas without refilling the tank, I will coast to a stop. If I choose intelligent lifestyle habits and follow through on them, I will improve the quality of my life, cause and effect.

Each of us has a responsibility to observe how this cause and effect relationship influences our lives, so we can make the best decisions possible on our own behalf.

Think for a moment – many people believe that germs cause disease. But if that were true, wouldn’t everyone exposed to the germs get the disease? What could explain why this doesn’t happen? Could it be that it isn’t the germs, but rather the strength and resistance of the individual that determines whether or not he or she will get sick?

This is one of the revolutionary concepts that makes the chiropractic viewpoint on health care different. Instead of fighting germs with medicines, chiropractors work with you to get your body working at peak efficiency, so when you are exposed to germs, your body is stronger, and has a better chance of maintaining good function and good health.

How does the chiropractor do that? Your body’s control center is your brain, and the wiring system that connects the brain to the body parts is the nerve system, which is protected by the spinal bones. When this protective covering is in proper alignment, then the nerves are protected and the information from the brain gets to and from the body parts normally.

But if the spinal bones lose their proper alignment, then the nerves can be injured, disturbed or interfered with, which may or may not lead to pain right away, but surely leads to poorer body function.

If we live in a cause and effect world, then you want to make sure your brain is controlling your body properly. When your brain can connect with your body parts, it causes the effect of better body function and better health. An unhealthy spine causes bad communication, where a healthy spine causes good communication.

Your chiropractor can tell you, whether you currently have pain or not, if your spine is in proper alignment. If anyone in your family has not had a spinal exam recently, schedule a check-up as soon as possible.

The Question We All Have To Answer

Most of us believe that we have only two settings on our own personal Health-o-Meter – healthy, or sick. This over-simplification has been at the root of many health problems – feeling okay usually means that there are no apparent symptoms, but this is no guarantee of good health. Many of the most serious illnesses, including heart disease and cancer, may have no symptoms at all in the early stages.

But there is another issue with measuring your level of health by the presence or absence of symptoms – what most people call “healthy” is really just “not sick,” since most of us have spent so little time at peak performance levels, we don’t even realize what is available to us – glowing, vibrant, exuberant vitality that can be gained with a few simple lifestyle decisions any of us could make if we wanted to.

In the famous Alameda County Study conducted over thirty years in California, there were seven simple lifestyle choices that greatly increased your chance of longevity and better quality of life. These habits are:

  1. Eating breakfast every morning
  2. Sleeping seven or eight hours each night
  3. Exercising regularly
  4. Not smoking
  5. Drinking less than five drinks at one sitting
  6. Maintaining a desirable weight for your height
  7. Avoiding snacks

Most of this seems pretty obvious, and none of it seems very difficult, but most of us could do a better job implementing even these basic health practices.

If you were to add to these fundamentals a daily diet of wholesome, natural foods, a process of stress reduction like meditation, prayer or life coaching, and some regular body maintenance like chiropractic care to keep your spine and nerve system healthy, you would be in prime shape to handle all that life has to throw at you, the high points and the challenges as well.

The question we all have to answer is … how much of your potential do you want to express, and what price are you willing to pay to express it? Your answer will shape your health, your success, and the quality of your relationships, too.

Raise your standards and expect more of yourself – you’ll see how small refinements in your typical daily activities can pay you dividends by adding more years to your life and more life to your years.

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