Going Barefoot (Both you and your kids)

When are children are born the bones in their feet have yet to fully develop.  In fact, they are just balls of cartilage that as the age will grow into 28 distinct bones of the adult foot that will be the root of their bodies movement.  Today, kids are put in shoes all to often and they are put in shoes that allow no movement or growth impeding their foot’s natural development.  Improper footwear will alter the child’s natural gait and make it harder for the children to improve balance and learn how to walk, run, jump, and do other natural movements as the age.  More and more parents today are putting children in cute shoes that offer no movement or bending in the sole whatsoever allowing for no movement in the forefoot.  In order to prevent problems later on, we need to start being more aware of what footwear we are putting our kids in.  Going barefoot more is one option that is easy to accomplish and the best way to promote a more natural development for your child’s foot.

Kids going barefoot is essential for the arch development. The critical period of the development of the arch occurs before the age of six. Walking outdoors offers natural messages to children’s feet as they walk on different sizes pebbles and uneven ground. The resistance and inconsistency nature offers integrates reflexes in the foot and forms strong arches. Going barefoot out in nature helps to develop normal gait patterns, balance, and tolerance of touch in the feet, all of which provide a strong foundation for confident and fluid movement. According to Katy Bowman, “Shoes alter human movement.  Many of the ailments we suffer from, musculoskeletally speaking, are a result of our dependence on footwear and the strain on the ligaments and plantar fascia from decades of muscle atrophy.  If you can start a kid off with a preference to minimal footwear it saves time and degeneration.”

Nervous to let your kids go barefoot?  Try minimalist shoes instead  so that the arches of the feet can still receive sensory input. A great, cheap option are water shoes. (Not a bad idea for you to try it too, because it is beneficial for everyone😃) Additionally, minimalist shoes are great to wear when you are not in the comfort of your own home and are worried that you kids will step on something sharp.  Vivobarefoot offers some great toddler shoes starting at 18 months.  What about shoes for kids that are not on 2 feet yet?  Shoes then are basically just for warmth, but other than that they shouldn’t be wearing any.  Crawling becomes more difficult to master when shoes are on.  It is very important for children to master the art of crawling before walking because according to Tracey Byrne (a podiatrist specializing in podopaediatrics) “Crawling stimulates the brain to develop convergence of vision; people who skip this phase as babies may find it extremely difficult to learn to read and write as children. And in the case of children who crawl backwards to begin with, shoes can put extra pressure on the structures of the foot and leg.”

 

Here are some great books to learn more about it:

1.) Balanced and Barefoot, by Angela J. Hanscom

2.) Whole Body Barefoot, by Katy Bowman  who you can follow on Instagram @nutritiousmovement and her website is www.nutritiousmovement.com

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Myopia

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness or the difficulty in seeing objects in the distance has become alarmingly common.  Did you know that 96.5% of Seoul boys have been diagnosed with Myopia?  1.4 million people, that’s 22.6% of the population are affected by myopia.  The incidence of myopia has increased 50% in the United  States over the last 50 years, and up 80% in China.  These are alarming statistics that are being overlooked at finding the cause to why this is occurring.

According to nature.com, “The modern rise in myopia mirrored a trend for children in many countries to spend more time engaged in reading, studying or — more recently — glued to computer and smartphone screens. This is particularly the case in East Asian countries, where the high value placed on educational performance is driving children to spend longer in school and on their studies. A report last year3 from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that the average 15-year-old in Shanghai now spends 14 hours per week on homework, compared with 5 hours in the United Kingdom and 6 hours in the United States.”

Additionally, another factor that has been found to be correlated is the amount of time children spent outside.  In 2007, Donald Mutti and his colleagues at the Ohio State University College of Optometry in Columbus reported the results of a study that tracked more than 500 8 and 9 year olds in California who started out with healthy vision.  After five years, one in five of the children had developed myopia, and the only environmental factor that was strongly associated with risk was time spent outdoors. “We thought it was an odd finding,” recalls Mutti, “but it just kept coming up as we did the analyses.” A year later, Rose and her colleagues arrived at much the same conclusion in Australia. After studying more than 4,000 children at Sydney primary and secondary schools for three years, they found that children who spent less time outside were at greater risk of developing myopia.

So what can you do?  Again, the biggest and best thing you can do for your children is to get them outside.  The more time the better.  Additionally, decreasing the amount of time you let your child on computers, playing playstation or xbox or whatever game system they have, or the amount of time they spend looking at their phones.  You could declare certain times technology free times, go on walks or bike rides with your family, play catch, grow a garden, go to a park or beach.  Obviously, if you know me and my family by now you know we love to get outside because the more I learn and the more I read, getting outdoors is the best thing for you and your family.

 

 

 

Magnesium Sulfate

Magnesium Sulfate otherwise known as Epsom Salt has a lot of great benefits to you and your children.  How can you get these benefits?  Try adding some to your children’s baths (and yours if you are lucky enough to take baths unlike me at the moment).  Some of those benefits include:

  • sound sleep
  • promotes a feeling of relaxation and well being
  • stress relief
  • body detox and purification
  • improved digestion process and improved absorption of nutrients
  • prevention and ease of migraine headaches
  • improved nerve function
  • pain and muscle cramp relief
  • improved formation of joint proteins
  • stronger bones
  • improved cardiovascular health
  • prevention of heart arrhythmia’s
  • improved oxygen use
  • balancing of electrolyte levels
  • improved ability of the body to use insulin, reducing the incidence or severity of diabetes.

 

 

 

Folic acid vs Folate

Do you know the difference between the two vitamins above?  Most people commonly interchange these two vitamins, medical professions included, without knowing that there is a small but very significant difference between the two.

Folate is a group of water soluble B vitamins made up of tetrahydrafolates also known as B9.  It is the vitamin that is found naturally in foods such as spinach, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, beets, collard greens, kale, asparagus, turnip greens, broccoli, mustard greens, lentils, garbanzo beans, and parsley to name a few.  Folate is necessary during rapid cell division and growth. In fact, pregnancy is known to actually double the need of dietary folates.

Folic Acid is the synthetic form (does not occur naturally) of B9 that is oxidized and found in dietary supplements and food fortification.  According to an article found in pubmed, humans exposure to folic acid was nonexistent until 1943 when it was chemically synthesized and then later introduced as a mandatory additive for food fortification in 1998 to help aid in the decrease of Neural Tube Defects in babies.  Unfortunately, many did not take into account how much processed foods people would eat, and therefore taking a folic acid supplement caused there to be a build up of it in our blood.  This has lead researchers to find many studies linking the build up of unmetabolized (not broken down) folic acid in the blood to an increase in the chance of certain cancers. (more studies here and here and here )

So what is my advice?  Number one, make sure you are eating a healthy diet full of all those delicious dark leafy greens, as you can see cauliflower and beets are also a great addition to add.  Secondly, ditch that folic acid supplement.  You are already getting enough of folic acid in the food fortification process.  Lastly, if you are not pregnant, trying to get pregnant or not breastfeeding, you do not need to be taking a folate supplement.  If you are pregnant, are trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding you should be taking a FOLATE supplement.  You should be getting an average of 800-1200 mcg of folate a day, so depending on your dietary intake I would recommend taking around 600-800 mcg of Folate/day.  Some popular or good brands include Metagenics (we sell this brand at the office), Designs for Health, Solgar, and Pure Encapsulations to name a few.

Diastasis Recti

Ever since having Harper, I have struggled to get my abdominal strength back.  I knew there was something I was missing so when my husband came across this book I was excited to read it.  If you have been diagnosed with a Diastasis Recti or know someone that has this book is definitely for you.  You can find it on Amazon, titled Diastasis Recti by Katy Bowman.  The book explains what it is and gives you stretches and exercises starting from beginner and going all the way to expert.  Below is a short summary of what you will find.  I hope you get as much out of it as I did!

What is it?

It is the unnatural distance (meaning abnormal to you) of the right and/or left halves of the rectus abdominus (abs) from the midline.   Usually caused by the stretching of the linea alba, which is a ligament that holds all the muscles in place in the abdomen and it runs from the rib cage all the way down to your pelvis.  To be clear a DR is not simply just a separating of muscle, but a whole body issue that lead to the symptom of your abdomen separating.

What can cause it?

Most commonly a DR is a result of pregnancy.  Not all women get it, and there are varying degrees of separation.  It can also be a result of muscular imbalances, weak muscles, tight muscles or poor body posture as a whole.  Another reason for DR’s to occur is an increase in intra-abdominal fat.

What can you do to correct a Diastastis Recti?

One of the main things Katy repeats in the book is that it is a whole body issue.  You need to treat it that way and really go back to the basics of simple stretches before getting into the more complex exercises to strengthen, which was what I was doing wrong.  I was trying to get into the exercises right off the bat, not realizing my posture was incorrect during the moves which was leading to more issues and not helping correct the problem.

Secondly, not only do you have to stretch and do exercises, but you have to eat healthy as well.  Nutrition is the building blocks of health.  We can exercise until we are blue in the face, but if we eat like crap or do not take care of our bodies, the exercises and stretches are worthless.

Lastly, our society has become extremely sedentary.  We need to get up more and move.  If we have to sit, we need to learn how to sit better. We constantly hear all day long that I don’t sit much, but if you really think about it you probably are more sedentary than not.   For example, we sit when we commute to and from work, when we watch TV or read a book, when we are eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner, using the internet, going to the bathroom, and when we are sleeping just to name a few!

Here are three stretches that Katy suggests to start with:

  1. Floor Angels – AKA snow angel, you want to keep your palms up with your elbows slightly bent.  Do not go any higher than what you can do with your ribs down on the ground!  Do this exercise 10 times moving slowly and making sure your ribs are in contact with the ground at all times!
  2. Windmill Stretch – Starting on your back, bring your knee up toward your chest and then roll your entire body to the left, until your knee rests on the ground.  Without hyperextending the elbow, reach your right hand, arm, and shoulder blade up toward the ceiling and away from the spine.  Slowly drop your arm as far as you can without thrusting your ribcage.  (move your arm between 12-6)  Do this 10-15 times and then repeat on the other side.
  3. Doorway walkthrough – if you can reach the top of the door way, hold both arms up above you for 20-60 seconds.  If you can’t reach do a single-armed version of this exercise, doing one arm at a time on the right and left side of a doorway.  (Make sure your elbows are pointing straight ahead)

With the first two stretches, you need to make sure your ribs are in contact with the floor at all times.  You do not want any gap in between the ribs and the floor. What she recommends is to prop your head up with bolsters(rolled up towels) until you ribs are in contact with the floor and as you do the exercises you will notice that you need less and less of a bolster.

Again, I can’t state how great this book was.  I have been doing these stretches for a week and I already notice a difference.  Check it out for even more details and exercises to help correct your Diastasis Recti.  If you have any questions or are wondering if you are doing any stretches or exercises correctly, come into the office and I will be happy to help!

 

 

Importance of Tummy Time!

What is it?

  • Tummy time is when your baby is laying on his or her stomach while supervised.

Why is tummy time important?

  • It helps your baby develop their cervical and lumbar spinal curves.
  • It helps your baby learn to push themselves up, roll over, crawl, sit up, and pull up to stand.
  • It strengthens your babies suboccipital muscles (the muscles located right below the skull.
  • It also strengthens other muscles of the neck, shoulders, and trunk.
  • It helps develop the babies cervical facets by the neck rotation your baby does while in tummy time.
  • It helps round the skull. (prevents flat head syndrome aka plagiocephaly)
  • It aids in visual motor development and depth perception.
  • It helps prevent twisted neck, also known as positional torticollis.
  • Research has found that babies that don’t do tummy time are more likely to have developmental motor delays.

When do you start doing tummy time?

  • You can start doing tummy time from the moment they are born.
  • All babies should have some head control from the first day they are born.
  • For example, babies that are placed in the NICU are placed on their bellies. (research has shown that our bodies function optimally when we are prone or laying face down)

What are some examples of tummy time?

  1.  Dad or mom can lay down with baby stomach to stomach on chest.
    1. You can even do a step further and bring the baby away and towards your chest.
  2. Put the baby on a play mat or favorite blanket on their tummy. (you can place a rolled up towel/blanket under babies chest and shoulders for additional support)  Get down there with them and offer them some eye to eye time and support!
    1. To take it a step further you can put their favorite toys, colored blocks, mirrors or anything that will catch their attention (you can start to do this around 3 months of age)
  3. Baby Wearing – when you wear the baby in a carrier and they are stomach to stomach with you; it is causing the baby to have to use their neck more to see all around them.
  4. Playing airplane.
  5. Burping over lap or lap sooth – place baby tummy down over lap.  A hand on baby’s bottom will help steady and calm them.
  6. Tummy down carry or football hold – Position one hand under the tummy and between the legs and carry baby tummy down. Nestle  baby close to your body to help get baby accustomed to the position.

How long and how often should you be doing tummy time?

  • You and your baby should be doing tummy time EVERY DAY.
  • Tummy time should be done, especially in the beginning, for 2-3 minute increments.
  • Do tummy time as often as you can! You can never do tummy time too much!

Important Notes

  • Always do tummy time while you are supervising!
  • Always do tummy time on stable surfaces where baby is secure.

Pregnancy and Chiropractic

Chiropractic care in pregnancy is an essential ingredient to your prenatal care choices.  Preexisting but unnoticed imbalances in your spine and pelvis become stressed during pregnancy.  These pronounced discomforts make it difficult to perform routine daily activities.

A large percent of all pregnant women experience back discomfort and/or pain during pregnancy.  This is due to the rapid growth of the baby and interferences to your body’s normal structural adaptations to that growth.

Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can relieve and even prevent the common discomforts experienced in pregnancy.   There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care during pregnancy.  Chiropractic is a safe, natural, and effective treatment for you to feel your best during pregnancy and be ready for your best birth!

Here are a list of complaints we commonly treat during pregnancy:

  • Mid Back Pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Headaches
  • Leg Pain
  • Muscle Pain
  • Lower Abdominal stretching pain
  • Breech Baby (Webster Technique)
  • Rib Pain/Costochondritis
  • Ankle/Foot Pain
  • Supportive Taping Procedures for the growing belly
  • SI joint pain

Aside from helping with the discomforts of pregnancy, there are three main reasons why every pregnant woman should see a chiropractor:

  1. Chiropractic Care helps provide structural balance and stability for the mother, resulting in a more comfortable pregnancy.
  2. Research studies have shown that pregnant mothers under chiropractic care during their pregnancy tend to have a shorter labor with less medical interventions. “A retrospective review of statistics reported that primigravida women who seek chiropractic care throughout gestation have, on average, a 25% shorter labor time whereas multiparous women who seek chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy have, on average, 31% shorter labor times.”
  3. By supporting better function in the mother’s body, chiropractic care can help to create a healthier and more comfortable in-utero  environment for the newborn, helping them to get a better start to life.  In fact, research suggests that there is a strong link between the baby’s experience in the in-utero environment and his or her lifelong health potential.

For further reading on Chiropractic  care during pregnancy visit these sites below:

 

Super Immunity & The American Diet

Dr. Chris and I have read “Super Immunity” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD over 100 times by now.  Each time we read it we find another valuable piece of information.  It is a good book to read if you are looking to improve your families health/diet.

Did you know that today the American Diet takes over 60% of its calories from processed foods?  Each year that percentage raises more and more.  This includes most foods made with sweeteners, white flour and oils; such as: white bread, bagels, chips, pasta, donuts, cookies, breakfast bars, cold cereals, soft drinks, pretzels, condiments, and premade salad dressings.  We as a country consume less than 10 percent of their calories from unrefined plant foods such as fruits, beans, seeds, and vegetables.  However, this is misleading because at least half the vegetable consumption in America is white potato products, including fries and chips!

What does this mean to us?  The modern diet is not just slightly derived in a handful of micronutrients, but grossly deficient in hundreds of important plant derived immunity building compounds!  Vegetable consumption is something we as a country need to start making a priority in our diets.  If we don’t make that change we are going to start seeing a lot more chronic conditions, poor quality of life and premature deaths earlier than ever before.  As I have talked about earlier, obesity has become a major problem in America.  We are the first generation who won’t live out our parents generation in age.  According to the CDC, more than one third of American Adults are obese, costing us $147 billion dollars in health care costs in 2008!  That was 7 years ago, and with the rate steadily increasing each year, the health care cost goes up!  Childhood obesity is also extremely high at 17% of Americans for the age groups of 2-17, which affected 12.7 million children last year!

So how do we change these staggering statistics? We need to not only start educating our children with the importance of eating more vegetables, but we ourselves need to start eating healthier too.  We can not expect our kids to want to eat healthy if they watch our unhealthy eating habits.  So not only do we have to be good role models for our children’s behaviors, but their eating habits too!  Get rid of the excuse, “I just don’t like the taste of vegetables”.  There are no excuses when it comes to health.  There are so many vegetables out there.  Find ones that you and your family like and try and incorporate them into your meals.  Here are some tips at eating healthier and getting your kids to eat healthier.  Start food shopping on the weekends or a day off so that you have a day to start preparing meals for the week.  We cut up all our vegetables on Sunday, and make mason jar salads for throughout the week.  Every night, we always make sure there is at least one vegetable on our plate!  We typically will snack on carrots, peppers, snap peas, or cut up cucumbers through out the day.  We always try and have a small salad for lunch or a side of dark leafy greens sauteed for dinner.  Then we always have another type of vegetable medley for dinner.  Obviously, it is going to be harder to start to change on a drastic measure so start small.  Make your goal this month to find which veggies your family likes, and at least incorporate one a day!  Then you can add on from there!

Natural Remedy for Productive Cough/ Decongestant

The following is a recipe that we use when we get congested, have a productive cough, and/or have a lot of mucus in our throats.  We at the Chiropractic Family Center have been recommending it to patients for over 38 years.  Dr. Jim Higgins learned of this natural remedy from Edgar Casey.  Everyone who has tried it only speaks highly of it as a natural decongestant/cough remover!

Ingredients

  • Juice of a whole lemon
  • White of an egg
  • Tablespoon of honey
  • 7 drops of pure glycerin

Whip ingredients together in a bowl.  Leave on the counter so that it stays at room temperature.  Cover with cellophane.  Take one tablespoon every hour you are awake.  Be sure to make new batch every day.

Most common question is where to buy glycerin.  You can find it at your local drug store (CVS, Walgreen’s) or at your local health food store (Nature’s Nutrition is the store we use)  You will just have to ask the pharmacist because they have it in the back.  You can also find it online, which is what we do.   You can click HERE to find it.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  DO NOT USE for children under the age of 2 due to Honey!!!

Why do Children need Chiropractic?

Even a natural birthing process can be traumatic for your precious newborn. Dr. Ashley will gently check your baby, making sure that there are no effects from labor and delivery on your child’s heath. We feel it’s imperative for all children to be checked by a chiropractor throughout their childhood to ensure that the child’s nervous system and immune system are functioning optimally.

As your child continues to grow, we want to make sure they can develop properly. Birth trauma, improperly carrying your baby and excessive time in seats (car seats, bouncers, bumbos, jumpers, etc.) can cause spinal misalignments. These problems often present themselves as common childhood health complaints that include the ear, nose, throat, digestive issues, sleeping difficulty, and irritability. Learning to walk, repeated bumps and falls, sports, dance, texting and carrying heavy backpacks can all lead to spinal misalignments in children. Through chiropractic care, we can help your child feel great and function optimally so they can enjoy each year as they grow.

Children receive chiropractic care that is completely different than that of an adult. Our light, gentle adjustments are safe for babies and children. If you’ve seen us during your pregnancy, we’re happy to check your baby after they’re born to make sure their spines are in proper alignment.

Here are some benefits to pediatric chiropractic care:

1.) Improved Sleeping

2.) Improved behavior and attitude

3.) Improved Immune system function

4.) Some conditions proven to be alleviated by Chiropractic: ADHD, Colic, Asthma, Ear Infections, Bed Wetting, Falls, Acid and Silent Reflux

Your baby deserves to have the healthiest start.  Contact our office today to find out how we can help ensure their best future.  “If the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”

Here is a great website to read more:

http://icpa4kids.org/About-the-ICPA/why-chiropractic-for-children.html