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'Tis the Season

Date: December 11, 2017 | Time: 11:57am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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I love Christmas as much as the next person. But what I don't love is the 8-10 pounds I typically put on through the holidays as well as the general lousy feeling I work to achieve. And I'm pretty certain I'm not the only one who experiences this - all over the rationale, "But it's Christmas." The fudge, the cookies, the breads and pastries - all because it's Christmas. When I think of this, the real magic of Santa is not the flying reindeer or millions of homes he invades all in one night; Santa's miracle is that he's not yet a diabetic with heart disease and inflammatory bowel disorder!

Unfortunately, I don't believe the indulgent traditions of Christmas feasting are soon to change. Admittedly, broccoli florets and artichoke hearts in the stockings don't quite spark the holiday cheer. So here is what I propose: enjoy the holiday season as guilt-free as possible and start new in January. Of course many people do this every year with a gym membership or an exercise DVD. But one new resolution that most people have not tried is a detoxification program to cleanse out all the toxins we've accumulated in our system. I've always advocated that everyone should do a cleanse once a year and right after the holiday season is the best time. Several of us in our office have done the ten-day program designed by Metagenics nutritional company and the results are great. After the first few days, you can expect to experience more energy, better sleep, less pain and muscle soreness, clearer thinking, and the list goes on. Over time, the buildup of toxins from the environment and lifestyle choices can compromise the way our bodies work and even lead to disease processes. I heard an expert on the subject put it this way: "It's not a question of whether or not people are toxic. It's a question of how toxic are we?"

This detox by Metagenics works to cleanse the liver, kidneys, and bowel. I've done several different programs in the past, but what I like about this one is that it is only ten days and you should not be hungry on the program. As long as you stick to the permissible foods in the book that accompanies the package, you're allowed to eat as much as you choose. The Metagenics program has also been proven to help rid the body of heavy metals such as aluminum and mercury that have been implicated with neurological disorders such as M.S., Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Whether you choose this same program or not, please consider an annual detoxification as part of your health and wellness plan for 2018. In the meantime have a very Merry Christmas and I hope you are able to reconnect with family and friends and focus on all that we have to be grateful.

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An Antioxidant Cocktail

Date: December 4, 2017 | Time: 11:59am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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In the past, I've reported that the risk of various cancers can be reduced around 50% simply by exercising regularly and by eating the recommended 5-13 servings of fruits and vegetables. I saw a recent study proving that drinking three cups of green tea each day also cuts the risk in half of numerous different cancers. If you do the math, performing these three simple habits from an early age dramatically decreases the risk of this still prominent disease.

Drinking green tea has been known for its health benefits for over 5000 years and the reason is thought to be its high antioxidant concentration. Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize the free radicals in the body known to steal electrons from other molecules ultimately damaging different proteins, enzymes, and genetic material such as DNA. Another common household antioxidant is brown apple cider vinegar. I've talked about using a couple tablespoons of this to ease arthritic pain in previous columns, but the reason it works also seems to be due to its high content of beta carotene and pectins that serve as antioxidants. You have to be careful with this vinegar as it is very acidic and can irritate some stomachs if you don't dilute it in water or juice.

In the past, I've made what I refer to an antioxidant cocktail to start my mornings consisting of a cup of green tea with a couple spoons of cider vinegar, the juice of a half lemon, and a dash of raw honey. The lemon adds flavor and also serves as an effective detoxifying agent for the liver, while the honey sweetens and add some of its own health benefits. I'd skip the honey if you have any blood sugar problems, however. This concoction has been reported to ease constipation, lower blood pressure, increase energy, help with weight loss, and decrease joint pain by dissolving uric acid deposits around the joints. You may need to play with the recipe as it's a bit of an acquired taste, but give it a try and let me know if you receive any benefits.

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Foods to Avoid

Date: November 27, 2017 | Time: 11:56am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

Top 10 Addictive Unhealthy Foods
One of my favorite sites for health information lured me in with an article titled, "The Foods You Shouldn't Touch with a Ten Foot Pole." Turns out, none of the foods on the list should come as a surprise to anyone out there, but the reasons why to avoid these foods was compelling. As I've discussed in the past, the key to changing behavior is to change the belief that drives that behavior and changing beliefs comes from knowledge like this.

The foods we should all avoid include all sodas (especially diet drinks), doughnuts and pastries, French fries, breakfast cereals, and all processed snacks or junk food. This should be a familiar list to everyone, but this time, the reason to quit these foods is not just the trans-fats, the sugar, the additives and preservatives, or the genetically modified grains. A recent study has shown that a diet rich in these junk foods will cause a deficiency in the normal balance of bacterial flora in our own system - meaning that we will be lacking the healthy bacteria that help to prevent illness. Lacking these "good guy" bugs has been found to be linked to a weakened immune system, increased bad bacteria, poor digestion, and a general inability to absorb vitamins/minerals and eliminate dangerous toxins. Worse than this, many believe that this imbalance of bacteria is a major cause to ailments such as eczema, asthma, various allergies, inflammatory conditions, and autoimmune disease. If you've followed this column very long, you know that all disease is linked to inflammation in some manner and that normal bacterium of your intestine is one of the first lines of defense we have as part of our immune system -- they say 80% or our immune function is in our gut.

Knowing this, what should you do? First, avoid the above listed foods as much as possible. Secondly, be conservative when taking antibiotics or using antibacterial soaps that kill not only the bad guys, but also the good guys. Eat foods that replenish healthy bacteria such as organically grown fruits and vegetables and fermented dairy products such as real yogurt (not the sugary kind) or Kefir. Lastly, as I have recommended in the past, take a high-quality probiotic supplement regularly to reseed the gut with these vital microorganisms.

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Giving Thanks

Date: November 20, 2017 | Time: 12:54pm | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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As a chiropractor, I'm always challenging people to look to the cause of their pain, ailment, or illness because unless you uncover the cause, you'll always be treating and managing the symptoms. The World Health Organization has reported that the ultimate cause of any loss of health is excessive amounts of physical, chemical, and/or emotional stress beyond the body's natural ability to adapt. Research suggests that emotional stress is the single biggest factor of these different stressors. In my discussions with people, I certainly find that many are dealing with excessive amounts of this emotional stress resulting with increased pain, sleep disorders, anxiety and depression, digestive disorders, amongst other health problems. In preparation for Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a reminder of a strategy on how to reduce the effects of our daily stress.

First of all, I'd like to emphasize that we weren't born into stress. Instead, we experience different stress, and over time we practice this stress until we get very good at it. In time, our conscious stress (what we perceive and what we choose to focus on) becomes subconscious stress. In subconscious stress, our brain is functioning in a revved-up, fight/flight state that is appropriate for survival (fighting a bear) but not appropriate for every-day life. When our brain is in this state, it changes our physiology through our nervous system and our hormones and our organs start to function differently. Eventually, this can manifest as almost any disease out there. So we must interrupt the stress response! Physical exercise, yoga, meditation, prayer, and other disciplines have been proven to decrease stress. But given the season, I would like to encourage you to just try another strategy that can reduce the subconscious stress. This strategy is using a gratitude journal.

Science has proven that our brain cannot be in a state of stress and gratitude at the same time. This is why I like to call, gratitude the universal solvent of all emotional stresses. All you need is a small notebook or journal and a pen by your bed stand. In the mornings, before your feet hit the floor, you simply write down five things that you're grateful for. These can be big or small. This is to allow you to at least begin your day in this state with the goal of staying in a state of gratitude as long as possible. Then at night, right before your head hits the pillow, you read some of the things you've written over the mornings until you feel like you are back in that state of gratitude. This will work best if you stay in this state and don't let any other thoughts enter your head until you're asleep. In doing this, you will be retraining the subconscious mind to be in this state rather than a state of anxiety, depression, anger, etc. This is a simple strategy that will render results over time. Give it a try and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
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A Seasonal Snack

Date: November 13, 2017 | Time: 9:52am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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'Tis the season when whatever healthy eating habits we may have established over the year go out the window and are dismissed until January's resolutions come around. It's good to know going into this season that there are some snacks that are good for us now and the whole year through. Pumpkin seeds are considered to be nutritional powerhouses that are rich in numerous nutrients including the ever-important minerals, magnesium, copper, and zinc. They are also a healthy, low-fat source of protein that can be particularly helpful for vegetarians. Because of their nutritional value, these seasonal seeds are considered useful in preventing numerous diseases.

Because of their magnesium, just one-quarter cup of pumpkin seeds help the pumping of your heart and relaxation of your blood vessels. The mineral also serves for stronger bones and teeth, and proper bowel function. By helping to lower blood pressure, the magnesium in these seeds is believed to help prevent heart attack and stroke. Because of their zinc, just one ounce of the seeds will help with cell growth, mood, sense of taste and smell, regular sleep, insulin regulation, male sex function, and boosting your immune system. Deficiencies in zinc have been linked to increased colds/flu, chronic fatigue, depression, and learning problems in kids. Zinc is also very important in preventing and possibly even treating prostate problems. Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of plant-based omega-3's, the essential nutrient most of us are deficient in. The seeds are packed full of anti-oxidants that reduce inflammation but also can help improve insulin regulation and diabetic complications. This anti-inflammatory effect has even been found to work as well as the drug Indomethacin in treating arthritis. Some studies have shown that the phytoestrogens found in the seeds increase the good (HDL) cholesterol. When this is coupled with the decrease in blood pressure, hot flashes and headaches, the seeds have been found to be a valuable tool for postmenopausal women. Similar to turkey meat, pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan which helps to increase serotonin and melatonin that will help promote proper sleep. Eat these seeds a few hours before bed and see if sleep is improved.

Ideally, you would eat the seeds raw and organic in order to reap the benefits of the healthy fats found inside. Some people will not like the taste of the raw seeds. In these cases, the seeds can be soaked and then dried or they can be run through a dehydrator. This should make them palatable. The most popular way to consume pumpkin seeds is roasted. However, to preserve the nutrients and enzymes that provide the health benefits, do not roast above 170 degrees F and limit cooking to just 15-20 minutes. These seeds do not require refrigeration and can be taken with you anyplace for a quick snack. Give them a try and let me know what you think!
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Date: November 6, 2017 | Time: 9:32am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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I've had many clients have come into the office with sore arms and shoulders. A brief history revealed that these people had just come from getting their annual flu vaccine. Certainly the soreness will pass. However, there are numerous changes going on with the annual flu shot and I believe it's a good idea to be informed and know what you are injecting into your bloodstream and what other avenues you can pursue if you don't want an injection.

In the past, I've reported on the Center for Disease Control's data that showed a link between three consecutive yearly flu shots and a 10-17 times greater risk of developing Alzheimer's later in life (depending on which study you subscribe to). Although the ultimate source was never confirmed, the consensus was that this risk was related to the Thimerosol. This is a form of mercury that was used as a preservative for the live virus and has been found to be a powerful neurotoxin. Most of today's vaccines do not contain Thimerosol. However, many still do contain chemicals which can be toxic or trigger allergic responses including: formaldehyde, egg protein, MSG, aluminum, and ethylene glycol. The other problem with the vaccine is its efficacy. To date, the normal flu shot contains about three or four strains of influenza. Unfortunately, there are over 200 different viruses known to cause flu and flu-like symptoms. As a result, the CDC reports, "During the years when the flu vaccine is not well matched to circulating viruses, it's possible that no benefit from flu vaccination may be observed." Even when the match is good, results can be questionable. For instance, in the 2012-2013 flu season, vaccines were only nine percent effective against type A influenza in people over 65 and around 56% in all other age groups. This has caused many to question the benefit of the shots over the risks. As a result, researchers are scrambling to develop what they refer to as a universal flu vaccine. This new brand of flu shot will attempt to stimulate the virus-killing immune cells known as CD8 T-cells. Studies have shown that people with higher percentages of these cells do not get the flu or experience only mild symptoms.

If you decide to get the shot, I encourage you to do some research before you inject anything into your blood. You can go to www.nvic.organd check the ingredients, contraindications, and warnings of all 12 flu shots that are out there this year. If you decide not to get the shot, but you still want to boost your immunity, I recommend regular exercise, adequate sleep, chiropractic adjustments, and a diet low in sugar and trans-fats. There's plenty of evidence to show how this approach works to boost your immune system and it's allowed me to only miss one day of work due to illness in the last 17 years. Vitamin C also helps to boost the immune system and decrease the nasty effects that sugar has on immunity. Probiotics are critical for providing the healthy bacteria in the gut that will help fight off any bad germs that we might ingest. Lastly, these CD8 T-cells that scientists are attempting to stimulate with a universal vaccine; these cells are increased in people with adequate vitamin D and they are lacking in those who do not have enough vitamin D.
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Real Solutions

Date: October 23, 2017 | Time: 8:45am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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Last week I discussed Metabolic Syndrome and its link to a much greater risk of premature death related to cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes. The syndrome is characterized by five common risk factors that are all preventable with better choices and proper lifestyle. As promised, this week I will discuss the real-life solutions for preventing Metabolic Syndrome and the diseases associated with it.

In the past I've written that solutions for health must be multi-dimensional. It's the same with preventing these disease states - you must do all the right things. This is the very reason we brought the 8 Weeks to Wellness program to our office. This program was designed specifically to address all the risk factors of Metabolic Syndrome. The specific type of exercise and low glycemic diet address the increased blood glucose, waist measurement, and B.M.I. or obesity. Stress reduction strategies are implemented along with the diet and exercise to help lower the blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and cholesterol. The diet, omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil and increased lean muscle from exercise will all act to increase HDL (good cholesterol) levels. Chiropractic and massage are necessary to restore structural balance and function as well as to reduce the aches and pains that often prevent people from doing these strategies on their own.

Believe it or not, eliminating the risk factors of Metabolic Syndrome and reducing the risk of al the associated diseases is this simple. In our 8 Weeks to Wellness program, we see results routinely. In fact, the latest research shows that appropriate lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and stress reduction are much more effective at addressing these risk factors than conventional prescription medications. It's really just common sense. Metabolic Syndrome is a lifestyle syndrome that develops as a result of poor choices over time. The only reasonable way to reverse this process is by learning to make the right choices consistently over time. If you're interested in learning more, please call our office to schedule an appointment or join us for our Dinner with the Doc on November 6th (find details in the link below) regarding all these strategies.

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Metabolic Syndrome

Date: October 16, 2017 | Time: 8:49am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

metabolic syndromeWhile I try to keep the focus of this column on wellness, sometimes we must understand the conditions preventing us from expressing our genetic design of health and wellness. You may have heard it named Syndrome X, but the biggest threat to the health of Americans right now is a condition known as Metabolic Syndrome. It is estimated that 40% of the American public over forty years old already suffer from this condition and 4 of every $10 spent on healthcare is related to this syndrome.

Metabolic Syndrome became widely known in the 1970's. A person who is diagnosed with it runs a much greater risk of dying early from heart disease, coronary artery disease, type II diabetes, and stroke. The syndrome is characterized by a list of common risk factors including: blood pressure higher than 130/85, blood glucose over 100, triglycerides over 150, HDL ("good") cholesterol under 40 for men and 50 for women, and a waist measurement around the belly-button greater than 40 for men or 35 for women. A person with just three of these five risk factors will be given the diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome and will carry the risk of early death due to these other diseases.

While doctors still resort to treating these risk factors with medications, all the experts agree that the cause of Metabolic Syndrome is directly linked to lifestyle choices as is the solution. The simple fact of it is that even if you get your cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure numbers down with medications, you still have the conditions! Unless you make the appropriate lifestyle changes, the numbers will go back up if you should cease to take the medications. You must address the ultimate causes of this syndrome and these diseases which are: lack of exercise, diets high in sugars, processed carbohydrates and grains, and chronic emotional stress. Because this syndrome is such a major factor of our healthcare crisis, I will focus on the details of the appropriate solutions again next week.

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A Health History

Date: October 9, 2017 | Time: 7:44am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

In addition to the keys to health and wellness, I tend to gravitate toward anything on the subject of longevity. In an article titled, The Longevity Myth, the authors point out that the belief that life expectancy has grown much over the past couple hundred years is really a myth. While average life span of the population has appeared to go up over the last century, it is not truly because people are living longer, but that not as many are dying at very young ages from disease such as meningitis and other childhood diseases that plagued society 100 years ago.

What I found very interesting in the article was a history of healthcare in our society. Many people believe that advances in medical technology along with high-tech surgical and pharmaceutical interventions have increased our lifespan as a culture. The authors go to great lengths to show that this is not true. They admit that these advanced procedures will save individual lives in a time of a crisis such as a stroke or heart attack, but that the overall life expectancy of the average individual has remained around 76 - 78 years of age.

The only time that life expectancy has made a dramatic increase was between the years of 1900 and 1925. While many might believe this shift was due to antibiotics and vaccines, it is not because they were not invented by this time. The authors state, "The longevity gains between 1900 and 1925 have little to do with medicine and almost everything to do with lifestyle; particularly improvement in housing, sanitation, and nutrition." So again, it all comes back to lifestyle choices. Remember that science shows us that the physical body is capable of living to around 130 years if we treat it right. For the best breakdown of what lifestyle choices we should be making to increase longevity, I (as I have in the past) encourage you to read the book, Healthy at 100 by John Robbins, M.D. This book is almost a cookbook for longevity, but just like the authors of The Longevity Myth, Dr. Robbins points out that life expectancy is a matter of lifestyle choices.

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Thyroid Temperature Test

Date: October 2, 2017 | Time: 9:06am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

If you missed last week, I discussed the importance of your thyroid gland and shared the research documenting the importance of maintaining healthy iodine levels in your diet to maintain function of this critical gland. I also shared that most Americans are deficient in iodine which can be related to many thyroid imbalances. Thyroid problems are a major issue in our society (especially in women) and are likely complicated by poor lifestyle factors such as high stress, poor diet, and lack of exercise. This week I'd like to share a simple screening test you can perform at home to see if you might have a thyroid imbalance. I've used this test several times to pick up thyroid dysfunction even before it showed up consistently on a blood test.

Dr. Barnes developed this test in 1942 and it has most commonly been used to determine ovulation cycles by women trying to get pregnant. But guess what . . . ovulation cycles are controlled by a hormone released from the thyroid gland. The test measures basal (resting) body temperature which is controlled completely by the thyroid. To do the test you need a thermometer, a pen and a paper to be kept in arm's reach beside your bed. Immediately upon waking, without even raising your head from the pillow, place the thermometer directly under your arm and leave it for 10 minutes. If you don't have a glass/mercury thermometer, you will have to record the reading on the digital thermometer every time it beeps over the 10 minutes and take the average at the end. Try to avoid any arousal or movement while doing the test as it will affect the results. You will want to do the test on at least five different mornings and try not to do the test around day 14 or 28 of the menstrual cycle. Once you have five readings from different days, add the numbers together and divide by five to get an average. This number should fall between 97.8 and 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit. If it does not, and you have any of the thyroid symptoms I discussed last week, you might want to have a complete thyroid panel run with your doctor.

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Try This at Home

Date: September 25, 2017 | Time: 7:15am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

Your thyroid gland is responsible for maintaining your metabolism, your blood calcium as well as releasing other hormones to regulate other glands. But when this gland is not working right it can cause an array of problems and symptoms including: weight gain, low energy or fatigue, cold or tingling hands/feet, dry skin, hair loss, brain fog, sleeping problems, muscle pain, ankle swelling, headaches/migraines, and cholesterol problems.

Even though many doctors don't recognize it, a necessary raw ingredient for thyroid function is iodine. The two main thyroid hormones, T3 and T4 are made of three and four iodine molecules respectfully and a person low on iodine will not produce these vital chemicals appropriately. Here's the catch! Research published by Dr. David Brownstein discovered that in testing 4000 people, 96% of those tested were deficient in iodine! A similar study by the World Health Organization found that 72% of the world's population is deficient. This is especially true in the Midwest where culturally we don't eat as much seafood.

How do you know your iodine levels? While it may not be as precise as regular blood-testing, there is a cheap and simple way to check iodine at home. Simply go to the drugstore and purchase a small bottle of tincture of iodine and with a swab, paint a small square of the brown liquid on your arm or hip. The iodine should stain your skin and remain very visible for about 24 hours before shedding off. A person who is deficient in iodine will actually absorb the nutrient through the skin very quickly (often the stain will be gone in less than an hour). This person could benefit from iodine supplementation. Try this test! Or, for more information on this topic, check out the work of Dr. Brownstein or take the online survey on the website for the Women's Health Institute of Texas at

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Fixing a Broken Brain

Date: September 18, 2017 | Time: 8:53am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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How do you fix a broken brain? For most of history, science has believed that the brain is stagnant and unchanging with fixed memory and potential. We know the brain can lose function with trauma, drugs, alcohol, etc. But nobody believed that the brain could repair or rebuild.

I've reported on this in the past, but another study released in Scientific American has shown that the previous beliefs about the brain's limited potential are simply not true. In reality, the brain has the potential to build and repair its cells and it is routinely laying down new 'wiring' to interconnect cells based on new experience for more efficiency. In previous articles I've reported on ways to boost brain power. But this recent study performed on animals shows that physical exercise is one of the strongest brain boosters and can double the number of cells found in the hippocampus. This part of the brain has always been associated with converting short-term memory to long-term memory; explaining why exercise can improve memory. Other literature suggests that the hippocampus is also involved with the stress response in the body. This gives insight to how physical exercise is consistently the most effective stress reliever to decrease anxiety and depression.

I encounter many people that try to stay healthy with diet, rest, and positive thinking while neglecting any form of exercise. While these are all critical factors, there is too much research like this study proving that you can never be as healthy as possible without including exercise as part of your lifestyle.

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Why Do I Do It?

Date: September 11, 2017 | Time: 7:20am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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Even 122 years after its inception, there's still a great deal of misconception involving chiropractic and like most people, I thought chiropractic care was simply an alternative for back and neck pain. But, after receiving almost immediate relief of my own routine headaches, sinus problems, and allergies I knew I needed to learn more.

What really attracted me to chiropractic was the simplicity of its principles. You see, chiropractic is built on the premise that there is an inborn or innate intelligence in the body - this is the same intelligence that allowed us to develop from just two individual cells from our parents and into who we are today. This same intelligence is what allows us to organize, regulate and heal our body naturally. You don't think about digesting lunch, or regulating hormones. When you cut your finger or break your arm, it's not the band-aid or cast that heals. The body does this automatically. How does it? It is the communication between the brain and the body through the nervous system that allows everything to coordinate and function properly. The spinal cord and nerve branches that communicate with most every cell, tissue, and organ in the body travel through the 24 moveable vertebrae that make up the spinal column. If, from various stresses, one or more of these moveable vertebrae should misalign, that can create pressure on the spinal cord or nerve branches and interfere with the communication between the brain and the body much like trying to talk on a phone with static on the line. This interference and miscommunication can disrupt the body's ability to coordinate which can result in our inability to heal right, feel right, or function right. A chiropractor's job is to locate this interference and remove the pressure or stress from the nervous system so that the body can function and regulate as it was designed through its own intelligence. It's that simple!

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Tapped or Bottled?

Date: August 21, 2017 | Time: 8:05am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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Drinking water is an essential of health. Our bodies are made of about 70% water and nearly every one of the millions of chemical reactions that occur in the body happens in a water medium. The fact is, we need water, but there is a great deal of controversy over the right source. Ideally, we should be getting much of our water from food in the form of raw fruits and vegetables. Since most don't do this routinely, we need a regular source of healthy water. As a result, the world consumes about 26 billion units of bottled water every year. This is a healthy thing, right?

There are several things we need to know about bottled water. First, is that much of the bottled stuff is actually tap water that has never seen a mountain stream. This may not be a bad thing because the EPA requires municipal water sources to be tested for contaminants several times per day whereas the FDA requires bottlers to test as little as once per week or even every four years. Just realize that what you're paying for may not be any different than what you can drink for free. The biggest concern I have regarding bottled water comes from the bottles themselves. The grade of plastic used can leach chemicals into the water that resemble a digestible protein that the body will absorb. This problem is accelerated when the bottle has been exposed to high heat or sunlight (on a truck or loading dock, or in your car). These chemicals can cause hyperactivity, obesity, hormone and prostate problems and have been directly linked to breast and other cancers. Lastly, the plastic itself is an environmental disaster. The U.S. uses 1.5 billion gallons of oil every year to produce the bottles that are thrown away at a rate of 1500 units every second. These discarded bottles are filling our landfills and polluting our oceans and rivers. What's the solution?

I recommend getting a filter for your tap water at home - reverse osmosis is best, but a simple carbon filter will suffice. When you're on the go, think ahead and fill up reusable stainless steel or glass bottles. If you're filling plastic bottles, check the bottom of the bottle and try to use plastic that has a recycle number of '5' or greater. These don't break down as easily. I don't want this bad news to discourage you from drinking water! Just plan ahead and you'll be making a healthy choice for you and your family.

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Healthy Habits

Date: July 17, 2017 | Time: 9:09am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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The University of South Carolina conducted an inspirational study that embodies everything that this column is about. They took a group of middle-aged adults to measure exactly what benefits they could gain from a healthy lifestyle. The researchers reported that adults age 45 to 64 who began eating five or more fruits and vegetables every day, exercising for at least 2 1/2 hours a week, keeping weight down and not smoking decreased their risk of heart disease by 35 percent and risk of death by 40 percent in the four years after they started.

The really exciting part about these findings is that within four years, their mortality rate and rate of heart attacks matched the people who had been doing these behaviors all along. This means that changing behavior allowed them to "catch up" with people who had always been healthy. Dr. Dana King who led the research added "even if you have not had a healthy lifestyle previously, it's not too late to adopt those healthy lifestyle habits and gain almost immediate benefits."

The four key habits are eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables everyday, exercising for 2 1/2 hours per week, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight. A critical point learned in the study is that it took all four habits - having just three of the healthy habits yielded no heart benefits and a more modest decrease in overall risk of death. As I've said in the past, health exists on a continuum and no matter where you are on that line, information like this proves that simple changes in lifestyle will move anyone further toward health and away from disease.
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Caffeine & Water

Date: July 10, 2017 | Time: 9:00am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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What do Coffee, Tea, Alcohol and Soda have in common? Anything you drink with caffeine or alcohol can dehydrate you by turning off anti-diuretic hormone in your kidneys. This hormone causes your kidneys to return water back to the body. If it is shut off, you lose water. When you take water out of your body, you dry up causing: fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, headaches, toxicity, etc. Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to promote health!

I'm amazed with how many people "don't like water." This is equivalent to saying, "I don't like air." Our bodies are about 65% water by weight. Water is one of the least forgiving of all the nutrients - you can only survive a couple days without it. It is responsible for the transport of nutrients, oxygen, and waste products, as well as regulating your body temperature and serving as the medium in which almost all of your body's chemical reactions take place. Drinking an adequate amount of clean water is one of the most overlooked but simple ways of keeping healthy.

Most agree that you should have around 8-10 (8 oz) glasses of water each and every day. Others say you should take your weight in pounds and divide that number by '2' and this number is the amount of water in ounces you should drink daily. Regardless, it is my experience that most people could benefit from more water.

If you truly cannot learn to like the taste of water, I recommend mineral water, unsweetened green or black teas, water with lemon added or mixed with fruit juice. You can substitute a couple glasses of unsweetened fruit juice each day. However, you cannot count caffeinated tea, coffee, or soda as the water that is in these is lost through the kidneys as a result of caffeine.

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Immune Booster

Date: July 3, 2017 | Time: 9:28am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

body defense
In the past couple articles, I've discussed how sugar decreases a person's potential for wellness by compromising the immune system and limiting a person's defense. In this article, I'd like to point out one of the many ways to strengthen the immune system and improve defense.

One of the studies that inspired me to pursue chiropractic in the first place was performed in 1989 by Ronald Pero, Ph.D. Dr. Pero was the chief cancer prevention researcher at New YorkUniversity. Since cancer is recognized as an immune system problem, Dr. Pero decided to check the immune systems of people under chiropractic care as compared to people in the general population and to people with cancer or other serious disease. In a 3 year study of 107 individuals who had been under regular chiropractic care for at least 5 years, he found that this chiropractic group had a 200% greater immune function than the general public. More than this, he found that the chiropractic group had a 400% greater immunity than people with cancer and other disease.

In his conclusion, Dr. Pero reported, "I have never seen a group other than this chiropractic group to experience a 200% increase over the normal patients."

In addition to regular exercise, proper diet and reduced stress, maintaining the proper function of your spine and nervous system through regular chiropractic adjustments is proven to be a vital component of optimal health and wellness.

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Date: June 26, 2017 | Time: 8:54am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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If you missed last week's column, I picked on sugar. If you missed it, that's o.k. because this week I'm going to do it again!

Last week I reported how cutting sugar in schools improves student performance and behavior. We all know that sugar contributes to obesity and of course is the main cause of type II diabetes. This week I'd like to talk about how sugar adversely impacts your body's defense or your immune system.

I've heard it reported that the amount of sugar in a single soda (which is about 12 teaspoons!) will virtually shut down your immune system for about two hours. This makes you much more susceptible to all types of infection.

Did you know that about 75 years ago the Nobel Prize was given to Dr. Warburg of Germanywhen he discovered that sugar caused cancer? Dr. Warburg reported that almost anything can cause cancer, but that there is only one prime cause and that is the fermentation of sugar in normal body cells.

A similar 2004 study concluded that women who ate more sugar-laden foods were nearly three times more likely to develop colon cancer.

We all know that sugar is bad for us, but hopefully this information can serve as motivation to avoid the sweets more often for better health.

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ADD, ADHD & Sugar

Date: June 19, 2017 | Time: 9:40am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

Despite the reported side effects of psychosis, mania, and hallucinations, over 4 million children in the U.S. are using prescriptions of ADD and ADHD medications.

An Atlanta, Georgia school principal has taken on an alternative approach. What did he do in his school . . . banned all sugar. After overcoming his own health problems with diet and exercise, Principal Butler requires physical exercise in his school and they have enforced a policy of no sugar. Instead, the lunch room serves healthy lunches and snacks.

According to Butler, after adopting this simple policy in his school, just in the first year standardized test scores improved 15% and discipline problems decreased by 23%. As an added benefit, student health has improved dramatically and obesity is virtually non-existent in his school.

Principal Butler also notes, "In nine years we have saved $425,000. We've done that not by cutting back, but by having more fruits and vegetables."

Hopefully, in time, all schools will follow the practical lead being taken by this Atlantaschool. But until that happens, we can all develop similar policies in our own homes. If you want to see changes in your kids, start with yourself - be the example that you want to see in them!

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Roots of Illness

Date: June 12, 2017 | Time: 9:58am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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A study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the childhood roots of disease. The researchers expressed that everything that happens to us from conception to early childhood and on through life has a profound effect on adult health! They concluded that adult disease is often the result of two sources: accumulation of unhealthy stressors over the years or from adversities during sensitive developmental periods in childhood. In both cases, they often found a delay of years or even decades before disease was expressed later in life. They found that autism and even cardiovascular disease later in life can be linked to poor prenatal nutrition before we were born! They believe that chronic stressors over time accumulate and change both the function and the structure of the brain in order to adapt to an abundance of physical, chemical and emotional stress.

What's the message here? If you've followed this column, you've heard about the term epigenetics which is rapidly replacing the former model of traditional genetics. This research is the essence of epigenetics - meaning that it is not the DNA that we inherit from our parents that determines our future health or disease. Rather, it is the environment that we are exposed to over time including childhood years and even prior to birth that will unfold the expression of our genes either for health or disease. This is why I always teach that everything we do, everything we eat or drink, and everything we think is either moving us closer to wellness or closer to disease. This study merely proves that we need to think of health in these terms for the future of our children as well. The good news is that a great deal of research shows it's never too late to improve health by making better choices but hopefully you also understand that it may be even more important to teach and support our children on the importance of healthy diet, exercise and positive thinking.

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Date: June 5, 2017 | Time: 9:37am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

Here's one I didn't see coming! A study at The Johns Hopkins was focused on blood platelets and blood clots. The study participants, some of whom were fond of eating chocolate, were given a list of foods to avoid including chocolate. Some of them couldn't resist and ended up eating chocolate during the study anyway.

Amazingly, their indulgence led the researchers to an important discovery which is believed to be the first of its kind. The researchers now believe just a few squares of chocolate a day can reduce the risk of heart attack death in some men and women by almost 50%. It turns out that the chocolate (similar to aspirin) decreases the tendency of platelets to clot in narrow blood vessels. The lead researcher cautions that her work is not intended as a prescription to gobble up chocolate candy, containing large amounts of sugar, butter and cream. But as little as 2 tablespoons a day of dark chocolate - the purest form, made from the dried extract of roasted cocoa beans - may be just what the doctor ordered.

I did some research and the key to this is that the chocolate must be unadulterated and pure. We're talking about the bitterer, dark chocolate. Remember the real cacao is a vegetable (or legume). And this bean, unprocessed and without sugar, can be a stronger antioxidant than raspberries, blueberries, or even the acai berry that has received so much attention lately. As a snack, try a couple pieces of dark chocolate with a few raw almonds and some dried cranberries. The antioxidant combination could help reduce the risk of various illnesses.
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Date: May 22, 2017 | Time: 8:58am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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According to an article I read from the medical journal The Lancet reporting that too little sleep can accelerate aging and contribute to the incidence of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, memory loss, and obesity. These are the very conditions that have risen to epidemic levels in our society. Scientists found that sleep debt resulted in hormone imbalances of insulin and cortisol levels that are critical for proper energy, metabolism and balanced blood sugar. In addition to these, thyroid stimulating hormone was also decreased contributing to lower energy and weight gain. The researchers concluded that consistent lack of sleep can be as detrimental as severe stress and they found that as little as one week of sleep deprivation can affect the hormone balances.

Admittedly, sleep is a necessary health element that I often neglect and I find many of my clients neglect as well. Numerous other studies have been done showing how lack of sleep contributes to decreased brain function, but this is the first study I've seen that looked at these crucial hormone levels. Most experts agree that 7 hours of sleep is the bare minimum, but that many people could benefit from as many as 9 hours every night and that 10 pm is the ideal bedtime. For us night owls, the only good news from this study is that it appears that the hormone imbalance from sleep debt can be made up with a few nights of sleep recovery. Sleep well!

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Maintaining Balance

Date: May 15, 2017 | Time: 9:02am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

Since chiropractic is about restoring proper alignment and motion to the spine to remove pressure and tension off the nervous system, once you're aligned or adjusted, why do you go back out of alignment? This is one of the best questions I'm frequently asked and the answer is not only the key to success with your chiropractic care, but success with health in general. Just like everything else in the body, the spine and nervous system are dynamic and in a state of constant adaptation. I've written in the past that we are designed for health. This is not 100% true. We are designed to maintain a state of balance or homeostasis and health is related to your ability to maintain that homeostasis. Maintaining homeostasis is directly related to the ability to adapt to your individual level of physical, chemical and emotional stress.

In terms of spinal alignment, the physical conditions that may get you out of balance can be traumas, repetitive activities at work, poor posture or something as simple as a poor mattress or chair. Many times what prevents people from "holding" their adjustments especially as we age is a lack of muscle tone and stability. This is why spinal exercises are such an important part of your care. Chemically, different toxins can insult and imbalance the body. We are what we eat. A great deal of research has proven that people will not hold their adjustments or maintain other aspects of homeostasis when they are acidic. When you are acidic, you become more easily inflamed. To reduce acidity, minerals are required which means you must eat the proper amounts of fruits and vegetables. Emotional stress can often be the biggest one. Feelings such as worry, guilt, anger, and frustration put us in a state of stress physiology which alters the function of our organs, hormones, muscles, and joints. Replacing these feelings with positive thoughts and practicing stress reduction is critical.

Understanding these guidelines of homeostasis and health are relatively simple. Making change and putting them into practice can sometimes be a challenge. Your doctors should act as a coach to help guide you, but applying these principles is up to you. If you're interested in more information on making lifestyle changes for better health, call our office to attend a free Better Results Faster Orientation where all the details are provided.

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DNA & Positive Thoughts

Date: May 8, 2017 | Time: 7:18am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

Benefits of Positive Thinking
For those of you who are regular followers of this article, I hope that you've grasped the concept that health exists on a continuum and that everything you do; everything you eat, drink, or breath are all either moving you toward health and away from dis-ease or moving you toward dis-ease and away from health. I found an outstanding article that suggests that one of the biggest factors on this continuum is our own thoughts.

The article identified several research studies that show how we think can actually change the behavior of our DNA. In one study performed by the military, DNA from white blood cells was taken from people, placed in a vial and moved to be monitored in another room. The people were subjected to different emotional stimuli while their DNA was monitored. As the donors were stimulated, they found that their DNA exhibited similar electrical responses at precisely the same time in the other room.

In a similar study done by the Institute of Heartmath, 28 scientists took DNA from other people and were taught to generate strong emotions in the presence of the DNA samples. When the scientists generated feelings of joy, love, and gratitude, the DNA relaxed, unwound, and lengthened. While they generated feelings of anger, fear, and frustration, the DNA tightened, shortened and shut off many of its codes. The researchers applied this discovery to HIV-positive patients and discovered that when the AIDS patients generated feelings of joy, love, and gratitude their immune systems became 300,000 times more resistant to the virus than when they were not feeling this way. Put simply, our thoughts affect our physiology and can have as great an impact on our health and wellness as any other factor. Think about what you think about!

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What makes this oil so special?

Date: May 1, 2017 | Time: 9:30am | Posted By: Rivertown Chiropractic Wellness

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I've discussed the importance of fish oil in the past. But I recently learned more and wanted to share. Fish oil is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids that have been proven to do all the following: improve the heart, normalize cholesterol and blood sugar levels, improve memory and concentration while decreasing mood swings and depression, reduce arthritis and joint pain, improve brain and liver function, and support immune function and decrease general aging. Sounds like pretty great stuff! You should know that not all fish oils are created equal. Some lower quality oils are tainted with PCB's, mercury and other heavy metals. The biggest complaint of taking some lower quality oils is the "fishy burps." While these are unpleasant for the victim (and all those around him), they also are a sign of a rancid oil. Fish oil does have the tendency to perish and oxidize quickly. Rancid oil will give off free radicals which are very damaging to the body and undermine the benefits of taking the product in the first place.

What about skipping the oil and just eating more fish? While this strategy used to be sound, today most fish is tainted with mercury and other toxins. Unless you're getting isolated sources of wild Alaskan salmon, many say it's not even safe to eat fish more than 2 times per week. Most other fish sources are farm-raised unnaturally and fed on grains. These sources still contain the toxins and lack much of the omega 3 content that you're wanting from fish to begin with.

These omega 3 fatty acids are truly essential because they cannot be produced in the body and must come from outside sources. Other dietary sources include flax seed, walnuts, most green vegetables, some beans and seeds and other meat sources that were raised "free-range" on grasses. While it can be accomplished with diet, this is one situation where I find it easier to simply take the pill!

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