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Massage for Better Posture

For many of us, we spend far too much time in one position. Whether it is hunched over our desks, behind the wheel of a car running our children all over the city, or seated in our favorite recliner. Unfortunately, this can create havoc for our muscles and lead to terrible posture, stiffness, and overly tense muscles. Remaining static in a position too long causes our muscles to get used to this position and they will remain in a tense or “shortened” condition causing us to deepen even more into poor posture as a result. It is a vicious cycle that we have to avoid or work hard to consciously correct.

Fortunately, one of our allies in this, in addition to receiving chiropractic care, is your massage therapist. Massage can be a huge asset in helping you achieve better posture. Massage therapists are trained not only in muscles, but also how they function. When your massage therapist takes a look at your posture and asks you questions to gain information about your aches, pains, and daily activities, they are thinking holistically about how your body is functioning and how your movements and posture are causing you pain.

A great example of this is someone who sits “hunched” over the computer most of the day. Poor posture in this position can lead to the shoulders rounding forward and the arms remaining in a bent static position on the desktop. In addition, many people will keep their legs crossed throughout the day which can create strain on the low back and hips.

Massage for this type of postural challenge will focus on releasing the shortened muscled in the front of the body. The pectoral muscles are one of the key challenges. For just a moment, roll your shoulders forward as if you were hunched over a computer. Can you feel the lack of space in the front of your body? Do you feel as if it is harder to breathe in this position? These muscles will start to tense up and cause you to feel “stuck” in this position even after you have gotten up from your desk. Working these muscles in addition to the ones in the neck, upper, and lower back that are screaming at you as a result of this poor posture will help you to be able to stand tall, breathe more deeply, and feel better all day long.

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Essential Oils for Allergy Season

In the days and weeks to come, we are about to experience an invasion that will directly impact our area. Our homes and cars will be covered in a thick blanket of yellow, our noses and eyes will feel dry and scratchy, and there won’t be any inch of the area not impacted by this enemy. That enemy is pollen. Although, wonderful for the growth of beautiful new plants for the spring, not so great for those of us who suffer with seasonal allergies.

Fortunately, we can fight fire with fire. We can use the essential oils from plants to help combat the effects of seasonal allergies. As with many diseases, the root of allergy symptoms has to do with inflammation. In response to the allergen, the body overreacts to the “invader” to the system and inflammation of the sinuses, eyes, nose, and throat occurs. In these terms, by fighting the inflammation response and boosting the immune system, we can combat the symptoms of seasonal allergies.

The power trio of oils when it comes to allergies is made up of: Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint essential oils. These oils are very powerful tools in boosting up your immune system and lowering inflammation. When used separately, they possess the properties listed below; however, when utilized together they are a knockout way to combat the allergy symptoms. The most common way that these oils are used are via the method of diffusion. Diffusers are easy to use and directly impact the eyes and sinuses as the oils are breathed in with the air via the water/oil droplets that are diffused into the air.

1. Peppermint Oil
When your sinuses are all stopped up, it seems natural to want to smell strong minty smells to try to unclog your head. That is because peppermint acts as an expectorant and provides relief for allergies, as well as colds, coughs, sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis. It also is a wonderful inflammation reducer.
2. Lemon Oil
Studies show that this oil is a very powerful antibiotic and great at boosting the body’s immune system. Lemon oil can kill bacteria and eliminate allergy triggers in the air so diffusing is ideal when trying to combat the invaders in the air.
3. Lavender Oil
Lavender essential oil works as a natural antihistamine it also is amazing at fighting inflammation. It works great for treating skin rashes or headaches. In addition, it is soothing to the mind and spirit which will help you with the irritation of how much pollen is all over your car too!

For more information on essential oils, please visit www.mydoterra.com/bodylogicvb and explore the resources there. Also, ask about our trio pack that contains all three of the powerful oils.

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Homemade Ginger Tea for a Happy Tummy

Ginger is an amazing food for helping with digestion. It is a staple in cooking in many kitchens; however, it isn’t just able to be used as an ingredient in your favorite dishes. When made into a tea, fresh ginger can be a delicious treat to help tame the tummy and boost digestive power.

Ingredients
4-6 thin slices raw ginger
1 1/2 – 2 cups water
Juice from 1/2 lime, or to taste (optional)
1-2 tbsp honey or agave nectar (optional)

Directions
Peel the ginger and slice thinly to maximize the surface area. This will help you make a very flavorful ginger tea.

Boil the ginger in water for at least 10 minutes. For a stronger and tangier tea, allow to boil for 20 minutes or more, and use more slices of ginger. You really can’t over do it, so feel free to add as much ginger and simmer it for as long as you want.

Remove from heat and add lime juice and honey (or agave nectar) to taste.

The secret to making a really flavorful ginger tea is to use plenty of ginger – more than you think you will need – and also to add a bit of lime juice and honey to your ginger tea. You will also probably want to add more honey than you think you will need as well.

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Nutrition is the Gateway to Manage IBS

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is quickly becoming one of the most common reasons for a patient to visit his primary care physician. It plagues nearly 25% of the world wide population, with the majority being in the United States. The disorder is becoming such a problem in today’s society, that we have an entire month (April) dedicated to the awareness of IBS!

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome? It is a disorder characterized by abdominal pain or discomfort, and altered bowel habits. Unfortunately, conventional medicine has not been very successful at managing cases involving IBS. They tend to look at the most prominent symptom, usually either constipation or diarrhea (or in some cases the combination of both) and “treat” it by suppressing the symptoms. This approach, however, never truly determines the underlying cause for why the body manifests these symptoms. For example, a common treatment for a patient suffering from chronic diarrhea is to have them take Imodium on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this does not treat the cause for IBS and if you take away the Imodium, the patient begins to suffer again.

What causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome? Good question! Researchers have yet to pinpoint a specific cause. Since the term IBS is used to identify such a wide variety of symptoms as well as multiple different presentations of the symptoms, it makes finding the root cause challenging. In my humble opinion, this is often a diagnosis used when your primary care physician or gastroenterologist can’t figure out what’s wrong! So let’s breakdown the GI tract and how food and chemicals plays a role.

Digestion- could this be the cause? Digestion is a relatively complex process! For a quick reminder of how the digestive system works, check out this quick YouTube video.  If there is disruption in any part of the process, symptoms can result. For example, if there is a problem in the stomach and food is not being properly broken down before entering the intestines there can be negative results. First, the body may try and push the food particles through the digestive tract too quickly, resulting in diarrhea. In contrast, the body may have trouble getting the undigested food through the system resulting in constipation. Determining the location of the “problem” in the digestive tract is the key to helping resolve the symptoms.

Is what we eat a problem? Absolutely! Our digestive tracts were not designed to handle the high levels of processed foods consumed today. In all honesty, we should just get rid of the middle of the grocery store and we’d all be better off. A diet of whole foods like vegetables, fruits, and meats is the way to go! It’s not just what we’re eating, but also what we’re drinking. Water and some natural herbal teas are the only beverages considered healthy for the body. Juices, flavored drinks, sodas, etc. provide no nutrient value and simply tax the body by adding sugar or, in the case of “diet” drinks, fake sugars into the system. This is one of the most challenging areas to address with patients due to the addictive qualities of these drinks. If you suffer from any IBS-like symptoms, an easy first step is just sticking with good old H2O!

Do antibiotics and other medications play a role? Antibiotics are frequently over prescribed today. Although they are necessary in some scenarios, there is no denying the impact antibiotics have on the digestive tract. We have trillions of healthy, beneficial bacteria in our intestines that assist in the overall proper balance within the digestive tract. Unfortunately, antibiotics do not differentiate between the good and bad bacteria in the body. Just one round of antibiotics can completely disrupt the lower part of the intestinal system resulting in those IBS-like symptoms. “Probiotics” is becoming a household product and should be used when antibiotics are necessary. Some people taking Probiotics on a daily basis find it extremely beneficial because of their personal health history. We often recommend ProSynbiotic and Lact-Enz for our patients.

In addition to antibiotics, the over prescribing of “acid reflux” medication results in the improper digestion of our foods starting with the stomach. It is necessary to have enough acid in the stomach to breakdown our foods for nutrient absorption. We are often recommending nutritional supplements such as Multizyme and Zypan by Standard Process to help people break down their foods better using natural digestive enzymes which can alleviate many of the symptoms of IBS.

How can we help? If you or a loved one suffer from IBS, I hope that you have gained some knowledge and ask more questions at your next doctor’s appointment. Dr. Amanda has both personal experience with digestive complaints and professional experience helping patients change their dietary lifestyles and is a great resource of information. Give Body Logic a call, schedule an initial nutrition consultation, and let’s work together to determine the best nutrition for you!

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Massage and Digestion

It seems like such a natural solution that when you have aches and pains in your body to call and schedule a massage session for yourself. That is such an easy solution, right? But what do you do when your pain is more internal? Your body is made up of all kinds of muscles, not just the ones that assist in the movement of your limbs. So, when your digestive system is causing you fits, massage is available to help get you moving in the right direction again (quite literally).

So how exactly can massage help? First and foremost, massage in general is a huge stress reliever. When you are stressed out, your digestion is slowed. Your body digests food when your nervous system is in a state of rest and relaxation. If you are constantly nervous and on edge, your digestion will reflect that.

Secondly, your digestive system is comprised of muscles that contract and release over and over again much like you witness when a snake is digesting its prey. When your tummy is bound up, you can suffer from pain, bloating, and gas. The act of physically massaging the abdomen can help to manually move the food through the digestive system allowing the muscles to get some much needed help to push through the internal traffic jam.

In addition, massage of the abdomen is a great way to apply essential oils in a way that will directly support a healthy digestive system. Let’s be honest. For many of us, we have been hard to our digestive system for decades and giving our belly some love would be a good habit to get into. Oils such as peppermint, ginger, or doTERRA’s DigestZen Blend, can be great to mix a few drops into your favorite massage oil and use on your abdomen. It is a great practice to start doing this as a weekly treatment to yourself by massaging in in circle starting at the right hip, up to the right rib, over and down with the direction of your digestive system so that these oils can be absorbed directly in to your body.

Your digestive system is the fueling center for all that you do. So, just like when you can’t move quite right because your muscles are sore and tense, when your tummy muscles are tense let massage come to the rescue for you!

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Move… for Your Gut’s Sake!

Movement is an essential part of life. It is involved in every function and process within the human body. As we have become a more sedentary community with the onset of the technological era, we are seeing health problems arise that weren’t a concern in the past. Just a couple of years ago the statement was made “sitting is the new smoking” regarding our heart health. Did you know movement is just as important for the health of the body’s gastrointestinal system? Irritable bowel syndrome, especially when related to constipation, is a common complaint. Interestingly, at Body Logic we have frequently found the positive side effect of more frequent bowel movements with regular adjusting. Some of our patients that continue treatment simply for health maintenance find that when they get adjusted monthly, it helps them maintain regularity. Dr. Amanda has even had success with constipated infants by performing gentle mobilizations to stimulate better nerve communication to the digestive tract. So how does movement help our digestion?

How can chiropractic adjustment help? Nerves exiting the lower thoracic and upper lumbar spine innervate the digestive system. If there is mechanical or chemical (inflammation) irritation to the nerves, the nerves can send bad information to digestive system resulting in undesirable symptoms. Think about when there is static on a phone line, not as much clear information is received. Chiropractic adjustments focus on restoring the proper movement of the spine and, therefore, reduce irritation on the nerves. When the nerves can communicate more freely with the organs they supply, such as the stomach, gall bladder, pancreas, and intestines, the body system associated (the digestive tract in this case) can simply do a better job. This is another added bonus of taking care of the body through chiropractic care!

How can yoga help? The purposeful movements, postures, and relaxation of yoga have been shown to help the body in many ways, including digestion! First, the movements result in increased blood flow to the muscles including the smooth muscles of the digestive system. The twisting postures in particular can help massage the smooth muscles allowing for improved motility through the intestines. Although embarrassing, how many of us have heard a little bit of gas passed during yoga class? It happens, and for good reason! Secondly, the relaxation of yoga helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system known for its role in promoting the body to “rest and digest.” When we relax, general blood flow in the body can be diverted from the large muscle groups that are needed when we are stressed and in “fight or flight” or sympathetic dominance. The parasympathetic system allows for us to relax, rest, and digest our food properly.

How can aerobic exercise help? WebMD explains that aerobic exercise helps constipation by decreasing the time it takes food to move through the large intestine, thus limiting the amount of water absorbed from the stool into the body. The increased water content allows for smoother elimination. Additionally, aerobic exercise accelerates your breathing and heart rate which helps to stimulate the contraction of the intestinal muscles. It has been shown that just one or two 15-minute walks a day can have a significant impact on our digestive health.

So, the next time you find yourself sitting for too long, think about your digestive system. All you have to do is get up from the couch or from behind that computer… and MOVE!