All posts by Thrive Health

Improving your Life with Proper Ergonomics

Many people do not realize that the pain they may be experiencing each day could be alleviated by making some basic changes to the ergonomics of their lives. Ergonomics is the science of efficiencies in the work place. More specifically it is finding the most efficient way to work and included in this study is also the proper way to work to avoid injury. Applying ergonomics to your everyday life will help you avoid repetitive stress injury as well as injuries from lifting and moving improperly.

Your Commute

The average person travels just under an hour to and from work. A few basic adjustments to how you travel will help you avoid back pain, the second most common reason for people missing work:

  • Public Transit: When using public transit you can be faced with a lot of walking, waiting and standing. It is important to have the proper shoes. Cue the scene from the movie Working Girl where career women en masse walk the streets of New York dressed in top quality business suits with comfortable runners and white socks on their way to the office. That is the right way to travel. Men can consider inserts for added support to dress shoes. Make sure you are always holding on to handrails up and down stairs leading to and from subways and bus platforms as well as when standing on buses, subways and streetcars. Proper balance helps avoid back strain and accidents.
  • Highway Commute: Drivers should try to maintain proper posture while driving which means firmly placing your back against your car seat. The base of your spine should be touching the back of the seat and you can place a rolled towel at the base of your spine for added support. If you have a head rest adjust it so you can rest your head against it for added support and comfort.

Your Desk

If you have a desk job use the following techniques to experience less stress to your body:

  • Sit with your feet positioned flat on the floor
  • Have your monitor positioned at a 15 degree angle at eye level and one arm’s length away for less strain on your neck
  • Keep your lower back supported
  • Keep hands and forearms out straight towards your keyboard

Standing at Work

If you work in a warehouse, retail or other jobs that require standing, you should always stand in the “neutral position”. The key is to be relaxed as follows:

  • Neck aligned with spine
  • Shoulders relaxed not forward or back
  • Elbows close to torso at a slight angle
  • Forearms held with thumbs up
  • S shaped spine
  • Wrists aligned with forearms
  • Fingers together and curved
  • Slight bending at hips and knees

Lifting

When lifting follow these standard rules:

  • Bend at the knees
  • Centre the load
  • Arms and elbows tucked in
  • Lift with your legs
  • Keep the item close to your body
  • Don’t twist from the waist, instead start with your feet

Sticking to the basic rules of ergonomics will lessen strain on your body and help avoid injury.

More

10 Unusual Ingredients to give your Morning Smoothie a Kick

10 Unusual Ingredients to give your Morning Smoothie a Kick
Comments Off

If you are tired of the same old ingredients in your smoothies each morning, here are 10 unusual ingredients offering many health benefits as well as interesting flavours:

  1. Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper adds a real kick to your smoothie and works best in water or coconut water based recipes. You can also use it with green juices and cucumber smoothies. Cayenne actually has many health benefits including a boost to your circulation and metabolism as well as aiding in digestion.
  2. Goji Berries: Goji berries hit the news as the new antioxidant to add to your diet. They provide amino acids as well as a lot of flavour. They go well with berry smoothies but can be added to just about any recipe.
  3. Ginger: Ginger is delicious but also aids in calming tummies as well as boosting your immune system. You can add a nice chunk of fresh ginger to just about any smoothie and freeze it or keep it in the fridge for when you need it. Ginger has also been known to be an effective anti-inflammatory and can assist with headaches and migraines as well as nausea.
  4. Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3, vitamins and minerals, but more importantly they help keep you hydrated. They have to be soaked overnight and when added to juice smoothies they add a lovely silky texture.
  5. Bee Pollen: Bee pollen has many health benefits especially for healthy skin. It can aid in fighting acne, age spots and even allergies. If you are an exercise fanatic bee pollen can also aid in building muscles as well as increasing oxygen rich blood cells. Some people may not be too keen on the chalkiness as well as the price.
  6. Magnesium Powder: If you want to add a little invigoration to your smoothies magnesium powder will do the trick. Magnesium powder adds a little fizzy fun to any smoothie and also comes in a number of flavours. It also provides a vital nutrient that you are probably sadly lacking.
  7. Pomegranate Juice: Pomegranate will add a nice tang while providing antioxidants and fighting bad cholesterol.
  8. Kombucha: This is actually a fermented tea and can also add a fizziness to smoothies. Kombucha comes in a number of flavours and is packed with antioxidants and tummy friendly probiotics.
  9. Silken Tofu: Tofu is practically tasteless yet adds a nice velvety smoothness to your smoothies. You also can benefit from the fact that it keeps you feeling full longer and has tons of calcium.
  10. Flaxseed: You may already be using flaxseed as it is well-known for its omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed must be ground to reap its benefits making it easy to add to smoothies.

You can experiment with any of these ingredients until you find the right taste and texture and add a whole new line of smoothies to your morning menu.

More

How Chiropractic Treatments can help your Child

From the moment your child enters the world their cranium, spine and nervous system undergo trauma, starting with the birth process. A baby goes through much exertion when travelling through the birth canal and even during a C-section they are removed from their environment suddenly which can cause trauma as well. As your child matures and engages in various activities of life they will continue to experience spinal and cranial subluxations, which put massive pressure on the nervous system and the body’s ability to function properly.  Early in life, these subluxations, or misalignments in the spine, can lead to a host of symptoms ranging from minor discomfort, trouble with feeding and digestion, ear infections, colic and decreased immune system function.   When left untreated, these can become chronic pain and headaches and much more in adults.

Proven Studies

Many chiropractors and other medical professionals believe that the trauma of birth can contribute to infant issues such as colic and acid reflux. An article published in “Paediatric, Maternal and Family Health” in 2009 written by Dr. Erin Ulster found that symptoms of colic and acid reflux could be resolved with chiropractic treatment. Dr Ulster notes: “These results suggest a causal link between birth trauma, upper cervical injury, and colic / acid reflux onset. Correcting the injury to the upper cervical spine (with chiropractic adjustments) appears to eliminate colic and acid reflux.”

Chiropractic Assessment

If your infant is suffering from symptoms of colic and acid reflux a Chiropractor will assess your baby and ascertain if subluxations are causing issue for your baby. A Chiropractor focuses on misalignments in your baby’s spine that can impair your baby’s overall nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments can help to restore proper function to the nervous system allowing the body to work properly again.

Symptoms of Subluxations

Because an infant is unable to express its issues verbally, you can watch for a few signs that may indicate necessity of a chiropractic examination to determine whether a subluxation is responsible:

  • If your baby is constantly tilting their head to one side
  • If they seem to have restricted head movement favouring one side
  • If your baby cannot sleep without disturbance every hour or two
  • If your infant is unable to breastfeed or has difficulty doing so
  • If your infant has difficulty breastfeeding at one breast or the other
  • If your baby often arches back
  • If your baby tugs on one ear lobe often
  • If your baby is very gassy or difficult to soothe
  • If your baby has flat spots or very prominent bumps on the skull

Continuous Injuries

As your child matures there are many symptoms that can point to spinal subluxation and nervous system stress, such as:

  • Recurring earaches
  • Recurring sore throats
  • Complaints of headaches
  • Bed-wetting
  • Complaints of growing pains
  • Clumsiness or frequent falls
  • Trouble with gait

Your baby will continue to exert themselves as they progress and learn to lift their heads, sit and crawl and of course toddlers undergo daily challenges as they learn to walk falling roughly several times a day. Learning to skate, playing sports, wearing heavy back packs, and falls during play can all cause spinal subluxations or misalignments.  Even normal growth and development can be an adjustment to the body.  As such, it is important that children continue to have regular care throughout childhood to improve the body’s ability to deal with these stresses and develop to their greatest potential.

A visit to your Chiropractor will allow your child to undergo an assessment early in life and any misalignments can be corrected before they can cause issues into adulthood.

More

The Healing Art of Touch

The hands on approach to healing uses touch to assist in the relief of pain as well as to alleviate the symptoms and causes of many conditions and illnesses. This age old approach to healing has been used for centuries and encompasses many different disciplines and techniques. Although some have changed in scope and technique, modern science has discovered that touch does in fact provide a medically viable treatment for many conditions.

Reiki

A Reiki Practitioner is trained in sensing changes to body heat throughout your body. By positioning their hands in different areas of your body they can detect changes in heat and identify areas in need of attention. Reiki helps to clear blocks in your body’s energy field and is a very relaxing process performed on a massage table. Reiki can actually be performed in a hands off approach as well but the healing powers of touch improve the outcome of Reiki. Reiki can alleviate emotional stress as well as old wounds and trauma by opening up the flow of energy and encouraging your body to follow its natural impulses to heal itself. We all could use a little healing now and then and Reiki “tune-ups” are perfect to keep your body balanced.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic treatments focus on your nervous system to identify issues. Your chiropractor looks for subluxations in the spine by examining surrounding tissue, muscle and ligaments. Subluxations will cause improper communication throughout the nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments help to realign the spine and clear your body of subluxations allowing for proper communication between your nervous system and other parts of your body. A series of tests will allow your Chiropractor to discover what treatments will work best to improve range of motion, alleviate back pain and improve mobility. It is often used for sports injuries, rehabilitation from motor vehicle or work related injuries as well as to alleviate pressure and discomfort during pregnancy. Lower and upper back pain are common complaints addressed by your Chiropractor which means you can find relief for your aching back. Treatment plans usually require several appointments to achieve success and improvements can often be seen following your first appointment.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy applies pressure and manipulation to soft tissue, muscles, ligaments and joints to alleviate pain and improve physical function. It can be used for rehabilitative purposes following injury as well as to relieve stress or pain resulting from continuous use of certain muscles. There are many different techniques of massage therapy including:

  • Hydrotherapy
  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Myofascial Therapy (connective tissue)
  • Trigger Point Therapy
  • Rhythmic Mobilizations
  • Remedial Exercise
  • Stress relief, anxiety and depression

The healing art of touch can be combined to provide a more complete treatment plan. Often your chiropractor will recommend their treatment be combined with massage therapy and vice versa. Reiki can complement any health care regime and add to the success of many health care treatments.

 

 

More

Top 5 Reasons to Visit The Farmer’s Market

  1. Feed your family the freshest food. Farmer’s markets offer the freshest food around—usually only hours from the field—so you get top quality, perfectly ripe flavor.
  2. Learn about food. Kids and adults alike enjoy exploring firsthand how foods are grown, harvested, and eaten by browsing market stalls and talking to farmers.
  3. Preserve farmland and support local farmers. With population growth and pressures to erect more buildings, farms are being increasingly driven away from our cities, which is a problem for transportation and its environmental impact and feeding many more hungry mouths.
  4. Awaken Your Taste Buds. Local food simply tastes better. When everything is ripened on the vine, the flavour profiles of fresh local strawberries, for example, are out of this world.
  5. Support the hard work of local farmers and keep your dollar in the community.
More

The Value of Cooking and Baking from Scratch

When it comes to baking and cooking, a lot of people prefer to buy pre-made foods thinking that it’s cheaper and not that bad for your health. What those same people don’t realize, is that making everything from scratch can actually save you money, and give you the security and satisfaction of knowing what goes into your food. The only extra cost is your time, but is it worth that extra half an hour in your day to eat unnatural chemicals and preservatives?

Buying individual ingredients in bulk from the store can actually save you plenty of money, as the only things you will find that you run out often are fruits, vegetables, meats and other perishables. You will have to buy these things either way, but going this route you don’t need to buy everything else (breads, snacks, etc). If you are proactive and make a habit of freezing most perishables, you may actually find that (minus the big shopping to replace all your raw ingredients) you are only grocery shopping every 2 to 3 weeks to replace these perishables.

The biggest value though it that you know what is going into the food you eat, and you know there are no unnatural chemicals and preservatives designed simply to keep things on the shelf for longer. As people get into this lifestyle, many discover that eating the preserved food from stores is far less appetizing than homemade anyways. It just may take some practise to develop your skills in the kitchen (if you don’t have them already).

In order to get started, check out our nutritionist Aviva Allen’s website for recipes (http://www.avivaallen.com/General/snackstreats.html). She has a list of some great whole food and low sugar, natural grain snack recipes that will taste great and be incredibly healthy for you.

More

Why Holistic Healing Treats the Cause not the Symptoms

Have you ever noticed that more often than not when you are suffering from an illness many doctors will treat the symptoms? For example, if you have chronic sinus infections you are just given antibiotics. When you visit a Naturopath, they will not ONLY treat your symptoms. Instead they will get to the root of what is causing the symptoms, eliminating the cause and WORKING TO STOP the symptoms once and for all.

In-depth Analysis and Discovery

The holistic approach to healing treats the whole person addressing every aspect of your health: Physical, mental and spiritual. You will be given a thorough examination considering all contributing factors that could be affecting your health such as diet, stress and lack of exercise. Each individual requires a very personal analysis to address what treatment will work best for you.

The Many Aspects of your Health

In order to achieve perfect health you may require many disciplines to begin your path to recovery. Your treatment will use a multi-disciplined approach from many areas such as:

  • Environmental health
  • Acupuncture
  • Nutritional counselling
  • Massage
  • Homeopathy
  • Meditation
  • Dietary changes
  • Food allergies
  • Vitamin supplementation
  • Exercise
  • Oxygen or hydrotherapies
  • Organic living

Heal Thy Self

Your body is designed to handle illness and naturopaths believe health conditions are often brought on by imbalance. The naturopath will work with you to help realign your body and return balance in order to allow your body to follow its natural course of self healing. Together, you will come up with an agreed upon strategy that will work for you. Your lifestyle will play a huge role in your healing process and compliance is required for your treatment to be MOST effective. That is why it is important for you to work together with your naturopath to find a course of action that will suit you AND YOUR LIFESTYLE.

Mental Health and Coping

You may not realize what ill effects your mental health can have on your body. Changes to your life such as marital problems, job related stress, family CHANGES or the death of a loved one can all contribute to your sense of well-being. Sometimes holistic healing involves psychotherapy to provide you with the coping skills you require to maintain a well-balance mind. Stressful and traumatic events from you past may also still be affecting your ability to function properly in the present and these issues can be addressed.

As you can see the holistic approach to healing works towards complete treatment that will result in overall health for life long relief of all of your symptoms

More

3 Terrible Ways to Sit

Back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain are all incredibly common- particularly for those who spend most of their day sitting. While it may seem that you’re more likely to sustain an injury during rigorous activity, the truth is that sitting for extended periods of time produces chronic pain and limits range of motion for many people. There are plenty of ways not to sit. Here are some of the worst- and the most common.

1. Still. Yes that’s right! One of the worst ways to sit is to sit still for hours on end. This causes muscles to stiffen or atrophy from lack of use, slows circulation and can make your energy dip. It’s also easier to feel bored, lethargic and chilly. So take regular breaks to stand, stretch and move around- this will help you feel alert and give your muscles some much-needed action. Do you ever notice that when you’re driving for a long time you don’t feel the stiffness until you finally step out of the car? The same can be true of your desk chair- so get out of your seat regularly, and test out your legs, neck and back.

2. Hunched over a device. We are particularly negligent when it comes to our devices, because we often lose track of how much time we spend on them. While you may not be aware of how often you’re tilting your head downward to text, type, check email or work on a tablet –it adds up. In fact there’s even a term for it: text neck. When you extend your neck forward on a regular basis or for extended periods of time (or both) it can lead to muscle soreness, strain, pinched nerves and herniated discs. You may experience more than a stiff neck –tense, sore shoulders, headaches and even jaw pain are also common results of “device posture.”  Save your emailing and extensive work for your desk, or invest in a proper iPad stand.

3. In the wrong seat. Your chair dictates your sitting position- and has everything to do with your comfort while seated. If your chair isn’t the right height, you’ll notice you have to extend your forearms downward or upward to type. The resulting pain will either shoot up to your shoulder blades or sit in your wrists. If your chair doesn’t have your sightline level with your monitor, prepare for a sore neck from craning even at the slightest angle.  And lumbar support? It’s critical. Make sure your lower back is properly cushioned to avoid slouching, slumping or twisting around in your seat. These positions can cause pain in your hips and middle back.

Which of these three are you most guilty of?

work back pain

For more workplace health tips, check out this article: “Is Your Job Killing You?”

More

Cleaning Up Your Household Cleaners

cleaning productWe love this list of 8 toxic household products found in common cleaners- and ways to replace them. We highly recommend you check out the full article, but in the meantime, here are some highlighted toxic ingredients you may want to avoid:

1. Phthalates: These can be found in fragrances, so take stock of your scented products- from dish soap to cleaners to air fresheners. As the article points out, phthalates are often not printed on labels, so look for artificial fragrance as a red flag.
Why to avoid them: Research suggests that they can be disruptive to the endocrine system and be potentially carcinogenic.
How to replace them: Choose products that are naturally scented or free of fragrance. Skip the aerosols and opt for essential oils, fresh air, or natural potpourri.

2. Triclosan: This chemical is found in antibacterial detergents and soaps.
Why to avoid it: The verdict is still out as to whether antimicrobial products actually make us significantly healthier. We need to be careful to avoid overuse. Triclosan, while killing certain bacteria, is also thought to promote the growth of others that are resistant to standard drugs. Using it in our homes also means that triclosan finds its way into our ecosystems; it’s been found as a killer of algae in rivers and streams.
How to replace it: Use natural soaps and detergents, and opt for alcohol based santitizers. Check your labels!

3. Ammonia: This is a common household cleaning ingredient found in glass cleaner and polishes.
Why to avoid it: It evaporates quickly and effectively (so as not to leave streaks on your furniture and windows). Unfortunately it’s a strong irritant when inhaled- particularly to those with asthma or other respiratory illnesses. It is suggested that people who regularly inhale ammonia as part of their job are more likely to develop respiratory disease.
How to replace it: Experience Life recommends vodka for metal and mirrored surfaces and toothpaste for polishing silver!

Check out the full list of household toxins to avoid and discover easy, natural ways to keep them out of your home. Tell us: what natural and eco-friendly cleaning products do you use?

More

Posture, Mood, Mind


The connection between how you carry yourself and how you feel

We’re always advocating for good posture –whether sitting, standing, and sleeping. Posture is so important for a variety of health reasons that we’ve mentioned here on the blog before. You’ll likely recall that bad posture can result in chronic pain, poor circulation, headaches, and damage to your spine.

But what about your mood? Many studies suggest that everything from our body language, to our carriage, to our posture can have a direct impact on how we feel –not just physically but emotionally. Here are some of the ways in which the positioning and use of your body can affect your mood or mind.

Feel more energized: When we optimize our posture, it helps us to feel more alert and awake. When you slouch, slump or recline, your body may relax but also understand it’s time to rest or shut down. When you consciously sit up straighter and hold your head up, you’re sending a signal within yourself that it’s time to be alert and productive. Certain postures also allow for freer, faster movement which can get more of your muscles working, elevate your heart rate and help you feel a sustained energy. Think of slumping down a hall with your head down, versus striding with a straight back and eyes forward. The second posture allows for much more efficient and energized movement- and much happier muscles and spines!

happy jumpFeel happier: Studies also show that people may feel less depressed when their body language conveys traits like enthusiasm, joy, and energy.  In addition to the psychological connection that may exist between how we present our bodies and how we feel, there are obvious physical reasons why good posture may keep your mood elevated. Optimized movements and positioning can reduce stress to your body like muscle pain, strain in your joints, or headaches. Eliminating those physical symptoms can help to prevent irritability and roadblocks to productivity that result from discomfort. Just think about how difficult it is to concentrate and sit still when you have a sore back. In this way practicing good posture can help keep you feeling comfortable, capable and calm.

Feel more confident: Another study had subjects place bets while sitting in two different postures. Those in a more open, expansive posture took more risks, while those who kept their limbs tight and body closed off were more conservative. As these studies remind us, we instinctively position our bodies to reflect our mood and mindset. Amy Cuddy’s incredible TED talk discusses the connection between our body language and behaviour in detail, suggesting that we can manipulate our body language to reflect (and help achieve) our desired mental state. We highly recommend you check out her compelling talk.

When we consider argument’s like Cuddy’s, we start to see that slumping, slouching, and closing our bodies off is doing twofold damage- not just to our chiropractic health and wellbeing, but also to our confidence, happiness, and success.

Now if that isn’t a reason to stand a little straighter and walk a little taller, I don’t know what is!

More