It never ceases to amaze me how truly miraculous and amazing that the human body is. If you ever for a second doubt how special you are, then just think about some of these fun facts that I want to share with you guys in today’s post:
- Each day, we take about 23,000 breaths
- Most of the 3,000,000 pain receptors in the human body, are found in the skin
- In a 30 year period, our ears grow close to ¼ of an inch
- Each day, we blink our eyes more than 9,000 times
- In a finger-nail sized patch of skin, there is up to 600 sweat glands
- The average adult has enough iron inside of their body to make a 1 inch long nail
- Each drop of blood contains close to 5,000,000 red blood cells
The coolest fact yet, no two of us are the same! We are each a unique person, which makes us irreplaceable! Think about this: you had a 1 in 4,000,000,000,000 chance of being created and expressing life!!! I hope these facts were as interesting and fun for you, as they were for me putting this little post together.
In Wellness and Love,
Let’s face it, sometimes it is hard to get excited about adding more greens to your diet. Yet, if you know the wellness boosting benefits that many of our green veggie friends provide, you might just find them a little easier to swallow.
One such wellness boosting green power food is the leafy vegetable chard. It’s often brightly colored stalk makes this little stand out in a crowd and hopefully after you learn the importance of adding it to your diet, chard will find its way onto the tip of your fork.
So here is the nutritional breakdown: (per one cup serving)
Chard is high in wellness promoting antioxidants, which are important in the maintenance of healthy cells and avoiding the negative cell-killing effects of environmental toxins. It contains a particular type of antioxidant called Betalains, which has natural detoxification properties. Chard is also high in vitamins B, K, and C. In fact, 3 cups of chard contains 100% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K, and just 1 cup gives you twice the amount of vitamin A needed daily. In addition to the vitamin A, it contains lutein, which is great for eye health and helps to battle against macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in those over 65).
Other wellness boosting minerals found in chard include magnesium and iron. It is also contains a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a must for cellular health and function. So next time you’re at the market, scan the produce section and stock up on chard! Add it to salads, stir fry, smoothies or toss a cup into your next juice mix. You’ll reap the health benefits and add yet another constructive step towards living a Wellness Based Lifestyle.
As always, in health and love,
Prebiotics are a certain group of food fiber that promotes that growth of healthy intestinal bacteria. Similar to probiotics in their benefit, they differ in what they actually are. Probiotics actually work to introduce healthy bacteria into the digestive system, whereas Prebiotics act as a fertilizer for the healthy bacteria that is already present in the stomach and intestines.
In Wellness and Love,
There aren’t but a handful of nutritional supplements that I recommend to everyone, and a quality probiotic supplement makes the short list. Probiotics contain active cultures of healthy bacteria that help to repopulate the intestinal flora in our digestive system. Many of the toxins, poor choices in foods, and overuse of antibiotics have destroyed the healthy bacteria in our digestive system. Because of the high amount of healthy bacteria needed for the first line of immune system defense are found in the gut mucosa, it is vitally important that we make certain to have the needed bacteria present.
In Wellness and Love,
I still remember the first time that I tasted an avocado. I was a senior in high school and the avocado was a part of a fruit bowl still life prop that my art teacher set up for us to paint. Afterwards, we enjoyed the fruits and I could not wait to taste this funny looking fruit (yes avocado is a fruit and not a vegetable).
From that day forward, I was hooked, but I had no idea at that time how healthy that avocados are, and why they are a must in a Wellness Based Nutrition Plan. So let’s talk about 10 health benefits in particular.
In Wellness and Love,
One of the greatest abilities that we have as humans is that of sight. It certainly enables us to “see” the world in a much more detailed manner, while experiencing life in a much deeper manner. So here is a brief rundown of how the eye works, as it relates to sight.
First let’s think of the eye as working like a camera. The initial step is the light from an object passes through our cornea. Next, this image is adjusted by the lens, which forms an upside-down image of the object on to the retina. Our retina is located at the very back of the eye. From the retina, via the nervous system, the image is transferred to the brain for interpretation. When the brain receives the image from the retina, it turns the image right side up. What’s incredible is this entire process takes place almost instantaneously!
Messages about the image that we see and process travel from the eye to the brain as a nerve impulse, and as I have so often talked about, if there is interference in the nerve signal because of a vertebral subluxation, sight can be affected. It is not that uncommon for some Practice Members to report improvements in sight following a Chiropractic adjustment and other treatments at Prana Chiropractic and Wellness Center! It is our brain that turns the nerve impulse sent from the eye into the detailed image that we “see.”
The iris is the colored part of the eye, and the hole located in the middle (the black part) is called the pupil. In bright light, the pupil shrinks to prevent too much light from getting into the eye. In dim light, the pupil will expand in order to allow more light into the eye. The iris, which is actually a ring of muscle, is what is responsible for the increase or decrease in size of the pupil depending on the amount of light. Pretty interesting stuff!
I say it often, but the fact remains, the human body is a miraculous thing! Are eyes are delicate extensions of the nervous system so it is important that you have regular Chiropractic checks in order to remove vertebral subluxations that could have a negative impact on the function of the eyes. It is also important to have regular eye checks from a licensed eye care provider in your area.
In Wellness and Love,
One of the primary services that we provide at our Wellness Center is myofascial mobilization and release techniques. While there are many muscular dysfunctions that can occur as a result of fascial adhesions or restriction, one area that is of particular interest to me as a Chiropractor, is its potential to affect a person’s posture. Postural screening and correction is a large part of the treatment plan that I utilize to assist people in correction of musculoskeletal issues, and to help them get on the path to a Wellness Based Lifestyle.
The fascia is simply a thin, yet strong, connective tissue that surrounds every muscle in the body. It also surrounds the organs, vessels, bone, and everything else in the body, yet I am most concerned with that around the muscles. The techniques that I utilize help to correct issues with it around the muscles, which can also have a positive impact on organ functioning and overall health. The fascia is also slightly elastic, and allows the muscles and organs to slide smoothly over top of one another.
In terms of its potential affect on posture, the fascia is ideally the same length as the muscle that it surrounds. After an injury, or with some inflammatory process, the fascia may shorten and thicken. This is similar to the formation of scar tissue. This shortening and thickening can lead to the fascia covering of one muscle to stick or “adhere” to the fascia of another muscle or structure in the body. With this comes a decrease in range of motion, and a limitation of circulation and lymphatic flow in the region. With adhesions also comes the likelihood that the stretch receptors in the muscle and fascia will send signals through the nervous system causing a contraction of the muscle even more. This is how fascial adhesions can trigger pain in the body.
When a muscle is stretched (from constant contraction that it) for long periods of time, the shortening of the fascia occurs. This structurally limits the range of a muscle’s ability to lengthen. When a person tries to stretch the muscle, their attempts to lengthen the muscle often result in very limited success and a great deal of discomfort. It is in this way that a person with poor posture finds it difficult and painful to assume a more upright and correct posture. Therefore, the technique of Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization, which frees up fascia restrictions and adhesions, is a long term solution to postural issues caused from fascia adhesions. This combined with Chiropractic corrections to the spine, and exercise rehabilitation, allows us to address the root cause of postural imbalance and the painful dysfunction that often times results from it.
The only way to determine if there are issues with your posture, and then whether fascia adhesion and restriction could be the culprit, is to schedule a visit with us or another healthcare provider that provides the same services. We’d love to have you become a part of the family and to join The Wellness Revolution here at Prana Chiropractic and Wellness Center so contact us today and learn WHY we are different!
In Wellness and Love,
We see a lot of new Practice Members that come into PRANA that are taking all sorts of over-the-counter and prescribed sleep aids. While we definitely need sleep, these synthetically produced sleep aids certainly don’t add to our overall health. One thing that I explain to our Practice Members is that for every positive benefit afforded by a medication, there is an equal to or greater than, negative side effect it also causes. Now don’t get me wrong, I will never encourage a patient to get off of any medications that their Medical Doctor has prescribed. Pharmacology isn’t my area of specialization, and in many cases prescribed medications have saved lives, but I will say this, there are many people that take prescription medications for “conditions” in which they could control themselves through diet, exercise, and natural healthcare options such as Chiropractic and Applied Kinesiology. So I have compiled an easy list of steps that you and your family can take in order to improve sleep habits, without the potential side effects from over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids.
(1) So in terms of sleep issues, the first step I take with Practice Members and suggest for everyone, is get under regular Chiropractic care. Maintaining the proper alignment of the spine, and thereby making certain our nervous system is free of interference, is number one on the list. When the brain is fully able to communicate with the body as it is designed to do, the body spends much less time and energy just trying to maintain balance. With no nervous system interference, the body’s endocrine system is much more capable of producing and excreting the proper hormones, including those necessary for regulating sleep.
(2) Make certain that you’re getting plenty of exercise each day. This is without a doubt the most effective thing that I have found in my own life, in terms of improving my personal sleeping habits. I promote to Practice Members the importance of keeping it simple when it comes to putting together an exercise routine. Start by walking 20 minutes a day, 3 times per week. Grab a copy of either of my books that are available on Amazon.com or at our office (Simply Wellness: Learning to Live a Wellness Based Lifestyle One Day at a Time and The Wellness Revolution: A Chiropractic and Natural Approach to Optimal Health) for more information on simple exercise and workout routines.
(3) Drink a cup of Chamomile or Kava tea about 20 minutes before bed time. Both of these herbal teas provide a natural and safe way to unwind each evening and are available at most grocery stores. Another hugely successful natural sleep aid that I have found is CBD oil. We carry CBD oil at PRANA, so swing by to learn more about the over 250 health benefits of this essential oil and how it can drastically improve your sleep.
(4) Check you mattress and pillows, as well as your sleep positioning. Having the right mattress is a big deal, and nowadays a big business. This is a good thing though, meaning that now more than ever, there are beds specifically designed for different people, with different sleeping habits. A mattress that is too soft or too firm can leave you feeling tired, sore, and cranky the next day. Take the time to explore your options and ask questions to the sales team at the local mattress shop for ideas on what’s best for you. In terms of pillows, I promote that our Practice Members use a cervical pillow for sleeping and aim to get at least 2 hours of sleep per night on your back with this type of pillow. We have this type pillow available at PRANA, or you can do a quick internet search to find one. I prefer the type that is shaped like a normal pillow with the indention for your head right in the middle.
(5) The final tip to naturally improve sleep that I have found to be useful, for both Practice Members and myself, is set up a sleep routine and follow it. This means that you should aim to get to bed at the same time each night, as well as, aim to get up each morning at the same time. Avoid distractions like having the TV on while you sleep, avoid drinking too many liquids prior to bedtime, and have the room nice and dark. Get in the habit of unwinding and avoiding any strenuous activities, have your cup of relaxing tea about 20 minutes prior, and get into a routine.
I hope these simple and natural sleep-improving tips help you get a better night’s sleep, which equals a much more productive day afterwards. Sleep is one of the most important steps we can take to living a Wellness Based Lifestyle.
In Wellness and Love,
If you have spent any time at all in a fitness gym within the last couple of years, chances are you’ve seen a Kettlebell. While using Kettlebells during a workout has grown in popularity in the last decade, I would not place them in the same category as many of the other “fad” workouts out there. These things have been around since the 1940’s, being used in sports competitions in Russia and areas of Europe since then. Their design makes it easy to incorporate them into many exercises. Their design also makes it easy to create different exercises, which adds to their current popularity.
At Prana Chiropractic and Wellness Center, I use Kettlebells often in the personal training sessions I offer. One of the ways I use them in sessions is to add a form of resistance training that focuses on many of the movements that we use during functions of daily living. In terms of living a Wellness Based Lifestyle, it is my position that building strength through exercise that improves our ability to function, is much more important than those exercises that increase muscle size and bulk only. Using Kettlebells also allows me to help Practice Members work their entire body during exercises, which means more bang for their buck. What I target with the strength and resistance routines I promote is increasing muscular strength and function, but also increasing the density of the bones, increasing metabolism, adding flexibility and range of motion, and improving endurance.
Kettlebells also help allow for more fluid movements of the body during resistance training than traditional weight machines, and even many of the free weight exercises utilized by most trainers. They are also great for circuit and high-intensity interval training. When we swing, or move the Kettlebell during exercise, in order to control the movement and to change direction, we have to incorporate many more muscles than the primary movers used in most other types of free weight exercises.
In addition to muscular strength and endurance building, Kettlebells are a great way to burn fat and calories during workouts. In fact, it is estimated that you can burn up to 20 calories per minute while using them. This is equivalent to the calories expenditure of running a 6 minute mile! So not a bad option if your goal is to lose weight.
Using Kettlebells takes a bit of getting used to if you haven’t tried them, but more and more trainers are using them to help people reach their fitness goals. Don’t be afraid to ask the trainers at the gym to show you a few exercises, grab a book on Kettlebells, or watch a few videos on the internet and give them a shot! Remember engaging in a solid Strength and Resistance Training routine at least 2 to 3 times a week is a must in order to build upon our Physical Wellness.
In Wellness and Love,
I know you’ve all experienced it. I am talking about the up and down effect that sugar has on you after you eat your favorite sweet treat. It typically goes something like this: At first you have this intense hunger or lack of energy that immediately flashes visions of a candy bar, cupcake, soda pop, or donut into your mind. So you go for it. I mean after all, there are vending machines everywhere. Almost every single break room that I go into when doing luncheon health talks have at least one “food” vending machine and a soda machine. I used “food” purposely because there are little to no items in these vending machines that actually qualify as real food.
So we consume our sweet treat, and almost instantaneously we experience a burst of energy! We think to ourselves, “man that’s just what I needed.” But then something else happens. Within a short period of time we start to notice that weird brain fog thing happening. We feel slightly confused and well, not so energized anymore. Then about as quickly as that burst of energy occurred, we experience the dreaded CRASH! Now all we can think about is finding the nearest couch to take a nap on.
What does this happen? Things seemed so great at first, sort of like a high school romance, but boy –oh-boy, when things change they really change. There is actually a scientific explanation for this up and down affect we experience when consuming refined sugars, like those found in our sweet treats. You see, our body needs glucose in order to provide fuel for the cells. Sugar is broken down into glucose. Now in the case of refined sugars, there is little to no vitamins or minerals present, and when you couple that with the fact that refined/simple sugars are what’s known as Short Chain Sugars, there is little to no digestion necessary for these sugars to enter into the bloodstream.
Because they enter the bloodstream so rapidly, they cause a drastic and quick rise in blood sugar levels. So this explains that sugar rush and quick burst of energy you get after you eat sugar. But then, the body releases a large amount of insulin to pull the sugars out of the blood and into the cells, which then quickly causes a drastic drop in the blood sugar level. The body then sends you a signal that, “hey, we are low on energy and need more now!!!” This then causes the craving for more sugar. Vicious cycle I know, and this accounts for much of the obesity epidemic we are facing in this country. 1 in 4 people are obese, and 1 in 3 people are overweight in the United States!
When it comes to fueling your body, choose wisely. Consume complex carbohydrates and fruits for you energy sources, as these take much longer for the body to breakdown, which causes a much slower absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, and a much more stable blood sugar level.
In wellness and love,
Dr. Christopher Weaver DC, PAK is a Doctor of Chiropractic and Professional Applied Kinesiologist. He's published two books on health and Wellness.