Friday, May 29, 2015

Empowered Health Decisions

Empowered Health Decisions

       I am going to start out heavy and make this short and to the point. When we as parents have a starting point and logical process by which we can measure all of our parenting choices, we become self-empowered. Because our world is so flooded with information that must be sorted through, sometimes decision can seem overwhelming to the point where we give up and just follow the recommendation of an outside authority (friends, family, or some professional). Wouldn’t it be nice to have some preset filter for all the information, ideas, and opinions regarding health? This filter would act as a litmus test in helping us make decisions for our health and the health of our families. Allowing us to always feel confident about those decisions.

      I personally have such a filter! What is it? It is my philosophy. Philosophy is the premise by which you filter information and consequently make your decisions based on. If you have not thought to establish your own philosophy it is likely that you have adopted the philosophy of those around you whom you either spend the most time around, or those you admire, or popular culture. The philosophy or premise by which I choose to filter information regarding health is that life is naturally intelligent, and with that intelligence comes organization, natural laws, and a sense of order, based on principles of function. This perspective recognizes there is wisdom in how life is organized, allowing me to deduce the following: That which is most supportive of normal, natural physiology is usually the choice most congruent with this paradigm. This is my litmus test and how I filter information for myself regardless of popular opinion, fear, misinformation, or any other outside influence. In my opinion this prevents one from giving up their power to choose to and outside authority, while at the same time allowing for confident, sound health decision making.

      An example of my philosophy in action happens every day when I feed myself and my family. I pick up an item at the grocery store, read the label, and in looking at the ingredients I put that food through my test. I ask, are these ingredients supportive of normal, natural physiology? Or in the case of a doctor’s recommendation for the use of any medication, I will ask the same question. Is this medication supportive of normal, natural physiology? If it is not, then I will ask is there another option that is congruent with normal, natural physiology.

      My question to you is what is your litmus test for filtering information and making health decisions? What is your philosophy? Whether you have consciously thought about it or not you do have one. I would challenge you to figure out what yours is if you have not purposefully done so. And if you do not like what you discover, change it! A well thought out philosophy will empower you, and be a solid foundation to guide you faithfully through easy and difficult decisions made every day.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


On the 17th of October 1995 at the Massachusetts Memorial Hospital in Worcester, MA twin sisters were born. Each of the twins weighed all of two pounds at birth. One sister thrived and one’s health seemed to be on a downward spiral in the first few days of life. A nurse decided to put the sisters together in the incubator. Almost immediately, one snuggled up to the other. The sister in distress, her blood-oxygen saturation levels, which had been frighteningly low, soared. She began to breathe more easily. The frantic crying stopped and her normal pinkish color quickly returned. Over the next weeks, her health improved steadily. Now we're just finding out that when babies are held, there are all these tremendous physiological benefits, it is not just comforting to a baby.

This story is an amazing example of vitalism in action. Vitalism is the metaphysical doctrine that living organisms possess a non-physical inner force or intelligence that gives them the property of life. I personally see it as the Spirit or Soul, the intelligent design of a loving heavenly father. Vitalists understand that the laws of physics and chemistry alone cannot explain life functions and processes.

Chiropractic is at its philosophical roots, a vitalistic healing art. Celebrating the innate intelligence in each one of use to heal and maintain balanced physiology. At its simplest, a chiropractic adjustment is solely meant to remove any hindrances in that intelligence which flows from your brain, through your nerves to every cell in your body. Chiropractic never tries to control, manipulate, or alter through drugs or surgery the normal responses the body has, because we agree that the body’s intelligence to heal and create life is unmatched by anything here on this earth.   

This is in contrast to the mission statement of Modern Science. Bruce Lipton is a imminent research scientist in the field of epigenetics and someone that through a lifetime of scientific research has gained a greater appreciation for “Intelligent Design”. He writes, “The mission statement of Modern Science was defined by English Philosopher Francis Bacon and adopted shortly after the Scientific Revolution (1543). Accordingly, science’s purpose was to “control and dominate Nature.” The primary purpose of scientific inquiry was to gain an understanding of the “natural laws” of bodily action. Through this process, it was expected that man would obtain mastery over Nature. You could describe the idea of obtaining mastery over nature as ambitious, Bold, or Arrogant, depending on your world view. It sounds like someone that wants to play God in my opinion. I personally know for a fact there is only one God, who reigns over heaven and earth. Vitalism is a metaphysical philosophy that does not deny the Creator.

Healthy Bacteria? It is not an oxymoron anymore!

Healthy Bacteria? It is not an oxymoron anymore!

90% of what we call human is actually microbial cells that are part of what scientist call our Microbiome. Our bodies are more bacteria than anything else. These bacteria actually play a hugely underestimated part in almost everything from digestion and immune health, to detoxification of chemicals and production of nutrients. They even influence the expression of genes. One of the most significant realizations that this must bring about is that as a society we consume antibiotics like they are candy, and this drastically alters the health of our Microbiome and therefore our current and future health.
In an article by Kelly Brogan, MD, “Holobiont: Does your obstetrician know this word” ; it is made extremely clear that we need to take a closer look at our societies out dated view of bacteria as bad and our obsession with over sanitization of everything, and start to understand more the beneficial relationship that our bodies have with our environment. The main reason to do so is because we can’t live a healthy life with bacteria. One example that demonstrates what can happen to our health if we ignore and alter our microbiome through over use of medications is a 5 year old body that was brought to my office because the parents wanted to see if there was an alternative to surgery for tubes being put in their child’s ears. What I discovered in my investigation into this child history is that there was a lot more than just fluid in his ears. And without a full history you would miss completely why this child’s immune system is not normal. From day one there was constant medical intervention and attack on this child’s microbiome. He was a “emergency c-section”, so he did not receive his first dose of probiotics from his mother’s birth canal. The mother had to go back to work after 3 weeks and her son did not breast feed well (I suspect likely problems from the c-section), so he was formula feed. This forced him to miss daily doses of probiotics from breast feeding. His mother stated that at almost every well baby check her son was diagnosed with and ear infection and treated with antibiotics every time to the tune of about 16 rounds of antibiotics over the first 4 years of life. Hopefully you are aware that this is NOT evidence base care, and it happened because our medical protocols for treatment tend to be 17 years behind the research. As a result of this tremendous assault on the child’s microbiome, which again is 90% of who we are, he has never had normal bowels and has been on miraLAX every day for his entire life. Please make yourself aware of the dangerous effects of miraLAX on children. Obviously his digestive health is “poop” if you catch my drift. It is important to realize that 70+% of our immunity is found in our digestive tract. Therefore if our digestive health is poor, it is a good indicator that our immune system’s health is likely poor. Now the child’s teacher notices he is having hearing difficulties in class, and the ENT specialist tells the parents their child cannot hear because he has fluid in his ears. I don’t’ think that the ENT understands the entire history of this child. What these parents failed to realize is that their pediatrician failed them in helping to raise a healthy child. What this child really needed was to get on a nutritional protocol to help heal his microbiome and heal his body. No drug can do that. For that matter no drug can ever bring health. As a side not and a topic for future blog post, our love affair with chemicals is getting complicated. We eat them, breathe them, slather them on our skin. And when we get sick, we take more of them.
If this sounds anything like your experience or that of someone you love, then I hope that this blog and the referenced article form Kelly Brogan, MD helps point you in a better direction to health.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fever, How high is too high?

When it comes to fever, how high is too high?

The journal Pediatrics did a follow up study in 2001 ( to a similar study done in 1980 by Barton Schmitt, MD (, who found that parents had numerous misconceptions about childhood fevers. These unrealistic concerns were termed "fever phobia." The most alarming finding of the more recent survey was that “fever phobia”, or the misconceptions about fevers were even more prevalent in 2001 than in 1980. This tells me that the education about fevers has been very inadequate, and in some cases even misleading. The important thing to realize about these misconceptions is that it leads parents to seek and even demand inappropriate treatments for what is truly a normal part of our body’s intelligent design to handle infections. Furthermore the inappropriate treatment and medical interventions negatively affect your future health. Life is cumulative and to assume that one round of unnecessary antibiotics or antipyretic (fever reducing medication) is harmless, totally misses the fact that this trend of fever phobia and unwarranted intervention is continually increasing, as these two studies demonstrate. If you and your pediatric doctor are not aware of the facts about fever then throughout a lifetime your child will have received numerous inappropriate interventions. 

To clear the air and help our parents here are some common myths about fever and the reality behind them from Dr. Barton Schmitt and John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

MYTH: My child feels warm, so she has a fever.
FACT: Children can feel warm for a many reasons such as playing hard, crying, getting out of a warm bed or being outside on a hot day. They are “giving off heat”. Their skin temperature should return to normal in 10 to 20 minutes. Once these causes are excluded, about 80% of children who feel warm and act sick actually have a fever. If you want to be sure, take their temperature.  The following are the cutoffs for fever using different types of thermometers:
  • Rectal, ear or temporal artery thermometers: 100.4° F (38.0° C) or higher
  • Oral or pacifier thermometers: 100° F (37.8° C) or higher
  • Under the arm (Axillary or Armpit) temperatures: 99° F (37.2° C) or higher
MYTH:  All fevers are bad for children.
FACT:  Fevers turn on the body's immune system and help the body fight infection. Fevers are one of the body's protective mechanisms. Normal fevers between 100° and 104° F (37.8° - 40° C) are actually good for sick children. 

MYTH:  Fevers above 104° F (40° C) are dangerous and can cause brain damage.
FACT:  Fevers with infections don't cause brain damage.  Only body temperatures above 108° F (42° C) can cause brain damage.  The body temperature climbs this high only with extreme environmental temperatures (for example, if a child is confined to a closed car in hot weather).

MYTH:  Anyone can have a febrile seizure (seizure triggered by fever).
FACT:  Only 4% of children can have a febrile seizure.

MYTH:  Febrile seizures are harmful.
FACT:  Febrile seizures are scary to watch, but they usually stop within 5 minutes.  They cause no permanent harm. Children who have had febrile seizures do not have a greater risk for developmental delays, learning disabilities, or seizures without fever.

MYTH:  All fevers need to be treated with fever medicine.
FACT:  Fevers only need to be treated if they cause discomfort.  Usually fevers don't cause any discomfort until they go above 102° or 103° F (39° or 39.5° C).

MYTH:  Without treatment, fevers will keep going higher.
FACT:  Wrong.  Because the brain has a thermostat, fevers from infection usually don't go above 103° or 104° F (39.5°- 40° C). They rarely go to 105° or 106° F (40.6° or 41.1° C). While the latter are "high" fevers, they are harmless ones.

MYTH:  With treatment, fevers should come down to normal.
FACT:  With treatment, fevers usually come down 2° or 3° F (1° or 1.5° C).

MYTH:  If the fever doesn't come down (if you can't "break the fever"), the cause is serious.
FACT:  Fevers that don't respond to fever medicine can be caused by viruses or bacteria.  It doesn't relate to the seriousness of the infection.

MYTH: Once the fever comes down with medicines, it should stay down.
FACT: The fever will normally last for 2 or 3 days with most viral infections.  Therefore, when the fever medicine wears off, the fever will return and need to be treated again.  The fever will go away and not return once your child’s body overpowers the virus (usually by the fourth day).

MYTH: If the fever is high, the cause is serious.
FACT:  If the fever is high, the cause may or may not be serious. If your child looks very sick, the cause is more likely to be serious.

MYTH:  The exact number of the temperature is very important.
FACT:  How your child looks is what's important, not the exact temperature.

MYTH:  Oral temperatures between 98.7° and 100° F (37.1° to 37.8° C) are low-grade fevers.
FACT:  These temperatures are normal variations. The body's temperature normally changes throughout the day. It peaks in the late afternoon and evening. An actual low-grade fever is 100° F to 102° F (37.8° - 39° C) .

SUMMARY: Remember that fever is fighting off your child's infection. Fever is one of the good guys.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Do Not Want To Be Sold

I do not want to be “SOLD” some big package.

A man has noticed over a number of years that some of the doors in his house have to be given a little nudge to get them to shut, and that if he spills water on the kitchen floor it tends to collect in one spot, and the windows seem to be a little drafty. When he walks around the outside of his house he sees spots where the brick exterior has cracks running vertically from the ground to the roof. Likely, you have concluded the same thing as him. There is a foundation problem with his house. As you would expect, he called a foundation company that a friend in church recommended. They sent their inspector out to determine the extent of the problem and give the man an estimate. After a thorough inspection of the property it was determined the problems were extensive and the house would have to be raised and supported in a number of locations.  The inspector explained the foundation problem to the home owner. This particular inspector even went to the extent of showing the owner each problem area and explained the process required to fix the problem to avoid the likely future damage that would occur to the house if nothing was done. Because of the extent of the problem and how long it had been allowed to go without attention the repair was not going to be cheap. Even still, the man was very impressed with how thorough the inspector was and the obvious knowledge and experience he possessed. The home owner said, “Well, let’s get it fixed”.  Personally, I would have said the same thing. It’s the foundation. There really isn’t much of a choice. The foundation is essential to the integrity of the entire house. From walls, to roof, to pluming, to overall value of the house. The foundation affects it all.

What is often overlooked by people is the parallel this story has to your health. Your health affects your ability to enjoy work, time with your spouse, time with children, social activities, physical activity, hobbies, vacations, and travel. Your health affects your productivity at work, your mood, your relationships, and your impact in this world. Like the home owner in this story, if there is a problem with your health, you want it fixed. Right?  Just as you were not surprised that the foundation crew had a plan to fully address the problems at hand for our home owner, you should expect, in fact, demand, the same from your chiropractor. Chiropractors are not in the business of symptom relief, but rather in addressing the foundation of your health.

So why would it be that some may feel that they are being “sold” when it comes to a chiropractor recommending a “fix” (similar to how the foundation inspector did for our home owner)? There are a number of reasons that come to mind and they have to do with a misconception about health and also about chiropractic. First, most people assume that if they have no pain, aka symptoms, then there is no problem and they are healthy. When they do have pain (symptom) and it goes away, they again assume the problem is fixed or no longer present. That is why some people assume that after 2 or 3 chiropractic adjustments when their pain is dramatically reduced that the problem is fixed. This is like a home owner assuming his foundation is fixed because he put caulking around the windows and cement in the crack of the brick so he can no longer see the symptoms of the foundation problem. Symptoms are a warning sign and just because we can cover them with pills or creams or a few adjustments doesn’t me the problem is fixed. Furthermore, health is not just the absence of pain or symptoms. Anybody can just pop a pill to get rid of pain or other symptoms, but does that truly fix anything or make them healthy? Health is the full expression of the body’s ability to heal. And disease is the lack of that full expression of innate healing. We all know it is possible to be diagnosed with cancer tomorrow, but never have a symptom. It is likely that you know or have heard of someone who has experience that scenario. It is just as possible that an untrained eye may have never seen anything wrong with that man’s foundation, just assuming that the changes in the house were normal with age. But just being unaware or blinded doesn’t mean the foundation problem didn’t exist.  Most likely it was getting worse each year. We all know if a problem is not truly fixed it will get worse. This is why the recommendations were made to fully fix the foundation, just as a chiropractor will make recommendations to fully address and correct spinal injuries. Do you think pain or lack of symptoms should be our only indicator of health? Should we just receive enough chiropractic care to get out of pain?

The perception about what chiropractic is and what the chiropractic adjustment does, is a second source of misunderstanding. Chiropractic is intended to promote whole body health through its ability to impact the health of the spine. Your spine is designed to protect your brain, spinal cord, and nerves, which make up your nervous system. Stress and trauma to the spine cause misalingments. Chiropractors call these misalingments, subluxations. A subluxations in the spine puts stress on the nerves and interferes with nerve function. Nerves control literally everything. If nerves are not working properly, then neither will your body. Chiropractic is least effective when used as emergency pain relief. Chiropractic therefore is not about pain, but about removing stress on the spine and nerves so that the body can work properly and heal itself. The Chiropractic adjustment works to remove that stress by improving spinal alignment and spinal health. The number of chiropractic adjustments is never judged solely on pain, but rather on a thorough evaluation, similar to the thorough evaluation done by the foundation inspector. Each chiropractic adjustment builds upon the next. Creating change in the body takes time. Think about exercising to change your appearance. It takes multiple workouts per week and months of consistency. Think about braces used to straighten teeth. It takes months to several years of wearing those braces every single day. While after a couple chiropractic adjustment most people feel dramatically better, their problem is only beginning to be addressed. It takes time and repetition to retrain and stabilize spinal subluxations. Think about hammering a nail into a board. It takes numerous hits to drive that nail in. Likely when the foundation crew was working on that man’s house they had to step back and take measurements repeatedly followed by numerous correction to get that house all level. And also very likely they will have to revisit that house from time to time to make correction throughout the years. It is true of chiropractic that regular checkups are required as maintenance once the initial phases of care have ended.

Just as you were not surprised that the foundation crew had a plan to fully address the problems at hand, you should expect the same from your chiropractor. Chiropractors are not in the business of symptom relief, but rather addressing the foundation of your health.