Monday, October 30, 2017

How to Describe Birth to a First-Time Pregnant Woman

I'll come straight to the point: There is a severe lack of women on this planet who enjoy their birthing experience, let alone walking away from it with a profound depth of empowerment. What is going so wrong? When I tried to talk to mothers in my life about birthing during my first pregnancy, little was shared. Time and time again I was met with an awkward smile, and these forced words: "You'll be fine." Unfortunately, to me those words only seemed to have the opposite of their intended effect.

Though the words were an attempt at comfort and support, which I appreciated, the energy behind that statement came across more like sympathy, as these women couldn't help but relive their own experiences, which to them would translate to my experience.

When we discover we are pregnant, we have access to two doors--but because so many choose the first door, or perhaps because we feel it is our only option, the second door is forgotten, even hidden. The first door opens up the status quo. The second door is unlocked when we choose to trust our abilities, our bodies, our babies, and the process, and then find the care provider who has the same belief--a care provider who believes you should be in control, and who respects that your birth will happen on its own timeline. Unless the need arises for medical attention, you have no reason to believe that your pregnancy and birth can't unfold smoothly and without medical management. That's difficult, however, when we are thwarted at every turn and told to believe the complete opposite.

What if, one by one, we felt that pregnancy and birth was ours, and not something to hand over? What if we thought of pregnancy and birth as the ultimate expression of our power--something to protect, not give up? What if we all started to openly acknowledge our intuition, which is especially heightened during pregnancy, and what it means for guiding ourselves and our babies safely through our pregnancy journeys?

The word "risk" places a dark shadow over the word "birth." Why has this come to be? How differently would we feel about birth if we were exposed to the truth on a daily basis? The ratings just aren't there for the tabloid headlines which read: "Mother gives birth to healthy baby--again" Or "Mother went into labor spontaneously, listened to her body and her baby, and gave birth in a position that felt right to her in home." Or "Mother calmly breathed through her contractions and birthed her baby with joy." What if we received a notification on social media every time a birth just unfolded on its own-- mother and baby healthy, ecstatically happy, and now bonding and getting to know each other? Yes, complications happen, but if we truly knew of the multitude of births that just flow, our view of birth would change over night.

As more of us go into pregnancy and birth with open hearts, an acceptance of the process, and true appreciation of our bodies and how beautifully they facilitate labor and birth, the more of us will emerge from the experience forever changed for the better. When a woman in our lives asks us about birth and how it felt, we won't just say "you'll be fine." We'll want to jump onto the couch, Tom Cruise--style, bursting with love, happiness, and enthusiasm that can't be bottled, unable to keep up with all the magnificent words that come to mind to describe the experience as best as possible. We can describe the experience for this woman, too!

I loved, absolutely loved, every single part of my homebirth-- it was a portal to power, unwavering trust, transcendence, bliss, and total euphoria. It showed me facets of myself I did not know existed, and taught me that I can draw on this strength and power whenever I need it in life. It taught me that I am limitless. It fills me with utter delight to think of all women feeling this way about birth.

I'll just climb down from the couch now. Or join me up here and tell everyone how beautiful birth is, what they have to look forward to, and how giving birth has changed you!

-Alison Howley, Pathways #53

Such a great article from Alison.  I couldn't agree more with what she has to share.

Kind regards,

Dr. Heather

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hyperactivity + Attention Deficit Disorders

It is estimated that as many as 5 million children in the United states alone are afflicted with attention deficit disorders in varying degrees. 1 Symptoms often cluster with hyperactivity to include lack of concentration, short attention span, impulsivity, fidgetiness, low frustration tolerance, difficulty with compliance, and poor social interaction.

Medical Treatment
Traditional methods of medical intervention are aimed at turning down the child's level of activity through the use of drugs. Years ago it was discovered that children react to stimulating drugs, such as Ritalin and amphetamines, in an opposite manner from adults. Nowadays, children and young teenagers are commonly placed on these drugs for years to suppress their activity level. Unfortunately, this response in not without drawbacks. The know side effects of these drugs include nervousness, insomnia, stomachache, and skin rashes. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, leading to weight loss, and accelerated heart beat. Perhaps the most serious side effect in controlling behavior with drugs, however, is that it can become a psychological crutch. Some children become very drug dependent and experience episodes of anxiety if dosage is changes or terminated.

Dr. Ben Feingold, M.D., a renowned pediatrician and allergist, recommends cessation of drug treatment combined with elimination of food synthetics as a healthier alternative.

What is a chiropractic adjustment?
Vertebrae (the bones in your back) fit together so that LIFE (nerve supply) produced in your brain may filter down your spinal cord and out over your nerves. This LIFE is responsible for growth, repair, and healing in your entire body. When vertebrae are out of their natural alignment, nerves become stretched or twisted (commonly referred to as a nerve "pinch"), and this vital communication system in the body is disrupted.

This neurological disturbance is called a subluxation. The Doctor of Chiropractic specializes in the detection and correction of subluxations. This is done by laying our hands on your back and gently lining up the vertebrae in their natural position. This process may take weeks or months , depending on the amount of misalignment. LIFE may then be restored throughout the body, and healing can take place. As your body heals, the symptoms begin to diminish.

A New Approach
All body functions are controlled by the brain sending and receiving messages over nerves. When vertebral subluxations disrupt this vital communication system, one or more parts of the body may begin to fail, as well as health in general. subluxations can also foster the onset of sickness and disease as the child's body weakens. That's how vertebral subluxations can lead to all kinds of neurological, emotional, and physical disorders, and that's why chiropractors are concerned with restoring normal body function, not treating the symptoms of the disease.

Doctors of Chiropractic have reported success with attention deficit disorders for years, and this has been supported by recent studies on the effectiveness of chiropractic adjustments. In one study, chiropractic care was more effective in treating the wide range of symptoms common in a neurological dysfunction syndrome in which 13 symptom problem areas were considered. 5 The statistics showed that chiropractic care was 20 to 40 percent more effective than commonly used medications. Another study suggested an overall improvement in seven hyperactive children who had received specific chiropractic care. 2

If children with serious attention deficit disorders can benefit from chiropractic care - with improved attention span, lower activity level, and general well being - it's reasonable to assume that even the average child would benefit, with improved health and well-being. By having subluxations corrected throughout childhood, your child will have a better opportunity to be as healthy as possible.

The chiropractic approach to health care in natural. It does not try to stimulate or inhibit normal body function. Instead, the chiropractor addresses the important relationship between the nervous system and disease. The systemic effect of vertebral subluxations is complex. Many childhood illnesses may be manifested in the pediatric patient due to abnormal body function caused by subluxations. 3,4 In light of this, your chiropractor may be the best doctor to help your child.

Children should be checked frequently for subluxations to ensure good health.

1. Feingold, B.F.:Why Is your Child Hyperactive? New York: Random House, Inc., 1975
2. Giesen, J.M., Center, D.B., and Leach, R.A.: An Evaluation of Chiropractic Manipulation as a treatment of Hyperactivity  in Children,  Journal of Manipulation and Physiological Therapeutics,  October 1989;12:353-363.
3. Kunert, W.: Functional Disorders of Internal Organs Due to Vetebral Lesions. CIBA Symposium 13 (3): 85-966, 1965.
4. Peet, J.B.: Subluxation Detection in Infants, Today's Chiropractic, February/March 1990.
5. Walton, E.V.: Chiropractic Effectiveness with Emotional Learning and Behavioral Impairments, International Review of Chiropractic; 29:2--, 21-22, September, 1975.

Kind regards,

Dr. Heather

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Can Chiropractic Improve How the Body Handles Stress?

The human body and its functions are incredibly complex. We have the ability to adapt to physical, mental, and chemical stress at a fundamental level. Our lifestyles create or diminish stress depending on diet, physical activity, attitude, posture, past history of trauma, and the environment we live in. the automatic operating system(aOS) is the primary portion of the nervous system that helps the body recognize the interactions we have with our environment in the form of short-term stress and long-term or chronic stress.

We have a particular response pattern to sudden or severe stress called the "fight-or-flight" mechanism. This is the primary portion of the aOS that helps us deal with or adapt to changes in our environment. The responsibility of the aOS in times of stress is to allow our bodies to continue to self-regulate. The best way to evaluate stress is by intensity, frequency, and duration.

In a healthy individual, the nervous system will adapt to stress based on its intensity or severity, the frequency of exposure, and the duration of the stress. In severe cases, the aOS will create the fight-or-flight response. During fight-or-flight, the body will go into a defensive mode and out of a growth mode. This is a very beneficial state during short-term stress, but a very bad state to be in throughout life.

during a stressful event, our bodies will release stress hormones, primarily adrenaline and cortisol, for increased energy and short bursts of physical activity. The blood vessels will constrict around our organs and blood will be delivered to the muscles to help us get away from stress quickly and efficiently. Our heart rate will increase and our breathing will become shallow.

We will become more acutely aware of our environment, but have less ability to consciously make decisions. The body and mind at this time are not in a normal state because the order of the moment is to survive the event- not to thrive, grow, or repair tissue.

The problem we run into is when we have chronic long-term, low-intensity stress and the nervous system adopts a prolonged fight-or-flight state.

When the body has accumulated stress ant the nervous system learns a pattern of prolonged stress responses, the only outcome can and will be a state of imbalance and eventual disease. Most of the diseases that affect people are caused by the stress response, not a lack of medicine or pills.

A Three Part Breathing Exercise to Help Reduce Stress
Step One:
Through the nose, breathe into your abdomen and allow the air to enter into the depths of the abdomen. The belly should expand outward.
Step Two:
Then breathe into the chest, allowing the air to widen the sides of your chest. You may feel an expansion in your back which is excellent as well.
Step Three:
Finally let the air fill the upper chest to the collar bone.
With relaxation as the fundamental principle, exhale the breath to a natural pause and begin again.
The beauty of this exercise is the downward movement of air into the sole of the abdomen and the later push or air against the sides of the lower chest. Such a technique honors the deep in deep breathing. There are hundreds of benefits to deep breathing, not just to reduce stress:
Massage of the Organs ● Oxygenation ● Circulation ● Relaxation ● Expansion of Lung Capacity ● Clears Mucus and Bronchial Obstructions ● Assists Posture ● Clearer Thinking ● Sleep Aid ● Enhances Digestion Releases Tension in the Spine ● Grounding ● Increased Blood Flow ● Reduces Toxic Buildup ● Helps Clear Infection ● Increased Energy

Written by Adam Ries, DC
For more information, visit

Kind regards,

Dr. Heather

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Use of Chiropractic Services in the Care of Pregnant Women: A Survey of Midwives

"To change the world, we must first change the way babies are being born." -Dr. Michel Odent

Did you know that pregnant women can benefit most from the collaboration between chiropractors and midwives? The chiropractic community has long recognized the impact midwives can have in supporting wellness care during pregnancy and birth, and many practitioners seek collaboration for this reason.

From the point of view from the midwifery profession, midwives have had positive experiences from collaboration overall. Research shows that pregnant women who are under the care of midwives are more likely to seek chiropractic care and less likely to visit walk-in clinics or emergency rooms compared with women under traditional healthcare services.According to a 2011 survey of midwives, all viewed chiropractic as safe for pregnant mothers, and 92.5% were knowledgeable about the role of chiropractors in perinatal care. 2

Both midwives and chiropractors recognize the importance of optimal biomechanics for the best outcomes in pregnant mothers and infants. The care provided by both types of practitioners emphasizes trust, emotional wellness, and a natural process or pregnancy and delivery.

In the same survey, midwives reported 97% positive experience with chiropractors and over half refer to chiropractors for pregnancy-related health concerns. 2

With increased awareness of the safety and efficacy of chiropractic, as well as its role in perinatal wellness, more midwives are likely to recommend that pregnant mothers seek chiropractic care.

The ICPA strives to promote family wellness through their research projects, PBRN #10 is a survey-based study that will collect further information on midwives views and attitudes about chiropractic. We anticipate that the results of this study will further demonstrate midwives' perception of chiropractic collaboration as a beneficial component of perinatal care.

1. Metcalfe A, Grabowska K, Weller C, Tough SC. Impact or prenatal care provider on the use of ancillary health services during pregnancy. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2013 Mar;11;13:62.doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-62.

2.Mullin L, Alcantara J, Barton D, Dever L. Attitudes and views on chiropractic: a survey of United States midwives. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Aug;17(3):135-40.

For more information, visit

This is why I hold a certification in Webster Technique.  I have extra training in working with pregnant moms to help make pregnancy safer and more enjoyable.

Kind regards,

Dr. Heather