While you are preparing for back-to-school, Dalhousie Health and Wellness wants you to keep in mind the following two topics: backpacks and physical activity levels.
Did you know that recommended backpack weight limit is 10-15% of your child’s body weight? Research shows that most children are exceeding these recommended weight limits. As children are more vulnerable to overuse injuries it is important to ensure proper backpack use. Here are some recommendations:
✏Use two straps instead of one for proper weight distribution, especially when the backpack is heavy
✏️Backpacks with padded backs and padded shoulders help reduce pressure and enhance comfort
✏Hip and chest belts transfer the weight of the backpack off the spine and shoulders
✏Backpacks with multiple compartments keep items secure when in motion and distribute the weight of the backpack
✏Reflective material on the backpack enhances visibility of the child
Virtual school has been very tough for our children and teens and although we can’t change this past year’s experience, we want to educate on the importance of staying active as it lowers stress and enhances mood. By educating the community on physical activity guidelines and encouraging activity we can empower our children to play a role in their health and form habits early in life.
Canadian Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth:
💪🏻An accumulation of at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity but more is better!!
👉🏻Moderate aerobic activities should allow you to talk, but not sing, include; brisk walking, skating, bike riding and skateboarding
👉🏻Vigorous aerobic activities will increase your heart rate even more and you will not be able to say more than a few words without catching your breath. These include; running, basketball, soccer and cross-country skiing
💪🏼Vigorous physical activities, muscles and bone strengthening activities should be incorporated at least 3 days per week.
💪🏽 Several hours of a variety of structured and unstructured physical activities
💪🏾 Limit sitting for an extended period of time and take frequent breaks
💪🏿 No more than 2 hours per day of recreational screen time
Tips to get kids active:
🚶Encourage walking to and from school
🚲 Skateboard, bike or run instead of getting a ride
🐕 Ask them to walk the dog with you
🍂 Have them rake the leaves, shovel snow or carry groceries
🎶 Have a dance party
📺 Reduce screen time
Benefits of physical activity:
✅Opportunities for socializing
✅Stronger heart, bones and healthier muscles
✅Better posture and balance
✅Lower stress and increased self-esteem
We hope this information helps prepare your littles for back-to-school and we look forward to hearing from you at Dalhousie Health and Wellness if you have any questions.
NATURE & PEDIATRIC WELLNESS:
I am proud to say I am on track with planting seedlings for my garden this year! Gardening is one of my absolute favourite summertime hobbies — I can literally feel the day’s stress melt away and my body/mind relax when I garden.
Why am I talking about gardening? Because TIME IN NATURE is so crucial not only four our mental and physical wellness as adults, but especially for that of our children!
In my practice I see many children who struggle with poor attention/focus, depression, anxiety and other stress-related behaviours (ie. oppositional defiant disorder, tantrums, etc). As a naturopathic doctor, I am always thinking of ways to support my pediatric patients without always needing a “pill” and working to ensure I am addressing “the foundations” for wellness.
A lot of research has been done in the last few years on the effects of NATURE on health.
Many of us know the importance of going for walks and being outdoors, but do you know that time spent in nature in CHILDHOOD is linked to positive mental health outcomes in kids as ADULTS?
Studies have found that time spent in nature in childhood is associated with:
Research has found that kids need a minimum of 1-2 hours of “nature play” and less than 1 hour of “screen time” daily.
The best way to get your kids wanting to go outdoors is to LEAD BY EXAMPLE! Here are a few simple ways to encourage your kids to get outdoors this spring:
Nature and outdoor play is not only great for our kid’s mental wellness now, but especially for their emotional resilience as adults. Why not encourage our kids to be outdoors if it literally makes them smarter, happier and healthier?!
Dr. Noelle DeVos
Naturopathic Doctor, Dalhousie Health & Wellness
Did you know that what you eat can affect your mental health?
Many people know that healthy eating is important, but not many people know that specific foods (or ingredients) can be linked to poor mental health.
In 2017 a study found a link between the amount of sugar people consumed and the likelihood of having a "common mental health" disorder. The study found that mental health disorders, especially depression, were more likely to be found in participants eating the highest amounts of sugar.
In my time treating patients, this is a link I have noticed as well. I have had many patients say they noticed their mood dropped substantially after eating something with added sugar such as cookies, orange juice, pop, cake or other types of sweet treats.
Researchers have also found that people with depression have higher levels of inflammation in the brain. Their research suggests that there is also a link between high levels of inflammation in the brain and depression. Treatments that work to lower inflammation in the body, can also help to lower brain inflammation and symptoms of depression.
When working with patients, I almost always start by educating them on how diet can impact their condition. A healthy diet is absolutely foundational to a person experiencing "vibrant health".
As naturopathic doctors we know that "food is medicine"! If a patient's food is not acting as "medicine", it can be acting as the "slowest form of poison". Certain foods can lead to the worsening of symptoms on a daily basis. The body is so wonderfully made. It only needs the right environment to function well. Removing foods which function as obstacles to healing, and adding foods which actively help the body heal can make a big difference to our mental health.
Learn more about how you can eat your way to a happier, healthier life by booking a free 15 minute consultation.
Full study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-05649-7
Its John, writing from my home office as unfortunately Osteopathic Manual Practitioners are still unable to work during this lockdown. Although please be aware that there has been a big push from practitioners, patients and our association to try get us back working and treating as soon as possible!!! I feel that I would like to write once a week or so and keep you all up to date with any news, etc on when I can return to work and even just to let you all know what I have been up to and how I am trying to grow personally and professionally. As things stand I am looking to return to work 23rd February!!
I am a firm believer that even in adversity, there can be positive outcomes. I’ve been able to watch every moment of my son grow, walk and start to talk. It has been unbelievable from that view point, so I cannot really complain. Watching his personality develop and see his little mind trying to figure out his little world. I feel bad he has not been socialized as much as I would like, but I hope we have been providing him with enough stimuli. Spending time with my better half, with us bingeing on Netflix, etc has been fun. If anyone needs any recommendations let me know!! I think I’ve ‘completed’ Netflix!! I’m missing playing hockey, missing my family and friends like crazy, but it could be a lot worse, with Zoom and FaceTime it makes it seem not so bad.
It has also been a great time for puppy training, we have a 7 month old rescue pup, and he’s a great dog but has some emotional issues to work though and having the extra time for consistent training and helicopter parenting has been a bonus!!
I have also tried to develop myself professionally, the same as last lockdown, having the time to study, attend numerous webinars and just focus on areas that I want to improve my practice.
I’ve been researching a lot to do with foot biomechanics, hockey and basketball injuries, concussions and rehab science! So be prepared to hear me talk even more about injuries, aches, pains, and biomechanics and I look forward to any questions!!!
If anyone has any questions please do not hesitate to contact Dalhousie Health & Wellness and they can pass it on and I'll get back to you ASAP.
Remember we get Locked Down but we get up again!!
John VanHerbert, Osteopathic Manual Provider
I see a lot of patients coming in with fatigue and digestive issues, but no clue that they could be linked. Not every person with fatigue and digestive issues has underlying SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), but this is something I am constantly screening patients for and trying to educate my patients on!
Many people are aware of the role of the thyroid, adrenals, blood sugar and poor sleep on fatigue. However, I find very few patients have heard of SIBO or are aware of its role in chronic fatigue. Especially in the chronic fatigue syndrome population, this condition has often wreaked havoc on their system for many years before symptoms are diagnosed.
WHAT IS SIBO?
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a condition where there is an imbalance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the small intestine. We call this imbalance of good and bad bacteria "dysbiosis”. This overgrowth of “bad” pathogenic bacteria that can cause inflammation in the small intestine with a host of other symptoms.
Non-digestive symptoms of SIBO may include:
Many patients ask what key symptoms I look for when investigating whether or not they may have SIBO. These are the key symptoms I look for in my patients:
1. Bloating to the point of looking "9 months pregnant"
2. Diarrhea, constipation or both (IBS-like symptoms)
3. I just can't figure out which foods are triggering my digestive issues!
4. I have had stubborn acne or rosacea for years, and it never goes away
5. I have itchy skin or hives
6. Brain fog, like I'm "living in a cloud"
TESTING & DIAGNOSIS:
We can test for SIBO using a test called the “lactulose/glucose breath test”. This test requires patients to drink a sugar-like formula and then measures the “gas” produced by the body via a breath test. I will run this test with patients who really want to get to the bottom of their fatigue and digestive issues — this is the best way to diagnose SIBO.
If you have fatigue and chronic digestive or skin issues, you may have underlying SIBO. Until this dysbiosis is addressed as part of the SIBO diagnosis, these symptoms will only continue. I always love talking with people about SIBO, so if you are worried this could be you let's have a chat about it! I offer free consults to anyone wanting to learn more about how naturopathic medicine can help them.
My passion is to help people get to a place where they feel like they are “thriving” in their life. So let's talk about ways we can get you there together!
With the fall weather and impending snow coming many patients will remark that they feel the cold “in their bones”. This is a phrase patients use to share with me that they feel an increase in their arthritic symptoms. There are a few different types of arthritis but often people are referring to osteoarthritis in these cases, this is the regular age related type of arthritis that many people associate with “wear and tear”.
Arthritis by definition is a slow but progressive disease affecting one or more joints in the human body. Arthritis is an active process in which the joint is unable to repair itself as quickly as it is being broken down. And although the “wear and tear” concept fits well with our ideas of aging, arthritic processes are actually more complex than this. Mechanical factors such as heavy lifting and sports are only one factor. Genetics seem to be a strong factor in the development of hip or hand osteoarthritis. Metabolic factors are another contributor, which are determined by the overall functioning of a person’s cells and inflammation within the body. These inflammatory factors are modified by the presence of chronic disease such as heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes just to name a few. This is all to say that arthritic symptoms may present themselves due to a cumulative exposure to the many risk factors and not just the movement you put through the joint. Therefore, arthritic symptoms are typically best managed through a holistic, lifestyle approach.
There are many treatment approaches to arthritic pain but one of the strongest recommendations within the guidelines includes exercise therapy. Many patients with osteoarthritis tend to avoid activity as they worry that it will worsen the “wear and tear” of a joint, but as discussed above arthritis is an active process and actually responds favourably to exercise. Weight loss is another strong recommendation within the literature for managing pain and improving joint function. Co management of other chronic illnesses and working to improve the overall health of your body and metabolic processes will also help in reducing your symptoms.
Practitioners such as chiropractors and osteopaths are able to prescribe exercise to assist with your symptoms while consults with the naturopath may provide support for your overall well being to reduce symptoms. Using a team approach, Dalhousie Health & Wellness strives to manage arthritic changes through a holistic, lifestyle based approach.
So What is our Autonomic Nervous System and Why is it Important? Our Autonomic Nervous System controls all of our everyday functions, such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, digestion as well as other processes. It relies on a series of intricate pathways where signals are sent to and from our body to our spinal cord and then to our brain. Sometimes these signals can get blocked for a variety of reasons, such as tight muscles which the nerves run through, compression in our spine due to disk problems, degeneration of our vertebrae, etc. Long standing imbalances within the nervous system can lead to symptoms within the body. As Osteopathic Manual Practitioners we use a wide variety of techniques to improve the physiological functions in the body and to aim to restore homeostasis which has been altered by ‘somatic dysfunction’ of the tissues. Osteopathic Manual Therapy has been shown to have an effect on the Autonomic Nervous System and in turn its physiological processes according to Rechberger et al in his 2019 research paper, that assessed 23 published studies on it. It did state that even more research was required but with the data available was able to draw a positive conclusion.
A lot of women ask, or wonder, “how soon can I get a massage after I give birth?“
A postpartum massage is a massage that occurs within the first 12 weeks after you've given birth.
Now, if you've had a C-section, or a complicated delivery, check with your doctor first, as some massage techniques may not be right for your specific recovery.
Some of the benefits of a postpartum massage include:
-reduced swelling. Massage can help encourage draining and circulation of excess fluid
-improved milk production. Researchers have found massage can help increase circulation and the necessary hormones to make this happen
-reduce anxiety and depression, massage can help to decrease stress which leads to these feelings or emotions
-better sleep, massage can help to encourage a deeper, restful sleep
Some new moms will find laying on their stomach to still be difficult, for some it will feel totally fine. Some will want to talk through the massage, some will crave quite. It really is up to you and your comfort level, so let us know, and we will make sure that you are comfortable and able to relax.
So, the good news is, you can start massage therapy as soon as you feel ready!
And whenever you are, call 289-668-5433 to book your postnatal massage appointment with Suzanne Hamm, RMT (with a special interest in prenatal and postnatal massage therapy).
We look forward to seeing you at Dalhousie Health & Wellness and helping in your postpartum recovery.
Lots of people get pain around the shoulder and one thing that we need to decipher is whether it is ‘true’ shoulder pain or if the pain is coming from else where and being felt in the shoulder?!
The most common ailment giving pain in the shoulder is irritation of the small joints in the neck. The small joints of the neck/cervical spine are called the ‘Facet Joints’ and we name/number them as they descend through the neck C1 to C7, when these joints become irritated then can give a sensation of pain in different areas as you can see from the image. The joints even though small are very pain sensitive and this is what can trick the body into feeling the pain around the shoulder and shoulder blade.
So how do we differentiate the origin of the pain?
Well here at the clinic we take a detailed case history and finding the answers to some questions begins to give us an idea and then we perform a some tests on and around the shoulder and the neck, and we can see which one reproduces symptoms.
So what next?
After figuring out where the pain is coming from we can produce a treatment plan to work improve the functioning of the ‘facet joints’ and in turn reduce the shoulder pain!
When clients share their issues, by far, the most common problem for them is their anxiety and they say it just like that…”MY anxiety”. These two words speak volumes. They own the problem as something that is as much a part of themselves as their right hand. The difficulty with this kind of attachment is the subconscious identification that takes root. Anxiety and anxiousness have been accepted and reinforced as a central part of their identity. Unfortunately, this is the beginning of a long co-dependent relationship between an individual and an emotion. To be sure, one would call it dysfunctional.
But what if we could heal the relationship. What if we could befriend the beast? Like many difficult emotions, anxiety is uncomfortable and stressful. Why on earth would I want to befriend it? Well maybe the first step to releasing anxiety from the body is to bring it up in the light of awareness. Most often, we internally look at it out of the corner of our eyes, making sure it’s still there, and then averting our gaze elsewhere, seeking distraction and unhealthy habits. It is time to sit and invite the beast for tea. Eye to eye and with an open heart.
Choosing a safe space, an experienced healer, and committing to the process are all the prerequisites necessary to dive into the journey of healing anxiety. Working with energy medicine and mindfulness training will help shift the body and mind into a parasympathetic state, also known as ‘rest and digest’. This is definitely the missing link when looking at individuals who succeed with anxiety release vs those who struggle to feel free from the emotion. Allowing the body to feel safe, grounded and calm is like laying the foundations for a successful and committed journey. Often, in the beginning of our work together, clients prefer to book a combined session of reiki (or EFT) and mindfulness training for this very reason. The energy shift that takes place is exactly what is necessary to feel inspired and committed to the journey of emotional freedom.
At this point, we are able to befriend the beast. Anxiety becomes much smaller in our mind and our compassionate energy can see this difficult emotion with both warmth and forgiveness. We ,in essence, become stronger in our heart energy as the fear is minimized. This is a recipe for success freedom and empowerment.
Are you ready to befriend the beast? Are you ready to shift gears energetically and find both peace and a sense of empowerment? If so, you may find the world of energy medicine and mindfulness coaching a great opportunity. You can book an Energy Shift by calling Dalhousie Health and Wellness at 289 668-5433.