How to Have a Better Sleep: 6 Tips to Help You Sleep

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Sleep is essential. Sleep promotes cell repair, boosts immunity, improves brain function and is so restorative to the body. As Vancouver chiropractors, we recommend patients to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

Here are 6 tips to help you sleep better:

Limit screen time before bed: The blue light emitted from our fave devices confuses our biological clock which normally tells the body to start producing sleep inducing hormones when it’s dark. Avoid using devices at least 1 hour before bed to encourage your body to prepare for a good night’s sleep.

Keep a consistent sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends (GROAN)! Your body follows the circadian rhythm so like babies, a regular routine helps train the body how to sleep and when. Also, try o avoid napping too late in the day and take short cat naps only of 20 minutes only.

Wind down: Allow time to calm the mind, dissolve worries from the day and relax before bed. Take a minute to write down your to-dos for the next day to keep your mind from racing and then start to unwind. Read a book, do some deep breathing exercises, listen to relaxing music, or do a guided mediation to fully relax.

Create an atmosphere conducive for sleep: Your bedroom should be a sanctuary that is clutter free, calm and comfortable. Keep the room cool, use dim lighting and remove all distractions. Make your room a no TV zone and reserve your bedroom for sleeping and intimacy to train your brain to associate your bedroom with sleep.

Use sleep aids: Consider using a sound machine or an app that plays white noise, rain, waves or other relaxing sounds on a loop. Use blackout curtains or a sleep mask for complete darkness and keep essential oils on hand like lavender, sandalwood or chamomile. Oils can be used in a diffuser or even a drop on your pillow case might be sufficient.

Avoid alcohol before bed: While a drink or two before bed might have a relaxing effect allowing you to fall asleep easily, alcohol can interrupt your sleep pattern. In fact, “alcohol educes rapid eye movement (REM) sleep…[and] disruptions in REM sleep may cause daytime drowsiness, poor concentration, and rob you of needed ZZZs”.*

If you’re struggling to fall or stay asleep, book FREE 10-minute phone consultation to find out how Chiropractic helps improve sleep.

Book an appointment with our Vancouver Chiropractors!

 

 

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Chiropractic for Skeptics: Does Chiropractic Work?

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Vancouver Chiropractic Adjustment

Chiropractic for Skeptics: Does Chiropractic Work?

Most patients who have been to visit our Vancouver Chiropractors have experienced various benefits of chiropractic care. Yet there are still people who may not understand what chiropractic treatment is about or they may be skeptical about the process. We’re breaking it all down to help you decide whether chiropractic care is right for you!

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is the “theory that proper alignment of the body’s skeletal structure, particularly the spine and nervous system, will enable the body to heal itself without surgery or medication. Adjustments are used to restore proper  mobility to joints restricted by injury caused by a traumatic event, such as falling, or repetitive stress.”*

During chiropractic care, our goal is to achieve optimal health by removing or improving spinal subluxations which are best described as specific sites of spinal malfunction leading to irritation of the body’s central computer, the nervous system.

What does a Chiropractor do?

Our Chiropractors in Vancouver meet with a new patient for a consultation which may include x-rays and/or computerized scans. After a thorough review of results, health history and current health concerns, your Chiropractor will develop a holistic treatment plan to achieve optimal results which usually involves regular adjustments for a set time period.

During a chiropractic adjustment, the chiropractor typically uses their hands or an integrator instrument to “stimulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, in order to restore or enhance joint function. This often helps resolve joint inflammation and reduces the patient’s pain”.**

Does Chiropractic Work?

We have seen chiropractic adjustments have results treating diverse conditions from pain relief in adults or pregnant women to improvements in sleep, colic and learning in children.

If you would like to know more about the research for a particular condition and whether chiropractic is right for you, we would love to hear from you! Book a free 10-minute phone consultation today!

Book an appointment with our Vancouver Chiropractors!

 

 

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The Power of Whole Foods

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By Heather Woodruff, CNP RNCP
Certified Nutritional Practitioner & Digestion Guru

Nutrition is a journey. This is something I say to almost every client I see or during each talk I give. As with most people, I had my own personal nutrition journey that began over five years ago. For years I suffered from a condition called Interstitial Cystitis which is an inflammatory condition of the bladder. After multiple appointments with an urologist resulting in numerous tests and two surgeries, I was told that it was just something I was going to have to learn to live with. The only diet components mentioned to me were to decrease my consumption of coffee, tea and alcohol which I found to provide no significant improvement.

Shortly afterwards, I began seeing a wonderful Naturopathic Doctor regarding some digestive issues I was having. She began to talk me through the concept of a whole foods diet and explained how a number of the foods I ate which I had presumed were healthy (cereal, flavoured yogurt, crackers, etc.) were actually quite processed and full of inflammatory chemical additives. She recommended the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon to me, and so began my journey. I slowly started transitioning to a whole foods diet one recipe at a time.

I was shocked to find that not only did my digestive issues resolve themselves, but my painful bladder symptoms substantially decreased as well! The whole foods diet rich in vegetables, fruits, quality proteins, whole grains and healthy fats seemed to put my whole body back into balance. There was no one magic supplement, medication or even superfood that drastically improved my health… it was turning nutrition into a lifestyle choice. See the full details of how I truly turned my digestion around in this FREE ebook: 6 Ways to Beat Bloating.

What is a whole foods diet?

A whole foods diet consists primarily of foods that, if you were so inclined, you could grow, raise, harvest or hunt yourself. By no means does this mean that everyone needs to be growing and hunting their own food, but it is a concept to have in mind when making optimal food choices. Foods in their whole, non-processed form come complete with all the components we need to digest them, absorb what we need and eliminate what we do not. Our bodies recognize these foods and easily know what to do with them.

Let’s take butter for an example.  If I were so inclined I could get some milk from a local farm, churn it and make myself some butter. It may take me a really long time, but it is possible. Therefore, I feel comfortable buying local, grass fed butter. Margarine on the other hand involves a large amount of science. There is absolutely no way I could make margarine in my own kitchen, consequently, I choose not to purchase it.

How to get started?

My journey began with the goal of one new recipe made from scratch every week. At that time I was eating a lot of grocery store purchased granola bars. It said organic and all natural on the packaging so I had assumed it was healthy. Unfortunately they contained a high amount of sugar and a number of ingredients that I could not even pronounce. If you do not understand something on the label how can we expect our body to know what to do with it? So I learned how to make my own granola bars and continue, to this day, to make a new batch each week, tweaking the ingredients each time to suit my mood and the season.

Eventually, over time I started compiling whole food based recipes I loved and began making them throughout the week until they eventually crowded out most of my other less than optimal choices. This did not happen overnight; it took time, trial and error and determination. I learned to be patient with myself, as well as with my body while it healed.

The biggest gift I received from going through this process was empowerment; I learned that I could take my health into my own hands and have control over my wellbeing, and so can you!

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How to Stop Your Sugar Cravings for Good

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Do you have a sweet tooth? Or maybe you can’t get through the day without a little midday sugar rush? If you find yourself reaching for sugary snacks to boost your energy or mindlessly eating treats, you might be on a sugar craving cycle that’s tough to break!

When we eat sugar, we develop a taste for it and want more! Eating sugar produces the release of dopamine*, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in reward- motivated behaviour, in your brain. Dopamine activates your pleasure center causing you to feel happy, which is precisely where the term “sugar high” comes from. Unfortunately, excessive sugar can have a serious impact on our health and overall wellness causing heart disease, diabetes and obesity, to name a few.

Here are 5 tips to help stop your sugar cravings for good:

1)    Pack in the protein: Increase your daily protein intake to 60-90 grams to maintain blood sugar levels and prevent dips that lead to sugar cravings. Protein also keeps you feeling full longer which leads to less binge eating later in the day.

2)    Drink plenty of water: Oftentimes when we crave sugar, we are actually just dehydrated! Try grabbing a glass of water next time you are tempted to grab a treat.

3)    Change your drug of choice: Replace your sugar high with a runner’s high! Working out produces Serotonin in the body which is the “happiness” hormone.

4)    Re-train your taste buds: Cut sugar from your coffee and remove one sweet indulgence per week. You’ll notice that after the first few weeks, you don’t even miss it and having that Double Double suddenly tastes too sweet!

5)    Pin-point the source of your cravings: When you get a sugar craving, take pause and ask yourself “what am I feeling?”. Do you feel hungry, bored, or stressed? Some times our cravings can be caused by emotions so understanding what’s driving you to reach for candy, will help you address the root of problem.

If you’d like to make health a priority this year, book an appointment with our Vancouver Chiropractors to discuss your wellness plan at Jassal Chiropractic.

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How Making Gratitude a Priority Will Change Your Life

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Happy New Year!  

As 2018 begins, are you considering making a few changes to improve your overall health and well-being? If so, consider making gratitude a priority. A study conducted by two researchers showed that young adults who expressed gratitude experienced “greater increases in determination, attention, enthusiasm and energy compared to the other groups.”* Practicing mindful gratitude showed “greater improvements in optimism…in exercise patterns…[and] lastly, it also caused a reduction in physical ailments.”* Sounds great, right?!

Here are 4 ways to help you focus on gratitude:

1)    Morning Reflection: Instead of grabbing your phone to check your notifications or jumping out of bed immediately when you wake up each morning, pause to anchor yourself. Take a few deep breaths and reflect on what you’re grateful for that day or in life big or small. This unstructured exercise will give you a positive outlook to jump start your day!

2)    Gratitude Journal: Yes, Oprah was right! Take 5-10 minutes a day to log 3 things you’re thankful for that are specific, detailed and different each week (if possible). The journal challenges you to look for new things throughout the week shifting your focus away from negativity on an ongoing basis. Also, expressing gratitude on paper acts as a constant reminder of your blessings and allows you to look back anytime you need a boost.

3)    Take a Break from Social Media: We hear you say, ‘NO WAY’, but let’s face it, Instagram and Facebook can lead to comparisons to others. You may find yourself focused on what you don’t have or how you or your life doesn’t measure up. For some, this discontentment can lead to feelings of unhappiness, anxiety or even depression. Taking a break from social media whether it be a few hours, a day or a week will help you be present in your life and allow you to practice gratefulness.

4)    Gratitude Meditation: Switch up your regular meditation practice by reflecting on your blessings through a chant or mantra. You can tap into your spiritual side to increase positivity, happiness and overall well-being. Try a few guided gratitude meditations to boost your overall happiness.   Calm is an easy to use meditation and relaxation app that you’ll reach for over and over. 

Make 2018 the year of gratitude!

We’ll start first…we’re so grateful for you, our patients and readers, thank you!

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5 Ways to Beat Stress During the Holiday Season

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The holiday season is a magical time of year! Unfortunately, many people find themselves stressed out and feeling overwhelmed. Here are 5 tips to reduce stress and stay sane over the holidays:

  • Adjust your expectations of yourself: Oftentimes people feel more pressure during the holidays with school bake sales, gift shopping, entertaining, family visits and more. These activities, which are typically enjoyable, can seem more like a burden as they pile up. Instead of saying yes to everything, prioritize each activity and decide if it a) brings you joy or b) will it be significant to someone you care about. Being selective and taking pressure off yourself can allow you to set limits and take a few shortcuts instead of focusing on making everything perfect for everyone.
  • Sing along to Christmas carols: Music is proven to reduce stress and when singing out loud to your fave holiday songs, you focus on something other than the endless to-dos that consume your thoughts. This mental break and the boost of endorphins from the upbeat music will leave you feeling happy and less stressed.
  • Get physical: Getting a workout in during the holidays might seem impossible which can leave you feeling drained, uninspired and bad about yourself compounding feelings of stress. Bundle your workouts into family time or visits with friends. Grab your skates, skis, snowshoes or hiking boots and get outside! There are many winter activities that get your heart pumping, but a simple walk catching up with a friend will reduce stress and lower cortisol in the body.
  • Set a Budget: Holiday stress can stem from financial strain and pressure to buy gifts. It can get pricey when you’re buying gifts for an endless list of friends (and their kids!), office exchanges, extended family, your child’s teacher, your hairstylist, etc. Set a budget, set a limit on who you plan to buy for and get creative with gift ideas to save money and alleviate financial stress.
  • Maintain a healthy, nutritious diet: When you’re busy and surrounded by tempting treats, you may tend to make unhealthy food choices. A lack of nutrients and feeling run down over the holidays leaves you vulnerable to colds and flus which is often the unexpected thing people give to each other at holiday gatherings. Buy a box of mandarins and a veggie tray to keep handy for healthy snacks, wash a bunch of spinach to toss into pasta, omelets, etc. and make veggies a priority at mealtime.

Armed with these tips, you can enjoy this special time of year. Happy holidays from Jassal Chiropractic! We hope to see you in the new year!

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Beat the Holiday Weight Gain and Feel Great with These Simple Tricks

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The holiday season is here! It’s a time for office parties, family gatherings, holiday markets and dinners out on the town. With so many festive activities, you may find yourself surrounded by rich foods, tempting treats and sugary drinks!

It can be a challenge to resist nibbling on sweets or limiting how many glasses of cheer you may enjoy. That said, unfortunately, the scale doesn’t seem to care about the magic of the season and will creep up just the same if you go overboard. Instead of dealing with extra weight gain in January, keep weight under control during the holidays with a few simple tricks! Read on for how to beat the holiday weight gain and feel great with these simple tricks:

Here are 5 tips to help you beat holiday weight gain:

1)    Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks per day that include whole, healthy foods. Skipping meals or healthy snacks makes it harder to resist temptations, leads to cravings, and can cause you to binge on empty calories. 

2)    Keep a bowl of clean apples or mandarins on your desk at work or on the coffee table at home as a healthy alternative to the candy dish or cookie jar.

3)    Alcohol is a sneaky weight gain trap. When sipping drinks during holiday parties, try to alternate between soda or tonic with a lime wedge and your drink of choice. Or opt for a Spritz by mixing white wine or rosé with a splash of fizzy water like Perrier. Either trick will cut down calories by at least half!

4)    Drink lots of water to keep that ‘full’ feeling and stay hydrated to stave off sugar cravings.

5)    Try to get 6-8 hours of sleep every night. This may seem impossible around the busy holiday season but sleep is restorative to the body helping reduce fat producing hormones like cortisol. Plus, we all know we tend to make poor food choices when we’re tired!

 The holidays are a wonderful time of the year to spend together with family and friends. With these simple hacks, you can still enjoy while keeping your weight under control. Happy Holidays!

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Meet The Team: Tilly

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Tilly has been a part of the Jassal fam forever and she is moving away from Vancouver, and so, we must sadly, say goodbye, for now. It’s not too late to get to know Tilly a little better, and, she’s included a little note from her, to you!

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of our amazing patients for bringing a smile on my face everyday. Thank you for all the good times, hugs, laughs, jokes, friendships and sharing your experiences and lives with myself and our incredible team at Jassal Chiropractic. We’ve always said we’re lucky to have such amazing patients that treat us like family and it’s so true.

Thank you for the well wishes, cards and flowers. It means so much to me. The clinic feels like home to me, and l’ll miss everybody so much. I wish you all the very best and hope our paths cross again in the future.

Much much love,
Tilly

Best part of your job?
Seeing all our little kiddies grow up, my favorite families and working with my awesome colleagues!

Biggest lesson Chiropractic has taught you?
The power that made the body heals the body

Day off pastime:

Skyping with my hubby and family, Hanging out with my friends, going to the movies, beach time (summer)

Daily breakfast

Banana smoothie with kefir

Food philosophy in one sentence:
Eat everything in moderation. No food is off the table! (unless you are allergic to it)

Daily supplements:
Probiotics, turmeric, Omega 3-6-9/DHA

3 Staples always in my pantry:
Chips, Dates, Avocado

At least once a week I cook:
Avocado grilled cheese sandwich

Top 3 restaurants you love in Vancouver?
East is east, Meat and Bread, Jam Jar

Can’t live without:

My husband, family and friends

Fave workout:

Walking

Strange wellness habit:

Drinking apple cider vinegar and water in the night at least 3 times a week

One piece of advice you would give to your younger self:
Stop stressing and worrying about things before it even happens. Take a deep breath and everything will work itself out.

Best concert you have been to:
The best concert I have been to hand down was Kanye West ( Saint Pablo Tour) – Actually Dr Jassal got myself and the team tickets to see him perform live. It was the most amazing concert!!!

Quote(s) to live by:

“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt

If I could give just one piece of health advice it would be:

Resist the temptation to google your symptoms and jump into conclusion.

The Surprising Signs of Food Sensitivities

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By Heather Woodruff, CNP RNCP
Certified Nutritional Practitioner & Digestion Guru

I can happily say I grew up with what I can only describe as a white picket fence childhood. Days were spent roaming outside our country home, eating raspberries straight from the bushes and surrounded by my large extended family and many friends. The only darkness I can recall were moments of confusing health issues for myself and my two siblings. Allergies, hay fever, tonsillitis, asthma and numerous skin issues including chronic eczema for which we were prescribed a corticosteroid cream for years. Today they have now realized the side effects of corticosteroids (thinning of the skin, discoloration, folliculitis, extreme fatigue, weight loss, headaches, vision problems, etc). Today this medication is only recommended for a few weeks at a time but back then there were no restrictions. My parents did the absolute best they could with the information they had at the time but we all just assumed this was how we were and there was nothing that could be done except to continue to slather on the cream, remove the tonsils and pop a whole lot of anti-histamines. 

My Ah Ha Moment…

Fast forward 20 years and you will have found me sitting in one of my classes at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition learning about all the surprising symptoms of foods allergies and having the biggest ‘ah ha!’ moment of my life as my childhood finally started to make sense. Who would have thought that our body would launch a full scale attack on foods that were supposed to be nourishing us?! At the time it was not common practice to look for the root cause of health issues (and unfortunately still often isn’t). I have now since seen my health history repeated in numerous clients and witnessed the health benefits when certain inflammatory foods are removed to allow healing.

When we think of food sensitivity symptoms we often think; hives, skin rashes, or perhaps a little tummy ache. But what about the hundreds of other documented issues that have been linked to food sensitivities? such as; migraines, depression, mood swings, anemia, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, joint pain, asthma, irregular heartbeat, chronic fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, IBS, constipation, heartburn, reoccurring infections (especially ear infections in young children), insomnia, obesity, autoimmune disorders, the list goes on and on.

It’s easy to pinpoint an inflammatory food when we get hives minutes after eating it but food sensitivities are different than food allergies. They often don’t present symptoms for several hours to several days after consuming. 

Is it a Food Sensitivity?

Not every symptom is a food sensitivity/allergy but any symptom can be one. A good experiment is to try removing a suspected food for an extended period of time. Unfortunately skipping gluten for a meal or two will not show results. It often can take 2 – 6 weeks for an inflammatory food’s antibodies to completely flush from the system and symptoms to diminish.

While discovering our food triggers will probably not be the end of our health journey, it is another piece in the puzzle for helping us to understand our unique selves and improve our overall wellbeing. It’s amazing to see just how much more our bodies can thrive without the daily dose of inflammation caused by unknown food sensitivities.

Interesting to exploring your potential food sensitivities? Try this FREE Webinar: Do I Have Food Sensitivities?

References:

Carolee Bateson-Koch DC ND. How to heal your allergic condition permanently and naturally. Summertown, TN; Books Alive 1994

Elizabeth Lipski, Ph.D., CCN, CHN. Digestive Wellness: Strengthen the Immune System and Prevent Disease Through Health Digestion, 4th Edition. USA; McGraw Hill Books 2012

Dr. Sat Dharam Kaur, ND. The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women’s Health. Toronto, ON; Robert Rose Inc 2005

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Chiropractic Care & Teething 101: Help your Child with Teething

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Teething is a painful experience for your child and oftentimes it feels never ending from 6 months to 2 years old. (How many teeth do children get anyway?!) Teething can cause your child to go from happy and playful to cranky and miserable. Everything becomes a challenge: feeding, sleeping and all hours in between.

Other than general irritability, teething symptoms include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Low-grade fever
  • Runny nose
  • Swollen and painful gums
  • Ear pain
  • Rash on face or chin
  • Lack of interest in food
  • Sleep disturbances

There are many natural ways to provide pain relief and help your child cope with teething:

  • Freeze a clean, wet wash cloth and allow child to chew on it.
  • Massage gums with your clean finger to help the tooth break through the gums.
  • Freeze a banana for your child to gnaw on.
  • Offer cold fruit purees like applesauce, mango or other soft food that is easy to eat and soothing on the gums.
  • Have your child wear an amber crystal necklace. Amber crystals are said to have healing powers to promote balance and health.
  • Homeopathic drops or oils. (Always be sure to read the label)
  • Visit a chiropractor!

The most important way to help your child during teething is to relieve the stress on the nervous system through chiropractic adjustments. Adjustments of the neck specifically takes pressure off the nervous system and promotes the healthy function of all systems in the body. The body will be able to adapt to changes experienced during teething periods resulting in a happier, healthier child.

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