Author Archives: Peter Braglia, D.C.

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simplify your health

Simplify Your Family’s Health

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Life is not complex.  We are complex.  Life is simple,
and the simple thing is the right thing.
– Oscar Wilde

Minimalism can provide many benefits to your life, be it less stress, more money or more time. What many people don’t realize is that it also applies to your family’s health and well-being. We are often told we couldn’t possibly figure out how to improve our health on our own, that it is a very complicated process. The truth is – it isnt.

If you follow these simple yet essentials tips your family’s health will improve, without leaving you overwhelmed (or broke!).

Move your body in a way you enjoy.

Traditional “exercise” is not mandatory. Sure, you can join a gym if you’d like but it’s not necessary – and the downside is your children can’t exercise with you. So, instead – why not walk more?

It’s that simple. Move your body way more than you currently are and your health will improve. Walking is a refreshing alternative to complicated aerobic routines and overpriced gym memberships –  it’s free, enjoyable and already a part of your everyday life. Plus, the whole family can be involved – even the dog!

The benefits of walking are endless – so let’s just name a few: it helps prevent and reduce the severity of chronic disease (like high blood pressure and diabetes), it also improves mood and mobility. The best part about these benefits is that it doesn’t take much time from your day to achieve them. Thirty minutes a day is where we see start to see great health benefits.

Besides these health benefits – there’s also quality and uninterrupted time as a family: Being outdoors and breathing fresh air promotes a sense of calmness that can lead to bonding time and better conversations. In addition, you’re leading by example -setting a great example by modeling good healthy exercise habits that can reap future benefits in a child’s attitude towards exercise and fitness.

If walking isn’t your thing – do something else. Hiking, pillow fights, dancing to music, bike rides, jumping on the bed, whatever your kids enjoy – anything to get your family moving.

Eat Clean

This one truly is simple – research has proven what matters most: make sure your diet consists mostly of real, minimally processed foods.

To successfully implement this into your life remember we often eat what’s convenient, and if you buy it and keep it in the house, you’ll eat it – so don’t buy it in the first place. The following are some basic ground rules to follow when eating clean. Eat more organic and/or local fruits and vegetables, and remember the fresher the food, the more potent the nutrients. Drink more pure filtered water (Divide your weight by 2, aim to drink that number in ounces). Eat a handful of raw nuts/seeds everyday. When it comes to meat and dairy – choose products where animals live as close to their natural state as possible -free-range, cage-free, grass-fed, raw milk etc.). Lower your intake of inflammatory/mucus producing foods (dairy, sugar, wheat) and instead aim to eat more raw foods that contain powerful enzymes and phytonutrients (try juicing).

You can even involve your children by letting them help make a green smoothie; this can be any combination of several greens, avocado, coconut oil, and a little fruit. They deliver great nutrient-dense antioxidants and phytonutrients from vegetables with the fruit added to sweeten and lessen any bitterness from the chard, kale and spinach. They taste great and your children will learn about new foods and become more comfortable in the kitchen. Just remember the 3 main ingredients should be plants, fat, and protein (not all fruit/sugar).

Make Sleep a Priority

Sleep is often the single most undervalued behavior in our lives—and yet it is the one with the most immediate power to improve our lives in every waking moment. Getting a good night of sleep is one of the cornerstones of health, your body needs this time to repair and heal. Research shows that inadequate sleep can have disastrous effects on your weight loss efforts, impair your concentration, and weaken your immune system.

When it comes to bedtimes – the earlier is truly the better. Now, I know early bedtimes may not be possible with some families’ schedules, which is totally understandable. But for those who can do it – I strongly urge you to try.

Research consistently shows that putting kids to bed early is beneficial for their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. Not only do kids tend to sleep more when the lights go out sooner, but they also may get a greater proportion of restorative sleep, too. Early kid bedtimes are also great for parental sanity. Sipping a glass of wine in silence? Snuggling up with your spouse to watch a grown-up movie for once? It’s really quite lovely.

In addition- sleep that happens earlier in the night tends to be more restorative than sleep that takes place later at night and in the early morning. So putting your kid to bed early may ensure that a higher proportion of her sleep is the extra-restful kind. And well-rested kids behave quite differently than sleep-deprived kids.

When kids (and adults) are sleep-deprived, their bodies release hormones including cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline, which give them a second wind at bedtime and also make it harder for them go back to sleep early in the morning.

If sleep is an issue it’s worth noting – if you follow the other tips we mention here (walking more, eating cleaner, and getting adjusted) – your sleep will most definitely improve.

Remove Interference

Chiropractic care can literally change your family’s life, and enable you to live a pain-free life full of energy and vitality. That’s because chiropractic adjustments help reduce or eliminate pressure on your nerves—the same ones responsible for your everyday bodily functions. Chiropractic will help eliminate pain and inflammation, reduce fatigue, and restore normal balance and nerve flow to all your organs, giving you the energy, drive and peace of mind to go out there and live life the way it was meant to be lived.

Your child’s spine is affected by a multitude of things: starting with birth, leading to crawling/walking and slips and falls, to backpacks, texting, and computers as they grow older. If statistics are what motivates you – consider this – in the US alone, over 200,000 children are taken to hospital each year to have playground injuries assessed. Other likely times that our children will become misaligned include learning to ride a bike, sporting activities or hobbies, and minor or major car accidents.

The expertise of the chiropractor is in checking the child’s spine for misalignments that impair nervous system function therefore affecting overall body function. By removing the interference to the nerves, many of these conditions can improve and/or resolve naturally – without drugs or surgery. Regular chiropractic check ups are a key component in growing healthy kids.

Focus on the lifestyle, not the goals.

Strive to make eating well and moving your body in an enjoyable way part of your family’s daily life. Enjoy the journey and do these things for the right reasons – and you’ll improve your health, fitness and quality of life.


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How to pick the right pillow

What To Look For in a Pillow

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Nothing starts your day off better than getting a good night’s sleep. And sleeping with the right pillow is key.

But think about it – when you bought your mattress, you probably put a considerable amount of thought into the purchase. Things like size, material, comfort and cost were considered – and it most likely was not an easy decision. But when was the last time you gave your pillow the same thought?

While comfort plays a big role in how we choose the perfect pillow, there’s more to consider, especially when coming from someone like myself – namely support and alignment of your neck and spine. A lot of people think pillows are designed just for your head, but really a pillow needs to be designed to support your neck. Just like sleeping in the wrong position – if you’re on the wrong pillow, you can actually end up with an injury (like a pinched nerve).

The following four tips will help you get the right pillow and a  great night of sleep:

1. Thickness

You always want your neck to be in a neutral position when you are lying on your pillow. If it is not in a neutral position it can irritate the muscles and nerves in your neck causing you to wake up with a possibly sore neck, headaches, numbness and tingling, and worse. No matter what avoid buying a pillow that is too big or too small for you. So how do you do that?

First, when you lie down in your favorite sleeping position, you’ll want that pillow to fill the gap between your head and your shoulders. Then, you’ll want to take a look at your posture. If you’re lying on your back with your head on the pillow, your ear should be in line with your shoulder, not in front or behind it. If you’re lying on your side, your spine should be close to horizontal; your head shouldn’t dip down or be propped up too much. If you’re stomach sleeping (TIP: Don’t) – you really don’t need to use a pillow.

2. Material

Because comfort is highly subjective, the material of your pillow is largely up to you. The key here is the right material that works with you that keeps you comfortable but also in proper alignment. Whatever you choose be sure the pillow is firm enough to stay a consistent shape. With some materials you will often wake up with the side you generally sleep on becoming almost flat. With the pillow being consistent in shape it allows you to retain a proper sleeping and neck position all night long.

No matter the material,  a pillow is likely to begin losing it’s shape and support within about two years, when it’s a good idea to purchase a replacement. And considering the dirt, oil, dead skin cells and dust mites that can accumulate in your pillow, you might want to replace it even more regularly, anyway.

3. Shape

There are many different shapes of pillows, from your classic that looks fluffy, to the more complex and contoured. The truth again is that it really depends on your sleep position as to what shape you need your pillow to be. If you sleep on your back, you’ll need a thinner pillow, so your head and neck remain neutral and isn’t thrown too far forward. A cervical curve in the lower portion of the pillow would also be beneficial to promote the normal curve of your neck. If you sleep on your side you’ll need a firmer pillow to fill in the distance between the ear and outside shoulder – and a cervical curve would not be necessary.

Side Note: At True Health, we offer the Proper Pillow to our patients because it is the only pillow that I’ve found that allows you to sleep in proper alignment for both back and side sleepers.

4. Cost

Just because a pillow has a million features does not mean it is the right pillow for you. With that being said, when it comes to the price tag, anything $20 or under is probably cutting corners somewhere. A mid-range pillow is more than sufficient – and will probably run you $40 to $80, while anything over that mark is high-end luxury and you’re probably paying for marketing and packaging more than comfort.

 


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genetics-is-not-an-excuse

The Genetics Excuse

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A lot of people that I come into contact with truly believe that within their family history lies their fate. In other words, because in their family history there are instances of  heart disease, arthritis or cancer, there is nothing that they can do to prevent themselves from getting these diseases.

While it’s true that some of us carry genes that make us more susceptible to cancer, heart disease,and diabetes just to name a few, it is also true that for these genes to cause disease, they must be turned ON. In fact recent research has shown that genetics contributes only about 30% to disease susceptibility while an individual”s environment contributes upwards of 70%. So, as long as these genes are turned OFF, you are safe.

Now, you might be asking yourself, what is it that turns these switches “ON”?

The answer is several factors contribute:

  • STRESS
  • PHYSICAL TRAUMA
  • ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS
  • NUTRITION

At True Health, we address all of these factors with our patients from the initial visit. Through specific chiropractic adjustments, we correct and restore normal structure/function to your spine and nervous system resulting from years of repetitive stress, tension, and countless traumas. Through our purification program, we eliminate toxins stored in your body from the air that we breathe, the food that we eat, and the water that we drink. And finally, we offer easy to implement nutritional advice and high quality whole food supplements.

The truth is that our genes are being changed moment by moment by the environment of our thoughts and feelings as well as the environment of our families, homes, work, friends and where we live. We assign mental and emotional meaning to facts that are as important to gene activation as the facts themselves. Even the thoughts you are having about the coming week are wired into your brain and act as stimulus for genetic expression.

Environmental changes that make it easier for people to overeat, and harder for people to get enough physical activity, have played a key role in triggering the recent surge of preventable disease. So, if we become more aware that our environment – the physical, social, political, and economic surroundings – greatly influences how much we eat and how active we are. We can continue living our life the same way, or we can make a change now to ensure good health for years to come.

The Bottom Line

What science tells us is that healthy environments and lifestyles can counteract any gene-related risks.

What you can do:  maintain normal structural alignment coupled with a healthy lifestyle so that your body is the best it can be to throw off potential illness.


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vitamin D

Studies Prove Your Child Needs Vitamin D

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From 2000 to 2014 there was an increase in the rate of vitamin D deficiency diagnosis among children, according to a study published online Feb. 3 in Pediatrics.

The researchers found that from 2008 to 2014 there was a 15 fold increase in rate of vitamin D deficiency diagnosis. Diagnosis rates were higher in boys versus girls aged <5 years, while rates were higher in girls aged ≥10 years. “There has been a marked increase in diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency in children over the past decade,” the authors write.

Now, the next question should be: Why is this important? The reason is that Vitamin D is an essential genetic requirement for human wellness and prevention. It aids in proper function of the immune system, cardiovascular health, bone growth and repair and for overall wellness.

While it’s true that there are dietary sources of Vitamin D, they are NOT sufficient. We were designed to get our Vitamin D from sun exposure. This poses another problem as studies have also shown that children are spending less time outdoors than ever before.

This is why we recommend children (and adults) supplement with Vitamin D3 – the same form of Vitamin D that is produced by sun exposure. Ask us about the Vitamin D drops we carry on your next visit to our office.

 


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Natural Health Cabinet

How to Create a Natural Medicine Cabinet

It seems that each and every day I get similar questions from patients at True Health on what they can do to ensure their health and optimize their chiropractic care. I’ve posted before on what to do when you’re sick – however – I haven’t touched on what to always have on hand at home. So, if you’re inclined to take a more natural approach to your family’s health, the following are a number of great items to keep on hand.

Remember these added health essentials are important, but the most important aspect of your health is an optimally functioning nervous system so your body can adapt and thrive through stressful life situations.

Aloe

Fresh Aloe Vera gel is the perfect first responder for burns, small cuts, blisters, and insect bites. It’s instantly cooling and soothing, and helps reduce inflammation and ward off bruising. You can also harvest aloe gel and freeze it in small amounts (in an ice cube tray, for instance) to use later on sunburns. Used topically, aloe gel can also heal psoriasis, soothe eczema, shrink warts, and prevent scarring.

Oregano Oil

This is probably the go to supplement (after an adjustment, of course) in our house if someone is starting feel like they may be getting sick. A few drops under the tongue several times a day does the trick. Oregano oil has wide-reaching health benefits, but is most associated with respiratory and immune system health. This herbal oil also has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Just remember it’s incredibly strong (so dilute with children). 

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Elderberry

Elderberry is the winter season immune booster in our house, especially with our children as it tastes great. Elderberry supports immune function with an affinity for the respiratory tract and is rich with Vitamin C and packed with flavonoids.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential nutrient that is used during almost every chemical process of the body. It is also one of the most common deficiencies in the United States. Magnesium is great for constipation, cramping, asthma, headaches, pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, and GERD. Be careful to not take too much in the beginning because it can cause gastrointestinal upset. I recommend and carry Natural Calm in the office.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has an arrange of things it can help with stopping the build up of the lactic acid during exercise, promote GI comfort, and a facial toner.  Upset stomachs, fungal infections, acne, dandruff, and sore throats can all be treated with apple cider vinegar. Whether ingested or used topically, apple cider vinegar is safe for kids of all ages (if diluted) as well as pets. 

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Arnica

It’s the first thing we grab for every bump, scrape, tussle, and wipeout our little ones encounter. Arnica, available in pellets, gel or cream form, is an herb in the sunflower family that reduces bruising and topically treats pain immediately.

Coconut Oil

Mostly everyone has heard of this one, and while coconut oil is an ideal food for fostering health and beauty from the inside out, it also has a staggering number of other uses (too many to list here), from topical beauty applications to first aid treatments, to general household cleaning

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Tea Tree Oil

Also known as melaleuca, tea tree is another staple in almost every natural medicine cabinet. It is a strong antibacterial and  it’s a tough opponent of fungal infections of the skin like ring worm and athlete’s foot. A few drops of tea tree oil in a spray bottle of filtered water makes a great all-purpose antibacterial cleaner for surfaces in your home.

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Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a mild astringent that works to soothe skin irritation, itching, and burns. It also contains tannins which help to repair broken skin, so it’s not only safe to use on cuts and scrapes, but it will help them heal faster. An alcohol-free formula is preferable if you’re planning to use it on a baby’s sensitive skin.

 

Himalayan Sea Salt

Gargling a ½ teaspoon in a warm 8 oz. glass of water helps relieve sore throats. Bacteria is only made to survive and certain climates within the body. Specifically high salt content helps eliminate the bacteria. The salt also helps with pain relief and aids with soothing your throat. 

*Please take note that these are not a cure for any condition, but have been known to aid in the healing process. 


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