Author Archives: Peter Braglia, D.C.

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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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well-winter

7 Ways to Stay Well This Winter

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The key to staying well in the winter is treating your body well and feeding it what it needs to fight off invaders and not let them get a toehold. Remember, your body is an incredible complex of systems, and your behaviors and choices will determine the health and vitality of those systems, especially the immune system. Here’s a roundup of my favorite, easy-to-incorporate wellness tips to help keep your defenses strong all winter long:

1. Eat (or Drink) Your Greens

The more dark, leafy greens you can work into your diet, the better. All that good green stuff is filled with fiber, which is exactly what your good gut bacteria love to feast on. And, when our good bacteria are well-fed, they’re armed and fortified to help keep your immunity high. Greens also supply you with nutrient-dense antioxidants and phytonutrients so you can power through the day without a caffeine or sugar drip. Add fresh leafy greens to breakfast, lunch and dinner, drink smoothies and keep a supply of high-quality greens powder in your fridge or at the office so you can stir up a glass of immunity-supporting greens anytime.

2. Be Well Adjusted

Chiropractic care helps us to stay well by impacting our immune system. In our bodies there are numerous modes of communication between the nervous system and the immune system. The nervous system has a direct effect on the immune system due to the nerve supply to the important immune system organs. As chiropractors, we have a direct influence over the nervous system. We now know through research that chiropractic care has beneficial effects on immunoglobulins, B-lymphocytes (white blood cells), pulmonary function and other immune system processes.

3. Stay Hydrated

This is an easy one to follow in the summer, but come winter, you may not feel as parched. However, staying hydrated is still crucial to keeping your body running at its best. Keeping yourself well-watered throughout this season is equally important. Staying well-hydrated helps thin the mucus in your lungs and sinuses, making it easier for your body to clear the sludgy stuff out of your system — so in addition to lots of water cozy up to soothing herbal teas, hot water with lemon and hot, healthy beverages until the warmer weather returns.

4. Listen To Your Mom

Frequent hand-washing, using soap and hot water and rubbing vigorously for about half a minute, is crucial. Virtually any shared item – such as printers, copy machines, the office fridge handles, restroom door knobs, pens and touch screens at the grocery store, elevator buttons and so on – are excellent places to pick up whatever ills may be going around, so wash hands frequently  – not with the antibacterial stuff – and keep your paws away from your nose and mouth until you’re able to wash up.

Keep surfaces clean, wiping them down frequently with non-toxic green cleaners. That goes double if you’ve got school-aged kids bringing home tons of germs every day. Also make sure the kids get into the hand-washing groove as soon as they cross the threshold.

5. Fill in the Gaps

When it comes to fighting off seasonal ills, I believe in stacking the immunity deck and giving your body a helping hand. My go-to winter wellness arsenal includes: A daily, high-quality probiotic: Packed with billions of organisms to keep your gut — which houses most of your immune system — in top form. Vitamin D3: Vitamin D plays a vital role in our immune system and its ability to fight off pathogens. Here in New England- from October to April we recommend supplementing Vitamin D-3 from a whole food source. It is important to use a bioavailable whole food form of vitamin D, complete with the amino acids and sterols, because this will help catalyze mineral utilization and absorption. Elderberry extract: Elderberry is the winter season go-to for all ages, especially children as it tastes great. It’s an antiviral herb that supports immune function with an affinity for the respiratory tract and is rich with Vitamin C and packed with flavonoids.

6. Get Outside

Granted, you’ll need to bundle up, but take a few minutes every day when the sun is visibly shining to have a brief wintertime sunbath. Doing so will help regulate your circadian rhythms (a.k.a. your sleep/wake cycle) — which impacts everything from your body temperature to your hormones to your weight — and help lift your spirits (improved mood helps boost immunity). You’ll also boost your Vitamin D levels.

7. Keep Moving in the Cold

You don’t have to go outside to move more throughout the day. Try fashioning a DIY standing desk or workstation or simply do a few laps around the office when you can as the weather cools. Try a workout at home, have a dance party, play with your kids, anything to get your body moving in the winter.


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Better Births With Chiropractic

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It is estimated that 50-90% of pregnant women have back pain in pregnancy. Many of these women are concerned (with reason) about taking pain-relieving drugs during pregnancy because of the unknown effects of their unborn child. Unfortunately three quarters of these women continue to experience pain after the birth.

Chiropractic is often coined – “a pregnant woman’s secret weapon in pregnancy” because adjustments help women adapt to the enormous number of changes her body is experiencing. During pregnancy we see tissue growth and changes to the spine and joints and as the hormones surge ligaments become more relaxed. From week 14 on –  strong, fibrous ligaments that support the pelvis and the spine start to ’let-go’ and loosen. This can create significant problems particularly if the mother has ever had accidents or falls as weaker joints feel less supported. When the spine moves out of correct alignment it impacts how well the nervous system communicates and performs.

With each successive pregnancy – the muscles and ligaments of the pelvis stretch. Therefore, women who have had multiple pregnancies and have not consciously re-strengthened abdominal and spinal musculature is often highly susceptible to spinal misalignments.

Chiropractic Offers Comfort For Births

A Webster Certified Chiropractor has advanced training in prenatal chiropractic care. It balances her pelvis, eliminating undue tension to muscles and ligaments and enhances optimal fetal positioning. Better positioning and proper nerve system function improve the mother’s ability to birth naturally.

This highly effective technique is safe and gentle and should be a first approach before considering more invasive methods. As a Webster Certified Doctor, I have seen countless situations where a baby has changed position and a mother was able to avoid a C-section or medical intervention.

Shorter Labor Time

First time moms who received regular chiropractic care experienced on average, a 25% shorter labor time. As for seasoned moms who received chiropractic care; labor time was on average, 31% shorter. Vaginal delivery is strongly dependent on the alignment and relationship between the mother’s pelvis and baby. If there are misalignments, it can interfere with effective labor and delivery, thus prolonging it.

Less Painful Labor

In a hospital study that incorporated chiropractic adjustments during the patient’s pregnancy, the results indicated that there was a 50% decrease in the need for painkillers during delivery, attributable to pre-delivery adjustments.

Better Chance of a Natural Birth

Establishing pelvic balance and alignment is another reason to obtain chiropractic care during pregnancy. A misaligned pelvis may make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery. This can affect the mother’s ability to have a natural, non-invasive birth. Better positioning and proper nerve system function improve the mother’s ability to birth naturally.

Better Recovery After Delivery

Often after birth, whether vaginally or via c-section, the mother’s pelvic biomechanics change – these changes can bring discomfort with walking, nursing and sleeping. Receiving regular chiropractic care during your pregnancy gives you a better chance at recovering faster after delivery. After all, specific adjustments can eliminate the cause of stress in the spine and pelvis – and improve your body’s ability to function naturally.


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chiropractic and yoga

Improve Your Yoga Practice

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Are you having trouble doing certain yoga poses on your list? It might not be just your balance or flexibility that’s holding you back – it could be a sign of a structural shift in your spine. Read on to learn how regular chiropractic care can enhance your yoga practice and have you saying “ohm” in no time.

chiropractic and yoga

Restoring Health and Balance

Your body craves alignment. When we are properly aligned – our bones – not our muscles, do the bulk of the work to support our weight, reducing effort and strain.

When the muscles around your spine tighten up, your first instinct may be to stretch or try things like yoga to loosen those muscles up. But the reality is that oftentimes, your muscles are tense because the joint itself is locked up and affecting your nerve roots that supply those muscles.

Chiropractic adjustments help to improve posture, range of motion, and flexibility.  These are all very important parts of a strong yoga practice, so one can see how routine adjustments are beneficial to practice. When the spine shifts out of place it can cause your muscles to hold themselves in tough positions in order to cushion what lies beneath. It’s your muscles’ way of protecting what is essentially an unstable joint.

When movement and alignment are restored, the muscle doesn’t have to be as tense anymore – that is, it doesn’t have to work to protect an unstable joint by holding everything locked into that position.

In this way, we find that chiropractic is complementary to restorative yoga. You can combine them to help you recover from injury, or even if you’re just trying to get yourself into positions that don’t seem to be working for your body. The problem may lie in your muscles, but it could also lie in your spine.

Yoga Practice

Yoga practice addresses the mind, body, breath and spirit. We live our lives through our nervous system, constantly assimilating and responding to internal and external stimuli. Whether our responses can be controlled or not, becoming aware of our body and mind stuff offers a means to take the reins and steer toward balance.  Removing impediments to the body’s natural flow of energy (whether it’s through movement, chiropractic care, breath, meditation, diet or otherwise) engenders vitality and a balanced state of health.

Like chiropractic, yoga is another tool to help realign the body.

What’s more, postural awareness is an important practice within yoga, both on and off the mat. Posture has an obvious impact on spinal health, but it also impacts our emotional and bio-physiological health. Through awareness, we can shift ingrained movement and holding patterns within our bodies (such as hunching over cell phones and computers), as well as learn to respond to external stressors in a more mindful way. Chiropractic care is one such way to realign the body and its nervous system thereby offering balance and health.

At True Health, we have countless patients who have combined yoga with chiropractic care. In doing so, they’ve found that they have become more flexible and limber over time. Joints that were typically stiff were now lubricated and moving more easily because of regular adjustments. Yoga poses that were once forced into completing have become more fluid to move through. Most importantly, their yoga practice has become that much more fun and fulfilling!

How has chiropractic care enhanced YOUR yoga practice? Share your story with us in the comments!


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5 Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

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healthy thanksgiving

Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, or simply showing up to eat, the holiday’s can be stressful for the health-minded individual.  The good news: We’ve got 5 excellent tips to keep your holiday the way it should be – filled with family, relaxation and health!

 

1. TURKEY TROT: Start your day off with a brisk fall walk (or run!). Starting your day with exercise is a great way to boost your confidence and keep your health at the forefront of your day (chances are there is a 5K kicking off first thing in the morning in your neighborhood). It’s also important to have some non-food related activities planned (after dinner walk, playing catch, etc.) instead of eating as the sole entertainment.

2. ADD GREENS: Get some color on your plate! Adding delicious, colorful salads and leafy greens to the table before and in addition to turkey time will satisfy your body’s craving for nutrients and prevent over-eating during the main event. Use caution around the junk carbs that your family may push on you – like stuffing, dinner rolls, and pies.

3. SHOW SUPPORT: Support others who are practicing healthy habits during the holidays- don’t sabotage your family or friends by guilting them into over indulging. Be thankful and grateful for what you do have in your life and share with others.

4. DON’T STRESS: No matter how many quality ingredients you put on the table, if you’re weighed down with STRESS during the holidays, you’re not functioning at optimal health! Adjustments help you to better adapt to the stress of the holiday season.

5. DRINK UP: Don’t get too excited – we’re talking about water, it’s important to balance any alcohol intake with water consumption. Plus, staying hydrated is one of the best ways to keep from overeating.

Happy Thanksgiving from True Health Family Chiropractic!

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