Monday, May 1, 2017

Essential Oils: A Rundown

Probably the most trendy thing in natural health right now is essential oils. Everywhere you look, another claim is being made that “there’s an oil for that!” Unfortunately for the curious consumer, there is so much information, misinformation, and conflicting information out there about them these days that it’s hard to know what the truth is.

So, what are essential oils? How safe are they?

Essential oils are the result of an intense distillation process that leaves behind the most concentrated aromatic and therapeutic properties of plants. Oils have been used for thousands of years for a variety of uses, including healing.

What is exciting about essential oils is that they are bioavailable, so they can communicate properly with the body. Human bodies recognize them, so they have a potential to be a powerful, safe, and effective tool in facilitating the healing process. Many essential oils have been proven to be as effective as pharmaceutical grade antibiotics, with less risk. Scores of testimonials are surfacing in our culture about the therapeutic effect that essential oils have had on their health. Essential oils are being credited with curing everything from hay fever to cancer.

So, what’s the problem? If they are recognized by the body and they are bioavailable, is there any risk?

Research is finding some exciting things about the capabilities of essential oils, but there isn’t enough research to safely say they can be used. They are natural, but tremendously potent, and it’s their potency that the possibility of danger lies. Children in particular can be harmed by certain kinds of essential oils, and they should not be using many of them.

What is one to make of this?

Essential oils can absolutely be included in your health care regimen. However, their use should be guided by a trained professional. You should be careful about the advice that you take regarding essential oils, as they can also be harmful.

Keep an eye on the research on essential oils as it begins to surface. It’s an exciting development - but as it’s developing, beware of potential risks, and use with caution.

Dr. Felicia

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Pregnant? Don’t Wait To Become Educated

You JUST found out you’re pregnant. Congratulations! I could say the same cliche lines that most people give, like everything will change, or you’ll have your hands full or something to that extent. All those things are true, however, my sage advice is this:

Learn as much as you can - and start now.

Most couples wait until they are at the very end of their pregnancies to take a childbirth education class. And truthfully, that makes sense. It is called childBIRTH education after all. However, I think the term “pregnancy, birth, and postpartum education” is more fitting when you’re talking about a quality childbirth education class.

The majority of information that we get about birth in today’s culture comes from our friends, the media, or the internet. Obviously, those are not always reliable sources. Yet they drastically form our opinions about pregnancy and birth, many times in devastatingly deceptive ways.

Your best chance at becoming well educated about this major life transition you’re embarking on is to take a privately taught childbirth education class much earlier in your pregnancy - ideally when you’re around 20 weeks. That way, you do spend the final days and weeks of your pregnancy trying to unlearn false beliefs that you’ve built up for your entire pregnancy.

There is SO much to know about pregnancy, birthing, and the postpartum period. Trying to ingest it all in the last few weeks of pregnancy as you’re already getting ready for baby can feel like too much. Furthermore, there is a lot of valuable information for you to use DURING your pregnancy that you’d feel like you missed out on by waiting until the last minute.

Some people think that they don’t even NEED to take a childbirth education class - they think their doctor or midwife will tell them everything they need to know. So, let’s discuss that. Do you REALLY need to take a childbirth education class?

The average childbirth education class sits at around 8-10 hours of instruction. More thorough courses can be as much as 24-26 hours of instruction, and moderate classes can fall anywhere in between.

Ask any childbirth educator and they will tell you what a challenge it is to fit everything that you should know about the biggest life change you and your body will ever experience, into 8 hours. Most of them will tell you that a full 3 credit-hour semester long class would feel inadequate.

How much time can your doctor spend educating you about your upcoming birth? Let’s do the math.  

The average time that an OB spends with their patient is 5-7 minutes per visit. Monthly visits usually don’t start until 12 weeks. Then you have biweekly visits starting around 35 weeks, then weekly visits from 38 weeks until the birth, you end up with an average of approximately 1 hour of time spent with your OB prior to birth.

Midwives can spend between 30 minutes to an hour with their clients, which amounts to a conservative average of 6 hours you spend with them prior to birth.

Whether you have an OB or a midwife, their job is to be your healthcare provider and to monitor you for medical safety during pregnancy and birth. Their job is not to educate you.

Remember: how many hours was the childbirth education class? A minimum of 8 hours, right? How could they possibly give you thorough, comprehensive childbirth education in an hour prior to birth? Or even 6? Is it fair to assume that your provider is also going to take the role of educator when that’s not their job? Of course not!

It’s your job to become educated, and the sooner you start, the better! Early in your pregnancy, you can start reading. Here are a few good suggestions:

  • Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
  • Birthing From Within by Pam England
  • Childbirth Without Fear  by Grantly Dick Read
  • The Birth Book by Dr William Sears
  • The Complete Book Of Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger
  • The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

You’re going to have a baby - this is the most exciting season of your life! Learn as much about it as you can. Ask me about referrals for local educators, as there are many great ones to choose from.

To Your Health,
Dr. Felicia Conner

Sponsored by:
Flutterby Birth Services

8 Natural Remedies for ADD/ADHD

The number of kids who are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD has exploded in the last couple of decades. ADD/ADHD can cause kids to be inattentive and impulsive, making success in the classroom extraordinarily difficult.

Psychotropic medications are readily prescribed for kids that have the ADD/ADHD diagnosis, despite the fact that the long term effects of these medications are completely unknown.  Naturally, more and more parents are leery of giving their kids mind altering medications. Many find themselves looking for natural alternatives before going the pharmaceutical route.

Fortunately, there are many natural things that families can do to help kids struggling with ADD/ADHD.

Diet changes have been reported by many parents to be an effective way to manage ADD/ADHD. The American diet is rife with sugar, processed fats, unnatural additives, GMO’s, and artificial colors. None of those things was meant to be consumed by the human body, and the effects they have on the brain can be profound. Reducing (or, ideally, eliminating) these in the diet of an ADD/ADHD child can only be beneficial.

Omega - 3’s Studies done on the effects of omega supplements have been favorable in their ability to improve focus and reduce hyperactivity. Omega -3’s are an essential fatty acid (EFA), and most Americans are deficient in this essential nutrient. EFA’s are necessary for healthy brain function and as such they are especially beneficial for those with ADD/ADHD.

Vitamin B Complex can increase absorption of other vitamins and nutrients, as well as support healthy brain function. There are 8 B vitamins in all. B6 in particular is important for optimal brain function, particularly in making serotonin. Methyl B-12 is responsible for regenerating neurons and the myelin sheath. All of these effects can be profoundly beneficial for ADD/ADHD.

Vitamin D should come from the sun!. Vitamin D plays a huge role in many physiological systems, including brain function. Studies have shown lower levels of Vitamin D in people with ADD/ADHD, and it only takes 15 minutes a day in the sun to get the vitamin D you need.

Exercise doesn’t get as much credit as it deserves for helping ADD/ADHD! Exercising releases neurotransmitters including dopamine that are responsible for attention and focus, which is exactly what they ADD/ADHD brain requires..

Magnesium has a natural  calming effect on the body and the mind. It’s a critical component for over 300 enzyme processes within the body, and over 80% of Americans are deficient in it, particularly those with ADD/ADHD..

And of course, chiropractic adjustments should be done regularly on those with ADD/ADHD. Adjustments cannot cure ADD/ADHD. What an adjustment can offer however, is a more balanced mind / body connection which will contribute to a more stable mindset.

To Your Health,
Dr. Felicia Conner

Monday, April 17, 2017

Postpartum Nutrition

More than any other time in her life, a postpartum woman needs proper nutrition. Around the world, the postpartum period is recognized as an essential time of rest and rejuvenation. After birth, women are physically and emotionally exhausted from the strain of childbearing. Their hormones are scrambling to reach a balance, and they are depleted of sleep, energy - and nutrients.

One of the best examples we have of proper care after birth is in the Chinese culture. In China, women are expected to rest for a full 40 days after giving birth. This time literally translates to “sitting the month.” Women are expected to spend this time resting, breastfeeding, and bonding with their babies.

Through the course of those 40 days, women are only allowed hot foods. Birth is said to deplete a woman of all of her warm qi, so the warm foods are meant to replace what was lost.  She only eats nutritious foods like rice, soups, and teas, because her body needs to recover from the most physically trying season of her life.

Women who observe the 40 days of rest after birth benefit tremendously from the nutritional boost that they get during this time. The level of importance that chinese culture places on nutrition as a cornerstone of health and recovery is far from what we experience here in the US.

In the west, we tend to turn our backs on the idea of “balancing qi.” Most even scoff at the idea of using nutrition as a remedy for any sort of physical ailment. Yet, in places where nutrition is a key part of recovery after birth, women have better overall physical and mental health as they recover from birth. It’s worth it to give your body as much of what it requires as possible.

So, if you’re going to try and keep healthy after birth, what should you eat? Well, as much as possible, you should be eating whole, unprocessed foods. It’s really that simple.

Ok, I’m a mom - I recognize that it’s really NOT always that simple when you’re talking about caring for a newborn and yourself. It’s even harder when you’re going at it alone. But it can be done, and a little goes a long way.

Here are a few things that you can make and keep around during the postpartum period:

  • Fresh fruit eaten raw can fill you up and provide a whole host of nutrients.
  • Fresh vegetables - no need to cook these either! Just chop for a couple minutes and you’re good to go.
  • Hot teas. Stay away from caffeinated while you’re nursing. But there are plenty of others that are safe for breastfeeding.
  • Hot soups. Soups are easy to make and they are packed with nutrition. Plus, it’s relatively simple to double or triple a recipe and save leftovers for another time.
  • Nuts and nut butters make an easy and healthy snack.

Women need physical restoration in many ways after giving birth, and nutrition plays a huge part in that. Do the best you can - your body and your baby will thank you.

To Your Health,
Dr. Felicia Conner

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The 3 Most Common Reasons To See A Chiropractor

There are many reasons that patients decide to seek care from a chiropractor. Chiropractors can treat a number of ailments, ranging from ear infections to digestive problems.

However when people step into a chiropractic office for the first time, they usually come in for a couple of common reasons. When traditional pharmaceutical treatments are ineffective for some of these problems, patients will try anything, including a visit to a chiropractor. They are rarely disappointed.

Some of the common ailments that we see in first time patients are:

Back Pain
Most people think of chiropractors as the back pain specialists. This is true. Particularly in the case of a physical trauma, such as a car accident, a chiropractor is an expert at putting you back together again.

When the body experiences a trauma, it can cause severe subluxation (misalignment) in the neck or spine, leading to all kinds of debilitating pain. Pain pills may mask the pain, but they do nothing to reverse the subluxation that the trauma caused. Skeletal manipulation is the only way to remedy a trauma to the body, which is why we see so many patients for this reason.

Many times, patients will visit a chiropractor after years of suffering with debilitating headaches and migraines. Often, the treatment prescribed by a regular doctor doesn't work after many years of trying. Sometimes after becoming desensitized to their pain medication, patients will try anything to be rid of the nuisance of headaches. Many times, headaches are caused by specific points of the neck that have subluxation.

Have you ever slept wrong at night and woken up with a cramp in your neck? Overnight, you may have caused your neck to come out of alignment. Sometimes it will resolve itself, but sometimes it doesn't. Patients are often surprised when, after only one adjustment, they begin to feel relief from their chronic headaches. It can take several adjustments for complete relief to happen, but most patients are pleasantly surprised at the quick results.

Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be caused by any number of pathological issues, and fortunately many of them can be remedied - or at least supported - with spinal adjustments. It can only help to return the body’s spine and skeletal structure to alignment in order to give the body the best chance to heal itself. Adjustments can help with degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, whiplash, and other problems that can cause ongoing pain.

The Common Condition
The root of all of these common ailments is subluxation of the spine and neck. Helping the body return to alignment allows it to heal itself, and in the process, it reduces pain.

Pain, while admittedly miserable, is simply the body’s way of communicating to us that something isn’t right. Listening to that communication and remedying the root problem is a long term, more permanent solution to the problem of pain. Masking pain with pills never produces health - it simply ignores the body’s cries for help.

Listen - because the solution is usually easier than you may think.

To Your Health,
Dr. Felicia Conner

Homeopathic Remedies Are Legitimate Medicine

Homeopathic medicine is slowly gaining traction in the United States, though it’s still often overlooked. Many years ago, homeopathics were the preferred healing method by doctors. In fact, civil war relics have been found that include medic kits containing homeopathic medicines. Homeopathics have been around for a long time!

Most people these days know very little about homeopathic medicine. It takes a very different approach to wellness than mainstream pharmaceuticals. Even some holistic providers don’t understand homeopathic remedies very well, so this powerful form of medicine is largely unused much of the time.

The approach to healing and basic premise of homeopathic medicine is “like cures like.” Plants produce a very specific type of reaction within the human body. Those particular reactions also mimic and resemble the pathological processes that occur when we experience disease. When a person takes a homeopathic remedy for a disease, virus, or condition, the plant concentrates within the homeopathics boost in the healing process that is already in effect. They have been proven to be tremendously safe and effective.

For instance, when the body is fighting a cold, the nasal passages tend to swell and cause a buildup of mucous. In turn, this causes runny noses and postnasal drip. Onions tend to cause watery, irritated eyes and nasal passages as well. So a common homeopathic remedy for colds is based on a specific type of onion. This is not to say that a homeopathic remedy will give a person watery eyes and nasal swelling - it only aids a process that is already in effect.

There is a lot of heated discussion surrounding the way that a homeopathic remedy is made. Advocates claim that homeopathics are simply diluted medicinal properties of a plant. Skeptics claim that homeopathics are diluted so much that they are nothing more than a glorified placebo. explains the way that homeopathic medicines are made by saying: Most homeopathic medicines are made by diluting a medicinal substance in a double-distilled water. Simply “diluting” the medicines without vigorously shaking them doesn't activate the medicinal effects. It is inaccurate to say that homeopathic medicines are extremely diluted; they are extremely “potentized.”

Several years ago, the FDA recalled a popular homeopathic remedy that has commonly been used for helping teething babies. They claimed that the product was toxic to infants. Yet in the same breath, they defended the idea that homeopathics were diluted to the point of being useless, and that they were only placebos. Defenders of homeopathic remedies were quick to point out the juxtaposition, but no response was ever given.

Supporters of the homeopathic approach maintain that they are marvelously effective, as they are designed to work with the body’s physiological processes. Allopathic medicines, by contrast, often cause an unnatural chemical change in the body.

Fortunately for homeopathic medicine, it’s effectiveness speaks for itself, and it is worth trying.

For those just getting started with homeopathy, some common homeopathic remedies include:

Likely the most widely known and used remedy, arnica is used after trauma. It helps when someone has been badly injured, bruised, or otherwise hurt.

Parents all over love chamomilla for its ability to calm a cranky child. It is the go to remedy for colic and sleep problems.

This remedy is used for  variety of emotional troubles, but it is also tremendously useful in childbirth. Midwives sometimes use pulsatilla to help encourage a baby to straighten their heads and come down the birth canal. It’s known to have a grounding effect.

This is the leading homeopathic for all manner of mental illnesses. Anxiety, grief, fear, PTSD, and and depression can all be helped with this remedy.

Keep an open mind. Dare to approach health from a different perspective.