Northwest Wellness's Blog

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Mom life Series - Putting your oxygen mask on first

Mom life Series - Putting your oxygen mask on first

I’m not claiming to be an expert in motherhood; I’m just a new mom navigating returning to work, maintaining my identity, surviving sleep deprivation, and staying balanced. As a health provider, I educate and encourage the importance of self-care. As an over-tired momma, I understand how prioritizing personal care is not easy. My pregnancy and birth experience were both pretty uneventful. Physically, however, I ended up with diastasis recti (abdominal split), a gnarly cesarean scar, knee pain, and general deconditioning. With returning to work, chasing sleep, preventing total house disaster and loving on a sweet baby, finding time to rehabilitate is difficult. Although it feels selfish at times, I have to make the conscious decision to put my health and fitness first. I find I am a better mother, wife, PTA and person when I’ve prioritized myself. Here’s how I put my oxygen mask on first before “adulting”….

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What Is Northwest Wellness?

What Is Northwest Wellness?

Northwest Wellness is the lifetime vision of Dr. Lorri Nichols of Federal Way, WA.  Beginning as a small chiropractic practice in 1989, Northwest Wellness has grown into a multidisciplinary, integrated practice providing comprehensive health care to Federal Way and the surrounding community.  Our practice consists of primary care, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage therapy, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, nutrition and weight loss to serve all of your health care needs.

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Dr. McCarter's Spotlight on: Spring Renewal


Springtime is upon us! It may not look or feel like it when you walk out of your door, but it is here and there is a bit of a buzz in the air. There is an expectation and an acceptance of renewal and newness that accompanies this season. We have no choice but to feel it as it surrounds up in the budding of trees and flowers. Tomorrow, will conclude the Spring into Health Event at Northwest Wellness and it has been wonderful to see so many people taking advantage of the energy of this season and either starting fresh or starting again on their journey toward optimal health. 

Spring (as a verb) describes action. There are a number of meanings depending on its use but a few of the definitions that catch my attention are:  to move or jump suddenly or rapidly upward or forward; to originate or arise from, however, my favorite definition is to move quickly and suddenly toward a particular place or to a new condition. We are in the midst of a season dedicated to being in a different place. This can be physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. I believe that it is never too late to begin, whatever that new beginning may be. As a Naturopathic physician, I believe this to be true about your health in particular. It is never too late to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Even if it means just improving your quality of life. 

I often remind my patients of the amount of control that they actually have over their health. Outside of genetic factors, and these days, even with certain genetic predispositions, we have the power to effect great change in our health and lives. I think that embarking on the journey toward better health starts with investigation and requires commitment and consistency. One of the guiding principles of Naturopathic medicine is to treat the root cause. I complete a thorough investigation of an individuals health concerns addressing not only the physical aspect of the symptoms experienced but the psychological and emotional as well. In this way, both myself and my patients understand the connection between the mind and body and together, we develop a multi-pronged approach to their health concerns. 

I encourage you to take advantage of this season of renewal and literally, spring into the next phase of your life with better health-on all levels. There is so much that Naturopathic medicine can offer to you on this journey. Come in to Northwest Wellness so that we can get started!

Dr. McCarter's Spotlight on: Minority Health

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April is National Minority Health Month. Each April the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health puts a spotlight on the health disparities that continue to exist for racial and ethnic minorities. The research around health inequity and disparities shed light on a reality that is pretty grim for racial and ethnic minorities (when compared to non-Hispanic Whites). For example, it is well known that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States however, African-Americans are more likely to die from heart disease. Maternal mortality rates for African-American women was catapulted into the spotlight earlier this year when professional tennis player Serena Williams discussed her near death experience after giving birth to her daughter Olympia. African-American women are three times more likely to die during pregnancy or delivery. What is quite alarming is that this remains true when such things as education and socio-economic status are controlled. This means that the high mortality rate is not due to lack of education of and resources for appropriate prenatal care. Latinos are more likely to die from diabetes and are nearly three times more likely to die from HIV. American Indian and Alaska Natives are more likely to experience depression and also have a high death rate associated with diabetes; where it is estimated that this group is 90% more likely to die from diabetes! While there are a number of factors that contribute to such stark differences in health outcomes for ethnic and racial minorities, it is my hope that this information will encourage you to take a more active role in your healthcare. If you have been wondering about your blood pressure or glucose levels, or you are unaware of your HIV status, do not put off finding out until next week, next month or next year. If your health insurance plan covers Naturopathic physicians, take advantage of that benefit! Many of the chronic diseases that disproportionately impact the health and well-being of racial and ethnic minorities, respond well to Naturopathic medicine. 

Resources: accessed April 2, 2018

Diabetes (diagnoses): Deborah L. Blackwell, Jacqueline W. Lucas, and Tainya C. Clarke,Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey 2012 (Atlanta: CDC, 2014) table 8.

Heart Disease: Sherry L. Murphy, Jiaquan Xu, and Kenneth D. Kochanek, Deaths: Final Data for 2010 (Atlanta: CDC, 2013), table 16.


Dr. McCarter's Spotlight on: Preconception Planning

Family planning encompasses a broad array of topics ranging from contraception to fertility enhancement. For those wanting to having children, the start of a conversation with their healthcare provider regarding family planning begins with when, either at what age or stage in a relationship a person or couple would like to start a family and the next thought is generally how many children the person or couple would like to have. From there, I generally steer the conversation toward the importance of preconception planning. Much like starting a garden and how critical it is to make sure that the soil is well prepared to support the growth of whatever is planted, this is also true for our bodies when it comes to having children.

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Spring Is a Great Time for a Yearly Detoxification!

Spring Is a Great Time for a Yearly Detoxification!

Spring is just around the corner!  It is the perfect time to take a week or so to do a yearly cleansing detoxification.  Generally I eat healthy, drink plenty of water and do my best to avoid environmental toxins.  However, the winter months and the holiday season can present a challenging time to follow my normal routine. We also live in a society where there is limited control over the toxins that come from the environment.   Each Spring I take the opportunity to “clean house”.  This isn’t a fast or a restricted calorie diet; instead it generally consists of a regime of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, chicken or fish and a combination of cleansing herbs and protein/cleansing drink. The foods that are avoided are refined flours, wheat, sugar, soy, dairy, caffeine and alcohol.   This year I used the Xymogen 6 Day Detox Kit which has been my favorite of all the ones I have tried so far.  The kit includes supplements that are designed to cleanse the colon and liver, draw toxins from the digestive and lymphatic system and provide your body with essential nutrients.

The Benefits of Detox are:        

·        Re-establishes healthy eating habits

·        Promotes weight loss

·        Promotes detoxification of heavy metals

·        Stabilizes the pancreas and blood sugar spikes

·        Cleanses the lymphatic and digestive system

·        Improves the look of skin, hair and overall appearance

·        Improve digestion and detoxify the digestive system

I also focus on creative recipes and continued to make our evening meal an interesting event.  We served sparkling water form wine glasses, setting a pretty table and cooked new and interesting dishes each night.  The most difficult items I found to avoid where coffee and cheese, which have always been two of my favorites.  The good news is, by the time the 6 days are over you lose the cravings for the things that should be limited in your daily diet and it is relatively easy to continue a healthy diet the rest of the year.

Want to give it a try?  We have Xymogen 6 day Detox Kits available at Northwest Wellness in Federal Way.  For more information, please call 253-927-0660.


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Things You Should Know About Low Back Pain

Things You Should Know About Low Back Pain

Low back pain is far too common in today's society. About 80% of people will experience low back pain at some point throughout life. Low back pain can be very debilitating for many people and can severely impact overall quality of life. The good news is that low back pain can be managed. In fact, most low back pain conditions are easily managed conservatively and do not require surgery. 

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