Northwest Wellness's Blog

Useful information for a healthy lifestyle.

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Plan a Vacation

Plan a Vacation

This is the time of year when people start thinking about planning a vacation. I recently wrote a blog on the steps to improving work life balance in your life. With hectic and stressful schedules, it can be difficult to take the time to nurture and care for yourself. Taking a nice vacation is a wonderful way to rejuvenate yourself. Even the act of planning a vacation can add some extra excitement in your life. The following is a list of why travel is an important aspect of life.

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Britt's Tips: It's all about ankles this summer!

Britt's Tips: It's all about ankles this summer!

 Some of our favorite summer activities necessitate ankle strength, stability and proprioceptive balance strategy. Hiking, paddle boarding, water skiing, soccer, yoga, surfing and even sandy or rocky beach walks all require stable ankle joint performance. Think of all the stress those joints take on, especially when navigating uneven ground or landing from a big jump. You can improve your skills by upping your ankles’ reliability.  Here are a few strength and balance exercises to prevent injury (the dreaded ankle roll), boost your strength, and keep you upright on that tricky paddle board! No special gym equipment or resistance bands required.  

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National Bicycle Month

National Bicycle Month

May is one of my favorite months as it is National Bicycle Month!  Most of you have heard me drone on about all the amazing benefits of cycling and this gives me a wonderful opportunity to remind all of you that cycling is one of the best activities for your health and wellbeing.  Why cycling?

 

·         Cycling is easy on the joints and promotes healthy hips and knees.

·         Cycling improves both strength and cardiovascular fitness.

·         Cycling is social, often done in groups and provide opportunity to meet new, cool people who wear goofy clothes.

·         Cycling can also be solitary and provide you with time alone to destress and think

·         Cycling improve balance and coordination

·         Cycling keeps your mind sharp, not only through the positive effects of exercise but also the mental acuity required to ride outside and with other.

·         Cycling gets you outside to enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

·         Cycling is a great way to see other cities or countries close up.

 

May 10th is also National Bike to Work Day.  If you haven’t given that a try, think about dusting off your old bike (‘cause everybody has one!) and give it a go.

 

Always be sure to wear a helmet, proper eye protection and clothing.  Learn the appropriate bike signals for stopping, turning and passing to ensure your safety and the safety of others.  Enjoy the ride!

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Dr. McCarter's Spotlight on: Stillness and Reflection

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Take a moment to be still. Close your eyes or focus your gaze in front of you. Take a few slow, deep breathes, filling your belly and feeling your chest rise, filling your lungs breathing slowing in and out through your nose. How did that feel?

It is not uncommon to hear "there aren't enough hours in the day". We are constantly on the go often putting everyone and everything else first, including our health. We live in a society where we have become accustomed to doing more, or have fallen into a routine that does not include time for stillness and reflection. I have seen this manifest in patients as an inability to achieve certain health goals despite the feeling of working quite hard to do so. I have also of course, seen this manifest as increase stress, anxiety and insomnia, which have adverse effects on ones health. This has led many that I work with to feel frustrated and fall into habits and a lifestyle that lead them on a path of suboptimal health. 

Often when you hear that you should take a moment to be still and reflect, what comes to mind is meditation or writing in a journal, both of which are associated with taking up time-time that is perpetually in short supply. While journaling and meditation promote stillness and offer a time for reflection, it is not necessarily the case that they have to take up large chunks of time out of your day.  Considering the demands of work and tending to the needs of family, it is a real challenge for some to carve out 15-30 minutes to sit and meditate or journal. What about taking a few seconds either and the start or end of your day to simply breathe deeply? The start of this post began with taking seconds to be in still and take a few deeps breathes. It can be just that simple initially.

During "good" weeks, the beginning of this post is how I begin my day. Taking literally 2-3 minutes after shutting off my alarm to breathe deeply and think about the day that is ahead of me. When I am really on top of things, I take a bit more time to reflect on what I want to accomplish for that day, journal for 10-15 minutes or create my agenda/to-do list for the day and then begin with all of the things that need to be accomplished in the next 12-18 hours. On the days that I do this, I have observed that I feel less stressed throughout the day, I am significantly more productive and I am more calm at the end of the day. I go in and out of regular practice. I generally fall back into practice when I begin to notice, as I mentioned above that I am doing quite a bit but not getting very much done or, I am feeling increasingly and easily frustrated. These are my clues that I have not been taking time for stillness and reflection. 

In last week's blog post, I spoke on the importance of planning. What I did not mention is that your plan, be it toward better health or some other goal does not have to be grand in scale. We accomplish all tasks, however great or small, one day at a time. Begin with a plan for your day. Take a few minutes at the beginning or end of your day to sit in stillness, breathe and reflect on the day you have had or are going to have. On the days that you do this, be mindful of how this practice impacts your mood, stress levels and productivity throughout the day.

Once a regular practice, you may find that you want to take bigger steps toward better health. At that time, when a more robust plan is needed, come in to Northwest Wellness to see a Naturopathic physician that can support you in your health goals by working with you to create your personalized plan for wellness

Finding the motivation for health and fitness

Finding the motivation for health and fitness

It’s easy to ignore healthy habits during the cold, grey and rainy weather. It’s also easy to interrupt your fit routine for lazy days in the sun. I find Seattle spring time unpredictable and sometimes energy zapping. But just like in any season, excuses are easy and endless. All too often the desires for comfort food, couch-time, or on the flip side, outdoor happy hour become the driving forces. Here are some motivational tips to get you moving on your health and fitness practice, especially when you’re feeling less than inspired. 

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Why Should I Meditate?

Why Should I Meditate?

There are thousands of studies that support the benefits of meditation and the positive effects produced when it is practiced regularly.  If you have never meditated, the possibility of sitting quietly on a pillow for 30 minutes simply focusing on your breathing can seem daunting.  In this day and age, it is difficult to imagine not checking your phone, text messages, email or social media for 5 minutes!  The more you recognize yourself in that statement the more I would compel you to take some time to study this ancient practice and reap the many benefits available.  Here are just some of the many advantages offered by a daily meditation practice:

·         Decrease stress and anxiety

·         Better and more restful sleep

·         Clearer thinking and calmness

·         Improved memory and brain function

·         Decreased physical pain

·         More harmony in your relationships

·         Increased sense of happiness

·         Improved Mind-Body-Brain Integration

World-class athletes, top managers and world-class performers have all shown high levels of what’s called brain integration. This means that their brains are wired with strong connections between the different areas, they have heightened attention, and they’re able to think quickly to deal with problems. In addition to all of the benefits listed above, meditation is also the new key to success, as noted by U.S. neuroscientist Dr. Fred Travis.  A study from Harvard Medical School also demonstrated that meditation causes changes in brain waves that actually improve the brain’s functionality. 

For more information on the benefits of meditation please call Northwest Wellness in Federal Way, WA at 2539270660

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What does your pain mean?

Pain is subjective. Has anyone in the medical community asked you to rate your pain from 1 to 10? Does that scale make sense to you? Think of 1 as a minor annoyance and 10 as an emergency room crisis. Maybe that provides you more perspective on the scale. It’s complicated. One person’s minor annoyance may be another’s emergency. Your perception of 6 out of 10 could be completely different than my perceived 6 on that same scale. Along with putting a number to your pain when discussing with your health provider, it’s helpful to describe your discomfort using words like sharp, dull, constant, ache, throbbing, etc.

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Pain is communicative. Receptors around the body send signals to your brain to notify of something amiss. In a helpful way, an instantaneous notification is sent from a place of injury to the brain. The nervous and sensory systems work intelligently to protect you from further damage. In a destructive way, the brain is unable to decipher the report or scale correctly. Something major could be misunderstood as minor, or vice versa. The signaling/communication system can malfunction. The messenger might continue to report noxious narrative after you’ve physiologically healed. The latter concept is often the case with chronic or persistent pain.

Pain is complex.  It’s clever. Mind you, the above description is an over simplification of pain and its communicative system. Below is a link to a video with Lorimer Mosely, Physiotherapist and Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at the University of South Australia. This may help you understand pain as a construct of your brain’s functioning. It might help you understand its meaning better and communicate it with your health provider... And it's funny. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwd-wLdIHjs

For all of your health and wellness needs, visit us at Northwest Wellness!

Northwest Wellness is located at:

37430 Pacific Hwy S.

Federal Way, WA 98003

Phone: (253)-927-0660

Why Love Is Good For Your Health

Why Love Is Good For Your Health

Most of us know the wonderful feeling the emotion of love can bring us. Whether it is love for your spouse, children, friend or pet there is nothing more fulfilling than a loving relationship.  Love is also good for your health in many ways and during the month of February we are celebrating the positive effects love brings to achieving wellness.  Here are some of the health benefits you may expect:

 

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Yoga in Combination with Chiropractic

Yoga in Combination with Chiropractic

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that combines postures, breathing techniques, and meditative practices to improve mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.  When done properly, yoga is very beneficial in combination with Chiropractic care, especially patients suffering from injury. 

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