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Water Exercises


During the colder months we tend to do more indoor activities.  Most people who go to the gym year round don’t have to rely on good weather to work out which is pretty nice especially when you are trying to be consistent. For those that have ailments like arthritis or joint pain; the cold weather can be very painful, making it difficult or even impossible to do things like go for a walk outside.

Water activities are a great solution for those who are affected by the cold weather and seniors who may not live in a community; this also provides a great way to socialize and gives them something to look forward to. When I was younger and my Dad was still serving in the military; we were stationed in Alaska for a couple of years. During this time my Mom and I would go to the community center located on base and use their Olympic sized public swimming pool. She would attend the water aerobics classes in the shallow pool area and I would take advantage of the open lap swim. There were some occasions that I would give up the lap swim and join in on the water aerobics because it looked like fun.

Benefits of water exercise:

1)      Low impact for those with joint pain.

2)      Water provides resistance.

3)      Improves balance.

4)      Lessens occurrence of injuries.

5)      Group activities offer a chance to socialize.

6)      Ankle and wrist weights can help increase resistance when needed.

Be sure to stay hydrated during water exercises and to stretch before and after. While most of the water aerobics and water walking classes are primarily marketed to seniors and women who are pregnant; they usually are for everyone to enjoy. Instructors were okay with young children as long as they weren’t a disruption to the rest of the class. At the time I was 12 or 13 years old and was considered an exception to the “no kids” rule for my Mom’s water aerobics class. 

Some rehabilitative and physical therapy clinics will offer aquatic therapy for their patients because the water does allow low impact and relief pressure from joints that are healing.

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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Returning to Running After an Injury

Returning to Running After an Injury

Whether you are a recreational runner or a competitive runner, chances are you have experienced a running-related injury. Getting back out onto the roads/trails after an injury is not always a smooth and easy process. Sometimes, the injury tends to linger, even once you feel like you’re ready to return to running. Having the guidance of a physical therapist during your rehabilitation program will help you get back to running faster, and safely.

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Dr. McCarter's Spotlight on: Reproductive Health

Beginning in March I will begin a series of blog posts and monthly health talks that will focus on reproductive health. As a doctor that focuses primarily on Women's health, the information provided will primarily focus on the female reproductive system and complaints that I commonly treat. Inevitably there will be information applicable to men as well. Overall, this will be information that will be helpful to be aware of regardless of gender. 

As these posts and presentations are influenced by clinical experience, one of the topics that I will be tackling early on is preconception health. What this means is I will be providing information for about factors (female and male) that impact fertility. For quite some time when couples experienced difficulty conceiving, it was primarily associated with female factors (ovarian function, uterine health/function, fallopian tube patency and/or menstrual irregularities etc.), virtually ignoring male fertility/reproductive health altogether. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, as much as 40% of infertility cases can be attributed to male factors; either completely due to male factor infertility or male factors are a contributing influence to the difficulty the couple is having conceiving. This statistic alone should encourage more men to take a more active role in what they can do to enhance their fertility as a part of family planning.

There is also a focus on the decline in fertility that occurs as women age. Well, this also happens in men but for them, it happens a bit later when compared to women. This will be discussed too. So, if you are considering starting a family in the near future or have been having difficulty conceiving and are looking for ways that Naturopathic medicine can be helpful, stay tuned. Also, come in and see me!

Benefits of Chiropractic care for Children

Benefits of Chiropractic care for Children

The spinal cord is the first part of the body formed in the womb, and nervous system is the central controller of it. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. The nerves running out of the spinal cord go to every organ, muscle, cell, tissue, and glands in the body. In children, when there is interference the nerve flow, children could react with constipation, bed wetting, ear infections, colic, torticollis, fussiness, trouble sleeping, etc. Chiropractic adjustments are equally important for children.

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Deep Breath


A phrase I often repeat to patients during deep tissue sessions is, “remember to take slow, deep breaths”. Not only is oxygen essential on a cellular level, controlled breathing helps the body to relax. This can be especially helpful during trigger point therapy. There are breathing techniques used during certain activities such as yoga, boxing, meditation (reducing stress), sleep aid; the list goes on.

Here are five benefits for controlled breathing:

  1. Stress Management- Controlled breathing prevents the brain from being in a constant state of stress which in turn prevents subsequent damage brought on by high stress levels.
  2. Anxiety Management- Breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system which is linked to stimulation of the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is responsible for mediating the nervous system’s responses and decreasing heart rate. The vagus nerve releases a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that catalyzes increased focus and calmness. The more acetylcholine present there will be decreased feelings of anxiety.
  3. Lower Blood Pressure and Heart Rate- this also means less wear and treat on the blood vessels. Prevents the occurrence of stroke and lowers the risk of cerebral aneurysm.
  4. Brain Growth- Studies have shown that breathing used to facilitate meditation can increase brain size. The brain experiences growth in areas associated with attention and processing sensory input.
  5. Alter Gene Expression- specifically the genes involved in immune function, energy metabolism, and insulin secretion.   

Some ways to achieve the relaxation response is mindfulness meditation, yoga, tai chi, progressive muscle relaxation, Qi Gong, and guided imagery. There are also several YouTube videos for guided meditation that emphasis controlled breathing.

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.


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.

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