Elevate Your Energy

Our Backfit team recently returned from a chiropractic conference in Seattle.  2 full days, 22 speakers, and hundreds of like-minded people, all passionate about serving our patients and communities at a higher level.  The team emerged from that experience fired up and inspired!

Think back to the last time you had an elevating experience.  Were you attending a seminar or spending a weekend surrounded with good friends who fill your soul?  Think about how energized and alive you felt.  Would you like to feel that way more often?  What if I told you that this kind of energy is vital to your health and wellbeing?

There is an emerging science called epigenetics that demonstrates the effect that our environment has on the expression of our genes, and ultimately the state of our health.  Epigenetics shows that genes can be up-regulated or down-regulated (turned “on” or “off”) based on our environment.  (Stay with me here!)

Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of “The Biology of Belief”, describes our DNA as a blueprint, and explains that there are over 30,000 different variations that can emerge from that blueprint depending on the demands of our environment.  And more powerful than the environment itself, is our perception of it.  It’s the thoughts, emotions and energy that we manifest in our bodies that create our reality. 

I know for some people this may seem an abstract concept to grasp, but the implications of it are incredibly important to your health!

The popular professional networking site, LinkedIn, recently posted a series in which LinkedIn Influencers pick one big idea that will shape 2014. Deepak Chopra, MD, who is at the forefront of the health and wellness revolution, selected epigenetics.  In his article, “You Will Transform Your Own Biology”, Dr. Chopra writes “The mind and emotions directly affect gene activity, and since the mind is the source of a person’s lifestyle and behavior, it directs one’s biological transformations.” 

Consider this example from Dr. James Chestnut’s book “The Innate State of Mind and Emotional Hygiene”:

“At Harvard University, women in mind-body support groups for infertility conceive 44% of the time (as opposed to the expected 8-10% rate) and 80% of men with hypertension in mind-body groups are able to decrease their medication, while 16% are able to stop their antihypertensive medication entirely.”

So how does this actually impact you and your health?  Well – it boils down to this.  Our health is really a genetic expression of our lifestyle choices.  It’s our lifestyle choices that create our environment.  Our commitment to good nutrition, exercise and rest are the things that commonly come to mind when we think about a healthy lifestyle.  What I want to express here is this:  Your emotional energy plays a vital role in your health. If you’re really serious about optimizing your health, then just like eating well and exercising, elevating your emotional energy must become a daily practice. 

We have to be very intentional about our energy and the energy of those we surround ourselves with.

At Backfit, we have this quote posted in our staff area as a valuable reminder:

Energy quote

But how do we create this kind of elevated energy in our daily lives?  Just like all of you, I have days when I’m feeling stuck, stressed or overwhelmed.  So here is the “go to” practice in our family!

4 keys to elevating your emotional health:

  1. Practice gratitude. Whether you keep a gratitude journal (Yes, even our kids have one!) or ground yourself in yoga or meditation, this is a powerful way to trigger almost immediate changes in your physiology.  True story.
  2. Connect with nature. Walk through the forest or sit and watch the waves.  Being in nature reduces anger, fear and stress and increases positive emotions.
  3. Get physical. Jump on your bike or go for a run.  We all know the positive impact that those amazing endorphins have.
  4. Make a contribution. Coach a team, host a fundraiser, or practice random acts of kindness.  Helping others elevates your happiness.  It’s as simple as that.

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These are ideal ways to create an energy shift when you need it.  But here’s my challenge to you: Practice at least two of these on a daily basis.  Remember, what you do on a daily basis has far more impact on your life than what you do once in a while.

In the words of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: “We have the power to choose, moment by moment, who we are and how we want to show up.”

What choice will you make today?

Dr. Marissa Bentham & the Backfit Team

P.S.  If you are interested in exploring this topic further, here are some fabulous links:

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Mark Your Calendars!

backfit-slider(52)We are THRILLED to announce the 1st ever Backfit community health event… LIFE Fair!  (By the way, LIFE stands for… Live Inspired, Free, and Empowered!  Don’t you love it?)  Mark your calendars for Sunday, September 28th, 2014.

It has always been the vision of our team to make a tangible shift in the health of our community.  We are so proud of our dedicated team members for embracing the vision and creating this exciting event!  We are bringing together some of the finest WELLNESS-BASED local businesses to join with us in promoting a healthy, active lifestyle.  Come out and discover new tools and resources to help you live your best life!  Remember – when we are living at our optimum, it makes a positive impact on everyone around us!

Want the details?

When?    Sunday September 28th from 11 am to 4 pm.

Where?   The fair will be in Backfit’s office and parking lot.

What exciting events are planned?    Not only will there be multiple health and wellness vendors, but also interactive lectures, classes, bootcamps and prizes!  Enjoy dunking your Doctor at the dunk tank, eating healthy Red Barn bbq burgers, and fun inflatables for your children!

Check out your Backfit Doctors’ informative talks:

11-11:30am Dr. Bartlett Stretch Therapy (Low-back focused)
12-12:30pm Dr. Doyle Posture (Posture, ergonomics, and lifting)
1- 1:30pm Dr. Bentham Nutrition

 

Interactive classes by wellness-based local businesses:

12-12:30pm Storyoga For kids aged 3-5; playful mix of stories, songs, yoga, games, relaxation, and breathing
1-1:45pm Inner Warriors Yoga Therapeutic spinal care yoga class
2-2:30pm BDHQ (Body Dynamics) Full body interval training workout, for all fitness levels using nothing but your body weight. Learn proper form and how to engage your core for optimal spinal health.
3-3:45pm Inner Warriors Yoga Therapeutic spinal care yoga class

 

Space is limited, so if you want to attend a lecture or class, please contact the office.  Spaces are already filling up fast!

Please note: Classes are free, but donations to Victoria Brain Injury Society are more than gladly accepted!

Get interactive with these local organizations at the L.I.F.E. Fair:

BDHQ (Body Dynamics)

Red Barn Market

Storyoga

Inner Warriors Yoga

NexGen Hearing

Peninsula Co-op

Victoria Brain Injury Society

Peggy Folkes (RN/Counsellor)

Art of Living

Smart Klean Laundry Ball

Life Languages (KLLP)

Need Pain Relief

WildPlay

107.3 Kool fm

Laura McCorkell (Doula)

Thank you to our amazing Backfit team members for your dedication to making this event happen!  And especially to Candace Muir, whose vision and commitment has been the driving force for the LIFE Fair!

We can’t wait to see you all there as we celebrate the art of healthy living and our fantastic community!

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Pam’s Incredible Story!

 

We want to share with you just one of the amazing transformations that we have witnessed this year at Backfit.

Pam Morrison came to us in incredible pain, and with little hope of recovery.  Today, she is back to the active lifestyle she loves.  Please take a moment to watch Pam share her success story here: Pam’s Incredible Story.  It is truly inspiring!

Those closest to Pam have noticed the dramatic changes in her.  Pam’s daughter, Dr. Sandra Morrison, MD, felt compelled to send this email to express her gratitude!

Hi Dr. Bartlett,

I just wanted to contact you to THANK YOU for all you have done and are continuing to do for my mom, Pam Morrison. I was blown away by the x-rays she e-mailed to me today. I have never seen a spondylolisthesis corrected like this! 

She is so dedicated to her rehab. and, with your help, is becoming the active person she was a decade ago. As you know, she is back on her bike, and has ventured back into the ocean kayaking she loved so much. It is so fantastic for the family to see the enjoyment she is getting out of life again, and with far less pain. Your facility is really special – the attitudes of the docs and staff are great – one can’t help but be inspired to wellness. I only wish we had Backfit in Calgary – I know so many people (including myself) who could benefit from your expertise.

With gratitude,

Sandra Morrison

 

Sandra L. Morrison BSc BSc MD CCFP FCFP

Clinical Associate Professor

Faculty of Medicine

University of Calgary

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Introducing Beckett!

Jill Medeiros, our bright and energetic admin team leader, has a new addition to her family!  We wanted to introduce you to Jill’s beautiful baby boy and share a little about her life as a new mom.  Read on to find out what Jill treasures most about her children and how she continues to stay healthy and active…

What do you enjoy most about having a new baby?

“I’d say what I enjoy most about the new little guy is seeing our family grow and seeing all the little bits of Mike and I in Beckett. We’ve watched him grow from this tiny little munchkin to a 3 month old who smiles, laughs and watches in awe as his big sister and dog play all around him. I love his facial expressions too…its amazing to watch him develop and see his amazement as he discovers new things in his big new world!”

What creative ways do you keep yourself fit and active with young children?

“Our dog, Capone, needs a big walk daily and Hannah would be outside all day if she could, so we spend a lot of time outdoors!  We are either going on walks to the park, or around Thetis Lake, 5-6 days a week.  While the kiddies nap or are in bed for the night, I either go for a run, head to a hot yoga class, or do a workout at home with some weights or a P90X workout video. On days when I don’t get a chance to do this, I will do walking lunges at the park while I wear Beckett in the Baby Bjorn, and I utilize the playground by doing pushups and tricep dips on the benches and pull ups on the bars. That way I can still get a mini workout in while I watch the kids!”

What are the most important ways to give your child a healthy start in life?

backfitheadshots(14of51)“For me it is really important to nurse my babies… it develops an incredible closeness and bond with them. Getting them outside in the fresh air daily helps them get their Vitamin D and an appreciation for nature. I also want to know exactly what is going into their growing bodies, so I make all my own food for them. I buy all organic, local food when possible and make large batches and freeze them in ice cube trays. This makes for quick, convenient meal time prep!”

We miss seeing Jill’s smiling face every day… but we love seeing her family for their regular Backfit appointments!  Our admin ladies sure love their snuggles with Beckett!

 

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Why Decompression?

I just returned from an engaging seminar in Johnstown, Pennsylvania where I had the chance to collaborate with doctors who are on the forefront of advancements in spinal decompression therapy. The experience definitely affirmed the results I witness every day in the Backfit Clinic, and inspired me to share some of the highlights with you. Here is a deeper look at HOW spinal decompression therapy works, and WHY it might be the right choice for you!

How Does Spinal Decompression Therapy Work?

Nonsurgical spinal decompression is a type of motorized traction. Spinal decompression works by gently stretching the spine and taking pressure off the spinal discs, which are gel-like cushions between the bones in your spine.

When traditional traction is applied, the body’s natural reaction is to resist the traction by pulling in the opposite direction. BUT – through a specific computerized pull and release pattern, spinal decompression is able to bypass the typical response of ligaments and muscles to distraction (ie – prevent the body from resisting the traction force!). This pull and release pattern allows for water and nutrients to be delivered to the disc and enhance the body’s natural healing process.

Why Is This Important?

After puberty spinal discs become avascular, meaning that they no longer have a direct blood supply. This lack of blood supply dictates that discs naturally heal at a very slow rate. Current research states that a disc injury typically heals in 300-500 days without any treatment. Spinal decompression therapy can be used to speed healing of the disc by up to 71% and heal that disc in less than 100 days.

A study by the Department of Neurosurgery and Radiology, Rio Grande Regional Hospital and Health Sciences Center, University of Texas, demonstrates what makes decompression so effective.  We could get deep into the scientific process and terminology here, but I’d rather give it to you in simplified terms.

  • Spinal decompression therapy creates a “negative pressure” within the discs
  • This “negative pressure” promotes the movement of water and nutrients into the disc as well as the removal of waste products
  • This nourishment & rehydration of the disc promotes healing – simple as that!

Who Needs Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Disc decompression therapy is a non-surgical treatment for spinal injuries and spinal pain. Spinal decompression has the capability of relieving pressure on the spinal nerves and has been proven to effectively relieve the pain associated with:

  • Acute / chronic back or neck pain (compression symptoms)
  • Sciatica (pain, weakness, or tingling that extends down the leg)
  • Herniated discs (Extrusions, Protrusions, Bulges etc.)
  • Degenerative discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Posterior facet syndrome (worn spinal joints)
  • Headaches

Decomp TeamAt Backfit, spinal decompression therapy is a key component of a comprehensive treatment program.  And one that I feel incredibly passionate about!  Our Backfit decompression team is committed to helping you achieve the best results possible!

Dr . Greg Eisert and the Backfit Team

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What’s the Connection?

Doyle FamilyI have developed an array of spinal injuries and conditions in my athletic career.  These experiences have ultimately led me to my purpose in life: teaching others how to restore health and function to the spine.  When I was in my early 30’s, I had a CT scan for a rib injury that I suffered while playing hockey.  Surprisingly, the scan also showed that I had a disc injury.  I had NO PAIN. I had NO SYMPTOMS.  At least that’s what I thought.  I had been experiencing digestive issues for months and had tried a number of different diets, and had even considered some pharmaceuticals which were commonly prescribed.  As an experiment, I decompressed my lower back extensively for 3 months and the symptoms resolved.  Who would have thought that my stomach issues could be connected to my back?

In chiropractic, we teach the connection between the nerves in your spine and your overall health.  Without a healthy nervous system, it is impossible for your body to function optimally.  Yet we are trained to believe that nothing is wrong unless we feel pain.  And then we use a lotion, potion or pill to cover up the symptoms rather than correct the underlying cause.  Quite simply, this approach to health doesn’t work.

This is why Chiropractic care is not JUST for pain.

Autonomic NSparts of the nerve:

SENSORY – AUTONOMIC – MOTOR

1.  Sensory

  • If a sensory nerve is irritated or compressed enough, it can elicit PAIN.  It may also create tingling, burning, or aching.

2.  Autonomic

  • The part of the nervous system that controls visceral functions (organ function), including heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, salivation, perspiration, pupillary dilation, micturition (urination), sexual arousal, breathing and swallowing.
  • If this system is damaged or dampened, the overall health effects may be subtle or significant, but you will not experience pain.

3.  Motor

  • The nerves that carry signals from the spinal cord to the muscles to produce (effect) movement.
  • If these nerves are compressed, irritated or damaged they can cause muscles to atrophy (stop working and wither away), muscle spasms, or cause a stiffness or “tight” feeling in the muscles of our spine and even in our shoulders, arms, legs and pelvis.

Compromised nerve function in your NECK can contribute to:

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Dizziness
  • Allergies
  • Shoulder issues
  • Heart conditions
  • Lung and breathing issues

Compromised nerve function in your MID BACK can contribute to:

  • Shoulder issues
  • Mid back issues
  • Heart conditions
  • Digestive issues
  • Heart burn
  • Kidney conditions

Compromised nerve function in your LOW BACK can contribute to:

  • Constipation
  • Sterility
  • Menstrual problems
  • Sciatica
  • Low back pain
  • Leg swelling and cramps

DID YOU KNOW?  Studies show that pressure equivalent to the weight of a quarter can reduce nerve function by up to 60%?

Are your spine and nervous system functioning at an optimum level?

Dr. Ryan Doyle and the Backfit Team

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Do Kids Really Need Adjustments?

photoOur son, Caleb, just turned 9 a few days ago.  As cliché as it sounds, I can’t believe how quickly those 9 years have gone!  He is a bright and caring boy, with quite a sense of humour.  And he LOVES to play sports!  At the moment, it is lacrosse season, and wow – is it ever a physical game!  Last night we were driving home after a particularly competitive game, when Caleb said to me – “Mom, I am sure glad that you and Dad are chiropractors.  I definitely need to get my spine checked after that game.  Actually, the whole team should!” (He gets it!  Proud moment for me.)

Did Caleb make this statement because he has back or neck pain?  Do kids only need to get a spinal check-up if they have symptoms?  The answer is – most definitely – no.  Caleb has been under chiropractic care his entire life and understands the importance of a healthy spine and nervous system.  He also understands that in a child’s life there are daily slips, trips, and falls that can cause the spine to shift out of proper alignment.

Caleb often recalls the time that he got adjusted after a hockey game because one leg was nearly an inch shorter than the other! (This was due to a misaligned pelvis.)  What do you think the outcome would be if we had never checked him or adjusted the misalignment in his pelvis?  How would that impact the health of his spine five years down the road?  Even small misalignments can cause far more pronounced problems in children as their spine grows and develops.  And think about those delicate nerves that are carrying vital message to every muscle, organ and gland in that growing body. How important is it to ensure there are no spinal misalignments creating pressure on those nerves?

So do we only need to worry about the kids who are playing contact sports?  How else can misalignments happen?  See the pressure on a baby’s head and neck during the birthing process.  Watch a toddler learning to walk.  Think of your child at her very first skating lesson.  Stand at the school playground and observe the little boy who falls from the monkey bars or the girl who trips on the soccer field.  Pay attention to the posture of your child or teen at their school desk or on their iphone… Isn’t it time they had a spinal check-up?  Caleb sure thinks it is.

Dr. Marissa Bentham & the Backfit Team

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Artificial Sweeteners: The Ugly Truth

North Americans are increasing their consumption of artificial sweeteners at an alarming rate. They are now a $1.5-billion market and are becoming massively prevalent in our food supply.  Artificial sweeteners are assumed to be the perfect solution to satisfy our sweet tooth with little-to-no caloric aftermath. Yet, we are continuing to pack on the pounds, as now over 69 percent of North Americans are classified as overweight. Coincidence?

Overwhelming evidence shows that artificial sweeteners actually promote weight gain, and are linked to a higher risk of diabetes, headaches, vision problems, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Artificial sweeteners are far more potent than table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit our tolerance for more complex tastes. What does this mean? People who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find less intensely sweet foods (such as fruit) less appealing and unsweet foods (such as vegetables) downright unpalatable. As a result, the use of artificial sweeteners can make you shun highly nutritious foods while consuming more artificially flavored foods with less nutritional value (like processed foods).

Many of the patients I have worked with to improve their overall health have found significant benefit in giving up these chemicals completely. Nearly all of these patients have lost weight in the weeks following the change, in addition to noticing improvements with symptoms such as headaches, heart palpitations, and insomnia.

Artificial sweeteners

If my personal beliefs and clinical experience are not enough to sway you, take these recent studies on the topic into consideration:

  1. Doctors compared two groups of rats: One consuming yogurt sweetened with glucose and the other with artificial sweetener. The rats consuming the artificial sweetener were unable to regulate their intake, leading to greater weight gain and more body fat as they had a greater overall consumption of calories. It appears that by avoiding sugar and using the fake stuff, the body is not able to regulate hunger and appetite, which leads to increased consumption.
  2. Animal studies suggest that artificial sweeteners may be addictive. In studies of rats who were exposed to cocaine, then given a choice between intravenous cocaine and oral saccharine, most chose saccharin.
  3. In the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, daily consumption of diet drinks was associated with a 36% greater risk for metabolic syndrome and a 67% increased risk for Type 2 Diabetes. Aren’t these the diseases that artificial sweeteners may help prevent in the first place?

These studies speak volumes to me, but I am already a believer in the dangers of artificial sweeteners. If you’re still on the fence, do your own study. Write down your weight and any symptoms you currently experience. Give up all artificial sweeteners (saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose) completely for two full weeks, drinking water or fresh brewed, unsweetened tea instead. Document any changes or improvements you observe. I’m willing to bet the results will be… oh, so sweet!

Dr. Greg Eisert & the Backfit Team

Sources

  1. Swithers, S., Davidson, T. (2008). A Role for Sweet Taste: Calorie Predictive Relations in Energy Regulation by Rats. Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol. 122, No. 1.
  2. PLOS One. 2007 Aug 1;2(8):e698. Intense sweetness surpasses cocaine reward. Lenoir M, Serre F, Cantin L, Ahmed SH.
  3. Diet Soda Intake and Risk of Incident Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Diabetes Care, April 2009, Vol. 32, No. 4, 688-694.

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Michelle Bids Farewell

Backfit’s General Manager, Michelle Lyons, will be saying goodbye.  Here are some reflections from Michelle as she begins a new chapter…

Almost six years ago I saw the opportunity to live out one of my dreams. I walked through the doors of Backfit and, as many people experience, I just knew there was something profound about this place. I also knew I had to be part of it. My dream was about creating an environment where people had the opportunity to embrace their health and unleash their potential. I felt the world needed a space that brought together the many facets that create healing and wellness. In my mind, I had named this place – “Collaborative Health” and that is exactly what I found at Backfit.

I have had the opportunity to be part of this team for nearly six years and now life has called me in a new direction. I will be returning to my home town of Calgary in May. I am excited to be closer to my family and friends, albeit nervous about the weather! As I prepare to move on to my next chapter, I find myself in a reflective state. I tried to think of how I could sum up my experience at Backfit. A few words pop through my mind in vibrant colours:

Life changing – Rewarding – Impactful

This is interesting to me because I have also heard our community of patients and team members use these words to describe their Backfit experience. I absolutely love the collaboration and passion that weaves through our education, coaching and treatments every day. This has been a-m-a-z-i-n-g – not just for me, but for so many of our community members!

In 2008 when I found myself agreeing to work behind a desk again, I have to be honest – I was afraid! In fact, it was something I swore I’d never do again. I am happy to say there has not been a day that I have regretted sitting in this chair behind the scenes. Being part of Backfit achieving its mission – having a small part in our patient’s stories, their healing and their commitment to health has been very meaningful for me.

It is with somewhat of a heavy heart that I move forward. I often tell people that my time at Backfit has grown me into a better Michelle. The team here has encouraged me to push my limits, step outside of my box, and have a greater purpose in this world. It is with much gratitude that I say farewell and wish you all a long and fulfilling health journey!

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