Should adults mimic the cross-crawl pattern?

YES!!

In an infant the cross crawl pattern is extremely important in brain and nervous system development, but did you know that cross crawling as an adult also has HUGE benefits??

The cross-crawl technique is one of the easiest ways to activate your brain development and nervous system to give it the proper motor and sensory stimuli it needs to take control of your bodily functions—thereby preventing or rehabilitating health problems? 
The cross-pattern movement builds the bridge between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, allowing for electrical impulses and information to pass freely between the two.

All of your bodily systems depend on cross-crawl integration, even activities in your brain, such as learning language, reading, hand-to-eye coordination and communication.

Signs that your cross-pattern movements could use some sharpening include:

  • Lack of coordination and balance
  • Difficulty reading
  • Exhibiting learning disabilities, such as dyslexia
  • Clumsiness
  • Stuttering
  • Saying things backwards

Fortunately, you can reprogram your nervous system and strengthen the connection between the right and left sides of your brain using cross-crawl exercises. Remember, nerves are very much alive and willing to learn new things; they actually die if not stimulated!

Engaging in a cross-crawl exercise regimen will…

  • Promote all- over healing
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve focus
  • Increase energy
  • Develop whole brain functioning

How to Cross-Crawl

  1. Stand with your spine erect and arms at your sides.
  2. On an inhale, raise your right arm up. At the same time you raise your right arm, lift your left leg, bending at the knee.
  3. On an exhale, lower both the right arm and left leg.
  4. On an inhale, raise your left arm up. At the same time, lift your right leg, bending at the knee.
  5. On an exhale, lower both the left arm and right leg.

Full range of motion, not speed, is the most important component of this exercise. The higher you lift your arms and legs, the more you are energizing the brain development becomes, encouraging it to store new, more effective patterns of movement.

Use the breath to help you slow down the movements. Slower movements require more precise control, which delivers greater benefits, faster. Experts recommend 200 to 500 repetitions a day, but it is important to stop at the first sign of fatigue.

Such a simple exercise with HUGE benefits 🙂 And if you have a little one crawling at home go ahead and get on the floor and crawl with them! Baby will love it and you will both be exercising your brain!

Pic2Dr. Nicole Davis graduated from Logan University with not only her Doctorate in Chiropractic but her Bachelors in Life Sciences. After working with hundreds of clients a week in a busy Ohio Chiropractic clinic, she decided to head home to Des Moines to be closer to her family.  She currently specializes in family wellness care with advanced training in pediatric and pregnancy care, working alongside 2 other doctors in the only Wellness Center in Iowa to offer Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Specialized Pediatric and Pregnancy Care as well as Functional Medicine.  She loves spending time with family, friends and her dog, Maci. She is here to serve her community with love, support and enthusiasm.

 

 

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Are There Natural Ways to Treat My Migraine?

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Migraine headaches are a type of neurovascular headaches, but the exact cause is unknown. It is thought that they are due to an issue with the nervous system, causing a chain of neurologic and biochemical changes, some of which subsequently affect the brain’s blood vessel or vascular system.

The changes in the vascular system cause blood vessel dilation or swelling, which is the major factor in the production of pain, giving you that throbbing pain. Thirty-six million Americans, about 12% of the population, suffer from migraine headaches. Migraines are three times more common in women than men and affect 30% of women over a lifetime.

Being as I am part of the population that suffers from migraines, I thought I would share some natural ways to help fight and prevent migraines!

  • Chiropractic: Misalignments in the spine puts stress on the nervous system and on blood vessels causing a migraine. We have so many patients that come into our office with migraines and chiropractic has helped tremendously! I know it has helped me!
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture needles trigger the release of pain-reducing chemicals, while also decreasing inflammation and muscle tension. And it is so relaxing!
  • Magnesium: People with migraines and cluster headaches are often deficient in magnesium. Taking magnesium supplements daily has been shown to reduce migraine frequency by nearly 42 percent!
  • Water: Plenty of headaches and migraines are triggered by dehydration. By quickly drinking a few glasses of water when you feel a migraine coming on, it can actually sometimes stop it in its tracks. So make sure you are getting plenty of water!
  • Omega-3-Fatty Acids: A dose of these healthy fats fight inflammation, which is a likely culprit in many headaches and possibly some migraines. Plus, they also help with brain and heart function as well!
  • Ice: Ice helps reduce pain and causes the dilated blood vessels to constrict to give you relief.
  • Caffeine: In small doses, caffeine can help reduce pain. Actually, some headache medications have caffeine in them. So instead of taking them, try caffeine instead.
  • Peppermint essential oil: Peppermint seems to have pain-reducing effects. You can dilute in glass of water or rub it in the area of pain.
  • Feverfew: A natural herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to help migraines, this plant can be used in many forms, including supplements, tea or even eaten raw. Feverfew helps relieve smooth muscle spasms, stops the brain’s blood vessels from contracting and prevents inflammation.
  • Ginger: This spice is well-known for being friendly to upset stomachs, but it can ease migraine-related nausea, too. It may also ease pain thanks to some of its anti-inflammatory properties. Just be sure you’re getting the real thing, ginger ale doesn’t cut it!

What are some common migraine triggers?

  • Hormonal changes in women. Fluctuations in estrogen seem to trigger headaches in many women with known migraines. Women with a history of migraines often report headaches immediately before or during their periods, when they have a major drop in estrogen.
  • Aged cheeses, salty foods and processed foods may trigger migraines. Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger attacks.
  • Food additives: The sweetener aspartame and the preservative monosodium glutamate, found in many foods, may trigger migraines.
  • Alcohol, especially red wine, and highly caffeinated beverages may trigger migraines.
  • Stress at work or home can cause migraines.
  • Sensory stimuli: Bright lights and sun glare can induce migraines, as can loud sounds. Unusual smells — including perfume, paint thinner, secondhand smoke and others — can trigger migraines in some people.
  • Changes in the environment. A change of weather or barometric pressure can prompt a migraine.
  • Medications, such as oral contraceptives and vasodilators, such as nitroglycerin, can aggravate migraines.

Hopefully this helps fight or prevent your next migraine!

Dr. Jess

 

2Dr. Jessica Stensland is a busy family wellness Chiropractor in Urbandale, Iowa. She spends her weeks taking care of dozens of families.  Not only does Dr. Jessica specialize in pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic care, but she’s a board certified Acupuncturist.  Dr. Jessica believes that a healthier community means taking care of all ages.   She is a Minnesota native and enjoys seeing family and friends in her free time, in addition to staying active and reading the many books she has on her kindle.

Negativity Affects Our Health

Hey everyone!

So in my very first blog I talked about the mind-body connection (it’s labeled “The Mind-Body Connection” https://holisticfamilies.org/2015/12/08/mind-body-connection/ – so if you haven’t read it, go read it!) and I just wanted to add more to it about how positive and negative thinking affect our health.

Have you ever thought about being sick and you sometimes actually do get sick?? Focusing all your attention on illness has been scientifically proven to influence the body to illness. Too much knowledge about what can go wrong with the body can actually harm you. The more you focus on the infinite ways in which the body can break down and get sick, the more likely you are to experience physical symptoms.

Negative emotions such as fear, aggression, anxiety or pain, have an effect on the area of the brain that deals with emotion: the limbic system. These negative emotions trigger the brain to send out a warning signal that activates the “fight-or-flight” stress response. This stress response is the body’s way to protect you from danger. The “fight-or-flight” response is an amazing thing to have short-term, but long-term? Not so much… Constantly thinking negative thoughts and having negative emotions will cause a long-term effect on your health. When you activate the “fight-or-flight” response, your body “shuts off” the blood supply to areas that don’t need it: the digestive system, reproductive system, and immune system to just name a few. At the same time, it increases blood supply to muscles and releases hormones to increase heart rate and breathing. So a chronic stress response can cause inflammation, pain, suppressed immune system, amongst other issues that can arise. (If you want to read more about this, check out my blog “Are You TOO Stressed?” https://holisticfamilies.org/2016/02/18/are-you-too-stressed/ – I talk about the “fight-or-flight response in more detail and the long-term affects it has on your body.)

One of the hormones that is released during the stress response is cortisol – a stress hormone. On the flip side, thinking positive, happy, hopeful, optimistic, joyful thoughts decreases cortisol and produces serotonin, which creates a sense of well-being. This helps your brain function at an optimal level.

Negative emotions disturb your interaction with your environment, affecting your ability to perceive, remember, and reinforce existing or create new nerve connections. Being happy improves your cognitive ability by being more alert and productive. Being happy also:

  • Stimulates the growth of nerve connections.
  • Improves cognition by increasing mental productivity.
  • Improves your ability to analyze and think.
  • Affects your view of your surroundings.
  • Increases attentiveness.
  • Leads to more happy thoughts.
  • Happy people are more creative, solve problems faster, and tend to be more mentally alert.

From a chiropractic point of view, when there are subluxations or restrictions in your spine, there is nerve interference that is directly affecting your brain. Instead of good information being sent to your brain, the restrictions are causing bad information to be sent to your brain causing a stress response or the fight-or-flight response. This stress response causes hormones, specifically cortisol, to be released to cause inflammation, pain, chronic muscle tightness, digestive issues, reproductive issues, etc. Every person responds differently to this stress response. Pain is just ONE potential outcome of a stress response. So just because someone might not have pain, it does not mean their body is functioning normally like it should. By adjusting specific areas of the spine, we are allowing good information to be sent to the brain to relieve the stress response and decrease cortisol levels. By getting adjusted, it also increases blood flow to the brain and the release of serotonin, dopamine, melatonin and oxytocin which allow you to feel better, be happier, sleep better and have more energy. There are a TON of benefits from chiropractic care!

So start thinking positively and see a chiropractor! It will be worth it!

Dr. Jess

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2Dr. Jessica Stensland is a busy family wellness Chiropractor in Urbandale, Iowa. She spends her weeks taking care of dozens of families.  Not only does Dr. Jessica specialize in pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic care, but she’s a board certified Acupuncturist.  Dr. Jessica believes that a healthier community means taking care of all ages.   She is a Minnesota native and enjoys seeing family and friends in her free time, in addition to staying active and reading the many books she has on her kindle

What Does Vitamin D Do For My Body?

Did you know that vitamin D is actually considered a pro-hormone and not a vitamin? It is capable of producing its own vitamin D through the action of sunlight on the skin, giving it the nickname, sunshine vitamin. Vitamins are nutrients that cannot be synthesized by the body and must be acquired through the diet or supplements.

It is estimated that sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times per week allows the body the ability to produce sufficient vitamin D. Recent studies have suggested that up to 50% of adults and children worldwide are vitamin D deficient.

So what are some of the health benefits of vitamin D?

  • Healthy bones: Vitamin D plays an important role in the regulation of calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood, two factors that are extremely important for maintaining healthy bones. We need vitamin D to absorb calcium in the intestines and to reclaim calcium that would otherwise be excreted through the kidneys.
    • Vitamin D deficiency in children is call rickets, a disease characterized by a severely bow-legged appearance and softening of the bones.
    • Vitamin D deficiency in adults is called osteoporosis.
  • Boosts the immune system: Vitamin D triggers and arms the body’s T cells, the cells in the body that seek out and destroy any invading bacteria and viruses. Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin, the killer cells of the immune system, the T cells, will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body. The T cells rely on vitamin D in order to activate and they would remain dormant to the possibility of threat if vitamin D is lacking in the blood.
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes: Studies have shown that people who have the lowest vitamin D levels in their blood are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. In fact, studies have shown that people who have the lowest serum vitamin D levels are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.
  • Healthy pregnancy: Pregnant women who are deficient in vitamin D seem to be at greater risk of developing preeclampsia and needing a C-section. Poor vitamin D levels are also associated with gestational diabetes mellitus and bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women.
    • There has also been research showing the importance of adequate vitamin D levels to help prevent autism and autoimmune diseases
  • Prevents cancer: Vitamin D is extremely important for regulating cell growth and for cell-to-cell communication. Some studies have suggested that the hormonally active form of vitamind D, calcitriol, can reduce cancer progression by slowing the growth and development of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue, increasing cancer cell death and by reducing cell proliferation and metastases.
  • There is even research being done to show that low levels of vitamin D increase the risk of heart disease.

If you are interested in what your vitamin D levels are, I would recommend getting your blood work done. You can either get vitamin D from the sun, certain foods or a vitamin D supplement. Who knew one vitamin had so many health benefits!

Dr. Jess

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2Dr. Jessica Stensland is a busy family wellness Chiropractor in Urbandale, Iowa. She spends her weeks taking care of dozens of families.  Not only does Dr. Jessica specialize in pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic care, but she’s a board certified Acupuncturist.  Dr. Jessica believes that a healthier community means taking care of all ages.   She is a Minnesota native and enjoys seeing family and friends in her free time, in addition to staying active and reading the many books she has on her kindle

Why your postural evaluation is so important

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Dr. Jessica did a FABULOUS job talking about how sitting too much can effect your overall health and well being.. I wanted follow up with this and touch on how important overall posture is for your health. 

Did you know that posture ranks right up at the top of the list when you are talking about good health. It is as important as eating right, exercising, getting a good night’s sleep and avoiding potentially harmful substances like alcohol, drugs and tobacco. Good posture is a way of doing things with more energy, less stress and fatigue. Without good posture, you can’t really be physically fit.

We’re a health conscious society today and good posture is a part of it. Because good posture means your bones are properly aligned and your muscles, joints and ligaments can work as nature intended. It means your vital organs are in the right position and can function at peak efficiency. Good posture helps contribute to the normal functioning of the nervous system.

Without good posture, your overall health and total efficiency may be compromised. Because the long-term effects of poor posture can affect bodily systems (such as digestion, elimination, breathing, muscles, joints and ligaments), a person who has poor posture may often be tired or unable to work efficiently or move properly.

Even for younger people, how you carry yourself when working, relaxing or playing can have big effects. Did you know that just fifteen minutes reading or typing when using the wrong positions exhausts the muscles of your neck, shoulders and upper back?

Often, poor posture develops because of accidents or falls. But bad posture can also develop from environmental factors or bad habits. This means that you have control. 

Today, posture-related problems are increasing:

  • As we become a society that watches more television than any previous generation;
  • As we become a more electronic society, with more and more people working at sedentary desk jobs or sitting in front of computer terminals;
  • As more and more cars are crowding our roads, resulting in accidents and injuries;
  • And as we drive in cars with poorly designed seats.

In most cases, poor posture results from a combination of several factors, which can include:

  • Accidents, injuries and falls
  • Poor sleep support (mattress)
  • Excessive weight
  • Visual or emotional difficulties
  • Foot problems or improper shoes
  • Weak muscles, muscle imbalance
  • Careless sitting, standing, sleeping habits
  • Negative self image
  • Occupational stress
  • Poorly designed work space
  • And you guessed it… SUBLUXATION in the spine

So as you can see while the posture evaluation here in our office may seem short and irrelevant to your health and chiropractic care.. it most certainly is not. It is one of the most important evaluations we do to gather information about you, your body and your over all health. 

So besides getting your spine checked and adjusted regularly… what else can you do to improve your posture??

  • Keep your weight down – excess weight, especially around the middle, pulls on the back, weakening stomach muscles.
  • Develop a regular program of exercise – regular exercise keeps you flexible and helps tone your muscles to support proper posture.
  • Buy good bedding – a firm mattress will support the spine and help maintain the same shape as a person with good upright posture.
  • Pay attention to injuries from bumps, falls and jars – injuries in youth may cause growth abnormalities or postural adaptations to the injury or pain that can show up later in life.
  • Have your eyes examined – a vision problem can affect the way you carry yourself as well as cause eyestrain.
  • Be conscious of where you work – is your chair high enough to fit your desk? Do you need a footrest to keep pressure off your legs?
  • Straighten Up and Stay Healthy

What questions do you have!?

Don’t forget to like Yost Famlily Chiropractic on Facebook to not only keep up with everything that is happening in our office but also for wonderful health information daily!

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Dr. Nicole Davis graduated from Logan University with not only her Doctorate in Chiropractic but her Bachelors in Life Sciences. After working with hundreds of clients a week in a busy Ohio Chiropractic clinic, she decided to head home to Des Moines to be closer to her family.  She currently specializes in family wellness care with advanced training in pediatric and pregnancy care, working alongside 2 other doctors in the only Wellness Center in Iowa to offer Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Specialized Pediatric and Pregnancy Care as well as Functional Medicine.  She loves spending time with family, friends and her dog, Maci. She is here to serve her community with love, support and enthusiasm.

Acupuncture.. a great compliment to your chiropractic adjustment

Image result for conditions acupuncture can treat

While the adjustment is the most important and powerful thing our patients receive… acupuncture is a wonderful way to compliment those adjustments.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain.

Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as qi or chi (CHEE) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.

In contrast, many Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. Some believe that this stimulation boosts your body’s natural painkillers and increases blood flow.

What conditions can be addressed with acupuncture?

General: Allergies, Asthma, Sinusitis, Headaches, TMJ, Back Pain, Sciatica, Musculoskeletal Problems, Insomnia, Anxiety, Dizziness, Depression, High Blood Pressure, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Addictions, Indigestion, Constipation, Sexual Dysfunction, Post-Operative Recovery, Palliative Care.

Women’s Health: Menstrual Irregularities, Menopause, Conception Difficulties, Pregnancy, Childbirth, Lactation Difficulties, Postpartum, Ovarian and Uterine Problems.

Men’s Health: Prostate, Infertility, Impotence.

Pediatrics: Asthma, Cough, Digestive Problems, Behavioral Problems, Ear Infections, Sleep Problems.

Preventative Health: Prevention, Stress Management, Wellness, Seasonal Atonement

Please comment if you have any questions I would love to answer them 🙂 We offer both Chiropractic and acupuncture here at YFC and would love to help you with your healthcare goals!

Pic2Dr. Nicole Davis graduated from Logan University with not only her Doctorate in Chiropractic but her Bachelors in Life Sciences. After working with hundreds of clients a week in a busy Ohio Chiropractic clinic, she decided to head home to Des Moines to be closer to her family.  She currently specializes in family wellness care with advanced training in pediatric and pregnancy care, working alongside 2 other doctors in the only Wellness Center in Iowa to offer Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Specialized Pediatric and Pregnancy Care as well as Functional Medicine.  She loves spending time with family, friends and her dog, Maci. She is here to serve her community with love, support and enthusiasm.

 

 

Are You Sitting Too Much?

Hey everyone!

So many of us have desk jobs that require us to sit several hours every day, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon! So I thought I would talk about what sitting those long hours does to your body over time and encourage you to start making some changes throughout the day to prevent these changes from happening.

So what does sitting too long actually do to your body?

Organ Damage:

  • Heart disease: When you are sitting, your muscles burn less fat and you have slower blood flow, eventually causing fatty acids to “clog” your heart leading to heart disease. Sitting for long periods increases your risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Over-productive pancreas: Prolonged sitting can increase your risk of diabetes. Have you heard of insulin? It’s a hormone the carries glucose to cells for energy. But when your muscles are idle, muscle cells don’t respond as well to insulin causing the pancreas to produce more and more insulin, resulting in diabetes and other diseases.
  • Cancer: There have been studies that linked sitting to a greater risk for colon, breast and endometrial cancers, but the reason behind this is uncertain. One thought is that excess insulin promotes cell growth or multiplication, which is how cancer begins. Another theory is that regular movement boosts the release of natural antioxidants that kill free radicals. Free radicals damage cells and possibly cause cancer.

Muscle Deterioration:

  • Weak abs: When sitting long hours with poor posture your abdominal muscles become weak, which can eventually lead to low back pain. When you stand, move or sit up straight you are engaging your abs and strengthening your core.
  • Tight hips: Have you heard of your hip flexors? They are a set of muscles that are responsible for flexing your hips (or bringing your thigh up towards your torso). So when you are sitting, it causes these muscles to shorten or tighten. And if you sitting long hours, you are constantly tightening these muscles. Tight hip flexors can eventually cause you to have problems in your hips or your low back.
  • Weak glutes: When you are sitting, your glutes don’t really do much of anything. And when you have weak glutes, your stability and your stride when walking are affected.

Poor circulation in the legs: Sitting for long periods causes blood flow to slow down and allows it to pool in the legs, which could lead to ankle swelling, varicose veins or even blood clots.

Trouble at the Top:

  • “Brain fog”: Movement causes muscles to pump fresh blood and oxygen to the brain and trigger the release of all kinds of brain and mood-enhancing hormones and chemicals. Our brain function is affected by sitting for long periods.
  • Neck, shoulder and upper-back pain: Sitting at a desk all day, we tend to roll our shoulders forward and crane our necks forward toward our computer screen. Doing this all day leads to an abnormal posture called anterior head carriage. Having a posture like this puts more pressure and stress on your joints and discs in your spine, while also causing tight muscles in your neck and upper-back leading to neck pain and headaches.

How do I prevent some of this from happening?

  • Get up and walk around! In an ideal world, we would get up every 10-20 minutes to move around. But that’s not very realistic! You should try to get up and walk or stretch every hour.
  • Get a stand-up desk at work and alternate sitting and standing throughout the day.
  • Take a look at the chair you are sitting in. Does it have good support for your low back? If not, get a lumbar support pillow. Or even sit on an exercise ball! Sitting on an exercise ball makes you activate your core muscles and sit with better posture.

Start getting your body moving today! Your body will thank you for it down the road!

Dr. Jess

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2Dr. Jessica Stensland is a busy family wellness Chiropractor in Urbandale, Iowa. She spends her weeks taking care of dozens of families.  Not only does Dr. Jessica specialize in pediatric and pregnancy chiropractic care, but she’s a board certified Acupuncturist.  Dr. Jessica believes that a healthier community means taking care of all ages.   She is a Minnesota native and enjoys seeing family and friends in her free time, in addition to staying active and reading the many books she has on her kindle.