I think of myself as someone who takes good care of my health. I eat nearly 100% vegan and mostly whole foods. I ride my bike to and from Source Centre on a daily basis. I get adequate rest. And I have regular Network Spinal Care. What more could I do?
I was in for a shock when I stood in front of the camera lighting for a video shoot to answer frequently asked questions about Network Spinal Analysis. I squinted as my eyes adjusted to the brightness. Partway through the filming, I was fanning myself because of all the heat and perspiration! Most shocking though was how I felt standing in front of the lights. Yes, I was nervous, but I was much more alert than usual. I felt energetic and ready to take on anything.
How could I feel so much more alive standing in front of these bright lights? How could I, unless I’ve been missing something? Maybe sunshine?
Like many of you, I spend a lot of time indoors. Between all the responsibilities of running Source Centre and caring for my patients and practice members, I have limited opportunities to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
I look for easy ways to maximize the benefits of being outdoors. Here’s my advice:
Heading into June finds us in the longest days of the year. This is it: the time to get outside and enjoy as many drops of sunlight and warm weather as possible. We wait through many months of darkness to get to here so what are you doing to make the most of it?
I was inspired by the David Suzuki Foundation challenge this past May to spend 30 minutes in nature for 30 days. Sounds simple enough. However, according to the D S F website, the average Canadian spends more than 90% of their time indoors! Unless we make a deliberate and conscientious effort, it can be easy to miss the summer.
Do you find yourself saying “Where’s all the time gone?”I hear this from people quite frequently and especially so this past May.
Perhaps you tell yourself that you’ll make it out to something eventually but never somehow quite seem to manage to. It’s so easy to lose track of time and let these days of light and sun slip through our fingers. Don’t let it happen! In the spirit of these beautiful long days of light leading up to the summer solstice, and inspired by the David Suzuki Foundation, I encourage you to commit to spending at least 30 minutes outdoors for 30 days in June. (Then, maybe continue it through to July, August – you get the picture.)
There are many health benefits to being outdoors, including increased vitamin D which has a host of benefits (see Dr. Tara Andresen’s blog earlier this winter on the importance of Vitamin D http://www.sourcecentre.ca/vitamin-d-to-the-rescue-your-secret-weapon-during-the-cold-flu-season/ )
We experience greater peace and healing in nature; our stress levels lower, we are restored and feeling happier. We’re also more likely to experience greater fitness levels the more time we spend outdoors.
So are you ready to commit to more time outdoors this June (and beyond)? Let’s walk, run, play, swim. The options are endless. Or why not take indoor activities and bring them outside? This could be office meetings…or eating lunch…or brushing teeth!
Check out the great suggestions on the David Suzuki website and drop by and pick up a journal at Source Centre where you can track your outdoor adventures. Take on the great outdoors this summer, so that when it draws to an end and the days become perceptibly shorter, you can feel satisfied and satiated by all that you did.
Enjoy this sublime season. See you outside.
(photo by Lana, who got outside)
Living with Fibromyalgia can be an ongoing experience with pain, fog and fatigue. There may be no injury present, or compared to the symptoms the injury is small. Or, it may have healed long ago, so why does it still ache?
Fibromyalgia and other forms of chronic pain do not happen because of muscles or joints alone. Some skeptics may even tell you it’s all in your head. So what is really happening? The latest understanding is that our nervous system plays a big role.
It is made up of nerve endings, nerves and the spinal cord. These are the sensors, wiring and switches for gathering, transmitting and processing input from all parts of the body. The nervous system’s largest processing centre is the brain. This is where the nervous system receives the signals and makes its best interpretation. For many people living with Fibromyalgia or other forms of chronic pain, the nervous system is miswired and distorts what should be benign input. The result is a painful misinterpretation, ouch!
What this all means is that pain comes from our nervous system and in particular the brain.
If the pain experience comes from a brain miswired, how do we address the pain and get back to health? Pain medication, usually the first resort, can quiet the nerves and the pain centres in the brain. Unfortunately, pain meds modify the experience only and not the underlying issue. Take away the medication and the pain returns. Why? The nervous system is still misinterpreting signals as painful. Reorganizing the nervous system is the key to health.
How do we improve the health of the nervous system and correct the signal distortion? We need to reorganize the sensors, wiring and switches. We need to rewire the nervous system.
A gentle approach can be the answer. Network Spinal Analysis is leading edge chiropractic that has helped improve Fibromyalgia symptoms and achieve greater health using a system of light touch. Developed by chiropractor Dr. Donald Epstein, Network Spinal Analysis helps the body form new connections between brain and body. It is a gentle technique that is well suited to people living with Fibromyalgia. Light touch is used along specific areas of the spine causing large-scale changes across the entire body.
The gentle touches, applied with as much force as putting in a contact lens, are made over specific areas called “spinal gateways”. Gateways are critical information processing centres for our nervous system. They’re how the nervous system can monitor and regulate on our inner and outer environments. They are focal areas for free energy and with light touches can help the nervous system to unwind, heal and growth. When a Gateway is contacted the body naturally breathes and moves, stretches, awakens, and releases stuck energy and stress. With regular care, this ability becomes deeply ingrained.
The nervous system is the new cornerstone to health and well-being. Functioning optimally, it helps all parts of the body to communicate with each other. It allows us to sense and adapt to ever changing internal and external environments. For people living with Fibromyalgia or other forms of chronic pain, the nervous system can be miswired and can interfere with normal body function. Network Spinal Analysis makes possible a re-organized and rewired nervous system. If you could rewire ourselves for greater healing, growth and well-being, what would open up for you?
Yours in health,
Dr. Leo Quan
Life in the western half of the world teaches us that if something’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Therefore, when one is “healthy” there is no reason to go to the doctor. It’s only when one finds one’s self “unhealthy”, that it’s time to go find a cure, see a doctor, take medication(s), do whatever will “fix” the problem. This to many of us is the normal way of things.
On the other hand, we’re told that we must have an anti-virus installed on the computer and always have it backed-up; we’ve got to change the filter in the furnace and regularly change the oil in the car. In these examples, we’re exhorted not to wait for something to get broken because it will cost us twice as much.
Quite frankly, I don’t understand the logic! When we’re talking about our belongings we need to be proactive but not when it’s about our bodies and our health and wellbeing?
Maintaining good health in our bodies is something we all can and need to do. It’s also something we ourselves can take the initiative on through the choices we make. What we put in – what and how much we eat and at what times – and what we put on our body. It’s vital to be physically active, to listen to our body’s limits, to ensure we’re getting enough sleep. These are only a few examples of how our personal actions can benefit our health.
That being said, there are many therapeutic modalities out there to assist us in achieving and maintaining great health.
Many of us are aware of the great benefits of Chinese Medicine in treating a wide variety of conditions, from pain relief to dealing with allergies, emotional stress, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, infertility, and much more. But did you know that, above all else, Chinese Medicine is a preventative medicine?
Chinese Medicine as a whole, and especially the “Stems & Branches” method, is designed to be a preventative type of medicine, first and foremost. The ancient Chinese actually developed different techniques to prevent illness and maintain health, that differ from those used to treat a disease.
In the “NEI JING”- the main classic of Chinese Medicine – it is said that a good doctor will get rid of the symptoms and relieve the patient’s suffering. A great doctor will treat the root of the illness and prevent its recurrence. A real master, however, will identify the illness (by pulse diagnosis) before it manifests in the physical body and prevent it from occurring at all.
Also consider, in this system the doctor only is paid as long as the patient stays healthy. When someone is sick or suffers from disease, the treatment is free!
In our era where healthcare is so costly, think of how wonderful it would be if this was still the way we operated.
So my advice to you is to take an active role in your health. Live right. Eat right. Sleep right. Find the kind of physical activity that fits who you are and allows you to experience joy. And yes, you can use Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture to make sure you stay happy and healthy.
Don’t wait for something to get broken. Trust me, it’s much cheaper and more pleasant if you don’t.
Yours In Health,
Not enough time to fit in a full workout? I find a lot of people are in the same situation. 10 hour days at work. Meals. Commuting. Family. Chores. School. Is it exhausting to even imagine this? Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, so how can we fit in some activity and make a difference to our health and well-being?
Joakim Christoffersson a busy professional himself saw the need for quick easy workouts in his life and created Nano Workouts. Nano Workouts are small micro workouts that we can do at the office, during our commute and at home. They’re quick exercises that stretch and strengthen our bodies. Pick and choose based on the situation you’re in. Take joy, no equipment is needed.
“A small amount of exercise many times becomes a lot when added up,” say Christoffersson.
For the month of May, Source Centre is featuring Nano Workouts and sharing different workouts each week. Come by our centre to get your next workout!
For more information, visit http://www.nanoworkout.com.
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I’m sure you’ve probably heard about the power of positive thoughts and how they can attract the things we wish for in our lives. It definitely seems like a great idea to turn our thoughts into motivators and harness them as good energy to fuel our days. But it can sometimes feel like a challenge, especially when the weather is gray or things are not going our way. What can we do when we are are going through these times and it’s hard to see the brighter side of things?
A daily meditation ritual has been show to focus our minds and soothe our souls. Try these beginner meditation tips. The more regular that you are with a meditation practice, the greater the effects and ability to create positive thinking. I myself have experienced this. I sit down every morning for 5-10 minutes (or more) on my little meditation cushion and observe my thoughts. I let my mind be still. It is amazing how I feel starting my day on a calm tone. I really notice the difference if for some reason I don’t get a chance to do my morning meditation. My day feels a bit off and more nervous energy can set in. When this happens on the rare occasion, I remember to stop and take a few deep breaths to re-balance and allow myself to function at a more tranquil frequency.
My mom told me something so insightful and lovely the other day during a phone conversation. She relayed this great analogy of how every one of us has a small lighted flame deep within us and the way to nourish this flame is with positive thoughts that act like pouring oil onto the flame. Just picturing that image in my head helped me to see how powerful good thoughts can be. So to generate some positive vibes and thoughts, try meditating.
Here’s a simple exercise from Gaiam Life to help you get started and it takes less than five minutes, I promise!
How to meditate: Simple meditation for beginners
This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction.
1. Sit or lie comfortably.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage and belly. Make no effort to control your breath; simply focus your attention. If your mind wanders, simply return your focus back to your breath. Maintain this meditation practice for 2–3 minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.
My very best wishes,
Dr. Anita Rajan
Spring is here!! The sun is coming out and the days are getting longer and longer.
It’s time to take ourselves out of hibernation and enjoy nature. It’s the season to be active again: to go hiking, biking, kayaking and all other fun outdoor activities.
Unless… you have spring allergies. Then, when it comes to outdoor activities, viewing friends’ and family’s pictures on Instagram is all you get.
If this scenario sounds familiar we have some good news for you.
How does it work?
Most allergy symptoms are characterized by hay fever manifesting in irritated, red, itchy and watery eyes; runny and congested nose; and skin rashes and hives. These symptoms are caused by an overreaction of the immune system which releases histamines to fight a substance which is usually harmless.
According to Classical Chinese Medicine, all of the above are related to the organ/function called Liver (remember, organs in Chinese medicine are not limited only to the physical organ).
The Liver in Chinese medicine is the organ in charge on the immune system, the eyes, and all the body’s mucus membranes. Through the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies, the practitioner can affect the function of the liver and harmonize it. By achieving this harmony we see a normal and balanced functioning of the immune system which will not overreact to harmless substances.
The wonderful results of such treatment (which is safe and natural) can be life altering to a person who suffers from allergies.
So, interested in joining your friends on their next camping trip??
I’ve recently been reading a fascinating and enlightening book entitled “Healing Wise” by renowned herbalist Susun Weed. In it, she contrasts the Heroic and Scientific traditions with what she calls the “Wise Woman” tradition. The Wise Woman tradition heals by nourishing, and therefore its medicines are living foods (meaning unprocessed, whole, and wild). In the midst of our community Refresh at Source Centre, I am reflecting on the phenomenon of detoxing, and the greater paradigm in which such a practice is situated.
Often, we approach detoxing, cleansing or dieting as a process of subtraction. We “cut” things out, usually things which we consider pleasurable (although guilt-inducing). We forbid ourselves the indulgence of these guilty pleasures–the complex carbs, the sugary treats, the fried or fatty foods–all of which give us pleasure through taste. I call this a deprivation model. There is a penitent element which constricts or even punishes desire, to achieve the higher purpose of purity. This is why, in my view, people find detoxing painful, difficult, and pleasure-less. This is why people “fail” at diets, or cannot sustain the shift in their physicality brought on by dieting or cleansing.
This approach breeds resistance, rigidity and disempowerment. In other words, the deprivation model which holds subtraction as its primary action does not, and cannot, feed the individual in a meaningful and sustainable way. Of course, the foods these diets promote are often greatly nutritious and beneficial to the body. It is all in the paradigm and perspective one inhabits that determines the experience of such a commitment. We can impose change upon our external habits, but sustained transformation arises from within, from a paradigm of empowerment, abundance and resolve. (see last week’s Resolve blog).
Ross Bridgeford, alkaline diet coach, recently touched upon this in a video posted on his website. In shifting ones diet towards alkalinity (meaning foods that are the opposite of acidic, and therefore promoting long term wellbeing) Ross advises that, rather than remove acidic foods from the diet, we instead simply add alkaline foods. By adding alkaline foods, such as organic greens, fresh fruits and vegetables, and alkaline water, the body increases its intake of essential nutrients without rules and restrictions. The yet more enlightening result, according to Ross, is that this process of adding nutrition provides the subconscious with the chance to “catch up” with the conscious mind, and become aligned with what really nourishes. The bodymind then gradually and voluntarily adopts alkalinity; the cravings for acidic foods are relinquished, and the hunger for nutritious, living foods enhanced.
This result suggests that nourishment empowers, and deprivation weakens. A healthy diet however goes far beyond what we physically ingest. We can and do nourish (or deprive) ourselves with our thoughts, beliefs and actions . We are nourished by possibilities: of doing things differently, taking risks, experimenting, even “failing.” When we take a risk, we actually call something new into existence. When we nourish, we empower ourselves to be the answer to our own prayers.
In the words of poet Galway Kinnel, “everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing”. I hope that today and for all the days to come, you live this possibility.
A choice, irrespective of whether it is based on reasons why, comes from an individual resolve. According to the the Vedas, the ancient spiritual texts of India, Sankalpa, or resolve, is the single most important element for an individual on their path. Resolve is the anchoring intention that holds one steady through the internal storms of confusion, doubt, resistance, rationalization and fear.
I believe that resolve is beyond will power. Resolve is the confluence of universal and personal truth; it is awareness that strikes into action. Will power alone predicates itself on rules or restrictions, as in “I will not eat sugar anymore!”. These are external boundaries that emanate from the mind of the individual, holding them captive. When we make such declarations, we are exporting our power into external boundaries. Resolve on the other hand emanates from within, as a silent, but powerful choice: “I am honouring and celebrating life by nourishing myself.” Where will power can be severe, or constricting, resolve is an act of love. Resolve lives in the heart.
Over the past few weeks as I have been ruminating on this topic, I’ve witnessed many inspiring stories of personal resolve from friends, and acquaintances. A common element that arose in every story was that none of these individuals committed to restricting themselves with rigid rules. They each held a personal intention, but also allowed themselves the freedom to act spontaneously. One friend whose intention was to quit smoking began noticing a subtle inner sense of repugnance for smoking, even when he indulged the urge. He increasingly began to identify with that quiet sense until he felt an unequivocal repugnance for cigarettes and quit successfully. Another friend had been practicing veganism for a little while, but allowed herself to indulge in KFC, after which she felt quite ill, and has not craved KFC since.
Resolve extends from a paradigm of freedom and abundance. Creating external rules suggests that we do not trust ourselves with our choices. I’ve often heard people use language like “I’m not allowed,” “I can’t,” or “I’m not supposed to” with regards to lifestyles that they themselves have engineered. What I’ve also observed is that some folks are reticent about making commitments for fear of failure or mistake. Resolve has nothing to do with success or failure. Resolve weathers “slips” and continues to stand, to shine. Nor does it become dogmatic or punishing. Resolve empowers the individual with an awareness of their capacity for integrity, responsibility, resilience. It lives within each human being as a seed potential. It lives within you.
As a gesture of my own resolve, I will share with you a recent commitment I have made. I have chosen to no longer participate in factory farmed animal products. Because I made this choice from a place of love and reverence for life, I feel freer and more empowered when I contemplate it. It is my personal resolve to “be the change,” in Gandhi’s words. I share it with you as a gesture of faith in your own capacity for integrity, peace, and joy.