Six back saving tips for new parents

1. Lifting the baby
When lifting your baby from the crib, car seat or high chair, make sure to keep a neutral spine and use the proper technique to avoid injury. Use your legs, rather than your back, and bend at the knees and hips to lift gradually. Keep your feet grounded well and shoulder-width apart to balance the weight. Use a similar form when settling the baby into a crib or onto a change table. Also, if possible, try to change the baby’s diaper or clothing on a raised surface rather than on the floor or sitting awkwardly on the couch.

2. Carrying heavy loads
Parenthood is full of heavy lifting! Car seats, diaper bags and all the other paraphernalia that seems to go along with the territory can also pose a risk for injury. To decrease the risk, hold heavy items close to your body. Likewise, to avoid straining your hands and wrists, place the entire palm of your hand under the load. In fact, it is often best to divide the task in smaller, manageable loads.

3. Holding the baby
As your child grows, carrying your baby can become increasingly difficult. The added weight and exuberance of a squirming toddler increases the load and instability on your already fatigued body. To help, keep your wrists and fingers in a neutral position avoiding excessive bending and twisting. Also, avoid jutting out one hip or another, and keep your hips parallel, weight evenly distributed. Baby carriers can be a great aid allowing you to stand and move, and distributing the extra weight more evenly without exhausting your arms. This can help minimize the risk of strain on your lower back.

4. Playing with the baby
As your baby grows and starts exploring his or her surroundings, you will likely also be spending more time on the floor playing. If possible while sitting on the floor, find support by leaning against a wall or a piece of furniture. Moving and stretching regularly, with the help of baby or not, can help prevent aches and pain. 

5. Stroller
The height of the handlebar on your stroller should be at a comfortable level, approximately at the height of your belly button, enabling you to keep your shoulders and arms relaxed. Keep your elbows soft and wrists neutral instead of flexed.

6. Take care of yourself
Parenthood can be exhausting, yet extremely rewarding. Self-care is important and maximizing your rest opportunities can help you manage the extra demands. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends or anyone else in your support network. Finding a few moments every day for movement and physical activity can also help you manage stress and physical demands. 

5 ways to reduce back pain while cycling

1. Take it easy
Whether you are training for a race or simply working towards your personal best, be careful not to overdo it. On long rides, make sure to take breaks as needed, hydrate and do some stretches or move about. 

2. The right fit for your needs
Make sure you have the bike that suits your needs. What terrain will you be riding on? How long will your trips be? Are you looking for comfort or speed? When you buy a new bike, or take yours for maintenance, ask to have your bike properly fitted for your individual frame.

3. Posture
While riding, keep a neutral spine by bending at the hips and avoiding the “hunch” in your mid-back. If possible, avoid excessive movement from your upper body and use your back as a fulcrum instead.

4. Core Strength
Having well-conditioned abdominal and back muscles will help to support your upper body while riding and minimize excessive swaying. 

5. Adjust your bike to your frame
Minor adjustments can make a huge difference. Different styles of bikes require different riding postures, however, this infographic provides a quick reference for general adjustments that can help ensure a relaxed, comfortable posture while riding your bicycle. – the experts @CycleSmith can help evaluate your body’s unique needs.

Cauliflower Rice

Are you trying to reduce wheat/gluten consumption, and now feel like you eat a lot of rice? Try this recipe for a different (and very healthy) take on rice!

Cauliflower Rice

3 TBsp.olive oil (or coconut oil if you don't mind the flavor)
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
1 head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
¼ tsp. sea salt 

In a large pan (that has a lid), heat olive oil over medium heat
Sauté onion for 5-10 minutes, until the onions are slightly translucent and soft
Add celery to the pan and sauté for 5 more minutes
Meanwhile, place cauliflower in a food processor and process until it looks like the texture of rice
Add cauliflower to the pan, cover and cook 5-10 minutes, until soft, then add salt

Recipe brought to you by, Dr. Erin Balodis, ND

Do you have an EAP through your health benefits?

Did you know that many companies offer counselling through an Employee Assistance Program?  When you begin counselling through an EAP route, it is often solution-focused brief therapy combined with other forms of therapies such as cognitive behavioural and mindfulness approaches.  The counselling therapist works with you to help you resolve a short-term problem.   They pose important questions and respect that you have the ability to develop the outcome that you desire.   They also give you as many resources as possible to help you after the sessions are over.   Imagine how much more productive, happy and healthy you could be with some focus on your mental well-being?   Contact your company's insurance provider today.

Warming socks! A great way to improve your circulation & boost immunity

It's that time of year! Our bodies get a little run down and before you know it, you've got the latest bug that's going around! Our Naturopathic Doctor has an arsenal of tips and tricks to keep you healthy (and to get you better faster!). One of her favorites is a 'Warming sock' treatment (also known as 'Magic socks', or 'Wet socks'!) Sounds less than fun, but it really does work!

Warming Socks! A great way to improve circulation and boost immunity

Warming socks is great for those pesky colds that leave you with sinus congestion or an annoying cough that make sleep difficult. It can also be used as a preventative therapy that you do when you feel something coming on!

You'll need 2 pairs of socks, one thin pair, made of mostly cotton (little ankle gym socks work well), and one thick woolly pair (real wool is ideal, but anything really fluffy should work).

Set the woolly socks by the bed. Get ready for bed as usual, and just before going to bed for the night, soak the thin cotton socks in ice water (or very cold tap water) and ring out the excess well. You don't want the socks dripping wet. They will warm up slightly as you wring them out, but that's ok. Now, get into bed, slip the cold wet socks on, and pull the woolly socks on over top. Get under the covers and sleep like a baby! You'll wake up with dry feet and socks, and you'll likely have had a great night's sleep, sometimes all you need to kick the cold.

Warming socks has been a long time Naturopathic therapy, and while there might not be much published medical literature on the topic, the theory is that the increased blood flow that is contributing to the congestion in your head or chest, is temporarily pulled towards your feet, to warm them up. This allows you to have better sleep, with less waking due to the congestion. Some sources also say that the therapy also helps to boost immune cells to fight off whatever is going on!  

Whatever the mechanism, warming socks is a cheap easy way to get you back to good health! Give it a try!  

Written by:

Erin Balodis MSc, ND

Naturopathic Doctor

What does therapy look like? What to expect and how to choose your therapist.

What does therapy look like? The first session or two of therapy is a time for mutual connection, a time for the therapist to learn about you and your concerns. The therapist may ask for a mental and physical health history. It’s also a good idea to talk to the therapist about what you hope to achieve in therapy. Together, you can set goals and benchmarks that you can use to measure your progress along the way.

This is also an important time for you to be evaluating your connection with your therapist. Do you feel like your therapist cares about your situation, and is invested in your recovery? Do you feel comfortable asking questions and sharing sensitive information? Remember, your feelings as well as your thoughts are important, so if you are feeling uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to consider another therapist.

 

Every counselling therapist is different, but there are usually some similarities to how therapy is structured. Normally, sessions will last about an hour, and often be about once a week, although for more intensive therapy they maybe more often. Therapy is normally conducted in the therapist’s office, but therapists also work in hospitals and nursing homes, and in some cases will do home visits.

1. Expect a good fit between you and your therapist.  Don't settle for bad fit. You may need to see one or more therapists until you experience feeling understood and accepted.

2. Therapy is a partnership.  Both you and your therapist contribute to the healing process. You're not expected to do the work of recovery all by yourself, but your therapist can’t do it for you either. Therapy should feel like a collaboration.

3. Therapy will not always feel pleasant.  Painful memories, frustrations or feelings might surface. This is a normal part of therapy and your therapist will guide you through this process. Be sure to communicate with your therapist about how you are feeling.

4. Therapy should be a safe place.  While there will be times when you’ll feel challenged or when you’re facing unpleasant feelings, you should always feel safe. If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed or you’re dreading your therapy sessions, talk to your therapist.