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Sometimes going to the doctor just doesn't cut it. Sure if you have the flu or a toenail infection it's important to get the proper vaccine or topical solution needed to get you back on your feet. But what exactly do you do when it comes to aches and pains, muscular fatigue, reproductive system problems or even addictions? Research suggests you may want to visit a chiropractor. chiro image What is Chiropractic? Chiropractic is an alternative approach to health care which concentrates on the relationship between the body's structure and it's functioning, primarily focusing on the spine. Chiropractic medicine is concerned with the relationship between the spinal column, neurons, and the entire nervous system. It is the belief of chiropractic practitioners that the misalignment of the spinal cord or disturbances to the nervous system affects other parts of the body which can create pain, disease, and other musculoskeletal abnormalities. Chiropractors perform adjustments to the spine or other parts of the body with the goal of correcting alignment problems and supporting the body's natural ability to heal itself.

The human body is an astonishing and complex machine. Chiropractic care recognizes this and rather than just feeding the body artificial remedies it relies on your body's innate ability to heal itself from physical, mental, and emotional stress and trauma. Chiropractic is a natural remedy healing art that focuses on human health and prevention of disease through spinal biomechanics as well as musculoskeletal, neurological, vascular and nutritional wellness.

Who uses Chiropractic and for what ailments? It is believed that nearly 15 million Americans look to chiropractic medicine ever year to heal physical injuries like lower back pain, neck pain, and certain internal disorders. Chiropractic also is affiliated with orthopedic medicine and osteopathy and is an excellent alternative for those who want to avoid surgery for injuries such as loose discs in the neck, slight scoliosis, and out of place vertebrae. In addition, chiropractic medicine has become associated with many addiction centers because of the positive effects it can have on patients suffering from the withdrawal symptoms of addiction. Chiropractic medicine benefits children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly.

Chiropractic has become the second largest primary health care field in the world and is more widely accepted than any other natural remedy healing. Hospitals have chiropractors on staff regularly and there are a large number of medical doctors who practice chiropractic medicine as well. This development is huge for the chiropractic field as it serves to lessen the tension between western and eastern medicine. Insurance companies and health maintenance organizations are also recognizing patients of chiropractic for financial health benefits.

Stats Here are a few interesting stats on the chiropractic industry provided by the National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine:

  • Nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population, aged 18 and older, have used chiropractic, according to The Gallup Organization. 1991.
  • Nine of ten chiropractic users felt their treatment was effective, according to The Gallup Organization, 1991.
  • In a two-year study completed in 1990 Britain's Medical Research Council, chiropractic treatment was found more effective than hospital outpatient care for low back pain.
  • According to records from the 1986 Worker's Compensation Fund, the average medical patient was paid ten times more compensation than the average chiropractic patient for the treatment of low back pain.

We all feel down from time to time but if your case of the crankies has overstayed its welcome it might be time to take control of your mood,naturally. Here are a few tips for simply and organically lifting your spirits. Because after all life is too short to waste it being in a bad mood.

Get your heart pounding-Get up and get moving! Take a walk, ride a bike or take the dog for a run. Physical activity is great mood booster. It can burn calories and reduce body fat making you feel more accomplished, active and alive. natural mood boosters According to a study by researchers at Dalhousie University, a 30-minute walk is effective at reducing tension, anxiety, and mood disturbances and increasing energy and vigor. Getting out of the house has additional benefits. Natural light stimulates the brain which produces the neurotransmitter, serotonin, which can significantly improve your mood.

Get Plenty of Sleep-Your body and its natural processes depend on you getting enough sleep on a daily basis. Sleep is important for concentration, memory formation and repair of damage to your body's cells during the day. When your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body's functions are put on high alert which causes an increase in blood pressure and a production of stress hormones. Time.com estimates that you should get between 6.5 and 7.5 hours of sleep per night. Citing that getting too little as well as too much sleep can be equally unhealthy.

Listen to music-By playing your favorite tunes you can change your mood in an instant. According to Good Housekeeping, listening to music has a powerful effect on people's moods. In one study by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, listening to music reduced stress hormone levels up to 41 percent. Whether you prefer to bust out your favorite records or jam to your I-Pod, it's the music itself that positively affects mood rather than the lyrics. So make sure to listen to something with an upbeat rhythm and melody. Listening to your favorite songs from years past can be nostalgic. By triggering vivid memories and nostalgic feelings you can also improve mood and lower stress. Just make sure that the memories they evoke are pleasant ones.

Chocolate makes everything better-Everybody's favorite sweet indulgence is also proven to be a mood elevator for many people. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine which is a mood-regulating chemical found naturally in the brain. The high levels of sugar found in chocolate, triggers your body's release of serotonin which is a natural antidepressant. Chocolate is a good mood booster in moderation. Since it's loaded with sugar and fat a little self-control is necessary. Try nibbling a little chocolate while you treat yourself to something else you enjoy, like a funny movie or a good book. Go ahead; it's OK, spoil yourself a little!

Lend a Hand-Nothing re-energizes your soul like the feeling of accomplishment and making a difference that you get through volunteerism. When researchers analyzed 37 studies on volunteering, they found that people who offered their time had a better since of well-being, were happier with their lives, and were less likely to feel sad and anxious. Volunteers have also been found to recover more quickly from surgery, sleep better and have healthier immune systems compared to people who do not volunteer. Doing something nice for somebody else can run the gamut from organizing a book drive to helping an elderly neighbor out around the house. Doing good ultimately leads to feeling good so give of yourself and reap the benefits today.

Swimming, picnics, green grass and lemonade-summer has officially arrived! The season of fun and sun is upon us. However, it's essential to also recognize the hazards associated with our favorite season. Sunscreen use is critical. If not protected, long and lazy sun-drenched days can quickly turn to uncomfortable burning, cracking, peeling or worse. Here are a few tips on sunscreen use that can help keep you and your family happy and protected this season.

When should I use sunscreen? The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that, regardless of skin type, sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays is water resistant and yields a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 should be used year round. Sunscreen should be applied every day to exposed skin, regardless of if you're in the sun or not. And don't let the clouds fool you either, up to 80 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays can pass through the clouds. Alternately, sand reflects 25 percent of the sun's rays and snow reflects 80 percent of the sun's rays.

What are UVA and UVB rays? Two types of harmful rays are found in sunlight- ultraviolet A rays and ultraviolet B rays. UVA rays penetrate deeper into your skin and are known to lead to signs of premature aging of the skin causing wrinkling and age spots. UVA rays can also pass through window glass. Alternately, UVB rays cause sunburn and are blocked by standard window glass. However, excessive exposure to both UVA and UVB rays can lead to the development of skin cancer.

What is SPF? SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. Sunscreens are rated by the strength of their SPF. The SPF numbers found on sunscreen can range from 2 to 50. This number refers to the product's ability to deflect the sun's burning and harmful rays.

According to the AAD sunscreen use the SPF ranking is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause sunburn on unprotected skin. For example, if a sunscreen is rated SPF 2 and a person who would normally turn red after ten minutes of exposure in the sun uses it; it would take twenty minutes of exposure for the skin to turn red. A sunscreen with an SPF of 15 would allow that person to multiply that initial burning time by 15, which means it would take 15 times longer to burn, or 150 minutes. Even with this protection, sunscreen rubs off with normal wear, so it needs to be reapplied at least every two hours.

How much and how often should sunscreen be applied? Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outdoors and make sure to smear generous amounts to all exposed areas, paying specific attention to your face, ears, hands and arms. And don't forget your lips! Put on lip balm that includes sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. A good rule of thumb is one ounce (equal to about one shots glass) is needed to adequately cover the exposed areas of the body. Reapply sunscreen every two hour, after swimming or sweating profusely. Water resistant sunscreens even lose their effectiveness after 40 minutes in the pool so it's important to remember to reapply. Sunscreen rubs off as well, so if you towel-dried at some point, you'll need to reapply afterward.

Other Easy Ways to Protect Yourself from the Sun

Wear protective clothing-Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when possible. Seek shade-Don't set up camp right in the sun, try the shade. And remember that the sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade. Protect children-Play in the shade, wear protective clothing, and always apply sunscreen. Avoid tanning beds-Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer, wrinkling and premature aging. If you prefer a bronzed look try using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it. Regularly assess yourself-Take notice of anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin. If you see anything visit your doctor or dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

More than 1 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States every year. With just a little bit of knowledge and preparation, your summer can be care-free, burn-free and cancer-free.

family eating dinner

America is reeling from a number of recent high profile deaths all linked to a common culprit- heart disease. Music icon, Michael Jackson, died at the age of 50 after reportedly suffering from cardiac arrest. TV pitchman, Billy Mays, likely died of a heart attack in his sleep. And last year renowned journalist, Tim Russert, collapsed at NBC's Washington News Bureau from a heart attack.

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. It's a heavy-handed predator that has more than likely affected you or somebody that you know. But the silver lining on this otherwise bleak overview of heart disease is that there are measures that can be taken to prevent this disease. One of the most important things you can do to combat heart disease is to learn about heart disease nutrition and start eating a heart healthy diet. It's been proven that changing your diet can help stop or even reverse heart disease. So even if you're known to consume hotdogs and ice cream like they're going out of style, adapting your nutritional intake now can aid in preventing disease in the future.

By implementing a heart-happy nutrition strategy you can help reduce total and LDL cholesterol (this is the "bad" cholesterol), lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and reduce overall body weight. If you already have heart disease you can reduce your chance of developing atherosclerosis (blocked arteries that cause heart disease) by simply paying closer attention to what you're feeding your body. If you've been effectively clogging your arteries for a while no, you can also slow the rate at which it progresses.

But rather than focusing on what we can't eat lets discuss what you can eat. In fact, according to WebMD heart disease research has shown that adding heart-healthy foods is just as important on cutting back on others. So what exactly can you eat?

  • Eat more fish or other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes and high fiber foods
  • When eating fat, consume fats high in monounsaturated fats like olive and peanut oil

Below are a few items you may want to eliminate from your diet:

  • Limit total fat grams and eat only a bare minimum of saturated and trans-fats like butter, margarine, sweets and fried foods.
  • Limit salt-sodium
  • Eat a variety and not too many protein-rich foods. Commonly eaten protein foods (meat, dairy products) are among the main culprits in increasing heart disease risk. Reduce this risk by balancing animal, fish, and vegetable sources of protein.
  • Limit cholesterol consumption. Get energy by eating complex carbohydrates (whole-wheat pasta, sweet potatoes, whole-grain breads) and limit simple carbohydrates (regular soft drinks, sugar, sweets).
  • Stay at a healthy weight by balancing the calories you eat with your physical activity.

You may also want to try some of the best foods for you that you're probably not eating posted by MSNBC. These foods include beets, cabbage, guava, swiss chard, cinnamon, purlane, pomegranate juice, goji berries, dried plums, pumpkin seeds

So next time you're mulling over your dinner menu, keep these guidelines in mind. You could be saving a life.

Your journey to true health begins and ends with you. Sounds pretty obvious right? But this statement is cornerstone in achieving a level of health and well-being far beyond your highest expectations. First of all, it's important to recognize that living at your fullest and reaching your health goals is in fact a journey, not a destination. Secondly, it's also crucial to understand that your mental and spiritual health- what it really is that makes you who you are- goes hand in hand with your physical well-being. mind and body image For example, I remember often getting so worried and worked up about an upcoming test that I would physically make myself sick. Or how about the time you ate that chocolate macadamia nut cookie the size of your head and more than likely your total allotment of calories for the whole day, only to encounter overwhelming feelings of guilt and self-loathing? Emotions such as anxiety, guilt and self-loathing can easily build and create an emotional downward spiral that is detrimental to your overall spiritual and physical health. Emotions manifest themselves physically and when trying to combat health issues it's important to start with the correct frame of mind.

As reported on The Today Show, oftentimes when you change your mind, you just may just change your body, too. According to Psychologist Gareth Dutton, our ‘self talk' or ‘internal dialogue' can make or break a health regimen.

“The problem is that many people simply aren't aware of how destructive their thoughts are. The thing that precedes your behavior is a thought, and we sometimes aren't good at getting in touch with our thoughts,”

Therefore, the first step in achieving your health goals is to recognize how your thoughts are undermining your plan. Then you need to challenge the negative thinking.

Here are a few foundational tips for improving your mental and therefore physical health:

  • Learn to manage stress so that it doesn't manage you
  • Recognize emotions and attempt to figure out why you're feeling the way that you are
  • Harness negative thoughts- A positive outlook can improve your quality of life and give your health a boost.
  • Utilize the power of auto suggestion- avoid thinking negative thoughts and vocalizing them. Whatever you think, will be.
  • Let go of things in your life that make you feel stressed or overwhelmed and make time for things you enjoy.
  • Express yourself rather than keeping things bottled up- Let others know what you're feeling and if something is bothering you
  • Maintain healthy relationships
  • Calm your mind and body through stretching, exercising or breathing deeply
  • Learn to face and accept change

Only by taking responsibility for your thoughts and your actions and by recognizing the link between mind and body will you uncover the key to feeling healthier, younger and more alive.