Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lifestyle Matters

Chiropractic Care and Lifestyle Enhancement

Chiropractors are wellness experts. Chiropractors teach their patients how to begin safe, effective exercise programs. Chiropractors teach their patients how to create healthy food plans that will enhance their well-being and the well-being of their families. Healthy lifestyles are a key element in the overall chiropractic approach to long-term wellness.
Chiropractors are highly trained in nutritional science and rehabilitative exercise. In addition to your chiropractic hands-on treatment, regular exercise and healthy nutrition will help you return to high levels of wellness and well-being.
The fitness boom was launched in America in the early 1980s by a small group of celebrities, including Jane Fonda, who recognized the importance of exercise for long-term health and well-being.

Although their methods were flawed, their vision was important. Over the past 30 years the notion of fitness as a valuable end in itself has persisted in the public consciousness. But for the most part, people do not take action on their own behalf in this critical area.

In a typical scenario, a person will finally decide to begin a plan to shed the 30 or more pounds of excess weight he or she has been carrying around for too many years to count. In a whirlwind of activity, the person joins a gym, buys a pair of snazzy cross-trainers, stylish new workout shorts, and tank tops, and even purchases 10 grueling sessions with a personal trainer. After this initial burst of enthusiasm, the typical fitness-seeking person will lose interest in 30 days. Health clubs across the globe rake in their profits from new member initiation fees, knowing full well that most new gym members discontinue their efforts within four to six weeks.

But fitness matters. And from an even broader perspective, lifestyle matters. In 2007, heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular disease (including stroke and hypertension), and pulmonary disease accounted for more than 60% of the 2.4 million deaths in the United States.1 It is now well-recognized that each of these diseases and conditions is specifically a lifestyle disease. With respect to cancer, less than 10% of cases are due to an inherited condition. The rest are a result of lifestyle choices such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption. overweight and obesity, and lack of exercise.2

With respect to your long-term health, one key action step is to engage in regular vigorous exercise. If you haven't exercised in many years, daily walks are a good way to begin your life-long exercise program. Start with a modest 10-minute walk and build up over six to eight weeks to a daily 30-minute walk. Once you're walking 30 minutes a day, gradually increase your daily pace. When you've achieved a quick 30-minute daily pace and can maintain your schedule comfortably, you may begin to alternate strength-training workouts with your walks.

Fitness is not only a critical lifestyle enhancer, it is also a state of mind. People who are fit want to stay fit. A person who becomes fit usually discovers that he has begun to choose healthy food rather than junk. Frosted doughnuts, candy bars, and twisted ropes of raspberry-flavored sugar lose their allure and appeal. Organic trail mix, organic apples, and protein smoothies become preferred snacks. Persons who take on a fitness lifestyle find themselves losing weight, naturally and easily. No stress-inducing diets. No drastic weight loss. The pounds just fall away because the person is exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.3

Now-fit people never want to put that weight back on again. The healthy lifestyle becomes the preferred lifestyle.

1Xu J, et al: Deaths. Final data for 2007. Natl Vital Stat Rep 58(19), May 20, 2010
2Kirkegaard H, et al: Association of adherence to lifestyle recommendations and risk of colorectal cancer: a prospective Danish cohort study. Brit Med J October 26, 2010 (Epub ahead of print)
3Brietzke SA: A personalized approach to metabolic aspects of obesity. Mt Sinai J Med 77(5):499-510, 2010

Your Health Account

Doc Rick says, "We can use fiscal accounting as a metaphor for our physical health and well-being. Click on the link to determine how fiscally sound your health account is."

Health Deposits and Health Withdrawals
In terms of your health and well-being it's very important to maintain current accounts. Deposits always need to exceed withdrawals. But sometimes we don't know we're making a withdrawal, or we forget we've not made sure to make enough deposits to cover a big withdrawal. That's the time we get sick.

For example, stress causes a big withdrawal from your health account. Your body expends high levels of energy to cope with stress - regardless of whether the stress is physical or psychological. And ongoing stress causes ongoing withdrawals.

In times of stress we need to pay particular attention to our health accounts. Healthy nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient rest become even more important. The gotcha is when we're stressed we're often expending so much energy we don't think we have any energy left to do the things that are going to keep us healthy. We think we don't have enough time to exercise or go to the store to buy healthy food.

It's well worth making the time, even though we don't want to. Taking the time now to replenish our health accounts will pay off big time down the road.
Everyone wants to grow their bank account. We know our financial health is usually estimated by the level of our resources. The more money in the bank, figuratively speaking, the more secure we feel. If our resources include stocks, bonds, and property, we are even more secure.
We can use such fiscal accounting as a metaphor for our physical health and well-being. The more resources we can accumulate in our "health account" the healthier we'll be. And if we're able to diversify the "holdings" in our health accounts, as we'd like to be doing with our financial accounts, we'll enjoy more and better long-term health from many points of view.
Whether we're paying attention or not, our physical resources fluctuate as regularly as do our financial resources. And as in financial accounting, health accounting involves income and expenses. If income exceeds expenses, you enjoy higher levels of relative health. The converse is also true - when expenses exceed income, health deteriorates.
What kinds of things can go into our health accounts? We can easily list the most crucial of these - food,1 exercise 2 and rest.3 But we're not interested in quantity. We're much more interested in quality. We're interested in maximizing value. For example, focusing on quantity with respect to food causes a person to become overweight. Focusing on quality - high-quality protein and high-quality complex carbohydrates, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables - causes a person to become leaner and fitter. We don't want to fill our health accounts with coins made of lead and copper. We want to fill them with coins made of gold.
As far as rest is concerned, it's important to get, on average, the rest we need. Most people require 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. There are exceptions, of course. For the average person, getting 6 or less hours of sleep on a long-term basis will deplete their health account. But getting too much sleep also has a negative impact. Again, quality is more important than quantity.
There are many additional sources of "income" that enrich our health accounts. Loving relationships with our family, fulfilling relationships with our friends, stimulating and challenging activities and interests, learning new skills, and exploring new environments all grow our health accounts and enhance our long-term health and well-being.
Chiropractic care is another source of "income" for our health accounts. Regular chiropractic care helps a person maximize the value - on a physiological basis - of the food, exercise, and rest she is getting. Chiropractic care helps people get the most out of their health resources, becoming more efficient and effective in terms of physiology, health, and well-being.

1Greenwald P, Dunn BK: Do we make optimal use of the potential of cancer prevention? Recent Results Cancer Res 181:3-17, 2009
2Jackson AS, et al: Role of lifestyle and aging on the longitudinal change in cardiorespiratory fitness. Arch Intern Med 169(19):1781-1787, 2009
3Smaldone A, et al: Sleepless in America: inadequate sleep and relationships to health and well-being of our nation's children. Pediatrics 119(Suppl 1):S29-S37, 2007

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Importance of Understanding Vitamin A

     Today, I will be discussing a vitamin that was the first vitamin ever discovered.  It is important for the health of the body and most importantly, it is important to the health of the kidney.  And since we have learned about the health of the kidney during the month of January, I felt it important to finish off the month of January discussing the vitamin related to that organ.  The vitamin I am speaking of is Vitamin A.  And we are now going to discuss The Importance of Understanding Vitamin A.
     Since we are beginning a New Year, I wanted to help you with some important information about vitamins, and how they are related to health and disease.
     Given that we are starting with Kidney Health Month and discussing the vitamin associated with the kidney, It’s ironic that at the beginning of the alphabet is vitamin A and that it relates to influencing Kidney Health. 
What are Vitamin A Functions?
     It Promotes normal tissue formation: This means it helps to enhance how your cells, tissues and the rest of your body develops and heals.  Therefore, vitamin A is important in overall healing.  And if you are going to Re-Solve your health related issues in 2010, you’ll definitely need vitamin A.  
     It Increases blood platelets: This allows for normal clotting to take place.  Many people have difficulty with their blood platelets, and since your blood platelets are what prevents you from bleeding to death, these are important and therefore so is having enough vitamin A.
     It Promotes normal growth and feeling of well-being:  Everyone would choose to feel well.  AND not everyone does.  In helping people take better care of themselves, making sure they have enough vitamin A is important.
     It Promotes normal appetite and digestion:  Since all health problems stem from poor digestion, making sure you can digest your food is important.  And if your appetite is poor, then digestion at that point doesn’t matter.  Therefore to maintain both normal appetite and digestion, taking adequate amounts of vitamin A is important.
     It Prevents infection, most notably of eyes, tonsils, sinuses, lungs and the digestive tract.  AND with so many people suffering from any conditions associated with the eyes, respiratory and digestive tracts, making sure to have adequate vitamin A levels is important.
And if one has a Vitamin A Deficiency:
If one is Deficient in Vitamin A it can lead to:
     Loss of appetite.  And without proper appetite, the person will not grow or repair themselves very well.  Therefore, make sure you have enough vitamin A in your diet.
     Lack of normal growth and development in children: If your children are not as healthy as you would like them to be, have them evaluated fort vitamin A.  At my office it doesn’t take but two seconds to do and we have a solution if that is a concern for your child or children.
     A failure to conceive or get pregnant: TOO many couples have issues with this now a days, and to think it could be as simple as giving them vitamin A to resolve the issue.  And again, it doesn’t take that much to figure this out.  Therefore, if you are a couple who is having difficulty getting pregnant, making sure you have sufficient vitamin A in your diet is important.  AND I’d be happy to evaluate anyone with this concern.
     Physical weakness: Being weak and feeling unable to exert enough energy to get your life done is an extreme vitamin A deficiency.  Many times, the person will go to their doctor, and the doctor doesn’t find anything wrong.  Supplementing with vitamin A will make a difference pretty quickly.  And again, the ability to evaluate a need for vitamin A only takes a couple of seconds.
     Diseases involving the Upper Respiratory System, the skin, bladder, stomach and colon are all related to a vitamin A deficiency.  I deal with so much of this in the office, it is not difficult to spot this is so many people.  Again, to have this evaluated in my office is easy and quite eye opening.
Susceptibility to diseases of:
     The eyes, such as night blindness, corneal ulcers or inflammation develop as a result of vitamin A deficiency.  For people who experience this appreciate it may be directly related to vitamin A deficiency.
     The ears, such as ear infections are related to vitamin A deficiency.  Therefore, infants and young children who are prone to ear infections, the best place to start after having their neck checked for proper alignment is to look at their vitamin A levels. 
     Now we have been talking about vitamin A and we are in the month of January, which we have learned is Kidney Health Month.   And I mentioned before that vitamin A is related to Kidney health.  And the most painful condition found with this deficiency related to the Kidneys are Kidney Stones.  Therefore, if you are a person who is prone to getting Kidney Stones, it would be important to have your vitamin A levels checked and see if you are deficient in Vitamin A. 
     So we’ve learned a little about vitamin A and what conditions result when you are deficient in vitamin A.  And now we want to go over where you can get your vitamin A in your diet.  Since it is important to eat high quality food, knowing what will give you adequate amounts of vitamin A in your diet is important. 
     What are the Most Reliable Sources of vitamin A:  butter, cheese, egg yolks, green leafy vegetables, yellow corn, yellow sweet potatoes, carrots and other yellow and green vegetables.  Unfortunately, too many people are deficient in these types of foods and as a result develop some of the conditions related to deficiency.  Those conditions again relate to Normal Tiise Healing and Formation, Normal blood clotting, Normal Growth in Children, Normal feeling of well-being, and normal digestion with appetite.  Having any issues involving those areas or the following as a result of a vitamin A deficiency which leads to vision issues, especially at night, ear infections and the most painful one, Kidney Stones. 
     In an effort to always help the reader, the natural question then becomes, "Do I have enough vitamin A in my diet," or more importantly, "Am I assimilating it from my food sources, or do I have a deficiency?"
     I will be happy to evaluate your vitamin A and determine if you are deficient.  If you are deficient, we offer the highest quality whole food vitamin A from Standard Process called Cataplex A.  And we make it available to people who test for a vitamin A deficiency.  Would you like to have your vitamin A levels or your vitamin A supplement evaluated?  Simply bring your vitamin A with you to my next Free Health Care Class and I will evaluate you.
     How do you arrange to come to my next
FREE Health Care Class?  Simply Call the Office today at (845) 561-BACK or 561-2225 and have us schedule you for our next FREE Class this coming Tuesday at 6:30 at the office in Newburgh.   Our physical address is 320 Robinson Avenue, one half mile south of exit 10 off I 84, across the street from Newburgh Free Academy and right next to Orange Radiology, right on 9W.  We can help you Start the New Year Off Healthy and make sure to include the vitamin A. 

How Much Water Do You Really Need, and Why?

     So many people are walking around functionally dehydrated.  What that means is they are able to function with lots of symptoms and possibly some signs of health issues and concerns, but it is not so bad that they cannot get out of bed and push through their day.  AND they do not have enough water in their system to maintain normal functioning of the body.  Did you know that the number one symptom people present to the doctor with is not pain or sickness?  Did you know the number one symptom is fatigue?  That’s right, fatigue.  Meaning you do not feel you have the energy you are supposed to have.  You are always tired and do not have the energy to do anything extra than what you normally do.  Someone says, “Hey, do you want to go here and do this?” and your response is, “No, I don’t feel like it.”  And all the while you are thinking, “I just don’t have the energy I feel I should."  Chances are, if this is you and you do not have the energy you feel you should, or if you are too tired to do anything other than what is absolutely necessary, or if this only occurs every once in a while, chances are very good you are dehydrated.
Dehydration could mean a couple of different things:
     1) It could simply mean that you are not consuming the requisite amounts of water on a daily basis.  This is far too common because of the lack of proper understanding about the importance of water.  Many have heard the general rule to drink eight - 8 oz. glasses of water a day.  This would be sufficient if you weighed a mere 100 lbs., and did no physical activity during the day.  But since most of us do not weigh 100 lbs., this makes many people dehydrated simply because they were doing what they were told.  And even if you did do your eight - 8 oz. glasses of water a day, you would still be deficient and develop health concerns as a result.  So for the record, the correct formula for proper amount of water would be to consume 1 quart (approximately 1 liter) of water for every 50 lbs. you weigh, every day.  So if you weighed 100 lbs., you would require the eight - 8 oz. glasses (or 2 quarts) as stated, but if you weighed 150 lbs., you would require 12 - 8 oz. glasses a day (3 quarts) and if you weighed 200 lbs., you would need 16 - 8 oz. glasses (or 1 gallon) a day.   If you can remember 1 pint (16 oz.) for every 25 lbs., you’ll be able to determine what you need between the 50 lb. marks initially given.  Appreciate that if you weigh 150 pounds and drink enough for if you weighed 100 pounds, you would be missing 1 third of what you body requires, every day.  Can you now begin to see what your body has to do to make it function properly?  You’ve been asking your body to do something it doesn’t have the necessary ingredients to do.  And no wonder so many people suffer.  So strongly consider gradually increasing your water intake every day, a little at a time until over a two week period until you get to the required amount based on 1 quart for every 50 lbs. you weigh, every day.
     Now many people think this is too much for them to drink, and fear they would be running to the bathroom all day.  Initially you might be in the bathroom more often, but after you consistently maintain the proper water amount over a 2 to 3 week period, your body will adjust to the new found volume, and you will return to your normal number of trips to the bathroom on a daily basis.  The reason for this adjustment period is because your body is a creature of habit.  When you train your body to expect a certain stimulus, in this case water, at a specific rate, it will develop a habit pattern based on the habit.  So initially, when you give the body more than what it is used to, it will void the excess.  And after 2 – 3 weeks of consistency, your body will say, “Oh, since we now have this new amount of water on a consistent basis, we can use it appropriately and do not have to ration it anymore.”
     Now I mentioned exercising.  You will want to add an additional quart of water for every 30 minutes of high paced physical exercise you participate in.  Activities such as aerobics, cycling, the treadmill or Stairmaster, etc. will all require extra water.  Lifting weights for 60 minutes would roughly be the equivalent of 30 minutes of aerobic activity.  Please keep that in mind.

     2) The second thing dehydration could mean, especially if you are consuming enough water, would be an imbalance in how your body utilizes water.  If the body is not using the water appropriately, you will begin to swell.  This could potentially mean you have a hormonal imbalance, and you might notice you don’t sweat as you should.  These are more serious problems, and would require having some kidney function testing done to rule out other more serious pathology.  If the swelling is confined to your legs and ankles, this could mean you have right sided heart issues.  If either of these are circumstances are you, please consult with a trained health care professional to have your Kidneys or Heart properly evaluated.  This is not something to ignore. 
     So that is it for water, what is the proper amount you want to be consuming, and what happens when you do not. 
What About The Simple Test? 
     Now I mentioned an easy test you can do that takes less than 2 seconds to do and will let you know if you are functionally dehydrated in the moment.  Simply do the following: Many people when you have your arms at your sides, your blood vessels in your hands are full and you can easily see your blood vessels.  This is normal. 
     Now for the test.  Raise your hand to shoulder level and see if the vessels in your hands disappear.  If they disappear, you are dehydrated.  You need to drink more water and you need to check back with this brief test throughout your day until your vessels stay full and distended.  Then whatever water your body required to get your vessels distended at shoulder level is what you need to drink regularly until they are always distended. 
     Now, is this a scientifically validated test?  No, AND it is a great way to evaluate your levels of hydration.  So give this a shot and drink more water.  And for the natural question I get all the time, Dr. Rick, I drink coffee, or tea, or other liquids.  Isn’t this the same as drinking water?  The answer to that is no.  And the reason for that is as follows: If you drink a liquid that has something in it like a coffee or a tea or even a fruit juice, your body has to digest it.  This means it has to separate the non water portion from the water itself.  This is a digestive process and in order for your body to extract the water from the other ingredients, your body will lose water in the process.  Therefore, other drinks will lead to and create functional dehydration.  Water is water, and everything else will dehydrate you to one degree or another.  Therefore, drink water at 1 quart for every 50 lbs. you weigh every day, and if you do drink the other liquids, appreciate that you will need more water to offset the potential they create for dehydration.  Me personally, All I drink is water.
     Water is important for the health of your body and being able to maintain normal function.  Therefore, if you choose to improve your health in 2012, and are focused on re-solving all your health related issues, drinking water is the best thing to incorporate into your plan.  If you do not currently have a health plan for 2012, call me and we can develop one that will benefit you, for sure.  It would be my pleasure to help you.  AND what I have seen in my practice over the years is those who drink the right amount of water for their body on a consistent basis always seem to have no health concerns.  Something to strongly consider.  I know I do, every day.

The information you just read was taken in part from my book When Your Health Matters: Using Your Body's Natural Rhythms To Restore Your Health, available through the Office.  To order your own copy, which I'd be happy to write a personal dedication to you, please call the Office at (845)561-BACK or 561-2225 and I will make sure you get it.  This Book was originally released in 2010.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Strong Lower Backs, Having One That Works

Doc Rick says, "You never know until you hurt it how much you use your lower back all day long. When your lower back is injured, every movement becomes painful. Simple actions, such as getting out of a chair or bending over the sink, become excruciating, and your daily routine becomes difficult and frustrating."
Strong Lower Backs, Having One That Works
Remember to Stretch
Exercise is a three-step process: stretching, exercising, and abdominal strengthening. Stretching prepares you for the work of exercise, and is done first — before anything else — gently and gradually.
You may be tighter than usual on a particular day. This is not important — you should never try to stretch to where “you think you should be”. Just stretch, making sure to pay attention to what you’re doing. It’s easy to injure a muscle if you’re thinking about something else, or if you’re rushing, trying to squeeze in some stretching before dashing off to the gym.
You never know until you hurt it how much you use your lower back all day long.   When your lower back is injured, every movement becomes painful. Simple actions, such as getting out of a chair or bending over the sink, become excruciating, and your daily routine becomes difficult and frustrating.
Back pain affects 60 to 80 percent of U.S. adults at some time during their lives, and up to 50 percent have back pain within a given year. Some of these problems are easily treated and never return, but in five to ten percent of patients low back pain becomes chronic and the person continues to have recurrences and exacerbations.
Effective treatment of uncomplicated lower back pain involves treatment in a chiropractor’s office and beginning and continuing an exercise program. A recent study conducted by the Medical Research Council, a research organization based in the United Kingdom, has found that patients given a combination of spinal manipulation and exercise experienced greater improvement in back function and greater reduction in pain compared to those treated with spinal manipulation or exercise only.
Most mechanical lower back pain is associated with tight leg muscles and weak abdominal muscles. Leg muscles need to be stretched and abdominal muscles need to be strengthened to avoid recurrences of lower back pain.
People are generally not aware of these relationships. You may know you “should be exercising”, but you may be unaware of the importance of stretching. Also, abdominal strengthening is usually the last thing a person thinks of when he or she thinks of doing exercise.
Abdominal strengthening helps support the lower back. Spinal muscles are not designed to carry your body weight. If your abdominal muscles are weak, then your back muscles will be used to carry your body weight, and eventually you’ll have a lower back injury. Abdominal strengthening not only helps keep your lower back healthy, but also helps maintain good posture. Postural benefits include an easy, relaxed gait; muscles that are long and supple, rather than short and tight; and an open chest that allows for easy, smooth breathing. Your body is a machine. Everything’s connected. A lower back problem affects many other areas, ultimately. By making sure to stretch regularly and by including abdominal exercises in your gym routine, you can help ensure having a lower back that works. 

My Offer To You
With The Year of New Beginnings already underway, why not take the time to schedule yourself for a low Back Check Up?  How can you do that? the Office and ask Dr. Huntoon to include the I Want To Have a Strong Low Back Check during your next regularly scheduled Office visit during the Month of January.  This $75.00 value can be yours at no charge simply by calling to schedule it during the Month of January.  Call (845) 561-BACK or 561-2225 to secure your spot this month.  I look forward to helping you.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Principles of Posture

Most of us think good posture involves thrusting out the chest and pulling back the shoulders. Informing a person that he needs to improve his posture usually results in a sudden, robot-like increase in stature, the person stiffly incorporating most or all of these muscular stresses.

However, none of this is helpful. Poor posture not only leads to musculoskeletal problems like chronic back and neck pain, but also is implicated in gastrointestinal and endocrine diseases and many other disorders.

Chiropractic Care Helps Create Good Posture
Most of our daily activities work against good posture. We spend large portions of our days sitting in an uncomfortable chair, peering at a computer terminal. Muscles tighten and joints get stiff as we make our way through our daily tasks and responsibilities.
Neck muscles, lower back muscles, thigh muscles (quadriceps and hamstrings), and calf muscles shorten, lose their mobility, and become stiff and sore. Aches and pains add their burdens to chronically poor posture. Over time we become even less of the person we were meant to be.
Chiropractic care helps you reverse these downward spirals. Chiropractic care helps you restore good posture by relieving mechanical stresses and strains and by causing your musculoskeletal system to become more flexible and resilient. The result is improved range of motion, reduced pain, and an enhanced sense of well-being.
Long ago and far away, a fourth-grade teacher told a student to "stand up straight - you look like a pretzel". The unthinking adult only offered criticism. The child was left to try to unkink himself in the ways that probably caused more structural damage.

Most of us think good posture involves thrusting out the chest and pulling back the shoulders. Informing a person that he needs to improve his posture usually results in a sudden, robot-like increase in stature, the person stiffly incorporating most or all of these muscular stresses.

As a direct result of our weak relationship to sound concepts of what good posture actually is, most people have protruding stomachs, slumped shoulders, and necks that protrude far in front of their body's center. Aside from perpetually unattractive aesthetics, such chronically inefficient posture places ongoing strain on back and neck muscles. Poor posture interferes with normal functioning of your heart and lungs. Metabolic processes deteriorate owing to lack of normal oxygen supply. Poor posture not only leads to musculoskeletal problems like chronic back and neck pain, but also is implicated in gastrointestinal and endocrine diseases and many other disorders.

The welcome news is that achieving good posture is not that difficult. Work is required, of course, as well as consistent attention. But the work is not hard - it is merely new and different, for most of us. As we can guess, the key element in good posture is a straight spine. Importantly, straight doesn’t mean rigid.

The main consideration here is how to get your spine straight without tightening all your muscles and holding your breath.1 The solution requires a little imagination. Picture in your mind a string dangling from the sky and attaching it to your sternum - your breastbone. You can name this image “hitching your sternum to a star”. You dangle from the string like a puppet.

Also, you imagine that the string is supporting all your weight. As a result, your chest lifts up easily and your spine straightens naturally and smoothly.

Another piece to the posture puzzle is to allow your shoulder girdles to rest on your rib cage. You don’t have to press your shoulders down to do this - just don’t hold them up. Most of us unconsciously tighten our neck and shoulder girdle muscles all day long. By starting to be conscious of what’s going on, we can start letting go of tight shoulder girdle muscles. The shoulders will then gently descend and come to rest on top of the rib cage, where they belong.

By paying attention to these basic postural corrections, over time we can develop a posture that is fluid and efficient. We will appear taller, comfortably reaching our full height with grace and ease. Tension and anxiety begin to reduce and we sleep more restfully at night. Good posture is good health.2,3

1Movahed M, et al: Fatigue sensation, electromyographical and hemodynamic changes of low back muscles during repeated static contraction. Eur J Appl Physiol Sep 30, 2010 (Epub ahead of print)
2Edmondston SJ, et al: Postural neck pain: an investigation of habitual sitting posture, perception of 'good' posture and cervicothoracic kinaesthesia. Man Ther 12(4):363-371, 2007
3Prins Y, et al: A systematic review of posture and psychosocial factors as contributors to upper quadrant musculoskeletal pain in children and adolescents. Physiother Theory Pract 24(4):221-242, 2008

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Restoring Your Vital Qi by Restoring Your Kidney Health

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Welcome to 2012, The Year Of Ascension!  As we begin a New Year, I wanted to start the New Year Off with a column designed to educate you on the different organs of the body so you can begin to appreciate how to restore your health with simple practices and simple understandings.  To that end, I'd like to start with the health of your Kidneys.  The reason for this is because of the 5 Element Theory given to us by Traditional Chinese Medicine.  During the Winter, the theory says the Water Element, divided into your Kidney and your Bladder, is most active.  This is because the Water Element is considered maximally contracted, and during the Winter things become maximally contracted, or shut down and hibernating. 
I'm sure you all are aware that your Kidneys are normally a paired organ, having a right and a left Kidney, which controls and regulates all your fluid levels, as well as your electrolyte balance.  They also, with the help of the Adrenal Glands, regulate your blood pressure balance.  Since the two main electrolytes, sodium and potassium are so vital to your overall health, it's important to keep your Kidneys functioning at their highest level possible.  Another function of the Kidney relates to its role in regulating fluid balance within the Large Intestine.  As discussed in the November issue of Holistic Health, if you need a refresher, go to and refer to previous issues for that vital information.
Traditional Chinese Medicine will tell you that the Kidney contains all of your "Vital Qi" or the "life force" you were born with.  If you abuse your Kidneys, or your reproductive organs (which are an extension of the Kidneys), you will lose your Vital Qi and will shorten your life-span.  Similarly, if you don't replenish your Kidney energy on a regular basis, through proper diet and nutrition, your Kidneys will lose their energy and you will not be healthy, nor live very long.
As just eluded to, through proper diet and nutrition, you can maintain a high level of function within your Kidneys, while maintaining their Vital Qi.  The easiest way to do this is by eating lots of whole foods and natural foods, while minimizing and eliminating all the artificially man-made ones that are high in artificial colors, sweeteners, and other preservatives.  These of course are designed to increase the shelf-life of the food artificially, while draining you of your Vital Qi.  Unfortunately, these long lasting shelf foods can decrease the length of your life dramatically.
The other easy way to maintain health of your Kidneys is to be sure to drink adequate amounts of water.  Since it's the Kidneys that regulate and control all fluid balance within the body, maintaining proper fluid levels is important for the health of your Kidneys. This is especially true during the times it is cold.  Dehydration when it is cold out is very common, yet difficult for most to appreciate.  Since your body will be doing everything it can to stay warm, the metabolism of different parts of your body will increase and cause you to lose water in the process.  Witness this when you breathe out while outside and witness the condensation.  All of that is essentially water being lost.  Therefore, be sure to drink adequate amounts of water on a daily basis.  What is the proper amount of water?  Ideally, one quart of water for every 50 lbs. of weight, everyday.  This means the standard 8 - 8 oz. glasses would be sufficient if you weighed a mere 100 lbs.  Since most adults do not, you figure a pint of water (16 oz.) for every 25 lbs.  So if you weigh 125 lbs, you would require 5 pints (80 oz.) daily, 150 lbs. would require 3/4 of a gallon (96 oz.) daily, 175 lbs. 7 pints or 112 oz. daily, and if you weigh 200 lbs. you'll need 1 gallon of water a day.  This will keep your Kidneys flushed and help to decrease the stress on your whole metabolic system.
Sure, initially this may seem like an impossible feat.  But if you slowly increase your water volume from the deficient amount you currently consume on a daily basis to the more appropriate volume, your Kidneys will begin to accommodate to the new, more healthy volume of water.  Likewise, with the new added volume, your Kidneys will begin functioning in a more normal fashion and you might be surprised that all of your symptoms seem to disappear.  The reason for this is that most symptoms have to do with the by-product of being dehydrated.  During the Winter months this is most evident, as most people have health problems when the weather gets cold.  Staying properly hydrated and allowing the normal metabolic cycles to run smoothly, allows for the body to fix most of its functional problems on its own.
Some common conditions you can relate to Kidney weakness or stress are things like Low Back pain, Knee pain, and other symptoms like ringing in the ears.  This is because the main sense organ associated with your Kidneys is the ears.  Muscles associated with your Kidneys are the major hip flexors known as the Psoas and the Iliacus muscles and the Upper Trapezius muscles of the neck.  This sometimes helps a patient to understand the relationship between upper neck pain and low back/hip pain.  The health of your Kidneys helps to regulate both of those areas.
The chief general emotion associated with your Kidneys is Fear, with the lesser ones being dread, bad memory, contemplated, or impending doom.  The natural emotion of fear creates activity such as the fight/flight reaction.  This crystallizes the activity of the Nervous System and the Brain, providing the tendency to stay alive.  Some may equate this with a person's willpower.  People who have a strong willpower are people with healthy Kidneys.
Pathological emotions, on the other hand, create weakness and collapse.  Fear, when involved, paralyzes the activity within the body and weakens the body-mind system.  It also damages the Nervous System and weakens the Immune System.
How To Help The Kidneys
There are several different ways to help support your Kidneys in maintaining normal function.  The first and most basic way to support your Kidneys is with a supplement from Standard Process called Renafood.  It gives your Kidney its basic building blocks which allow your Kidneys to maintain balanced function.  If one has damaged Kidneys, then we would supplement with something by Standard Process called Renatrophin PMG.  This allows your Kidneys to rebuild themselves by supplying specific ingredients designed to do just that.  Another way to support normal Kidney function is through herbals.  And I work with a company called Mediherb, which maintains the highest standards of any herbal supplement company out there.  For improving and maintaining normal Kidney function, the following herbal remedies are tremendously helpful.  Bilberry 6000, Boswelia Complex and DermaCo.  For liquid herbal support, the recommended tonic is Nettle Leaf.  All of these products can be obtained through the office.
What To Consider
To ALL My Current Practice Members, if you feel you may be having Kidney concerns, because you know you are dehydrated and your urine is too dark, or you may have low back pain or hip pain, or have trouble standing up from a sitting position, ask me to do the Kidney Health Check you on your next regularly scheduled office visit.  Normally this is a $75.00 value, but for the month of January, the cost is FREE!  It only takes a few minutes, and we can then discuss what can be done to improve the health of your Kidneys, which will translate to improving your overall health.  Since it is my intention to help you become as healthy as possible, I encourage you to call me or e-mail me with any and all of your questions.  My phone number is (845) 561-BACK (2225) or my e-mail is To schedule an appointment, call the Office and let me know you want your Kidney Health Check on your next normal office visit during the Month of January.
If you are not currently a patient at my office and would like to become one, please call the Office and tell us to schedule you for my FREE Health Care Class.  This class is where I will be happy to answer any and all health related questions and advise you what your best option would be to get well.  So I invite you to my FREE Health Care Class every Tuesday night at 6:30 pm.  For information about our FREE class, where you can ask all your health related questions and have them answered by me, call the office and speak with Dr. Huntoon. Our phone number again is (845) 561-2225.  Since class size is limited, we require you to call and reserve your seat in our next class.