Chicago Marathon Tips – Your Feet

September 28, 2015

It’s 12 days before the marathon and who needs new tips now?? You’ve been training, working up your miles, figuring out your food, learningChicago_Marathon_2012_-_fun_runners from either your own or others past experiences. Trying something new this close to the marathon could be a bad idea. Trying something new on race day is definitely a bad idea.

You’re body has been through a lot with training, pounding out the miles, building strength and stamina. Now is a great time to get some additional care if you haven’t already been doing so. Time to see a chiropractor. You’ve put a lot of stress on your joints, especially your feet. While most people think about chiropractic for their back, actually getting your feet adjusted can help you body enormously. If the bones in your feet aren’t moving properly, neither will the rest of you.

This would be a great week to take care of this as you’re easing off your training and letting your body heal a bit before race day. By doing it this week you will also have some time to adjust to the changes.

While there are a great deal of chiropractic approaches, my personal preference is for non-force adjusting. It’s easy on the body and provides the needed correction. Sometimes some more vigorous techniques are needed but they can still be done gently to promote the best outcome.

Add the final touch to your training and have a great race!!

New Study on Acupuncture and Pain Relief

June 2, 2010
Basic Acupuncture.
Image via Wikipedia

By Dr. Bonny Flaster, D.C., Dipl.Ac.,  River North Wellness Center

It is well know that acupuncture is very effective for pain relief, now there is more evidence as to why.  Recent studies have found that needling of acupuncture points produces a particular chemical, adenosine,  that has pain relieving properties.  An article about this research was published by the journal Nature Neuroscience,.  Check out the complete article  here.

Acupuncture is a very effective way to decrease inflammation and control pain.  It is a great alternative for people who want to avoid adverse drug reactions or prefer to let their bodies heal naturally.

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Wellness and Your Mind

April 30, 2010
Happy Flyer
Image by Vermin Inc via Flickr

Our minds can make us well.  I know it sounds hokey, but it’s true and we’ve all experienced it.  After all, you’ve certainly known times when your mind has made you feel ill.

Say you’ve been working hard on a project, lots of problems, lots of stress and angst, cranky co-workers, but now at last it’s done.  You don’t feel happy. You feel tired cranky, and resentful.

Then your boss comes up to you and tells you that you’ve done a great job.  All of a sudden you feel much better. You have more energy, you’re less inclined to injure your co-workers. Suddenly life is looking much better.

What happened physically?  Your mind started producing different brain chemicals, neuropeptides. That makes you feel better.  If you had your blood drawn it would probably show a decrease in the amount of stress producing chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline.  Your heart rate will have decreased.  Even your ability to digest food will have improved.

Most of us are quite good at using our mind to make ourselves sick, even if we don’t realize it.  Emotions get stuck in the body. Repeating thoughts wear a ‘groove’ in the brain, a physical well-worn path. If that path leads to happiness, great. But if that path leads to frustration, irritation and anger, well, it’s not going to do your digestion any good.

Patients often ask me if what they are experiencing is physical or emotional. My reply is that there isn’t a difference.  There really isn’t a point where our physical self begins and ends and our emotional self starts.  They are integrated aspects of us and can’t really be separated.

It is important to be aware of where our thoughts take us.  Focusing on our ailments, pain, angst does not improve the situation.  It actually makes it worse.  Often people will refer to a part of their body that is hurting them as their “bad leg” or their “bad hip.”  Do you really want that groove in your brain?  This sends a message that aggravates that part and can actually inhibit its ability to heal.

Instead, create a new path for your thoughts to follow. Refer to that leg as the leg that is healing, that needs more attention.  There’s no need to pretend the problem doesn’t exist. But you want your thoughts to help you heal, rather than drag you down.

Dr. Bonny Flaster is a Chiropractor and Acupuncturist, with an office in Chicago and patients around the world. She can be reached at drbonny@rivernorthwellness.com

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Preventing Muscle Spasms and Cramps

April 10, 2010
35/365: My new tat
Image by Mr.Thomas via Flickr

It’s an athlete’s nightmare, The Final Four, a crucial game on the line, and the star player out with muscle spasms in his legs.

This is what happened with Butler last week.  Shelvin Mack, the Butler player who scored all but 3 of Bulter’s points in the first half, was sidelined for nearly all of the second half with cramps.

Butler managed to hang on anyway, winning with an impossibly low 52.

So what exactly are muscle cramps, and how can they be prevented?

Muscle cramps are a contraction of the muscle that doesn’t stop.  Cramps can last for a few agonizing moments to many minutes.  For athletes, several things can cause cramps, but in today’s blog I’ll look at dehydration. I’ll cover more causes in future columns.

Preventing Cramps

Preventing cramps is a lot easier – and less painful– than stopping them.  Being properly hydrated is the key.  That means not just drinking while exercising, but before and afterwards.  Start by drinking additional water the day before the event.

If your body does not have enough fluid—say, from sweating or long exertion —  it will draw fluids out of cells. Draw too much from muscle cells and they’ll spasm and cramp.  It is possible to drink too much water, so know your body, test things out ahead of time as part of your training.

Sport Drinks Can Cause Problems

Many athletes take sport drinks to keep their fluids up, but that’s not really the best idea. Read the label on your favorite sports drink.  Most of them are basically sugar water with electrolytes, and often they’re way too concentrated.

If you are doing a long endurance event and want to use a sport drink, it would be wise to dilute it.  Many are so concentrated they can actually add to the imbalance, and cause more fluid to be drawn out of cells.  Experiment before your event to know determine what your body actually needs.

Mineral Balance Is Key

Muscles need a balance of calcium and magnesium to contract and relax properly.  Magnesium helps muscles relax, Foods high in magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, beans and legumes.  For an excellent list, check out http://magnesiumrichfoods.com.

Potassium is also important for relaxing muscles. Foods high in potassium include bananas, cantaloupe, tomatoes, kidney beans, yogurt, and salmon. You’ll notice every marathon has a supply of bananas on hand.   For more options, check out this list http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/PatientEd/Materials/PDFDocs/nut-diet/nut-other/high-potassium.pdf.

As with most things it is better to prevent things than to fix them.  Drink water, and eat well so that your body has the minerals it needs to power you over the top.

Dr. Bonny Flaster is a Chiropractor and Acupuncturist, with an office in Chicago and patients around the world. She can be reached at drbonny@rivernorthwellness.com

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I DON’T FEEL WELL, MY LAB TESTS ARE NORMAL, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

March 29, 2010
Red and blue liquids inside graduated test tubes
Image by Horia Varlan via Flickr

Dr. Bonny Flaster is a Chiropractor and Acupuncturist, with an office in Chicago and patients around the world. She can be reached at drbonny@rivernorthwellness.com

Our bodies are constantly talking to us, giving us clues as to what is occurring and what is needed.  Some of us are better than others about hearing our bodies, or even taking the time to pay attention.  Unfortunately, it is often the case that by the time our body is able to get its message across to the conscious mind, a lot of trouble has already occurred.

One of the amazing aspects about the human body is its ability to adapt and change and it does this constantly.  By the time someone feels pain, develops heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc., something has been wrong for quite awhile.  Our body is no longer able to adapt, its coping systems have been exceeded.

So how do we discover and fix things before there’s a health breakdown?  Our lifestyle can play a big role in this, getting enough sleep, eating a variety of unprocessed foods especially vegetables, having an exercise routine, and taking time to have some fun are some of the ways.

There are also a number of concrete ways to evaluate what our picture of health currently looks.  A basic lab test can give a lot of answers if evaluated properly.  Results from a lab test are set up to easily be scanned so you can see what’s normal and what’s not.  Unfortunately this does not really give the whole story.  By the time most lab values are in the abnormal range, the problem has been going on for quite a while.  Normal lab value ranges are based on what’s “average” for the population in the area of the lab, the sicker the population, the broader the “normal” range will be.

By looking at those same lab values, but applying a narrower range, it is often easy to see where problems are starting to occur and correct them before problems get worse and actual disease occurs.  Catching these problems sooner rather than later can prevent a full-blown disease, correct the dysfunction more quickly and reduce the overall burden on our body.

We’ve all heard things about early detection, many of us go off and get our annual physicals and recommended screenings.  It’s important not to wait until things show up in the abnormal category, to look for the direction things are heading and to make the appropriate changes while the body has enough reserve to easily correct the dysfunction.  Getting a blood test and using a narrower range to evaluate the results is one of the ways to do this.

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Focus on Flowers, Be Free of Allergies

March 24, 2010
Flowers of Hebe × franciscana
Image via Wikipedia

Dr. Bonny Flaster is a Chiropractor and Acupuncturist, with an office in Chicago and patients around the world. She can be reached at drbonny@rivernorthwellness.com

The other day I walked out of my house and saw my first flowers of the year, purple crocuses.  To me this is a sign of joy, that the grey winter is ending and soon there will be lots of color from all of the returning plants.  However, for some people this can herald the beginning of misery, the start up of their allergy season.

Our bodies are wise, they know how to do more things than we could possibly imagine.  Yet, despite this wisdom, mistakes are made.  Bright Spring pollen, and the immune system fights it like a dangerous invasion.

I used to have patients in like clock-work as their annual allergy season began, we’d go through a series of acupuncture treatments and reduce their symptoms so that they could manage better and not have to rely on medication.  At the time, this was the best that I could offer, decrease the symptoms and make things more manageable without worrying about the side-effects of medication.

Fortunately today, I am usually able to help people eliminate their allergic reactions, not just annually treat their symptoms.  I’ve studied and used number of approaches for eliminating allergies, and the best one was developed by Dr. Leslie Feinberg and called NeuroModulation Technique (www.nmt.md).  Using NMT it is possible to re-program the immune system to stop reacting to what should be a harmless substance.  This is done without drugs or even acupuncture needles.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s a video of Tim in England, 2 days after his allergy treatment.  At his parent’s house.  Pitching hay. www.rivernorthwellness.com/testimonials.htm .

You don’t have to be miserable or drugged up through allergy season.  There is definitely a better way.

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Dr. Flaster’s Health Info

March 22, 2010

Dr. Bonny Flaster is a Chiropractor and Acupuncturist, with an office in Chicago and patients around the world. She can be reached at drbonny@rivernorthwellness.com

Welcome to my blog!  There’s so much different and often contradictory information regarding health, fitness and nutrition that I thought I would do my best to add some clarity.

During my 22 years as a chiropractor and acupuncturist, I have seen people with a wide variety of complaints: chronic and acute pain, back pain, neck pain, joint pain, headaches, digestive disorders, allergies, high blood pressure, stress, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, to name just a few.  I would like to pass on what I’ve learned, and what I continue to learn and experience to others so that they can know more about their bodies and their options and enjoy good health and vitality.

I welcome your interest and comments.