How Traditional Chinese Medicine can help with a Cancer Diagnosis
Written by:Dr. Vikki McGuire, DTCM
We are all affected by Cancer. Whether you have been diagnosed or a close family or friend has, we have all struggled under the weight of this far-reaching disease.
The majority of people who get diagnosed go through a series of emotions: fear, confusion, self-doubt and STRESS.
In our society, we have not completely integrated all available therapies. A patient may become unclear about which treatment journey to follow. It can be daunting as there are so many choices without much support from Oncology outside of their scope of practice.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a great therapy for your whole system when undergoing cancer treatments and post-treatment. It works on the mind, body and spirit through needling, cupping, exercises (like Tai-Chi Qi-Gong), Herbal and Nutritional support.
Dr. Vikki has been working with Cancer patients (and their families) for 10-plus years. During that time, she has learned the process of Oncology and how valuable holistic medicine is through all stages of cancer and beyond. She treats symptoms of cancer such as:
Cognitive Issues (sometimes called chemo brain)
Ileus (intestinal blockage)
Immune system recovery
Dr. Vikki can help navigate the holistic system and guide patients to the right providers at the right time to aid in Cancer treatments and recovery. It can be a confusing, sometimes costly and frustrating process finding the right team for yourself.
Just because your conventional cancer treatments have ended, your healing hasn’t. This is where TCM can be a lifeline. Dr. Vikki can help you get back to your pre-cancer health. Chemo can take up to a year to leave your system and the damage it does to the good cells takes time and support to repair.
Whether you are recently diagnosed, part way through Western treatments or looking for post-treatment care – give Dr. Vikki and Traditional Chinese medicine a try.
Dr. Vikki McGuire works at AST Willow Park and is currently taking new patients. Call 403-278-1405 to book your appointment today!
When talking nutrition, the consensus is clear, what you eat affects not only your health, but your athletic performance and recovery. Everyone has different nutritional needs so the goal should always be to fuel the body to support any training program, provide efficient recovery between workouts, reduce the risk of illness and/or overtraining, so you can achieve your potential.
Now, how you fuel depends on the following factors:
What you fuel with is reliant upon the following three macronutrients:
Carbohydrates, or carbs are your body’s clean burning fuel source and is the most important source of energy. Your daily carb intake should match the fuel needs of your training but keep in mind that all carbs are not created equal. Simple carbs like refined breads and pastas (now I am talking the white pasta), pastries and sweets are void of any nutrients and fiber, providing only a quick bump in your blood glucose levels that will be used quickly. This condition is known as bonking or crushing. Ideally, you will want to opt for non starchy and starchy complex carbs such as brown rice, broccoli, carrots, sweet potato, glyphosate free steel cut oats, and quinoa, just to name a few.
Proteins, and specifically the amino acids, form the building blocks for new muscle tissue and the repair of body cells. Amino acids are also used for making enzymes, hormones, antibodies and providing a small fuel source for exercising muscles. Extra protein is required during and after intense exercise to compensate for the increased muscle breakdown that occurs, as well as to build new muscle cells. Several studies have found that eating carbohydrates and protein together immediately after exercise enhances recovery and promotes muscle building.
Healthy fat in food provides essential fatty acids, required to transport vitamins A, D, E & K and is an additional source of energy for exercise. Omega 3’s may be particularly beneficial when training as they help
increase the delivery of oxygen to muscles, improve endurance and may speed recovery and reduce inflammation and joint stiffness. Good sources of healthy fats come from avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, the meat we buy as well as the oils we use such as extra virgin olive oil, grass fed butter, ghee, and coconut oil.
Generally, your nutritional base should be around the following: 35% Carbs, 35% protein, 30% healthy fats. Then, depending on your training level, and goal those percentages would be adjusted to make sure your body is receiving the proper fuel in the right amounts. For example, the higher the intensity, the greater the reliance on muscle glycogen. Lower intensity is fuelled mainly by fat, and moderate intensity will have half the energy supplied from muscle glycogen and the rest from fat. Once muscle glycogen stores are depleted, protein makes an increased contribution to energy needs providing those amino acids for energy and to maintain blood glucose levels. However, protein is the least favourable source of energy and should not be relied upon as an energy source. There are many calculator apps out there that can assist you with this decision.
The last component and often the most important and overlooked component is hydration. Water makes up the principle components of all bodily fluids and functions. On average, we need about 12 cups (almost 3L) of filtered water each day to stay hydrated as we lose water daily through our skin, urine, bowels & lungs. Dehydration is generally defined as a fluid deficit greater than 2% Body Weight. So in simple terms, by the time your body is letting you know you need water, you are already dehydrated. Some signs you are dehydrated include: sluggishness, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, feeling excessively hot, lightheaded and nausea. Water is the best way to hydrate, but get creative! Add some lemon, or cucumber to help with the body’s detoxification process. Berries are also a great way to add natural flavour and to receive your natural sugars to replenish those glycogen stores. Go one step further and add a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt and you have an easy electrolyte drink.
Holistically speaking, proper food intake is only one piece of the puzzle. Adequate recovery between training sessions, proper stress management and plentiful sleep are just as important as the composition of your plate.
In short, whether you are a beginner athlete, an experienced athlete, or just someone looking to improve their health, what and how you eat are
important. Food is not only fuel for the body but it is used as information that directly communicates WITH our bodies, brain & DNA. In the words of Dr. David Perlmutter “Your fork sets you on a path that leads you to a disease or back to health”
If you are looking to learn more book in with Kira Greasley at AST Willow Park today.
Practitioner of Functional Neurology and Functional Medicine at AST
Many women complain of fatigue and low energy. It has become a hallmark of modern lifestyle. While there can be many reasons for fatigue, all of them worthy of investigation by your trusted health care provider, anemia is a common problem causing a woman to feel exhausted no matter how much rest she has had. Anemia is a common cause of weakness, fatigue and shortness of breath.
Anemia is defined by a deficiency of red blood cells or haemoglobin in the blood. These important elements carry oxygen to all the tissues of the brain and body. There are different types of anemia but a common one for women in the perimenopausal years (35-55) is iron deficiency anemia. This means that your red blood cells cannot carry a sufficient amount of oxygen to your brain and body leading to fatigue.
If you know you have anemia, it’s important to know what type of anemia you have so that you may supplement your diet accordingly. Your last lab tests will give the clues about what kind of anemia you are experiencing. For example: you may have a deficiency of B12 or folate (vitamin B9) which can easily be supplemented with a high quality vitamin like we carry in our AST dispensary.
Iron should be replenished by our diet. Dark green leafy veggies, lentils, liver, red meat, and fish are good sources. If you are eating a veggie-forward diet, please be sure to consume foods high in vitamin C with your meals to help with absorption of iron. Cooking in a cast iron pan will also impart iron into the foods you consume.
It helps to understand that a woman loses iron monthly with her menstrual bleed, so you must be replenishing this lost iron continuously. If she has fibroids or endometriosis or short cycles or is bleeding heavily, then this loss of resources can be difficult to keep up with requiring an iron supplement daily. There are many types of iron supplements, please speak to you practitioner to get the best one for you.
Last month we talked about the importance of regular bowel movements and that being constipated or having diarrhea can be a sign that your digestion is off. So lets’ dive in a little further.
Digestion is the process of turning large pieces of food into its component nutrients by mechanical, chemical and microbial digestion. Although each part of digestion is important, we are going to focus specifically on microbial digestion.
Your gut hosts 100 trillion micro organisms which are made up of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, algae, and fungi and we could not exist without them. These microorganisms make up 70% of our immune system and are in constant communication with the brain either directly or through other mechanisms that alter the brain. Your gut has its own nervous system, known in the literature as the enteric nervous system but is generally referred to it as the second brain. We’ve all heard the common expressions “go with your gut” or “I have a gut feeling” and the data is showing there are three major routes on how our gut “talks” to the brain:
The vagus nerve takes what information we put into our gut and distributes it to the brain and visa versa. This vagus nerve has many neutrons or sensors that then distribute that information out to other parts of the body. People, what happens in the vagus does not stay in the vagus on this one!
Microbes make neurotransmitters and hormones that can signal the brain through our nerve networks. For example, did you know that certain bacteria in our gut produce 90-95% of our peripheral serotonin (the happy hormone). Serotonin is responsible for our emotional well being, GI motility, and is a precursor to the production of melatonin that helps us sleep. As such, our thoughts, perception and stress can literally alter the composition of our microbiome.
Influencing the immune system, which interfaces directly with the nervous system throughout our entire body. In this situation, think of your microbes as a security system, are they actively surveilling or are they asleep at the wheel.
To put it all into simple terms, how we “tend to our garden” literally determines how our entire body responds. Balance between the immune system, the hormonal system, and the nervous system begins in, and is critically dependent on a healthy gut. So with all this in mind, what are some simple steps you can do?
Counteract that stress response. The flight or flight stress response is a natural survival mechanism but if it is never turned off, body processes such as digestion, mental well-being, and the storage and expenditure of energy in the body become affected This is one reason for fatigue, depression, and suppressed immunity.
Start looking at the foods you eat as information for your microbes, as they have a major effect, good or bad, on how they flourish. Is that information positive (bright coloured) or negative (bland colour)? Our gut bacteria need complex, fermentable starches to feed on. Hello, fruits and vegetables.
Probiotics are live micro-organisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, provide health benefits for the host such as enhancing mineral absorption, strengthening the immune system and protecting the intestinal wall lining. Food items such as whole milk yogurt, Kefir, raw unpasteurized sauerkraut, true kombucha tea (not sugar drinks) and beet kvass are good options. Adding a multi-strain probiotic to one’s regimen may also improve the diversity of one's gut flora.
Prebiotics are indigestible plant fibres that selectively stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in our gut. Their job is to feed the probiotics. Food items such as onions, bananas, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, miso, legumes and raw natural honey are good food sources.
Expose yourself to a variety of environments including animal/pet exposure, gardens (what a great way to connect and teach your children about food or just to relax), travel if possible to expose yourself to different new gut friends, introduce a different vegetable at each grocery shop. The ways are endless!
Don’t be a clean freak! There is a term called the hygiene hypothesis, which states that a lack of early childhood exposure to bacteria or germs does not give the immune system a chance to develop. Use caution when using antibiotic soaps, antibacterial cleaners, and hand sanitizers. Look for more organic cleaners where possible, your gut bugs will thank you.
Unless necessary, lay off the use of antibiotics as they do not discern between good or bad bugs, they just wipe out the entire colony. With that being said, antibiotics have a time and a place, so please consult your physician.
As we have seen, our microbiota can alter quickly in response to our diet or environment. As such, it is important that we look at how we cultivate it as a life-long way of living and eating and not some short-term fad.
If you are interested in learning more or improving your microbiome from a nutritional perspective book a consultation with Kira Greasley today. Kira works atAST Willow Park and is currently taking new patients.
The Humble Yet Important Wrist.
By Sarah Kuindersma, M.A.T Muscle Activation Techniques, PTS,
Our hands are in high demand and often taken for granted. We type, we text, we lift, and grip throughout the day, without taking a moment to appreciate the humble wrist. This humble wrist makes most of our day-to-day activities possible. It is important that we make sure that our wrists and elbows have adequate strength and mobility, similar to other parts of our bodies such as knees and shoulders. Without this strength and mobility we are vulnerable to stiff wrists or worse nagging pain with simple activities.
The wrist is an elaborate structure which allows for the broad range of movements it can perform. To avoid pain and recover quickly from a wrist injury, focus on developing strength in your wrists while maintaining excellent range of motion. How does one do this?
This is where we are here to help, below are a few exercises that can help improve wrist mobility, release tension quickly, and build grip strength to keep your wrists healthy and pain free.
Wrist Mobility Drills
The following is an easy 5 minute routine you can do at your desk for your wrist.
Fist revs: visualize revving your motor bike. Have your elbows bent forearms parallel to the floor. Make a fist, and slowly pull the wrists up hold for a second before curling the wrists down. Perform 8-10 times
Fist extension to finger extension: start in the same position, with your fists closed, pull the fists up hold while you extend the fingers up to the ceiling, hold for a second make a fist and return the start. Perform 8-10 times
Wrist Flexion Pulls: Start in the same position, this time have your fingers straight, point your hand to the floor, from here curl your fingers into a fist. Use your opposite hand to gently pull. Hold for 2-3 seconds before releasing and repeating. Perform 4-5 reps/side
Hammer Curls: Start in the same position, this time turn your wrists made into fists to face each other. Slowly pull the thumbs towards you then push them away. Perform 4-5 reps. After you can then curl the fists in towards each other and then away. Perform 4-5 reps.
Open Palm Wrist Circles: hold onto one wrist, open your hand and start to make a full circle at the wrist. Perform 3-4 circles one way then rev direction and repeat.
Prayer hands: Place your hands in the praying position, then slowly lower the hands pressed into each other. Hold the stretch for 2-3 seconds repeat 4 times then repeat with the hands flipped in a rev pray. This time you are slowly raising the wrists up to feel a stretch.
Clench and release: squeeze your fist tight hold 2-3 seconds then shake the hands out. Repeat 4-5 times.
*Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor or physiotherapist .
Median Nerve Floss
If you are experiencing numbness down the hand, it could be due to pressure on the median nerve, usually due to repetitive usage of the wrist.
The following exercise is a nerve mobilization exercise to help decrease inflammation and pain by alleviating the pressure on the never. You can do this seated or standing.
Bring one arm up like you are going to flex your bicep. Relax the bicep and turn the palm of your hand towards your ear.
Imagine there is a string attached from your middle finger to the top of your ear. As you straighten your elbow your ear moves down to your shoulder.
To start keep your hand in line with your wrist, to advance this exercise you can pull your fingers and palm back like your spiderman about to shoot a web.
Relieving Wrist Pain with Muscle Activation Techniques
Wanting to alleviate wrist pain in a different way? Have you tried M.A.T. Muscle Activation Techniques?
M.A.T. assess your movement mechanics to identify potential faulty movement mechanics leading to chronic strain creating the pain. M.A.T. then activates the muscles or rather creates a repatterning of movement patterns so your wrist can better handle the force applied to it through everyday movements and exercises.
Call to book in with our in house M.A.T. Specialist Sarah Kuindersma today, at Active Sports Therapy 403-278-1405
Want to learn more about M. A. T. ? Watch this video
The Common Link in Soft Tissue Injuries
[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Dr. David Westmacott
All athletes have one thing in common. Whether they have had one, are currently playing with one, or are at risk of getting one, the dreaded SPORTS INJURY is and always will be a part of sports play. Many question arise with coaches and parents of the athlete: Is the injured athlete doing more harm by continuing to play? When is it safe to return to play? How can the risk of injury be kept at a minimum? These questions can become a little easier to answer with a basic understanding of the physiology of the injury.
The majority of sports injuries are injuries of the body’s soft tissues. Soft tissues are muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These structures work in harmony to produce movement of the body’s frame. When a muscle or tendon is injured (strain) or a ligament is injured (sprain), the microscopic parts of these structures become deranged in such a way to produce pain, swelling and altered function. The body begins its healing process immediately by repairing the microscopic anatomy by laying down dense, fibrotic SCAR TISSUE. Scar tissue is a gristly, glue-like substance that is resistant to stretch. The normal elasticity of the muscle, tendon or ligament is lost and pain occurs with movement.
The common link between all soft tissue injuries is SCAR TISSUE. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, thus inhibiting normal muscle function. Normal body mechanics is therefore altered predisposing the athlete to other soft tissue and joint injuries. Decreased athletic efficiency and performance is also a result of altered body mechanics.
In order for a soft tissue injury to be completely healed, the fibrotic scar must be broken down to restore the normal elasticity and pliability of the tissue. Normal functioning muscle is paramount to ensure normal body mechanics.
Active release therapy (ART) is a soft tissue treatment system that releases the scar tissue that occurs with injured and over used muscles. Back pain, shin splints, rotator cuff injuries, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. The ART provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements.
The key to a safe and enjoyable athletic career is a basic understanding of the physiological changes that occur with the athletic injury. An understanding of the importance to rid the body of painful, movement altering scar tissue, will not only get the athlete back on the playing field sooner, but will prevent further injuries and thus increase overall athletic performance.
If you think you could benefit from an ART treatment, please contact our clinic for an assessment from on of our chiropractors.
*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]