Researchers have found in study after study that meditation can offer both mental and physical health benefits. Doctors of Chiropractic, other physicians and integrative health programs increasingly prescribe meditation techniques alongside traditional treatments to achieve a wide range of health goals, from increasing immunity to lowering high blood pressure and reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. On the surface of things, meditation would seem to offer a variety of benefits-if it actually works. After all, it’s non-invasive, drug-free, and costs nothing. So how effective is it?
Approximately 500 clinical trials have been performed on the health effects of meditation, of which about 40 have been long-term studies. Short-term studies have found that meditation may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, and that it improves memory and general cognitive functioning.
Of the long-term studies, a nine-year study of African-Americans with heart disease found that those who regularly practiced Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice a day had a 48% lower risk of stroke, heart attack or death than those who had only receive health education. They reported significantly less stress and had 5mmHg lower systolic blood pressure.
Two studies from Ohio State University found that meditation was effective against cancer. The first showed that breast cancer survivors had a lower recurrence of the disease with the daily practice of relaxation meditation. The second found that meditation increased the elderly subjects’ “killer cells,” providing more resistance to viruses and tumors.
Meditation has also been found to cause epigenetic changes by helping to maintain telomere length. Telomeres are the protective sheaths at the ends of our chromosomes, which become shorter as we age, increasing the risk of dementia, heart disease and cancer. A study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry showed a 43% greater increase in activity of the enzyme that regulates telomere length in those who meditated as opposed to those who just listened to relaxing music.
Those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome will be glad to learn that meditating twice daily can significantly reduce symptoms of constipation, bloating and diarrhea. It has also been shown to reduce depression and impart a general sense of calm.
Scientists believe that one of the major benefits of meditation is that it lowers stress. Stress causes the release of hormones such as cortisol, which stimulates the “fight or flight” response, increasing blood pressure and stress on the arterial walls. Although one of the roles of cortisol is to control inflammation in the body, with prolonged exposure to it (which is what happens with chronic stress), the body eventually becomes unresponsive to the hormone. Despite the adrenals pumping out more cortisol to try to keep up, inflammation continues to increase. By lowering stress, inflammation is reduced throughout the body, resulting in a reduction in the symptoms of chronic disease.
The practice of meditation is a simple one that anyone can perform once or twice a day for 10-15 minutes sessions. Sit comfortably cross-legged on the floor or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your spine straight. With eyes open or closed, simply bring your attention to your breath and notice it as it comes in and goes out. When your mind begins to wander (which it always will), just bring your attention back to the breath. Some find it useful to focus on each part of the body, mentally relaxing each muscle as you focus on it.
While there’s growing awareness among the general public that meditation can significantly improve people’s quality of life, there’s also plenty of evidence that meditation can offer specific physical and mental health benefits. If you’re interested in learning more, we encourage you to call or visit our office!
Few people put their bodies through the sort of punishment that football players endure every week-during practice and at game time. Former National Football League (NFL) wide receiver Jerry Rice says that chiropractic care has been instrumental in keeping him in good condition, both on and off the field. He was named the NFL’s Player of the Year in 1987 and retired 20 years later, having broken almost every wide receiver record in the NFL. Named MVP in Super Bowl XXIII, he attributes his athletic longevity to “vigorous exercise and chiropractic adjustments.”
“I believe in chiropractic and I know that it works. You probably know about my long and successful career in football, and I’m flattered by the testimonials to my durability. Football is a very rough and vigorous sport,” Rice says. “I took some vicious hits from players nearly twice my size. Thankfully, I had the durability to withstand these tackles, or I would never have succeeded or lasted as long as I did. Chiropractic was the key to keeping me in the game.” He continued, “My first experience with chiropractic care was right before the 49ers were to play the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII. A couple of our players were injured and a chiropractor turned things around. I quickly became a believer, and ever since, I have had the benefit of chiropractic care.” He added, “Chiropractic made football great for me. I was at my best and was always at 100 percent.”
Rice had chiropractic adjustments twice a week while he was training to help him recover from the regular assault his body took on the playing field. “If I had everything in alignment, I knew I could play my best football,” he said. Seeing how it helped Rice, his teammates were soon convinced that chiropractic was better than traditional care involving drugs. “I wanted to set the standard within football,” he said. “I knew if chiropractic helped me put up outstanding numbers, it could help my teammates do the same.”
After his successful football career, Rice then went on to a new physical challenge: learning to dance like a professional. Rice related what taking on this new adventure was like. “‘Dancing With the Stars’ was every bit as exhausting and challenging. Though not nearly as brutal as football, it required many hours of practice I had aches and pains that I’d never had before. Again, chiropractic made the difference, and kept me dancing and in the competition.”
Rice wants to get the word out to as many people as possible regarding the benefits of chiropractic care. He says, “The game of life requires the edge that chiropractic provides. Chiropractic care allows me to lead a very active lifestyle. I have seen its value, both personally and professionally, among my friends and teammates.”
For a sport with a relatively short history (it began in Southern California in the 1930s), beach volleyball has become immensely popular in the U.S. and around the world. So much so that the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) was founded in 1983 to promote the sport and its athletes, and it became an official sport of the Olympic Games in 1996.
The AVP has always recognized that playing on an uneven surface puts a great deal of strain on the bodies of even well-conditioned athletes. So in order to help reduce the risk of injury and prolong players’ careers, the AVP hired a chiropractor named Tim Brown as its first Director of Sports Medicine. Another chiropractic physician named G. Douglas Andersen took over this role a couple of years later. It has become standard practice for a team chiropractor, along with all the necessary adjusting equipment, to accompany the team across the country to each competition on the AVP tour.
Chiropractor Allen M. Manison regularly works with beach volleyball players. He says, “When one considers volleyball injuries, usually the shoulder is the region that gets blamed most. This makes sense as we usually envision volleyball players ‘spiking’ the ball. The rotator cuff and other structures of the shoulder take a beating from the high force and movement that is required of the shoulder.” However, other parts of the body are prone to injury as well. Manison says “I have seen more neck, knee, hip, low back, toe, foot, ankle, and elbow injuries than I would’ve ever imagined! Shoulder injuries are actually about half of the way down on the list of injuries.”
Manison continued, “The beach volleyball game involves tremendous stresses on the body. First, it’s two people per each side of the net, so each athlete has to cover large areas in very short periods of time. Second, the athletes are throwing their bodies around in sand, which certainly does not help with movement. Third, although the sand gives way, the athletes are barefoot and are not getting lots of support for the aggressive maneuvers they are making while they play. Fourth, there is sometimes very little rest as winning teams need to keep playing, and without enough rest and recovery, the risk for injury is increased.”
April Ross, a US Olympic Team beach volleyball player, appreciated the benefits of growing up with chiropractic in her home. She said, “I’ve worked with a lot of chiropractors in my career as a professional beach volleyball player and I grew up having one as my dad, so I think my standards are pretty high! … It’s always pleasant going in for an adjustment. I get a lot of whiplash diving around in the sand and as long as I get in regularly to see [her chiropractor] Dr. Callotta I’m able to deal with it so that I can continue to compete. I don’t know what I would do without her. Now that I am heading to the Olympics I’m counting on her to keep me healthy and ready to win the gold!” (Editor’s note: She did win a silver medal!)
Lisa Rutledge, a professional beach volleyball player had this to say about her chiropractor: “I see Dr. J for chiropractic work about 2 to 3 times a week, and honestly, if I could go more, I would. I play beach volleyball and it takes a serious toll on your body. I’m traveling all over the world – I’m going to Moscow, to Rome, to Korea – and 20-hour flights are not fun. So when I get back my body is just out of alignment, it feels weird, it just doesn’t feel right. So as soon as I get off the plane I book my appointment with Dr. J and I get my adjustment and I feel 100 times better. It really does wonders for your body.”
In case you get a flat, the temporary “donut” in your trunk is meant to get you off the road and to the nearest service station for proper repair ASAP. Manufacturer’s instructions warn you to take it slow and easy when driving on them – those tiny tires aren’t designed to withstand the load of normal driving. But regardless of that warning, you’ve probably seen some idiot speeding down the highway on one, oblivious to the potential risks.
Some people treat their health that way. When they get an injury or a health problem they mask their symptoms with ‘spare tire’ medication, all the while continuing the activities that got them there in the first place. They pay little attention to the risks of temporarily patching their problem with drugs and pass on fixing the CAUSE of their problem. That can get you into trouble.
When it comes to acute or chronic health problems, the best policy is to fix the underlying cause of the problem the right way instead of masking the symptoms with medication. That’s the core philosophy of drugless Chiropractic care. In the short term drugs may bring you false comfort, but in the long run you’re risking a serious blow out.
Number 27 – Dropping 420 lbs on your head at the Olympics. Can you imagine gold medalist weight lifter Matthias Steiner’s next Chiropractic visit… ‘hey doc, my neck’s sore and I’ve been getting these bad headaches. Think it could be my pillow?”
The father of Chiropractic, D.D. Palmer recognized 3 ‘T’s as being the major cause of nerve interfer- ence (aka Subluxation): Trauma, Toxins and Thoughts. The first ‘T’ is pretty obvious, but many patients overlook the last two. TOXINS come in the form of pesticides, artificial additives in our food, cigarette smoke and the most common of all, pharmaceuticals (yes, drugs are foreign to the body and put added stress on your nerve system). Constant THOUGHTS of fear, worry and depression can also weaken your sensitive nerve system and make it harder to heal.
Many patients believe it’s only physical things like car accidents, bad pillows and the occasional ‘400 lbs barbell on the head’ that can cause nerve interference, when in reality it’s the daily bombardment of hid- den food toxins and stressful thoughts that commonly do the most damage.
… do you have to eat it for the rest of your Life? The answer is obviously no, unless your parents still have an iron grip on your diet. No one can force you to do something that’s good for your health and your Life if you don’t want to.
If you don’t want to renew that gym membership, go to yoga classes or reduce your stress with meditation, that’s up to you. Don’t feel like watching your sugar intake or taking your vitamins, the choice is yours to reap the benefits or face the consequences. And the same goes for your Chiropractic care.
That rumor that says ‘once you start Chiropractic care, you have to keep going for the rest of your life’ is a big fallacy. Although it’s true, many clients who start Chiropractic CHOOSE to continue with mainte- nance care because they appreciate the truckload of Life benefits that goes with having a strong spine and clear Nerve System… no one is forcing them to do so. They do it because it simply makes sense – just like eating their broccoli.
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If your hand was taped in one position for years, and someone cut the tape off and tried to move it, what do you think would happen? Your hand would snap back to the position it was stuck in for all that time. But with repetition – normal movement and alignment can be restored. The same goes for your spine.
When vertebrae are misaligned and stuck chronically over time (subluxated), supporting muscles and ligaments tend to ‘hold’ them in that position. The first time a Chiropractor tries to adjust it, just like the taped hand, the vertebrae may shift back to the old position it was stuck in. That’s why ‘one and done’ rarely works in Chiropractic. It takes repetition to change.
Frequency and repetition are necessary components of any successful Chiropractic care plan. The more consistent you are with your adjustments, the better the results. For Chiropractors, the definition of sanity is doing the right thing over and over again until health is restored.
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The specialists say you have allergies, asthma, sleep apnea, depression, chronic fatigue, GERD and fibromyalgia. They say you’ll be on a dozen different medications for the rest of your life. But what does the doctor looking back at you in the mirror say?
The doctor in the mirror says you have an innate wisdom inside, capable of RE-CREATING a health- ier version you. A ‘you’ without allergies, asthma, sleep apnea, depression, chronic fatigue, GERD or fibromyalgia. That doctor is just waiting for you to remove the roadblock.
Health is your birthright. Health is your natural state. Health is what you experience when you have a clear nerve system. Don’t be imprisoned by the whitecoat’s diagnosis, it’s merely a temporary state. Find chiropractors who work with the doctor inside you, like Dr. Jeanne Ames and you’ll leave sickness and dis-ease behind in the dust.
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Newton’s Cradle is a simple device that demonstrates the laws of momentum with a series of swing- ing spheres. The progression of many health problems can be described in a similar, sequential manner.
A small slip, fall or bump nudges your spine out of alignment and produces stress in your Nerve System called a Subluxation. It creates a state of Dis-Ease, a disruption in the body’s ability to maintain perfect health. Over time, Pathological changes in cells lead to physiologic Dysfunctions in organ systems which you eventually experience as Symptoms. If this negative momentum is allowed to continue, the last ball in line is Death…
Many patients are unaware of their health issues until ball #5- long after the negative cascade begins. That’s why Chiropractors encourage preventative screenings for Subluxations. The goal is to get checked before the first ball swings.
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If you were the unfortunate recipient of a nasty cut, you know what it’s like to get stitches. With a little local anesthetic and some skilled suturing, your cut looks much cleaner. After a few days when the stitches come out, you barely notice there was even a wound. So did the stitches do the healing?
Stitches and Chiropractic Adjustments have one thing in common… they can’t heal you. Sure, both may be necessary after an injury. But both can only create a cleaner environment for the healing to take place. Stitches align skin to seal a wound, adjustments align vertebrae to ease nerve pressure – but it’s the healing power of Life inside you that completes the job.
The next time you come in for an adjustment to instantly fix your headache, your sciatica or your sleeping problems, understand it isn’t the adjustment that produces the result. It simply creates an environment more conducive for healing. The doctor inside you is the one who deserves credit for the work.
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