We are currently offering in-person and virtual appointments. Email, call or book online. We are currently offering in-person and virtual appointments. Email, call or book online.


  • The science behind smoking

    CAMH provides great resources for smoking cessation strategies as well as a link to Dr. Mike Evans’ illustrated video of what does and doesn’t work when thinking about quitting smoking.

    So what is this post about if not about ways you can quit smoking? I want to reveal to you the science behind smoking in hopes that this will help you understand why some can quit cold turkey while other’s can’t, understand why you feel the way you do during withdrawal, and the benefits you gain from quitting earlier. My hope is to empower you with knowledge so that you can take back control of your life.

    Why is it so difficult to quit smoking?

    In a healthy individual, a sympathetic response (aka. the “fight or flight” response) is initiated when neurotransmitters called acetylcholine bind to receptors (specifically, cholinergic receptors) in our body, often in response to a stressful situation. However, nicotine within cigarettes can initiate that same “fight or flight” response by binding to those receptors in the absence of acetylcholine. With constant stimulation of these receptors, nicotine will bind and in-activate them, thus causing your body to adapt by up-regulating the production of this receptor. This up-regulation means that over time, it will take more nicotine in order to fill all the receptors. If that doesn’t happen, cravings intensify because your body is tricked into thinking that it needs that constant sympathetic stimulation from nicotine, but isn’t getting it.

    So, physiologically speaking, depending on how much up-regulation of the receptor has occurred, some will experience far more intense withdrawal symptoms than others. Some may find that using a patch and/or slowly decreasing the number of cigarettes per day is the best way to quit while controlling the symptoms of withdrawal.

    Of course, if it was as simple as using a patch to control nicotine dosage Canada wouldn’t still be seeing a smoking prevalence of 14.5%.

    We’ve already identified what happens to your body when you smoke. But what about your brain? Never mind the physical changes; what are the reasons we smoke? Your brain is a pretty amazing thing- with enough repetition, your brain can adapt to anything. For example, if every time you walked out of your office you had a cigarette, your body would start associating walking out of the office with needing a cigarette. By simply identifying when you have cravings to certain environments, objects, or people, it can help you manage your cravings.

    And of course, motivation is key to quitting. You have to be ready for change. Here are a couple of facts to get you thinking about quitting if you are not already ready:

    • In just 8 hours after quit, excess carbon monoxide is out of your blood.
    • After just 1 week, your sense of taste and smell improves.
    • After 2-12 weeks, your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
    • 1 year after you quit, your risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker’s.
    • If you were a pack-a-day smoker, you’d save over $4,000 in 1 year.
    • After 5-15years, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker.
  • Laughter is the best medicine

    Laughter is good for you. Even when indulged on, it’s free of side effects- the worst that can happen is you end up curled up in a corner racked with the giggles, trying very hard to relax your abdominals.

    But if you want the health benefits associated with laughing, you can’t just laugh, you have to engage in mirthful laughter. That is laughter most commonly associated with humour.

    Dr. Michael Miller and Dr. William Fry, pioneers in laughter research, have studied the association between emotion and the cardiovascular system. They discovered that it would take about 10 minutes on a rowing machine for one’s heart rate to reach the level it would after 1 minute of “hearty” laughter!

    In 1996, an article was published in the Humor and Health Journal by Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan which found mirthful laughter to:

    1. Optimize hormones in the endocrine system. This means laughter helps decrease the levels of cortisol and epinephrine in your body, which leads to stress reduction.
    2. Boosts your immune system by increasing the production of antibodies and by increasing the activation of T-cells and Natural Killer Cells (your body’s protective cells).

    3. Enhances your mood and makes you and others around you feel good.

    4. Lowers bad cholesterol, and raises good cholesterol.

    5. Lowers systolic blood pressure.

    Basically, repetitious mirthful laughter causes your body to respond in a way similar to moderate physical exercise. So the next time your friends tell you to join them in the gym, what do you do.

    Laugh. Mirthfully.

  • Does your desk job hurt?

    Sitting at a desk can lead to chronic back, neck and forearm pain. There are several things you can do that can help.

    Below is a postcard you can print and keep by your desk. It will act as a reminder to keep checking your posture and to get up and move around 

    Here is a bit more information on the points listed above:

    1. Set-up a good ergonomic workstation for yourself.The checklist reflects the ideal set-up of your workstation. You don’t necessarily need an expensive chair or desk to do this. You can use household items to help you achieve a better workstation. For example, put those old phonebooks to good use- use them to prop up your screen, or as a foot rest to achieve the ideal knee angle. If your chair is too deep, a firm pillow can help ensure you have enough room behind your knee while maintaining a good back support that will fit the curve of your back. For those who work on laptops, you will find that even if your posture is perfect, you will be looking down at your screen. The best thing to do in this case is to buy a keyboard and mouse so that you can prop up your laptop to the perfect height without compromising the position of your elbows and shoulders.

    Now, a disclaimer. There is no such thing as the perfect positionResearch has found that you can have the perfect workstation set up but if you don’t get up to move around at least twice per hour, you will still experience stiff muscles and joints. To make it clear, this doesn’t mean you can slouch over your desk and expect to be okay if you get up every 30 minutes. The best thing you can do for yourself is: maintain good posture while at your desk, but make a point of getting up every 30 minutes to stretch and walk around. Which leads us to…

    1. Motion is Lotion. I’m not telling you to get up and run a marathon every half hour or do 100 push-ups by your desk. All I want you to do is get up and off your chair and move around for about 30-60s before going back to you work. The motion can be as simple as moving your neck, shoulders and back in a circular motion, or marching on the spot, or walking over to the lunchroom and grabbing a drink of water. Less than a minute of movement twice every hour can help prevent a lot of issues down the road! Unfortunately, and I do understand this, it can be hard to remember to do this during a busy work day. However, I can guarantee that by the end of the day your body will thank you for remembering.


    1. Exercise. Regular moderate to high intensity exercise (3-4x/week) that incorporates weights and cardio can really make a difference on your health and energy level, but recent research shows that may not be enough. A 30min exercise routine done once a day does not mean you are free to sit all day. Sitting for long periods of time has been associated to higher risks of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, regardless of exercise. Those who exercised regularly had lower risk than those who did not engage in any physical activity at all, however the lowest risk was seen in those who not only exercised but also engaged in light activity throughout the day.
  • What is Chiropractic?

    Chiropractic is a non-invasive, hands-on health care discipline that focuses on assessing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with the neuromusculoskeletal system. A comprehensive evaluation that includes a combination of history taking, palpation, functional, sensory, motor and reflex testing, the Chiropractic Doctor will not only be able to find the source of the symptoms but will be able to locate any other disturbances or disruptions in the nervous system. The nervous system is what controls and regulates the entire body, including muscle, organ activity. Disruptions in this system will cause restrictions in the body’s normal and innate function which can manifest as pain, but not always. Instead, it can cause muscle imbalances which lead to decreases in strength, balance, coordination, and eventually joint degeneration before pain even manifests.

    The most common method of treatment is the chiropractic adjustment. This procedure can be administered manually or with a tool. If done manually, the Chiropractor will place their hands on the joint, manipulate it so that it is at end range, and then administer a controlled but quick thrust, often timed with your breathing. The most common tool used to administer the adjustment is the activator. It operates similarly by contacting the area with the head of the activator and administering a quick thrust to the joint. A “cavitation” or a “popping” noise may or may not accompany the adjustment. Although the sound may be loud and scary to hear, it is simply the release of gaseous elements from a tight fluid filled joint and is not harmful in any way. A cavitation is not an indication of a successful adjustment, rather it is a possible benign side effect of the technique.

    The goal of the adjustment is to correct the alignment, create movement, and improve the body’s function by optimizing joint health, vessel and nerve function, and communication with the brain. This will help not only reduce symptoms, but promote long term health by restoring proper body function.

    Most Chiropractors combine their adjustments with other manual techniques or modalities. This can include, but isn’t limited to, soft tissue therapy, mobilizations, acupuncture, ice/heat therapy, taping, ultrasound and cold laser.

  • 10 tips to conserve energy in cold weather

    How to stay cozy at home without warming the planet?

    Winter is here and you have already pulled out your warm, woolly sweaters, hats and mitts. Sure, you might be prepared for the cold, but what about your home? It’s about time we all got our homes ready for winter – eco-style. Conserving energy is one of the best things you can do for the environment and your bank account, as it can help reduce your utility bills as well.

    Here are 10 ways to prepare your home for the cold months ahead while treading lightly on the Earth:

    1) Automate
    Almost half of a home’s energy consumption is due to heating and cooling. If you turn your thermostat down by just one degree, you will save energy and up to ten per cent on your home heating bill. And, for each degree you drop below 20 degrees Celsius during colder weather, you will save three to five per cent more on heating. An easy way to control temperature is to install a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts to cooler temperatures during the day when you are at work or at night when you are sleeping.

    2) Assess
    In many homes, an enormous amount of energy is wasted as heat radiating from the furnace quickly escapes out of cracks and windows. A home energy audit can help assess how your house uses energy while prioritizing actions you can take to make it more efficient and comfortable. The federal government offers assessment and grant programs as incentives to homeowners who make changes to improve energy-efficiency.

    3) Eliminate drafts
    Draft-proofing will keep you warm while saving energy and money. It has been said that if you add up all the cracks and the gaps between doors and windows in an average home, it is equal to leaving one window open. To help stop drafts, install weather-stripping around doors and caulk cracks around windows. During the winter, air conditioners installed in windows can be a large source of cold drafts. It’s always a good idea to remove window units during cold months or, if you must leave them in, insulate them in tight-fitting covers available at most home improvement stores.

    4) Lower water temperature
    Your water heater is the second largest energy consumer in the home. Turn it down to 60 degrees Celsius, the minimum storage temperature, to conserve power and you will still find yourself with plenty of hot water. To save even more energy here, consider wrapping your water heater in an insulating jacket that can save up to 10 per cent on water heating costs.

    5) Keep it closed
    Closing your curtains in the evening will help stop heat from escaping through windows. Keeping closet doors and dresser drawers closed is also a good idea as it prevents heat from entering areas that do not need it. If you have rooms in your home that you don’t use, you may consider closing the doors and, depending on the type of heating your house has, blocking vents or turning off electric heaters.

    6) Timing is everything
    When you are preparing some delicious cuisine in the kitchen this winter, be sure to time your cooking so that everything you are making can go into the oven at the same time. This will decrease the overall amount of energy that the oven needs to cook your meal.

    7) Insulate
    Save energy and feel more comfortable by increasing insulation in the perimeter walls and ceilings. Look for eco-friendly recycled materials with no added formaldehyde when shopping for insulation. By insulting the cavity walls in your home, you can save up to 15 per cent on your energy bills. Most homes built after 1920 have external walls which consist of two layers of brick with a small gap between them. Filling the gap with insulating material significantly decreases the amount of heat that escapes and helps to create a more even temperature throughout the home. Attic insulation prevents up to 15 per cent of a home’s heat from escaping through the roof by acting like a blanket, trapping the heat as it rises from the house below.

    8) Radiant flooring
    Radiant floor heating systems increase indoor air quality because unlike forced-air systems, they don’t blow dust and other allergens around your home. They have warm water circulating in flexible tubing that is installed below the floor allowing heat to radiate upwards providing quiet, steady warmth while using less energy. This project may have to wait until you are renovating as it can be pricey depending on the area you want to cover, but if the opportunity and funds arise, it will pay off in the long run.

    9) Your furnace
    Clean or replace your furnace filter as recommended, especially during months of heavy usage. Energy is lost when hot air furnaces have to work harder to draw air through dirty filters. You may also consider purchasing a new furnace. There are furnace models available now that are 25 per cent more efficient than they were back in the 1980s.

    10) Double up
    Installing double-pane windows involves a bigger investment, but it can cut the heat lost through windows by half. Some of the government programs mentioned above will subsidise a percentage of the cost of the windows if your assessment concludes that new windows will make your home more energy efficient. If you don’t think a new set of windows will work for you right now, a simple and effective seal for your existing single-pane aluminum windows (at a fraction of the cost) is clear plastic.

    Getting your home winter-ready can make a large impact on both the environment and your utility bills. It’s certainly easy to turn up the thermostat and have your furnace pump out the heat, but it’s crucial to consider the environmental impact. There are many small things you can do around your home to make it more energy efficient. Larger projects may seem costly to implement at first, but if you use the government programs available and look at the big picture, you will see it is well worth the money and the effort for you and the planet.

  • Fight the Fear: the Scoop on Plastic

    Do we need another reason to stop using plastic? Well we have one! Now it’s time to find some BPA-free alternatives

    Let’s cut to the chase. By now you’ve probably heard about the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA), found in products such as food and drink packaging, baby bottles, and dental sealants.

    There are reasons you need to heed the warnings about BPA and thankfully, many easily accessible products that can help you rid the chemical from your life.

    Health Canada is one of the first regulatory bodies world wide to recognize and move toward banning products that contain BPA. Why? It’s suspected of being linked to neural and behavioural effects in fetuses, infants and children, in addition to obesity and abnormal hormone levels causing early puberty, prostate and breast cancers. The concern is that the chemical leaches from food and beverage containers, particularly when they are heated or exposed to acidic substances.

    Sounds scary, luckily there are alternatives to the products we have been using for years.

    Plastic water bottles containing BPA can be replaced with stainless steel containers from companies such as Klean Kanteen (www.kleankanteen.com). Glass baby bottles or BPA free plastic bottles such as Born Free (www.newbornfree.com), can be used and are now found widely at your local health food store.

    An alternative to eating canned foods lined with materials that contain BPA is to choose healthier options such as foods that are fresh, frozen or in jars or cartons. If you do purchase canned foods, companies such as Eden Food (www.edenfoods.com) use BPA free material.

    The lining in pop cans may contain BPA, not to mention sugar and many other chemicals that your body doesn’t need. Substitute your soda cravings with a nice tall glass of water with a squeeze of lemon in it.

    Try to go that extra step for the environment and avoid BPA from leaking into your food, by bringing glass or BPA free plastic containers when you pick up your take out food. If you must use plastic containers, look for the number 1 on the bottom, this means it contains the safer plastic polyethylene terephthalate. Avoid any containers that have the number 3, 6 and 7 as they may contain BPA.

    Have we scared you? Remember this: yes, the information on BPA is alarming. You do, though, have easy options to help you avoid it. Meanwhile, the need to step away from BPA can help you boost your green power as it’s another reason to move toward healthier alternatives that are more sustainable, recyclable and environmentally friendly.

    What do all of those numbers on the bottom of containers mean?

    Not so lucky number seven

    1 – Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE) and is the easiest plastic to recycle.
    2 – High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and can be recycled into bottles or bags.
    3 – Polyvinyl Chloride (V) and can be challenging to recycle.
    4 – Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) and is recycled to make grocery and sandwich bags.
    5 – Polypropylene (PP) and can be recycled into fibres. This is what Tupperware and yoghurt containers are made from.
    6 – Polystyrene (PS) is what fast-food containers are made from and is not easily recycled.
    7 – Mixture of polycarbonate and other plastics and cannot be recycled. This is the number that may contain BPA.

    For more information on plastics, go to http://www.plastics.ca

/* Adjust static page alignment by Marika @ PXU 2/26/2020 */ #page-content{ text-align: left !important; } /* end */