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The Politics of Health Care

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on October 27, 2015 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (1)

Chiropractic: Why all the Confusion, Misunderstanding and Misconceptions?

 

Rob Hutchings

 

When you have decided to consult a chiropractor, and you tell some friends and family about your decision, more often than not, at least one person you tell will express misgivings about that choice. You may hear statements such as the following: “Stay away from ‘bone crunchers!” “They are not scientific.” “I’ve heard chiropractic is dangerous quackery.”

 

Not that your friends or family have bad intentions; nothing of the sort. They probably are telling you these things out of genuine concern. However, is their concern based on a misinformed dogmatic belief or on actual evidence? To answer that question, we need to have a look at health care history, going back to the 1960s in the United States. What happened then and there has had profound implications for the health care to this day.

 

Pharmaceutical companies and medical associations have spent many years and billions of dollars lobbying to take control of health care. The basic strategy was to pass the Drugless Practitioner Act, which essentially meant that health care practitioners were divided into two general categories: those who could prescribe drugs and / or perform surgery and ‘the rest.’

 

Billions of dollars were then spent lobbying and marketing, with the deliberate attempt to make as many people as possible believe that medical doctors, that is those who could prescribe drugs, were ‘real doctors’ whose practice was based on sound science, and that everyone else was an unscientific quack who was potentially dangerous.

 

There was a problem, however, because despite the enormous amount of money, time and effort spent to create bias against non medical practitioners (viewed as the competition), a growing number of dissatisfied patients began seeking out such practitioners. At that time, and to this day, chiropractors represented the largest number of practitioners and the most commonly visited ‘alternative’ health care practitioners.

 

Something had to be done to curb this loss of influence and revenue. Often using illegal means, in 1963 the American Medical Association (AMA) formed the Committee on Quackery whose primary goal was, “to contain and eliminate chiropractic.” Their efforts were so successful that to this day the misinformation they spread still persists.

 

The Committee on Quackery conducted nationwide seminars on chiropractic, ‘educating’ MD’s and medical students that chiropractic was an ‘unscientific cult’ and was dangerous. Anti- chiropractic propaganda was distributed across the media, to medical boards, to doctors and medical schools. Doctors were actively and routinely warned that professional association between MD’s and chiropractors was unethical and could lead to fines or loss of their medical license. Medical schools were actively discouraged from cooperating with chiropractic schools on research efforts.

 

Despite these efforts, the number of patients seeking chiropractic care continued to rise, and evidence of effectiveness and safety of chiropractic was demonstrated to governments to the point that chiropractic was included under Medicare in 1973. The AMA became especially concerned that this could lead to chiropractors working in hospitals. The AMA went on to actually threaten hospitals with loss of accreditation if they allowed chiropractors to have access to patients – despite the evidence of effectiveness and safety!

 

In the 1980’s, a chiropractor named Dr. Chester Wilk had enough and launched a law suit against the AMA. Despite being overwhelmingly outmatched in finances and in legal counsel, in 1987, the Federal U.S. Appellate Court found the AMA guilty of “an illegal, deliberate misinformation campaign and an organized conspiracy to destroy chiropractic based on eliminating competition.” During the trial, it was conclusively shown that the AMA “deliberately undermined chiropractic education, undercut insurance programs for patients, and concealed evidence of the effectiveness and safety of chiropractic care.”

 

Obviously unhappy with the outcome, the AMA repeatedly tried to appeal the decision. The defense they used was “concern for public safety.” Since the evidence clearly demonstrated this to be false, the decision was upheld in the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1990 and in the U.S. Supreme Court on three separate occasions, the last time being in 1992.

 

As a result of this, the AMA was ordered to cease and desist all efforts to restrict its members from having professional associations with chiropractors. The AMA was also ordered to retract their position on chiropractic and notify doctors, hospitals and medical schools and boards. Obviously this was a great victory for chiropractic; however, the AMA’s campaign was so successful, that this bias still exists with the unfortunate effect of adversely affecting many doctors and patients. Not surprisingly, the zeal in which the court ordered retraction was acted upon paled in comparison to the efforts of the illegal misinformation campaign.

 

All of that was between the 1960’s to the 1990’s. But what about today? In today’s world, with easy access to the Internet, shouldn’t things change? A quick Google search on the effectiveness of chiropractic will leave the previously uninformed person with drastically conflicted viewpoints. On one hand, you can find out that chiropractic is evidence based, effective, safe and cost effective. On the other hand hand, self described ‘skeptics’ groups, whose agenda seems to be to attempt to discredit everything that is not drugs and surgery, will repeatedly claim that there is no evidence to support chiropractic care and that it is ineffective and dangerous. It seems that pharmaceutical companies and medical associations realized that directly attacking the competition could lead to a backlash of bad publicity. The irony is that these skeptics groups were founded and made up mainly of employees or representatives of pharmaceutical companies and medical associations, under the guise of non profit organisations. One need not wonder about their motivation, but one can’t help but wonder where they get their funding.

 

As recently as December 2, 2011, skeptics groups in Australia made public claims in mainstream media that chiropractic was comparable to voodoo and witchcraft. It is an obviously flamboyant, sensational statement designed to defame chiropractic and is completely false. Fortunately, most people see these allegations for the baseless propaganda that they are.

 

Government commissions in many countries have investigated chiropractic. Of particular note, the New Zealand government carried out the largest commission on chiropractic to date. In the conclusions, it stated that chiropractic is remarkably safe, is based on sound science, and “… in the interests of patients, there must be no impediment to full professional cooperation between chiropractors and medical professionals.” Interestingly, the New Zealand commission consulted with Skeptics groups, most notably Stephen Barrett, an unlicensed psychiatrist who failed his medical board exams and has thus made a living as an ‘expert witness’ to attack all forms of drug free health care, most notably chiropractic. He is responsible for the formation of many skeptics groups around the world, and these groups to this day use his work as the basis of their attack on chiropractic. The New Zealand commission states that they were “not prepared to put any accuracy or reliance in regard to chiropractic coming from skeptics groups.” Unfortunately, to this day, most MD’s who have a negative attitude towards chiropractic have these groups as their sole source of information on chiropractic.

 

Similar inquiries were carried out by the Ontario government in Canada, the Australian government, various state governments in the USA and the Swedish government. All commissions concluded that chiropractic is safe, scientific, effective, cost effective, cooperation between chiropractors and medical doctors best serves patients and that chiropractors should be employed in hospitals.

 

The premise of chiropractic- so vigorously attacked by the medical establishment over the years- that the body is self healing, self regulating, and that misalignments of the spine (termed ‘subluxation’) can interfere with normal functioning of the body, leading to a chronic state of stressful physiology is well documented scientifically. Ironically, cutting edge medical research in the last 20 years is proving what chiropractors have said for over 100 years, and what the medical establishment fought so hard to condemn!

 

Many research studies have been conducted on chiropractic, and when investigated for safety, effectiveness, patient satisfaction and cost effectiveness, every single time, chiropractic has been found to be superior to other interventions for spinal care, including drugs and surgery.

 

What all of this clearly demonstrates is that the attacks on chiropractors and other non-medical health professionals have not been motivated by evidence of ineffectiveness and harm, or by evidence supporting the superiority of medical interventions, but rather for the protection of the medical monopoly of health care.

 

This does not mean that the average medical physician, or the person on the street who condemns chiropractic is necessarily deliberately lying to you. It means that their opinion is likely based on a dogmatic belief system which has its origins in the AMA’s illegal campaign. In time, one would hope that all health professionals will leave dogma aside and form opinions through an unbiased examination of evidence.

 

References:

 

Wilk v. American Medical Association, (7th Cir. 1990)

 

Manga, P. et. Al A study to examine the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of chiropractic management of low back pain. 1993 Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health.

 

Chestnut. J. 2003. The 14 Foundational Premises for the Scientific and Philisophical Validation of the Chiropractic Wellness Paradigm. The Wellness Practice Global Self Health Corp. Vic. B.C. Canada.

 

New Zealand Report. Hasselberg PD. Government Printer, Wellington – 1979.

 

Medical Hypothesis 2006. Mechanical, the spine, electrical & cellular signals.

 

Chestnut, J. The Wellness & Prevention Paradigm. The Wellness Practice Global Self Health Corp. Vic. B.C. Canada. 2011.

The Politics of Health Care

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on October 27, 2015 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Chiropractic: Why all the Confusion, Misunderstanding and Misconceptions?

 

Rob Hutchings

 

When you have decided to consult a chiropractor, and you tell some friends and family about your decision, more often than not, at least one person you tell will express misgivings about that choice. You may hear statements such as the following: “Stay away from ‘bone crunchers!” “They are not scientific.” “I’ve heard chiropractic is dangerous quackery.”

 

Not that your friends or family have bad intentions; nothing of the sort. They probably are telling you these things out of genuine concern. However, is their concern based on a misinformed dogmatic belief or on actual evidence? To answer that question, we need to have a look at health care history, going back to the 1960s in the United States. What happened then and there has had profound implications for the health care to this day.

 

Pharmaceutical companies and medical associations have spent many years and billions of dollars lobbying to take control of health care. The basic strategy was to pass the Drugless Practitioner Act, which essentially meant that health care practitioners were divided into two general categories: those who could prescribe drugs and / or perform surgery and ‘the rest.’

 

Billions of dollars were then spent lobbying and marketing, with the deliberate attempt to make as many people as possible believe that medical doctors, that is those who could prescribe drugs, were ‘real doctors’ whose practice was based on sound science, and that everyone else was an unscientific quack who was potentially dangerous.

 

There was a problem, however, because despite the enormous amount of money, time and effort spent to create bias against non medical practitioners (viewed as the competition), a growing number of dissatisfied patients began seeking out such practitioners. At that time, and to this day, chiropractors represented the largest number of practitioners and the most commonly visited ‘alternative’ health care practitioners.

 

Something had to be done to curb this loss of influence and revenue. Often using illegal means, in 1963 the American Medical Association (AMA) formed the Committee on Quackery whose primary goal was, “to contain and eliminate chiropractic.” Their efforts were so successful that to this day the misinformation they spread still persists.

 

The Committee on Quackery conducted nationwide seminars on chiropractic, ‘educating’ MD’s and medical students that chiropractic was an ‘unscientific cult’ and was dangerous. Anti- chiropractic propaganda was distributed across the media, to medical boards, to doctors and medical schools. Doctors were actively and routinely warned that professional association between MD’s and chiropractors was unethical and could lead to fines or loss of their medical license. Medical schools were actively discouraged from cooperating with chiropractic schools on research efforts.

 

Despite these efforts, the number of patients seeking chiropractic care continued to rise, and evidence of effectiveness and safety of chiropractic was demonstrated to governments to the point that chiropractic was included under Medicare in 1973. The AMA became especially concerned that this could lead to chiropractors working in hospitals. The AMA went on to actually threaten hospitals with loss of accreditation if they allowed chiropractors to have access to patients – despite the evidence of effectiveness and safety!

 

In the 1980’s, a chiropractor named Dr. Chester Wilk had enough and launched a law suit against the AMA. Despite being overwhelmingly outmatched in finances and in legal counsel, in 1987, the Federal U.S. Appellate Court found the AMA guilty of “an illegal, deliberate misinformation campaign and an organized conspiracy to destroy chiropractic based on eliminating competition.” During the trial, it was conclusively shown that the AMA “deliberately undermined chiropractic education, undercut insurance programs for patients, and concealed evidence of the effectiveness and safety of chiropractic care.”

 

Obviously unhappy with the outcome, the AMA repeatedly tried to appeal the decision. The defense they used was “concern for public safety.” Since the evidence clearly demonstrated this to be false, the decision was upheld in the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1990 and in the U.S. Supreme Court on three separate occasions, the last time being in 1992.

 

As a result of this, the AMA was ordered to cease and desist all efforts to restrict its members from having professional associations with chiropractors. The AMA was also ordered to retract their position on chiropractic and notify doctors, hospitals and medical schools and boards. Obviously this was a great victory for chiropractic; however, the AMA’s campaign was so successful, that this bias still exists with the unfortunate effect of adversely affecting many doctors and patients. Not surprisingly, the zeal in which the court ordered retraction was acted upon paled in comparison to the efforts of the illegal misinformation campaign.

 

All of that was between the 1960’s to the 1990’s. But what about today? In today’s world, with easy access to the Internet, shouldn’t things change? A quick Google search on the effectiveness of chiropractic will leave the previously uninformed person with drastically conflicted viewpoints. On one hand, you can find out that chiropractic is evidence based, effective, safe and cost effective. On the other hand hand, self described ‘skeptics’ groups, whose agenda seems to be to attempt to discredit everything that is not drugs and surgery, will repeatedly claim that there is no evidence to support chiropractic care and that it is ineffective and dangerous. It seems that pharmaceutical companies and medical associations realized that directly attacking the competition could lead to a backlash of bad publicity. The irony is that these skeptics groups were founded and made up mainly of employees or representatives of pharmaceutical companies and medical associations, under the guise of non profit organisations. One need not wonder about their motivation, but one can’t help but wonder where they get their funding.

 

As recently as December 2, 2011, skeptics groups in Australia made public claims in mainstream media that chiropractic was comparable to voodoo and witchcraft. It is an obviously flamboyant, sensational statement designed to defame chiropractic and is completely false. Fortunately, most people see these allegations for the baseless propaganda that they are.

 

Government commissions in many countries have investigated chiropractic. Of particular note, the New Zealand government carried out the largest commission on chiropractic to date. In the conclusions, it stated that chiropractic is remarkably safe, is based on sound science, and “… in the interests of patients, there must be no impediment to full professional cooperation between chiropractors and medical professionals.” Interestingly, the New Zealand commission consulted with Skeptics groups, most notably Stephen Barrett, an unlicensed psychiatrist who failed his medical board exams and has thus made a living as an ‘expert witness’ to attack all forms of drug free health care, most notably chiropractic. He is responsible for the formation of many skeptics groups around the world, and these groups to this day use his work as the basis of their attack on chiropractic. The New Zealand commission states that they were “not prepared to put any accuracy or reliance in regard to chiropractic coming from skeptics groups.” Unfortunately, to this day, most MD’s who have a negative attitude towards chiropractic have these groups as their sole source of information on chiropractic.

 

Similar inquiries were carried out by the Ontario government in Canada, the Australian government, various state governments in the USA and the Swedish government. All commissions concluded that chiropractic is safe, scientific, effective, cost effective, cooperation between chiropractors and medical doctors best serves patients and that chiropractors should be employed in hospitals.

 

The premise of chiropractic- so vigorously attacked by the medical establishment over the years- that the body is self healing, self regulating, and that misalignments of the spine (termed ‘subluxation’) can interfere with normal functioning of the body, leading to a chronic state of stressful physiology is well documented scientifically. Ironically, cutting edge medical research in the last 20 years is proving what chiropractors have said for over 100 years, and what the medical establishment fought so hard to condemn!

 

Many research studies have been conducted on chiropractic, and when investigated for safety, effectiveness, patient satisfaction and cost effectiveness, every single time, chiropractic has been found to be superior to other interventions for spinal care, including drugs and surgery.

 

What all of this clearly demonstrates is that the attacks on chiropractors and other non-medical health professionals have not been motivated by evidence of ineffectiveness and harm, or by evidence supporting the superiority of medical interventions, but rather for the protection of the medical monopoly of health care.

 

This does not mean that the average medical physician, or the person on the street who condemns chiropractic is necessarily deliberately lying to you. It means that their opinion is likely based on a dogmatic belief system which has its origins in the AMA’s illegal campaign. In time, one would hope that all health professionals will leave dogma aside and form opinions through an unbiased examination of evidence.

 

References:

 

Wilk v. American Medical Association, (7th Cir. 1990)

 

Manga, P. et. Al A study to examine the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of chiropractic management of low back pain. 1993 Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health.

 

Chestnut. J. 2003. The 14 Foundational Premises for the Scientific and Philisophical Validation of the Chiropractic Wellness Paradigm. The Wellness Practice Global Self Health Corp. Vic. B.C. Canada.

 

New Zealand Report. Hasselberg PD. Government Printer, Wellington – 1979.

 

Medical Hypothesis 2006. Mechanical, the spine, electrical & cellular signals.

 

Chestnut, J. The Wellness & Prevention Paradigm. The Wellness Practice Global Self Health Corp. Vic. B.C. Canada. 2011.

Taking a Road Trip with Your Baby

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on September 8, 2015 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (0)

 

To Grandmother’s house we go! And you’ll be in the car for five whole hours—how can you make the trip enjoyable with a baby along?

 

There’s no question: Marathon car trips with a baby on board take a good amount of planning and organization. But it can be done—and yes, it can even be fun!

 

 


Planning the trip

 

In the hustle that precedes a trip, it can be easy to let things happen, instead of make things happen. Be proactive in making your trip decisions. Contemplating these questions, and coming up with the right answers, can help make your trip more successful:

 

Road Trip With Your BabyDoes your baby sleep well in the car? If yes, plan your travel time to coincide with a nap or bedtime so your baby can sleep through part of the journey. If not, plan to leave immediately after a nap or upon waking in the morning. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your baby will behave differently than usual in the car just because it’s a special occasion.

 

Is it necessary to make the trip all at once, or can you break it up with stops along the way? The longer your baby is strapped in the car seat, the more likely he’ll become fussy. Planning a few breaks can keep everyone in a better frame of mind.

 

When estimating an arrival time, have you factored in plenty of extra time for unplanned surprises? A diaper explosion that requires a complete change of clothes or a baby whose inconsolable crying requires an unexpected 20-minute stop are just two of the things that can easily happen.

 

Do you have everything you need to make the trip pleasant?

Items like:

 

Window shades to protect your baby from the sun and create a darker, nap-inducing atmosphere.

A cooler for cold drinks; a bottle warmer if needed.

Plenty of toys that are new or forgotten favorites saved just for the trip.

Baby-friendly music on tape or CD.

A rear-view baby mirror to keep one eye on baby (unless a second person will be sitting with your little one).

Books to read to your baby.

 

 


Preparing the Car

 

Take plenty of time to get the car ready for your trip. If two adults are traveling, consider yourself lucky and arrange for one person to sit in the backseat next to the baby. If you are traveling alone with your little one, you’ll need to be more creative in setting up the car, and you’ll need to plan for more frequent stops along the way.

 

Here are a few tips for making the car a traveling entertainment center for your baby:

 

Use ribbon or yarn and safety pins or tape to hang an array of lightweight toys from the ceiling of the car to hang over your baby. An alternative is to string a line from one side of the car to the other with an array of toys attached by ribbons. Bring along an assortment of new toys that can be exchanged when you stop the car for a rest. Just be sure to use small toys and keep them out of the driver’s line of view.

 

Tape brightly colored pictures of toys on the back of the seat that your baby will be facing.

 

If no one will be sitting next to your baby and your child is old enough to reach for toys, set up an upside-down box next to the car seat with a shallow box or a tray with ledges on top of it. Fill this with toys that your baby can reach for by himself. You might also shop around for a baby activity center that attaches directly to the car seat.

 

If you plan to have someone sitting next to baby, then provide that person with a gigantic box of toys with which to entertain the little one—distraction works wonders to keep a baby happy in the car. One of the best activities for long car rides is book reading. Check your library’s early reading section; it typically features a large collection of baby-pleasing titles in paperback that are easier to tote along than board books.

 

Bring along an assortment of snacks and drinks for your older baby who’s regularly eating solids, and remember to bring food for yourself, too. Even if you plan to stop for meals, you may decide to drive on through if your baby is sleeping or content—saving the stops for fussy times.

 

Bring books on tape or quiet music for the adults for times when your baby is sleeping. The voice on tape may help keep your baby relaxed, and it will be something you can enjoy.

 

If you’ll be traveling in the dark, bring along a battery-operated night-light or flashlight.

 

 


During the journey

 

If you’ve carefully planned your trip and prepared your vehicle, you’ve already started out on the right foot. Now keep these things in mind as you make your way down the road:

 

Be flexible. When traveling with a baby, even the best-laid plans can be disrupted. Try to stay relaxed, accept changes, and go with the flow.

 

Stop when you need to. Trying to push “just a little farther” with a crying baby in the car can be dangerous, as you’re distracted and nervous. Take the time to stop and calm your baby.

 

Put safety first. Make sure that you keep your baby in his car seat. Many nursing mothers breastfeed their babies during trips. This can be dangerous in a moving car, even if you are both securely belted: You can’t foresee an accident, and your body could slam forcefully into your baby. Instead, pull over and nurse your baby while he’s still in his car seat. That way, when he falls asleep, you won’t wake him up moving him back into his seat.

 

Remember: Never, ever leave your baby alone in the car—not even for a minute.

 

 


On the way home

 

You may be so relieved that you lived through your trip that you sort of forget the other trip ahead of you: the trip home. You’ll need to organize the trip home as well as you did the trip out. A few days in advance, make certain that all your supplies are refilled and ready to go. Think about the best time to leave, and plan accordingly. In addition, think about what you learned on the trip to your destination that might make the trip home even easier. Is there something you wish you would have had but didn’t? Something you felt you could have done differently? Did you find yourself saying, “I wish we would have…”? Now’s the time to make any adjustments to your original travel plan so that your trip back home is pleasant and relaxed.

 

This article is an excerpt from Gentle Baby Care by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003) Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution, has written a new book. Organized alphabetically to give you the answer you need within seconds, Gentle Baby Care delivers fast help for the many questions you’ll have during your baby’s first year.

 

 



About the Author:

 

Parenting educator Elizabeth Pantley is president of Better Beginnings, Inc., a family resource and education company. Elizabeth frequently speaks to parents at schools, hospitals, and parent groups around the world. Her presentations are received with enthusiasm, and praised as realistic, warm and helpful.

 

She is a regular radio show guest and frequently quoted as a parenting expert in newspapers and magazines such as Parents, Parenting, American Baby, Woman's Day, Good Housekeeping, and Redbook and on hundreds of parent-directed Web sites. She publishes a newsletter, Parent Tips, which is distributed in schools nationwide.

 

Elizabeth is the author of eight popular parenting books, available in 18 languages, and she was a contributing author to The Successful Child with Dr. William and Martha Sears.

 

Elizabeth and her husband, Robert live in the state of Washington, along with their four children, Angela, Vanessa, David, and Coleton, and "Grama." Elizabeth is an involved participant in her children's school and sports activities and has served in positions as varied as softball coach and school PTA president.

 


Written by Elizabeth Pantley

 

01 June 2005

This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #06.

Yoga For Kids

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on September 1, 2015 at 1:25 AM Comments comments (0)

A 10-year-old boy enters the children’s yoga class I’m teaching. He is large for his age, chunky in the middle, tall, clumsy and loud. He makes up stories about his name and the other boys in the class. He interrupts me incessantly. The lead teacher keeps apologizing for him. She rolls her eyes, telling him to shush and sit down. I tell her the noise doesn’t bother me. They are okay, and so am I.

 

I have brought a brown bag with an ear of corn hidden inside. I want to teach the children about ecology, nature, the process of growth, and the traditions of our Native American heritage. I want to impart the concepts of waiting, patience, transformation, connection. They want to be entertained.

 

After 20 minutes, I’ve lost the class of 13 boys and girls, ages 4 to 11. One child sits out for most of the class. Two other boys stick out their tongues at me, all of us trying not to giggle. The children become louder, gather into clusters, and lose their way. So do I.

 

I wonder: Was this group really that bad? Was I off center? What else was going on here?

 

After teaching yoga for 13 years, and training people in Color Me Yoga for Children for 9 years, I have certainly had my share of off days. Grace seems to prevail in those situations. I know my calling. I trust my path of teaching yoga.

 

I reel the children back in during Sivasana (relaxation pose), having them imagine themselves as a corn cob, still and sweet. I am about to ring the bell after nearly five minutes in this pose. Now still and at peace, they do not want to get up. The little boy who sat out for most of the class sighs, “Can we do this pose for the entire class next time?” My little chunky friend adds, “Yes, can we do this pose for a whole bunch of minutes next time? I love this pose.” Finally a third little boy chimes in, almost in tears, “I so want to do this pose next time. My mom just drives me around from class to class. I’m so stressed. I just want to rest.” My heart breaks.

 

When I was young, children didn’t seem to know the word stress. It wasn’t really a part of my own vocabulary until I was well into my thirties.

 

Today, in an hour-long children’s yoga class in 2010, a little boy used the word with great aplomb.

 

 


Reconnecting with Yoga

 

This class, once again, provided a new kind of grace for teaching about the pulse of American children today. They seem pressured, over-stimulated, overfed and undernourished. They’re entertained rather than inspired, disconnected in some fundamental way from their environment, their bodies, their souls and each other. They are told to respect others, and yet, because of many lines being crossed, they often don’t know how to respect adults or their world. They are given limited opportunities to succeed at responsibility or gain a sense of inner motivation. Instant gratification drains their little nervous systems and sets up unrealistic goals. The fear and mistrust that many adults model for them by hoarding things creates confused identities. They have seen more in their young lives

 

than many of us saw until we were well into adulthood. Finally, they don’t really know how to play.

 

Obviously not every American child fits this description—I’m talking about a general trend. In my work, I hear the same thing repeatedly, from parents, school teachers and occupational therapists. Children are struggling. We all want to help them become their full, abundant selves. Yoga may just do the trick.

 

Yoga—the ancient practice of uniting Sun and Moon, Fire and Air, Earth and Water, Masculine and Feminine, Mind and Body, Spirit and Heart—has at its root the concept of loving compassion and right relationship. These children are our mirrors. In Native American tradition, we thank the sick person for showing us the sickness of the society so society can come back to the right relationship. Could it be that our children are telling us to get back into right relationship, too?

 

A recent article in Newsweek [July 19, 2010] claimed that American children are in a creativity crisis. Children who are given fewer opportunities for play—including role playing, expressing emotions through play, problem-solving, creating imaginary worlds, making up pretend friends, and thinking outside the box—are losing vital opportunities to build their intelligence and their motivation.

 

Children who are sedentary or less likely to participate in sports are often placated with video games and other electronic toys and media. This is no small thing. According to Aadil Palkhivala, a yogi in Oregon, the AC current that is found in computers, cell phones, televisions, and other electrical devices pierces our magnetic fields, literally causing our iron-rich blood to move in the current’s directions rather than its natural direction. Our nervous systems are then fatigued, our brains are overworked, and our entire systems are unable to resist the side effects of chronic stress. As the exhausted system then goes numb, the cycle begins to self-perpetuate—we play more video games, watch more TV, etc. Chronic stress produces elevated cortisol levels (a breeding ground for diabetes), hormonal imbalances (bone loss, eating disorders, emotional disorders), rage and aggression (from unexpressed emotions), bullying (a national epidemic), insomnia (which further increases cortisol levels and increases anxiety and depression), nervous habits (which can lead to addictive behavior), and immune disorders.

 


Yoga Can Help

 

Here are some of the additional challenges American kids are facing, and how yoga can help.

 


Competition.

When children are taught that their value is measured by external rewards, they can lose motivation to achieve unless they believe they will get something out of it. Yoga teaches them to appreciate the moment, finding intrinsic reward and self-determination.

 


Trauma.

When children are traumatized, whether by a mishap on the playground or physical or emotional abuse at home, their young nervous systems get locked. This can result in isolation, aggression, violence, stomachaches, headaches and more serious illnesses. Yoga soothes and nurtures them. It calms the nervous system, boosts immunity, harmonizes the self, and helps children rebalance as they navigate through difficult emotions. Yoga turns on the parasympathetic system, which reduces ADD and fosters cooperative environments.

 


Anxiety.

Anxiety can be caused by stress, competition, trauma, lack of sleep, overscheduling, too much homework, relationship issues at school, tests and family problems. Yoga, especially through the practices of creative visualization, meditation, slow breathing and deep forward bends, can help reduce anxiety and recondition the nervous system, allowing children to form their own inner connections and self-empowerment.

 


ADD/ADHD.

Children with ADD or ADHD have an inability to stay focused, be comfortable in their surroundings, have ease in social situations, and follow through. Yoga, because of its slow progressive methods to engage the entire being, teaches children how to regulate themselves. It builds an internal sense of rhythm and allows children to express their energy creatively.

 


Violence and Aggression.

There are many causes of the negative emotions that trigger violence and aggression in children. Yoga can provide a safe place for the child to find his inner language and experience healing, on his own terms. The practice of “loving compassion” is the foundation of any good yoga program. Children’s social-emotional development depends on a balanced, harmonious learning environment, which yoga creates. Teaching loving compassion has tremendous health and societal benefits. For example, levels of the “anti-aging hormone,” DHEA, are raised astronomically in people who live by loving compassion. These people also have lower cortisol production, thus allowing them to live more fully in the parasympathetic nervous system.

 


Inability to Express Emotions.

When a child does not experience the necessary steps of social-emotional development, mental illness can develop and aggressive behavior can surface. Frozen feelings keep children uninspired, bored, restless and experiencing poor health in bones, joints and organs. Yoga engages all the senses. It creates a loving learning environment so children can relax, be more receptive, and develop confidence, curiosity and comfort in relating to others. A relaxed, receptive body produces a relaxed, receptive brain, willing and able to learn.

 


Childhood Obesity.

Children who suffer from obesity develop health issues traditionally belonging to adults. Among other problems, they can lose their innate ability to make creative choices. They can develop language-skill issues and lose their vitality. Yoga for children, which involves creative play, gets kids off their seats and onto the yoga mat. Their brains develop more rapidly. Learning coordination in movement increases brain power, according to a recent issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Movement and creative play stimulates brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which stimulates healthy bone growth.


 

 

Universal Yoga

 

Yoga is a simple, cost-effective tool that any child can practice. It needs to be available to all children everywhere, not just the children whose parents can afford it. Would it not ultimately cost a lot less for society to offer children yoga than to constantly drag them to doctors, psychiatrists, case workers and diet camps? Would it not be more beneficial to teach a child to breathe her way through life, rather than condition her with medication that she might not actually need (and never mind the side effects)? Would it not make more sense to teach parents and caregivers to slow down, do less and enjoy play with their children, rather than running around every day from one activity to another? What about teaching our children to live in nature, rather than live through virtual experiences, such as video games and television? Children need connection. They need family time.

 

Imagine teaching and modeling empathy, loving compassion, self-acceptance and kindness for the Earth and its inhabitants. If we practice our yoga through the motions of our daily lives, it would be the greatest gift we could give our children.

 

 


About the Author:

 

Marsha Therese Danzig is the founder of Color Me Yoga for Children, an international 200-hour yoga school and children’s yoga program committed to bringing the gift of yoga to all children everywhere. You can read more about Color Me Yoga at colormeyoga.com.


This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #28.

Expanding Our Focus: C-Section Recovery

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on August 25, 2015 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 

In 2009, the most recent year for which final data is available, a record 32.9 percent of women gave birth by C-section, according to the National Vital Statistics System, part of the Centers for Disease Control. Preliminary data shows that in 2010 the rate declined only slightly, to 32.8 percent.

 

C-section is an inevitable part of the way modern obstetrics operates. According to the International Cesarean Awareness Network, several factors play into reasons for a surgical delivery: an active herpes outbreak, which could expose the baby to serious illness; a previous C-section with a vertical scar on the uterus, which may pose a danger of uterine rupture during labor; breech presentation; twins in which one of the babies is breech; fetal distress; serious bleeding from an abnormally placed or separating placenta; and maternal disease (such as heart disease) that, when coupled with labor, may put the mother in danger.

 

Most of these conditions are rare. However, induction plays a larger role in the numerous surgical deliveries that are performed each year. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the rate of this common medical intervention has more than doubled in the U.S. since 1990. In 2006, 22 percent (roughly one out of every five) of all pregnant women had their labor induced. Two years later, 44 percent of women who attempted to give birth vaginally were induced. The goal of labor induction is to artificially stimulate uterine contractions so women can deliver vaginally. But women who are induced are twice as likely to deliver by C-section as women who go into labor on their own.

 

The first component to labor induction is cervical ripening. If the cervix is not yet ready to dilate, then drugs are used to ripen the cervix. Once the cervix is ripened, labor can be induced with synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin), membrane stripping, rupture of the amniotic membrane or nipple stimulation. Misoprostol, a medication for peptic ulcers, is a commonly used off-label drug that both ripens the cervix and induces labor. ACOG guidelines indicate that inducing labor with misoprostol should be avoided in women who have had even one prior cesarean delivery, due to the possibility of uterine rupture (which can be catastrophic, resulting in hysterectomy or death).

 

As a midwife, I have seen many women remain pregnant past their due dates—due in large part to an awkward fetal position that can be remedied with skill, or simply because the baby is not ready to be born yet. We wait patiently, and eventually labor initiates. Most times women give birth before 42 weeks’ gestation—and giving birth vaginally should be what we are striving for.

 

Looking at the obstetrical trend of overusing Csections and seeing no relief in sight, we need to shift our focus to C-section recovery. There is a great need for manual work to be done in the pelvis to assist in successful healing. Uterine manipulation can relieve the procedure’s common long-term iatrogenic outcomes of bladder injury, sexual dissatisfaction, secondary infertility, endometriosis and nerve damage at the incision site.

 

It can also help the uterus become independent again. During a C-section, a low vertical incision is made into the lower segment of the uterus. The posterior bladder often adheres to the anterior side of the uterus, conjoining them so that they no longer behave like two independent organs. The body’s way of healing post-surgically is to make scar tissue, which essentially glues everything together. An old osteopathic technique called visceral manipulation can be useful in regaining the optimal function of an independent uterus.

 

Ultimately, if needed, a C-section can save a life. In these cases, and for other women who give birth via C-section, manual work can be a tremendous aid to physical healing.

 

 


Cesarean Fact Cards

 

  • When a cesarean is necessary, it can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and infant.

  • The risk to your infant from the very low incidence of uterine rupture (less than 1 percent) is much less than the risk to your infant from respiratory distress as a result of a scheduled cesarean.

  • Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) is safer for both mother and infant, in most cases, than a routine repeat cesarean, which is major surgery.

  • Many indications for cesarean can and should be questioned, including cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD, or baby too big, pelvis too small), dystocia, failure to progress, breech, etc.

  • One in four births is a cesarean, with some hospitals reporting as high as one in two. This represents a 400 percent increase in less than 15 years. This cesarean rate increase has not led to an improvement in the infant mortality and morbidity rates, but instead has put mothers and babies at greater risk. Rates began to fall in the mid-1990s, but are rising again in the new millennium.

  • Half of all cesarean women suffer complications, and the maternal mortality rate is at least two to four times that of women with vaginal births. Approximately 180 women die annually in the United States from elective repeat cesareans.

  • According to the World Health Organization, “Countries with some of the lowest perinatal mortality rates in the world have cesarean rates of less than 10 percent. There is no justification for any region to have a rate higher than 10–15 percent.”


Written by Jennifer Mercier, PhD

 

01 March 2012


 

 

Pathways Issue 33 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #33.

Express Delivery

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on August 17, 2015 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 

Not every labor is a marathon; some take only a few hours. But are these so-called precipitous births really abnormal, or are they more common than we think?

 

Soon after I began assembling a bed frame, which I thought would be a good labor project, my contractions started. I was excited, and decided to time them. The clock showed 1:22 p.m. After having two waves about five minutes apart, I shared the news with Gus, my husband, so we coulad give our midwives an early heads-up. Our daughter, Zoe, had been fast for a first-time birth, and we knew that second births are often faster.

 

We paged Christine, our primary midwife, at 1:37 p.m., and told her that the waves had just started, but not to come yet. We agreed to touch base in 30 minutes.

 

I went back to my labor project. But the waves started coming faster, and I couldn’t focus anymore. Meanwhile, Gus was making arrangements for our birth and getting the place ready as quickly as possible. He called my mom, and asked if she could come and look after Zoe.

 

While Gus made us lunch, I was pacing. The waves were coming on continuously, and growing stronger. I could not stay still. I paced upstairs; I paced downstairs. I remember bending over the cabinet by the door as another progressing wave overtook me.

 

Gus stopped me on the stairs, thrusting half a piece of toast into my hand. Thinking it was a good idea, I started to eat. Then, because I was progressing so quickly, the food turned to cardboard in my mouth and I had to spit it out.

 

Over the next 40 minutes Gus continued calmly running around making preparations, while I floated around the house. The waves were coming faster now, with more and more urgency, and in between them I had to keep moving. Gus fed Zoe lunch, and put her in front of the TV to watch a movie. He filled the bathtub partially full of water (there was not enough time to fill our birth pool), and periodically checked in on me.

 

At approximately 2:15 p.m., I felt what I thought was an urgency to clear my bowels, which I had done before Zoe’s birth. But when I sat on the toilet and pushed, I immediately realized it was a very bad idea. Powerful waves of pain overtook me, coming like a Mack truck— searing, piercing pain that alarmed and shook me. I got off the toilet, but the waves came still more angrily, and I had to bend over and brace myself.

 

A few minutes later, Gus came in to check on me, and I told him to page Christine right away. The waves were progressing quickly and I knew we needed her there. Waves like vice grips shot through my body, and I started getting really scared. Christine was 30 minutes away. I started to freak out. No one was there yet, and the ferociousness and urgency of each wave was scaring me.

 

On all fours, I leaned over the bed, bracing myself for the next piercing wave, softly moaning with it as it passed through me. That was how Gus found me. He put his hand on the small of my back and said, “Jac, are you OK?” That’s when I realized that I was shivering and shuddering between the waves. I couldn’t talk. I was bent over, instinctual, primal.

 

Gus intuitively reached down under my bottom, and said, “My God, Jac, the baby is coming!” His calm state was replaced with a halted, urgent state of emergency. ”Jac, just hold on till the midwives come!”

 

When he told me that the baby was there, it completely changed my resolve. I woke up out of my fear, feeling tremendous relief that it was OK, and I could push now. With the next wave I didn’t hold back. I let it overtake me and I pushed. From behind me, Gus exclaimed, “My God, it’s his head!!!”

 

I was empowered. I knew intuitively that it was OK. I could let the baby come out. And with the next wave I again pushed…and all in one swoosh, out came Max into Gus’ outstretched hands.

 

At 2:37 p.m., about 10 minutes later, Gus paged our midwife, Christine, sharing that we had had the baby, and that mom and baby were doing well.

 

 


Our Birth Stories

 

This was our second birth. Prior to Max, our daughter Zoe had been born at home in a water birth. And following Max’s birth, our second son, Caleo, and our second daughter, Matea, were also born at home, similar to Max’s birth, each in under two hours. We had been blessed with four beautiful “fast” birth experiences at home.

 

I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating what it was that gave me the faith to trust my body. What helped us carve our path, so starkly different from an allopathic hospital birth.

 

I believe the trust and faith grew from our chiropractic paradigm. My husband and I both have faith in our bodies’ innate intelligence, and the universal intelligence that placed it there. We see birth as a natural, inborn process, and we wanted to have the healthiest, gentlest and safest births for our children, so that they could be born at their fullest potential.

 

After Max’s birth, I felt the need to explore fast births. I needed to discover if they are really as rare as is commonly thought, and to hear from other women who had had similar fast birth experiences, to find out if there is universality in faith and trust that helps facilitate them.

 

 


Precipitous Labor and Birth

 

Max was born in approximately 70 minutes. That’s from my first contraction until he barreled out into the world. Our second son Caleo’s birth took 1 hour and 25 minutes, and our second daughter Matea’s birth was approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.

 

Fast labors and births such as these are called “precipitous.” Precipitous is defined as “very steep, perpendicular, or overhanging in rise and fall; having a very steep ascent.” Some of its synonyms are hasty, rash, hurried, helter-skelter, drive-by and rushed. There is often an element of surprise in these births, as many of us are unprepared for how fast the natural birth process can be.

 

The medical definition of a precipitous birth is a labor in which the labor and birth, from first contraction to the birth of the baby, occurs in three hours or less.

 

Upon reading many women’s stories of precipitous labor and births, I found that most of these birth stories were inspirational stories of natural birth, with no medical intervention, that just happened quickly. Beautiful births were described: gentle, spiritual and without fear, where the mind and body were connected.

 

This is not how precipitous labors and births are usually portrayed in the media. Most often they are shown as emergencies, or in medical terms as BBA, or “birth before arrival,” meaning birth before arrival in hospital. For example, there’s the cliché of the mom giving birth in the car because she can’t get to the hospital on time. As a result of the media in the Western world, precipitous labors and births are often seen as an anomaly, unusual and rare.

 


Abnormal?

 

The medical texts support that precipitous labors and births are an anomaly. Williams Obstetrics, a leading obstetrics text in the U.S. and Canada, categorizes precipitous births as abnormal labor, or “dystocia.” The abnormal mechanism is said to be uterine dysfunction, where the uterus and abdomen contract with abnormal strength, or else there is abnormally low resistance of the soft parts of the birth canal.

 

This is theory, as no published studies have tested for abnormal uterine contractions or low resistance in the birth canal during precipitous labor and births. This theory also considers the cause of precipitous birth to be a physical aberration, with no consideration of the birthing mother or child’s conscious part in the birth, nor for the innate process led by universal intelligence.

 

Instead of accepting that our births were “abnormal,” I wondered: By what means are they defining normal? Are they defining it in a Western cultural context, or cross-culturally? And what population of women are they considering—women who have not previously given birth (nulliparas) or women who have already given birth one or more times (multiparas)?

 

 


Frequency of Precipitous Labors

 

One way of defining abnormality is statistical deviation. So I looked into statistics on the frequency that precipitous births occur.

 

There is very little published information on precipitous labor and its frequency. Most resources use figures from the U.S. National Vital Statistics Report published in 2009, which says, “while exact statistics as to the percentage of women who experience precipitous labor is not known, it is estimated at approximately 2 percent of all births.” In this report, 89,047 births out of 4.3 million live births (2 percent) were reported as complicated by precipitous labor in 2006.

 

The data from the previous U.S. National Vital Statistics Report, published in 2000, reported 79,933 births out of 3.9 million live births as complicated by precipitous labor in 1998, a similar finding of 2 percent.

 

This percentage seemed very low, so I researched how the statistics were recorded. I learned that the statistics are recorded at a state level. In the United States, state law requires birth certificates to be completed for all births. For each birth, either the birth attendant, the hospital administrator or a designated representative of the facility where the birth occurs is required to record and register the birth record.

 

 This indirect recording of statistics may lead to underreporting. As hospital administrators, a fast birth might not be ranked as medical details that need to be recorded on a separate section of the birth record. They might not consider it a “medical labor complication,” as it is designated in the National Vital Statistics Report. And so many precipitous births may go unreported.

 

Another study was done to determine the extent to which the accuracy of birth certificate data varies by risk factors and outcomes. The results showed that underreporting of birth certificate data elements varies by maternal characteristics, particularly English language proficiency. The study demonstrated that it is important to consider subgroups (such as ethnicity and English language proficiency) in data quality when birth certificate data is used.

 

This data is also limited to the U.S. The “approximate” estimate of 2 percent does not take into account other countries, where different cultural approaches, philosophies and lower rates of medical intervention in labor and birth would likely give different statistics.

 

I did find an older study, conducted by Conger and Randall in 1957, that examined labor and births over a six-year period at State University of Iowa Hospitals. It found an incidence of 10.2 percent precipitous labors.

 

Studies also show that the chances of precipitous labor increase for women who had given birth previously one or more times (multiparas). In one study, 99 births were identified from 1990 Bronx Municipal Hospital Center’s birth records as short labor, equal to or less than 3 hours in length. Of the 99 births, they found that 93 percent occurred in multiparas.

 

Conger and Randall’s 1957 study also found that women who had experienced prior precipitous labor were also more likely to have a repeated fast labor. They found that 40 percent of the 731 women with precipitous labors had a history of a past labor of three hours or less.

 

If there is an increased likelihood for precipitous labor in multiparas and women who have experienced prior fast labors, then these statistics need to also be considered when estimating the rate of precipitous births.

 

It is evident that further studies need to be conducted, cross-culturally, with better means of recording, and they need to include women who have given birth previously, in order to determine the frequency of fast births of less than 3 hours in duration. The results should show a much higher frequency than the commonly published estimate of 2 percent.

 

 


Facilitating a Precipitous Labor

 

Most published literature lists the determinants for a precipitous labor as physical—most commonly, the explanation given in Williams Obstetrics, listing the causes as an extremely efficient uterus that contracts with abnormal strength, or extremely unresisting soft tissues in the birth canal. Other possible physical and genetic determinants are discussed anecdotally, and include the following: a larger than average pelvic outlet; a well lined-up pelvis, pubic bone and birth canal; a smaller than average size baby; a baby who is well-positioned for descent; or a grandmother, mother or sister who also had precipitous labors.

 

Chiropractic helps with some of these physical determinants, such as helping to line up the pelvis and spine to help maximize the shape and size of the pelvic outlet for the baby’s descent. Chiropractic can also help reduce in-utero constraint to the baby, through the Webster technique, helping facilitate a healthier position for the baby for descent.

 

However, although these physical determinants may help in a precipitous labor and birth, they are only one component in the birth process. A birthing mom requires a certain mental, emotional, instinctual and spiritual state for birth, especially a fast birth.

 

Precipitous births can elicit tremendous fear in birthing moms, with the fast climb in intensity of contractions and the rapidly diminishing space between them. If a birthing mother succumbs to her fears, the birth process can be slowed or halted.

 

When our firstborn, Zoe, was born, there was a strong mental and emotional component. I learned to “let go” and surrender. My biggest fear during the waves and rushes of labor contractions was the fear of the unknown. If this current wave was that painful, I thought, what would the next be like, and how could I handle it as they increased in intensity and duration, and how long would I be able to carry on? My mental state was driving my emotional state, and ultimately driving my physical state. As I detached from the emotional fears, and mentally let go, the natural process was allowed to unfold. By letting go, I was surrendering, and giving up control, allowing the innate birth process to open up my body.

 

Max’s birth was a racingly instinctual birth. There was very little mental component; there wasn’t time to think about surrendering. I learned to “give way” to birth. It was like a fast-moving truck was plowing through me, and I had to give way and let it happen. It was raw and all-consuming, with instinct driving the involuntary process of birth. It was more consciously unconscious, driven by the hindbrain.

 

Caleo’s birth was a more spiritual experience. I got to a place where I was consciously connected with a higher power. Throughout the birth my mind was clear. I had no hesitation or fear. There was just a clear communication with God to move into each wave, and let each wave do what it needed to do. When I fully opened up to the intensity there was no pain.

 

In Matea’s birth, there were all components— mental, emotional, instinctual, spiritual and physical. I was completely focused within, present with each thought, moving instinctively as my body told me to, standing and moving my hips in wide circles, uninhibited, connected with our higher power and the innate wisdom of my body and Matea’s moving down the birth canal. Again, there was no pain.

 

When I explored the precipitous birth stories of other women, they shared similar experiences. The commonality seemed to be the application of “letting go,” or surrendering and trusting in the natural, inborn wisdom of the body during birth.

 

Through this process of exploration, uncovering what remarkably little published literature there is on precipitous labor and births, I learned that what has been written needs to be redefined. It is not abnormal for a birth to progress quickly. The frequency at which they occur may range from 2 to 10 percent of births, but further studies are needed, especially studies that examine how often they occur in multiparous women, in which the percentage will likely be much higher. Also, in past studies, only physical determinants for precipitous labor have been proposed. Instead, the combined physical, mental, emotional, instinctual and spiritual state of birthing mothers needs to be studied.

 

In redefining precipitous labor and births, we may open up the possibility that these labors and births are natural, normal and healthy…and that they may not be rare, but may occur a lot more frequently than we realize. And in studying what determines a fast labor and birth, we may be able to find out if the faith and trust that women have in their body’s inborn wisdom in birth is what facilitates them.


Written by Jacqueline Tsiapalis, D.C., FICPA

 

01 September 2012

 

 

This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #35.

On Language Development Imagination Is More Important than Knowledge

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on August 3, 2015 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (0)

From the seventh month in utero, before a child is born, every word the mother says brings about a muscular response in the infant. A word is just a vibration of sound, and each vibration is called a phoneme. From the very beginning, there is this intimate connection between body, body movement, the brain and the formation of word structures. By the time the child is born in the world, this muscular response is myelinated—locked in as a permanent pattern.

 

For the first few months, what we call the in‑arms‑period, the eyes have it. Things aren’t auditory half so much as they are visual in those early months. Why? Because we couldn’t develop vision in utero. So the first few months, immediately after their birth, everything is visual to that child. They are looking, looking, looking, absorbing enormous amounts about their visual world. Around 6 to 12 months, they have what Jean Piaget called “object constancy.” He was wrong in his idea of what was happening, but he was right that it does take place. The child’s visual world simply, suddenly stabilizes. This is brought about by myelination of the axons involved in all sorts of other maturation processes.

 

Somewhere around the first year of life, the sensory fields of the brain—the auditory and visual fields—stabilize and mature enough so that this total entrainment locked in on the visual process is no longer needed. That’s when we shift into the great limbic structure, and this emotional child appears. Language and walking appear. Let’s look at the growth of language itself, and the relationship between word and thing. I love the work of Blurton Jones, working with Nikolaas Tinbergen, the Nobel laureate, in the cross‑cultural study of the pointing syndrome. When a little child is in his own nest, he thinks anything is safe to interact with; he will just jump right in on it. He wants to taste it, touch it, smell it, feel it and immediately say, “What is that, mama? What is that, Daddy?” The child is asking for a name label for the object.

 

When you give him a name, the word and the thing build into the brain as a single neural pattern. The brain does not build a neural network of the thing—its taste, touch, smell, feel and quality—and then, in addition, add to this its name as though the name were a separate item. The name builds in as an integral part of the whole “structure of knowledge,” as Piaget calls it. A structure of knowledge is a neural pattern that results from the child’s interaction with an object or an event of his or her physical world. The brain responds to each experience by creating these structures of knowledge. The name and the thing build as a single unit.

 

We call this “concrete language.” The word doesn’t stand for the thing; the word and the thing are the same to the early child. Ask a 2‑year-old child to say the word hand, and she’ll move her hand when she says it. Because hand means something very tangible, something very concrete. Children at this early age can’t deal with abstractions.

 

The child is impelled. He is driven, by nature, to interact with the object and build a structure of knowledge about it.

 

 

Naming the Object

 

When you take the child out in the open, away from the nest, all mammalian animals respond the same way. Blurton Jones did cross‑cultural studies of this. Here is the mama and the child. The child spots an object: Let’s say it’s a dirty, nasty, old dog. The child will stop, if he has never seen one before, point toward the object, and silently turn around and stare at the caretaker, whoever it is—grandma, papa, mama—and wait for some kind of a signal from the parent that they perceive this particular object. Getting that signal, the child interacts: to taste it, touch it, smell it, feel it, talk to it, etc., and build what we call a sensory motor structure of knowledge of that object. And, of course, he immediately wants to know the name: “What is that, mama?”

 

Let’s suppose that it’s a dirty, nasty, awful looking, old mongrel dog. Mama says, “Don’t dare touch that dirty, nasty, old dog.” Her acknowledgment of the dog is all the child needs. This is the model imperative. (The model imperative: The brain has built into its structures an unlimited capacity to learn. Which capacity is activated and developed is dependent on the model environment. A child born to deaf parents, who does not come into contact with spoken language, will not speak, even though the child is capable of speaking. A child born in a French-speaking family will speak French, not Japanese. That is the model imperative.) The child must have some verification that the mother is interacting and perceiving this object. In this case, the child rushes over to interact with the dirty, nasty, old dog. Mama saying “don’t,” hasn’t anything to do with it. The child is impelled. He is driven, by nature, to interact with the object and build a structure of knowledge about it.

 

Now, the mother’s emotional state of that—her horror, alarm, etc.—builds into the structure of knowledge as an integral part of it. Her name for the object—“dirty, nasty, old dog”—is built into the structure of knowledge. All of that is without any evaluation on the part of the child. If it’s a beautiful flower and the mother smiles and the child rushes over to pull it off its stem, stuff it in his mouth, taste it, touch it, smell it, feel it and so on, then it builds the mother’s emotional state of approval into the structure of knowledge. That, along with the word flower.

 

One of the most interesting phenomena that Blurton Jones found was what he called the “hallucinatory capacity” of the early child. He found in many hundreds of cases over years, all over the world, that a child would point toward an object that he could see, and that, apparently, the mother couldn’t see. And the child would keep pointing and pointing, silently looking back, trying to get some response, and would not interact, unless he got some kind of response from the mother. But the mother can’t make any response, positive or negative, because she is not perceiving that object.

 

This is part of the brain’s selectivity. It selects, out of an infinite realm of possibility, those phenomena which are shared by the parent. So that high degree of selectivity by which we know the brain certainly does operate, is partly organized by the model imperative. What we perceive will determine what that child perceives, which does not deny in any way that there is actually something to see.

 

Now, when that child grows up, and his child wants to interact with a certain category phenomena, that will not be part of that parent’s perceptual system, and he won’t give a response, and so we find that a culture or a tradition will screen from all infinite possibilities, those which then make up that cultural worldview.

 

 

 

The Word Is the Object

 

If we look at this phenomena of word and thing as a single unit in the brain—which, as far as we know, is unique to humans—what is its value? This is one of the most profound discoveries, I think, of all evolutionary processes.

 

If these are built in as the same neural structures, they refer to the same sensory maps of the brain. Word and thing are an integrated unit in the brain system. What does this mean? The child will move her hand when she says the word hand. She will automatically start to sit down if she says the words “sit down” at age two, when children are just learning all this.

 

Suppose you use the word in absence of the thing, when the thing is not coming in through the sensory system, but the word is? Here is a vibration which is going to resonate with a previously established vibratory set of responses in the brain. It will activate those responses—just the word, just the name itself—and in absence of the thing, what does the brain do? It creates a facsimile of it. It creates the next best substitute we can come up with.

 

The brain will create an inner sensory image in the absence of an exterior one. Here is where words stimulate not the sensory motor system, and not the emotional cognitive system, but the highest cortical systems of the brain. To do what? To create, out of its own processes, an image. Do you see the profound difference? We are not just processing what the reptilian brain and all the other animal brains can do, but creating an image that doesn’t exist at all, in response to a name of that thing that does exist.

 

This leads us into play and imagination. As the adult uses all of these words, what starts happening in the child’s mind? It starts responding with internal imagery in every case that it can. And that leads us to storytelling and table talk to the early child.

 

We had eight children in my family, and nearly always a lot of guests. It was a great big table, always filled with a lot of people, and adult table talk. I loved it. I didn’t understand any of it, but I loved it. I would see all these worlds that would form inside my mind, stimulated by the words and feelings the adults were using. Their descriptions triggered in my mind internal images of what they were talking about.

 

 

The Importance of Storytelling

 

Now, back to storytelling, which is an integral part of language development—language being the flow of inner imagery triggered by symbols and metaphors. You will find that children respond to storytelling very early, even before they can talk. In storytelling, the word comes in as a vibration—again, only sensory input—and that challenges the whole brain, not just to create an image in keeping with each word, but to create moving imagery, fluid imagery that follows the flow of the words. It sets up an inner world scenario, a whole inner world scene representing the story, which is constantly shifting according to the shifting of the words themselves. This is a major challenge of the brain and its development.

 

The job is so enormous that children go into total entrainment. All of the energy moves into this creation of inner imagery. They go catatonic. Their bodies stop all movement, their jaws drop down, their eyes get great big and wide, and they are literally not in this world. Their eyes are wide open, but they are not looking at anything outwardly. They are looking at the marvelous world that is forming within.

 

I have heard people say, “Oh, I can’t think in imagery at all. I have no capacity for internal images.” Believe me, your brain thinks in imagery. One of the most interesting discoveries made recently—and, of course, it’s still hypothetical—is that the capacity of the brain to operate depends entirely on imagery. Imagery is the brain’s operating system. The discovery that even congenitally blind children think in images is kind of interesting. Congenitally blind teenagers can even solve spatial, geometric organizational problems far better than seeing children. Why? Because they have developed such an acutely accurate, internal imagery process.

 

We find that storytelling challenges the brain to create entirely new routing every time. Every new story means new neural connections must be made between all the fields involved in imagery, creating vast sensory maps in the brain. New fields must be established with each story. The brain has to continually expand its neural connections. Remember, the neural connections are what count—not just the number of neurons, but the number of neural connections. And so, each new story demands what? A completely new re‑routing of the neural patterns themselves. It means the brain has to continually expand and expand its operations—auditory, visual, sensory fields, and all the rest of it—with each story.

 

 

Projecting Onto the External World

 

Why does the child want to hear the same story, over and over and over? Any time a field establishes longrange connections with other fields, this requires long-range axons. And it’s those that must be myelinated— that is, firmly established—to lock in a pattern and preserve the activities of that particular neural field and its capacities. Once these fields stabilize and those connections become firm, then the child will want to move on to another story. Once the neural fields are stabilized, the child will want to act out the imagery—act out the inner world they have created. This completes the circuitry.

 

The stimulus has come in, and they have created the internal world…and now they want to take the internal world and project it back out onto their external world. As Lev Vygotsky, the great Russian psychologist, said, “They want to modify the external world by the internal world, and play in a world of their own creation.”

 

When our little toddler was about 14 months old, we would tell her the three bears story over and over, until I was sick of the three bears. One evening, as we sat at the table, she took a bite of dinner and said, “Oh, it’s too hot, we must go for a walk in the forest.” She had represented her plate of food as a bowl of porridge, and immediately, I was Papa Bear, here was Mama Bear, and she was Baby Bear, and we are going for a walk in the forest. What had she done? She created an internal world, stabilized it, and wanted to take the internal and project it back onto the external world, and change her external world according to the dictates of her own inner construction.

 

This little tiny child discovered this great secret: that her own internal capacities of creation can modify and make a profound difference in her own external world. And upon this—the capacity to imagine—her future, and the future of our world, depend.

 

The Swedish Pediatrics Institute came out with a study showing that children with imagination were far less prone to violence than children without imagination. Why? Because the child without imagination is subject to the immediate sensory environment bombarding them, without any alternatives. If his sensory environment is unpleasant, demeaning, insulting or threatening, his survival drive gives him no choice but to immediately lash out against the threatening sensory input, and try to change it. Whereas, the child with imagination will immediately create an alternative inner scenario in which she doesn’t have to undergo all that. She can create an alternative to it. And through that, she can sift through and find an alternative mode of response, a behavior that is not violent and that doesn’t react to the violence with more violence, but reacts with much higher cortical structures. The child without imagination is operating out of purely ancient, reptilian sensory motor response patterns of defense against a hostile world. Whereas the child with imagination is using much higher evolutionary cortical structures, for doing what? Creating an inner world in which this is not the case, but in which something else is taking place. When looking at the massive rise of violence today, don’t forget the collapse of descriptive language and storytelling in early childhood, which has been pushed out by sensory motor visual images on screens.

 

 

 

Learning By Doing

 

This brings us to imitative play, and why a child’s first few years are totally centered around imagination and play (imagination being the creation of internal images not present to the sensory system, stimulated by symbols and metaphor). This is all they want to do. They passionately want to play or be told stories, and nothing else.

 

What is imitative play? The little toddler sees mama making cookies, with a great, big mixing bowl. Immediately, monkey see, monkey do—the model imperative —she wants to do the same. But she can’t. It’s too big a bowl, too big a spoon; she can’t manage. So what does she do? She sees the outer model image, and creates her own internal scenario where she is the model, and then looks for some way to project it onto her external world and act this imagery out. She acts out this image she has made of herself in that role. She picks up a little jar top, a little stick, finds some mud or sand, or maybe Play-Doh, throws it in, and talks a blue streak the entire time, because all early child play is verbal. Why?

 

One object, the jar top, stands for another object, the great big mixing bowl. The little stick stands for the great spoon, where she, the little tiny shrimp, stands for the great big, magnificent mother. Now, the Greek word metapherein gives us our word, metaphor, which means transference, literally the transference of meaning. It refers to one object standing for another object. Metaphoric, symbolic thinking is the ability to use one object to represent something else, and this is the foundation of all higher learning. There is no exception to this. Take a word printed on a piece of paper. From here to eternity, these marks on paper, brought in through the sensory motor system, have no meaning. They are utterly meaningless to this system.

 

To a person not trained and schooled in them, they will have no meaning. In order to give them meaning, they must be transferred from the sensory motor system, through the emotional cognitive system, up into the higher regions of the brain that grant meaning to those objects. It’s a transference process. Imagery transference is what takes place.

 

Our ability, later on, to understand notations such as 2 + 2 = 4, etc., depends on metaphoric transference in the brain system—the ability of the brain to take one kind of imagery and turn it into the imagery of pure abstract thought.

 

Let’s look at the most famous equation in history, E = mc2. It’s pure metaphor, or, if you want to say, symbolic. “E” stands for energy. “=” stands for the quality of equality. “m” stands for the mass of a particle, “c” is a constant for the speed of light, and the superscript 2 means that the speed of light is squared (multiplied by itself). All this is just a series of metaphors, but you can blow up the world with that equation. It has tremendous power as it’s translated from its simple sensory input up into the great regions of the causal mind.

 

A young person’s ability to move into disciplines where he can handle metaphoric, symbolic thinking is critically dependent on what happens in these early years of life, as the internal imagery mechanisms are developed. But developed by what? Not pictures, not the sensory system, not by television and computers, but by descriptive words. Now you understand why real literacy, which is the development of this capacity for inner imagery, is declining. There is a direct correlation between the use of descriptive language—that is, storytelling in early childhood—and the capacity for abstract thought, math and science being based on languages that are more abstract than concrete language. Got it?

 

I will use one final example. That’s my little boy, who saw the road roller running down the street, mashing everything flat, making roads with that huge wheel in front. Of course, he didn’t have a road roller, but he wanted a road roller, being the most impressive thing he had ever seen. So he found a little spool of thread in his mother’s sewing cabinet, and he shouted, “A road roller! A road roller!” And for hours, he’s lost to the world: playing, making all the appropriate sounds, speaking all the appropriate words. He has taken his image of the road roller and created his own internal scenario, with himself now in charge. He has projected it onto something he can handle, filling in the gaps with his own internal imagery. As Vygotsky said, he modifies the spool into his internal image of the road roller, and plays in a modified reality. This one capacity is the key to true education, and the actualization of our vast human potential. And this is precisely the capacity that is being retarded by the introduction of visual (sensory-motorbased) media and technology in these critical early years.

 

 

Building Neural Structures

 

If allowed to participate in true imaginative play at this early, formative time, rather than sitting in front of predetermined media and playing with predetermined toys, children will be constantly building new neural structures for creating internal imagery and projecting it on, and therefore transforming, their external world. They will build enormous self‑esteem, and a feeling of power over the external world through their own capacities. In reality, what is taking place is that the highest brain structures are modifying the lower, more basic, sensorymotor information.

 

So, we find that storytelling in this period, with its emphasis on animals and fairy tales, and all that kind of thing, is critical to the child’s development. This also leads to Howard Gardner’s observation, that play with the parent is critically important. If the parent doesn’t play with the child, and if the siblings don’t play with the new child, then the child will never be able to play. Play is not learned. It’s a basic intelligence, the overarching intelligence upon which the development of all other capacities critically depends.

 

What is happening in our play-deprived, “every child left behind” culture is the elimination of storytelling, descriptive language and imaginative free play. It’s been replaced by visual, sensory-motor-based television, computers and technology, and so we are not developing this critical capacity. We aren’t getting this internal image structuring going. A child who is not told stories, and not encouraged to pretend, won’t build the capacity for internal imagery. Later on, when we demand that they deal with symbolic, metaphoric structures, such as alphabets and numbers, and formulas in chemistry and physics and so on—forget it. They will not have the neural structures to do that.

 

When Einstein was asked how to develop the best scientist in the world, he replied, “Tell them stories as little children.” He wasn’t kidding. Imagination is more important than knowledge, but we have tossed this simple wisdom out the door.

 

 

Pathways Issue 33 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #33.

Getting Over Cold Medications

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on July 28, 2015 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Very young children come down with colds. Agreement with this statement is universal among parents, pediatricians, drug makers, and even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But there is less agreement over whether or not medicine is helpful to little ones suffering from a cold.

 

“It’s important to point out that these medicines are safe and effective when used as directed…” said Linda A. Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, quoted in The Washington Post, October 12, 2007.

 

“Clearly, the products don’t work and are unsafe,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, M.D., Baltimore Health Commissioner, also quoted in The Washington Post.

 

Could these two views be any further apart? Both of them can’t be right, so which one is making things up, the cold medicine industry spokesperson, or the doctor?

 

“Take a cold remedy and get over the cold in seven days, otherwise recovery will take a week,” according to traditional folk wisdom.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics tends to agree with tradition on this particular point and recommends against medicating young children to treat cold symptoms. Drug makers, on the other hand, spent about 50 million bucks last year to convince parents to buy over-the-counter (OTC) drugs to treat cold symptoms. And the advertising must be working because sales reportedly jumped 20 percent last year and were expected to climb again this year—up until last week.

 

Fourteen infant cold medications were pulled from store shelves across the country, just seven days before an FDA committee was slated to begin investigating the drugs.

 

“An FDA review prepared for next week’s meeting describes dozens of cases of convulsions, heart problems, trouble breathing, neurological complications and other reactions, including at least 54 deaths involving decongestants and 69 deaths involving antihistamines,” reports The Washington Post.

 

Dr. Sharfstein long ago alerted the FDA to widespread problems with the drugs after a total of 900 Maryland children under 4 years of age suffered an overdose in a single year, 2004.

 

“Given that there are serious consequences, including death, associated with the use of these products without compelling reason to use them, why are they being marketed for children?” Sharfstein asked. “The contrast between the state of the evidence and the displays in drugstores could not be more stark.”

 

“There is no evidence that the products are effective for young children, and there is evidence they can be unsafe, even at the usual doses. This is not just about misuse,” he said, noting that the dosages typically used are untested estimates based on studies in adults. “That’s why we are asking FDA to clearly label these products against use by children under age 6,” according to The Washington Post.

 

It is an interesting paradox that doctors are in the position of pleading with the agency in charge of drug safety to try and halt medical treatment of non-medical symptoms. Their preferred recommendations sound familiar: bed rest, lots of fluids, and chicken soup. And let’s not forget vitamin C.

 

“Whatever grandma recommends that’s nutritious, get the kid to eat it…It’s better than all the over-the-counter stuff,” said Daniel Rauch, M.D., director of the pediatric program at NYU Medical Center, quoted in the New York Daily News, October 12, 2007.

 

“These medications were never designed to cure colds but only to treat cold symptoms,” said Katherine Tom-Revzon, pediatric pharmacist at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx. “In children under 2, there was little evidence they were effective, anyway,” reports the Daily News.

 

A robust, innate immune response in both children and adults requires expression, not suppression. The symptoms of a cold are self-limiting and benign for the vast majority of well-fed people; they are part of a lifelong process of encountering microbes in the environment and mounting an innate, short-term inflammatory response that results in cellular memory and strengthened immunity.

 

“This is not a situation in which pediatric data are lacking and we are unable to say one way or the other,” wrote Jay Berkelhamer, M.D., in a letter to the FDA last month. Dr. Berkelhamer is the national president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In multiple studies, they have “been found not to be effective in this population at all,” according to Berkelhamer in an Associated Press article October 12, 2007.

 

What will the FDA do? Stand up to the drug companies and forbid the promotion of these drugs to treat children under 6 years of age, or meekly call for words of caution on the packaging that ends up in the trash the moment the parent arrives home with the medicine?

 

If the FDA really wants to save lives and prevent overdose with unnecessary medications, new and innovative measures are needed. Why not require the drug companies to contribute a week or two of profits from sales of the drugs to fund an “unsales campaign” using clever “non-drug” television ads. Consumers can benefit from learning that colds are not a medical problem, and the drugs that suppress symptoms also depress natural immune responses and bring disorder to healthy cellular function.

 

The ads can share with the public what the pediatricians already know: the body mysteriously heals itself from colds given bed rest, wholesome food, and love, with no need for antihistamines, decongestants, or fever-lowering drugs.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Dr. Darrel Crain is a Family Chiropractor and Natural Health Writer practicing in San Diego, California. He is the President of the CCA San Diego County District.

This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #20.

ADHD

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on July 21, 2015 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Allergic reactions

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on July 14, 2015 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Happy Healthy Child: A Holistic Approach

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on July 6, 2015 at 9:10 PM Comments comments (0)

An Interview with Bruce Lipton By Sarah Kamrath

Earlier this year, filmmaker Sarah Kamrath sat down with Bruce Lipton, Ph.D., for an interview about a holistic approach to parenting for her Happy Healthy Child DVD series. Lipton, the author of such books as Spontaneous Evolution and The Biology of Belief, is an internationally recognized leader in bridging science and spirit, and a regular contributor to Pathways. This is an excerpt of their longer conversation.

Sarah Kamrath: Can we begin by talking about the importance of women and men listening to their intuition and making parenting choices, beginning in the prenatal period, which honor that inner wisdom?

Bruce Lipton: In my former professional career, I was a medical school professor. I was teaching medical students about the nature of the body as being a machine, comprising biochemicals and controlled by genes so that we’re more or less an automaton, a robot. However, as I got deeper into understanding the nature of the cells, I found that the cells that make up the body—and there are 50 trillion of them—are very intelligent. In fact, it’s the intelligence of the cells that creates the human body. Starting to listen to them and understanding how they communicate is a very important lesson. Cells talk to us. We can feel it through what we call symptoms or feelings or emotions. It’s a response of the cellular community to what we’re doing in our lives. There’s a tendency in our world to not really pay attention to those things as some kind of information below the level of head; it’s not that relevant. But I’ve found that it’s the voice of the cells that gives us reason and understanding; cells are actually reading our behavior and giving us information as to whether or not we’re working in harmony with our biology. Using this intelligence is vital; it will help us create a happy, harmonious life on this planet.

Kamrath: I love how you refer to pregnancy as nature’s Head Start program. Can you talk about a baby’s level of awareness and consciousness within the womb? Also, please discuss the new brain science that shows the impact of a mother’s emotional well-being on the health, intelligence and capacity for joy for the child within her womb.

Lipton: Nature spends a lot of effort and energy in creating a child, and it doesn’t do so randomly or just on a whim. Nature wants to ensure that a child is going to be successful in its life before embarking on the process of birthing that child. Although a child receives genes from both its mother and father, the genes are not fully set into the position of activation until the process of development. The first eight weeks of a child’s development is called the embryo phase, and that’s just a mechanical unfolding of genes to make sure the baby has a body with two arms, two legs, two eyes, etc. The next period of life is called the fetal stage, when the embryo has the human configuration. Since it’s already shaped, the question is, what will nature do to modify or adjust this human in the next number of months before it’s born? What it does is this: Nature reads the environment and then adjusts the final tuning of the genetics of the child based on what’s immediately going on in the world. How can nature read the environment and do this? The answer is that the mother and the father become nature’s Head Start program. They’re the ones who are living in and experiencing the environment. Their perceptions of the world are then transmitted to the child.

We used to think that only nutrition was provided by the mother to a developing child. The story was, genes control the development, and the mother just provides nutrition. We now know, of course, that there’s more than just nutrition in blood. Blood contains information about emotions and regulatory hormones and the growth factors that control the mother’s life in the world in which she’s living. All this information passes into the placenta along with nutrition. If the mother is happy, the fetus is happy because the same chemistry of emotions that affect the mother’s system are crossing into the fetus. If the mother is scared or stressed, the same stress hormones cross and adjust the fetus. What we’re recognizing is that, through a concept called epigenetics, the environmental information is used to select and modify the genetic program of the fetus so it will conform to the environment in which it’s going to grow, thus enhancing the survival of the child. If parents are totally unaware, this creates a great problem—they don’t know that their attitudes and responses to their experiences are being passed on to their child.

Kamrath: Can you explain epigenetics in a little more detail, and the need for parents-to-be to have an understanding of the role it plays in their developing infant?

 

Lipton: The current science is called genetic control, which simply means control by genes. The new science, that I got involved with more than 40 years ago and is now becoming mainstream, is called epigenetic control. This little prefix epi turns the world upside down. Epi means “above.” So, epigenetic means “control above the genes.” We now know that we influence the activity of our genes by our actions, perceptions, beliefs and attitudes. In fact, epigenetic information can take a single gene blueprint and modify the readout of the gene to create more than 30,000 different proteins from the same blueprint. Basically, it says that the genes are plastic and variable, and adjust to the environment.

 

For example, if a woman conceives a child, but all of a sudden there’s violence in the environment—war breaks out and the world is not safe anymore—how’s the child going to respond? The same way the mother responds. Why is this important? When a mother is responding to a stressful situation, her fight-or-flight system is activated and her adrenal system becomes stimulated. This causes two fundamental things to happen. Number one, the blood vessels are squeezed in the gut, causing the blood to go to the arms and legs (because blood is energy), so that she can fight or run. The stress hormones also switch the blood vessels in the brain for this reason. In a stressful situation, you don’t depend on conscious reasoning and logic, which come from the forebrain. You depend on hindbrain reactivity and reflexes; that’s the fastest responder in a threatening situation. Well that’s cool for the mother, but what about for the developing fetus? The stress hormones pass into the placenta and have the same effect, but with a different meaning when it affects the fetus. The fetus is in a very active growing state and it requires blood for nutrition and energy, so whichever organ tissues get more blood will develop faster.

 

The significance in all this is that the forebrain is consciousness and awareness; you can reduce the intelligence of a child by up to 50 percent by environmental stressors because of shunting the blood from the forebrain and developing a large hindbrain. Nature is creating the child to live in the same stressed environment that the parents perceive. The same fetus developing in a healthy, happy, harmonious environment creates a much healthier viscera, which enables growth and maintenance of the body for the rest of its life, as well as a much larger forebrain, which gives it more intelligence. So, the mother’s perception and attitude about the environment is translated into epigenetic control, which modifies the fetus to fit the world the mother perceives. Now, when I emphasize mother, of course, I have to emphasize father [as well]. Because if the father screws up, this also messes up the mother’s physiology. Both parents are actually genetic engineers.

Kamrath: Can you talk about the benefits of following nature’s design for childbirth, as well as the importance of the initial bonding that takes place between the mother and baby at birth?

 

Lipton: Nature created this entire birthing process, and every step of the way is instrumental and effective in creating a natural, normal development of a human. When we try to bypass the process or interfere with the use of chemicals and drugs, we are diverting a very natural process of evolution. For example, in order for a child to do very well in life, he really has to have a crawling period before he starts to walk. If you try to bypass the crawling stage and get the child to walk right away, you miss a very important developmental phase. We now find this is true for birthing as well. Going through the birth canal is a developmental process which influences the fate and future of this child. If the birth is difficult with all kinds of complications, the newborn learns from this experience. It is the first impression of what this new world is like.

 

Nature is very efficient. It does everything for a reason. It’s humans that think, “Oh well, that wasn’t necessary, we can change that.” And that’s where the problems start. This is especially true in regard to the critical bonding that takes place at the moment of birth. A child has been in one world and then is coming into a new world. If you were an astronaut very safely ensconced inside your capsule with everything you need, you would be very happy. What if all of a sudden you were told, “Okay, you have to get out on a space walk, jump outside of the capsule and start floating in space.” You would say, “Well okay, I’ve got my umbilical cord on and I’m still pretty connected.” But what would happen to an astronaut if the umbilical cord were severed, and now the astronaut is floating in space? Lost and abandoned like that, the fear of this disconnection would affect him profoundly. And fear kills: People can be scared to death.

 

Imagine a child that has been connected during its entire developmental period, and all of a sudden he’s thrust out into the world. The umbilical cord is cut, and now the child is floating. When a child is taken away from the mother during the birth process, it is the ultimate fear that a child will ever experience. It has profound physiological consequences on the hormonal system and belief system of the child, and his trust in the world. However, when a child is born and laid on his mother’s stomach and the child comes naturally up to the breast, then the heartbeat that was there for the entire developmental period is restored to the child. The safety, the touch, the comfort and the bonding that occurs during this time is more than just physical bonding— it’s an energy bonding. It’s fulfilling the natural developmental process, assuring a happiness and a health to this child, letting him know that he is being welcomed and loved. When we make birth a medical procedure, we throw a monkey wrench into the entire system. We have to know that this child is a lot more than just a bundle of cells being born. It is an intelligent human being, quite aware of the environment.

 

 

Kamrath: Can you talk about the importance of striving to be as conscious as we can about our parenting choices and how our beliefs, attitudes and behaviors impact the happiness and health of children?

 

Lipton: In my book, The Biology of Belief, I talk about the fact that the mind controls our biology. There are two minds—the conscious mind, which is the creative mind with our personal identity or our spirit, and the subconscious mind, which is almost like a tape recording device that records behaviors, and at the push of a button, plays the behavior back. This is the non-thinking, habitual mind. We operate our lives 95 percent of the time from the subconscious programs and only 5 percent of the time from the creative, personal, conscious mind. Where did these habits come from? For the first six years of a child’s life, the conscious part of the brain is not primarily functioning. The brain is functioning at a very low EEG level, called theta. A child is observing the environment just like a television camera, recording everything, bypassing consciousness—which isn’t working yet—and going straight into the subconscious. The child uses its parents as the teachers to fill in the data in the subconscious mind.

 

The moment a child is born, its function is to recognize the faces of the mother and father—first thing he does. Within a couple of days, the child can clearly distinguish the mother’s and father’s face from all other faces. The child also learns to distinguish the characteristics of the face. Is the face happy or scared or afraid? The child learns this within the first couple of weeks. Ever after, in the early developmental stages of this child, any time he has an issue or concern or comes across something new in his environment, there’s an instinctual pattern where the child looks at his mother or father and observes what their face says. So, if the child is in front of something dangerous and then looks at his parent and the parent has a look of being worried or frightened, the child immediately knows that whatever he is looking at, according to the mother or father, is dangerous. The child will instantly avoid that thing. On the other hand, if the look on his parent's face is happy, smiling, conveying that everything’s wonderful, then the child will experiment and play with whatever the new thing is in his environment. The child observes and gauges the world through the parents’ responses, and uses them as a reference point. If the parents are living in fear or concern or anxiety, the child is learning exactly what the parents’ fears and anxieties are, and this becomes the behavioral program in that child’s subconscious mind. The child is learning his fundamental habits, not from his own personal experience, but from observing and downloading the habits and experiences that the parents are presenting to him. Again, this is nature’s way of downloading a tremendous quantity of data about our civilization at any time. You can’t put this in the genes; if these behaviors were programmed in the genes and evolution and the development of civilization changes, then the genes would not install the optimal programs.

 

Nature puts instincts into the genes, because we need those no matter what the world is doing. But all the other fundamental behaviors you get from your teacher. And the parents are that teacher. And, of course, the biggest problem with conscious parenting is, conscious parenting is a conscious idea. Yes, I want to raise a happy, healthy child. That’s great, but that comes from the conscious mind, which operates 5 percent of the time. Even conscious parents are operating only from the habits that they’ve learned from their parents 95 percent of the time. And the issue is, the child isn’t just observing the parent during the conscious parenting; the child observes the parent 100 percent of the time.

 

 

Kamrath: This is fascinating, and so important for parents to understand. What’s a parent to do who doesn’t want to instill the same programs in their child that they observed?

 

Lipton: To really become a parent, you must observe your own negative behaviors and change some of the original behaviors that you learned from your parents. If you don’t, you will propagate those behaviors on. This, for example, is how most of cancer is transmitted, not from the genes but from the behaviors that are propagated.

 

Again, the programming of a child’s subconscious primarily occurs during the first six years of his life. In fact, we now recognize that half of a child’s personality is probably developed even before he’s born, through the information that comes across the placenta, including emotional chemicals and growth factors from the mother. So you might ask, what are the programs in my subconscious? Can I think about programming in my subconscious? Unfortunately, no, because thinking is conscious. The conscious mind wasn’t even there when the programs were being downloaded.

 

So now you’re running into a problem. You have these subconscious programs and you can’t really access them. However, here’s the fun part: You don’t have to go backward. Ninety-five percent of your life is a printout of your subconscious. So, all you have to do is just look at your current life, see what works and understand that the things that work do so because of beliefs in your subconscious that encourage them. On the other hand, the things you struggle with are there not because the universe doesn’t want you to have them, but because you have programs of limitation. Therefore, if you want to correct the programming in your life, you don’t have to do a wholesale rebuilding of the subconscious. You just have to look and see the things you are struggling with.

 

If you are struggling, it almost inevitably implies you have a program that says you can’t go there. You have to change that specific program; you don’t have to wipe the slate clean.

 

The subconscious isn’t all bad. It gives us a lot of great things. If you were a child in a family where your parents were fully conscious and aware, and programmed their lives to live in happiness, harmony, winwin, love-everything, and that was the environment you grew up in, then your subconscious would have all those programs. So when you grew up, you could daydream your entire life away and yet find yourself at the top of the pile. Why? Because the automatic processing from your subconscious mind, 95 percent of the time, would be such good programs that it would always take you to the top of the pile, even if you weren’t paying attention. That’s the destination we’re looking for.

Kamrath: Great. In addition to learning to trust our own intuition, can you talk about how much easier our job as a parent is when we learn to listen to our babies and follow their lead when it comes to caring for them most appropriately?

 

 

Lipton: When a human is born, they’re already filled with an intuitive knowledge of centuries and centuries of people beforehand. A child has wisdom. Their cells have wisdom. If we listen to that wisdom, it’s very instructive. If we ignore it because of our hubris and think, “We are intelligent, the baby’s not intelligent, we’ll tell the baby what to need,” then what we’re really doing is stepping on Mother Nature’s natural intelligence. So, it’s really incumbent upon us to let go and follow the natural instincts. When you’re living in harmony, you can feel it. When you’re pushing on the system, if you’re sensitive enough, you can feel you’re doing that. What we really require is the sensitivity to recognize that a child is extremely intelligent.

 

We have stopped listening to nature. And this is the biggest problem that humanity is facing. Our inability to understand nature has led to a state where human civilization is facing extinction because of the way we are damaging nature and destroying the environment without owning the truth—we are the environment. It’s time to return to the natural understanding, to the innate intelligence of the entire world, not just of the baby that’s born. The entire world, the entire biosphere, is an intelligent system. And right now, the least intelligent unit appears to be the human, but we’re being forced to look at life in a different way.

 

 

Kamrath: Along those same lines, the instinct to be close to our babies and nurture them is built into every parent. However, rather than encouraging physical closeness, our current cultural practices often seem to discourage it—e.g., sleep training techniques, letting babies “cry it out,” etc. Can you talk about some of the implications of these practices?

 

Lipton: I grew up as a child under the direction of Dr. Spock, my mother’s guide for child rearing. And in that book, he was the one who said when a child cries, just leave him alone, he’ll get over it. We now know that there’s a lot more intelligence in that child than people used to believe. They used to think that a child doesn’t really know much until it learns something, that the brain is a big, empty void. But this is false. The brain is totally active, even before the child’s born. When a baby is crying out, he is crying out because he’s disconnected, lost or unsure of the world that he’s living in. He’s crying out for some kind of information that says, “I’m safe, I’m okay, there are people around, I’m not lost.” If a child doesn’t receive any response to his crying, then he begins to build a deeper hole of protection, saying, “Oh my God, I’m not safe in this world.” A need to protect himself makes a child go inward. Growth is expanding outward and bringing life in. If there’s not enough loving support and assurances that the world is safe for a child, then he will take a protection posture, which, by definition, is shutting himself down. It is the most unhealthy biology for a human because protection does not support the growth and maintenance of our biology. The stress hormones actually shut down the growth mechanisms and the immune system in a child.

 

 

Kamrath: When a mother hears her baby cry, it evokes a deep desire to comfort him. Can you talk about how mothers and babies really are one single biological unit, and how teaching a mother to ignore her baby is very unnatural?

 

Lipton: There are some very interesting relationships between a mother and a child beyond the physical. This is very important for us to understand these days, because our conventional science, which is called materialistic science, is based on the physical material, mechanical world. We look at the body as a machine, and we affect it with drugs and chemistry. But through quantum mechanics—the new physics—we have started to recognize that the invisible energy fields are actually more primary in shaping the material world than the material world is in shaping itself. What we begin to find out is that a mother and child are connected not just by their physical connection, but through energetic connections. If you look at the brain wave of a young child, it’s connected and synchronized with the brain activity of the mother. To have the ability to thrive in the world, the child must be connected to the mother, because the mother is the primary linkage for survival.

 

When a fetus is growing in a mother, many of the fetal cells become stem cells in the mother’s system. They found this out when studying liver regeneration in adults. They started looking at some biopsies and found one particular woman whose regenerated liver cells were male liver cells. They discovered that she had a male child and that the stem cells from the fetus became stem cells in the mother which, it turn, were used by the mother in regenerating her own liver. Another study found that many of these fetal stem cells also end up in the brain. What’s the relevance of that? The fetal stem cells are receiving the input or imprint from the identity of the fetus. So the mother is not just reading her life, she’s also getting signals from her fetus. And significantly, the fetus also gets some stem cells from the mother. There are cells that are connected between the two and because the cells are the recipients of the identity, the cells are reading the lives of both of these individuals. So a mother is still connected to her child, even after the child has left home. This would explain why mothers, for example, become very acutely aware of something going wrong with their children, even if they’re on the other side of the world. When the child is having an experience over here, even the mother over there has an awareness of that experience. Now there’s a continuity that we really need to look at.

 

 

Kamrath: Can we finish up by you sharing your thoughts on what you believe is the most important factor in raising happy, healthy children?

 

Lipton: Today’s world is very interesting in regard to what we find makes a successful human. We judge our success by material possessions, which is understandable in a world based on Newtonian physics that says “matter is primary.” And we measure how successful we are by how many toys we end up having, how much we own—this gives us our status in a hierarchy. Well, the problem with this is that this is not really where health and happiness come from. Health and happiness come from harmony within the body. So, you might ask, what would that represent? And I say love. You say, well that’s a nice emotional word and all that. But, actually love becomes physiological. The sensation of love releases all the chemicals that provide for the growth and maintenance and health of the body. So the matter of being in love keeps us in a chemical environment that supports our vitality and our growth. Love becomes biochemistry. And the biochemistry of love is the most health-promoting, growth-promoting chemistry that you can have.

 

 

Excerpts from this interview with Dr. Bruce Lipton can be seen in the Happy Healthy Child: A Holistic Approach DVD series, due to be released in early 2012. Learn more at happyhealthychild.com.

 

 

 


 

 

 

Heat or Ice?

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on June 24, 2015 at 3:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Chriopractic Adjustments

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on June 16, 2015 at 2:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Healthy Children and Chiropractic

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on June 7, 2015 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

 

Providing health care services to children involves a dimension not often encountered in rendering care to adults. Not only must the child's needs and concerns be addressed, but those of the child's parents as well. The child doesn't have educational bias, is usually simple to care for, and will respond immediately to physiologic changes that enhance life expression. The parents may require more attention to further their knowledge and understanding of health. This article addresses the issue of how to know if a child's health is improving, and how to assure the parent of this.

 

There are two models of health: biomedical and social science. The biomedical model refers to physical symptom status and laboratory tests. The social science model refers to the individual's functional status; the ability to utilize the uniqueness of one's environment and one's experience. It also includes the changes to one's perception, the ability to make healthier choices, and improvement in one's overall quality of life.

 

Health, by definition refers to optimal function physically, mentally and socially, not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. The social science indicators must be considered to fully assess health. Since chiropractic is a non-medical discipline, it is all the more vital that our chiropractic and health assessments not be largely based upon medical indicators. In the course of chiropractic care, it is common for parents to remark that their child's disposition has improved, that he learns better in school, that she is more at peace, that he reacts to stress more effectively, sleeps better, and that in general he is more able to function without restriction. These are all indicators of health. At times a presenting symptom may not reduce or be eliminated, but the child's health will be improving in a variety of other ways.

 

It is important to eliminate inconsistencies in our philosophy, clinical approach, and communication. If we wish to assist in the restoration of spinal integrity (with its associated enhancement of health and well being) through specific adjustment of vertebral subluxations, then our methods of outcome assessment must be consistent with this.

 

Is the spine healthier than at the entrance visit? What is the general trend, and what are the specifics at the time of re-evaluation? Is there a positive improvement in both the correction of subluxations and spinal integrity? And lastly, what is the child's personal assessment or the parent's opinion of the child's status in the following categories:

 

  1. Physical State
  2. Mental Emotional State
  3. Stress Evaluation
  4. Life enjoyment
  5. Overall Quality of life.

It is important that the chiropractor not focus more clinical attention on the presenting complaint or symptom than the social science health and wellness indicators. The patient/family member might equate chiropractic care with a particular physical symptom's improvement rather than the goal stated above. Often particular symptoms may intensify during the healing process, while other indicators of health and wellness improve. The presenting complaint may be amongst the last of changes in the health picture. The practitioner must be certain of his or her focus and intent in monitoring the patient's progress.

 

A parent may notice their child has a fever, however the child's behavior may not appear any different than usual. In another instance the child may be less feverish, yet his behavior may be considerably affected. Is the fever in itself a measure of impaired health? Or has the overall picture of the child, including his interaction with his environment, reactions to stress, mood, and sense of humor been viewed? Rather than questioning an adaptation of the body's internal wisdom, such as fever, ask instead about how the patient feels (or appears to feel) about how he feels. In questioning a parent simply shifting the wording from "Tell me about Johnny's symptoms" to "Tell me about Johnny" will yield a far greater spectrum of information about your patient. The biomedical approach deals with the conditions only. The social science indicators refer to the person in which the condition is present. As chiropractors, it is the person, not the condition we seek to help.

 

A recent research paper titled A Retrospective Assessment of Network Care Using a Survey of Self Rated Health, Wellness and Quality of Life1 presented the largest epidemiological study of a chiropractic population to date. It represents the largest study of chiropractic patients for such a wide range of health and wellness indicators. It established the initial validation for a new instrument of patient self evaluation for the categories mentioned above. Patient's reported significant, positive changes in all the mentioned domains of health, as well as an enhanced quality of life. The improvements reported suggest that this particular application of chiropractic is associated with significant benefits in all categories. This study of 2,818 patients, conducted through multiple departments at The University of California, Irvine not only documented the health benefits of chiropractic care, but has established a new basis for evaluation of the health and wellness benefits of non medical disciplines.

 

Since the overall health and wellness benefits continued throughout the duration of care in the population reported in this study, it would be unfortunate to identify the goal of care as the reduction of a particular symptom, and miss the greater implications of long term vertebral subluxation based chiropractic care to the child's health. With accountability to our objectives and alignment of our procedures and communications, we can use safe, effective and gentle applications of chiropractic adjustments to position ourselves as leaders amongst the non-medical approaches to the health and well being of children.

 

1 Blanks R., Schuster T., Dobson M., A Retrospective Assessment of Network Care Using a Survey of Self-Rated Health, Wellness and Quality of Life. Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research 1997 1 (4) 15-30

 

 

Originally Printed in: I.C.P.A. Newsletter January/February 1998


 

A wellness approach to children

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on May 10, 2015 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

In raising healthy children, it’s not enough to just focus on the physical aspect of health. To be truly healthy, a child’s emotional health must be nurtured and strengthened. Developing a mental attitude of wellness is also essential. When we adopt an attitude of wellness, we take on a belief that being well is a natural, normal state. Our goal is to have outstanding, vibrant health, not just to be free of disease. With a wellness attitude, we know that we have control over our own body and how healthy it will be.

 

We can teach and help our children to grow up with an attitude of wellness. Children have much more control over their own health than you may think. The mind is a very powerful mechanism with miraculous control over health and healing. The more children learn to use the extraordinary powers of their minds, the healthier and happier they will be. They may also live longer than someone who takes a passive approach to health.

 

Children can learn that negative, unhealthy lifestyles are choices that contribute to sickness. We all know what a struggle it can be to encourage children to eat the foods that we know are essential for health, and to avoid junk food. When our children are very young, we can pretty easily restrict the things we know to be unhealthy for them. However, as they get older, telling them that they cannot have sugar or other problem food is not productive. They will feel deprived and will probably rebel. Anything that is forbidden is tempting.

 

Children need to know they have a choice—they can either choose good health and wellness or opt for poor health and sickness. They need to be taught the facts so they are able to make educated choices. Talk to them about the effects that food has on their body. They can understand that sugar lowers their immunity, making them more susceptible to sickness, as well as contribute to tooth decay. You can explain to them how eating healthy foods will give them more energy and make them feel better. This can be taught in very simple, fun and creative ways. It may take a while to actually sink in, and at first the lure of scrumptious tasting sugar and white flour “treats” that all the other kids are eating may be too much to refuse, but eventually the time and energy you put into health education will pay off. If children are raised with a respectful attitude of wellness, as they get older they will most likely choose to turn down things that they know are not healthy for them. Respectful is a key word, meaning not nagging or shaming them about food.

 

As they get even older, they can be taught that smoking cigarettes or taking drugs is their choice to opt for sickness. Telling them to “just say no” and forbidding them to smoke or take drugs is not enough. They need to understand the health consequences and realities of putting these substances in their bodies. Children are very intelligent, but they need to be reminded that they are powerful and they have choices. They can understand the consequences of their choices.

 

Talk to your children about how strong their bodies are and the extraordinary things their bodies can do. Show them how their bodies can miraculously heal a cut, how their heart works and how they can strengthen their heart through exercise and healthy food, how their immune system fights off germs and other invaders, and how getting enough sleep makes them feel better throughout the day. All these things can be taught in fun and imaginative ways with drawings, stories, etc. Children are fascinated with their bodies and they want to know how they work.

 

Dr. Wayne Dyer tells us in his book, What Do You Really Want For Your Children?, “the more children learn from you to rid themselves of attitudes which foster sickness, the more you are helping them to enjoy life each day. They will actually live longer and more productive lives if they learn wellness as very young children.” Parents frequently make statements that reinforce a sickness attitude. Did your mother ever tell you that if you don’t wear a scarf, you’ll catch a cold and be sick? A wellness approach would be to say, “You are so strong and healthy that you probably won’t develop a cold, even if the other kids do, but here is a scarf to keep you warm and comfortable outside”. Dr. Dyer also cautions us to resist taking frequent trips to the doctor and using medications for everyday aches and pains and common ailments such as a cold. When we teach children that there is a pill for every complaint and that a doctor visit is part of every cure, we disempower them and set them up to rely too heavily on drugs and doctors throughout their lives. They need to know they are in charge of their own health.

 

In order to teach our children to choose health, we must model wellness and take charge of our own health. Wellness is not just having an absence of symptoms. It’s asking yourself how you can attain outstanding health. It’s making exercise and stress reduction a daily part of your lifestyle, choosing healthy foods and modeling this behavior for your children. As Dr. Dyer puts it, “It means simply being as healthy as you possibly can be, and being determined not to allow your wonderful body, the place where your mind currently resides, to deteriorate unnecessarily.”

 

There has been much research on the relationship between illness and attitudes. The research suggests that even cancer and heart disease are strongly related to a person’s inner attitudes. Dr. Harrison tells us in his book, Loving Your Disease, that “Predispositions to disease are often not passed on in a physical sense but rather through the messages parents give their offspring and the living habits and diet they pass down”.

 

Dr. Dyer recognizes the obvious elements of wellness that include diet, exercise, and eliminating negative lifestyle habits. In addition, he suggests two elements that will help children as much as the physical components. These elements are using visualization and having a sense of humor. They are just as important as diet and exercise.

 

Positive imagery or visualization is a powerful tool that children can use to help them become capable, healthy and vibrant people. Visualization puts the imagination to work to help achieve a desired outcome. It is the process of creating positive thoughts and images in the mind to communicate with the body. It is one of the strongest and most effective ways to make happen what you want in your life. Children can be taught to regularly see themselves in their minds as being radiantly healthy, vibrant, and actively participating in whatever activities they want to do. Positive imagery or visualization is very helpful for children who are overweight or who have acne or other skin diseases and need to establish a better self-image. Verbal affirmations can be used with imagery. A good affirmation for a child to say regularly is “I am good to my body and my body is good to me” or “Every day I am feeling better and growing more vibrantly healthy”. Children can also use visualization to help their body to heal. Studies show that there are significant remission rates among people healing from cancer who use visualization as part of the healing process.

 

Laughter is a strong healer and health builder. Dr. Dyer tells us that “when children laugh they are actually releasing into their bloodstream chemicals which are necessary for the prevention and cure of disease”. Have fun with your children. Be a little crazy and silly and laugh as much as you can. Each good belly laugh means that you and your children are becoming more physically and emotionally sound.

 

Healthy Child Online is a comprehensive resource providing parents and caregivers with free information and safe, natural products to enhance the health and lives of children. Healthy Child Online is a project of Future Generations, started by Jane Sheppard, a work-athome mother, in 1997. The children are our future, and Future Generations is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health and well-being of children by:

 

Providing information about how to promote vibrant health naturally.

Raising awareness about how the profit-driven food, chemical, and medical, and entertainment industries have spawned some unhealthy foods, drugs, vaccines, pesticides, and other products and practices, and are perpetuating an unsafe environment for children.

Supporting parents and caregivers in switching to a more natural, respectful, nurturing way of tending to babies and children’s needs and helping children to become happy, loving, emotionally-secure adults. We advocate natural, holistic, heart-centered, attachment parenting.

 


 

 

About the Author:

 

Jane Sheppard is the editor and publisher of Healthy Child Newsletter and website, offering parents thoroughly researched information and safe, non-toxic, organic products for babies and children. Jane is the author of Super Healthy Kids: Strengthening Your Child's Resistance to Disease, Protect Your Baby from Toxic Exposures, and numerous parenting articles. Jane lives in Northern California and can be reached through www.HealthyChild.com.

 

 

 

Hop, Skip and Jump: Physical Activity Molded our Past. Can it Shape our Future?

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on May 4, 2015 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Once upon a time, children were almost never indoors, preferring to play outside. Nor were they ever still for long. They skipped and galloped, climbed trees, jumped rope, played hopscotch and rode their bicycles for blocks. They ran screaming through each other’s yards and even down the middle of the streets.

 

They played touch football, hide-and-seek and tag. They raced each other to the sliding board and swingset, chased butterflies and got filthy rolling around on the ground. It’s no wonder no one ever worried about them getting enough exercise!

 

Today, it’s the rare child who has similar experiences. Instead, children watch TV and DVDs and play not on jungle gyms, but on the computer. And they don’t walk—let alone run, as we did—to and from school. They either take the bus or their parents drive them. (Parents drive their kids everywhere these days.) And during the school day? Physical education and recess, which we had twice a day, are swiftly going the way of the dinosaurs.

 

The reasons for this drastic change in the landscape of childhood are many and varied. For one, there has been a shift in educational priorities from active learning to “accountability.” And because the prevailing belief is that the mind and body are separate entities (and that the functions of the mind are superior to those of the body), adults fail to see the educational values of play and movement. Thus, today’s children are more often than not expected to “sit still and learn.”

 

At the same time that educational priorities were shifting, so were parental priorities. Childhood became an exercise in achievement, which meant that children no longer had time to play. Of course, there’s also the space factor. Even if children somehow have the time and the opportunity to play outdoors, most of them don’t have the wide-open fields, empty lots and traffic-free streets that were available to their predecessors. Should children venture outdoors, there’s virtually no room to roam.

 

Rhonda Clements, Professor of Education at Manhattanville College and former president of the USA Affiliate of the International Play Association (ipausa.org), sees the following as problems:

 

• City planners are not required in many parts of the country to provide outdoor play areas.

 

• Many municipal recreation areas post “keep off the grass” signs, as if the green vegetation is only to be looked at.

 

• Crowded apartment dwellings force children to be fairly still, lest they break things, and building cooperative boards instill rules about where children may not play.

 

The results of all these changes in childhood are varied. Aside from “nature-deficit disorder” (a phrase coined by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods), there are the health issues. Outdoors, children can practice and refine their emerging motor skills, such as running and jumping. These activities strengthen bones and muscles, improve aerobic endurance and stimulate growth of the heart, lungs and other vital organs. And it is in the outdoors that children are more likely to burn calories—an excellent and easy antidote to the frightening problem of childhood obesity.

 

The consequences for a generation of children suffering from nature-deficit disorder and poorly developed motor skills have yet to be seen. But we do know that among the staggering consequences of overweight and obese children are shorter lifespans, heart disease risk factors evident in preschoolers—yes, preschoolers— and, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the possibility that one in three American children born in the year 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes—formerly called “adultonset” diabetes because it was so rarely seen in children.

 

Clearly, these trends cannot continue. The future must involve returning play and physical activity to childhood. The first step toward change must be a new shift in priorities—on the home front and within communities. Parents, educators, and policy makers must realize that the mind and body are interdependent and that children need to play and move in order to function optimally—both physically and intellectually. They then will ensure that, whether at home or at school, children get a healthy, daily dose of play and physical activity—preferably outside. (Among other things, recess and physical education should be a regular part of the school day.)

 

Communities also must become play- and movement-friendly. That means providing places to bike and walk (shifting priorities from vehicles to people). We need safe, well-supervised parks and playgrounds. (According to the National Program for Playground Safety, public playgrounds often are sub-par in terms of design, maintenance, and supervision.)

 

Because parents comprise one-third of potential voters, they can and should use their considerable power to influence policy makers. Whether parents advocate for recess, physical education, safer playgrounds or pedestrian-friendly communities, politicians will have to care about what parents care about!

 

We may not be able to return to the “yesterday” of play and physical activity on every corner, but we can take steps today to ensure a more playful, healthy and well-rounded tomorrow for our children.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Rae Pica is a children’s physical activity specialist, author and host of Body, Mind and Child Radio. She offers insight and wisdom on her site, movingandlearning.com, and hosts informative radio interviews on bodymind andchild.com/radio, where numerous shows are archived.

 

 

 

 

 


Written by Rae Pica

Tuesday, 01 September 2009


Understanding and Applying the Intelligence of Play

Posted by samfordchiro@gmail.com on April 27, 2015 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Nurture the soil, and the seed grows fully with little attention. Neglect the soil, and the seed’s development is compromised at every step.

 

Children are seeds. We are the soil, but we are often blind to our own lack of mentored development. In our semi-blind state we do unto others what was done, or more often, not done to us—repeating the cycle, generation after generation.

 

We are at a tipping point—personally, culturally and globally. We cannot rely on the past to respond appropriately to the present, and by that act expect to create a different future.

 

The question is: Where do we invest our energy and attention? How do we break the cycle in which we have been trapped for centuries? Do we focus on the seed or enrich the soil? The answer is, I believe, obvious. We invest in adult development and invite children to stand on our expanding shoulders, as nature intended.

 

But where do we begin? We have been traveling down the same old path for so long. How do we blaze a new trail through uncharted lands in our fast-changing world?

 

First we, the people who care for young children, must realize that our role has expanded. Child development is dependent upon adult development, and optimal social development requires that we must grow and change as much and as swiftly as the children we care for. No fixed curriculum can do this. No standardized test or government certificate is up to the challenge.

 

To meet this challenge—and there is none greater—you, I and every parent must rediscover the genius of our own childhoods— a genius drilled out of most of us years ago. In a phrase, we must rediscover the Intelligence of Play.

 

Understanding and applying the Intelligence of Play begins by opening our hearts and minds to new perceptions and possibilities. We think smart people know a lot of stuff. Computers contain lots of data and they are fast; however, computer-like behavior is not intelligent. It is reflexive, mechanical. To our personal and global distress, much of what we call education promotes computer-like behavior rather than developing true adaptive intelligence.

 

True genius is taking the stuff we already know and discovering what else we might do with it. Lego blocks can be combined in novel ways and become just about anything. The acts of imagining, wondering, trying, testing, crashing, persisting, dreaming, laughing, sharing, telling stories and connecting with others— these are the hallmarks of true genius, rather than mechanically regurgitating piles of content we already know.

 

 

Realizing Our Potential

 

Play is the only state where the full spectrum of our vast human potential is present and available. True genius is remembering just how to imagine. True genius is remaining present, open, flexible, attentive, curious, excited and passionate. True genius is not mistaking mechanical stuff—reflexive conditioning—for heartfelt intelligence with its care, affection and appropriateness.

 

Is this the state we embody as we meet each day’s challenges? Is this what we are modeling for the next critical generation, our innate genius lost long ago?

 

Many mistake the inner state of Play with the outer activity— the toy. Play is a state, not an activity. Intelligence is a state, not data storage. The next frontier in education, I suggest, is not about content. Instead it represents a shift of focus, priorities and values away from content and toward relationships, processes and capacity. The inner state of Play is the optimal way for this continual inner (and therefore outer) development to unfold.

 

After having interviewed hundreds of gifted individuals, many of whom are top performance specialists in high-pressure fields, I have come to realize that homework and tests matter very little. What matters most is the state in which we meet challenges. Play is the optimal state for learning and performance at any age, as we meet any challenge.

 

Authentic Play is transcendent—that is, it reaches beyond limitation and constraint. To become a 4-year-old, one must overcome the limitations and constraints of being 3. Life is a transcendent movement, and Play is unfolding human development in action.

 

The greater the challenge, the more we need to play. Develop the Intelligence of Play throughout your life, and you will naturally optimize the full spectrum of capacity to meet every future challenge in the best possible way.

 

If we create a heart and mind based on fixed content and beliefs, our future will narrow dramatically. But if we create a heart and mind that can imagine and dream, and that is willing to ask questions and act in new yet appropriate ways, there is no challenge that we cannot overcome.

 

The best possible school, at any age, will seek to develop the Intelligence of Play, and the inner skills and capacities needed to meet any challenge, fully and completely. Every action produces feedback used to enhance development. Spilling the milk or paint isn’t “wrong.” Going “too far” or discovering “too much” provides feedback used to refine attention and motor skills.

 

 

Capacity vs. Content

 

Developmentally we are always paying forward, always building capacity to meet the next moment more fully. In the state of Play, with its enhanced energy and attention, failure isn’t possible. This is very different from cultural competition. Play is the act of learning, and learning is expanding capacity, not content.

 

Understanding the difference between content and capacity instantly transforms any classroom into a play-based learning environment. Every stroke of the paint brush produces an effect. Every effect is feedback that enhances the next stroke. In such an environment, learning and expanding capacity take place all the time. Tests lose their high-stakes sting. In these environments, every action is an exploration, an inquiry that produces feedback, which in turn enhances performance. Growth never ends, and capacity continues to expand.

 

The best thing about the Intelligence of Play, however, is joy. Retain the Intelligence of Play throughout your life and you will retain the energy, attention, passion and affection you had that spring morning catching pollywogs in the stream behind the old wooden fence. You retain and enhance being present, open and full of wonder as the cat tugs at your shoe strings. Retain the Intelligence of Play and you begin each day full of the childlike genius nature intended.

 

The alternative is that we can think we know everything and grow increasingly grumpy as life’s ever-changing richness and diversity fail to meet our fixed ideas and beliefs.

 

Most simply and profoundly, understanding and applying the Intelligence of Play means never getting stuck in yourself!

 

 

About the Author:

 

Michael Mendizza is an author, educator, documentary filmmaker and founder of Touch the Future, a nonprofit learning design center. His book, Magical Parent, Magical Child: The Art of Joyful Parenting, co-authored with Joseph Chilton Pearce, applies research on optimum states to parenting and to education. Michael is developing two additional books: Kids Are Not the Problem, a series of essays on parenting the next critical generation; and Flowering, a collection of dramatic floral images and quotes by Krishnamurti (see zfolio.com).

Written by Michael Mendizza

Tuesday, 01 March 2011


 

 

 


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