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Archive for February, 2017

Questions about Acupuncture

Monday, February 20th, 2017

I am often asked questions about acupuncture. To get you the best and most accurate answers to your questions about acupuncture, I turned to Ashley Robillard at Firefly Acupuncture. Ashley is an acupuncturist right here in Plymouth and I have seen her myself.

Here is what she had to say about acupuncture:

There are a couple of questions that come up frequently when I tell people I am an acupuncturist. Often times people know that acupuncture is a natural therapy that includes needles. And they typically know somebody who has tried it, but has never met an acupuncturist before. So naturally, they are curious about a few things.

“Oh is that when you stab people with needles!? I hate needles!”

Agh! I do not want people associating a stabbing with what I do! Acupuncture needles are very fine, flexible, sterile and disposable. Each needle is used only one time and barely felt with insertion. Once the needles are inserted, the patient will rest for about 30 minutes and many times are sound asleep when I return to the room.

“I know somebody who had acupuncture for headaches, do you treat headaches?”

Yes! But there is so much more than just treating a headache (or back pain, or stomach pains, or joint pain). Why do you have this pain? What is the underlying cause? I will treat the symptom of the moment to give relief, but I will also ask many questions to get to the root of the problem. Then I will tailor the treatment specifically to you. We will go through your daily routine to notice triggers, look at your diet and find patterns that could be contributing to your pain. I will place needles in specific points that either tonify the deficiencies in your system or reduce the stagnation, or many times both! It is all about balance.

Many people think acupuncture is only about pain relief. But it is so much more than that. It is about bringing your system back into balance. Life is hard and exhausting and many of us do not stop to take care of ourselves, or to just breathe. Yes acupuncture helps with pain, but it also helps create a more restful sleep pattern, it helps balance mood swings and boost metabolism. When all systems in the body are regulated, the pain will decrease significantly.

“Do you like what you do?”

I can’t even explain how happy my job makes me. I absolutely love working one on one with people, hearing their stories and finding a way to make their life better. To see a patient walk out of the office relaxed and pain free when it was a struggle to walk in. To ask about a lifelong symptom and have the patient realize that it is no longer a concern. To have a woman struggling for months or years with fertility tell me she is pregnant. I am so thankful to be part of each journey.

If you have concerns that you would like to address with Ashley, she is right here in Plymouth. She also does acupuncture facials. I’ll let her explain that one to you herself. You can reach her at Ashley Robillard, L.Ac. Firefly Acupuncture
www.fireflyacu.com 763-300-1399

Know your farmer, know your food!

Friday, February 10th, 2017

One little known fact about me; I was a vegetarian for six years. It wasn’t a health kick, I simply read a book about food that grossed me out. The book was called, Diet for a New America, written by the Baskin Robbins heir, John Robbins. He walked away from his family’s food empire and inheritance because he didn’t like how the animals were processed and raised. Specifically, he was disgusted by the hormones and drugs used in dairy production.

Many years later, I am back to eating meat. I am now incredibly picky about the source of my meat. I will happily spend an extra few dollars a month to insure that Mad Scientist practices aren’t used on my food and that the animal isn’t tormented while it is living. I was recently turned on to Hilltop Pastures Family Farm. Last summer, I would drive down to the midtown farmers market just to stock my freezer. Last month, as I was running low on meat that I had purchased at the fall farmers market, I realized they delivered twice a month to the Ridgedale Target. How nice to not have to leave the Plymouth or Minnetonka area! What I like about Hilltop Pastures Farm is knowing the animals that I eat were humanely treated and humanely butchered. They were raised with regular farming practices that I grew up with, not within disgusting factory farms.

Humanely Raised

I asked Sarah, the farmer, how her animals are raised and this is how she answered:

“We are a truly small-scale family farm where all of our animals are raised sustainably and organically. All of our animals are raised in the open air, sunshine, and on grass. Farming practices such as these utilize the natural symbiotic relationships between the different species. On our pasture-based farm, cattle, lambs, and goats (ruminant animals) are solely grass-fed and finished. They receive no grain at all. Our chickens, laying hens, turkeys, and pigs are also raised on pasture in addition to receiving a non-GMO grain. This is because they are a non-ruminant animal. Our animals receive no antibiotics or growth hormones, ever! We offer genuine, true farming practices that heal the land and soil and keep our animals and family healthy. We use organic principles when raising all of our animals. The multi species farming practices that we use versus single species is good for the land and the animals. All animals move around on the farm so that they are always receiving fresh grass and its wonderful nutrients. Our animals don’t just have access to the grass, they are on the grass, always. All the animals follow the cows on the farm. The hens are the last to follow so they can scratch at the manure piles. That break up the larva cycle sanitizing the pasture. The hens love the fresh grass and bugs that they find out there.”

Is it just labeling?
As a consumer, one of my big concerns when shopping for groceries is whether I am paying more for pretty advertising, or am I paying for sound farming practices? Finding Hilltop Pastures Farms solved this for me. Since I know my farmer, I know that the money isn’t spent on packaging. It doesn’t have fancy graphics, and it doesn’t have buzzwords. When I asked Sarah about this, she had a lot to say about advertising and farming practices of the fancy big box groceries.

“Our mission statement is: Know Your Farmer Know Your Food. I know in this day and age, life is chaotic and busy. We look for the most efficient ways to get things done. We definitely shouldn’t do that with our health. I know it takes time to research and find good food, but it is so worth it! We aren’t a factory farm pushing out animals every day to keep up with the profit margins. We are small scale. Animals are raised with care and attention. They are allowed to grow at the rate needed for their health and well-being. We are face to face marketing with our customers. We truly feel that you need to know who is growing your food in order to know for sure that it is raised right.

Our mantra is that as consumers we shouldn’t just put our faith in a label! A label on a fancy package in the grocery store doesn’t necessarily mean that the source of that meat was truly being raised in a healthy pasture based system! Eggs and chickens are often “labeled” as free-range, organic, cage-free, vegetarian or any of the other buzz words. The reality is that the chickens are often raised in massive barns with only a small access door to a little area outside that hasn’t seen a blade of grass in years! Chickens eat bugs! They love them! So they are not naturally vegetarians… Beef labeled as Grass-fed is often raised in large feed lots that finish the animals on grain or other high gaining rations. The animal is only exposed to pasture for a few months of its life so it’s allowed to be “labeled” as grass-fed. You get the point, labels are deceptive. The big boys in the food industry are seeing the food revolution happening. They don’t want to give up any of their profits. They are buying organic companies and heavily influencing labeling and production models. Bottom line is if you really want to know how your food was raised you must KNOW YOUR FARMER.”

If you are interested in ordering meat from Hilltop Pastures Family Farms, check out their website Hill I love their brats and bacon. Let them know I sent you.

Pilates is the perfect exercise for your back

Monday, February 6th, 2017

Why is Pilates the perfect exercise for your back? It is an exercise system specifically designed to strengthen your deep internal stabilizers, especially your spine. After years of working out at thebig gym, I’ve seen all types of dangerous exercises performed on the main floor to “strengthen” someone’s back or neck. I have all I can do to not walk up to them with a business card since they are going to need me at some point.

The scariest things I see are individuals with poor posture performing weight training exercises. If it’s at the gym, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. Individuals pulling their leg to their head in an attempt to “stretch” their hamstrings; and people who complain in my office about back pain but never change their exercise routine – still doing yoga and weights but never feeling better… Even worse, all the money spent at Orthopedic and PT clinics when learning how to use your body correctly is the key. It’s PreHab – Not Rehab. There are better ways.

I highly recommend Deb Dodge at The Pilates Advantage in Medina, MN. I have been referring her clients for quite some time and she and her competent staff are great at developing strengthening programs that work for each person. Her instructors are Pilates Method Alliance certified and this is important in the Pilates field of exercise.

Pilates isn’t going to make you sweat like crazy or build your cardio endurance. It is going to build the muscles that keep your body safe as it moves. While I don’t feel like I have earned a big cheeseburger after my workout, I do feel like it is the most important hour I spend each week. When I leave it as if all my joints have been lubricated.

Again, if you are looking for a knowledgeable, helpful and convenient Pilates studio, call Pilates Advantage. They will get you on the right track for feeling good!

My Posture Pump® Review

Monday, February 6th, 2017


When Posture Pump® asked me to review their products, I was initially skeptical. They caught me at a moment where I was having a lot of postural fatigue and the beginnings of chronic headaches. I had just complained that day about burning in my upper back to my own chiropractor. I’ve been under chiropractic care for 25 years and to me it’s as basic as eating broccoli. I don’t necessarily like getting adjusted every week but I know I need it to be healthy.

I selfishly agreed to demo their product. The model I used was the Posture Pump® Deluxe 4100-S. I’ll be honest, the first time was simply miserable. I couldn’t get the head strap to stay in place, it didn’t feel as if the cushions were quite aligned and it was crazy uncomfortable when I pumped it up. When I finally finished the posture pump® routine, my spine felt really vulnerable. Despite being a regular Pilates participant, my spine hadn’t bent that was in awhile. When I finished, I felt light headed and taller. Needless to say, I wasn’t looking forward to the future sessions, but amazingly the next day I didn’t get a headache…or the day after.

After several days of using the posture pump® I noticed my sessions on it getting more comfortable and towards the mid afternoon, I would start to crave it. After consistent use over the last two weeks, my neck feels so much better. My head doesn’t feel like a weight that is too heavy to lift and I have only have had one day with the slightest headache.

I am impressed. I would definitely recommend this product as an adjunct to chiropractic care especially if you are dealing with chronic postural issues from sitting at a computer or staring down at devices all day. It’s really helped me to feel better! If you are interest in your own Posture Pump®, you can visit the posture pump website and use promo code DRG15 for 15% off any of their products. As always, if you are one of my patients ask me first if this is appropriate for you.

Pro Tips:

1) Follow the directions on this exactly. The warm ups are very important.
2) Start with minimal inflation and build gradually over time.
3) As the instructions state, this device is best used before bed. The day I used it before going to work, I regretted it.

Attention Chiropractors

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