Category Archives: Chiropractic

Who takes care of MY back?

As I was adjusting a long time patient, she asked me who takes care of my back? I’m bent over taking care of others all day long, surely someone must take care of my back… what we often forget, is Chiropractic is not about your back.

Since I first started my education and career the research and our understanding of chiropractic has come SUCH a long way. In fact, I no longer think about my back at all. Or those of my patients even. Or my husband’s, or my dog’s, or my kids’… I’m focused on our brains.

Here is a quote from one of the top Chiropractors studying Neurology in the world, Dr. Heidi Haavik when she was speaking to Dr. Don MacDonald this summer for his podcast:

“We are not moving bones off squashed nerves as we once thought. It’s about improving the motion of the spine which in turn improves the ability of the brain to interpret its relationship to the body and to the external world. The science is very clear.” 

So I never take care of my back, or anyone else’s. I’m constantly focused on taking care of the movement of the spine, the impact of that on the brain, and then what else we can do to support healthy spinal movement and brain function.

SO… what DO I do? Well, the exact same things I recommend to my patients of course!!!

  • regular chiropractic adjustments (this doesn’t mean waiting until pain)
  • daily movement exercises (more on this in another post!)
  • belly sleeping (again, more to come!)
  • meditation, journalling, reading (mostly daily and mostly in the early morning)
  • being present with those I love and spending TIME in my relationships
  • healthy foods and supplements
  • exercise I enjoy, which for me is mostly walking, running, and yoga
  • FUN – taking moments to laugh with my kids, talk with friends, plan events I enjoy

So, what are you doing for your brain? And how can I help? An adjustment is a great place to start so you can make the most of life.

Cold Buster Tea

It might not be the drink you reach for daily, but MAN, when you need it, it sure works!!! This is a recipe from my friend Sara Bradford, who previously ran Nourish Real Food. Its a killer recipe for kicking a cold’s butt. This is my variation.

Ingredients:

  • 2 or 3 inches fresh ginger, sliced or grated
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1-2 tsp turmeric 
  • 10 whole cloves (or 1/4 tsp ground)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 3 cups fresh water
  • juice of 1 whole lemon
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  1. Stick the ginger, spices, and fresh water in a pot. Bring to a boil, and simmer at least 15-20min. It’ll make almost a concentrate. I look for it to reduce by 1/2.  (Keep en eye on spillover, the turmeric does stain.)
  2. Strain out the spices while pouring into a cup.
  3. Add the lemon juice and raw honey.
  4. You may take this concentrate, place it in your fridge and simply re heat, add honey, and lemon as you need it. I find this recipe will do me for 1.5 mugs, so I often double it and just reheat the concentrate as I’m ready for it. Do be careful of spills as turmeric stains. I clean it all up with Norwex Cleaning Paste when I spill or if the pot is stained.  Its worth the work!

My first line of defence is prevention, including regular adjustments. Once I feel the cold coming on, I get adjusted, make this tea, up some immune boosting supplements, and rest up! This tea helps clear my cold, boost my energy, and feels oh so good on my throat. Have a go and let me know how it goes!!!

Are your Beliefs Fact or Limitation?

As a chiropractor, I work to shift your physiology by working with your spine. Through motion of the spine, I aim for your brain to start to function better, and for you to show up in your life better! As part of that process, I hear a lot of life histories. I work with people during their adjustment to take different action in their life to shift their outcomes. I often hear people’s beliefs of their limitations in life and health and what they are capable of, expressed as fact. 

The beliefs sound like…
  • “All the women in my family have depression like I do.” 
  • “I’m not a routine kinda person.”
  • “I have a bad back.” 
  • “I don’t stick to things.” 
  • “Its just my genetics.”
  • “I get every cold going around.” 
  • “Diets don’t work for me.”
  • “I don’t like exercise.” 
My own belief revealing moment

Statements that we take as truth, are often not facts, they are simply beliefs that we have never thought to question. The following is an exercise I have done repeatedly. For example, I have never been a routine kinda gal. My roommates in school laughed as I ran up and down the stairs, switching from dressing, to eating, to packing bags in no particular order. Fast forward to my busy mom and professional life, and I wanted a morning routine to set my day. Though the hugs and snuggles while my kids are small will always be priority, I somehow ALWAYS managed to drink coffee. And I mean ALWAYS. The kids know that while snuggling in the chair, I’d sip my coffee. Clearly there IS a morning routine. If I can make coffee happen each morning AND my snuggles, I could likely also make some other changes to supercharge my morning routine. It took that one tiny shift, and my entire morning routine shifted because I changed my belief about my routine.

Taking action

Here is an exercise from my mentors Brandi and Dr. Don MacDonald that you can use to help you examine whether what you think is actually a fact or if it’s really a belief that you could change to help you shift some aspect of your life.

  1. What is my current belief about my health (life, work etc)?
  2. Where and who does that belief come from?
  3. What has your experience told you about this?
  4. Does this belief align with the results you want in your life?
  5. What will it cost you to continue holding on to this belief?
  6. What actions are you taking as a result of these beliefs?
  7. Are there any exceptions to this belief? 
  8. Are the beliefs you wrote down facts or beliefs?
  9. This this belief come from another belief? And if it did, what belief created this belief?

Remember, do this as many times as you have something you want to explore. You may find you come back to it later when there is something else to examine. I have used it for both my professional life and my personal life. Sometimes it’s been mildly interesting to see the answer, and others times, I have had tears rolling down my cheeks from the freedom of seeing the truth of a belief. I encourage you to sit down with a pen and paper, and no judgement of yourself, and start to do the work to learn a little more about you. You’ll be surprised what ways you CAN make a change and a difference in your own life. See you at your next adjustment!

Dr. Pip Penrose

Why Chiropractic for Dogs?

Why might your dog need chiropractic care?

For the same reasons that many of us humans need chiropractic care!

Sometimes we can see a loss of function in our dog’s physical performance. This is more important in our pets than is in us. A dog’s ability to get around and participate in family activities determines not only quality of life, but often longevity. I have seen numerous dogs of various ages, re-invigorated and able to get back out for family activities with the help of chiropractic adjustments.

Many things cause physical problems that we don’t even notice in our animals. Consider collars, especially in dogs and puppies who pull, think of the playfulness of puppies, and the roughness of older animals at play. Think about the distances that your dog leaps when chasing a ball, playing, or jumping out of the car.  We ask our performance dogs to do a lot in obedience trials, conformation showing, and agility training. Our dogs can also have clear injuries from a fall, a collision, a mis-step, or a hereditary condition like hip dysplasia. There are endless reasons to keep our pets healthy with chiropractic care.

Above all else, our pets experience our stresses as well. They may hold tension in their body as a result of stress in the household, stress from an illness, and of course from their physical environment.

How do dogs respond to chiropractic care?

They often respond faster than humans!  Their bodies and brains are created primarily for motion, so when motion is restored, they USE IT!  Compare that to humans who go back to our cars, and our desks, and our sedentary lifestyle. Our human brains have more space dedicated to critical thinking and emotional depth than to movement (PLEASE NOTE dear people, movement does fuel those parts of our brain! Movement IS still essential to us). Our dogs stretch, yawn, and take big deep breaths whenever it feels good to do so, not only when it’s socially acceptable.  They also don’t worry about tomorrow, stress about yesterday, or consider giving anything but love.  The dogs that I see are also very well cared for and get better exercise, water, and love than most of my human patients.  In short, they are primed for healing with chiropractic care and require far less than humans do to see incredible gains!

I look forward to speaking with you and setting up your pet’s initial chiropractic exam! Use the contact form or call me at  (519) 276-8800.

Why all the changes: Purpose, “Pission”, Passion & Ritual

I am working on some changes. You’ll likely start to see them showing up through this blog, on my fb page and on my website. I will be broadening the the scope to be a more complete representation of what I’m about and what I wish to offer the world.  Let me begin by sharing my current journey of Purpose, “Pission”, and Passion.

Purpose

Do you know what your purpose is? I don’t… well not quite yet anyway. I almost do.  I’m working on it. I sure do have passion and have a great general direction or sense of my purpose, and yet I cannot fully articulate it.  If I lack a clear purpose, it means that on some days, tired days, days that my inner fire is burning low, or when I’m highly distracted by life, its easy to lose focus and just put time in until the day is done. I don’t mean that I don’t care, that I’m not doing my best, or that I’m not doing a good job at life, it simply means that I’m not sharing my potential with the world.  Interestingly, in 10+years of watching people in practice, I suggest that the majority of us don’t share our full potential with the world.  This pattern became clear to me upon attending an exciting conference put on by the Alliance for Chiropractic.  The ever inspiring Dr. Gilles LaMarche spoke about purpose and the impact that it has on our life and on how much we can be of service to others.  Some people would say that I do provide a service, and I’m proud to have done so for 10+ years. More importantly, I know I can up my game.  I know having a clear purpose will help. A clear purpose hones my ability to care for my family, to filter energy sucking parts of life, to give my all to my patients and to reach out to a larger community to create bigger change for those around me. In short, a purpose statement makes the bumps in life less about me and more about the journey to fulfill that purpose.  I haven’t yet managed to articulate my purpose entirely, and when I can, you’ll be the first to know. Here is my purpose statement so far: My purpose is to inspire, encourage, and empower those I serve to engage in their life and health and to live in balance so that I can be present, connected and passionate at home with my loved ones! (I am closing in on a purpose statement here! Not done yet!)

“Pission” & Passion

If my purpose isn’t clear, my fire burns low and I’m most likely to be frustrated and worn out by the state of the world and by the level of health and engagement around me.  Again, Dr. LaMarche is the man who shared the word “Pission” with me.  “Pission” is passion that is fuelled by a little bit of “pissed off”.  Why pissed off?  I’m pissed that all around me we are satisfied with feeling or doing “fine”, with thinking that one day we will get off the couch, that a problem in life will just “go away”, that we are more interested in complaining or focusing on our devices than engaging with the world around us.  I want those around me in my community to have passion in and for their life, to know they have choices, and to wake up with a purpose!  I am dedicating the next few weeks to lighting my fire by clearly outlining my purpose. Of course over time it may evolve and change. It will still be my guide.

Ritual

Just like anyone else, change is hard and we have so many excuses about why we can’t do what someone else is doing.  As a mom, I have a plethora of excuses I could use that would all seem legitimate. I have realized the excuses don’t serve me or any of us. We simply need to tailor our needs and goals to our life as it evolves.  As such, as I start this journey I have implemented a morning ritual.  While I dream of a morning routine that is structured and efficient, being a nursing mom with two small children, our morning is anything but routine. I previously thought lack of routine was a limitation, now I know I can savour the time, embrace it, and enhance it with some additional rituals!

My heart & my soul: cuddling, intention statement & purpose statement

First thing is first, and nursing and cuddling take priority over all else to start the day, which is how my heart wakes up.  I have added a few key elements which include a morning statement said to myself prior to opening my eyes about my intention for the day.  This intention for the day has been most helpful in those 5am wake-ups!  The intention statement is followed by some of the words that are slowly morphing into my purpose statement.  By the time I have repeated these statements in my mind, I generally have one or two kids in my arms and a smile on my face and in my heart!

My mind: reading

Next up, somewhere in the morning, maybe while the kids are playing or eating, I take the time (while the kids don’t notice) to read a few pages of something informative and something inspiring, to wake up my soul and my mind. Sometimes I read something chiropractic, sometimes its general health or wellbeing, sometimes its philosophy, and currently, I read a lot on the science of purpose.

My brain: movement

Additionally, I move my body for 10-15min. I might chose yoga, maybe a dance party with the kids, maybe I run through some of the life exercises that I recommend to patients. Ultimately, I move my whole body in a pleasurable way with the goal of waking my brain (more on this in a later blog). This is not the extent of my movement or exercise for the day, rather a way to engage my brain!  I have now woken my heart, my mind, my soul, and my brain and am ready for YOU for the day!  I am ready to share my passion and fulfill my purpose for the day!  In addition, I often often also savour (or drink while reading a board book) a cup of coffee because, well, it makes me smile, and that is lovely too!

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

I’ll wrap up with this beautiful statement by Marianne Williamson that was on my desk throughout my post secondary education. It also lights a fire in my heart. (If the word God doesn’t speak to you, please substitute for universe, world, you name it, whatever you want to use in place, I believe the sentiment rings true, just as it does for me.)

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Please share you purpose, your passion, your “pission”, your routines or rituals that help fuel your fire.

Thanks for being part of my tribe. I look forward to sharing more of my journey with you.

Spring TLC

Happy Spring!!! I mean Hello Winter!!!  I mean happy Spring!  Oh… winter again… what season are we in?  Your animals are asking the same question!!! They are stepping in snow, dirt, COLD water, ice… a bit of everything!  And most of the time, at least some of their surfaces are incredibly uneven and VERY slippery this time of year, and without the buffer of a little snow on top.  We are giddy to get out, as are they… but a couple of things to keep in mind for you and your pets before your SPRING out the door!

1. Watch for ice!

If you can slip, so can your animals!  Yes, they have 4 legs so typically don’t land on their butts as often as we do and on occasion if we are walking them on a leash or lead, they may even be keeping us on our toes!  I know Jasper has done that for me on many occasions!  But the ice can still be hard on their feet, cause little twists and tweaks that they feel throughout their bodies.  Just this morning I have seen more of my healthy dogs who are adjusted to maintain their health with slight problems or subluxations in their paws, limbs, and low back, just from slipping on the ice!  Be aware of the surfaces they are walking on and the extra stress this causes their body.  Give them the TLC they need, including chiropractic!  Seasonally is a great time for a chiropractic checkup for your pets, even without symptoms, to keep them at their very best for a long time!

2. Monitor their fitness

Yes, they get cabin fever just like us!  And boy is that epidemic this year in humans AND animals!  But remember just like us they may have lost some fitness or gained some weight over the winter, so its important to remember to ease them back into activity or work gently, just like us!

3. Have fun!!!!

There is a glimmer of hope starting in the form of the smells and sounds of spring (have you heard the birds chirping?) and so its time to have fun!  Yes it may be raining sometimes, but its at least possible to get out and not freeze, so get out and have fun!  It will bring a glow to your cheeks and your animal’s heart as well!  Time we bust out of the house or the office or wherever we have hibernated and embrace the spring with all the joy of the birds!  Have fun playing or doing whatever you love to do outside… we’ve earned it!!!!