Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting

August 4, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” – H.L. Mencken

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,163. Gold closed at $1,364 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $41.08 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.54%. Bitcoin is trading around $584 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Election season is now in full swing here in the U.S. – much to the agony of those of us who believe in human liberty, voluntary association, and participatory networks.

Once again the intelligentsia have convinced people that their future hinges directly upon the outcome of the next presidential election, and inevitably we non-voters are denounced for lack of patriotism by the 40% of the population who still place their faith in the voting booth. Naturally, our first reaction is to stand up for ourselves and explain our position:

“The essence of politics is coercion and, if necessary, violence…”, we attempt to explain in vain. Continue reading “Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting”

Wellness for Children

by Author Jane Sheppard – ICPA.org:wellness

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.

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.

Fruits and Vegetables May Protect Kids From Asthma and Allergies

by Neustaedter, OMD – ICPA.org:Fruits and Vegetables

Children in rural Crete have an especially low incidence of allergies and wheezing (asthma). The diet among this population is typically high in locally grown fruits and vegetables. These facts led researchers to examine whether there was an association between diet and allergies in these children.

What they found can reassure and inspire us all as parents to pursue a healthy whole foods diet for our children.

The study included 690 children aged 7 to 18 years living in rural areas of Crete. Parents completed a food questionnaire that rated intake on a scale of six from never to more than once per day for each category of foods. The foods in the survey included vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, cereal, dairy products, meat, poultry, and margarine. Parents also completed a symptom questionnaire that included a current history (in the past 12 months) of respiratory and allergic symptoms.

They discovered that children with a daily consumption of grapes, oranges, apples, and fresh tomatoes had less asthma. Eating oranges, but not other fruits, was associated with less nasal allergies. Eating nuts more than three times per week was also associated with less wheezing.

Consuming margarine, however, showed a correlation with more wheezing and allergies. Other suspect food items, such as fast foods and fried foods, were not included in the study. Other studies have shown an increased incidence of asthma in children consuming fast foods.

The traditional Mediterranean diet contains a high proportion of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, and is high in essential fatty acids, fiber, polyphenols from olive oil, and vitamins E and C. In this study children with a primarily Mediterranean diet had a lower incidence of nasal allergies and nighttime coughing.

The message from this study is clearly that children with allergies may benefit from eating a diet with a high proportion of fruits and vegetables, and that this type of diet may be preventive for allergies and asthma as well. Parents would do well to make fruits available to children throughout the day, pack fruits in school and camp lunches, and avoid processed foods with added sugar and corn syrup. Never use margarine. And don’t forget to include nuts in children’s diets as well (including walnuts, pecans, and almonds).

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.

How We Are Making Our Children Sick

by Sean Manning, DC – ICPA.org:sick

The purpose of the immune system is to allow us to live in harmony with our environment. In fact, most of the trillions of foreign cells present within our body coexist peacefully, and in some cases even contribute to our health and well-being. In spite of this, chronic diseases such as allergies, asthma, and eczema, which were rare several decades ago, have risen exponentially, especially in children, quadrupling during the last two decades.

The number of asthma sufferers in the United States is expected to double by the year 2020, affecting 1 in every 14 people and outnumbering the combined projected populations of New York and New Jersey. A growing number of scientists now believe that the routine measures taken to suppress and prevent infections actually weaken certain responses of a child’s immune system, allowing other less appropriate responses to operate without control. The reduction of childhood diseases has been heralded as one of medicine’s finest accomplishments, yet there are growing suspicions that infection intervention may be having an adverse effect; as childhood infections have decreased, chronic afflictions have increased.

The immune system has two different aspects: the cell-mediated immune system and the humoral immune system. The cell-mediated immune system involves white blood cells and specialized immune cells which “eat” antigens, or foreign particles in the body. This helps drive the antigens out of the body causing symptoms such as skin rashes and the discharge of pus and mucous from the throat and lungs. The cell-mediated response is associated with the beneficial acute inflammatory illnesses of children, and represents the externalization, or driving out of the infection.

The other aspect is called the humoral immune system whereby antibodies—special defense proteins—are produced to recognize and neutralize the antigen. It is a persistent humoral response that is associated with chronic allergic-type diseases.

In order to be healthy, a child must keep a balance between the cell-mediated system and the humoral system, with the cell-mediated system predominating. The cell-mediated response is activated by the natural exposure to bacteria and viruses, in the way children are exposed by interacting with their friends. Through repeated exposure to infectious organisms a child develops a diverse repertoire of immune response patterns. It is the cellmediated response that protects a child from future illness, and develops the type of immune response we commonly associate with life-long immunity. The cell-mediated system suppresses the activity of the humoral system. The more active the cell-mediated activity is, the less active the humoral system is.

However, if the cell-mediated system is not properly stimulated it does not fully develop, leading to an abnormally high production of humoral system antibodies. A humoral system that is continually engaged will overdevelop, creating a hypersensitive environment. When infants are exposed to germs early, their immune systems are pushed to go in an “infection-fighting direction.” Without this push, the immune system’s shift to infection fighting is delayed, and it becomes more likely to overreact to allergens—dust, mold, and other environmental factors that most people can tolerate.

Early life experiences are believed to play a crucial role in the formation and patterning of a child’s immune system. Sensitization begins in utero and the first few months of life are crucial, for once cell-mediated/humoral imbalance occurs it tends to persist until specific measures are taken to shift the immune system back to equilibrium. There are several ways that pattern the reaction of the immune system toward either the cell-mediated response or the humoral response based on their timing and frequency. The important thing for a parent to understand is that their child’s immune system will react based on the way it has been patterned and programmed to react. If your child’s current immune capacity is poor, then it is possible to improve it by making better choices in the future.


There are numerous reports that suggest the excessive cleanliness practiced in modern society may be partly responsible for the increased incidence of allergic diseases. Repeated exposure while young to various types of bacteria and spores found in dirt, dust, and animal dander may actually protect against the development of allergies. A molecule known as an endotoxin naturally occurs in the outer membrane of bacteria. When the bacteria die the endotoxin is released into the environment. Children are exposed to these endotoxins by breathing them in, or by ingesting them when they put their hands or other objects into their mouths. The exposure to bacteria, viruses, and endotoxins is essential for the maturation of the immune system; less exposure leads to imbalanced immune responses.

Children’s early exposure to allergens and infections prime their immune systems to resist them later on. Although children in daycare seem to get sick more often than other children do, this is not necessarily a bad thing. These colds and other infections may be giving their immature immune systems a health workout, resulting in a lower incidence of asthma. Children with the highest degree of personal hygiene are the most likely to develop eczema and wheezing between the ages of two and a half and three and a half years. In 2000, a study of 61 infants between the ages of 9–24 months found that the more house dust an infant was exposed to, the less likely that they would suffer allergies.


Antibiotics given in the first year of life quadruple a child’s risk of developing asthma. Children given antibiotics after age one year are still one and a half times more likely to develop asthma than children not given antibiotics. What is particularly concerning is that every course of antibiotic treatments a child increases the occurrence of allergies and that treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics, such as streptomycin, tetracycline, and Cipro®, appear to be more likely to be associated with allergy development than is ordinary penicillin.

Antibiotics enhance allergic reactions by sidestepping the normal immune system response. Whenever the immune system successfully deals with an infection it emerges from the experience stronger and better able to confront similar threats in the future. Through the process of developing and then conquering infection, the child gets rid of acquired toxins and poisons from the body and receives a boost to the immune system. If you always jump in with antibiotics at the first sign of infection you do not give the immune system a chance to grow stronger.

Antibiotics also act nonspecifically, killing infectious bacteria as well as upsetting the normal gut flora. Substances that are introduced through the mouth are normally ignored by the humoral system. But, in order for this to occur, the normal bacteria in the intestines need to be present. Alterations in the normal intestinal bacteria levels, especially in infancy, allow food proteins and other particles to pass into the blood stream before they are broken down, where the body identifies them as a threat, contributing to a persistent humoral response and the development of allergic diseases.


Most childhood infections are caused by viruses, and thus do not respond to antibiotics, hence the development of our current vaccine program. Infections contracted naturally are ordinarily filtered through a series of immune system defenses. Naturally-contracted viral diseases stimulate a cell-mediated response, and it appears that because of this, early viral infections are protective against allergic diseases. When a vaccine is injected directly into the blood stream, it gains access to all of the major tissues and organs of the body without the body’s normal advantage of a total immune response. This results in only partial immunity, consequently the need for “booster” shots. Vaccines stimulate a humoral response so their contents are never discharged from the body, the way they would be if the disease were naturally contracted, leaving the body in a chronic state of sensitization. In a study of 448 children, 243 had been vaccinated against whooping cough. Of these, 10% had asthma compared to less than 2% of the 205 children in the non-vaccinated group, suggesting that the pertussis vaccination can increase the risk of developing asthma by more than five times.

Dietary Fat Consumption

Chicken nuggets, potato chips, and other fried foods, while convenient for parents, are relegating their children’s immune systems to behave badly. Another factor that has been identified as a contributor to the rise in allergic diseases is the increased consumption of omega-6 fatty acids and the decreased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. It has been known for many years that individuals with allergic conditions have disproportionately high levels of omega- 6 fatty acids in their blood. Omega-6 fatty acids actually suppress the immune system and promote inflammation, and allergic responses are, by their very nature, inflammatory. Sources of omega-6 fatty acids are corn, cotton, soybean, peanut, safflower, and sunflower. Omega-6 fatty acids are also present in most animal products.

Inversely, omega-3 fatty acids are known to enhance immunity, reduce inflammation, and protect the nervous system. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids have well documented immunological effects. Sources are flax, hemp, walnut, and cold water fatty fish, especially salmon. It is important to note though that the plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids are inadequate for infants and thus offer minimal benefit early in life. One study showed that children who regularly consumed oily fish were 74% less likely to develop asthma. Other studies show that fish oil supplementation is associated with improved asthma symptoms and reduced medication usage. The immune benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are likely greater during the critical stages of early immune development before the allergic responses are established, so it is recommended that women monitor their fatty acid intake during pregnancy and continue to do while nursing. Once the child is old enough there are omega-3 products designed specifically for children.


The focus of science has shifted from separate entities of the immune system and nervous system to an interactive immunology model. It is now understood that there is an intimate connection between the nervous system and the immune system, and that neurotransmitters can influence the activities of the immune system. In fact, nerve fibers physically link the nervous system and the immune system and there is a constant traffic of information that goes back and forth between the brain and the immune system.

The sympathetic division of the nervous system is the part of the nervous system that reacts to stress. It is the “fight or flight” control center. The sympathetic division of the nervous system also regulates all aspects of immune function, and abnormal activity of the sympathetic nervous system contributes to the cause of conditions where a selection of humoral versus the cell-mediated response plays a role, including allergic reactions.

Spinal movement influences the sympathetic nervous system. Changes to the relative position or movement in the spine interfere with the sympathetic nervous system causing the release of stress hormones and altering immune cell function. The result is suppression of the cell-mediated immune response, and in its absence an increase of the humoral response.

Early stress and trauma is believed to play a profound role in the development of spinal dysfunction, or subluxation, causing immune imbalance. In his research, Gottfried Guttman M.D., found that spinal injury was present in more than 80% of the infants he examined shortly after birth, causing interference in sympathetic function. Tissue injury to the spine and surrounding soft tissue results in scar tissue deposition in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. This leads to decreased motion in the joints and surrounding tissues. Neurologic changes accompany the spinal insult. This leads to chemical changes and a general shift in the body to the stress response or the “fight or flight” response. Subluxation in the infant and child has been associated with stress experienced at birth, particularly as the result of interventions, and early falls or other traumas.

Restoring proper function to the spine through chiropractic adjustments removes the interference in the nervous system shifting the body away from the sympathetic “alarm” response allowing the immune system to regain equilibrium and reducing hypersensitive reactions. In one study, 81 children under chiropractic care took part in a self-reported asthma impairment study. The children were assessed before and two months after chiropractic care using an asthma impairment questionnaire. Significantly lower impairment rating scores (improvement) was reported for 90.1% of subjects 60 days after chiropractic care in comparison to their pre-chiropractic scores. In addition, 30.9% of the children decreased their dosage of medication by an average of 66.5% while under chiropractic care. Twenty-four of the patients who reported asthma attacks 30-days prior to the study had significantly decreased attacks by an average of 44.9%.

Our children are born with an immune system that is capable of operating against anything that threatens it. Our role as parents should be to support the natural responses of their body in every way that we can; in some cases, that means giving the body a chance to overcome an infection on its own with out antibiotics. In another case, it means providing the proper nutrients to restore inner balance. Most importantly, it means realizing that when a child’s nervous system has interference, the body still knows what it is supposed to do, but is simply unable to do it. Let’s start by removing the interference from the body and then getting out of its way—appreciating that the fever and congestion and vomiting are all part of the miracle that is our child’s immune system working properly, not a sign that their body is failing. The less we focus on the eradication of germs and the more emphasis we place on creating a strong, balanced body, free of subluxation, the better off our children will be.

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.

Are Your Children Being Unnecessarily Medicated?

by Author William Parks, DC – ICPA.org:medications

These days, it seems many medical doctors’ first course of action is to recommend or prescribe drugs for any patient complaint; disturbingly, this trend seems to hold true whether the patient is an adult or a child.

An eye-opening study published in the May issue of Pediatrics revealed that many pediatricians have recommended the use of medication for children who suffer from sleep disturbances. In fact, of the 671 U.S. pediatricians surveyed, 75 percent said they had advised parents to administer an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, and more than 50 percent had prescribed a sleep aid.

Surprisingly, antihistamines were common OTC medications recommended, while a commonly prescribed sleep aid was clonidine, which is used to treat behavioral problems. Neither of these medications was specifically designed to treat insomnia; in fact, little is known about their safety and effectiveness for treating sleep-related problems. Moreover, they were administered to children who had difficulty sleeping and/or awoke frequently during the night, which most would agree is a fairly natural occurrence – especially in children.

On the flip side, many of these doctors may be overlooking more serious health problems masked as insomnia, including depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, psychological problems, and other medical conditions. And according to the study, the practitioners themselves expressed “a range of concerns about sleep medication appropriateness, safety, tolerance and side-effects in children.”

If your child suffers from sleep-related difficulties, ask your doctor about all the options before opting for a “quick fix” with medication. There are many reasons for insomnia (in children and adults); make sure your physician determines the reason behind your child’s problem – and its severity – before deciding the best manner in which to treat it.

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.

Find Stillness to Cure the Illness

by Leo Babauta – ICPA.org:stillness

It’s a busy day, and you’re inundated by non-stop e-mails, text messages, phone calls, instant message requests, notifications— interruptions of all kinds.

The noise of the world is a dull roar that pervades every second of your life. It’s a rush of activity, a drain on your energy, a pull on your attention—until you no longer have the energy to pay attention or take action.

It’s an illness, this noise, this rush. It can literally make us sick. We become stressed, depressed, fat, burnt out, slain by the slings and arrows of technology. The cure is simple: Stillness.


Take a minute out of your busy day to do this little exercise: Pause in the middle of all you have to do, all that’s going on around you. Close your eyes, and sit still. Breathe in, and breathe out, and pay attention to your breath as it comes in and goes out. Just sit still, for about a minute.

“Silence is a source of great strength.” –Lao Tzu

This stillness might seem like inaction, which we’re taught is a bad thing. It’s lazy, it’s passive, it’s against our Puritan work ethic. And yet, this simple inaction can change our world.

Stillness calms us. It gives us a small oasis of quiet that allows us to hear our thoughts, that allows us to catch our breath, that gives us room to breathe at all. It is the antibody to the stress and rush we feel daily.

Stillness has a calming effect on the world around us as well. By becoming still, we cause others to pause, to pay attention. Our quiet also quiets others. We set the mood for those who work or otherwise interact with us.

When we rush and set a frenetic pace, it stresses others and inspires them to rush frenetically too. Stillness has the opposite effect. It slows the world down, allows us to focus, and gives us time to contemplate what matters most.

It takes strength to be still when others rush. It takes courage to be different, to go against the stream. But while others might think us weird at first, that’s OK. Sometimes it’s the weird ones who make the most difference. And soon, as our stillness inspires others to find stillness of their own, we won’t be the weird ones— we’ll be the ones with wisdom.

It takes strength to find stillness when the world around us is a chaos of activity, but it’s a strength that’s in us, and we need only to find it. Paradoxically, it’s stillness that will allow us to find that strength. Be still, look within, and it will be there.

Find Stillness.

It’s pretty simple, really, and you don’t need me to tell you to do this: To find stillness, you just need to take the time to sit still, every day that you can.

Find a time in the morning, when the world is still fairly quiet. Don’t do anything. Don’t plan your day, don’t check e-mail, don’t eat. Just sit, and learn to be comfortable being still.

In practice, we’ll gradually find that comfort, and we’ll become good at it. If mornings are no good, find time during your lunch break, or after work, or just before you go to bed.

Find a place to be still. It can be a chair in your house, or a front porch, or the roof. It can be a park bench, or the beach, or a path in the woods. Let this be a ritual that you come to look forward to.

“Activity conquers cold, but stillness conquers heat.” –Lao Tzu

From this small place of stillness, calm will carry to the rest of your day, radiating like a soothing force. You’ll be calmer throughout the day, and learn to find little pockets of stillness everywhere: when you first start your work day, when you’re ready to sit down and create, when you’re about to eat, when you’re ready to exercise. During a meeting, even.

“Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Practice, regularly. Practice, and learn. Practice stillness, and the stillness becomes a canvas upon which you can paint the masterpiece of your life.

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.

Your Inner Knowing – Trusting the Process for Natural Birthing

by Author Jeanne Ohm, DC – ICPA.org:inner knowing

It is sometimes called “our inner knowing,” “the gut feeling,” or “the wisdom within.” Whatever its name, the experience is universal. It is a feeling, a word, an image that stands out bolder than the regular stream of conscious thought and it makes a slightly deeper impression on our minds. It will continue to guide us, depending on our receptive attention to it.

Natural processes like pregnancy and birth are dependent upon a woman’s ability to trust in her inner knowing. This wisdom leads women to support and trust the process rather than work against it. In this way, nature is allowed to take its course.

For centuries, this very intuition led women in their decisions for their own health and the well being of their families. Relying on its ageless wisdom, women listened to its promptings and trusted its guidance.

During birth, women used to decide which position would be most comfortable. They were free to move about during labor and delivery to manage the pain. Somehow, they knew that the squat position allowed the pelvis to open up more freely—one-third more in fact! If other people were present at the birth, they were there to support, not direct the process. Timing was not an issue; the baby was born at just the right moment. Once born, the mother immediately held, caressed, and nursed the baby. Separation was unheard of. Mother and child recovered quickly and grew strong together. There was confidence in this process as in any other body process: with respect and a sense of fulfillment.

Today, however, the birth process has turned into a technological procedure. The medical system in the United States is considered to be the most highly advanced in the world. We spend more on birth than any other country in the world. We expect this technology to improve our lives and solve our problems. We are led to believe this technology alone leads to improved outcomes. Why then does the World Health Organization rank the United States as 24th (last) among all industrialized nations in infant mortality and low birth weight?

Doris Hare, president of the American Foundation of Maternal and Child Health says, “It compels us to ask, what proportions of these complications, which have had their onset during labor and birth, are the direct result of aggressive obstetric procedures?”

This increase in technology leads to restrictions that apparently cause more harm than good. “Women are strapped down with monitors and forced into positions which are counter to gravity and normal physiology. They are forced into the hospitals schedule, inconsiderate of their normal birthing rhythms. This greatly slows down the natural momentum. The origin of this position had nothing to do with being safer for the mom or baby and yet its practice has remained unquestioned for centuries!

These restrictions in birth make women feel afraid and powerless. Fear shuts down the process both psychologically and physically. It actually constricts blood vessels and contracts muscles. This leads to greater pain. Drugs are given to ease the pain and the woman’s physical strength and uterine function is impaired further. Her ability to stay connected with her body is impaired and even cut off. She is not told that the drugs can harm her child’s developing organs and even intelligence.

Because of drugs and maternal positions, women strain and push excessively to get the baby out. Doctors pull and twist the infant’s delicate head and spine to get the shoulders out.

Even in what is called “natural birth,” standard birthing procedures pull the head and neck. Research shows that the routine force used in birth, may injure and damage the baby’s spinal cord and nerves. One medical study published in Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology by Dr. Abraham Towbin addresses this issue even further. He says, “The birth process even under optimal controlled conditions is potentially a traumatic, crippling event for the fetus… Moreover during the last part of delivery, during the final extraction of the fetus, mechanical stress imposed by obstetrical manipulation—even the application of standard orthodox procedures—may prove intolerable to the fetus.”

Birth in our country is one of the most profound examples of how we have allowed the mystique of technology to overcome practical intuition. Before our high-tech involvement, women gave birth without outside interference. They trusted their intuition and their body’s inherent ability to function as it was created to.

It is no coincidence indeed; the very same procedures where a woman’s intuition has been violated the most— modern birthing—is also one of the greatest causes of injury to a newborn. It is also no coincidence that the health care provider who supports parents’ intuition and trust in the body’s self healing, natural processes—the chiropractor—is also the one who is most able to help reduce and correct the damaging effects of birth trauma.

Doctors of Chiropractic are seriously concerned with the amount of force being used during births. They know injury to the nervous system has a tremendous effect on a child’s ability to be healthy. This is because chiropractors work with so many children whose health has been impaired so early on in life. These birth injuries can have life-long health consequences.

One study done by Dr. Gutman, a German medical researcher, found that 80% of the newborns he examined had damage to the nerves in their necks from birth! These same children were all suffering from chronic ear and throat infections, colic, asthma, and other common childhood conditions. With specific corrections made to the misalignments in their upper necks, almost all of these children regained their health. His study, along with hundreds of case studies, shows how interferences to a child’s nervous system impair the body’s function and health.

With this research available to us, it is imperative that we as mothers become involved in our birthing decisions. We must look to decrease the possibilities of birth trauma in any way we can. Undue force and stress has become routine procedure in our modern birthing techniques. Doris Haire, former president of the International Childbirth Education Association, has investigated birthing procedures throughout the world. Her comments on births in America are not so favorable. She says, “Of all the 36 countries I have visited to observe maternity facilities, I am absolutely convinced that the United States has to be the most bizarre on earth in its management of obstetrics.”

I can remember giving a class in our community about birth trauma. When I was done, a woman in the audience raised her hand. “You are being very gracious,” she said. “I am an obstetric nurse and I have seen tremendous amounts of force used to pull out babies. One doctor resorted to putting his foot up against the table to gain greater leverage when he pulled on the baby’s neck. Than with all of his strength and weight put into it, he pulled that baby out by its head.” Most children born in modern societies with high-tech procedures have been injured at birth because of this type of unnecessary trauma to their tiny spines and delicate nervous systems.

With this evidence in hand, doctors of chiropractic are greatly concerned with routine birth procedures that lead to injury. This has led them to develop specific techniques to care for women during pregnancy. Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy removes interference to the mother’s nervous system, enhancing baby development and uterine function. It balances her pelvic muscles and ligaments and allows the baby to get into the best possible position for birth. Chiropractic care, therefore, facilitates an easier and safer birth for both mother and baby.

As mothers, it is important for us to take responsibility and make our own choices in our families’ health from conception on. Those choices need to be made from the place of inner knowing that we have, not from the fear-based approach we are taught to take. Today, it is tough for us to stand out on our inner knowing when the ways of the world are telling us otherwise. Our society does not teach us to trust the process by any means, but rather implants thoughts of fear and misgiving when the body is performing normal, natural functions.

We have been taught to fear pain, suppress symptoms, control the unscheduled timing of natural processes, and shun differences in our individual body responses. If it doesn’t fit within the norm, the average, the routine, it is not acceptable. We have been forced to restrain feelings, symptoms, and any other untimely expressions of life. We are led to look outside ourselves for solutions rather than trusting our inner wisdom.

Christine Northrup, M.D., a former obstetrician says, “I’ve learned that women and men who have a great deal of self-confidence and self-trust can go into most situations and get their needs met. One of the key ways a woman can develop a sense of trust in her own power is through birth, but most women today lack confidence in their bodies.”

Doctors of chiropractic enhance the natural process of birth and reduce birth trauma by encouraging pregnant mothers to choose safe procedures, supportive practitioners, and healthy environments for birth. They recognize that birth is a normal, natural process directed by the body’s inherent wisdom to function accordingly. They remove interference to her nervous system, optimizing this function. They offer the pregnant mother assurance and confidence in her body’s ability to accomplish this natural process. The philosophy of chiropractic and the supportive science behind it is in trusting the body’s ability to function in accordance with its own inborn intelligence.

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.

The Homebirth Advantage

by Ronnie Falcão, LM, MS– ICPA.org:homebirth

When it comes to what’s best for you and your baby, you can consider a midwife-assisted home birth as safe an option as birthing in a hospital or free-standing birth center. At a home birth, your privacy will be respected and you can enjoy birthing in an intimate, family atmosphere. By birthing at home, you’ll be treated like a woman going through a natural process. Too often in hospitals, birthing women are made to feel more like patients with a dangerous condition.

Homebirth midwives carry the same equipment and medications found in a birth center. These includes hand held Dopplers and state-of-the-art machines for continuous monitoring of the baby’s heart rate, if necessary. Midwives also bring suctioning equipment and an oxygen tank to every birth, in the rare event they are needed. Anti-hemorrhagic medications will be on hand to prevent postpartum hemorrhaging, as will suturing equipment in case you tear.

In fact, midwives practicing in homes or independent birth centers can do everything that a midwife in a hospital could do. A 2009 Canadian study compared safety rates for planned home births and planned hospital births attended by the same cohort of midwives. They also evaluated the safety of planned physician-attended hospital births for a matched population of low-risk women who could have opted for home birth or hospital-birth midwives. Of the three groups, the home birth group had the highest safety statistics, including the lowest rate of interventions, serious perineal tearing and hemorrhaging. Babies born at home required resuscitation less often than those born in the hospital, and were less likely to experience meconium aspiration. Thus, the study indicated that home births were not only safer for low-risk mothers than any other birthing environment, but that they also called for less medical intervention.

One key difference is that professional midwives, in whichever setting they practice, work to recognize problems that could potentially interfere with a safe birth, and seek to correct them before they become major problems. They are also trained to handle life-threatening emergencies that can occur suddenly during a birthing, such as shoulder dystocia, postpartum hemorrhage or placental problems. Interestingly, each one of these emergencies occurs beyond the point when a cesarean section is still an option.

During the hours leading up to a birth, if a cesarean becomes necessary, there is a safety margin of 30 to 75 minutes in which to assemble a surgical team. For this reason, many midwives recommend that women labor within 30 minutes of a hospital as their emergency backup plan. This provides the same safety margin as women birthing in hospitals.

A landmark study on home birth safety was published in the British Medical Journal in June 2005. Like the 2009 study, this study showed that home births and hospital births had similar overall safety rates, but that there were fewer interventions and fewer complications for the home births. This prospective study with a rigorous research design is was most comprehensive North American study regarding birthing location options. A suite of home birth safety studies from the United Kingdom in 1996 also showed home to be as safe as or safer than a hospital for low- and moderate-risk women. In a 1999 review of all the literature on the relative safety of different birthing locations, childbirth researchers Luke Zander and Geoffrey Chamberlain concluded, “No evidence exists to support the claim that a hospital is the safest place for women to have normal births.”

Safety Begins at Home

There are several reasons why midwife-attended home births are safer than hospital births for most women. The first is that birth is a natural bodily process that works best without interference. A home birth with a midwife attending assures you that risky medical intervention will be kept to a minimum. (For example, Pitocin and epidural anesthesia, routinely administered in hospitals, introduce significant risks to both mother and baby.) Most problems that arise at home can be corrected with position changes or by providing the mother with food or better hydration— safe and helpful tools which are, ironically, often forbidden in many hospitals.

The second reason that home birth is safer is that the infection rate at home births is less than half that of hospital births. There are several reasons for this. First, the baby is born with the mother’s antibodies, passed through the placenta. These include immunity to the family’s household germs. Hospitals are notoriously germ-infested, and a mother isn’t able to offer herself or her baby the same degree of immunity from that environment. Second, homebirth midwives know not to wash off the protective, antibacterial vernix covering the baby’s skin. Third, because mothers and babies are never separated, the baby’s immature immune system is able to function optimally, without the stress and disruption of the baby being taken from its mother. Furthermore, the continuous mother-baby interaction fosters successful breastfeeding, which is the baby’s best protection against infection from the moment of birth. Midwives provide continuity of care and comprehensive mother/baby care at a level impossible in the assembly-line nature of hospitals.

Many women wonder whether they’ll be able to give birth at home without drugs; in fact, most women do just fine. Many women who have had babies both at home and in the hospital assert that birthing is much less painful at home, in familiar surroundings, with birth attendants who could cater to every need.

Childbirth classes teach about the fear-tension-pain cycle, whereby fear increases tension, causing the cervix to constrict rather than dilate, which in turn increases pain. It’s a process that’s counterproductive to birthing. When fear is absent from the birthing environment, the opposite cycle can play out: confidence-relaxation-comfort. That is, the more confident you are, the better able you are to relax, and the more comfortable you’ll be. This allows your body to secrete endorphins, which are the natural pain relief intended by nature for the mother’s body during natural childbirth.

As a laboring woman’s body produces more oxytocin to increase the effectiveness of her contractions, she also produces an equivalent level of endorphins for pain relief. (These endorphins aren’t produced if the mother is under stress or feeling afraid.) It is not uncommon for women to become increasingly relaxed as labor progresses, due to their endorphin levels climbing as the intensity increases. It’s easy to imagine how being in your own home can increase your confidence and ability to relax. A birthing tub provides even greater comfort, immersing the mother in the warm weightlessness of water.

Water birthing offers the woman the option of laboring and birthing in a tub. When a baby is born in water, the baby continues to receive all of its oxygen through the placenta until it is above water and using its lungs successfully. Thus, there is no risk of drowning, even if the baby crowns slowly over several contractions. The buoyancy provided by the water seems to help the mother and baby find the optimal position for birthing. In addition, the warm water increases blood flow to the uterus, which not only provides the necessary oxygen to the baby, but facilitates cervical dilation and reduces pain. Babies born in water are usually in excellent condition, and they are easily comforted by the familiarity of warm water.

The experience of birth for the baby at home is usually very gentle. We know that babies recognize voices during late pregnancy, so it is believed that the baby recognizes the midwife’s voice as someone nonthreatening and familiar. Homebirth midwives don’t use any devices that go inside the uterus or might be uncomfortable for the baby, and women are encouraged to birth in a position they choose. Positions chosen by the mother, such as an upright position, or on her hands and knees, tend to minimize stress on the baby and facilitate an easier birth.

Many homebirth couples choose to catch their own baby, and the assessment of baby’s well-being right at birth can be easily done with the baby still in the mother’s arms. Some midwives don’t ever hold the baby until the mother feels ready to have the baby weighed. Most parts of the newborn exam can be performed with the baby in the arms of the mom or dad. And because there is no rush to cut the cord, the baby receives all of its nutrient-rich cord blood, as nature intends.

Families who already have a little one at home appreciate how much easier it is for the older sibling to adjust to a new baby when their mom doesn’t mysteriously disappear for a few days. It may be wise to have a special family friend or a professional child doula there to care for the older child during the birth, but many siblings happily participate during the birth or sleep right through the excitement.

Easier Than You Think

The logistics of planning a home birth are often not as complex as couples assume. Babies born at home get a birth certificate and social security number, just like hospital born babies. (Your midwife can provide the necessary paperwork.) Birth kits with disposable supplies can be easily purchased online. Even larger items, such as birthing tubs, can be affordably purchased or rented.

Home birth provides an opportunity for a safe and satisfying birth experience, putting the needs of the baby first. She’s the most important person during the event: Shouldn’t she be treated like it?

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.

Antibiotics and the Aware Parent

by Claudia Anrig, D.C. – ICPA.org:antibiotics and the aware parent

Acute Otitis Media is the most common upper respiratory condition treated in pediatric offices and the treatment of this condition continues to be the most controversial in the medical community.

The majority of children suffering from Acute Otitis Media will automatically be placed on antibiotics despite growing evidence that suggests there’s only a marginal benefit from this form of care.

The pediatric community is being confronted primarily by mounting evidence that the standard use of antibiotics may be an outdated practice with little value and what appears to be greater risk to the child.

When prescribing antibiotics for your child your pediatrician should be willing to answer the question, “Does this case warrant a prescription”?

Let’s consider an observation published recently by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians:

“Each course of antibiotics given to a child can make future infections more difficult to treat. The result is an increase in the use of a larger range of—and generally more expensive— antibiotics. In addition, the benefit of antibiotics for Acute Otitis Media is small on average and must be balanced against potential harm of therapy. About 15 percent of children who take antibiotics suffer from diarrhea or vomiting and up to 5 percent have allergic reactions, which can be serious or life threatening. The average preschooler carries around 1 to 2 pounds of bacteria – about 5 percent of his or her body weight. These bacteria have 3.5 billion years of experience in resisting and surviving environmental challenges. Resistant bacteria in a child can be passed to siblings, other family members, neighbors, and peers in group-care or school settings.”

Scientific Evidence

Scientific evidence puts forth the following information:

• Children with high temperature or vomiting improved after an average of three days.

• Children with high temperature or vomiting were likely to benefit from antibiotics, although it’s still reasonable to wait 24 to 48 hours since many children will improve when left to their body’s own natural defenses.

• Children without high temperature or vomiting were not expected to benefit from immediate antibiotics.

Considering this information it’s best to take an option to observe stance since 80 percent of children with Acute Otitis Media get better without antibiotics within 48 to 72 hours.

With this scientific evidence mounting, ask yourself a few questions:

Will my pediatrician continue to prescribe antibiotics to my child based on his or her old programming and habits despite growing evidence that suggests antibiotics make little difference?

Does my pediatrician continue to have concerns that there’s a risk for dangerous complications, such as Acute Mastoiditis, despite the fact that it’s documented as a “rare occurrence”

As a parent, what do you need to know?

• That there is mounting evidence from the research community that the use of antibiotics has very little effect on Acute Otitis Media.

• That your doctor may be prescribing antibiotics based on old habits or the concern of developing acute mastoiditis, which has proven to be rare.

• That when delaying the use of antibiotics for 72 hours, even if your child is suffering from fever and vomiting, 50 percent of all children improve within that time period.

• That children with Acute Otitis Media but without fever and vomiting receive very little benefit from the use of antibiotics (this child should not begin antibiotics unless their condition worsens).

• It’s your child and you can take the initiative by asking your pediatrician to consider waiting 72 hours before introducing the antibiotic.

Prevention is the Key

New guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend that the clinician take an active role in preventing Acute Otitis Media. A few suggestions included:

• Altering child care center attendance • Breastfeeding for the first 6 months • Avoid supine bottle-feeding (bottle propping) • Reduce or eliminate pacifier in the second six months of life • Eliminate exposure to passive smoke

A Healthy Alternative

Take the common sense approach to otitis media and consider chiropractic care. The Fallon study with 332 participating children suggests that chiropractic care may be more effective than drug therapy.

Be aware that your chiropractor is not opposed to antibiotics when necessary, but the chiropractic profession acknowledges that over usage is prevalent in our country and that the habits of medical doctors may not have caught up with the latest research.

A Final Thought

For the overall wellness of your child, participate in all decisions when it comes to the usage of antibiotics and seek other non-invasive forms of care. Remember, it’s your child and you have a say in his or her care. Most importantly, initiate healthy lifestyle choices for your family and include regular chiropractic care as part of your family’s achievement towards wellness.

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.

Antibiotics and Ear Infections

by Linda Folden Palmer, DC – ICPA.org:antibiotics and ear infections

In cases where the immune response lags behind a bacterial infection that is dangerously decimating the body, the 1950s advent of antibiotic medications saved the lives of millions of people who would have otherwise succumbed. However, the overzealous use of these wonder drugs has now created a new realm of powerful diseases we are unable to fight with existing antibiotics.

Once a resistant bacteria has been created in response to antibiotic therapy, it has the power to transfer its resistance to other microbes, developing new resistant strains. This has been an especially significant issue for the young, who have been chief targets for antibiotic misuse because they are more susceptible to infections and infections are more worrisome in them. Powerful, antibiotic-resistant strains spread easily around day care centers.

Tuberculosis and pneumonia were once conquered with antibiotics, but we are now threatened again by TB epidemics and increased pneumonia deaths. The excitement over antibiotics has also led to reduced hygiene in hospitals. Hospital sanitation peaked decades ago, when its importance was first widely recognized. Now 10 percent of the patients in hospitals acquire infections, a large portion of which are resistant to antibiotics due to their expansive use in hospitals. Three percent of these patients die from their infections.

Antibiotics have many possible side effects, including diarrhea, malabsorption, cramping, yeast infections, agitation, rashes and blood disorders. By wiping out much of the normal flora throughout the body, antibiotics leave patients, especially children, far more vulnerable to other infections, such as thrush (oral yeast), and dangerous intestinal microbes that cause diarrheal illness. Infectious diarrhea follows antibiotic use at rates ranging from 5 to 39 percent, depending on the drug. The most common intestinal infection caused by antibiotics is colitis from clostridium infection, which has a 3.5 percent mortality rate.

Significantly, antibiotics are generally inappropriate for treating ear infections. They have no effect on viruses and are certainly inappropriate for colds and flus, where they can lead to secondary infection. Yet the majority of children visiting physicians with these complaints will receive antibiotic prescriptions. This is unfortunate. Most of the time, children are better off left to fight illness with their own immune systems, while their parents and physician provide careful monitoring.

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.