Healthy Concepts

These F-words (fat and fiber) are truly magic, and your mom won’t wash your mouth with soap either! You want to lose weight and keep it off this time. See, I can read your mind. Reading your mind is not that hard because losing weight and keeping it off is on many minds, and at one time on my mind as well. But no more.

I found the solution many years ago, so it is time tested.

After much experimenting, I learned the two F-words were the solution. I no longer worry about gaining weight. There are two other F-words to add, and they stand for “feel full.” Fat and fiber make you feel full so you don’t want to overeat. These are the good fats, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil and grape seed oil. The other F-word is fiber. Oat bran, ground flaxseed, wheat bran and Hi-maize 260. These fibers can be added to your foods in many different ways. When the fat and fiber are in the same food, it makes you so full. Nuts have both fat and fiber.

I will share a trick I have created for myself. I have Type 2 diabetes so I really watch how much carbohydrates I eat. I eat two slices of high fiber bread topped with lots of butter and peanut butter or almond butter to which I add oat bran, ground flaxseed and Hi-maize 260. To that I add grapeseed oil to thin it out. A Nutribullet or Vitamix machine works great. I make enough of this mixture to last a week. It is always ready. I put a pretty thick layer of this mixture on top of the bread with butter. I slice one half of a banana on to each piece of bread. I work out about one hour after that for 45 minutes to burn off the bread. I don’t get hungry until 1 p.m., and that is eight hours later. How you do depends on how active you are, and how big your body is. After a little experimenting you will find out what really works for you.

Remember the four F-words: fat, fiber, “feel full.” 

Did you ever wonder how much of your income you should save for retirement? Financial advisors may offer some general guidelines, although there are so many different recommendations that this can be confusing and discouraging.

For years many advisers suggested using an 80-10-10 ratio, living on 80 percent, saving 10 percent and donating 10 percent of income. However, college costs have risen dramatically and many employers dropped pensions in favor of employee savings plans like 401(k) plans. Other trends like longer life expectancies, rising medical costs and inflation have also affected advice on how much to save.

Today, depending upon whom you ask the rule-of-thumb advice might be to save 10 percent, 15 percent or “as much as you can” of your income for retirement. People often have other financial goals like building an emergency fund, saving for college and paying off debt. If you are determined to live frugally or have a large disposable income, you may be able to save 15 percent or more of your income for retirement and make progress on these other goals. However, before assuming that’s how much you should save, use an online calculator or work with a financial planner to estimate how much you need to save.

Financial planners would rather personalize their advice to fit your situation rather than use general rules of thumb. Individuals have different situations, including different incomes, assets, employer provided retirement benefits, Social Security benefits, needs and goals. Some people may not need to save 15 percent or more of their income. Depending upon your situation, your planner may suggest other smart financial moves like paying down high interest debt and building an emergency fund.

According to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, the real median household income in Wisconsin was $59,817 in 2016. With a median income, if a 401(k) retirement savings plan is offered at work, employees may struggle to find the money to save. If people are paying the employee share of health insurance premiums, state and federal taxes and Social Security, saving 10 percent or 15 percent of pay can be very challenging.

If you can’t save what the planner or calculator suggests, explore options like beginning receiving Social Security at a later age, working part-time in retirement and gradually increasing your savings. Try bumping up your savings whenever you get a raise. The earlier you start saving for retirement the better off you will be.

There are good reasons why today’s general guidelines often recommend saving more than 10 percent of your income for retirement. But rather than using general guidelines, it’s wise to analyze your own situation and calculate how much you need to save.

This is my story about discovering and living with allergies. Read on to discover how completing several detoxification programs in later years helped me to reduce and eventually eliminate my hay fever symptoms. This may not be true for everyone, but for those seeking natural allergy remedies, it can be extremely beneficial and worth a try. The principle is that clearing toxins reduces the load on the detoxification pathways to allow the body to better filter and deal with allergens.

While many people are born with allergies, many develop them later in life. I developed an airborne allergy — often referred to as allergic rhinitis or hay fever — when I was about 14. When I would wake up in the mornings, my eyes would nearly be glued shut, and I would have terrible congestion. Once outdoors, my eyes would itch terribly. I don’t recall taking medication, but I do remember avoiding fields and weeds. Even worse, I would avoid going outdoors toward the end of summer when ragweed and goldenrod were in full bloom.

When I was in my 20s, all of my extremities started itching severely while I was in an aerobics class. I went to the emergency room, and they said I had allergic anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe, whole-body allergic reaction to a chemical that has become an allergen. At that time, I didn’t quite realize the severity of anaphylaxis and just assumed it was an isolated incident, as everything I had eaten that day, I had eaten many times before without a reaction.

Months later, after mowing the lawn, my face started swelling and it became difficult to breathe. I drove myself to the nearby police station where the ambulance was also dispatched from. My pulse was close to bottoming out. That’s when I decided to have allergy testing done.

My results showed that I had specific food allergies that didn’t seem to bother me until I had enough stressors accumulate in my body. My “trigger” was exercise, or an increase in heart rate. Biking, mowing the lawn, dancing and even walking were the final stressors that caused the “blow up” and anaphylactic reaction for me. Until these severe allergic episodes, I was totally unaware of any food allergies. An EpiPen was prescribed, and I was instructed to carry it with me. Over the years, I’ve had a few ambulance rides due to allergic reactions and have used an EpiPen a few times.

After several years, I learned that my sister also had anaphylactic allergies, although hers were not exercise-induced. As it turns out, both of us are allergic to odd things like celery, sunflower seeds and rye. We learned to avoid these trigger foods, and the reactions have been infrequent since then. It seems we both developed these allergies in our 20s.

A few years after that, I became interested in natural health and nutrition. After classes and much reading, I decided to try a professional gallbladder/liver cleanse recommended by Premier Research Labs. A year or so later, my husband and I completed a 30-day cleanse using Clear Response from Innate Response Formulas. That particular detox program involved eliminating the usual allergens like corn, eggs, nuts, soy, dairy and grains for 30 days. We started the 30-day cleanse with three days just consuming Nutriclear shakes. The remaining days we had three shakes per day and ate a clean diet of organic vegetables, fruits, rice, organic chicken and fish. It was a sort of difficult cleanse only for the fact it was 30 days. However, we both did feel great afterward!

I’ve completed a variety of shorter detox diets since then, including the Colon Cleanse by Blessed Herbs. Other than the colon cleanse, they have always included a protein-type powder shake containing the nutrients necessary for Phase I and Phase II detoxification.

While allergy elimination wasn’t the goal of cleansing, I realized a few summers ago that I no longer had any hay fever symptoms in the summer! My airborne allergies seemed to have disappeared. It is my belief that the various detox programs and cleansing protocols have helped to eliminate my hay fever.

Jon Barron, MD, from Baseline Health seems to feel the same way about allergies and cleansing. He teaches that full body detoxing frees up the immune system so there’s “more room” to accommodate new antigens from allergenic sources.

If you have allergies, consider professional cleansing and detox products to help ease the load on your body’s detoxification process. If you can’t commit to a detox right now but want a more natural approach, there are also natural allergy relief supplements and products available, including nasal rinses and sprays.

Tai chi and qi gong classes are becoming more popular and available to people in Northeast Wisconsin. Six years ago, a doctor introduced me to qi gong, and I began tai chi during my time in the LIVESTRONG® cancer survivor program. I started the practice to help build back my immune system following the full package of cancer treatment: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. My passion for this mind body practice and sharing it with others continues to grow exponentially as I continue to reap the benefits of the practice and hear about the benefits others realize.

Millions of people worldwide have practiced tai chi and qi gong for thousands of years. They are known as internal arts, where we slow down and “feel” the subtle sensations of our breath, our body in motion, our postural alignment and a sense of relaxation that accompanies the movements and the breath. Research has found both physical and mental benefits including increased agility, loosened muscles, improved bone density, joint injury prevention, decreased stress, improved circulation, lowered blood pressure and so much more.

Qi gong exercises consist of a series of orchestrated practices including body posture, movement, breathing and meditation, all of which are designed to optimize and balance energy within, through the attainment of deeply focused and relaxed states. Taiji or better known in the Western world as tai chi, is one category of qi gong forms. It consists of 108 separate movements that are connected in a specific order. Many forms of tai chi have created a short form, between 20 and 40 movements. Dr. Roger Janhke, founder of the Institute of Integral Qi gong and Tai Chi and The Healer Within Foundation, created a 5 form Tai Chi Easy™ that allows beginners to learn more quickly and then determine if they would like to develop their practice further.

According to Dr. Roger Jahnke, tai chi and qi gong are not just exercises; they are, rather, multidimensional meditations toward empowered and enlightened living, which include health and peak performance as desirable side effects. The combination of the mindful awareness of the body in motion, keeping your vertical posture and the sensation of being breathed by the breaths as we relax through our tai chi posture’s flow is a powerful way to get the mind out of the hamster wheel of fear, worry and control thoughts. When this happens, we feel better, more oxygenated, more relaxed, more into the pleasure of being.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are just starting a tai chi or qi gong practice:

Do

  • Relax deeply.
  • Practice daily, even if only for 10 minutes.
  • Modify the practices to honor your capabilities, comfort zone and safety.

Avoid

  • Doing too much too soon.
  • Unrealistic expectations. Results come over time with consistent practice.

For some people, the word organic is synonymous with the word expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Sure, a dozen eggs that say they are organic tend to be double the price of the regular, non-organic variety, but why is that? Do the chickens know they are organic?

The fact is, getting the title organic is why the cost is driven up on many products. Farms, for instance, must jump through a rigorous series of hoops to before they can legally say they are organic. It’s unfortunate because the amount of time and money it ends up costing a farmer to become certified deters them from doing it, resulting in vastly more unhealthy vegetables and food.

Lawn care is different, since all the legwork has been done for us. The products we use already have the certified organic, NOFA or OMRI labels, so you can be assured they are safe.

Safe is a key word. Chemical companies cannot use the word safe when they give you their sales pitch. They will say that the chemicals they use present a negatable amount of risk. This is what the courts have allowed them to say. The risk is far greater than they would like you to believe. Remove the lobbyists influence and you are left with all sorts of danger risks including cancer, lymphoma and even autism.

More affordable in the long run

Chemicals and synthetic fertilizers will speed up the growth of the lawn and kill weeds, this is completely true. The lasting effect of speeding up the natural process of a plants growth will leave it susceptible to disease, costing the homeowner more in the end. Since the chemicals used to kill weeds, 2,4-D, cannot separate a weed seed from a grass seed, your lawn is left thin and unhealthy. Sure, it will have fewer weeds, but the lawn is weak, and the bare spots will resort back to weeds the second the chemicals stop.

2, 4-D

According to Danielle Sedbrook, “One of the cheapest and most common weed killers in the country has a name you’ve probably never heard: 2,4-D. Developed by Dow Chemical in the 1940s, this herbicide helped usher in the clean, green, pristine lawns of postwar America, ridding backyards everywhere of aesthetic undesirables like dandelion and white clover. But 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, as it’s known to chemists, has a less wholesome side. There’s a growing body of scientific evidence that the chemical poses a danger to both human health and the environment.”

Natural and organic lawn care is sustainable. Your lawn will continue the process of getting thicker and thicker each year. Eventually, weeds will start to lessen as the grass growth literally takes over and chokes them out. Instead of paying more, you’ll end up paying less and less. A healthy, fully organic lawn will also need less feeding, saving you more as opposed to costing you more for additional applications.

This leaves us with the one question we cannot answer: why is organic lawn care usually more expensive than traditional? The only answer I have for that is it shouldn’t be! 


Reference: “The Most Dangerous Pesticide You Never Heard Of.” NRDC. https://www.nrdc.org/stories/24-d-most-dangerous-pesticide-youve-never-heard. Danielle Sedbrook.

Until recently, there was little that could be done to reverse Alzheimer’s disease. Now that Dr. Dale Bredesen and the Institute for Functional have teamed up, the prognosis for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment is about to change. My article last month focused on the three main types of Alzheimer’s disease that Dr. Bredesen has characterized. The purpose of this month’s article is to review the process underway inside the brain that identifies Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment.

Your body has a high IQ and innately knows how to care for itself. Interestingly, the process of Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment is actually a process to contain a bacteria or virus. Amyloid-β, a major player in Alzheimer’s disease and a term you already may be familiar with, is really an antimicrobial protein. The amyloid-β entraps the bacteria or virus threatening the brain’s cell membranes, resulting in more synaptic destruction than synaptic creation. In fact, successfully reducing the amyloid-β protein in clinical trials had adverse outcomes. Knowing the reason behind the presence of amyloid-β is a clue to discovering the root cause.

What causes an overproduction of amyloid-β? There is a protein in the brain called amyloid Precurser Protein (APP), which is made by neurons and sticks out of neurons, especially near synapses. There are molecular scissors called proteases that will cut the amyloid precursor protein. It can either be cut at one distinct site or at three spots along its length. If it is cut at one spot along its length the result is just two peptides, and synaptic connections are maintained, and neurons are nourished and preserved. However, if the amyloid precursor protein is cut along three spots along its length, then four peptides are produced, and one of them is amyloid-β. The result of this is a loss of brain synapses, a shriveling up of the neuron that extends out to connect to other neurons, and the activation of the neuron’s programmed cell death. Everyone with Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment is on the wrong side of this very crucial balance.

As if that weren’t enough, a characteristic of amyloid-β is it is prionic, which means amyloid-β can get more of itself without the need for more genetic material. It is a continuous loop. So the sense of urgency enters the picture because the process can be described as a feed forward process with an over-production of amyloid-β.

The good news is that amyloid precursor protein is a dependent receptor. This means how amyloid precursor protein gets cut depends on the molecule it grabs. We want that molecule to be netrin-1. Interestingly, netrin-1 in Sanskrit means, “one who guides.” Part of a successful strategy will involve creating a healthy internal environment within the brain where netrin-1, the guiding molecule, is not removed.

The factors involved in creating a healthy internal environment for the brain are multi-layered. In order to make sure the netrin-1 molecule is not removed, small dense LDL, fasting insulin, homocysteine, hormones, vitamin D, hemoglobin A1c, mercury, copper, zinc, vitamin E, B6, B12 (and other factors) must be measured and tested. This is why it is a personalized treatment plan. Reversing Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment is not a one-size-fits-all solution. A detailed history and physical exam along with the right labs are necessary in order to make the right changes in lifestyle choices and effective clinical nutrition.

The bottom line: there is hope for anyone who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. No single compound can patch the holes in the roof that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, but the right combination can patch them all. 


References: “The End of Alzheimer’s: the First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline.” D Bredesen. Avery. 2017.

Gosztyla, Maya L., et al. “Alzheimerâs Amyloid-β Is an Antimicrobial Peptide: A Review of the Evidence.” M Gosztyla. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2018.

Today in our hectic world people need to relax more than ever. As adults we have so much responsibility balancing careers and family. Many of the younger generation are very homebound and get crowd anxiety even when making a simple but necessary trip to the grocery store. Even the children of today are dealing with more cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than ever before. This is where nervine herbs fit into our life. Whether it’s taking a little time for yourself and drinking that cup of nervine herbal tea, or taking a quick dosage on the go of an herbal nervine tincture.

Nervine herbs are described as herbs that subdue and nourish the nervous system. These herbs are used for many purposes. They can be broken down into a few different kinds of actions on the body. Nervine tonics strengthen the system and support the brain, and help heal damaged nerves. Nervines relaxants are herbs that work on the nervous system and lend a relaxing feel to the body — be it a muscle relaxing or a psychological. Nervine hyptnotics are the heavy hitters that will usually put you to sleep. The most common use of nervine herbs is to help with insomnia. Another use is to calm anxiety.

Because of their ability to relax the nervous system, some use them for involuntary muscle spasms like restless leg syndrome (RLS). Also, nervines should help with nerve pain.

Many parents have been using low doses of nervine herbs instead of heavy pharmaceutical drugs to treat ADHD to calm children in school so that they can focus on whats going on. Nerve tonics can be taken for a 6-week period and then like any other herb, should be given a week of rest without the herb.

a list of Nervine Herbs from strongest to weakest — Plus helpful tips!

  • Valerian – Used mostly for sleep and restless legs. Native Wisconsin plant. Can be grown easily and it is the root that is used.
  • Kava – Used to relieve anxiety, restlessness, sleeplessness, and stress-related symptoms such as muscle tension or spasm. Kava may also relieve pain. Kava is grown on the South Pacific islands and it is the root that is used.
  • Hops – Traditionally used in sleep pillows. Can be grown at home. 30’ vine. Use the flowers.
  • Passion flower – Used for sleep and calming. Usually not grown in Wisconsin (there is one variety that will survive here). Use the leaf and the green parts of the vine.
  • Skullcap – Use for sleep and calming. Use fresh tincture for a tonic and an infusion (tea) for a hypnotic. Grows in Wisconsin woods and can be grown in the garden. Use the leaves.
  • Linden tree – Calmative. These trees are very popular in the city. Use the flowers and bracts.
  • Chamomile – Gentle calmative. Can be easily grown in the garden. Use the flowers.
  • Californian poppy – Sedative, calming for anxiety, ADHD. Can be grown here. Use the whole plant.
  • Oats – Nervine tonic, supports the nervous system. Use tincture made from fresh milky oats. Grown as a Wisconsin crop.
  • Blue vervain – Strengthens the nervous system while relaxing any stress. Native to Wisconsin. Use arial parts of the plant.
  • St John’s wort – Mildly relaxing, strengthens the nerve systems, nerve pain and uplifts the spirit. Common Wisconsin roadside plant. Use the flowering tops.
  • Lemon balm – Improves sleep and reduces anxiety. Grow in garden. Makes delicious tea!
  • Lavender – Gentle calmative. Can be grown in the garden. Use the flower buds. Can be used in a tea, or just smelled.
  • Catnip – Calming for adults and especially children. Common Wisconsin weed. Can be grown in your garden. Use arial parts of the plant. Pleasant tea.
  • Mother wort – Heart nervine, panic attacks. Common weed in Wisconsin. Use arial parts of the plant.

Conventional wisdom says that what goes up, must come down. But even if you view market volatility as a normal occurrence, it can be tough to handle when it’s your money at stake.

Though there’s no foolproof way to handle the ups and downs of the stock market, the following common sense tips can help.

Don’t put your eggs all in one basket

Diversifying your investment portfolio is one of the key ways you can handle market volatility. Because asset classes often perform differently under different market conditions, spreading your assets across a variety of different investments such as stocks, bonds and cash alternatives (e.g., money market funds and other short-term instruments), has the potential to help manage your overall risk. Ideally, a decline in one type of asset will be balanced out by a gain in another, though diversification can’t guarantee a profit or eliminate the possibility of market loss.

One way to diversify your portfolio is through asset allocation. Asset allocation involves identifying the asset classes that are appropriate for you and allocating a certain percentage of your investment dollars to each class (e.g., 70 percent to stocks, 20 percent to bonds, 10 percent to cash alternatives). A worksheet or an interactive tool can suggest a model or sample allocation based on your investment objectives, risk tolerance level, and investment time horizon, but your strategy should be tailored to your unique circumstances.

Focus on the forest, not on the trees

As the markets go up and down, it’s easy to become too focused on day-to-day returns. Instead, keep your eyes on your long-term investing goals and your overall portfolio. Although only you can decide how much investment risk you can handle, if you still have years to invest, don’t overestimate the effect of short-term price fluctuations on your portfolio.

Look before you leap

When the market goes down and investment losses pile up, you may be tempted to pull out of the stock market altogether and look for less volatile investments. The small returns that typically accompany low-risk investments may seem downright attractive when more risky investments are posting negative returns.

But before you leap into a different investment strategy, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. How you choose to invest your money should be consistent with your goals and time horizon.

For instance, putting a larger percentage of your investment dollars into vehicles that offer safety of principal and liquidity (the opportunity to easily access your funds) may be the right strategy for you if your investment goals are short-term or if a long-term goal such as retirement has now become an immediate goal. But if you still have years to invest, keep in mind that although past performance is no guarantee of future results, stocks have historically outperformed stable value investments over time. If you move most or all of your investment dollars into conservative investments, you’ve not only locked in any losses you might have, but you’ve also sacrificed the potential for higher returns.

Look for the silver lining

A down market, like every cloud, has a silver lining. The silver lining of a down market is the opportunity you have to buy shares of stock at lower prices.

One of the ways you can do this is by using dollar cost averaging. With dollar cost averaging, you don’t try to “time the market” by buying shares at the moment when the price is lowest. In fact, you don’t worry about price at all. Instead, you invest the same amount of money at regular intervals over time. When the price is higher, your investment dollars buy fewer shares of stock, but when the price is lower, the same dollar amount will buy you more shares. Although dollar cost averaging can’t guarantee you a profit or protect against a loss, over time a regular fixed dollar investment may result in an average price per share that’s lower than the average market price, assuming you invest through all types of markets. A workplace savings plan, such as a 401(k) plan in which the same amount is deducted from each paycheck and invested through the plan, is one of the most well-known examples of dollar cost averaging in action. Please remember that since dollar cost averaging involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuating price levels of such securities, you should consider your financial ability to make ongoing purchases.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch

As the market recovers from a down cycle, elation quickly sets in. If the upswing lasts long enough, it’s easy to believe that investing in the stock market is a sure thing. But, of course, it never is. As many investors have learned the hard way, becoming overly optimistic about investing during the good times can be as detrimental as worrying too much during the bad times. The right approach during all kinds of markets is to be realistic. Have a plan, stick with it, and strike a comfortable balance between risk and return.

Don’t stick your head in the sand

While focusing too much on short-term gains or losses is unwise, so is ignoring your investments. You should check up on your portfolio at least once a year, more frequently if the market is particularly volatile or when there have been significant changes in your life. You may need to rebalance your portfolio to bring it back in line with your investment goals and risk tolerance, or redesign it so that it better suits your current needs. Don’t hesitate to get expert help if you need it when deciding which investment options are right for you. 


This article was prepared by Thrivent Financial with an article from Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions Inc. ©2017 for use by Darboy representative Troy Beck. He has offices at W2719 Brookhaven Dr. in Appleton and can also be reached at 920-423-3896.

About Thrivent Financial: Thrivent is a not-for-profit membership organization that helps Christians be wise with money and live generously. It offers its more than 2 million member-owners a broad range of products, services and guidance nationwide. For more than a century it has helped members make wise money choices that reflect their values while providing them opportunities to demonstrate their generosity where they live, work and worship. For more information, visit Thrivent.com. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

The information provided in these materials, developed by an independent third party, is for informational purposes only and has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable. However, Thrivent Financial does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. The material is general in nature. Thrivent Financial and its respective associates and employees cannot provide legal, accounting, or tax advice or services. Work with your Thrivent Financial representative, and as appropriate, your attorney and/or tax professional for additional information.

Insurance products issued or offered by Thrivent Financial, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Appleton, WI. Not all products are available in all states. Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Thrivent Investment Management Inc., 625 Fourth Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415, a FINRA and SIPC member and a wholly owned subsidiary of Thrivent Financial, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Appleton, WI. Thrivent Financial representatives are registered representatives of Thrivent Investment Management Inc. They are also licensed insurance agents/producers of Thrivent. For additional important information, visit Thrivent.com/disclosures. 1926021-101817

 

Homeowners often aspire to have attractive backyards that look like they belong in a magazine. While these can be picturesque and functional for adults, they may not be entirely practical for homeowners who have young children, especially when the majority of the yard is covered with paving stones or concrete.

When young children are part of a household, homeowners may benefit by designing yards that are both functional and fun. Incorporating safe play areas for kids is one way to unlock the potential of both big and small backyards.

As children run off to enjoy a playground, safety is the last thing on their minds. Kids are most interested in scaling ladders to treehouses or coasting down slides. That’s why adults must take it upon themselves to keep injury prevention in mind.

SafestPlayground.com indicates that playground-related injuries routinely result in severe fractures, internal injuries, concussions, and dislocations. In the majority of playground injuries to children younger than age 5, the head and face are affected. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 experience more leg and arm injuries than younger kids. The Consumer Product Safety Commission states 70 percent of children’s injuries occur on home playgrounds. More than 28,000 children are injured each year on playgrounds across Canada, according to Parachute, a national injury prevention organization.

When considering playground equipment for the yard, parents need to make safety a priority. The Canada Safety Society advises parents to follow the “5 S’s of Playground Safety”: Surface, structures, site, supervision, and safety.

Surface: Parents should assume that children will fall. To lessen the blow of falls, choose playground equipment with a perimeter of six feet of a softer surface, such as sand, pea gravel, rubber pieces or wood chips. This material should be between six and 12 inches deep.

Structure: The structure of the play equipment should be built from sturdy materials. Pressure-treated lumber was once the standard, but it’s not adviseable for kids’ playgrounds, as the chemicals used in the lumber can leach and young children may actually bite or pick at the wood. Use cedar or another wood that resists decay. Once the structure is built, inspect it frequently for damage.

Site: Look around the landscape for an ideal place to locate the playset. There should be no obstacles that children can hit while sliding or swinging. Avoid overhanging branches and do not place equipment too close to trees or fencing. Try to keep the set out of direct sunlight, which can make components heat up and scald young bodies.

Supervision: Do not leave children alone while they are playing. Prevent children from using the playset in an incorrect manner.

Safety: Follow the directions for installation. Make sure all posts are anchored into the ground securely. Railings should be spaced so that children cannot get stuck between them. Check that metal components have not rusted and that there is no additional excessive wear. Be sure that no tools or other dangerous items are left around the yard.

Backyard playgrounds should be built with safety in mind. Learn the rules of play equipment and yard safety.


Source: MetroCreative Connection.

Bruce*, as a younger version of himself, never really felt comfortable in his own body. He always seemed to have difficulty with flexibility and balance. After a diagnosis with scoliosis in his early teens, his discomfort within his body only seemed to worsen. To cope, he became an avid practitioner of the martial arts. Throughout his 20s, training became an obsession of sorts as he felt that he had to train twice as hard to be half as good as most students.

He pushed himself for a long time. He seemed to suffer a constant stream of injuries. He managed his pain as it was something familiar to him since childhood; but when his body’s alarm bells started trying to warn him, he just would not hear them.

Bruce kept pushing himself. People all around Bruce had become accustomed to his kindness, generosity and helpful nature. The more Bruce gave, the more others kept expecting and taking. By this point, a 10-inch line of muscle had hardened along the left side of his spine. After a particularly busy weekend rush at work, he overextended himself and collapsed. For the first time in his life, he could not stand up because the pain was so excruciating.

X-rays and an MRI confirmed that Bruce had degenerated and herniated discs in his lumbar spine. The radiologist suggested that he skip physical therapy and go straight to surgery. With the possibility of being on opioids and not being able to work for months while recovering, Bruce was not happy with going under the knife for a surgery with only a 30 percent success rate. Bruce sought out other options and found some relief through a mixture of chiropractic, acupuncture and restorative yoga. After two months, his progress seemed to plateau. His chiropractor intuitively seemed to know there was more progress to be made so he referred Bruce to the area Certified Rolfer for a detailed bodywork experience and process known as the “Ten Series.”

The Rolfer interviewed Bruce and took a thorough body history. She observed him walk and noted how his body seemed to compensate during particular movements. She then explained how Rolfing Structural Integration (Rolfing SI) worked to help assist the body in finding its center of gravity or “happy place” so that movement becomes more effortless and free. Since Bruce was an extremely motivated individual who dutifully exercised and was actively practicing better self-care, he and the Rolfer decided that Bruce should come in for Rolfing SI every other week until he got through all ten bodywork sessions.

Upon standing after the first Rolfing SI session, Bruce’s body told him instantly that Rolfing “made sense.” The continued manipulation of restricted and tensioned areas kept shifting Bruce’s gravity center. Standing became much easier and he noticed that he was becoming much more limber and flexible. In addition to the softening in the hardened musculature along his spine, Bruce also noticed that he could feel his feet relax and legs soften and move in ways that he had not felt since childhood. In Bruce’s words, “Rolfing brought everything together and opened up the relationship [his] body had been trying to have with itself.”

One of the hallmarks of the Rolfing SI “Ten Series” is that it is a catalyst for changing patterns. Bruce began to notice that his acupuncture and chiropractic treatments became more effective and longer lasting. In addition to rediscovering his passion for yoga and martial arts, Bruce found all of his treatments together to be powerful and synergistic. And now an inch taller, Bruce could move about his world with renewed joy, better balance and a more hopeful, less pained existence! 

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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