How Osteopathy Can Help Your Baby’s Development

OSTEO-WHAT?! This is the question that I am often met with after I introduce myself as a student of osteopathy.  Although the profession of osteopathy has been around for centuries, it is still often perceived as a mystical form of alternative medicine. I’ve set out to enlighten and hopefully put to rest some of those doe-eyed reactions surrounding the practice! baby osteopathy

Osteopathy is a natural form of medicine that views the body as one interdependent, continuous system. The practice aims to restore normality and function throughout the entire body by determining the cause of imbalance and discomfort. Treatment involves a subtle, intuitive manual manipulation of bone and soft tissue within the body’s limitations. Osteopathy was founded in 1874 by Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, a medical doctor with a mechanical background. After the loss of his three sons to meningitis, Still sought out alternative interventions to enhance the inert healing capacity of the body. He focused on removing mechanical “blockages” and emphasized free circulation and mobility within the body.

In 1882 Still founded the American School of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri. Several of Still’s original students enhanced the profession by developing new manual techniques such as cranial-sacral therapy and myofascial release. Osteopathic manual therapy is often recommended for the relief of musculoskeletal dysfunctions and pain management. However, the scope of practice extends to the treatment of respiratory and digestive issues, menstrual irregularities, migraines, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, depression and peripheral or local pain management.

Currently trending among midwives and numerous health practitioners is cranial-sacral osteopathy for newborns and babies. It is now commonly recommended that new mothers make an important visit to their friendly osteopathic practitioner to assess, correct and relieve trauma which may have occurred during birth. As babies make their journey through the cervix, their heads must rotate, compress and narrow. In some cases the re-inflation or un-moulding process can be incomplete. A difficult birth, such as one that required forceps, a long labour, or a caesarean most commonly contribute to cranial compression and incomplete re-inflation.

Symptoms associated with unresolved cranial compression are: latching or feeding difficulties, discomfort during tummy time and plagiocephaly which is the appearance of a flat or odd shaped head. Unresolved, these issues can also present as colic or excessive crying and restlessness. However, there is hope and relief for everyone! Studies show that osteopathic intervention immediately following birth has been extremely successful in restoring symmetry of the cranium and in significantly relieving colic.

Finally, let’s remember that the theory of osteopathy suggests that the body tends towards normality – it wants to heal itself. Naturally these resilient little bodes can resolve many of the issues on their own. However, osteopathic treatment can help speed up this potentially long and uncomfortable process; enabling more space for a happy and healthy development!

More spinach more problems: Rotate your Greens

Green smoothies are all the rage for those looking for healthy eating options. There’s no question that smoothies can be an excellent way to start your day, refuel after a workout and keep your clean diet on track. HOWEVER, DO NOT do what I did and make the same 2 cups spinach, 1 banana, 1 cup frozen berry, protein powder smoothie every morning for two years.

Newsflash: you can overdose on spinach.

spinach_smoothie-with-lemon

 

What?! It’s true. Too much of a good thing is, well, not good. Spinach contains oxalic acid, which in large doses over time, can mess with calcium absorption and be problematic for people prone to kidney stones. Many foods contain oxalic acid, especially leafy greens such as spinach, kale, chard, parsley, collards and beet greens. Spinach has the highest levels of oxalic acid – 750 milligrams per 100 gram serving.

Popeye-Spinach

Popeye wasn’t lying to us however. Spinach is still a very healthy vegetable! Just be sure you’re not eating it every day.  I used to single handedly eat one of those big plastic containers of organic baby spinach every 3-4 days. I’d have spinach smoothies in the morning, spinach salad at lunch and often throw that same spinach into my veggie stir fry for dinner. Here I was thinking, “I’m so healthy! I’m getting my iron and antioxidants!” Meanwhile, I started getting a strange “burning scratching” sensation on my tongue and teeth when eating it, especially the raw spinach salads.

I didn’t think anything of it until I did a food allergy test with Naturopathic Doctor  Suzanne Ho through Rocky Mountain Labs. I was straight up allergic to spinach. Turns out I’d developed a hypersensitivity to the leafy green, likely as a result of eating too much, leading to excessive levels of oxalic acid.  Lesson: Don’t ignore those messages from your body. A food that burns your throat, tongue or teeth is not beneficial!

Solution: Rotate your Greens

All leaves contain small amounts of toxins as a defense mechanism to protect the plant from predators. In addition to the problems of excess oxalic acid from spinach, goitrogens in kale and other brassicas like broccoli can interfere with thyroid hormone function. This is NOT to say you should stop eating green vegetables. Just don’t eat the same damn green vegetable every day of the week!

Some symptoms of alkaloid buildup are nausea, tingling in finger tips and fatigue.  But before you dump your green smoothie down the drain, you should know that this isn’t anything to worry about as long as you are rotating your greens. Throughout the week, use a variety of leafy greens in your smoothies— like kale, spinach, romaine, herbs and carrot tops.

Start out rotating between two different leafy greens per week. And then another two different leafy greens the following week. So one week you might buy spinach and kale, and then on your next shopping trip, you might buy romaine lettuce and swiss chard.

There are several “families” of leafy greens. The leafy greens in each family have similar “DNA” including their own minor amount of toxins. By rotating family types with your greens you’re preventing any kind of toxic build-up, but you are also feeding your body a wide variety of nutrients that you would otherwise be missing out on. To help keep you making healthy smoothies here’s a list of greens separated family groups so you can easily rotate!

CRUCIFER: Kale, Arugula, Collard Greens, Bok Choy, Cabbage

AMARANTH: Spinach, Swiss Chard, Beet Greens

ASTERACEAE: Dandelion Greens, Romaine Lettuce

APIACEAE: Carrot tops ( don’t throw em out, blend them!), cilantro (amazing with lemon/lime)

Happy blending! Yours in Good Health. Check us out on Instagram to see new smoothie recipes each week!