Right Here, Right Now

Right Here, Right Now

Saturday would have been the annual Spring Benefit for my daughter’s school. We would have gathered at the Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms for a lovely concert performed by the student body and community chorus. This year’s program included Vivaldi. With it being such a lovely day, we decided to join a friend and take a walk at Shelburne Farms. When we arrived at the empty coach barn courtyard, we were inspired to play a Vivaldi piece and let it echo around the space. My daughter made the simple statement. “This is what should have been happening, right here, right now.”

I am sure as spring is unfolding here in Vermont, many of you may be reflecting on what usually would be happening right here, right now. Our lives have been disrupted. Out of that disruption have come ways we have needed to adapt. I have seen a full range of adaptation in the people in my world. In the closest inner circle of my own family, to my team at Wellspring and all of our practice members, to neighbors and folks in town, stories of Vermonters, of folks all over the country and the world. Apparently, even the planet has seen changes from our shifts in behavior. Living things adapt to change, readily and appropriately when they are healthy, and poorly and inappropriately when they are not; all of this on a continuum, and in the end when life can no longer sustain and adapt, death occurs.

Now that Vermont is beginning to open, as we celebrate, we may also have some fears. What do we need to consider as we widen our circles again?

Fear will impact the way we adapt mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Our thoughts determine our behaviors; our behaviors will determine our outcomes.

The running media narrative continues to drum fear.

I want to offer understanding to help shift fear into actions that will support healthy and robust adaptation.

“While other professions are concerned with changing the environment to suit the weakened body, chiropractic is concerned with strengthening the body to suit the environment.” ~ BJ Palmer

Let’s get practical.

It has been an honor for me to continue to serve those of you who have been in the practice through all of this, following my individual recommendations for helping you regain your health and protect those gains, whether here in the practice or by virtual visits.

I am delighted to welcome back those who are ready and get you back on track to your goals.

For those ready to return you will see how we have adapted the practice for now to follow the state guidelines.

As your chiropractor, it is my job as a member of your health care team to always be watching what is needed to generate health; so although washing hands, wearing masks and physical distancing are being recommended by our department of health, my role has not changed. I continue to look closely at any lifestyle choice and understand how it impacts health. With this understanding, my hope is that it will inspire you to make the best choices for you and your families. Please know that you will always have my support in helping you to navigate any choices you make including helping you to reconcile the consequences of those choices.

For a deeper look into the consequences of each of these practices, click on the link to learn more.

Washing hands:

Our skin is our first line of defense and on it is a diversity of micro-organisms that support a healthy body. The most diverse human microbiome on the planet is found in folks who have no chronic illness and never wash their hands. They are handling raw meat and toileting within minutes of each other.  Have you noticed that no other species on the planet washes their hands/ paws?… and yet we know that in the last 200 years our entire battle with infectious diseases was dramatically impacted by figuring out how to wash our hands when we contacted potential sources of infection. Even modern hand sanitizers don’t measure up to good old fashioned soap and water. But this study found handwashing had little impact on influenza transmission.

From the peer-reviewed Emerging Infectious Disease:

Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza. We similarly found limited evidence on the effectiveness of improved hygiene and environmental cleaning.

…we did not find evidence of a major effect of hand hygiene on laboratory-confirmed influenza virus transmission. 

We did not find evidence that surgical-type face masks are effective in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza transmission, either when worn by infected persons (source control) or by persons in the general community.

Xiao J et al. Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings-Personal Protective and Environmental Measures. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 May 17; 26(5):967-975.

So right here, right now? If you are vulnerable wash your hands often and have others do the same before you contact them and before you touch your face. But also, get your hands in good clean dirt!

Wearing Masks:

Last week, after wearing a cloth mask in the office for a few days in a row, by the end of the day I was feeling quite ‘out of it’ and it took a number of hours before my head was clear again. I had been hearing that there could be adverse effects to wearing masks and found this excellent article to help me understand what I had experienced. Although I will follow the state’s guidelines to recommend masks, I appreciated both the Commissioner of Health’s comment that masks are not recommended if it impairs health and the Governor assuring us that he is not mandating masks.

It seems mask wearing may not be as effective or safe as was hoped.

In Hubei province China, where widespread practice of wearing masks took place, mask use did not curtail or reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission before or during the Covid-19 outbreak in this geographic region.

Brosseau L et al. Commentary: Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data. Center for Infectious Disease and Research Policy, University of Minnesota. April 1 2020.

Two 14-year-old boys in China have been reported to have died while wearing facial masks when running during physical education classes at school.  Schladedebeck J. Two Chinese boys reported die within week of each other while wearing face masks in gym class. May 7 2020.

In conclusion, both surgical and cotton masks seem to be ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS–CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with COVID-19 to the environment and external mask surface.  Boe S, Kim M, Kim J et al. Effectiveness of surgical and cotton masks in blocking SARS–CoV-2: a controlled comparison in 4 patients. Annals of Internal Medicine. 6 April, 2020.

So right here, right now? Wear masks as little as possible: when you yourself are coughing, sneezing, sick AND also around others, or if you are at high risk and must be near others that have a high viral load. Do not when you are exercising, by yourself, outside and 6 feet away from others, or by yourself in your car!

Physical distancing:

While we may be trying to avoid the virus or lessen any viral load, many studies are concerned with the impact on health.

“There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between the lockdown and whether or not the epidemic has spread wide and fast.” Why Have We Shut Down The Country?’ Ex-New York Times Reporter Challenges The Dire Coronavirus Models.

Hugs provide potent immune system support.

Yes, that’s right, hugging can be considered a natural immune system booster. Hugging induces the “stress buffering effect” in which an individual that is hugged often is less likely to become sick due to stress-induced illness (10).

Oxytocin acts on the pituitary gland to decrease the stress hormone cortisol. Along with a decrease in cortisol, the social support through physical contact also allows an individual to cope with stressful situations, rather than wearing down their immune system leaving room for illness. A study in 2015 at Carnegie Mellon exposed healthy adults to the cold virus and found that individuals with social support had a decreased chance of getting sick due to the stress induced buffering effects of hugging. Those individuals that did get sick had less severe symptoms if they were hugged and had a stable social support then those that did not. (9)

Simultaneously, as the activated sensory receptors send signals to the brain, signals are also sent to the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the cranial nerve that helps mediate the parasympathetic response of the heart, lungs and digestive tract; which decreases the blood pressure helping both individuals involved in the hug feel calmer. In animal studies, activation of the vagus nerve has also been shown to increase the release of oxytocin, decreasing the heart rate and cortisol, leaving the person feeling less stressed and more relaxed. (1112)

(By the way, watch for an upcoming online summit all about the Vagus Nerve and how it affects our health!)

The Path back to Resilience

Following the pandemic protocols may be taking its toll on our health. We have potentially weakened our immune systems from the loss of human contact and hypervigilant cleanliness. What do we need to do to reconcile this?

Hands in the dirt, live enzyme foods like sauerkraut kimchee or Kombucha, probiotics, as much human contact as you can in the circle you have.

There is so much fear right now around breathing: fear of breathing in a virus or fear of breathing out a virus onto someone else.

I am loving this simple breathing exercise from Dr. Patrick MacManaway when I am home and out in nature to reconnect to what is true and strong in our place in the world. Breathing in nature is an important way to maintain a healthy diversity for our microbiome which plays a key role in the resiliency of our immune system.

Here it is.

Begin by observing your breath and breathing, and waiting for calm and inner connection to arise –

Then become aware that your in-breath is the outbreath of the plants around you, and that your out-breath is the in-breath for all that is green in the landscape surrounding,

And enjoy…

Nice then to extend the awareness of the in-breath, out-breath exchange with the surrounding environment of all air, moisture, warmth, coolth, atmosphere, weather and climate –

Expanding the awareness of inner-climate in exchange with outer-climate as a medium for intimate connection and peaceful loving exchange.

And enjoy more…

We can also, as ever and always, carry prayers on our breath in that exchange.

If you missed the interview I did recently with Dr. MacManaway, you can find it here.

But what if I have contact with someone and am exposed?

Well, first recognize that once you are exposed and move through it, whether you have any symptoms or not, you are now safe with immunity and are no longer a threat to anyone else. Every time a case is found, that is one more person that is contributing to herd immunity and is no longer a threat to the vulnerable.

But what if I am exposed and do get sick? Watch this interview I had with Dr. Bill Warnock. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuI2LIVJQgk&feature=youtu.be

He has successfully helped folks right here in our community and has some good advice.

Ready to be brave and reenter the community? Do so wisely:

Chiropractic care turns off the stress switch which supports a more resilient immune system.

Make sure you are also getting good sleep and taking your supplements.

This study showed that “The more severe the symptoms [of Covid19], the more likely a patient was to be not just low but deficient in vitamin D.”  

85.5% of patients with sufficient (>30ng/ml) Vitamin D had mild cases while 72.8% of patients who were deficient in Vitamin D (<20ng/ml) had severe or critical cases. 

These studies show the importance of Vitamin C.

Thousands of medical doctors are getting promising results with those who are sick from using hydrochloraquin and zinc, including studies showing prophylactic benefits for the vulnerable population.

This is a global experiment.

We can learn much from other countries’ experiences. Taiwan, South Korea and Sweden had no mandatory stay at home measures, but simply protected those who were vulnerable.

This world renowned Irish scientist has a plan for Ireland that could work for every country. Dolores Cahill, PhD

What about testing and vaccines? I will be commenting on that in the next few weeks as we learn more. Stay tuned!

Yours in health from the inside out,

Dr. Heather


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Wellspring Chiropractic Lifestyle Center
4076 Shelburne Road #5
Shelburne, VT 05482
(802) 985-9850