Since we are spending the month of May looking at ideas which may help us deal with the effects of mental health challenges, I thought we could explore chiropractic care. Like many alternative medicines, chiropractic care supports a holistic mind-body approach to wellness. Most chiropractors use more than one treatment and are willing to work with their clients to create treatment plans which are as simple or complex as the patient needs or wants. How can a full chiropractic plan help reduce mental health issues?
- Spinal adjustments can relieve nerve pressure and help with proper release of many hormones and other body chemicals. Some of those chemicals include endorphins, Oxytocin, Neurotensin, and many more. Many of the hormones affected are connected to the body’s ability to maintain a happy and healthy set of emotions.
- Spinal adjustments have been linked to significantly lowering the number and duration of migraine headaches and body aches, reducing the symptoms of the adolescent and perimenopausal changes, and creating a positive change to the overall perceived health of patients.
- Chiropractic care has been linked to realigning the balance of body functions by restoring the nervous system’s ability to properly communicate with all other systems within the body. This is especially important for immune system care, since the immune system is spread throughout every inch of the body and is connected to disease and well-being.
- Studies show that people who have regular adjustments in long-term chiropractic care increase the body’s ability to repair cells and increase4 immunity.
- Adjusting the spine can help with reducing tension and increasing flexibility. This allows a person to be able to move more, exercise with less pain, and relieve some forms of chronic pain which may be associated with anxiety and depression.
- Regular chiropractic care has been linked to better sleep patterns which allow the person to get to sleep more quickly, stay asleep longer during the night, and sleep an appropriate amount of time for optimal functioning.
While it is easy to look for answers in research studies, I have found that I have learned much more from listening to the stories of people who have increased their quality of life through chiropractic care. While it may be anecdotal evidence, the stories are inspiring and widespread evidence that chiropractic care is effective for people who suffer from both physical and mental health issues.
I decided to find out for myself. I found Drs. Nathan and Caitlin Zeigler at Alliance Chiropractic in Carmel, Indiana. Carmel is a suburb of Indianapolis (north side) and is somewhat close to where I live. Most of you know that I am a veteran of the US Navy and experienced a fall which resulted in serious injuries from which I have suffered chronic pain for a decade. Dr. Zeigler does an adjustment for me at each visit and has performed a series of other therapies. In addition, they have given me some therapeutic exercises to do at home, several times per day, and are willing to talk with me about diet and lifestyle needs.
While I still suffer to some extent, my pain levels have significantly decreased, and I am much less stressed out. I can feel a significant difference in my ability to function in life which increased my motivation and moves me toward success. I feel great, and I highly recommend chiropractic care to anyone who doesn’t have a medical condition which prohibits it. It is just one more way to combat mental health (and physical health), and it might be something for you to consider.
Drug Free Marion County and the Association for 100 Black Women hosted a Youth Mental Health First Aid certification seminar at the beautiful Indiana Health Foundation Building in Downtown Indianapolis. They learned about how mental illness and youth adolescence look very similar and how to know if a young person is suffering from a mental health condition as early as possible. Since early intervention is the key to the most successful outcomes for anyone, young or old, this training better prepared them to identify and reach out to a young person in need. This was one of our favorite groups to train to date! Congratulations to our new mental health first aiders!
Purdue University hosted its second Mental Health First Aid for Higher Education seminar at the Rec Center. The faculty and staff at Purdue are always seeking ways to make college life better for students. The Dean of Students and her staff weren’t just fabulous participants, but they also had some artistic talent among them. We had to share the posters they made in class, because they were fantastic!
This weekend when I was teaching at a Youth Mental Health First Aid seminar, I met a woman who is the co-founder of a Mindfulness program which I thought sounded like a fantastic program to become involved in for Mental Health Awareness Month. There are so many wonderful training programs about mental health and wellness, as well as techniques which can be learned to help cope with mental health challenges, and this sounded like something very promising.
So what is mindfulness, anyway? It is pretty simple, actually. Mindfulness is the quality of being aware, really aware. In the case of mental wellness, it means being aware of your state of mind, emotions, body, circumstances, surrounding environment, and effects of behaviors. It might be easy to think of mindfulness as a form of meditation, a type of meditation that brings you to full realization of yourself without being overtly affected by outside forces.
There are some benefits to practicing mindfulness:
1.) Anyone can do it, because the practice of mindfulness does not require anyone to change who they are, just how they think about things. Since no one has to change to become mindful, the results may be longer lasting than other strategies.
2.) Science has been showing us that taking some time to be quiet or to slow down, on occasion, is beneficial to personal health. Part of being mindful comes from taking extra time to think and discover the self and realize what connections have an effect on us.
3.) Being present in our own lives makes people more aware of themselves, their abilities, their effects on others, and their potential. Taking all of those things into consideration gives people insight on what they can do, change, and support to strengthen the good and move away from the not-so-good.
4.) Mindfulness results in kinder, more resilient and innovative people. It allows us to tap into the potential that we knew we had and the potential that we didn’t realize until we took time to contemplate who and what we are in the context in which we have been in and could be in the future.
I think that the act of being present more in our lives can change the world, starting with the mental and emotional health of ourselves. When we understand ourselves and our circumstances better, we understand when we need help and when we can help others much more easily. We also become kinder and treat other people better, something that can change the world for the better.