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The Wonder Weeks: A Forecast For Your Baby’s Development 

By Dr. Katie Gleisner

October 2020

A child experiences an incredible period of mental and physical growth through the first three years of life.  Their nervous system is required to jump over developmental hurdles that play a crucial role on how your baby experiences, interacts, and grows.  Babies were designed to learn.  It may seem that some evenings you put to bed a completely different baby then the one who wakes up the following morning.  What could have possibly happened over the span of a few hours?  So much, as a baby is born with 100 billion neurons that are constantly firing and wiring new pathways to recognize faces, coordinate movement, smile, and learn languages. 

The brain is designed to be sensitive to new experiences.  All babies go through ten mental development leaps throughout their first twenty months of life, The Wonder Weeks.  They all go through each of the leaps at the same time.  With each new leap, your baby is able to learn new things.  However, all of this dramatic development can cause fussy and difficult days for your little one. The Wonder Weeks are based on neurological research and shared parental experiences.  We tend to track our babies’ physical milestones—holding their head up, rolling over, sitting, crawling, and walking—more so than their mental leaps.  Monitoring your baby’s Wonder Weeks will help you forecast their grumpy days or weeks, and get a glimpse into their new experiences with every leap. 

Throughout the first month of life you are getting to know your new family member and in awe of how rapidly they grow. Around five weeks your baby enters their first leap. This leap impacts your baby’s senses. They will experience heightened sensations inside and out. Internally, your baby’s digestive tract is undergoing remodeling and their metabolism fluctuates. Externally, your baby’s visual, auditory, and tactile senses are heightened. As your baby embarks on a rapidly changing world, they may express the three C’s: crying, clinginess, and crankiness. Throughout this fussy phase, your baby will crave more comfort, so the day will be filled with more cuddles, walks, and gentle massages. Your voice, scent, and touch will be soothing and create a sense of ease for your baby as they experience the vibrancy of their new world. At the end of leap one, your baby will be more alert and preoccupied with looking and listening, as well as smiling and gurgling with pleasure.

Now that your little one is able to experience their world in a new way they will jump into leap twoAt eight weeks old, your baby’s head circumference dramatically increases and their brain waves change, which allows them to start recognizing recurring shapes, patterns, and structures.  If you start to notice your baby having fussier moments, it is likely they are preparing to learn new skills.  They will find their hands and feet and explore how they taste and move to grasp an elusive toy.  They will be fascinated by the contrast and movement of shadows against the bright wall, as well as colorful books and knick knacks on a shelf.  Your baby will gain more control of their body, too.  They will explore holding their head up, kicking, and rolling, as well as making silly faces and sounds as they discover their facial muscles and vocal cords, respectively. 

At twelve weeks your baby will enter their third leap.  This developmental milestone allows your baby to smoothly coordinate their body and perception of their world.  You may start to notice that your baby’s sporadic movements become smoother and coordinated.  They are able to control their hands, feet, head, eyes, and vocal cords.  When they reach for a toy or pull to sit while holding your fingers it will be with a deliberate, controlled motion.  They are intrigued by the change of daylight, the pitch of the dog barking, and the movement of family members.  With each day your baby’s world is becoming more organized as they are constantly learning new skills. 

At four months, babies’ brain waves dramatically change, and their head circumference increases.  This primes your baby for their fourth leap at nineteen weeks.  Through this leap your baby begins to understand events, or short familiar patterns.  For example, a few weeks ago your wee one needed full concentration to grasp an object in front of them, but now they begin to understand that they can grab it, shake it, and put it in their mouth.  This movement requires intense focus and coordination. The fourth leap is trying, resulting in more fussy weeks as they grow comfortable with the changes to how they see, hear, smell, taste, and feel their world.

A few weeks of calm pass by as your baby wiggles away to explore before they enter their fifth leap.  At twenty-six weeks your baby will begin to understand relationships.  The biggest lesson is learning the distance between their parents and themselves.  Your baby will cry and fuss to be in your arms, but once they have reached their goal, they will squirm away to discover more interesting things in the world around them.  Typically, fussiness during this age is associated with teething.  However, it is also related to your baby’s ability to understand and develop new skills with people, objects, sounds, and feelings. 

Between the fifth and sixth leaps you may notice your baby’s personality and interests developing.  Every baby is different, but they all love anything new.  Showing excitement in your baby’s new skills or interest will spark and accelerate their learning process.  At thirty-seven weeks your baby will enter their sixth leap, which is focused around investigation and categorization in their world. They are able to recognize people, objects, and animals.  Now, they are able to differentiate between items as they categorize them throughout their senses.  In addition, their understanding of language will soar, even if they are not talking yet.  Through this leap you may notice your baby being grumpy, restless, and impatient as they go through another big change.  After the leap, they will be able to divide their world into categories.  They will be able to differentiate between a dog, cat, or bird, but also the characteristics that make something small, big, light, heavy, soft, or sticky, as well as emotions. 

With each leap your baby’s world continues to expand.  In between the sixth and seventh leap you may find that your baby has a knack for destruction.  A part of understanding an object is by taking it apart and fiddling.  However, around forty-six weeks your baby will enter their seventh leap, which allows them to put things together.  After a few weeks of fussy, sleepless nights, your little one will be able to point out and name an item, respond “meow” to your question, “what does a cat say?,” put objects in and out of a container, and push an object to where they want to go and discover next. 

A few weeks after their first birthday, around fifty-five weeks, your baby will enter the eight leap.  They will begin to understand programs throughout their day including getting dressed, eating lunch, and going to bed.  Your baby will be eager to “help” and may insist on doing things themselves. This leap provides them flexibility and independence to discover their world.  They may be prone to temper tantrums when their “plan” does not coincide with yours.  However, at the end of eighth leap your toddler will initiate activities, be eager to “help,” and study how you and others carry out everyday programs. 

Your cheerful and independent toddler will enter their ninth leap at six four weeks.  Typically, they will experience a few weeks of clinginess and cuddles before they burst into activity.  During the ninth leap they are preoccupied with thinking and strategizing about what they want and what they are doing.  As they become more physically and verbally skillful everyday is a new adventure.

With each leap your little one is becoming more independent and developing their personality.  Between the ninth and tenth leap you may notice more bouts of moody, obstinate “teenager” behavior.  This independent streak continues as they jump into the tenth leap around seventy-five weeks.  Your toddler discovers that they control their body and can make choices for themselves.  Some toddlers are fascinated by their body and what it can do.  Or they are preoccupied with their families, friends, and house.  Others may be enchanted by drawing, music, or physics.  Every toddler has different mobility, preferences, and talents that allow them to develop into unique individuals. 

Throughout infancy and childhood, your child will continue to learn and observe as they develop their outlook on life.  Your love, patience, and all those sleepless nights are worth it as you watch this tiny being discover whether they like to talk, build, music, or physical play.  The Wonder Weeks provides you insight into their development and variable moods along the way.  Use their moods and behaviors as a barometer.  If you notice that your baby is clingy, craving cuddles, or fighting sleep watch them closely as there is a good chance they are learning a new skill and need extra support.  Following along with The Wonder Weeks Book or app creates an interactive way to track your baby’s development, and give yourself some grace through these hurdles. 


People don’t give us sickness…we take it.

People don’t give us sickness…we take it.

People don’t give us sickness…we take it. Let me explain.

by Dr. Melissa Sonners

“Germs seek their natural habitat – diseased tissue – rather than being the cause of diseased tissue.” – Antoine Béchamp

People don’t get us sick.  They don’t give us their colds, viruses, stomach bugs, etc…we take them.

Think about it.  Why can there be ten people in a room, one of whom has a cold virus and only three people end up getting it?  What about the other six? Why didn’t they get it?  If only germ theory was at work, everyone in the room would get the virus since they’d all been exposed.

Germ theory is a theory that underlies our entire current medical model.  It states that microorganisms known as pathogens or germs create disease.  In contrast, the terrain theory argues that if the body is well and balanced, then germs that are a natural part of life and the environment will be dealt with by the body without causing sickness.

Germs Theory By Melissa Sonners

I believe both to be true.  Yes, germs can make us sick.  But I also know germs are not the enemy.  We need germs, viruses and bacteria to survive.  We have at least as many bacteria in us as we do human cells.  Many scientists will say we have closer to three times as many. 

More research is becoming available as attention is being paid to the microbiome which is all the bacteria that live in us and on us.  Dysbiosis— bacterial imbalance in our bodies, particularly our guts—is being shown to have a major impact on our immune system.  Science and research are proving that this bacterial balance is being formed and perfected even before we are born and the majority of the variability (a good thing) in our bacteria is developed by the age of three.  Good news parents!  That means when your kid accidently eats off the floor or hangs out with his friend Susie, the snot bucket, you are actually helping proliferate their bacteria and, in a sense, growing their immune systems.

Fortunately, the terrain theory and the importance of our microbiome was a major part of our curriculum in chiropractic school.  Chiropractors believe in the vitalistic principle, meaning we know that our body has an innate capacity to heal.  We get a cut, it heals without any outside influence. That happens because of what we call innate intelligence.  When we get sick or are diseased, we first look to what is interfering with that innate system.  

Because of this information, we have raised our family mindfully when it comes to food, lifestyle choices, how we support them when they are “sick” (we actually call it “expressing health”) and what we teach them. 

 So, what does this mean for this moment in time? 

  • For me personally and for our family, it means I am mega-focused on our terrain. 
  • It means I have taught my kids to not be afraid.  They don’t need to live in fear of a virus.  They are healthy.  We make choices every day that have gotten us here, and exactly what is going on right now, reinforces these choices.  Would it be easier at times, to grab a quick meal at Mcdonald’s drive thru? Definitely.  But does that nourish their bodies and keep them healthy? No. We eat healthy foods. 
  • It means we limit sugar, with the exception of fruits.  Does this sound like deprivation? Well, with regard to our immune system, sugar is one of the most detrimental things we can feed our bodies.  So no, to me it doesn’t and I explain that to them. It’s really not even a big deal in our home because they have been raised this way.
  • We are all taking our immune boosting vitamins.  We take vitamin D, mushroom extract, nasal sprays, zinc and multis. They get most of their vitamins from food and we supplement the rest.
  • We are getting adjusted.  Chiropractic adjustments reduce interference to the nervous system’s ability to perform optimally.  Since the nervous system controls all functions of the body—including the immune system—chiropractic care can have a positive effect on immune function.
  • We are getting sleep and limiting stress.  Fall tends to be a time of burnout, so we are very conscious of this right now. Although our schedule is a bit nutty, we are intentional with our time and carving out dedicated time every day to be in nature or relaxing on the couch. This time is sacred and non-negotiable.  Whether it’s a few hours or merely some minutes, we fully embrace and enjoy this time.
  • Limiting blue light. This is a HUGE one, especially right now with all things virtual.  Blue light is awful for our brains and it prevents us from making melatonin, that magical sleep neurotransmitter.  We are all exposed to so much blue light from our computers and phones.  We aren’t intended to be exposed to this much blue light and it is especially important to limit or avoid it after sunset and before sunrise in order to support our natural circadian rhythm.  Here are ways to set limits:  Most phones have a blue light filter. You can keep it on all the time and you can also set a timer for it to filter even more blue light out later in the evening.  Get blue light blocking glasses (there are many choices, but look for a pair that has an obvious tint to the lenses and you should be fine).  I have a pair with a very light tint that I often wear during daytime computer work and then I have a pair with orange-ish lenses that I pop on if I am ever on the computer or looking at my phone late at night or early morning.
  • Last and most important—gratitude.  We make time to be thankful each and every day. Being in a state of gratitude literally prevents you from feeling negative emotions. It’s so important to find things to be grateful for as it can be very easy to slip into fear, anger and anxiety during a time of such uncertainty and in an election year!

I hope these tips help you focus on building your terrain, empowering you to have a sense of control of your health during this time!

As always, feel free to reach out with any comments and questions. 


Stem Cell Injections NJ

Interested in Stem Cell Injections? Increase Your Chance for Success

Interested in Stem Cell Injections? Increase Your Chance for Success

by Dr. Marc Funderlich

Stem cell injections are one of the most interesting options for those seeking help with chronic joint issues. People are resting their hopes on this expensive and potentially life-altering procedure and its success. If you are considering these therapies, it’s important to know there are different types of stem cell injections and varying opinions on which form of regenerative therapy is the best.

The point of this article is not to give you an opinion on which option is the best, but rather to offer ideas about how to make your stem cells go the extra mile, improving your chances for success. 

Imagine you were blindfolded, taken from your home, and dropped in the middle of the Short Hills Mall on a crazy Black Friday. You open your eyes and see people running in all directions. Where would you go? Similar things happen with stem cells. They are injected into the body with the hopes that they survive, end up in the right place, and then become the right kind of cells. As with powerful currents in the ocean, often stem cells get carried to the most metabolically-active sites — heart and lungs. In cases where stem cells fail, a multitude of factors play into it. Did the stem cells go to the right spot (the knee versus the lungs, for example), did they become the right kind of cell, or did they not survive? If your toxic body chemistry or a neurochemical shift caused the degeneration in the first place, might these new cells suffer the same fate as the original joints/cells? If we put roses in the garden and forget to water them, what will happen? The soil will dry up killing the roses. And if we plant new roses in the sandy dry soil, will they survive?

So how can you stack the odds? The best answer is to be properly evaluated. See a provider who specializes in in comprehensive lab analysis and structural evaluation. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; the more pre-injection groundwork you lay (or the sooner you begin changing the plant’s soil), the better your odds of success. What else can you do? You can put the icing on the cake by using an Erchonia FX635 laser before and after stem cell injection. Only this specific medical device contains the precise frequency to help increase the chances of the stem cells heading to the right place. Think of this specific light as an air traffic controller guiding airplanes to the runway. The best part about the Erchonia laser is that this tool is safe and painless with no side effects.

Having worked in regenerative medicine clinics prior to joining Core Therapies, I’ve treated many stem cell patients. I’m happy to answer any questions about stem cells, cord blood or PRP. Don’t hesitate to set up a consult and learn more about the cutting-edge tools we offer to patients preparing to undergo stem cell therapy and for anyone looking to improve their overall health.

Why is Stability Important?

The Importance of Stability

by Dr. Matt McGowan D.C.


Mobility w/o Stability = Injury

This is a very important equation to keep in mind when designing your training regimen or when trying to rehab from a musculoskeletal injury.  I have found this to be extremely true in my years in practice and I would like to take a moment to dive into this equation a bit more so that it is more easily understood and hopefully applied.

Let’s take a second to define some terms:

Flexibility:  Refers to the ability of a joint to PASSIVELY move through range of motion.  Passive means that someone else can take that joint and move it from point A to point B.

Mobility:  Is your ability to ACTIVELY move that same joint through range of motion.  

It is easy to think that the two are one and the same, but they are not.  Flexibility and Mobility do not always match up for two major reasons:

  • The first is strength imbalance.  This is when an individual does not possess the strength to move the limb or structure through full range of motion.  A great example would be someone who cannot squat very deeply and they feel like they just can’t get past a certain point. In some scenarios, they are so unstable through their hip joints and core that the brain senses this and “red lights” the movement using other muscles to tighten and stop the movement.  If this individual can strengthen and stabilize some of those less stable areas, they will often gain much better mobility without having to do a single stretch.
  • The second is stability.  Are the supporting structures around the joint or muscle in question stable enough to allow this joint to move freely?  This second principle is often overlooked in training and rehab for musculoskeletal injuries. I’ve seen this in a lot of different sports and “daily living” injuries, but most frequently I’ve come across this problem in Yoga injuries.  Yoga is wonderful for improving one’s flexibility and mobility, but I often see individuals who have reached a high level in the practice yet lacking stability in some of those positions.  It is extremely frustrating to them when they come into the office and they just don’t understand how their muscles get injured when they are so loose and bendy.  

How can you improve your stability?

One of the best ways is through Isometric holds.  This means that you place the unstable joint in a compromised position under mild to moderate load and you hold it there.  Very similar to how a person would try to train balance by standing on a single leg and holding for time.  Some great ways to challenge core and upper limb stability are with weighted carry exercises (i.e. Farmer’s carry, Waiter’s carry, Overhead Carry).  For the core and lumbar spine, there are various Isometric exercises specifically for the deepest layer of the core called the Transverse Abdominis.  

If you think you may be in a similar position and unsure of where to start or what to do, please reach out to us.  We would be happy to help you get to the root of the issue and set you up with the correct exercises. 


Living During Covid

Living in the Time of Covid: Is there an Alternative Way? 

by Dr. Melissa Sonners

July 13, 2020


I am a chiropractor, and as such considered an alternative doctor, practicing alternative medicine.  Quite simply, alternative medicine is defined as any of various systems of healing or treating disease (such as chiropractic, homeopathy or faith healing) not included in the traditional medical curricula of the U.S. and Britain.

The chiropractic school curriculum is very similar to that of medical school (see table below), but as an alternative to learning about which medicines are used to treat disease, we study an alternative route.  We focus on prevention and take to heart Benjamin Franklin’s adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  

Chiropractic Comparison Data Chart

Just as our car’s “check engine” light is a sign of an issue that needs attention, many of our body’s signals that are treated with modern medicine (fever, diarrhea, cholesterol, blood sugar numbers) are also signs of underlying challenges that must be addressed. As chiropractors, we study physiology and how each system in the body impacts another. We study food and nutrition and how these play integral roles in our health that are still so misunderstood. We study viruses, how the body responds to them and which systems need support when fighting them. We look at the incredible role of fevers and so much more. These are all considered alternative.

We learn about the homeostasis of all things.  That not all bacteria are bad.  That some bacteria play an important part in our immune system and that antibacterial soaps, products, strong disinfectant and antibiotics wipe out all bacteria.  That in certain times it is necessary to “put out the fire,” but once that’s done there is an entire other process that must take place in order to balance the body and restore the immune system.  

Our alternative training guided everything we did when Jason and I decided to start a family. We spent years researching and learning about pregnancy and birth before embarking on this journey.  Although we spent very little time researching the best stroller, we spent much time understanding the physiology of pregnancy and birth.  How to prepare my body and his to be as healthy as possible before my body grew a human.  How to optimize my microbiome and environment (chemical, physical and emotional).  We learned about contractions and the purpose they serve, that epidurals not only knock out the sensory nerve pathway to block the pain, but also block the motor pathway meaning my body wouldn’t be able to help our babies down the birthing canal.  An epidural would also require me to be on my back (no motor or muscle control), literally minimizing my pelvic opening and the space for our baby to come out.   

We clearly understood that traditional medicines and interventions had roles to play—important ones—but we knew pregnancy and birth were normal physiological events.  If supported correctly, if all health screenings on the baby and I showed all was good, we knew my body would know what to do.  Our bodies were literally designed for this.  Knowing all of this we chose to have our babies naturally, two of them at home.  An alternative choice.  And we have raised them in the alternative health world.  Our children were breastfed for two years each.  Thankfully, I was able.  Their first foods were selected very intentionally as are their foods today. We leave room for splurges but the core of their diet is based in whole foods that are nature made and don’t come in a wrapper. 

Our children, with a combined age of 20 years, have been on antibiotics a total of three times. Their bodies have rarely needed them and if I felt they did, I got them.  Again, traditional medicine has a time and a place. They have no allergies (food or environmental) or asthma, have never had strep throat and rarely had ear infections once we realized their triggers.  

I say this not to gloat or to brag, but to highlight and share that there must be something to this alternative way.  Many of my colleagues, alternative practitioners who are also raising their children this way, tell similar stories. 

I, however, was not raised this way and it took me a long time to not only hear and be open to this alternative way, but years to trust it enough and little by little have faith in it.  Again, it’s alternative, so it is still not the common narrative—you won’t find it unless you go searching for it. 

I feel a pull to share this information now, during this time.  We are currently hiding from a virus awaiting a cure while our economy rapidly declines. We are starved of human connection which has a major impact on our immune system (, and mental health and drug overdoses are surging.  


Is there an alternative way?  

In dealing with the virus is the only option to distance ourselves, wear masks, over sanitize and wait for it to clear or for an experimental treatment to be released?  Or can we also proactively take steps to help increase our immune system? 

A study from June 2020 describes the important relationship of Covid-19 and Vitamin D levels.  You can read it here, but this is a key point:

“An inadequate supply of vitamin D has a variety of skeletal and non-skeletal effects. There is ample evidence that various non-communicable diseases (hypertension, diabetes, CVD, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often-concomitant vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events. Much more attention should be paid to the importance of vitamin D status for the development and course of the disease. Particularly in the methods used to control the pandemic (lockdown), the skin’s natural vitamin D synthesis is reduced when people have few opportunities to be exposed to the sun.” 

What is the best way to increase your Vitamin D levels? Sun exposure. We are an “outside” family—we love the outdoors and we also know to be aware of its effects on our skin.  So, we tend to get our exposure before or after the hours of 11am-3pm and let our skin be the indicator of when it’s time to be done.  Skin turning slightly pink is an indication to get out of the sun or cover up, not to put on more sunscreen.  Many sunscreens give us a false sense of security, expose us to some UV rays and also contain carcinogenic chemicals.  More on this another time.  

We also take supplemental vitamin D to ensure our levels are adequate.  You can find my favorite one for our entire family here

What else are we doing in our home to increase our immune systems? 

  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Limiting sugars as sugar and processed foods lower the immune system
  • FASTING! Fasting is one of THE MOST effective ways to enhance the immune system and it is FREE!   Click here to read more about this.  (We teach people how to successfully fast in our online coaching groups. If you’re interested, click here for more information). 
  • Exercising and moving our bodies.  The way this looks has certainly changed since we are with the kids a lot more.  No more glorious solo runs around the neighborhood, but I am still committed to moving my body every day. 
  • Most importantly, balancing our stress levels. We all know stress has a disastrous effect on our health and yet we deal with it every day.  Pausing to take a breath and RESPOND rather than REACT to any events in our lives has a major physiological effect on balancing our stress.  Surrounding ourselves with positive information and things that make us happy and limiting information that does the opposite is also key.  Starting the day with a half hour of meditation or gratitude rather than jumping right into emails, social media or the news are also effective ways to limit stress.  

In our family we do our best to focus on what we CAN control in any situation, rather than stress about what we can’t.  There are many things during this time that are completely out of our control and nobody really knows when this will end.  By focusing on what we can control and how we can impact our health and immune system, we not only give ourselves a better chance of faring well if we get sick, we end up as healthier more balanced versions of ourselves in the process. 

I would love to hear from you.  Drop me a quick email at  What are you currently doing to positively impact you or your family’s health? 


The Importance of our “Why” Blog Photo of our baby

The Importance of our “Why”

by Dr. Melissa Sonners
July 10, 2020

Jason and I love the Summer, the time of our children’s births, and I am once again reminded of how those births were a reflection of our relationship and how we work together to get through challenges and obstacles in life and business. In this crazy time, I wanted to share with all of you my personal guideposts when it comes to setting and attaining goals and intentions. They’ve served us well and perhaps you can apply them in your own lives.

The Importance of our “Why” Blog Photo of our baby

This picture was taken during Wyatt’s birth when we were fortunate to have the beautiful home-birth that we had worked toward for so long. We researched, we studied, we understood the physiology of birth and contractions, the purpose of the surges and sensations and the role they would play in getting our baby out in the way nature intended.

Although we spent very little time researching the best stroller, we spent much time understanding the physiology of pregnancy and birth. How to prepare my body and his to be as healthy as possible before my body grew a human. How to optimize my microbiome and environment (chemical, physical and emotional). We learned about contractions and the purpose they serve, that epidurals not only knock out the sensory nerve pathway to block the pain, but also block the motor pathway meaning my body wouldn’t be able to help our babies down the birthing canal. An epidural would also require me to be on my back (no motor or muscle control), literally minimizing my pelvic opening and the space for our baby to come out.

We clearly understood that traditional medicines and interventions had roles to play—important ones—but we knew pregnancy and birth were normal physiological events. If supported correctly, and all scans and monitoring of myself and the baby were healthy, we would be medically cleared to have our baby at home and my body would know what to do.

It was hard, it was intense, there were moments when I questioned everything and felt like giving up.

But Jason and I knew what was important to us: the most natural birth possible for our baby. And as always when we have undertaken a new “venture,” we were very clear on our WHY — in this case, why we wanted the most natural birth possible. Because our WHY was clear to us, the many obstacles during my labor and delivery (or anything else we set our intentions on) were things I understood to be part of the process. I recognized and accepted the purpose contractions served in the birthing process, rather than questioning if their intensity was “normal” (it is).

Once Jason and I set our minds to something, we may not always know HOW we are going to make it happen, but we know that we will. We follow a few simple steps to help us stay on track when setting our goal, intentions, or dreams with a deadline.

These are:
1. Be clear on WHY you want this. Our WHY becomes super important as we encounter obstacles, life challenges or “opportunities” along the way.

2. Create a network of support—your partner, a friend, family member, hired coach, etc. Know your audience and who you need to surround yourself with in order to achieve your goal.

3. If it’s not your focus, don’t focus on it. We live in an age of constant pop ups, interruptions and distractions. Being clear on what our end goal is
helps us focus on the things that bring us closer to that goal, and helps us spend less time worrying about or reacting to things that don’t.

Most importantly:

4. Stay aligned and congruent. Jason and I have one MAJOR rule when making business and personal decisions for ourselves, our companies and our family. Is this congruent with our values and morals? If so, it’s an easy YES. If not, it’s an easy NO. This not only helps prevent decision fatigue from having to spend a lot of time on every single decision that comes our way, it also helps us feel good about what we are doing, confident that we are doing it for the greater good, and I truly believe when all those things are in place, things come easily not only TO us, but THROUGH us.

I would love to hear from you. How are you continuing to move forward in regards to your goals, dreams and plans during this time? Although it may be taking a (very) different path than you had intended, perhaps you can still continue your forward momentum.

A Birth Story

A Reflection of a Birth Story

by Dr. Meagan McGowan
July 2020

We have hit our run of birthday months, a time of year that we recognize with a little more excitement. My husband (August) and I (May) bookend our boys who were born in the beautiful summer months of June and July. Every year is met with a little more anticipation of a day that celebrates them and only them!

It is certainly easy to get lost in the pleasures of surprising them with gifts or the excitement that comes from transforming a living room into a Jungle theme to match their love for animals! Every year, on each of their birth-days, I find I’m reflecting on the day our boys were actually welcomed into this world, arriving Earth-side. It is well known that I have a deep love for all aspects of women’s health including the motherhood journey. I think it is that passion that helps me willingly exist in and around that conversation each day in my treatment room. I am so fortunate to witness each woman’s journey, becoming part of their team of care providers, and listening as they process their thoughts, questions, reflections, and aspirations. Although every pregnancy is unique with its own story, as I share these conversations with women, words are often said and emotions expressed that have a certain universality and would be recognizable to many women who’ve been on his journey.

Our first son will soon be 6 years old and I can remember his birth like it was yesterday. Although this was our first time and there were a lot of unknowns, I felt my toolbox was full. His birth was relatively quick and, according to our midwives, went beautifully. I remember feeling amazed at what had just happened; I was happy, thankful, and most definitely sore. I remember thinking as the midwives left “I can’t believe you just have a baby and are immediately left with it as if you have any idea of what to do!” We learned quickly.

Our second son just turned 3. I can remember his birth just as clearly, however, not with the same elation as I remember his brother’s. He was born a very healthy blue- eyed boy who has grown a smile as bright as the sun. His birth felt like a loss of control to me, a traumatic feeling. I couldn’t find my breath, my pushing felt erratic and without rhythm, and I was yearning for something—words, advice, assistance—when all the while I was doing exactly what I should have been doing. I gave that birth every ounce of strength I had, he arrived and, again, my support team said it went beautifully.

I’ve felt confused by that ever since. I now exist with an overwhelming feeling of negativity, yet those feelings are unmatched by the others who were there. Recovery was more difficult as my body needed more time than with my first birth. Our son acclimated to the outside world well; he has a family that loves him dearly. I however was on a very different journey. I had night terrors, severe discomfort due to tearing, contractions in my breasts that were strong enough that I would have to pass off my baby until they passed while I laid in the fetal position. In my mind I was nowhere close to the shape I had been in for our first son, mentally or physically, and that was my fault. Our son had digestive struggles and needed diagnostic testing. I believed it was my fault, that I didn’t eat as cleanly as I did the first time around. His movement patterns were not developing typically—also my fault, since I didn’t exercise as regularly as I should have. He yelled a lot, especially at meal time once we started solids, he seemed angry, short fused, aggressive (yes I know he was a baby). Of course, he came out stressed, I yelled a lot while pregnant with him. At that time, we had an almost 3 year old who decided to develop a strong opinion about everything! My point is—and as irrational as some of these thoughts may be—they’re my reality, my memories, my heavy thick blanket of guilt that if given the chance to turn back time, I would have made different choices.

When I said a Mom discussing her journey often resonates with me, it is not with her specific details, but rather the general feeling of guilt, judgment, and discontent with themselves during a particular time. When we speak about it, IF we speak about, we are generally met with, “don’t feel like that,” “it’s ok,” or some other seemingly comforting line that really isn’t all that helpful. What would be helpful, in my opinion, would be if another person just held space for us, let us speak without feeling like you have to offer words of advice or solutions. Expressing thoughts in a safe space can allow for emotions to evolve, benefiting you naturally. I am excited to have that space held for me in an upcoming session with a Birth Story Mentor, a woman introduced to me by a wonderful friend who simply planted a seed of an idea a while back.

I am excited to spend time with her. She has asked me to reserve an uninterrupted hour, in a comfortable place, tea in hand if I wish as since that is what she would provide me if we were able to meet in person! She has only prepared me with the following:

The goal of a Birth Story Mentoring session is that by working with a Story Mentor trained in Birth Story Medicine, you, the Storyteller, leave with a different story than the one you came in with, as well as newly-discovered self- compassion and heart-opening perspective. 

The benefits of working through a birth story reach beyond the person who gave birth. It may benefit a spouse/partner who attended a birth, a birth provider, or other support person like a friend or parent. If you haven’t given birth yet but have thoughts or concerns heading into your birth that you’d like the opportunity to shift, this could also benefit you. Regardless of your role during a birth, if you are harnessing a moment or memory from a birth that you feel unresolved about, that maybe still weighing on your heart, when the time feels appropriate, you might consider spending time with a Birth Mentor.

For me as a mother, I am often working through feelings of guilt, or recognizing the projections of my own desires and fears. I do this so that I may allow our boys to grow up expressing themselves through the energy THEY create. I feel encouraged by the opportunity to work with a Birth Mentor, in hopes that I can bring new light to the memories of my son’s birth, although I anticipate the benefits reaching far beyond his birth alone. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you would like to discuss whether you’d like to provide yourself or someone in your life the same opportunity.

Lessons From A Pandemic - Part 1 By Dr. Jason Sonners

Lessons From A Pandemic – Part One

by Dr. Jason Sonners

As we welcome June and hope for some nice weather, we also finally see some of New Jersey’s shelter-in-place restrictions lifting. While the health and economic effects of COVID-19 are far from over, the intensity of the spreading seems to at least be slowing.

I literally have hundreds of thoughts regarding this situation that I hope to share over the next few months, but I’ll begin with this blog post.

There are still so many unanswered questions. Where did this virus come from? Are there things we could have done differently? What can we learn from our national response? Was it appropriate? Not enough? Too aggressive? Why did other countries seem to have better infection and death rates? What did other countries do in terms of sheltering or not, and what were the results of those responses?

These answers are so important because, unfortunately, this is probably not the last time something like this happens. The more we discuss the answers to these questions the more likely we will have improved responses in the future. In the meantime, what can YOU do right NOW to improve your personal possibilities?

While the list of unknowns is very long, the list of knowns is quite short, so let’s begin there. We know this is a virus. We know where in your lungs and epithelium it attacks. We know the stronger our immune system is, the better our response will be; and we know the more “other” conditions we have, the poorer our outcomes will be. Is this a black and white approach? No. Like so many illnesses it is about hedging your bets and doing the best you can to improve your odds and outcomes.

Since the onset of this virus, I have been asked by hundreds of patients what they should or could be doing. My answers today are the same as they were three months ago and focus on two conditions guaranteed to weaken your immune system:

Increased Stress – There is tons of research showing prolonged stress responses weaken our ability to handle infections. While we cannot simply remove our stress, we can work on our responses to stress. Hobbies, meditation, breathing exercises are all great ways to reduce our stress response. We offer guidance at Core Therapies, so please talk with your provider to explore options that may work for you.

Blood Glucose imbalance – This is true at all times, but specifically for COVID-19, which seems to have a much worse response in those with obesity and diabetes. Learning how to balance your blood sugar properly through diet is critical for improving the immune system and helping to improve your body’s response to infection. We offer guidance here too, so again talk with your provider to explore these options as well. We do have a variety of solutions.

In these times, there are also specific supplements to consider that will help BUILD a healthy immune response. These recommendations are very similar to the strategies we use during flu seasons.

For building a strong immune system:

Vitamin D – improves our body’s ability to fight infection (among many other roles)
Vitamin C – plays a huge role in improving our ability to fight infection and balance inflammation
and oxidation
Zinc – another key player in immune function and fighting viral infections

For improving your ability to fight infection:

AHCC – one of our favorite immune system stimulants
Zinca Stop – a specific form of zinc utilized for fighting viral infections
Glutathione – helps keep our inflammatory response more balanced
Quercetin – improves our inflammatory response as well as our ability to move zinc into our cells

Ask us about the types and amounts of supplements that should be used to help ensure a strong immune system.

Watch for Part Two of Lessons From A Pandemic coming soon!

hand sanitizer

Maintaining Bacterial Balance in an Over Sanitized World

by Dr. Melissa Sonners 

Bacteria, viruses and fungi are important.  They are, and will always be, a part of our world.  We have to work with them, not against them.  

Amidst coronavirus, it is obviously an important time to implement drastic cleansing protocols, etc.  At the same time, I can’t help but wonder about the long term effects all of this will cause, and want to help people implement strategies now to help prevent any damage caused by destroying our microbiome. 

The microbiome is the genetic material of all the microbes – bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses – that live on and inside the human body. The number of genes in all the microbes in one person’s microbiome is 200 times the number of genes in the human genome.  What does this mean? Many are now saying that even more than our genes, the health of a person’s microbiome dictates their overall health.

Conclusion: Our microbiome is pretty important. 

We have “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria and the symbiosis of both is essential for our health.  Studies show that a healthy balance of bacteria is not only essential for our immune system, but plays a major role in anxiety, depression, autism, cancer and much more. (  The sole purpose of probiotic supplements is to help our “good” bacteria flourish. Over sanitizing and overusing antibiotics has wreaked havoc on our microbiome and gut flora, and has caused major damage to our immune system.

So, during this time, what can we do to stay safe, limit exposure and also maintain balance in our microbiome? 

It’s possible to make changes in just one day!  Best-selling author Dr. Christiane Northrup says that the average lifespan of bacteria in your gut is just 20 minutes, so you have the opportunity to replenish and enhance your bacteria with every meal.  Read more at

Another simple tip:  Use soap and water whenever possible instead of hand sanitizer.  Our skin is one of our largest and most absorptive organs, meaning whatever goes on us, goes in us. If you aren’t near a sink and must use hand sanitizer, be sure to select one that is free of fragrance and free of triclosan, a known endocrine (hormone disruptor) that contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Using hand sanitizers may actually lower your resistance to diseases by killing good bacteria, which helps protect against bad bacteria.  More about hand sanitizers can be read here:

And here are my five easy ways to enhance your microbiome: 

  1. Eat a variety of foods.  It’s not the amount of each healthy food, it’s the variety.  In our home, we “eat the rainbow” and aim to get all the colors of the rainbow each day, if not at every meal. This helps limit (especially for kids) the “beige- only” typical American diet of chicken fingers, crackers, bread, fries, etc.  For adults, have a goal of incorporating new vegetables into your salad, or chop up a variety of vegetables, keep them in a big baggie in your freezer and each day add a handful of them to a smoothie.  It’s an easy and effective way to get in a variety of fiber sources for your microbiome. If you can get your kids to do this as well (ahem, hide it while blending like I do) it will also help minimize food sensitivities, allergies and picky eating.
  2. As much as possible, lower your stress – at a time like this that can be tricky.  My favorite way to lower stress is to pick a couple of things each day that make me happy and be sure to carve out time for them.  Going for a walk, sitting in nature, phoning a friend, meditation, breathing, watching a funny show, laughing, coloring, etc., are all great ways to lower our stress. 
  3. Eat fermented foods.  Fermented foods help seed the gut with healthy bacteria.  Some great options are sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kefir and kombucha. 
  4. Avoid antacids.  We need our stomach acid for digestion of our nutrients.  If you have gas, bloating and other symptoms of acidic stomach you can try a digestive enzyme.
  5. Limit sugar and processed foods.  These foods are often digested too quickly and don’t allow the microbiome to “eat.” The microbiome and bacteria then become hungry and essentially feed on the cells and lining of your gut contributing to leaky gut.  Be sure to get your carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables whenever possible. 

As I have often said, this isn’t the first time we are dealing with a major virus and it won’t be the last.  I hope we are all realizing that we can’t sit around and wait for a magic pill to save us.  There are many things we can do each day to help optimize our health, enhance our immune system and increase our chances of being able to handle the viruses we are constantly exposed to.  




What To Do During Coronavirus

When All You Have is TIME

Dr. Melissa Sonners

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ~ Buddha.

We have each experienced the last few weeks through our own “lens:”

  • Parents who are now homeschooling are more thankful than ever for the incredible jobs our teachers do. 
  • Our patients who are invested in the stock market are considering what choices to make about investing today and in the future.  
  • At Core Therapies, our lens is obviously on health and we have already learned very powerful lessons from this whole process. 

Health has always been our number one value.  When you ask people what their number one value is, they may say things like family or freedom or financial stability.  In times like this we realize that if we don’t have our health, literally none of the rest matters.  As a leader in this industry, my message and my conviction has grown even stronger.  We owe it to ourselves to do everything we can to continue to increase our health and vitality.  That is what we at Core Therapies do every day. We help build our patients’ health through chiropractic, specific functional medicine and blood labs, acupuncture, breathwork, bodywork, regenerative medicine, hyperbaric oxygen and so much more.

What To Do During Coronavirus

This isn’t the first time we have been exposed to something like this and I can guarantee it won’t be the last.  So, what do we do? Do we sit around in fear and pray we don’t get it? Do we shut down our lives in order to prevent spread?  I support the moves that are being made at
this time, but I also know this isn’t a healthy long-term answer. It’s not mentally healthy and it has the potential to destroy our economy.  There is a better way.

The best way to prepare for something like this in the future is to focus on and build our health now.  You have a choice. 

Will you let this paralyze you with fear and anxiety just waiting for it to impact you or someone you love?  Or will you choose to take active steps (no matter how small) to start building your health today? 

Even now, there are so many healthy steps we can take in and around our homes:  Going on walks, getting sunshine, stretching, doing yoga, taking time to breathe, getting more sleep, etc. You have been given the gift of time and it is one of our greatest gifts.  Embrace this time and make small steps every day to improve your health.

Core Therapies is here for you now more than ever.  The form of our support may be a bit different, but there is one thing that never changes for us:

We exist to lead the change that transforms the health of our community for generations to come.