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Our Hawaiian Adventure:  Bringing Hyperbaric Oxygen to Oahu’s North Shore

Our Hawaiian Adventure:  Bringing Hyperbaric Oxygen to Oahu’s North Shore

by Dr. Melissa Sonners

January 2021

The International Hyperbaric Association (IHA) had a vision:  They would bring hyperbaric oxygen therapy to the pro surfers in the Vans Triple Crown competition at Banzai Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.

Jason and I were honored to be chosen as the doctors who would introduce hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to these incredible high performance athletes.  (As many of you know, we have a hyperbaric center in our Florham Park offices and other sites throughout the country.)  The plan was for us to spend the five weeks of competition on the North Shore with HBOT chambers set up so participants could come experience the therapy and see how much it impacted their performance and recovery.

We honestly didn’t know what to expect.  Being away from our practice for this long, having no idea if this would be a successful adventure or not, bringing our three kids and the covid situation all presented interesting challenges and obstacles.

Five weeks later we are home and happy to look back on our experience and share what an incredible opportunity this was for us and the community on the North Shore and surrounding areas.

Word quickly spread among the surfers that we were there. We were delighted to host among others some of the best surfers in the world, execs of corporate sponsor Red Bull, and announcers for the World Surf League.  Time and time again our attendees were elated to feel changes in their lives after just one session.  Many reported the best sleep of their lives including one mom with a three week old baby who said “Despite being up every couple hours to feed our baby, my sleep tracker still showed enhanced deep sleep and REM sleep, and I felt like I’d had a great night’s rest.”

We also had the pleasure of getting to know and treat the local lifeguards.  The lifeguards on the North Shore are some of the most amazing first responders we have ever met.  It was incredible to watch them not once, but numerous times throughout our stay, rush to the water and drag people out in the knick of time.  These men and women are truly inspiring.  One of the lifeguards had suffered an injury while lifting a jet ski six weeks before our arrival and was extremely frustrated with his lack of healing. It had not only impacted him physically, but emotionally as well.  He shares his experience here.

About halfway through our time there, word spread to the autism community and the local TACA (Talk About Curing Autism Now) chapter that we were there with Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers. We ended up hosting many of the families and giving them the opportunity to have their children experience the chambers.  We all noticed the children coming out in a very relaxed state.  They eagerly hopped in the chambers and most napped peacefully during their sessions.

Finally, we were able to install chambers and train two practitioners on the island.  One in Honolulu with a functional neurologist, Dr. Josuke Tanaka & Dr. Sara Chong, and the other with Dr. Andrea Mills, a detoxification specialist on Maui.

During our five weeks we hosted nearly 200 hyperbaric sessions.  The most common feedback and questions we received was how incredibly comfortable and effective the sessions were as well as questions about how they could continue their sessions once we had left.  We know without a doubt that we’ve instilled in the North Shore community a desire and demand for this amazing therapy.

We look forward to more adventures like this as a way to continue educating communities while giving them access to, and sharing  the experience of, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

Doctor and Patient

Doc, Should I Take That New Test Advertised on TV/Facebook?

by Dr. Noémie Long

December 2020

Direct to consumer ads are everywhere! You’ll see tests for stool, gut health, vitamin reports, genetic risk, etc. While I’m all in favor of sick people being empowered to get the health information they need (especially if the conventional healthcare model is failing them), what I do not support is patients getting taken advantage of and misled. 

Here’s why it’s complicated.

How do DNA mutations work? There are at least 5 kinds: point mutations, nonsense mutations, insertions, deletions, missense, and silent mutations. Which kind do you have? Did it even change the protein you use it to encode? Maybe, maybe not. DNA is your blueprint. You’re born with 2 copies of DNA, one from mom and one from dad. We all have a certain number of mutations due to individual variations. Since we have two copies, if the bad copy is turned off it doesn’t matter much. What if you have two bad copies? The human body is smart. Do you think our species would survive if we were so fragile as to have our entire existence rest on one single gene? No. We have redundancy. Multiples genes code for the same thing. If you look at my personal 23AndME raw data, I have 20 markers alleging that I’m “predisposed to being overweight” and 16 markers alleging that I am “predisposed to being underweight.”  So why have I never had weight issues? Because environment rules all. There are redundancies in our genetic code to protect from single gene errors. This makes the value of a single “mutated gene” significantly less valuable than is marketed on TV. 

Genes are not all or none. There is a sliding scale of function. Depending on your mutation, that gene may work at 90% capacity, 65% capacity etc. The point is that this gene IS still working. People for whom the function being diminished presents a problem are aware of the mutation within the first few years of life.  For example, Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic lung condition usually diagnosed before 8 months of age. The most severe mutations result in an individual not being born (at least 50% of first trimester miscarriages are due to genetic abnormality). 

Apart from a very few select mutations, the issue with testing DNA for disease, diet and the like is that these tests are not very reliable. A 2018 research paper published in Genetics in Medicine came to the shocking conclusion that direct-to-consumer genetics tests have a 40% false positive rate. This means results are saying you have a disease—BRCA for breast cancer was the specific example from this research paper—when in fact you do not

Direct to Consumer labs are intended to do one thing: sell a product. In this case, sell a product to an audience who is probably not going to challenge them. The information you need is not going to be on their websites and often not easily accessible. One thing I can say, if you look at your “at-home microbiome test” and the report says “calculated based off a proprietary formula” … run. That’s a hallmark sign that you’ve been had. If you can’t prove to me HOW you got the answer, then it’s probably not real.  With this specific at-home microbiome test, it was ultimately easy for me as a provider to prove that the results were 100% unreliable.

Companies that try to sell meals or supplements or GI protocols “tailored for your DNA” are doing the same thing. They’re looking for all kinds of mutations, most of which are irrelevant, and trying to correlate that with a marketable lifestyle or product. The problem is that science has not proven the majority of these claims to be true. DNA itself can’t tell you that kind of information. Your environment, custom biology, and gut microbiome are what dictate which diet is best for you.

So how do you tell which tests are reliable and which are blowing smoke? The truth is, you can’t. The average person doesn’t possess the knowledge (nor should they be expected to) to understand if the technical jargon is real or not. Your best bet is to ask your provider, especially if they are someone well versed in reading blood work who understands laboratory machine/testing specifics. 

Now, what do you do if you KNOW you have a genetic risk? How do you know IF a gene has been turned on? That’s where a skilled provider comes into play. You’ll be pleased to know that Core Therapies has those providers at your disposal! 




Chiropractic and TMJ 

Chiropractic & TMJ

Chiropractic and TMJ 

By Dr. Sonia Marques 

November 2020 

Although chiropractic is not typically the first thing that comes to mind when you hear TMJ, chiropractic treatment is a viable conservative option for TMJ pain and TMD (temporomandibular disorder). 

First things first, what is the TMJ? The temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bones of the skull, which are in front of each ear. The TMJ, which can rotate and move forward, backward and side to side, is considered one of the most complex joints in the body. This joint, in combination with other muscles and ligaments, lets you chew, swallow, speak and yawn. When you have a problem with the muscle, bone or other tissue in the area in and around the TMJ, you may have a TMD. 

Various factors contribute to TMD. By far, the most common cause is clenching and grinding. With the increased levels of stress everyone has experienced over the past several months, clenching has become more prevalent and as a result TMD cases have increased. Other causes of TMD include ill-fitting dental devices (crowns, dentures, fillings, etc.), trauma, inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and gout and hereditary issues. 

Many times, TMD goes undiagnosed because the symptoms may not include the obvious jaw pain or clicking that people associate with TMJ dysfunction. Headaches, particularly in the temples, neck/face pain and ear pain are common symptoms of TMD. Difficulty chewing and opening/closing your mouth may also be symptoms. These are a few symptoms that may be constant or that come and go. 

Many patients with TMDs get better by themselves without any treatment. To help ease sore jaw muscles, place a cold or warm compress to your jaw and gently massage your jaw muscles. Eat a soft diet, cut food into small pieces and avoid hard, chewy or sticky foods. Try not to open your mouth too wide, even when you yawn. And most importantly, relax your jaw muscles. 

When you are relaxed, your teeth should be slightly apart and your tongue should rest on the floor of your mouth with your lips barely touching or slightly apart. There should be a slight space between your upper and lower teeth except during chewing, speaking or swallowing. 

If TMD persists, is not showing signs of improvement or if the pain is severe despite your best efforts, treatments like chiropractic care can be very effective. Myofascial release, active release therapy, palliative modalities and gentle instrument-assisted chiropractic adjustments are a few of the techniques that can address and correct the joint and tissue dysfunction. Other possible contributing causes, like poor posture and forward head carriage, would also be assessed and proper treatments and exercises/stretches would be recommended. 



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.