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How can you get rid of a side stitch?

A Side Stitch Fix

By: Dr. Matt McGowan, DC


Most people who have run for fun or sport are familiar with the dreaded “side stitch.”  When present, a side stitch can be down right debilitating to the runner. It presents as pain located along either side of the torso near the lower ribs that can be described as a tightness, a cramping, or even a stabbing sensation.  

So what actually causes a side stitch?  How can we treat it?  More importantly, how can we avoid it?

A side stitch is actually a spasm or contraction of a section of your Diaphragm muscle which sits inside of your ribs and spans across your trunk like a trampoline. Its job is to separate the lungs from your intestines, but more importantly to aid in the inhalation and exhalation of air from your lungs.  As you inhale, the diaphragm has to relax and expand down into your abdomen to let the lungs fill with air.  As the diaphragm contracts it presses upwards on the lungs helping to expel air.  When the diaphragm goes into spasm or contracture, it pulls hard on the lower two ribs causing pain and difficulty breathing.  

There are several reasons why the diaphragm would go into such a contracture, but they are all caused by the same thing – improper breathing technique.  Many of us are “chest breathers,” meaning that we only inhale and exhale shallow breaths expanding the lungs to only a portion of their true capacity.  In this situation, the diaphragm is not relaxing and contracting through its full range of motion.  If we do this day in and day out, we are over-using the diaphragm in a suboptimal way.  It’s analogous to me giving you a weight and having you do a bicep curl, but only the top third of the range of motion. Obviously, this would not be the best way to use that bicep muscle.  Same thing with shallow breathing and the diaphragm muscle.

Many athletes seem to get side stitches only during a game or race and the reason for this is likely psychosomatic, meaning the increased level of anxiety of being in a game or race is making breathing more rapid and shallow than it was during a relaxed practice. Others seem to get side stitches only when running in the cold when, again, improper breathing and the failure of the lungs to maximally expand due to cold air can trigger the spasm.  Sometimes having eaten a larger meal too close to race time can make it more likely that you’ll experience a side stitch. The presence of food in your stomach affects the ability of the diaphragm to expand and contract.  

So how can you get rid of a side stitch?  Suggestions include pressing on the spot, stretching, and cessation of activity, but ultimately the correct answer depends on the situation you are in.

The best thing to do if you are simply running for exercise or at a practice is to stop the activity momentarily and practice some deeper slower breathing.  If it doesn’t subside, I would suggest lying on your back with your knees bent (like the start of a sit up) and practice taking slow deep breaths while expanding your abdomen out 360 degrees in all directions.  You can check for this by feeling the tension build in your abdomen and lower back with your hands.  Usually after two minutes of deep diaphragmatic breathing you will be good to go. 

If you’re in a game or race situation and cannot stop the activity, you need to focus on slowing your breath down and elongating the breath until the spasm stops.  During a side stitch, do not  drink a ton of water thinking the spasm is from dehydration, again the presence of extra water will fill your stomach and negatively affect the diaphragm.

If you’re someone who gets frequent side stitches, you need to re-evaluate your breathing techniques.  There are lots of great videos out there on youtube about “diaphragmatic breathing.”  I encourage you to check them out and see how you can incorporate some of those techniques into your activity.  If you have any questions about whether or not you breathe incorrectly, you can also come in and have one of us check it out for you.


ADHD in children

Understanding a Diagnosis of ADHD

by: Dr. Marc Funderlich


ADHD is the most common mood-related disorder in children and is being diagnosed more frequently, and at earlier ages than ever before. It affects about 10% of school age children (boys at a 4x higher rate than girls), an increase of 43% since 2003. Unfortunately, as high as 70% of these children will continue to be affected as adults. ADHD costs the United States $42.5 billion a year or about $14,000 per child. 


ADHD almost never lives alone. Two-thirds of children with ADHD have what is called a co-morbidity, meaning they have another symptom such as:


  • 50% dyscalculia, dyslectic
  • 50% movement disorder 
  • 40% oppositional behavior
  • 34% fear disorder
  • 25% autism, Asperger, PDDNOS 
  • 14% behavioral disorders
  • 11% tics
  • 4%   depression


It is important to note that children cannot be truly diagnosed with ADHD until the age of six.  If your child is under six and a provider wants to diagnosis them with ADHD, I would suggest this is ill-advised.  Taking medication at very young ages may do more harm than good. 


ADHD is defined as a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development, and characterized as Type 1 and Type 2. 


Type 1 ADHD: Inattention. Diagnosed when six (or more) symptoms have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is inconsistent with developmental level and that negatively impacts directly on social and academic/occupational activities.  Examples might be: 


  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work or during other activities (e.g., overlooks or misses details, work is inaccurate)
  • Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities (e.g., has difficulty remaining focused during lectures, conversations or lengthy reading)
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly (e.g., mind seems elsewhere even in the absence of any obvious distraction) 
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked). 


Type 2 ADHD: Hyperactivity and impulsivity.  Diagnosed when six (or more) of the following symptoms have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is inconsistent with developmental level and that negatively impacts directly on social and academic/occupational activities:  


  • Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected (e.g., leaves his or her place in the classroom, office or other workplace, or in other situations that require remaining in place)
  • Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is inappropriate. (Note: In adolescents or adults, may be limited to feeling restless)
  • Often unable to play or engage quietly in leisure activities, often “on the go,” acting as if “driven by a motor” (e.g., unable to be or uncomfortable being still for extended time, as in restaurants, meetings; may be experienced by others as being restless or difficult to keep up with) 
  • Often talks excessively 


Type 3 ADHD will be diagnosed when the child exhibits symptoms of both Type 1 and 2.


Your doctor will rate the symptoms based on current severity: 

  • MILD: Few, if any, symptoms in excess of those required to make the diagnosis are present, and symptoms result in only minor functional impairments. 
  • MODERATE: Symptoms or functional impairment between “mild” and “severe” are present. 
  • SEVERE: Many symptoms in excess of those required to make the diagnosis or several symptoms that are particularly severe are present, or the symptoms result in marked impairment in social or occupational functioning. 


A complete diagnosis of ADHD should read like this: Patient Name exhibits a moderate combined Type 3 ADHD diagnosis. 


If your child has many of the symptoms from the above list or you have any questions about ADHD, give us a call and set up a complimentary consultation.  Let’s discuss what can be done for your child from a natural perspective!  



Hyperbaric Oxygen May Be a Missing Piece of the Puzzle

By Dr. Jason Sonners, DC, CHP, DCBCN

Clinic Director, HBOT USA, Inc.

In traditional medicine, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been proven to be a very safe and effective tool for a wide variety of conditions. After thousands of research studies, it turns out that with all the different conditions where hyperbaric therapy can have a positive impact, the mechanisms for success are similar. These include, but are not limited to, reduced inflammation, increased stem cell release, nerve and brain tissue healing, increased oxygenation, new blood vessel growth, toxin inhibition and improved mitochondrial metabolism.

How does Hyperbaric therapy work?

The reason we absorb oxygen when we breath is because of pressure. Even right now, as you are reading this, you are surrounded by an atmosphere and that atmospheric pressure is what forces oxygen into your body when you take a breath in. We do not feel the pressure, but it is always all around us. If you have ever gone up to altitude, like on a big hike, you may notice that it seems harder to breathe. Some people say there is less oxygen at elevation, but this is not exactly true. There is always 21% oxygen in the air we breathe. The reason it is harder to breathe is because there is less atmospheric pressure the higher we ascend, and less atmospheric pressure means less driving force of oxygen into or body.  As a result, we absorb less oxygen with each breath. The opposite is true if we go below sea level; the “deeper” we go, the more pressure we are exposed to. This increase in pressure will increase the amount of oxygen we absorb as we breathe. 

The total amount of oxygen your body can carry is proportional to the amount of pressure and oxygen we are exposed to. Under normal atmospheric pressure, when your body absorbs oxygen, that oxygen is carried and delivered to your tissues by red blood cells and very little oxygen is carried by your plasma, the liquid portion of your blood. Under hyperbaric conditions, those red blood cells will still be fully saturated with oxygen, but in addition the plasma will become a reservoir of “extra” oxygen holding more than it is typically able to hold. This extra amount of oxygen is now free floating in your blood and able to deliver higher than normal amounts of oxygen to your cells.

Hyperbaric therapy can be delivered in a multitude of different oxygen percentages and pressures—from low or mild hyperbarics with about a 30% increase in pressure and oxygen absorption up to relatively high pressure and oxygen levels 10-12x the normal oxygen exposure. The amount of pressure and oxygen used depend on the clinical goals for the patient.


What we know about children affected by autism

Every family with a child on the spectrum has a unique set of circumstances and health concerns. I am yet to meet two children (even from the same family) who needed the exact same treatment protocols. This makes the process and journey of recovery often a long a winding road for most families seeking answers. 

According to the research, among children with ASD:

>70% have neuroinflammation

>75% have hypoperfusion to the temporal lobes

>80% have mitochondrial issues

>59% have gut issues

We also know that toxicity—including but not limited to heavy metals, pesticides, preservatives and mold toxicity—all play a role in the health of children affected by ASD.

What we do not know about ASD

Even though the above has been shown to be true in the research overall, knowing exactly which conditions each child has and in which order we need to work on them in is the most obvious clinical deficiency. Creating the priority and order of procedure is where the art of being in practice and clinical experience comes in. Some, but not all of these issues can be tested and measured objectively like using a SPECT scan for observing brain oxygen metabolism, or stool testing to better understand, diagnose and treat gut microbiome issues. There are some tests for mitochondrial issues, but the lack of definite specificity makes them less accurate than we would like to best understand mitochondrial disfunction. There are also tests for objectively measuring toxin loads in order to assess the need for detoxification being part of the healing process.

All of these factors—low oxygen levels, high levels of inflammation, gut microbiome imbalance, mitochondrial dysfunction and toxicity—can be helped through the use of hyperbaric therapy.

Looking for common denominators

Therapies can be broken into two main categories: targeted and systemic. Targeted therapies specifically treat a particular identified issue, while systemic therapies are those that are purposely delivered to the entire body for a full body experience. Both strategies have value and most doctors will want to use both at different times throughout the journey.

Targeted therapies:

In order to decide on targeted therapies, we need to identify specific issues often through lab testing. Testing for all of the potential issues at the same time can be costly, time consuming and potentially invasive depending on which tests are chosen. Spending the time to try and prioritize the needs of the child in order to determine the most likely underlying issues is an important part of the process. 

Systemic therapies:

As noted above, the testing process can be difficult, expensive and time consuming. While it does have tremendous value, we are also looking for low invasive, low risk, high return types of interventions first. If we can offer single therapies that are safe, effective and have very broad reaching effects, we can often begin to see a positive healing response. This does two things: First it is therapeutic and begins to encourage healing within the child’s body, and second it is diagnostic and actually helps the helping identify what tests ought to be considered next.

Hyperbaric therapy is inherently safe and effective

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has a more than 350 year history of safely and effectively delivering an increased level of oxygen to the body and cells in need. Every cell we have (except for red blood cells) requires oxygen for optimal function. Our body uses that oxygen in order to burn fuel and make energy for each of our cells. In fact, the only reason we breath is to absorb and deliver oxygen to our cells for the purpose of making ATP or cell energy.

If we are not getting enough oxygen, it is impossible to make the appropriate amount of cell energy and that will have a negative effect on the tissue or organ that is low oxygen. Whether we are talking about hypoperfusion, mitochondrial dysfunction, toxicity or inflammation, all are capable of causing low oxygen levels in the various tissues in the body, not allowing those tissue or organs to function properly, heal properly, detoxify properly or process properly in the case of our brain.

Using hyperbaric therapy, we observe both short- and long-term categories of improvement:

  • Short term: Within minutes of each session and for hours after the session, the body will have absorbed more oxygen than it typically gets. With that increase in oxygen the cells will be much more able to receive oxygen and process nutrients increasing metabolism and cell energy production.
  • Long term: As a result of extended hyperbaric use, the body will begin to go through many changes. New blood cells will be created allowing better delivery of oxygen all over the body; inflammation will be reduced as well as the overall inflammatory response inside the body; growth factors will be release along with stem cell release increasing the ingredients the body requires to actually heal and recover. Additionally, intestinal function, liver function, toxin inhibition, improved immune system activation and microbiome balancing are all part of the longer-term benefits of prolonged hyperbaric use.

We all know that there is no single cure for ASD. Simplified, it is a process of removing as many of the ingredients that are causing inflammation and imbalance as we can identify and at the same time adding back all the necessary ingredients the body requires to heal, repair and ultimately recover.

Hyperbaric therapy by itself cannot cure this disorder, but it can absolutely add back Oxygen, one of the most foundational and important ingredients in the body.


Dr. Jason Sonners, DC, CHP, DCBCN


About Dr. Jason Sonners:

Dr. Jason Sonners is always working to integrate new knowledge and practical experience and is currently enrolled in the University of Miami School of Medicine earning his PhD in molecular biology with a concentration in regenerative medicine.  In addition to his Doctor of Chiropractic, he earned his Diplomate of the Chiropractic Board of Clinical Nutrition (DCBCN) and his Diplomate of the International Board of Applied Kinesiology (DIBAK).   

While serving on the faculty of the International Hyperbarics Association, Dr. Sonners is also a faculty member of MedMAPS, a group of professionals offering comprehensive education and fellowship to medical professionals for the care of children with autism spectrum disorders and related chronic complex conditions.  

Dr. Sonners and his wife, Dr. Melissa Sonners, are co-owners of Core Therapies Family Wellness Center in Northern New Jersey, a holistic center where he combines Chiropractic, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Nutrition, Exercise, Detoxification programs and more to naturally support patients and guide them through their health challenges.  Core Therapies also offers acupuncture, massage, infrared, sauna, spinal decompression, yoga and laser therapies.  They are also the owners of NJ HBOT & HBOT USA.  



Frye RE, Rossignol DA. Mitochondrial dysfunction can connect the diverse medical symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatr Res. 2011;69(5 Pt 2):41R-7R. doi:10.1203/PDR.0b013e318212f16b

Kong X, Liu J, Cetinbas M, et al. New and Preliminary Evidence on Altered Oral and Gut Microbiota in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Implications for ASD Diagnosis and Subtyping Based on Microbial Biomarkers. Nutrients. 2019;11(9):2128. Published 2019 Sep 6. doi:10.3390/nu11092128

Bjorklund, Geir & Kern, Janet & Urbina, Mauricio & Saad, Khaled & El-Houfey, Amira & Geier, David & Geier, Mark & Mehta, Jyutika & Aaseth, Jan. (2018). Cerebral Hypoperfusion in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Acta neurobiologiae experimentalis. 78. 21-29. 10.21307/ane-2018-005.

Camporesi EM, Bosco G. Mechanisms of action of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Undersea Hyperb Med. 2014 May-Jun;41(3):247-52. PMID: 24984320.

Rosa Krajmalnik-Brown, Catherine Lozupone, Dae-Wook Kang & James B. Adams (2015) Gut bacteria in children with autism spectrum disorders: challenges and promise of studying how a complex community influences a complex disease, Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, 26:1


The Importance of Purpose

The Importance of Purpose

by Dr. Melissa Sonners

March 2021


“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

Have you ever read something or heard something that literally changed your life? When I read this quote about five years ago, it changed me.  And now, during this time it feels just as impactful. 

This has been an insane year for all of us and I don’t know about you, but I have found moments and times during this year where I have felt like I wasn’t sure where to put my focus.  Juggling homeschool, a new role with a non-profit organization, our office and our hyperbaric oxygen company has certainly proved challenging and yet at the same time, so rewarding.  I have been so thankful that I have a clear purpose and direction to help me feel that I have a direction to follow when all else seems chaotic.  

Knowing your purpose is so important, yet it can sound like an overwhelming task.  When you look to establish your purpose, issues and questions like these may arise: 

  • How do I fully commit to something? 
  • I am a mom and have forgotten my purpose outside my family.  
  • I work so much that I don’t even know what my purpose is outside of work.  

Well, let’s keep it simple.  What do you love to do? When you think about the things that you love, that lift you, that light you up, that excite you, that’s where you’ll find your purpose. 

If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion.  For your passion will lead you right into purpose!” – B. Jakes

So, for right now, in the midst of this year that can at times feel oh so heavy, take some time to think on what your purpose is and take steps each day to fulfill it.  

Go out and shine your light. The world needs you. The world is ready for you.  

The world needs more people who have found their purpose, who do what they love and create balance in their lives by working hard for something they believe in. Often in our lives, it’s not the darkness that scares us most—it’s our light. It’s our powerful light we all have inside that scares us.  It’s the “big ass goals” we’re sometimes too afraid to say out loud because we want them so badly, but don’t want to set ourselves up for failure.  

I want our kids to shine their lights. I want them to have those big ass goals that are so big and so scary that they make you shake with fear and excitement all at the same time.  Those are the things that make life an adventure. Those are the things that make life worth living.  

The Importance of Purpose

If we all did that, unapologetically, this world would be a better place.


Riding the Peloton Wave

Riding the Peloton Wave

By Dr. Matt McGowan D.C.

February 2021


There is no doubt that Peloton is the hottest thing going in the home exercise space.  It has had incredible popularity throughout the pandemic due to gym closures and personal preferences for working out at home.  While Peloton has made an excellent machine and an even better streaming service, there are a few things that I find myself repeatedly explaining to patients that I would like to share.  


Seated exercise is not the way to fix sitting problems.


In the current state of the world, most people’s work environments have them sitting more than ever.  Many are finding themselves sitting on couches, at kitchen tables, or at countertops sitting on stools.  The bottom line is that the amount of hours sitting is causing a shift in the balance of our hips and lower back.  Increased sitting and improper exercise habits will lead to the quads and hip flexors becoming the dominant movers for the lower body.  This can lead to pelvic imbalance and increased pressure and or injury on the lower back.   If all we are doing for exercise is hopping on a spin bike several times a week—still in a seated position—the cardiovascular benefits you are getting will be far outweighed by the increase in injury to the hips and low back.  


It is very important to diversify the movements you do on a weekly basis to make sure we are working out in all planes of motion.  For those finding themselves in a similar situation to what I have described, here are some easy additions that I recommend to many of my patients, including photo illustrations:


1.) Immediately after completing spin or cycle workout, perform a kneeling quad/hip flexor stretch.  You need to spend 2-3 minutes per side working in these positions.  It is important that before lunging forward, first squeeze the glutes to tilt the pelvis posteriorly (backwards), flattening the lower back.   This will ensure that the stretch is effective to the hip and will not bear any extra pressure on the lower back. 


2.) After working on hip extension mobility, it is necessary to also work on hip extension strength.   One of the best and easiest ways to start working on that are with glute bridges.  These are simple exercise that require no extra equipment; there are also endless ways to progress them forward and make them more difficult.  It is important to make sure you lift up your toes and press your heels into the floor.  Again similar to the hip flexor stretch, you should first posterior tilt the pelvis by pressing the lower back into the floor before pressing through the heels and bridging up.  


Riding the Peloton Wave


3.) Also add in exercises that work on strengthening the posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings).  Some of my favorites are:


  • Romanian deadlifts (not as intimidating as they sound!)
  • Banded hip hinges
  • Russian Kettle bell swings 


With any exercise recommendation, proper form is of the upmost importance.  If you have any questions please reach out to one of us or a qualified fitness professional.  


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.