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Part 2:  Getting the Ball Rolling.

Part 2: Getting the Ball Rolling.
By: Dr. Meagan McGowan

Last month I introduced you to the journey we started with our 8 year old son Briggs and the connection we are making between his oral motor function and his allergies.  It would benefit you to read it if you haven’t already to understand why as a Chiropractor I am highlighting a specific focus of dentistry in this month’s blog. Read Last Month’s Blog Here

To recap, we left off with Briggs being diagnosed with a couple of cavities.  To many this may seem ridiculous that a cavity or two could send a Mother (me) into such a spiral but the report of him having a couple of cavities was just another check in the box of underlying dysfunction.  As Chiropractors, our main goal is to identify underlying dysfunction in the body, not chase symptoms, as they are only the clues.  What Briggs was dealing with was outside of my field of expertise and I needed to develop a plan that would look beyond his symptoms and get to the root of it all.  

As a person outside of the dental profession, I always understood a cavity to be the result of poor brushing, lack of flossing, and/or consuming too much sugar.  As I started digging into how to better Briggs’ oral health, I was quickly finding that those reasons listed weren’t the top cavity causing reasons at all.  In fact, the cavities were no longer the reason my analytical mind was spiraling.  The consistent mention of mouth breathing, restriction/tension within the mouth, improper movement of the tongue and lips due to these restrictions…everything I read mimicked Briggs’ innate way of being right now.  

I started a list: 

  • In order to improve his oral health he has to breathe better, 
  • His breathing won’t improve until he can close his mouth and breathe through his nose, 
  • He can’t close his mouth until the inflammation decreases, 
  • Despite our efforts the inflammation is not reducing, 
  • Allergy shiners (dark circles under eyes),
  • Congestion, 
  • Sleeping with his head in extension. 

My mind is darting 

… and then I finally have a moment of clarity.  

I came across the mention of an Airway Dentist.  

Having absolutely no clue such a provider exists, I finally felt like all of my concerns for Briggs could actually be understood by one such provider.  My internet search took a sharp turn to better understand how an Airway Dentist could help Briggs.  

The Initial Visit.

We initiated Briggs’ treatment at Great Smiles of NJ in March.  We had a very thorough conversation with their Dental Sleep Medicine Coordinator, Jenn, who consulted with me about Briggs and whether or not their practice would be a good fit for him.  It was decided that he should be seen by the Doctor to best determine a treatment plan.  Everything I reported was exactly what they have seen countless times in their office; so much so that Jenn’s questions about Briggs made our last several years of him struggling come full circle.  Briggs was very curious, as was I.  We were told it would be an extensive first visit, and IT WAS, in the most thorough way.

Dr. Michelle Weddle has extensive training in Pediatric Dentistry and amongst many other specialties I was most intrigued by her knowledge of Airway Dentistry.Upon our arrival Briggs’ posture was evaluated and pictures documented.  We were escorted to a treatment room where Briggs was examined thoroughly, pictures were taken to further understand the structure and soft tissues in his mouth.  Dr. Weddle would stop and explain her structural findings of his teeth, tongue, and fascial restrictions.  She noted the alignment of the lower teeth compared to the upper, pointing out compensatory growth patterns.  She explained how the movement of the teeth is dependent on how the tongue and lips move.  His present, long standing, upper lip and tongue tie has most likely contributed to his high narrow palate.  With his palate aligned the way it is, she predicts that his airway will be narrowed contributing to his overall breathing and inflammatory struggles.  As the visit progressed the unraveling of cause and effect continued, from the resting position of his tongue to the movement of his jaw.  I of course asked what could be done and she said without hesitation in order for his breathing to improve (the most pivotal of all her concerns) his palate needed to widen.  Once there is room, his motor function can improve by removing his ties and performing myofunctional therapy.  It all must happen in a specific order because without the space his oral function will not improve.  I was understanding how the mouth silently absorbs all of our stress and compensates much like that of our joints and soft tissues throughout the body as a whole.  I felt encouraged as Dr. Weddle’s approach to practice seemed to parallel much of our own at Core.

Dr. Weddle discussed her course of action which would be to further her understanding of Briggs’ anatomy through a maxillofacial CBCT scan provided in office as well as dental impressions created through digital images taken with a probe like camera.  All non-invasive diagnostic tools that took only minutes.  She also wanted Briggs to wear a device, a ring, for two nights measuring his sleep patterns and breathing.  This would provide data that could indicate Briggs’ need for a sleep study, ruling in or out Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  Briggs was up for it all and I was thrilled at the possibility that all of this could be our jumping off point in improving Briggs’ overall health. 

Part 3 of our journey will include Briggs’ test results, our action steps, and why we decided to do things a bit different for our newborn daughter Navy.  Stay tuned!

Bug Off!
By: Dr. Meagan McGowan

There’s no better time of year than now to be having fun outside from sun-up to sun down!  Unfortunately treating the pesky bug bites can become a necessary addition to the daily routine as bugs are most prevalent at dawn and dusk.  Bug sprays, like many other conventional products used on our skin contain less than favorable ingredients.  Thankfully essential oils can be used as a natural plant derived alternative.  

Conventional repellents are made of a mix of active and inert ingredients.  The active ingredients are listed on the label and most often the inert ingredients are not.  DEET, Permethrin, and Cyfluthrin are most commonly read on these labels, all of which are considered neurotoxic. Neurotoxicity, meaning harmful to the nervous system and altering its overall function, is an ever growing concern due to the amount of chemical exposure we are subject to daily.  Bug repellent is heavily absorbed by the skin, especially when used in combination with sunscreen.  In animal studies, DEET has even been found to cross the placenta.  This is very concerning!

For a more comprehensive look at these ingredients, visit

An easy DIY alternative.

Many essential oils have repellent properties and used in combination together can be a safe, beautifully smelling alternative!  


  • 2 oz spray bottle
  • Citronella EO – 10 drops
  • Peppermint EO – 10 drops
  • Lavender EO – 10 drops
  • Lemongrass EO – 10 drops
  • Fill remainder of bottle with witch hazel

If you are new to essential oils or need to restock some of your favorites, call the office. We are happy to help!

Our Personal Journey: The Connection Between Our Oral Motor Function and Overall Health.

Our Personal Journey: The Connection Between Our Oral Motor Function and Overall Health.
By: Dr. Meagan McGowan

Over the next several months our family will share our experience as we take a deep dive into improving some of our most tedious health challenges.  In a multi-part series, we will share our journey as we heavily focus on our oldest son Briggs and how his struggle with allergies has become a catalyst for all of us to take a deep look into the connection between our oral motor function and overall health.  

A quick step back in time so you understand our ‘Why’.

Briggs’ was a very healthy 9.8oz baby, born in the comforts of our home, now 8 years ago!  As a first time Mom I read everything, exposed myself to all versions of prenatal support, happily learned and swapped out personal care and household products, ate well, moved well, and mentally prepared myself for my invitation into parenthood.  I was determined (and still am!) to give this child the greatest foundation of health, all that I can influence anyhow.  Briggs thrived as a baby which seemed only appropriate for the efforts invested while I was pregnant.

….Then I was introduced to the feelings housed in my Mommy gut.  I kept hearing that term referenced as those instincts you don’t know you have until you sign up to care for a small human!

Feeding was going well by measurement of numbers.  He was gaining weight, eating the appropriate amount for his stage of development, however his latch was exceedingly uncomfortable.  He spit up with every burp which at times took a minimum of 15 minutes.  He wouldn’t successfully latch again until he burped.  Again as a new Mom I thought we were in the early stages of young mechanics and his mouth just needed to mature.  After a few weeks we would be in the clear.  That wasn’t the case and at 3 months I inquired for the first time about his mouth recognizing how thick his upper lip frenulum was.  The two qualified providers inspected, however did not feel it was severe or contributory enough to put him through unnecessary intervention and discomfort.  On our way we went.  Eventually he must have compensated well enough because his latch no longer hurt, he took on solids like a champ, and seemed like all was well. 

At around 12 months I inquired again about the frenulum beneath his upper lip.  The space between his two front teeth was considerable and the tissue was connecting to the underside of his upper gum.  This time I was told the same, it wasn’t severe enough to put him through such discomfort.  Wait and see if it becomes an orthodontic issue,   they’ll take care of it then. 

As Chiropractors we are aware of some of the negative effects of sustained oral ties in children, affecting their ability to eat, speak, and swallow, as well as possibly contributing to focus and coordination issues.  Briggs displayed none of these.  We were not aware or told of the longstanding issues that sustained oral ties could be contributing to: his poor breathing, poor sleep, inflammation and allergies, and now crowded teeth and narrowed jaw.  

Now looking back at pictures of his swollen eyes starting at the age of 3, listening to videos of his nasal sounding voice, his then little body was expending so much more energy to function because of the inflammation he couldn’t get rid of.  We were very frustrated because no matter our effort nothing seemed to help him.  

Like most, we initially pigeonholed his symptoms to seasonal inflammation.  Then we expanded our reasoning to allergies in general, because his symptoms were outside the seasonal time frame.  We thought he must intermittently be exposed to something he’s sensitive to because his swelling and inflammation would come and go.  Year after year our plan would shift–  supplements for preventative measures, then maybe we threw off the ratios of the immune system trying too many preventative measures, so then we’d back off, food elimination, washing hands after petting an animal, testing for mold sensitivity, etc. etc.  

As health conscious as Briggs has become through his own fruition, his suffering remains the same.  Congestion, productive sneezes causing him to run for tissues, dark circles under his eyes, head and neck extended while sleeping, breathing heavy and labored while sleeping, nightmares and wakeful sleep, and now cavities.  CAVITIES!  In the boy who brushes, flosses, drinks only water, eats whole organic foods and could care less about carbs and sweets, he was defeated, I was defeated.  How do you explain to your kid who willingly contributes to his health, consciously everyday on his own, that it seemingly isn’t good enough, you still have cavities.  Then to listen to the mainstream Dentist tell him he just has to do more of the same plus maybe this treatment (this toxic treatment) to protect his teeth was infuriating.  It was then I decided to take matters into my own hands.  After an incredible conversation with a friend who was sharing similar frustrations with her son, and a whole lot of research, we have started down a path that has our family excited to invest our time and efforts into true measures that will help Briggs, and now maybe my husband Matt, and our newborn daughter Navy!

Stay tuned for details of Briggs’ treatment plan, including where and with who, as well as what we have done for Navy.  As a bonus, see what Matt is looking into for his long standing struggles! 


“Why we chose Waveblock”
By. Dr. Melissa Sonners

Hey moms,

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m constantly juggling and doing my best to balance our kids’ exposure to technology.

Although I don’t love them being on iPads, iPods, computer games etc, I do also realize this is and will continue to be a big part of their world.  We give our kids (age appropriate) authority in making their decisions allowing them to have a sense of control, freedom and engage in critical thinking.   If there is something they’re interested in, we have conversations and listen to them on why they’re interested in it, why they think they’re mature for it and what healthy boundaries they’ll create around it. 

Recently, Levi has been wanting wireless earbuds.  We spend a decent amount of time on airplanes and our phones unfortunately no longer have headphone jacks.  On a recent cross country flight, he forgot his headphone adapter which is what prompted this conversation.  

Earbuds emit high levels of EMF/radiation.  Although it is still unknown exactly HOW exposure to high levels of EMF impacts us, there is emerging evidence that these can contribute to a variety of malignant tumors.  Although more studies are needed, some researchers feel there’s already enough evidence of harm from long-term, low-level exposure that EMF’s should be classified as a Group 1 known carcinogen.  Kids are especially sensitive to these EMF’s due to the rapid development of their brain and nervous systems.  

EMF’s are also suspected to contribute to: 

-Sleep disturbances




-Tinnitus (ringing in ear) 

& more 

Although Levi made some great points on why he deserves earbuds, this was a NO for us due to all of the above.  His determination led him to some searches on the internet looking for a solution and he came across Waveblock.

Waveblock has created an anti-radiation sticker that has been lab tested and proven to block the majority of EMF’s from earbuds.  

The founder of the company is a father of three and went on a mission to create a solution after realizing other countries limit EMF in nurseries and schools because of the impact they have, particularly on children.   

So we reached out to them and asked if we could try out their products.  We instantly tested the earbud wraps with our EMF meter and sure enough, the majority of the EMF’s were blocked! 

We were very surprised to also see that earbuds with waveblock on them created LESS exposure than a cellphone to the ear.  

So, Levi now has earbuds and is super happy- although he is only allowed to use them in extreme moderation, we feel at peace knowing his exposure is low. 

The products were so easy to apply, he did it himself and they didn’t negatively impact any sound quality or other features of the earbuds.  

If you haven’t already, check them out.  They have a variety of great products.  We also got the protective sticker for the back of our cellphones.

Their prices are super affordable and you can also use our code SONNERS15 for a discount.

Let us know what you think! 

Travel Tips for Those Traveling with Lower Back Pain.

Travel Tips for Those Traveling with Lower Back Pain.
By Dr. Matthew McGowan


With upcoming holidays, camps, and summer vacations causing a spike in extended travel, we have been fielding a lot of questions on how to keep one’s back steady while traveling.  

If you are taking a long car trip and you suffer from low back pain, it would be a good idea to stop after 2 hours of driving if possible and do a quick 3 minute stretch.  The two most common stretches I suggest that can easily be done while stopping for gas or at a rest stop are the standing figure four stretch and the standing hip flexor stretch.  

For Air travel, you can follow the same guidelines allowing yourself to walk to the back of the plane near the restrooms where you can also do a hip flexor stretch or a standing figure 4 stretch.  Here are photos of both of these stretches:

Standing figure 4:  you can hold onto the side of the car with one hand, cross your ankle at your opposing knee and sit back and down until you feel a stretch across the butt on the side of the crossed leg.  Hold this stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds and do 3 per side. 


Standing hip flexor:   you can place your front foot up on a guardrail, a tire, or even inside the base of the car with a door open.  Before lunging forward it is important to contract the butt muscle on the trail leg and keep it squeezed as you lunge forward.  This will ensure you feel the stretch down the front of your trail leg and keep the lower back safe.  Hold this stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds and do 3 per side. 


  • For shorter intervals of driving or times when you cannot stop, it can also be a good idea to use the seat controls and change the position you are sitting in.  Varied seat positions will keep you from getting stiff in one continuous position.
  • If you are a person that deals with sciatica, you can place a folded beach towel on the seat so that it lifts the butt upwards and keeps the front part of the seat from digging into your sciatic nerve.  Also try to pick your foot up fully when going from gas break rather than just pivoting on the heel.  Leaving the heel down on the carpet and having the foot rotated out towards the gas pedal for long periods of time can irritate people with sciatica as well.  


While travel can be tough on people with low back issues, these tips or tricks can sometimes make it a bit more manageable. 

Healthy Travel

“Woohoo! It’s finally Summer. Bring on the travel!”
by Dr. Melissa & Jason

There is just something about a change of scenery that is so enchanting. Couple that with warmer temps, school is out and it’s time to bring on Summer travel!

That being said, travel often comes with it’s not so up side. Airports and airplanes aren’t the most enjoyable, sun filled, fresh aired spaces. Food is often not as healthy as it would be at home, stress of gearing up for travel AND being off routine are often enough to put a damper on our health goals.

When we decided to travel more for work and as a family a few years ago, we quickly realized this was going to take some intention setting in order to stay on point. We are proud to say that two years later, after a pretty intense travel schedule, we are thankfully still in a peak state of health.

Want to know our secrets?!

Here’s how we did it:

Fasting – travel days are often our fasting days. We don’t have to worry about plane snacks (except for the kiddos) or falling victim to not so epic airplane food choices or long lines.

Stay hydrated – we travel with electrolytes. I get ours on Amazon. We get the Ultimate travel packs for easy on the go hydration.

Limit blue light – I always wear blue light blockers while traveling. The airport, airplane and hotels are FULL of blue light that can impact our bodies ability to make melatonin, disrupting our sleep. This is especially crucial when traveling time zones or taking red eye flights.

BYOB – Bring your own bottle. I bring our own water bottles and mugs. Bottle is for staying hydrated and mug is for any warm beverage I’ll enjoy, which also is a bring your own versions.

Travel with your comforts – I bring my Four Sigmatic products with me. Their functional creamer is AMAZING for life on the road. | Use code: SONNERS10

I also travel with a bottle of Dry Farm Wines INCASE we are going to imbibe. We don’t drink so much anymore, but IF we do, this is our main go-to. Their wine has no pesticides, is sugar free, keto friendly, low alcohol and biodynamic/organic. You can get your first bottle for a penny. Click link here:

Binders – I always travel with charcoal as you just never know what can creep up and it’s also great for helping to buffer any toxins in food/environment. I take 2 capsules every night when we travel.

Supplements – we travel with an array of immune boosting supplements to help stay on point. You can find our recommended supplements for healthy travel in our Full Script link in bio. We take immune boosters, a nasal spray and a throat spray, always. To see our recommended healthy travel pack, check out our “FullScript” healthy travel link –

Grocery Haul – Whether we are staying in a hotel or in someone’s home we do a grocery haul and stock the fridge with some of our favorite things. Always focusing on protein and fat as our main macros.

Stay active and get in nature – We move our bodies every day. Sometimes we do a full on workout, other times we go for a walk, hike or run on the beach, we do mobilization and yoga or stretching as that is oh so nice after travel days and we spend as much time in nature as possible.

Lastly, our recovery when we get back (and often, before we head out as well)always includes getting adjusted, an IV and ideally- but not often, a catch up chillax day!

How are you staying healthy amidst your summer travel? We would love to know!

Drs. Melissa & Jason

Sunscreen Dangers in Children

Get Outside and Enjoy the Sunshine

By: Dr. Melissa Sonners

Recently, information has been published regarding initial opinions on the safety of three UV filters, oxybenzone, homosalate and octocrylene. These are three of the most common ingredients in many sunscreens.

The findings suggest that sunscreen manufacturers are legally allowed to use these ingredients at concentrations well above the proposed limit.  Many sunscreens in the U.S use concentrations of these ingredients that far exceed the standards of other countries which continue to be far ahead of us when it comes to health standards for our food, personal health products and more.

We now know, based on many studies, that these ingredients are linked to hormone disruption, skin irritations and allergies and more.  These ingredients are all absorbed into the skin and body after just one use and can be detected on the skin and in breast milk and urine samples weeks after application.

The CDC found that in American children, adolescent boys with higher oxybenzone measurements (one of the most common ingredients in sunscreen) had significantly lower testosterone levels. (

Many rely on the FDA to protect them from safe products, but currently the agency does NOT require companies to test their products for contamination and many companies that contain toxic, carcinogenic ingredients are not revealed until many have been using them for years.  We must be educated consumers and look out for what is best for our personal health and family’s health without depending on outside agencies to do it for us.

While much is not known and further research needs to be completed, we don’t yet know if these ingredients are “safe & effective.”

Ingredients to avoid:

  • Avobenzone

    • Endocrine disruptor and can cause allergic reactions

  • Benzene

    • Known carcinogen widely found in aerosol sunscreens

  • Homosalate

    • Widely used in sunscreens.

    • Penetrates the skin

    • Disrupts hormones and produces toxic breakdown byproducts

  • Octinoxate (Octyl Methoxycinnamate)

    •  Animal studies show hormone effects on the metabolic system

    • Affects thyroid hormone production and can impact androgen and progesterone signaling

    •  Can cause allergic reactions to exposure to UV light.

  • Octisalate

    • May affect endocrine system

  • Octocrylene

    • Absorbs through the skin at 14 times the FDA cutoff for systemic exposure

    • Causes aquatic toxicity harming marine animals & coral health

    • Often contaminated with the known carcinogen benzophenone

  • Oxybenzone

    • The most “worrisome active ingredient in sunscreen” according to scientific research.

    • Readily absorbed through the skin.

    •  Behaves as an endocrine disruptor and causes greater harm in children (FDA 2019).

Lotion is safer in general than aerosol as it is less likely to contain a potentially carcinogenic ingredient, Benzene.   Benzene is a petroleum-derived toxic chemical widely known to cause cancer and other serious health effects.  Currently, there is no established level of Benzene that is considered safe for human exposure.  Recently, many common brand-named sunscreens were recalled due to traces of Benzene in them.

In our family, we don’t avoid the sun.  Sun exposure plays an important role in so many of our body’s vital functions. Sunlight is essential for generating the production of Vitamin D, supporting bone health, lowering blood pressure, preventing disease and promoting mental health.  It also strengthens our immune system, improves sleep, reduces stress and fights off depression.  Exposure to sunlight also increases the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin which boosts our mood.  Serotonin is also the precursor to our sleep enhancer, melatonin.  Ever wonder why a day outdoors promotes such great sleep? You can thank the sun for helping you make serotonin for that.

At the same time, we do know some sun protection is important.  Recently, much research is being revealed that fragile, processed oils like soybean oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, shortening, corn oil, margarine, sunflower oil and safflower oil will make your skin more sensitive to sun damage.  I can personally attest to this as a child who used to BURN all the time.  My diet was full of seed oils and I also now know that much of my burn and skin irritation was directly caused by the ingredients in sunscreens that I was sensitive to.

We tend to spend time in the sun during off peak hours and spend more time in the shade during peak sun.  We wear hats and clothes that protect our skin when we feel it’s time to give our skin a break.

In addition, at times we use Shea butter as a protective layer. Although it provides very low SPF (about 7), we find it’s often enough when we are aware of our peak time exposure.

For people wanting traditional sunscreen options I have scoped out the best of the best and will share them here.  Thank you to the Environmental Workers Group for making this simple. (

EWG is a  non-for-profit whose mission is to empower you with breakthrough research to make informed choices and live a healthy life in a healthy environment.  You can share your email address with them and you will get monthly informative emails on the best sunscreens, household products, personal products and more.  You can also enter any product into their search engine and they will rate the level of toxicity so you can make informed decisions on what is best for you and your family.

They rate products on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most toxic.  I prefer to only use products rated as a 1, however I have also included some rated as a 2 below in case it makes access easier.

Additionally, when choosing a sunscreen be sure to check the ingredient label and ensure all ingredients are safe.

Ingredients considered safe:

Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide– these should be the only two main ingredients.  Be mindful of other “inactive ingredients” as often those make up 70% or more of the product so be sure to read the full ingredient list.

Best baby & kids sunscreen:

Rated as a 1 (least toxic) on EWG toxicity scale:

  • Raw Elements Baby + Kids Sunscreen Lotion Tin, SPF 30

  • Earth Mama Kids Uber- Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF

  • All Good Kids Sunscreen Butter Stick, SPF 50

Rated as a 2 on EWG:

  • Kiss My Face Organics Kids Defense Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30

  • Banana Boat Kids Sport Sunscreen Stick, SPF 50

  • Banana Boat Simply Protect Baby Sunscreen Stick SPF 50

  • Burt’s Bees Baby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30

  • Cerave Baby Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 45

Best Daily SPF:

Rated 1 on EWG:

  • Love Sun Body Glow Natural Tinted Mineral Sunscreen & Moisturizer Lotion, SPF 30

Rated 2 on EWG:

  • Beautycounter Countersun Daily Sheer Defense for Face, SPF 25

Best Recreational Sunscreen

Rated 1 on EWG:

  • Earth Mama Tinted Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 25 (rated 1 on EWG)

  • 365 Everyday value sport mineral sunscreen lotion SPF 30 (Rated 1 on EWG)

Rated 2 on EWG:

  • BeautyCounter CounterSun Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30 (rated 2 on EWG)

Worst Sunscreens.  Rated as a 7-10 (most toxic) on EWG:

  • Banana Boat Kids Clear Sunscreen Spray, SPF 65

  • Banana Boat Ultra Sport Clear Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100

  • Neutrogena Wet skin sunscreen spray, SPF 50 – carcinogenic ingredients, endocrine disruptor, biochemical cellular level changes

  • Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Continuous Spray, SPF 100

The ingredients in the products listed above are known to cause reproductive toxicity, allergies, immunotoxicity, endocrine (hormone) disruption & are persistently bioaccumulated

Sun exposure plays a vital role in our health & vitality.  We can take steps through our diet, as well as through planning out our exposure to off peak sun in order to keep our skin healthy.  There are also now many options for sunscreen that contain safe ingredients.  I hope this has helped make finding those products easy for you.

Be sure to follow our social media platforms where we share helpful tips and hacks for keeping your family healthy.

IG: @Drs_Sonners


Now get outside and enjoy that sunshine!

simple swaps for spring cleaning

Spring Cleaning Simple Swaps
by Dr. Melissa Sonners

I don’t know about you, but the warm weather, longer days, and sunshine certainly boosts my energy and motivation for Spring cleaning here in New Jersey! Jason and I are tackling closets, attics, and clearing so much clutter this month; our home already feels so much lighter! I know Spring is also a time when many of us will do much needed deep cleaning, which feels so good for our mental health, but are you aware of the damages these products can cause to our physical health?

Check out these facts shared by the  Environmental Workers Group (

  • Fumes from some cleaning products may induce asthma in otherwise healthy individuals. A large and growing body of evidence links frequent use of many ordinary cleaning supplies at home or on the job with development of asthma and other respiratory problems. It is already known that cleaning product fumes may trigger attacks in persons previously diagnosed with asthma.

  • Common cleaning ingredients can be laced with the carcinogenic impurity 1,4-dioxane. Independent tests have detected the presence of 1,4-dioxane in numerous name-brand cleaning supplies. Other products contain preservatives that release low levels of cancer-causing formaldehyde.

  • Children born to women who held cleaning jobs while pregnant have an elevated risk of birth defects, according to a 2010 study by the New York State Department of Health.

  • Some cleaners can cause chemical burns and poisonings as well as less severe irritations and allergies. Severe physical reactions signal that consumers should take care anytime they use these products.

  • Despite these health concerns, cleaning product labels often do not give consumers enough information about their ingredients to allow people to make informed decisions on which ones are safer and which ones might harm their health.

Despite our desire to have a clean, fresh smelling home, I’m not sure anyone wants to expose their family to harmful products that could impact their health. So what do we do? Our family does “simple swaps.”

Thankfully, there are many products now available that smell good, are environmentally conscious AND pose little to no risk to our health. During the month of May, I will be sharing my tried and true as well as some new favorites on our social media platforms. I will show you simple swaps for your traditional products that can be purchased, as well as some that can be made at home for little to no cost. Be sure to follow us so you don’t miss any of these helpful and empowering tips!

Drs. Sonners Youtube:

Drs. Sonners Facebook:

Drs. Sonners Instagram:

Core Therapies Facebook:

Core Therapies Instagram:

Core Therapies Website:

“Pick me up Buttercup!”
April’s Oil Spotlight…all things Citrus!
by Dr. Meagan McGowan

At one time, one of our smallest members of Core Therapies told me that Orange Essential Oil smelled like “sunshine in a bottle.” Well he now towers over me in height and since then I have forever referenced Orange as “sunshine in a bottle!”

Citrus essential oils, including but not limited to Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, and Lime have a vast array of uses as many of the oils do.

  • They can be safely used topically to uplift your mood.
  • Try massaging a drop of Orange or Grapefruit into your scalp then cupping your hands around your nose and inhaling deeply.
  • Did you know Lemon essential oil can remove adhesive residue from a label or sticker? Rather than storing a chemical-ridden spray bottle of adhesive remover, you can feel more comfortable using a drop of lemon on a paper towel on that new toy or dish!
  • Forgot the lime at the store and making guacamole? No problem! Use a toothpick, insert it into your bottle of Lime essential oil, then give your guac a stir. Not strong enough? Grab another toothpick and repeat until your desired taste is achieved.
  • Don’t forget the kiddos! There is a beautiful line of essential oils dedicated to our kids (loved by adults as well!) and one in particular is a citrus based blend called “Kid Power.” Conveniently already diluted in a roller bottle, apply it to the inside of your kids wrist or dab it just underneath the ears to inspire and encourage feelings of strength and confidence. Its uplifting scent comes in a bottle as well and can be diffused while they do their homework or just need to relax!

Because Citrus essential oils are cold pressed from the rind, they can be safely ingested, inhaled, and applied topically. It is recommended that when using topically, that area not be immediately exposed to the sun due to photosensitivity properties. I always advise to start out with less or dilute a little bit more, because more can always be added, but essential oils are so heavily concentrated, a little goes much further than you would think!

For more information on Citrus oils, including our favorite diffusing blends, follow us on our social media pages.

Natural Approach to Seasonal Allergies

A Natural Approach to Seasonal Allergies
by Dr. Sonia Marques

As the weather warms up and spring approaches, allergy season returns for many of us with a vengeance. We all know the telltale signs: the post-nasal drip, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, congested sinuses and sneezing. It’s like having a constant cold for days, weeks, or even months on end, with no respite.

Seasonal allergies occur when the body overreacts to an environmental trigger such as pollen, dust, dander, mold, or smoke. When the exposure occurs in susceptible people, the body’s immune system releases an inflammatory chemical (histamine) that causes blood vessels to become engorged and results in redness, swelling and itchiness.

Most of us are aware of the prescription and over the counter medications that are commonly used to treat allergies. These drugs may contain active ingredients such as cetirizine, fexofenadine and diphenhydramine, which may cause common side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, muscle and back pain, headaches and dry mouth. While these do treat the symptoms of allergies and colds, they do nothing for the underlying causes.

When seeking a holistic option to combat common allergens, minimizing exposure to the triggering factors will help to minimize the effects of allergies. Ways to mitigate the body’s response by reducing the triggers include avoiding carpet and upholstered furniture that oftentimes harbors dust mites, regularly washing rugs/sheets/blankets/pillowcases, vacuuming daily with a high efficiency air filter (HEPA) style filter and utilizing a HEPA air purifier. When outdoors for prolonged periods, bathing and washing your hair as well as changing your clothes will help minimize spreading pollen indoors.

Diet also plays a vital role in our body’s response to external stimuli in at least two ways: first by preparing the body’s immune system to better fight (or prevent) the allergic response and second by helping to alleviate the symptoms of the response. Although maintaining healthy nutrition habits is always important to our wellbeing, during allergy season the following tips are especially important: eat whole, home prepared meals as often as possible to help build the body’s immune response; avoid sugars, particularly added sugars, which lead to inflammation in the body and can cause or worsen the effects of allergies and avoid dairy products, which promote mucus production and exacerbate allergy symptoms.

In addition to the avoidance of environmental triggers and dietary guidelines, chiropractic treatment is another wonderful and natural method of treating the cause of allergies. Spine misalignments prevent proper brain to body communication, which can reduce your immune system’s ability to work properly. When your immune system is not working as it should, your body will continue to overreact to perceived allergens. Receiving a safe, gentle and effective chiropractic adjustment to correct the misalignments will reduce the interference to the nervous system and improve your immune health. Your immune system will then stop overreacting to perceived allergens and can help your body naturally fight off those spring allergies.