Fit2Breathe!: Tools for Breathing Better

by Carol Rudd, registered respiratory therapist, Healing Choices Oasis

Experience Is the Best Teacher
Carol Rudd was diagnosed with asthma at the age of three, and most of her childhood was spent in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices. She notes, “I know what it feels like to be short of breath and fearful, to hear myself wheezing and be comforted by the sound, because at least I knew I was still breathing. Also, I know wanting to hide my breathing trouble, so no one would know I was struggling.  I have huge empathy for anyone with breathing problems.” Once she wondered, “Why me?” Today, she sees it as a gift. “My childhood with asthma made me slow down, calm down, and be more reflective and self-aware.  As an adult with asthma, I know it’s about management, eating right, and exercise.”

Enter: Fit2Breathe
FIT2Breathe! is an exercise and education program for adults newly diagnosed with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema (COPD), or any restrictive disease such as pulmonary fibrosis or sarcoidosis. It consists of your choice of either a three-week or a six-week program of exercise and education tailored to each individual’s needs. Classes—one-on-one or small group—address everything from lung anatomy in health and disease, breathing techniques, infection prevention, energy conservation, medications, nutrition, coping skills and relaxation, and smoking cessation.

In the last fifteen of forty-one years as a respiratory therapist, Rudd ran the Pulmonary Rehab program at Sacred Heart Hospital, where she provided education and exercise to the more severely ill in the outpatient setting. Besides running the program, educating and developing exercise routines, she relished the opportunities to coach, advocate, and empower her patients to live life to the fullest. She treated all age groups and most all breathing problems in every stage of dysfunction. Rudd is current on all the treatments available from a Western medicine perspective, and as a massage therapist trained in traditional Chinese medicine, she also offers an Eastern medicine perspective, which can include massage, qigong, and meditation.

What to Expect in the Program
After an initial one-on-one assessment, exercise and education sessions, either in small groups or done individually, address how and why breathing is different for people with breathing issues and how simple breathing techniques can make everyday life better. What foods can make breathing worse, why exercise is important, tips to simplify your daily tasks, preventing infection, and relaxation strategies that work are just a few of the topics discussed.

Rudd says, “I have always found that if someone knows why something is necessary, they tend to be more compliant with treatment strategies. Lung problems can be denied for a very long time, but if treatment, nutrition, and exercise are a daily routine, life can be extended. More importantly, when individuals feel they have control, the quality of their lives improves. I am all about positivity, a glass-half-full kind of gal, and my mission is to help people find hope and joy no matter their struggles.”

Tylenol and the Developing Brain

By Judy Soborowicz, DC CCN

Walking through the grocery store the other night, I found myself admiring a young family with two children making their way through the produce section. As I walked by, I heard the young mother say to her husband that she had forgotten Tylenol at Target, and could he grab some Children’s Tylenol right away, as she was thinking about it. I could relate, remembering how hectic and busy I was as a mother to young children, and how I would have to put such effort into making sure I had the essentials. So it seemed this product was an essential to this mother, and I wondered if anyone had ever let her know about any potential downside to this product.

The most common use for Tylenol is for fever or pain, although acetaminophen is found in over 600 over-the-counter and prescription medications ( Parents want the best for their children but may not be aware that “acetaminophen was the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States, with 48% of acetaminophen related cases (131 of 275) associated with accidental overdose.” Consumers may attempt to treat different conditions or symptoms at the same time with more than one product containing acetaminophen. They may not realize that acetaminophen is in each of those products and that they are at risk of acetaminophen overdose.” (

One of the reasons acetaminophen causes damage to the liver is that it depletes the most potent antioxidant present and available in the body, glutathione. Glutathione is the mother of all antioxidants and the primary detoxifier in our bodies. It protects the body and prevents toxins from accumulating and causing devastating damage. Glutathione is also depleted with poor diet, pollution, medication, stress, and infection. This means that giving Tylenol for fever brought on by infection may seriously compromise your or your child’s ability to clear toxins.

It is well known that toxic substances like alcohol and drugs are much more harmful and dangerous for children than for adults, and we all know to protect an infant’s/child’s developing brain from toxins. What parents may not know is that the least beneficial time to deplete glutathione is when a child presents with a fever. In fact, a large Danish study published in JAMA involving 64,322 children found that “prenatal exposure to Tylenol may increase the risk in children of receiving a hospital diagnosis of hyperkinetic disorder or ADHD…with higher use frequency increasing risk in an exposure-response manner.” Studies show the acetaminophen also acts to interrupt the endocrine system of the child and the mother. This is significant because the mother’s hormones play a role in proper brain development of the fetus, and the developing child’s brain depends on proper hormonal communication.

Fever is a normal, protective method used by your and your child’s immune system to fight off infection, viral or bacterial, and promote repair. There is growing evidence that not only does fever provide a potent tool for our immune system to fight infection, it also triggers an essential step in the development of a healthy brain. It is important for parents to know when and when not to treat a fever. All fevers are not created equal, and not all require treatment nor is treatment of a fever a harmless act. Normal fevers, between 100° and 104°F (37.8° and 40°C) are actually beneficial for children. If your child will respond to you, make eye contact, move around, and take liquids, you can opt out of treatment. If you are concerned, instead of using acetaminophen with your child, use cool washcloths or physical cooling methods. In fact, the well-respected independently funded Cochrane Database review done in 2002 determined essentially that there was no evidence that Tylenol worked better than physical cooling methods (fanning, cool washcloth, bath) to reduce fever.

Studies have been accumulating since early 2000 about the potential harm of acetaminophen/paracetamol. Do a PUBMED search and read the studies for yourself, then make an informed decision for your family. If you are in pain during pregnancy, drug-free chiropractic is an option. Talk to your health-care provider about nutrition options and how to promote family health from within.

Judy Soborowicz practices chiropractic and nutrition at Active Health Chiropractic along with her husband John. For more info call 715-834-6333.

JAMA Pediatr. 2014 Apr;168(4):313-20. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4914. Acetaminophen use during pregnancy, behavioral problems, and hyperkinetic disorders. Liew Z1, Ritz B2, Rebordosa C3, Lee PC4, Olsen J5.

JAMA Pediatr. 2014 Apr;168(4):313-20. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4914. Acetaminophen use during pregnancy, behavioral problems, and hyperkinetic disorders. Liew Z1, Ritz B2, Rebordosa C3, Lee PC4, Olsen J5.

Int J Epidemiol. 2013 Dec;42(6):1702-13. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyt183. Epub 2013 Oct 24. Prenatal paracetamol exposure and child neurodevelopment: a sibling-controlled cohort study. Brandlistuen RE1, Ystrom E, Nulman I, Koren G, Nordeng H.

Paracetemol for Treating Fevers in Children, Published: 22 April 2002 Authors: Meremikwu MM, Oyo-Ita APrimary Review Group: Infectious Diseases Group

A Healthy Heart Starts with a Heathy Gut

By Heidi Toy, NTP

Do you have a heart disease or a family history of heart disease? Do you want to actually heal or avoid heart disease without having to take pharmaceutical-grade drugs? Then finding the real issue is the answer.

he real causes of heart disease are: poor nutrition, environmental toxins, lack of or poor sleep, stress, physical inactivity, and vertebral subluxations. All of these contribute to what is called leaky gut or intestinal permeability. Heart disease is not the lack of a pharmaceutical-grade drug like a statin or high blood pressure medication. It is the health of your gut, and the answer is healing your gut.

The body produces a protein molecule called zonulin. Zonulin opens up the spaces between the cells in the intestinal lining so that nutrients and other molecules can exit the intestines [1]. When leaky gut syndrome is present, these spaces open up too much, allowing too large of foods particles, protein molecules, and bacterium to pass into the bloodstream. When this happens, an immunologic reaction occurs and the body is now primed to react to these foods and bacterium every time they appear. Two of the primary triggers that swing the zonulin door wide open are gluten and anaerobic gut bacteria. This happens to those people who have celiac disease and to those who do not. In short everyone is affected,and therefore everyone, even none celiac people are susceptible to leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut means inflammation,and inflammation is the root of all disease, including cardiac and vascular disease. So we now know that gluten can contribute to leaky gut, and interestingly enough there are other foods and substances that also contribute to leaky gut syndrome, which are wheat, barley, rye, and [2] alcohol [3].

Another contributor to leaky gut is decreased melatonin production [4]. However, this is not a melatonin problem; it is actually a sunshine problem. Forget the myth that the sun is bad. Sunshine is the giver of life and the creator of melatonin. When sunshine hits the retina of the eye, melatonin is produced. It is stored in the pineal gland in the brain and released at night when we are in total darkness. Get out in the sun and when it is time to go to sleep, sleep in a room that is completely dark—no lights, no cell phones, and no alarm clock (put it in a drawer).

Stress is another major contributor to leaky gut [5], and healing the adrenal glands is crucial to managing stress, healing the gut, and ending diseases that are linked to poor gut health. Testing for adrenal fatigue is easy, and healing the adrenals is effective in many chronic health issues including leaky gut, heart disease, autoimmune issues, female hormone health, chronic fatigue, weight issues, and many more.

In my practice, one of the primary goals for all of my clients is gut integrity because without gut health, we do not have health. There are several tests that can be used to test for leaky gut. One is simply looking at a person’s blood chemistry according to functional medicine lab values (these are not the ranges printed on the lab chemistry result page). Another is via an exceptional test called the wheat zoomer test. Once we have the data needed to determine if the gut is permeable, we heal it via proper diet, supplementation, and lifestyle modification.When this happens, we see heart conditions subside and the need for drugs go away.

What you can start doing today is avoid all processed foods including gluten/wheat products. Adopt a healthy diet by eating green vegetables at every meal, eating quality proteins from pastured animals, consuming healthy fats, and staying hydrated via a pure water source. Move more. Find ways to destress and receive regular chiropractic adjustments.



Managing Holiday Emotions with Mindfulness

By Ann Brand, Ph.D.

A few Decembers ago, I was driving to the butcher to pick up the Christmas roast, and I burst into tears. A wave of grief washed over me with no warning. My mother had died a year earlier, and I was carrying on the holiday tradition of preparing the roast. My first thought was, where did that come from? I had been feeling fine,excited about holiday preparations, and I had no room for feeling sad.

We have this idea that the holidays “should” be a happy, joyous time. And they can be. But we experience many other emotions as well: grief, loneliness, sadness, worry, frustration, guilt, and just a sense of feeling that there is so much to do and not enough time to do it. Since this isn’t how we think we are supposed to feel at the holidays, we try to get rid of those feelings. We either ignore them, suppress them, or criticize ourselves for having them in hopes we will dismiss them from our experience. The problem is that just because we don’t allow ourselves to feel them doesn’t mean they don’t still exist. And our unacknowledged emotions pop up in unexpected and unwelcome ways: feeling isolated at a family party, aching for a loved one who is not present, snapping at our kids when they don’t want to help decorate the tree or when they make a mess decorating cookies.

Mindfulness is about allowing ourselves to come in contact with the full range of our experience—thoughts, emotions, and sensations—whether they are pleasant or unpleasant. In allowing ourselves to take the time to acknowledge and honor the experience we are having, we have the space to relate to what we are feeling in a skillful, gentle way that offers kindness to ourselves. Of course I miss my mom at the holidays. The memories of past holidays with her are so precious to me and bring me much joy. Allowing myself to feel the grief in missing her also allows me to feel the warmth of the joy in those memories. And that warmth supports me in holding the grief too, which naturally arises. It is part of being human.

When we practice mindfulness regularly, we cultivate the capacity to be with our experience as it arises. The joys, the sorrows, the challenges. When a difficult emotion arises at an otherwise joyful time, we have the skills to pause, allow, and observe the emotion moving through our experience. As we take this time to allow, we have the opportunity to gain clarity in our experience, which then supports us in aligning with our values, hopes, and dreams for the holiday season, such as being present for our families, making meaningful connections with loved ones near and far, and supporting each other through the joys and challenges of the season.

Take some time each day this holiday season to pause and fin a little stillness, even if just for a couple minutes. Finding time in this hectic season to come in contact with our experience, whatever it is, supports us when we have unexpected emotions that don’t “fit”with what we expect during the holidays. When those waves of grief wash over me at the holidays, which they do even seven years later, my mindfulness practice supports me in pausing and allowing my experience, so I can respond to my grief with kindness and compassion. This gentleness with my feelings of grief allows me space to also connect with the joy in the present moment of the holiday season.

Take Three Breaths

When we notice ourselves feeling overwhelmed with the stresses and demands of the holiday season, we can pause and take just three deep breaths to help us come back to the present moment, experience some calm, and connect with the joy of the season.

  1. Place your hand on your belly.
  2. As you breathe in deeply, notice the sensation of the   breath as it moves in and out of your body.   Feel your belly rise on the inhale, and fall on the exhale.
  3. Do this three times.