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Purposeful Calm: The Value of Sleep and Down Time

Purposeful Calm: The Value of Sleep and Down Time

Having been a Type A person most of my life, I can say this topic has been a struggle for me. I have always had more than my share of energy, drive and enthusiasm for a project. Having been “born this way” I seem to find a way to do laundry while I sit down for a minute, or sweep the floor while everyone preps for bed. I was obsessed with being busy. I’m now at the age where I can at least observe my obsession with a critical eye and see the need for truly “unplugged time.” There are many forms of down time, whether its a bit of meditation, a quiet bath, gentle exercise or sleep, all are important to our overall health.

I expect for some of you reading this down time may be an issue, so let’s start with what happens during our most important down time, sleep. For some, sleep comes naturally and unadulterated, while for others it is a dance, with bad music, bad partners, and a dance floor covered in mud. It can be hard to find the rhythm. Perhaps small children are in your life right now, or a partner who snores, or you travel for your job, or perhaps you just don’t know why! It happens! Sometimes our sleep issues are things we don’t think could contribute like a poor diet, improper digestion, a Rx side effect, chronic adrenal stress (from caring for a loved one, a job you don’t love, a difficult personal situation) or hormone disruption. Hormone disruption is defined as menopause, birth control, blood sugar issues, stress, etc. Needless to say, there are a multitude of reasons why sleep may evade us.

Is Sleep Really that Important to our Health?

Did you know that recent research has shown that there is a specific kind of lymph in the brain called glymph? Think of the lymphatic system as the sewer system of the body, it follows our circulatory system so goes everywhere we have blood, and picks up the trash we made as a result of our daily cellular processes. The glymphatic system is a waste clearance pathway specifically for the central nervous system; the brain and spinal cord. Glymph cleans up all our brain’s trash during our sleep cycles. It ONLY works when you sleep. It also has other important functions such as the distribution of glucose, neurotransmitters, fats and amino acids, all vital for a properly functioning brain.

Recent studies indicate a failure of the glymphatic system (poor sleep) may contribute to pathology in neurodegenerative disorders (think Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Dementia), brain trauma, and stroke (1 Science Daily 2/27/19). The deeper the sleep the better, so if you have a sleep issue it’s important to get to the underlying cause and fix it, not just cover it up with a prescription. Drinking plenty of water, regular exercise, and getting enough good sleep are all essential to a well functioning glymphatic system.

Purposeful Calm

Many of us suffer from being wired and tired. That means that we are up at 6am take care of our daily responsibilities and finally fall into bed by 11pm or midnight. Maybe we found time to go to the gym and do some strenuous cardio or run a few miles (hard on the adrenals by the way if they are not amazing) and we put that last load of laundry in just before crashing. Now you’re laying there in bed pondering all the things you didn’t get done, or need to do tomorrow, but, most importantly, you’re not sleeping! So tragic! All you need is sleep, but it doesn’t come. We need to find the time to relax, to be calm and introspective.

Some say you have to schedule it in, while others say you need to be more spontaneous about it. I have found that a little of both is needed. Planning personal time into your week, whether its a 15 minute period of meditation at the start or end of your day, a yoga class, a daily commune with nature, a set time to read, etc., is a necessary part of your productive lifestyle. As for the spontaneous part, be on the lookout for opportunities, deviations from the plan that would include some “down time.”

Here’s a couple of ideas for spontaneous moments:

  1. You need to go to the post office for stamps, the grocery store, and stop at the pet store for dog food. Instead of 3 stops, get your stamps at the grocery store and while at the pet store stop and look at the fish, kittens or puppies for a minute or two. Spend a couple of minutes with a smile on your face, with stress free, purposeful calm.
  2. You take the kids to practice and the usual routine is you sit and chat with the other parents. While this can be considered down time, only you can say if that’s true. Is it really? Or is it just part of the problem? Change it if needed. You’ll be glad you did, especially if you have limited “me” time. Quality time management is so important!
Take time with some furry friends!

Its easy to get distracted from our mission, and before you know it an hour has passed and now we are behind. The most common place for this to occur is getting sucked into social media or TV. Purposeful calm is just that, purposeful. Intentional distraction means you’re still in control and it’s not mindless deviation. So whether its planned down time or spontaneous purposeful calm, enjoy the benefits of refueling your spirit, your body, your mind.

Quality down time can also benefit our adrenal glands, thyroid, and digestive system. For some, quality down time needs to look like a 20-30 minute nap. Simply getting horizontal can boost adrenal function for the rest of the day. This is especially important for those who don’t sleep well. You don’t even have to go to sleep, just set an alarm, listen to something relaxing, and give the adrenals a break from all the hard work they do. Remember, stressed out adrenals can keep you awake at night by making too much cortisol, so be nice to them!

The act of self-care has never been more important with our busy lifestyles. Having lived out of the country in slower paced environments I can tell you there is benefit to stepping out of the fast lane from time to time and replenishing yourself. Discover what fits into your routine, where can you slow down and replenish? Your body will thank you for it. And remember, quality down time doesn’t have to be time spent by yourself. Many people love spending quality time with family members and friends.

Make time to call that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with, but never see. Have lunch with a sibling or significant other. Host a movie night. Plan a vacation! The options are endless and should be something that brings YOU joy and rejuvenation.

To finish today, I want to offer some practical solutions to improve your sleep.

Solutions for Improving your Health through Standard Process and MediHerb

If sleep is an issue you must first identify the cause…

  1. If a snoring partner, you know what you need to do. Move them or you. Eliminating allergens, starting a detox program, and losing weight can all help with snoring.
  2. If you have a hormone issue you may need to balance them with lifestyle changes, herbs or start a detox program. Lab and saliva test can help us determine if hormones are keeping you from sleeping.
  3. If you have stress or anxiety there are whole food supplements and herbs that can be helpful while you establish a healthier lifestyle and/or wean off anti-anxiety meds. Some examples are:
  • Adrenal Complex
  • Ashwaganda Complex
  • Drenamin
  • Adrenal Tonic
  • Dessicated Adrenal

To work with me on a plan specific to your needs and concerns, call my office to schedule an appointment!


Dr. Virginia S. Irby D.C.,DABCO, ACN

Cascade Chiropractic

2371 Iron Point Rd. Ste. 130

Folsom, CA 95630


There’s A Fungus Among Us!

I don’t know a single person who has a toe or nail fungus that isn’t embarrassed by it. But did you know it can also affect your skin and, more importantly, your gut? It’s true, the most common starting point for a fungal infection is the gut, also known as the digestive system.

The family of pathogens that fungus falls into is commonly known as the Fungus, Mold, Yeast Family. These organisms like to set up housekeeping in moist, warm areas so think sinus, ears, vaginal, armpit, under the breast, mouth and in hot shoes.

Most of us at one time or another thought that we needed to eliminate all bacteria, fungus, mold, and yeast from our environment, however that would not be a good idea. Antibiotic resistant microbes are proof of that with the possibility of C. Diff resulting. C. Diff is a very dangerous life-threatening gut infection often the result of the destruction of too many resident microbes.

There are several billion gut microbes that we actually need in our bodies to help us digest our food, make enzymes and hormones, and more. Without these commensal or co-habitating organisms we could be less than healthy, in fact, some say we could not exist! There are 10x as many bacterial cells in the body as human cells. These cells protect us against the overgrowth of unwanted pathogens so we need to take care of them, feed them, and try NOT to kill them off.

If there are so many of them, how do they get out of balance? Well, WE do that to them sadly and here are some ways that can happen.

  1. Antibiotics: Killing off most of the good guys and only a few of the more resistant bad guys almost always leaves us with an imbalance and the impending yeast infection, thrush, or recurrent initial infection. Studies show it can take 3-12 months to restore gut flora to some semblance of normal.
  2. Sugar intake/ Type 2 Diabetes: Sugar feeds yeast, if you have ever made bread, the activating factors are warm water and sugar. Once combined the yeast takes off and multiplies like crazy.
  3. Prescription Drugs: Many times Rx drugs cannot be avoided, however there is nearly always a consequence. The gut lining replaces itself every three to five days, this can be interfered with by many prescriptions as they have an inflammatory action on the fragile cells, thus resulting in an intestinal lining that becomes hyper-permeable. You may be familiar with this condition as Leaky Gut. The inflammatory state disrupts the mucus lining of the gut and leaves the good bacteria no place to live.
  4. Stress: We all have some level of stress, sometimes good and sometimes bad. Being excited about an upcoming event is good stress, but there are many types of bad stress. The challenge is that we produce cortisol, an adrenal hormone, as a result of stress, and cortisol slows the repair of the intestinal lining, also leading to damage and inflammation.
  5. Sodas, sugary drinks and alcohol: Sugar in this form is often not considered a contributor to a fungal or pathogenic overgrowth. However, fruit juice, excess fruit consumption, sodas, and alcohol all turn into sugar. So, much the same way as a diabetic suffers from excess blood sugar so does the person who consumes too much sugar in its natural state.

Let’s explore for a minute how we got our initial gut flora. When you were born, if you were fortunate to have a non-cesarean birth, you were covered in good microbes that your body absorbed and incorporated into your immune system. If you were breast fed this sharing of beneficial microbes continued as the anti-bodies in mothers milk were passed on to you. If you were fed good, whole, unprocessed food…. and on and on.

For some of us, this was not the case; our mother was raised in an allopathic model, where C-sections, antibiotics, and formula were the norm, or were unavoidable. If that is the case don’t dismay, it simply means you need to up your game if you suffer from stealth pathogens such as fungus, mold or yeast.

There is good news!! There are things we can incorporate into our daily routine that will help us on our path:

  1. Eat more garlic, ginger, and onion
  2. Eat whole food, unprocessed, not from a box
  3. Drink water and herbal teas
  4. Wear breathable shoes if you have nail fungus
  5. Eliminate wheat and dairy when warranted

If you’re already being proactive and feel more support is needed, there are more advanced courses of action you can take:

  1. A stealth pathogen protocol (supervised by Dr. Virginia)
  2. Topical herbal tinctures
  3. A gut restoration protocol (supervised by Dr. Virginia)
  4. An elimination diet or weight loss program to balance blood sugar

Fungal infections often get misdiagnosed and are challenging to eliminate. Complicating conditions can include SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) , SIFO (small intestine fungal overgrowth), gas, bloating, GERD, and reflux, in which case many allopathic approaches might be an over the counter or prescription antacid. This approach is rarely the best option and in fact is contrary to alleviating the underlying cause of the fungal infection wherever it resides. This is because the pH balance of the gut should in fact be acidic and not alkaline. An acid environment helps to kill the bad bacteria also.

There are so many ways to compromise our health, and so many ways to improve it. As informed consumers we get to choose! Being committed to a healthier lifestyle is something you can do to improve your overall health, do it for you, do it NOW!


Dr. Virginia S. Irby D.C.,DABCO, ACN

Cascade Chiropractic

2371 Iron Point Rd. Ste. 130

Folsom, CA 95630


Tis the Season to be Sneezin’

Spring is the season for beautiful flowers, the leaves to emerge from their sleepy winter nap, and the grasses to peek out of the wet soil. The problem with all this nature is that pollen comes along with it! But why is it that if you put 10 people in a wild flower filled meadow on a windy day only some of them will have a sneezing attack?

It’s all about physiology. There are 3 main types of allergies:

  1. Allergic asthma: Can involve the throat and lungs
  2. Allergic dermatitis: Can involve the skin, both inside (gut) and outside (skin)
  3. Allergic rhinitis: Can involve the nose, sinuses, throat, itchy and watery eyes

The body, when exposed to allergens such as pet dander, dust, pollen of any type, certain foods, chemicals, mold, fragrance, and the list goes on and on, can have an allergic response which means that it will create a mast cell reaction. The body says, “Hey there’s a foreign substance here!” and the immune system comes to the rescue and produces histamine which is designed to help, but in excess it creates inflammation and all those nasty symptoms we like to avoid.

Royal Lee, the founder of Standard Process, stated in 1963:

“In allergic conditions a deficiency of calcium is usually considered a contributing factor, and the body’s calcium reserves are found to be low. Another definite aggravating factor is the pH of the body. An alkaline pH aggravates all allergies, so maintaining an acidic digestive tract is very important. Salivary pH should be between 7 and 7.3 prior to introducing anti-histamines, only then can the body process the antibodies associated with allergies. This is best accomplished with a digestive enzyme such as ZYPAN, or ENZYCORE or a system acidifier such as CAL-AMO.”

Some foods to consider avoiding during allergy season are: Wheat, dairy, and carbonated drinks. These foods can create an inflammatory condition in the gut which can lead to the possibility of allergens crossing into the blood stream and causing an allergic or sensitivity to the food and other environmentals.

Now lets talk about what to do if you already have allergies and its too late to avoid or prevent them this allergy season.

Allerplex: General allergy relief, contains liver detox, natural anti-histamine, vitamins A&C and lung support.

Antronex: In Allerplex, natural anti-histamine, liver detox

Cal Amo: System Acidifier

Albizia: Herbal anti-histamine, stabilizes mast cells that produce histamine. Supports headaches that are allergy related aslo. Use for skin or seasonal allergies.

Sinus Forte: Strengthens mucous membranes; helps with nasal and eye symptoms. Runny/stuffy nose, itchy watery eyes, sore throat.

Resco: Chronic lung and bronchial congestion

Immuplex: Supports the immune system and helps to moderate the immune response.

The aims of these products are to reduce the immune response by the body, to improve the body’s immune system to have a normal response, and to decrease the toxic load on the body by improving elimination of toxins which allows for a reduced buildup of histamine causing allergy symptoms.

If you are suffering from allergies, there’s hope! Give our office a call to set up an appointment and let me test to see which product will help you the most!


Dr. Virginia S. Irby D.C.,DABCO, ACN

Cascade Chiropractic

2371 Iron Point Rd. Ste. 130

Folsom, CA 95630