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Next to Normal... Many of us will not consider ourselves to be “normal” individuals. I’ve known since the 5th grade I’m not part of “the norm” when Mrs. Mitchell told me to stop singing Fleetwood Mac songs at the top of my lungs in the bathroom when she was trying to teach a math lesson. (But who can resist Stevie Nicks?) So if we don’t consider ourselves to be normal, why do we let symptoms such as high blood pressure, joint pain, or digestive problems fall into the category of “normal” for us? Is it because we feel that we don’t have enough time to whole- heartedly take care of ourselves? Or because we consider the “average” level of health to be “normal?” Average and normal are used interchangeably in everyday conversation, but not rightfully so. These words can be used as nouns, adjectives, or verbs, and they may be used in different contexts. “Average” may be used in mathematics to find a number to represent the middle of a group of numbers. It may also be used to describe a central tendency, that is, what is most common over a period of time across a large set of data. Therefore, just because an average is proven to be the average, does not mean you have to accept it as your average.     By golly Watson, you’ve got it! Now think of the word “normal.” Normal may be used as an adjective or noun, and is used in various areas of study such as Statistics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, etc. Where is “normal” used most? In place of “average.” But these words do not mean the same thing! Normal may be used to say what is an expected form or condition. It may also be used to describe what is usual according to the laws of nature. How can we interchangeably use these two words to describe our body or selves when one word describes the measure of something and the other describes what is usual according to the laws of nature? Applying a mathematical noun to a human being  is confusing to a society that holds superiority in such vitality. No one wants to be below average or next to normal. Why not? Being below an average or next to a normal may be beneficial, it is dependent on the individual and their typical environment or stressors. Temperature, blood pressure, pulse, weight, and cholesterol are all important and have a “normal” that is specific to each individual and their environment. They are things that have been measured over time and compared to many other people. And from these comparisons averages are contained. While averages might be helpful, they allow doctors to run the risk of treating you as a mechanism and without intelligence. Your body is vitalistic and does have innate intelligence. It knows how to adapt to its environment. So elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, a fever, chronic back pain, or weight gain are really not in themselves diagnoses or even the health problems. They are signals that the body is adapting to something. And while the adaptation may not be healthy, such symptoms open the door for detective work as to what is really occurring in that individuals “normal” diet, lifestyle, or environment. It is not normal to be average, nor is it average to be normal. It is, however, normal for your body to adapt to its environment and the activities it is put through day after day. Be aware of your body! It speaks to you. If you acknowledge that the body is intelligent, it is easier to allow “average” and “normal” to fade to the background and let total-body health and wellness move to the forefront of your life.
BELMONT CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC
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Friday, April 8th, 2015 The Forgotten History of Mother’s Day: A Celebration of Health Activism I’ve celebrated Mother’s Day for over thirty years, but I’d never once given a thought to how the holiday started. Part of me always wondered if it was secretly invented by Hallmark as a way to sell greeting cards. As it turns out, the truth is far more intriguing… especially for those of us who are committed to the health of our families and our communities. Mothers and motherhood have been celebrated in many different ways by many different cultures across the centuries. The modern version of Mother’s Day, however, began in the United States just over a century ago. Local observances, often led by reformers from the temperance and abolitionist movements, were held during the 1870s and the 1880s. However, the national celebration that we now know as Mother’s Day came about thanks to the concentrated efforts of Anna Jarvis. In May of 1908, Anna Marie Jarvis held a memorial for her own mother in Grafton, West Virginia. She went on to launch a national and international campaign to make the day a formally recognized holiday. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation naming the second Sunday in May a national holiday: Mother’s Day. Anna’s desire was to celebrate her own mother’s legacy and encourage all Americans to set aside a day to celebrate and honor “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”1 And, I have to say, Anna had plenty of reasons to celebrate her mother’s life and legacy. Anna’s mother, Ann Marie Reeves, was the daughter of a Methodist minister. In 1850, she married Granville Jarvis, the son of a Baptist minister. The couple moved to the Appalachian mountains of Western Virginia where Ann Marie gave birth to twelve children. Sadly, due to the recurrent epidemics of typhoid, measles and diphtheria that swept through the Appalachian communities, only four of her children survived to adulthood. Ann Marie Reeves, however, was a natural activist. Her personal grief at losing so many of her children in infancy inspired her to become a determined crusader for public health. As early as 1858, Ann Marie was working in her own community and surrounding communities to organize Mother’s Day Work Clubs. Mother’s Day Work Clubs, which were based in local churches of all denominations, brought together women in the church community to work together for the greater public. The clubs worked diligently to improve the health and sanitary conditions in their communities. Club members would visit local families to provide information and education on sanitation, nutrition and overall health. The clubs also raised money to help families who needed assistance covering medical costs. These women even worked together to provide household help for mothers suffering from tuberculosis and other illnesses.2 During the Civil War, the mission of the Mother’s Day Work Clubs evolved, as members turned their efforts to caring for the many soldiers wounded in the fighting that raged across the mountains during the first years of the war. Tensions were particularly high in the Appalachian mountains of Western Virginia, as communities and even families were divided in their support for either the Union or the Confederacy. Ann Marie’s leadership was an important part of the decision of the Mother’s Day Work Clubs to remain neutral during the conflict, despite significant pressure to take sides. Local Mother’s Day Work Clubs provided food and clothing to soldiers from both sides that were stationed in the area. These local women nursed soldiers in the military camps of both armies when outbreaks of typhoid fever and measles swept through the camps. Even after the Civil War ended, the clubs continued to take an active part in promoting peace and reconciliation in their war- torn communities. In 1868, despite threats of violence, club members held a Mother’s Day of Friendship for veterans from both sides of the conflict.3 The women arranged for the band to play first the confederate ballad “Dixie,” then the Union’s “Star Spangled Banner” and ended with the entire community joining together to sing “Auld Lang Syne.” Given her mother’s incredible work, I’m hardly surprised that Anna decided it was important to publicly celebrate the incredible women who have cared, nurtured and inspired us. What does surprise me is that I’d never heard the story of this incredible woman. In the 100 years since Anna began working to make Mother’s Day a national holiday the holiday has changed – and in ways that Anna herself didn’t appreciate. Anna had envisioned mother’s day as a time to recognize and celebrate the incredible work that mothers do – both in caring for their own children but also caring for the community at large. She was extremely upset at how the holiday was co-opted by candy and greeting card companies. In 1923, she even crashed a candy-makers’ convention in Philadelphia to protest the commercialization of the holiday she had started.4 Mother’s Day has certainly become over-commercialized, much to Anna Jarvis’s chagrin, and sometimes seems to be more to the benefit of Hershey’s and Hallmark than mothers. But it’s still kind and thoughtful to send your mother a loving message or give her a gift to show your love and appreciation on her special day. Reference: The Gerson Institute. (May 6, 2015). The Forgotten History of Mother's Day. Retrieved from http://gerson.org/gerpress/the- forgotten-history-of-mothers-day-health-activism/
BELMONT CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC