Wellness Articles

Due to my ongoing illness, I have made the gut wrenching decision to retire from my full time practice and sell the clinic. It was the toughest, but most important decision I have had to make thus far in my life. My health and the health of my family has to remain my number one priority, so my last day in the clinic will be November 1, 2019.

Having said that, I have found the most amazing team to carry on the Vitality Clinic legacy and continue to provide the standard of care my patients have come to expect.

This decision was so hard for so many reasons….
1. I have created some of the most memorable and long standing relationships with patients over the last 18 years.
2. I LOVE providing care to patients knowing it will make a difference in their lives.
3. I have the BEST team to work alongside with; Lucas, Jenny, Rob, Clarissa, Natalie, and TJ. You inspire me and I have learnt so much from each and every one of you, both professionally and personally. I would be remiss if I didn’t include all the past practitioners who chose to work in the clinic and then went on to create their own legacies.
4. I love coming to work again because Bri and Christine make it fun again. Thank you, thank you, thank you for always having my back and working SO IMMENSELY hard to ensure we have smooth days! I love hearing about your lives and being able to be a small part of it.

Writing this I have tears streaming down my face… Vitality was the first “baby” I had and after 16 years, it’s now in its adolescence. I know it will continue to grow as the new owners have so many exciting and positive changes to look forward to.

I wish you all the very best and hope you never forget me, as I know I will never forget each and every one of you.

Smile, laugh, and love freely; life is too short!
Dr. Crysta Serné
Chiropractor and previous owner of Vitality Clinic

IV Therapy

When many people think of acupuncture, they think of needles and therapeutic techniques based on knowledge from over 2000 years ago. Mysterious, complex and ancient. What is less known is that over the last several decades, there have been interest not only in Asia, but all around the world in studying the efficacy and value of acupuncture in a scientific manner. Combined with new ideas and theories, modern research and integrating with other modalities, acupuncture has expanded and evolved.

One area where acupuncture has changed is the use of sterile injectable solutions into acupuncture points to treat chronic muscle pain. For acupoint injection, the acupuncture points selected often overlap with those found to be trigger points on persistently tight and painful muscles. The addition of specific sterile solutions into acupuncture points offer an enhanced effect of creating longer stimulation, nourishing local cells, and helping to calm down the pain response from chronically aggravated nerves. Often patients will feel the targeted muscle react to the needle puncture with a twitch response followed by a sensation of the muscle and affected areas relaxing or “releasing”. Myofascial trigger points (commonly known as “muscle knots”) were extensively researched by US physician, Dr Janet G. Travell, MD, and trigger points are used extensively in numerous pain treatment modalities, including acupuncture, massage therapy, physiotherapy, chiropractic medicine, and other muscle pain therapies*.

Prolotherapy is another form of injection therapy that strengthens weakened or damaged ligaments or tendons of joints. While it does not regenerate or connect completely severed ligaments or tendons, prolotherapy does encourage tissues to thicken and strengthen through the use of dextrose to elicit a healing response by the body. When a joint is unstable due to weak ligaments and tendons that are over-stretched or partially torn, there is often pain in the joint. By using prolotherapy to strengthen the tissues, the joint becomes more stable, and the pain would resolve as a result.

If you are experiencing persistent pain from tight muscles or painful joints from overuse or injury, acupoint injection and prolotherapy may offer you relief.

Please contact Clarissa directly at clow.vitality@gmail.com to see if acupoint injections and prolotherapy are right for you before booking your appointment. Not all patients are suited to use acupoint injection or prolotherapy.

Time to celebrate! Summer is JUST around the corner.
 Our days are about to be filled with all of the outdoor adventures and activities we’ve been waiting (oh so patiently) all year for! Especially in a city like Vancouver, summer is most definitely our busiest, most active, and social season. For most of us, this includes everything from beach days and patio drinks, to camping, paddleboarding, and all of the hiking.

Although the exposure to the sun and our good old friend Vitamin D energizes us both physically and mentally, we also need to be mindful of of properly feeling our bodies as well.

Yes, it’s wonderful that our days are so long and we can squeeze so many actives into a summer day, but sometimes we forget how important it is to stay nourished and hydrated.

It is a known fact that our bodies utilize and exert more energy during the summer months, therefore, we need to provide them with more energy as well! This means not only feeding your body a wide range of nourishing, nutrient dense foods but also consuming adequate amounts of water.

Incorporating hydrating foods into your daily summer diet is a smart, easy and convenient way to kill two birds with one stone. Many fruits and veggies that are abundantly available (and cheap :)) in summertime (think watermelons, cucumbers, and strawberries) all have a very high water content. They also prove our bodies with essential phytonutrients and vitamins that are crucial for thriving all summer long! On the same note, consuming foods high in Vitamin C can help protect your skin and body from sun damage and become more resilient to burns and heat. Citrus fruits, bell peppers and broccoli are all extremely high in antioxidants that are essential for our bodies to be able to function in higher temperatures and protect us from any free radical damage.

Our vibrant summer lifestyle can sometimes distract us from drinking adequate amounts of H2O (and no, sangria, wine and cocktails don’t count). Especially with the patios, BBQs and beach parties – we need to be aware of staying properly hydrated and supplementing for alcohol consumption. Aiming for at least 1.5 – 2 L of water during the summer heat will keep you energized, ensure your electrolytes are staying in balance, and will make your body feel better as a whole!

It’s no surprise that summertime is an absolute dream in this city of ours. Now let’s foster our health from the inside out so that we can enjoy all of the beauty Vancouver has to offer! Take care of your body, rest and slow down when needed, and eat good to feel good!

If you would like to speak more about nutrition, consider booking an appointment.

Have a great day,
Jennie Sokol, CNP

Where to begin….

Being derailed with an autoimmune disorder in November certainly presented me with some challenges.  I had to retrain myself how to eat, dress, write, and sometimes think.  I have been a “go” person since I was 10 years old; always trying to be one step ahead and being on top of everything.  Being forced to stop was entirely new to me! There were days when I would just sit on my couch and cry because I really had no clue what to do with my time. I felt so out of my element and quite sorry for myself, to be honest. However, when I was able to get into the correct headspace, I was able to reflect on the events that landed me in this foreign situation. It was actually quite cathartic and a real sense of peace enveloped me. I was finally able to understand the “big picture.”

I truly feel the world works in mysterious ways and this was it’s way of forcing me to slow down. Somehow it knew I had intentions of it, but was never really going to… simply because I didn’t know how to. I also learnt some very important lessons from my time off. Most importantly, how to find balance in my life. I realized with working as much as I was, I was losing a precious resource- time. Time I needed for me, my family, and for my friends.

The relationships I have developed with my patients are what draws me to work every day. I always look forward to hearing about your adventures, your relationships, and to know I am making a small difference in your health. It means the absolute world to me and I LOVE what I do. For this reason, I can’t imagine not being a Chiropractor!  Now that I am able to practice again, I will be decreasing my hours to enable me to spend time more time with my son.

Although this letter was initially intended for my patients, perhaps my story will resonate with anyone who struggles to find balance between their job and personal life. At the end of the day, we only have one life to live and I encourage you to find what brings you joy, puts a smile on your face, and peace in your heart.

Lastly, I wanted take a moment to give my heartfelt thanks for your patience, understanding, and unwavering support through this difficult time. I am grateful beyond words.

Thanks for listening,
Dr. Crysta Serné
Chiropractor and owner of Vitality Clinic

Probiotics. Have you been hearing that word everywhere? It’s because in the last few years, more and more research has come to highlight the importance of our gut bacteria and the role they play in our overall health, including our mental health.

Where do these bugs come from?

Your first exposure to healthy bacteria is at birth, as you emerge from the vaginal canal (given that you had a natural birth – in fact, it is common to see certain illnesses such as eczema and allergies in children who were born via C-section and did not have exposure to their mother’s vaginal flora). As you grow older and expose yourself to different environments and foods, the bacteria grow and diversify. In fact, the number of bacteria in your body outnumber your own cells! They are responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or balance, within your body and play a key role in immunity, digestion, and the nervous system.

How can something in the gut be related to the brain?

Hippocrates put it best when he stated that “All disease begins in the gut”. The connection starts with the vagus nerve, the longest cranial nerve that originates in the brain stem and extends down to your abdomen. It is this nerve that is stimulated when you feel anxious or nervous about an exam or a presentation and you get the sensation that there are ‘butterflies in your stomach’.

Depression and your gut

Certain bacteria have been shown to release chemical messengers that send messages to the brain through this nerve. In fact, specific strains of bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium infantis, produce serotonin through the conversion of tryptophan. Does serotonin sound familiar? It is known as one of the ‘happy hormones’ and is the target for many antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Depression is commonly seen as a ‘chemical imbalance’ therefore SSRIs are commonly prescribed to help correct that balance. They work by blocking the uptake of serotonin by receptors, so it is more available to your brain. However, did you know that 80-90% of serotonin is made in your gut? By focusing treatment on gut repair and replenishing the gut flora, significant changes can be seen in mood and depression scores.

The microbiome can be disrupted with antibiotic use, the standard Western diet (due to lack of food diversity), certain food allergens and external pathogens. All of these create havoc on the gut leading to either acute or chronic inflammation. With inflammation, the bacteria are not able to function properly and are not able to release the necessary chemical messengers to communicate with the brain thus you may be more susceptible to certain conditions such as depression.

How can we bring our bacteria back?

Probiotic supplementation, prebiotics, fermented foods, increased intake of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats and supplementation with gut healing products such as L-glutamine all play a role in helping create a balanced environment.

There are many different probiotic supplements on the market however sometimes certain strains are needed depending on what your body is going through. Consult with a naturopathic doctor to find an appropriate supplement regimen and an individualized diet plan to help you and your gut feeling it’s best!

** It is very important to keep in mind that depression can range from mild to major and sometimes antidepressants are necessary. Please consult with a naturopathic doctor or your healthcare provider if you are looking to add alternative therapies or wanting to come off your medication.

Have a great day,
Dr. Tejinder K. Ghag
Vancouver Naturopathic Physician

Health Tips Provided by Vancouver Chiropractor and Naturopath

If you’ve been dealing with any sort of period problems, you may have come across the condition PCOS. PCOS stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome and is one of the most common endocrine disorders in women of reproductive age. However, PCOS goes beyond just menstrual irregularities and is considered a multisystem hormonal and metabolic condition.

PCOS is an anovulatory condition, meaning you do not ovulate normally. With anovulation comes irregular menses and androgen excess, or an increase in male hormones such as testosterone.

What is happening during ovulation?

Normal ovaries contain multiples follicles and every month one follicle is chosen to become the dominant one. This follicle is then allowed to grow while suppressing the growth of all the other follicles. Influenced by the Luteinizing Hormone (LH), once the dominant follicle has reached its peak, it bursts and an egg is released. If ovulation is not reached, a dominant follicle is not formed, thus all follicles are allowed to grow a little and the result is multiple cysts on the ovaries.

So does this mean you have PCOS? No. It is a common misconception that in order to be diagnosed with PCOS you need to have multiple cysts on your ovaries, like the name suggests. This can only be seen via ultrasound. However, the presence of ovaries doesn’t always mean you have PCOS as ovarian health varies from month to month thus just because you have cysts one month does not mean you will have them the next month. In fact, it is normal for some healthy women to have polycystic ovaries; they are common during puberty.

PCOS can be broken down into 4 main types, with insulin resistant PCOS being the most common.

1. Insulin Resistant PCOS
2. Post-pill (birth control) PCOS,
3. Inflammatory PCOS and
4. Adrenal PCOS

How does insulin influence PCOS?

Insulin resistance can be caused by a variety of factors including high sugar and carb intake, stress, smoking, birth control, alcohol and lack of sleep, to name a few. Insulin resistance leads to higher levels of insulin in the blood which impairs normal ovulation and causes an increase in the production of testosterone. High levels of insulin also increases SHBG levels (sex hormone binding globulin) which is a protein that binds to sex hormones (such as testosterone) and keeps hormones inactive. When SHBG levels are low, free testosterone increases, meaning active testosterone is free to act on different organs in the body.

What tests should be done and what does PCOS look like?

Blood work and physical presentation are the best way to diagnose PCOS

Labs
– Fasting insulin
– 2-hour insulin glucose challenge test
– LH
– FSH
– Estradiol
– Progesterone
– Free testosterone
– SHBG

Further blood testing to assess thyroid and adrenal functions may be needed.

Signs and Symptoms

As mentioned, anovulation presents as irregular menses and androgen excess. These are two of the tell tale signs of PCOS and are required for the diagnosis of PCOS.

• Irregular menses – this can present as longer periods or later periods

• Androgen excess
⁃ Acne
⁃ Excess hair growth on chin, cheeks, belly, around nipples
⁃ Hair loss
⁃ Weight gain

• Infertility

Treatment

Due to the complexity of PCOS, treatment focuses on a whole-body approach and addressing the multiple causes that lead to insulin resistance and the results of prolonged insulin resistance. A variety of herbs and supplements, along with diet and lifestyle changes can be implemented to help treat PCOS.

Treating Androgen Access
– Zinc
– Berberine
– Paeonia lactiflora
– Glycyrrhiza glabra
– DIM
– Natural progesterone
– Ganoderma lucidum
– Saw palmetto
– Vitex agnus-castus

Treating insulin resistance
• Eliminate sugar and reduce carbs
• Exercise – weight training
• Eliminating birth control

If you are interested in speaking more about this to Dr. Tejinder Ghag, Naturopathic Physician please consider booking a Naturopath appointment in the clinic.

Enjoy your day,
Vitality Clinic

IV Therapy

IV Therapy, or intravenous therapy, is a great way to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to reset and recharge itself. This form of administration bypasses the digestive tract and provides instant absorption into the cells of the body. IV’s can be customized for your specific needs and are a great way to target a multitude of health concerns.

Dr. Ghag, Naturopathic Physician,  offers the following IV Drips at Vitality Clinic:
Meyers IV – Basic hydration IV to provide the body with Vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium and calcium

Defense IV – Loaded with Vitamin C and zinc, this IV is tailored to boost your immune system during cold/flu season, allergy season or times of high stress

Shine Bright Like A Diamond IV – Paired well with Microneedling and other aesthetic treatments, this IV is high in biotin and other amino acids needed to support collagen production and provides skin with a healthy glow

Burnout IV – Indicated for adrenal depletion, chronic stress and burn out. Helpful for temporary boost and for chronic support of adrenals, in addition to other treatments

Breathe Easy IV – Great for the winter months, this IV provides nutrients targeted towards healthy lung function

Healthy Aging IV – Rich in antioxidants, this IV provides support at the cellular level and promotes healthy cell functioning and removal of free radicals

PMS IV – It’s that time of the month and it’s not fun! With high dose magnesium to help with muscle relaxation, this IV works well a week before the start of your period

Jetlag/Hangover IV – Give your body the boost it needs to bounce back from that wild night or long days of traveling!

Tissue Healing & Injury Recovery IV – Paired well with neural therapy, acupuncture, massage and/or chiropractic treatment, this IV provides antioxidants and nutrients to help heal wounded tissue and speeds up the recovery process

Migraine Manager IV – Packed with magnesium and specific B vitamins, this IV can be used preventatively or to relieve the early symptoms of migraines

  • *New patients must book a consultation

If you have any questions, or would like to book an appointment please contact the clinic (reception@vitalityclinic.ca) or 604.687.7678

Enjoy your day,
The Vitality Clinic Team

*  IV Therapy is not suitable for all patients. To ensure this form of treatment is for you, book a consult with Dr. Ghag.

Achieve Optimal Wellness

By taking full advantage of the medical services plan and/or your own extended health benefits, you have the possibility of enjoying life to its fullest.

Get In Touch