Thinking about a yoga retreat in India?

I have just returned from an amazing yoga and ayurveda retreat (yes that’s right, sometimes we do practice what we preach) in beautiful Kerala, India and I would thoroughly recommend this place http://www.ayushkamy.com to anyone thinking of going. I planned to go for 5 days and ended up staying for 10 because I loved it so much!

Ayushkami

The fabulous team that run it are clearly so passionate about what they do and make you feel totally cared for while you are there. This included fantastic massages, arranging the ayurvedic doctor, cooking the healing ayurvedic Kerelan food, to removing the odd creepy crawly from my bathroom.

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It is without doubt the most beautiful place I have ever done yoga, over looking the backwaters, with eagles flying overhead and having a drink just metres from us, squirrels running around and even the dogs (Ayush and Kamy) joining in our yoga session. I fell out of many a yoga pose while being distracted by the wildlife.

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Not a bad place to be upside down :o). Big thanks to everyone at AyushKamy for such an inspiring time, keep up the great work!

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Are you in need of an MOT for your body and mind?

1 Osteopathy / 1 Massage / 1 Private Session / 5 x Classes: £335

With only a quarter before the end of 2015: are you where you wanted to be in terms of health and fitness?

“If not: the Tranquility MOT might just be the answer for you!”

Start off by having your posture assesed and realigned by one of our osteopaths. Then take a private session with one of our instructors (Gyrotonic or Pilates). You might then take a class or 2 before having a massage to help detox the body and bring in the new you!

Osteopathy, private session & massge treatments are organised around your schedule as much as possible. The 5 classes are scheduled to our class timetable. Classes include Pilates (mat or machine based), Yoga andGyrokinesis.

Cost: £335
To book: contact us. 

Tranquility: “over 10 years of understanding bodies for a better way of life…”

The benefits of baking with coconut flour and some yummy recipes!

coconut flourCoconut flour is high in protein and fibre, low in carbohydrates and has a great texture and appealing sweetness, since organic coconut flour contains natural sugar. Coconut flour is fibre from the coconut meat after the oil has been extracted. Many people are wheat intolerant or simply prefer alternatives to wheat flour.  Coconut flour provides an excellent alternative to wheat flour for baking and cooking. In addition, other products of the coconut such as oil and milk help to reduce weight, aid healing and are delicious in recipes.

There are outstanding health benefits from unrefined coconut oil. Naturopathic practitioner Dr Bruce Fife describes it as “the healthiest oil on earth” as it facilitates the absorption of key nutrients by the body. It helps the body absorb calcium and magnesium, necessary for the development of bones and teeth. The medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil not only are beneficial for general health, but may also help those who are trying to lose weight. It has even been found to help prevent those addicted to nicotine.

Banana coconut muffin recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup organic coconut flour

6 organic free range eggs

2 ripe bananas (mashed)

4 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons coconut milk

3 tablespoons raw honey

1 teaspoon aluminium free baking powder

pinch sea salt

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs gradually then add milk, honey, coconut oil, butter,  vanilla and salt. Add the coconut flour, baking powder and mashed bananas. Grease 12 muffin cups with coconut oil. Fill greased muffin cups with the batter. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes.

Almond and coconut oil scones

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup date sugar or 5 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 free range eggs

1 cup chopped apricots

1 cup chopped almonds

1 cup dried, shredded coconut

Method:

Preheat oven to 330 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix dry ingredients. Stir in wet ingredients. Stir in apricots, almonds and coconut then shape scones into small rounds. Bake on parchment paper line sheet pan for 15 – 20 minutes, keeping a close eye on them.

Coconut Blueberry Muffins

1 cup of coconut flour

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1/4 tsp of sea salt

5 free-range eggs

1/2 cup coconut butter (or oil)

1 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 cup almond milk

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions:

  1. Mix 1/2 cup of almond milk with chia seeds and set it aside for 30 minutes. 2. Combine coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, sea salt, vanilla, and coconut sugar and mix well. 3. Add eggs, coconut butter, chia seeds (the texture should be thick) and the rest of almond milk. 4. Blend in the frozen blueberries by hand, being careful not to crush the blueberries. 5. Pour this batter into paper muffin liners that you’ve placed in a muffin baking pan. Fill them completely. 6. Bake the muffins at 350 degrees (F) for 35 – 40 minutes, or until they are golden brown on the outside and completely cooked on the inside. Enjoy!

Coconut Flour Biscuits

1⁄3 cup Coconut Flour

5 TBSP Butter or Coconut Oil, softened but not melted

4 eggs

2 TBSP honey (optional)

dash of salt

1⁄2 tsp baking powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 2. Put all ingredients into medium sized bowl and mix well with immersion blender or hand mixer until well incorporated. 3. Using your hands, carefully form into nine small balls and mash each one down with a spoon to make it about 1⁄2 inch thick. 4. Bake for 12-15 minutes until just starting to brown.

For lots more yummy recipes check out FreeCoconutRecipes.com

Who knew that staying hydrated could have so many health and beauty benefits?

Throughout your life you’ve been told to drink more water for better health and in truth it is the healthiest thing you can drink.

– It lowers blood pressure

– Improves type 2 diabetes

– Helps you lose weight

– Boosts your energy level

– Reduces the risk of several types of cancers

– Boosts your brain power and decreases risk of dementia

– Tackles stress

…and SO much more!

Here are many reasons to replace all other beverages with water, dump the rest and drink the best! Here are a multitude of reasons to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day:

1. Life cannot exist without water!

2. Over 75% of your body and 85% of your brain is made up of water and you can only live for about four days without it. Life would not exist if there was no water and that is why we should always be adding water to our bodies.

3. To function properly, every single cell and organ in your body needs water.

4. Most people lose about 8 cups of water a day through sweating, exhaling, urinating, and bowel movements, so it needs to be replaced!

5. Your immune system works much better if you drink the right amount of water your body needs, and you will feel healthier and stronger.

6. Drinking none or too little water can leave the body’s cells dehydrated, weak and unable to attack diseases. This is called Chronic Cellular Dehydration.

7. Studies have proven that people who drink more than five glasses of water a day are 40% less likely to die from a heart attack.

8. Drinking more water can reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50 percent. Recent studies have proven that men who drink a very high amount of water reduce their risk of bladder cancer. The studies show that the risk of bladder cancer is reduced by 7% for every 240 ml of water that was added. Good hydration reduces the risk of breast cancer. The risk of colon cancer can be minimized by 45% by hydrating well.

9. Studies prove that women who drink more than five glasses of water a day rather than two or less are about 40% less likely to die from disease- and it has an even bigger impact on men.

10. The risk of Alzheimer’s as well as atherosclerosis can be decreased by drinking enough water throughout our lifetimes.

11. Water minimizes the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

12. Studies have shown that drinking water can help minimize the risk of glaucoma.

13. Water severely reduces the risk of lymphoma and leukaemia.

14. Stomach acid problems can be healed with proper hydration. When you try to treat heartburn with different pills it can eventually create cancer in the liver and pancreas. Drinking enough water every day is less risky and works better in the long term. It has been scientifically proven that the risk of heartburn is reduced and heartburn can be healed by drinking a good amount of water on a daily basis.

15. When it is really hot and sunny the cooling effect on our body is the result of the evaporation of our sweat. When this happens if there is too little water in your body then your body temperature will increase. This can lead to sunstroke, so the risk of sunstroke can be reduced by drinking water.

16. The destruction of DNA can be prevented with proper hydration.

17. Water cleanses the metabolic system, and it comes out in the form of urine and sweat. Think of it as a detoxifying agent. Drinking water gets rid of toxins from your kidneys and bowels. If you are dehydrated, toxins will clog your system, slow down the function of your kidneys and bowels and make you feel drowsy or even sick.

18. Water helps remove excess nitrogen, urea and ketone’s, so it is really important to hydrate when following a high protein diet.

19. Oxygen in the bloodstream is much higher when you are well hydrated. So it’s very important for overall blood circulation. Because the oxygen level is higher, you will feel much more energetic. With increased oxygen levels, your body burns more fat.

20. Hydrating well minimizes the incidence of arthritis, colitis and back pain.

21. It has been said that drinking water can help create moisture in the air in your lungs.

22. Drinking a healthy amount of water for a long period of time reduces Migraines. There are many reasons for headaches, but dehydration is one of the most common.

23. Good hydration reduces menopausal hot flashes.

24. Hydrating well helps keep morning sickness from happening during pregnancy.

25. Water, along with fiber, can help relieve constipation. Water can reduce bloating. Changing your diet isn’t really necessary unless your bloating is severe, but proper hydration reduces the pain and swelling.

26. Drinking a glass of water before drinking a glass of alcohol will reduce the risk of hangover the next day. BUT why not just avoid Alcohol it is poisonous to the body!

27. Proper hydration can reduce a fever and get rid of mucus. It can even replace medicine! That is why it is essential to drink lots of water while you’re ill.

28. Drinking water can minimize pain that your body feels by activating your lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a collection of nodes, tubes, vessels, and fluid that remove the waste from your tissues. You need to drink water for this to happen. Water helps to detoxify your body through the lymphatic system, kidneys,and intestines.

29. Proper hydration reduces the risk of kidney stones forming.

30. Drinking water lubricates your joints and helps stop arthritis and other joint pain. It protects against serious damage in the long term.

31. Muscle cramping and fatigue during exercise is a caused by dehydration.

32. Dehydration reduces protein synthesis. Protein synthesis builds muscle. When this happens, fewer calories form proteins and more calories end up in your fat stores. End results: less muscles, more fat.

33. Your spinal discs take in much more water if you are well hydrated. This can drastically reduce back pain.

34. Water helps the body metabolize stored fat. Studies have shown that when you stop drinking water it will causes fat to store up. Drinking enough water, on the other, hand reduces fat storage. Water helps your metabolism work more efficiently if you’re overweight.

35. According to recent studies, one glass of water helps to keep you from getting up in the middle of the night for a midnight snack.

36. 37% of people often mistake hunger for thirst. Drinking the right amount of water controls your weight by preventing you from confusing hunger with thirst.

37. Drinking one or two glasses of water before eating a meal fills you up so you eat less.

38. You need to hydrate more to keep your kidneys working well.

39. Dehydration doesn’t just occur during the summer. It happens frequently during the winter.

40. Science has proven that drinking water lowers LDL or bad cholesterol levels.

41. Drinking water helps the body’s cooling system work well. Studies reveal that during exercise, water is much better than sports drinks or juices. When exercising you should be drinking water before, during and after exercise. When you are dehydrated it makes it harder to move and it slows you down. Drinking a good amount of water will help your muscles recover and stay healthy.

42. Cramps and sprains can be severely decreased with good hydration.

43. Dehydration can cause poor nutrient absorption, digestion and even severe chemical reactions.

44. Water helps absorb many important nutrients and minerals such as salt. In order to get the very best out of all the nutrients you need to drink enough water.

45. Studies have shown that water helps dissolve solids so with sufficient water your intestines and stomach have a much easier time digesting your food.

46. Billions of gallons of calorie-filled drinks are consumed every year. There would be a major impact on the nation’s health by replacing them with water.

47. Water suppresses appetite. Water is calorie-free, so it makes you feel like you are full, which decreases your appetite and reduces your overall calorie intake.

48. Other drinks such as milk, fizzy drinks, coffee, etc. can increase the risk of heart attack or heart diseases so it’s better to replace them with water.

49. Water (except shop-bought water) is very inexpensive. Drinking from the tap will save you money as opposed to having to buy other drinks like juices and sodas, ensure you have good quality drinking water.

50. Buying bottled water always costs less than any other drinks, and you can most often buy it in bulk for a cheaper price.

51. Those who are addicted to caffeine and even alcohol can drink more water to help them deal with these addictions.

52. Your bones are made of more than 55% water and that is why you need to drink water to make new and healthy bone cells.

53. During dehydration your body tries to adjust by drawing water from blood vessels to reduce the loss of water elsewhere, but it can increase blood pressure. To keep this from happening, you need to drink the right amount of water. When you don’t drink enough water the water from your blood stream is taken away by the tissues and cells and the volume of the blood flow diminishes. When this happens the heart works too hard – inducing hypertension- which can lead to heart disease. Drinking water will prevent this from happening.

54. Drinking more than five glasses of water a day will protect your body against high blood sugar levels. This helps improve and even cure type 2 diabetes.

55. Water helps improve electrical function so your brain and nervous system work properly.

56. Science has proven that your brain makes about the same amount of electricity as a 60 watt light bulb, and hydration is the key to help it function properly.

57. Dehydration is the biggest reason for daytime fatigue. Studies have shown that a 2% drop in body water will create short-term memory loss and trouble with simple math and focus.

58. To improve cognitive performance by about 30%, drink about eight to ten cups of water every day. Drinking more water will help your brain function at optimal levels. That is why it is so important to have a water bottle with you at any place where you need to learn and study.

59. While your mind may react to caffeine in the morning because it is a stimulant, water helps the rest of your body get moving. It begins by helping to ease dry mouth and goes on to work the magic of flow throughout your system.

60. Studies have proven that dehydration makes you feel confused, moody and angry, so drinking more water will help you stay in a better mood.

61. As little as one to two percent of dehydration in the body can steal your energy and make you feel tired or even sick.

62. Failure to drink enough water can cause muscle weakness, dizziness and fatigue.

63. Drinking water relieves anxiety and stress and even reduces depression.

64. Good hydration throughout the day helps you fall asleep more easily at night and can cure insomnia.

65. As little as 3% of dehydration can cause stress hormones to be released.

66. All the hormones created throughout your body need water to function.

67. When you are dehydrated your old skin cells make your skin look saggy and wrinkly. When your body sweats after drinking water, it clarifies your skin and leaves it in good condition. Water helps reduce dryness all around your body, including your skin. In just about two weeks of proper hydration (after being dehydrated) your skin will glow beautifully. Drinking a healthy amount of water will, in time, brighten up your face and remove dark circles, pores and acne.

68. Drinking water can, after a certain amount of time, give you shiny and soft hair and get rid of dry and split ends. Drinking lots of water can help your hair grow much faster! Dehydration can make your natural hair colour fade out a bit, so hydrate well and your colour will be bolder and more beautiful.

69. Drinking a good amount of water every day helps you achieve beautiful looking, healthy and strong nails. Hydrating well will make your nails grow faster.

70. To keep your teeth beautiful and healthy drink plenty of water. When dehydrated, your mouth can get very dry because it is not creating enough salvia. This can lead to destructive bacteria in your mouth and bad breath. Drinking water will make your teeth really strong, which will help you chew your food more easily. Sports drinks, apple juice, sodas- even milk- rot your teeth. Water is the only liquid that actively prevents tooth decay.

WATER IS WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS TO BE HEALTHY!

If you are chronically dehydrated then start slowly sipping body temperature water and build up quantity slowly – it is not advisable to drink too much too quickly as this will put pressure on your kidneys. Quality of water is important, water from the tap although better than none is chemically cleaned and therefore lacking in bio-availability. Get a Wellness Water Carafe from sortlifeout.co.uk or a BioCera water jug which is available online from Amazon, this will provide mineral rich alkaline water. Carry a water bottle with you to ensure that you always have a means of hydration on hand. Bobble is a bottle that filters as you drink, also available online.

Written by Fiona Milligan – Vital Detox, http://www.vitaldetox.com

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage 

lymphatic-drainage

Lymphoedema is a chronic (long-term) condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissue.This can lead to pain and a loss of mobility. Lymphoedema usually affects the arms or legs, although in some cases there may be swelling in the chest, head or genitals. Lymphoedema is caused by damage or disruption to the lymphatic system. It is frequently distressing, can be debilitating and is often uncomfortable and painful.

There are two main types of lymphoedema

Primary lymphoedema – which develops at birth or shortly after puberty and is caused by faulty genes.
Secondary lymphoedema – caused by damage to the lymphatic system as a result of an infection, injury, trauma, or cancer. It often develops as a side effect of cancer treatment. Surgery is often necessary to remove lymph glands to prevent a cancer from spreading, this can damage the lymphatic system.
What is manual lymphatic drainage?

This is a slow relaxing treatment where the fingers and hands move in gentle light-touch subtle movements activating the lymph and interstitial fluid circulation. The complete body can be treated and this is excellent for fluid retention and relaxation as the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated.Specific areas of the body can also be drained according to the condition being treated. All MLD techniques have specific similarities in that the fingers and hands move the skin in rhythmic movements encouraging the lymphatic vessels to contract in a more organised way. Repetitive light movements are used and these are adjusted according to the type of tissue being worked.

Who could benefit from Manual Lymphatic Drainage?

Manual Lymphatic Drainage can be of great benefit for lymphodemas caused by surgery where lymph nodes or lymph vessels have been removed for example during the removal of carcinomas. During the healing stages after various cosmetic surgeries such as abdominoplasty or liposuction, MLD can increase the healing rate of the area and thus increase the speed with which the client can resume a normal life.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is often used by patients with conditions such as:

  • Fluid retention
  • Aching limbs
  • Oedema
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) & fibromyalgia
  • Assisting with weight loss
  • Alleviation of Adipose (fat) and Cellulite tissue
  • Immune system support
  • Tiredness
  • Sprains
  • Arthritis
  • After Liposuction Abdominoplasty Cosmetic Surgery
  • Headaches & Migraine
  • Relaxation to aid insomnia, stress, loss of vitality along with poor memory
  • Aesthetic
  • Reducing cellulite and as a regular treatment to maintain improvement

What is the aim of treatment?

The aim of treatment for lymphoedema with Manual Lymphatic Drainage is to relieve discomfort, improve function by reducing swelling and to prevent further build-up of fluid.

A lot can be done to manage lymphoedema, but it is a long-term problem. Although the swelling can usually be reduced, there is always a risk of it coming back. It may take several weeks or months before you notice any real improvement, but with treatment the affected part of the body should become less swollen, easier to move and less uncomfortable.

Lymphoedema after cancer treatment?

The most common areas for lymphoedema to occur after cancer treatment are:

  • in the arm after breast cancer treatment to the armpit
  • in the leg if cancer or its treatment affects nodes in the groin area or the pelvis.

The affected arm or leg may become swollen, stiff, uncomfortable and awkward to move, making it difficult to do daily activities, such as dressing or washing. Lymphoedema can develop weeks, months or even years after cancer treatment and it is difficult to know who will be affected or how bad the lymphoedema will be.

Rock Taping for lymphoedema

This involves skilled application of thin strips of specialist elastic tape over and nearby the area of swelling. The strips of tape follow the course of the lymphatic vessels and aid the return of the excess fluid back to the circulation. Rock-taping can be used to supplement Manual Lymphatic Drainage in the treatment of lymphoedema

Lower Back Pain

Lower Back PainTrouble with your lower back does not simply produce pain in the back.

lower-back-pain

Often it may cause symptoms in more remote areas such as the buttocks, groin, hips, and legs (commonly called sciatica). Problems in the spine and neck can also cause symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, clicking jaw, pins and needles and many more. Indeed research has shown that problems related to the back may affect over 60% of the UK’s population at some stage in their lives.

Osteopaths are trained professionals who are skilled in diagnosing problems, including those which may require further investigation if necessary. Around 30,000 people currently consult osteopaths every working day with more than seven million consultations carried out every year (General Osteopathic Council).

NICE (the National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidelines recommend manipulative therapies including osteopathy for the treatment of low back pain.

Osteopaths use a wide range of gentle manipulations, depending on your age, fitness
and diagnosis.

Treatment is different for every patient but may include techniques such as:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • joint articulation to release tension
  • muscle stretches to help relieve pain and mobilise your joints.
  • Manipulation/adjustments. Sometimes, when we move joints you may hear a ‘click’. This is just like the click people get when they crack their knuckles.

Keeping a healthy spine and joints:

When young, the body can adapt easily to the stress and strain it is put under. As it grows older (over 25 years!) it begins to lose some of the elasticity which gives the body the flexibility to cope and adapt. In particular this applies to the discs between the vertebrae and the joint cartilage. These require regular movement to ensure their maximum range and thereby increase local circulation and nutrition to the surrounding fluids and tissues.

10 top tips for back care:

1. Keep moving and stretching
2. Take regular exercise
3. Take frequent breaks between repetitive tasks and vary the rhythm
4. Change position – avoid ‘computer hump’
5. Pace yourself when the work is heavy e.g. gardening
6. Adjust car seats, and on long journeys, have breaks and stretch
7. Watch children’s posture – don’t let them carry bags on one shoulder
8. Avoid strain when lifting especially when shopping and with small children
9. Is your bed the right bed or is it getting old?
10. Seek osteopathic advice earlier rather than later

Headaches

Headaches and migraines are common health problems      

which few people realise can be treated by your osteopath.  headache

Headaches are often the result of structural problems with joints, muscles or other tissues related to the head and neck. Our osteopaths will diagnose and correct any structural problems as well as advising you on how to manage other aggravating factors such as stress and tension.

If your headache is the result of conditions such as high blood pressure, neurological problems or disease your osteopath will be able to direct you to the appropriate health practitioner to address that condition.

Treatment of patients with headaches takes a whole body approach. A combination of soft tissue techniques, articulation, manipulation, stretching and gentle cranial Osteopathy plus advice on stretching exercise and correct posture and seating positions.

Cervacogenic Headache (normally originates from the neck)

They usually start with an ache on the base of the head or top of the neck and within hours it advances over the top of the head. Other symptoms will be pain behind one or both eyes and usually worsens at the day progresses being improved by lying down or sleeping. If severe might trigger migraine symptoms of nausea, photophobia or vomiting.

  • The causes are often a combination of poor seating postures, week abdominals, long hours in front of a computer and stressful status as well as:
  • Tightness of the muscular attachments from Cervical or Thoracic Spine to the periosteum of the occiput
  • Restricted Facet joints in the cervical spine
  • Restricted function of the Cervical or Thoracic Spine
  • Restriction of blood supply
  • Poor venous drainage from the Iintracranium
  • Dural restrictions within the Cervical Spine and internal cranium
  • Restricted function of the joints of the various yet distinct 29 bones of the skull

 

Migraine
Osteopathic treatment in conjunction with stress management and control of trigger has proven to be very efficient treatment to migraine.

It’s a recurring head pain due to changes in the brain and surround vasculature that can be moderate to severe throbbing or pulsatile, unilateral and localized that builds up over a period of 1-2 hours, progressing posteriorly and becoming diffuse.

There are many theories suggested but the most common are the blood vessels that deliver blood to the brain contracts due to dysfunction in hormones/chemical causing it to dilate. This forces blood into the head faster than it can drain out, causing pressure on the brain and a release of certain chemicals and lots of pain.

There are 2 main types:

Migraine with auras (20% of the population): precedes a migraine and are usually followed by headache within one hour.

Migraine without aura (80% of the population).

Other symptoms are:

  • nausea (80%) and vomiting (50%)
  • photophobia (distress to light) and/or
  • Phonophobia (distress to noises).

It affects females more than males and symptoms usually first present at puberty. There is a genetic predisposition that runs in families and it is associated with a perfectionist or high strung personalities.

There is usually some “triggering factor”:

  • stress or when a stressful event is over
  • hormonal changes like menstruation or PMS, puberty, menopause
  • fasting, missed meals, heavy sugar intake
  • foods: cheese, red wine, nuts, chocolate, citrus juice, coffee, tea, alcohol
  • food or seasonal allergies
  • medications – oestrogen or nitro-glycerine (vasodilator).
  • Normally there is some facial and neck muscle tightness and a reduced range of movement the neck with some neck dysfunction as well.

Treatment:

Osteopathic treatment in conjunction with stress management and control of trigger has proven to be very efficient treatment to migraine.

Core Stability

What is Core Stability?

anatomy belly

The term ‘corestability’ is used to describe the body’s ability to stabilise the spine and to balance the workload between the deep and superficial muscles of the trunk. The muscles that stabilize, align and move the trunk are predominantly; the abdominals, the back muscles and pelvic floor.

The ‘core’ muscles operate at an unconscious level in healthy individuals to protect and stabilize the joints before movement occurs. Good core stability is using the right muscles at the right time at the right intensity to control the trunk appropriately for the task at hand. The muscles of the back/trunk are either:

Stabilisers: local/close to the spine.
Attach directly into the lumbar spine at each level
Turn on before you move to support the spine and pelvis
Turn on and stay on as you move Work at a low intensity and stay on for long periods of time
Work independently of the global movement muscles

The stabiliser muscles include; Transversus Abdominus (TA), multifidus (MF), Internal Oblique (IO) and the pelvic floor muscles. The co contraction of these muscles help to stabilise the lumbar spine (low back).
Mobilisers: global/further away from the spine and usually spread over multiple joints.
Global muscles are very important for movement of the limbs and trunk. Their job is to move the body. They generate a lot of force, move the body then relax.
Dysfunction: From the first episode of back pain the deep stabilisers change how they function. The spine and pelvis are no longer protected by the deep stabilisers as well as they should be. The deep stabilisers now:

Have delayed activation, turning on after you start to move
Turn on and off as you move – working as the global muscles work rather than all the time
Work in short bursts rather than staying on as you move

When the deep stabilisers don’t work well to stabilise the spine, the brain recruits the global muscles to compensate. Pain around the lower back and pelvis or groin often results from these compensatory strategies. Treating the painful areas often only gives short term relief. To treat the pain effectively you need to stop the reason why the compensations occur by improving the deep stabiliser muscles.
Assessment: Assessing and treating issues with core stability involves assessing both the local and global systems. It is important to find what is underactive, what is overactive and make the muscles function more normally. Generally there is a deficit in the local system that needs to be improved and the subsequent compensatory strategies of the global muscles reduced. It is this reduction in the compensatory strategies that will generally make you feel better.

Treatment: Practitioners at The Back and Body Clinic have had extensive postgraduate training aimed both at using manual techniques and also teaching specific exercises to help retrain optimal use of the core muscles. This is an important part of treatment/ rehabilitation and goes hand in hand with other pain relieving techniques.

Core stability training begins with learning to activate the stabiliser muscles effectively. Exercises can then be built on this foundation and progressed as appropriate. Core stability exercises can be progressed by either attending Pilates classes or through our prescribed exercises. Progressive exercises may include using a gym ball or other equipment. Ultimately it is important to carry out core exercises that are functional to transfer to everyday activities in order to try to reduce pain and increase function.

Shoulder impingement

Shoulder Impingement
(Synonym of non-specific shoulder pain)

shoulder pain

We see a lot of painful shoulders in clinic and many cases are due to impingement,of the muscles or the bursa (sac like with fluid) in the shoulder joint.

Definition:
It’s a repeated irritation or pinching of the rotator cuff tendons of your shoulder (quite often supraspinatus) or the bursa as they pass inside the shoulder joint. Sometimes the biceps can be involved  as well.

Symptoms:
• Previous episodes of shoulder pain
• Tenderness on the front of the shoulder
• Pain on the side of the arm that could go as far as the elbow
• Pain  could be worse at night and aggravated by a firm mattress
• Could have some crepitus or snapping

Risks factors:
• Repetitive overhead activities at work or in sports. E.g.: painters, sheet rockers, basketball, football, tennis, swimming, water polo, weight lifting.
• Rotator cuff strain
• Muscle imbalance. E.g.: weakness in lower trapezius, serratus anterior and levator scapulae muscles.
• Forward shoulder posture
• Poor physical condition or inadequate warm up
• Neck problems can alter the joint mechanics.
• Arthritis of the AC joint (acromion-clavicular)

shoulder impingement

Treatment and management
• Rest
• Ice
• Protect the joint avoiding overhead or painful activities
• See your osteopath to have some spinal and scapular manipulation and mobilization.
• Start doing some pendulum exercises
• If very severe have a short rest for the period of 48 to 72 hours
• After the acute period (2 weeks) you can start some stretching and strengthening exercises prescribed by your osteopath or physiotherapist.

Nutrition:
• Vitamin C and Calcium:
It’s a tissue healing support.

• Bromalian:
It’s a natural anti-inflammatory. You should take between 5 to 14 days between your meals. Do not take if you have ulcer.

 

 

 

*Notes taken from the book ‘Conditions Manual’ 3rd Edition, Dr. Michael Carnes & Dr. Nikita Vizniak

Zinc—One of the Best Supplements to Help Fight Cold and Flu

Now that daylight is waning, cold and flu bugs are ready to jump on any warm body not armed with a strong immune system. With so many novel herbs and supplements on the market, it’s easy to lose sight of the basics for robust immune defenses.

One of those is the trace element zinc. Your body needs zinc every day in just the right amount, because too much can be as harmful as too little. Your body has no way to store zinc, so it depends on a daily supply through diet. Zinc is important for a number of life-sustaining functions, including:

Strong immunity
Important component of the enzymes involved in tissue remodeling and prevention of cancer
Maintenance of your mood, mental clarity and restorative sleep
Prostate and intestinal health
Senses of taste and smell
Zinc is a constituent of at least 3,000 different proteins in your body and a component of more than 200 different enzymes. In fact, zinc is involved in more enzymatic reactions in your body than any other mineral. Zinc increases your production of white blood cells and helps them fight infection more effectively. It also increases killer cells that combat cancer, helps your immune system release more antibodies, and supports wound healing.

Could You Be Deficient in Zinc?

Mild zinc deficiency is relatively common, especially in infants and children, pregnant or breast-feeding women, elderly, people with poor gastrointestinal absorption or bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, and for those eating vegetarian or vegan diets. A number of factors contribute to the overall problem of zinc deficiency:

Years of commercial farming practices, such as monocropping (planting large expanses of land with the same crop year after year), have left our soils deficient in natural minerals, like zinc.
Certain drugs deplete your body of zinc, such as ACE inhibitors, thiazide diuretics, and acid-reducing drugs like Prliosec and Pepcid.
Certain diets, such as vegetarian/vegan diets and high-grain diets, are low in bioavailable zinc and high in phytic acids, which further impair zinc absorption.
Mild zinc deficiency can lead to frequent colds and flu, chronic fatigue, and poor general health. In your child, when growth and development are vitally dependent on good nutrition, inadequate zinc can result in mood disturbances, poor memory, impaired learning and poor school performance. Zinc deficiency can also contribute to acne and poor eyesight. Chronic zinc deficiency can affect eyesight, taste, smell, and memory. White spots on your fingernails can indicate you’re not getting enough zinc.

Zinc is a Key Mineral for Your Immune Health

If your body has inadequate zinc stores, you will experience increased susceptibility to a variety of infectious agents. Your white blood cells simply can’t function without zinc. Zinc affects multiple aspects of your immune system, including neutrophils, natural killer cells, phagocytosis, cytokine production, antibody production, and even gene regulation within your lymphocytes. Zinc is involved in many basic cellular functions including DNA replication, RNA transcription, cell division and activation, and stabilization of cell membranes.

The research on zinc’s effect on pathogens is a bit inconsistent, but many studies show a strong protective effect. Some studies show that zinc may reduce the duration of your cold by 50 percent.

The Cochrane Review found that zinc reduced both the duration and severity of symptoms of the common cold. And using zinc preventatively helped prevent colds, leading to fewer school absences and less antibiotic use by children. Zinc is the hallmark molecule for thymic proteins, which are immune substances made by your thymus gland. Without zinc, you lack this immune defense. Zinc salts are deadly to many pathogens. Viral gastroenteritis is slowed down by the ingestion of zinc due to direct antimicrobial action of the zinc ions in your gastrointestinal tract.

If You’re Pregnant, Zinc is Even MORE Important

There is rarely a more nutritionally demanding time during a woman’s life than pregnancy (and later breastfeeding), when the intake of nutrients from foods and supplements are needed not only to keep her body running but also to nourish and support her rapidly growing baby. Because zinc is required for proper cell division, it is vitally important to get adequate zinc during this time. Low zinc levels have been associated with the following:

Premature birth
Low birth weight babies
Growth retardation
Preeclampsia
One study found that zinc supplementation in pregnancy resulted in babies with significantly larger head circumference and higher birth weight. Zinc has many other important functions in your body, summarized in the following table:

Zinc is required for your body to utilize vitamin B6 Proper Sleep: Zinc, vitamin B6, and tryptophan are all needed to produce melatonin; zinc deficiency leads to insomnia
Mood: As with sleep, B6 is needed to produce serotonin, which is crucial for your mood Senses of taste and smell: Zinc is required to produce an enzyme called carbonic anhydrase (CA) VI, critical to taste and smell; deficiency can lead to anorexia.
Apoptosis, or “programmed cell death”: Excessive apoptosis can occur from too much or too little zinc (this is why many viruses die in a zinc-rich environment) Eye health: Helps prevent ARMD (macular degeneration), night blindness and cataracts
Helps diabetics regulate insulin levels Skin health: Helps prevent and treat psoriasis, eczema, and acne (with results similar to tetracycline)
Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: Vast improvements in memory, understanding, communication, and social contact Improved outcomes for patients with HIV
Male sexual function: Treatment of male infertility, BPH, and erectile dysfunction; zinc may govern testosterone metabolism Reducing diarrhea in children with zinc deficiency
Antioxidant: Zinc retards oxidative processes in your body, although exact mechanisms remain unknown Anti-inflammatory: Zinc may reduce chronic inflammation and risk of atherosclerosis
High Grain Diets Directly Linked to Zinc Deficiency

High grain diets can lead to a number of health problems, including severe zinc deficiency, which in turn can lead to rickets and dwarfism. According to nutrition expert Dr. Loren Cordain:

“It is thought that the high levels of phytate in unleavened whole grain breads cause a zinc deficiency, which in turn is responsible for hypogonadal dwarfism, along with other health problems associated with zinc deficiencies. In Europe, where immigrant Pakistanis consume high levels of unleavened whole grain breads, rickets among their children remains a problem.”

Why is this? Grains are high in phytic acids (as are legumes, seeds, and soy) and phytic acids are known to impair your absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. People in Western populations most at risk are those with diets high in unrefined grains, legumes, soy protein, and calcium, and low in animal protein.

Protein assists with zinc absorption. Animal proteins increase zinc absorption in general. Vegetarian and vegan diets, often high in grains and legumes, contain more phytic acid and may increase your risk for zinc deficiency. This is just one of many reasons I don’t recommend eating a lot of grains.

How to Optimize Your Zinc Levels

As always, it’s best to optimize your nutrition by implementing a diet rich in whole foods to receive your zinc requirements. Animal products are by far the richest in dietary zinc, as you can see in the table below. Oysters tip the scales at up to 182mg per serving!

Food                                                       Serving Size             Zinc (mg)

Oysters                                                      100 grams                 16-182
Veal liver                                                    100 grams                 12
Pumpkin seeds (roasted)                        100 grams                 10
Roast beef                                                 100 grams                 10
Tahini (ground sesame seeds)               100 grams                 10
Unsweetened chocolate                           100 grams                 9.6
Alaska King Crab                                      100 grams                 7.6
Lamb                                                           3 ounces                    7.4
Peanuts (oil roasted)                                 100 grams                 6.6
Cashews (dry roasted)                              100 grams                 5.6
Pork Shoulder                                            100 grams                 5.0
Almonds                                                      100 grams                 3.5
Cheddar Cheese                                        100 grams                3.1
Chicken Leg                                                100 grams                2.9
Chicken Breast                                            100 grams               1.0

If, for whatever reason, you are not getting enough zinc, or are a vegetarian or have one of the conditions listed in the table above, you may want to add a zinc supplement. But what kind of supplement should you take?

Chelated Forms of Zinc are Better Absorbed

There are a number of forms of zinc available on the market, some better than others. Your body does not easily absorb zinc, unless the zinc is first attached to another substance. Chelation is a process sometimes used to attach zinc to other substances to make it more absorbable and bioavailable. In chelation, the organic molecules have been electrically charged, which allows them to attract the zinc. One advantage of chelated forms is you won’t get antagonism with calcium, which can be an issue for zinc salts, such as zinc sulfate.

Zinc sulfate is one of the inorganic forms of zinc, or zinc salts. These are not as biologically effective as chelated forms. Zinc sulfate can cause stomach irritation. Another inorganic variety is zinc oxide, which is the form of zinc used in many sunscreens.

Other good forms of zinc include zinc gluconate, which is made essentially by fermenting glucose; zinc acetate, made by combining the zinc with acetic acid; and zinc citrate, made by combining the zinc with citric acid. It’s advantageous to take a supplement with a variety of forms, if possible. The current RDAs for zinc are listed in the following table:

Age                                     Male              Female           Pregnancy          Lactation
0-6 months                          2 mg             2 mg
7 months to 3 years            3 mg             3 mg
4-8 years                              5 mg             5 mg
9-13 years                            8 mg             8 mg
14-18 years                         11 mg            9 mg              12 mg                  13 mg
19 + years                            11 mg            8 mg              11 mg                  12 mg

These recommended doses are for ELEMENTAL zinc, and each form of zinc (zinc sulfate, zinc citrate, zinc gluconate, etc.) contains a different amount of elemental zinc. The amount of elemental zinc a supplement contains will be listed in the Supplemental Facts panel on the supplement container.

For example, approximately 23 percent of zinc sulfate consists of elemental zinc. Therefore, 220 mg of zinc sulfate would give you about 50 mg of elemental zinc. You must take this into consideration if you’re going to use a supplement, as well as the fact that the average person gets about 10 to 15 mg of zinc per day from the foods you consume. You will have to use your best judgment in determining if you are at the upper or lower end of that range, based on your dietary habits, and supplement accordingly.

Too Much of a Good Thing…

Foods and medications can interfere with absorption, so the timing of your supplement is important. For example, caffeine can interfere with zinc absorption of zinc by as much as 50 percent—so you will want to avoid chasing down your supplement with a cup of coffee. By contrast, the amino acids cysteine and methionine improve zinc absorption, which means taking your zinc supplement with a high-quality whey protein would be a dynamite immune-boosting duo.

Although it is important to get adequate zinc, balance is key. Taking TOO MUCH can also cause problems, although it generally takes fairly high doses over time to reach toxic levels. Chronically excessive zinc intake can suppress copper and iron absorption leading to deficiencies in those minerals.

In conclusion, zinc is an often forgotten nutritional staple to add to your flu-busting arsenal. It’s inexpensive insurance that can stop those viruses dead in their tracks. In addition to making sure you’re getting enough zinc, don’t forget how important your vitamin D levels are for keeping you healthy this winter.

Dr Mercola (2012, December 12) Zinc—One of the Best Supplements to Help Fight Cold and Flu. Retrieved from: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/13/zinc-for-colds-and-flu.aspx on 21st of September, 8:30 pm.