Health Tips

How To Breathe Like a Baby...Using Your Diaphragm Properly!

Published on Thursday, 30 April 2015

Diaphragmatic breathing s the way we're designed to breathe. Look at a baby and you'll see its tummy rise and fall with each breath, but somewhere along the way many adults lose this natural knack. This can eventually  compromise the structural balance in your spine.

If the muscles in your shoulders and neck feel perpetually tight and knotted, there's a good chance you're not breathing correctly.It's a subject I've talked about with my patients many times to help them get a good spinal correction result.  People seldom give much thought to the way they breathe, and are unaware of how dysfunctional breathing can impact the body from top to bottom.

As well as being linked to muscular pain in the neck and shoulders, poor breathing can contribute to more serious conditions over time, such as sleep apnea, sinusitis, asthma and that latent ''stale'' air can leave the lungs open to infection. Poor posture can also contribute to a slouched upper torso that in turn can compress the chest cavity.

Correct breathing means using the diaphragm, the thin dome-shaped band of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomin. The diaphragm relaxes on the out-breath by moving upwards, pressing on the lungs and casing air to be exhaled. On the in-breath, the diaphragm contracts downwards, allowing the air to enter the lungs and pressing down on the abdominal organs, causing the tummy to expand slightly - that's why it's known as ''belly breathing''.  

People who don't use the diaphragm properly end up relying excessively on the accessory breathing muscles - the scalenes, trapezius and sternocleidomastoid - that are located around the neck and shoulders, and this often leads to neck and shoulder pain. Diaphragmatic breathing takes the workload and avoidable strain and tension away from these accessory muscles.

Here's How to Re-Learn Correct Breathing:

== Lie on your back with pillows under both your head and knees.

== Put your hands, palms down, on your lower belly, fingers touching.

== Breathe in through your nose, counting slowly to fur. feel your tummy rise with the breath, and your fingers separate.

== Breathe out through your nose, counting slowly to four or five, as the belly drops towards your spine.

Chiropractic Adjustments Show Immediate Results on MRI Scan!

Published on Thursday, 30 April 2015

New research helps to explain why chiropractic can be effective for low-back pain. Using MRI scans, researchers were able to document the immediate benefits of chiropractic adjustments. Patients with low-back pain have restricted mobility in the lumbar spine that results in degenerative changes and fibrous adhesion within the joints of the vertebrae.

Researchers hypothesized that chiropractic adjustments increase gapping between the joints of the vertebrae, which breaks up adhesions and allows the joints to move freely. 

In a New Study, 112 patients with low-back pain were randomly assigned to receive either chiropractic adjustments, side-posture positioning, or two control treatments. Immediately after the treatment they received an MRI scan that allowed the researchers to analyze spinal gapping. The chiropractic patients ad the most substantial spinal gapping, and patients treated subsequently had the greatest reduction of pain.

This study shows how chiropractic can be effective low-back trouble in restoring spinal health to decrease disability and pain in any age group.

Reference: Cramer GD, et al. Magnetic resonance imaging of the zygaphosphyseal joint space changes in low back pain patients following spinal manipulation and other positioning: a randomized controlled mechanisms trial with blinding. Journal of Manipulative Therapeutics.

How To Be Happy !

Published on Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Most people's ultimate goal will always be the pursuit of happiness. But how do we find it? There are a thousand and one ways to be truly happy. Most seek it from outside sources such as relationships, jobs, money, and homes. Unsurprisingly, when these goals are met, some are still left feeling unsatisfied, unhappy and a little empty inside. This month I look at five that work for me to give you a insight to find more.  

1)  Mindfulness:  Mindfulness is a meditative practice that allows you to be happy through a witnessing, connection and acceptance of thoughts, feelings and actions in the present moment. Mindfulness focuses on producing thoughts that contribute to your well-being. I is a process of paying attention to the ''now'', a time neglected by most.

2)  Laugh Out Loud !: I write about this in my latest March-April patient newsletter (go to back page and scroll down). Recent studies demonstrated that subjects started to feel biologically happier after watching funny videos. They had a significant drop in stress hormones like Cortisol and a rise of 27% with their feel-good endorphin levels. 

3)  Get a Pet:  Science has shown that animals can play a direct role in reducing stress levels. Their cry for attention keeps us in the present moment, while exercise with them keeps us fit and cuddling a pet can and will boost natural endorphin's levels leaving you feeling happier.

4)  Find Your True Calling: If you are bored and miserable in your job, consider exploring other alternatives. Even if that means further study or even earning and accumulating less in the short term. Find something that you really love to do and research the area as a prospect of earning a living that makes you enjoy getting out of bed each day.

5)  Give....: Studies recently showed that those who give were less sad and depressed compared to non-givers. It is thought that the act of giving lowers the level of stress hormones in the body and induces an endorphin rush, leaving you in a natural high.

It's a Fact:  True happiness, otherwise known as Joy, can only come from within, not without. Happy, optimistic people tend to lead happy, optimistic lives, and by no coincidence, have a positive effect on those around them. 

Why Donuts Might Depress You !

Published on Friday, 23 January 2015

If you needed another reason to give up on unhealthy Trans Fats, like those found in margarine, donuts and fast food, a recent Spanish study shows it may increase your risk of depression. The study of more than 12,000 people was published in the journal PloS One and looked at the effect of Trans Fat consumption on the level of happiness.

Trans Fats can be found naturally in meat and milk from certain animals and as a product of fats and oils altered by industrial processes, such as hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is widely used to solidify liquid vegetable oils to make products such as margarines and shortenings and involves adding hydrogen to the oils. This unnatural state makes it difficult for the body to deal with this transmuted fat.

Researchers at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Las Palmas, Spain found that subjects who ate the most Trans Fats had up to 48 percent increased risk of depression. The more Trans Fats a person ate, the worse he or she felt. The researchers found a definite change in mood as Trans Fat consumption built up that started from ''feeling low'' to a more sustained ''low mood'' that lead to depressive state.

In contrast, subjects who ate diets rich in olive oil and/or coconut oil had a 30 percent lower risk of depression than those who never ate these oils or just used a little of it. The positive result was that the more of these two oils they consumed, the happier they were.

The researchers summarized that it's possible that Trans Fats trigger depression because they increase inflammation in the body. There has been an extensive amount of research papers from sources around the world that have found that inflammation contributes to the pathophysiology of many chronic diseases. The body's tissues that are regularly exposed by the  ingestion of Trans Fats effect mechanisms that contribute to tissue and even organ injury. Inflammation and not cholesterol is now considered to be the main culprit in Atherosclerosis and also as a factor in depression.  I can't think of a better reason to minimize, or better yet, completely eliminate these foods from your diet. 

Evidence of Vaccine Induced Immune Overload !

Published on Thursday, 18 December 2014

A new peer reviewed paper was published in a recent issue of Molecular and Genetic Medicine (s1:0125) (s1:2014) that presents convincing evidence that the rapid increase in the number of vaccines given to US children has now created a state of immune overload  in the majority, or close to the majority, of young children and that this is being manifested by related health issues including epidemics of obesity and metabolic syndrome, including diabetes, and autism. The new paper is authored by immunologist J.Bart Classen MD.

''We have been publishing for years that vaccines are causing an epidemic of chronic inflammatory conditions including allergies, diabetes, obesity, autism and epidemics of autoimmune diseases.  However the number of vaccines given to children has continued to rise to a point where we have reached a state of Immune Overload in the majority of young children. This new paper reviews the evidence of the plethora of different health effects the children are developing because of this Immune Overload.'' says Dr Classen. 

Dr Classen continues to state; ''The best data indicates that vaccine induced chronic disease is now of a magnitude that dwarfs almost all prior poisoning of humans including from agents like asbestos, low dose radiation, lead, fluoride and even cigarettes. Most patients don't even realize that they are suffering from the adverse effects of vaccines taken years before.'' 

''Even more concerning patients and or their parents are being harassed, accused of practicing poor dieting and exercise habit leading to the development of obesity and diabetes when in  fact they suffer from vaccine induced obesity and diabetes.'' says Dr Classen.

Copies of many of Dr Classen's papers can be found on the website: Classen Immunotherapies. 

WARNING: Text-Neck on the Increase !

Published on Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Hunching over your phone or tablet can become a serious pain in the neck. Chiropractors are seeing a rise in a new phenomena known as TEXT-NECK with spinal problems linked to extended periods leaning into the small screen devices. It's becoming a painful habit of sitting in a flexed and poor posture, causing strain of the neck and shoulder muscles. Headaches are a big consequence of this prolonged position.

The human head weighs between 4-6 kilograms and a U.S. spinal researchers has calculated the strain on the cervical spine caused by leaning over while texting.  They estimate that at a 15 degrees tilt, the weight felt by the spine is about 12 kilograms, at 30 degrees it increases to 18 kg and hunching over at 60 degrees is equivalent to 27 kg of pressure.

Chiropractors are concerned that this prolonged ''technology posture'' on teenager's delicate neck structures and further down the spinal column. They are seeing postural issues that wouldn't normally creep into a person's spine until the late 20s, 30s, and 40s. This can be further aggravated by many teenagers' slumped sitting posture thereby involving and compromising the whole spine's strength, stability and nerve supply

A good way of reducing further neck damage is to lift the phone or tablet up higher so you are looking straight ahead and not downward constantly. Make it a habit of looking up regularly and side-to-side to release and relieve the muscle strain across the shoulders and neck. 

Beware Carrageenan: A Powerful Cancer Promoter !

Published on Monday, 20 October 2014

As I inspect food labels, I am finding more and more foods and other products, including toothpaste, that contain the food additive carrageenan, an extract from red seaweed that is mainly used as a thickening agent to add texture.

It was first introduced in 1930, and governments granted the product a status as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) in 1959. There are two forms of carrageenan: one is a large molecular structure (undegraded) and one a smaller molecule (degraded). The latter is the most powerful at producing both inflammation and cancer promotion.

It has been found that commercial carrageenan contains both forms. Studies have shown beyond any doubt that can induce extensive cancers in rats and can also lead to ulcerations in the colon. According to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, no food additive can be used that has shown to cause cancer in animals. Yet this important Act was overridden by the power of food manufacturing giants.

Carrageenan is a danger to all age groups.The practice continues to this day, despite growing evidence against foods containing both undegraded and degraded carrageenan. Europe has banned its use in baby formula. One study using 24 rhesus monkeys found those on the carrageenan-containing diet developed bloody stools, with erosions in the lining of their intestines and ulcerations -- a prelude to cancer development.

These findings suggest that people with inflammatory bowel conditions should avoid all foods containing carrageenan. These conditions include Ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and Irritable bowel syndrome. Recently, I even found carrageenan in a popular toothpaste. One would certainly not want to use a toothpaste that inhibits immunity in the mouth, promotes inflammation and can stimulate the development of cancer of the gums and tongue. It's bad enough that there is toxic fluoride in most toothpastes these days! Be-aware!  Read labels to keep you safe.

Meet Some Nutritional Superstars !

Published on Friday, 19 September 2014

Did you know Chia Seeds have eight times more joint nourishing omega-3 fats than salmon? And Coconut Oil holds up better in heat than olive oil, making it more nutritious in cooking.  When it comes to healthy eating, not all foods are created equal.

''Superfoods such as Chia and coconut oil are a unique group of nutritionally dense foods,'' says nutritionist Jacqueline Alwill. ''They're packed with macro and micro-nutrients.  Macro-nutrients, such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats, are found in many everyday foods but Superfoods are also rich in micro-nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and enzymes, giving them a powerhouse of health benefits.''

Alwill continues; ''You don't need to be a healthy-eating expert to start working Superfoods into you diet. It's a simple as adding a sprinkle of Chia to your morning cereal or yogurt and berries. Adding Chia Seeds to your meals not only boosts nutrition - they also make you feel fuller for longer to prevent weight gain''  And I might add that you won't just see benefits on the scales - your skin, mood, heart and gut will be happier too.

 CHIA SEEDS:  Don't let the tiny size fool you - these seeds packs a powerful punch. As I mentioned, Chia seeds are a great source of Omega-3 fats, which have shown to improve joint mobility, ease muscular pain and even improves arthritis. Chia's subtle nutty flavour means it's easy to work into savoury and sweet meals. Jacqueline advises; ' 'Aim to have a tablespoon of Chia every day. Sprinkle over your breakfast, use it in baking or simply mix it with water for a healthy drink.''

COCONUT OIL:  Ever since supermodel Miranda Kerr attributed her glowing skin and hair to ''four teaspoons of coconut oil a day'', it's been hot news in health-food circles. ''Coconut Oil nourishes from the inside out,'' says Jacqueline. ''It's full f medium-chain fatty acids, which convert to energy rather than being stored as fat. It nourishes dry skin and is safe enough to use on babies with nappy rash. So what are you waiting for ???''

New Awareness For Immunity !

Published on Monday, 18 August 2014

Most people talk about immunity as if it's an army inside our body that's ready to do battle with any infection that dares to cross its path. We try to eat the right foods to boost its numbers and are more prone to invasion when its numbers are low. While that's all most of us understand about immunity, a group of Australian researchers have made a huge discovery that could bolster the body's immune defences and significantly lower the rate of autoimmune conditions. 

They've discovered the special opps of our immune system.- the mucosal-associated invariant T-Cells, or MAIT Cells. Generally, T-Cells are white blood cells that act as that military group we picture in our bodies, seeking out and destroying foreign invaders.  In reality, MAIT Cells are even more powerful. Professor Jamie Rossjohn, of Monash University's department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Melbourne, has been studying immunology for two decades. His team, together with scientists from the universities of Melbourne and Queensland, has discovered the role that MAIT Cells play.

Professor Rossjohn explains; ''They make up 10 per cent of all your T-cells in the body and up to 45 per cent in the liver, but we never knew their function.'' He added, ''Now we know they're our first line of defence and recognise bits of riboflavin (vitamin B2) that are given of by invading bacteria and fungi.'' This means it's now possible to track what they ''see'' inside the body.

While the importance of these MAIT Cells in the immune response was discovered two years ago, there have been more breakthroughs since then. The team of scientists also published a paper in April that revealed they'd identified the bio-medical key that wakes up these MAIL Cells and triggers them to respond. This knowledge is so new it isn't yet included in any scientific textbooks!

Chiropractic - Helping You Get Straight To Sleep !

Published on Friday, 20 June 2014

         Chiropractors have a 5 years of university training and are regarded as practitioners of choice in caring for musculoskeletal conditions. Back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia and arthritis can adversely affect sleep quality. Seven to nine hours sleep is recommended at what ever age you are at and research has found that if you are getting only 6 hours sleep your stress hormone level increases and ultimately will have a deleterious effect on your cardiovascular system.

     Sleep disorders affect over 1.2 million Australians. Insomnia patients receive fewer pay rises and are less optimistic about future career opportunities. Poor sleep is not just a problem for adults. Adolescents and young adults are at risk of poor academic performance, mood swings and increased motor vehicle accidents as a result of excessive sleepiness.

     Of course, two important keys to the quality of your sleep is literally right under you. We spend about one-third of our life in bed so investing in a good quality pillow and mattress is a real investment in your good health and wellbeing.