I like to practice what I preach, and so when I saw the “This Girl Can” campaign from Sport England, I thought it was about time I tried something new! I grew up playing team sports, and freely admit I am much more comfortable charging around a lacrosse field in sub-zero temperatures than I am in a yoga studio, particularly one that is heated to a tropical 40 degrees, yet that’s exactly what I did yesterday. I had heard a number of my patients mention hot yoga in Chichester, so after a brief chat with Natalie the owner, we went along for our first session.
Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 yoga postures with breathing exercises, and the temperature of the room is designed to warm and ease your soft tissues (muscles, ligaments and tendons) to allow a deeper stretch, as well as adding a little bit of mental challenge to the exercises. Anyone who thinks that yoga is a bit of deep breathing and a gentle stretch- think again!
Our clinic manager Rhiannon is already a bit of a yoga bunny, so she kindly accompanied me for moral support. It may surprise you to know that chiropractors can suffer with back pain too (mine is related to one-too-many falls off a horse) so I was hesitant about contorting myself into the bizarre postures that I’ve seen yoga fans perform, envisaging a few days of the inevitable grumbling lower back pain and achey I’ve-done-a-workout shoulders afterwards.
90 minutes? 40 degrees? We must be mad! However, fuelled with images from Sport England’s advert of women looking exhausted but triumphant, I decided that I wanted to be one of them and was determined to give Bikram a go. Trying something new and totally different was a little nerve-wracking (“What on earth is a tree pose? Who is savasana and why do they keep asking her to lie down?”) but after a while, and with some gentle advice from the instructor, I managed to get the hang of the exercises.
There’s a moment when you’re exercising or trying to get fit, where that little voice in your head tells you “It would be so much easier if you stopped”, or better yet “You really can’t do this. You’re never going to look like that girl over there so why bother?” Ignoring that little (or not-so-little) voice in your head is the real challenge. For me, that little voice kicked in after about an hour, when I caught sight of my red, puffy face in the mirror and realised that no, my leg really doesn’t bend that way. So I took a break. Yep, I stopped, sat down, reassessed, and watched everyone else sweating and stretching away. This Girl Can is encouraging us all to “wiggle, jiggle, move and prove that judgment is a barrier that can be overcome.” So when I sat down in a sweaty heap on my mat, a part of me expected to receive the inevitable raised eyebrows or smug “I’m-fitter-than-you” smirks. But no, not ONCE did I feel embarrassed about it, or lazy, or feel like a failure. I was amazed to receive a smile and a wink from the instructor, the girl next to me gave me a relieved s
mile and then plonked down on her mat for a minute, and the chap at the end of the room mouthed “You ok?” to me. That was when the dawning realisation came to me that we were all there trying to acheive the same thing- relaxation, fitness, flexibility, and I’m sure a few other things too! There was no shame in taking a break (yes, I got back to it a few minutes later) as we were all supporting each other to help get through what was a challenging activity!
Taking breaks when it becomes too much allows you to establish where your limits lie, and gives you an opportunity to identify problem areas that you might want to work on in the future. We all have to start somewhere, so whether you are an exercise addict already, or just want to try and get back in to shape, try something new, bring a friend with you, make it social and fun, or do like we did and go to Bikram and make it sweaty!
We conquered HotYoga, and although I am a little achey today, I know I’ll be going back. Because this girl can!
We’re delighted to welcome the first of our guest blog writers. Nicola Russell is a registered Nutritional Therapist based in Midhurst, who works closely with her clients to address how optimum nutrition can be the key to a healthy lifestyle.
The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease
Thomas Edison, US Inventor 1847-1931
“I became interested in Chiropractic care after suffering from a bad back in my early 20’s following a fall from a horse when I was younger. However, I have continued seeing chiropractors from that point onwards as I came to understand that keeping my spine, joints and muscles flexible and moving freely ensures my body stays pain-free and able to cope with what I ask of it during day-to-day life. Chiropractic care is not just for bad backs!
Nutritional Therapy looks at addressing nutritional imbalances which also effects chemical reactions and bodily functions, and works with clients on many levels to support the body towards healing itself. Co-management of certain clients therefore makes sense and I think Chiropractic care and Nutritional Therapy naturally go hand in hand.
For those already suffering from musculoskeletal complaints, dietary modification could help with pain management. For example, insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) is implicated in the pathophysiology of Metabolic Syndrome (a collection of risk factors that can lead to diabetes, stroke and heart diseases) which may be linked to musculoskeletal pain (Seaman & Palombo, 2014). An elevated body mass index could also indicate a pro-inflammatory boy chemistry and be seen as a potential initiator/promoter of pain too (Seaman, 2013) and it therefore may be incumbent upon chiropractors to identify those at risk and refer them on. Insulin resistance, weight gain and other conditions can be reversed with the help of a Nutritional Therapist though the use of multiple strategies such as dietary and lifestyle modifications.
Chiropractors also work to encourage dietary and lifestyle modifications as they have recognised the importance of looking at the whole person in order to obtain optimum health. I believe that proper nutrition, chiropractic care and regular exercise are the keys to good health!
Nicola Russell BSc, mBANT, CNHC.T
The Way to Eat
As of October 2014, you are no longer required to display your tax disc in your car. Why not put your holder to good use today and you may save a life.
The Acorn Health emergency tax disc can hold vital information that an emergency first responder can use to save your life in a accident. Please note all personal details are kept hidden to passersby while in the car tax disc holder.
Download, print and fill out the below pdf to start benefitting. This is a free document that anyone can utilise so please share our link.
Acupuncture is often seen as a form of complementary medicine, although it is used nationally in many NHS general practices, as well as the majority of pain clinics and hospices in the UK. It is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence as a treatment for lower back pain, and a range of other conditions. If we decide together that acupuncture is a good choice for you, then we can start the treatment there and then! Our chiropractor Philippa is fully trained and registered to use acupuncture as part of her treatments in clinic.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles (which are about the thickness of a human hair, and about 1 inch long) into specific points in your body. Mention “acupuncture” to someone, and you may think of something like the image below, using dozens of needles.
It may surprise you to know that we tend to use a maximum of 6 needles in our treatments! This is because we use a Western medical approach to acupuncture in clinic, which is different to traditional Chinese treatments.
Want to learn more?
A medical approach to acupuncture involves a few essential features:
Medical history, examination and clinical investigations (if necessary) are all used to form a diagnosis.
An appropriate plan of management, and appropriate needling points are identified.
As with all our treatments at Acorn Health, the appropriate treatment is given, in a way that is carefully tailored to the individual. This can mean using more needles (usually up to a maximum of 6), using percutaneous electric nerve stimulation, or increasing the length of time the needles are inserted.
Your response to treatment is monitored, and subsequent treatment is determined based on your response to this treatment.
Acupuncture is, in itself, a phenomenon- it produces an unique sensation, can alleviate pain in areas quite far away from where the needle is inserted, and patients have been known to spontaneously report feelings of improved wellbeing and deep sleep after treatment! This treatment is also a powerful tool for pain relief, and this sometimes occurs immediately after removing the needles; several hours after treatment; or gradually accumulating over a course of several treatments.
So if acupuncture is a phenomenon, with varied responses for each individual, how do we know that it is an appropriate, evidence-based, effective treatment for you?
Here are five mechanisms to help explain how acupuncture works:
1) Acupuncture promotes healing. It stimulates nerve fibres in the skin and muscle, and this leads to the release of a substance called CGRP- calcitonin gene-related peptide (no, we won’t quiz you on this later!) This substance causes blood vessels around the needle to dilate, and increases blood flow, which encourages tissue healing.
2) When a needle stimulates nerve fibres, these travel to a specific part of the spinal cord, called the dorsal horn (which helps regulate pain signals). This stimulation helps to reduce the response of the dorsal horn to pain, and this is probably the main mechanism by which acupuncture relieves pain, and what it is most commonly used for.
3) These nerve signals then transmit up to the brain, and stimulate the body’s pain-suppressing mechanisms. (Yes, our body can suppress pain- think about the times when you haven’t noticed a scratch or a graze because you’ve been concentrating on something else). This is why acupuncture is so helpful, as it can suppress pain throughout the entire body.
4) Parts of our brain that control emotion, behaviour and sleep are also stimulated by acupuncture, and so acupuncture has a calming effect and can improve our feeling of wellbeing.
5) When our muscles are strained or injured, it develops a small area of damage (called a trigger point) which can be slow to heal and can cause persistent pain. Acupuncture helps to deactivate and reduce these trigger points.
If you would like to find out more about this type of treatment, what it can be used for and whether it could be a good option for you, book an appointment with us today!
Turn over a new leaf this year and take a fresh look at your healthcare priorities! The New Year provides us with a great opportunity to change our lifestyles for the better! If you have suffered from back, neck or muscle pain, we can help you find a long-term solution to these problems with our award-winning musculoskeletal care.
With that in mind, we are offering all new patients a 10% discount on their initial consultation with us in January!
To take advantage of this offer, simply call to book in your new patient consultation on 01243 379693!
Terms and Conditions:
– Offer valid during 1st – 31st January 2015 only.
– Offer does not include any follow-up treatment which is charged at usual rate.
– No obligation for follow-up treatment with Acorn Health.
For more information about the services we provide at Acorn Health, visit here.