Shin Splints

Shin splints or Tibial Syndrome is one of the most common running injuries that I see at Shift. It can affect both professional and recreational athletes equally and it’s not only runners that get affected. Tennis players, basketballers, indoor soccer players, netballers, all those high impact knee jarring sports. A simple change to your training routine can be the change that brings on the symptoms.

WHAT CAUSES SHIN SPLINTS?

The most common cause of Shin splints that I often see, stems from an increase in the intensity of training programs, a change to harder running surfaces or running hills regularly. All of these can increase your risk of shin splints. The following conditions can also put you at a higher risk of getting shin splints:

• Flat feet (overpronation)

• Shoes that lack support or don’t fit correctly

• Weak core muscles, hips or ankles

• Not stretching before and after exercise

TYPES OF SHIN SPLINTS

There are two types of shin splints:

1. Medial shin splints – common among people who have a collapsed medial arch or flat feet. This is the most common type of shin splints and often effects the lower 1/3 of the inside of the shin.

2. Anterior shin splints – this type is more common with runners who over-train on hills, as it requires repetitive use of the tibialis anterior muscle. Ironically, pain is typically worse when running downhill.

HOW ARE SHIN SPLINTS MOST COMMONLY TREATED? 

The keyword here is “treated” and should be replaced with “resolved”. Unfortunately, conventional Western medicine techniques don’t do much for treating shin splints. While the following methods are routine, they don’t actually get to the root of the cause and once most athletes return to exercise the original injury will resurface, sometimes leading to more extensive damage.

The most common approach to treatment is icing and resting the injured leg, and also using painkillers or anti-inflammatories. Herein lies the most obvious challenge. Telling a runner to stop running and expecting that they will adhere to the advice. Well, I have met a few runners and athletes in my time and this is near impossible for most.

In a desperate attempt to rid themselves of the pain, some people are forced into making questionable choices along the way. Usually, the first step is to invest in a different and usually more expensive pair of running shoes. Next people try different stretches or go and spend a small fortune on orthotic interventions. The most concerning approach from my point of view, however, is the reliance on the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These days we just want to get on with things and don’t realise that we are just masking the pain and indirectly causing more damage in the long run. Often people will continue running and masking symptoms with NSAIDs. This, however, can lead to more severe micro-fractures or compartment syndrome.

WILL TAKING A REST FROM RUNNING SOLVE THE PROBLEM?

Even with complete rest, the pain can take 6-8 weeks to resolve but the problem usually manifests itself again very quickly after resuming running.

ACUPUNCTURE FOR SHIN SPLINTS

There are a variety of techniques that different acupuncturists employ for treating shin splints. Regardless of the system used, the goal of acupuncture is to promote circulation, loosen the muscles around the tibia and prevent recurrences of the problem.

HOW TO KNOW WHEN YOUR SHIN SPLINTS HAVE HEALED?

 I often get this question and it is mostly due to prior failed attempts in their return to training. The best indicators that you can confidently return to your exercise routine is:

• The affected leg is as flexible as your non-affected leg and feels just as strong.

• You can now put excessive weight on the leg that had the shin splint without pain.

• You can exercise without pain.

WANT PROOF?

A random controlled trial from 2002 found acupuncture to be more effective than any other combined therapy.

Acupuncture & Tibial Stress Syndrome [Shin Splints]. Journal of Chinese Medicine 2002 vol 70.

Spring Clean

Now that warmer weather has arrived leaving us in no doubt about the arrival of spring we turn to new rituals. Packing away our bulky winter woollies, making room for lighter brighter clothing. The slow cooker tends to be stored in the back of the cupboard, fresh salads replacing slow-cooked soups, and the inevitable renewed gym membership to give ourselves a body overhaul for summer. These are all the external signs that spring cleaning is underway but what about internal signs? Do we pay attention to what is happening on the inside?  With the renewed burst of energy and lightness, that spring brings it is a good time to consider giving our internal workings an overhaul and tune-up. 

In assessing how our internal health is checking our skin, hair, general vitality and alertness are a good way to go. Changes happening inside will be evident externally and dull skin, brittle nails and a general feeling of lethargy are strong indications that an internal ‘spring clean’ and tune-up is in order. 

We often have a perception that a detox involves giving things up and living on lettuce leaves and consuming some disgusting concoctions each day. But this is not the case, as an abundance of vital and beautiful fruits and vegetables start to arrive at the supermarket, putting together a detox and giving your body an overhaul can be a tasty, inspiring and invigorating thing to do. 

Starting the day with drinking some warm water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, a dash of maple syrup and cayenne pepper, this kick starts your liver, digestion and gets you ready to begin a day of nourishing yourself back to energy and vitality. 

Do an inventory of the following foods and see how many are in your current diet. 

Omega-3’s 

Check your Omega-3 intake. These are an essential fatty acid, anti-inflammatory and necessary to take either as a supplement or in food. Our bodies don’t make them. For the best sources, try fish oil or algae and flax oil if you are vegan.

How is your essential vitamin and mineral intake 

Daily B vitamins generate energy, are absorbed in our gut and can be overly consumed under times of stress and alcohol intake.  Having sufficient B vitamins will help manage stress and balance your overall mood. Brewer’s yeast and whole grains are rich in B vitamins while meats are high in B12. Fresh fruit and vegetables contain essential B vitamins. 

Herbs and Spices for detoxing

Incorporating detoxifying spices and herbs. Dandelion, turmeric, milk thistle, and nettle all support the liver by circulating nutrients. These can be incorporated into the diet in dandelion coffee, replacing caffeine, Tumeric lattes, with nut milk, getting rid of dairy, adding bitter greens to your salad will stimulate your digestion. 

Feed the gut 

Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria Bifidus ar a couple of the bacteria that keep the digestive tract and immune system healthy all year round. In addition to supporting good health, pre and probiotics produce vitamins that assist with digestion. If you’re lacking the correct balance of bacteria you may find yourself bloated, craving sugars and generally feeling flat and off. The coconut of water Kefir, kombucha, coconut yoghurt, Kim Chi, Sauerkraut and other fermented foods are essential to maintaining a healthy immune and nervous system.   

Building Vitamin D

Get outside! Sunlight converts on the skin to vitamin D, having a healthy liver is essential for this process. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and often best consumed as supplements or through foods like eggs, salmon and soy.

Digestive support

Eating bitter greens, like endive, arugula, rocket and peppermint all help with digestion, encouraging the production of stomach acid and the release of bile. Having some water or mineral water and Angostura bitters with a meal will also support digestive enzymes.  If you’ve been feeling constipated or bloated these past few months, it may be time to start eating more bitter foods. 

Try Organic 

Try to moderate exposure to toxins found in animal-sourced foods. If you eat meat, opt for meat that’s free of antibiotics and hormones — just make sure you read these labels on the packaging. Switch things up and reach for colourful vegetables and fruits throughout the day. Buying organic fruits and veggies limits toxin exposure, but there are some foods like avocados and watermelon that don’t need to be bought organic. Check out the dirty dozen and clean 15. 

Moving everything through 

Eating soluble fibre helps to keep you full while slowing digestion to balance your blood sugar. As soluble fibre moves down the digestive tract it absorbs water and helps the body eliminate hormones and cholesterol. Try foods like avocados, kidney beans, peaches, prunes or oat bran. Include some Chia seeds in your day.

Balance body, mind and soul

Try and find something in the gym that works for you, yoga, Pilates, boxing. Whatever it is. Not only will working out give you more energy, but your body and mind can destress as well. Find a gym with a sauna to speed up your detoxing process.

Get the right advice

Often no matter how good our intentions are going it alone can be challenging. That’s where the team at Shift at Brisbane Natural Health can support you on your journey and be the best version of you. Our Naturopaths can put together a program that will work for you. Checking your digestion, thyroid, hormones and other organs and providing additional support where needed. This way once you start you know that you will end up in a better place when you complete your own personal ‘Spring Clean.’ The emotional wellness team can help you check your emotional baggage and create clear space and clean page to move into Spring with.

Why IBS is Not A Real Diagnosis

So, you’ve been suffering from gut issues for a few years or longer and you finally get along to your GP who may or may not have referred you for some testing or sent you off to see a gastroenterologist. After some poking and prodding, and maybe pooing into a cup so your poo and can be tested for nasty things, you are told that you have a condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. Yahoo! You have a diagnosis. But what does this really mean and what can you do about it? You may be prescribed a medication or you may be told that there is not much that can be done for IBS. Either way, often, a path to recovery is not part of the discussion, or most importantly, a chat about WHY the bowel might be irritated in the first place. 

Let’s start with a discussion about what a syndrome is. A syndrome (as opposed to disease) is a cluster of symptoms – to be diagnosed with a syndrome, you have to meet the criteria of X number of symptoms from a list of many.  What this means is that although a lot of people suffer from this same group of symptoms (and therefore must be recognised medically – or else we are all crazy), there is no one test that can diagnose the issue as there is no one single process in the body that can be considered aberrant.  So why then are these symptoms arising? Well, sometimes in human health, there are multiple reasons for symptoms to occur. This means that there might need to be several events happening at the same time for the condition to show up. In addition, your body might be reacting to the environment in a way that the next person’s body does not react, so what may cause IBS in one person may not cause any discernible issues for the next. Essentially what this means is that in order for recovery to occur, each patient needs to be assessed on an individual basis and the underlying cause for them be identified. From here, a healing process can occur. 

What can be causing IBS? 

There are so many different elements influencing our gut function every day – it is important to consider them all. The first is always the food that we eat as this comes in direct contact with the lining of the gut and is often a source of irritation. Many of the foods that we eat today were just not made for processing by the human gastrointestinal tract, and although some seem to handle them better than others, for the patient with IBS, they need to be considered as part of the problem as a first approach. If I was to put a bunch of lotions on my skin every day and I developed a rash that was red, painful and caused my skin to peel off, it would be silly to disregard the lotions as potential irritants. The same applies to the food that we eat – this is essentially ‘applied’ to the skin of the gastrointestinal tract and therefore must be considered as a potential irritant. 

The microbiome (or gut flora) is another area that should always be looked at in IBS cases. The microbiome is a couple of kilograms of bacteria, yeasts, viruses and archaea that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract.  These ‘bugs’ should ideally be in balance to support our gastrointestinal health, immune system, brain function and hormones (probably every physiological function really). If they become damaged through the use of antibiotics, pesticides in foods, stress, improper dietary habits or the use of medications, then we get an imbalance and this can lead to the symptoms associated with IBS. Sometimes there are parasites, bacteria or yeasts growing in the gut that just don’t belong there, and sometimes it is bugs that should be part of a healthy ecosystem, but have started to take over and cause problems in the ecosystem. Either way, comprehensive stool testing can uncover these imbalances or infestations and assist your practitioner in guiding you through rebalancing the gut flora and resolving symptoms.

Finally, the nervous system can be a contributing factor in the irritation of IBS and it is recognised that stress and anxiety are often part of the IBS symptomatology. Stress, anxiety and depression can all cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea and bloating. In turn, an imbalance in the microbiome or consumption of the wrong foods can cause neurological symptoms such as anxiety and depression. This is called a bi-directional relationship which means that a gut issue can cause brain symptoms and brain issues can cause gut symptoms. Sometimes it is important to tackle both issues at the same time to get lasting relief for both areas of health. 

The good news is that whatever the underlying cause of your symptoms is, they are fixable! A comprehensive stool analysis is a great start to assess your microbiome and figure out imbalances there. Your naturopath can help guide you through foods that might be irritating your gut and support your nervous system too. Healing IBS symptoms is not something that will happen in an instant, but with the right conditions, and a little bit of time, your gut can certainly heal and you can look forward to a symptom-free future.

To chat with a naturopath about how we might be able to help you, please call 07 3367 0337 and book a complimentary 15-minute assessment. We hope to help you soon ☺  

Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow” is the most common chronic pain condition affecting the elbow. Despite the name, only 5-10% of sufferers actually play tennis.

Tennis elbow is also known as

  • Lateral epicondylalgia
  • Lateral epicondylitis
  • Lateral epicondylosis

How does it develop?

Tennis elbows is a painful condition that presents with pain in the outer elbow and usually involves inflammation of the tendons that attach to the boney area on the head of the humerus.  Usually a repetitive stress injury, tennis elbow is caused by overuse of the forearm muscles, creating strain and tears in the muscle and tendons.

Often I see this condition come about from people who have repetitive occupations or hobbies. Carpenters, gardeners and manual labourers often develop both tennis and golfer’s elbow type pain. This is due to constant lifting and moving of heavy objects which puts too much strain on the elbow joint. Personally, I first started to experience elbow pain after lifting and constantly carrying my very clingy daughter. Like many overuse injuries, the onset was gradual.

Symptoms of Tennis elbow:

  • A slow onset, weakness of the forearm
  • Tenderness of the lateral (outer) elbow
  • Pain travelling down the forearm.
  • Pain when lifting or gripping anything heavier than a coffee cup
  • Pain may become worse by rotating the forearm.
  • The pain exacerbated by overuse, fatigue or wet weather

Note

“Golfers Elbow” occurs on the inner side of the elbow and is much less common than tennis elbow. Both injuries respond well to a course of regular acupuncture.

Standard treatment of tennis elbow

More and more doctors are recommending cortisone injections. Cortisone is a steroid with strong anti-inflammatory effects. In most cases, it can provide long term relief, but I regularly see patients who experience only short term gains. If cortisone is unsuccessful your doctor may then refer you to a specialist for further investigation.

Can Acupuncture help my Tennis elbow?

We see elbow pain regularly at BNH, both acute and chronic cases.  The consensus is that the longer the joint has been inflamed, the slower it is to fully recover. The point is that the sooner you can seek out acupuncture treatment the better and quicker the outcomes.  For the best results, you will normally require a number of acupuncture treatments. The number of sessions required will be established following an initial assessment of the injured elbow. Aside from resting the elbow, acupuncture is very good at relieving elbow pain for good.

Research

Acupuncture therapy for patients suffering from tennis elbow has shown itself to be an excellent alternative to steroid injections. Twenty-one out of 34 patients who were treated with acupuncture became much better-completely free of pain. Many of them had previously been given one or more steroid injections without improvement.

Acupuncture Therapy for Tennis Elbow

Treating the whole person

The most significant benefit of choosing acupuncture, rather than other kinds of needle-based therapies, is that your acupuncturist can assess your  whole-person signs and symptoms and tailor a whole-body treatment plan for you. Acupuncture embraces a holistic approach to the treatment of tennis elbow.

 

Prevention

• Warm-up – before you start work or sporting activities take a few minutes to warm the muscles of hands, forearm, upper arms and shoulders. This can be as simple as gently massaging these areas.

• Stretch – Develop a daily stretching routine that targets the muscles of the hands, forearms, upper arms and shoulders.

• Rest – Take days off from activities that can aggravate the condition. If you perform repetitive tasks that involve gripping or typing during the week try and avoid these movements and tasks on your days off.

If the pain from your tennis elbow continues to persist gives us a call to find out how we might be able to help you.

The Invisible Enemy – How Acupuncture Can Help Your Hayfever

Allergies can affect anyone and statistically, hayfever (Allergic Rhinitis) affects up to 40% of the world’s population. It might not be obvious to the naked eye but air pollution and seasonal pollutants such as pollen cause allergy sufferers extreme discomfort. Seasonal change can be particularly difficult in Australia.

Going indoors to avoid allergens and to seek refuge is sometimes not possible either. Some pollutants are up to five times more concentrated indoors compared to outdoors.

There are actually two types of allergic rhinitis

  • Seasonal (hayfever)
  • Perennial (all year round)

Some of us are affected by the seasonal type, which is usually caused by airborne pollens. For others, it’s persistent hayfever that lasts all year round and this is usually due to dust mites, moulds, pet dander and just about anything that floats in the air.

Symptoms

• Sneezing

• A blocked or runny nose (postnasal drip)

• Itchy or watery eyes

• An itchy nose, palate or throat

Hayfever causes inflammation of the sinuses and often impairs nasal drainage. It is the impaired drainage that can often lead to secondary sinusitis or sinus infections.

Acupuncture and herbal medicine

The key to taming allergy symptoms is to get on top of the body’s inflammatory immune response. The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers seasonal allergies (as well as asthma and sinusitis) as one of the respiratory diseases that can be treated effectively with acupuncture. Current research shows that acupuncture can help with both seasonal and perennial hayfever.

What can I expect in an acupuncture consultation?

The Chinese Medicine approach to hayfever is very different from conventional techniques. At BNH our practitioners take a holistic approach to every person that walks through our doors. With hayfever, we usually schedule a series of treatments as part of your treatment plan. As much as we would all love a magic pill a series of treatments are required to allow your sinus inflammation and hypersensitivity to reduce. In more severe cases we sometimes include a course of Chinese herbs in your treatment plan.

Other Solutions

We can never completely avoid outdoor air pollution but there are some simple things we can do to reduce the indoor air pollution levels in our homes.

  • Wash/vacuum floors weekly
  • Wash your bed sheets at least once a week
  • Turn on an extractor fan while cooking or open a window
  • Choose floor varnishes, paints, waxes and furniture with low VOC levels
  • Use an air purifier or consider getting some indoor plants

 

Research 

1. In 2017 The Acupuncture Evidence Project found evidence for the effectiveness of 117 conditions. Acupuncture for hay fever was in the ‘Evidence of positive effect’ category.

https://www.acupuncture.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/28-NOV-The-Acupuncture-Evidence-Project_Mcdonald-and-Janz_-REISSUED_28_Nov.pdf

2.Reinhold T, Roll S, Willich SN, Ortiz M, Witt CM, Brinkhaus B. Cost-effectiveness for acupuncture in seasonal allergic rhinitis: economic results of the ACUSAR trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2013 Jul;111(1):56-63

3. Feng S, Han M, Fan Y, Yang G, Liao Z, Liao W, et al. Acupuncture for the treatment of allergic rhinitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2015 Jan-Feb;29(1):57-62.

4. Taw MB, Reddy WD, Omole FS, Seidman MD. Acupuncture and allergic rhinitis. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Jun;23(3):216-20.

5. Seidman MD, Gurgel RK, Lin SY, Schwartz SR, Baroody FM, Bonner JR, et al. Clinical practise guideline: Allergic rhinitis. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2015 Feb;152(1 Suppl): S1-43.

6. McDonald JL, Smith PK, Smith CA, Changli Xue C, Golianu B, Cripps AW. Effect of acupuncture on house dust mite specific IgE, substance P, and symptoms in persistent allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2016 Jun;116(6):497-505.

7. Xue CC, Zhang AL, Zhang CS, DaCosta C, Story DF, Thien FC. Acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2015 Oct;115(4):317-24.e1.

8. Kim SY, Lee H, Chae Y, Park HJ, Lee H. A systematic review of cost-effectiveness analyses alongside randomised controlled trials of acupuncture. Acupunct Med. 2012 Dec;30(4):273-85.

5 Things to Think About Before you Order your Triple Shot

We looooove coffee, right? And if you talk to the right people, you will hear that caffeine is very good for you. It has, in fact, been shown to improve cognitive performance, mood and alertness and protect against age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimers Dementia – which sounds pretty amazing right? Well, it is! For most people, it really is. What we forget sometimes when exciting research comes out touting the benefits of our favourite hot beverage is that the world is complex and that individuals (that’s you!) have individual reactions and often these are not accounted for in clinical trial results. There are a few things that will affect the way that your body responds to caffeine and it is important to keep these in mind whether to order your daily triple shot or not. 

  1. Time of day – if you drink your coffee first thing in the morning, chances are that most of the caffeine will be out of your system by the time you want to go to bed and your sleep will not be ill affected. If you have your second latte at 3 pm to get you through the afternoon – you may find yourself twiddling your thumbs at 10 pm when you want to sleep or tossing and turning throughout the night. Note: the 3 pm slump is a sign that your adrenal glands might be a little tired or that you suffer from low blood sugar – both are things your naturopath can help you with.
  2. Your unique metabolism – there are fancy tests you can do to determine how your body metabolises caffeine, but there are some simple tests you can do at home (or in the café) too. If you get anxiety, palpitations, sweaty palms, diarrhoea or insomnia, there is a good chance that your body has a stronger than usual response to caffeine or clears caffeine more slowly than other people’s and you may need to take it easy on the coffees and drink them in the first half of the day. Caffeine is a strong stimulant and if you are prone to anxiety or are a highly-strung person, it might not be the best morning treat for you.
  3. What else is in your coffee aside from caffeine? Coffee is not just made up of caffeine and (almond) milk. The coffee bean contains a complex array of substances that will affect the way the caffeine works in your body. Coffee can also contain a high level of mould and many non-organic coffee beans will also contain pesticide residues. Again, doing some home sleuthing and paying close attention to how you feel after coffee from certain coffee shops will give you an idea of which bean is best for you.  I suggest finding a coffee shop or two that serve organic coffee that doesn’t make you feel horrible and sticking with these.
  4. Whether you have eaten or not. If you have food in your belly, you will absorb the caffeine more slowly than if you grab a coffee before breakfast. For many people who experience blood sugar issues (those of you who get ‘hangry’ will know what I’m talking about), a coffee will exacerbate low blood sugar and make you feel extra hungry and extra jittery as your body kicks in the stress response to help deal with the low blood sugar. It’s best to have something substantial in your belly before heading to your favourite café.
  5. What else you put in your coffee. Having your coffee with milk or a milk alternative will often be a little gentler on your gut and your nervous system than if you order a long black. This is because the fat and the protein in these ‘milks’ will slow down the absorption of caffeine. Also, consider how much extra sugar or sugar alternative you add to your coffee. Not that these will necessarily make you feel very different, but can have a profound impact on your health. If you are adding 2 sugars to your coffee and you have 3 coffees per day, that’s a total of 6 teaspoons of sugar every day. Which is a lot! Consider slowly cutting back, your body will adjust as you reduce your sugar intake and soon you will only need a sprinkle. If you use artificial sweeteners, then I suggest you consider switching back to the original sugar. Studies show that artificially sweetened drinks are associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer and are not recommended for regular intake.

Gemma Martin, a naturopath with over 10 years experience in natural therapies and is experienced in treating all kinds of conditions – from the simple to very complex.

To make an appointment with a naturopath at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3186 5676

Three Words to Change your Relationship

Who remembers that giddy time in the beginning of a relationship –  when all the happy hormones are in play when you are constantly in the throes of lust, desire, and attraction and you just can’t keep your hands off one another! You remember?… talking late into the night, missing each other terribly when you’re apart? This is an emotionally intense, uplifting and magical time for couples. 

Yet, inevitably, one day, reality kicks in. And it here we begin to get weighed down by the dullness of domesticity, the stresses of work and feel the loss of the spark. While this sounds like doom and gloom in the romance and passion stakes, fear not…It is not the end, it actually is the beginning of a deeper and longer lasting connection – real love.

According to Dr. Mark Holder, from the University of British Columbia, who is heading up a research team studying happiness, this all can change with just three words. He outlines some their findings in a TedTalk,  “The Three Words That Can Change Your Life”.

This work resonates on a deep level for me as a relationship therapist. 

Exploring and learning new ways to nurture fulfilling, passionate and dynamic relationships speaks to the tools for strengthening emotional connections, and repairing emotional disconnections. 

Dr.Mark Holder’s work suggests that this path of fostering deeper emotional connections requires us to take the time to enquire how happy our partner is,  and it is as simple as asking the question…and listening to their answer. 

Holder explains that listening is not just about taking in information. Listening is an act of love that validates the speaker. And so the magic, the sweet spot is regularly using these three words  in your relationships:  “Tell me more.”

It is this intention that lets your partner know that their story matters to you. Reinforce this by following up with the words: “What happened next?”

It is powerfully therapeutic to feel truly heard, knowing that your partner is not itching to say their piece; will not interrupt, be dismissive, offer solutions, or be judgmental.

Today, you can begin. Have that conversation with your partner, and make a commitment to take some quality time for yourselves, no matter how busy you are. Your relationship matters and your connection is everything. 

 

Rebecca Brewster, Counsellor, Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist at Brisbane Natural Health

To make an appointment with Rebecca at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3367 0337 or click here to book online now.

Sore muscles after exercising: Is it normal?

Having delayed onset muscle soreness is common after exercise but it’s nothing to be alarmed about. It usually means that your muscles are getting stronger. 

Mild soreness is a natural occurrence after any kind of physical activity most frequently experienced in the beginning stages of a program. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, also known as DOMS is a common result of physical activity as our muscles go through quite a bit of physical stress when we exercise. 

A common result of physical activity causes tissue to stress beyond what it’s accustomed to. It’s perfectly normal to experience this discomfort between 24-48 hours post activity and it can be the body’s signal to the brain that it needs a rest. 

DOMS occurs when the muscle is performing an eccentric contraction or lengthening contraction. For example, running downhill or the lengthening portion of a bicep curl. During this action, a small microscopic tear occurs in the muscle – this creates damage to the muscle fibres. The aches and pains are a result of this and indicate that the muscles are adapting to a new fitness program or regime.      

 

5 Easy tips to speed up recovery and reduce DOMS:

Get more sleep

Sleep deprivation can have significant negative effects on recovery for all performance levels. 

Drink plenty of water

Exercising while dehydrated can cause greater damage to muscles and reduce the body’s ability to repair itself. Water is usually enough for most individuals looking to replenish fluids. 

Make foam rolling your friend

Rolling out muscles with a foam roller or spikey ball can help remove knots and prevent muscle imbalances from forming. 

Gentle stretching

When muscles are in recovery mode they tend to tighten up which leads to feelings of soreness. Slow, gentle stretching of the area will relive that tight feeling and diffuse pain. 

Light massage

Massaging a sore muscle can help reduce tightness while promoting blood flow which will help speed recovery and shorten the duration of DOMS.

 

 

 

 

Natural Cures for Constipation

Health begins in the gut, and constipation is just one of many signs that your digestive system is out of balance. A healthy bowel motion consists of waste products from digestion, bacteria, undigested food particles, salt, bacteria, toxins and other compounds. The colon is a key organ of detoxification and elimination which is critical to the function of almost every other system in the body.

Imagine if you didn’t empty your garbage bin regularly; waste would overflow into the surrounding room, scraps could putrefy and release unpleasant odours and gases, and undesirable creatures would be attracted to the mess. A similar analogy can be applied to the bowels. If wastes are not removed effectively and efficiently, they can putrefy, damage the integrity of the lining of the gut, and cause recycling of some toxins back into the body creating an increased workload on other organs such as the liver.

Constipation is by definition, infrequent or incomplete bowel motions. Constipation can mean hard, dry and small bowel movements or bowel motions occurring less than three times per week. If your bowel motions do not fit this checklist for what is considered normal and healthy, then you may be constipated and need to become a “poo detective” to make some changes.

Healthy Poo Checklist:
✓ You empty your bowels 1 to 2 times daily.
✓ No straining.
✓ No pain.
✓ Smooth, sausage-shaped log or a few smaller pieces.
✓ Takes no longer than 10 minutes to complete.
✓ Brown to dark brown in colour. (Red or black stools require medical attention)
✓ Consistent in its characteristics from day to day.

While constipation may be caused by irritable bowel syndrome or some gastrointestinal infections, it is most commonly caused by a lack of water intake and low fibre intake.
Constipation can also be caused by the overuse of laxatives, leading to a “lazy bowel”. The bowel walls have muscles which contract and relax rhythmically to move bowel contents along. If they are not looked after correctly, just like the other muscles in your body, they too can lose tone and become weakened, leading to constipation.

Some natural ways to relieve constipation include:

Water in adequate amounts is critical to healthy bowel motions. You want to aim for roughly 8 glasses of filtered water everyday.

Fibre is the indigestible part of plants that can act as an intestinal broom. Insoluble fibre draws water to itself as it passes through the bowel, softening and bulking the stool supporting regular bowel motions. Resistant starches also fall in the fibre category and are essential for supporting healthy microbial balance in the digestive tract. Eating approximately three handfuls of vegetables with your main meals and including nuts, seeds and legumes are all good ways to get enough fibre in your daily intake. Partially hydrolysed guar gum is a water-soluble fibre that shows promising results in clinical studies for improving the frequency of bowel motions, reducing straining, and reducing abdominal discomfort.

Good Gut Bacteria are critical to our health. They have many important functions in the body, including assisting in digestion and breakdown of foods, absorption of nutrients, production of energy, vitamins and other important compounds for the body. To help support a healthy gut colony or microbiome, including fermented foods in your diet such as yoghurt, saurkraut, kombucha, kimchi or pickles. Foods containing resistant starches such as bananas, onion, garlic, jerusalem artichoke, asparagus can also help to feed the microbes in your gut, creating a healthy environment in which for them to flourish.

Rest and digest. We often underestimate the importance of chewing our food properly, and taking time away from work to switch our body into digestion mode. Eating consciously and mindfully allows your body to send the right signals to the stomach to break food down properly, pass it successfully through the digestive tract, trigger nutrient absorption and healthy waste elimination. Eating at work or on the go detracts from these messages getting through to your digestive tract, slowing the whole process down.

Your naturopath and acupuncturist can also assist you to resolve constipation by discovering the underlying causes and creating a specific treatment plan to suit your unique circumstances. Our toolbox includes herbs, nutrients, and functional foods to enhance the overall digestive process, allowing for an adequate breakdown of foods, optimal absorption of nutrients and effective elimination of toxins. The goal of treatment is to return the bowel to natural healthy function and avoid the use of laxatives.

 

To make an appointment with a naturopath at Brisbane Natural Health, call us on 07 3106 8790 or click here to book online now.

Dry Needling

Dry Needling specifically treats musculoskeletal pain. A fine, single-use needle is inserted into a dysfunctional muscle with the aim of returning it to its optimal state. Studies have shown there to be a localised increase in blood flow and a release of endorphins as soon as a needle is inserted; both positive reactions to reduce pain and dysfunction.

What is a trigger point?

A trigger point is a contraction in a tight band of muscle which causes pain when palpated or squeezed, in a specific site and/or referring to other areas of the body. Trigger points can cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling, weakness, or lack of normal range of movement.

Dry Needling Vs Acupuncture?

It is important to know that Acupuncture and Dry Needling are two very distinct modalities. Dry needling is based upon the western medicine paradigm.

It is used for soft tissue correction, which involves inserting extremely fine and painless needles into muscle fibres, causing a local twitch response. This, in turn, helps to deactivate and resolve trigger points in the muscle and release constriction. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine and the stimulation of Qi (pronounce Chi).

Acupuncture diagnoses using complex theories, meaning only a qualified and registered Acupuncturist or Chinese Medicine practitioner can treat with Acupuncture. Many health professionals utilise Dry Needling as a method for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain, including Myotherapists, Physiotherapists, Podiatrists and even some GP’s.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture began in China more than 2000 years ago and has been a major part of their health care system ever since. It involves fine, single-use needles being inserted into very specific points along the body’s meridians which are found on every corner of the body including the hands, feet, and head. The individual points have a specific function and are chosen depending on the condition being treated.

Acupuncture helps conditions based on symptoms using ancient Chinese theories. These theories aim to achieve wellness and to restore balance throughout the body.
The techniques are gentle and the practitioner spends quality time with the client to ensure a positive experience occurs.