Good vs. Bad Stress

Good stress is that which comes & goes, stimulating us to achieve more. An example is when we are excited or inspired after watching a movie, going to a seminar or having a productive meeting. During this time we may be creative, energetic and motivated.mind_2011_09679649

Bad stress is that which is chronic or long lasting. This is when the negative effects begin to show up and ultimately poor health. In fact most chronic health conditions today are associated with bad stress. Chronic stress is not healthy, and many people are chronically stressed that they don’t even realize how much, until they go on a relaxing holiday or leave their stressful environment (e.g. work or relationship).

Tips to help deal with chronic stress:

– Relaxing activities (yoga, meditation, classical music)

– Therapies aimed at inducing relaxation (Chiropractic, massage)

– Removing the stressful contributor or minimizing your exposure to it

– Colour therapy (choose colours in the green, blue, violet shades)

– Exercise (generally increases cortisol, however is counteracted by the release of endorphins – “feel good hormones”)

Importance of Stress

When we think about stress, we often associate it to a negative response. Maybe because we are conditioned in society to look out for stressful situations or the negative effects stress can have on our health. Either way, we actually need stress. Here’s why…stress

Simply put, without stress we would die! Stress is part of our survival mechanism. When we encounter a stressful situation, our body automatically goes into “fight” mode, which involves various bodily functions aimed at dealing with the stressful situation. An example is if a pedestrian suddenly appears on the road in front of you whilst driving, you automatically go into a state of readiness by activating the sympathetic nervous system (“fight” mode). Things like the dilation of your pupils so you can see better & increase in heart rate and blood flow to the muscles so you can use them quicker. Once the stressful situation has passed, the body settles back to it’s previous state – unless of course we allow the stress to remain!

So intermittent, short acting stressful responses are quite healthy, but don’t let them take over your life.

Is getting sick healthy?

This opinion piece looks at the benefits of getting sick, specifically related to the common cold. Many of us are taught that when Untitledwe get sick it’s a bad thing, but what if this article challenged that notion and showed why getting sick could actually be a healthy and good thing?

We’ve all felt first hand the unwanted symptoms of feeling unwell when encountering the common cold, things like a runny nose, sore throat & congestion. But would we prefer that this didn’t happen, and that our body automatically dealt with it without letting us know about it, possibly at the detriment of something else internally? Well this clever design called the human body, has reasons for doing many things. Some things occur consciously, most occur on an unconscious level (things like digestion and breathing). Alerting us when something is wrong is quite a normal and healthy response. It’s our body’s way of showing us that we should take notice of what’s going on, listen to the signals our body is telling us & take appropriate action. This may be to deal with excess stress, get adjusted, eat better, sleep better or exercise more. This response shows we’re human, but more importantly it allows us to take appropriate action in the best interests of our body. Similar to your car’s warning signal light coming on when something need attention, our body’s “light” comes on too.

No one likes to feel the symptoms of a common cold, and we don’t like seeing our children and loved ones in discomfort either. But take comfort in knowing that our body is merely doing what it’s suppose to (alerting us when something is wrong), encouraging us to take appropriate action, showing that we are human & this is a normal response.

The buzz about Olive Leaf Extract

Whilst many people are aware that supplements like vitamin C & D, and zinc may help boost immunity, many may not know about the Olive-leaves-handseffects of Olive leaf extract. In particular one study showed olive leaf extract to have an antioxidant capacity almost double green tea extract and 400% higher than vitamin C. (Dr Stevenson, L,. et. al Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) Report on Olive Leaf Australia’s Olive Leaf Extracts, Southern Cross University, 2005)

Olive leaf also has antioxidant properties that help protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive chemical substances that can cause cell damage if left unchecked. Recent research on the olive leaf has shown its antioxidants to be effective in treating some tumors and is especially potent when used in combination with other antioxidants. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_leaf#cite_note-Stevenson-5)

Another study at Australia’s Southern Cross University (SCU) has 
identified olive leaf as the most powerful, free radical-scavenging antioxidant of 55 medicinal herbs.

Keeping your fluids up is also important during times when your immune system is under attack, so always make sure you are taking in plenty of fluids.

Going Shoeless: The Pros & Cons of Barefoot Running

Barefoot running has become quite popular these days, and the theories behind it’s effects make sense. This is a great article looking at both sides when it comes to choosing to go barefoot running.barefoot-runner-five-finger-166s80v

There main message from these studies is:

– When it comes to injury prevention and running efficiency, it’s much more important how you run than what you run in. Heel strikers, regardless of shoe, will sustain more impact injuries than those who land on their mid or forefoot and allow their arches to act as natural shock-absorbers. The most efficient and least-injury-prone runners shorten their stride, land on the forefoot, and keep the running motion smooth, light and flowing.

Read more here: Going Shoeless The Pros & Cons of Barefoot Running

New study links chiropractic with better strength & less muscle fatigue

strongbrain-300x253Groundbreaking results of a recent research study suggest these positive outcomes are due to changes in brain function. This study found that subjects’ ability to flex their lower limb muscles increased by over 70% following just one full-spine chiropractic adjustment session. The results also indicate that the adjustment session resulted in greater input from the brain to the muscle & prevented muscles becoming fatigued.

The take home message: this study suggests that that the nervous system is able to produce greater muscle contractions following an adjustment, which may mean muscles become stronger.

Perhaps the most interesting finding was that results recorded from the research subjects occurred after just one session of chiropractic care, yet were similar to what has been shown to occur in the body after 3 weeks of strength training (http://jap.physiology.org/content/112/1/54.full).

This research conducted by Dr. Heidi Haavik and Professor Kemal Turker is pending publication and will be available soon.

Static vs. Dynamic stretching

Static stretching is when you stretch and hold that stretch. An example is the thigh stretch pictured here. Quad stretch

Did you know that static stretches have long been found to be ineffective in preventing injuries? A far better way is to do the following:

  1. Dynamic stretching
  2. Warming up movements that mimic the sport you will be playing

Dynamic stretching involves stretching while you are moving.

Examples are: Dynamic leg swings & Knee-to-chest jumps (pictured below).

Leg swings Knee to chest

Static stretching is useful following sport or as a general stretch, but before sport it’s best to perform dynamic stretches & a warm up that mimics the sport movement you’ll be performing. If you would like to know which stretches you could be doing before your sport, simply ask Dr. Tass.

Winter sports & Alignment

Winter sports such as football, soccer & snow sports bring a lot of excitement and unfortunately the occasional injury. Whether it’s a serious knee injury, muscle strain or even concussion, one has to be prepared for what lies ahead each week. This means getting your body into the best possible shape by taking an active role with things like preparation & recovery. Winter sports

One way many people do this is by having their spine and extremity joints assessed by Dr. Tass for any joint misalignments. Misalignments will generally cause a negative reaction from other areas of the body (like muscles, joints & ligaments), which places extra strain on these areas. Common examples are a rotated pelvis or low back causing certain muscles to react, become stiff and work harder to carry the load. This is what happens in the case of “back-related hamstrings”. This may then lead to a dreaded sporting injury.

So look after yourself today, to avoid a potential injury tomorrow!

Alignment puzzle

Why the fuss with Vitamin D?

The importance of vitamin D for improved health cannot be emphasized enough. Vitamin D levels are generally depleted in people 0906_vitamin_d_pills93cfce06705f22da0f-1during the winter months when sun exposure is low. The best & easiest way of getting your daily vitamin D needs is through supplementation, as sun exposure is too inconsistent & the risk of sun damage too great during summer.

Many studies have now shown that vitamin D helps with our immune system, bone health, and muscles (it helps with the uptake of magnesium – important for active people). But many people are unaware of it’s link with cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and autism where a deficiency of vitamin D has been shown in these conditions.

Read more here: http://www.vitamind3uk.com/VitaminD3_summary.html.