If you have never tried yoga, you may have the idea in your mind that yoga is all difficult poses. Hence you may think that they are hard to get into and hold, and may sometimes even be uncomfortable. However there are many different types of yoga. Not all of them involve the difficult poses that people tend to associate with yoga. Yin yoga is an easy, gentle form of yoga that anyone can do. If you are interested in getting into yoga then Yin yoga is a great place to start. Even if you think that yoga isn’t really for you, I would highly recommend giving Yin yoga a go, as it has so many great benefits, especially if you are someone who has a lot of stress and tension in your life.
Yin yoga is a more slow and gentle form of yoga. Additionally, poses are held for longer periods of time, usually 3 to 5 minutes, but sometimes even longer! Rather than focusing on building up muscle strength, Yin yoga is focused on deeper tissues such as your fascia, ligaments, and joints. This can help relieve a lot of stress and tension throughout the body. Due to the slow pace of the practice it can also have some great benefits for mental wellbeing.
Below are some of the amazing benefits than Yin yoga can have.
Relieves tension in the body – the prolonged time spent in the yin yoga poses allows time for the connective tissue around our muscles to be stretched out and become less stiff. This reduces the overall feeling of tension and stiffness within our bodies.
Increases circulation – when connective tissue is stiff this can limit healthy blood flow, the stretching out of the connective tissue allows for better circulation within the muscles and joints.
Improved flexibility – the amount of time holding the poses causes lengthening of the connective tissues. Furthermore this will turn leads to improved flexibility and range of motion of the joints.
Improved mental wellbeing – these days our lives can be so fast paced and it can feel like we never get a chance to slow down. Because of the slow and gentle nature of Yin yoga it gives your brain a chance to slow down and relax, reducing stress and improving mental wellbeing.
Improved sleep – as mentioned above Yin yoga reduces stiffness and tension within the body. It can reduce stress and mental wellbeing, this in turn can lead to a more restful nights sleep.
Reading to your newborn babies contributes to their development of their growing brains. It helps a baby with their language development as they begin to learn speech patterns along with taking in information.
A big question people often have is, do babies understand what we are saying? The answer to this, is yes!
Reading books to babies and kids help them to expand the variety of words that they use. Many books contain words we may not used in our everyday life. Books contain different names for different things and may use more adjectives, this helps your baby hear lots of different words. Hearing words helps a baby build a network of words in their brain. The more stories you read aloud to your baby, the more words and sounds they will hear. All this adds up to their ability to talk and communicate later. A study conducted in 2019 estimated that children who are regularly read to in their first five years of life are exposed to 1.4 million more words that children who were not read to in these first years.
Babies can gain a greater emotional understanding from by the expressions and sounds you make while reading. This helps with their brain development. Spoken words convey that words have different meanings things while different sounds mean certain things.
Making reading to your newborn a part of their routine to help them to see that reading is fun and sets them up for life. It will teach them that reading is not a chore for school or work, but reading can be fun too.
What is the best way to read to your baby?
Try to read everyday and at similar times so it becomes a comforting routine for your baby. Ensure you point out and names pictures such as animals for example. This helps your child to learn what these pictures are. You can later ask them to point to the “duck” for example. This creates a learning process and understanding of what different things are for your baby. Read the book with expression, giving each character a different voice, making animal sounds, and introducing your baby to new sounds.
How to pick the best books for your baby?
During the first few months of a baby’s life, they just love the sound of your voice, so anything you read is helpful. As they get a little older, books that they can touch is ideal. Vinyl or cloth books are easy for a baby to touch and feel. As they become more interested, books with bright colours, and shapes are great to read. Once your child starts talking, pick books with simple words or phrases they can learn.
The best way to ensure you child becomes a reader is to have books around the house for them to read as they get older.
Ever wondered exactly what’s happening when you hear that popping sound when you get adjusted by your chiropractor? Or if pop or no pop makes a difference when getting adjusted? Watch this video to find out.
For many mum and babies breastfeeding can be a real challenge.
We know that about 80-90% of mum try to breastfeed at birth but by one week of age as few as half of mums are still exclusively breastfeeding. This figure continues to drop with only about 1% of mum exclusively breastfeeding when baby is 6 months old, which is the recommended time we should exclusively breastfeed for.
There are of course many reasons why mums give up on this, from sore nipples to inadequate milk supply, or baby having issues with latching to suckling. All too often these problems lead to too much pain, or even breast infection and ultimately and understandably mum giving up on breastfeeding because it just gets too hard.
This is a real shame, because we know that it is really important for babies health. We know that babies who are breastfed are less likely to suffer from ear infections and tummy bugs, they’re even less likely to develop asthma and other conditions that can be life threatening.
It just goes without saying that nature knows best and that breastfeeding is the optimal form of nutrition for infants.
So if someone is having issues with breastfeeding, what can they do about it? luckily help is available.
-Lactation consultants and other health professionals can really help mums and babies to overcome the breastfeeding issues.
-One health care profession that many mums turn to for help is their family chiropractor.
But why might a chiropractor help with breastfeeding? Well the answer is really simple. Chiropractors see babies to help improve the way their body and nervous system functions so that they can get the best possible start in life.
Chiropractic care is amazing for expecting mothers for many reasons. A common complication of pregnancy/birth is when the baby ends up in the breech position, and this is actually something that chiropractic care can help with.
What is a breech baby?
Usually, during pregnancy, the baby is in such a position to come out head first through the birth canal. This is the easiest and safest position for the baby to leave the mother. However, in around 3-4% of pregnancies, the baby will be in such a position that its feet are in the direction of the birth canal instead of the head. This is called a ‘breech’ position and can lead to complications during birth, both for the mother and the baby. Breech babies usually require some type of intervention, such as Caesarean section.
The position of a baby is not sure until it has hit the 35-36 week mark. This is because before then a baby will often naturally turn around in preparation for birth. After this time, however, the baby has usually grown too much and does not have enough room to turn around comfortably. Some breech babies will still naturally turn around after this point, but some may stay in this position, requiring some type of intervention.
There are no definite known reasons that breech babies occur, but some possibilities are:
A mother that has had multiple pregnancies
A pregnancy with multiple babies
An incorrect amniotic fluid levels
An abnormal uterus shape
How can chiropractic care help with breech babies?
So you may be wondering where chiropractic care comes into this? Chiropractors don’t deal directly with the baby while it is still inside the mother. However, by adjusting the mother, this can often lead to the baby turning naturally, without the need for medical interventions.
The chiropractor will check and adjust the spine of the expectant mother, including the pelvis. Chiropractors are trained in checking and adjusting the bodies of pregnant women, modifying the adjustments when necessary, and making sure everything is safe and comfortable. There are even pregnancy-specific techniques, such as the Webster technique, that the chiropractor can use to adjust the mother. Webster technique addresses the sacrum and the round ligament, which has a direct attachment to the uterus. Along with adjusting the rest of the pelvis, this technique relieves pressure from the uterus, creates a more stable pelvis, and therefore creates more room for the baby to move around in. In many cases, this relief of tension from the uterus and increased space has allowed enough room for the baby to turn on their own, without the need for medical intervention. This helps ensure a safer and more comfortable birth for both mother and baby. It can also give the mother more peace of mind leading up to the birth, as it can be quite stressful for the mother knowing that her baby is breech, and create a lot of worry and uncertainty around what is going to happen during the birth.
While chiropractic care can be of great benefit to the mother and baby in the later stages of pregnancy when it is in the breech position, it is even more beneficial from the beginning of pregnancy. Being under chiropractic care from the start of pregnancy ensures that the pelvis remains stable and tension on the uterus remains minimal, which can prevent the baby from becoming breech in the first place, ensuring a more comfortable pregnancy and reduced stress for the mother. This is just one of the many benefits of chiropractic care for pregnancy and the birthing process.
The birthing process is a very complicated process that puts a lot of stress on both the mother and the baby. Because birth is so complicated, numerous things can go wrong. However, chiropractic is an amazing tool for any expecting mother, that has benefits for both mum and baby. Before, during, and after labor, and helps provide a safe and comfortable birthing process. Here is how chiropractic can help at all stages of the birthing process.
It is important to get checked by a chiropractor from the beginning of your pregnancy, as being under chiropractic care allows your pelvis to comfortably expand and change in order to give space for your baby to grow. If the baby has room to grow comfortably this will allow them to be in the best position possible for when it is time to give birth1. However, some babies can sometimes end up in the wrong position for birthing – known as breech position.
Most babies in the breech position need some type of intervention, such a a Caesarean section, to help them be born safely. There is a pregnancy specific chiropractic technique, called Webster technique, that focuses on balancing the pelvis, including pelvic muscles and ligaments. This can help take pressure off the uterus, and can result in the baby repositioning itself into the ideal position for birth taking away the need for extra interventions2.
Because chiropractic balances the joints of the pelvis and gets the nervous system working at its best, this usually results in faster and easier births. This is due to a few reasons. As mentioned above, chiropractic care allows the baby to be in the best possible position for birth, it also makes sure that the mother’s pelvis is ready for giving birth. Because chiropractic clears interference from the nervous system, this allows the brain to be able to better control the uterus and cervix, allowing the birth process to happen faster and more smoothly3.
Chiropractic care and reducing labour time
Estimates show that women under chiropractic care, have on average a 25-30% shorter labour time than those who are not under chiropractic care4. When the labour can run without complications due to the baby’s position, this decreases the need for extra medical interventions, allowing for a safer and more comfortable birth for both mother and baby. Chiropractic also has an impact on pelvis floor muscles, giving them a better ability to relax when the pelvic floor muscles are at rest. These muscles are very important in giving birth. When these muscles are working properly, it increases the chances of being able to have a safe, natural vaginal birth5.
Chiropractic is important for the mother both before and after giving birth. Because it equips her body to be able to bounce back to normal as quickly as possible. If there was for some reason some type of trauma during the birth, chiropractic increases the body’s healing capabilities, allowing the mother to heal as fast and effectively as possible4.
Even a safe, fast birth can still cause a lot of trauma and stress on the newborn baby’s system. It’s important to check after birth so chiropractors can find any areas of stress caused by the birthing process. Then remove them using extremely gentle and safe techniques, specific for very young children. From the moment babies are born, their brain and body start growing and adapting. Chiropractic clears their nervous system from any stress that may have been caused by the birthing process, which allows them to grow and function at their very best.
Haavik, H., Murphy, B. A., & Kruger, J. (2016). Effect of spinal manipulation on pelvic floor functional changes in pregnant and Nonpregnant women: A preliminary study. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 39(5), 339-347. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmpt.2016.04.004
Mental health disorders are an extremely common issue in New Zealand. With 17% of our adult population receiving a mood or anxiety disorder. Estimates show that almost half of our population will meet the criteria for a mental illness diagnosis at some point in their lives1. Mental health disorders are currently a massive issue in New Zealand, as they can place a lot of stress on individuals, families, relationships, and workplaces. Mental health is such an important part of our overall wellbeing. Some may be looking for a natural alternative to help assist them with their mental health. Without the same negative side effects that can be caused by the current medication that is usually prescribed for mental health disorders.
Chiropractic for depression and anxiety:
While chiropractic is a form of physical therapy, it is important to have a holistic view and realise that mental and physical health go hand in hand. There are multiple ways that chiropractic can help the body and mind to assist in looking after our mental health.
Sleep – Sleep is an important part of staying mentally and physically healthy. Two of the most common symptoms for both anxiety and depression are fatigue and insomnia. Chiropractic adjustments have shown to help with insomnia and help improve the quality of sleep2. Better quality sleep will help decrease fatigue levels and improve the overall state of mind.
Stress – chiropractic brings balance to the body, removing tension from sore and tired muscles. Helping to relieve muscle pain as well as tension headaches. These are common symptoms of depression and anxiety. Removing stress from the body and mental and physical health go hand in hand in importance3. Chiropractic also removes stress from the nervous system, allowing our brain to function at its best, and further reduce our overall stress levels.
Blood pressure – studies have been done that show that blood pressure is reduced following chiropractic treatment. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels4.
Hormones – a study has been done that shows that the hormones cortisol, oxytocin, and neurotensin are released after chiropractic care. These hormones help decrease pain levels (specifically stress-induced pain) and create positive feelings of social bonding. The combination of these decreases stress and has an overall positive effect on a persons state of mind5.
Chiropractic for chronic pain:
Chronic pain frequently leads to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and somatoform disorders6. The severity of the pain may be the cause, or because the pain has lasted for months to years.
Many sufferers of chronic pain have yet to find something that provides lasting relief for their pain. Some are not even able to identify what is causing their pain in the first place. This can cause people’s mental health to go to some dark places. As mentioned above, chiropractic removes stress and tension from the body, which may relieve some pain. Chiropractic is also essential in maintaining nervous system health. When interference is removed from the nervous system through a chiropractic adjustment this allows the brain and the body to communicate more effectively. This allows the brain to better recognise any dysfunction in the body in order to start healing it. It also allows the brain to perceive when there is no mechanical dysfunction causing pain in the body. As this can be common in many chronic pain patients.
The pain may be coming from information that has been interfered with on its path from the body to the brain. This causes neural plastic changes in the brain, causing it to believe that an area of the body should be in pain. This causes a negative feedback loop where the brain continues to send pain signals to this part of the body. By removing the interference of these messages, the brain can accurately perceive what is going on the body, and start to change back to a healthier state where it is no longer sending out these inaccurate pain signals7. Chiropractic is the only profession that can locate and remove these areas of nervous system interference. When people can finally start to live pain-free because of their chiropractic care, this has amazing benefits in terms of their mental wellbeing and overall quality of life.
In the last blog we discussed the physiology of diabetes what happens to insulin and some of the symptoms of diabetes. Quick recap, insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is when the body does not produce enough insulin due to an autoimmune issue (this type is often due to congenital issues). Type 2 is when there isn’t enough insulin or insulin becomes less sensitive due to the increased in take in sugar which is often caused by dietary problems. Today we are going to discuss how we can take preventative measures to avoid having diabetes.
Unfortunately, there is no way of preventing type 1 diabetes. However, there are ways to check for it at an early age. The best way is to do blood test. As for type 2 diabetes, it often stems from dietary issues and lifestyle choices. So the best way to address the issue is through alterations in those aspects.
Firstly, cut out most if not all processed sugars and refined carbohydrates. As we have discussed, diabetes is caused by increased blood sugar level. This causes a decrease in insulin sensitivity or the body is not able to keep up with insulin production.
Secondly, drink water as your primary beverage. Chances are if you have diabetes, you probably don’t drink a lot of water. As a recommendation, we should not have more than 9 teaspoons of sugar every day. However, 1 can of a regular size soda already consists of 8 teaspoons of sugar! This is why if you want to prevent yourself from having diabetes, drink mostly water as your primary beverage!
Thirdly, cut out processed foods. A study showed that a diet that consists mostly of processed food increases the change of diabetes by 30%. Yes, that can of spam, corned beef or that packet of two minute noodles is easy to make and tastes pretty good. But if you want to decrease the chances of getting diabetes, throw that stuff out. This is because during the processing, many preservatives are added to it and a common preservative is sugar!
Finally, complete more exercise! Exercise has many benefits, one of the benefits is that it increases insulin sensitivity. If insulin is more sensitive, your body will be more efficient at handling and processing sugar and there will be less stress on the body when it comes to producing insulin. Additionally, exercise can help you lower body fat and body fat actually lowers the effectiveness of insulin detecting sugar.
If you have type-1 diabetes, you can’t do much about it. All you can do is watch out for your diet and live a healthy lifestyle as much as possible. If you want to prevent yourself from getting diabetes following the 4 tips that was mentioned above is a great start. Remember what you do with your body is up to you. You feed your body with good fuel only good results will appear.
Sleep Quality and Bed Mattress… Are They Linked? And what is the best Chiropractic Bed Mattress out there?
Sleep is the most vital way for humans to recover. That’s why it is important to get a good amount of sleep as well as getting good quality sleep. When it comes to sleeping, two pieces of equipment can drastically change the quality of sleep as well as protecting your spine and neck. The two pieces are the pillow and the mattress. You need a good quality chiropractic bed mattress and pillow!
In the last blog we mentioned that the function of a pillow is to support the neck and upper back as well as providing comfort. The best way to choose a suitable pillow is dependent on one’s sleeping posture. This time we are going to sink in to the other piece of equipment, the mattress.
Plain & simple, a good chiropractic bed mattress will support your spine whilst you’re sleeping on it.
Just like the pillow, the mattress’s function is to provide the spine support and comfort at the same time. So the spine consists of 3 parts; cervical, thoracic and lumbar.
The Cervical Spine
The cervical spine which is also the neck is supported by the pillow. I’ve explained the physiological shape function of the cervical spine in the previous blog so go check that out here.
The Lumbar Spine
The lumbar spine is the spine that’s located in the low back. It’s has a similar ‘reverse C’ curve just like the cervical spine. The main function of the lumbar spine is to distribute stress and to bear the weight of the body. This is why out of all the vertebrae, the ones in the lumbar spine are the largest.
The Thoracic Spine
The thoracic spine is what fills the gap between the cervical spine and the lumbar spine. It is made up of twelve segments, located in the mid back and has an opposite curvature to the lumbar and cervical spine. As well as serving as the transition between the two primary curves (the lumbar and the cervical curves) it also hold the rib cage which protects all the organs.
When searching for a mattress we must find the one which best supports the curvatures of the spine. This way it maintains the health of the spine allowing it to function properly and decrease the likelihood of spinal degeneration and pain.
When to get a new mattress and how do you find the best Chiropractic bed mattress?
So firstly, how do you know it’s time for a new mattress? Well generally a good quality mattress lasts for around 7-12 years. But keep in mind that most mattress manufacturers design mattress’s that last for 10 years. A lot of the times deciding when to invest in a new mattress depends on the budget and individual pain tolerance. I am not suggesting that you should only consider changing mattress once you feel pain. But on the safe side I think 10 years is a good time to ponder about getting a new mattress. Another possible reason as to why you should change mattress is if your mattress has started to change shape. If you can see a part of the bed have sunk in around 1 to 1.5 inches it’s also an indication for a mattress change. Finally, if you are feeling pain, it’s time to treat your spine to a better mattress.
Choosing the perfect Chiropractic bed mattress!
Choosing the perfect mattress is dependent on your sleep posture. However it is a little less complicated than choosing a pillow because there is only one height for the mattress. When choosing a mattress, match your sleeping posture with the firmness of the mattress. This is because it helps keep your spine in a neutral stress free position for the duration of your sleep.
For back sleepers, choosing a slightly firmer mattress will be the ideal option. This is because it prevents sagging of the hip. This allows you to be in proper alignment for the duration of the entire sleep.
For side sleepers it is best to choose a mattress which is slightly softer than firm (not soft and not even medium, but not as firm as you would have it if you’re sleeping on your back). This way, there will be less pressure in your shoulders and hip. The softer mattress will also sink in allowing your spine to keep a straight line with the rest of your neck. If you know you move around during your sleep, try to find the dominant position and cater mostly to that.
What Chiropractic bed mattress do we suggest for your spine?
Choosing the right sleeping equipment is pivotal in maintaining your spinal health and having better quality sleep. We spend around a third of our lives in our bed, whether it’s sleeping, gaming, reading or watching television. So it’s important to invest in something that’ll keep you comfortable as well as keeping you healthy. So next time when you hunt for a new mattress take note of your sleeping pattern to find the perfect mattress for you.