Spring has arrived and renewal is among us as we navigate our way through another lockdown created by this latest COVID variant and yes, we are OPEN. Many people are starting to get their first vaccine for COVID, however we should still be prudent with our measures for minimizing the spread and maximizing your own immune function.
The vaccine is your personal choice, but as Health Care Professionals, the Doctors and our Massage Therapist have chosen to have their “jab”. We feel it is our responsibility to not become possible vectors for this virus because we are exposed to the public and not isolated at home. We have the recommended protocols in the clinic regarding screening and patient distancing where warranted. We are also using the PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) as recommended by our Association and the Public Health Authorities, which allow us as Regulated Health Care Professionals to operate in this environment during uncertain times.
What you can do for yourselves is to minimize exposure and use PPE where necessary, but also look at how your lifestyle impacts your own immune function. In this newsletter, we discuss Dr. Herbert Benson’s work with meditation and how it impacts your own mental health and well-being. The isolation and restriction on activities has taken its toll on many people and their mindset, so this exercise will help you begin to take control of your own.
It will go a long way to help with your health because we always discuss how mind and body are one and NOT separate entities trying to co-exist.
We appreciate the opportunity to continue to manage your health needs during these challenging times. Please click onto the Winter-scene above for a link to our website.
Dr. Rick, Dr. Eric & the Staff @ Bridlewood Chiropractic Centre
DR. HERBERT BENSON: THE RELAXATION RESPONSE
Learn to counteract the physiological effects of stress
By Marilyn Mitchell, M.D., works in integrative medicine from Psychology Today, March/13
The term “Relaxation Response” was coined by Dr. Herbert Benson, professor, author, cardiologist, and founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute. The response is defined as your personal ability to encourage your body to release chemicals and brain signals that make your muscles and organs slow down and increase blood flow to the brain.
In his book, The Relaxation Response, Dr. Benson describes the scientific benefits of relaxation, explaining that regular practice of the Relaxation Response can be an effective treatment for a wide range of stress-related disorders.
Benson can be largely credited for demystifying meditation and helping to bring it into the mainstream, by renaming meditation the “Relaxation Response.” His studies in the 1960s and 1970s were able to show that meditation promotes better health, especially in individuals with hypertension. People who meditate regularly enjoy lower stress levels, increased wellbeing, and even were able to reduce their blood pressure levels and resting heart rate.
The Relaxation Response is essentially the opposite reaction to the “fight or flight” response. According to Dr. Benson, using the Relaxation Response is beneficial, as it counteracts the physiological effects of stress and the fight or flight response.
The fight-or-flight stress response occurs naturally when we perceive that we are under excessive pressure, and it is designed to protect us from bodily harm. Our sympathetic nervous system becomes immediately engaged in creating a number of physiological changes, including increased metabolism, blood pressure, heart and breathing rate, dilation of pupils, constriction of our blood vessels, all of which work to enable us to fight or flee from a stressful or dangerous situation.
It is common for individuals experiencing the fight-or-flight response to describe uncomfortable physiological changes like muscle tension, headache, upset stomach, racing heartbeat, and shallow breathing. The fight-or-flight response can become harmful when elicited frequently. When high levels of stress hormones are secreted often, they can contribute to a number of stress-related medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, GI diseases, adrenal fatigue, and more.
The Relaxation Response is a helpful way to turn off the fight-or-flight response and bring the body back to pre-stress levels. Dr. Benson describes the Relaxation Response as a physical state of deep relaxation which engages the other part of our nervous system—the parasympathetic nervous system. Research has shown that regular use of the Relaxation Response can help any health problem that is caused or exacerbated by chronic stress such as fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal ailments, insomnia, hypertension, anxiety disorders, and others.
There are many methods to elicit the Relaxation Response including visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, energy healing, acupuncture, massage, breathing techniques, prayer, meditation, tai chi, qi gong, and yoga. True relaxation can also be achieved by removing yourself from everyday thought and by choosing a word, sound, phrase, prayer, or by focusing on your breathing.
According to Dr. Benson, one of the most valuable things we can do in life is to learn deep relaxation — making an effort to spend some time every day quieting our minds to create inner peace and better health. This is also true with healing. During the energy healing process, the patient is able to relax, quiet their mind, and experience calming effects while the healer does his or her work. Energy healing patients have experienced profound results, not unlike the results seen in Dr. Benson’s studies.
Learning the Relaxation Response is a great skill that can help us to be better equipped to deal with life’s unexpected stressors, heal ourselves, and achieve better health.
The best time to practice the Relaxation Response is first thing in the morning for 10 to 20 minutes. Practicing just once or twice daily can be enough to counteract the stress response and bring about deep relaxation and inner peace.
Following is the Relaxation Response technique taken directly from Dr. Herbert Benson’s book, The Relaxation Response.
Steps to Elicit the Relaxation Response
- Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
- Close your eyes.
- Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face. Keep them relaxed. [Relax your tongue—and thoughts will cease.]
- Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word “one”* silently to yourself. For example, breathe in, and then out, and say “one”*, in and out, and repeat “one.”* Breathe easily and naturally.
- Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened. Do not stand up for a few minutes.
- Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace. When distracting thoughts occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them and return to repeating “one.”*
- With practice, the response should come with little effort. Practice the technique once or twice daily, but not within two hours after any meal, since the digestive processes seem to interfere with the elicitation of the Relaxation Response.
*Choose any soothing, mellifluous sounding word, preferably with no meaning or association, to avoid stimulation of unnecessary thoughts.
**11 DAY SHRED** STARTS MAY 10TH
We completed the March **11 Day Shred** and congratulations to those who were able to participate in this journey! Many have reported releasing weight and inches, however even more important was their improvement with energy, mental clarity and a more sound sleep. Others mentioned their relationship with food was better and they had lost their cravings and decreased the “emotional eating”. They also discussed the convenience of the program and were pleasantly surprised how much easier the fasting days were than they had anticipated!
We had a running FB Group with much of the information and to support each other throughout.
The idea was to create a reset to usher in the Spring and get results ahead of the warm weather. If it works on this old guy, imagine what it can do for you! 🙂
We are setting this up again in May. There were some who had a staggered start because of other challenges, so don’t worry if you cannot start exactly on that day.
If you are interested in joining the May group, please call 416-756-3833 or email me at email@example.com and type SHRED in the subject line.
Frozen shoulder exercises including mobility, stretching and strengthening with information on which stage of frozen shoulder might be appropriate
By Mike Walden, PHE, Sports Injury Therapist from sportsinjuryclinic.net
The following exercises focus on mobility. They are important in the early stages of frozen shoulder rehabilitation and should be done regularly every day. They may be uncomfortable but should not be painful.
Pendulum swinging of the arm is a great exercise for frozen shoulder and a gentle way of improving mobility. Stand in a slightly bent over position and support the body weight with the unaffected arm on a chair or table. Swing the affected arm in back and forth and circular motions, starting small and gradually increasing the movement.
Pole or wand exercises are a useful way of increasing the range of motion at the shoulder. Using a long object such as a broom handle held in both hands, the affected shoulder is taken out to the side as far as possible. Apply pressure using the good arm and broomstick to try to push it a bit further. Hold for 10 seconds and try to push a bit further again. This can be done in a number of positions.
Mobilizations by a trainer or therapist are usually more effective than just exercises alone. A therapist will mobilize the shoulder at its end range of movement. Exercises should only be done by experienced therapists.
One method involves lying on your back, raise the arm upwards. If the athlete can raise the arm 90 degrees then the weight of the arm will act as a mobilizing force. The therapist can either use short firm oscillating movements or sustained pressure at the end range of movement to increase joint range.
Another technique is the same as above but the athlete is in the side-lying position. The arm is abducted (moved out to the side) to 90 degrees or as far as possible and then either sustained pressure or oscillating movements can be used. The less painful the restriction, the more vigorously the stretch/mobilization can be applied. The therapist will usually judge this from the expression/reaction on the athlete’s face.
Frozen shoulder stretching exercises
The following exercises continue on from mobility exercises and focus on frozen shoulder stretching exercises.
Stretching exercises can be performed during the freezing phase and the frozen phase but only if they can be done pain-free. Unlike pendulum mobility exercises they should not be uncomfortable to perform.
Shoulder flexion stretchKneel on all fours and keeping the hands in the same spot, lower your buttocks towards your heels. This increases the degree of flexion at the shoulder joint. Hold this position at the point when you feel a gentle pulling sensation. If this eases, sit back a little further. Hold for 30 seconds, rest and repeat 2 more times.
External Rotation Stretch
The shoulder is rotated externally when it is rotated outwards. This can be achieved in a number of positions. The image above shows a therapist-assisted external rotation stretch with the arm out to the side and rotated outwards.
Another method is to lay on your back with your hands under your neck and elbows pointing to the ceiling. Slowly let your elbows move away from the side of your head and drop out to the side. Gravity will pull the arms further down, which increases external rotation at the shoulder joint. Hold for up to 30 seconds, rest and repeat 2 more times.
Position the forearm against the wall, with the elbow bent and upper arm horizontal. Lean slightly forwards and rotate the body away from the wall until a stretch is felt in the chest and front of the shoulder. If the arm is kept straight whilst performing this exercise then more of the stretch will be applied to the shoulder rather than the chest.
Posterior Shoulder Stretch
This exercise stretches the back of the shoulder. Bring the arm across the body at chest height and use the other hand to pull it in until a stretch is felt in the back of the shoulder and the upper back.
Frozen shoulder strengthening exercises can be used to maintain the strength of the shoulder as much as possible. Isometric or static exercises are the easiest to perform and will cause the least discomfort.
Strengthening exercises should be performed when pain allows. Initially, static exercises performed against an immovable resistance can be done. We also cover shoulder blade stabilizing exercises which should be included in all shoulder rehabilitation programs.
Isometric shoulder exercises
Abduction – This is performed standing sideways on to a wall, with the arm straight and by the side. The arm is pushed outwards, against the wall. Hold for 5-10 seconds, rest and repeat 5-10 times.
External Rotation – Again standing sideways on, with the elbow bent to 90 degrees and the upper arm by the side. The back of the wrist is pushed against the wall as if trying to rotate the arm at the shoulder. Hold for 5-10 seconds, rest and repeat 5-10 times.
Internal Rotation – Standing face on to a corner such as a door frame, the elbow is bent and upper arm by the side. The front of the wrist is pushed against the wall as if trying to rotate the shoulder so the forearm would move towards the stomach. Hold for 5-10 seconds, rest and repeat 5-10 times.
With any shoulder injury, it is important to try to maintain good posture throughout, as bad posture is a key contributor to shoulder injuries. When the shoulder is in pain, we have a tendency to hunch over and allow the shoulder to slip forwards. This can be prevented with stretching exercises for the chest and strengthening for the upper back muscles around the shoulder blade. A simple upper back taping technique can also encourage correct posture.
Start with the arms by the sides and the shoulders relaxed (dropped away from the ears!). Squeeze the shoulder blades together and down the back. Hold for 5 seconds, rest and repeat. Begin with three sets of 10 repetitions daily.
Hands up exercise
This exercise works the muscles at the back of the shoulder and the shoulder blade. Start with the arms by the sides and shoulders relaxed as above. Bend the elbows and bring the arms up, rotating the shoulders, until the palms face forwards as if surrendering! As you do this, squeeze the shoulder blades together, gradually increasing the movement.
ZOOM INTO HEALTH CARE!
Our monthly Health Care Workshops have been adapted to a Zoom format. The workshop is designed to discuss lifestyle habits that will help with your recovery and understand how to potentiate your health.
Our next workshop will be on Tuesday May 11th at 7:30-8:30 pm ET.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-756-3833 to let us know that you would like to attend and the link for the workshop will be sent out to you. I will also be asking all of our new clients, as it is part of their care. Again, there is no cost for our clients and you are welcome to invite family members and friends.
JANE App COMING IN JUNE
There has been a bit of delay, but we are planning for June 2021 in changing over our clinic software using a web-based program that will allow online booking of appointments and access to many more features to help our centre run more efficiently. We hope that this translates into an easier interface for all of us to use and communicate. Don’t worry, we will still answer phones if that is your choice and you will still be greeted by people.
There may be some growing pains as we create this changeover, but like any change for improvement, there will be some challenges.
Once we get online, we will invite you to peruse the site!