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Proper posture and properly using your body to work against gravity is the foundation upon which everything else related to your health is built
The Gokhale Method addresses the root cause of physical pain, which is typically caused by improper posture. The method teaches you to reclaim your primal posture, which is the way your body was designed to stand, sit, and move
Modern science now confirms why humans have been practicing yoga since the beginning of recorded history: it is good both for the body and mind.
There is evidence in the archeological record that yoga has been practiced by humans for at least 5,000 years. Whereas this would constitute sufficient evidence for most folks to consider it a practice with real health benefits, as its millions of practitioners widely claim, skeptics say otherwise. They require any activity deemed to be of therapeutic value run the gauntlet of randomized, controlled clinical trials before it is fully accepted within the conventional medical system. Continue reading →
… that a unique and practical method of moment called the Alexander Technique has been shown to help alleviate tension headaches naturally, as well as ease back pain, tennis elbow—and even asthma, sleep disorders and lethargy?
If you watch toddlers playing, you will notice that they move with ease: spines straight, joints free and large heads balanced easily on their small necks. It doesn’t take long, however, before unawareness settles in, and the body’s innate ability to move Continue reading →
Back pain is not merely ordinary discomfort. It is a teacher of life lessons instructing us about our bodies and the mind-body connection. If you work through the pain and deal with it in a mindful, natural way, you can find relief and gain a new appreciation for avoiding backaches and improving your life’s journey.
Back Pain Redux
Recurring, chronic back pain is nobody’s friend, although it offers a tough-love educational experience. In the search for relief, this type of pain can too often lead to drug addiction, depression, disability and many more problems if you let it get out of control. But you have to remember that neck pain, upper back pain, low back pain and tail bone discomfort can each have quite different causes. Consequently, each comes with its own lesson.
I became an uncomfortably close friend to low back pain during my college years. In those days, I was a constant athlete. I was a competitive swimmer from age 5 to 13. Then I got serious about tennis, football, basketball, skiing and distance running. During all those activities, I never had a problem with my low back until the beginning of my first year at Brigham Young University (BYU).
How Pressing Specific Points on Your Outer Ear Can Help You Stop Smoking … Eliminate Pain … Shed Excess Weight … Quit the Alcohol Habit …and Heal over 350 Diseases
Did you know that when you massage or apply stimulation to a specific point on the outer ear (the auricle) … you can dramatically reduce or eliminate pain in a corresponding body part … and even reverse a disease or get rid of an addiction?
The discovery of the ear points and their therapeutic applications happened when Dr. Paul Nogier noticed that some of his patients who stimulated a specific area of their outer ear were able to successfully relieve low back pain. Dr. Nogier then conducted a similar procedure on his own sciatica patients and discovered that his patients were likewise relieved of their back pain.
After several experiments, he observed that the ear represents the human anatomy in an upside down orientation. He consequently identified the correlation of specific parts of the body to specific parts of the ear. Continue reading →
A feasibility study, with patient and provider satisfaction
We examined the use of telemedicine for improving access tocare in a work-site clinic. A prospective study of 100 patientswas conducted over a four-month period in a work site that housed700 employees. Sinusitis (10 visits), upper respiratory tractinfections (9 visits), otitis media (9 visits), hypertension(9 visits) and back pain (8 visits) were the most common reasonsfor the visits. In 99 visits, clinicians were of the opinionthat the telemedicine visit felt similar to a face-to-face visit.For most of the visits (67), patients strongly agreed or agreedthat telemedicine had a positive effect on their relationshipwith the health-care provider. The otoscope, microscope andstethoscope telemedicine peripherals were important in aidingdiagnosis (and ruling out other causes) in about 55% of thevisits (upper respiratory tract infection, sinusitis, otitismedia, cough, sore throat, nevi, rhinitis and ear wax relatedconcerns). The ability for the patient to watch their ENT examinationand see any associated abnormalities was appreciated by manypatients. Physicians, nurses and patients were capable of usingthe technology with little trainiing.
Source for Story:
Prathibha Varkey, Kay Schumacher, Claudia Swanton, Barbara Timm and Philip T Hagen Division of Preventive, Occupational and Aerospace Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
Feldenkrais is a form of movement re-education developed by nuclear physicist and engineer Moshe Feldenkrais after suffering a sports-related injury. Rather than undergo surgery, he explored alternatives and created his own form of rehab integrating physiology, anatomy, martial arts, psychology, and neurology.
A key principle of Feldenkrais is that the way that a person speaks, moves, and thinks is based on the self-image that person has developed over the years. In order to change the way we move and carry ourselves, we have to change how we see ourselves.
Feldenkrais recognized the importance of proper breathing to movement. He also believed that postures and movements reflected the state of the mind and body. For example, a depressed person may have hunched shoulders.
Neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy and fibromyalgia
Performance enhancement for dancers, actors, athletes
What a Typical Feldenkrais Treatment is Like
With Feldenkrais, there are two approaches:
Awareness Through Movement group classes – Led by a teacher, these classes increase mobility and help replace old patterns of movement with new, improving breathing and blood circulation. Classes are popular with actors, musicians, and dancers.
Functional Integration individual sessions – One-to-one sessions, using touch and tissue manipulation, where the practitioner actively directs the client’s body through various movements tailored to individual needs.
Sitting up straight is not the best position for office workers, a study has suggested.
Scottish and Canadian researchers used a new form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to show it places an unnecessary strain on your back.
They told the Radiological Society of North America that the best position in which to sit at your desk is leaning back, at about 135 degrees.
Experts said sitting was known to contribute to lower back pain.
Data from the British Chiropractic Association says 32% of the population spends more than 10 hours a day seated.
Half do not leave their desks, even to have lunch. Two thirds of people also sit down at home when they get home from work.
The research was carried out at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen.
Twenty two volunteers with healthy backs were scanned using a positional MRI machine, which allows patients the freedom to move – so they can sit or stand – during the test.
Traditional scanners mean patients have to lie flat, which may mask causes of pain that stem from different movements or postures.
In this study, the patients assumed three different sitting positions: a slouching position, in which the body is hunched forward as if they were leaning over a desk or a video game console, an upright 90-degree sitting position; and a “relaxed” position where they leaned back at 135 degrees while their feet remained on the floor.
The researchers then took measurements of spinal angles and spinal disk height and movement across the different positions.
Spinal disk movement occurs when weight-bearing strain is placed on the spine, causing the disk to move out of place.
Disk movement was found to be most pronounced with a 90-degree upright sitting posture.
It was least pronounced with the 135-degree posture, suggesting less strain is placed on the spinal disks and associated muscles and tendons in a more relaxed sitting position.
The “slouch” position revealed a reduction in spinal disk height, signifying a high rate of wear and tear on the lowest two spinal levels.
When they looked at all test results, the researchers said the 135-degree position was the best for backs, and say this is how people should sit.
‘Tendency to slide’
Dr Waseem Bashir of the Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Alberta Hospital, Canada, who led the study, said: “Sitting in a sound anatomic position is essential, since the strain put on the spine and its associated ligaments over time can lead to pain, deformity and chronic illness.”
Rishi Loatey of the British Chiropractic Association said: “One in three people suffer from lower back pain and to sit for long periods of time certainly contributes to this, as our bodies are not designed to be so sedentary.”
Levent Caglar from the charity BackCare, added: “In general, opening up the angle between the trunk and the thighs in a seated posture is a good idea and it will improve the shape of the spine, making it more like the natural S-shape in a standing posture.
“As to what is the best angle between thigh and torso when seated, reclining at 135 degrees can make sitting more difficult as there is a tendency to slide off the seat: 120 degrees or less may be better.”
What I have discovered in practice is that there are usually only one or two main groups of muscles, setting up the imbalances that cause the joint to move or the pressure to build up in a muscle making the joint stiff or tight and painful to use.
If the muscles that set up the imbalances (usually the deeper structural muscles) are worked on correctly, the pressure that causes the twist, tilt or tightness is released, along with the pain.
When a back develops problems it is not normally something that has just happened but rather the result of a buildup of imbalances over time. It tends to involve the whole body in some way and therefore requires a holistic approach to get a lasting cure.
To demonstrate, reach to the right to pick something up and you’ll notice it is not just your shoulder and arm that moves, you will feel every muscle in your body adjust in some way to support that movement.
Any therapist who doesn’t get their hands onto the muscles and body regularly, which lets face it is most of them including a doctor, physiotherapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, Pilates or yoga instructor, personal trainer etc, is severely handicapped right from the start when it comes to successfully treating back pain.
There is no way, without the vital information you get from the feel of the body, they could devise the best way of approaching a particular person’s back problem, or diagnose it correctly for that matter. In one hour you can significantly change how a person feels within themselves, simply by making a significant change to the muscle imbalances in their body and how those muscles feel to the touch.
The body will respond to the right touch as if it knows what is good for it, just as it will freeze up and resist the wrong treatment as a way of protecting itself. Have you ever gone for an adjustment from a chiropractor and had trouble relaxing?
When seeking out treatment for your back pain you need to tune into your body and instinctively you will know what is helping you and what isn’t.
A large number of people can’t afford to spend several hundred dollars on the medical merry go round hoping they would find someone who could help them.
I felt that if people were well educated on diagnosing their own problem and had effective techniques they could use daily at home to make progress on their own, they would get much better value from the therapy appointments they had and more importantly, they’d be able to recognize very quickly when a therapist they saw was going to be a waste of their money and time.
White willow bark is a tree native to Europe and Asia. The name “white willow” comes from the color of the leaves, which are covered with fine white hairs.
The use of white willow bark medicinally goes far back. Ancient Egyptians used white willow for inflammation. The Greek physician Hippocrates wrote about white willow’s medicinal uses in 5th century B.C.
In 1829, scientists in Europe identified what was believed to be the active ingredient in white willow bark—a compound called salicin. Public demand grew rapidly.
Extracting salicin from herbs was considered to be expensive and time-consuming, so a synthetic salicylic acid version was developed in Germany in 1852 and quickly became the treatment of choice (salicin is converted in the body to salicylic acid).
The problem was that it was harder on the stomach. At therapeutic doses, people using the synthetic salicyclic acid developed stomach ulcers and bleeding.
The German company Bayer eventually created a synthetic, less harsh derivative of salicylic acid, called acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), and mass-produced it under the name aspirin. Despite this, aspirin is still known for irritating the stomach lining.
Why do people use white willow bark?
White willow bark is used for conditions that cause pain, inflammation, or fever, such as:
* Acute back pain
* Joint pain
People take white willow bark instead of aspirin because it does not appear to be as irritating to the stomach lining. It may be because the salicin found naturally in white willow bark is only converted to the acid form after it is absorbed by the stomach.
Researchers have also suggested that white willow bark is more effective than aspirin because of other active compounds that are found in the bark but not the drug. Animal research at Cairo University compared a willow bark extract to ASA and found that a willow bark extract was as effective as aspirin in reducing inflammation, even though the salicin content was lower than an equivalent dose of ASA.
What research has been done on white willow bark?
* In a German study, the effectiveness of a willow bark extract providing 240 mg of salicin a day was compared to placebo in a 2-week randomized controlled trial in 78 people with osteoarthritis. After two weeks, the willow bark patients’ pain scores were reduced by 14% compared to the placebo group, which had a 2% increase in pain scores.
* A randomized controlled trial published in the American Journal of Medicine examined the use of 120 mg or 240 mg salicin or placebo in 210 patients with an low back pain. In the fourth and final week of the study, 39% of the group taking 240 mg salicin were pain-free for at least 5 days, compared to 21% in the 120 mg group and only 6% in the placebo group.
* Two randomized controlled 6-week trials investigated the effectiveness and safety of willow bark in 127 patients with hip and/or knee osteoarthritis and 26 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. In the osteoarthritis trial, patients received either willow bark providing 240 mg of salicin a day, 100 mg a day of the drug diclofenac, or a placebo. Patients in the rheumatoid arthritis trial received either willow bark or a placebo. The results found that the drug diclofenac was more effective than placebo in osteoarthritis patients but white willow bark was not. In rheumatoid arthritis patients, willow bark wasn’t found to be more effective than placebo.
Studies have used white willow bark extracts that provide 120 mg to 240 mg of salicin per day.
Because white willow bark contains salicylates, the same precautions as aspirin should be taken until research has shown otherwise. The following people should not take white willow bark:
* People with an aspirin allergy or sensitivity. There has been a published report of a 25 year old woman who was admitted to emergency with anaphylaxis after taking 2 capsules of a weight loss supplement that contained willow bark. The patient had a history of allergy to acetylsalicylic acid. No other possible causes for anaphylaxis were identified in that patient.
* People with peptic ulcer disease or kidney disease.
* The herbs ginkgo, vitamin E, and garlic may increase the risk of bleeding if combined with white willow.
* People with hyperuricemia, gout, and asthma.
* Children and teenagers, especially with flu-like symptoms, chicken pox, or Reye’s syndrome.
* Pregnant or nursing women.
White willow bark should be avoided two weeks before or after surgery.
There have been few reported side effects. However, the same side effects as aspirin may theoretically occur, especially at higher doses: ringing in the ears, ulcers, stomach burning, pain, cramping, nausea, gastrointestinal bleeding and liver toxicity, rash, dizziness, and kidney impairment.
Native to southern Africa, devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is a shrub that has lush foilage and red flowers. The plant gets its name from the miniature hooks that cover its fruit. For thousands of years, the Khoisan peoples of Madagascar and the Kalahari Desert have used devil’s claw root in remedies to treat pain and complications of pregnancy and in topical ointments to heal sores, boils, and other skin problems. Since its introduction to Europe from Africa in the early 1900s, dried roots have been used to restore appetite, relieve heartburn, and reduce pain and inflammation. Today, devil’s claw is used for degenerative joint diseases such as arthritis, for low back pain, and as an appetite stimulant and digestive tonic. Scientific evidence supports the use of devil’s claw root to help relieve pain and inflammation in people with arthritis and other painful disorders.
Devil’s claw does not have an odor, but it contains substances that make it taste bitter. It is a leafy perennial with branching roots and shoots. It has secondary roots, called tubers, that grow out of the main roots. The roots and tubers are used for medicinal purposes.
Medicinal Uses and Indications:
Studies have found that taking devil’s claw for several months substantially reduces pain and improves physical functioning in people with osteoarthritis. A 4-month study, including 122 people with knee and hip osteoarthritis, examined the effects of devil’s claw root powder on pain. The devil’s claw supplement reduced pain and improved functional ability as effectively as standard doses of a leading European medication for osteoarthritis. In addition, those who received devil’s claw experienced fewer side effects and required fewer pain-reducing medications throughout the study.
Another study found that devil’s claw supplementation was effective in patients with rheumatic diseases (arthrosis and low back pain). Seventy-five patients with hip or knee arthritis were given devil’s claw, 2,400 mg daily, corresponding to 50 mg of harpagosides, for 12 weeks. The dosage provided a significant reduction of pain and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis. Only 2 cases of possible adverse drug reactions were reported (complaints of indigestion and a sensation of fullness).
Back and neck pain
Although study results have been somewhat conflicting, evidence suggests that devil’s claw may help relieve low back and neck pain. In a small study of 63 people with mild-to-moderate back, neck, or shoulder pain, 4 weeks of treatment with a standardized extract of devil’s claw root provided moderate relief from muscle pain. In a larger study of 197 men and women with chronic low back pain, those who received daily doses of a commercialized devil’s claw extract every day for a month reported experiencing less pain and needing fewer painkilling medications than those who received placebo.
Another study followed 73 patients. Thirty-eight patients took a standardized devil’s claw supplement, while 35 taking the COX-2 inhibitor medicine rofecoxib, also known as Celebrex, for up to 54 weeks. Results inidicated that devil’s claw was as effective in relieving pain as the rofecoxib.
In addition to the treatment of these and other painful disorders, many professional herbalists consider devil’s claw to be useful for upset stomach, loss of appetite, headaches, allergies, and fever. Topical preparations of devil’s claw are also applied to the surface of the skin to heal sores, ulcers, boils, and skin lesions.
What’s It Made Of?:
Devil’s claw contains iridoid glycosides, components believed to have strong anti-inflammatory effects. Harpagoside (one type of iridoid) is highly concentrated in devil’s claw root and has been reported in some laboratory studies to have significant pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties.
Devil’s claw is available as dried or fresh root supplements and is found in capsules, tablets, liquid extracts, and topical ointments. Teas (infusions) can also be made from dried devil’s claw root.
How to Take It:
There are no known scientific reports on the pediatric use of devil’s claw. Therefore, it is not currently recommended for children.
Standardized dose: 600 – 1,200 mg, standardized to contain 50 – 100 mg of harpagoside, 3 times daily
Dried tuber or dried root powder: 100 – 250 mg, 3 times daily
Liquid extract (1:1 in 25 % alcohol): 2 – 7 drops, 3 times daily
Tincture (1:5 in 25 % alcohol): 10 – 30 drops, 3 times daily
Tea (Decoction): Boil 1/3 – 1 (1.5 – 4 gm) teaspoonful in water. Strain and drink, 1 – 3 times daily.
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach for strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine.
Devil’s claw is nontoxic and safe, with virtually no side effects if taken at the recommended therapeutic dose for short periods of time. However, high doses can cause mild gastrointestinal problems in some individuals, and it is not clear whether devil’s claw becomes toxic if taken for long periods of time.
Individuals with stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers, or gallstones should not take devil’s claw unless recommended by a health care provider.
Safety of devil’s claw for pregnant and breastfeeding women is not known. Therefore, it should be avoided during those times unless otherwise directed by your health care provider.
Warfarin and Other Blood-Thinning Medications — Devil’s claw may interact with a blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin) and cause bruising or bleeding disorders. For this reason, individuals taking warfarin or other blood-thinners should not use devil’s claw without first talking to a health care provider.
Other Potential Interactions — ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, diabetes medicines, diuretics, herbs with blood-thinning effects.