Top tips for managing stress
The team at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne share their tips on how to reduce and manage stress.
The spine and posture are important factors in the ability of the body to cope with stress. In fact, a healthy spine and nervous system can help to manage stress more effectively.
Everyone experiences stress on a daily basis due to the modern world that we live in and the increase in demand for our time and attention. Stress, in its negative sense can be defined as an imbalance of the bodily system(s) due to excessive stimulus that upsets normal functioning and disturbs mental or physical health.
The most common symptoms of stress include headaches, backaches and fatigue, as well as cardiovascular disorders (high blood pressure) digestive problems and sleeping difficulties.
At Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne, the chiropractors and massage therapists tailor treatment to get to the root of each individual’s problem
Tips on managing stress
- Recognise Stress – Acknowledging that the fact that you are feeling under the weather may be a reaction to too much pressure. Know yourself and your limits.
- Set Priorities – Examine what in your life is causing stress. What can be changed to help you introduce a better balance between work, social life and home life. Set priorities each day (no more than 3) and make a separate list for long term things to be addressed.
- Learn to say “No” – This is not a sign of weakness. It is easy to say ‘yes’ and difficult to say ‘no’ but in the long run, doing less will benefit everyone in your life.
Learn to Relax:
- Yoga – can be effective in reducing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure and heart rate. The concept behind all relaxation therapies is the relationship between mind and body; when the mind is restless and agitated the health of the body will be affected
- Meditation – can be extremely effective in that is slows the breathing rate, increases oxygen consumption, creates a relaxed brain rhythm and increases blood flow.
- Exercise – make time to exercise regularly. Not only is it good for your health but exercise can also make you feel good too. Exercise decreases the stress hormones, such as cortisol, and increases endorphins which are the body’s natural feel good chemicals.
- Diet – avoid caffeine and food additives. Reinvigorate your diet and gradually introduce healthy fresh whole foods to your daily intake.
- Sleep – sleep is an important resource that keeps you healthy, mentally sharp and able to cope with stress more effectively. Make sure that you stop doing mentally demanding work several hours before going to bed. This gives your brain time to calm down before you try to sleep. Try reading a calming, undemanding book for a few minutes to relax your body, tire your eyes and help you forget about the things that are worrying you.
- Indulge yourself – If you are unable to take time off work or have the resources for a holiday then find a way to indulge yourself. Spend a little extra money on a luxury item, even if it is a more expensive shampoo or bubble-bath that you wouldn’t usually buy. Set aside time each day for yourself even if it is just 10 minutes.
- Confide in someone – don’t keep emotions bottled up. A well-known saying is ‘A problem shared is a problem halved.’
Focus on the positive aspects of your life.
Steve Clifford, Psychotherapist at Lushington Chiropractic, says, “Most of the time we cope very well in spite of incredible stresses. At other times even the simplest request feels impossible. From time to time each of us may experience problems and difficulties which we feel unable to resolve. Having the opportunity to explore them with another person may help a great deal”
Visit www.chirocare.co.uk for further information and advice or call us on 01323 722499
Your Eastbourne Chiropractor James Revell.
How massage helps fight stress
The surprising benefits of massage for stress
Stress occurs when a thought or event becomes worrisome, anxiety-provoking or in more extreme cases threatening. In small doses, stress helps us meet deadlines or achieve goals but chronic stress has been linked to heart disease, anxiety and depression.
The body’s normal response to stress is to initiate a “fight or flight” response. This is characterised by an elevated heart rate, increased muscular tension, increased breathing rate and feelings of anxiety. As with most things, for every action there is an opposite reaction. In terms of stress, the opposite of becoming overly anxious can be to become too relaxed or lethargic. This relaxation response causes the heart rate and breathing to slow, while muscular tension is released.
So what about massage for stress? What can this achieve?
The Benefits of massage
Lowers blood pressure
According to the American Heart Association many of the behaviours that accompany stress can elevate blood pressure. In a 2005 study by the University of Florida it was found that participants who received regular massage over 3 weeks experienced a significant drop in blood pressure. It is understood that the vagus nerve regulates blood pressure and that through regular massage, the vagus nerve is stimulated. The result is that blood pressure drops back to a healthy level.
Reduces muscular tension
Headaches, jaw pain, shoulder and neck tension are all common symptoms of stress as the muscles tense and the joints become rigid. Regular massage sessions help to reduce muscular tension and alleviate much of the physical pain that can be associated with stress.
By easing these physical symptoms it is also possible to reduce the broader stress. The massage therapists here at Lushington Chiropractic use various techniques to rub, stroke, stretch and apply pressure to the muscles, which help them return to a relaxed state and can also initiate more even and relaxed breathing.
Provides immediate relief
Having a massage will provide immediate relief by giving you a chance to take some time out from the stresses life is throwing at you. This will give your mind a much-needed break and a recharge. This reboot is often enough to help you gain perspective on a stressful situation and distance yourself enough to look for solutions rather than fall deeper into those feelings of anxiety.
Immune and digestive system benefits
Circulation to the heart, muscles and lungs increases when stress builds. In chronic cases where the stress is felt over a sustained period of time, this can lead to problems in the immune and digestive systems. By prioritising blood flow to other organs and systems, the immune and digestive systems are sacrificed, which can result in the onset of illnesses.
Massage can help by reducing the feeling of anxiety and stress which in turn will help with restoring normal immune and digestive function.
To find out more about massage for stress relief, why not get in touch with the team at Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne. Call 01323 722 499.
Managing stress through chiropractic
Managing Stress through chiropractic
The 6th of November is National Stress Awareness Day. In this article our chiropractors are sharing tips on how to reduce stress and help maintain a balance of health.
The spine and posture are important factors in the body’s ability to cope with stress, and a healthy spine and nervous system can help to manage stress more effectively.
The modern lifestyle is fraught with stress. With ever-increasing demands on our time and attention, the implications for our broader health can be profound. Everyone experiences stress on a daily basis due to the modern world that we live in and the increase in demand for our time and attention. Stress, in its negative sense can be defined as an imbalance of bodily system(s) due to excessive stimulus that upset normal functioning and disturbs mental or physical health.
The most common symptoms of stress include headaches, backaches and fatigue, as well as cardiovascular disorders (high blood pressure) digestive problems and sleeping difficulties.
Recognise Stress – Acknowledging that the fact that you are feeling under the weather may be a reaction to too much pressure. Know yourself and your limits.
Set Priorities – Examine what in your life is causing your stress. What can be changed to help you introduce a better balance between work, social life and home life. Set priorities each day (no more than 3) and make a separate list for long term things to be addressed.
Learn to say “No” – This is not a sign of weakness. It is easy to say ‘yes’ and difficult to say ‘no’ but in the long run, doing less will benefit everyone in your life.
Learn to Relax:
Yoga – Yoga can be effective in reducing stress and anxiety, lowering blood pressure and heart rate. The concept behind all relaxation therapies is the relationship between mind and body; when the mind is restless and agitated the health of the body will be affected.
Meditation – Meditation can be extremely effective in that is slows the breathing rate, increases oxygen consumption, creates a relaxed brain rhythm and increases blood flow.
Exercise – Make time to exercise regularly, not only is it good for your health, but exercise can also make you feel good too. Exercise decreases the stress hormones such as cortisol and increases endorphins which are the bodies natural feel good chemicals.
Balance – Balance and alignment can help you feel more at ease. This is one of the many benefits of managing stress through chiropractic.
Diet – Avoid caffeine and food additives. Reinvigorate your diet and gradually introduce healthy fresh whole foods to your daily intake.
Sleep – Sleep is an important resource that keeps you healthy, mentally sharp, and able to cope with stress more effectively. Make sure that you stop doing mentally demanding work in the final hours before going to bed. Give your brain time to calm down before you try to sleep. Try reading a calming, undemanding book for a few minutes, again to relax your body, tire your eyes and help you forget about the things that are worrying you.
Indulge yourself – If you are unable to take time off work or have the resources for a holiday then find a way to indulge yourself. Spend a little extra money on a luxury item, even if it is a more expensive shampoo or bubble-bath that you wouldn’t usually buy. Set aside time each day for yourself even if it is just 10 minutes.
Confide in someone – Don’t keep emotions bottled up. A well known saying is, ‘A problem shared is a problem halved.’
Focus on the positive aspects of your life – It can be difficult to keep things in perspective when times get hard. But always make the effort to step back and think carefully about all the good things you have going on.
How do you manage your stress?
Lushington Chiropractic is a multi-award winning chiropractic and sports massage clinic in Eastbourne town centre. We provide a range of treatments from expert chiropractic care to nutritional therapy, counselling, acupuncture, podiatry, sports massage and relaxing massage. If you want to find out more about managing stress through chiropractic and lifestyle changes, why not get in touch on 01323 722499.
Top 10 Posture and Body Sins
Top Ten Posture and Body Sins
People often say to me as a chiropractor, why is my posture/body like this? Why did these joints get stiff, muscles get tight etc? Why is it that they don’t stay good and I keep needing help?
Well the best way I can explain it is to get you thinking about your everyday life. There are many stresses on the body but the main ones can be thought of in terms of three main categories. These are physical stressors, emotional stressors and chemical stressors. The first two are pretty self explanatory; the third category chemical includes things like the food that we eat or don’t eat. Think about what are you exposed to on a day-to-day basis, what do you do? Our modern daily lifestyle isn’t quite tailored to how we are designed or what we were made for.
I have made a list below of some of the top ten body or posture sins that many of us commit. How many can you relate to?
1.) “It’s normal to have a bit of neck/back ache isn’t it?”
This is typical of our stoic British attitude. We get on with things, we get used to it and don’t necessarily realise that things can actually be improved and we don’t have to suffer as much. People’s favourite for this is headaches. When I ask my patients how often do you get headaches, the reply is more often than not, “Oh, not very often just the usual.”
Just the usual! What is usual? Is it right or normal that we should be getting headaches? So, the first sin that we commit is accepting our lot. Not getting help, not realising our potential.
A common part of many people’s modern daily life. Each day millions of people sit on their way to work before sitting at their desk for several hours. To top it all off, there’s often another long commute home. Our back/body doesn’t like to be in one position for long periods at a time, particularly with the lower back sat in flexion (slumped). This puts more pressure on the lower back and discs. We are particularly at risk if we have to sit for long periods and then jump up and do something very active.
3.) Poor desk set up/ Working on a laptop
Many of us are at fault with this. We sit with poor posture looking down at a computer or laptop. Our chair may be less than ideal or we may be constantly sat at a twisted angle due to phone or mouse set up. The ergonomics of our work station is set up are important, we spend a lot of time there! Make sure yours is set correctly. If you are not sure how, ask for some advice.
Are you always on the go? Are you too busy to stop, eating at your desk? Many of us work in high pressure environments where we are constantly meeting deadlines, dealing with problems and so on. If you imagine in your head for a moment a stressed person, imagine what they look like, how they are sitting, the look on their face. Now imagine a happy relaxed person. Which of the two’s body is the most unhappy? Which is sat with their shoulder hunched up round their ears, looking and feeling anxious?
Our body goes into the fight or flight mode, except we are not exercising. This affects how we hold ourselves but also the stress hormones going round our body. Stress is well documented to be an important cause and contributing factor to bad health and it is important that we find ways to tackle or deal with this if we are to be as healthy as we can.
5) Text thumb, phone neck etc…
A new breed of conditions and complaints coming out of our technology-centred world! How much time do we now spend looking down, texting, on Facebook, Twitter etc. Playing computer games makes kids’ (and adults’) live more sedentary. By exercising less and maintaining a poor diet the modern British child runs the risk of a whole host of problems in later life. Their musculoskeletal system and general health will suffer, bad habits are formed and are so much harder to fix later on.
6) Poor lifting/carrying
Think about your job: what do you do physically. There are lots of people out there in manual jobs whose back could be spared by just having a bit of extra knowledge in how to lift well. Often I see people who think they are doing it right but they REALLY AREN’T! It’s small but very important changes that we can make to how we do things.
When you consider you might do those things hundreds of times a day it is easy to see why they are so so important to do right. An investment in looking after you body will mean that you can keep doing what you are doing, keep working and keep earning money.
Poor nutrition simply means that our bodies can not function well. You wouldn’t expect that your car would run well if you didn’t put the right stuff in and it is the same with us. Poor nutrition can affect our bone health, meaning we get more wear and tear, poor function and ultimately we can’t do the things we used to be able to it could even manifest in physical discomfort. Our body needs enough of the good stuff to heal and repair and to have enough energy.
8) Couch potato-ing
This is similar to the point about activity above, if we don’t use it we will lose it. Slouching, inactivity, excessive TV watching all leads to our body being unconditioned and achy. Falling asleep on the sofa is one of the biggest sins, waking up in awkward positions feeling sore. If you are tired, go to bed!
9) Not getting enough sleep
Leading on from the last point, sleep is so so important. It is when our body repairs and heals itself. If we don’t get enough sleep we are more prone to getting ill. We also make poorer food choices, get more tired and stressed, leading to us becoming more run down. Our body likes routine and shift workers struggle in this area.
It is essential to think about your feet. High heels are not great for posture or back health and yet many people where heels almost every day.
I could write much more on each of these points. But as a starting point, you should consider this to be a quick checklist for you to consider. It is interesting to note that these points often go hand in hand. If you are stressed, you are often sleeping badly, eating badly not getting enough exercise and so on. When people come to see us and all these factors are in play, part of helping them get well is helping them to address these factors.
Getting well is always a joint effort, I always tell people I cannot do this on my own, I cannot do it for you. You have to want to get well and put some time and commitment into doing it. If you want it, I will do my best to help you.
Our bodies are amazing. They have an incredible ability to adapt and compensate. However, we can only adapt so far and then the problems start emerging. Unfortunately for us, sometimes they adapt well enough and hide things well enough that we don’t know there is a problem or can ignore it.
Think about the damage done to a smoker’s lungs or to our arteries in heart disease. The damage is being done way before we can see or become aware of it. This makes it easier for people to ignore, but if we want to live a healthy, quality life we need to think about the things we do every day and how we are living.
It is much like the old dental analogy: back in the day there were not so many sugary sweets, foods and so on, but now they are commonplace. For this reason we are advised to brush our teeth every day and have regular dental checks and hygienist appointments. This is the same idea for your body’s general and musculoskeletal health – except that rather than just being the bit in your mouth, this encompasses your whole body!
Finally, our biggest sin is thinking we can’t change things and simply accepting the deterioration in our health. I am here to tell you that you CAN change things, you CAN become more healthy and it starts with being aware. So have a look over the points above and think about how many of these you might need to tweak a little and how you might start to do that.
That’s all for now folks. If you are looking for chiropractic in Eastbourne, have a look at our website for more advice and information. If you have any questions, please feel free to use the comments section below or join the conversation on the Lushington Chiropractic Facebook page.
Qi Gong, Robert Downey Jr and Adele: taking a closer look at the benefits of traditional Chinese energy work
I’ve just spent the weekend exploring the world of qi gong and nei gong with a lovely group of fellow enthusiasts and have returned re energised and revitalised. Qi gong has recently been in the spotlight, first with Robert Downey Jr extolling the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine and qi gong.Then it was revealed that Adele also practised qi gong breathing techniques to help her with stage fright. Read more on that here.
So what exactly is the difference between qi gong and nei gong and how can it help you?
Qi literally means ‘energy’ or ‘life force’. In the last 50 years qi gong (meaning ‘energy work’) has become an umbrella term to cover all types of oriental energy work exercise. However this energy work was originally divided into two distinct forms.
In its original form, Qi gong refers to those exercises that stimulate the energy meridians on the surface of the body (wei chi) and through these affect the energy deep inside the body. Qi gong often uses the breath to move the qi and typically works on one or two meridians (energy pathways) at a time.
Nei gong, however, means ‘internal work’. It focuses on the energy deep within the body which then opens and strengthens the meridians of the body. In nei gong the mind directly connects with and leads the energy or qi, thereby activating all the bodies energy pathways at the same time. Physical movements may be used but are not necessary with standing, sitting, lying and sexual techniques commonly used.
Nei gong is at the root of all internal energy exercise systems including qi gong, tai chi, bagua and hsing yi. It can be seen as the alphabet upon which these arts are based.
The 16 components of Nei Gong
- Breathing methods, in increasing complexity
- Feeling, moving, transforming and transmuting internal energies along the descending, ascending and connecting energy channels of the body
- Precise body alignments
- Dissolving physical, emotional and spiritual blockages
- Moving energy through the body’s meridian channels and energy gates
- Bending and stretching the body, from the inside out and the outside in, along the yang and yin meridians
- Opening and closing all parts of the body’s tissues, including the joints, muscles, soft tissues, internal organs, glands, blood vessels, cerebrospinal system and brain, as well as all of the body’s subtle energy anatomy
- Manipulating the energy of the external aura
- Making circles and spirals of energy inside the body, controlling the body’s spiralling energy currents, and moving chi in the body at will
- Absorbing and projecting energy to and from any part of the body
- Controlling energies of the spine
- Controlling the body’s left and right energy channels
- Controlling the body’s central energy channel
- Learning the capabilities and uses of the body’s lower dandien
- Learning the capabilities and uses of the body’s upper and middle dandien
- Connecting every part of the physical body into one unified energy
At first each component is learned separately and then incorporated into your energy exercise whether its tai chi or qi gong etc.
Training starts with the physical movements that stretch the body’s soft tissues (muscles, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments) through a range of systematic and progressive techniques. Step two is about learning how to manipulate the body’s fluids which, with practice, can allow practitioners access to the energy that powers the body. In step three, the minds intent can be applied to move this energy at will, and that is where the fun begins.
Working in this way allows you to unlock the body’s mechanisms that enable deep relaxation. It is possible to release both generalised stress and chronic, bound tension at each layer, whilst simultaneously feeling more and more energy and health benefits.
See you soon
Discovering an all-new you through acupuncture
Could you be saying hello to an all-new you this year with the help of acupuncture?
January is always a good time of year to reflect on what has gone before, as well as setting a course for the New Year. For many people it is the time of year to focus on their health and look to effective treatments such as acupuncture.
It’s not unusual for people to succumb to seasonal bouts of coughs, colds and flus during these post-Christmas winter months. But why is it that some people are affected more or less than others?
For an acupuncture practitioner this is due, not solely, to the many germs and viruses around, but largely to the relative deficiency of one’s own vital energy or Qi. When one’s energy is low this can result in a weakened immune system, allowing colds and flus to flourish.
There are many factors that can deplete your energy and consequently weaken your overall health. These may include diet and nutrition, stress, lack of exercise, lifestyle, overworking and many external factors.
By tackling these issues it should be possible to increase one’s energy reserve and bring the body’s inner landscape into better balance. The result of this is typically a stronger immune system and an increased sense of wellbeing.
Acupuncture works on balancing and increasing this energy throughout the body and I find it interesting to note that people who receive regular acupuncture treatments suffer much less with colds and other minor illnesses.
So what else can we do to improve things as we start the New Year?
After the rich foods and revelry of December, January is the perfect time to take an interest in one’s diet and begin to choose healthier options – ones that bring us closer to vibrant health. Choosing an exercise that is stimulating and keeps you interested will also help to keep you going throughout the year.
Finding ways to lead a better work/life balance is vital and will enable you to avoid burning out and will enable you to enjoy more fully your leisure time. Stress and emotions are two huge factors that drain energy and are well worth considering.
Like all of the team members at Lushington Chiropractic, I believe in the importance of self-care, and I encourage clients to be aware and vigilant of the stresses and strains that impact on their daily lives. It is a well known fact that constant worry and anxiety have a dramatic effect on the body. They act like a leaky tap, constantly draining our vital energy. Understanding where and why this is happening will have an immediate effect. It is a topic that I am passionate about as an acupuncture practitioner, so expect some more blog articles on this in the near future.
Finally, there is one more way you can rev up your energy reserves. It is one which has had the most powerful and enduring effect on my own life and the one I now teach to many students in my classes around the local area. Tai Chi and Qigong are gentle, yet thorough, therapeutic exercise systems which have stood the test of time. They were specifically developed hundreds of years ago to not only work on the musculo-skeletal system but also to enhance the body’s natural energy reserves through specific movements, breathing techniques and internal awareness.
If you would like to find out more about how acupuncture could help you please drop the clinic a call or email, contact us via our Facebook page or come and have a chat with me at the clinic.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this and look forward to your comments.
Have a great New Year
Chiropractic: a powerful tool for stress relief
We all experience stress in our lives. And, in many ways, there’s nothing wrong with experiencing a heightened state of awareness from time to time. Stress is a natural emotion that is useful to human survival at its most basic level.
Yet too much stress over a long period of time can have damaging effects on our bodies and how we feel.
In this week’s post, I want to take this opportunity to share with you how I have personally found relief from the worst stresses I have faced.
There are many possible causes of stress. They can be physical (car accident, repetitive motion), emotional (deadlines, death in the family), or even chemical (too much caffeine, hormonal imbalance). If you are stressed, it’s important that you do whatever you can to avoid the negative effects. Thankfully, there are many ways to help relieve stress.
Chiropractic adjustments are at the top of my list when it comes to effective methods of de-stressing. My chiropractor at Lushington Chiropractic found I was very tight around my neck and back area. The adjustments have helped to relieve the tension in my muscles and make my headaches less frequent, which has made me feel so much better.
I had suffered with stress for a long time. The physical effects include headaches, neck/shoulder aches along with feeling agitated and unable to concentrate. The discomfort in my neck and shoulders has caused sleeping difficulties, which only add to the feelings of stress.
Before I worked here at Lushington Chiropractic I would never have thought about having chiropractic adjustments to help alleviate some of my aches and pains. Instead, I would probably take a tablet and hope that it would mask the discomfort I was experiencing.
How wrong I was. Since having my eyes opened to the world of chiropractic, my wellbeing and health have greatly improved and I feel so much better. I no longer look to mask pain when I experience it; instead I seek treatment from experts who can get to the root of the problem.
Having regular adjustments along with occasional massage has caused my tension headaches to subside. I also feel more energetic and happy. I have more confidence and I consider myself to be more body aware.
Have a good look at the list below and be honest as to how many of these you suffer and for how long.
- Low Back Pain
- Uncomplicated Neck Pain
- Wrist Pain
- Elbow Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Hip Pain
- Knee Pain
- Ankle/Foot Pain
- Tension Across Top of Shoulders
- Numbing/Tingling in Arms or Hands
- Numbing/Tingling in Legs or Feet
- Weight Trouble
- Which of the above bothers you the most?
- How long have you been bothered by this condition?
- How does this feel or affect you when it is at its worst?
- Does this affect your work?
- Does this affect your life?
If you have any of the above, then you could be suffering from:
- Stress as a result of discomfort
- Structural misalignment
- Pinched nerves
My advice for dealing with any of these issues would be to see if Lushington Chiropractic can help you. They gently treat your body, naturally, without drugs to help remove the stress and imbalances that can cause health problems.
Would you like to get rid of the problem?
Lushington Chiropractic is a multi-award winning chiropractic and sports massage clinic in Eastbourne town centre. We provide a range of treatments from expert chiropractic care to nutritional therapy, counselling, acupuncture, podiatry, sports massage and relaxing massage.
If you have had experience of chiropractic and would like to share your experience then please feel free to comment below. Alternatively, if you are in need of help and considering chiropractic care, we welcome your questions.
Clinic Assistant Claire