If you can breathe, you can do yoga!

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When most people think of yoga, they think of flexibility. The image of a peaceful person contorting his or her body in beautiful, yet almost impossible postures comes to mind. The truth is, you do not need to be flexible or be able to do the pretty postures to do yoga. Yoga is not just a form of exercise, but rather the reintegration of body, breath and mind through the practice of asana (movement), pranayama (breath), and meditation.

When practiced properly, yoga has many physical and emotional benefits. Most people know that yoga will strengthen the immune system and muscles, but that is not all! Yoga will enable you to stretch your muscles, lengthen your breath, lower your blood pressure and slow your heart rate. A persistent practice will increase flexibility, fertility, metabolism, and an awareness of your body and surroundings as well as improve posture, concentration, stress reduction and your mood! To my knowledge, there are over fifty different styles of yoga and I am sure there are more with its growing popularity in our Western culture. With that, it is important to choose the style of yoga that is right for you.

With the cold weather and extra weight from the holidays, people are flocking to participate in the latest fads of hot and bikram yoga to warm up and shed those unwanted pounds. These styles of yoga should be practiced with even more caution than others. Don’t get me wrong; it is absolutely wonderful to enter that 105-degree room when its cold and wet outside, but practicing in such a hot room can also be riskier. The hot room allows your muscles to stretch the farthest they have ever been stretched, which is not good when those muscles immediately tense back up stepping outside after an hour and a half long session. It also stretches everything else. That includes your ligaments. Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bones to bones. They are meant to limit the mobility of articulations and even prevent certain movements. If these ligaments are allowed to be stretched, the risk for injury increases drastically. Muscles and joints become hyper mobile and can cause serious damage to your body.

Not only ligaments can be overstretched. Yoga injuries most commonly treated in emergency rooms involve overstretching and strain of the neck, shoulders, spine, legs and knees. Regular chiropractic care can help you reduce this risk. It will allow you to move more freely in and out of your postures by keeping your spine aligned and mobile. To help reduce your risk of injury further, stay hydrated and loose! Always bring an empty belly and lots of water to your class. With an empty belly, you can fill your body with long, beautiful breaths and kick nausea to the curb.

No matter what style of yoga you choose to practice, be mindful of your body. If you are pregnant or have a pre-existing health condition, consult your health care provider before starting a yoga program. By no means should you over exert yourself. Do not try and move your body into uncomfortable positions to obtain perfect form. Instead of focusing on form, aim your practice at achieving the function of the posture through the deep connection to your breath and body. Remember, yoga should never be painful. It should be fulfilling, grounding and healing. After all, yoga is the reintegration of your body, breath and mind.

Never forget; if you can breathe, you can do yoga!

 

 

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Take your Health into your own Hands Be Proactive. Be Healthy. Be Smart.

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With the holiday season officially over, we can all finally let out a sigh of relief and begin to relax a little more. The winter is a time for introspection. The days are short, the nights are long and the temperature is cold. It is a time to slow down, rest, replenish your energy and conserve your strength. More often than not, this can result in a sense of sluggishness. Well, this is flu season, and the last thing we want is our immune system becoming sluggish as well. We need it to be ready for action, to respond like the fire department; ready to jump when it gets the call. So how do we prime these little powerhouses called white blood cells and keep them ever vigilant? We can take a well-rounded approach, focusing on prevention, looking at diet and other stress patterns that may influence our health and well being.

After eating all the extra sugar of the holidays, it is a good time to become more mindful of our diets and create a healthy internal environment. Our immune system weakens with the intake of sugar. After eating sugar, white blood cells are significantly depressed and will not respond to bacteria for up to five hours after ingestion. Sugar cravings may be a sign that you have too much stress and that the body may be missing essential B vitamins. Replace those poor carbohydrates with organic oranges, berries and apples with cinnamon. Choose maple syrup over refined sugar and honey. Try to cut down on sodas and refined sugars and use alcohol in moderation. Eating a clean diet, without processed foods, increasing fruits and vegetables, especially mushrooms, can improve the immune system. Even adding protein to every meal will help cut down sugar cravings, boosting your energy and immune system.

Just as exercise and a proper diet are important to maintaining a healthy life, so is regular chiropractic care. Increasingly effective with today’s issues of back pain, leg pain, shoulder, head and neck pain, chiropractic care even helps boost your immune system by correcting your central nervous system. It tackles all types of body pains and also focuses on the health and nutrition of your body. What makes chiropractic care a quintessential addition to maintaining health is that it deals directly with the nerve system – specifically with the spinal cord. We live life through our nerve system. Not only does the nerve system coordinate all the functions of the body, but it is also taking in all the information of our environment and guiding us through life. Much of the information that it takes in is in the form of stress.  

Stress is a necessary part of life because it conditions your body to respond to danger, causing the body to produce specific hormones that support the stress reaction. These hormones put you into an anxiety state. They create chronic inflammation in the body and suppress the immune system, leading to increased physical breakdown and illness. The chiropractic adjustment directly affects the nerve system. It causes the nerve system to stop creating the stress response. The hormones that support stress cease to be created, and the body creates endorphins that support growth and well being. When the body is in this state, it has a stronger immune system and there is less disease and illness.

Through the correct diet and exercise, we can keep our bodies healthy. With the addition of consistent chiropractic care, we can keep our stress levels down and an abundance of happiness in our lives. Be mindful of yourself and your body. Stay joyful and healthy this 2013 year!

Sources: http://lakewood-oh.patch.com/blog_posts/why-is-chiropractic-care-important-for-you, http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/exposed-winter-park-chiropractor-says-chiropractic-care-does-not-work-196825.htm, http://www.wickedlocal.com/marblehead/newsnow/x1146189108/COLUMN-Time-now-to-get-immune-system-ready-for-action?zc_p=1#axzz2IkZLLwCM

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5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Spine

5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Spine

A chiropractor might be inclined to focus entirely on the spine when setting New Year’s resolutions. This might seem narrow-minded, but considering that spinal health has a huge influence on overall health, perhaps we could all stand to set a few spinal resolutions. One excellent yearlong promise would be to get regular chiropractic adjustments.

Chiropractic adjustments improve overall health because they enhance the functioning of the nervous system. You can think about your nervous system as the body’s highway. Nerves stretch into every square inch of your body, communicating vital information throughout the system. Indeed, the nervous system (including the brain) is the body’s command structure; it both takes in information and provides appropriate responses. As you can imagine, if the nervous system is not functioning well, there are often cascading effects on the performance of other body systems.

1. Improved sleep.

Sleep has a huge influence on your overall health; it is when the body repairs itself.  Experts suggest 8 hours of sleep every day.  We spend a large portion of our lives in bed; make sure you have a supportive mattress and pillow that keeps the neck and back in proper alignment.  Your muscles will be better able to relax if your body is properly supported in a neutral position.

2. Physical Activity.

Various forms of exercise protect your spine in different ways.  Ideally, daily activity will combine cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility exercises. Aim for 30-60 minutes most days of the week.  Talk with your chiropractor or other health professional for a customized program, tailored to meet your fitness goals.

3. Stretching.

Perpetually tight muscles can cause imbalances in the body’s structure, resulting in pain. Tight hamstrings, for example, pull down and back on the pelvis, disturbing the proper alignment of the spine. Stiff muscles also cause spinal stress and put more pressure on articulation points where two or more bones come together. Stretches, especially full range of motion movements such as shoulder rolls, relieve stiffness and promote healthy joints.  Dr. Smith can assist you with stretching exercises at your next appointment.

4. Create a spine-healthy work environment.

Adjusting poor workplace ergonomics can relieve any number of symptoms, including sciatica, stiffness in the neck and back, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome. Chiropractors also recommend that office workers take plenty of active breaks. Staying in any one position for too long causes leg and back muscles to tighten up and become stiff. Finally, make sure your chair has lower lumbar support. When you sit at a computer desk, you knees should be bent at a ninety-degree angle, and both of your feet should rest comfortably on the floor.

5. Stay hydrated.

Water performs many functions in the body. Soft tissue elasticity and fluidity in the joints depends on water intake, for instance. Also, intervertebral discs can shrink over time if they don’t get enough water. As these discs shrink, your spine has less padding, and you’re more likely to suffer painful spinal ruptures or bulges. Carry a bottle of water with you throughout the day, and sip liberally. Your spine will thank you.  Remember: Eight, 8 ounce glasses per day!

These spinal resolutions will help keep your back strong and pain-free in the New Year!  SoundCare Chiropractic wishes you all health and happiness in 2013!

 

Adapted from Mississippi Chiropractic.
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SoundCare Chiropractic Holiday 2012 Newsletter!

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October 2012 Newsletter

 

 

 

 

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September 2012 Newsletter!

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Happy Back-to-School!

Wishing all our patients and families a wonderful school year! Dr. Smith will be offering free backpack checks and fittings for the month of September. Stop by SoundCare Chiropractic and make sure your kiddo is taking care of their spinal health! Be sure to check out the video below:

http://www.abc12.com/story/19386938/abc12-back-to-school-week-how-to-pick-wear-a-backpack

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