Here's exactly what to do when you have anxiety-induced insomnia. 


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Here's exactly what to do when you have anxiety-induced insomnia. 


February 14, 2017

Americans were so stressed during the election cycle that the American Psychological Association released coping tips. Now, we're dealing with "headline stress disorder," according to Steven Stosny, PhD, a Maryland therapist who wrote about the phenomenon last week in the Washington Post. "For many people, continual alerts from news sources, blogs, social media, and alternative facts feel like missile explosions in a siege without end," he said.

An uptick in anxiety levels—whether due to the never-ending negative news cycle, long hours at work, family drama, or something else—can have a serious impact on sleep. (Who hasn't lain awake at night with worries racing through their brain?) If you find yourself tossing and turning, you need a new strategy when you hit the sack, says Nancy Foldvary-Schaefer, DO, Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Cleveland Clinic. “Acute insomnia is super-common, and can be the result of any life stressor,” she says. “It can happen after a move, a new job, ora new president.”


How do you deal? Here’s Dr. Foldvary’s nighttime slowdown plan.

Identify your stress trigger and deal with it early in the day

If you can figure out the source of your new worries, do it. This way, you can mentally handle it in a productive way well before bedtime—say, right after dinner, says Dr. Foldvary. “You want to work on it early, away from the bedroom,” she says. “Ruminate, think through the stressor. A lot of my patients keep a ‘worry journal’ to write out their feelings. This helps put away your anxiety before bed.” If you can quiet your mind before you lay down, you’re less likely to toss and turn. “The habit of ruminating in bed can turn acute insomnia into chronic insomnia,” says Dr. Foldvary. Yikes.

Pay attention to your bedroom atmosphere

Especially when you’re struggling to sleep, you want the perfect environmental conditions to get a good rest. “Make sure the temperature is just right—not too hot, not too cold,” Dr. Foldvary says. “Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and pillow. You may have to deal with anything that could be disrupting your sleep, like a spouse who snores or a pet that likes to climb into bed.” Even if these tiny elements weren’t bugging you before, they might suddenly be keeping you awake. Time to adjust the temperature dial, invest in earplugs, pick out more comfortable bedding, or kick Spot out of the sheets.



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Eliminate all sources of caffeine and alcohol

Some people are more sensitive to jolts of caffeine than others, so watch how much you’re consuming and when. You might need to put a freeze on coffee at 2pm, or even earlier if you’re still struggling to sleep at night after making adjustments. Dr. Foldvary says to also check hidden sources of caffeine, and stop consuming those at 2pm, too. They include chocolate, hot chocolate, green and black tea, some pain relievers, and soda.

“Alcohol is another big one,” says Dr. Foldvary. “It’s deceiving. A lot of people feel it’s helping them to fall asleep, and while it can cause sleep onset, research shows also shows alcohol fragments sleep.” This is especially true for women: A 2011 study found that women slept more fitfully and for less time after a night of drinking than when they were sober, and that they slept less soundly than men with the same blood-alcohol content.

If you wake up in the night, don’t stay in bed too long

It’s possible that stress may cause you to fire awake in the middle of the night, too, and not just block your ability to fall asleep. Dr. Foldvary says you should never lay in bed for more than 20 minutes trying to drift off; this may cause you to ruminate on your worries, or simply stress over your sleep issues. “Get up, and do something relaxing or boring,” she says. “Don’t turn on the TV, which can be stimulating. Don’t read a book that will be a page-turner. Maybe read a slow section of the newspaper, or iron some clothes. When you start to feel sleepy again, go back to bed.” Whatever you do, just do not watch the clock. “This is what you learn in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia,” Dr. Foldvary explains. “Create productive habits, set the right expectations, clear your mind and relax.”

RELATED: 5 Signs You Could Have a Sleep Disorder

If your insomnia keeps up, see your doc

Check in with a doctor if you’re having trouble sleeping at night, you’ve tried self-management strategies, and you just can’t catch enough z’s. “Some people wait too long,” Dr. Foldvary says. “I’ve had some patients come in after 20 years of insomnia. A clinically significant problem exists if insomnia lasts more than three months, so call your primary care doctor if you can’t sleep after that time.” Many PCPs have sound strategies for dealing with insomnia. Some might refer you to a sleep disorders specialist or cognitive behavioral therapist.

While Dr. Foldvary says many tend to want to resort to a quick-fix sleeping pill, she’d suggest trying behavioral changes first. “Some people want a way out of doing the work, when they haven’t done any of the basics,” she explains. In actuality, a pre-bedtime game plan and a few changes might be all it takes to cure your acute insomnia. So, do the work!

The FODMAP diet: a recipe for a healthy gut and a happier life?

The FODMAP diet: a recipe for a healthy gut and a happier life?





2 JUNE 2017 • 4:24PM

It started with granola. Emma Hatcher recalls eating almost an entire box as a child and doubling up in pain. She had always been aware of having a sensitive gut, but this was unlike anything she’d felt before. 

Her stomach problems escalated until she was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) at the age of 14. The following year, still suffering from cramps, diarrhoea, constipation and bloating, her doctor suggested cutting out wheat, which she did. Next went dairy. Her symptoms improved briefly each time but then edged slowly back.

Increasingly distraught, Hatcher tried desperately to find a solution, changing her mealtimes, portion sizes and experimenting with different food groups. 


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Emma Hatcher, author of She Can't Eat What?! and The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen

Nothing seemed to work. So she pushed on, getting a place at Loughborough University to study communications, and then a job as social media manager for a corporate company. But all the while, her condition was making her feel isolated and anxious. 

“I felt panicky all the time,” she says today, sipping mint tea in an east London restaurant. “My palms would sweat and my heart would race. I didn’t want to go to work or venture far from home. I’d try to envisage how every day would pan out and was always anxious if i was going out for dinner, or staying at someone else’s house.”





IBS is a chronic condition affecting the large colon and requiring long-term management. It affects one in seven on a daily basis and for many, like Hatcher, can be utterly debilitating. In 2013, it was the largest cause of days off work in Britain, with sufferers staying at home for 22 days of the year.

For Hatcher, things culminated when she had to call in sick from her job after a restaurant meal had kept her up all night. After suffering in silence for years, she finally felt her symptoms had reached a point where they were interfering with her life too much. 


Since changing her diet, Hatcher feels much happier and healthier

But three years on, a very different woman sits before me, contentedly perusing a menu. “My gut is so happy,” says the 23-year-old with genuine enthusiasm.

The solution, when it came, was a low FODMAP diet.

Developed at Australia’s Monash University, by gastroenterology professor Peter Gibson and dietician Sue Shepherd over the past decade, this is the first evidence-based diet proven to reduce IBS symptoms, with a success rate of up to 75 per cent.

FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides (wheat, onion, garlic); disaccharides (milk, ice cream); monosaccarides (apples, pears, honey); and polyols (mushrooms, apricots). These are types of carbohydrates and alcohol sugars that are found in everyday foods but poorly absorbed by the small intestine, and that researchers now believe are responsible for the discomfort and bloating associated with IBS.


Fodmap stands for fermentable oligosaccharides (wheat, onion, garlic); disaccharides (milk, ice cream); monosaccarides (apples, pears, honey); and polyols (mushrooms, apricots).

A low FODMAP diet provides a three-step plan of action. During the first stage, all foods considered high in FODMAPs are removed from the diet for a six to eight week period to allow the gut to settle. This is a long list including garlic, onion, mangoes, peaches, milk, wheat, barley, rye, asparagus, peas, sweetcorn, beans, cashews and jams, to name a few. The next stage is reintroduction, where small amounts of high FODMAP foods are slowly brought back into the diet, gradually increasing the amounts to test for tolerance levels. 


Grains such as wheat, barely and rye are considered high Fodmap foods

The final stage is maintenance, where the sufferer learns to avoid the by-now established sensitivity triggers for their gut. It is crucial, and agreed by medical experts, that all parts of the FODMAP diet must be undertaken under the guidance of a qualified dietician to avoid nutritional deficiencies and maximise the chances of success.

So transformative where the effects of the diet that Hatcher has written The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen, a book containing 100 low FODMAP recipes. Her mission, through this and her blog She Can’t Eat What?!, is to spread greater awareness about the powers of changing what you consume and to offer food inspiration to people dispirited by the wealth of ingredients that are suddenly off limits.


Hatcher learnt about FODMAPs after being referred to a dietitian by her GP three years ago. 

“It was a light bulb moment that there was something out there that could really help,” she says. The feeling of elation was short-lived, however, as she was handed an extensive list of foods to avoid for next two months. Meat and fish were deemed fine, as were most herbs and spices, but most stone fruits, vegetables, nuts, cereals and grains were out. “It was terrifying. I wasn’t sure how I would manage at first,” she says.


Emma's cookbook, The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen is now available to buy

But cope she did. The list was pinned to her kitchen cupboard, family and friends were briefed on her new dietary requirements, and she fielded countless questions from baffled waiters in restaurants. “A gluten-free meal with no onion or garlic is a simplistic description of the low FODMAP diet, but I often find it is the easiest way to explain,” says Hatcher.

Barely two weeks in and she felt transformed.

“I still had stomach ache every now and then, but I felt instantly better. It did take a lot of perseverance to find out my own personal intolerances but it was worth the trial and error. You don’t realise how much your daily life is being affected until you start to feel the improvements. I stopped thinking about when I could next go to the bathroom or whether I was staying at my boyfriends’ house and might be embarrassed by my stomach.”


Emma's Fodmap-friendly smoothies

With help from a dietitian, Hatcher was able to pinpoint sweet potato and avocados as her key IBS triggers but that apples and stone fruits were fine in small quantities. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, stomach massaging and long walks also helped her recovery. Stress can exacerbate IBS symptoms and vice versa, as biochemical reactions caused by feeling anxious and a rise in cortisol levels can impact gut function (a relationship known as the brain-gut axis).

But before we all ditch high FODMAP food from our fridges, Elaine Allerton, a dietitian at NHS St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester and her two private clinics in Surrey and West Sussex, where she specialises in IBS, has some important advice.

“People should visit a GP or gastroenterologist before starting a low FODMAP diet. It’s important that they are investigated for coeliac disease or other bowel disease, such as Crohn’s or ulcerative cuolitis, or bowel tumours before an IBS diagnosis is given. Always talk to appropriate medical experts, don’t self-diagnose.

“The evidence for low FODMAPs is only relevant to IBS, and there is not yet anything to link it to other conditions.”


Gluten-free oats are a low Fodmap food, ideal for your morning porridge

Both Allerton and Hatcher empahsise that would-be FODMAP diet followers should not cut out all high FODMAP groups for longer than eight weeks, a move that could result in nutritional deficiencies if maintained long-term.  “This is not about restricting these foods for ever,” adds Hatcher. “The more variations of food you can eat, the happier your gut is likely to be. It’s not a lifelong diet but a foundation you can build on.”

As well as Hatcher’s book, Monash University has developed a FODMAP Friendly App to guide people through the intricacies of the eating regime, while Kings College London has produced a useful booklet that is supplied to dietitians during consultations.

In the meantime, Hatcher hopes her low FODMAP baba ghanoush and nutty chocolate truffles will help those in need. “Just because recipes don’t contain garlic and onion they can still have flavour,” she laughs at my horror on discounting such store cupboard staples. “We need to let IBS sufferers know there is something that can help and they don’t have to suffer in silence.”

The Ketogenic Diet Might Be the Next Big Weight Loss Trend, But Should You Try It?

The Ketogenic Diet Might Be the Next Big Weight Loss Trend, But Should You Try It?









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Here's what you need to know about the high-fat, low-carb diet everyone's talking about.


December 16, 2016

Google has released the top search terms of 2016, and when it comes to weight loss, it turns out folks were especially drawn to the ketogenic diet. It was one of the 10 most-searched diets this year, landing halfway down the list (just a few notches below the taco cleanse!). But if you weren't among the keto-curious in the last 12 months, you're probably wondering now, Is this something I should try? (And what does ketogenic mean again?) Read on for a quick primer on the plan, and my bottom-line advice.

What is the ketogenic diet?

In a nutshell, it's a high-fat, low- to moderate-protein, low-carb eating plan. On a ketogenic diet, roughly 75% to 90% of daily calories come from fat; 6% to 20% come from protein; and 2% to 5% come from carbohydrates.

It was originally devised as a tool for controlling epileptic seizures (though doctors aren't exactly sure how it works) before there were drugs to treat seizures. In the past few decades, it has reemerged as patients and parents seek alternatives to pharmaceuticals.


But the ketogenic diet has also been adopted as a weight loss plan. The goal of the diet is to achieve ketosis, a state in which the body is using fat as its primary fuel, rather than carbs. After three to four days on a ketogenic diet, back-up stores of carbohydrates, called glycogen, become depleted and ketosis kicks in, triggering some weight loss and the appearance of a leaner physique.

But in terms of dropping pounds, the primary advantage of a ketogenic diet is that it doesn't leave you hungry, since it involves eating a good deal of satiating fats, and the state of ketosis has been shown to reduce appetite.

RELATED: Here's How 15 Real Women Lost 50+ Pounds

What does the research say?

A recent Spanish study tracked 20 obese volunteers who followed a low-cal ketogenic diet (about 800 to 1500 calories daily) and a supervised exercise program. Over four months, the subjects lost an average of 40 pounds, including a significant amount of belly fat, while preserving their muscle mass and strength. Another study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that in obese men, a high-protein ketogenic diet reduced hunger and food intake more than a high-protein, medium-carb non-ketogenic diet did.

A 2013 meta-analysis of 13 studies published in the British Journal of Nutrition looked at the effects of the diet on long-term weight control and cardiovascular health. The research showed that adults on a low-cal ketogenic diet (with no more than 50 grams of carbs per day) lost more weight and experienced better changes in blood pressure, triglycerides, and “good” HDL cholesterol than people who followed a conventional low-fat diet (with less than 30% of calories from fat). 

But a small 2006 study that compared a ketogenic diet to a moderately low-carb non-ketogenic diet (with 40% of calories from carbs) found no differences in weight loss, or hunger. And the study participants on the non-ketogentic diet had better moods, more energy, and lower levels of inflammatory markers. "The use of ketogenic diets for weight loss is not warranted," the study authors concluded.


RELATED: The 50 Best Weight Loss Foods of All Time

What is it really like?

With only 50 grams of carbs to "spend" per day, your food options are limited. Breakfast might be whole eggs with low-carb veggies and avocado, for example. Lunch could be a salad generously dressed with EVOO and balsamic vinegar, and topped with chicken. A typical snack is nuts or seeds. And dinner might be salmon with veggies sautéed in coconut oil.

I’ve had clients eat this way, lose weight quickly, and feel fantastic—at first. But all of my clients who follow a ketogenic plan eventually break down and eat potatoes, fruit, or dessert (or drink several glasses of wine).

I’ve also seen ultra-low-carb diets trigger a serious change in people’s moods. Recently a client told me that he morphed from a happy-go-lucky guy into a total grump, and his family begged him to abandon the diet. Another woman whose husband tried the plan told me that he became intensely irritable and had trouble sleeping; but that those side effects subsided after he added back fruit, pulses, whole grains, and starchy vegetables to his diet.

When I experimented with the ketogenic diet, I felt incredibly cranky as well, and obsessed about foods I wasn't supposed to eat—like black beans, bananas, and sweet potatoes. That never happens when I have them in moderation. I also didn’t feel good about the fact that cutting those foods meant missing out on the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and prebiotics they provide.

RELATED: The 13 Biggest Nutrition Discoveries of 2016

The bottom line

In order for a weight loss approach to work, it has to have "stick-with-it-ness," and make you feel well, physically and emotionally. Otherwise you're miserable and risk gaining back any weight you lose (and possibly more).



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In terms of safety, the biggest risk associated with a ketogenic diet is the potential for ketoacidosis, which occurs when ketosis goes too far. When you eat fats (like avocados and olive oil), they're broken down into fatty acids and ketones; if excess ketones build up in the body, your blood becomes acidic. Severe ketoacidosis can lead to coma, or even death; and acidosis in general can trigger bad breath, headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, and constipation.

You can test your ketone levels using urine strips, to make sure they don't creep too high. But my advice is to only adopt a ketogenic diet under the supervision of a physician or dietitian. If you attempt it on your own, I suggest modifying the diet to allow more carbs—especially the ones you know you can’t live without. In my experience, moderation is generally the key to shedding pounds for good, optimizing health, and living a balanced, enjoyable life.

Cynthia Sass is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees. See her full bio here. 

Osteopathic manipulative treatment helps reduce acute pain in postpartum women

Preliminary results demonstrate that osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) helps reduce acute pain in postpartum women, regardless of whether they delivered vaginally or via cesarean.

The study results are published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

59 women from St. Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, New York received 20-30 minutes of OMT within the first 48 hours of delivery.


Mean score for pain using a visual analogue scale (VAS) decreased from 5.0 to 2.9, with 13 patients report being pain free after OMT.

Pain is one of the most common postpartum complaints by women in the United States. Many OMT techniques are able to help postpartum women relax contracted muscle tissue, reduce joint pain and alleviate ligamentous strain.

Through the use of OMT, the number of patients reporting lower back pain decreased by 30%, abdominal pain by 17% and vaginal pain by 10%.

“A mother’s body goes through a great deal of stress both physically and mentally during childbirth,” said Dr. Olivia Cannon, DO, vice president of the American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“This study shows that by combining osteopathic manipulation with other pain therapies, we can help new mothers get back on their feet quicker and improve their quality of life back at home with a new infant.”

With OMT, physicians manually apply a specific amount of pressure to different regions in the body.

These techniques can help treat structural and tissue abnormalities, relieve joint restriction and misalignment, restore muscle and tissue balance and promote the overall movement blood flow throughout the body.

When appropriate, OMT can complement, and in some cases replace, medications or surgery.

9 ways to relieve back pain

9 ways to relieve minor back pain


Alice Sholl

Yahoo Style UK17 November 2016

Minor back pain is a tedious pain in the – well, back – and sometimes, plying oneself with ibuprofen isn’t the best way of treating the issue.

And while most people will find such aches and pains improving within a few weeks, this doesn’t stop it being uncomfortable and hugely distracting while trying to do day-to-day tasks.

Back pain is caused by a big mixture of things, so there’s no one-size-fits-all fix – but there are a few things you can do to alleviate symptoms.

We asked Katie Griffiths, professional development officer for the institute of osteopathyand registered Osteopath, for her top tips.




The INSIDER Summary:

• There are a couple things you shouldn't do when you wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep.

• Don't go to the bathroom unless you really have to because getting out of bed raises your heart rate.

• Relax and don't look at the clock to see how much time you have left to sleep.



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There's nothing worse than waking up from a peaceful slumber only to find that you can't fall back asleep.

While there aren't really any ways to trick your body back into sleep, there are a few things you can do that will increase your chances of getting more shuteye.

Here's the advice we received from Dr. Michael Breus, sleep specialist and author of "The Power of When."

Don't go to the bathroom unless you really need to.

According to Breus, you raise your heart rate simply by sitting up in bed.

Why does this matter? Breus says that your heart must be at a very particular rate for you to enter into a state of unconsciousness (sleep). That rate is different for everyone, but it's usually around 60 beats per minute.



inRead invented by Teads

By getting out of bed you're disrupting that rate and forcing your heart to pump blood against gravity, which means it has to pump at a rate above 60. In order to return to sleep, your heart will have to slow down again, which doesn't happen instantaneously.

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Relax and don't look at the time.

Breus says that many people have an irrational fear of not getting enough sleep, even though one night of not enough shut-eye is nowhere near the end of the world. When many people wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep, their first instinct is to look at the clock and do the mental math to see how many hours they have left before their alarm goes off.

Breus advises against this, and instead says the best thing you can do is just try to relax. Once you become agitated or anxious, it's practically impossible to fall back asleep. So just clear your mind and let it happen instead of wishing for it.

Read the original article on INSIDER. Follow INSIDER on Facebook. Copyright 2017. Follow INSIDER on Twitter.




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Gustavo Woltmann

461 days ago

A good night sleep is so good

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How to feed a happy, healthy gut

If you ever feel like it’s you against the world, consider how your gut microbiota feels. Your genes and your environment interact constantly, and your gut is the largest meeting point. On security duty is your microbiota, the collection of about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes that live in your intestines, especially your large intestine (the colon). As scientists look for explanations for the roots of chronic disease as well as the connections between nutrition and health, the answer may be in your gut — and what you feed it.

The microbiota-inflammation connection

One reason that the state of your intestinal ecosystem has a profound effect on your health is that one layer of cells is all that separates your immune system from the contents of your gut, and inflammation is our immune system’s main weapon against foreign invaders. 

A healthy, balanced gut microbiota promotes a strong immune system and lower levels of chronic inflammation. An unhealthy microbiotahas been linked to obesityasthma, allergies and autoimmune disorders such as celiac disease, Type 1 diabetesinflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Increasingly, chronic inflammation is also thought to be a root cause of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer

Care and feeding of your microbiota

Because everything we eat comes into contact with our microbiota, a diet high in refined, heavily processed foods will send our microbiota out of balance. The relationship between food and the microbiota is a two-way street: The food we eat affects the composition of our microbiota, and the composition of our microbiota affects how we digest and absorb our food.


The connection between what we eat and the health of our microbiome is complex, but a plant-based diet with lots of fiber and regular consumption of fermented foods nourishes and stimulates beneficial bacteria, which over time can shift the balance of your microbiota in a healthier direction. 


Introducing the human gut microbiome


Why fiber is your friend

Your microbiota adapts to its environment, and if that environment doesn’t provide the fiber it needs, your microbes will instead dine on the thin layer of mucus that protects your intestinal lining, potentially leading to a “leaky gut” and all number of health problems. So nurture a stable and diverse community of intestinal critters by offering them a fiber smorgasbord from a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and pulses (beans and lentils). These foods are rich in “prebiotic” fiber, or dietary fiber that escapes digestion in the small intestine but is fermented by the types of bacteria you want to have hanging around in your colon. 

Although many plant foods contain fermentable, prebiotic fiber, these are some of the richest sources: artichokes, asparagus, bananas, plantains, barley, rye, wheat, alliums (garlic, leeks, onion), brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts), jicama, lentils, chickpeas, red beans and soy products. If you aren’t eating a lot of fiber-rich foods, increase your intake slowly. Some prebiotic fibers can cause flatulence if you eat too much, too soon. They can also provoke symptoms in some people who have irritable bowel syndrome. 


Good food for your microbiota also comes from resistant starch, which is found in whole grains as well as in cooked and cooled pasta, rice and potatoes. Some people find that it’s easier to boost intake of resistant starch than fiber.

Seeding the microbial garden

Properly fermented foods are teeming with beneficial, health-promoting microbes, or probiotics. When you eat these foods regularly, they may help maintain or improve the population of good microbes in your gut. Eat probiotics in the form of fermented dairy products such as unsweetened yogurt and kefir (fermented milk), fermented soy foods such as tempeh and miso, or fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi. Look for “live food” or “contains live cultures” on these products. 

[Greek? Nonfat? Fruit-flavored? A dietitian dishes on yogurt.]

Encouraging diversity with the right fats

Diets high in saturated fat are harmful to microbiota diversity, so opt for plant-based sources of monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. Another way to reduce saturated fat is to include more plant-based meals in your week, a la Meatless Monday.

Fueling your fermentation factory

Eating food rich in prebiotic fiber along with fermented foods promotes the growth of bacteria that break down plant starches and fibers into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Some SCFAs may protect against inflammation and cancer, while others help us absorb essential minerals from our food, including calcium, magnesium and iron. 

Individuals who consistently eat plant-based diets, such as vegan, vegetarian or Mediterranean diets, tend to have higher levels of SCFAs. This suggests that the amount of fermentable fiber matters more than the diet itself. Because not all fiber is the same, when you eat a variety of whole plant foods you nourish the microbes that can break down that fiber and encourage a more diverse and robust gut ecosystem overall.



Dennett is a registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Nutrition by Carrie.


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Too many back pain patients receiving the wrong care



Too many back pain patients receiving the wrong care

22 March 2018

More care does not mean better care


A new series in the Lancet, featuring University of Sydney authors, reveals a global epidemic of inappropriate tests and treatments for back pain, such as imaging, opioids and surgery.

Today, a Lancet series of papers on back pain and a new 2.5 million NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence will launch a response to worldwide concern that too many back pain patients are receiving the wrong care, to the detriment of patients and healthcare systems.

Low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting an estimated 540 million people at any one time – and causing more disability than lung, bowel and breast cancer combined.

The burden from low back pain has doubled in the last 25 years, and the prevalence of the condition is expected to continue to increase with an aging and increasingly obese population

Led by a team of Australian and international researchers, the Lancet series published today, highlights the extent to which low back pain is mistreated, often against best practice treatment guidelines.   

The series reveals misconceptions about best practice are widespread among healthcare professionals, funders and patients themselves, and that medical guidelines are frequently ignored.

University of Sydney author Professor Chris Maher said millions of people across the world are getting the wrong care for low back pain.

“More care does not mean better care. More aggressive treatments for low back pain have little proven benefit and have the potential to make things significantly worse for patients.

“Evidence suggests that low back pain should be managed in primary care, with the first line of   treatment being education and advice to keep active and at work.

“However, in reality, a high proportion of patients worldwide are treated in emergency departments, encouraged to rest and stop work, are commonly referred for scans or surgery, or prescribed pain killers including opioids, which are discouraged for treating low back pain.”

Australian authors of the Lancet series include Professor Chris Maher, Associate Professor Manuela Ferreira and Associate Professor Paulo Ferreira from The University of Sydney; Professor Rachelle Buchbinder from Monash University and Associate Professor Mark Hancock from Macquarie University. The international team behind the series come from the UK, the US, Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Brazil, South Africa and Germany.

Associate Professor Manuela Ferreira said health systems currently fund tests and treatments that are unnecessary, ineffective and often harmful such as X-rays, scans, opioids, injections and surgery.

“But they don’t fund interventions that are helpful including physical and psychological therapies for chronic low back pain.”

Associate Professor Paulo Ferreira said: “The series highlights the need to address widespread misconceptions in the population and among health professionals about the causes, prognosis and effectiveness of different treatments for low back pain.”

Also announced today, a $2.5 million NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) for the Australia and New Zealand Musculoskeletal (ANZMUSC) Clinical Trials Network to be run jointly by Monash University and the University of Sydney.

The CRE, launched by the Federal Health Minister, Hon Greg Hunt MP, will be a collaboration of more than 200 clinician-researchers from 21 universities, 21 hospitals and ten research institutes. The aim of ANZMUSC is to optimise musculoskeletal health by addressing the lack of high quality research that has been focused on arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, despite these conditions affecting 28 per cent of Australians.

Monash University’s Professor Rachelle Buchbinder said: “The majority of cases of low back pain respond to simple physical and psychological therapies that keep people active and enable them to stay at work.

“Often, however, it is more aggressive treatments of dubious benefit that are promoted and reimbursed.

“We need better access to low-tech, cheap recommended approaches to manage low back pain such as patient education and exercise, which need to replace expensive harmful treatments,” she said.

“There is room for hope here,” added Professor Maher.

“There are safe effective treatments for low back pain, the challenge is ensuring patients get the right care at the right time.

“A better understanding of low back pain, and changes to the way care for low back pain is delivered and reimbursed, are key to reversing the problems we see now.”

Back pain fast facts:

  • Around 25 per cent of Australians suffer from low back pain on any day
  • 50 per cent of Australians suffered from back pain in the past month
  • Australia spends $4.8 billion per year on management of low back pain
  • Back pain reduces Australia’s GDP by AU$3.2Billion per annum and is the most common condition keeping older Australians (aged 45-64) out of the workforce

What are the common problems with management of low back pain in Australia?

  • Most patients who see a GP for low back pain are prescribed a pain-killer but not provided with any advice or education on self-managing their condition
  • Up to one third of physiotherapists endorse the use of outdated and ineffective forms of treatment for their patients
  • Most chiropractors incorrectly believe that imaging is required for patients with acute low back pain
  • Although back pain is best managed out of hospital in community facilities, hospital admissions for back pain have increased in the last decade
  • An increasing number of people are calling an emergency ambulance when they experience low back pain rather than following guideline recommendations to see their GP, physiotherapist or chiropractor
  • In older people with back pain there is a trend for greater use of spinal fusion surgery despite evidence that this procedure is ineffective, costly and potentially harmful
  • Patients with low back pain are being encouraged by their GP to remain off work until pain-free, a practice that delays recovery
  • Medicare, has a limit of five allied health consultations, which is too few to deliver a typical exercise programme for chronic low back pain
  • GPs who report a special interest in low back pain are more likely to provide the wrong treatment for low back pain.

There's even more evidence that one type of exercise is the closest thing to a miracle drug that we have

There's even more evidence that one type of exercise is the closest thing to a miracle drug that we have


  • Dec. 10, 2017, 4:04 PM
  • 30,134


  • Aerobic exercise provides a ton of benefits, from a lift in mood to more toned muscles.
  • Some of the benefits can emerge within minutes, while others might take several days or weeks to crop up.
  • A new study suggests that aerobic exercise also changes the makeup of the microbes in our gut.

Aerobic exercise, or cardio, might be the closest thing we have to a miracle drug.

When we commit to regular workouts that raise our heart rate and get us moving and sweating for a sustained period, magical things happen to our mind and body. We start to think more clearly, feel better about ourselves, and even build buffers against age-related cognitive decline. Our lungs and heart get stronger, too.

But cardio may have other less obvious benefits. A small study published in November suggests that activities like walking, swimming, and running — while they are no shortcut to weight loss — also change the makeup of the microbes in our gut that play a role in things like our energy levels and inflammation, an early warning sign of illness.

"These are the first studies to show that exercise can have an effect on your gut independent of diet or other factors," Jeffrey Woods, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois who led the research, said in a statement.

That could have important implications for learning more about why exercise seems to be so uniquely capable of lifting our spirits and energizing our bodies.

Cardio affects our gut — but not in the way you might think


For the most recent study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports Exercise, Woods and a team of other scientists looked at 32 lean and obese women who had been essentially inactive before the study.

For three days a week over six weeks, the participants cycled, walked, ran on a treadmill, or used an elliptical machine. They started with a moderate 30-minute workout and worked up to a vigorous one-hour burst by the end of the study.

"They had a choice of activity on any given day, but most chose the treadmill," Woods told Business Insider.

After six weeks, the participants were instructed to go back to their normal sedentary lifestyles for another month and a half.

The researchers looked at the microbes in participants' guts using fecal samples immediately after their exercise program, then again after six weeks of not working out. They found that after weeks of exercise, there was an increase in participants' concentrations of butyrate, a type of fatty acid that helps keep our guts happy by tamping down on inflammation and producing energy. They soared in the lean participants and picked up modestly among those in the obese group.

"The bottom line is that there are clear differences in how the microbiome of somebody who is obese versus somebody who is lean responds to exercise," Woods said. "We have more work to do to determine why that is."

How aerobic workouts clear our minds and lift our mood

Al Bello/Getty Images

Precisely how cardio affects different types of bodies remains somewhat murky. But its powerful ability to clear the mind has been well documented by a handful of recent studies.

Aerobic exercise "has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress," according to an article in the Harvard Medical School blog "Mind and Mood."

Some benefits of cardio, like a lift in mood, can emerge as soon as a few minutes into a sweaty bike ride. Others, like improved memory, might take several weeks to crop up.

The reason aerobic workouts seem to lift our spirits seems related to its ability to reduce levels of natural stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, a recent study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science found. Activities like running and swimming also increase overall blood flow and provide our minds fresh energy and oxygen — another factor that could help us feel better.

Those benefits may be one of the reasons that working out is so helpful for people with depression. A pilot study with people with severe depression found that 30 minutes of treadmill walking for 10 consecutive days was "sufficient to produce a clinically relevant and statistically significant reduction in depression."

But the mental benefits of heart-pumping workouts aren't confined to better moods. This kind of exercise also seems to improve our memory and may even guard against some of the detrimental effects of aging.

A study published in May found that for adults aged 60-88, walking for 30 minutes four days a week for 12 weeks appeared to strengthen connectivity in a region of the brain where weakened connections have been linked with memory loss. And a recent study in older women who displayed potential symptoms of dementia found that aerobic exercise was linked with an increase in the size of the hippocampus, a brain area involved in learning and memory.

A study in the British Medical Journal suggests that if you're over 50, the best results come from combining aerobic and resistance exercise, which could include anything from high-intensity interval training, like theseven-minute workout, to dynamic-flow yoga, which intersperses strength-building poses like planks and push-ups with heart-pumping dance-like moves.

So what are you waiting for? Get moving, and keep it up.

Seven ways Seven ways … to prevent and manage RSI

Repetitive strain injury often starts gradually but can soon become severely debilitating. Bu there are ways to nip it in the bud – and alleviate the worst symptoms

Ann Robinson


Mon 19 Feb 2018 22.14 AEDTLast modified on Mon 19 Feb 2018 22.59 AEDT







 Proper typing is key to preventing RSI. Photograph: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Don’t ignore it 

Repetitive strain injury (RSI) causes pain, weakness, tingling and stiffness of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves or other soft tissues and joints in the upper limbs from neck to fingers. It is also called upper limb disorder, cumulative trauma disorder or occupational overuse syndrome. It often starts gradually and is worse when you’re at work, but it can take on a life of its own and become constant and debilitating. Nip it in the bud by taking short, frequent breaks from repetitive tasks such as typing. Check the ergonomics of your work station and try not to slouch at your desk.

Use both hands 

Proper typing is key to preventing RSI. Contorting the fingers of one hand to reach more than one key at once, especially if you’re typing one-handed while holding your phone against the other ear, is a recipe for muscle strain. It’s like playing the piano; correct fingering is essential. Basic typing skills aren’t often taught in schools; they should be.


Seven ways … to avoid eyestrain


Read more

Get up

Try to get up from your desk every 30 minutes and move your neck and shoulders to release tension. A 10-minute break every hour (a stroll to the loo or to make a drink) is advised. One good tip is to time how long you can type before getting symptoms (eg pins and needles or muscle ache) and then set an alarm to stop typing 10 minutes before that time.


Stretching can help to prevent and manage RSI. The prayer stretch involves putting the palms of your hands together, pointing up; push to one side then the other for 15-30 seconds at a time. If stretches make RSI worse, see a physiotherapist for expert advice.

It’s in the wrist action 

To prevent RSI, keep wrists straight and flat when typing. Sit with thighs level, feet flat on floor (or on footrest), sit up straight, shoulders relaxed, upper arms at sides, not splayed out, forearms horizontal or tilted slightly downwards, so knees and elbows are at a right angle. Keep the top of your screen at eye level and adjust the position of your keyboard, so it’s easy to reach without stretching or hunching.

Assess your risk

Your employer should carry out a risk assessment when you join to check that your work area suits you. You can request an assessment if you haven’t had one or if you’re developing symptoms of RSI.

Treat yourself



There’s nothing better than prevention. But if you have symptoms of mild RSI, you can try short courses of anti-inflammatory painkillers (ibuprofen gel or tablets), hot and cold packs, elastic supports and splints. Some people are helped by yoga, massage and meditation. An expert opinion from an osteopath, physiotherapist, GP or occupational health doctor or nurse is important if symptoms persist and are severe. Referral to a joint specialist (rheumatologist) or pain clinic is a good idea in severe cases.

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading the Guardian than ever but advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.

I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.Thomasine, Sweden

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $1, you can support the Guardian – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

Massaging Therapy And Sports Injury

Sports and injury go hand in hand that is unavoidable but can create extreme trouble in your sports career. If you ever face an injury during playing a sport, the recovery process can be tedious and frustrating. Therefore, it is essential to follow certain recovery process that will not only increase the flexibility and strength of your body but will also revive the previous state of your health. Incorporating massage therapy into the daily routine helps recover the pain and injury at a faster pace than any other medication process. This has made this therapy the finest alternate medical treatment.


How Does Massaging Therapy Help Rehabilitate the Pre-injury State?

Massaging enhances the blood circulation of your body while healing the soreness of the muscle fibers. This also contributes to increase in the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the connective tissue, curing the damage at a rapid pace.

Massage for Sports Injury

Twisted knee, sprained ankle, broken bones, muscle spasm, and others are the primary injuries faced by you during a sports event. As you opt for the massaging therapy from an expert professional, the pressure exerted on the skin warms up the muscles. It also stretches the tightened tissues and simplifies the adhesions by flushing the toxins from the joints. This adds to the recovery procedure in a great way.

When the neck and back spasms are concerned, nothing can beat the comfort offered by the Swedish massage and deep tissue massage. In one hand, the Swedish massage is extremely relaxing as well as refreshing, while deep tissue massage helps the muscles release the clogged lactic acid. This ensures your muscles are bestowed with an influx of nutrients and oxygen.

If you are dealing with broken bones, massaging elevates flexibility and eradicates stiffness of the body. This revives the previous state of the body and enhances mobility significantly.



16 April 2018 — 10:46am

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In August 2012, Bruce Geddes was working out with a personal trainer when he ruptured a disc in his back.

"I'm too old to be jumping off boxes," the 66-year-old barrister says. "I think [the personal trainer] didn't have an appreciation for the lack of flexibility of an older person."

One in three Australians who participate in sports will experience a sports related injury each year, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare statistics show. Where people are performing tasks their bodies are not used to, there is a particular risk of injury, regardless of their level of fitness.

Australian cyclists Jessica Gallagher (rear) and Madison Jansenn ride to qualify in the women's B&VI sprint event on day one of the track cycling competition at the XXI Commonwealth Games at the Anna Meares Velodrome in Brisbane, Australia, Thursday, April 5, 2018. 

Photo: AAP

Jessica Gallagher, 32, is the first and only Australian athlete to have won medals in both the Summer and Winter Paralympics.

As a registered osteopath, she is calling for Australians to be more aware of the needs and restrictions of their bodies as part of Osteopathy Australia's Osteopathy Awareness Week, this week, to reduce their risk of suffering a sports injury.



Gallagher transitioned from training for alpine skiing in preparation for her bronze medal the 2010 Vancouver Games, to long jump and javelin at London in 2012, before transitioning back to skiing to win a bronze in Sochi in 2014.

Gallagher, who became legally blind in her late teens due to Best's disease (an eye disorder which affects the macula), says safely swapping between sports at an elite level is a "huge challenge".

"Athletics and skiing in particular are so different, and there's a particularly high risk of injuring yourself because of the fast turnaround time, and the fact that you're using different areas of your body to the extreme," she says.

With a desire to win medals at both the Summer and Winter Games, after failing to medal in London, Gallagher was forced to change sports once again when long jump, her preferred event, was not included in the program for Rio in 2016.

She retrained as a track cyclist, winning bronze in Rio and recently taking home two silver medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.




Online fitness: when sitting on Facebook is going to the gym

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She says she was confident she could continue to make the transitions because her osteopathic background gave her "a thorough understanding of [her] body" even though her body shape has changed "significantly" as she shifts her training to specialise in different sports.

However, Gallagher has sustained her "fair share" of injuries in the process. Allowing herself adequate recovery time while training is how she says she best manages her body's condition.

"My schedule is so busy with work and training, so rest is actually a really important thing for me," she says, adding that inadequate preparation before workouts is often what causes injuries for sportspeople.

"Things like making sure you warm up properly, taking the time to go through particular areas of your body that need extra work. I need to make sure that, in whatever sport I'm doing, my body is ready for it."

After a surgery on his ruptured disc left him with complications relating to his sciatic nerve, Geddes started seeing an osteopath on recommendation from a new personal trainer, and the regular cyclist's pain is now under control.

He says he is "absolutely" more conscious of warming up and cooling down when exercising after his injury, using a muscle roller as well as performing stretches and mobility exercises.

As for advice for fellow over-60s, he says that his experience has taught him that while you should not overdo it, maintaining the fitness you have is important.

"If you don't use it, you'll lose it."

Why business is turning to psychiatry to help workers who deal with risk


Picture: Supplied by Stan Australia. 



  • The fast-paced, dirty dealing world of big money on Stan’s corporate cat and mouse series “Billions” is back for its third season (Mondays at 2pm AEST – same time as the U.S. – only on Stan)
  • Key to the rise and fall of the characters is Dr Wendy Rhoades, the in-house psychiatrist/performance coach for Axe Capital and confidante of its billionaire leader Bobby Axelrod
  • ‘Billions’ consultant pyschologist says therapy can be an essential tool for unlocking peak performance

In “Billions”, the charismatic Bobby ‘Axe’ Axelrod leads a team of ambitious and cash-hungry hedge fund managers. 

At Axe Capital, the stakes are high. Anyone who steps out of line is quickly walked out the door. 

While the show and its scenarios are fictional, the depiction of life at top-tier corporate hedge funds is true to form in many ways. According to the creators of “Billions”, who put years of research into the show, hedge fund managers are under constant pressure to synthesise information intelligently in a high-stress environment.

The character of Dr Wendy Rhoades is also based on real life. Part psychiatrist, part Tony Robbins-style performance coach, her role is to keep the high-flyers’ feet on the ground. 

Dr Rhodes pulls few punches, directing her patients to uncover the motivation behind their actions. 

At Axe Capital, Bobby Axelrod understands his team needs to be mentally on point to perform at their best. Axe pays Dr Rhoades several times more than her husband earns as DA to act as a confidential sounding board and psychological jump-starter for his team.




On Wall Street itself, there are plenty of so-called ‘stock market shrinks’. Like Dr Rhoades, these therapists have an important role to play in not only the mental health of high-stakes financial managers but in the stability of the companies themselves. 

Increasing performance through therapy 

Major businesses have been offering perks like free fruit, health insurance rebates, remedial massage and on-site gyms to help staff stay physically fit for years. The simple equation behind these benefits is that healthy staff means reduced absenteeism and better productivity. 

Now “Billions” has put corporate psychiatrists into the spotlight, exposing how they can be a trump card for high-stakes workplaces. 

As explained by Denise Shull, the Wall St psychologist who acts as a consultant for “Billions”, when you’re at work you need more than resolve to get results. 

Shull has spoken about how pep talks from managers aren’t enough to instigate a U-turn from someone who is stuck in a rut. 

Instead, those facing challenges require a more considered approach from someone with a detailed understanding of the interconnection between thoughts, emotions and basic functions. This can help employees understand what’s behind their shortcomings. 

With the help of a therapist, they can put a stop to the actions that are preventing peak performance. 

Instead of expecting someone who is feeling the pressure at work to simply pull their finger out, or to take action independently to seek help, providing an in-house psychiatrist and scheduling appointments like meetings can be a smart option for big business. 

Like the free workouts and increased dietary fibre of physical wellness programs, offering this type of therapy can result in fewer days off and an increase in workers who are confidently playing their A-game. 

Prevention is better than cure 

Perhaps more importantly, an in-house therapist can play a role in reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and the workplace.

In the past, the “if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen” approach of the corporate world has shoved those who struggle with mental health to the perimeters. People who have hit stumbling blocks have found themselves with nobody to turn to, reluctant to confess to moments of weakness. 

This is despite the fact that in Australia, 20 per cent of working-age adults experience a mental illness in any year, with the most common disorders being depression, anxiety and substance abuse. 

According to the Black Dog Institute, almost half (45 percent) of Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. 

With this in mind, it makes sense for big businesses across industries to take a prevention rather than cure tactic. 

In “Billions”, the characters are lining up to sit down with Dr Rhoades and uncover why their feelings are causing success-blocking actions. Even charismatic billionaire Axe turns to Dr Rhoades when the pressure becomes all too much. 

Wendy relies on her vast cognitive training and psychiatric experience, reminding Axe not to allow his emotions to blind him to consequences. 

The corporate world is populated with intelligent, high performers. However, mental illness does not discriminate, as we have witnessed recently with the withdrawal of James Packer from his role of director of Crown Resorts

With this in mind, many businesses could do well to take a leaf out of Bobby Axelrod’s book, bringing their own version of Dr Wendy Rhoades on to support the team.





Article Summary: 

  • The lymphatic system, a vital part of the immune system, is comprised of lymph nodes, glands, and vessels, which gather waste and interstitial fluid. The lymphatic system also transports white blood cells into the bones and transports fatty acids. 
  • Your spleen is part of your lymphatic system, working to filter blood, and house white and red blood cells and platelets. Your tonsils, another part of the lymphatic system, contain B cells that fight infections, and your thymus gland helps T cells, a type of lymphocytes essential to the immune system, to mature.
  • Those with chronic illness, sedentary lifestyle, or recent surgery can suffer from stagnant lymph. Some signs that lymphatic fluids might not be flowing well within your body include swelling, constipation, tender nodes, weight gain, frequent infections and viruses, and chronic congestion or sore throat. 
  • Your lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump (like the heart) to move fluids throughout the body, so it relies on gravity and movement. One of the best things you can do for lymph movement is exercise: yoga, running, team sports, or whatever gets you off the couch and moving your feet. Any type of movement, even vigorous household cleaning, can be helpful. 
  • Self-drainage massages, myofascial releases, and professional lymphatic drainage massages also act as a pump to encourage lymph fluid from remaining stagnant. If you’re doing one at home, make sure to use soft, gentle pressure. 
  • Rebounding is another excellent activity for lymphatic drainage. You can buy an inexpensive, personal-sized trampoline and bounce on it for just 5-10 minutes a day.
  • Eating organic vegetables, fresh fruits, and homemade juices, along with staying hydrated, are additional ways to give your body an edge with lymphatic health. 

What Does Lymph Do in the Body?

The lymphatic system is an important part of the immune system, consisting of lymph nodes, but also the spleen, thymus gland, tonsils, bone marrow, and lymphatic vessel (which transports the lymph). 

It runs parallel to the circulatory system, much of it flowing against gravity (in the direction from your feet to your chest). Because the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump like the circulatory system does with the heart, it relies on movement, muscles, and joints to keep it flowing.

Stagnant lymph is a huge problem, especially those who face chronic illnesses, like Lyme disease. When your lymphatic fluid is not moving through the body, toxins and waste will build up since the body is not properly draining, causing unpleasant symptoms. When your lymph is stagnant, it gets thick and heavy. Think about dumping thick bacon grease down your drain instead of just water—everything will start to slow down and back up. Here are some other functions of the lymphatic system:

-Aids in removing toxins and waste
-Removes fluid (lymphedema)
-Produces immune cells that fight infection and disease
-Absorbs fatty acid and transports fats

How Do I Know if My Lymph Is Stagnant?

Because one of the primary jobs of the lymphatic system is waste removal, it can be compared to the garbage disposal in your kitchen sink. When everything is working properly, the disposal removes leftover foods, vegetable tops and peels, and unfinished drinks easily, with just the flip of a switch. The leftovers are then sent off to your septic system and water treatment plant for further processing and purification. When the lymphatic system is stuck, though, old foods and liquids (lymphatic fluid and waste), build up in your sink and cannot be processed correctly. And after just a day, your sink starts to smell. Before, water flowed down the drain nicely, without effort. Now, food and liquid have combined to make a thick, sludgy soup that the disposal isn’t able to get rid of. So you call a plumber to plunge it or use Drain-o, in the same way you physically manipulate your lymphatic system through massage or very clean eating and juicing, to get the whole system on track and working properly again.

Commonly, lymph nodes in the back of the neck or under the armpits are the ones that feel congested or tender when you’re sick. But you have lymph nodes all over your body! In fact, only recently did researchers discover that the brain has its own lymphatic fluid, called “glymph.” The “G” in glymph refers to glia, Greek for “glue.” Glial cells help form myelin (a fatty compound that insulates nerve cells) and support neurons. The glymphatic system processes waste and toxins from the central nervous system through cerebrospinal fluid. This is why sleep is so vital to healing, because it’s during sleep that the brain and nervous system can process all of this glympathic fluid.1 This neurotoxic waste removal is important for anyone, but especially those dealing with Lyme disease and co-infections, which have an affinity for the brain, causing neurological symptoms. Along with keeping the lymphatic fluid flowing, it’s important that your glymph drains each night and does not get congested.



Unless you have a very painful lymph node, you might not be aware of a lymph stagnancy problem in your body. There are countless clues your body provides that might alert you to the issue. Here are some of the common signs of stuck lymphatic fluids:

-Swollen, painful lymph nodes
-Enlarged glands
-Clogged ears
-Sore throat
-Inflamed tonsils
-Itchy or dry skin
-Frequent viruses or infections
-Retaining fluids
-Unexplained soreness
-Confusion or brain fog
-Food or chemical sensitivities
-Weight gain
-Increased allergies

Activating your lymphatic system doesn’t require a trip to the doctor or a prescription. Though it is possible to get a professional lymph drainage massage, there are plenty of ways to move lymphatic fluid right from the comfort of your home. The biggest focus for lymphatic health is movement—any type of exercise, yoga, or stretching can be beneficial to boost your body’s natural drainage and detox capabilities. Other lifestyle choices, like eating a clean diet, dry brushing, and using essential oils, can help, too.

Ways to Keep Lymph Flowing

Rebounding: Buy a small, personal-sized trampoline and bounce on it for 5-10 minutes a day. While burning a lot of calories and strengthening your skeletal system and muscles, this also works as a pump for your lymphatic fluid. It’s also a great way for those with joint pain to get cardio and aerobic exercise, without pounding the pavement and going for a jog. Because of the changes in gravity while bounding, you’ll experience increased oxygen to the cells and potential improved function of pulmonary circulation.2

 Castor Oil Packs: Pour a few tablespoons of cold-pressed, organic, hexane-free castor oil onto unbleached flannel and place it over your liver, which is found on the bottom of your right ribcage. Then, cover it with an old towel and an infrared heating pad, or any other heat source available. Relax for 30-60 minutes. You may hear gurgling and growling noises, which is great! That means the liver and gallbladder are moving, and hopefully, toxins are leaving. You can use the packs anywhere on your body in the same way—on your abdomen, your neck, or other places. For best results, use castor oil packs immediately before bed (many report better sleep after packs) and for three or four nights in a row.

Frankincense: A few drops of Frankincense, with a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil, can be applied to lymph nodes to reduce swelling, encourage movement, and improve blood flow. WO China Healing Oil is another wonderful oil for the lymphatic system.

Dry Skin Brushing: Using a natural bristle brush, glide gently over your skin, always moving toward your heart. Focus especially on places where lymph can become stagnant, like your armpits, neck, chest, and groin. This stimulates lymph nodes and circulation. Dry brushing is best done immediately before a shower, because showering washes away all dead skin cells that get removed in the brushing process.

Herbal teas: Warm herbal teas, like ginger, astragalus, red root, or cleavers, can help stimulate lymphatic movement, as well as keeping you hydrated. Ginger tea is a universally helpful one for digestive issues and overall cleansing.3 Astragalus is beneficial for Skin-Associated Lymphatic Tissue, boosting the immune system and potentially reducing congestion-related skin rashes.4Red root can improve fatigue and lymphatic-related digestive issues by cleansing the intestinal lymph ducts. Cleavers contains antioxidants and properties to stimulate activity in the lymphatic system, while cleansing the blood.5

Drinking Water: One of the most common reasons for lymphatic congestion, besides your body fighting an infection, is due to stagnation or dehydration. Make sure you’re getting enough water throughout the day. Lymph is a clear-to-white liquid made of water, chyle (fluid from the intestines), proteins, and fat. Without consumption of water, the fluid does not flow well. To make sure you’re hydrated, boil some filtered water and keep it in a thermos for the day, taking small sips of it every 15 minutes. This technique, recommended by Dr. John Douillard, will rehydrate the lymphatic system within just a few weeks.6 Dr. Douillard, alongside Deepak Chopra, co-directed an Ayurvedic center. He also believes stress is an important factor contributing to lymphatic congestion, and encourages eating with the seasons and practicing stress-relief techniques.7


Clean Diet/Juicing: Eating a clean diet, with minimal processed foods and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, will keep the lymph flowing and waste flushing from your body. Juicing low-sugar fruits and vegetables, like kale, chard, parsley, celery, ginger, lemon, watercress, and cilantro can help, too. Green vegetables are alkalizing, which also reduces the burden on your system. Our blood has a pH of about 7.4, which tips on the side of alkaline versus acidic (7 is a neutral pH, while 0 is the most acidic and 14 is the most alkaline). However, because of environmental factors, chronic illness, and an acid-heavy diet, many people have a low pH, trending toward acidic. Alkaline foods include broccoli, chard, cucumber, watercress, lettuce, and most green vegetables. Acidic foods, ones you’d likely want to avoid anyway because of their lack of nutrition and inflammatory properties, include corn, corn syrup, soda, artificial sweeteners, processed breads and cereals, frozen meals, and cakes for example. Acidic foods can trigger acid reflux, kidney stones,8, fibromyalgia and pain,9 hormone imbalances, congested lymphatic fluid, and other health issues, while alkaline foods can promote healing and lymphatic flow.

Beets: Beets help thin the bile and cleanse the digestive system. They also contain betacyanin, a strong antioxidant that helps flush lymph. Any red fruit or vegetable is used in holistic medicine as a lymph mover, so along with beets, reach for strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate, cranberries, cherries, and even turmeric to support your detoxification pathways. 

Lymphatic Massage or Self-draining Massage: Either a massage done by a professional, or a self-draining massage can stimulate the lymphatic system physically, prompting it to drain. Lymphatic massage and myofascial release have helped patients with idiopathic and systemic pain find release, according to studies. Swedish massage, probably the most common type, which rubs muscles in long, sliding strokes, did not show the same mood-boosting, joint- and pain-relief benefits.10 Instead of focusing on muscles and relaxation, a lymphatic massage instead targets the lymph nodes, promoting drainage, fluid movement, reduction of swelling, and congestion relief.

Legs Up The Wall: Much lymphatic fluids flow counter to gravity, so any type of inversion is beneficial to encourage natural movement. While lying on the floor on your back, swing your legs straight up and rest the backs of your legs (from thighs to heel) against the wall for support, creating a 90-degree angle with your body. Do some deep breathing exercises and relax. This is a great practice to do before bed, after a yoga practice, or if you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

Yoga: Yoga encourages types of movements that you might not do on a daily basis, like twists and stretches, which help your circulation. In particular, twists, leg lifts, inversions, and even classic sun salutations encourage varied movement on the mat, helpful for the lymphatic system. For chronically ill, cat-cow, downward dog, and forward bends are gentler poses that are still fantastic.Yoga is also beneficial for improving general circulation, which also, in turn, helps the lymph flow to remove toxins. Along with poses, breathwork, or pranayama, can encourage proper lymphatic function, especially in the stomach and chest. Deep breathing increases oxygen, and can also improve mood and energy, too. An easy way to test your breathing is to place your hand on your stomach and the other on your chest, while standing. Take a few normal breaths, and notice what happens in your body. Are you breathing through your chest? Did your shoulders or stomach move? Many people breathe shallowly, through the chest, when instead, we should be breathing through the abdomen. Lying down and focusing on breathing through your belly can encourage lymphatic fluid to fill up the thoracic duct, located around the twelfth vertebrae to the base of the neck.

Any Exercise or Movement: Any type of exercise or movement, whether it be tai chi, walking, playing frisbee, or even weightlifting, is great for supporting movement of your lymphatic fluid. In a study on dogs, lymphatic flow was measured while dogs ran on a treadmill from 0-10 miles per hour. It took just one minute of exercise at 1.5 mph to notice a significant increase in lymphatic flow, which grew with each increase of speed.11 The act of exercising can especially increase flow in the thoracic duct, or the Van Hoorne’s canal, which is the biggest lymphatic vessel in the entire body, between 38-45 cms. Nearly three quarters of all lymph in the body must pass through this duct, including lower legs, abdomen, and the entire left side of the body. Aerobic exercise like walking or running, keeps this duct in particular, primed and functioning.

Warm Epsom Salt Baths: Epsom salt baths are an excellent detox tool to keep in your toolkit, since they also help promote drainage and stimulate circulation. Add 1-2 cups of Epsom salts to a warm bath. If you wish, you can add additional detoxification aids, like a few tablespoons of bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, or essential oils. Soak for 20-30 minutes, then rinse the salts off your body. You should feel relaxed afterward.If you have a negative reaction to Epsom salts (ie: you feel more fatigued or a little dizzy after), make sure the water isn’t too hot. You can also switch to Magnesium Chloride flakes, which can also help up the magnesium levels in your body. You may be sensitive to sulfates (Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate), if you have certain gene SNPs (like CBS) and if your transsulfuration pathways are blocked. If even regular showers or baths aggravate your symptoms, you can add the same ingredients to a large tub and detox through a foot bath.


Reduce Chemical Exposure in your Home and Environment

Your lymphatic system is like the trash removal service in your body. And when it’s overburdened, we want to do our best to intake less “garbage” and give it less work to do. An important point about health of the lymphatic system, besides exercise and diet, also includes looking to your environment.

Eliminating toxins in your home can be a huge help to your overall health and lymphatic health, especially with chronic illness. This means choosing organic produce and hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, ditching the chemical cleaners and perfume, finding cleaner alternatives to the makeup you wear.

Self-Massage for the Lymphatic System 

It’s possible to do a self-massage on your head and neck to relieve swollen glands and promote lymphatic flow. You want the pressure to be gentle and light, rather than aggressive and strong. During or after the massage, you may feel drainage release from your nose and sinuses make its way down your throat. This is normal! 

Most lymphatic massages involve circular motions on or around the lymph nodes, pumping them physically to help with movement and toxin removal. 

Men and women might have different lymph nodes that become blocked and painful, due to physiological differences. Men, for example, may accumulate lymph in the inguinal nodes, near or above the front hip crease, due to activity in the prostate gland. Women, on the other hand, likely experience blocked, painful nodes in the axillary area, near the armpit toward the breast. 12 

Light Beam Therapy and Lymphatic System Light 

If home treatments aren’t enough, certain medical practitioners and naturopaths provide Light Beam Therapy for the lymphatic system. These light beams are specially designed to aid the body in moving lymphatic fluid through negative-charge light photons and low currents.13 During or after this therapy, stagnant lymph pathways should open up, releasing proteins and other fluids from the nodes and to the detoxification organs for processing. 

The lymphatic system is a crucial part of the immune system, and one we don’t often consider when tending to our health and wellness. Even if you don’t experience chronic swelling, tender lymph nodes, congestion, itching, and weight gain, it’s never too early to start focusing on lymphatic health. Eating healthy and getting exercise is a great start, but consider some of the other tools mentioned here to optimize the flow of your lymphatic fluid and boost the health of your immune system. After all, you don’t want it to get backed up! 




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  1. Asprey, Dave. “How To Detox Your Brain By Hacking Your Glymphatic System.”Bulletproof. Bulletproof, 13 Apr. 2017. Web. 11 Jan. 2018.
  2. Stanghelle, J., N. Hjeltnes, H. Bangstad, and H. Michalsen. “Effect of Daily Short Bouts of Trampoline Exercise During 8 Weeks on the Pulmonary Function and the Maximal Oxygen Uptake of Children with Cystic Fibrosis.” International Journal of Sports Medicine 09.1 (1988): 32-36. Europe PMCWeb. 11 Jan. 2018.
  3. Haniadka, Raghavendra, Elroy Saldanha, Venkatesh Sunita, Princy L. Palatty, Raja Fayad, and Manjeshwar Shrinath Baliga. “A Review of the Gastroprotective Effects of Ginger (Zingiber Officinale Roscoe).” Food & Function 4.6 (2013): 845-55. PubMedWeb. 11 Jan. 2018.
  4. Nalbantsoy, Aye, Tuna Nesil, Özlem Yimaz-Dilsiz, Gezide Aksu, Shabana Khan, and Erdal Bedir. “Evaluation of the Immunomodulatory Properties in Mice and in Vitro Anti-inflammatory Activity of Cycloartane Type Saponins from Astragalus Species.”Journal of Ethnopharmacology139.2 (2012): 574-81. PubMedWeb. 11 Jan. 2018.
  5. Bokhari, Jasia, Muhammad R. Khan, Maria Shabbir, Umbreen Rashid, Shumaila Jan, and Jawaid A. Zai. “Evaluation of Diverse Antioxidant Activities of Galium Aparine.”Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy 102 (2013): 24-29. PubMedWeb. 11 Jan. 2018.
  6. Jockers, David. “10 Ways to Improve Your Lymphatic System Function.” Cancer Prevention. The Truth About Cancer, 22 Sept. 2016. Web. 11 Jan. 2018.
  7. Douillard, John. “The Miracle of Lymph.” Dr. Douillard’s LifeSpa. LifeSpa, 08 Jan. 2018. Web. 11 Jan. 2018.
  8. Wagner, CA. “Urinary pH and Stone Formation.” Journal of Nephrology 23.16 (2010): 165-169. PubMed. Web. 11 Jan. 2018.
  9. Vormann, Jorgen, Michael Worlitschek, Thomas Goedecke, and Burton Silver. “Supplementation with Alkaline Minerals Reduces Symptoms in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain.” Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology 15.2-3 (2001): 179-83. PubMedWeb. 11 Jan. 2018.
  10. Yuan, Susan Lee King, Luciana Akemi Matsutani, and Amelia Pasqual Marques. “Effectiveness of Different Styles of Massage Therapy in Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” Manual Therapy 20.2 (2015): 257-64. PubMedWeb. 11 Jan. 2018.
  11. Desai, Pratikkumar, Arthur G. Williams, Parna Prajapati, and H. Fred Downey. “Lymph Flow In Instrumented Dogs Varies With Exercise Intensity.” Lymphatic Research and Biology 8.3 (2010): 143-48. PubMedWeb. 11 Jan. 2018.
  12. “Lymphatic Therapy (Light Beam Generator).” Medicine Services. Center For New Medicine, 2017. Web. 11 Jan. 2018.
  13. “Lymphatic Therapy (Light Beam Generator).” Medicine Services. Center For New Medicine, 2017. Web. 11 Jan. 2018.

Therapeutic Massage: The Finest Treatment For Every Athlete

Therapeutic massage has been successfully replacing the other therapies with its endless benefits. For an amateur, this might look like a relaxing session but the goal of this massage is to offer relief from the chronic ailments.


What is Therapeutic Massage?

This type of massage refers to a therapy done by a professional as a part of a treatment. This is usually availed by athletes, who endure an extreme physical workout, in order to enhance the physical ability. It also helps loose muscles, boost the flexibility, and contribute to improving the muscle toning.

Apart from the relaxation of the muscles, therapeutic massage offers relief from cancer, wound, and various other ailments.

How Does Therapeutic Massage Help the Athletes?

People who are involved in physical exercises, like athletes, have experienced extreme benefits from this massage therapy. It effectively reduces pain, boosts the level of performance, prepares the body from getting into a state of shock, resists injury, depletes the time needed for recovery, and also hikes the focus.

Primarily, this deals with two types of responses, mechanical and reflex. Reflex response refers to the activity of nerves that is directed by the stimulation of the massage and the mechanical response is related to the pressure and movement involved in the massage therapy.

Positive Impacts of Therapeutic Massage on the Athletes

Athletes can enjoy a physiological as well as psychological well being if they continue with the therapeutic massage. It relaxes the muscle by releasing the trapped acid from the ruptured muscle fibers and also relaxes the mind by relieving stress.

Types of Massages Especially for Athletes

Stretching, rigorous massaging, and deep tissue massages are prescribed for the athletes. To enhance the flexibility and improve the experience, essential oils are also used while massaging. This significantly depletes the muscle soreness and also relaxes the pain from the target muscles.

Live Well Sauna and Salt takes natural healing approach

A family ski trip sparked a new-business idea for Mooresville resident Logan Dernoshek.

Two years ago, after a day with his brother on the slopes in Boone, Dernoshek retreated to his rental cabin and hopped in the sauna. But it wasn't your traditional steam sauna -- it used infrared.

“After a long day of skiing, it really helped with my soreness,” he said.

Dernoshek, a former semi-pro stock car racer and current mechanical engineer at Duke Energy, decided he wanted to share the benefits of full-spectrum infrared saunas with the community after his trip, because he felt it made such a difference in his wellbeing. He founded Live Well Sauna and Salt, which held its grand opening late last month.

“I found that the infrared saunas aren’t as stifling, because instead of heating the air around you, it’s heating you directly, raising your core temperature faster,” he explained. “They have the same benefits as a regular sauna, but the heat is more relaxing, relieving muscle pain.”

He added that in his experience, because the saunas raise your core temperature quickly, it mimics moderate exercise and allows you to potentially burn 400 to 600 calories during each session.

“It’s like a workout without the workout,” he said. “It raises your resting heart rate as much as if you were on a treadmill, and without the joint pain (since you are seated).”

Dernoshek said that he also offers halotherapy, or dry salt therapy, at Live Well, and it imitates the climate of “a naturally occurring climate of a salt cave.” The spa’s two Halo Cabins have a generator that emulsifies and atomizes the medical-grade sea salt, putting it in the air so that customers can breathe in the salty air.

“It’s like breathing in the beach,” Dernoshek said of the cabin’s use. “It helps you breathe easier, and your skin feels better.”

Halotherapy got its start in Europe in the late 1800s, and Dernoshek claimed it was “great during allergy season, as it clears your sinuses and helps fight off the effects of pollen.”

“As someone who doesn’t like to take any kind of medicine, even Tylenol, I like finding natural solutions that really work,” he said.

Medical healing without medication


Whether its chronic pain and inflammation or acne scarring and wrinkles, more patients are looking for alternative remedies that don’t require invasive surgery or prescriptions.

“We’re starting to see more references from physicians once traditional treatments and medications have failed,” said Bernadette Lavoie, co-owner of North Country Massage and Medi Spa.

The Prince Albert based spa now offers an alternative to registered massage therapy with the addition of Allisyn Camche – a licensed physiotherapist with nearly 20 years of experience. Camche offers a type of dry needling called Gokavi Transverse Technique (GTT) that helps relieve chronic pain that cannot be treated by conventional means.

“The needle is inserted in and out quickly and breaks down the tissue and releases the pressure which relieves the pain,” explained co-owner Lindsey Rask.

Some of the registered massage therapists on staff are also trained in Myofacia Cupping, prenatal massage and lymphatic drainage. Recently, a patient who suffered years of pain caused by kyphosis, also known as hunchback, began Bioflex treatments at the all encompassing medical spa. It’s a type of cold laser therapy that helps regenerate tissue.

“After six treatments, this patient felt an 80 per cent improvement in pain relief by alleviating inflammation and increasing circulation,” said Lavoie.

The therapy was featured in “The Brain’s Way of Healing”, an episode on The Nature of Things with David Suzuki on the CBC news network. The treatment has also helped to improve gout or arthritis pain, eliminate heal spurs and accelerate the healing process for broken bones and bruising. Rask said in some cases, surgery was avoided because the Bioflex treatments helped the body resolve issues on its own.

“People are looking for ways to heal themselves naturally and we’re finding ways to provide that,” Lavoie added.

The need for alternatives to traditional treatments extends from the medical aspect to the cosmetic. North Country Massage and Medi Spa has trained physicians able to administer facial treatments like Botox but those looking for a more natural approach now have an option too. Rask, who is a Registered Nurse, also trained at the Canadian Laser and Medical Aesthetic Centre. She recently started to offer micro-needling or Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT). It stimulates the body’s own collagen production to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, stretch marks, skin laxity and scarring such as that caused by acne or chicken pox.

“This treatment is effective regardless of your age or skin type and can treat many skin conditions safely without the potential side effects and long downtime of cosmetic surgery. There is very little risk for this minimally invasive procedure and it has consistently shown excellent results,” said Rask.

Pain free, health bodies that look good and feel good. North Country Massage and Medi Spa can help you start living your best life naturally.

For more information, visit or find them on Facebook

Ouch I have plantafasciwhat?

Plantar fasciitis is a common medical condition that plagues factory workers, retail associates, and athletes alike.  Plantar fasciitis causes pain in heel and the arch of the foot, and the pain is typically worse in the morning and may or may not improve a lot during the day.   The soft tissue structures of the arch than run from the heel and toward the toes becomes inflamed and causes pain.  Most cases of plantar fasciitis have a biomechanical cause---improper shoe wear, improper training, or joint and muscle stiffness higher up in the ankle.

In the athletic population plantar fasciitis develops often in over-pronators with low or collapsed arches. If the arch structure is improperly supported during running or walking, and allowed to collapse and stretch too far, then pain can develop. If left untreated the plantar ligaments can develop scar tissue and even create a spur on the calcaneus (heel bone). Many athletes, parents, and coaches chose the popular styles, but these often times contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.  Choosing the proper shoe for your foot type and your sport is crucial to preventing and treating plantar fasciitis.


Those athletes with a supinated (high arch) foot often are too rigid in their mid-foot and rear-foot.  This lack of flexibility creates excessive strain to the plantar fascia during the loading and support (weight-bearing) phase of running and walking.  These athletes are also at risk of developing plantar fasciitis, but the treatments and recommendations would be different from the over-pronators.

Factory workers, retail associates, and avid flip flop wearers are also at great risk for developing plantar fasciitis.  Concrete and tile are hard surfaces to stand on. When the foot is improperly supported the plantar fascia gets over stretched, becomes inflamed, and causes foot pain.  For many workers a steel toe boot or a non-skid shoe that is required for their work doesn’t have the arch support necessary to support the bony structure and muscles and ligaments of the foot.  Flip flops also have poor support for the arch and lack the cushioning needing for prolonged standing and walking. 

Nacole Howerton-Bradley PT, DPT, OCS (Photo: Submitted)

Physical therapy is very beneficial to treating patients with plantar fasciitis.  Correcting the biomechanical problem specific to that individual patient is key to recovery.  Joint mobilizations, deep tissue mobilization and myofascial release, stretches, and strengthening exercises will be used to relieve pain and restore the normal mechanics of the foot and ankle.  Modalities such as dry needling, iontophoresis, ultrasound, and ice massage may be used to reduce pain and inflammation. 

At Patterson Physical Therapy we also help patients chose the right kind of shoe for their sport or job that will support their feet and reduce or eliminate the pain.  When a shoe change isn’t enough, a custom molded orthotic that supports, corrects, and cushions the foot can correct the bio-mechanical strain that caused the plantar fasciitis.  Orthotics can be corrective and control the foot when it strikes the ground or they can be cushioning to absorb shock from hard surfaces.  Custom orthotics can be made for adults and kids and also used treat a variety of other problems such as spinal alignment, hip pain, and knee arthritis. 

Life is too good to have aching, painful feet that keep you from having an active life.  Seek treatment, recover from plantar fasciitis, and get back out there with the help of a physical therapist.

Frozen Shoulder isn’t something you find at the meat market

According to Vital Energy Founder Hima Dalal, it can be caused from injury arthritis inflammation, and can cause a weakness of the shoulder muscle, causing increased pain.  As the pain continues to increase, you slowly start avoiding using the shoulder which causes scar tissue and locking of shoulder joint.

Eventually, you are in constant pain with inability to lift arm up and loose functional use of shoulder

Occupational or physical therapists with integrative therapy is your best choice at that point to get manual therapy to address trigger point using MFR technique, joint mobilization, dry needle therapy, and electro therapy to attempt get rid of pain first, finally working on increasing ROM and help you regain functional use of shoulder back.