November 13, 2012
How many times did we hear from our parents when we were children, "sit up straight"? Our parents were not telling us to do this merely to keep us from looking like a boiled noodle. Good posture is important for a variety of health reasons as well. It helps us to breathe properly, increases concentration, reduces the risk of neck and back pain and increases our sense of well-being.
And yet most people have bad posture. It is not surprising, given how many hours we spend sitting at a desk. Both bad ergonomics and the number of hours spent sitting without getting up and moving around has led to an epidemic of bad posture – and subsequently many cases of back and neck pain.
According to Dr. Roger Sperry, who received a Nobel Prize for brain research, "The more mechanically distorted a person is, the less energy is available for thinking, metabolism and healing." Proper posture opens the airways and expands the rib cage, allowing us to breathe more deeply. Our lung capacity is reduced by as much as 30% when we slouch. A brain receiving its full measure of oxygen is more powerful and has a better ability to concentrate. Your muscles and organs will also benefit from added oxygen, giving you more energy.
Poor posture also makes you tire more easily. Our skeletal system was designed to perform optimally when we are in the correct posture. The spine takes the majority of the weight-bearing stress both when we are moving and sitting. However, bad posture moves the weight to areas of the skeleton that were not designed to take a great amount of force. This makes our muscles, tendons and ligaments work harder to keep us upright and puts excessive stress on less sturdy parts of our bones and joints. Over time, bad posture causes changes to the spine that can become permanent, constricting nerves and blood vessels and leading to chronic pain.
Studies have shown that people experiencing depression felt markedly better when their posture improved, and it also increases self-confidence. A study by researchers at Ohio State University instructed subjects to sit up straight or to slouch. Of those who sat up straight, "Their confident, upright posture gave them more confidence in their own thoughts, whether they were positive or negative," according to co-author of the study, Richard Perry, a professor of psychology at the university.
If you have proper posture you should be able to draw a straight line down from the earlobe through the shoulder, hip, knee and mid-ankle. Your chin should be parallel with the floor. Most people's heads jut forward due to crouching over laptops and hand-held devices like mobile phones and tablets. When the head juts only an inch forward from the spine it essentially doubles the amount of head weight the musculoskeletal system must absorb.
To help maintain your posture throughout the day, choose an office chair that is ergonomically designed, with extra support for the lower back. You should also get up and move around regularly throughout the day. Furthermore, it's important to strengthen your core muscles, which help to promote good posture. Yoga and Pilates are good forms of exercise for overall stretching and strengthening and will enable you to maintain good posture.
Consult your Fremont Chiropractor, Dr. Hans Freericks, to find out how you can achieve a good posture. Call Fremont Chiropractic at (510) 797-4796 today.
June 27, 2012
The latest research shows that having sleep apnea significantly increases the risk of death. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects at least 18 million Americans. In fact, sleep apnea is also associated with nearly double the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, as well as early death in men, particularly middle-aged and older men. An obstructed airway causes sleep apnea, which results in cessations in breathing during sleep. This can occur hundreds of times each night. Sleep apnea often results in lowered oxygen levels in the blood, and if untreated, can lead to poor sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and increased car accidents. Mounting research reveals it may lead to far worse consequences as well.
Even those with mild to moderate sleep apnea may see an increase of up to 17% in their risk of death. A long and large study conducted at Johns Hopkins University and published this year showed results that have real meaning for the average person. Over a period of 10 years, the researchers included more than 6,400 men and women between the ages of 40 and 70. Most of the participants snored, which is the main symptom of sleep apnea. The researchers monitored their sleep patterns as well as their breathing, heart rhythms, and brain activity while sleeping. The results revealed that about half had moderate to severe sleep apnea.
Next, the researchers tracked those with sleep apnea over the next eight to ten years, monitoring and recording the incidence of sickness and death. The main illnesses they found were high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. They made an incredible discovery: those who experienced just 11 minutes of severe sleep apnea per night, in which blood oxygen levels dropped to below 90% of normal, nearly doubled the risk of death among men. The researchers were not able to conclude the same for women, since the study included so few women with severe sleep apnea. In general, sleep apnea affects men more than women.
The researchers indicated that these results are serious and require attention by doctors as well as patients. "With such mounting evidence indicating the range of clinical effects of sleep apnea, awareness amongst health care professionals and the general community needs to increase," said study lead author Dr. Naresh Punjabi, an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.
Anyone with the main symptoms of sleep apnea, including loud snoring, daytime fatigue, and difficulty concentrating should discuss their symptoms with your chiropractor. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight may help the problem. If you have a more serious case of sleep apnea, there is effective therapy, including Continuous Positive Airway Pressure devices that act as a sort of oxygen mask during sleep. According to accumulating evidence, not only can treating sleep apnea improve your quality of life, but may save it as well.
May 28, 2012
Some of us feel that sleep is a luxury. Demanding jobs mean getting up early, and for some of us going to bed early feels like you’ve lost the day, so we compensate by sleeping less. But is that good enough? The oft-cited optimal level of sleep for an adult is the magic eight hours. However, individuals vary in their sleep needs from as little as five hours to as much as ten hours per night. Feeling drowsy during the day might mean you’re not getting enough winks, so how can you tell if you’re sleeping too much or too little?
A recent study conducted at the University of Westminster has concluded that there are people who are at their best and who are ready for action first thing in the morning, and another group who just cannot do mornings well. This may seem obvious, but why are some people early birds, and others night owls? The group who were awake early in the morning was found to have higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, than those who prefer to sleep in. The results of this study indicate that there may be a physiological difference between early risers and late sleepers.
he difference in cortisol levels may also contribute to different temperaments between the different sleep groups. Those who awaken early in the morning, tend to be busier and more concentrated, but are also angrier and have less energy at the end of the day than their late-rising counterparts. In late-riser group, people are more likely to be relaxed and less busy. Cortisol is a hormone known to affect both mood and concentration. While it’s hard to specify an ideal time to get up in the morning, if you’re feeling stressed there is an increased chance you’ll feel better if you add an extra half an hour of sleep to your night.
What about the effects of sleep deprivation?
It is well known that sleep deprivation can be dangerous, especially if you are driving or using heavy machinery. The effect on driving may be as dangerous as driving under the influence. Not sleeping enough can also suppress your immune system and increases your perception of pain. Most scientists believe eight hours of sleep is a safe amount and is enough to function comfortably.
If you’re alert during the day, then chances are you’re sleeping enough. However if you feel a dip during the day, then even a 10- or 15-minute nap can make a big difference in your concentration and performance. If you can’t get enough sleep on a certain day, you can always make it up afterwards. Sleep longer by going to bed earlier, sleep in on the weekend or even take a nap to help to replenish the sleep debt left. In general, however, try to have a regular sleep schedule to keep your body as rested and ready-to-go as possible.
- Clow A, Hucklebridge F, Stalder T, Evans P, Thorn L. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2010 Sep;35(1):97-103. Epub 2009 Dec 22.
- Sleep Requirements.
- Getting Enough Sleep.
March 7, 2012
You’ve probably heard that trans fats are bad for you. You may even be looking for them on product labels. But what about all the foods that don’t have nutrition labels on them, such as French fries or doughnuts? When it comes to these foods, trans fats may be hiding in plain sight. That’s why it is important for you to have a basic understanding of where you are most likely to encounter them. By knowing a little more about trans fats, you can make more informed food choices.
Trans fats, also known as trans fatty acids, come from the hydrogenation of polyunsaturated oils and are used in place of healthier oils in many foods. Say what? Unless you majored in chemistry, that probably makes zero sense to you, so allow me to explain.
Naturally occurring vegetable oils – such as canola, sunflower, or corn oil – don’t contain any trans fats. People have to intentionally create trans fats. So if we know they are bad for our health, why do we do it? There are several reasons – all of which serve the needs of the food industry, not individuals. Trans fats:
- Increase the shelf life of products
- Make vegetable oils more suitable for repeat use in deep fryers
- Decrease product refrigeration requirements
- Are less expensive than butter or lard
Have you ever noticed that butter is stocked in the refrigerated section of grocery stores, but packaged baked goods like muffins aren’t? Yet the muffins still resist spoiling. Why? It’s because the kinds of pure vegetable oils and butter we cook with at home are often substituted with trans fats when foods are prepared on a commercial scale.
The trans fats come from adding hydrogen atoms (partially hydrogenating) to unsaturated fats. This process raises the melting point of the fat – so that it will be more solid at room temperature and won’t require refrigeration to hold its shape.
Up until 2006, food manufacturers were not required to list trans fats on product labels. Now the FDA requires food manufacturers to list the presence of trans fats. And although the FDA did not set any limits on the amounts of trans fats that are allowed to be present in our foods, they did say that it should be “as low as possible.
Experts believe that there are nearly 50,000 products on the market that contain trans fatty acids. While the term “trans fats” might not specifically appear on the nutrition label, you will see terms such as shortening and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil. The closer to the top of the nutrition label these trans fats appear, the higher the percentage that are present.
Consumer health groups have begun to pressure food manufacturers to remove trans fats from their products altogether. Some have gone so far as to file law suits demanding that a particular product be removed from the shelves unless trans fats are eliminated from the ingredients.
While that battle is fought at the highest levels, individuals can take control of their own health by recognizing the types of food likely to contain high levels of trans fat. Stay on the lookout for trans fats in fried foods, in unrefrigerated baked goods and in snack foods such as cookies and crackers.
Dietary Fats Explained MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved 9 5, 2011, from MedlinePlus Health Information from the National Library of Medicine.
Trans fat. (n.d.). Retrieved 9 5, 2011, from Wikipedia.org.
Trans fat definition Cholesterol Information Produced by Doctors For Patients Experiencing High Cholesterol Levels. (n.d.). Retrieved 9 5, 2011, from MedTerms.com.
Fremont Chiropractor Dr. Hans Freericks can be reached at (510) 797-4796. You will find safe, gentle and effective pain treatment at his Union City and Fremont chiropractic care center.
December 29, 2011
If you remember the launch of Google Earth and your reaction the first time you saw satellite imagery that allowed you to zoom down and look at your own car parked in your driveway, you’ll be awestruck again by the Google Body Browser.
As the name implies this is a tour inside the human body. Peel back the layers, zoom, rotate and explore your innards in a brand new way. This project is still in the ‘lab stage’ over at Google, but is already an incredible tool. If you are a visual learner, you might find a new love for anatomy.
Google Body Browser allows you to isolate certain organ systems, individual organs and bones to get a better look at them. Once you have the view you want you can zoom and rotate it in three dimensions. All the supporting structures remain visible to keep the context.
Still images don’t do the tool justice. You really need to use the online interactive version. Since this tool is from Google, it seems to work best in Google’s own Chrome browser.
A couple cool features to point out… You can turn on and off labels to all the different body parts as you explore. If you ever need to study for Jeopardy and learn the name of the muscle that controls your little finger—it’s in there!
Of course since it’s a Google product, you can search too. If you can’t quite remember where the sciatic nerve is you can type it into the search box and it will be highlighted for you. If there are muscles, bones or joints we discuss at an appointment and you want to share the explanation with your spouse or friends later, just search for it by name.
You can also send a link to a specific view that you have created. If you need to share an idea or diagram with another person or save it for future reference, you can create a link that will go right back to that view. Here is an example that should take you directly to a view of the C1 vertebra – also known as the atlas.
Interacting with this tool makes me wish something like this had been available for anatomy classes. If you have kids or friends in any type of human biology class, forward them this link so they’ll know about this great learning tool.
Have fun exploring Google Body Browser on your own.
November 2, 2011
Chiropractors have highly recommended drinking water for a lot of good reasons. One of the circumstances we Americans seem to have is that we do not drink adequate water throughout the day. The typical twine of thinking is basically you should have around 8 glasses of water every day. Water will keep your body hydrated which in turn keeps the oxygen level high in your body. The issue is that lots of people are consuming more coffee and also too much sodas with lots of sugar.
The trouble with these carbonated drinks and too much caffeinated drinks is that there are toxins in those products. The sugar can also increase the chance of an individual getting high blood pressure especially if you consume way too much of it. We all need lots of water to help keep the body cleansed and hydrated. Think about the simple fact that our brain is about 80% filled with water. Moreover, water is the reason why our digestive system work and keeps our respiratory system in order too. The other thing is that the disc between our spines is also fluent in mostly made of water. It is therefore important to have water and keep those spinal discs in great shape.
Now of course, Fremont chiropractors also insist that drinking water should be free of other sugar induced compounds. There are various companies out there that are adding high glucose levels of materials which are just as bad as adding in numerous tablespoons of sugar. Of course, some water supply is not very tasty and as such the explanation why individuals have gotten accustomed to taking in vitamin enhanced water. However a lot of them also have added in glucose which isn’t essentially a good thing to have.
There are lots of reasons why a lot of people don’t want to drink water. They include things of course that may sustain your clothes with deposits that is hard to see until it has poured on you. There’s even some type of water that has iron . They are tough to detect until it actually oxidizes in the air and results in “rest” stains.
Whatever you do, just be sure you drink sufficient water for you to keep your body going strong. It also helps to make sure that you do not exhaust yourself through dehydration. Eight glasses of water is not difficult amount to drink. This is also true if you are consuming it through the day rather than trying to cram it in all one time. Keep in mind, that if you are an athlete or playing athletics you want to consume much more water because your body loses it in the endeavours that you extend in your sport.
October 18, 2011
Exercising and trying to live a healthy life is not enough. To experience the full benefits of a healthy lifestyle, you must learn to integrate nutrition. As adults, we know this. But how do we integrate good nutrition into our children’s diet? Healthy snacks make up a good part of sound nutrition. And it doesn’t take a lot of effort or time. Just following the simple steps in the article below can bring you and your children closer to a health oriented life.
Healthy Snack Ideas for Children
Sweet potatoes are a terrific addition to the diet. Their sweet, somewhat bland, starchy nature makes them readily accessible to just about anyone, and the variety of bright colors they come in naturally makes them appealing to children. They’re full of Vitamin A, C, and B6 in addition to a host of minerals. They make a good substitute for pasta or rice as a starch.
Hiding food in other foods is a great way to ensure proper nutrition in picky eaters. This can be adults or children. Often times you can place healthy vegetables or fruits into otherwise not so healthy food types without the eater knowing. There are plenty of recipes for hiding foods in other foods to keep the nutrition high.
Good nutrition starts at home. If you teach young children how to eat properly and introduce them to healthy foods early, they will be more likely to grow up enjoying a higher variety of healthy foods. Proper nutrition also leads to better food choices in the long run and less risk of obesity.
Introduce vegetables to your children at a young age. The taste may not be what they’re used to, so you might have to try experimenting with different ways to cook and season vegetables to make them desirable for them. Vegetables have a lot of minerals and vitamins unavailable anywhere else, so getting your children used to them is a good idea for their lifelong health.
If you want your children to eat better foods, get them involved in the cooking process and they will be more likely to eat what they make themselves. Children love to be creative and the kitchen is an excellent place to do so. When they experience how good food is made it builds excitement to eat it.
When exercise is not enough, we strive for something more. Nutrition can be the key to a vigorous lifestyle. Each step you take towards nutrition, you are closer to achieving perfect harmony in your body. The above tips from the article provide great guidelines for your future well being and health.
October 11, 2011
The most important thing to give some thought to in order to improve your overall wellness is your nutrition. Chiropractic will surely help in your general structure then make you stay balanced, but nutrition can also help you deal with weariness and keep you moving throughout the day. There are tons of people who are stressed out there today that they do not think that they are not getting the right nutrients and vitamins in the body. Not only that but the right types of nutrition and nutrients can even help you get a good night’s sleep.
There are lots of countries around the world who promote nap in daytime in order to carry on for extended periods of time. Here in the USA we are not as accelerating as many other countries in terms of that. In truth, it has become such a trouble with 568 hour energy drinks that individuals are becoming a community of working zombies. In most cases, it is more sensible to drink up a tea like lavender to relieve your nerves and minimize the effect of caffeine on an overstimulated body.
Through nutrition there are plenty of ways for us to have a more balanced life and be productive. Now, caffeine isn’t specifically a bad thing, if you know the way to manage and use it appropriately. Caffeine can help improve your mood and also help you with your memory and other things in connection with the use of the human brain. It has also been suggested that caffeine might even assist in lowering the risk of liver cancer. The drawback however of caffeinated drinks is that it could cause much more stress for those who are susceptible to anxiety. Yet another negative side effect of caffeine is that it also can cause arrhythmia and often really serious panic attacks. So consider drinking it in moderation.
There are other methods to boost your body’s dietary absorption. That comprises having some types of food each day that boost your vitality. It’s been noted that ginseng is one of those foods that can increase your energy without increasing anxiety. Additionally, food items such as pomegranate extract or certain juices can be more energizing to your body. Just don’t get too accustomed to consuming an excessive amount of sugar in your body at any one time.
Finally nutrition can also be supplemented by activity. By moving your body usually, for example, getting up and stretching if you’re sitting too long at a desk. This can help to increase the oxygen flow through your body to spark your brain. Remember that there are a number of ways to increase your energy level. And, they are often simple to carry out and some of them are downright free.
October 8, 2009
Everyone understands by now that having a good diet is important. But what does good eating habits really mean? The thing about nutrition is that it seems like everyone agrees it is important, but no one really knows what it means. Are carbs important or fattening? Can you drink too much water? Even the so-called experts are divided about nutrition and what it means for people everywhere. Hopefully, these facts about nutrition will help you find a healthier diet and a healthier lifestyle.
Nutrition is all about calories. Calories are measured by the amount of energy burned. For instance, while an apple has 100 calories, and water has 0 calories, obviously an apple will give your body more “energy”. This is different from “feeling” more energetic, though calories have a lot to do with it. Calories are the fuel and when you eat more than you burn, you will gain weight. When you eat less, you lose weight. This isn’t true in every single case, but when we’re talking about nutrition and weight it’s the right place to start.
Not all calories are created equal. This is an important fact about nutrition. This is something we all seem to understand, albeit in a vague manner. We understand that a piece of fruit is better for you than a cheeseburger. Those discrepancies are easy. But what about a piece of ham or an egg? The difference in calories and calorie values isn’t so simple. Luckily, there are plenty of web sites about nutrition that list calorie values for all foods, as well as the quality of calories.
So how can you improve your diet without following a bunch of complicated lists and formulas? Here are a few guidelines about nutrition an nutritional value. Opt for fresh rather than canned fruits or vegetables (frozen are good too). When looking at prepared food from a supermarket, the less ingredients, the better. In fact, you are better off making meals from scratch and controlling the different ingredients that you add for maximum nutritional value.
Knowing as much as you can about nutrition will help your health, your mood, and obviously your body. Stay away from the obvious targets: fast food and junk food. But beware of supposed “health” foods as they often give you just a different kind of food lacking in nutritional value. The best way to improve your diet is to be as hands-on and selective as you can about your food – this means fresh ingredients that you select and cook yourself. This might be more work, but your body will thank you.
For more information on taking care of your body, feel free to contact our Union City Chiropractic Office. We are also located in San Lorenzo and Fremont, CA.
March 22, 2009
All natural is one of the most ambiguous phrase of the times. Mainly due to environmental awareness and the animal rights movement, the term, all natural, has come into our everyday vocabulary. Natural is good, right? The corporate marketing minds have successfully hyped the public with the all natural label, applying the phrase to everything from chickens to makeup. They found that by affixing the label to almost any product, sales for that item soared. However, there is no definitive meaning to the phrase.
This is where the hype becomes deceptive. After all, you can’t get more natural than a chicken. Or can you? Have you ever heard of an unnatural chicken? One chicken supplier may designate his product to be all natural, meaning that the chicken wasn’t fed antibiotics or growth hormones, although this natural chicken spent her entire life in an indoor cage crowded amongst thousands of others. Another supplier may regard an all natural chicken product to be one which is not injected with water after slaughter to pump up the weight. On the other hand, a free-range chicken is probably the best bet for procuring an all natural chicken. These birds aren’t fed the hormones or pumped up with water, are fed natural grains and allowed to roam freely just as they would – naturally. The confusion makes it apparent that there ought to be a specific definition which removes the hype and keeps the meat producer honest.
How about natural makeup? This is almost an oxymoron. We weren’t born with makeup on our faces. Therefore, makeup cannot be natural. Ah, but if you look at it a bit differently, it could be. One of the latest trends in makeup is the products which are made from minerals. Now, how natural can you get? You could argue that while minerals are all natural, minerals on your face are not.
Speaking of minerals, did you know that selenium, a trace mineral, may be taken as an internal supplement that provides a remedy for psoriasis and eczema-like conditions? People with diabetes sometimes are plagued with this skin condition, due to an inadequate supply of selenium. Although your doctor should know better, he may prescribe a popular dandruff shampoo to rub into the skin as a help. The active ingredient in this shampoo? Selenium. It would appear that the all natural remedy here is taking the supplement to eradicate the condition, rather than using a costly product that only helps alleviate it.
Until such time as product industries are ready to define this ambiguous term, it’s up to you to do your homework and find out how truly natural – or unnatural – that product is.