THE PROBLEM WITH SITTING
Years of sitting with poor posture allow the trunk and abdominal muscles to weaken and fatigue rapidly. Also the hip flexors can shorten. When you then stand up your hip flexors are tight, tilting the pelvis forward and so exaggerating the lumbar curve. The hamstrings must counter this curvature tilting your pelvis backwards leading to a flat back posture, shoulders hunched forward. The glut muscles don’t activate well – an important component in hip stability. The combination of all these imbalances can lead to back pain,knee problems, foot problems.If your day consists of sitting in the car, then sitting at a desk for 7 hours, true hip extension may be difficult. Amatsu can assess whether you have tight hip flexors and then release them. Also hip extension exercises are going to help.
STRESS AND THE GUT
Life can be stressful and the demands we face can feel unrelenting. If we are experiencing on -going stress, we may not have consciously admitted it to ourselves. Instead we start developing physical symptoms. One way the stress response can show itself in the body is through gut symptoms such as reflux, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, belching. There is a close neural link between the gut and the brain called the gut-brain axis. This is the two way communication between our gut and our brain transported via the Vagus nerve. The Vagus nerve plays a crucial role in breathing, heart rate, immune response and digestion. This emotional connection between the gut and the brain is expressed in every day phrases such as “I’ve got a gut feeling” or “I can’t stomach that behaviour”. When stressed, the nervous system goes into the into fight or flight mode increasing our heart rate, making breathing more shallow and constricting the muscles of the digestive tract. The small intestine, large intestine, gall bladder, or the valves which separate the areas of the digestive tract can become restricted effecting functioning of that organ or surrounding structures. If this is the root cause of your gut symptoms then looking to dietary changes alone may have only partial success. A therapy called Visceral Manipulation can be effective for common gut problems. Visceral Manipulation has been developed over the last 40 years by a French osteopath called Jean Pierre Barral. Barral and his team of international instructors train health professionals all over the world through the Barral Institute. www.barralinstitute.co.uk. It is based on the premise that every organ of the body needs motion. It is a very gentle but precise hands on external manipulation of the organs of the body in order to return normal motion. Treatment helps circulation and nerve supply in the abdomen and calms down the stress response. This means it encourages the “rest and digest” response which is the opposite the “fight or flight” response. So not, only do you feel mores relaxed and less stressed but the gut symptoms subside.
THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Unlike many other systems of the body, which have distinct, easily identifiable organs and tissues, the immune system is complex. It contains numerous types of cells and tissues that both reside in other tissues and circulate throughout the body. A multi-layered shield for the body, the immune system is incredibly hard-working.
The immune system’s tissues perform diverse roles: The skin serves as a literal barrier to invaders, lymphatic fluid (lymph) continually circulates to rid cells of everyday toxins and lymph nodes serve as filters for the body. While technically part of the circulatory system, the immune system’s tissues comprise parts of the digestive, endocrine, respiratory, and even the skeletal systems. While no system of the body operates autonomously, the immune system has an especially symbiotic relationship with the body’s other systems. The immune system knows no boundaries; its cells go everywhere.
Keeping the immune system in balance is of the utmost importance in all stages of life, especially at the moment with the Covid-19, we need to do everything we can to boost that immune system and stay healthy. As the natural defence system, it is designed to spring into action to support every area of the body. If your body is your castle, your immune system acts as the soldiers patrolling the perimeter and every corridor within the walls. So how can you help those internal soldiers?
Look after the Lymphatics
Right under the skin are the lymph vessels. These are miles of lymphatic tubules which allow waste to be collected from your tissues and transported to your blood for elimination, a process referred to as lymphatic drainage. It is your body’s built in, disease fighting internal cleansing system. It filters and carries away toxins from your entire body. When this is not working well it becomes toxic and bogged down by its own waste production. Poorly moving lymph is a bit like stagnant water. If it just sits still it becomes polluted and your immune response may be compromised. Your lymph is your body’s biggest drain – keep it unclogged! Unlike your cardiovascular system, which is pumped by the heart, your lymphatic system does not have an automatic pump. It requires body movement in order to drain. Even though we are confined to indoors so much at present, you can still keep your lymphatic system flowing and healthy. Two ways to do this are by self massage and gentle rebounding/trampolining.
Self massage for the Lymphatics
There are crucial lymph nodes in the arm pits, neck, groin, back of the knee and abdomen. You can help flush out toxins from the body by very gently massaging these areas. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which helps calm the body down. There are some good demonstrations on U tube of how to massage key areas of the body. See #selfcaresaturday#thelymphaticsystem. https://youtu.be/qJqycbwzPjw
The gentle up and down movement of rebounding stimulates the tiny valves in the lymph vessels to open and shut and so move the lymph along. If you are self- isolating or stuck indoors, doing rebounding every day will help detox your lymphatic system. It does not even have to be very strenuous(as in jumping) but gently bouncing up and down with your feet remaining on the trampoline will work just as well. Rebounders can be bought on line and range in price from £43 up to £300.
SUPPLEMENTS FOR THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Sambucus nigra(Black Elderberry) extract has been found to reduce the length and severity of symptoms caused by the influenza virus. It provides both anti-oxidant and immune support. From a study in 2014, Sambucus Nigra exhibited significant anti- viral effects. This fruit contains polyphenols which punch holes in the protective envelope of the virus particles, rendering them non- infectious.
Vitamin D3 is essential for fighting off germs. Most people have sub optimal levels. Inflammation, fat accumulation, older age and other factors can further reduce Vitamin D activity in the body.
Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical processes in our bodies . imbalances in magnesium have been implicated in depressed immune system, insomnia, high blood pressure, muscle dysfunction and constipation. Use Magnesium Glycinate.
Other important minerals and vitamins for immune support include Zinc, Vitamin C and Selenium.